Tuesday, November 30, 2010


A massive rock for engagement, a mansion in London & a holy friggin' cricket team as a wedding present, honeymoon in the Caribbean, and a flat in the tallest building in the world as a first anniversary present (just because you saw the building and wished aloud that it would be nice to have a house there!). Next is what....a private island off the coast of France? A personal jet?

Who needs love when marrying for money can be so much more rewarding?

Guess it's time to re-think my priorities!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Saturday Night Horror

One of my pet peeves at a restaurant - and I mean something that turns me off completely and seals the deal as far as going back to the restaurant is concerned - is poor service. Service at a restaurant is as important for me as the food. It's 50-50. Unless I'm going to a low-end restaurant of course.

There's a new restaurant in town that's been advertizing pretty heavily in the papers of late. It's called 'Harvey's World Cuisine'.

Now, good "world cuisine" is something not readily available in this city outside of 5-star hotels. In fact, the phrase "world cuisine" is kind of a misnomer in itself as it stands mainly for Indian, Chinese and maybe Continental, if the owners of the restaurant are brave. The same holds true for Harvey's, except they have a couple of Thai and Mexican dishes thrown in as well to justify the "world cuisine" claim. The focus seems to be on Indian and Chinese though, as we weren't given the Continental menu till we asked for it, and most of the Continental dishes on the menu were not being served on the day we went. It was a Saturday night. Go figure.

Coming back to the point of this post - the service at Harvey's was pathetic.

Now, I'm not crazy. I don't expect 5-star level service at a non-5 star restaurant. But there are some basic things that I do expect such as a clean floor, plates without a layer of dust on them, water glasses being refilled without having to call out to the waiters everytime, appetizers being brought out before (and not after) the main course, hot food and desserts that are not burnt. Waiters who know their menu would also be nice. Harvey's failed to deliver on all of these counts.

The decor was really nice with white, wood and glass dominating the interiors but the entire floor was dirty. No one bothered to clean it up. The plates on our table had a layer of dust (!!) on them. The waiters didn't know their menu, didn't know if a dish was served with or without rice, and wouldn't refill our glasses with water unless we called out to them.

Since we were having Asian food, I requested our waiter to check with the chef if the sauteed vegetables that came with my dish could be replaced with stir fried vegetables (since when is Japanese food served with sauteed vegetables anyway?). He refused to even check!

And guess what they did after that?

They brought out our main course before the appetizer!!!!

If that's not a faux pas at a restaurant, blunder rather, I don't know what is. We told them to take the main course back and bring it after they'd served our starter. They did but they didn't bother to heat the dishes before bringing them back out. We were served cold chicken teriyaki and stir-fried prawns (that weren't stir-fried but doused in Chinese sauces). By then we were pretty pissed off to ask them to take the food back and heat it. That's not something I want to ask a restaurant to do! We didn't finish our meal and thought we'd make up for it with dessert. Once again, half the things mentioned on the dessert menu weren't available, so I ordered a brownie.

Now, how wrong can you go with a brownie?

Very wrong apparently, if you're Harvey's. The brownie was hard as rock. I couldn't cut it even with a knife. So I broke off a piece to check what it tasted like. It was burnt.

We complained to the manager. He apologized but didn't look sorry. We asked for the bill. They had charged us for bottled water which we never ordered. But that's a mistake I'm willing to forgive. I don't expect to have to check my bill at a restaurant, but I've been billed wrongly so many times that I don't mind checking.

There's no excuse for such pathetic levels of service though. Especially given that Harvey's is not exactly a low-end restaurant. A meal for two consisting of a starter, two main course dishes and a dessert cost us Rs 1000. Dirty floor, dusty plates, cold food, rock hard brownies and dumb waiters were complimentary. Needless to say I'm not going back. Neither am I recommending the place to anyone.

Saying 'No' to Jeans

Sometimes you read/watch/hear people spouting such crap that you really wonder what the fuck is wrong with them!

First there was Aishwarya Rai on the season's opening episode of Koffee With Karan. Apart from giggling away to glory and talking in an accent she seems to have acquired on a trip to Mars, she was desperately trying to sound cool by trying to talk about her sex life - or the lack thereof - on TV.

