December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Saw The Phantom of the Opera. Hands still hurting from the clapping.
Midnight mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Now I don’t care if they throw me out of this country tomorrow, or if the Millennium Bridge collapses under my weight.

December 18, 2005

First Trimester

Completing three months in the UK today. Not the least bit homesick, thanks to Yahoo Messenger and Google Talk, which ensure I know on a day-to-day basis what the latest topic of war between my parents is. And thanks to Neha, I even know where to find vegetarian Indian food now.

Neha expressly asked for a post with a link to her blog as a cheap publicity stunt, so here it is. By the way, being with her is like being in the same kitchen as a microwave that has ten popcorn bags put into it at the same time. There is a lot of popping, you are pretty confident the bags will burst, almost sure the microwave will burst, and very afraid that you will sustain permanent injuries like death. (Now she’s got her moment of fame on this obscure blog, and much more than what she bargained for.)

It’s amazing that I’m able to type this, since I am pretty sure all my fingers froze and dropped off my hands on Hungerford Bridge last night when I pulled my hand out of the glove to receive a call. If it’s going to get any colder, I’m getting my fingers plated in titanium bakelite (concerned readers inform me that this works better. Wonder if they've tried).

Spending the three-month anniversary in sweatpants and sweatshirt reading for my essay. Having completed my first trimester means that aborting the MSc mission is no longer a possibility, and the good part is that the morning sickness is disappearing and I am seeing some teeny weeny sense in what I am doing. Next month, I’ll do some proper stuff to mark the momentous occasion.


December 16, 2005

Told You

Productions of Shaw’s plays are rarely staged in London these days, so if one comes along, it is not to be missed. A newspaper I had read on the tube informed me as much.

The Garrick Theatre books discount tickets (students, senior citizens, unemployed) in advance for the Thursday matinee show of You Never Can Tell, and one of these was duly procured.

When I reached yesterday, I was the only member of the audience:
  • With brown skin
  • Under 50 years of age
  • Without an expensive plastic cup of mulled wine
  • Without a Regent Street shopping bag
  • Without a 200-pounds coat

For the first time in London, I felt completely out of place (not counting the feeling I get in the classroom). The production was fantastic, and since most of Shaw’s plays are similar in that they have the same upper class family with estranged parents and undecided lovers, my craving for seeing Shaw performed was reasonably well satisfied. It’s fun to have to wait for three minutes when the curtain goes down between acts, and to imagine the poor stage hands hurriedly trying to dismantle one set carefully detailed by Shaw, and put up another. I’m really grateful they went the whole way to make my experience authentic.

As I had suspected, Shaw improves on being seen performed rather than read. When one can enjoy without having to “Write a critical note on the Salvation Army-Academia-Capitalism alliance in Major Barbara,” it is a wonderful experience! Shaw is for lesser mortals according to my professors back home, but guess what, I AM a lesser mortal.

Aside: There were no signs and no announcements in the theatre about switching off mobile phones. One minute before the performance began, they played the Nokia tune full volume over the speakers. The rest is silence. :-)

December 12, 2005

Playthings

Caught the Royal Shakespeare Company’s first play of the London Season: Twelfth Night. My being over 25, and Shakespeare’s being an illiterate bloke who left behind no instructions for cheap student tickets led me to pay 10 pounds to be suspended from the vault of Novello Theatre. I sat right behind a theatre-buff family that made me miss mine terribly. The mother sat between the teenaged son and daughter, handed out chocolates, water, and tissues, and kept swaying like a windshield wiper throughout the play, explaining what was going on to her adorable darlings. Add to that her Jamie Lee Curtis-type architecture, and you get the picture.

The play was fantabulous! I like my Shakespeare interpreted, but not too much. Putting in a black actor who is praised for his fairness is brilliant. Putting in a dim lights smoooooooooooooch between Olivia and Viola is over-the-top. Mercifully, it was the former kind of production. Amazing acting, and music, innovative stage design. I guess nobody does it better than the Bard’s lads and ladettes! The Fool sang beautifully, and the ovation lasted forever.

Viola/Cezario played her part to the hilt. In Shakespeare’s time, it would have been a boy pretending to be a girl pretending to be a boy. She did an excellent job of parodying a masculine swagger and look. The Globe had recently put up Measure For Measure, where all the female parts were taken up by men. They pulled it off rather well too. Stereotypes abound in such scenarios, and judging purely by audience reaction, they work perfectly well. You get what you want, you clap, you go home. Nobody gets hurt. Nobody gets evolved.

There was a fair of women’s eyes painted in the background. The eyes were looking directly at the audience. I wondered throughout what they were doing there? Were they the eyes of Elizabeth I for whom the play was originally produced? Were they a token representation of the “female gaze” that is believed to be missing in most art productions? Was it a device to keep the audience aware that they were under scrutiny? Were they viewing me playing the part of an unsuccessful student hiding in the theater from her classmates because she doesn’t want to party with them?

Up Next: Shaw’s “You Never Can Tell”. He, being educated, left behind instructions that students should get a discount when they see his plays. However, being of a much later century than Billy, he upped the student price too. Well, as some wise people have noted, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Umrao Jaan

Jab bhi milti hai mujhe ajnabi lagti kyun hai?
Zindagi roz naye rang badalti kyun hai?

Tum se bichhdey hain to ab kisse milaati hai humein…
Zindagi dekhiye kya rang dikhaati hai humein…

December 10, 2005

Chor!

voodoo

This person stole my M&S chocolate pudding with rich chocolate sauce, microwaved it, ate it, and left the empty cup there to mock me.

December 08, 2005

Out of Joint

In the small kitchen of the Gender Institute today, I saw a magenta-stained sheet of paper with a recipe for mulled wine, and a pot of boiling fruit on the hob. When I came out of the kitchen, I saw mulled wine in containers of all shapes and sizes lined up on the ledge. There’s an end-of-term party tomorrow!
One thing to be said about my City of Angels library: though I despise studying (remind me again what I’m doing here), I love looking for books. I love the way the labeling and shelving system actually works!
Nagging dull headache. Probably just an excuse for not wanting to study for the assignments.
There are far too many people on the roads these days. I haven’t had time to visit my favourite spots, but I hope they’re lonelier than the rest of the city. I don’t want to share them with drunken revelers.
Bought chocolate pudding at Marks and Spencer today. Why don’t they just put all the chocolatey stuff together and label that section PM&S ??
Ok. Enough blabbering.

SOS: Need a VCD/DVD of “Fire” immediately. If anyone can tell me how to procure it, I’ll be very grateful. My email ID is on the profile. God Bless.

December 07, 2005

Wednesdays

On Wednesdays, I am not a student. I am a destructional insigner. It’s like being an instructional designer, but I tear apart things other people have written.

The day begins with waking late. Wednesdays are always about waking up late for some reason. That means I can’t spend time scrambling an egg for breakfast, a sandwich has to do.

When I begin running with my laptop in my bag, I have to remember not to cross the road on the bridge like I do everyday, because the tube station is on my side of the bridge. At the tube station, I have to walk against the crowd, because everyone from all over the London wants to work where I live.

Each tube line has its own character. The Northern Line (when going south) is about almost-yellow lighting and a few serious looking people sitting and reading books, resigning themselves to the slow moving train taking them to their destination far away from the heart of London. Few Aryan specimens on this route.

The District Line to Wimbledon etc. has a train with boring gray rails and a seating pattern that makes you sit uncomfortably close to another person and forces you to stare uncomfortably at the person opposite you. The trains are jam packed, and there are no newspapers to read, unless you bring your own. The cheerful upholstery highlights the miserable looks on people’s faces.

The Central Line is my favorite, perhaps a Mudrika hangover for the dilli-walli (hajjaar times better than the Mudrika, though) It has bright yellow rails, sensible seating along the walls, lots of copies of trashy tabloids to read, and cheerful I-Pod toting, singing, chatting people. They seem to be going to work, or shopping, or god knows where. But they’re cool. Not least because I am one of them.

The tube station at which I alight has beautiful Christmas decorations, and being a major shopping area, is a dazzling spectacle these days. People queue up outside H&M before it opens, and the sale hasn’t even begun yet! A smiling old lady tries to hand me a pamphlet (always a different color) each Wednesday as I pass her by. The florist has all flowers except the ones I want: Narcissi.

I have to step out for lunch. This is a strange area of the city, in that there is actually a two-kilometre stretch without a single Subway outlet! Usually, if you cannot spot a Subway for one kilometer, it means you are not in a shopping place. If you cannot spot a Subway for two kilometers, you are definitely not in Central London, you’re probably in some two-digit zone. (Corollary: If you cannot spot twenty-three Starbucks outlets from the chink in the bathroom window, you are no longer in London).

In the evening, I window-shop in M&S before I take the tube back, though by week nine, most disgruntled sales assistants have been holding scarves/kettles/caps that I promised to come back and pick up but never did.
Then it’s time to take the tube back… (Westbound while coming and westbound while going…I have given up trying to figure that one out) and re-reading the tabloids as children hang from the bright yellow rails around me.

December 06, 2005

Smile!

In a fit of non-alcoholic drunkenness yesterday, I described the smile as the “else” of all “ifs” in the crazy code of life. If the statement above doesn’t make any sense at all, don’t blame yourself. That’s what we’re all doing this year. Not blaming ourselves for not understanding complex sentences written by non-alcoholic drunkards. It’s less of a theory, and more of a survival mechanism, really.
Coming back to the particular smile I am talking about. It’s a smile I’ve been witnessing for about three months now. Imagine this:

A tilted, bowed head with the eyes raised boldly making contact with yours, and a smile that emerges in a flash and takes over this entire face. It says “Aren’t I the wisest and the nicest person you are likely to meet in your revolutions around the sun?” When it sees the “Ummm.. NO!” blank expression on your face, it vanishes as quickly as it had appeared, and the head turns to smile at other people.

