Friday, December 12, 2008

Anwesha's law of food making and its subsequent consumption states that the time taken to consume a meal is inversely proportional to the time taken to prepare it and quality of the meal itself, if the quantity of food remains constant.

For instance, I could spend 3 minutes to fry an egg and find it consumed in another 5 minutes, while it would take me 2 hours to make 'mishti-doi' and have it disappear in less than a minute.

So, assuming you want your meal to last as long as possible, cook it badly, put all sorts of unwanted ingredients like 'potol', green beans and cook it really fast. However, note that since quality is an extremely sensitive factor in this equation, do not extend its range so much that your meal finds no takers.

For instance, first time when I cooked one packet Maggi in one litre of water, it took a little more than 3 minutes but nobody wanted to eat it. When I cooked 5 packets of Maggi with the same amount of water, it took almost the same amount of time but was better received.

Lastly, never cook in large quantities. You might find that after a point, people get bored of eating the same meal day-after-day even though it might be well cooked. Results may be obtained by experimenting with a one kilo packet of puffed rice to make bhel-puri on the same evening and expecting your parents to consume all of it.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Cold Play

I have a bad cold and it has set me thinking.

Catching a cold is like catching a butterfly. If you catch it, you've got it imprisoned and its yours for the time until it dies. However, to know whether it's really yours, you should learn to let it go (with the help of Coldarin). If it comes back to you (as soon as you think that you've had enough of those tablets) it's yours. But if it does not come back, you were only dreaming about it on a light-headed midsummer night.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Black is back

Welcome to the new look blog courtesy J seen here hiding behind the transparent coffee cups. It is in testimony to his coffee drinking capabilities that I dedicate this blog to him. While I could not finish the iced coffee adulterated with God-alone-knows-what, J was not to be put down. The picture is a result of our efforts after almost 30 minutes. Its not difficult to guess who crossed the finishing line.



They say if we finish 6 of these, we'll get a free one. That's what makes this exercise so challenging!

Back to the blog, this reminds me of my teen aged days when my wardrobe had four black tops, a few black skirts ( I wasn't into jeans yet) and all my shoes were black. Whether it was a futile attempt to create an optical illusion about looking slim or simply a fad of the age, I'll never find out. Suffice to say, I remember embroidering pink flowers on a black colour rubia handkerchief for SUPW (ofcourse! Some Useful Periods Wasted) and I cried when we had to dye our black cloth in other colours to create the bandhni (tie and dye) patterns. My mother refused to buy me any black coloured woolen garments because she felt that winter was about bright colours and I protested against this curtailing of my freedom of expression. My first pair of sneakers were black and I wanted a cool black school bag that year even though school regulations were blue. In short, I was in love with color black. Like its true physical nature, it represented an amalgamation of all the mysteries of growing up, the invisible thoughts that played in my mind in those formative years, to absorb everything and give away nothing. As this blog takes a dark turn, who knows what secrets will be unravelled. Perhaps, a riddle to be solved or an enigma waiting to be discovered. Keep your fingers crossed and keep guessing...........

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Mumbai, Thou art fled to brutish beasts

In the face of what’s happened to my country a week ago, I still feel shocked and helpless.

I know that no place on Earth is safe.
I have learnt that being a law abiding citizen means nothing.
I have seen that there is no such place as a ‘secure locality’.

Is the future generation of my country going to grow up in the fear that they can never take living for granted?

I thank God every night for keeping me away from death for yet another day. And maybe, this is how I am going to live for as long as they will let me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee

Set in post-apartheid South Africa, Nobel Prize winning author J.M. Coetzee’s second novel ‘Disgrace’ won the Booker Prize in 1999, the same year in which it was published. Such illustrious credentials and sheer curiosity prompted me to pick the book up from a local book-store a few months ago. What I did not expect was a hard-hitting, no-bones-spared story of a Cape Town University College professor, David Lurie, whose life would take a sudden dip into the murky waters of ethical conflicts, post-apartheid violence, and insecurity, finally sinking into a vast lake of disgrace before emerging stronger and more resilient.

David Lurie, who has long been planning to write a chamber opera on the life of the poet Byron, is fifty-two, divorced, lonely and bored. His classes evoke no response from his students and teaching is a mere means of livelihood. A chance meeting with an attractive student in his class leads to an affair, which upon discovery provokes a suspension from the university on grounds of misconduct. As the news spreads round the university campus and makes it to the newspapers, the disgraced professor leaves town to join his young daughter Lucy in the town of Salem where she has chosen to live alone and raise a farm. Life in the farm is sedentary and un-eventful until an incident of unimaginable terror rips apart their lives. Father and daughter are attacked by a band of natives who rob the house, nearly kill him while raping the daughter and leaving her pregnant.

As they struggle to pick up the remaining bits of their lives, David Lurie is tormented by Lucy’s indifference to the incident. She knows the culprits and yet neither she nor her neighbors try to denounce them. As the father of a daughter who has been subject to such a heinous crime, David Lurie is helpless because he was unable to protect her then and avenge the atrocity now. Instead, he watches impatiently, as life gets back to normal in the farm and Lucy decides to go ahead and give birth to the child she is carrying.

Disgrace portrays the angst ridden world of the white population in post-apartheid South Africa. Once the powerful class, they are now the centre of a backlash which they cannot withstand. David Lurie’s inability to come to terms with the power shift and his daughter’s acceptance of the ways of the new country is the totem pole of the novel. The novel examines the sentiments of the native population that is friendly with the white on personal terms but has no generic empathy for the community. Coetzee’s novels typically push the protagonist with their back to the wall only to watch them fight or come to terms with the humiliation and indignation of their circumstances. In this novel, Lucy’s rapist turns out to be the fifteen year old brother-in-law of her neighbor. After the incident, the neighbor offers to marry Lucy even though he has two other wives. He wishes to own her land in dowry and in exchange, protect her from such miscreants in the future. David Lurie who has sufficient money to send his daughter to Holland where she can go back to a normal civilized life has to reconcile with this unusual situation when his daughter accepts the offer.

