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Sunday, May 25, 2008

I want...

The earth to just stick its head in a full bathtub and stay there till the bubbles stop. Then of course it is free to slump down involuntarily.

Bah.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Madras Memories

When I was around 6 years old, I had a drawing contest in school. I was to draw the three bears from Goldilocks. You spent hours looking for a picture of the three bears for me to draw from. You tried helping me draw it properly. In the end, you ended up drawing it for me. It was quite good.

I had no cable TV as a kid, so whenever I stayed at your house in Madras, I would park myself in front of the TV everyday and watch Cartoon Network from 9 am to 9 pm, till it changed to TNT. You would get amusedly exasperated.

You made me help you pluck mangoes from the tree growing in your garden. We used a big stick with a hook on it. We plucked chickoos too. We also watered the garden with the whole family. You showed me different plants and told me about them. It was fun.

You would make all sorts of spicy powders and pickles almost every week. When I was there at your place, you would fill up big Bournvita containers with them, place them in cardboard boxes (it would take at least 2 boxes to fit them all), tie them up with green thick twine, using a staple machine of some sort to hold it together, to take them home. If we were not in Madras, you would courier small packets of powders in big envelopes. It was hilarious. I always wondered what would happen if it was intercepted and someone suspected it to be gunpowder and drugs. For the record, they were all delicious.

You would use any and every occasion to send a cheque. Be it my birthday, or new year, or Tamil new year, or any festival whatsoever. Invariably, there would be a cheque in the mail, sent by you.

You would give me books to read. Soon, we started exchanging books and discussing them. You were one of the very few adults I discussed books with. And especially even authors like Sidney Sheldon. And definitely the only one above 70 years of age. And you were the most interested one of the lot.

You could never sit still. If you got bored, you would roam around the house fixing things you suspected needed fixing. You were usually right.

You were the head of the proverbial family. You ran the whole show. You made right out of wrong. You helped everyone in the family, and not just those who asked for it. You were the most concrete of them all.

I’m sorry we couldn’t discuss that last book I lent you. I’m sorry you suffered so much. I’m sorry that it was so painful for you. I’m sorry that it had become so that you couldn’t even make pickles and fix gadgets anymore before you left. I’m sorry you’re gone because I’m sure you would worry about the ones you left behind. I sure do.

I’ll miss you Jai thatha. More than you would have thought.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Great Eastern Ramblings: Part V - Back to the heat

Day 8 - Gangtok sight seeing

Nice. I saw monasteries with tiny little monks and old old monks. Both are adorable! I saw a bunch of girls come to visit the monastery, dressed in minidresses and stilettos. Quite stupid considering it's a place of worship situated at quite a height and one has to climb for a good 10 minutes to get there.

Apart from that, the interesting sight I saw was a bunch of fish grazing on grass... Cute.

Day 9 - Way back home.

This was one of the most frustrating days ever. In case you didn't know, I don't have much patience. And this was the day I had to take a flight from a tiny non-air conditioned humid airport to Calcutta airport where I had to wait for a good 6 hours till my next flight home. Not fun. Not the best ending to such a brilliant holiday. If not for a trusty BlackBerry, I might not have survived. But hey, you gotta keep the balance, huh? Oh well, back to the humidity and heat of Bombay. You gotta love it :P

I'll end the series with a picture I took of a road sign. Slightly mis-quoted but you get the gist of it.


And as I told a friend of mine, if you don't see Sikkim before you die, you should kill yourself.
:P

Great Eastern Ramblings: Part IV - Top of the world!



Day 7 – Natu La Pass

It’s the pass that also serves as the border between India and China. We start off. We’re right in the middle of a cloud. I think we’re almost there. But to my surprise, 40 more km to go. Yikes. This place must be high.

Steep steep roads. Very very narrow. I wonder how they were even made. The roads I mean. Unbelievable, people actually live at those heights. I saw many random houses with laundry hung outside and a kid playing outside and nothing is sight for miles. Quite surprising. As we go higher, it gets wayy cold… We stopped at some place and hired huge fluffy long jackets. Mine had BAD BOY written on it in big red letters on the back. Hehehe.

