Tuesday, June 30, 2009


(Day 19 of 112)

I think the moisture in Bombay has seeped into my brain. I'm out of inspiration for now. Maybe because i'm just enjoying the feeling of being on a holiday and somehow my brain has taken that as a signal to shut down. Either way, im hoping inspiration strikes soon.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Every Year

(Day 17/18 of 112)

It’s my dad’s birthday today. And like every year, this year too we wondered what to get him. He isn’t the partying kind or we would have thrown him a huge surprise party. Nor is he the accessories type of person for whom you can pick up some trinket. Dad is also not part of that category of men who periodically change their wallets, and so he’s happiest with his 8 yr old wallet falling apart at the seams. A tie maybe? Nah. He already has more than he cares to own (or wear). A genuine leather briefcase? My dad prefers carrying his papers in his hand/plastic bag (much to the frustration of all us) because he doesn’t want to ruin all the leather bags he owns (its raining beta, the leather will spoil). A watch? He doesn’t wear one. An expensive, limited edition pen? Considering how careless he is with his pens, he seems fit for those 10 rupee ball points. A new phone? He just bought one. A laptop? There are already 3 at home (not counting the desktop).

So you can imagine how nuts we went trying to figure out something as simple (or complicated) as a birthday present. Finally after going through the above process of elimination, we reached a conclusion – it was either a large bowl full of papaya (something he can live on and eat every single day- and does) or it was birthday safety net we used every single year when we ran out of ideas.

Needless to say we decided on the safety net – Shirts. A white formal shirt and an office shirt. Maybe a party shirt, which for dad would be the white shirt in another colour. No confusion here. We knew the size, we knew the brand.

And like always, this year too when we gave dad his gift, he broke out into a delighted smile. A smile of pure pleasure and happiness. A smile that told us that this was the present he wanted.

These are what family traditions are made of. These things you do every year.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


(Day 16 of 112)

There is this one part of the food court at Inorbit mall, Bombay, which has a variety of men standing around pretending to be busy thinking. In fact so many of them seem to be thinking and looking in the same direction that passersby stop and look around for what seems to be the focus of such intense concentration. I was one of those passersby.

Turning the corner when walking towards the escalators, my friends and I quite literally walked into a relatively big bunch of men who didn’t seem to know each other and each of whom was trying to look invisible. It took one look towards the right for understanding to dawn.

All these men were standing there waiting for their wives/mothers/sisters/friends/girlfriends to emerge from the, they-have-to-go-together-in-a-group-from-where-they-don’t-emerge-for-extended-periods-of-time place, also known as the Ladies Room.

And while they waited, all these men seemed to have the same set of expressions ranging from boredom to an invisible rolling of eyes. And while walking past them, I was sure I felt this strong male bonding amongst those waiting. Something about suffering and misery I guess.

Friday, June 26, 2009


(Day 15 of 112)

The World Wide Web is quite literally exploding with MJ-love. Everyone everywhere (including me) is writing eulogies and bidding farewell to the King of Pop.

Since my moment of mush has passed earlier and I’ve written about Michael Jackson the legend, it brings to mind the more obvious – Michael Jackson the disturbed.

On being told first thing in the morning that Michael Jackson had died, my immediate reaction was “what did he OD on?” And my instincts weren’t wrong. His family has submitted the body for an autopsy and it is suspected he ODed on painkillers.

While his music is unforgettable, Michael Jackson, superstar, started making headlines for something more than his music. He became infamous for his appearance (which changed him from black to white, human nosed to something definitely bestial), his marriage, his dangling children off balconies and lately his dubious activities with children. As the number of controversies grew, so did his music stop. No one had heard a song from the King of Pop in several years.

And so, having a discussion about MJ’s death with my sister and cousins, and agreeing that he was and will always be a legend, the topic was closed once and for all with the question, “after all his surgeries and face transformations, will he decompose?”


That Time of the Year...

(Day 15 of 112)

It’s been raining all day today with a few minutes of no rain and sparse sunshine. If I wasn’t indoors with a book and dry feet, I’d probably be cursing the rain-gods, the municipality and the people in cars. But since I wasn’t out on the roads dancing and jumping my way around mud holes, water puddles and other side effects of the monsoon season, I was all happy and pleased.

The biggest reason for my contended soul was of course the temperature. After being baked and dried in 45 degrees for several months, sitting by the window while a cool breeze and a fine mist of water played across my face was a sheer delight. One of those small pleasures in life you know.