The analogy between strange twists and turns of David Lurie's life and that of the poet Byron influences the opera that he is composing. Where he once planned to write about the eternal love between Byron and his mistress Teresa, he now depicts pain and agony as they separate and their desires remain unfulfilled. As Allegra, Byron’s five year daughter lies dying of malaria and cries for her father, David Lurie’s own helplessness and frustration at his daughter’s condition creeps in front.

Disgrace is an excellent novel written in a mere two hundred and twenty pages. Coetzee’s deep understanding of Romantic literature and lucid language ooze the right emotions and provide the perfect setting for the story of a father and daughter who learn to put the past behind, after their lives have been shattered by disgrace.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The good, the bad and the desi.

Whoever thought that a silly movie like Dostana could be called 'entertaining' should be refunding me Rs490 for watching it. I was certainly not entertained and more so embarrassed by the excesses of the movie. The sensivity with which they handled the issue of homosexuality reminded me of Michael Jackson dangling his newborn infant on one leg from the top of his hotel window.

Came back completely bored, hungry and almost injured. We were there to watch the movie on the opening day and we literally had to jump ropes and push people to make it to the theatre. And when we finally made it to the hall, the smarter desis who got there before we did, had reserved all the seats. Consequently, all of us friends who had gone there had to sit separately, and that made the movie further unwatchable.

Two days later, I made it again to watch Quantum of Solace. Whoa! I loved the near empty hall and the fact that I did not have to jostle for seats. We got to choose which row we wanted to sit and because it was all empty, we could even decide whether we wanted to sit towards the left of the screen or towards the right. Whatarelief! I loved QoS and I think it had much more to do with the ambience of the hall than with the movie alone. Anyway, Daniel Criag was outstanding as the killing machine and our 21st century Bond isn't looking at women unless it is absolutely necessary. Haa haa haa.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

No solace in USA

Now this one's a rib tickler.

The latest Bond movie 'Quantum of Solace' has had a 'world wide' release, but apparently the USA does not count amongst the countries of the world.

The movie's out and here are some verdicts:

Rajeev Masand

The Sun, UK

We decided to go to the theatres this afternoon after reading the reviews, only to find that the movie would be released a week later.

Friday, November 07, 2008

So a nation comes of age.

Much later than India where a Prime Minister is foremost a learned man and then a Sikh or that a President is more a scientist than a Muslim or that our President finally admitted that she is over 35.

Just watched Pulp Fiction - the movie and loved every moment of it. The profanity included. Maybe, because I am changing or maybe because its such a well-thought of movie.

I once wrote an essay in school and my teacher graded it 'well-thought of'. To this day, I don't understand what that meant. Rumour had it that her highest grade was a 'Wow' which she gave only to one student in her career. ( I don't think my teacher is retired yet.) Since then, I always reserve a 'wow' for things that truly amaze me and even though many of my friends like to joke about the wow, they don't know I spent every moment of my time in the English classes, waiting for the 'wow' which never came.

I went to study in a very conservative convent school. Always the brat, I was often in trouble for "breaking rules" because I didn't know that we were in school and not in Shawshank. Aimlessly roaming on the school grounds after sports practice was against the rules. Waiting for a friend to pack her bag after school, so that we could walk home together was against the rules and fighting with the teacher's favourite girl was equivalent to an afternoon standing on a tool in front of the class. So, when they asked me to do this play, where I was a vagabond who would whistle at the sight of a girl, I practised nothing but the whistle. And on the day of the performance, I whistled a long clear one into the microphone in front of all the staff and children. They called me into the teacher's room that day and the strictest of the teachers congratulated me on the "fine performance". I took a deep breadth and told myself "wow".

Friday, October 31, 2008

And another one

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Mood of the moment

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Before and After

This picture, courtesy J, happened before I started my lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant in the neighbourhood. Chicken noodle soup is always a trusted thing to order, but I was not prepared for a whole of lot of vermicelli floating in water with a few strands of chicken. The menu described it as chicken noodle soup with basil and bean sprouts. Well, they did keep their word, in the plate next to the bowl is what they call bean sprouts. The basil, well I had to put the leaves on my soup myself.
The only thing that I would say for the soup is that it hardly has any oil, so I ate without any guilt, but then it hardly had anything more than hot water smelling of basil.
An hour later, the keen stubborness and soy sauce which had kept me going admitted defeat. The final outcome is below. Thanks again J.




Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkins Ugh!

I have an aversion for pumpkins and I am seeing too many of them around these days. Those orange, tasteless, easily spoilt, strange smelling things are not in my favorites list.

Unless ofcourse if they are made a part of chocchori - that delightful Bengali preparation of potatoes, pumpkin, brinjals (okay, eggplant), drumsticks (not chicken silly - shojne data or saragawa) cooked slowly on fire with green chilies and corainder powder with tumeric, and a dash of mustard paste. Aah what a delight to eat hot chocchori with rice.

But pumkpin other wise is something I stay away from. I once made the mistake of ordering a pumpkin spice flavoured coffee and the taste of it still brings a shudder. I refuse to believe that to the Harry Potters et al, pumpkin juice was something they loved to drink at Hogwarts.

And if people like to carve horrible faces with pumpkins and hang them out in their backdoor to scare little children, they have my heartiest wishes. Pumpkins deserve no better.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Later

Much as I may cringe my eyes, shake my head in disbelief and deny, for most of my life, I have been the quintessential late-latif. My record does not merely say it, it blares it over a loud speaker. At the age of five, I used to swallow food because we folks who were going to walk together to the bus stand got tired of calling out my name. When I went to hostel, I was always the first one to be up and invariably the last one to be ready because I would loiter about the hostel with sleepy eyes not knowing what to do. When we wrote exams, I always panicked in the last five minutes because even though I had run out of answers almost thirty minutes ago, I had been daydreaming for the last twenty five minutes under the pretext of revising my paper. When I started traveling by train, folks in my father's office often complained to him that they had seen me on the platform, mouth full of food, heavy bag in tow, running faster than the train which had just left. And in the evenings, when I had to catch the bus, I was always one of the last few people, once again running and at the same time requesting people over the phone to stop the bus from leaving without me.

