Monday, December 03, 2007

Goodbye sweet....

Dear Nanamma*,


You should have waited. I was planning to bring you 70% chocolate, which would have melted in your mouth. Heaven may have very many things, but do they have 70% chocolate which taste like sin? I doubt it.

Instead, you just decided that its time for you to go, and off you went. You didn"t keep your word - you did not wait around to pet your first great grandchild - not that I was planning to have a baby anytime soon, but still, you could have waited a bit.



I can hear you saying "C"mmon kiddo" with your wide white smile - half believing, not knowing if i am pulling a fast one on you and pulling you leg. But hey, I never teased you when it came to chocolates. We both know that it is too serious a subject to play the fool with.



But we played the fool with everything else. We encouraged the dogs to romp on the bed, we read together cheesy local soap operasque romance novels - you were a young sixty four, and I was an old seven year old. We had mangoes for lunch - atleast when the adults were not looking, and you made me an addict to Maggie. I made a mess, cutting out papers and toppling chairs and yanking down curtains to create a forest, palace, palladin, or fort - as the case may be. You, and only you, allowed me to do so.



But how could you resist, me little enactments, you prima donna drama queen, you? You knew that I knew that you were overreacting, and took my pulling your leg in good humour.



You bought me books. And chewing gum. And candyfloss.



You took me to see Kathakali the way it should be seen. Under the starry sky, with a huge oil lamp dancing in the wind, you told me about the heroes and gods and godesses. You taught me about our culture, our heritage.



You spoiled grandpa. But then, you spoiled us all. With love, with putting us before everything - well, before almost everything. How many sarees do you have, all expensive, all unironed as you thought that Rs 1.5 is too much to pay to the ironing guy to tend to a Rs 3000 saree? You wore it the way you liked, all bunched up, so that if someone asked you to pretty please cook some maggie ( thats me ) or to hold the menacing two inch dog ( that MC, the 'fraidiest of the three of us) or to play with him ( thats AC - the one who took after you and me in family kookiness).



You were the only one geniunely disappointed when I told you, at 16, that no, I dont have a boyfriend. My parents and granddad breathed in relief. You felt that I was lying or that I didnt have a life.



You gave me my ego. That is a commendable effort, when we look back at the ones who thought ego was a bad thing, and I ought to have none of it. I could love you only for that.



You gave me pets, and allowed me to name them as I wished. And you loved them like I did.I am sure Puppy, Chinnu, Dash, Chitrapadma, Jillie, PussyCat, the myriad fishes and Torty have already given you a warm welcome up there, running around you, drooling all over you, winding around your feet and what not.



You gave me hope. You were the best example of why a hopeful, happy life is better. You had more than enough to feel sad and bitter about. You could not have walked out of the bitter and difficult early years of your marriage. Years later, you would still tell me with a twang of complaint in your voice, that it was not fair, grand dad was not fair. I would tell you that we can always divorce grandpa, and dont we have many a fair man who is smitten with your beauty to fall back on? You will chuckle delighted, granddad would look alarmed, and you would then blush.



You told me about grandpa's girlfriend who jilted him - and thus he had to marry you - but you shushed grandpa when he was about to retort with how you liked someone when you were a wee lass. I have tried bribing him with sweets and chocolates, but he didnt open his mouth. I think you would like to know that he was a bit afraid of you.



You were tiny. As in, tinier than me. And lean. And healthy, except for your imaginary illnesses for which, whenever I would suggest a remedy, you will decide not to take it. But some of them were true, result of marital strife and a life of poverty. You always had me to take your side, and I felt your pain against your still evil sister-in-law and would be quite frosty and will duck and cover against her wet sloppy kisses. So would the other two - MC and AC.



Your relatives thought of you as a bit silly. That you probably are. But they thought of you as a bit inconsequential. You were anything but. With your infinite patience and love, you held us, a bunch of fragmented egos, together.



You loved your spices, and made food fiery and hot. You loved colors, and wore too bright colors which even I thought was too bright. You loved to dress up, and wear your gold.



You introduced me to your neighbours -all Muslims and a few Christians - and their amazing food. It would have been so easy for me to just pretend-like them, and distrust and bitch about them behind their back. I have to thank you for my taste of the holy bread - which you proccured for me because I wanted to try it. Your were called "mom" by not just my mother and uncle, but b a whole street of people. You were the nice granny for about 7 to 8 kids, all unrelated by blood and only by love, at the last count. I was known as your granddaughter, about whom you bragged.



You were the one who got it first when I said that I want to live first, and then may be, marry later. You encouraged me to live life as I would want it, and travel as much as I can.



May be in a different life, I might have been you, and you, me.



Take care sweetheart - I will miss you like anything - I will miss baiting you with my tall tales and will miss the delight when you laugh at my jokes. I will miss discussing what to wear with you. I will miss your food - um, not really. But will definitely miss your pickles.



But now, rather than watching over us, I would be happier if you had the time of your death now. Take care, have a nice trip. And like our old pact, if you come back to visit as an all black crow and I had only one piece of chocolate in my hand, I will happily give it to you.



Anytime.


- Your granddaughter, who is indignant that you did not wait for me to come home and set off today, for new worlds.



Nanamma* - when I was a wee baby, I decided that my grand mom is my mom, and only mine. So I would say Njaan ( I ) Amma ( mom ) which basically meant "my mom" for a 1.5 year old me. The name stuck, and half the world would call her that as I grew up.


Addendum: I had talked to my dad for some time, when the exact reason for the death was told to me. There is a temple in Kerala, on top of a mountain called Sabarimala. My granny, at the age of 70+, went on a trek to the top of the mountain. The trek was done donning a sari and at least partially on donkeys, but the strain was too much for her frail, 5feet long, less than 35 Kg body. She did not tell of the trip to my mom, and forbade everyone around her from doing so, rightly worrying that she will get chewed out by her daughter for trying something foolhardy. The news leaked out to my dad today, and he passed it on to me. My mom doesn't know this. Yet.

And now I am happy. Of all the ways my granny could have died, this was one of the best. She did something she really wanted to do; and defying her children made it all the more sweeter for her. Even when she died, I am sure she died happy, the memories of her trek lingering in her mind. For a woman who loved exploring life as passionately as she did, but hardly had a chance to do so because of social mandates and responsibilities, in her last unconscious moments, she would have been preparing for her next big travel, eyes shining like black diamonds in excitement. It is a good way to say goodbye to the world, when you feel all alive and appreciate the gift of life.



Thursday, November 29, 2007

Learning Curve

I learned here that I am predisposed to being happy, and will pursue it so.

I learned that I am easily bored, and I need a certain amount of change.

I learned I can multi-task.

I learned I care more about what I am supposed to do than about bowing to people.

I learned I can be a mean bitch. And I know that I am proud of it.

I learned I do not judge people much, but when I start doing so, I invariably judge the ones who love judging.

I learned I want to have fun when I am working, and that I will seek it out if it does not come naturally.

I learned to pick and choose. I learned to explore and discover. I learned to push the limits and trust myself to navigate when the path is not clear.

I learned that, often brand new places feel like home, and just because they allow you to OD on freedom. Me, the freedom junkie.

I learned there is an angel and a devil in me and they quite love each other.

Thank you, oh wise one, for throwing me into the middle of an emotional nowhere. I have learned some.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Why I love Om Santi Om

Yes, I am the same person who worships Tarentino and love obscure, indie movies. I lauded Beja Fry and Being Cyrus, not to mention Khosla ka Ghosla.

But still, like a dieting Homer Simpson succumbing to chocolate filled chocolately chocolate crusted chocolate donut, I return to OSO, my guilty pleasure.

Its a spoof.

I love humour, and especially the ability to laugh at oneself. I have a huge weekness for MAD magazine and South Park, and by extention, love the spoof movies.

OSO is a spoof on the hindi phillum industry, with all its glorious wackiness laid out there.

The seventies.

