Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Of Fearless Women & Coy Brides

I wrote this post & saved it as a draft (I thought) but couldn't trace it later! You know how irritating THAT can be! So I re-wrote the entire thing, only to realize later that I had mailed it to myself the first time around instead of saving it as a draft. Oh well, c'est la vie of a blogger :)


I am completely addicted to 'Khatron Ke Khiladi' - Fear Factor Level2, and for good reason. The show is all about performance & having nerves of steel, and the stunts get cooler by the day. There is no bitching among contestants (at least nothing is shown on TV), and AK's wit & sense of humor - not to mention the funny English he speaks - are the cherry on the cake.

Oh yeah, the man speaks son-of-the-soil kind of English, which is quite funny, if you know what I mean ;)

Seriously though, if you're the stay-away-from-reality-shows types, I strongly recommend watching this show. It's a very cool show and Khiladi Kumar is THE DUDE.

I have an incredible amount of respect for the women who're competing on the show. Whether they're doing those death-defying stunts b/c they really want to push themselves and test their strength of mind &body, or b/c they're on national TV and their reputations are at stake, it takes tremendous amounts of bravery and courage to perform those stunts. Hats off to them!

My money is on Jesse Randhawa or Rosa (IF her wannabe model she's paired with stops being a show-off & gets his act together. Delhiites, I tell you ;)

Okay, don't lynch me now!! I love Delhi. Really, I do.

Both women (Jesse & Rosa) are extremely brave & cool-headed. I've never seen them freak out or cry over any stunt. Irrespective of how difficult the stunt is, they do it brilliantly!

On the other hand, there's another reality show called Perfect Bride on Star Plus. I watched the first episode out of sheer curiosity and trust me, it is BEYOND HILARIOUS.

The show capitalizes on the biggest Indian obsession & pre-occupation - marriages. The raison d'etre of all Indians. Smart cookies, those folks over at Star! I can see the show becoming a huge hit already.

The premise is something like this - a bunch of twenty-something girls (early twenties, mind you, the ripe marriageable age for Indian women. Once you cross 25, you're dangerously teetering on the "Is something wrong with you? If you don't get married now, no one will marry you ever!" territory, and if you're over 30, no one will touch you with a barge pole!!), mostly from small towns (I think Chandigarh must have separate institutes to train its young men & women to contest in reality shows), are locked in a house with their prospective mothers-in-law, while the prospective grooms stay in another house. The young women have to obviously patao (get in the good books of) the aunties, who are obsessed with their sons and want the most obedient, docile & servile wife for them (so what's new?)

Competition, manipulation & bitching at their brutal best?

They've got the moronic Amrita Rao as a judge. Apparently she qualifies b/c she did a super regressive movie called 'Vivah', which I clearly remember had a song which went 'Mujhe Haq Hai...' in which the guy is essentially saying (not even implying) that he has the right to have sex with the girl now b/c she's his wife! God, save me from such monstrosities!

Along with the extremely irritating Amrita Rao, there's Shekhar Suman, who should honestly just pack his bags & go back to Patna now!!

Jokes apart, I do not believe in the censorship of the media (except when they fabricate news and sensationalize things in order to boost TRPs ), and I'm pro the people-should-have-the-discretion-to-know-tell-right-from-wrong-and-not-blindly-follow-whatever-is-shown-in-the-media argument, but I also feel that in a country where the audience is not yet as mature as Western audiences, and is therefore still quite easily influenced, the media does have certain social responsibilities. Regressiveness is NOT the way to go in our country. Neither is feeding into our biggest collective insecurity - that relating to marriage.

You agree?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Les Alphabets

I got this tag as a forward. Thought I'd put it up here & anyone who wishes to do it can pick it up...

A - Available?: Depends on what you want me for. ALWAYS for brownies, chocolates & cheesecakes!

B-Best friend: Handful of very good friends but no “best friend” as such :(

C-Cake or Pie?: Both!! And even better if served with ice-cream and/or whipped cream :D

D-Drink of choice: Water - Cold. Thums Up/Coke - Chilled

E-Essential thing used everyday: Soap/Shower Gel; Toothpaste

F-Favourite colour: Red, Black, Orange, Purple, Yellow, Blue (Sea, Turquoise or Aquamarine), Fuschia – Hell, you want me to choose ONE color? N’est pas possible!

G-Gummi bears or worms: Worms! Sour apple :P

H-Hometown: LOL. Patna, technically.

I-Indulgence: Clothes, Bags, Shoes, Books

J-January or February: Either. As long as it’s bone-chillingly cold.

K-Kids and names: Zero. None. Nada. And hope to keep it that way.

L-Life: Can be a bitch sometimes but overall, it’s a blast. And a full-time activity.

