Friday, July 31, 2009


(Day 50 of 112)

The Fellow has been at his course for 50 days today.

I know people say time flies, and while for the most part it has been true (dang people!), there are times when time slows down so much that its supremely annoying and frustrating to say the least.

Not surprisingly most of these slowed down times coincide with situations and events where I really wish the Fellow was there with me. So time goes into slow motion when I’m eating rajma chawal, reading a book on the partition of India (and really wanting to share disturbing facts), watching How I Met Your Mother and Bones, shopping at Colaba Causeway, listening to family gossip, gulping down yum pani-puri, travelling between cities, coming back home (and dreading the mouse) etc.

I’ve been through 50 days of missing the Fellow already. There are 62 days more.


And 62 blog posts.



(July 30th, Day 49 of 112)

Ok, so first I must apologise to Anonymous for not updating my blog yesterday. Next I have to break into a jig because now I know I have at least one reader who keeps check! Yay.

That done, I now know how jail inmates feel, locked up in a cell with nothing to do all day. No, getting arrested was not why I didn’t update my blog yesterday. I felt this empathy towards jailbirds because I spent the entire day yesterday doing more or less nothing. Since my computer was not hooked to the internet, it was like a living being without a soul. Just an empty shell really (this is the dramatic side of me). I was so bored that I was reduced to reading books on my computer – something I’m principally opposed to. I mean, it’s not a book if you can’t turn pages, insert fun bookmarks or take to the bathroom to read!

Now reading books on the computer wasn’t the worst thing I was doing (!!!). It was what I was reading – the Twilight Series – Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I started reading Twilight in Bombay out of sheer curiosity (Robert Pattinson and hot vampires taking up all of Hollywood’s energies made me a teeny bit like George) just to see what the hype was all about. Now as much as vampires fascinate me, the whole god-like description of Edward and the utter bimbo-ish behaviour of Bella was a bit tiring. Also I think Stephanie Meyer has an excellent publicist. It’s also a series designed keeping in mind hormone riddled teenage girls.

Why did I continue reading these books? Well, the option was between watching mind numbingly annoying TV soaps with my grandmother or Bella’s equally annoying whining, I chose lesser of the two evils. Also Edward has some redeeming qualities and there was now a werewolf (!) in the story.

So this is what I did yesterday - fed on a teenage romantic triangle between a vampire, a human and a werewolf. This was followed by an overnight train journey, the most striking bit of which was the smell. But then since my seat was right next to the door (which people insisted on going back and forth through all the time) and the concept of clean toilets is alien in our country it’s hardly surprising right?

This is my excuse for not posting something yesterday – mythical creatures and holding my breath for extended periods of time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gujju Land

(Day 48 of 112)
Am in Ahmedabad. Breakfast was dhokla, khandvi and khaman. Lunch was thepla. And now i'm craving buttermilk.
In the meantime i'm reading the 'Twilight' series out of pure and unadulterated curiousity, seeing as thats all Hollywood seems to be gushing about these days - and Robert Pattinson. And i've come to two conclusions. One, that Stephanie Meyer is not paying her publicist enough because the books are just about eh. And second that Robert Pattinson is so not worth all the hype. He's not even good looking really. Although, to be fair to him, the description of the character in the book is so over the top that he would have to be surgically altered to come close to the divinely chiseled features!
Anyway, between dhoklas, my granny, her tv shows, vampires, werewolves and supremely moronic teenage girls who swoon at the sound of a voice, Ahmedabad is turning out to be not bad. Not bad at all.
Ps: oh there is some totally awesome pickle here which has made the trip absolutely worthwhile. So yay.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

1, 2, 3

(Day 47 of 112)

I've had a pretty long-ish day today, evident in the fact that at 10pm i'm dead tired and am barely typing this out (as opposed to watching How I Met Your Mother on my computer).

I was flying out of Bombay today and my morning was spent in locating random possessions of mine (books, combs, clips, earrings, chargers, clothes etc) that had somehow spread all over the house. Then there was the arduous task of fitting all this stuff into my bags, and since my belongings had tripled since i came, it was no mean feat. In fact, my sister finally packed my second bag, while calling me a moron and a very frustrating packer (and giving me a lecture on how underwear is to be packed as a bonus).

So finally i get to the airport and blah blah blah, find my self waiting to board the plane. This is where i came across 2 buffoons sitting next to me. And when i say buffoons i'm being nice. These guys were the kind who were talking at the top of their voices making sure everyone looked in their direction (of course since they were wearing sleeveless, tight fitting shirts with huge dark glasses and oily, greasy hair, they made sure they had everyone's attention anyway). These buffoons then decide to take pictures of each other posing in their seats. That not enough, when boarding was announced, they all but ran to the gate, pushing and jostling people in their way, one of them an elderly aunty. Morons.

On board, we were greeted by the aunty-brigade: the Indian Airlines air hostesses. Seriously what is with them. Each of them had at least an inch of make up (most definitely to hide their wrinkles). Then they had totally absurd hairstyles which just served to accentuate the fact that there are more grey hair than white, all of which were dyed/mehendied. However wrinkles and bad hairdos not withstanding, these ladies were downright scary. I just wanted cottonwool and the look she gave me was worth at least asking for permission to fly the plane. Of course she probably looked more scary because of her thin, dried up lips covered in bright red goop!

One bag, two buffoons and three scary ladies. I'm now ready for some ice-cream and Barney Stinson.