Those were the days when I was supposed to be leave home at 7 in the morning. With a pampering mother who would insist on my eating rice, daal and fish curry at 6:45 in the morning, it wasn't difficult to guess why I was getting late every day. I thought to myself, that if I ever got to leave home an hour later, I'd never be late. These are the day when I am expected to leave home at 8:45 in the morning. Most days I wake up at 9. My alarm dutifully reminds me that I have a job to keep, but my brain which usually does not function in the morning finds such comprehension difficult. It only knows to shut the alarm at 7:30. I have spent hours meticulously calculating my optimal time schedule. The last train I can afford to catch, so that I may not be late. The last bus I can catch, so that I reach my classroom a millionth second before my teacher does. The latest time at which I can afford to leave home (traffic delays not included) so that I can reach office just in time for that meeting. I have even calculated which breakfast will take the least time to swallow. The clear winner is no-breakfast. All in vain, I always miss the deadlines.

In the end, I console myself by saying,

"What is this life, if full of care
We have no time to stand and stare"

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The lights in the restroom are fitted with intelligent sensors which diminish the brightness when no one is using the restroom. And when I walk inside like an explorer discovering a virgin land, the lights brighten one by one as if to celebrate the homecoming of a king after fourteen years of exile.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The most extreme form of self control known to mankind is to walk into your favourite ice cream shop without your wallet.

The other known method calls for even greater restraint. Walk into your store when there is an end-of-season discount sale going on, check out the clothes and bags, look at the prices, take a deep breath, pull yourself together and then walk out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Alas Kolkata!

I don't intend to make any political statements in this blog. If anything, this post expresses my personal feelings but not any politicial ideology whatsoever. Having said that, I think I can go ahead and say without any prejudice that I am truly saddened by the fact that the Tatas had to pull out of the 'Nano' project in Singur. For long West Bengal has held the image of being an industry unfriendly state. The labour union is reputed to be so strong that most industries have had to close down. I have spent a greater part of my life in factory quarters of textile units and have been witness to two serious lockouts where we weren't even allowed to go to school because the gates were closed to everyone. I still remember seeing my parents worried because they had not brought enough groceries to survive those two weeks of lockout. I have lived through innumerable bandhs, which we rejoiced as children because it meant a day off from school and lament now as adults because it means having to go to office on a Saturday to compensate for a lost work day. I have known friends who were stuck in bandhs and could not return home at night. I have known my father's colleagues who were injured during factory strikes. I knew that my mother was not too keen on my studying in Kolkata when I finished school because she feared that with all the bandhs and strikes, there would hardly be enough time to attend classes in college. We seemed destined to despair all our lives.

And when the Tatas planned to open a factory in Singur, I thought we spotted a ray of light. This was going to be a new era for West Bengal. The Tatas with a reputation for harbouring the most satisfied employees, doling the best of benefits and with the path breaking 'Nano' car to be produced here, many would benefit from employment and WB would salvage some of its lost pride. It was everybody's win-win situation.

Except perhaps that we cannot please everybody all the time. Such is the bane of democracy. I certainly empathise with the people of Singur whose lands were unfairly taken from them. But why blame the Tatas for it? If anything, the government which allocated land should have accounted for it. Why couldn't the government which is such a people-friendly government clear the land problems first and then give a green signal to industry. We all know that there were several farmers whose lands were sold out to set up the software industry in Bangalore, when they could be compensated generously, can't our farmers in WB get their land's worth? I also believe that if the government gave the go-ahead for this project, then along with the Tatas, the government was equally responsible for ensuring that the project was a success. Political opposition notwithstanding. Today the political situation in West Bengal is such that every act of the government however good is always misconstrued to show the government in bad light. Some political rivals even went to the extent of creating villains not only of the government but also the Tata's and consequently Tata concerns in Kolkata were vandalised last year.

In the end, the Tatas had to pull out and we are now worse than where we started. Its one thing for an industrial giant to suffer financial losses, and quite another for a state to suffer the loss of image. This management disaster will not erased for a long long time. I wonder who will invest in the state after Singur and Nandigram. I am sure the opposition parties are making merry over their victory. I am certain that dying automobile plants in WB are relieved that they can retain their monopoly over the state (even though nobody buys their cars anymore). I wonder who lost in the big run. Will the farmers now get back their land? I believe that the factory was built already, so are they going to break it down and start farming again? Will the government and the opposition ensure that ? What about the loss of business, the economy that was building up around proposed factory. The township that would have developed around the factory that would pioneer the revolutionary small car?

As Bengalis, we will continue to win the small battles, but we will lose the war. We will cry foul when Sourav Ganguly is ousted from the team, but will never wonder why the state could not produce one more national level cricketer. We will proclaim to the world that Rabindranath Tagore is Bengali, but will not be able to protect his Nobel Prize. Sushmita Sen, Bipasha Basu, Anoushka Shankar, Jhumpa Lahiri and even Norah Jones will be feted for the 'Bong Connection' even when little credit can go to Kolkata for what they have achieved in life. Leander Paes may win Grand Slams because of the traning he received in Orlando, Florida but we are proud of our Kolkata boy. We still believe that Netaji Shubhas Chandra Bose will come back. We live in the past and bask in the dimming light. We want winners in our team but we do not provide the winning turf. We dream but we never wake up, because reality is always too stark for belief!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

As long as



I don't care who you are
Where you're from
What you did
As long as you love me

Friday, August 29, 2008

Rock On!