M-Marriage Anniversary : Do I get to have a wedding first? In Goa or the Caribbean while we’re at it? :P

N-Number of siblings: Uno

O-Oranges or apples: Apples! But orange juice, oh yeah.

P-Phobias: Rats! Rats! Rats! Can deal with the roaches, lizards & spiders but rats are the whole different story.

Q-Quote: "But why is the rum gone?"

R-Reason to smile: A bright, sunny day! Especially in the winters. And Christmas. Anything Christmassy for that matter.

S-Season: Winter & Spring. And I mean bone-chilling winter followed by full-on pollen-laden spring. In spite of my breathing allergies.

T-Tag three people: Anyone who’s interested and has more time on their hands than they can kill, pick it up. Go on.

U-Unknown fact about me: I learnt Odissi for three long years (obviously don’t remember anything of it). And I’m very finicky - make that anal - about English grammar & punctuation.

V-Vegetable you do not like: Kaddu/lauki/doodhi – whatever it’s called. And bhindi. Yuck!!

W-Worst habit: The Boy tells me I nag. Not in the way that wives do, but in an over-caring sort of way.

X-X-rays you have had: Chest, ankle, foot, arm, sinus. I’m sure there would be more. I’m “accident prone”.

Y-Your favorite food: Chicken curry & hot rotis. Any kind of Chicken Curry will do but Butter Chicken is preferred (I think subconsciously I might be a wannabe Punju, no?). Chinese is also right up there. Can have it once a day, everyday. Besides these, I get cravings for pizza, pasta & Subway periodically.

Z-Zodiac: Pisces. Surprisingly, I’m not a water baby.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Marco Polo in China

If you're in Calcutta and need a place to eat, the one place NOT to go is Marco Polo in China on Park Street.

It's a fairly expensive restaurant, by Calcutta standards at least. A meal for two with an alcoholic beverage each, an appetizer, a noodle/rice & an entree can cost you anywhere between Rs 1500-2000, depending on the drink you order and your choice of meat (prawns will cost you more than chicken/lamb/fish).

For a restaurant in that price range, the service is extremely shoddy and the waiters terribly clueless. It's a well-known fact that restaurants, shops & small businesses in Calcutta aren't as good on customer service as, say, those in Bombay. But if I'm paying approximately 2 grand for a meal, I expect some level of customer service. Consider this - they had very few chicken options as appetizers, so I asked them if they can make a relatively simple dish, pan fried chilly fish, that was on their menu, with chicken instead of fish. Their response was an outright no. I asked them if they could just check once regarding this, and the answer again was 'no'. Now, I've made this request before at much smaller & cheaper Chinese restaurants and they've happily obliged, so I know it's totally do-able. Their rudeness pretty much pissed me off, especially since they didn't even try to check with the chef if my request could be accomodated.

I asked the waiter if they had any Chinese sauces available as there were none at the table. His answer was 'no'! Can you imagine a Chinese restaurant without any Chinese sauces?? Neither can I. Even a tiny roadside Chinese restaurant will serve you the regular chilly sauce-soya-vinegar combo!!

We had ordered Lat Mei Kai for starters. It's a spicy pan fried Thai chicken dish that goes well with the red sweet sauce (that looks like a diluted version of tomato ketchup) you get at any decent Chinese restaurant. I asked the waiter if they had the sauce available, though I was pretty sure it was a request in vain. This time he didn't say no. I was about to fall off my chair in shock when he came to me with a bowl of tomato ketchup!!!!! I was too stunned to speak.

The food was upsetting as well. Our appetizer was burnt and the Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce we had ordered tasted more like Chicken in Sweet Garlic Sauce. And the worst of it all? They had completely screwed up the Mojito we had paid Rs 250 for! It tasted like fresh lime water!!!

The ambience of the restaurant too was pretty confused. It's like they couldn't make up their mind whether they wanted to be a Chinese or a Bengali restaurant. They call themselves Marco Polo in China but they have Indian food as well as Pastas on offer, and the ambience is very Bengali!! Go figure.

My verdict : TWO THUMBS DOWN

PS: Incidentally, they have another branch on Sarat Bose Road (or Lansdowne Road as it's more commonly known) called 'Marco Polo' (only) that serves Indian & Continental. That's a much better bet. I've had continental there, and the food is much better, though both restaurants would fall in the same price range.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The One Thing I'm Not Destined To Do... to cook. And I say that with my hand on my heart.

I'm a miserable cook. I can NEVER EVER boil milk without spilling it. When I make rice, it either sticks to the bottom of the pan & gets burnt, or gets wet & sticky. Rotis? I can make them round but they turn out to be partly burnt & partly half-baked.

With Durga Puja going on, the entire city is in a celebratory mood. The smell of kosha mangsho (mutton cooked Bengali style) & luchis (Bengali puris) had been wafting through my windows, seducing my olfactory senses since morning, like a cruel joke. To make things worse, my cook didn't turn up today. Oh, the horror, the horror!!