The time of bell bottoms and razor mushtaches, over the top acting, dream sequences which have enough people to fill a football stadium doing synchronized gyrating... all that, and more is there in the movie.

A bum called SRK.

The way he romances Deepika like a cute labrador pup in the first half... and his bratty avtar in the second half ( which then get spoiled for me once he starts being the nice guy)


The shooting of Mind IT!!

Yenna Raaascala.... we have all seen such comic movies - albeit when our relatives sat and weeped at the scenes - but I swear, I would really really want to watch Mind It, with that man in it.


Film fare award night

That enitre sequence - from the red carpet interviews ( "we are just friends" ) to the movie scenes to AB baby swearing under his breath... beautiful!!!


In Jokes

This movie is a treasure trove for those who has been following Bollywood - read: average Indian. My personal favorite is when Mein Ne Pyaar Kiya is referenced - subtle, and priceless!


Bhaago!!!!

Again, amazing!

And by dedication we mean...

The wedding scene which SRK retakes... with the flower in his mouth.

Kiron Kher

For me, she is SRKs heroine. Her comic timing is perfect, and deliciously over the top.


Ladies and gents; granted, this may be an over the top movie, there is no rythm and reason in the movie, but tell me, did you laugh at least once? Or twice? Thrice may be?

I rest my case.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Movie List

My Christmas gifts are already given; thanks to some creative people. I'm yet to open the wrapper, but I cant wait to catch each of them!

Now, my dear, let me talk to you. You, the nice bollywood fan who is not from India. Nope, having an Indian DNA does not automatically make you a true blue Bollywood fan.

Quick Quiz:

1. Who is Kareena's boyfriend?

2. The actor whos characters are mostly names Rahul, or Raj in most of his movies.

3. Name two movies of Kajol.

4. Name three Khans ( bonus point for naming four) in Bollywood

5. who is Sanju Baba?

If you got atleast three of the above right off your head without googling, then this list is not for you. If, however, you did not make the cut, then read on, for this list is for you.


1. Munna Bhai M.B.B.S

Comedy. But for complete entertainment, get someone who understands the Tapori Hindi so that they can translate the sprit of the dialogue.

2. Chak De India
I assume that you have already seen Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge, Kabhi Khushie Kabhie Ghum, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dil To Paagal Hai, Kal Ho Na Ho et al. Some of you might have even seen Main Hoon Na and have already booked the tickets for Om Santi Om and have seen DON. But this is not a typical SRK movie : you dont have to suspend disbelief, and can watch a less hyper, but equally intense, performance of Shahrukh Khan.

And yes, this movie is heavily inspired from the different sports movies in Hollywood, so play spot the scene.

3. Dil Chahta Hai

I don't have a favorite scene in this movie... every scene is precocious, and this is our filmy version of Friends. Best to watch it with an yuppie Indian, who will get nostalgic over this movie :)

And yes, I know you would have seen Lagaan!

4. Honeymoon Travels :
You must have seen Monsoon Wedding... now see what happens after the marriage!

Amisha Patel and KK Menon are hilarious in this movie!

5. Being Cyrus:

This is one trippy movie. It's in English, so you hopefully do not need the subtitles...

I wanted to end this list with just five, but hey, here is one bonus movie:

6. Omkaara

It is an adaptation of Othello. The dialogues are caustic; hotter than Tabasco sauce, and pithy like tequila shots, and the actors are really good.

Have an Indian who knows Hindi well enough to translate the movie, which begins with 'Bewakoof aur Chootiye ke beech mein... ' the language is half the fun, do not lose it.


Answers :

1. Saif Ali Khan
2. Shahrukh Khan
3. DDLJ, KKHH
4.Saif, Shahrukh, Salman & Amir ( also Fardeen, Sayed, Sanjay etc etc... )
5. Sanjay Dutt who will never be fifty again... and fyi, Baba means 'baby' in Hindi.

Happy watching!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

One for the bedtime...

Once there was a little girl, who grew up to be a witch. She lived in the middle of the forest all alone, and talked to the forest and its silence. The animals and the plants did not disturb her often, but would once in a while greet her with a quick hop or a slight sound.

The witch had a childhood friend, who grew up to be the young prince of that country. Once, when she was sitting by the riverside, the young prince met her, and walked over to talk to her. For he was not afraid of her, indeed he loved her and knew that his love would keep him safe.

The witch greeted him cordially and introduced him to the forest. She talked, for a long time, about how the trees dance during the rains and how the animals keep the beat. She told him, about Life and Death who peacefully co-exist in the forest. she told him about the small ferns, and pointed out the colors of silence and sound of colors. She shared her joy in the beauty of the forest with him, for he was her friend.

But the prince did not listen to the witch's words. He heard her voice, which was clear as the deep pool about which she was talking about, and saw the stars of the night sky in her eyes and the bloom of the wild rose in her lips.

'I gift you my love.'

us said the prince said to the witch. She smiled, and accepted it, for the forest had taught her to accept the offerings of others with humility.

'Come with me to the village.' He said to her.

She smiled like a wild flower, and went to the home of her childhood, which she now remembered as the broken shreds of a fragile dream.

The prince and the witch reached the village. And with a shock, the witch realized why she had ran away into the forest. The village had a thousand eyes and ears, which reported to the million tongues who always directed the villages on how to eat, walk and think.

'I cannot do this.' The witch said to the prince, her eyes wide with fear.

'I love you.' He reminded her.

The prince took the witch to his castle. The witch was happy to see the stones and tried to talk to them. But the stones were all dead. The rain raged in the night, and the witch tried to talk to the rain. But the rain poured down busily like a whore whose time is up, and refused to even acknowledge her. She tried to make peace with the eyes, ears and tongues; but they alienated her.

Days and months passed. The witch was feeling more and more unhappy. But her eyes continued to shine, for they now reflected the diamonds which were in abundance in the castle. Her cheeks were powered and lips painted, and she looked every bit as beautiful as she looked when she was in the forest.

'Let me go back to the forest for a while.' She pleaded with the prince. 'Let me dance in the green moss as light as the sea, and be happy. Let me sit in the sun and listen to the silence, and find peace deep within.'

The prince was frightened of the forest, and did not want her to go back. He ordered the servants to follow her everywhere, and never to let her alone.

The witch knew what the prince was thinking ( for she could read his eyes and eyes never lie), and became sadder.

'For a week?' She asked him.

The prince refused her again. Then the witch cried, and she asked for a day. Her teardrops were eagerly looked at by the prince, for rumor had it that in a neighboring village there was a girl whose tears turned to pearls.

But no, the witches tears turned to a small fragment of the forest pool, with the reflection of a bit of the sky and the trees. The witch stepped into her tear, and went back to the forest.

The prince was now angry. 'The ungrateful wench! After I loved her so much!' he thought, and called upon all the hunters and woodcutters to the castle.

'Cut down all the plants!' he said to the woodcutters 'And burn them all so that not even a seedling is spared!'

'Kill all the animals and birds!' he said to the hunters ' Do not spare even an egg!'

'Once the forest is no more, she will definitely have to come back.' He thought with glee.

The hunters and the woodcutters set forth. A few of the village plants and animals, who have not forgotten the language of the forest, grieved, and requested the wind to warn their kin. The wind went to the witch, and whispered about the forest's fate.

The witch went to the edge of the village, where the hunters and woodcutters were assembled. The prince was there, and he smiled in happiness when he saw her.

'She is back.' He thought. 'We will have beautiful children. She will be my fair Queen and the whole world will hear of her voice which tinkle like gold goins and her lips which shine like rubies.'

The witch, with one stroke of her hand turned sword, beheaded the prince and went back into her forest.

Moral of the day:

For Princes & Princesses : Don't think that love is a finite definition which means the same to everyone. It is injurious to health.

For Warlocks and Witches: Do not indulge the Princes and Princesses. Sometimes it is better not to change a person and give up.

For me, you and everyone else: To which group do you belong to?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Joan Brandwyn got it right

Ever heard of the Movie Mona Lisa Smile?