The other reason was, well, gastronomic. Like I’ve said earlier, there is only one true way of enjoying the rains – with a plateful of hot, fresh from the oil pakodas with some spicy homemade coriander chutney. Hmmmm. Add to that a mug of hot tea and you know this is what bliss is.

I do really love the rains.


(Day 14/15 of 112)

From blog posts and tweets to Facebook status messages, everyone around the world is expressing their shock, grief, and above all love for one person. The King of Pop. The one person who’s music still remained more popular than all his controversial behaviour and legal troubles. He who was born black and died white.

Michael Jackson.

In death he unites the world.

In death he is a legend.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


(Day 13 of 112)

I’m still recovering from the shock of it and a little venting here might help speed the whole process.

So this gentleman arrived sometime back with a box of mithai in his hands. I thought I recognised him, but wasn’t sure of it since, if he was who I thought he was, he was a person we met once in a year under extreme duress and even then had only ever seen with a plate in his hand and food in his mouth. 15 secs and 2 sentences later I was sure it was him.

Now my parents weren’t home, and since I’d barely ever spoken 5 sentences to him (the above 2 included), I welcomed him into the living room and ran for my grandmother. Once they were both settled on the couch and there was a general air of discomfort and awkward silence, I sneaked off to my room, hoping the snack I’d just started on was still hot.

30 secs later I hear my grandmother whispering (quite loudly actually), “he’s going”. So I jumped out of my room to watch the aforementioned gentleman struggle to put his shoes on (one of these days I shall write about the Great Indian Pot-Belly and Wearing Shoes). Finally he emerged from somewhere near his knees and on opening the door says, ‘Ok baby, I’m leaving then.”



If it was someone other than my grandmother standing there I could have given this person the benefit of doubt. Unfortunately it wasn’t so. He was addressing me. As Baby. Shudder.

Now, being the understanding person I am, I figured this gentleman must have forgotten my name (it’s also highly possible he never knew my name…). So what? I forget people’s names all the time when I meet them and then I get a vacant look or an urgent phone call. What I don’t get is the urge to address someone as ‘baby’.

I’m a married woman for crying out loud. And even if I wasn’t, I would still be anything but ‘baby’. Annoying woman, loser, nuts, ladaki, fatty, brat, and even psychobabble I can live with.

But ‘Baby’? Gross.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Carrot

(Day 12 of 112)

One of the things the Fellow seems to enjoy doing a lot is playing around with different operating systems. So he switches between Windows XP and Vista, trying to figure which one he likes best. Apparently that would be Linux. How do I know? I’m a captive audience who has no choice but to listen to the Fellow waxing eloquent about how cool it is.

But this is all the past. Lately the new love of the Fellow’s life is Windows 7. Having installed it right before he left for his training course, I only heard about it a few days back when talking to the Fellow on the phone. To summarise the conversation (a long one at that), I was given to understand that Windows 7 is the best Windows operating systems to be released in recent times, it is super cool, awesome, and soooo good. The Fellow also told me he was so happy with it that he hasn’t used any other OS for several days now (!!!).

Even though an operating system doesn’t do much for me, the very palpable joy and excitement in the Fellow’s voice made me smile. And so, in order to be a part of this moment, I told the Fellow that once he comes back, he can install Windows 7 on my laptop so that I can also partake of the awesomeness and coolness.

You would think the Fellow would be happy at the thought of me finally wanting to try new things. But you would be wrong.

F: No no. You stick with your Windows Vista.

Me: But you said it’s nowhere as good as Windows 7.

F: No no. It’s good for you. Don’t get Windows 7.

Me: Arre. But you were just drooling over how cool it is. Why can’t I get it?

F: Because it comes with a warning that install it only if you’re experienced and willing to format your computer whenever it crashes.

Me: Oh. So has your computer crashed so far?

F: No. But they have to give the warning so they don’t get sued.

Me: So no crashes na? So why can’t I get Windows 7?

F: Because it might crash. There is always the possibility.

Me: But you’ll be there to fix it for me.

F: Silence.

Here we have ladies and gentlemen, the proverbial carrot. Now I only wonder who the donkey is.

It Had To Happen...

