Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Do Not Try This At Home

I’m talking about making Tandoori Chicken on a gas stove. Which moron tries to do that, you ask?

Well, you get three guesses & the first two don’t count!

Why did I do that? Because a) I don’t have a tandoor oven or a gas tandoor at home but I really wanted to make tandoori chicken, and b) A friend of mine made it on the gas stove once & it came out looking just like it looks at restaurants.

You want to know how mine looked? It looked like a chicken dish without the curry!

To be fair to myself though - and to my dearest gas burner - it didn’t taste bad at all. It tasted quite good actually, thanks to my superior marination skills. I beat some yogurt, added generous amounts of ginger-garlic paste, lots of tandoori chicken masala (in the hope that the damn chicken would come out looking red as it does in restaurants, but it came out as pinkish-orange at best) & kept it in the fridge for 24 hrs. It tasted awesome…just that it didn’t look like tandoori chicken at all!

I must get hold of my friend & torture her until she spills the secret as to how she made hers look just like professionally made tandoori chicken.

On an aside, I’ve been going for a jog/walk since Monday. Have made it 3 days in a row! Let’s hope it continues.

There is a huge lake about 100 meters from my house that I’d never seen the face of in the one & a half years I’ve been living here. On Monday I decided to go. It was a momentour occasion in the history of mankind, I tell you, because I’ve been planning to go for a jog around the lake for about a year now. There is a nice jogging track and tons of people walking, jogging & doing yoga & all kinds of weird exercises. There are companies peddling health food/drinks at the entrance, and food stalls. The grossly obese uncles & aunties who come for their “morning walk” – because their arteries are choked with cholesterol & the weighing scale threatens to shatter under their weight – put a nice end to their walk by gulping down kachories deep fried in oil & jalebis that are saturated with sugar syrup. I wonder why they bother to get up in the morning & come for a walk at all, because trust me, it’s a BIG pain to do so!

It takes all the motivation that I can gather to wake up at 7am (I set my alarm for 6.30 & hit snooze at least 3 times before I get up) with the prospect of having to torture myself physically. No one likes to exercise, accept it. The motivation for me is that I need to lose 6 more kgs (yes people, I have lost 6 kgs already!!) , and the bonus is that I get to watch rowers glide through the lake in their boats & lech at their toned, muscular, dark glistening bodies jog by my side after their rowing sessions. You see, the lake is home to the Calcutta Rowing Club.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's Time!

To pack away the skirts, start lounging about in track pants & a sweat shirt rather than 'short' shorts & tank tops, and get the winter wear out! Because winter has set in, people!! And I'm happy as a mouse with his cheese :)

I really love winters. I love the chilly wind. I love it when the tip of my nose gets red but my hands are warm inside my gloves. I love wearing sweaters...and socks and shoes instead of open sandals. I love the feeling of comfort you get in a mug of steaming hot chocolate. I love the feeling of sun on my skin. But more than anything, winter also means that it's time for Christmas!!

And we LOVE Christmas over here :)

On a different note, I had a fab weekend. Started my Saturday with cleaning parts of my house. Cleaning can be very therapeutic, especially when you're frustrated or angry with someone. This was the fifth consecutive weekend that The Boy wasn't around. Now, he's not my entire life but he IS a considerable part of my weekends, and if you're used to seeing a person almost every day of the week, not being able to see them for five weeks in a row can get a bit too much to handle. Then on a complete impulse, I got a haircut - short, barely reaches my shoulders, with sideway bangs.

In the evening, I hung out with a 'girl' friend after what seemed like ages, and guess what? I suggested she get a haircut too! She played along & came out looking like a million bucs. How I wish I had hair like her - straight & voluminous.

We had Shawarmas for dinner & wrapped up the evening with chocolate chip ice cream! The two of us generously flirted with the cute owner of the ice-cream shop. He flirted back. We asked him how fattening the waffle cone was as we were both dieting, and he was like, "'re eating ice-cream!!" Anyway, we flirted some more, giggled, got our favorite ice-creams, got free toppings, wished him a good weekend, waved at him & left.

Today I had a lovely brunch - toast, American-style scrambled eggs (without cheese), fat free bacon (!!!) & OJ. How healthy are we!! Then I got a mind-blowing head & body massage, followed by a hot shower, more food & a nap. The massage was planned. The cute guy we flirted with was a bonus. Can a weekend get any better?

How was yours?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Of Legers & Birkins & Louboutins

Sorry for another Bollywood post y'all, but what can I say? I'm a Bollywood & fashion junky :) You're better off skipping this post if you aren't.

The Daily Mail, UK recently did an article on Shilpa Shetty where she spoke about her designer collection. I'm putting up a few excerpts here & my reactions to some of her statements when I was reading them. For the entire post, go here. It's highly entertaining.