This smile belongs to my classmate, whose voice cuts glass in India even while she’s in London. It’s the smile that belongs on the evil face of some superhero’s adversary, and should definitely not be unleashed upon mere mortals, who in any case are rapidly converting to the belief that they are moulding pieces of sponge.

In other news, I am in love with Jack. He of the hair and the pan obviously is one of the 20 regular readers of this blog, for yesterday, he cleaned all his utensils in hot water and soap. Also, he let me use his glass to measure rice, and was polite enough not to cough when I burned my dinner under his nose. His Jill was also in the kitchen last night, and he was cooking for her. He was expertly cutting vegetables, while she was toying around with a knife wondering what size to cut the courgette in. Dump her, Jack my boy. I know exactly how to chop the veggies to match the ones you’re chopping! I’ll be really nice, except the time I’m dunking your head in the basin to tame your hair.

I witnessed a police boat chase on the Thames this morning. Ok, it was one police boat chasing another, but are you going to deny a smile-terrorised, Jill-hating, moulded sponge its only chance at happiness? You savage brutes!

December 03, 2005

Pan-o-Rama

This guy, let’s call him Jack, shares my kitchen in the residence hall. He, and eighteen others, but they’re irrelevant here except that they steal my cooking oil and pepper, and sometimes yogurt. This one is solely about Jack.

Jack has a permanent three-day beard and has hair about four inches long on his head. This hair seems to have been taking a hike the day they discovered gravity, so it pays no attention to that minor detail, and does its own thing. Jack, being kind hearted, does not want to force his hair to do anything it does not want to, so Jack’s head looks like a nuclear disaster just out of bed at all given times, even on campus.

Living in a free country means you can let your hair do what it wants, and it also means that you can buy any sized frying pan that you want. These two things are not related, but these are the two USPs of my friend Jack. Accident or a temporary loss of all sense of proportion has landed Jack with a frying pan that is big enough for him to have a bubble bath in. Of course I concede that in case of someone stealing all the utensils of all the kitchen members, we could one day need to make slop for twenty people’s supper in one gigantic utensil, but I am amazed that Jack actually planned for it. Until such a situation arises, we just have to bear with the Teflon coated bathtub occupying ninety percent of the hob, while we wait with our puny blue saucepans for Jack to finish frying his animals for brunch.

If that was it, it would still be ok. But Jack of the nuked hair complicates the situation further. He forgets that after use, the pan needs to be washed. The oil that was used for frying cannot be wished away. Unless the thieving cleaning lady has mercy on him and rinses out that frying pan once a month, it just keeps getting archaeological layers of oil accumulated on it. It would not be a surprised if granny pig’s remains are still in the pan when junior pig is being fried.

Now this leads to the smell problem, which is a big problem in a building without air circulation. It is a bigger problem if you want to cook at the same time as Jack. It is an even bigger problem when you run out of the kitchen with your food as soon as it is cooked and try to eat it in your room, and realize that your sweater has absorbed fumes from Jack’s pan. The problem blows out of all reasonable proportion when you take off your sweater and realize that the smell has seeped into your shirt!

Basically, I had lunch in my vest today because of crazy-haired, bathtub-panned Jack!

December 02, 2005

Epitaph

On the grey tombstone of a girl recently found dead
of the cold ‘cos her cap would not stay on her head:
“Here lies Inky who was mostly good; she only sinned
in that she was always seen walking against the wind.”

Having said that, it strikes me that everyone is outside of the convention these days, so much so that the “outside” seems to be the new “inside”. Is there anyone out there who’s still walking with the wind and won’t mind letting me know?

“Wind” jokes are prohibited. They shall be deleted and the commenter shall be flogged.

Brevity Isn't Always The Soul Of Wit

Hamlet:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?

………………………To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;

Jeetendra: Bachchan:
Mit jayenge, mar jayenge
Kaam koi kar jayenge
Mar ke bhi, chaain na mila
To jaayenge yaaron kahaan?


November 29, 2005

reference to context

Makes much more sense when you are shivering and lonely alone in London:

All I want is a room somewhere,
Far away from the cold night air.
With one enormous chair,
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?

Lots of choc'lates for me to eat,
Lots of coal makin' lots of 'eat.
Warm face, warm 'ands, warm feet,
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?

Aow, so loverly sittin' abso-bloomin'-lutely still.
I would never budge 'till spring Crept over the windowsill.
Someone's 'ead restin' on my knee,
Warm an' tender as 'e can be.
Who takes good care of me,
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?

Loverly, loverly, loverly, loverly

November 28, 2005

Failure And Related Things

For some days now I’ve been thinking.
Unless you fail once, how can you know what failure is?
Constant success is a dangerous addiction!
Knowing that you’ll do well makes you complacent.
Each opportunity to fail must be considered.
Doing badly is good for you once in a while.

Until you have tasted the bitter fruit of failure
Perhaps you cannot truly appreciate success.

Most people are prone to failing every once in a while:
You must not be smug that you are not one of them.

Conciously fail if you need to; but fail.
One day, you will thank yourself for it.
Usually you do not question your abilities:
Risk it once, and you’ll be a better judge of yourself.
Set a high goal, if it is beneath you to fail easily.
Enter a marathon with your feet bound together:
When you fall and your face is a bloody mess,
Out of the darkness in your head, you will hear
Reason, free from Pride, reassure you kindly -
Know that you were not meant to be perfect.

November 27, 2005

Oops! I Did It Again!

For the second year in a row, I missed wishing Papunda on his birthday! All I can say, shamefacedly, is that now I’ll aim for a hat-trick.
I hope the year has been good to you!
When I am a millionaire, you will get lots of fancy lenses, I promise.


November 26, 2005

Geek Porn

Now that I have your attention, a couple of things before we proceed to the real thing:

Heard about two people buying wedding dresses worth 26 thousand rupees each. Wotta waste! Then wendigo tells me this is the going rate, and some people spend 5 lakhs! Man! As marriages become less and less a once in a lifetime thing, wedding ceremonies become more and more once-in-many-lifetimes affairs!

Wendigo has been showing French movies from the 1950s. All of them have the same plot. Guy running from the law. Girl calls the police. Guy dies. If she gets one more, I’ll beat her up. I’ll still watch though…

Rash had a baby boy. Which is a much nicer thing than saying baby boy had a rash. (Omigod! The abysmal-sense-of-humour virus is electronically transmitted!)

And for geek porn: Just right-click and select View Page Souce. What you get is geek porn.

Thankyouverymuch.

November 25, 2005

Cookin

Someone went to the supermarket alone today after a long long time. Someone’s idle mind put two from one section and two from another section together and made twenty-two. So someone cooked radical dinner tonight.

Presenting Inky’s Incredible Recipe: Patent Pulao

Ingredients:
Basmati rice (Goras dunno what basmati is. Am sorry to say.)
Stir fry vegetables (available chopped and cleaned in a plastic bag)
Knorr Veg stock cube
Ginger powder (real thing too expensive and wasteful)
Cinnamon powder
Tomato ketchup
Salt and pepper
Water (Apart from water, everything was purchased from Sainsburys)

(Note absence of oil/cheese/any kind of fat. Unique recipe in this country.)

  • Take a small blue saucepan (because I say so!) and fill it two-thirds with water. Drop some veggies (LOTS of veggies mummy, LOTS) and the stock cube.

  • Also drop ginger and cinnamon powder, salt and pepper.

  • Let it boil for a coupla minutes.

  • Throw in the rice, cover, and return to your room and work online.

  • Suddenly remember what you left in the kitchen, run, stub a toe, curse.

  • See sorry face of food, and add some ketchup. Consider visiting the cafeteria before it closes.

  • Go back to room and try not to think about cost of each individual ingredient wasted.

  • Return to kitchen, and taste goopy food with knife.

  • Go to hospital to get bleeding tongue sutured (Just kidding)

  • Realize food tastes yummy. Suddenly crave dahi.

  • Remember purchasing sugarless yogurt…debate between strawberry and peach, settle for peach.

  • Realize tangy peach tastes good with fusion food!

Until next time, keep an eye out for Inky’s Incredible Recipes.

November 24, 2005

Things

Dear Member (Inkspill),Your membership on Shaadi.com has been discontinued due to one or more of the following reasons:
  • You requested that the profile be deleted.

  • The contents of your profile were found highly unlikely to be true.

  • We received numerous complaints from other members regarding your conduct.

  • You have used Shaadi.com for commercial purposes.

  • You have violated the service agreement accepted by you when you became a member at Shaadi.com.

If you have any concerns, questions or objections, feel free to contact us. Regards,Shaadi.com Customer Relations

All I did was send a profile pic of a witch sitting in a cauldron!
And to think they were perfectly happy when I sent this description of me and my family:

Love seeketh not Itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care;
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair.

    So sang a little Clod of Clay,
    Trodden with the cattle's feet:
    But a pebble of the brook,
    Warbled out these metres meet.

Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to Its delight:
Joys in another's loss of ease,
And builds a Hell in Heaven's despite.

**************************************************************
In other news, there was a North Indian semi-classical music performance in college today, by this Bong lecturer from Oxford. She sang ghazals and bhajans and folk songs. One of the ghazals she sang (why God why?) was “Chitthi Aayi Hai” (it does not seem to be a ghazal at all to me. Have they redefined what a ghazal is?) She pronounced the words wrong, went superfast, and informed the gora audience that this was a ghazal about a lover waiting for a letter from his beloved: a letter which does not come. I wonder if she pulled the wool over the unsuspecting Oxford Univ’s eyes to complete her PhD the same way!