(Written: 22nd June 09, Day 11 of 112)

Coming back to Bombay after almost 6 months away has been a riot of emotions and feelings. On the one hand there was an almost child-like excitement and nervousness about going back home, wondering how much would have changed and whether anything had remained the same. On the other hand there was the feeling that I’m leaving something behind, something that is more real to me now.

That something is the new life I’ve created for myself. The people I know, the experiences I’ve had, the places I go to, the roads I drive on. This life is what I share with the Fellow and of which my parents, sister, friends and neighbours have no part of. They may hear of it from me. But it’s probably as real to them as a movie.

For me though, it’s a life I have to go back to. Something I’m in fact looking forward to. As much as I may complain about the banality of the people and the never ending round of parties, I’m now a part of it all (maybe not as banal though) as much they’re all a part of my life. These are the people amongst whom I’ve found some nice friends, these are the friends who are testimony to my first attempts at setting up house and being married, these are the people the Fellow works with and these are the people him and I gossip about and laugh at (silently) at all those parties.

So as much as I missed Bombay when I was away (apparent in my cravings for pav-bhaji, bhel and vada-pav as well as reminiscences of fighting my way into Alpha and the local trains), now that I’m here, I feel the pull of all the little rootlets I now have someplace else.

And as much as I fought it, it had to happen.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Eat first

(Day 10 of 112)

I'm in Bombay. Yay.

Let the gastronomic tour begin, starting with my neighbourhood bhel uncle tomorow. This will be followed by other favourites including Crepe Station, Basillico, Gurukripa, Mainland China, etc.

Shopping is also a possibility. I'm thinking Landmark then Colaba Causeway.

After all one has to prioritize right?

Drying Up!

(Day 9/10 of 112)

Seeing as I’m alone (and bound to be missing the Fellow) my mother-in-law calls me everyday to make sure I’m ok and eating properly (well knowing that in all probability I’m not).

Today however, our conversation moved away from my eating habits. Having locked up the house, I’m currently sprawled at my aunt’s. This made my mother-in-law very happy since it meant I was at least being fed several times a day. I of course, had another reason to move here. There was a mouse in the house - under my bed to be more specific. And while I’m not scared of it really, the very thought of stepping on it when I went to the bathroom at night totally freaked me out.

The Fellow told me (during one of my more freaked out moments on the phone) to put out rat poison for the mouse, telling me confidently that it will go outdoors to die. I checked. It wouldn’t have. All that would have happened is that instead of dying in some corner or concealed behind a cupboard, the mouse would have come out of its hiding place and died. This I couldn’t have because my maid was on leave and I really couldn’t stomach the thought of being in the room with a dead mouse on my bedroom floor. And picking it up to throw it out? Shiver. Shudder. Goosebumps. Instead I spread liberal amounts of rat kill before I locked up the place so that any mice who have to die do so in my absence. A day later it struck me that I do have to go back into that house, and if there are dead mice in there…ugghh.

All this I discussed with my increasingly amused mother-in-law who couldn’t help but laugh (lovingly I like to think). And then she told me “Don’t worry beta. You’re in Rajasthan. Even if the mouse dies, it’s so hot that by the time you come back it would have all dried up and you’ll only be left with the skeleton.”

Huh! Doesn’t help ma, doesn’t help.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Oh Bugger!

(Day 8 of 112)

I made lists. I remade lists. I put these lists next to my pillow so that I wouldn’t forget where I kept them. I cross-checked everything on the list twice, before I zipped my bags. I even unpacked a couple of times to make sure I did put in that tee shirt that I really like.

I slept at 5 in the morning because I insisted on doing a thorough job of packing. At 5.30 am I jumped out suddenly because I forgot to put in my hair-dryer. By 10.30 am, my suitcase, handbag, backpack and an assortment of various other smaller bags were ready to start holidaying. At 2.30 pm the chap supposed to pick me up (at 11.30am) finally turned up. I quickly ran around the house making sure I had everything and had done everything on my list (now beautiful looking with check marks all over).

Feeling all smug and pleased, I come to my aunt’s house and decide to get my Facebook fix. That’s when I had my Oh Bugger moment (accompanied by some other words unsuitable for family reading). In all my over-zealousness (or despite it), I had forgotten just one thing – the power cable to my laptop. Sigh.

So here I am, once more racing the battery symbol on my screen. Only this time I can’t blame dust-storms. All I can do is be satisfied with an Oh Bugger (repeated over and over and over again)!

Note: Later in the evening i did go back and get the laptop cables and am now content.