Shilpa Shetty owes all the money that she has today, and that she's splurging on designer clothes, shoes & bags, and mansions in London, to Big Brother. Life can be so unfair at times.

Anyway, read on. It's her quotes followed by my reaction to it...

"I believe style is inherent. You can learn a bit about it, but essentially you either have it within you or you don’t."

I think style is totally learnt. You're not born stylish, you pick it up along the way. Your style is influenced by the place you grow up in, the people & media you're exposed to etc. People's sense of style changes all the time as well. Take Shilpa Shetty for example. This is what she was then...

And this is what she is now!!

So don't tell us you were born this stylish honey, because we have photographic evidence you weren't!!

"With an outfit like blue jeans with a crisp white shirt and a tan belt, you can never go wrong."

Have to agree with her on this one. And no black shoes with tan belts please. Or brown shoes with black belts. Though since color blocking is so hot right now, you can wear shoes of any color! Neon pink, canary yellow, parrot green,'s in! And you can carry a bag of a completely different color all together! What fun it is to play with colors!!

"As someone in the public eye, it’s hard to wear an outfit more than once. I love buying clothes but I don’t know what I do with them all. I actually have two wardrobes, as I live six months of the year in India and six months in the UK."

Oh, poor you. How many outfits do you own exactly?

Can you imagine not being able to wear an outfit more than once? Can you? That too, outfits that will leave your bank account looking like it got sucked by a vaccuum cleaner. Such a colossal waste of money. And I'm assuming by "two wardrobes" she doesn't mean two humble Godrej cupboards. More like two walking closets that are a kilometer long each.

"Although, when I really like an item, I buy two so I can keep one in London and one in Bombay."


"I swear by the Hervé Léger bandage dress for nights out. It just makes your body look a million dollars."

Sure it does darling. IF one's got a body like your's. That 'IF' has turned many women anorexic & taken many lives. For those not clued in, this is the Herve Leger Bandage dress:

This dress is cruel even if it's worth lusting will most definitely highlight every spoonful of cellulite that you have on your body. It is also one of the dresses that I'm willing to shear off layers of fat from my body like they shear the sheep in New Zealand.

"DRESSES: Between 40 and 50 dresses. I have a whole mix, from Donna Karan and Jasmine di Milo, to Chloe and Hervé Léger.

SHOES: Around 60 pairs of heels and flats, including Louboutin, Chanel, Gina, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs.

HANDBAGS: Approximately 50. I have handbags from Chanel, Bottega Veneta, Prada, and Hermes."

Oh how I hate you. I really do.

"JEANS: 45 pairs, with a mix of all styles, including skinny, boyfriend fit and straight fit. I love J Brand and Elliott - I have four pairs of Elliott boyfriend jeans at the moment."

45 pairs??????? Does she also have them in pink & yellow? And green & red & fuschia? But seriously man, 45 pairs? How the hell do you decide which one you feel like wearing? And what the hell are "boyfriend" jeans? Does anyone know?

"TROUSERS: Around 60 pairs of smart trousers, mostly in greys and blues."

The shock continues...

This is the Hermes Birkin she has, which I think costs only a few thousand dollars (around Rs 10 lacs if I'm not mistaken. If not this, then there's another model that costs 10 lacs, I'm not kidding!!)

It was gifted to her by her boyfriend, of course.

And these are her Christian Louboutin Nude shoes...again, only a couple of hundred dollars

Shilpa Shetty is also supposed to be launching her own range of curry in the UK. Which means more Legers, Birkins & Louboutins for the her.

Oh well...I think I'll just go take comfort in my Butter Chicken. At least I'm happy I get to eat what I want. So what if I can't fit into a Bandage dress?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Because It's Sometimes Fun To Be Mindless

It's been one of those "What the hell am I doing with my life? When will I get to do what I really want to do in life?" kind of day. So to de-stress, I feel like writing about something totally stupid.

Do you watch 'Big Boss'? Don't snigger now...everyone needs a little bit of mindless entertainment in life, particularly after a long, tiring day at work. And especially on days when you've been questioning the very purpose of your existence!!

So basically 'Big Boss' is a show where a bunch of losers, basically TV & film industry have-beens who have no work on hand & who are therefore desperately in need of money, are locked inside a house for 3 months without any access to the outside world. No cell phones, no TV, no newspapers, no nothing. So what do they do to pass time? They bitch about each other (people don't even spare their spose inside that wretched house!) & hit each other. Sounds fun, doesn't it? But more than anything you get amazed at the kind of people in the movie industry. Such losers, man!

This year has a bunch of very funny & varied "characters" (can't use the word 'eclectic' for them, definitely not). There's Vindoo Dara Singh whose claim to fame is that he is Dara Singh's son (therefore no one should misbehave with him!) & who is positively psychotic because he talks to himself all the time. There's Sherlyn Chopra who has undergone at least 20 "body sculpting" surgeries in life, by her own admission, including multiple breast implants. Her boobs are so fake, it's funny! And then there is Kamal Rashid Khan, a.k.a. KRK.