Anyways, mail from watan would probably read like this for me:

Oopar mera naam likha hai
(Andar C+ prograam likha hai)
O pardes ko jaane waaley
Paisa vyarth bahaane waaley
Saat samundar paar gaya tu
Le kar bada udhaar gaya tu
Aaja umr bahut hai chhoti
Blogging se nahin milti roti


She also sang a bhajan that, according to her, went like this:
Main to ho gayi tera Shyam
Maine ratt liya Raadha naam

Considering that I had just come out of a butch-femme-lesbian-couple-in-cinema lecture, I found it quite pertinent. I somehow think she meant:
Main to ho gayi teri Shyam
Maine rakh liya Raadha naam

I should stop being nitpicky about words. Probably that’s why I don’t get chitthis from my beloved.

******************************************************************



November 23, 2005

Everything Except Studies

Life is a swing. To and fro. To and fro.

You can perch your tush safely on a seat and enjoy the wind blow through your hair. Convince yourself that the world is moving and you are giddy at the stationary centre. Begin slowly, then kick your heels to go as fast as you please. Slow down when you are tired. To and fro till the swing comes to a standstill, and then they come to bury you.

Life is a swing. To and fro. To and fro.

You can suspend yourself from a swing, and then, high up in the air, you can let go of the swing you are holding on to and jump to the next like a trapeze artist. Be careful to jump while the swing is making long arcs in the air; it is only when the swing is at its optimum that you can let go of it and catch the next one. And so you can go from one swing to another, leaving each at the peak of its success and reaching for another, without knowing for sure that you’ll make it in time. The world will gape in amazement at your heroics, and it will never know that you do it only because you are scared. Terrified of being on a swing that has slowed down till it has come to a standstill, and left you at the static centre of a static world. And they are coming to bury you.

Cos life is a swing. To and fro. To and fro.

??

Isit the official dayfor sowing theseeds ofdoubt orwhat?

November 21, 2005

Why I Don't Update Anymore

They told me education in India was very different from education abroad. While the Indian education system only confuses you, the Western education system gives you immense amounts of clarity. Over the last two months, I have realised how true these statements are.

Back home in my PG days, but the end of the first month, I could read almost every lecturer’s thoughts, complete their sentences, and understand what they were saying. Here, I never know what is going to hit me the next second, and when it does, I do not know what it is. I am bombarded with phrases like “depsychologise hyperindividualism” at the rate of five per second, and all I can figure out is that it is still English, and has not morphed into Greek…

The Indian education system had thoroughly confused me, by making me think I wanted more education. Under the bright lights of Western education, it is abundantly clear to me that education is no longer for me, nor I for it.

There must have been a cheaper way to find out, but unfortunately this is how things have turned out. Profuse apologies to my sponsors. I could jump off a bridge and put an end to the expenditure, but I know you are too lazy to get the insurance money, so I’ll live and repay you by and by.

****************************************************************

Spent the day thinking about sexual politics in Harry Potter. Here goes:

Harry and Ron are the ideal couple, balancing out each other perfectly. Harry’s rescuing Ron at every stage makes him the protector “masculine” partner, while the sporadic strength of the “help meet” Ron males him the “feminine” part of the couple. Homosexuality being out of the purview of children’s literature, the figure of Ginny, Ron’s property in the Muggle-like patriarchal structure of Wizardhood, is the symbolic bearer of the Harry-Ron love. Her status as rescuee in book two cements her dependence on Harry. Her diluted feminine wiles make her a Post-Feminist Romantic heroine who “plays the game” to get her man.

Hermione Granger is the quintessential Feminist figure stuck in a Post-Feminist paradigm. Being obviously too bright to play second fiddle as a hero’s love interest, her possible romantic link with Harry is ruled out. She is symbolically kept out of the hierarchy of heroism by making her a “friend-figure”. In the triangular Harry-Ron-Hermione friendship, she has a two-step function. The first is to preclude the threat of a homosexual liaison between the two male figures, and the second is to formalise Ron’s heterosexuality by being pitched as his romantic partner.

As an individual, Hermione is interesting to explore. Lest her intelligence overshadow the male hero, it is made irritating through people’s responses to her words and actions. As she passes into puberty, she is constructed as a hormonal wreck, being pulled towards the hysterical female stereotype by what are socio-psychologically constructed as her “impulses”, and being pinned in the “masculine” world of the intellect where she has always belonged as a “transgresser”. Being a Mudblood, her racial ambiguity underlines her dubious performance of gender roles, and makes her a disturbingly grey and unsettled character. As the story progresses, her hormones take over her intellect more and more often, and one fears that she will dissipate into a helpless woman who underplays her intellectual prowess to fit the role of subordination to Ron, the non-hero. Over six books, she has turned into “Hormonie”, which is a big letdown for the Feminist cause.

*****************************************************************

Or then again, maybe I should throw myself off the bridge. I know at least half a dozen people who are itching to give me a gentle shove now!

November 17, 2005

The International Classroom

Hi-

I wanted to check in and see how ya'll were doing. I can't believe that we are rounding out seventh week already and our program has yet to get it together. I wanted to openly invite all those interested for a drink at the ___ on Monday following lecture. There is a great bar bellow where we can sit and chat, gripe and drink. Shoot me an email or just show up. It's not a formal thng. I love a snake bite after lecture so anyone interested form all programs please feel free to show up.

Have a great weekend.

_____

November 16, 2005

17:00 GMT - 06:30 GMT

Shaam hotey hi jalaa deti hai palkon pe diye
Raat se poochhe koi kis ke liye? Kis ke liye?
Koi aahat bhi nahin aur koi aata bhi nahin
Raks karti hai shab bhar jo meri tanhayee hai

Raat aati hai chali jaati hai harjaayee hai
Phir mere ghar dabey paon chali aayi hai

Gulzar in Aks

November 13, 2005

:

If you happen to pass by this page, please say a silent prayer that broken hearts may grow whole again.

Thanks.

Frozen Odds and Ends

Tonight’s minimum temperature in Cental London is going to be 2 degrees! Brrrrrrrr! And to those who’re calling it a “warm November”: Grrrrrrrrrr! Must be warm because they sit indoors without being tempted by the Lord Mayor’s Show, The Jazz Festival and other such whatnots. As soon as you and your five layers of clothes return home from one of these and open the door of the residence hall, you see their smug, single-sweater beings, and their overheated reception area slaps your face with hot air like a dinosaur fart…

Took refuge in a bookstore from the biting cold last night. “An Ode Less Travelled” by Stephen Fry looks very interesting. Any comments?

Weekends are apparently for ceaseless kissing. Fireworks, fairy lights, and walls to lean against seem to be the three biggest hormone-escalating factors. Most couples look like they’ll need to be surgically separated. Chindu put this very well, so I’m just linking. I could give you a list of the top ten places where this amusing activity can be observed (and if you are suitable equipped with someone you luuuurve – atleast for the time being – you can join the performance) in Central London, but I’m a poor student, and you’ll need to pay for information. Address all cheques to Marks and Spencer.





November 12, 2005

Your Kids Are Not Safe

Two feminists were walking down Regent Street in the rain last evening, admiring the Christmas illumination. They passed Hamleys and could not resist going in. On a shelf near the door, there were a bunch of puppet lions.
Feminist I put on one and the Lion said: “Hey G! I am a lion. I am a useless fellow. My wife hunts and feeds the kids. I lie about lolling all day. I’m the king of the Jungle!”
Feminist G picked up a lion and it said: “Mate! It’s just because she has penis envy. Haven’t you read Freud? Relax and let her do all the work. It makes her feel important.”

Feminist I bought shoes, rainbow socks, and fancy gloves. Out of need, I assure you.

November 07, 2005

Somebody Souped My Lace

Today at the old lady a post office was muttering because I was changing my count! If these bright people keep wronging you give change, then do can you what except balancing the check?

November 06, 2005

Bridget Joneses' Dietary

Wendigo: my face is getting fatter!! i just compared 2 pictures set apart only 2 weeks
Inky: i am getting fatter
Wendigo: that too
Inky: why are we getting fatter?
Wendigo: the food here is too rich. and we are chocaholics
i am walking faster from now on!
"with a piss.. with a piss.." etc etc
no more sauntering to college
Inky: you see those mounds of flesh running along the thames and it makes no diff!
we have to stop eating
Wendigo: yes!
Inky: skip a meal or something
Wendigo: never gonna happen
but i will reduce chocolate and carbohydrate intake. really works
Inky: i am having half a kheera and mushroom soup for lunch
Wendigo: then you will be hungry at 5
Inky: insert saintly look here
Wendigo: haha
Inky: no more chips!
down with potatoes!
Wendigo: yes. no more chips
down with the irish
Inky: down with all kinds of potatoes! baked/roasted/creamed/semi-digested
Wendigo: ugh. and also down with 50 chocolate incidents per day
Inky: break up with freddie!
Wendigo: yes. down with freddie. and gold coins
hmm
Inky: no more eating chocolate frogs nor money
eat celery!
look like celery
Wendigo: celery. sprouts
everything that makes you go bleaaarrgh
Inky: :)
eat reference reading!
paper and ink have zero calories
Wendigo: o nooo. i have so much to read :-(
kyu yaad dilaya

You CAN put it in fewer than 100 words

Do you regard yourself as a feminist?

Very much so. But feminism has so many interpretations. What it means for me is simply that women, like men, are complete human beings with limitless possibilities. They have to achieve social equality, much like the Dalits or the Black Americans. In the case of women, it is so much more complex. I mean, there is the right to walk on the road without being harassed. Or to be able to swim, or write a love poem, like a man without being considered immoral. The discrimination is very obvious and very subtle, very cruel and always inhuman.

