Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tomorrow It Ends

Since June I’ve been living out of a suitcase, going from one city to the other all over the country. Tomorrow my nearly 6-month long vacation comes to an end. No more late mornings (ok, maybe those are still possible). But definitely no more tension-free days for me now. Come Monday and I have to begin the whole dealing with the maid (damn, I need to look for a new one!) thing, get the new house all cleaned and set up (at present it’s worse than a dump), try and see if I can make the garden resemble something green and living, get a hundred thousand things in order again, make social calls, smile at stupid people and mentally conjure images of shooting them, so on and so forth. Aaaaggghhh!!!

It’s no wonder I’m panicking (a little). In almost half a year I haven’t had to bother about anything really, except which city I’m going to next. And even before that, it had taken me 6 months to get used to the idea of keeping house and being all responsible and all that. I had just about set some kind of a routine when the Fellow took off for that course of his. Now, when we finally go back home, I’m going to have to relearn everything and get into the practice of doing it all over again. And since it wasn’t too much fun the first time (being grown up sucks you know), I don’t think it gets any better this time round. To top it all, just then when I’m all nicely settled in again, the Fellow is bound to get posted out to another god forsaken place and we’ll be back to square one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The Fellow and I decided to go to a second-hand bookstore today.

There is something about piles and mounds of books that make me happy. It doesn’t matter that there is an inch of dust over everything (never good for my insane allergies), or that I have to look through hundreds of books to find one or two worth buying. Just being there makes me more than a little happy. And when I come across a book or a comic that I had read as a child (and never seen ever since), there is no stopping me from jumping around all gleeful. And then I stick it under the Fellow’s nose, and insist he read it and get appropriately excited. Finally, after several hours of browsing, excited squeals, careful pondering and monosyllabic conversations, I stand before a huge pile of books which I’ve finalised, and look at the Fellow (with as innocent a look as possible) for his reaction to my low willpower.

At times like these I’m really glad the Fellow is also a book-worm. This way he is able to understand my lack of self-control and overall happiness when I’m around books.

For now, we have a carton full of books, and several more days of holiday left. Yay.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Weekend

Saturday Morning:

Waking up late. Lounging around in pyjamas. Maggi. Omelette. Tea. Old Sandwiches. Random fruit. An amused maid. Weekly laundry. Sheets drying over the exercise rod. Waiting for someone else to have a bath first.

Saturday Evening:

Bhel puri. Kala Khatta gola. Lebanese food. Coffee. Free chocolate pastries. The promise of free soup. Window shopping in some really quaint shops that smelled wonderfully woodsy and warm. Mall hopping. Stationery shopping. Video-gaming. Playing the keyboard and singing in the middle of the shop. Standing in queue at the food court for half an hour. Driving home with the cool air on your face.

Saturday Night:

Lots of noise. Even more attempts at cheating. Girls.Vs. Boys. Some major ass-whooping. A clear winner. Boys sulking at the result. Saturday night with Pictionary.

Sunday Morning:

Waking up even later than Saturday morning. Ordering in brunch. Facebooking on computers and phones. Finally getting out of the house post-afternoon.

Sunday Evening:

One mall. The Colour Factory. One cup. One elephant. One mask. Loads of creativity. Lots of paint. Even more fun.

Sunday Night:

Television. Facebook. Downloads. Blogs. Iphone games. PSP games. Everyone is doing their thing. Yet doing everything too.

It’s been a good weekend people. What did you do?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Of French Fries

Went to Nirula’s here in the gaon today, and was most amused by my reaction, and that of a couple of ladies at the next table. Why? Because we’d so obviously been conditioned by a certain junk food chain known as McDonalds.

What happened?

Well, when I flipped through the menu card, I saw the combos page. There were combinations of burgers and cokes to be found, and the only thing I was wondering was where the fries are? I mean, didn’t a combo mean a burger, a drink and fries?

A minute later, two ladies arrived at the next table with their toddlers in tow. They immediately decided on fries for the little ones and went on to tell the waiter the same. But as they were ordering, they asked the chap (who got more and more confused with each word) what sizes they have the fries in. Huh he looked. You know, small, medium, large fries? After about five minutes it dawned on the ladies that there was just one size.

And then I realised how conditioned we’d all become. Fries are now synonymous with McDonalds. Everywhere else we go, we assume it will be like Ronald’s place, and are mildly confused when it isn’t. Of course, there are also places where you order fries, expecting a quantity much like McD’s, and there arrives a large basketful! This is where you’re happy with variety and the unfamiliar right? I know I am.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Depressing at Best

After hearing so much about Gurgaon malls and the whole “mall culture”, I have to say I’m super-depressed right now.

The Fellow and I decided to go mall-hopping since we were in the vicinity and had the time (though not necessarily the inclination on my part). And my instinct proved right. As always. Not only are the malls quite lame in terms of the shops they hold, they’re terribly designed, and are a complete waste of space and all kinds of important resources. And to complete the sorry sight is the near absence of people and bored security guards. The only things that are moving in these malls are the escalators.

My analysis and judgment of the gaon malls is purely based on my extensive experience with those in Bombay. And even without my natural and all too justified bias towards my city, Bombay malls are so much swankier, shinier, happier and generally welcoming (most of them at least). And even when people are not actively shopping in them, they give a sense of activity and the food courts are always full. Here, the food courts were a sad sight, with maybe half a dozen people looking lost and wondering what they were doing there. And I don’t blame them. The food outlets were nothing to write home about. Quite the contrary actually.