I figured if I have to cook, I might as well make a feast out of it. I really wanted some nice mutton curry & pulao, but it seemed too much of an effort, and I didn't really have the patience to stand in endless queues to buy mutton (not that I know how to buy mutton, but I was willing to learn), so I settled for the next best thing Bongs love to eat - luchi & alur dom. Well, in case you're wondering, I'm not Bong but if it's Durga Puja and you're in Calcutta, you've got to celebrate it Bong style!

I figured I might as well go the whole hog and decide to make payesh, or kheer as it's more popularly known.

I burnt the grated onion-ginger-garlic paste that forms the base of the alur dom. The potatoes themselves were half-cooked in parts, the luchis were partially burnt, and the kheer? Oh, don't even get me started on the kheer! I burnt it. Charred, to be precise.

I started with the proportion of milk : rice my mom had instructed me to use, but the milk seemed too much for the rice. So, I added some more rice to it, and then some more. As the kheer was cooking, I realized how important it is to follow what mom tells you...the rice was eventually too much for the milk, and since I had added them in three batches, they were different degrees of 'cooked'! And the bottom layer was charred! So much for preparing a feast.

Really, for folks like me who can't cook, the smartest thing to do is to simply hire a cook and leave the feast up to her. Your families will thank you for it, trust me. And in case the cook doesn't turn up, just order in!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Durga Puja

Today is Mahashtmi, the eighth & most important day of Durga Pujo, the biggest festival for Bengalis. Durga Puja is to Calcutta what Diwali is to Bombay & Delhi, except this city believes in coming out on the streets in full force to celebrate!

It's not even funny how crazy the streets are the four days of Pujo. I, for one, can't fathom where all these people live! The roads become one way, even for walking. You can't walk down the street without sweaty arms brushing past yours, sweating buckets yourself, people pushing & shoving you and stepping on your shoes from behind (if you're wearing slip-on shoes).

No one cares for the crowds or the humidity, so strong is the love of Bengalis for their beloved Goddess. There are hordes of people out on the streets till 3-4am, pandal-hopping (phrase used by Bongs for visiting various pandals) and eating at the numerous food stalls set up near the pandals. Jaundice, typhoid, swine-flu...Are those street food? :)

By this time, the shopping is over - 'notun jama' (new clothes) for each day of the pujo, gifts for family & friends have been purchased. Some kids even manage to get their parents to buy 2-3 sets of clothes for each day!! The Bong's love for Durga Pujo is unbridled. Sample this, we have five days off work (Thursday-Monday) for Pujo, and no work happened for the one week leading upto the Pujo holidays as people were out shopping for gifts for their friends & family and clothes for themselves.

I'm not a religious person at all. I don't visit temples, don't believe in deities or idol-worship. But Durga Puja is one festival which pulls me in (I love Diwali & Christmas too, but they aren't focused so much on a deity as Durga Puja is). Maybe it's the festivities....lights, decked up streets, the euphoria, happy people all around, celebrating with food & fun without a care in the world....or maybe it's the idol of Durga which, trust me, can bring tears to your eyes. The sheer power - or 'shakti' - emanating from the idols (mindblowingly talented artisans, I tell you, I wish they got their due) is something you have to experience in Calcutta. The realization that the world always thinks of females as the weaker sex, yet they are worshipping a female God for her 'shakti' WILL bring tears to your eyes.

And oh yeah, the sound of the 'dhak' - the most beautiful "religious" sound in the world. Right up there with the Nasik dhol.

Happy Pujo everyone, especially the Bengalis - resident and probashi - reading this.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Luxury Travel No More?

If Shashi Tharoor thought traveling Economy on airplanes was "cattle class" travel, wonder what he would think about this??!!!

Design Q, a British design firm, has come up with this new seating design for aircrafts that could help airlines cut costs by increasing the number of passengers on board by upto 50%!

As small consolation, thankfully, for now they're proposing this seating arrangement only for flights of one hour duration or less. The magnanimous people that they are, they're also giving us a choice : if you want to sit facing forward - in the conventional manner of seating in an aircraft - you can. You will just have to pay more!

And you thought there were free cookies in this world! Cookie Man might give them to you for free to sample them, but they also give you sordid stares if you walk away without purchasing any.

Anyway, so the folks at Design Q who came up with this retarded seating arrangement (according to me, could argue it's "innovative"), have also been kind enough to remind us that people might not be happy with this new seating design (oh yeah, you think?), but if airlines are able to carry more number of passengers, the air fares would drop!!

Why couldn't I do that simple math? Stupid, stupid me...

All The Women Independent...Throw Your Hands Up At Me!

I keep telling A that he’s incredibly lucky that I’m an independent girl who can take care of herself and find a solution to her own problems. The response to this usually is, “I know. That’s why I like you”. Which is when I want to dump an entire plate of food in his hair!

