Sunday, December 25, 2005

For Sale: extra calories at ridiculous discounts

Someday i wish to meet a charitable anorexic billionaire.

For every extra calorie that I was willing to trade, he could give me a dollar (USD only please!)

I would be a happily rich girl and the fat of the matter would be his.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Now days when I walk down the East Wing of our office building heads turn to look at who is coming. The same happens when I am in the canteen and at the reception area. People in the West Wing are a trifle busy with work, but I have managed to capture the attention of quite a few busy bodies. This unexpected fame is getting on my nerves. I have never been a very high profile person and I shun the limelight as much as I can. I walk as fast as possible and sink into my cubicle, red all over my face. It’s of no use because, the faster I walk, and the more they seem to notice. I hope they will get used to me sooner than I get used to the stares. All remedial measures have failed and I stand at the brink of desperation. I hope there is something I can do about this mammoth issue that is causing me such ignominy.

My shoes squeak.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Winter Carnival

Rather than have the 7:32 dump me unceremoniously, I have decided to initiate the breakup. 7:32 has become the lover who comes two hours after the appointment. You know she will arrive, but when? There is a tryst to keep, but its destiny knows no time.

So i have been quite taken by the 7:20 in the mornings. She is on time and i also get to sit most of the days. It means that i have to get up an extra 15 minutes earlier on winter mornings and get ready doubly fast, but its worth it.

This morning, on my way, I saw a bunch of people from my school, all apparently going to school, but none in uniform. It reminded me of the 'Sunlight' ad where everybody wore coloured clothes to school and pretended it was their birthday. Age is catching up with me because it took me a good 5 minutes to figure out that today is the Christmas party.

In the good old days of the yore when i was in school, came home before sunset and like a good girl shunned the television in favour of home-work in the evenings, winter meant sprucing up the wadrobe because the Christmas party was underway. The last day in school before the winter break was reserved for some wild partying in the school grounds, (yes, we girls jived, rocked and some even slow-danced between themselves - all in good spirit ofcourse) There were ganmes to played, prizes to be won, and lunch. As a one time exception, we were allowed to carry cameras inside the premises ( I am sure, now-a-days they allow mobile phones too on this day) This is the day we all waited for.

As i watched the excitement on the faces of my juniors, i realized how the party meant so much to me. Winter breaks meant visiting my grand parents in Delhi and often i would be whisked away to the station soon after the party broke up at 2PM. The last moments were spent hurriedly exchanging addresses, promises to mail (snail mail for the ignoramuses), New Year cards exchanged, flowers for our teachers and the excitement of a long break ahead where i could sleep late into the mornings!!!!!

Those days.....................

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Society Scandal

Rumors flew thick in the air. The whole society was abuzz. Mrs. Rastogi had not attended Mrs. Malhotra’s pet Pommerian’s birthday complaining of a headache. Mrs. Ghosh whispered, “Even last week, she walked in the last moment to Mrs. Malhotra’s kitty party.” Mrs. Mishra nibbled delicately at paneer pakora and remarked, “That’s because she had to water her Star of Bethlehem’s. She always says that 4pm is the only time of the day when the plants can absorb water.…she called it fotosynthesix.” “Actually,” replied Mrs. Ghosh, “the whole fallout was because Mrs. Rastogi lost to Mrs. Malhotra in the Mahjong party at Mrs. Mirchndani’s”. “Ssshhhhh!” Joined Mrs. Krishnamurthy. “I know the real reason. Mr. Malhotra is soon going to get a big promotion and then he will be senior to Mr. Rastogi.” “Oh! My gosh” exclaimed Mrs. Mishra and Mrs. Ghosh.