Did I hear "Kamal who?"

Well, he is the actor of the movie 'Deshdrohi' which spewed some bullshit on the North Indian-South Indian divide while Raj Thackerey was ordering the beating up of North Indians in Mumbai. I know the movie was banned in Maharashtra at least but according to Mr KRK, the movie made him so much money that today he lives in a "20,000 sq ft palace, his milk is imported from Holland, water from France & tea from London"!!!

I wonder why then does he wear clothes that look like they've been picked up from Lokhandvala market? You know what I'm talking about, right? Jeans with silver snakes printed on them...fake leather jackets. And I won't be surprised if he really believes he is Johnny Depp because he's always walking around with a pirate-like bandana on his head. He's always going around telling people that he has a lot of money & is a multi-millionnaire. The man is unbelievable. For those who still don't know who I'm talking about, this is the man in question :

Isn't he just the irresistable hot strapping male stud of your dreams? ;-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sometimes, All It Takes to Make Your Day... a text from a long lost best friend saying that he's thinking about you & missing you. And just wanted to check you're doing well.

I love you too A. And I do miss you a lot...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

House Guesting 101

I recently had a house guest who frankly, I don't like having over. She's rude and lacks basic courtesy. So I thought of compiling a list of some do's & don'ts that one should be mindful of while staying at someone's house. Because, you know, it's very important to be a good house guest so that your host likes having you over. These are the "rules", so to say, according to me. Let me know if you don't agree with some or have a few to add.

  • I’ll lend you a towel but for heaven’s sake, carry your own clothes!! I do not like lending my clothes to you unless you’re my sister or a very close friend. And I do not like lending them to you especially if you stink or I have any doubts, vague even, about your personal hygiene.
  • PUT THE TOILET SEAT DOWN. Anyone who has doubts, go here. It’s not a sexist issue, really. It’s simply being considerate of those around you – the same as helping clear the table after meals or putting your dirty clothes in the hamper.
  • Put your dirty clothes in the hamper where they belong (and not on the floor!!)
    Similarly, wet towels are not meant to be left on the bed to dry. Hang them to dry.
  • Don’t leave the bathroom wet after you shower or every time you use it. There is a floor swipe in all my bathrooms for a reason. Also, I don’t see why you need to wet the entire bathroom if you’re simply washing your hands or relieving yourself. There is a sink & a commode for exactly those purposes!
  • Help clear the table after meals, if there’s no maid in the house. Splaying out on the sofa with your feet up on the coffee table & watching TV after lunch/dinner is reserved for the handicapped.
  • Again, if there is no maid around and the host has to do the entire post-meal clean up, offer to help. I doubt washing a few dishes will compromise your dignity.
  • Clean up after yourself. I’m not your mom.
  • Fold your blanket and make your own bed, even if there is a maid in the house and this is part of her job description. And especially if there’s no maid. Unless your father is the Maharaja of Chhatisgarh, of course.
  • Ask before you borrow/ use anything of mine. This is plain good manners. I will not refuse but I would like to know what’s being used so I know how much of it I have left and when I need to refill it. Because you know, it’s NOT funny when I get into the shower and realize I’m out of my L’Oreal Professionnel Absolute Repair shampoo! My cousin who was staying with me during the summer had a friend over one day. There was half a bottle of fairly expensive wine in the fridge that he polished off without even asking me, and my cousin did nothing to stop him. I was equally livid at my cousin as I was at him. It’s plain rude. Oh, and if you’re using one of my sanitary pads, PLEASE let me know. I might have only one in the house for emergency.
  • Don’t get in the way. Especially if the maid has failed to show up that day, and I’m busy doing the dishes or cleaning the previous day’s mess. I’m already pissed off due to the maid’s absence, chances are I’ll claw your pretty face.
  • Also, if the maid/ cook hasn’t been coming to work for a few days in a row and your host is cooking every meal, do not make a face if he/ she suggests ordering in or having a ‘Ready’ meal. Be thankful you aren’t being asked to cook! If ordering in, refrain from making exotic suggestions (such as asking for pizza if the host has suggested Indian/ Chinese food which are lighter on the pocket) UNLESS you’re willing to foot the bill.
  • Do not wipe your make-up/ eye-liner with the hand/ face/ body towels. Ask for cotton pads & cleanser. I have those things. I’m not a woman of the wild.
  • If you borrow my car for the day, return it with the same amount of fuel you got it with. I’m not asking you to fill up the tank.
  • Remember to switch the lights/ fan off when you leave the room. We have to pay for electricity in the civilized world.
  • If you’re using my cell phone, keep the conversation short especially if you’re calling long distance. I don’t enjoy paying a couple of hundred bucs more because of your call. And if you’ve called international and spoken for an hour, offer to reimburse. Long distance calling has become much cheaper but some countries are still a bitch!!
  • Don’t give my maid/ security guard of the building a tip without checking with me whether it’s OK to do so, first.
  • Don’t dispose off your cigarette butt in the toilet. It does not flush. And do not spill cigarette ash all over my house. Ask for an ash tray.
  • People don’t use toilet paper to tie a turban around your head. If I see wads of unused toilet paper lying in the dustbin, be ready to explain.
  • Discard your waste – whatever it might be – in the dustbin and not around it. Things don’t have a way to miraculously find their way to the dustbin, so aim better. Or make the effort to walk to the dustbin.
  • Do not clog the bathroom drains with your hair. It’s utterly gross. Pick them up & throw them in the dustbin.
  • Don’t walk all over my house and my rug with your dirty shoes that you wear outside. A lot of homes have a designated area whether you can take your shoes off before entering the main area of the house. This is not some superstition. It has a scientific basis – the shoes that you wear outside carry a lot of dirt & germs, which you would be smearing all over the house if you wore them in. Remember to take your shoes off, especially if there is a crawling child in the house.
  • Do not try to eavesdrop on the conversations of family members.
  • The same goes for interfering in their personal matters.
  • Don’t lecture, preach or tell them what to do & what not to do with their lives.