This question isn’t an “I know” type of answer eliciting question. It’s a “Yes, I’m incredibly lucky. Thank you so much. You’re doing me a huge favour”, type of answer question.

My life is plagued with a constant stream of problems (I’m sure everyone thinks the same way about themselves, so I’m not hallucinating here). But I find solutions on my own rather than speed-dialing my dad or A to come rescue poor me!

Heck, I don’t even have them on speed dial!

Anyway, the latest problem plaguing my life is that my new office is situated in a very “down-market” area of Calcutta. It’s a very commercial area but also home to mainly SEC C, D, E kind of people. The stretch outside my office gets deserted even at 6 in the evening, trying to get a cab is a nightmare and there is no dearth of eve-teasers and harassers in the area. (You see where my recent rage against men who harass women is coming from!)

I rely on cabs for my commute to & from work, but since no cabs are willing to take poor little me home, I had to find a solution…a solution that would make my daily journey from work to home peaceful & uneventful. (It’s in times like these when I miss Bombay the most.)

So, I called one of the cab services in the city – Kolkata Cab (for anyone who might be interested, their number is 033-44222222). Turns out they have an everyday pick up & drop facility which you can book for 7 days at a time and pay for on a daily basis, just like you would pay a cab. They charge Rs 15 per km & Rs 1.80 per minute as waiting charge. Not a bad deal at all, I say. I promise to do a plug-in post for them if they do show up everyday!

Anyway, it was a solution I found completely on my own. A was informed that he need not worry for my safety, I had the situation under control (or so I hope). And I didn’t even speed-dial him to buy me a car!!

Note to self : Must enroll in driving classes soon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pet Peeves

  1. My clothes have to be folded neatly. There is a way to fold shirts/t-shirts, trousers, salwars, shorts, towels, bed sheets etc. and they MUST be folded accordingly. For instance, trousers have folds running down the side. You are supposed to hold the trousers up by their bottoms so the folds overlap, fold them into half first & then into another half. Towels, bed sheets & bed covers must be folded so that their edges overlap. T-shirts/shirts must be held by their shoulders so they fall straight, without a crease, and then folded vertically into half, the arms tucked in, and then folded horizontally. I can't stand clothes folded haphazardly, and it's not even funny how most people - especially maids - don't know the correct way to fold clothes.
  2. My clothes have to be separated in piles. There are separate piles in my cupboard for t-shirts for casual wear, formal work shirts, trousers & jeans, skirts, shorts, nightwear, underwear, socks, salwars etc. I hate it when my maid mixes them up. Inspite of having explained the arrangement to her clearly.
  3. My bathroom HAS to be dry. I have one of those mops with a stick in my bathroom. After a shower, I get the water out using the mop and expect anyone who wets my bathroom to do the same. I hate wet bathrooms because when I sit down to pee, my jeans/ tracks/ trousers/ shorts get wet. Hmpfff.
  4. I always have to wash my face, using face wash, before leaving home. Even if I had washed it ten minutes ago. The area around my nose tends to get oily & I hate leaving home looking like a shiny mirror!
  5. I can't leave home with the taste of food in my mouth either. It's bizarre but if I'm planning to go out after breakfast/lunch, I need to brush my teeth before going out. I can never leave for work with the taste of food in my mouth, especially if I had milk or eggs for breakfast. Or even tea. Ugh.
  6. I cannot tolerate dust on my palms or feet. I am restless till I wash them clean.
  7. An absolute level of hygiene has to be maintained in my house. I completely blow off my head if my maid does something I deem even the least bit unhygienic, even if she puts a tomato on the floor for a few seconds. Never mind that the tomato will be washed & cooked before it goes in my mouth and the floor was swept & mopped clean.
  8. I cannot stand a dripping tap. I must go & shut it off immediately.

I tag Moonshine, Mumbai Diva, The Knife (after he's back from his unending dream Swizz holiday!) and anyone else who wants to pick it up (just leave me a note so I can visit your blog).


This post contains my pet peeves as well as some quirks. Whoever does this tag, feel free to combine both!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rani Mukherjee in a Bikini, Anyone?

I haven't watched 'Dil Bole Hadippa', neither do I intend to. But watching Rani Mukherjee do the getting-wet-in-the-rain-in-a-bikini-top gig is a very 'yuck!' inducing experience. I think she's better than that. She's known for her acting ability; she should lead cavorting in bikinis to wannabes who don't have much else to boast about.

Besides, she is no Bipasha Basu, her new toned look notwithstanding. She can't be...her face & body type do not lend themselves to Western wear, leave alone bikinis. And I'm not being uncharitable - different people have diffirent body types and it's extremely important to know & understand one's body type and dress accordingly. Especially if you are on screen.