Ps: Oh and once we had landed, the 2 buffoons were the first to ignore the seat belt sign still on and go and stand in front of the door. Yeah like anyone wanted to keep them back. Unless the air hostess aunties were looking for some adventure.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Nomadic Existence

(Day 46 of 112)

My Bombay holiday has reached its end and starting tomorrow evening I’m going to be in a new city, and 3 days after that, in yet another city. I’m officially a nomad. And since I packed up my house before I left and put everything under dust covers, I don’t even have the pleasure of returning ‘home’ and hiding in my bedroom with my favourite TV show, book and the laptop.

By the time the Fellow finishes his course, I would have lived this nomadic existence for about a 100 days (the first 10 days or so after he left, I did manage to hide in my bedroom). And after he finishes it, a holiday is planned (for him to recuperate after 4 months of physical and mental torture). This effectively means that I’m going to be living out of a suitcase for another 4 months. Sigh. I never appreciated wardrobes and hangars and my very own shoe rack as much as I do now.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Beach, Dancing and Good Food

(Day 45 of 112)

Three reasons why I know I absolutely love Bombay.

I was at a brunch party earlier in the day today. The venue, right at the edge of the beach, was suitably designed to include the water and sand in its aesthetics, making the guests stand for a moment and enjoy the rushing waves hitting the sand and the cool awesome breeze whipping around (not something they would do otherwise seeing as the rat race is on 24x7). I loved being there, so close to the beach, watching the patterns the waves made on the sand and the way children jumped and wrestled around in the water.

Then there was the music and dancing. It was such a pleasure listening to good music on the dance floor. Dancing is just so so so much better if the music is right. And the music was right today. The only thing better than the music, was my friend, who by virtue of being a professional dancer, was a treat to watch on the dance floor. The way he moved (and then caught your hand and made you move too) was, well, fun! *big grin* I miss dancing that makes me smile.

So there was the beach, and there was the dancing. What made the afternoon perfect was the food (and the happy company of course). I miss the good food I get in Bombay. It’s just one of those pleasures that can’t be described fully. Or can it? There is just something in a well made risotto or a lovely aromatic Thai curry which makes me smile. Add to that some awesome blueberry/lemon cheesecake and I’m smiling like a Cheshire cat.

Aggghh. It’s 2 days before I finish my Bombay holiday and I’m already missing it. The beach, dancing and good food are just the beginning of why I love this mad city so much. There is more to come.

One Knot and Two Friends

(25th July, Day 44 of 112)

Yesterday was one of the more interesting Saturdays I’ve had in a long time. To begin with, a wardrobe dysfunction had me testing my will power and more. Then there was a train ride which I enjoyed more I than imagined I would (the heat and people stepping on my feet included). I missed the local train when I left Bombay you see.

Anywho, a cab ride followed taking us to a familiar place through totally unfamiliar roads (much to our delight). This city just has to be loved I tell you. On reaching our happy place (read: favouritest shopping area) we prioritised. We went in search of a shop to repair my wardrobe dysfunction. And when we found the one shop which would supply us with what we needed, we left the old man behind the counter totally bemused (and a little more cheerful I think. We spread joy. Yay).

Having given my will power a break, and then satisfied our hunger pangs (ah!), we went hunting. Starting from one end of the shopping mile (to do the whole thing systematically you know), we went all the way to the end. And back. And then we did the same thing again. Three times. On the way we stopped and checked out earrings, bags, tee shirts, pants, more earrings and even some watches. Oh and there was the footwear shopping which was almost half of our shopping trip. So there was me with my kolhapuri chappals and indecisiveness about what to get (finally buying both pairs I liked. Eh. I’m not going to be in Bombay for several months now, so might as well indulge right?). And then there was the friend who spent a good amount of time figuring out what sized floaters were right for her- much to the exasperation of the sales-guy and the other friend and me. Finally, and after checking other shoe stores as well, we went back to the first store, flirted with the sales guy and made a purchase.

There was only one thing left to make this day complete – a mad dash to the station and rushing to get to a train to take us across town in time to catch a movie scheduled to begin in about an hour. Sounds impossible? Nah. This is Bombay baby! All is possible if only you’re prepared to get into a super-crowded local train and get out while it’s running.

Ah the joys of this city.

Ps: When I say wardrobe dysfunction, I mean dysfunction. Please to note and not confuse with malfunction. That’s best left to fashion shows and anorexic models.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Familar Strangers

(24th July, Day 43 of 112)

I met up with some school friends last night, most of whom I hadn’t met in nearly 10 years. Unsure of what to expect at the beginning, I came away from dinner smiling and nostalgic.

Even though it had been a long time since we’d last known/met each other (and really, how much do you really know about people when in school) yesterday did not have any of the discomfort or awkwardness attached to meeting almost strangers. I guess this was because we spent our formative years together, battling the worst years of our lives together – adolescence.

Last night made me very sure of one thing – being in school together redefines friendships and relationships. It doesn’t matter how well you knew each other in school or how many friendship bands you exchanged. The fact that you walked the same corridors and suffered the wrath and eccentricities of the same teachers creates a bond like no other. Of course it helps that any awkward silence can be overcome (very successfully at that) by asking “so who else are you in touch with?” or “so what is XYZ person up to these days?” These are guaranteed ice-breakers which will ensure lots of gossip (the fun and well-intentioned kind I think), laughter and reminiscing.

Conversation is generally never lacking when old friends meet up. There is too much to talk about – teachers we liked (or actually disliked), punishments we were put through, classmates that we all remembered (some fondly, some, well…, quirky experiences we had with each other (and remembered for no apparent reason) etc. Then there is also the catching up to do – ten years worth of it actually. And though one may gloss over the boring bits, the success stories and happy parts make it to dinner.