I say 'lack thereof' b/c if she's anything in the bedroom like she is in front of the camera - read cold and plastic - there's not much sex that would be happening inside the bedroom.

Why would someone who comes across as icy in all her interviews and rebuffs all attempts by journalists to pry into her personal life, suddenly ask Karan Johar if she should disclose how she & her husband make out, in print? And then, when K Jo asks her which men, apart from her husband, she finds attractive, she looks horrified and wonders how she could even be asked something like that, as if answering the question would've resulted in her dying on the spot and burning in hell. Because, you know, she's a Bhartiya nari who cannot dream of any man save her husband in her wildest, wettest dreams!

For God's sake she wasn't asked to name the men, apart from her husband, that she'd jump or even consider sleeping with. She was only asked who she found attractive, and if she truly isn't attracted to any other man, she surely is frigid.

Then there was Deepika Padukone on the same show, tearing her ex-boyfriend apart b/c he cheated on her repeatedly. She went to the extent of saying that he should endorse condoms b/c he loves to use them. While her intention quite clearly was to hang him to dry in the media, what she overlooked was the possibility that by discussing his sexual escapades in public she was also shedding enough light on her sexual life, and also on the fact that she's a slow learner if not a complete dimwit.

Any woman with half a brain would know that if a man cheats on her once, he'll do so again. You forgive him once, you forgive him a second time, but if you keep taking him back again & again, it's not he who's the one with issues here - it's quite clearly you. Because you haven't learnt your lesson.

Then there's the granddaddy of all 'what the fucks' - Mr Subhash Ghai. He thinks that youngsters should not wear jeans anymore b/c jeans corrupt them.

You read it right.

Jeans. Corrupt. Youngsters.

This is the same Subhash Ghai who showed Sridevi in a swim suit in 'Karma' and Madhuri Dixit heaving her generous bosom in a barely-there choli in 'Khalnayak'. The same Subhash Ghai who raised the most profound question ever asked of Indians - choli ke peeche kya hai (what's under the blouse?).

I'm sure according to him the answer was Indian family values.

I can understand why Subhash Ghai has lost it though. If you made movies like 'Good Boy, Bad Boy', 'Apna Sapna Money Money' and 'Yuvraj' that tanked faster than the Titanic, you'd be losing it too. And thinking that a nation's character gets eroded by the kind of pants that its citizens choose to wear.

Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with these people?

Or maybe they're tripping on some really good stuff!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

BBC's Top 100 Books

Tagged by Moonshine. This is a list of the top 100 books published by BBC. According to them, an average reader has read 6 of these. I've highlighted the ones I've read. Let's count!

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare (In school)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

That's 30!!! Wow...I'm impressed with myself.

Which ones have you read?

And I'm tagging Bluestocking and Supernova. And anyone else who wants to take it up. Just let me know when you're done :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Of Rotten Luck & Conspiring Forces

So I've been bitten by the cooking bug big time. My mom almost did a flip when she heard this because, you know, until a few months ago I never ventured near the kitchen unless it was to make tea, Maggi or scrambled eggs. I was always the kind of person that thought cooking is literally burning your time away. I thought cooking was for women who had mothers-in-law from hell and chauvinist husbands who believed that a woman's true position is in the kitchen. Cooking wasn't for liberated, independent women like me. I was meant for take-outs & ordering-in.

And then I met The Knife! Well, started reading his blog to be precise. He got me interested in food. And then I started watching shows by Nigella, Rachel Allen & Curtis Stone. And then came Masterchef Australia and I was hooked...on to food. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined such a day would come. But here it is, well and truly. And The Boy has been asking why I spend time watching such shows when I don't learn anything from them. All very good-naturedly, of course.

So I've been intending to cook some gourmet kind of thing (yeah right!) since three weekends now. I have elaborate plans to cook an appetizer, a main course and dessert. And I've been dying to cook Asian food - one of those light, springy, sweet & salty chicken dishes. You know, something with a light broth...or some fancy reduction...or jus! But each weekend my plans go for a toss.