There are some women who look better in Western wear than ethnic wear. Unfortunately, Rani Mukherjee belongs to that overwhelmingly majority of Indian women whose bodies lend themselves best to ethnic wear. Or at least Fusion.


I think I'm discovering a new facet to Sunday evenings. There was a time - not too long ago - when Sunday evenings were the darkest hours of my existence. I would get depressed beyond healthy levels of depression, and therefore had this need to be out & about doing stuff...watching a movie, shopping, simply hanging out with friends at a coffee shop at Bandstand...whatever! Just as long as I was out of my house.

Strangely, I don't feel that need anymore. I still get depressed but it's manageable. Now I'd rather spend my Sunday evenings at home, hanging out with A or my sister, reading a book with music in the background, watching Travel & Living or a DVD.

What about you? How do you spend your Sunday evenings?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Coming Out

Not of THAT kind though ;)

When I started blogging, I thought going with an 'alias' was the norm. So...I became Scarlett. I'd rather get out there now.

Hi...I'm Aishwarya. Or you can call me Ash, as most people do. In fact there was a time (in college) when it used to take me a while to respond to 'Aishwarya'. The Americans could never get my name right, and I too felt bad for those poor souls. 'Ash' just made everyone's life easier, most of all my professors' & those guys at the coffee shop who gave me my daily fix of caffeine. I'm not really stuck up on my name, just as long as you don't call me 'Ass-warya', something the woman at the library back in high school used to do! Unintentionally, of course. English wasn't her firts language.

The photo's up too. Yup, that's me! That's who I am! And I prefer it this way! :)

Take Back the Night

It’s happened with every woman at some point of time or another – some man brushes against you intentionally on a crowded street, men leer at your breasts at a public place in the most disgusting way, men on the streets pass comments of a sexual nature when you walk by, attendants smirk at you when you go to a hospital/clinic to get a pap smear done etc.

I've seen it happen to women when they go to a pharmacy to buy birth control/emergency contraceptive pills. The store attendants will either smirk or talk in hushed tones and generally be so secretive about the entire process, it makes you feel as if you’ve got the plague! After all, it’s not for no reason that women in India don’t go to buy condoms themselves.

We (Indian women) encounter sexual harassment at every nook & corner, every day of our lives. We can’t walk down the streets without getting harassed either overtly or in a covert manner. The men that are less brave will leer at you or pass a comment, while the relatively braver ones will brush against you or try to touch you at the most private places, pretending it was unintentional of course. It’s disgusting.

It’s just so sad that a woman has to constantly fear for her safety in this country, where as it should be our birth right – just as the right to breathe. We shouldn’t always have to look over our shoulders, always beware of who’s walking on either side of us. Freedom to walk down the streets without having to worry about getting harassed simply on account of our gender should be our basic right, not something we have to fight for.

Unless all men in this country, down to the last social strata, learn to respect women, and not see them as merely sexual objects or 'things' to procreate with, we are not going to progress as a society. Bad news is, I think we’re light years away from that happening!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Coming Full Circle

I have a new job. Well, it’s not exactly new, as in I’ve worked in the same organization before, doing the same drill, though I was "lower down the food chain” as they say in corporate lingo. So yes, the work profile is different, as are the expectations from me but the heart and soul of the organization are the same.

I work in a very niche industry – market research – or “consumer insights” as they call it these days. I started off my career with traditionally the best in the business (according to could argue that, I wouldn’t). After four years of learning the ropes, I decided it was time to move on to another organization, to see what else lay outside the “consumer insights” behemoth I was part of. I’m glad I experimented, for it made me realize the place I was at earlier is really the best place to be – in terms of the value they give to clients, the work culture, organizational philosophy & work life balance.

The experiment also made me realize how important it is to be in sync with the values your organization embodies and propagates. They might be doing brilliant work but unless you identify with what they stand for & believe in, it’s going to be an empty, dissatisfying journey.

On that note, can we have the ‘Welcome Back’ e-mail please? :)


It’s been a while since I posted. Yeah, yeah...6 days is quite a long time for me to stay away from this blog. The absence can be explained by visiting parents, birthday celebrations in the family, the first few unsettled days into the new job etc. Now I’m back and getting used to my personal laptop once again, having relegated it to being a back-up while I was lugging around my work laptop (it had a data card for internet access which was so very convenient, where as my personal laptop has a broadband which restricted my mobility).


I absolutely adored him. I do, and will always remember him best as Johnny Castle – the man who Dirty Danced like a dream, sang ‘I’ve Had The Time of My Life’ to his girl, and defined sensual love for millions of teenage girls like me.

I felt really sad when I found out he has cancer, which was a few months ago, and worse to hear of his demise. I don’t think anyone could have played Johnny Castle quite like him. Haven't seen Ghost but it's definitely on my agenda.