Our Farhan Akhtar who art in the seventh heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy 'Rock On' come
Thy hits will be done
On Earth as it is in heaven

Give us this day our daily dose of good movies
And forgive us our trespasses like 'Bachna Ae Haseeno'
As we forgive them that trespass against 'Rock On'

And lead us not into temptation like 'Singh is Kinng'
But deliver us from evil like 'God Tussi Great Ho'
For thine is the box office, the power and the glory
Forever and ever

Amen.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tagged

I have been tagged by the great Stiletto.

In compliance...

Are you blissfully content?
Yes, if you find me with a chocolate flavoured ice-cream.

You are happiest when...
It rains at night and you can watch the raindrops drip on your window.

The best compliment you have ever received...
"We trust you"

The one Bollywood film you can relate to?
Dil Chahta Hain - I think there is an Akash/Sameer/Sid in each one of us. For the record, I think I am Sameer.

What do you consider your biggest strength?
I remain cool-headed in practically every situation. Anger is a stranger to me.

The one thing that you fear the most?
Confronting the ghosts of the past.

How do you deal with problems?
Umm...I don't deal with them...I run away from them.

Any regrets?
I have hurt too many people because of my habit of letting others control my life and make decisions of my behalf.

Have you ever attempted suicide?
Not yet...and hopefully will never. There is nothing that cannot be settled with a good Dairy Milk bar of chocolate

The wildest/wackiest/craziest thing you've ever done?
Guess its too crazy to be described here, but I know that I loved it while I was at it.

Your deepest, darkest secret?
Whoever tells secrets in public?

Your most embarrassing moment?
Twice I have walked up to customers in stores assuming them to be store keepers and asked where I could find a particular thing, only to get a bewildered look from them and an explanation.

The one person you can’t imagine your life without?
There isn't just one person.

Have you ever really loved a man/woman?
Yes! Thank God I did!!!

The last time you cried like a baby?
Not so long ago.

Have you ever been slapped by a woman? Did you deserve it?
Not quite, unless I want to count school days.

If you had one ‘Genie wish’ granted to you, what would it be?
Hey! can you give me a figure like Malaika Arora when I am 50?

What would you like your epitaph to read?
I don't want to be remembered. I prefer annonymity.

Do you wish to change anything about yourself?
Wish I could be more strong-willed and determined.

Your biggest achievement to date (personal/professional)
To take the most important decision of my life, all on my own and to be able to stand by it.

The one trait you would specifically look for in your life partner/soul mate?
He should be as crazy as I am, if not more. On a serious note, honesty would be appreciated.

Do successful career women inspire jealously and insecurity in their spouses/boyfriends?
I don't believe it.

Chivalry seems to have taken a nosedive. Agree/ Disagree?
Naah, there are loads of nice guys. I meet them everyday.

Would you rescue a woman in trouble? Or just turn a blind eye and walk away?
I rescue anyone in any kind of situation if I can. - I agree with Stiletto.

How comfortable are you mingling with new people in real life?
I am at best prim, proper and formal with them. Don't open up easily with people.

Do you judge people by the way they dress or converse?
The way they converse? Yes, that is my only parameter for judging people. Clothes don't impress me much.

Should one-night-stands be forgiven?
Yes, if it happened out of an emotional bonding.

How do you define success?
Being too euphoric to sleep at night.

How would you introduce yourself to me if we were to meet in person?
:-) Kyaa hum pehle bhi kahi mil chuke hain?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

And now KUSELAN

If watching the Dark Knight was fun, then going to a theater, first day (night actually - in USA they screen the first show at night) to watch a Rajnikant movie (Tamil was never my forte) only proves that I am beginning to lose it. But I had to! Armed with J and A, two of my friends who were born speaking Tamil the three of us made it to the cinema hall with masala tea, cauliflower pakoras and topped our midnight snack with samosas while Rajni proved why he is the best.

Kuselan has a simple storyline (thank God! that is why I could follow it) and has some great actors. I mean when you don't understand a word of the whole movie except the odd 'Sorry' and 'Thank You' you try and check out people's facial expressions to know the story. And Pashupati was clearly the winner. As Bala the poor barber who was bosom friend of now superstar Ashok Kumar (Rajnikant) Pashupati lives the role of the man who does not know how to react when people cajole him to arrange for a meeting with the super star. But how? Bala is a poor man and his once childhood friend is a celebrity and the twain shall not meet. His dilemma clearly shows on his face and his distress is a feast for the eyes.

J&A informed me that because of the Hogenakkal row, certain sections were not going to the release. But wow! what I saw amazed me enough! A bursting theater. Young men in white shirts and dhotis, people screaming shouting and throwing marble paper confetti every time Rajni made an appearance, I have never been through something like this! And Rajni did not disappoint.

Scenes like this:
Demure Rajni is the Egyptian prisoner who is chained and brought in front of the queen (Nayanthara). With the flash of his eyes, he breaks the shackles and his clothes change to that of a prince and then they start dancing.

Another one:
Rajni is a framed photograph and when Nayanthara comes to look at him, he jumps out of the photo, beheads himself in front of her. His headless body runs back to the frame while his head chases Nayanthara through the room. Does it get better than this?

Yes it does:
Rajni is a guerrilla fighter who has been captured by a Japanese opponent in the middle of a jungle. She throws two sticks in two opposite directions and they get nailed to the barks of two trees. Rajni blindfolds himself and throws two knives in the two opposite directions and the knives cut the sticks in half. Our Japanese lady is all ga-ga over Rajni and presumably, they break into a dance soon after that!

Aside all these stunts, I still maintain that Rajni is a fine actor and even though I have never seen any movie of his before, I have seen enough movies in my lifetime to know a good actor and Rajni surely is one of the creme.

As I came out of the hall and looked at the three story high poster of Rajni hanging from the walls of the theater,I could not help but say wow!

P.S. - People tell me that we are supposed to pour milk over his photograph as a sign of respect. Now that's a stunt that matches Rajni's stature.

P.P.S. - for all you Rajni fans

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dark was the Knight

For the record I watched 'The Dark Knight' last weekend and so I can join the elite class who says that it is the greatest movie yet to be made from a comic strip. But if truth be told, I did not understand most of it.