Fahmida Riaz, Pakistani poet, in an interview.

November 05, 2005

Guy Fawkes Day

Wendigo generously loaned me her DVD of “The Incredibles” to watch while she went for a party, and I was quite happy with the movie babysitting me. Suddenly I heard phut phut outside and the realizations that:
- it was Guy Fawkes Day
- these fireworks meant business
- I could pause the movie
hit me all together. I grabbed my jacket and my bag and made a dash through a maze of corridors, down the elevator, and out of the gate to see the most amazing fireworks going off behind a bunch of trees. I ran down to the river, and sure enough, the view was fantabulous! Huge, no… HUGE spectacular bursts of colour in the sky - perfectly co-ordinated – arose from either side of the Millennium Bridge and lit up the sky. I looked to the bridge to see if I could sneak up there for the best view possible, but then they started setting off fireworks from the bridge itself! It was too gorgeous for language to capture. The river lit up in response and for fifteen minutes, the South Bank at the foot of the Millennium Bridge was the best place to be in the whole universe!
At the end of these fifteen minutes, there was thunderous applause from the crowd, and little children kept yelling for more. I smiled, because according to reports by the battered party, three-year-old Inky used to sit on her Daddy’s shoulder and kick his chest and clap “Shaabaash Bhaiyya Shaabaash!” at the Beating the Retreat Ceremony fireworks at India Gate. There can never be too many fireworks!
I walked back to the hostel, and saw two ladies all dressed up brushing their hair one last time before they went to let the fireworks see them. “Oho! Khatam ho gaya?” they brushed, disappointed. Seeing them all dressed up, I realized I had forgotten to put on my pants! But then I looked, and the pants were very much there, they were just hopelessly ineffective in the cold. Who cares, I am warm now, and have finished watching “The Incredibles”, and random fireworks are still going on outside, but I have seen heaven and do not wish to ruin the memory of the sight.
To all the taxpayers of the United Kingdom, my gracious thanks. To the pyro-technicians, “Shabaash Bhaiyya Shabaash!”

November 03, 2005

Overheard...

…in the hostel elevator

Undergrad #1: I’m bored.
Undergrad #2: Read Aristotle.
Undergrad #1: Exactly.

October 31, 2005

:-S

Conversation over lunch with ex-Gender student: “Don’t go mad. If you keep absorbing feminism, you will find yourself going mad. I almost dumped my boyfriend. I told him, “You’re exploiting me”. Studying feminism takes the joy out of many things in life. You can’t even listen to a joke without thinking that it is sexist or offensive to women.”

So very true. It’s increasingly becoming a frightening reality for me.

In class today we discussed empowerment. After flogging the definition for fifty minutes, the first step towards empowerment seemed to be the ability to make decisions about yourself by yourself. The example that was chosen by the lecturer was that of a Bosnian woman who had been raped, but chose to remain silent about it so that the irate men she calls brother and father do not kill her to protect the family honour. Her ability to remain silent was portrayed as a form of empowerment.

Ten eager voices spoke about whether rape victims in their countries stay silent or speak up. Nobody was plunged into the depths of despair at the thought that empowerment is silently accepting the gravest injustice that can be done to you, in order to save your life? By the time I reeled back into consciousness and could raise my hand to object, students had dispersed for the day.

I shall try to avoid it, but something tells me that I will go mad, and die alone, and be found half eaten by (female) Alsatians three months later.


October 30, 2005

Sunday, October 30

20st, alcohol units 0, cigarettes 50, calories 500 (v bad, it’s only 11am)

Woke up and set all my clocks back one hour, so that it can get dark at 4pm. Wonder why the Brits first decide that the meridian through their land is prime, and then go about messing with the time twice a year. Think I will write to Tony and tell him to settle for a half-hour compromise and get it over and done with forever.
Ate huge double-chocolate chip cookie while switching on the laptop. Calories rushed to my arse, where they will be as stationary as the arse for the rest of my life
Sister called to say parents were fighting as usual and dumping smelly stuff on her head. Wonder if I will grow into my mother or father. Still keeping fingers crossed and praying that I am an adopted child.
Realised that today’s 9am is yesterday’s 10am and reluctantly went to make breakfast. Toaster leapt into flames while I cooked eggs on the hob. Pulled out fire blanket and smothered fire, and stood dazed in a smoke-filled unventilated kitchen (which explains the 50 cigarettes). Realized I had to get out to stay alive. Opened door and slid out without infuriating fire alarm. Flapped my hands fervently in the air to prevent smoke floating into little white monster that would send 700 hungover students into the cold street for half an hour. Week’s ration of breakfast raw material destroyed in the accident. Surly reception man came up to assess damage. Hopefully will not have to shell out 20 pounds, as I risked my life to prevent the fire alarm.
Told the boy about the accident and he said there would be at least one interesting thing in my biography now. Left in a huff to have huge tasteless breakfast in the cafeteria. Groggy Wendigo let me make tea in her kitchen afterwards.
Should one spend a sunny Sunday pretending to study outdoors or cuddled up with book in freshly laundered bedlinen? Must not be lazy slug, but too emotionally drained to get out of nightclothes that smell of burnt toast. Must redeem self, but not today.

I will not:
Cook eggs and toast bread at the same time
Buy a week’s ration at a time
Eat huge chocolate chip cookie without even realizing
Convert my weight into stones

I will
Either beat the boy into shape or replace him with one who sympathises when I almost die to prevent fire alarm
Do some interesting things to fill up pages of biography
Choose the pretending to study option over the bedlinen option next weekend
Finish reading Bridget Jones’ diary for Thursday’s class


October 28, 2005

Shame!

After two years of matrimonial ads, horoscopes, meetings and whatnots, a suitable boy was found for my cousin earlier this month. The engagement ceremony happened a couple of weeks back, and all seemed well. However, it turns out that the groom’s family is quite unhappy with the arrangements made for the engagement ceremony, and want to have a much fancier wedding ceremony than was originally planned. My aunt and uncle had done their best at the engagement, and are now faced with the prospect of running up a huger bill than they ever anticipated.
I’m tempted to lash out against Punjabis for their ostentation, but I’ve come to realise that this happens in many parts of the country now. And it happens not only with arranged matches.
Is it worth getting your daughter married into such a family? Apparently it is important, because I am almost certain my aunt will yield and arrange a spectacular wedding as is expected of her. Because the boy’s family is supreme. Because my cousin is past the age where marriage proposals come everyday. Because after the engagement, calling the wedding off would lead to public humiliation. Because the happiness of knowing that you’ve toed all the lines society has drawn comes at a (very expensive) price.

October 26, 2005

At Long Last

rich2

X-23
Bench Seating
Limited View
10 Pounds
Who Cares?

October 24, 2005

Class Notes

My class today was about a very interesting topic: the production : reproduction binary that links men to production and women to reproduction in a hierarchical relationship. This creates an economically unfavorable situation for the person who brings up future citizens, and at the same time ensures that women are delegated this task for the simple reason that they were the ones who gave birth to the baby. Being economically disadvantaged was a vicious cycle, because it took away women’s bargaining power in household decisions. The only solution in sight was the recognition of household work as socio-economically productive and deserving of monetary recompense.
The professor was “cool” 25 years ago, which means that the whole class thinks she and her ideas are outdated, and I think she is the only person whose ideas make sense to my cobwebby mind.
I was wondering if this lecture was really relevant today, and were not minds opening up to sharing the responsibility of bringing up children, and weren’t wage gaps being closed… when this guy (a visitor - we castrate all regular male students in our gender class) raises his hand, and throws a tea bag into the coffee pot by making it plain that nothing has changed. He asks: “But, aren’t women, by neglecting their home and children, and by refusing to have babies in order to work, reinforcing the hierarchy instead of valuing the role of caregiver?” He is a compatriot, and I am sorry to say that 80 women will attack him with a scalpel if he shows up in class again.

October 23, 2005

Happy Birthday Kiddo!

Sis

Breaking News

So my friend finally started blogging and four entires down it looks like she was born to blog. Also, she saves me all the trouble of trying to muster up vocabulary and imagery to describe where I’m living. Expect a lot of links to her posts.
And oh yes. My life is ruined. My Amma commented on my blog (don’t go looking, I deleted it). Now I’m right below Nokia 3315 on the coolness index.

October 19, 2005

This n That

It has to be raining every Wednesday when I set out on my long journey home! Today, it’s pouring! This is London. It’s supposed to petulantly drizzle all the time, but it’s not supposed to pour! This is cheating! We want our money back!
And nobody will come with me and spend ten pounds to watch Kevin Spacey play Richard the Second. And the show gets over at 11:30, so I can’t walk back by myself. So Kevin Spacey is losing out on a helluvalot because of my cheapskate friends.
There’s a tiny machine near the Millennium Bridge that lets you shoot a video of yourself and send it to people by email for free. So my friend and I keep creating updates for family. Last night we were walking in the rain and our umbrellas were blocking the view of the bridge, but people we send the video to only want to see our faces anyway, and no matter what drunken-sounding crap we utter, they’ll go oh, sooooo sweet! Thank God for people becoming blind and deaf in love!
Mushroom soup is the best in the whole wide world, especially the four-cup soup powder pack from Tesco (cheap student cheap student) which comes with nuclear resistant croutons that surely do not go soggy even when the sewage from my hostel flows into the Thames (now THERE”s an image!)
Trafalgar Square had Diwali one fortnight in advance, and the stupid lights whose pictures my friend took were all they had in the name of illumination. It was about Punjabis and loud music mainly. Eeks. The Thames, on the other hand, is decked up Diwali-style every night!
I borrowed my friend’s camera and took pictures of my messy room and sent them home, and nobody appreciates the fact that dirty laundry and unwashed dishes are absent. They have to ask stupid questions like why is it so messy? And where are the books? You think I came here to keep house and to study? Naah! I came to stand on the Millennium Bridge on rainy nights, watching nuclear-resistant mushroom soup croutons catch the light as they flow lazily by.