Wet Fish

(Day 7 & 8)

Going away for nearly 6 months is a huge thing, and the last 5 days have been spent in preparing the house for it. So the knick-knacks have all been put away, the refrigerator emptied of anything likely to grow fungus or stink by the time I come back, and the giant cushions in the living room relegated under a bed sheet. I’ve also been putting away all the pillows and blankets inside cupboards, trying to empty the stocks of rice and flour (by giving them to the maids) and sealing shut all the windows in the house. Then there is the car and bike that are to be put under their covers, the random boxes and cartons moved to the store and newspaper stuffed under doors.

Why the neurosis? Because I live in a land surrounded on all sides by sand. This loosely translates into periodic (and lately with increasing frequency and intensity) dust-storms. And for anyone knowledgeable about this natural phenomenon, it means at least a 2 inch layer of dust over everything and mini sand dunes under windows and doors.

Of course, as the Fellow says (in response to my many cribs about packing up the house) when you’re living in a desert, you’re fighting a losing battle. After all a fish can’t complain of being wet can it?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

About Tantrums

(Day 6 of 112)

I’m in the mood for a tantrum. An honest to god, real tantrum, complete with feet stamping, cursing, crying and picking a fight with anyone foolish enough to engage me in any kind of conversation.

Unfortunately I can’t indulge myself today. Not with the Fellow absent. I mean a tantrum is only as good as your audience. And without the Fellow, there really is no point in ranting and raving and using some of my choicest cuss words and wittiest, most sarcastic comments. And since I don’t think the lizard on the wall and the squirrel outside my window would appreciate the complexity of keeping up a tantrum while sounding logical and sane, the only option I have is to sulk.

Here I am, all worked up and ready to strangle someone, anyone, and not a soul in sight. Even my maid would do. No I’m not classist. The lady hasn’t shown up in three days so I have good reason to strangle her (especially with all the dust making my house look like something that should belong on the Haunted Hill, the only thing missing being bats and vampires).

So what with a house that resembles a never being dusted government office, a maid that apparently has decided not to come, and missing the Fellow who isn’t given any time to talk (a pox on his course), it’s no wonder I’m in the mood for a tantrum.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Storm, A New Book, No Street Lights and the Internet

(Day 4 of 112)

Warning: Long Post

Yesterday evening, this desert city I live in currently was hit by a dust storm, the likes of which has not been experienced at least this summer. The very fact that it was a dust storm is sufficient to tell you that the main feature of this act of nature is dust. Lots of it. Very fine, annoying dust that covers every surface it can reach. And since the storm came about without any warning winds or drop in temperature or even cloud cover, everyone was caught unawares. Now in other places this would mean being caught without an umbrella and getting drenched. Here it means having to deal with a half inch layer of dust all over the house.

So there I was, photoshopping to my hearts content and watching yet another rerun of friends on tv, when the house was plunged into darkness (and an odd eerie silence). Then followed, howling winds, rattling doors and creaking windows (not to mention the onslaught of dust). By the time I ran around the house (three times) with a torch and checked on all the windows and doors, dust hung in the air and I was sneezing my head off.

After making sure that the kitchen and dining area was indeed a mini dust bowl, I grabbed a book I had bought just that evening and my book light and sat in my bed room, the only room that was relatively free of dust. While the storm raged on outside and I heard noises that sounded like trees falling over and dogs yelping (I just hope it wasn’t a tree falling on a dog), I was curled up with a book I’d been wanting to read for sometime and a packet of jam biscuits that reminded me of school. Could have been a very comfortable evening but for the AC not working.

A couple of hours later I started feeling hot. It had gotten very stuffy and I could sense the first pangs of hunger. Now since I was alone, there was already little chance of me having anything but a cheese sandwich for dinner. With no electricity, chances were even slimmer. So I did what every good girl does – called my aunt and said I was coming to her house. Then I called the Fellow and told him that I was apprehensive about driving to the aunt’s house because all the street lights were out and it was all very dark on the roads. “So what” he said. “Switch on the car lights and go”. After a little hesitation I agreed, all the while smile broadly because now if I totalled the car (or a cow) I could tell the Fellow he told me to drive when I didn’t want to in the first place. Teeheehee.