Overall, be mindful of the house rules. Of course, no house has a white board with the "rules" written down but there are unwritten codes of conduct in each house that all the members follow. Be observant. And be courteous, well-mannered & respectful of their space. Remember they are being nice to you by opening up their home to you (unless you’ve traveled to another city exclusively to see them, in which case it’s only fair that they offer you a place to stay), so be thankful.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday Lunch

Spaghetti Carbonara – cheesy, subtly flavored & with crispy bits of ham - followed by coffee and blueberry muffin, and rounded off with Belgian chocolate ice-cream. Now, that's a Sunday lunch worth having!!

How was your Diwali?

Should I?

The question is whether I should start reading P G Wodehouse?

The thing is I don't enjoy British humor. I don't find it the least bit funny. I'm more the 'Friends' rather than the 'Yes Minister' types, so I'm really not sure I'll appreciate P G Wodehouse.

Do you think I will? Votes in please!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Diwali

Be safe, be happy, light some diyas...and have a wonderful Diwali.

And now they want to kill us

The retarded politicians of India are at it again. Only this time, the issue is much more serious and endangers the health of an entire nation of 1 billion plus people.

Monsanto, a US based agricultural bio-technology corporation that promotes Genetically Modified (GM) crops in India through one of its companies, Mahyco (Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company), has developed Bt brinjal, a genetically modified variety of brinjal.

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), the clearing authority for all GM crops in India has cleared Bt brinjal on the basis of test results submitted by Mahyco. The crop now awaits a nod from the government before it is made available for commercial cultivation.

Mr Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Environment & Forests has said that since there are “strong” views both for and against GM crops, he would conduct a series of consultations with scientists, agricultural experts, farmers, consumer groups & NGOs next year in order to decide the future of Bt brinjal.

What do you reckon will happen after these consultations? The politicians, bought off handsomely by Mahyco, will ignore the protests of the consumer groups & NGOs and give the green light to Bt brinjal for commercial cultivation.

Consumer activists who managed to get hold of Mahyco’s test results through the RTI sent the results to independent scientists in Europe for review. The scientists wrote back, showing that the tests conducted by Mahyco were inadequate - the longest toxicity tests were only for 90 days, which does not assess long-term effects of the toxins such as development of cancers or tumors, and the tests were conducted using only one Bt toxin rather than the hybrid toxin present in Bt brinjals. They also cited inconsistencies in Mahyco’s interpretation of the results & mentioned that Bt brinjal is unfit for human consumption.

Here's why:
  1. Bt brinjal produces a protein in vegetable cells that induces antibiotic resistance. This is not only a problem (for obvious reasons), it also indicates that Mahyco is using old GM technology as the current technology used by developed countries has overcome the problem of antibiotic resistance.
  2. Bt brinjal is toxic. When fed to animals, it affected their blood chemistry, blood clotting time & total bilirubin (indicator of liver health).
  3. It led to weight gain & intake of more roughage in lactating cows even as it increased milk production by 10-14 percent, an effect similar to that brought about by hormonal treatment.
  4. Rats fed Bt brinjal got diarrhoea, had increased water consumption & decrease in liver weight.
  5. It is unsafe to consume animals (chicken, goat, cow etc.) that have been fed Bt brinjal.
  6. The Bt toxins have never been authorized for human consumption & are known to be harmful to health

So this highly toxic Bt brinjal might be unleashed upon us (Indians) with complete disregard for our health & safety, and guess what? We wouldn’t even know we are consuming this dangerous product thanks to the absence of a labeling regime for GM crops in India!!