Ten years is a long time. Last night made this abundantly clear. I mean, ten years back we were a bunch of bratty, snooty, lazy, smart alecy, and pretty much your run of the mill youngsters (oh and we were also the despair of our teachers and parents. But that’s a given).

Yesterday we were an architect, a taxation lawyer, a dance guru, a designer, a television producer/director and a psychologist turned writer.

Ten years back we were classmates, housemates, teammates. Yesterday we were familiar strangers. It felt good.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fragile and Out of Patience

(Day 42 of 112)

Day 42 today. And as patient as I’ve tried to be (and succeeded to a very large extent in being all grown up and mature about it) I’m now missing the Fellow too much to not throw a little tantrum now and then (mainly for the Fellow’s benefit who listens to me distractedly as he goes about his work, knowing that if he didn’t listen to me, I would never stop!)

It’s not fair. I’ve had enough. I’m no longer enjoying sharing news and gossip over the phone. I want to be there to see the Fellow’s reactions to my incessant talking and then smack him when he continues looking all exasperated and indulgent when I don’t even stop to take a breath. Phew.

I’m tired of this long distance thing now. It was very well before we were married. But now it’s just cruel. It’s doesn’t even help to think of it as a game with a prize at the end (a la A Beautiful Life).

All I want to do is sit with the Fellow doing nothing. It’s just very restful when he is there, sharing the same space, a touch away. Even when we’re at our respective computers being neurotic in our own ways (him with his thousand and one anti-virus downloads and me with my Facebook fix and blog), just the knowledge that he is there to is comforting.

Aaaghhh!! I’m losing patience now as quickly as sand in an hour glass. If the grains of sand run out before day 112, I might just have to courier myself to the Fellow. I just hope they mark the box ‘Fragile’.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Step Foward

(Day 41 of 112)

My life over the last couple of years has been the clichéd roller-coaster ride, with mostly downs rather than ups. Growing up was never so difficult and neither was being a parent. It was a time when nothing seemed to go right and everything was designed to make things difficult. I guess that was a phase that had to be endured.

Over the last 6-7 months life had improved drastically. And yet there was one factor that kept disturbing me. It was something that had to be dealt with patience and understanding and lots of time. This something changed today.

Today a step forward has been taken. I think. It scares and confuses me because I was unprepared for it. And as uncomfortable as my earlier state was, it was something I had gotten used to. And so while this step forward makes me unbelievably happy it makes me even more confused and apprehensive. It’s like I don’t trust myself anymore.

I guess this is what learning to walk is all about. It happens only when the time is right. And you have to take one step at a time. Slowly, carefully, moving forward.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Different Chinese

(Day 40 of 112)

I love Chinese food. Give it to me night and day and I’m happy. Of course this also means that I’m very choosy about where I eat Chinese food and prefer going only to my favourite restaurants.

And then there are days like today where I’m in the mood for something more local. Like Indian Chinese. This is our take on the neighbours’ food. We took their rice, noodles and soya and made it completely our own.

So we have our desi Manchurian and even more desi Paneer chilli which make awesome combinations with fried rice (which is re-ally fried) and haka noodles (with peas and beetroot sliced very fine). Not for Indian Chinese are Chinese greens and tofu and shitake mushrooms. No siree. We’re happy with our paneer and cauliflower and lots of garlic. And the soya of course.

But for all it’s deviation from the authentic, Indian Chinese is here to stay. No fancy restaurants and chopsticks are going to make Indian Chinese obsolete. Too many people love it. And for people like me, it has nostalgic value, making it the kind of food I crave when I’m missing friends and am in need of food for the soul. Much like the local pizza (complete with large amounts of tomato ketchup and grated Amul cheese) found wherever you get Indian Chinese.

The nostalgia and in your face non-chinese flavours are what make Indian Chinese the best. Ok maybe not as good as a masala sandwich or dahi-puri but definitely as much fun.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Song In My Head

(Day 39 of 112)

I have tune stuck in my head. It won’t go away. I don’t even know all (or actually most) of the words either. All I know is the tune. And I love it!! I love singing/humming the words I do know, and though I’m pretty sure I’m getting even those few words wrong, its not in anyway taking away from my enthusiasm and gusto.

And so people in my house have to bear with my breaking into a jig periodically and looking totally goofy (if I may say so myself) while doing it. But I have a huge smile on my face and a bounce in my step. And though it’s usually the Fellow who elicits such emotion from me, right now it’s a song in my head.

Ps: The song is ‘Chor Bazari’ from the yet to be released ‘Love Aaj Kal’. Here is the link for those who haven’t yet seen the promos on television.

Ps2: My sister just told me she has heard the song several times and she cannot understand the words. So I’m totally justified in not knowing the words and/or getting them wrong. But the music is totally jiggable I tell you.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Girls Day Out

(Day 38 of 112)

Today was one of those days that involved all things girly (and some things not so girly). We (my friends and I) started the day with the new Harry Potter movie (my views on that deserve an exclusive post so not much on that here). To put it concisely, we were bored enough to start making after-movie plans while the simple task of hiding a book became a romantic outing on screen.

Anywho, after the movie we decided to go meet another friend (who was smart enough not to have joined us). Our point of rendezvous was Bandra, selected for its shops, all of which are having their annual monsoon sale, making it perfect for a girls day out!

We began small – with the hundreds of shops/stalls/cart on the road selling everything imaginable, right from jewellery and clothes to lingerie and bags. Once we’d had our fill of laughing at the weird stuff on display we went in for a quick lunch – which lasted about 2 hours and was full of gossip, sharing, advice and discussions on late-night south Indian tv channels.