So I pack some stuff (the first being my laptop) and go on my way. Even before I’d left the residential complex I live in, I realised how bad the storm was. Trees were uprooted, garage doors off their hinges, canvas tents all over the place. Out on the roads it was pretty much the same except there was water logging in several places and I really enjoyed whooshing through all the water puddles making the water fly all over the place. Of course I was driving really carefully, least of all because it was quite seriously dark and morons driving on the other side of the road, towards me, were all Vitamin-A deficient and their super-high beam headlights quite literally blinded me. Anyways, with a lot of cursing, finger showing, honking, swerving to avoid cows and suicidal cyclists/motorcyclists/pedestrians I got to my aunts house.

Once there I decided to test my latest acquisition – a BSNL data card. Now this could mean one of two things. One, I really was excited about checking the speeds I got with this new card (since it’s so totally not expensive) and two, I was fast becoming an internet junkie who needed her Facebook/Wikipedia/Worth1000/Blogging fix. I’d like to think it’s option one. Unfortunately it’s the latter. Anywho, the speeds were excellent and the only glitch was very low battery life on the laptop. I managed to clatter out half this post before I had to reluctantly switch the system off.

Some 4 hours later (complete with family gossip, threatening phone calls to the toll-free number, improvised fans, sleeping under the stars and cool breeze, reading under a book light and quick messages to the Fellow), here I am, rejoicing the return of electricity by finishing this post and surfing the internet for random nothings. All the while staring lovingly at my BSNL thingy and smiling fondly.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Channeling It all

(Day 3 of 112)

The last couple of posts have been about how the Fellow is away for a long time and how I’m becoming all weepy whiny whilst missing him. Well I’ve now come to a decision about this slow and scary transformation into a…textbook girl – it has to stop.

I’m going to continue missing the Fellow (duh!), but I’m also going to channel all these emotions and I-want-to-curl-into-my-blanket-and-hibernate moments into a creative outlet. I’m going to write. I mean I already do, but seeing as I updated my blog once in a blue moon or when inspiration struck at 3 in the morning, I’m now going to post something at least once a day for each day that the Fellow is away. I’m going to try not to make it all about he who is away for 4 months, but some of it definitely will be, after all he is one of my 4 readers and I cant afford to make him feel all left out and forgotten!

So consider this a warning or an invitation. Either way, be prepared. I know I am.   

Saturday, June 13, 2009


(Day 2 of 112)

The Fellow isn’t here and I have to go for another one of those infernal parties that the people here seem to thrive on tonight (though to be fair, there hasn’t been one in 2 weeks. No wonder people are getting cranky). Now since the Fellow was my only source of intelligent conversation at these dos, I have no idea what I’m going to do for some 4 odd hours. I mean how much can I pretend to be interested in the spider infestation Mrs. X has, or how the creases just wouldn’t be ironed off Mrs. Y’s saree (believe me, I’ve been a forced spectator of such a conversation)?
So what with the Fellow away and me being faced with a night of torture, I’m seriously not in a good mood. Maybe this is how the drinking starts. And the shooting.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 1 of 112

I'm officially bummed out. And its day 1 of 112. 

The Fellow left early in the morning for a 4 month special training/professional (or something like that) course, and the organisation he belongs to (damn sadists), in a bid to add to the stress, don’t allow families (wives, kids, dog, noise) to join the poor unfortunate chaps. Their explanation? None. And since here you can’t really question the authorities, there’s no choice but to suck it up and deal with it.

And I thought I could. I honestly believed I would be able to handle these 4 months with poise and grace. Ha. So much for that. The whole of last week saw me tearing up at the drop of a hat at the very thought of the Fellow going away. “But I’m coming back na” was his way of getting me to smile. Not very helpful since the statement was accompanied by a list of instructions, about paying the bills, taking care of the car, locking up the house etc.

You see I’ve been married just 6 months and some days. So I still qualify as newly married enough to seriously be distressed by 4 months of forced separation (sounds so filmy I tell you). And four months is an effing long time no matter how many people tell you that time flies and all that blah. It doesn’t. It’s another of those things which are designed to lull you into having a sense of false security.

Not that I’m the weepy willowy kind in general. But like I was telling the Fellow, I’ve gotten used to him now and I’m going to miss even the annoying bits (which right now seem very endearing, but I know it’s just a passing phase. I’m not that depressed.)

Of course, the Fellow’s take on the whole thing is that it’s a good sign I’m so miserable. Shows I’m happy. He would have been more worried if I’d merrily wished him good-bye and sauntered off back to bed without a single tear. Perspective I tell you.