In the movie, there is an amazing scene, where Julia Roberts, the feminist teacher is distraught that one of her best students decided to get married. The student goes to her teacher, and tells her: "You're the one who said I could do anything I wanted. This is what I want."

Now that more and more of my friends are getting married and some are even proud mothers/ fathers of cute little ones, this is what I want to tell you.

Congratulations, for finding someone whom you love enough to take the plunge.

Congratulations, for trusting your parents enough to believe in arranged marriages.

Congratulations, for choosing to either work or to be a home-maker or to study - or even planning to do all of them together.

Congrats for allowing your partner the freedom to work and/or study, and for supporting them.

Congratulations, for bringing some very special people into the world, and helping them to grow up, and grow up well.

I am so happy for you all! We may not always have common topics to talk about, but we will still be friends.

And for the person who triggered the post: Baby Rat, Here's to you for a wonderful married life!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Since you asked for it....

I cried today, and this was why. Please, please read it and pass it on, if you love them even a little bit.

All little kids, those faint of heart, those easily offended by emotion and rage : please, leave now, you have nothing to see here.

I am f**kin p***ed off today, and this is why ( check the third comment from top).

beautiful post...
or a typical surya post..
I liked that guy...

but then see the following link..
http://www.durex.com/fr/gss2005Content.asp?intQid=764&intMenuOpen=

see how many partners does a Finn have and how many an Indian has...

just pointing out that Indian Men are way ahead when it comes to love
....



Honey, let me tell you a few things. You may not agree with me, that is your prerogative. But this is my blog, and for the rules by which we play here, are mine. All mine.

Indian men, sweets, are not way ahead when it comes to love, especially pointed out by what you have typed here. People who are in love don"t tom-tom the fact, for them it is as natural as breathing. Ever had food prepared by someone whom you loved, and loved you back? ( parents count). When you were eating, did they complain about the hard work in cooking the food? Or were they just happy that you were eating, and eating well?

Phuleeeeze, spare me the juvenile and laughable comparison of counting a person's
love towards another by the number of sex-partners he had in his life.


p.s.: 1) again it is not because most of the Indian men do not get a chance... we get chance but then we stay true and love our gal...


No honey, you don't get the chance. You think you are God's gift to women, but most of you are either scared, spineless, or a combination of both. There are a few who do stay true, but it is not because of any intrinsic Indianity. It depends on the person, and it happens across countries.

Staying true does not mean loving your gal! ( necessary but not sufficient condition).
Staying true may also mean worried about being caught in the act, and the scandal induced melodrama which may be too much for you to take.

And just FYI, many ( thankfully not all ) Indian guys who move abroad / away from
their girl wives will go for a fling... and think that the Indian girls abroad are theirs for the taking. I really don't want to write more about this, as the specific examples crowd into mind and I am slowly being chocked to death by my own puke, which was my body"s way of reacting to their shitty personalities, pudgy bodies and minuscule intellect. Must... not... puke...on... laptop!

You, and your comment, disgust me. I have nothing more to say!

And for those who are wondering what the hell that was all about:

Hey, I was born, and did my formal education, in India. My first friend ever was a guy at the age of two... and we still keep in touch. At the last count, I had more friends from the male category than the female one. Most of them are very serious in their relationships, and I can say with conviction that their girlfriends / wives are a lucky lot. Some of my favourite females have been lucky enough to find their men, with whom they are absolutely in love with, and could not be happier. My single guy friends absolutely rock, and are each awesome in their own quirky ways and I would reccommend them to any pretty ladies reading this blog.

If the guy I would eventually end up with is half as good as these men, I have had it made. And yes, it is composed of 99% Indians.

However, I have also had very bad experiences with the Indian male species. Often I have seen them go spineless and tell women that "sorry dear, cant lead a life with you, you are of a different religion." This after 3-4 years of wasting her life and her making you a priority over every other thing which was important to her. Did it take them that long to figure out her religious beliefs?

But that is not the bad part.

I have been groped, pushed, threatened with violence when I retaliated, pushed to the middle of the road during evening traffic for asserting my dignity, made to be felt like a naked fish in a fish bowl, my private life and friendships under shadow, was propositioned by married men - except for rape ( touch wood!) You name the bad experience, I have experienced it/witnessed it happening to my friends back home.

And that was when we were dressed as per the Taliban line of clothing for young ladies ( except the veil).

All of that compromised on my freedom, the thing which was due to me, from the largest democracy in the world. In the state of social reforms, I could not wear a baggy jeans and a shapeless kurtha without men openly ogling at me and whistling as if I were a sl*t.

At one of our most famous beaches, I could not walk ten meters with one of my
best friends. She had came down to stay with me. We were being leched at and verbally abused by supposedly enlightened members of the society. So much so that my parents asked me and my friend to get back ( oh, BTW, did I mention that my parents were about five feet behind us and still the harassment happened?). I learned to swear enough to make a sailor blush as a retaliatory mechanism. I am not particularly proud of my deadly skill, but it was that or be cowed down.

And this is the life of an average Indian woman. Understand it, by going here. May be not for the ones in the Metros - but nevertheless, it is there.

At least here, I can travel alone at 3am without fearing for my safely. I can go to a drunk man / group of men and ask for directions, and my only worry is that in their drunken state, they may puke on me. Men here had tried to chat me up, but when I show my displeasure, the do move away. I had never put on my axe murderer face ever here ( double touch wood!). This country, which is alien to me, has given me the freedom which was my birthright. The same thing which was taken away from me by the supposedly more loving Indian men who stay true to their gals.


So surprise, surprise!!! When you sing paeans of your gender from my country, I do tend to react a bit.

And now the special lovenotes...

For the author of the comment:

May be, just may be, you are a misinformed little idiot who has been living in the matrix. Well, wakey wakey honey and take the red pill. They world as you knew it, was never there in the first place. Welcome to reality! Your first assignment is to write a 20 page essay each on Kamathipuram and Sonagachi and their main trade, and who supports them. Font 10, Ariel, spacing of 1.0

For those who know me outside the blog world:

Don't tell this to my parents. I don"t want them to pop the red pill at all. There time is over, have mercy, and let them live their misconceptions.

I don't want to talk about it face to face. I like to keep my blog and my life separate. However, I am willing to reply to you via email / blog comments / face book / orkut etc etc.

My dearest friends who happen to be men from India:

" but I never did any of that!!!" sweets, neither did my dad or my uncles... and I know you didn"t... why do you think I am friends ( no, being added to my Orkut/Face book profile does not automatically make you my friend) with you? But most of the men in our country are not like you, which is a pity.

My dearest friends who happen to be women from India who are/may get hitched to men from India:
I am glad you made your choice, and whatever my personal equation with your man, I don"t think any of them qualify for the rants above. This is not about them. Geez woman! Stop being obsessed!

For any hot/cute guys who may get freaked out by the rant:

Five years back, I would have worried that you might have had a bad impression of me because of this and probably would have put up some sort of disclaimer saying that I am not a feminist ( I still am not - and I think it is a sexist term - I fight for humanity). But now, no chance! If you cannot take this, then may be you are not as hot or cute inside as i thought you would be....

And with that, good night, have a great week, and behave!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Facebook & MS

Without a doubt, the big news today atleast in tech circles will be about Microsoft's acquisition of 1.6% of Facebook.

Of course there are those who think that many companies missed the bus.However, I beg to disagree. I think this is one smart thing that they might have done.

Before you call me a technophobe and other unmentionable names, let me just say:

Social Networking sites are fickle. Extremely fickle. They are mostly populated by us, the N-Gen, who love to think that we are unique and thus cool.

Orkut was the must have some years back - Actually, two; but it seems like a long time ago! We went on a adding friend frenzy with Orkut, I still remember the good old days when there was no word verification and you had to get an invite from someone - for me it was from a tech savvy 50-something who happened to be my professor in my B-school. Then you had to create an Orkut account to sign in there, and things were much simpler and cleaner with a slightly cheesy UI and random requesting to "be fraands"

Sometime last year, I came across the name Facebook in a local newspaper, which described it the next best thing to sliced bread... or at least, Orkut. I had to see what it was all about, and I promptly signed up, impressed with the color scheme and the different third-party ad-ons.