Fed and watered, we emerged onto the roads again, this time laughing ourselves silly looking at the clothes that were draped on mannequins (we were very discreet and not at all mean I promise you.) We also went into several branded shops and alternately loved/hated their clothes and/or prices. And although I don’t like shopping too much, doing it with friends and spending more time in discussing and analysing the clothes rather than trying them out made it so much more fun I tell you!

And so this girl’s day out started with a movie and caramel popcorn and ended with shopping bags full of clothes, footwear and new bags. Oh and loads of gossip and laughter.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Of Sisterly Love (and Disgust)

(Day 37 of 112)

It’s Raksha Bandhan in another fortnight. Usually mum would buy all the rakhis and post/send them with people to the cousins living in other cities as well as have them ready for the few cousins I do have in Bombay. All we (my sister and i) had to do was get up and ready in time on that day, look pretty (duh!) and collect the moolah from our unfortunately outnumbered brothers.

But this year all this changes. I’m married now. This means that the rakhis that I tie (or are tied for me by a stand-in) have to be sent in by me. This involves (a) finding out where one gets rakhis. (b) figuring out which of those places you’ve heard of before and have a good chance of locating on your own. (c) calculating which is the closest to your house and thus can be reached easily. (d) actually going there to buy the rakhis.

All the above steps done, I finally got down to buying the rakhis today. And 10 mins later I wanted to shoot someone. Rows and rows and tables full of rakhis and not one, not one I repeat was the kind you would want to spend any amount of money on. All the rakhis, apart from being highly overpriced, were the kind that could probably be seen from a mile away. No they weren’t big in size – they were shiny. In the gaudy kind of way. Not content with sticking ugly coloured stones on sarees and other female apparel, now they start doing it to rakhis too! And so the choice was getting a rakhi with multicoloured stones strung together with a horribly clashing coloured thread or getting a rakhi with those false diamond like thingies sandwiched between something that resembled gold coloured plastic triangles, all held together by some wool like thread - the kind that itches and leaves a stain on your wrist.

Are you effing kidding me? A100 bucks for an ugly piece of plastic on an uglier piece of thread? And don’t even get me started on the rakhis which have religious iconography on them or cartoons! I mean who wants Shin Chan on a rakhi? Don’t tell me. I know the answer is bratty little boys. I was being rhetorical.

And then to make more money out of gullible (and desperate sisters) they use marketing strategies which are or should be part of B-school curriculum. What they do is hang rakhis on a piece of string across the shop and sell them for Rs. 10. The same rakhis they also put in tiny plastic boxes (or ugly paper boxes with plastic windows) and sell them for Rs. 30. WTF! And it’s not even like the rakhi is anything but multicoloured thread twisted together and dipped in glitter. Sheesh!

So for the record, I’m officially disgusted. I have now come to the conclusion that all rakhis from this point onwards shall be homemade. Just like they used to be when we were in school and had to make rakhis for art and craft. It’s back to basics time now. Sisterly love is not going to be bought in a shop anymore. It shall all be homemade and stuck with liberal doses of fevicol!

Ps: After an hours search I did manage to find some rakhis I could buy without cringing and since I had to send them with someone going out of town this very evening, I had no choice but to buy them. Oh the agony and pain. But for next year it’s homemade rakhis definitely!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys

(Day 36 of 112)

A friend of mine has been trying to get me to watch ‘Coupling’ for years now. I haven’t till date. To be fair to me, I did get the entire series on a trip to Bangkok but a cousin took them and lend them to his friend and I haven’t seen the back of my DVDs since then.

Having had no luck with me, my friend then tried to convert the Fellow. Luckily for him the Fellow loves downloading stuff of the internet and so over several days got the entire series (since my friend is supremely lazy about burning DVDs and giving them to friends who repeatedly beg him to do so).

Now, since the Fellow was very busy with preparing for his course and would sit all day in front of his computer with weird maps and complicated drawings on the screen, the fact that we had ‘Coupling’ on the hard drive escaped both of us. Of course the Fellow didn’t even have the time to watch it, but I did and now I’m sorry I didn’t at least copy it to my external hard drive.

But I digress.

For the last couple of days, the Fellow has been a tad bit relaxed (which is totally shocking him and me both). Apparently the instructors at this course of his are also totally laid back and non-crazy suddenly which brings to mind the use of illegal products. And so, celebrating this sudden break from the usual stress and drama, the Fellow has been watching the movies he has on his computer.

Then in the evening today, he called me and wouldn’t stop laughing. Before I could start panicking about possible brain damage, I heard what seemed like English words. Apparently the Fellow discovered the downloaded copy of ‘Coupling’ and after watching the first episode felt he just had to call me and give me a line by line narration, interspersed with loud, uncontrollable laughter. Now I’m an indulgent wife and all that. But listening to ‘Coupling’ jokes on the phone really didn’t make me laugh as much as the Fellow would have liked me to. I’m sure I would totally appreciate them if I watched the show myself.

And so I told him to take a deep breath, control himself and call the aforementioned friend of mine. After all it did seem like a guy moment and who better to share it with than another ‘Coupling’ devotee?

A few minutes back I knew he had made the call because as soon as I pinged this friend on gtalk, his first words were a ‘Coupling’ joke followed by “ask the Fellow, he’ll know what I’m talking about”, followed by laughter.

Sigh. Boys will be Boys.