We reached the pass and snow everywhere! That was the first time I had ever seen snow so I was excited to say the least.. and promptly started a snow fight which lasted till we left the place. The pass is the most gorgeous thing I have ever seen. For 14,200 feet above sea level, it was also the highest meal I have ever had on solid ground. There were Indian soldiers who looked amused, and Chinese soldiers, who looked thoroughly bored. I don’t blame them. All they see all day are tourists who treat them like animals in a zoo ogling them and saying hi to them. Oh, but the view is beyond gorgeous. It was like sight seeing in heaven! And I sure got delighted to see smoke coming out of my mouth. Or whatever you call those fumes. I was soon puffing away like a chain smoker :) The place is too beautiful to describe effectively…

Then we go to Baba Mandir. I was under the the impression that you see one temple, you’ve seen them all. And I still stand by that. But this temple is an exception. Its in the honour of a soldier who died and someone dreamt that he wanted a temple built and it became like a shrine. What’s interesting about this temple is that people say that someone has to wash and iron his uniform everyday because it gets crumpled and dirty. He even gets a salary and regularly gets promotions! Hahahahahaha! Strange but very interesting.

On the way back down, we stop to return the coats. I see a yak for the first time ever. Oh they are cute!! Look so gently confused at something.. oh adorable.. :) I had the best momos I’ve ever tasted and had thukpa for the first time (noodle soup- Tibetan dish). And trust me, having momos and thukpa which are piping hot at 13000 feet near the India-China/ Tibet border while sitting in a hailstorn which converts to a rainstorm while its freezing outside is like nothing else. Seriously. The cute old lady who made the food kept jabbering away in some language, maybe Nepali while we understood about half and tried to reply and keep up with her.

Random sights were also seen such as continuous signs on the winding road such as Speed thrills but kills (ok…), Be soft on my curves (ahem…), Drive like hell and you will be there (chuckle..), On my curves watch your nerves (hehehehe) and Road is hilly don't be silly (hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!); a goat wearing a raincoat; and a dude looking gorkha guy who was perched on a rock and winked at me and blew me a kiss as I sped past, obviously enjoying the sight of my eyebrows shooting up into my hair. My insides were already very warm due to the Tibetan food, and my cheeks promptly followed suit and joined the club :P

Whatta day... :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Great Eastern Ramblings: Part III - Wet, Wet, Wet

Day 5- Kalimpong.

Ho hum. Can afford to miss.

Day 6- Gangtok

Transit: Kalimpong to Gangtok. The driver is a dude in cargos and glares who could not talk in a more tapori way if his life depended on it. Chatting non stop with my dad and practically saying “Abeyy uncuuul!!!”, he talked about how Calcutta weather sucks, how Bombay taxiwalas looted him once and rafting. On and on about river rafting. I had tried the previous day to convince dad to go rafting but to no avail. This guy was better at this it seemed. The marketing went on and on for 30 kilometres, maybe more. Then he just did not give my dad a choice. We reached the river Teesta and he just parked the car at a place you could get a raft and got his friend to give my dad all the info. Me; all this time I was sitting and silently laughing my guts out to see my dad handling the tapori rafting agent with his less than perfect hindi, hoping he would agree. He is left with no choice but to agree, what with an overenthusiastic driver, an enthusiastic daughter and a not-unenthusiastic wife. Off we went. I won’t even describe it. I can’t. The river is beautiful and the experience is exhilarating and thrilling. That’s all I can say. Oh yeah, one more thing. In our raft were 4 guides, all around 20 years of age. They were fun. Not only did they keep pushing each other out and start impromptu water fights between themselves and with us, but they also saw their girlfriends across the river and screamed out “I love you!!!” for the whole city to hear. Yeah, they were fun. After rafting, we are of course soaked to the skin. We meet the driver again. I thank him for convincing my dad where I had failed. He is amused. I praise his advertising and marketing and wonder aloud what his commission will be. He is embarrassed and sheepish.

1 thing did amaze me. I’m shocked my parents actually came rafting. Especially my mom who gets scared even when a new born puppy so much as glances in her general direction…. :P

The Hotel: A bellboy bore the interesting name of Antaryami. The managing director of the hotel was called Diamond Oberoi. That itself made my day.