The first time around I didn't get the time to look up a recipe in advance and by the time the weekend came, I had too many errands to run and couldn't get around to looking something up. The second weekend, I got so tired after gymming on Saturday, I spent a major part of the day sleeping! Sunday passed in the excitement of watching Harry Potter (yes, we belong to that group of people, lovingly, or disparangingly, depending on which side of the fence you're on, called Pottermaniacs that get excited about the Potter books & movies). And this weekend, just as I sat down to find a recipe, my internet crashed! It's up & running now but it's too late to go shopping for ingredients.

Rotten luck and conspiring forces, I tell you. And it pervades through life. For the same reason, I haven't even been able to blog in a week now! There are so many topics doing the hampster dance in my head...Masterchef Australia, 'The Social Network', 'Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows', Big Boss, Koffee with Karan and a tag by Moonshine. But I've been swamped with work and haven't had the time to write. Such injustice! But now my head is above water and I'm going to get back to blogging with a vengeance. Eat that, you work monster!

Till then, enjoy your Saturday guys. And please send me some positive vibes to counter the conspiring forces. And may the Force be with you too!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The 500th Post

So here it is.....the 500th post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I thought a lot about all that I could write to make this post special - what blogging has come to mean to me, the way I've changed, and in certain aspects grown, over the past three years that I've been blogging etc. But then I realized that the best thing blogging has given me is FRIENDS!

No, I'm not one of those people who live their lives online and therefore, have more virtual friends than real ones. But blogging has given me some new friends, such as The Knife, and helped cement my friendship with some others, such as Moonshine. Then there are some who I don't know personally but enjoy reading immensely, such as Mumbai Diva, Mommie & Saltwater Blues (he's goddamn funny!).

Of course, there are the two people that I need to thank for getting me started - Serendipity who doesn't blog half as much as I'd like her to and Staarin' who doesn't blog at all (or at least at a location I know of!).

To all of you reading this, thank you much for reading my blog. I hope you've had a good time. And here comes the best part, for me at least - if you read my blog and I don't know you do, SAY HI!! :)

Give the girl a pat on her back for reaching 500 posts, won't you? ;-)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We're Expanding!!!!

I hope you guys had a very happy Diwali!

I just realized that this is my 499th post on this blog. Which means that my next post will be my 500th!!!!


It's a little hard to believe that I've sustained at blogging for so long (3 years). I guess that's because blogging acts as a big release for me. Whenever I feel the need to take a break from work or generally switch-off for a bit, I blog! Which is why my posts are almost always random and sometimes funny. I try to stay away from writing about serious issues unless it's something I strongly feel about. So let's see what I come up with for my 500th post. I don't have any ideas...all I know is that I've got to make it special, haven't I? :)

You know what I also realized? I've gained 4 kgs over the past 3 months!!!!!! Someone KILL.ME.NOW.

Honestly, I've no one to blame for this except myself. I haven't been to the gym in a month & a half and I've been eating out 2-3 times in a week. That's not all, I've been gobbling up all forms of desserts like the world's about to face a sugar crisis. Gobble gobble gobble...someone stop me!!

Unfortunately, I also realize that THAT someone will have to be me. Poor me :(

So I've decided that I'm going to apply emergency breaks on my eating habits and haul my ass to the gym, starting this weekend. Here's what I plan to do:

  1. I'm going to stick to my rule of 5-6 small meals a day rather than 3 big meals, but I'm going to put more thought into what I snack on in between my main meals. Though I'm generally healthy about this - I snack on carrots and fruits rather than fried stuff or junk food - there are times when I give in to temptation. THAT IS GOING TO STOP. I'm going to include more protein in my snacks such as nuts and yogurt.

  2. Contrary to what my physical trainer suggests, I can't call the chef out and talk to him everytime I visit a restaurant. I don't want to be "that" freak-show and I'd also rather not have all sorts of pots & pans hurled at me in a public situation. So I'm going to do the next best thing - I'm going to cut down on eating out. I get bored of home food very easily and end up eating out 2-3 times a week. This is one of my major major weaknesses and I really need to get a handle on it. I'm going to eat out only once a week.