Ps: I will watch ‘Coupling’ eventually and I already know I will love it. For now I’m overdosing on How I Met Your Mother.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Eyes Closed

(Day 35 of 112)

One thing I’ve realised after traversing the roads in Bombay after a long time has been that while the traffic has gotten worse and the roads an even bigger disgrace than they were, one thing that has not changed is the attitude of the people.

Nobody trusts anybody on the roads. They see an opening and 20 vehicles aim to get through it. It doesn’t matter that they are cutting lanes and making a bigger mess of the traffic. All that matters is that they get through to the other side before the old sod in the bigger car on their left. If only people trusted each other to follow road etiquette and believe that if they just show a minute’s worth of patience everyone will get through. But that’s too much to ask. If someone is sensible enough to stay in his place and not add to the already terrible jam, the moron in the gigantic car behind him will take it as a sign to rush forward and add his two bits to the big pile of mess.

And if this not enough, the use of brakes seems to have become illegal in this city. Or so I believe. After all no one uses them anymore. And so cars, buses, trucks and rickshaws all swerve and sway and literally scrape through by the skin of their teeth. But no one stops. That’s against their pride and religion apparently. And of course if they stop the result is generally an orchestra of honking from all sides. Then there is the unspeakable humiliation, of having that lady-driver on your right overtake you. Not done you see.

The only thing to do on the roads of Bombay now (and it seems like most drivers are already doing it) is to keep your eyes closed when travelling (but not when behind the wheel). I know I do (again, not behind the wheel). My heart and blood pressure cannot stand the stress of expecting the sound of metal against metal accompanied by a huge shouting match anymore. I must be getting old. Or careful.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I've Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

(Day 34 of 112)

Warning: Long Post

For the last 34 days the Fellow has been away for a professional course. The requirements of the course he is doing are such that he ends up working almost 20 hours a day. A good day is when he manages to sleep for more than 4 hours at a stretch and a brilliant day is when he can sleep a full eight hours. So far there has been one good day and maybe the odd weekend where he got a full night’s sleep.

Needless to say, the Fellow is overworked and sleep deprived. Add to this, extreme stress and pressure, which are apparently as crucial a part of the course as the syllabus, and I am left with hardly a sliver of a husband. From being on the phone all the time during the pre-marriage period, and then being with him all the time the first 6 months of marriage, I now have to live with a 5 min phone call a day, usually when the Fellow calls to say goodnight in a totally beat up and exhausted voice. For all my missing him I don’t have the heart to keep him up to talk to me when I hear that drained and stressed out voice (and the knowledge that while I can sleep till 10am, he has to be up at 5 in the morning).

Instead I’ve adapted. I’ve learnt how to capsulate everything I want to say to the Fellow and say it all in 2-3 mins – the amount of time the Fellow can give to me before he goes back to work/studying/sleep. I’ve also become quite adept at writing interesting and anecdotal mails. And then there is also the blog which I use to vent all my thoughts and emotions.

Until today. Today was like a bonus day for both the Fellow and me. He had a rare day off work and since none of his baggage had arrived (through no fault of his mind you) he had an excellent excuse not to do anything for tomorrow. And so the Fellow called me (from work which was totally a first). And I managed to talk to him for a full 20 minutes before he had to get some work done. But a couple of hours later he called again after he had reached home. And this time he sounded so happy and…chirpy that I got quite worried. After all I had gotten used to a stressed out and exhausted husband and this guy who was singing (terribly off-key), making funny sounds, changing voices, cracking jokes and generally sounding up-beat was getting me really confused. I wasn’t mentally prepared to deal with it. Really.

Then there was also the fact that I was now an expert in speed talking (yes yes, for those who know me personally, even more so than usual). So having a phone call extend beyond 5 mins left me with nothing to say to the Fellow along with leaving me totally shocked and panicked (not being able to think of anything to talk is sacrilege).

All that aside though, I’ve been smiling all afternoon and evening. After almost a month the Fellow had the time (and mental capacity) to talk to me for more than a couple of minutes. More importantly, he sounded relaxed and totally carefree. This was more heart-warming than anything else. Of course I could have lived without the bad rendition of ‘Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer’ but even that made me smile indulgently today. And I got to update him with all the family gossip and get his opinion on things and discuss travel plans and credit cards and gifts for people and oh so much. I also got to sulk a little (a luxury I haven’t had since his course began). Feels good I tell you.

And so I don’t care whether it’s depressing and dank outside. I don’t mind the incessant rain and grey everywhere. I don’t care what anyone has to say, for I've got sunshine on a cloudy day.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Darcy and the Monsoon

(Day 33 of 112)

It’s been raining non-stop now for nearly 21 hours. It hasn’t let up even once. And it’s not the romantic kind of drizzle (which after 21 hours would also be annoying) but is the heavy duty torrential kind which Bombay is (in)famous for.

The cautious, the experienced, the paranoid and the simply lazy have probably stayed home today rather than face the wrath of the rain gods. People like my dad simply took advantage of the empty (albeit very wet) roads and went to work. And now that the roads around my house are looking like Venice without the gondolas, it’s going to give my dad another excuse to stay at work – or buy a new, big car which would be able to get through all that water without spluttering to a stop.

Where do I fit in this very wet picture? Well, I did have some minor plans of finishing work I’ve been postponing for some weeks now. But the rains made me postpone them again today. Not that I’m complaining. I get to stay dry and warm and not have to wade through a foot of water to get to the other side of the road. I also get to curl up with a good book and chocolate biscuits. And the only thing that made this rainy day better was Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy on television. Watching him dive into that lake even made me smile at the water logging around my house.