More on Gangtok later.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Great Eastern Ramblings: Part II – Green Day


Day 3 and 4 - Darjeeling

Sights and Sounds: They say that the best part of the journey is the journey there. I couldn’t agree more… The mere ride to the Darjeeling and the hotel was the most beautiful thing about it. I discovered that I absolutely love hairpin turns, which there were a lot of, and that I would love to be on the back of a bike when taking those turns… Green everywhere. Steep roads. Very steep roads. Little kids in school uniforms walking and walking for half the journey there. No wonder they all are so thin. Babies and toddlers looking like proper dolls. Wanted to pick them up and put them in my bag to take home. Tea plantations everywhere on hilly slopes. People with baskets plucking them. An occasional hen clucking and rustling about in the tea plants! Little houses all the way up with loads and loads and loads of flowers at each and every porch. Look like little toy houses. Not to mention the famous toy train that stops at little toy stations which dotting the place. The tracks of the train go all over the place, in the middle of roads, through gardens, right at people’s doorsteps… Its cute how it goes anywhere and everywhere… you hear the whistle of the train and to the side of the road :)

The people here would have to be excellent drivers what with such steep roads and hairpin turns. And they go FAST! Mom was hanging on terrified while I… I love speed in all its definitions (except for the auto fuel and the narcotic, and that’s only because I have no experience with those two.)

People: Real friendly. Girls are beautiful here, really, with their clear skin, long hair and Jamini Roy eyes. Guys look good too, only so many of them are the wannabe dude types with baggy jeans and spiked up hair… Sigh.. Oh well… But several did remind me of Bhaichung Bhutia and a certain cute bartender that I keep bumping into ;)

Animals: All animals in the city, and in the other places I went to (Kalimpong and Gangtok) look like they have just come out of a spin cycle in a washing machine. Very fluffy… especially the dogs...

Also, all the stray dogs here look like pets. As in I am used to seeing scrawny hairless dogs roaming on the streets but here, fluffy healthy almost pedigreed dogs roaming around… surprising…

The hotel I was staying at had 3 dogs. 1 was a very grouchy Lhasa Apso which I heard had bitten over a 100 people… so I stayed away… the other 2 were some rare Russian breed, named Peter and Lillian :) which climbed all over tables and ate leftover food.. I discovered the owner of the dog and his son and chattered away about dogs and even forced the son to click a photo of me and the dogs, later to realise that they were the owner of the hotel and his son. Well, ignorance certainly is bliss.

Apparently having discovered a love for all things mammalian (especially small and mammalian; those specimens get me cooing like a lovesick cuckoo) I went around the city petting any dog, cat goat, horse and human baby that came in my way while my mom looked on in a mixture of fear, disgust, concern, disbelief, consternation and amusement!! If you didn't get the emotions involved, you're not even human. But if you're mammalian, do come by for a pat on the head.

Customs: In all the hotels we went to, we were draped with a small silk scarf, and given a drink. This was served in a tiny goblet and looked like cough syrup. Surprisingly, it also tasted a lot like cough syrup. Only like cough syrup with a liberal shot of vodka in it. It warmed you from inside like a mini fireplace in your tummy. In that cold climate, it felt heavenly albeit wierd. Later I discovered that it was non alcoholic cherry brandy. How on earth that could have been non alcoholic, I am still left wondering…

Miscellaneous: I faced a personal mental trauma that day… After nearly 20 years of seeing my dad with his mustasche, he went and nicely neatly shaved it off. After fuming and lamenting, several wisecracks were made about putting on excess skin and too many square metres of face, and we all moved on with our lives… People adapt… who knew… :P

We visited the “Mall” as the locals affectionately call their market. It is a quaint little street filled with small shops and street shops. Peacefully noisy and teeming with “stray”dogs and monkeys, it was awesome… a far cry from the malls we all know and well, do love :P

Ever heard of excessive virtue? I experienced it. In the form of a bookshop so brilliant and fascinating that I left without having made a single purchase. Too much of variety :S

Good Morning!: Next morning we get up very very VERY early to see the sum rise over the Kanchenjunga. We race the sun, try to overtake it, but oh.. too late.. when we reach the point, the sun is there waving cockily to us. But the mountain sure is gorgeous…

Then a roadtrip… we reach the Indo-Nepal Border. Beautiful and freezing with drops of rain as big as bullets. We even pass through Nepal while driving. For moi, who has been only in 2 countries in her whole life, it’s a big deal. Bear with me. I was surprised though… I was under the impression that borders were more stringent and that one would have to pass through loads of barbed wire and guards to even go near another country.