So what has my switching of favorites to do with all this?

Simply this, that I am waiting for the next best thing. And it is not just me. For a generation which want to be defined as unique and ahead of the curve - change is the only constant, and we will keep on changing desperately to define ourselves.

I would much rather see different companies being open to third party apps which will allow me to access my flavor of the moment - while using their services.

And before you thrash my POV, please remember that even he believed in case study!


Saturday, October 20, 2007

The hunting

I went to a disc the other week, with some friends of mine. Finnish people love to dance, and the floor was pretty much crowded. I sat down with a friend, and we ladies were looking at the crowd dancing away to glory.

And then we saw them - or more specifically, him.

He was dancing as the music wanted him to dance. His moves were smooth and fluid, and he moved as if he is a fish in water. He was tall, well built, and he folded his long legs effortlessly so that he is in level with her.

She had taken time to dress up for him, in a subtle way. But she was not up to him, visibly hesitant to dance, to match his steps. She was slightly plump, reminded me of cinnamon rolls and a warm kitchen, while he was more like a rainstorm brewing in the mountains.

and then, there was her. The one who looked like a panther out for a kill, with a body, attitude and steps to match. She surveyed the dance floor, took one look at the couple, decided that the man was hers, and set on to stake her claim.

On that dance floor, it was so easy to flirt with another person even if you were dancing with your date.


Me & my friend sympathized with the girl, what chance did she have with this predator on the prowl?

She started dancing, slowly, sensuously - like a beautiful coral snake slowly slithering. Half the men in the dance floor ( the ones that could see her albeit peripherally) slowed down, were distracted, and some even stopped their dancing to stare at her.

Not him. He was focused on her, coaxing her, cajoling her, to loosen up, to forget making mistakes in her steps or stepping on his his feet. He was dancing, and he was dancing only for her.

Or so we thought. The predator moved slowly towards him, slithering up and slowly starting to wound herself around him. All this done beautifully, discreetly.

He, without a break in the rhythm, stepped around such that his girl was the one who was dancing against her. The put down, was blatant, and it hurt the predator. "WTF!!" she slowly mouthed to her minions who were sitting there, shocked that a common man had dared to turn her down.

The predator, was up for the challenge. She and her minions started dancing, and they somehow made a semi circle around the girl, who was oblivious to all this and was trying to get her steps right. They started crowding her as if she did not even exist, and a well timed push sent her reeling to edge of the dance floor, to the hard pews where we onlookers were watching in fascination.

We felt bad for her. The fact that she was a clumsy dancer at best was established beyond point with that push. When she was being pushed to anonymity, the predator was dancing in front of him, like a bright black flame of all thing luscious and forbidden. she had the best body, the best dress and the best face in that room. She could dance with him, dance like him.

He danced maybe half a step, and went to the pews with his girl, timing his step to her missteps such that it all looked like a wonderfully choreographed return to the seats than the mortified return it was supposed to be. Like she was a queen and he was her harem boy. He danced around her, and wrapped her up in a tight embrace at the end of it.

And he did this all, while he was looking into her eyes and setting steps to music.

And no, she did not know what happened. For her, it was nothing more than a night out dancing brought to end by a suddenly overcrowded dance floor.

My friends wanted me to give them an example of how Finns love, and here it is guys and gals. He did not make her realize what he was doing for her - not by word, or deed, or even a momentary glance at her adversary.


And that night, I believed again in the magic of love.



Monday, October 15, 2007

Bits n pieces

They say that sometimes the rules are to be bent, and one have to follow their own heart.
But when do you know that it's the right time?
May be the trick is to keep walking, let the tension build up, and to take the plunge when you cannot stand it no more.


Yesterday was raining. Yesterday I did not have a proper lunch. Yesterday I was wet and shivering and very close to a nice bout of pneumonia. Yesterday made my legs ache and head pound.
Yesterday was fun. Yesterday we walked around. Yesterday we shared rice cakes and cinnamon buns, with large cups of kahvi. Yesterday I got to know them a bit more better. Yesterday I rediscovered my current city through their eyes.
Often life is a symphony in contradictions.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Ratings

Weekend hiking trip : 8/10 in happiness

A wonderful sunset: 7/10 in peace

A melancholy song: 8/10 in nostalgia

A clue commented which made me go back to some verses about sweet memories and a circle of friends: priceless!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Hope

Often, people wish for their dreams to come true. But I think it is better to hope, to let the eternal candle burn.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Connections

Sometimes, homesickness can be abated by the most random experience.

The flea markets here take me back to the sweaty Chennai days, near the railway station and Adayar, where I ferreted through second to fifth hand books. And the sweaty College Street banter which I could strike up with the vendors there.

It may not be that exuberant here. But underneath the smiles of the grownups and the frankly curious stares of the children, I am somehow rekindling my affection and memories of things that I have left back.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

One step at a time

Evening walks were usually balked at by me back home. However, I have started the habit here. Home from office and a drink of water/juice/frizzy drink depending on my mood. A change of clothes, some coins, bus pass, camera, mobile and often a book - and I am ready for my walk.

I usually walk 30-40 minutes one way. However, the actual walk is interrupted by dogs - me and the dogs pet each other in delighted ecstasy while the dog owner looks on bemusedly. Usually the owner and I exchange a couple of doggie stories, and both parties are on our way, me and the dog stopping at frequent intervals to look back at each other before moving on.

Grumpy kids demand another halt. I have discovered that I am as fascinating to the Finnish kids as an elephant might be. Indeed, for many of them, I am the first indication that human beings can be of a different skin color. Kids crying their head off will invariably shut up in surprise on seeing a brown human saying 'Moi!' . The trick here is not to linger too long - the more they see you, the higher the chances of them losing interest and going back to the original screaming with renewed vigour. Moi and walking off makes them turn to their mothers and ask a hundred questions.

The next stop is for adults, who just wanted someone to talk to. A group of dignified old men, in their expensive suits having a deep discussion presumably on where to go for their kahvi, are as curious as little kids. Debunking the myth of Finns who talk in monosyllables, they break up their discussions; greeting me invariably in Finnish, then switching to English. Where are you from? Are you studying here? How long have you been here? How do you find our country? Did you try sauna? Do you have siblings? Wont your parents miss you? - the questions flow, with the dire warnings about the winter and the darkness.

The walk by itself is structured to be unstructured. No the same streets as far as possible. 30-40 minutes walking away from where I live. Each day brings in different kinds of discoveries, different people. Once the time is up, I reverse my path; back to home, but through different roads. Thankfully, despite all the random twists and turns that I do take, I am back at my apartment safe and sound, never once feeling or getting lost.


Friday, September 21, 2007

I often wonder...

What happened to all those kids who created amazing scientific inventions for saving energy and improving rural health back during school science fairs - Did they all suddenly turn moronic?

What about the person who wanted to be the Prime Minister of India ( when she was in college ) is doing about it? She got married ( no; not into the Gandhi family ) and no guys; she was dead serious when she said this and was quoted in a local news paper.

What happed to the classmate from engineering who was a staunch communist who wanted to give back to the community? He is now a glorified bean counter - oops, software programmer - for an Indian company in US of A, and proudly puts up the picture of his car, home and other thingamajigs in his Orkut page. I am just wondering about the going back home part though; especially as back in the good ol' days, this guy could force me into guilt trips for reading English literature instead of only Malayalam ones.

Change happened, you would say. No need for me to get all bitchy about that!

I agree. And that is precisely why I smirk inwardly when someone tells me that they never will do / think / say something or act in a particular way. If you are below thirty and make this statement, I would rather let your future actions prove you right ( than any amount of impassioned speeches).