Just to put things into perspective – GM foods are banned in Europe, and they face widespread protests in the United States. While currently the US does allow GM foods to be sold in the market, they are required to be labeled so clearly & accurately, so the consumers can decide whether they wish to purchase them or not. Indians however, remain lab rats available for exploitation.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Religious Extortion

What does one do after an impromptu meal of chicken nuggets, fries, a Zinger burger, fried chicken, coke, strawberry shake, brownie with ice-cream and a chocolate cake filled with molten chocolate? Sleep blissfully, you say?

Well, how about getting rudely awakened by a bunch of hooligans who demand chanda?

Kali Puja is around the corner. For the uninitiated, Kali Puja takes place around the same time as Diwali (in fact, this year the two coincide), and is bigger than Diwali for Bengalis. People from “clubs” that organize pujas go around collecting money from residents of the neighborhood to fund the puja. ‘Extorting’ money would be a more appropriate term because that’s what they do! They demand money from you rather than requesting, and threaten you if you don’t acquiesce. They can make your life hell if you refuse to give them money and sometimes even beat people up!

I hate giving chanda. I am not a religious person and I hate people imposing their religious beliefs on me. By all means, organize pujas if it makes you happy but don’t force me to take part in it, either in person or by contributing towards it financially or in any other form. If I respect your sentiments and am willing to put up with the nuisance you create by blocking roads leading to horrible traffic snarls & playing music at the loudest volume till 2 in the night, you too need to respect my sentiments & leave me the hell alone!

The worst thing about these people is that they won’t graciously accept what you give them. The people who came to my place demanded 1200 rupees. After haggling with them for approx. 20 minutes, they settled for 500. This is utter nonsense. Even complaining to the police is of no help. So, one has no option but to give in to their unrealistic demands. I feel victimized. Honestly, I don’t like Calcutta one bit and my dislike of the city gets stronger with every passing day. Don't ask me why I decided to move to Calcutta in the first place. That's an entirely different story.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Have a Happy Period

Have you seen the Whisper commercial that says “Have a happy period”?

I mean, come on people, are you guys delusional??

I am yet to meet a menstruating woman who is having a “happy period”. Have you ever seen a woman jump up & down in excitement or sing joyously when she’s menstruating? Instead, what women do is fight with their boyfriends/husbands over something which is totally someone else’s fault, or pick fights if there’s no issue to fight over, blame the constant fighting in the Middle East for the pimples on their faces, cry for no reason at all or if they’re craving a brownie or a cheesecake and there's no one to get it for them, and bite the heads off anyone who tries to talk to them.

If someone asks them how they’re doing, they say, “Why don’t you just sod off?”

Seriously, you can’t be happy if you’re feeling bloated like a gas balloon that is about to explode, your breasts are swollen & sore, you’re having an acne attack, there’s a holy river flowing out of your body, you’re having such bad cramps that it seems someone is trying to pull your uterus out of your bloody body, you can’t lie down on your back and have to sleep on your side throughout the night, you feel depressed for no reason at all, and you can feel the hormonal forces surging through your body like a tornado, waiting to gush out & annihilate anything that comes in its wake. All you want to do is lie curled up in some corner of your house & pray fervently that no one asks you to get up from there. And there’s a foreign object in between your legs continuously for five-six days that doesn’t give you any pleasure at all and is therefore, not welcome.

Surely, the manufacturers of sanitary napkins have done a lot of consumer research. They know what their consumers have to go through during “that time of the month”. If they don't, let me tell them - you want to reach inside your body and yank out your uterus!! And during that time if you see a commercial that says “Have a happy period”, what does it make you feel like doing? It makes you want to yank out the testicles of the person who came up with that line (assuming he’s a man) & barbecue them. If it’s a woman you just want to bitch-slap her for betraying her kind.

A more appropriate tag line could have been: “Your boyfriend has done nothing wrong, please don’t yell at him”. Or “Mom loves you & has called to make sure you’re alright, not to chew your brains out”. Or “Manslaughter will get you life imprisonment”.

And don’t even get me started on the advertisements for sanitary napkins. They always show a PYT dressed in the tightest & whitest of pants, playing Frisbee, riding a bicycle, jumping up & down or skipping rope – suggesting that menstruation doesn’t put a stop to your life in any way at all. And there are flowers all over the screen implying that never mind the wet, sticky feeling down there, you always feel fresh as a flower. Both of these couldn’t be farther from the truth.

I mean, for heaven’s sake, there must be a more honest way to sell sanitary napkins?

Thursday, October 8, 2009


This is the statue of Buddha at Rinchenpong, Kaluk (Sikkim).

The website of the Rinchenpong Village Resort describes the statue as "the statue of Ati Buddha with a lady holding him is a unique feature of this particular monastery, symbolizing the power of male and female together".

It seems to me that there's a little more than "holding" going on in this statue, a hunch that was corroborated by my friends who're just back from a visit to Kaluk. What's for sure though is that this statue is one of its kind in the world.