This tribute comes a rather belatedly due to the reasons mentioned above but Patrick Swayze, thanks for giving us the weakness-in-the-knees-inducing Johnny Castle. You will be missed. RIP.

PS: My favorite songs from ‘Dirty Dancing’ are ‘I’ve had the time of my life’ (romantic), ‘Hungry eyes’ (lustful) & ‘Hey Baby’ (playful), though I luuuuurrrrve ‘em all. Which ones are your favorites?

Friday, September 11, 2009


I didn't realize today is 9/11 till I saw the American flag flying at half-mast at the US Embassy behind my office. We too will be marking one year to 26/11 in a couple of months from now. In between there was London and Madrid.

It's been 8 years since terrorism overtook our lives, and looking at the way things are, I think we'll have to live with it for a long time to come.

Let's salute the spirit of the people of these cities - people whose lives have been shaken by the roots, yet they continue to brave it out. Their governments too have taken care of them since the attacks. Unfortunately, we (Indians) may not be able to claim the same. Our government thinks dumping Rs 350 crores out in the sea is a better use of citizens' money than strengthening the security infrastructure of our country.

So what can we do for ourselves? Pray, what else. If you do believe there's a God, that is.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Post Inspite of a Throbbing Headache

Tomorrow is my last day at my current organization. I'm feeling bad about leaving but strangely, I never feel bad about the people I leaving behind. Maybe b/c in my subconscious I know that I'll stay in touch with people that I like...and with people I'm not close to/don't quite like, it really doesn't matter whether we stay in touch.

On the contrary, I feel sad about the things I would be leaving cubicle, my work laptop that I would need to give away (good ol''s slightly bulky but I like that had a data card, so I could access the net even from my bedroom), my office space, the commute to work etc. It's strange but it's always been like that with me...I get more attached to places & things than to people.

Weird, huh?


Chinese take-away rocks! Or pizza & Coke...though that was more college grub (I've had countless pizza & Coke nights in college!).

I can't ever get enough of Chinese food. I turn to it when I'm happy, depressed, generally feeling low, or there's an occasion, or when I generally feel like eating out. Chinese is the numero uno choice. I shall order in Chinese today since I'm feeling a little 'bleh' about the leaving work thing.


More power to Vishal Dadlani (of the Bollywood music composer Vishal-Shekhar duo). The man had spoken up once earlier after the Mumbai terror attacks, and he's done so again - this time about the Rs 350 cr. statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji to be built in the sea, off Marine Drive.

Gaaaah...I can't tell you how badly things such as these get my goat (is that the phrase?). While a majority of our population is poor, illiterate, diseased, starved & drought-hit, politicians can only think about building statues (of others if not of themselves) as the best use of tax-payers' money. Since it IS the tax payer's money, I want to know whether the tax payers of Mumbai sanctioned the statue. Did they?

As Vishal mentions, there could be numerous other more appropriate for the money. Use it to feed the poor, give it to the farmers who are committing suicide due to the drought, build schools & hospitals in rural areas, provide treatment to the poor free of cost or at subsidized rates, improve the roads of our country....Do it all in Shivaji's name but do it for Chrissake! Rather than building a Rs 350 cr. statue that will lie decrepit anyway due to state negligence & become another crapping ground for them despicable pigeons.

Go sign the petition against building of the statue, whether you're a Mumbaikar or not.


Lisa Ray has been diagnozed with Multiple Myeloma, a rare cancer of the bone marrow. Now, she's no Amitabh Bachchan or Shah Rukh Khan...I don't know her personally either...but my heart went out to her. It's probably the first time I'm feeling bad for a celebrity, and I mean genuinely feeling bad. She's a pretty good actress I think, never mind the one or two Hindi movies that she's acted in (which was the one with Aftab Shivdasani...the thriller where she played a lawyer)? It seems she's being very brave about it and hasn't let this horrible piece of news devastate her.

Now, I don't know whether there IS a God who will get her out of it (I've had "God issues" for quite some time now). I believe it's up to us to be strong in trying times like this. I'm not sure whether her cancer is curable...I'm reading contradictory reports in the media...but I do hope she has a complete remission and stays strong through all of it. You can leave her your wishes/prayers here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

So We’ve Been Good This Weekend!!

Shopping (for clothes, shoes & bags though not necessarily in that order) & desserts are two of my biggest weaknesses, and I was good on both counts.

After unexplained and totally unnecessary crying over the complete absence of shopping in my life, I went to my favorite store (in India at least) - Cotton World - over the weekend. I hadn’t been there in AGES, so I was ravenous for clothes! Raided the entire store and ended up trying some 20 outfits (!!) out of which I short-listed 9. But obviously I couldn’t walk out of the store with all 9 items in tow, or it would’ve put all those months of abstinence to waste.