Those of age 30 and above are exempt as I think they might have had enough life experiences to not get swayed by anything new that may happen in their life. An alternate line of thought is that if you are not grown up by 30, then its time for the rest of the world to give up hope for your mental development.

Celebrities like Hollywood Party girls, Gossipy Bloggers who think satire is doing bad MSPaint jobs on other people's pictures, Bollywood tartlets who think Marlon Brando & Al Pachino look upto them, Dynasty Politicians etc. are not included n either of these categories as they are yet to raise to the challenge of aspiring to reach the mental level of a mentally challenged person.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I am better than You

We all yearn to belong somewhere. To feel at home. Sometimes we are born into it, other times we build our own sanctuaries. The concept of home is valid when surrounded by your parents, your siblings and other special people in your life. It is equally valid when you are in the middle of nowhere and far away from everything you have ever been through.

Paradoxically, we all love to believe that we live in the edge. That we have the pioneering blood, that we are different. That we do things others wont, and have a different world view.

Deep deep in, we all love to be special, to be different, to be superior to others. That is why we have a thriving fashion industry. That is why we have rules and norms, the adherence of which proves my moral superiority over you. That is why we criticize the differences, or laugh at the so called mistakes that others make. It makes us feel better compared to them. That is why we accept the differences, and laugh at ourselves. That is also why this post is going to be contradicting itself with every new sentence, as there is no one way of looking at things. Sometimes the only constant in our life is change, yet we believe that we are traditionals at heart. Sometimes we crave for the soft snugglivity of conformity, and believe that we are outsiders. Are we wrong? To us we are not. But to others, we most definity are; as our world view is considered inferior to theirs.

So what to do, Luccio? To confirm to the varied worldviews? To hold on to one's own opinions? Or to move with the flow or hold on to a mountain? To accept the comforts that belief offer and lead a relatively happy life? To doubt, question everything, and be lonely and depressed? To swim to the surface or to dive deep in or even to alternate between the two, creating a different extreme?

And yes; addressing your lingering doubt. Why Luccio? What is the significance?

Why not?


Monday, September 17, 2007

God Bless America!

Saying this back home would have gathered me many looks of disapproval.

Back in my small state, such a statement would have been frowned upon. The norm was to blame America for budget deficits, lack of progress, MTV and poor monsoon. The CIA and Star TV led attack on the moral and social fabric of the society was frowned upon, and there was at least one protest march a year against the various American Presidents we held personally responsible for our collective woes.

Still, I love America, for. they gave me South Park and MAD magazine. Both of these are hated by many people who think they are gross, arrogant and thrash. It is like calling wine decayed grape juice.

Take SP. When many animated series go overboard with special effects, SP did a volte-face and opted for 2-dimensional, cardboard cutout like figures. If their clothes were interchanged, will you identify them? ( true fans will.)

Their most popular character is Cartman. How many other series have a fat boy, having a parent like this literally kicking others ass? The series had tried to show the darker side of the moon too, in some episodes.

It has a storyline, and it never chickens out from poking fun at all and many. How many comedy series have mastered the truth that there is no absolute rights or wrongs in life?

It makes better us of its Guest stars. Seriously, how many tv serials have the guts to ask George Clooney to act as a gay dog?

It understands kids. Children are seldom innocent personified; or have you forgotten how you were as a kid? This show knows the alleys and tunnels of childhood, and uses them effectively.

I could keep on and on... but as a great guy told once, "If there are any questions, direct them to that brick wall over there."




Sunday, September 09, 2007

Spamm'd

There is something to be said about perseverance.

It is one thing to receive email, and another to receive spam mail. Most of the emails from friends that I receive are either without a subject, or with subject lines not even a micron as exciting as the content.

Not so, with spam emails.

I get a regular supply of spam mails thanks to my yahoo account. Out of the 71 emails that I received today, about 50 was spam. Yahoo, in its inept best, assures me every time I delegate them to the trash can that my filter is alive and kicking, and deliver another bunch the very next day when the filters look the other way.

Spam has its cycles. There was a time when I was emailed by benevolent Nigerians, who wanted to give away their money to me. ( You beautiful creature with animal magnetism, you! -I congratulated myself on my charm which make people to give away money to me) I used to mostly delete these, and once in a while, when really bored with life, used to write back claiming that I am actually the love child of the person who had died ( that"s the good part - consistency - these guys always have someone kicking their bucket which triggers the money ) and demand to be paid the entire sum. Fully. In cash.

There are some who feel that I may have a need to be a bit more Yang, and would like to be a man. Those good souls, from Editor Bob - who emails me more than any of my friends or family - so much so that I am thinking of adding him as a friend in Orkut and Facebook - they are pretty consistent, one a day. From Phil, the emails arrive in a bunch once in a while, as if he is too lazy to put some effort into spamming me. These gentlemen assure me that one I have the blue pill or try to enlarge my that one part which is not part of the package that writes this blog, then all the women are gonna come. Literally. To me.

Then there is Carmen. She writes trying to pedal software from this or that online shop. Her ads are very vague, some can’t even be read. I often wonder about the poor child, imagine her to be in a sweat shopish place where she has to send as many spam emails as she can to earn a living. And the girl being ironic, in a heavy symbolic gesture, she reduces the font to a level where even an ant would need a magnifying glass to read what was on offer. Chris does not like a subject line; he tries to build suspense, mystery and drama. Me being the lazy bum, don’t even show any interest in the bait.

Honorable mention goes out to those poor souls who have names like Viswanathan Allen. I think of poor little Allen"s childhood, getting tortured on the playground, by fellow kids who seethe in rage as they cannot pronounce his name. Tough times, the childhoods.


And lastly, I spit on you, my name stealing doppelganger spammers! May your computer get virus infected and your cell phones get stolen! May cats scratch the expensive paint job off your cars and may birds shit on you on your way to a late meeting! And may your inbox get swamped by spam driving you to mental breakdown and ultimately a catatonic life!


Buahahaa!!!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Back again...

After almost a month ( so much for a new year resolution of blogging every three days) I am back here.

The upside of not blogging for so long is having a lot of things to write about.

The downside of not blogging for so long is having a lot of things to write about.

I could, for example, blog about how much spam I receive in my Yahoo account - so much, so that certain regulars like Editor Bob and Carmen, trying to make me buy medicines which will enlarge body parts I don't have, email me more frequently than many of my friends.

Or else, I could take the lazy way out and post some pictures here of the Sweden trip that me, BR and BT took.

Else I can blog about BT. How for two years, even though we lived pretty close, she was just a random chick for me. How joining the same company has made me see a different side of her, and how now she is one of the few people who's comments I take time to think about, and try acting upon.

Or about the new bunch of Indians, whom we met here, who were helpful and ready with a thousand tips.

Or about the adventure of living alone; with no parents, no flatmates, not even that staple of all Indian homes - a बाई ( bai = female servant) - to help you out.

About some of the most well mannered and beautiful looking people I have even seen. Sadly, this place has more women ( who are mostly hot looking) than men...

About seagulls with attitude.

About the dogs and kids around here. well mannered, throwing tantrums at times.

About keeping in touch with friends back home.

About my fear of winter.

About a beautiful city.

But I think I have made my come back post now... :)


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Four years back...

It has been almost four years since I started blogging.

When I started out, I thought I knew everything about Internet.

And today, I bemoaned the fact that ' I know nothing about the Internet.'

Still, my usage and discovery of internet is happening at a faster rate than what it was four years back.

Internet is now my primary medium for communication, entertainment and self discovery ( and self projection too).

However, during this time I realized that I opt for more and more real life experiences.

When I started as a know-it-all 21 year old and started blogging; there was a time when I used to interact more with my online readers than my real life friends.

I measured friendship on the basis of the number of comments that they added on each post. Suddenly, the time they spent on my blog was more important to me than the time they spent with me.

Thankfully, my friends thought nothing about tweaking my ear and pulling me out into the real life. Looking back, I think they provided me with a healthy appreciation of life and different options to spend my time.