It was official now. Cold war had begun. Chintu Rastogi was not allowed to play with Bobby Malhotra. At Pummy’s wedding, Mrs. Malhotra gifted her silver anklets and Mrs. Rastogi hit back with gold earrings. When the Rastogi family decided to spend their summer at Singapore, the Malhotras chose New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Krishnamurthy was doing her best to bring them together. She paired up the two of them in the three-legged-race at her residence on a sunny winter Sunday afternoon. It did not work. She went to Mrs. Rastogi’ place and under the pretext of learning how to maintain Star of Bethlehem’s, tried to gain her confidence. Mrs. Malhotra poured out her heart while showing her how to cook Paneer Butter Masala. Mrs. Krishnamurthy had all the inside dough and people flocked to her for news.

Equations in the company were changing very fast. Mr. Ray the President was about to retire and there was speculation about who would succeed him. Opinion was divided between Mr. Malhotra and Mr. Rastogi. Many said, Rastogi would be promoted over Malhotra and he would be the next President. Mrs. Malhotra and Mrs. Rastogi continued to smile their plastic smiles when they met at parties and grimaced as soon as their backs were turned. Tension was rife in the air.

The day arrived. Mr. Ray was retiring. He would name his successor and a grand farewell party would be thrown at the club soon afterwards. Mr. Rastogi and Mr. Malhotra arrived in office in spotless white shirts and their wives got their best Kanjeevarams ready. Mr. Ray called everyone to his office and said; “The management has decided that in the event of my retirement, Mr. Krishnamurthy will take over as the next President of the company. Mr. Malhotra and Mr. Rastogi will be assisting him. They will both be promoted as Vice-Presidents. Thank you.”

The party was a grand success. Everybody commented on how appropriate it was of the wives of the newly appointed Vice-Presidents to turn up in South Indian silks. Mrs. Krishnamurthy was particularly pleased. She commented on how glad she was to have Mrs. Rastogi and Mrs. Malhotra as her dearest friends. She demanded that they jointly throw a party at the women’s club next week. Mrs. Rastogi and Mrs. Malhotra had suddenly become best friends, together venting their ire against the newly appointed President’s wife. Mrs. Krishnamurthy had the last laugh!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Didn’t I say so?

The whole idea of giving Ganguly a chance to play in the Kotla Test against Sri Lanka was because the selectors succumbed to the pressure of the public. And though our Dada scored only 40 & 39 respectively, he wouldn’t have stood a chance in the next test even if he had made triple hundreds in both innings. He doesn’t stand a chance at the regaining the captaincy nor will he get his place in the One Day team, if the selectors and Mr. Greg-I-hurt-my-finger-Chappell have the final word. Now it seems rookie openers are preferred to accomplished and experienced batsmen.

It’s a pity that cricket today has become so much politicized. I am not saying that Ganguly is the first choice for the team but I am also pointing out that there are some “great” players who have been struggling to get their 35th century and for this record alone, they have been included in the team sans controversy. Zonal politics has taken over cricket and the whole establishment rots.

Saurav, you have been the best Captain India ever had and there will never be another one like you. If you fight back we are with you and if you decide to hang up your boots and concentrate on the restaurant business, we are nevertheless with you!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My beloved,

I have been waiting impatiently for your reply, but there hasn't been any for sometime. So unable to restrain myself, I am writing to you again. At the cost of repeating myself and thereby incurring your wrath, I cannot help but express how much I hold you in awe. When I saw you for the first time across the bus stop, I could not take my eyes off you. It was a cool 18 degrees outside and you were wrapped in a monkey cap, muffler and a pair of gloves. You looked breadth-taking in the jacket which appeared so puffed up that I suspect there were a couple of pullovers hiding behind it. Your leather shoes were being lovingly caressed by a pair cotswool trouser that adorned the drawers that you indubitably wore underneath.

You shivered and I flipped. You sneezed and my heart skipped a beat. That day I decided to give office a miss and crossed the road to your bus stop. I stood behind you and perhaps you did not notice me because of the large ear flaps of your muffler. You moved aside to the ‘chai’ stall and bought yourself a cup of tea. I watched admiringly as you slipped delicately the steaming cup, your body warming up in the process. Your bus had come by then and in pursuit of my newfound love, I also took the same bus, not knowing where your destination was. I saw you taking the ladies seat and even when I stood in front of you, you felt too shy to offer me the seat. Is this what great poets have called love? I took a ticket to Building More just like you did and gazed into fine wefts of your hand-knit cap. When I was in Grade 9, they taught me how to knit a sweater in school. Even though I don’t remember most of it, I could muster sufficient confidence to knit you a woolen handkerchief.