October 13, 2005

Hot Choc

The man in the small snack bar calls everyone “Darling” and has a big BIG drum of Cadbury’s Drinking chocolate, of which he puts two teaspoonfuls in a Styrofoam cup and tops it with sugar and hot milk and places it in your wet and shaking left hand and takes 60 pence from your wet and shaking right hand. At first the chocolate is so hot that you can only sniff at it. The cup has a plastic lid with a little hole in it, and that hole is not for a stirrer, but for sipping from. If you are too scared that you will spill hot stuff all over you, don’t be. The lid is on pretty tight, and is designed to avoid spillage. By now your hot chocolate should be ready for drinking. The first few sips are all milky, and taste like the hot chocolate your mummy made you drink as a kid, a whole lot of milk with very little chocolate. But as you keep drinking, the chocolatey flavour keeps increasing, and by the time you take the last sip, you are drinking heavenly stuff. When you are done, you can take one last sniff through the hole in the lid, and if nobody is looking at you, you can peek through the lid to see the brown deposit at the bottom of the cup. But there is no way you can lick it in a fancy school, so if you are unable to control yourself usually, don’t take a peek. Just throw the cup away, and wait for another rainy day to do this all over again.

October 11, 2005

Stats

No. of days in London: 21
No. of miles walked: Many, Many
No. of local bus rides: 0
No. of tube rides: 4
No. of kilograms of weight lost: 0.5
No. of rounds of laundry: 2
No. of Shakespeare plays seen: 2
No. of concerts attended: 1
No. of bookshops visited: 7
No. of books bought: 1
No. of sponsored meals: 2
No. of parties: 0
No of books issued from the library: 5
No. of books read properly: 0.1
No. of visits to Millennium Bridge at night: 12
No. of good female pals: 2
No. of years since this was last observed: 5
No. of times Delhi was missed: 0

October 10, 2005

How I Know This Is The Last Of My Formal Education

This is the conclusion of an essay I had to read in preparation for today’s lecture:

“Phallogocentrism was the egg ovulated by the master subject, the brooding hen to the permanent chickens of history. But into the nest with that literal-minded egg has been placed the germ of a phoenix that will speak in all the tongues of a world turned upside down.”

October 09, 2005

:-P

I open my book, and thereby engage
years of research to speak to me
But a playful smile dances on the page
and makes the English Greek to me

For my friend, who has a crush on her (Greek) Prof

October 07, 2005

Thanks

I’ve discovered a new feeling in myself lately. Gratitude. For people who hold the door for me. For the people who thank me if I hold the door for them. For the cool weather. For maps and directions that make me independent in a strange land. For the infinite variety that is London. For the gift of a pair of legs that work, and take me around the city. For the neighbour who knocks at my door to return the wallet I have forgotten in the community fridge (long story). For my parents, who have loaned me their life’s savings to fulfill my dream. For Google Talk, which keeps me connected. For my sister, who bridges the gap between what is said and what is intended. For the lunatic who worries if I am not online by 7am. For the neurotic who is probably spending her days worrying that I am not eating right…

I could go on forever.

Thank God for all this and more!

October 04, 2005

Lost in Translation

I spent a good fifteen minutes trying to explain to my friend from Hong Kong what a “behenji” is. I failed miserably. I don’t generally fail miserably at describing Indian things to people I meet here, so I am quite sure it was not a lack on my part. It’s just that there are no behenjis in Hong Kong.
I am worried now. Amitabh Bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar are on TV all the time asking me to take my children under three years of age for polio drops. But nobody is thinking of keeping up with the world as far as eradication of the behenji is concerned! Maybe a celebrity should be on TV asking us to take out little girls to the nearest health centre for immunisation against salwar suits, oiled hair, spectacles, and suchlike.

Observation: Just because he sounds like this chap, don’t turn around and look. There’s every chance he looks like this chap.

October 03, 2005

Diary

7:00am: Inky shakes off the duvet and climbs out of bed. Her eyes are red. This happens everyday. Inky suspects she gets drunk in her sleep.

10:00am: Inky goes to the library, which looks like it’s from “The City of Angels”, but shakes like it’s from “Jurassic Park”. Inky vows never to go there again if she can help it. She can’t, by the way.

11:00am: Interview with tutor. Inky tells tutor that she has an uncomfortable relationship with word limits. She cannot write enough to reach the word limit. Tutor says she will whip Inky’s lazy ass. Only she says it more lady-like. Inky is in trouble.

1:30pm: Inky splurges on a scholastic planner that will hold a million little notes and detail, and shock the world with its pinkness. Inky is penny wise and pound foolish. But Inky kind of loves the diary.

2:00pm: Inky attends her first lecture. A 50-minute apology by a hassled little boy explaining why he knows nothing about the course he is teaching. Inky dozes off, but not before making a note in her little pink diary to get a pillow in the next class.

3:00pm: Inky attends a lecture by a female version of Dumbledore. Dumbledora is bitching about Aryan boys, when one walks into the room to borrow a chair. Seventy feminists angrily stare him out of existence for disturbing their class. He will never sit on a chair again.

5:00pm: Inky goes for the welcome party, and eats papad and drinks orange juice, both of which she hates. She escapes and walks along the Thames under the newly-dark sky, both of which she loves. Inky will suffer parties only when they come with a death-threat attached.

7:30pm: Inky is turning into a bluddy phirang having “supper” at 7:30. But not really, because she adds copious amounts of ketchup and pepper to her stir fried vegetables and noodles, to make chowmien.

8:30 pm: Inky realizes she has run out of a supply of certain garments that will not be seen but will be needed the next day. So Inky bundles four kilos of stinky clothes and marches down to do laundry while the world dresses up as hookers and pimps to go for parties. Maybe not hookers and pimps, but definitely not anything Inky can relate to from the world as she has known it.

9:00 pm: Inky posts her online diary as Ariel washing powder does good things to her clothes.

September 30, 2005

Rambling

Being in a college with seven thousand students is an overwhelming experience. And a college that is spread over a dozen buildings right in the middle of the city, with so much individual character and yet so little, is a maze through which I shall never figure my way.

It’s great to see how you can group seven thousand people using various filters, and come up with interesting results. The Gender group is a bunch of peppy young women whose education nobody on the planet is willing to subsidise. The Media group is a bunch of very very loud people in black clothes. The Accounting and Finance group is an illustration of the portent that between them, the Chinese and the Indians will soon take over the world. The Indian community will lapse into Hindi to make racist comments and will turn back to look at people kissing on the road. The newspaper committee will take notes assiduously. Ok. That’s a LOT of generalization. I’m sorry. But most of it is true.

Must get hold of a camera and start posting pictures. One of my friends has a digicam and is low on enthusiasm, so I think I should buy her lunch one of these days.

Two weeks, and I’m already losing touch with my friends back home. I even wrote them long emails, but they did not respond. And my mailbox at the reception is empty. Of course I get handed a lot of letters in this country, but they are mostly French.

September 27, 2005

Ram Ram!

God could not be everywhere, so he made chocolate mousse.
Yum!
The Devil HAD to be everywhere, so there was pork gelatin in the mousse.
EW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Five packs of the stuff now have to be given as a gift to the knock knock kid.
Sigh.
Hope the sixth one does not come out in reverse gear tonight.

Ram Ram!

God could not be everywhere, so he made chocolate mousse.
Yum!
The Devil HAD to be everywhere, so there was pork gelatin in the mousse.
EW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Five packs of the stuff now have to be given as a gift to the knock knock kid.
Sigh.
Hope the sixth one does not come out in reverse gear tonight.

September 26, 2005

Post-Its

  • I live next to Shakespeare’s Globe and yesterday I saw “The Winter’s Tale” in true groundling fashion, with my elbows propped on the stage. I can now die a happy person.

  • I can spend the rest of my life walking by the Thames (and even if I do that, I will not lose one gram of weight, thanks to the cheese and potato pie I had for dinner tonight.)

  • That text in parentheses reminds me that it is very easy to lose pounds in the UK. I’ve been losing about £15 every day since I came here.

  • There are people playing bagpipes on the road, people juggling while perched on a unicycle, people sketching the London Bridge, and people taking pictures of the Thames with their cameras perched on dustbins. All these people exist on the twenty-minute walk to college.

  • There is a notice I saw on the fire exit of a building today. It said: “This door is alarmed.” I wonder why. The city as a whole is pretty unruffled.

  • I’ve still not learnt how to be social and make friends. Now I am an international failure. :-)

  • I am ancient, a “feminist”, a non-party person, and am not looking for a boyfriend. That is not really an exciting profile, so I can expect to be reading by the Thames even at the end of the term.

  • The woman in the room next to mine is listening to a Kumar Sanu song. Do I really WANT to make friends here?

  • I’d rather be walking along the Thames than blogging right now.

In other news, the “knock-knock” kid did knock, and so I have someone to bug if I am willing to suspend my disgust. And oh, a big hug to the character who thinks that knocking someone means killing them off. Blessed are the Innocent, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Yours forever, Inky.

September 21, 2005

Hostile Hostel

Am living alone on the eighty-room third floor of the hostel tonight. Shudder Shudder.