So I guess I should be thanking the June 16 batch. Thanks guys; if not for you, my life would have flicked according to the whims of broadband which pumps webpages into my blood.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Listed

In the next few months to one year, I would like to:

Learn to ski : I haven't even seen snow; but I plan to learn how to ski around...

Take better photographs : Now, my photography is more about instinct. I need to learn the science of taking better pictures, and need to train my eye that the pictures are as striking as they can be.

Learn photo-editing: I need to understand and learn how I can use softwares to make real life look even more realistic. Beautiful, striking, thought provoking - definitely yes; but very much realistic.

Be a better cook: Like photography, I need to apply a certain discipline to my cooking. Being a maverick is all very well; but a lot of cooking is about the familiarity that certain smells, looks and tastes evoke. I need to develop this skill.

Write : I need to put down what is in my mind to paper more often; and preferably in a way so that I can satisfy myself as a reader.

Tech savy: I want to participate and understand about the online world and technology. I would like to make sense out of it, and help others also to do the same. I need to develop my knowledge & skills for the same.

Travel: I want to travel more; and experience the different things that life has to offer.

Any suggestions, ideas, comments - most welcome!



Thursday, July 26, 2007

Travel notes...

Ladies out there who are single, listen.

Pack your bags and set forth to those places where you have always wanted to go.

I always wanted to go to Goa, and laze around in a beach with may be a dog for company.

Google and google. Then google some more for good prices in better places to stay.

I got a good deal for a resort with its own beach. And It also had a dog, which gave me company to laze around in the beach.

Take your pick - of music, of books. Take books which celebrate the spirit of being independent, and the books you loved as a child. Archie comics and Nancy Drew do qualify.

My choices were Enid Blyton, Paulo Coelho & Gerald Durrell.

Take enough of clothes, shampoos, creams and what not. Think long term and take a big bag so that you can shop around as much as you want.

I packed three pairs of footwear, which quadrupled by the end of the journey. My half empty travel bag has so many new occupants that I had to buy another one.

Lie through your teeth. Feel free to give yourself a new name, new job and new identity when friendly strangers question you. When feeling guilty remember Shakespeare : " What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet". Spill the truth only if you are 150% comfortable with the person.

My different names were Maria, Nisha, Divya, Asha, Lily.... and I was a Mumbaikar, Goan, Bong, Delhite, Tamil Brahmin... and was studying, working in a call center... And I did tell the truth once in a while.

Splurge. On yourself. It's no crime to feel selfish and self oriented once in a while as long as you earned what you plan to spend.

Ref the footwear...

Don't have an itinerary. Do what you feel like doing. We all have our to-do list at work. Don't make your holiday another project where you have to run around.

I slept, read, rode a two wheeler around aimlessly, took many photographs, collected sea shells, made friends with many dogs, gave massages to many cats who came purring... and also visited the beaches, the churches, the museums, the eateries....

Be happy that unlike our hitched sisters, we are free to chart our own courses and run free as wild horses. Enjoy the freedom and appreciate it - there is bliss in companionship, but let's not forget the gift of singledom that we have now...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

S'long!!!

Settled bills.

Had / gave treats.

Said goodbyes.

Booked everything.

Ready for take off.

Feelin' good.

Off to the real world... will be back by end of this month!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Comfortably....

Its always a ritual to pack your bags.

You make that one last stop to your favorite bookshops and stock them up. You go to the ' out of my way arty place' and end up buying 'the cutest arm chair! and its only 350 bucks!!' to ship it all the way to santaland.

You try a round of all your favorite eateries. You gorge on phuchkas. You enjoy the seasonal fruits and have mangoes for breakfast lunch and dinner ( well, almost). Mangoes, the rare fruit in santaland.

You buy the same movie titles which you called horrible not so long back. They dont release them in Santaland.

You realize that Santaland is dictating you, getting into your taste buds and consciousness.You accept it passively, and glide through the rest of your long list.

You try meeting up with friends and colleagues. You feel disgusted with their you-forgot-to-call-me-so-i'm-gonna-stand-you-up antics. Then you remember that this is probably the reason why you are friends with them anyways. But so much to do, and you are so tired to respond to what could be grown into a amazing man v/s woman war. You are more in the walking-away mode, not in the I-will-try-to-win-our-argument or I-will-beg-with-you-till-you-say-yes mode.

You sigh.

You think of the people whom you met for the past couple of days, how you could have become good friends. You think of seniors and juniors and batch mates and colleagues whom you would have liked to know better; but its too late, too futile now.

You feel bad that you may not see some people again. You feel happy that you will never see some people again. You pray to God that you would never get to see some people again.

You book tickets. You arrange for travel and other accommodations. You are assumed to be a man, then a married woman. You sigh again, and correct them each time - no; I am traveling alone. Somewhere along the line, you just give up.

....numb.


PS:Those who know of some good place near North Goa, please let me know... the more happening, the better!


Monday, June 25, 2007

Love

At kindergarten, love was all about who had the most succulent mangoes in their backyard.

At class three, love was about who was the hero, who solved all the mysteries and who was the leader.

At class nine, love was about academics. The brainier, the better.

At class twelve, love was divided amongst the ones who could smile the best.

In undergraduate days, it was about the one who was the most idealistic in my mind.

During first job, love was about who wanted to be individualistic.

At post grad, it was about a mirage of all those past loves.

Now, for the first time in my life, I am not worried about the fact that I am single.

I love me.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Why I love Seth Godin

First of all, I am yet to read any of his books. Purple Cow is a part of my pile of books to be read soon - around 500 at last count - and I have downloaded the Idea Virus too.

But what prompts me to write about this guy - surely, he doesn't need me to plug his book or blog - is purely personal. I love reading his blog. And even though love cannot be put into a framework, here's what make me go to his blog, day after day.


The colors. Sunshine. Happiness. Optimism. Orange & yellow, but not going overboard with them. Also, smaller but readable font means that more content is packed into less space, and it makes reading easier.

When I open the blog, I find the articles first - not the adverts, not product placements. Also, the navigation is intuitive and easy to use. There are very less graphics ( except for the bright yellow picture of Seth's cranium) to distract me from the content.

The content itself, is crafted lovingly, with the reader in mind. Seth knows that he is not writing a romance novel, and hence, his words dont have mush. The sentences are simple and lucid. He understands how short paragraphs are easy on the eye, and hyperlinks all reference materials - other blogs, articles, videos etc - within the article. Once in a while, a picture or an embedded video breaks the routine.

The language is never preachy. Depending on the tone, it ranges from Seth talking to a friend to Seth talking to himself. Sometimes he sounds as if he is trying to advice the friend; sometimes he seems to figure out things himself. He never falls into the trap of trying to put in a minimum number of words in each post, unlike most of us, he is not concerned about the length, but the quality.

After I started visiting the blog, I discovered other, better blogs and other reading / viewing material. He links to quality stuff, but seldom quotes from them - a mistake may wannabe Seth's don't seem to avoid.

After I finish each post, I don't feel overwhelmed. I find myself shaking my head in agreement, sometimes thinking about what he has told, and at times fwding a link to my friends, inviting them to the discussion.

Thanks Seth, for providing a set of readings which are interesting, informative, funny, thought evoking - for most of them one or a few of the above adjectives will apply - but most of all, uniformly heartfelt posts.



Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I can dream....

They say we fantasize to keep our sanity. Hence this post - oh, its a wish, a hope, a prayer... and an attempt to derive pleasure without actually doing it..


You kill your lungs with cancer smokes,
and mine too, by smoking when I'm nearby

You take long smoke breaks,
when we non smokers cant move out of our seats
for five minutes
without people shooting looks
which plainly say "slacker!"

When talking outside the office building -
thanks to the smoke detectors which prevent you
from puffing away in the office -
you blow the smoke into my face and clothes
And if I do ask you to ditch it,
look at me as if I am the rudest of all.