  3. I'm going to cut down on desserts. I'll have them only when I'm having a real craving. There's always some - okay, alright, a lot - of chocolate sitting in my fridge. The idea was to get reverse psychology kicking in. If you have chocolate handy at all times, you know it's there when you want to have some, so you don't get cravings and you hardly end up eating any. This was my 'smartypants' logic. The problem was that this reverse psychology worked for a couple of months only. Now I pop in a mini-Bounty or mini-Snickers almost everyday!

  4. I'm going to eat my breakfast within an hour of waking up. I think I have a reasonably balanced breakfast consisting of toast, a boiled egg (without the yolk) and fruit juice, or a bowl of muesli with milk and fruit juice. The problem is I generally eat it 2 hours after waking up. I really need to get my metabolism kicking sooner than that.

  5. I'm going to stop my carb intake after 6pm. That means no rotis for dinner, only protein and produce.

  6. I'm going to try and keep a food diary and enter everything I eat into it religiously. That way I can keep track of how good I've been through the week and feel mortified whenever the fattening/junk food intake starts to spiral. Now I just need to whip up the discipline to do this!
  7. I will go to the gym regularly. I will go to the gym regularly. Repeat. If I don't, I'll become a butterball that can roll all the way from Ludhiana to Cochin with a single push, my clothes won't fit me anymore, I would need to be lifted with a crane, I won't get through doors without bringing the wall down and I'll need to ask the airhostess for an extra seat belt while flying! Oh, the horror!

Right, so 7 simple steps and hopefully the pounds will melt away, my jeans will clasp without me having to wrestle with them, my button-downs won't gape, and I won't have to take refuge in salwar-kameezes at work. And maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll also end up with a body like Bipasha Basu's!!

Now, that's something I'm willing to grovel for.

PS: I also just realized that I missed the 3rd birthday of my blog! I started blogging on October 31st three years ago. Happy Belated Birthday to 'Just Can't Get Enough' :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Indian Hypocrisy Shines Through Yet Again

Just what is wrong if Mr Obama is against outsourcing jobs to India?

He is the President of the United States, it's his responsibility to worry about the rising unemployment levels and protect jobs in his country.

The United States government is doing what a good government is supposed to do - care for its citizens and ensure their well-being. It's OUR problem if our economy is so heavily dependent on outsourcing, not theirs.

There really is no reason for Indians to criticize him. How would we react if people from other Third World countries start emigrating to India for better jobs? We can't even tolerate people from UP & Bihar moving to Mumbai to work!

I can understand politicians jumping on to the anti-Obama wagon - they are populists. But why is the media and other educated thought leaders criticizing Obama for his anti-outsourcing stance? Why are we so eager to show to the world time & again what hypocrites we really are?

Don't Work. Avoid Telling the Truth. Be Hated. Love Someone.

This is a speech by Adrian Tan, author of 'The Teenage Textbook' (1988), that he made to the graduating class of 2008 at a university in Singapore. I found it interesting, so putting it up here. You may not agree with it but do let me know your reactions!

Note: I've taken the liberty to highlight parts that I particularly agreed with or that struck a chord.


I must say thank you to the faculty and staff of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information for inviting me to give your convocation address. It’s a wonderful honour and a privilege for me to speak here for ten minutes without fear of contradiction, defamation or retaliation. I say this as a Singaporean and more so as a husband.

My wife is a wonderful person and perfect in every way except one. She is the editor of a magazine. She corrects people for a living. She has honed her expert skills over a quarter of a century, mostly by practising at home during conversations between her and me.

On the other hand, I am a litigator. Essentially, I spend my day telling people how wrong they are. I make my living being disagreeable.

Nevertheless, there is perfect harmony in our matrimonial home. That is because when an editor and a litigator have an argument, the one who triumphs is always the wife.

And so I want to start by giving one piece of advice to the men: when you’ve already won her heart, you don’t need to win every argument.

Marriage is considered one milestone of life. Some of you may already be married. Some of you may never be married. Some of you will be married. Some of you will enjoy the experience so much, you will be married many, many times. Good for you.

The next big milestone in your life is today: your graduation. The end of education. You’re done learning.