Just Because I Feel Like It

I don't need a shining star
And I don't wanna be rescued
No neither frog nor charming prince
Nor my summers barbequed

I wanna chiggy-wiggy with you boy
I wanna chiggy-wiggy with you boy
I wanna chiggy-wiggy with you fella
Just chiggy-wiggy with you baby


Parental Guidance Advised

This is the rating I got for my blog on checking here & the reason for it is mentioned below.

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
kill (4x)
knife (2x)
shit (1x)


@The Knife - You are partly responsibly for the 'PG-13' rating of this harmless blog that should have been rated 'G' :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Today is Karva Chauth…

…and as you would have guessed by now, yes, I do have an issue with this festival.

For one, it is completely illogical - to me atleast. Fasting, or for that matter even going to the temple or doing ‘puja’ everyday, is not going to increase anyone’s life span. Anyone who thinks they will is delusional, is what they are.

Secondly, I wouldn’t have had a problem with Karva Chauth, or the equivalent of it in other states/regions of India, if men returned the favor, on that or any other day of the year. They don’t. Have you ever heard of a man fasting for the longevity of his wife?? I haven’t either. So why should women be expected to fast for the longevity of their husbands?

I don’t buy the argument that one does Karva Chauth out of love for one’s husband, either. There are other ways of showing your husband that you him – fight less, nag him less, take occasional interest in things he likes but you don’t, let him go on a boys’ night out with his guy friends from time to time, give him his space when he needs it, try to understand his problems rather than being concerned only with what you want etc. There are many better ways to make your man feel loved, appreciated & cared for.

So listen up all you Indian men who want their wives to fast for them or take the convenient, politically correct stand of “I didn’t ask her to fast, she did it because she wanted to” (but would secretly resent their wives if they decided not to fast) : Eat right, exercise adequately, reduce the stress levels in your life & breathe in clean air – you will live for long. For if you don’t then no amount of fasting by your wife is going to save you!!

P.S.: As I was writing this post it suddenly occured to me that my sister is in the second year of marriage & I hurriedly called her up to ask if she is fasting. So relieved to hear she isn't!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I Love My Evening Cup of Tea

Ever since I started working at my new organization, I am able to get back home at a more reasonably hour. And the one thing I love to do after coming back home is to unwind with a cup of tea, a tradition of sorts started by my ex-roommate (miss you MB, I do) & I.

I take a hot shower (yes, there's a nip in the air in the evenings!!), slip into the softest pair of boxers & t-shirt, make myself a hot cup of tea, and catch up on my social networking or watch some mindless show on TV while I sip on it. The type of tea I have in the mornings is fixed given that I can't even respond to my name without a shot of caffeine to my system, but I usually experiement with the type & brand of tea in the evenings.

A cup of tea after work can do wonders for you, if you're a tea lover that is. It soothes frayed nerves and puts you in a more peaceful, less agitated frame of's like closing the chapter of your day. I simply love the feeling!