All this is pardonable - but when you creep up behind me
with your stinky mouth and peer into my workstation screen
With no warning or regard to my privacy or personal space
And too miserly to buy a mint
Just for once, can I give in to the sensation of disgust
and vomit into your face???



Dedicated to the walking stink-pile who literally breaths down my neck every time he has something to say to me. Move away!!! You are cutting off my air circulation!!!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

So what is new???

I cracked the last level of a computer game that I was playing. Yup, it felt pretty good.

I started frequenting a gym. Egged on mostly because you listen to forty somethings in office discussing how many miles they can run an hour and the number of half marathons they have completed. Given that they are older and busier than me, I really don't have any excuse for not looking after my stamina.

I am quitting books. Just the buying part - my house now resembles a mini library. Need to finish at least half of them before I buy more! Oh well... second hand books really don't count - College Street, here I come!

I partied. In style. With my seniors. We danced, and it felt good to shake a leg.

I got a tattoo. A spray-on one. And it got me the most interesting person's attention in our alumni meet. Even though it was half hidden by my shirt sleeve, she came running over to me and gleefully shouted " Tattoo!!" Bless her seven year old soul, I had a better time in that party that I ever thought I would.

I straightened my hair. To some extent, given my hair stylists determined efforts to maintain at least some curls.

I saw Cheeni Kum and found pony tails sexy. I officially declare myself as a fan of Tabu, hereafter.

I caught up with Jack Sparrow, seated between two 11 year olds, pointing out Keith Richards to them and urging them to explore Rock music.

I saw Shrek 3, and went awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww... over him.

I met up with my batchmates. I am looking forward to meeting them again. And again.

I get to pack my bags on a regular basis these days, thanks to my job।

And I started a photo blog to post the snaps here

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sounds of beauty

If you are reading this blog, then you probably see beauty in everyday life than experience it in other forms. But at times, the sounds of world do have their own ways of creating goosebumps in your brain. Try these sounds, you may like them.


The low rumbling of imminent rain, which after a few seconds transfer into a rainstorm.

Best heard when you are sitting in a courtyard with three open sides, just a roof to protect you from the rain, earth and plants all around in breathless anticipation. Drink to have in hand is kanji (rice brew) , coffee, spice tea or hot soup. For better experience, sit somewhere where the rain droplets can just miss you. The best companion is someone silent, like a dog or a cat.

Best experienced during Kerala monsoons, India- 2006.

The namaz from a mosque.

There is nothing as pure, or as hard hitting produced by humans as listening to the namaz which come to you from nowhere. Though I don't understand Arabic, any rendition beginning with Allah Akbar instantly transports me back to my childhood. The best place would be a desolate area, with just the prayer connecting you to humanity.

Best experienced in Bhubaneswar, India - 2007.



Wind washing the leaves.

Best heard when hiking through a forest, thick fog making it difficult to see anything one feet away from you. For added adrenalin rush, make sure that you are trekking through unknown mountain foot-wide path which drop down to a deep valley.

Best Experienced in Yerkadu, India - 2002.




A single church Bell.

Best when coupled with antique churches which stand in solitude. The single bell provides an experience that a cascade of them cannot match. Also listen to the echoes die away for the complete experience.

Best heard in Goa & Kerala.



The inner depths of an old palace courtyard / temple / museum.

It is not about the sound, but the lack of it. If we really listen in these places when the clatter and clutter is over, we can hear our body. The thumps, the wheezes, the ringings and the rumbles - all voices and noises real and imaginary is great to listen to; and if really lucky, we can have a good chat with ourselves without any agenda.

Any other sounds I should be listening to? Don't tell me about songs - song lists and instrumental music list will be up in sometime.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Food for thought

The one time when I realized that I do not have an iron stomach was when prawns caused me to puff up. The my juniors were being placed for their summer internships, and I had went to partake a meal offered by a company for my help to run their process smoothly. Never mind that they are on the other side of the fence now.

Being a mallu brought up on everything that lives on water, I did not think twice about eating as many shrimps as I can. However, that night I woke up from my sleep feeling choked. My entire body ballooned up, my oxygen supply was cut off. Just like that, my love story with prawns came to an end.

You win some, you lose some. Jamshedpur also exposed me to my first taste of olives. Pickled olives; to be more precise. I love both the black and green ones. Ironically, I started loving olives as they reminded me of the ten-for-50-paise packs of pickled wild berries which used to entice me on my way back from school.

Caviar was very much looked forward to - as I was brought up on regular encounters with cod liver oil and fish eggs from childhood, I did not have any enemity towards it. Also, the umpteen English short stories that I read from childhood made me realize that caviar was it. So when I had the chance, I had it with gusto, much to the awe and disgust ( in equal parts ) of my friends.

Paani puri will always have South Indian memories associated with them. It was a Tam who has introduced me to them, converting them to lunch from the lowly status of a snack. I was beyond my impressionable years; but Macchan gulping down one after another as if there is no tomorrow made me want them. Years later, I have not yet converted them to lunch, but hey; they are good for dinner.

Corn on the cob was another western dream. I don't really remember the first time I enjoyed it, but it is an all-time favorite now. Its cousin pop-corn - now him I loved so much that my early years at the movie theater was not complete without a few packs of the same. Movies, for a long long time, were incidental images which provided an occasion for me to eat popcorn. At the age when some kid learn that there is no Santa, I learned that you can buy pop corn from places other than movie halls.

Candy floss was a guilty pleasure as it was deemed everything bad. All the more reason for it to hold special significance for me - the first time I bought it without hiding it from the powers that be was when I was living away from home, and earning on my own. Freedom tastes sweet, with a hint of artificial colors.

However, there is always one western food I never took a shine to. An unexpected windfall through a competition gave me some serious money. Not so subtle hints from my mother dictated that I take my cousin out for lunch. She - my mother, not my cousin - wanted to go to one of the better places in town. They had just introduced burgers, the first in town. When my mother and me - two of the sincerest wannabes ever born - tucked into the burger, my cousin; all of four years pronounced " This is just a cutlet between two pieces of bun!"

That wisdom of four years was lost and he is not an addict of the same cutlet between buns. However, whenever I see a hamburger, before I can salivate at it, a little boy tells me with incredulous, aint-you-fools-to-fall-for-it eyes:

"Its just a cutlet between buns."

Bon Appetite!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Nothing but the truth...




Why did I not blog for almost a month?

I was making a note of all pubs I will visit in a few months time...


In a beautiful country which may adopt me...


After discovering infinite shades of blue and green,


I went to a dusty place in Mumbai, where monkeys chased me and my friends like vampires in some B grade movie...

We had to run shout and throw stones at the simians. Sorry SPCA; it was either fight or flight.

Then sleep, eat, sleep, gossip... some days of lazing around with one's gal pals...

Oh... did I tell you about the rafting days thanks to my employer? Bless them all!


After the travel, it was back to work... some more meetings, catching up with friends, some good and not so good movies...

Now after another trip to College Street where second hand book sellers invite me to ferret into their hordes and hand me their mobile numbers; where they had me profiled so much that they know exactly what price I will give them,

I guess I have answered life's call.

Let me have those experiences for myself. I wont be sharing them with you; well - atleast for now.

You want to see more pics, let me know.

And yeah, I know the formatting sux. :-)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Virtue of Selfishness

It is always difficult to type the first word, letter. Often your heart pulls you back, telling you not to kill or maim others and to thread softly so as not to disturb them. As a result, the anger and rage get suppressed somewhere within.

But someday, I dream take time out to be offhandedly cruel as per the society norms. Someday, I will stroll to my own rythm, think about myself, my happiness, my life.

I am happy when I am free. When I am not bogged down by the proclamations of love which family and friends use - often unknowingly - to send me on a guilt trip. I keep returning the favours which I never asked for in the first place; keep holding a candle for friendships that I know had withered away. In order to own the goody tag, I end up imprisoning myself.

One piece of advice which I always give my friends is to be selfish. Unashamedly. Gloriously. I want them to look into themselves and find their happiness, their piece of heaven without worrying about anything or anyone else in the world.