Next stop, a place called Merrick. Has a very pretty lake and dense green forests. The whole area of the north east looks as if someone sprinkled magic dust on it and willed every possible square inch of the place to be as green as possible, with trees on ferns or flowers or even moss! With a kaleidescope of flowers to match, it’s quite lovely.

Darjeeling- A lovely green quaint city with tiny winding lanes that make you constantly unaware of where you will land up.

More later.

Great Eastern Ramblings: Part I - Can we leave now?

Day 1 and 2- Calcutta

In Transit: Landing in Calcutta is a pretty sight since all you see is little houses with lots and lots of coconut trees in the middle. Looks like a little village in Kerala! We’re on the way then to the company guest house when I see an ad for Big Bazaar which states "Isse sasta aur kahaan milega?" In that sleepy state of mind (I had slept for a total of 2 hours before being rudely awakened so we could catch our flight) the 1st thing I think of is that ad that warbles "Hum hai naaa" (The product eludes me. It might have been a bank...)

In the taxi I can think of only one thing. What horrible horrible horrible weather. If it had been any more humid, I’d have to protect my ears from passing fish :| After almost 75 minutes in that infernal vehicle, in the glaring sun, I was hoping to die a fast and painless death. We reach the guest house finally. I'm still alive but not particularly happy about it. We go to the guest house which has 2 cooks for us 3 little people, who start blushing royally when we praise their food (or should I say knightily keeping in mind it is IPL season).

Sights and sounds: Being right on Park street, I get super delighted at the sheer quantity of street food! Being a person who cud survive on this alone (to the horror of my parents), this was my best impression of Cal yet. Seeing a familiar sight, I point out a sign to my dad... I say "look, LST!" (referring to my former law school entrance coaching class.) My dad looks, smiles and nods. After a minute, he descends to earth and says "What??? LSD???" Sigh…………….. A couple of sheepish smiles at people who are staring at us and we speed off…

Tourist Attractions: In a nutshell. Indian museum sucks. Victoria Memorial is awesome. Town hall is very interesting. Belur Math is amazing. Dakshineshwar temple is filthy and not maintained at all. Am not much of a museum person.

Random Perceptions: Off the top of my head…

  • Calcutta has at least 6 types of buses. I counted.
  • The puchkas are nice but I think I prefer the pani puris of Bombay.
  • The street food culture there is mind blowing.
  • I love it that they call their streets Saranis. Like Ho Chi Minh Sarani and Shakespeare Sarani!
  • The weather till around 530 pm is a terrible horrific combo of that of Jodhpur and Bombay.
  • Yummy yummy sweets! Try the Prabhu Bhog at KC Das sweets.. or was they say, K Shee Daash.. really!
  • It might be better than it seemed to me, but I''m so glad I don't live there. No clue how people love the city so much.
Thank you to Sannoy, Snigdho and Arnab for planning out my Cal outing and i pray they don't kill me for my less than enthusiastic opinion about their city :)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The 1 habit of highly effective vampires

Do you want to be a successful vampire? Do you want to be well-fed regularly? Do you want to get rid of the pesky hero who jumps in to save your victim from having one helluva hickey? If your answer to the above questions is yes, read on!

It's simple. Study human anatomy. Or canine if that's your preference of victim. I'll stick to humans right now.

Has it ever happened to you that you corner your prey who inevitably happens to be a gorgeous young woman, and attempt to feed off her while her screams (capable of shattering Rs. 24000 Armani sunglasses) draw the attention of an unwanted brave man intent on saving her? Usually, this does not bode well in your favour and you're forced to retreat after unsuccessful attempts at muah-hahaha-ing your way back into the girl's neck. How would anatomy help, you ask? Simple.