I liked Bruce Wayne. Now that's a guy, handsome, rich, owns restaurants (big plus point where A Chatterjee is concerned) and has blondes hanging out with him in choppers. Wow! I thought it was great that he fell asleep in meetings and his company still managed to make profits to sponsor a bat mobile (someday I shall earn enough to own one) and I think he should not have bothered to save the world (or Gotham) because nothing was going to come of it anyway. Batman was yawn..zzzzz...boring.

I am seriously scared of the joker and more scared of people who liked the joker. But I guess, when you act really well and when its the last act of your life, you will give it your best and hope mankind will remember you for it. Heath L - wow!

Coming back t0 the main point, I liked the cars and parties and the good looking people (Harvey Dent - 9.5/10) but I hardly understood the story. However, since every review in town is giving the movie a 4.5 and since I am a very discerning critic, I shall rate this movie...4.3 just to show what a big snob I am.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mon ami

I guess you can call me a friend if you can wake me up at 3am in the morning and tell me about your breakup. If I listen to what you have to say and then tell you what I think about it, don’t ever think that I am being patient with you. Just know that I care. You can even demand that I drop my plans of going shopping to listen to you talk. Don’t worry that I am missing out on an important thing to do. You are more important than that. Call me a friend if you had a secret that you wanted to hide from the world but were dying to tell me. You know I will never tell anybody else about it. You know I’d feel proud that you trusted me. Or if you bought the latest best seller at a great bargain price and wanted me to know about it…right NOW. I am listening. Or if you spelt your innermost desires and wished there would be someone who made a flying dive across the field to catch them and fulfill them. I suppose you think I am friend enough that I pushed myself from my famous inertia to cook your favorite dishes just because you were visiting us. Because you had fought with your parents and wanted a place to stay. But I never thought that I was doing you a favour. I cooked for you because I wanted you to know that you are not alone. You can call me a friend.


And when would I call you a friend? When I’d think of you every time I could not open a new bottle of tomato sauce - only you know how to do it. Or when you’d send chocolates across three time zones just because I might be in a new place and nobody would know that its my birthday. When you came shopping with me and walked the whole day across the mall even though you did not have anything in particular to buy. When you could drive across the speed limits just in time that I may watch the sunset. Or when you’d call thrice a day inspite of your busy schedule to know if my health was any better. Couldn’t I call you a friend? If I thought of you every time I saw a soft toy dog, I nearly bought one for you that day, but your pet passed away and I could not bear to give it to you. Because you took me to a movie, treated me to lunch and even gave me a gift after waiting for three hours for me while I had nothing to give you but my company. Because I know, you would come running if ever I told you that my bathroom floor was flooded and I did not know what to do about it. Because you could do anything just to make me smile. Make a fool of yourself, sing and make me sing along, listen to me patiently when I told you about my invisible relationships with men and then hold me tight and let me know that things would be alright.

For all the things that you made right…here’s to friendship.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Delighted!

Being inside an automatic car wash facility is like experiencing three seasons at once. I was inside one yesterday and was as delighted as a child.

They start by spraying your car with enough foam to create a soap-snow storm. You can't see what's ahead of you and the conveyer belt simply takes you along.

Then, when you think you're hopelessly lost in that foam, scrub pads that are shaped like giant pine trees (in all colours: red, blue, yellow and green) clear away the soap and brush and clean your car. Its like rainfall in spring washing off all the snow and leaving the sky clear.

But no, your car is dripping wet and you then encounter a blower which like the zephyr winds of summer dry away all the water leaving your car dry, fresh and sparkling!

PS - pity! I was too engrossed to take any pictures. But there will be a next time...hopefully soon!

Monday, June 30, 2008

A few $$$ none the richer

Just discovered a store in this country where they keep DVD’s of Bong movies. Some of them are quite recent, only a year old I’d say. This is certainly encouraging. Better spend $3 on a movie which you can choose not to watch after a point rather than spend $8 not including taxes to watch ‘De Taali’ - where you are one amongst the only six people who made it to the hall. Well, we make mistakes. I was elated to hear about a hall here where they screened only Indian movies and went to watch whatever movie was showing. I came out two hours later with a throbbing pain in my head which happened because I accidentally bumped against the wall in the darkness so that the remaining persons in the hall would not know that I was one of the six who ignored all warnings and watched the movie.

So, this movie has Ayesha Takia, Aftab Shivdasani and the brilliantly under utilized Ritiesh Deshmukh. Aftab (Abhi) plays Ayesha’s (Amu) love interest and I say this because the movie is about Ritiesh (Paglu) and Ayesha trying to get Aftab interested in Ayesha while the bloke clearly likes every other girl in town. Three of them, best friends since school have now grown up and while Aftab gets written about in magazines for his business acumen, he does not even know the address of his office. Ayesha conveniently works in Abhi’s Dad’s (Anupam Kher) office while Paglu is a venture capitalist whose ventures have never made capital. That does not stop Mr. Deshmukh from wiling away his time helping friend Amu win Abhi‘s heart, while his landlord resigns to writing off three months rent in despair.

Enter Kartika (Rimi Sen), the femme fatale who is the thirty second girl to steal Abhi’s heart, the thirty first being the sultry Neha Dhupia who practices necromancy. Former girl friends include drug addicts and kleptomaniacs, so when Rimi is the social worker who courts the disco by the night, Aftab could not have it any better. The two fall in love while escaping the eyes of Amu and Paglu who by the way, are shown to be constantly at Abhi’s side and things come to a state that Abhi decides to marry Kartika much to the dismay of his friends.Paglu tries his best to stop the marriage and when Amu and he learn that Kartika is not really in love with Abhi but only after his money, Amu also joins the struggle. It is literally a struggle because Kartika is always a step ahead of them until they take desperate measures and kidnap her. From here, the movie gets from bad to worse because they try to make a comedy out of the situation while finding out her true identity. Turns out that she is Anjali who comes from a troubled family and has a troubled past and is now bent on marrying an extremely rich person to make amends for all the things that she has been deprived off in life. Too bad, before Paglu can inform Abhi about Kartika’s antics, the hostage has escaped and framed her sad story in such a way that Abhi is more determined than ever to marry her. A last minute change of mind by Kartika saves the day for Amu who has not been much of a hit with Abhi and our lover boy gets a girl (never mind which one).