You coughed and sneezed and wheezed. The infection like love spread to all your near ones and dear ones if you count me among them. When like a 6.8 Richter I sneezed in the bus, suddenly I knew that our hearts had connected. I shall always treasure your first gift to me. Days have gone by and your everlasting gift still remains. Do you understand now, why I have not been able to forget you? Mountains may rise and their snow-capped peaks may add more clothing to your accouterments, icebergs may spring between us and freeze us from meeting, chilly winds may test the strength of your wind-cheaters, but if there is the one thing that will always be common between us, it is ‘cold’.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Three Cheers for Ganguly, We Cheer for South Africa.

I did not go to Eden Gardens, Kolkata to watch the 3rd One Day International between India and South Africa. I am not much of a cricket buff, but I do enjoy the spirit with which we get together when a cricket match is going on. I love the fact that offices are empty on the day of a match in Kolkata, that streets are deserted and all roads lead to Eden Gardens. And when I heard that our Project Leader had managed to get hold of tickets to watch the match live, I felt a twang of jealousy.

Not after I saw the news and read the papers the following day.

It had nothing to do with the fact that India lost so badly. We are used to winning occasionally and losing nearly all the time. 0urs is a nation where cricket is the life and soul and a means of escapism from drudgery of existence. We cheer gustily for our team and also for the opponent. Eden Gardens has always been a much-revered ground and the huge turnout is always a big morale booster for the Indian team.

But on Friday, the 25th of November, things turned out to be quite different. The crowds cheered when India lost a wicket and when South Africa hit a boundary. Rahul Dravid was jeered off the field and the crowds reveled in South Africa's victory. Eden Gardens could have been in South Africa.

All this because Sourav Ganguly was not a part of the team. Since when have we become so parochial that we protest with such vulgarity because our local boy is not a part of the team? I am one of those who believe that if Sachin Tendulkar can continue to be in the team despite so many single digit scores in recent times, then Sourav Ganguly - the dynamic captain, talented batsman and bowler who always gets a wicket or two ought to be in the team.

But what pained me was that the Bengali shed his "Bhadralok" image to reveal the beast within. The jeers could have been replaced by silence. There was no need to grab the attention of the world with such a gross act of rowdiness. If our actions have had any repercussions, it has been a challenge thrown by the Selectors in the form of a one-time chance to Dada to redeem himself against the Sri Lankans in the Test Match series. And if Ganguly fails in this do-or-die situation then his career is as good as finished. Isn't it too much pressure for a person to cope with?

When the Metro was unveiled in Delhi in 2000 and the unruly crowds marred the inauguration, noted columnist Jug Suraiyah was all in praise for the enthusiastic crowds in Kolkata who had behaved with so much restraint when the Metro was started here. This is the same crowd that lost all sanity on Friday.

Sourav Ganguly remains the lone sporting icon from the state to have gained international recognition in recent times. To us, he has come to represent Bengali pride. Dropping him from the team was like a personal insult to each one of us. Maybe, its time we realized that sports are a source of healthy entertainment and stop taking it so personally. Stop also to think of the man who has become the centre of so much debate and discussion. Maybe, we should leave him alone and leave him in peace. It would go a longer way in helping him regain form than cheering for his opponents to show solidarity for him.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I go to one of the seven weddings that I have been attending for the past one week.

Everybody looks at me and says "When are you gettting married?"

Old aunties know a dozen men waiting to be cornered by winsome lasses.

Dejected and bored, I take a seat next to a kid.

I ask him, "Which class are you studying in?"

He answers "Class 3. Which class are you in?"