So now I know that even faced with floods, a torrential downpour, cancelling of all plans and just a depressing dampness and dankness all around, I can smile. Just give me a wet Mr. Darcy. Oh yeah.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Making the Deadline

(Day 32 of 112)

11.58pm: Ok this is simply so that i get a post in for today. And since i dont have the time to type out everything i'm thinking right this moment, this little postlet will have to do.

Basically, i've realised that lately I’ve been putting up posts a day late…a couple of minutes on the other side of midnight. And since it has now begun to affect that bit of me which is more neurotic than anything else, I thought it was time to get serious. I think. Ok not serious. Just a really fast typist. Then another bit of me (the annoying practical one) decides to remind me that since the one post a day was my own decision, i could bend the rules a little bit and not get all worked up. So that just ended up confusing me. It's not good to mess around with the neurotic bit really. Leads to trauma. And so much panic.

For now, I only hope this makes it before 12.

[Note: It did! Yay for super fingers.]

Something Old, Something New

(12th July, Day 31 of 112)

I had my first game of poker today. From knowing only the spelling of this extremely popular card game to being able to hold my own quite well in the midst of experienced players, I’ve come pretty far in the last 5 hours or so. This makes me happy. I tried something new and I didn’t suck!

What made the whole poker experience more fun (and not as distressing or embarrassing as I thought it might be) was the fact that I was amongst old friends, some of whom I’ve known since we were 6 yrs old. And so the cards and chips were just so much friendlier with inside jokes, gossip that’s been doing the rounds since we were in school, new gossip that no one else who wasn’t in school with us would be bothered with, and just the knowledge that we’ve quite literally known each other forever and so losing – badly at that – at a poker game, wasn’t quite so terrible as it could have been.

And so something new and something old together made for one of the more fun and laughter filled evenings I’ve had in a long time. Cheers to that. And all the fake money I made!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Of Dinos and Mammoths. Oh and Sid.

(Day 30 of 112)

So as the post title suggests, I saw Ice Age 3. And the one thing I’m very sure of is that on going home, all the kiddies in the theatre will be asking their parents where babies come from. I just hope the parents are as good at answering awkward questions as they are at not-controlling their progeny and the (rotten) apples of their eyes.

Anywho, leaving non-disciplined children and their mothers/caregivers aside, the movie by itself left me scratching my head a little bit. I mean, why do threequels (a word I made up I think) always have to be about the protagonists having children? I mean, Shrek had them. And now Manny? At least this time around Manny wasn’t doing the clichéd guy-freaking-out-about-becoming-a-father thing. Some small mercy that! And there was some random bit about Diego becoming old and wanting to leave the ‘herd’. This was never explored. So why bring it up? It’s not like the children will really understand the deeper and more complicated emotions involved there. All they want is some physical comedy – things falling on peoples’ heads, people falling on things (and other people), loud noises, crashes, blasts, funny sounds etc. And to be true to the makers, this movie did fulfil all these criteria.

After all, they did put in a lot of dinosaurs, complete with screeching noises, roars, big claws and pointy teeth. Of course the dino babies were totally cute but that’s not the point here. The point here actually is (and this was brought to my notice by my sister since I haven’t read Journey to the Centre of the Earth) that the whole idea of having the dinos living in a parallel world of their own, underneath all the ice and mammoths and other creatures is not original, not to speak of absurd. And definitely not paleontologically or historically accurate. I know it’s an animated movie and all that. But that’s no excuse for confusing our young ones is it?

But even without that, the movie cannot be classified as a children’s movie. Being an animated film doesn’t automatically mean it’s for children. A lot of the themes in the movie involve adult situations (starting a family, giving birth, ‘it’s a boy – no that’s just her tail’ kind of jokes, beyond, one hopes, of children, Scrat falling for the wily tricks of a female, Scrat and the female batting their eyes at each other [after beating each other] etc).

I guess the only saving grace of the movie was Sid. He was the only character who remained true to the original spirit, complete with his goofiness, sensitivity, one liners, clumsiness, talking to self, calling for help, being flung from tree to tree (or skiing down the snow) and of course the sleeping over a rock, scratching his butt and playing caregiver.

So what with the dinos and (soon to be parents) mammoths, I was glad Sid was there to remind us of why we loved the ice age so much.

Only Here

(10th July, Day 29 of 112)

I was out to dinner today with a friend and we chose to go to this relatively upscale Italian joint (which was on my places to eat at when in Bombay). After a good dinner and even better conversation (theological/scientific discussions) as we moved out, I found myself reaching into a bowl near the exit. The bowl was full of sugar coated saunf (fennel) a common enough sight in most Indian homes and used as a mouth refresher (mukhwaas) after meals.

This got me thinking about how India was probably the only place in the world where every restaurant you go to, no matter what kind (right from your udipis found in every bylane of Bombay to upscale five-star hotels), there will always be some version of saunf available at the end of the meal.

So in your udipis you will have saunf given with misri (crystallised sugar lumps) or even jaggery while in your neighbourhood five-star joint you will have a fancier version with sugar coated fennel and maybe peppermints.

Whatever the type maybe, the fact remains that it’s only here can you spend several thousands on a fancy meal at a hoity-toity eatery and still reach out for saunf at the end of it. And it’s only here that you will find the saunf ready and waiting for you.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dry Feet

(Day 28 of 112)

Ever since the rains officially decided to hit Bombay, the same day as I landed here about 2 and a half weeks back, I have managed to not get wet and/or stuck in a traffic jam courtesy water logging. I have even avoided being a victim of mud stains and car splashes courtesy rude drivers.