Well, I have loads and loads of loose strings to tie after watching this movie. The first one is my purse. There come questions like, shouldn’t Paglu be more concerned about finding means of making money rather than spending all his energy uniting his friends? Is it worth kidnapping his best friend’s fiancĂ© just to stop the marriage? Why is Amu in love with Abhi who is clearly interested in every other girl in town and not falling in love with Paglu who is so devoted? Ritiesh Deshmukh clearly has all the screen time. He is a brilliant actor and its time bigger directors took notice. He has been proving his acting prowess for much too long now to be ignored by serious film makers and has definitely grown beyond the slap stick comedies that we are so used to see him do. Personally, I think he would be brilliant in a negative role in some chilling suspense thriller. Ayesha Takia acts well. She is sweet, dances well and manages to hold her own. I only wish she had a better script. Aftab is dead pan as always, thank God he’s not doing a sleazy role in this movie.

There wasn’t much to watch here, but the songs are good. And as one friend put it, we should have spent those two and half hours in the empty theatre playing “kumir danga” - for those who don’t know Bong, I cannot explain this game except that we played it everyday as kids and it needed lots of empty stairs.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The truth about pencil heels and leasing office agents

Pencil heels are no good when you are walking on soggy grasslands or in a sand volleyball court. For one, they tend to sink into the mud or sand whichever maybe the ground beneath your feet and refuse to rise unless you expend a whole lot of energy in pulling them out. With every step that you take, they sink deeper and deeper and with that their resistance grows more stubborn. While you are doing your best to disassociate them from the surface, they make fast friends with the mud or sand and you suddenly find your precious pair of shoes keeping company with wet sand and muck. Try cleaning them while the mud is fresh and you could leave a permanent mark. If you wait for it to dry and pray that it peels off on its own, chances are that your prayers will never be answered.

Therefore, tread carefully. Never use your pencil heels on well polished floors because your centre of gravity make shift places while you were carelessly admiring the latest iPhone 3G. Never try to step into a car located in an uneven concrete parking lot because they make get chiseled. Never step on a soft carpet wearing them, because they may leave marks. Beware on surfaces covered with muslin like cloth, your heels may drag the yarn along with it. Do not step into a flooded bathroom wearing them because while they might protect you heels from getting wet, there is no knowing what may befall your toes.

However, use your pencil heels to express frustration over the agent in the leasing office who does not understand that when the AC in your new apartment does not work from day #1 it’s a result of his negligence and not your ignorance. Put your heels to good effect by raising your feet to the level of your knees and bringing them down on his toes when he thinks you understand everything about capacitors and resistors in centralized air conditions with digital user interfaces. Being dumb has never been easy, but when people take you seriously, don’t just cool your heels, put your action points in service!

Friday, June 20, 2008

I am on my own now and yet I am no longer my own now.

And it feels so good!!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Ultimate Luxury


Work in Process



Finished Goods


The ultimate luxury - uttapams fried in desi ghee - Made in USA.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sometimes you plan for things to work out in one way and they never do. Then in one unexpected moment when you were not looking, all your dreams peep behind you and tap on your shoulder. You turn back to get a glimpse and they suddenly disappear. You are once again left with nothing.

Monday, April 28, 2008




And all who heard should see them there,

And all should cry, Beware ! Beware !

His flashing eyes, his floating hair !

Weave a circle round him thrice,

And close your eyes with holy dread,

For he on honey-dew hath fed,

And drunk the milk of Paradise.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

DST

Daylight Savings Time it has been argued has many benefits in countries in the northern hemisphere where advanced economy and work conditions demand such an adjustment. Suddenly, you wake up one morning at 7am and realize that its after all only 6am and go back to sleep or worse wake up at 7am to realize that it is 8am and you are horribly late. Over the years, people have got used to it and accepted it. But it is not so in India. In a country which spans across three time zones – literally Manipur is to the east of Bangladesh which is half an hour ahead of us and Gujarat is below Pakistan which is half an hour behind IST – we have shown lethargy akin to inertia in implementing this concept. So what would happen if suddenly one day we implemented DST?

The ruling party would lose the next general election. Minorities would move to Supreme Court crying foul over discrimination because many would have never seen a digital watch in their lifetime. The government would pass a law that by March 31st everyone should buy HMT manufactured DST compliant watches which the CPI(M) would oppose as being as being pro-America. Mamata Banerjee would declare a 24 hour bandh in Kolkata which would be supported by all opposition parties. Meanwhile, Titan would protest over the deal to grant HMT the right to manufacture DST compliant watches. Several MPs would resign and go to jail over the DST contract scam.

When DST would actually be implemented, there would be a grand launch party where Shah Rukh Khan would dance to the songs of his latest movie and say “Kuch aur wish karo, DST karo!” and Amitabh Bachchan would hold a platinum wrist watch in his hands and smile “Do DST ke boondh, zindagi ke liye” The annual Filmfare awards would be held twice a year on DST implementation days which Aamir Khan would not attend because he never believed in such awards while Arundhati Roy and Medha Patkar would stand outside the auditorium and protest that DST would harm the environment. Ekta Kapoor would modify the script of Kasauti Zindagi Ki where Prerna would marry Bajaj in one DST phase and Anurag in the other. Rohit Bal, Neeta Lulla and Sabyasachi Mukherjee would design a DST line of clothes for the next fashion week where Shahid Kapur and Saif Ali Khan would walk the ramp while Kareena Kapoor would cheer from the sidelines. Dev Anand would make a new movie called “Love in DST” starring a 16 year old girl who was born when 6am became 7am.