10 Things I Wish I Would Have Done By The Time I'm 35

  1. Own a house. Hopefully in a colder country where summers are a time to celebrate and not dread.
  2. Be living with A in the house as we imagine it now - He got to decide the color scheme of the interiors – beige, olive green & cream/off-white (to set it off). I got the open kitchen with a granite bar along with bar stools where we can have our morning tea/coffee while flipping through the newspaper, French windows in the rooms, a glass sliding door that opens on to a balcony with a view, and separate bathrooms for us (I want to do up my bathroom in powder pink, which I'm assuming will not go down very well with A. I also need a separate shower area so the rest of the bathroom is dry at all times). Oh, and I also get a room done up in bright colors...yellow, orange, red, purple, fuschia etc. Sigh...I don’t know where we’ll find such a place but find it we will :)
  3. Learn to drive – This is the only thing that's stopping me from being fully & completely independent right now, and is extremely high on my agenda (I've been lucky enough to live in cities with excellent public transport but I don't want this to determine my choice of city to live in). The only roadblock to learning how to drive is the memory of my last attempt, also my first. I was about 16 years old and my dad wasn't the most patient teacher. I was also a little scared of controlling the steering wheel at that time. Haven't yet been able to shake off those memories of me being jittery at the wheel (the one thing you should NOT be when you're driving) and my dad losing his cool by my side.
  4. Get rid of my hydrophobia – Can you believe it, people? I leant to swim, and even dive, but it’s almost no good now because I can’t get myself to step in the goddamn water!!! Grrrrr...
  5. Get out of the 9-5 rut and become an entrepreneur – I don’t know which will happen first – the fast food restaurant, the bookstore-cum-coffee shop, or the fitness center (a no-machine zone focused on holistic health & nutrition). The second one is what came to my mind first & what I’d lurrrrrve to see materialize the most, but I think the fast food restaurant is a more viable option financially, and will give me the freedom to have exactly the kind of coffee shop that I want - a "quaint little shop at the corner" serving American-style coffee, where Christmas will be celebrated with Christmas decorations, carols and customized Christmas coffees! And yes, a place where the music won't keep people from having a conversation and where people won't be hustled out the moment they finish their coffee. (I DO think Indian coffee chains such as Barista & Cafe Coffee Day are a joke, not to mention they serve horrible coffee - mild, under-brewed & lukewarm. Anyone who's been to coffee shops in America/Europe knows what real coffee is & what a coffee shop should be like. Yet, we're forced to patronize lame cafes such as Barista & Cafe Coffee Day due to the absence of a real coffee shop in India. I would like to change that.)
  6. Travel to at least 2 countries in Europe with A – And I mean travel extensively, like around 2 weeks to a country. I'd like to visit the countryside and the villages just as much as the cities, and soak in their incredible history. The wish list includes: France, Italy, Greece, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Austria & the United Kingdom. I’m counting the spare change in my bank account right now!!
  7. Learn a Latin American dance form – I would love love love to learn the Samba but I think it’s best left to the Brazilians who are born with the grace & the body for it. So I'll settle for Salsa, Rumba or Bachata.
  8. Learn Spanish – I can speak basic French already, and would love to learn Espanol. It's such a pretty language.
  9. Publish a book – ‘Nough said.
  10. Take a sabbatical for 3-4 months, maybe 6, and spend a month in Chapel Hill where I got my Bachelor's degree. It's one of the prettiest places on this planet and holds lots of beautiful memories for me. It's the place where I came of age, discovered myself, and met the coolest people from around the world who I am still friends with & spent some of the most fun times with. I would walk around the campus, stroll down Franklin Street, soak in the sun in the Lower Quad, and hang around at The Daily Grind, Caribou Coffee & Starbucks for hours as I used to while I was in college. Only this time around I would be chilling over endless cups of coffee, watching the college kids scurry to class with their daily fix of caffeine in their hands, or kill time between classes over coffee.

I tag Moonshine, The Knife, Mumbai Diva & Random Words (hoping this tag will mark your return to blogging :) Here's the deal - It's a very simple tag. 1) Just take the next landmark age in your life. For instance, I'm 29 right now so I took 35 years as the landmark. If you're in your early 30s, take 40. If you're approaching 40, take 45. If you're in your early 20s, take 30. 2)Leave me a note when you do this tag, and 3) inform the people you're tagging (you can tag as many people as you want).

Do it, it's fun :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Abyss

I thought reality television had hit the absolute bottom with shows like ‘Splitsvilla’ & ‘Perfect Bride’, both derogatory to women, but it seems to have slithered down further. There is a show on NDTV Imagine titled ‘Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh’, the ‘Woh’ in question being a toddler who does not belong to the pati or the patni..

The concept? A bunch of TV artists who are also real-life couples (newly married without kids/dating) are locked up inside houses – a house per couple – and are given the responsibility of taking care of a toddler who belongs to “common” people, for a month. I think I caught the re-run of the first episode over the weekend and I was so horrified, I couldn’t watch it for more than 15 minutes. It was just so painful to watch the babies wailing after their parents left them with strangers and went away! The babies just wouldn’t stop crying! How terribly cruel!!

What’s your take on this show, if you have watched it that is? Or on the concept if you haven’t? Does anyone else think it is wrong on the behalf of parents to leave their babies, who can’t even crawl let alone speak, with strangers for an entire month? I mean, what kind of parents are they? Are they even responsible enough to be parents in the first place? It's like renting your child out for a month in lieu of money.

Would you?

We make a hue & cry and ask for a ban on a show where adults discuss their personal lives on television, of their own accord. What about the dozens of reality shows being paraded under the disguise of “talent hunts” where parents make their kids compete for money? That is clear exploitation of kids, why doesn’t anyone take notice?

There is a reason why parents/guardians are made custodians of children under 18, by law. It is not so that they can abuse that privilege for monetary gain. Do you think we are reaching a point where there should be a blanket rule for all children under 18, rather than letting parents be the decision-makers for them?

EDITED TO ADD: One of the couples on the show is Rakhi Sawant & Elesh Whatshisface. There are already reports in the media that the two have broken up after shooting for the show got over. Very conveniently, Ms Sawant cited "compatibility issues" as the reason for the break-up. I knew all along that 'Rakhi ka Swayamwar' was a big farce. Rakhi Sawant is a smart cookie, she wouldn't kill her career at a time when it's soaring. The men on the show had nothing to lose...they got paid & a chance to get noticed by film producers. Well, they must have been hoping for it anyway! What's more I think Rakhi's appearance on 'Main, Meri Patni...' was decided even before the winner of Swayamvar was announced so she could use the show as an excuse to tell the world they've broken up. Games people play!! And you thought Rakhi Sawant was getting married.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Who Have You Helped Today?