So I went on another round of trials, after which I sadly and with a leaden heart let go of four. It was a very tough decision folks, to let go of a sexy top, uber-cute pajamas (baby pink with white polka dots) & the cutest sleeping shorts (with pink & purple hearts on them et al). Sob sob :((

I was depressed. To put myself in a happier place again, I decided I wanted cheesecake. I headed to a patisserie....but....just then....alarms bells went off in my head! (Remember, we haven’t lost the entire 10kgs yet?)

Gaaaaah....goddamn alarm bells! They always go off at the wrong time!!

So there I was standing in front of the patisserie with the sad face of a baby that wants chocolate but doesn’t get it, while there was a huge war waging inside my the war between the id & the superego! 'Id' wanted that cheesecake, which I could so clearly see calling out to me from inside the patisserie (they have voices, trust me!), but the superego was yelling “Leave! You’re fat! You don’t need that cheesecake!”

And I walked away.

Sigh…depravity! How difficult can life get? But the same evening, my sister came over with a box of freshly baked, warm & gooey chocolate chip and walnut cookies from Cookie Man.

There’s always justice in the universe, you know? What's yours shall be yours forever. No one can take it away from you :P

Monday, September 7, 2009


I am truly shocked.

A friend who’s been married for two years - and whose identity & the issue that triggered this conversation I shall not disclose on a public forum such as this - recently told me that sex is, at most, 5% of a marriage!!!!!!!!!!

Now, why would he say something like that? Is it true?

Shudder shudder!!

As it is, marriage as a concept doesn’t have too many things going for it, as far as I am concerned. I mean, what does one have to look forward to after marriage? A lifetime of waking up to the other person’s morning breath? Physical & emotional “space” issues? Regular fights because people tend to give up their respective individual social lives and become clingy & needy of their partner? Bickering about whose turn it was to do the dishes or take the trash out? Adjustment issues with respect to the in-laws? Getting "knocked up" and waddling around for nine months, time after time? Chasing the kids you produce around the house with a plateful of food so THEY can survive? Or running around like a headless chicken cleaning up after them? (If there is anything less appealing to me than the idea of marriage, it's the idea of having children!!)

I’m sure marriage has a lot of good things to offer as well – companionship & a sense of emotional security (whatever little comes with it these days) – being the biggest things. But companionship at the expense of sex…is that what I want? HELL NO!!!!!

I don’t want to be one of those people whose college-going kid says, “I don’t think my parents are doing it anymore”, or “I don’t think they get it on”, or “I don’t think they get any action anymore”....or whatever the lingo when they grow up. I want to be the person who “gets it on” with her partner even when she’s 50+, and who goes with him on romantic holidays to Greece & the South of France with their life savings even after retirement.

So all ye married people reading this, do you think my friend was right? Is sex REALLY less than 5% of a marriage???

PS: No personal examples/details solicited, just your honest opinion. And this post is not intended to offend any married people/people with children. This is my very personal take on marriage & parenthood :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Journey From Bong to Thai :)

Once the crazy hormones have subsided, life can be calm and serene once again. After having fought with A for no reason at all on Friday night (I was PMSing hardcore...he wanted to come over...I wanted to meet him but at the same time didn' he ended up getting thoroughly confused & pissed off by my erratic behavior, and we ended up having a big fight), I decided to make it up to him by cooking him dinner last night. For company, I asked my sister & brother-in-law to join us.

I was initially planning to cook Bong food for the lot...rice, kosha mangsho & eelish (was borrowing a recipe from The Knife)...but my sister vetoed it. In fact, she vetoed anything Indian. My other options were Chinese, Thai & Italian.

Now, Chinese food, I think, is best left to restaurants. Home-cooked Chinese just doesn't taste as good, maybe because we don't add the fatal ajino moto to it when we cook it at home! So I turned to my ever favorite pasta, which was shot down by both A & my brother-in-law, at the last minute (hmpfff...shouldn't men just be thankful they're getting cooked food magically on their plates)?

Then a friend & her boyfriend called & asked if they could come over. I suggested they stay back for dinner.

With just a couple of hours to go for dinner and an undecided menu, the panic button was pressed. After a quick inspection of my fridge, my sister, who's an expert at damage control of any kind (I stand & hyperventilate while she goes about finding a solution to the problem/crisis at hand), spotted Thai green curry paste, fish sauce & soy sauce, and came up with the idea of making Thai green curry with chicken & Thai fried rice.

While I made a mad dash to the grocery store to buy boneless chicken, she went about boiling the rice & chopping the ingredients. She had also brought along a caramel pudding mix (I would suggest not bothering with the mix, it has too much sweetener & vanilla essence in's much better to make caramel pudding from scratch at home, though it's painful). We quickly ordered a couple of starters from a nearby Chinese restaurants.

What we ended up with were two decent starters - crispy fried lamb & red chilly pepper fish, a good Thai green curry (though it was more white than green courtesy all those cans of coconut milk) & a disaster of a Thai fried rice.