Our day and night cricket matches would be scheduled by DST and senior cricketers would not play test matches citing injury, while junior captains would declare that only young cricketers whose bodies can adjust to DST will be a part of the team. The hockey and football federations would protest that in addition to giving preferential treatment to cricket, DST was another means to make these sports unpopular. Sania Mirza would be sued for wearing a DST compliant watch sporting the Indian tricolor that would fall from her wrist during a match. Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati would once again team up to face the challenge of playing under DST circumstances. The Indian Olympic Association would declare that with DST, India is now truly world standard, and therefore demand that ‘pittu’ be made an Olympic sport.

The common man would be totally confused because Doordarshan would forget to adjust the clock as per DST while the private channels would remember. Aaj Tak would interview people about how they felt about DST. Vodafone and Airtel would face a network outage on DST days and nobody would know the time. Anil Ambani would buy a Rs. 10,000crore DST clock that he would install outside his corporate office and name it after Tina. The Mumbai Stock Exchange would lose an hour on DST days and people would howl in distress because they lost crores in a bullish market. Government employees would demand and be granted overtime in winter. The chief agenda in the opposition party’s election manifesto would be to have two new national holidays on DST implementation days.


Well, thank God! No one’s thought of DST as yet!

Disclaimer:
This piece was inspired during a conversation with the great Oirpus. Not only is this piece dedicated to him, all litigators are requested to contact Oirpus.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Some of our Bollywood techno music is truly inspired. The opening music of the title song in 'Dus' sounds exactly the same as the graph plotter in office.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bean counting and calorie counting will eventually kill the Bong. I used to love eating my slices of bread with butter and jam on both sides, till I discovered that I was gorging on a heavy duty bread which carried 110 calories per slice while my diet obsessed room mate asked me not to have more than 1000 calories a day! Butter does not find a place in my grocery list anymore, but jam has sneakingly made a place after I decided that I needed an alternative to chocolates. Its jam session all the time these days and as long as I don't know the specific calorie count of what I am eating, I exercise no restraint - pun intended.

Now that chocolate is out of bounds for me, I have been counting the omnipresence of it in my life and suddenly I'm realising that so many things are going to change now!

1. No more chocolate cereal for me - have replaced it with a killer bore of vanilla and almond cereal.

2. Chocolate chip cookies - my best friend when I was
a) Bored
b) Reading a storybook
c) hungry
d) Had nothing to do
e) Depressed
f) Feeling full after a heavy lunch
is now about to give way to lime flavoured nachos. I am already dreading the prospect of getting double depressed by missing the chocolate chips when I am depressed.

3. Chocolate flavoured milk - low fat or plain milk with Bournvita/ hot chocolate/chocolate Horlicks is now going to yield to plain, humble and lowly low fat milk. I cannot think of an alternative right now and that's making me triple depressed.

4. Chocolate cake, pastry and brownies - I don't know how I am going to refuse cake on people's birthdays and play the spoil sport. I don't even know how I am going to sit and watch people eat chocolate cake right in front of me.

5. Chocolate ice cream - I am trying strawberries for the moment. Something healthy and tastes so different from ice cream that it will hopefully help me forget me what ice cream is like. I always detested the shocking pink colour of strawberries but shock therapy is what I am in for at the moment.

6. Chocolate covered doughnuts (sniff sniff! tears) - plain bagels/bread?

7. My favourite bar of chocolate - full milk, full sugar, full fat whatever! - Heaven help me! I really don't know the answer.

I guess you can take chocolate away from me, but you cannot take me very far away from chocolate! Literally, no matter what a store stocks, it always has chocolates. It is impossible to go anywhere without stumbling on some product of chocolate. Even as I speak, I see a chocolate coloured coffee mug right next to me and it is making things more painful than before. As I said, bean counting and calorie counting will kill the Bong someday!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Cool wind in my hair

No Hotel California this one. I have moved into a new room where the heater does not work properly. The previous occupant was a rather "hot" woman who did not need a heater to keep her warm. This coupled with loads of rainfall, temperatures tending to freezing points (aah! I do not understand all the C and F anymore - everything is about how it "feels like") and the fact that I am sleeping on a wooden floor (the people who made this apartment could not afford wall to wall carpets and I cannot afford a bed) has helped me acquire a really hale hearty and healthy cold. I sneeze anytime of the day, my teeth clatter all the time in the cold and I am always shivering and yet I refuse to wear warm clothes because it looks ridiculous when other people around me have started wearing next to nothing clothes. After all, fashion always has a price to pay. This time its in the form of Tylenol.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Table of Content

Back HomeOut Here
Walk on the left side of wings in officeWalk on the right side of the narrow passage in office
Boss yells "Onnesha!@#$ ekhaane aaye"
Me: 'Aaaaaaashchiiii"
JL: Unwayeshea
Me: I'll be rite withya in a moment Jim
Theek achcheAowkay
FilesDaaquments

Nobody asks "how are you" first thing in the morning. Its usually "code ta shesh hoyeche?"
Me: Naa:-((( aaro time laagbe

"Good Morning Unwayeshea. Howeru dewing today"
Me: Guuuud..:-)))))
Lunch - tiffin..Ma ka haath ka khana. sniff sniff!Lunch in cafeteria. Er….does brocolli contain beef? No? then please add it to the topping. Pepperoni is just a cute Italian way of referring to the salt and pepper wala pepper right? Add it by all means!!!
Parties: Coke or Fanta?Parties: White wine or Red wine?
Free cardomom tea from the vending machine. Accompany DJ and SS to the vending machine and yawn while they have coffee.Free french vanilla decaf from the coffee maker or 60 calories per serving hot chocolate which I always have first thing in the morning.
Proxy server blocked: No Yahoo Mail, Rediff Mail…Gmail, Orkut, Rediff Movies, Blogger...
9am: empty office. Nobody around to appreciate your punctuality.8am: everyone deep into work. Gosh! I am late!!!
8pm: sneaking out of office, hoping that nobody will notice.5pm: Bye J :-)))) Have a nyice evening. :-))))
J: Biiii Unwayeshea. Cya tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