What is more scary, though, is the assurance of the friendly Indian guy on the seventh floor that he will "knock me" tomorrow morning.

Stop laughing. He's here on a scholarship.

September 20, 2005

Change of Plans

Am no longer marrying a taxi driver at Heathrow and setting up a Dhaba. Now I am marrying a doctor in Liecester and setting up a takeaway joint. But this has to wait till I get my degree. Off to London morrow!

Quick Fact: In Liecester, you can buy a car for UK500 and then pay UK4 an hour to park it. They aren't even trying to find out where they went wrong!

September 17, 2005

Bbye!

Raah pe rehte hain, yaadon pe basar karte hain
Khush raho elhe-watan, hum to safar karte hain...
- Gulzar





This blog is being handed over to Inkyji Londonwali. Insha Allah you will hear from her soon.

September 16, 2005

Self Portrait

portrait


If this poster moves you to charity, my email ID is on the Profile page. All currencies are welcome.

September 13, 2005

Movie Review: Salaam Namaste

After sitting through horrors like Kal Ho Na Ho (In which Lillette Dubey was the only “ho”. Sorry. PJ.) and Main Hoon Na, I am weary weary scared of watching movies produced by Yash Chopra/Karan Johar. But I went for Salaam Namaste (SN). And did not regret it. (At this point, Rash leaves to book tickets, and Parmanu rushes to the Asian store for the DVD. Am not talking to both these people, because they saw Mangle Pandey).

Coming back to SN, I freely forgive Preity her shrieking and Saif his visibly advanced age. They are cool, and so is everyone else. The stupid teaser on TV is regressive; the movie is not. Living in is cool (of course, all cool things happen Utopic surroundings where Mummyji and the Big Bad Samaaj - MBBS - cannot reach: in the Forest of Arden if you are Shakespeare, in Switzerland if you are Yash Chopra, and in Australia if you are Yash Uncle’s prodigy.)  Any filmmaker who PAYS ATTENTION TO THE LITTLE THINGS AND TREATS EACH SCENE AS IMPORTANT deserves our money and our encouragement. Even if he rips ideas off Hollywood.

Can’t say too much without giving away the story or spoiling the fun, so go see SN. You have my blessings. If you have too much Pepsi, go pee during the songs. There are four useless ones.


September 12, 2005

Roadside Shayari

Dil se nichode hain aansoo par phir bhi yeh saste hain
Baadal to maheene bhar tarsaa ke ik baar baraste hain

Got drenched in fabulous rain today.
Coming up: Movie Review: Salaam Namaste

September 11, 2005

Viva la Vivah

Met a friend whose parents are worried sick about getting her married off. Her complicated extended family would rather hinder than help, and between her mother’s desire to have her married off in Delhi and her astrologer’s orders to see her married this year, the situation is a mess. To top it all, no advertisement has been placed in a matrimonial column yet.

Since I was staying with them overnight, I offered to write the advert, and everyone co-operated and the blasted thing was ready in an hour. I kept casting sidelong glances at my friend, and she did not cross over from mildly hostile into livid, so I guess she did not mind my interference. Insha Allah, the ad will appear in next week’s papers (don’t bother replying if you’re the sorts who reads this blog).

Opened the matrimonials section of the paper this morning to see if I can find a suitable match for her. Headed to the Punjabi Khatri section directly, skipping my regular favorite: the cosmopolitan section, which has the funniest ads. There are a good 50 eligible mundas willing to sacrifice their lives and happiness. They’re looking for exactly the kind of girl she is. They’re fabulous packages: all handsome, all rich, all well-educated, all from status flys (I love this expression). Horoscopes will cause ninety percent of them to be rejected. (Digression: I recently matched my parents’ horoscopes online, something their parents had neglected to do. They scored 10/36, and the “passing mark” is 18/36. They now conveniently blame their late parents for yoking them together). Those who make the cut will be rejected because they are shallow people or because their cars are too small, or their houses too big.

I thought the decision would be easy for normal, middle-of-the-road people. But no. Kaun Banega Meri Saheli Ka Pati seems to run on and on like an Ekta Kapoor soap!


September 10, 2005

Rants

I’m seeing teasers of movies and programs that will be telecast on TV after I’m gone. It feels strange.

A whole lot of things are happening for the last time before I go. It’s a death of sorts.

I’m dreaming the strangest of dreams every afternoon. Through them, I am realizing who are the people and what are the things that matter to me the most. I’ve become addicted to my afternoon nap because in this strange way, it gives me clarity.

Every time I have fled home in the past, it felt like a temporary break. This time I have a premonition that nothing is ever going to be the same again.

And yes: I have lost all my friends and loved ones to that stupid game I wrote about. Why did I have to post that link?

September 08, 2005

Warning

Anyone who clicks this will be found dead in his/her seat for lack of nutrition and fresh air, and for having resisted the urge to go to the bathroom far too long.
Also, your friends and loved ones will probably never talk to you again.
Remember, you have been warned.

Javedakhtar Stuckinmyhead

Saare sapne kahin kho gaye
Hai hum kya se kya ho gaye

Dil se tanhaai ka dard jeeta
Kya kahein hum pe kya kya na beeta
Tum na aaye magar jo gaye
Hai hum kya se kya ho gaye

Tumne humse kahin thi jo baatein
Unko dohraati hain gham ki raatein
Tumse milne ke din to gaye
Hai hum kya se kya ho gaye

Koi shikva na koi gila hai
Tumse kab humko yeh gham mila hai
Haan naseeb apne hi so gaye
Hai hum kya se kya ho gaye

And if one's own supply of blues ain't enough to make it heartbreaking, some Iyer dude will indelibly link himself and his truckloads of woe with the song! No thanks man!

September 05, 2005

The Argument

Why did I get into a battle with the lady mentioned in the previous post? Well, she works for an organization that does ghost-work for people. I do not wish to get into the details, but people pay to get work done and pass it off as their own.

I casually remarked that this kind of work was inherently dishonest and based on treachery. It caters to a department of life that many, including me, hold in some esteem, and is not something I would like to be found cheating in. I went on to joke that if I made it my career, I would probably make it a lifelong source of income by blackmailing my clients after I had quit the job. (Ok. I am a Changeling.)

She first tried to convince me that since the service was being offered everywhere, it was not wrong. Sis and I insisted that everyone doing something does not make it correct. So the lady then said that if we are to be so moralistic, we should apply it to every area of our lives… never pay a bribe or “toe a line” to get anything done.

I beg to differ. I think we should choose our battles against the system of corruption. It is all very well to resist paying a bribe to get a phone connection one week early. It is foolhardiness to stand in a Haryana police station refusing to pay 50 bucks to get that FIR that is essential to save your ass in case a terrorist has got hold of your lost cellphone. Paying 250 bucks to the university for 5 extra marks in your revaluation is a crime. Making your mom stand in the queue for a duplicate marksheet because the lazy window clerk does not unnecessarily bully people with grey hair is intelligence.

Is getting a letter of recommendation to a university ghost-written by a professional the same as getting your mother to knit a sock for your SUPW homework? I am sorry, but I do not think so. I consider the letter of recommendation to be a document that should represent my worth correctly, and the stupid SUPW sock as a minor irritant forced upon me by a system that thinks I have time to knit stuff between preparing for my board examinations and retaining my sanity.

The lady went on to say that she had never ever paid a bribe and led a difficult life on her own terms. I replied that under those circumstances, her choice of a profession was even more starkly incorrect.

At this point she lost all respect for me. And she told me so in very eloquent language.

I did not argue further, but left the room.

So that’s that. Say something if you want to. And if you have lost respect for me, thanks for having had it in the first place.

September 04, 2005

Ashamed

I realized today that I live in a skewed world where everyone is young. There are no babies who need to be managed, no children who need to be straitjacketed, no middle aged people to be consulted, and no elderly people to be respected. Of course my parents are around, but Dad calls Mom “Murder” and she answers “Yo man!” so I categorize them as pals, not parents.

One of my teachers from school (she is Mom’s friend) came over for lunch today. I got into an argument with her. It ended quite bitterly, with her being very disturbed about the way I talked. I refuse to believe that my point was not valid, but perhaps the way I talked to her was not appropriate. She told me in no uncertain terms that she lost all respect for me today.

I realized with a shock that I have been shooting my mouth off indiscriminately for years now, because I am surrounded by people with whom I can get away with anything. Somewhere down the line, someone must have tried to teach me manners and etiquette, but they failed miserably. Most young people dismiss my blasĂ© behavior as an attitude issue, and those who don’t tolerate it slip out of my circle of acquaintances. So I’ve got this complacent feeling that all I’m saying is right.

This was a wake-up call. I do not wish to earn the respect of this lady back. But I need to rein in that vicious tongue of mine, before I cause serious damage.

I’ve always maintained that people who say “it’s not what you said, it’s the way you said it” are just making their last feeble jab after losing an argument. Apparently it is not so.

Mend thy ways Inky, mend thy ways now.


September 03, 2005

Iqbal

Was dragged to the cinema hall by the partially-educated fully-unemployed youth of my country to see “Iqbal”. Despite the rave reviews, I had my reservations. Anyone wishing to pelt me with stones is welcome, but I do not like Hyderabad Blues or Rockford. Kukunoor redeemed himself with Teen Deewarein, but I had assumed that was a flash in the pan.

No Sir! The man knows how to make a movie. A simple story with a handful of well-sketched characters and a predictable linear plot: that is the newest recipe for magic!

Don’t shake your head because you cannot figure out what part of the country the movie is set in. Don’t bother with the run-of-the-mill songs or the slight inconsistencies in the plot. And don’t burn the theater down because you see a crumpled Indian flag lying on the ground (Patriotism is not about yelling Mangal Mangal to wake up sleeping audiences ten minutes before they can walk free again).