Have you ever tried to help someone only to have it backfire on you?

A couple of weeks back, a colleague asked me if I knew of any houses that were available for rent around where I live. A friend of hers was moving to Cal from Bombay as the Regional Head of Sales of a company that manufactures automotive lubricants, and needed a place to stay.

The next day, I ran into a neighbor who was looking for a tenant, so I passed on the information to the guy who was looking for a place to stay. I must have spoken to him for two minutes on the phone, and after I hung up he started pestering me to meet him through text messages. The day he was scheduled to inspect the house, he messaged me every hour to come see the house with him! I ignored his messages, hoping he'd get the hint but that hasn’t discouraged him from messaging me almost every day! And he’s taken to calling me from random landline numbers because I won’t take calls from his cell phone.

The man is in his mid 30s and has a wife & kid back in Bombay. It didn’t come as a surprise to me. I’ve seen enough married men trying their luck with single women, and those of us who’re vulnerable fall right into the trap. I’m not freaking out over this yet, but it's getting really annoying. And thinking that he’ll be moving into the building next to mine this weekend is not a happy thought.

No (Kid)ding

I have always been pretty sure that I don’t want to have any children. I’m 29 now and maybe that will change as I enter my 30s and the biological clock starts wailing, but for now, I’m pretty decided.

Up until now, my reason for not wanting to have children was that the very idea of carrying a living thing inside me for nine months, that would kick my insides out, and the process of giving birth, sent shudders down my spine. I almost start hyperventilating when I spot a pregnant woman. I didn’t think I had it in me, physically, to go through the process of child birth.

While that reason remains, the place I am in life right now (late 20s), I see and interact with a lot of women, mostly my friends & people I worked with earlier, who are mothers. I read blogs by mothers. And I see that their entire life revolves around their child/children. Every thing they discuss relates to their child or involves him/her in some way. They have no time for themselves, to take care of themselves, do something they like to do, or to just be by themselves. The tea gets cold, they have no time to groom themselves, go to the parlor, get a manicure/pedicure/facial/hair cut etc. Of course, they don't seem to mind it in the least bit because the joy they get out of being a mother overshadows the need for everything else. Call me shallow if you will, but having time for yourself is important in order to prevent the build-up of a feeling of resentment later.

And the biggest horror of them all, their husbands are relegated to second place in their lives as the child takes center stage. They can’t indulge in an activity if it's going to be inconvenient for the child in any way, irrespective of how badly they want to do it. It could be something as small as going out for a cup of coffee or shopping, to traveling, taking up a new job or moving to another city.

In short, once you have kids, your life isn’t yours anymore – it’s your child’s.

I was reading a blog by a “mommy blogger”, a stay-at-home mom, who says that she often gets desperate for company & conversation, or to just go out of the house for a little while. If her kid is being cranky at a public place or annoying/disturbing other people, she usually can’t stop him because that is simply asking for a full blown-out tantrum! That hate it as she might, but she can’t help feeling cheated & repressed at times because she had to give up her career & stay at home.

Another “mommy blogger” accepts that her husband has become second priority since her son arrived!

Now, before parents start sending me hate mails, let me clarify that I am by no means implying that parenthood is a bad thing or that people shouldn’t have kids. I have nothing against people who choose to become parents. All I’m saying is that the concept doesn’t appeal to me. It doesn’t work for me as it does for most of the world. I’m happy for them, but that’s not what I want in my life.

I want to have the freedom to go for leisurely coffees with my friends whenever I want to, or to spend hours at a bookstore browsing through books without worrying about the child that might be hungry/cranky at home. I want to take off for impromptu shopping trips without having to worry about how much I’m spending because I have a child whose education I need to save for. I want to be able to travel whenever I want to, without worrying about whether I will be able to do it because I have a child. But most of all, I can’t bear the thought of relegating my husband to second position. If I love him enough to marry him, I would want him to be my first priority always. Very often, the relationship between a husband & wife disintegrates when kids come into the picture, often leading to relationships outside of the marriage.

I don’t want to live my life in stolen hours, stolen while the child is asleep or the grandparents are around to babysit. I don’t want motherhood to become such a part of my life that it overshadows all my other relationships – for there is no way to avoid that if you become a mother. And it will be unfair on the child to give him/her anything less than your very best, if you’re physically capable of it in anyway.

I want to keep the love for my husband alive always, keep making efforts to keep my relationship with him thriving.

I don’t know whether A and I will make it to where we want to go but I really hope we do because he’s with me on issues that matter the most to me – not having to change my last name after marriage, being financially independent always, being able to continue doing whatever it is that I want to do, not compromising on my freedom one bit, being able to care for my family like I do now (without obligations towards his family coming in the way), because, let’s face it, my parents only have two daughters. Not wanting to have kids is just one of the issues we agree on.