In another time (when I was less cynical and more easily pleased), much time was spent walking in the rain (and no this is as non-romantic as it gets), enjoying watching other people scamper and flee the water as though it were acid. A lot of time was even spent travelling in the rain. Forced choice and all that since it was either leaking, overcrowded trains or overcrowded never moving from one spot on the road bus. But since we were seasoned travellers (experience making us wise beyond our ages you see) we always carried a Mumbai Monsoon Survivor Kit*, complete with food, phone charger, extra money, plastic bags and socks.

The plastic bags were used to put wet umbrellas in since we were considerate and didn’t want to drip water over people around us, and also to spread out on wet train seats so that we didn’t have to sit in a puddle, the money and the food were for survival and to bribe taxi drivers to take us through water logged areas, the phone charger just in case and the socks so that at least my feet could be dry.

This was very important. Nothing is more annoying (to me) than wet feet or even worse, wet socks. They (the socks) get all horribly squishy and make funny sounds when you walk. The feet feel cold and clammy and get prune-like wrinkles all over. And over the years I’ve realised that no matter how long I spend in the rain (voluntarily or just stuck there), no matter where I am once out of the rain (in the classroom or at home) and no matter how drenched I am, it can all be made ok if only I have dry feet.

So here’s to being smart and staying indoors this monsoon and of course, dry feet.

* - This is different from the Mumbai Monsoon Survivor Kit for people travelling in cars. That includes a heavy object like a hammer or dumbbell to break open the window in case of flooding and jamming of the power-lock systems. It also includes a torch to look for the hammer under your seats. But that’s another story.

Unicorns, Pixies and Blue Candy Floss

(8th July, Day 27 of 112)

Ok, so the first two are fantasy and according to me, blue candy floss is also right up there with unicorns and pixies and elves and magic wishing trees.

Candy floss. Fluffy, light, delicately spun sugar. No childhood is ever complete without at least one (or two) memories of enjoying this sticky treat and giggling with childish pleasure when it melted in the mouth.

For me candy floss belongs to childhood trips to Juhu beach where my sister and I insisted on getting our own stick of pink sugar before we went home. We knew it was unhealthy (pure sugar really) and we knew eating it all in a few minutes was guaranteed to make us feel sick. But we did it anyway. No trip to the beach was ever complete without it.

Today I experienced the simple joy that candy floss can be all over again. And this time it wasn’t at the beach but at a friend’s home. She has a small candy floss maker which is the source of much pleasure and happiness (and not only amongst her kid sister and her friends). So a bunch of us friends spent the evening making blue candy floss and grinning with contentment and surprise at the familiar taste and the sight of our bright blue tongues!

It was an evening filled with unbridled laughter, big grins, lots of blue coloured sugar, and of course childhood memories. An evening which reminds you of the simple joys of childhood and of spending time with friends. Much like the simple joy that unicorns and pixies bring.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


(7th July, Day 26 of 112)

I live in a city where the theatres don’t show English movies. They tried once. 2 people showed up. And so, what with all the bad Hindi movies that were released over the last 6 odd months and no English movies being screened, I hadn’t stepped into a theatre since I got married. Until today.

I now list watching an English movie in a theatre along with some 100 odd strangers as one those small pleasures in life. The kind you don’t appreciate until you can’t do it anymore (forced choice and all that). Even people stepping on my feet was more nostalgia inducing than annoying. And the caramel popcorn! Oh yeah! They just don’t seem to have the concept anywhere else.

And so, I got my ‘watch a movie in a theatre and eat caramel popcorn till you feel sick’ checked on the things to do when in Bombay list. Yay.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I'm Convinced...

(Day 25 of 112)

…that clothes are now being made for people who are not normal.

I mean why will any normal person want to buy clothes that need you to have a figure like Olive Oyl? Eat people! It’s considered healthy. Or why would you pay two grand for a tee shirt that looks like you gave the tee shirt to a four yr old to try his painting skills on? And if that’s not enough, why would any one with any normal tendencies want to wear a kurta which looks like a bead box threw up on it (and that’s not in a good way)?

And don’t even get me started on the jeans bit about it. What is with all these people making jeans? Why the sudden obsession with double coloured, weirdly washed and printed jeans? What happened to the classic denim look? Why would anyone want to buy a pair of jeans which make the wearer look like they have little or no bladder control? And that’s not even the worst part. Can anyone explain to me the (fashion?) idea behind those creases near the crotch that jeans nowadays have? And what is with all the bling people??! As if one shiny sequined butterfly wasn’t enough, they go and put two – one on each back pocket. That’s what I want. A pair of butterflies on my butt. And I’m not even discussing the whole concept of printing flowers and swirly-curly designs on one leg of the pair of jeans. Gross.

So yes. I’m convinced that no longer is it possible for anyone in this city, who has taste and a liking for the subtle, to buy clothes here. Not without cringing at least. Shudder.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


(Day 24 of 112)

And he does it again. Admittedly he could have done it sooner without all those unforced errors. But the fact remains that in this killer 5 set match, there could be only one winner. Roger Federer. Oh ya.

Here’s to 6 Wimbledon wins. And getting back to No.1.

Oh and it was good to see Pete Sampras back at Wimbledon after so many years.

Ps: As much as I’m a Federer fan I think Roddick needs mention here. To be honest to the man, he did play a better game. But someone had to lose so that Federer could win right?

Things That Shoudn't Be Allowed...

(Day 24 of 112)

No. 5

Federer non-fans.

It’s just not right. Unnatural even.

Why Federer? It’s the Wimbledon finals duh. What else can I blog about?

Go Federer!