Watch out for the acting. And the little touches that make you smile and wipe an occasional tear off your cheek. Watch a glamour-free world where women wear clothes and men do other things than trying to get rid of those clothes. Watch a movie about cricket that does not assume you are equally obsessed about the game. Watch the determination and triumph of a single spirit light up many lives. Including yours.

September 02, 2005

Back From Hades

At 3:45pm this afternoon, I died momentarily. I was in a half-sleep, the kind you are in when you’ve suddenly woken up from your siesta to scold you sister and warn her not to touch your “resting” laptop, and then gone back to sleep. In this half sleep, I was sitting in a cafĂ© in a corner seat with glass walls on both sides. Suddenly, I was pulled out of my body through the top of my head with such force that every un-epilated hair on my arm could feel pain of a most intense but non-excruciating kind. And there was white light everywhere. I tried to breathe but I could not. I could no longer feel my limbs but kept getting pulled into the white light. And a clear voice told me that I was dead.
But then the power went off and I woke up alive, feeling suffocated.

August 31, 2005

It's Amazing How...

I can watch Notting Hill a million times.

And happiness isn’t happiness without a violin-playing goat.

August 30, 2005

Harry Potter

Finally read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The Dementors have done too much soul-sucking around the place for me to enjoy the book. And where all manner of humor or happiness has vanished from the world of the book, “snogging” has entered big time, and fifteen year olds are asserting their rights to kiss whoever they want wherever they want. Jolly good for a Star World soap, pathetic for a book about witches and wizards. If you’re trying to tell me they’re human too, I wish they would also display human common sense. Addle-brained Harry makes me livid, and so does practically everyone else.
Dear all who spent the night to get hold of a copy of the book 15 nanoseconds after it was released, would you like a pirated CD of Mangle Pandey?

August 28, 2005

John Donne: The Token

Send me some tokens, that my hope may live
Or that my easeless thoughts may sleep and rest ;
Send me some honey, to make sweet my hive,
That in my passions I may hope the best.
I beg nor ribbon wrought with thine own hands,
To knit our loves in the fantastic strain
Of new-touch'd youth ; nor ring to show the stands
Of our affection, that, as that's round and plain,
So should our loves meet in simplicity ;
No, nor the corals, which thy wrist enfold,
Laced up together in congruity,
To show our thoughts should rest in the same hold ;
No, nor thy picture, though most gracious,
And most desired, 'cause 'tis like the best
Nor witty lines, which are most copious,
Within the writings which thou hast address'd.
Send me nor this nor that, to increase my score,
But swear thou think'st I love thee, and no more.

August 25, 2005

...and nothing but....

ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow.

But watching Ameesha Patel trying to act in Mangle Pandey was more painful.

August 24, 2005

The tooth, the whole tooth…

So when you’re going abroad for a longish time, you’re supposed to get all your dental work done before you leave. And coincidentally, the half-fallen filling that was happily making do in your tooth decides to act up around the same time. So you VOLUNTARILY (yes! How asinine can you get?) go to a dentist to have things done about it. You call up a hospital (2 bucks for the phonecall) and go to the OPD (100 bucks of your dad’s hard-earned money for the masochistic pleasure of having a doctor poke your injured tooth and see the reaction in a small round mirror).

On the way to the hospital, I was all edgy and fretty (my word), and I decided to switch on the car radio and take the next song that played as a cosmic sign of what lay in store for me.

Radio Mirchi was playing “Ik pal ka jeena, phir to hai jaana”

I burst into laughter. It is a confused mind’s way of bursting into tears.

“Are you comfortable?” the doc asked me as soon as I told him what my problem was (no, not the one about my compulsive need to be sarcastic, the one about the half fallen filling). “Has anyone EVER been comfortable in this chair of yours?” was my reply.

This is a trick test that all my doctors have to go through. If they laugh, I’m happy (as happy as I can be under the given situation). If they smile, I pull through. This guy made no reaction. He was poker-faced. That spells trouble. A comatose porcupine has a better sense of humor. (Ok. I overdid that. I’m hyperventilating: forgive me. You’re not the one in the dentist’s chair, you smug pests!)

So he did the needle and mirror routine, and uttered the two words that make my innards shrivel up and dehydrate and turn into an uncooked pack of Maggi 2-minute noodles, with my brain as a the Masala Tastemaker.

Root Canal.

On Friday, I am having a root canal.

I thought accidental admissions to fancy universities, inexplicable finger twitches, and root canals happen to other people. But no. They all happen to me.

Stay tuned for Friday’s follow up entry:

“…and nothing but the tooth”

August 21, 2005

The Metro Reloaded

Dunno if I posted about my first ride on the Delhi Metro, so am recapping the experience in ten words: what fun inside sparkling clean belly of fast moving dragon.

Yesterday was round two of Metro-ing, and oh! What a disappointment! The train was empty from Central Secretariat to Kashmere Gare, but there were vicious mosquitoes and a fly! A young lady was carefully combing her tresses, and some of her hair was falling to the floor of the compartment. She’s doing her bit to make the Metro get used to its adoptive parent-city.

At Kashmere Gate, we witnessed the wonderful sight of hundreds of commuters jumping on to a train, being herded with a lathi by a furiously whistling guard. The Metro has already fallen short of space! How much can the frequency be increased without making the train a continuous chain of bogeys from Delhi University to Central Secretariat?

Grateful that we were not on that crowded train, and dreading the return journey when we would be, we climbed a gazillion steps to take the overhead Metro to Shastri Nagar. The boring gray steps of the escalator have been livened up with paan juice art. Once over the ground, the Metro is a whole new story where cleanliness is a rapidly disappearing virtue, and new heights of uncouth behaviour are crying out to be reached.

Visitors to our city, whom we were trying to impress with our Metro, must have loved the view of the city from the train: Delhi looked like a cross between Armageddon, The War of The Worlds, and Godzilla.

Mercifully Joker Anna, the tourist who was with us, was more interested in buying souvenir tickets, and a ten-minute wait to obtain the same from an empty counter kept him occupied.

On the way back, there was eve-teasing on the crowded train.

Hail Delhi! Thou Shalt Conquer All!

August 17, 2005

On Gulzar's Birthday

(from Kinara)

O Maanjhi re, apna kinara, nadiya ki dhara hai
O Maanjhi re

Saahilon pe behne waale
kabhi suna to hoga kahin
ho, kaagazon ki kashtiyon ka
kahin kinara hota nahin
ho maanjhi re, maanjhi re
koi kinara jo kinare se mile woh,
Apna kinara hai ...
O Maanjhi re...

August 14, 2005

Princess Fiona

I searched for a picture of Princess Fiona (the non-pretty one) to use for my MSN profile. A Google Image search for Fiona led to pictures of various ladies in progressive stages of undress (I do not hyperlink, or I would lose all my readers at this point). A search for Princess Fiona led to images from the movie, but they were all either shots of the pretty, low-cal, princessy Fiona, or shots of Shrek and Fiona together. I tried the websites of both the Shrek movies, and though there are some amazing things happening on both of them, the picture I was looking for did not exist.



Google is giving me a clear message. An ugly woman is presentable only with her equally ugly man. Fiona does not pose for pictures alone, because nobody wants to see an ugly woman for who she is. Shrek, on the other hand, revels in his lack of beauty, and is happy to grace your screensaver/desktop/lunchbox/backpack/whatever it is you want. Ugliness is cute in a guy, not in a girl.



As a couple, they are hugely successful. The movies seem to make a point of that. They are both obsessed with looking better, but the other’s looks do not matter. They could have had a movie where low-cal Fiona prevails in the end, but they chose not to. But I am not sure they’d have an ogre Fiona with a Brad Pitt Shrek. Nah. Never.



After the credits roll and the Donkey-Dragon babies are gone, Fiona the ogress is not to be tolerated alone. She is destined to be half of a pair, and, by implication, lucky to be there at all.

August 13, 2005

Confession

I’m on medication to recover from the trauma of having to watch “Mangle Pandey” and the drugs are making me speak unspeakable truths. Therefore, I am avoiding human company and most forms of communication, but the pressure that is building up inside is going to blow out my brains, so I have to say this:

I LOVE the song “Kajrare Kajrare” from Bunty Aur Babli.

I went through an I-love-“Patli-Kamar-Chikna-Badan”-from-Jungle-Am-I-Homosexual phase a couple of years ago, but this one is slightly less disturbing. Ash’s blatant skin show and the Bachchan duo’s pelvic thrusts cannot cheapen or taint the beauty of Gulzar’s lyrics:

“Surme se likhe tere vaade/ Aankhon ki zubaani aate hain/ Mere roomalon pe lab tere/Baandh ke nishaani jaate hain…”

The song is playing all over and is being written about in every publication (Dear TOI, it is “kajrare”, not “kajra re”.) Normally the stuff belted out by the paanwalah’s radio is the Gadar-Dhadkan-Raja Hindustani variety, which makes one’s soul cringe and fold into a Japanese fan. But this time, they’ve managed to make an anthem out of a song I’m not ashamed to hum. Finally, street music meets poetry.

“Aankhen bhi kamala karti hain/Personal se sawaal karti hain” is Gulzar having so much fun and being so cool! “Teri baaton mein kimaam ki khushboo hai” applies to Gulzar himself!

All the civilized people who probably look down upon the song are welcome to laugh at me/break up with me/throw stuff at me.

I love “Kajrare”.

P.S. Anyone who liked Mangle Pandey need not visit this blog ever again. That applies to you too, Aamir.