But why am I not forcing myself to do the same?

It is okay to think about my happiness. It is okay to say no to people when they are ch****ya kataoing me. It is okay to accept the love and affection that others give me. I dont have to be the person who give more in any relationship. Hell, I can choose not to give at all, if it is not to my liking. I can define my own morality.

I can be selfish. I can cancel out on people without giving any reasons. I can say no when people ask me for my time and money. I can not call up those who will spoil my day or week. I can ignore missed calls or missed buzzes if there is no follow up sms or message. I can ignore the pleas to help and choose not to even remotely think of people who never cared for me anyway. I can walk away frome the mindgames people play without even a goodbye, much less an explanation.

I can think about myself. I can splurge the money that I earn on things that I want to experience. I can dance to my own song. I need not care about looking like a wannabe. The entire world is a wannabe, in one way or other.

I can dream. I dont have to share my dreams with others. I can kick out of my life those people who do not believe in my life and choose to make fun of them. I can get out of dead relationships that do not work for me anymore.

Then I can become a dreamchaser. I can believe that I am God's dearest chils, that I am special. I can be confident that I will get what I want, and can say no to the offers on my quest to Atlantis. Less luggage, faster I travel.

I can do all of these.

Then why dont I?


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My name...

... It defines to an extent what I am.

Mercurial temper at times

Happy and cheerful

Keeps people at a distance - but at the same time warm, giving...

Unique - in whichever way one choose to interpret it

Morbid aversion to cold

A feeling of 'can stand alone' no matter what

Uncomfortable in being vulnerable with others

Do I define my name or did my name define me?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Why I love these movies

Mr Bean's holiday : for that hilarious take on art movies

Dhoom 2: Hritik Roshan's movements

Holiday : Kate Winslet's character

Departed :Decaprio's vulnerable eyes

Pyar Ke Side Effects : Ranvir Shorey and Mallika Sherawat

Mozhi : My love story

Kannathil Muthamittal : My ideal family

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Groovy girl, groovy love

If I ever become famous enough for people to ask me about the souls who are my inspiration, chances are that I may not speak out her name. She is not the one with the greatest talent, beauty or intelligence. She is not on her way to be a hotshot career woman.

But if you ask me, I wish I had her qualities. Or one quality, rather. The courage to love completely, without fear or doubts, ready to not just look over the cliff, but jump down and then soar above.

She had loved a lot, and lost a lot of loves. She had walked with stumbling steps through the fogs of alcohol, heartbreak and trauma. I used to wonder how she coped. I who never prayed for a long long time compromised and told off God in slightly un-parliamentary language.

She went to a mediocre company, which tried to squeeze the very last ounce of life out of her in lieu of a paycheck. She rebelled. Dared not to take official calls on weekends and holidays. Made it a point to party.

It was in one of these parties that she met him. He was visiting our country, and came to the city where she was. Never mind that he was close to fifty. Never mind that her friends were wary. Some expressed it point blank, calling her crazy and stupid. Some remained silent, renewing their prayers, threatening the powers above with bodily harm if she is hurt again. ( I belonged to the second category.)

She went off with him to his country. Caused a small scandal it did, in our loosely knit tapestry of friends, acquaintances and enemies where affairs and breakups are common enough. She got married to him, and her happiness reaches us via her emails and chat messages.

She is in love, and all is well in the world.

I admire her courage to love without reservation, despite the way love had treated her shabbily in the past.

I respect the way she trusted her love to disregard the commonsense and logic which dictated that it was a foolish move.

I love the way she looked past the age and the grey hair directly into his heart.

Cate, I love the way you love him. Here's to you my friend; for a lifetime of love and happiness. I hope I learn from you to love the way you do. That when happiness catch up with me, I am ready to accept it than be afraid of being hurt or hurting and miss out one something really great.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Every lie has an exception

Lie:
"Me? I hate flowers. yuck!!! It's soo cheesy!!!"

Real meaning:
1. Hurmph. You wont buy me flowers. And I wont ask you for them. I have too much ego to do that.

Truth when:
I am allergic to the flowers or flower pollens

Lie:
"I don't like jewelery"

Real meaning:
1. Your jewelery selection sucks. I am not going to wear that monstrosity, even if it has such beautiful diamonds.
2. I hate gold. I love only platinum and diamonds.
3. You think that I am above all these material things. I like that you have put me in a pedestal. Now let me think how I can make you buy me beautiful, shiny things.

Truth when:
You kidding me??????? Stop dating a woman if you think this statement can be true - you are hopeless!

Lie:
"Of course dear, we will do exactly that..."

Real meaning:
1. I don't want to pick up a fight with you on this. But I know exactly how to make you do what I want. You wont even know it, and your ego will be intact ( Fragile thing, your ego!)
2. ...and you will hate it, and then will wish that you had listened to me. I hate doing it anyway.
3. ...and with my passive aggression, I will prove to you why it is a bad idea.

Truth when:
It is something in which I have no interest in, and something which you will do with minimum impact in my life.


Lie:
"I believe in equality of the sexes..."

Real meaning:
1. I will do what I want as I am empowered. But if you do what I don't want you to do, then you are insensitive. You made me cry ( yes, we know you feel really bad when we cry).
2. ...but I still expect you to be chivalrous and pick up the bill, do not flinch or retaliate when I inflict bodily harm with my kicks and talons, and open the door for me and run little errands for me.
3. ...and misusing it to my advantage.

Truth when:
I am a heroine from an Eric Segal novel who is the epitome of self sacrifice and completely guileless.


Guys, feel free to provide timeless female cliches... will try to decipher them for you...


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Just like that...

Often, when you give up on life, life doesn't give up on you.

It hits your heart and head smack on and leave you zonked with the twists and turns that it bring forth.

I guess it is good to have a wish list and demand things from whomever is supposed to procure it for us - who knows, they may come true.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Calm and Sunshine...

Some days back, I was searching for a friend with the same spelling as yours.

You came to the screen, along with him. I send him the message that I wanted to send.

And for one last time, I decided to send you a message.

Without ego. Without hiding my anger. Or frustration. Of feeling stupid about the time I was not really in my best behavior. About the fact that I regretted that I said what I said and did what I did. Without glossing over that fact that you do mean something to me. Without forgetting the fact that I too, mean something to you. Remembering the good time we had. Doing a little bit of emotional blackmail in the process. Reminding you our deep friendship.

The next day you email me as if nothing has happened, asking for my mobile number. Three years since you talked to me; even though I had dropped seemingly offhand messages in your web page. You chose to ignore them. You too are an egotist.

I don't know when you are going to call me - probably in another two-three weeks? But I am happy that we have started talking again. After three years, what is two or three weeks between friends?

You brought out the most unselfish side of me out. You taught me to care for another person without caring about myself. You taught me about controlling my temper, overlooking faults. You also taught me about not losing my identity. You believed that I would do an MBA from a half decent business school - something a girl from a small town engineering college did not really believe in. I know that you have more faith in me than I have in myself.

Although the past years, our common friends have talked to me about you in an offhand way. They who knew how deep our friendship was. Each time, I did not talk more about it. To think that I could have met you when you were in this country... but no, my ego demanded to be fed.

I missed you my friend. I missed our esosteric discussions. I miss our intellectual duels on all the hazy subjects in the world. I miss getting mad at your deliberately scathing comments about women and all capitalistic endeavours. I miss getting worried over you, and fighting with other for you.

I am greatly looking forward to pull your leg about the fact that you are working in USA. Ha! Touche!!!

As I had told you, I have changed. Hair and clothes became shorter. Developed a taste for alcohol and bratty behaviour. Stopped thinking in our mother tongue -now I dream in English. Stopped being scandalized on seeing people have a beer and started enjoying single malts & t.

I wish I could meet up with you and swap stories over a drink or two. But for now, I am glad that we are starting chapter II of our idiosyncratic friendship.