Shaking My Fist At Murphy...!

(4th July, Day 23 of 112)

My anger at Murphy and all his laws (hmph) is justified.

When I was a size L (threatening to cross over into XL) all the clothes in all the shops I went were for the puny pint sized people. Everyone seemed to be from the land of the undernourished and eating disordered.

And then I decided to do myself a favour and drop the weight.

Now, when I am a size between M and S, all the clothes in all the shops (well one really big shop with a really big sale happening) were for the big sized people. All I could see was L and XL and XXL. I couldn’t believe this was happening. And no, the sale just started so it wasn’t like all the medium sized people came and grabbed already.

When I was large the clothes were made for the tiny. Now that I’m smaller, suddenly big is in fashion.

Are you effing kidding me here!

Friday, July 3, 2009


(Day 22 of 112)

(Warning: Long Post)

I was never a very good student. Mostly because I couldn’t be bothered to try. My mother of course developed hypertension by the time I got to class 10. I blame my teachers. They would keep telling her I could do better if only I wanted to. At 15 I didn’t want to.

Somewhere between then and now I changed. Along the way I tried because I wanted to. And my reward was success. But what has been more rewarding is the pride I see in those who knew me as a bratty teenager. Those who struggled to make me recognise my true potential when they could have given up on me. My teachers. Actually this post is about one teacher.

No, this is not going to be one of those corny teacher adulation posts that make you want to roll your eyes in disbelief. In fact the teacher being discussed and I didn’t even get along when I was in school, not least because I apparently tested his patience beyond control and because he had very little control. And also because student-teacher relationships in school never extend beyond the classroom (except when being punished and made to stand outside the classroom)!

But somewhere between then and now this teacher too changed. I don’t know what brought about this change. I wasn’t even ready to believe it when I heard of it. And then I met him again. By a curious twist of fate, I was back at school. Only this time I was a lecturer responsible for training teachers, and he was now the principal.

After an interesting first meeting (where he seemed totally shocked that I’d managed to get through college and beyond), we started the process of rediscovery. While we would always remain student-teacher, something was different now. No longer were we in the classroom and no longer could the teacher scare me by simply calling out my name.

Over the year (and even after that), both of us realised how much we’d grown up. For me it was quite literal, bringing with it maturity, knowledge, self-confidence. For my teacher it was a growing awareness of anger and rage (among other things) which were being counter-productive (or so I conjecture).

This recognition of how much we’d changed forged a new relationship I think. I was finally able to accept that this was a teacher who only ever wanted to help the students. The manner of doing it may have been different (one not palatable to an adolescent’s hormone and rebellion riddled brain). My teacher was also able to understand that it was never my life’s mission to make classroom teaching difficult. It was just who I was, and still am (inquisitive, talkative and someone who can't hide what she's feeling to save her life!). With a changed relationship and changed outlooks, both of us were finally able to appreciate and more important, understand each other.

Interestingly, these changes have made me so comfortable with my teacher now that I find myself part of serious discussions, many of them ending with me emulating a motivational speaker and being all wise etc. Even more surprising (in a happy sort of way) is that he listens to me and maybe even remembers some of it too.

Today, I value this special student-teacher relationship, albeit formed much after I left school. I may not have handed out any Favourite Teacher trophies to my teacher when I was his student. But I know now (or rather hope) that he knows that trophies tarnish. What we share now is much beyond any token of appreciation. It has its basis in respect, admiration, pride and above all, change.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Catching Up

(Day 21 of 112)

India has finally caught up with the world (at least most of it). With Section 377 not applicable anymore, legally we are no more a homophobic country.

The keyword here is legally. As happy as I am for the gay and lesbian community and the legal recognition they get now (important for co-habitation, managing finances, building families etc), I wonder whether it is as important as social acceptance or even tolerance for that matter.

No matter what the law says, we have already proven that as a people, we consider ourselves above the law, be it wearing a helmet on a two wheeler or beating up youngsters in a public place (and being proud of it). So even without section 377 enabling law-enforcers anymore, I wonder if things are going to improve for this fast growing community of men and women looking to express who they really are.

A law might have changed. But that’s only on paper. It can’t change attitudes and opinions. It can’t change prejudices and stereotypes. It can’t change us into a more accommodating and broad-minded society.

And so, all I have to say, or rather hope, is that this giant step taken up the Indian legal system proves to be a small step towards changing outlooks and beliefs.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


(Day 20 of 112)

Earlier this evening I went to my aunt’s house for dinner. Now since it is the monsoon season and the roads are a big pile of sludge and rain water, I decided to take that handy three-wheeler we like to call rickshaws.

As I entered my aunt’s lane I started marvelling at how wonderful the newly repaired road was looking. Suddenly my reverie was interrupted (quite rudely and loudly I must add) by this street dog who apparently took a liking to the (a) rickshaw I was in, (b) the rickshaw driver or (c) me.

Now usually when a street dog decides to chase a passing car/vehicle, it will give up after a few metres and lie in wait for the next one. But the mongrel who decided to follow my mode of conveyance was not content with a few sharp barks registering protest at entering his territory. No siree. He followed us, barking loudly all the way, right till we stopped at the building gates. And then he came and stuck his head into the rickshaw, effectively stopping me from getting out.

Forgetting that I love dogs and am not scared of them, I took pride and stuffed it down my hand bag and called out to the building watchman (who thankfully has known me since I was a kid and can be quite protective) to call the dog away.

A minute later I was running into the building compound and trying to forget the look the dog gave me as I passed him on my 50mt dash – a look that said just one thing. Wimp.