You’ve probably been told the big lie that “Learning is a lifelong process” and that therefore you will continue studying and taking masters’ degrees and doctorates and professorships and so on. You know the sort of people who tell you that? Teachers. Don’t you think there is some measure of conflict of interest? They are in the business of learning, after all. Where would they be without you? They need you to be repeat customers.

The good news is that they’re wrong.

The bad news is that you don’t need further education because your entire life is over. It is gone. That may come as a shock to some of you. You’re in your teens or early twenties. People may tell you that you will live to be 70, 80, 90 years old. That is your life expectancy.

I love that term: life expectancy. We all understand the term to mean the average life span of a group of people. But I’m here to talk about a bigger idea, which is what you expect from your life.

You may be very happy to know that Singapore is currently ranked as the country with the third highest life expectancy. We are behind Andorra and Japan, and tied with San Marino. It seems quite clear why people in those countries, and ours, live so long. We share one thing in common: our football teams are all hopeless. There’s very little danger of any of our citizens having their pulses raised by watching us play in the World Cup. Spectators are more likely to be lulled into a gentle and restful nap.

Singaporeans have a life expectancy of 81.8 years. Singapore men live to an average of 79.21 years, while Singapore women live more than five years longer, probably to take into account the additional time they need to spend in the bathroom.

So here you are, in your twenties, thinking that you’ll have another 40 years to go. Four decades in which to live long and prosper.

Bad news. Read the papers. There are people dropping dead when they’re 50, 40, 30 years old. Or quite possibly just after finishing their convocation. They would be very disappointed that they didn’t meet their life expectancy.

I’m here to tell you this. Forget about your life expectancy.

After all, it’s calculated based on an average. And you never, ever want to expect being average.

Revisit those expectations. You might be looking forward to working, falling in love, marrying, raising a family. You are told that, as graduates, you should expect to find a job paying so much, where your hours are so much, where your responsibilities are so much.

That is what is expected of you. And if you live up to it, it will be an awful waste.

If you expect that, you will be limiting yourself. You will be living your life according to boundaries set by average people. I have nothing against average people. But no one should aspire to be them. And you don’t need years of education by the best minds in Singapore to prepare you to be average.

What you should prepare for is mess. Life’s a mess. You are not entitled to expect anything from it. Life is not fair. Everything does not balance out in the end. Life happens, and you have no control over it. Good and bad things happen to you day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Your degree is a poor armour against fate.

Don’t expect anything. Erase all life expectancies. Just live. Your life is over as of today. At this point in time, you have grown as tall as you will ever be, you are physically the fittest you will ever be in your entire life and you are probably looking the best that you will ever look. This is as good as it gets. It is all downhill from here. Or up. No one knows.

What does this mean for you? It is good that your life is over.

Since your life is over, you are free. Let me tell you the many wonderful things that you can do when you are free.

The most important is this: do not work.

Work is anything that you are compelled to do. By its very nature, it is undesirable.

Work kills. The Japanese have a term “Karoshi”, which means death from overwork. That’s the most dramatic form of how work can kill. But it can also kill you in more subtle ways. If you work, then day by day, bit by bit, your soul is chipped away, disintegrating until there’s nothing left. A rock has been ground into sand and dust.

There’s a common misconception that work is necessary. You will meet people working at miserable jobs. They tell you they are “making a living”. No, they’re not. They’re dying, frittering away their fast-extinguishing lives doing things which are, at best, meaningless and, at worst, harmful.

People will tell you that work ennobles you, that work lends you a certain dignity. Work makes you free. The slogan “Arbeit macht frei” was placed at the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps. Utter nonsense.

Do not waste the vast majority of your life doing something you hate so that you can spend the small remainder sliver of your life in modest comfort. You may never reach that end anyway.

Resist the temptation to get a job. Instead, play. Find something you enjoy doing. Do it. Over and over again. You will become good at it for two reasons: you like it, and you do it often. Soon, that will have value in itself.

I like arguing, and I love language. So, I became a litigator. I enjoy it and I would do it for free. If I didn’t do that, I would’ve been in some other type of work that still involved writing fiction – probably a sports journalist.