Corner the girl. Calculate the region where her jugular vein should be or any other major blood vessel. Swoop in. Swoop out.No messy hunting around for the blood while being distracted by the gunshots in your back. There you go.

I really should consider career counselling.

Look what a lot of boredom and a glass of tomato juice can result in... :P

And how's that for my 100th post... :D

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Like duh...

What is the universal language of the world? Lingua duniya if you will.

Stupidity.

Why else would Mr. Bean be so popular and loved world over...?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Puppy Thoughts

It happened when I was 16. Or maybe I was 17. This is the age that I began thinking.

What I mean by that is, only at that time did I actually start thinking. All my major problems in life started then. All my phobias developed then. All my idealogies were formed then. All my major opinions were formed then. Only then did I start getting wayy depressed and exhausted by the sheer quantity that I thought. Only then did it seem a relief to take a break from thinking.

I sometimes seriously wonder, what was I like before that time? How did I even survive? What on earth was I thinking, or not thinking? Right now it seems like I was this mould of a person that needed to be filled out and this happened at 16(17?). How people say that love among the youth is puppy love, I can say my thoughts earlier were similar, meaningless and playing almost no part in the person I became or the beliefs and morals I now hold. Maybe it was better then actually, since I so often tire myself out with all the thought.

Is it just me or is everyone as crazy as I appear in this post?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Height of restlessness: Part II

There's so much to do in life... So much to see, so much to learn, so many places to go... It's such a huge world out there with so many people doing unfathomable things that you might want to do, only you never thought you would want to do those things, that you could, that you should... You've hardly made a dent in the world or any of the things that there are to do. You might not be sure at all about your future (I'm certainly not) but there exist times when you just don't care! But I've heard so much of the things people have done that I could have done and have wanted to do, that it makes me want to rush out there and start now! Sample everything the world has to offer! Or at least, what my city has to offer... I live in Bombay, the most "happening" city in the country. And I've seen practically nothing of it.

I want to go for plays. I want to go for concerts. I want to go for drives by the beach at night. I want to learn how to play more than 4 notes on a guitar. I want to go to a karaoke bar. I want to see people going crazy in a good way. I want to do different things...

Well something new... I typed this one out on a Blackberry... The internet really is the best invention ever. Better than sliced bread. Why is sliced bread supposed to be the best invention ever anyway?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Older Friend Syndrome

A fight to the death. A grueling experience. Draining all your energy, leaving you wondering why you are being put through this ordeal.

Sounds like I'm being made to make wine out of cotton or something doesn't it? But no... all that i just described, is a simple outing with a friend. 2 separate friends to be precise. Why the ordeal? Because they are always excruciatingly sweet. Believe it.

Both these specimens, Sukrit and Saloni, are both older than me. Both of them are working. And both of them feel that it is their responsibility to make sure that I am well fed and what not. Yes... whenever I meet either of them, they feel it is their duty to pay, for me as well as for themselves.

Me, I am a great believer in the "going dutch" system. Works for everyone. But these two are above all that. Be it an expensive lunch at a good restaurant or a simple packaged juice or the rickshaw fare, I am not to touch my wallet. They are the types to pounce on the bill, leaving me holding my wallet in despair, turning their back on me when i try to pay for myself or pay them back. Why this behaviour? As Sukrit put it, "When you start earning, you can pay." I figured this meant that when I start earning I can treat them. But no... Till I start earning, they pay for me too. Call me stupid, but I fail to see the logic in that. A far cry from all my other friends who jokingly try to make others pay for them... These 2 are like mommy and daddy...

So until I start earning, I am stuck going through a traumatic experience in which I yell, scream and cajole to let me my money. And always, I fail. And till that day, these 2 stubborn people shall triumph.

P.S.- I love you guys
:D

"Who am I?" The Canine Perspective OR Mom, what's that animal again?

Silly but logical conversation #29865

Venue- Outside my building.
Protagonists- Brick and me.
Subject- A huge golden Labrador that is my neighbour.