And the worst bit is that most of the shops in the malls (and I mean all the malls here) are closed on Tuesdays. It’s a mall for crying out loud. You can’t have 10 malls in a 2 kilometre radius and then pull the shutters down one day a week! Who does that? What kind of a place is this? Sheesh!

I never really liked Delhi. And now my disdain extends towards its suburbs also. Tsk. Tsk.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Moving Day

And in other news, the Fellow (and by association I) tried to set a new record of sorts, at least in the circles we move in. We moved house, every last bit we owned, in less than 7 hours. 7 hours of going back and forth between the old and new place, of wondering how the hell we had so much stuff to move, and panicking (that would be me) about how in the world I was going to get all of it set up again. Oh and 7 hours of getting fully exhausted and layered in several inches of dust, grime and a few random spiders.

Of course, when I say that we’ve moved house it’s a slight exaggeration on my tired part. It was actually more like dumping all the stuff in the new space, over every surface available, and then spending the next day going through bags and bundles looking for random stuff (including a tiny bottle of nail polish remover and the bag that has the Fellow’s precious PS2 games). I also spent considerable time standing in the middle of the mess, looking around and sighing loudly. And since that got quite depressing and stressful (obviously), I tried to make myself feel good by imagining everything in its place and deciding where all the photographs and paintings would go. Not a good idea. Got more depressed thinking of all the work I still had to do. Sigh.

And then instead of being responsible and setting house and all that, the Fellow and I take off for another 10 days (enjoying the last of the Fellow’s leave this year), merrily leaving everything behind. I don’t know what we’re thinking. Well, actually the Fellow is thinking he gets to soup up his car some more. And I’m really hoping elves exist to help the desperate outside of fairy tales.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

About Food

Earlier today, as the Fellow and I dug into some absolutely yummy Chinese soup (his stuffed with chicken), I suddenly realised that our daily trips to the Mall are only about the food. Right from fresh from the oil french fries, piping hot tomato soup by the glass, subs, burgers, chicken/mutton momos, chocolate pastries and some of the best Chinese food I’ve had, it’s all about the food.

Right from the moment we step on to the mall, we start (in our own ways) thinking about what to eat/drink today. For obvious reasons of the shop being the closest on our path, we start with the french fries and tomato soup. Hot soup (with croutons) on a cold day is divine I tell you. And even better are fresh fries. I think the chappie behind the counter now recognises us. Much like the waiter at this small Chinese joint there.

I mean, if we visit a place 3 times in 5 days, eat like we’ve never been fed before, and take home an equal (and usually more) amount of food, the chances that we will be remembered are quite high right? But the food is so good!! Even the Fellow agrees (of course, that’s probably because the chicken portions are super-good and all that).

And so, when we leave Shimla and go back to the land of dal-baati, the one thing we shall miss the most (apart from home and all the pampering) is the food trips we made to the Mall everyday.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Drawing Inspiration

I’m a regular follower of Full2Faltu’s blogs. And I have to say I simply love his photo blog. The colours, moods and moments captured by his lens range from the nostalgic to the brilliant and more often than not, make you stare in wonder (and in my case, awe at the sheer simplicity of the subject matter).

Going through his photos today, I suddenly had the inspiration of starting a photo blog of my own. Seeing as I’m getting increasingly interested in photography (according to the Fellow I’m fast becoming a Japanese tourist, no offense meant), it seems like a good way to practice huh?

And if nothing else, I’ll at least get to post my click-happy products up somewhere other than Facebook!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Of Tourists and Honeymooning Couples

The in-laws, like all native Shimla-ites, go to the Mall everyday. It doesn’t matter how cold it is or how late, this is one ritual they adhere to without fail. For them, it’s a way of meeting people and finding out what’s new in town. For me, on the other hand, this daily trip to the Mall is an interesting study in people.

Since Shimla is a much visited tourist location, there is never any dearth of ‘study material’. So there is the usual group of tourists (mostly Bengali) looking frozen to death and generally swathed in several layers of hastily bought shawls and caps. Of course, since most of these women are wearing sarees, thus allowing access to the cold air, no amount of shawls and caps is going to help really. This group can usually be found huddled in front of stores, wondering whether a discount is available (the word discount is easily understood amongst a battery of Bangla). They also only move as a group wherever they go.

Then there is family vacation kind of tourists - mummy, papa and 2 children, all in varying degrees of excitement/irritation. The dad is generally loud and leading the way. He can also be seen expressing exasperation as the children insist on buying one of the many colourful and cheap toys on display in the shops. There are also indulgent dads, who smile and allow their progeny to buy whatever their little hearts desire, while the mother tries to keep up with the disciplining (and her shopping). The children, well, do what children do best – run around a lot and generate noise.

Finally, there is the honeymooning couple – a species by itself I assure you. I mean, I know they’re in love (hopefully) and all that. But how does that translate into skimpy and tight clothes – for both, the husband and wife? I could assume they’re trying to show off their cold-bearing prowess to each other…but at what cost? Looking like a complete fool when you walk around in thin tee shirts and capris when everyone else is bundled up to their necks in woollen clothes? Oh and the shoes! You can differentiate a honeymooner from her shoes alone – strappy and/or shiny heels, completely inappropriate for the cold as well as walking! It’s quite a sight, watching these couples cling onto each other as they walk about the Mall. Of course, now I know the clinging is more for warmth and balance than any romantic notion!

And so, while the tourists and honeymooning couples look around them, and take in the sights of Shimla, I look at them. Now if only I could have gotten a picture of the aunty in a saree, monkey cap, 2 shawls and a bright blue pair of rubber chappals, this post would have been complete.