;-)

I am now mastering the painful art of killing time while pretending to work. I was always great at staring into nothing for hours and hours together. But now the brain must function overtime to invent work that never existed and act like I am very busy doing it. Greater men and women have done it before me and its now my turn to be baptized in fire. I am sitting right next to the person to whom I report daily and it is my job to convince him that by doing nothing in particular, I am actually doing a great job and adding my bit of kinetics towards pulling his company to the next generation of progress. I have had an easy beginning so far, and I suspect he was beginning to regard me as a genius of some sorts. Then, in a moment of carelessness, I slipped and confessed to him that I did not have much to do. Since then, the chips have been down and my image has taken a beating. But the brain will once again rise to the occasion and find avenues for restoring my reputation as the master of deception.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ducking under pressure

So I succumbed to the delight of grilled duck again last evening and also to tiramisu and chocolate soufflé despite my vows to lay off fat, trans fat, high carbs, low carbs, good and bad cholesterol. I tactfully avoided fiber which I should have gorged instead and grabbed for fried calamari which was now going to glue itself to the rest of my adipose-why don't you just leave me- tissues.

If adipose tissue is so light as to float in air, why are fat people so heavy?

Large chunks of ice float in water, fat also floats on water.

Last weekend, I walked in ankle deep snow for almost an hour and still did not catch a cold. But sometimes, I can just walk out of home in perfect weather and come back home with a cold. Murphy's Law exists. Behind me the skies darken, its going to rain very soon. I don't have an umbrella, but its been a while since I got wet in the rain.

Rain

Sleet

Icicles

Snow

Ice cream - I've gotto stopit now!!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ugh!

I am selfish. Earlier, I would never spend money on myself. Rather, most of it would be spent on buying things for others. Now, it is just the opposite. I am selfishly buying things only for myself, without a thought for others. I am even making excuses for not buying things for them!!! And to think that this is the season for forGIVING

Ugh!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thanks to AB's generous pile of gifts on my b'day among other goodies, I am now the proud owner of a box of premium assorted dark chocolates. My will power is a rocking boat in the ocean of temptation and abstinence. I take a longing look at the chocolates and shut the box. I try and count the calories -the nutrition facts clearly state that they're not enough to make me wrestle sumo after the box is finished- on the other hand, I so badly want to fit into that black and white shirt that is making me look like a puffed balloon these days. My obsession with the chocolates has turned me into a depressed maniac. I devoured 4 chocolate chip cookies at breakfast and a huge chocolate brownie at lunch to forget that box of chocolates. When it did not work, I ate a giant slice of chocolate cake to get over it. But visions of the box linger on. I see it in front of my eyes after every mean, whenever I am hungry and during those malicious TV commercials on desserts.

I am now thinking of meditation and yoga. Maybe Tai Chi and shadow boxing. Suggestions are welcome. Meanwhile that box lies next to me as I blog, invitingly......

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Old Vistas Revisited

Yesterday I ate sushi for the second time. The first time had been in a buffet meal with something of a pretension of a shushi - but yesterday was the real thing. I felt like a cat stealing fish before it is cooked. The Indian palate is such that without a strong sauce (wasabi with soyabean) nothing tastes good. I dipped the sushi in the sauce and gulped it in one go. Aaah heaven!

I had duck for dinner too...a new meat for me. I don't think I liked it much, so I am not very keen on having duck again. I tried Thai pad noodles which was a tad bit sweet. But I have a sweet tooth, so I liked it.

Then I had fried ice cream with cherry sauce. It was like a cresendo of an opera. Could not have asked for more....

Earlier in the afternoon, I managed to drive on the highway, overspeeded and did not get caught.

Must check my stars. Yesterday must have been a good day. The boss left office at 3PM and my home made pasta finally tasted good.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Day after

Age: one more

Location: center of my universe. Away from everyone I care about, yet close to all.

Mood: meditative. Does love at first sight really exist?

I want to: speak my mind.

I wish I could: rewind time and be here.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

How many times can a woman say 'No', when she really means 'Yes'?

I think not more than twice.

For men who don't try a third time, the game is over.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Dedicated to the memory of those who died waiting for the codebase to freeze...

Long time ago, once in my life
When I was unallocated,
I used to lament the lack of work
I was sincere and dedicated.

I used to hope for bugs to fix,
Miles of code to write.
I prayed that someone would notice
But alas! I was denied.

Then one day, they heard my prayers
And the jailor called my name.
Put her in iPub, they need bravehearts there
That prison has earned some fame.

I jumped right in without a thought
Coz where angels fear to tread.
Fools rush in to write TDs,
And FDs tracked in red.

We missed deadlines and ate pizza,
By swimming pools and shopping malls,
We watched blue screens with bated breadth
As boolean logic turned from true to false.

I laboured by the front end then
And by the back end did I toil,
I tried to find a route of escape
By burning midnight oil.

Some dug hard and found the tunnel
And escaped to down under,
Some broke fences and crossed the seas
While we watched in wonder.

The warden frowned on parole day,
"You must be back by COB
There are bugs in your code which need to go,
After all, its your baby!"

I tuned the query and swept the code
At corners you would not know
In vain I lowered the defect count,
The bugs! they would not go.

Now, I know the end is near
For I sigh and cough and wheeze
I lay in waste, unallocated still,
Waiting for the codebase to freeze.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Now-a-days we are playing the uneasy game of Russian Roulette with the coffee karafe at home.

A month ago, upon the demands of my mother, I purchased a wispy thin glass jug with a bakelite top which can be used for making coffee in the microwave. I did not know that it would come to haunt me like this. For this particular instrument is extremely delicate. Too much heat and it can crack. Drop it a wee little bit too heavily and it will shatter. Pour some cold water on it while it is still hot and it will break. Everyday, as we nervously take turns to make coffee with it, we bite our nails not knowing who will be the person unlucky enough to pull the trigger a bit too hard.