It started with me mentioning that the dog's name was Tiger.
Why would anyone name their dog Tiger? After all, it would mean that you are calling your dog a cat. If knew what his name meant and signified, he might protest mightily. Ok sure a tiger is a magnificent creature, but hey, it IS after all a big cat. So would Tiger be his own worst enemy? Would he get confused whenever he wagged his tail and wonder if he is happy or angry?

Even better, what if there is a little kid in the house who has just learnt what a tiger is. Wouldn't he be mightily confused as to what is a tiger and what is a dog? "If my dog is a Tiger then what is a dog?" Poor confused child.

So... moral of the story... Do not name your dog Tiger. Think of the confusion and trauma you would save both your dog as well as your child (future child, niece, nephew, etc.)

Better yet, just name him Dog. At least it would make more sense.

What is the height of restlessness?

5 feet 8 inches.

Cannot sit still. Do not know what to do. Start something and drop it midway. Want a puppy. Craving a lifestyle change without knowing exactly what that even means.

Don't ask.

Drop that remote!!!

How would life be if you had not yelled at someone 5 years ago? If you had not been utterly miserable 4 years ago? If you had got something you longed for desperately 3 years ago? If you had not made one seemingly incongruous decision 2 years ago? If you had been stubborn as usual and refused to listen to reason? If you had been able to take back something you said to someone once, which made you feel terrible inside?

A whole lot different...

Things we do, so unconnected with anything else, have such an impact on our lives. Things we wish we could take back, show their value a couple of years down the line. Something or someone you wish you could have but fail to acquire, and are heartbroken about, actually show their purpose much later when you are able to attain something much better and thank your stars then.

It's a good thing life doesn't have a rewind button like we so often wish it did. We would miss out on a hell of a lot otherwise.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Poor Grandmom...

Most of the K's in my life are pretty nonsensical.. This one I think began the trend.. another nonsense K conversation (konversation!!) for the masses. Enjoy :)

K: Biased zuccini

Me: Eh?

K: Stop behaving like a biased zuccini… new slang.

Me: Hahahahah! Isn’t that a vegetable?

K: Yes like cucumber. First of all, i dont think zuccini should be a name of a vegetable..... sounds more like a planet or a place in Spain.

Me: Oh yes Spain maybe this originated in Spain you never know

K: But what an obnoxious name for a veggie..like u go to a subway outlet and tell him, yeah please add some zuccini to the sandwich pls.

Me: Hahaha when you said biased zuccini, it sounded like a character name in Harry potter who is pretty obnoxious.. So the whole aura of the veggie is obnoxious.

K: Well, a cucumber at least tastes like what it sounds… A zuccini is nowhere close. It sounds like you are going to eat a city in Mexico.

Me: Another weird name is okra… It just sounds like Oprahs favourite vegetable.

K: Well..... Controversial but still, taking it as bhindi....... its still edible in sound. Broccoli, however the name sounds, does sound edible.

Me: Yeah.. zuccini has too much of an exotic European touch… Sounds like a guy with too much gel in his hair.

K: Yeah..... thats right too..... or something that an old woman would scream falling out of her 3rd floor kitchen window!!! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahaahahahahha!

Me: Why would she scream zuccini instead of help or aaah? Now you’re just being silly… well sillier… oh I know… It sounds like the godfather giving kharcha pani to some guy.

K: No re absolutely not.

Me: It can... very imaginable.

K: I think an old woman falling from her window face down would scream something like zucchini. Not an Indian woman. A Spanish or Mexican woman.

Me: Unless Zuccini was her evil grandson with too much hair gel who pushed her out, why would she scream that??

K: Oooooo good one…that would give reason to the theory.

me: uh huh... yes the guy would have to be evil…Yes and I think the winners are: a place in Spain and the hair gel guy.

K: so instead of a cucumber like veggie, zuccini is the extra hair gelled guy who throws his grandmom off the 3rd floor kitchen window face down… Spanish grandmom to be precise.

Me: Indeed… In a place in Spain which he was named after.

K: We should start a zuccipedia.