So what should you do? You will find your own niche. I don’t imagine you will need to look very hard. By this time in your life, you will have a very good idea of what you will want to do. In fact, I’ll go further and say the ideal situation would be that you will not be able to stop yourself pursuing your passions. By this time you should know what your obsessions are. If you enjoy showing off your knowledge and feeling superior, you might become a teacher.

Find that pursuit that will energise you, consume you, become an obsession. Each day, you must rise with a restless enthusiasm. If you don’t, you are working.

Most of you will end up in activities which involve communication. To those of you I have a second message: be wary of the truth. I’m not asking you to speak it, or write it, for there are times when it is dangerous or impossible to do those things. The truth has a great capacity to offend and injure, and you will find that the closer you are to someone, the more care you must take to disguise or even conceal the truth. Often, there is great virtue in being evasive, or equivocating. There is also great skill. Any child can blurt out the truth, without thought to the consequences. It takes great maturity to appreciate the value of silence.

In order to be wary of the truth, you must first know it. That requires great frankness to yourself. Never fool the person in the mirror.

I have told you that your life is over, that you should not work, and that you should avoid telling the truth. I now say this to you: be hated.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Do you know anyone who hates you? Yet every great figure who has contributed to the human race has been hated, not just by one person, but often by a great many. That hatred is so strong it has caused those great figures to be shunned, abused, murdered and in one famous instance, nailed to a cross.

One does not have to be evil to be hated. In fact, it’s often the case that one is hated precisely because one is trying to do right by one’s own convictions. It is far too easy to be liked, one merely has to be accommodating and hold no strong convictions. Then one will gravitate towards the centre and settle into the average. That cannot be your role. There are a great many bad people in the world, and if you are not offending them, you must be bad yourself. Popularity is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong.

The other side of the coin is this: fall in love.

I didn’t say “be loved”. That requires too much compromise. If one changes one’s looks, personality and values, one can be loved by anyone.

Rather, I exhort you to love another human being. It may seem odd for me to tell you this. You may expect it to happen naturally, without deliberation. That is false. Modern society is anti-love. We’ve taken a microscope to everyone to bring out their flaws and shortcomings. It far easier to find a reason not to love someone, than otherwise. Rejection requires only one reason. Love requires complete acceptance. It is hard work – the only kind of work that I find palatable.

Loving someone has great benefits. There is admiration, learning, attraction and something which, for the want of a better word, we call happiness. In loving someone, we become inspired to better ourselves in every way. We learn the true worthlessness of material things. We celebrate being human. Loving is good for the soul.

Loving someone is therefore very important, and it is also important to choose the right person. Despite popular culture, love doesn’t happen by chance, at first sight, across a crowded dance floor. It grows slowly, sinking roots first before branching and blossoming. It is not a silly weed, but a mighty tree that weathers every storm.

You will find, that when you have someone to love, that the face is less important than the brain, and the body is less important than the heart.

You will also find that it is no great tragedy if your love is not reciprocated. You are not doing it to be loved back. Its value is to inspire you.

Finally, you will find that there is no half-measure when it comes to loving someone. You either don’t, or you do with every cell in your body, completely and utterly, without reservation or apology. It consumes you, and you are reborn, all the better for it.

Don’t work. Avoid telling the truth. Be hated. Love someone.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

When Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Hanging out with girls can be the most fun. Boys can simply never match up :)

I went for a karaoke night with two of my girl friends yesterday at this new pub/lounge in town. I must admit I expected a great deal out of it, but that's b/c I'd recently been to an awesome karaoke night in Bangalore.

Well, what can I say except that I should've known better. As it turned out, our DJ, who incidentally came from Bangalore, claimed to be the "best karaoke DJ in India" and went by the tagline of "software engineer turned heartware entrepreneur" had left his flash drive with all his English songs somewhere. So what we were left with were really sad Bollywood songs such as 'raat kali ek khwab mein aayi' and 'pyaar deewana hota hai', which are great songs to hear when you want to have a quiet evening at home but not stuff you want to sing at karaokes. But we had no choice other than to make the most of what we had since we'd already paid a rather high cover charge.