You see, neither my sister nor I have quite mastered the art of cooking rice, so we have pretty much resigned to the fact that our rice will always be limp, sticky & more like 'mashed' rice. The caramel pudding too was a mild disaster. We tried making it with skim milk (mistake # 1 - the mixture became too thin in consistency), added too much of it, and tried to do damage control by adding some custard powder to it (mistake # 2 - the mix became lumpy).

Over dinner, we pretended every dish was made from scratch and no readymade mixes were used, but men who stay/spend a lot of time with women who can't cook know better, and our bluff was called! That's when I decided to drop the bomb and said I should've just stuck to my original plan of cooking Bong food. I heard a collective scream of "NO!" go up. You see, all three men at the party were Bongs :)

Friday, September 4, 2009


Bloating – check
Crazy ass mood swings – check
Irritability – check
Snappiness – check
Murderous tendencies – check
Hormones hitting the wall of my head like electrons in a nuclear reactor during fission – check
Random desire to cry without provocation & for no reason at all – check
Wanting something & not wanting it at the same time – check

Any guesses what game we’re playing?
Oh well, let it be.

Let’s talk about ‘Sach Ka Saamna’ (the Indian adaptation of ‘The Moment of Truth’). Not about whether the show should be aired at all on TV, how it’s ruining the moral fibre of the 'great moralistic nation called India’, how it’s turning us all into voyeurs & all that baloney. To read what I feel about such issues, please go here.

I want to talk about the psyche of the people who come on the show.

They participate willingly. They definitely don’t look destitute to me, even if I discount all that bling on their clothes and overdone make-up. They are regular middle class people who reveal their most sordid, intimate secrets to the television channel so the dirt can be splashed on their faces in front of their spouse & family (who are hit the worst), their extended family & friends who must be watching them on TV, and an entire nation full of conservative, judgmental people!! Going by the confessions the contestants make, I’m sure they pretty much wreck their lives.

Of course, they come for the money though they claim they come because they want to confess to their spouse/family, unburden themselves of guilt by facing the truth head-on etc. If you really wish to confess, you can do it within the confines of your bedroom just as well. You need not do so on national television. They come for the money alright but sadly, most of them don’t even go back with an awful lot of it. The lie detector trips them & they usually go back with a few lacs at most. I really don’t understand why anyone would wreck their lives for a few lacs of rupees.

Oh well…it takes all kinds, I guess. There is no dearth of amusement in this world, people being the biggest of it all. My brother-in-law’s reaction to the show hit home. He said, “I never realized ordinary people have such extraordinary lives!”

I didn’t either.

PS: I couldn't think of a better title for this post. We're all people, you know. 'You' are people, 'I' am people, so are the 'people' who go on that show...they are people too. Even animals are people. I mean, they are animals but they have feelings I guess that makes them people too, no? And what about plants? Are they 'people' too? You know how they say that plants too feel happy & sad...they sway when they feel happy? Or was that something only my crazy grandparents said? That sounds like something Luna Lovegood would say! She's people too! See...people again! There are people everywhere. There are so many people in this world! You can't even get a house at a reasonable rent these days because of so many goddamn people, all of whom want to live in houses! And people do weird things. And they feel strange, especially when the hormones are jacked up. People are jumping around in my head right now! And I'll stop before my head explodes!!!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Taking a Step Back

I'm not a clingy person, definitely not as far as my friendships are concerned. I like to give people space when they want, just as much as I appreciate people who give me mine. I don’t get aggravated if a friend does not return my calls at times, unless it becomes a pattern of course. I’m OK if a friend I had plans with wants to take a rain check. I don’t feel our friendship is dying if I don’t hear from a friend for a while.

However, as far as relationships are concerned I feel I still have some way to go. I’m not clingy or needy, but there are times when I want to be a part of the other person’s plans constantly. And then suddenly I realize that I need to take a step back and give the other person their space. It’s OK if they want some ‘me’ time or to hang out with their guy friends. It’s only fair – b/c I too am very particular about my time with my other friends. But for an attention-craving person like me (yes yes, I admit I do crave attention....majorly....but only from people I love) it's tough to let myself not be the center of attention all the time :) And it’s tough especially when I don't have plans of my own.

I was reading an article by Gitanjali Kirloskar in a newspaper supplement once where she was talking about how she too was extremely clingy in the first few years of her marriage. She wanted to be around her husband all the time, wanted her husband to talk to her all the time and involve her in everything she did. And she would feel dejected whenever he didn’t. But gradually as years went by, she realized that she needed to leave him alone at times, and her marriage was that much better for it.

I’m sure people who have been married for sometime feel the same way. And I’m sure the transition was difficult for them too. So what about you? Do you, at times, have trouble taking a step back as well?