The three of us started singing songs on stage. To put things in perspective, I never sing at karaokes b/c I can't sing to save my life. I don't even sing in the bathroom! But there was no other way to enjoy our evening. We sang songs such as 'tu tu hai wahi', 'roop tera mastana', 'kajrare' and 'desi girls'. I'm sure the other people there thought we were tripping on some really good stuff b/c we were volunteering to sing the most number of songs! But sometimes things can be so bad that they become fun in their own way. And we did end up having a great time, inspite of the DJ who kept snatching our mike away in the middle of songs to sing himself. Thank God for the unlimited alcohol!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


There's a pub in Bangalore that you should check out if you're visiting the city (or live there but haven't been to it yet). It's called Opus and is run by Carlton Braganza, a Goan. I don't need to tell you much about the place - you can check it out yourself as they have their own website, blog and how cool is this - their own 24x7 internet radio!

Opus is a laid-back pub. The layout is very Goan and resembles a beach setting - open air, pebbled floor, low stone tables with floor cushions, white color scheme. The music can range from hip hop to rock to retro to reggae to pretty much anything, depending on public demand.

I went there on a Sunday evening with Moonshine & her husband. It was karaoke night and I was surprised to see how full the place was! Most people were singing really well. I was then informed that many of those people were regulars at Opus' karaoke nights. Of course, there were croakers too, but nobody cared because everyone was having such a good time singing along (the lyrics are flashed on a screen).

The start to the evening was a little mellow but nice. Then someone sang 'I've got a feeling' and everyone was on their toes. The party just kept getting wilder after that. I didn't know karaoke could be so much fun!

It's not only music that Opus has to offer though. They stage plays, have quiz nights and regular music nights as well (Friday & Saturday I believe?). You can check out their calender here. The food is mainly Goan with a couple of Chinese & continental dishes thrown in, and is lip-smacking. The drinks are good too.

Talking of partying, one of the funny things age does to you is that it kind of turns you off partying. You know, the kind where you just want to get drunk and dance till your feet can't support you any longer. I haven't indulged in that kind of partying in over 3 years now, and to think that I always thought I'd be one of those rare people who'd party even when she was in her 40s! I much prefer "lounging" now; I like to hang out with friends at lounge bars with a couple of drinks and music that I like in the background (not the overpowering kinds that doesn't let you make conversation). Or a langurous dinner.

There was of course a time when I used to party 2-3 nights a week. I was in college then. Once I started working the frequency dwindled and now as I said, I haven't partied in more than 3 years! But, I'm about to break that jinx this weekend with my small gang of girl friends. We're having a girls' night out where there will be alcohol and there'll be music and there'll be dancing till our stilletoes...or the city cops...allow us to!

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's Diwali Week!

This week (Diwali week) is one of my favorite weeks of the year, the other being the week leading up to Christmas. I love Diwali, really do. Just like Christmas engulfs one with warmth, Diwali brings me happiness - the uncomparable happiness of being with family. That the entire city is lit up and homes are aglow with candles/diyas only adds to the festivities.

This year though, I won't be with family over Diwali :( I'll be on my lonesome onesome, but that hasn't stopped me from lighting up my house. Yes, the lights are up in my house! They make the ambience so festive. And in the spirit of the festival, I've decided that I'll try to wear saris to work as many days as I can this week. It's very unlike me, I know, but the fact is that I really do need to get comfortable in a sari and the festivities around are giving me a good reason to wear them!

Seriously though, I see women gliding in saris all around me. They wear it so gracefully and carry it with such ease, you'd think they were born wearing it. I, on the other hand, cannot wear it for eight hours without getting murderous thoughts in my mind. Saris are annoying. First of all, there's so much cloth around you. I'm not used to so much cloth. Secondly, it's loose everywhere so you're constantly fretting about whether it's ballooning and making you look like a butterball or coming out from different sides. And third, it's so bloody difficult to climb in & out of a car wearing a sari. I somehow manage to clamber in and tumble out.

Saris may not be fun but Diwalis definitely are. So if I don't see you lovely people before Diwali on this space, you have yourselves a very Happy Diwali and a big truckload of happiness :)