August 12, 2005

Mangal Pandey: Review

Never before was a movie so aptly titled. The Rising. Halfway through the movie, I Rose. And left.

August 10, 2005

Thanks!

A big thanks to all bloggers who wished me luck!
Thanks Joker, Colours, Aditi, JW, Pleo, Patrix, Kahini, Patrix, First Rain, Kaju Katli, Halequin, Shoe Fiend, HoH, Ash, Rash, Parna, CoolCat, KK, Ostrich, Jasmine for leaving wishes.
Thanks Godpapa, Deepak and Chugs for the mails.
Thanks Heretic for the call.

:)
I'm going senile, so if I missed someone out, it's not intentional.

August 08, 2005

26

It’s been the most eventful year of my reasonably long life, and a great many wonderful things have happened to me since my last birthday. Here are twenty-five things I learned about myself and the world in my twenty-fifth year.

1. It’s not worth being in a miserable job in a miserable organization. They’ll scare the living daylights out of you if you try to quit, but you need to stick to your guns. Don’t work for people you don’t respect.
2. Setting up your own house with your family’s help is setting up a satellite house for the family. They’ll live their fantasies through you, and if they can all live their fantasies in one house, why can’t you, as a family, do it in your own home? It’s most amusing.
3. Having lunch alone at work saves you a lot of time for surfing the net and playing word games online.
4. When you live alone, you become heavily dependent on friends. And this can be good, or very bad. However, hour-long telephone calls to compare architecture and poetry at 12 in the night are possible only when you live alone.
5. When you sign a cheque to pay the rent for your flat, it is the wonderful feeling of being a self-sufficient unit that gives you a major kick!
6. I need 24-hour water supply to retain my sanity. Don’t ask me why. I’m still trying to figure out this one. Maybe it’s because of the hot baths I need many times a day.
7. You can’t fall in love by wanting to. And when you do, you know why.
8. It is important and impossible to hold your own against oversmart Bong ladies who live next door.
9. Being a pillion rider on a motorcycle at five in the morning on the superhighway is my closest brush with adventure, and a wonderful one that I will remember for the rest of my life.
10. Music is important.
11. I cannot listen to music and work seriously at the same time.
12. Work is also important.
13. Fortunately, I can strike a balance.
14. Working for a boss who knows your strengths and uses them can be a most rewarding experience. Fancy offices and fun colleagues do not make a wonderful work environment. The stuff in your MS Word window does.
15. Labels matter. People look up to you immediately if you can drop names. That’s life.
16. Poets and writers are self-obsessed specimens who are too much in love with themselves and their opinions.
17. I am a self-obsessed specimen who is too much in love with herself and her opinions.
18. Five days after knowing me, people find out I am a clown. And almost everyone considers it their fundamental right to pull my cheeks. It is not funny.
19. Hurting someone you care for hurts more than hurting yourself. Doing something just to avoid hurting people is also wrong. Dunno what is right.
20. I can rtoe without lookinf art the keoboard. No. I tale that baxck.
21. I cry too much at the movies. Way too much.
22. I get hassled by paperwork and I need a level-headed person to guide me through it. Sis is a good resource and I should keep in her good books.
23. I have double standards. One for me, one for Sis.
24. I am many different people, and I don’t like many of them.
25. I can make long lists if I want to.

Am expecting life-altering adventures this year. Wish me luck!

August 07, 2005

NO KIDDING!

Last night I couldn't sleep, so I was station-surfing on my cellphone radio. At 1:48am, the chap hosting "The Wicked Hour" on 102.6 FM was heard saying:
"...he was the artist who caprured the various phases of his intreresting life in a series of self-portraits. Yes, I am talking about REMEMEBRANT. And now let's listen to a song by him..."

"So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job's a joke, you're broke, your love life's DOA"


At this point I switched off the radio, covered my head with my sheet, trembled in fear, and hoped that it was his mom,not mine, who was mixing narcotics in her child's food.

One Year On

Just browsed through some entries from my old blog. This time last year, I was suicidal. This year, I'm murderous. I've come a long way.
:)

August 04, 2005

Wrist-Watch

Something is wrong with my right wrist. Nobody knows exactly what, but it hurts when I move it. The physiotherapist says it is not a bone injury (and I asked her twice; she says its not CTS). She prescribed a wax bath yesterday, which consists of molten wax being poured on one’s hand till one gets a fully customized hot white glove that one can crack into a million pieces as soon as nobody’s watching. Today, she prescribed an ultrasonic session which consists of having gooey gel rubbed into one’s wrist with an electrode by a person who stares at you for no earthly reason, till you have to check whether you are wearing your clothes upside down or inside out.
And when you get home, you are supposed to tie up the wrist in a crepe bandage (those clips that come with the crepe bandage are not anger/frustration-proof.) And if it’s still hurting the next day, they make you tie a flat object into the bandage as a splint. Yours truly has been roaming around town today waving a bandaged hand with a comb peeping out of the bandage all day!
It is a revelation when one tiny part of your body decides to act up. Small tasks become impossible. And dad bragging about breaking his right arm twice and doing just fine for two months without his right hand means nothing! He does not have to pull certain stunts that women have to as a matter of routine!
Ok. That’s about as much as I can manage with just one finger of my right hand.

August 03, 2005

Jaane Ke Ishaare Mil Gaye

Biggest Achievement Of My Life: Successfully completing paperwork for a visa.

July 31, 2005

PJ Rani

The following gibberish is the product of a rapidly deteriorating mind, which inhabits the top floor of Inky Tower.

Q. What was the world's first advertisement?
A. "An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Issued in public interest by Seyton tailors and drapers"

Q. Who is the patron saint of software professionals?
A. Version Mary.

Ok. Kill me.

Mauled!

Went to the Gurgaon malls after ages today. One would expect that with malls opening in every locality these days, the craze for the twin monsters at Gurgaon would have abated, but that is certainly not the case.
There are certain inexplicable phenomena that are peculiar to Punju-Land:
1. Aunties in synthetic salwaar kameezes with painted faces and dyed hair (and gold edged purses and sunglasses) exploring malls with mega-bags: The only time one can wear synthetic clothing in this city is December-January, and then it needs to be covered with five layers of woolens. Believe me these are not superwomen who don’t sweat. They just ensure that perfume alleys in malls make you dizzy when you pass through.
2. New brides with fifty kilos of painted plastic around their wrists (the ghastly “chooda” that helps satellites locate where newly married Punjabi women are) sifting through clothes. Now, if I remember all the Punjabi brides have encountered in the last ten years, the only reason they got married in the first place was the shopping for clothes/make-up/more clothes/shoes/bags/did I mention clothes a wedding gives them an opportunity to shop for. Then why are they raiding the shelves again before their mehndi is gone completely? Is there scope to start a deaddiction programme for these hapless specimens? I’m going into business! Would like to partner with a divorce lawyer, because those soon-to-be-out-of-love husbands look like they could do with some help too!
3. Smaaart women with newborns, husbands, and ayahs in tow. Husband carrying baby. Ayah carrying shopping. Woman carrying truckloads of attitude and diamond-studded cellphone. Way to go baby! Enjoy your new light-weight chooda-less arms, before you slip them into synthetic suits!

July 27, 2005

Query

Is the idea of studying "Masculinity" as an academic subject completely preposterous to you?

July 25, 2005

Vacation Diary

Sniffing raindrops
and musty books
An afternoon with Gringoire

July 20, 2005

BRB

Idle thought: We tag each other and make them write about books and music and likes and dislikes. Why don’t we tag people and make them go for vacations? That way, the fun never stops!

I’m going to start a vacation meme when I’m back!

July 18, 2005

Ups and Downs

was too busy looking down all this while and never realized that there is an up and when I finally did look up there WAS an up and now I am caught between the joy of knowing that the up is looking down at me with kindness and the shock of knowing that I am not as high up as I thought I was

July 17, 2005

Killarification

I am not doing an MBA at Harvard.

I am not marrying an Uzbek or an Indian or anyone.

Colours gets an award for the coolest comment ever!

July 14, 2005

Gibberish

Today I went to a VIP bags showroom, and looked for travel bags. Two bags that can carry 25 kilograms each. They looked so big on the outside. And had so little space on the inside. In two months, I am expected to pack my world into two (heavy) bags and leave for a land far far away to do something I’m no longer used to. Something that will cost me more than I will be able to repay in many years to come. I’ve been trying to come to terms with this fact with varying degrees of success for many months now, but the bags really scared me today.

I wish I had not promised someone that I would not worry about this.

Am talking to my DMAIC friend as I type this. DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control: the five step approach to improving the efficiency of processes (Six Sigma gyan). But with her, it refers to Don’t Marry An Indian Chap, a mistake she has made and is determined to stop me from making. Apparently Indian Chaps are all chauvinistic pigs, and will squash my individuality. They will expect me to be the perfect homemaker and the perfect professional at the same time. And their parents will suck my blood.

So I will pack my two VIP bags and go far far away and marry an illegal Uzbek immigrant and set up a dhaba in Notting Hill. Anyone who reads this blog gets a 10 percent discount.

July 12, 2005

PDA

This is a rant against PDA: not the handheld kind, but the hand-holding kind. Sis, who belongs to the next generation, tells me that PDA stands for Public Display of Affection.
I’ve seen countless arguments in favor of PDA, which convince me that it is perfectly okay for people to cozy up (note the archaic use of language) in front of all and sundry. I’m not supposed to object in my silent and invisible way to the sight of love-lorn (“love” being highly doubtful in some cases) couples lolling on sofas in a coffee parlour or suchlike in the middle of the day.
However. I object. Very muchly. When I “don’t” go to Lodhi Garden except for an occasional morning walk, I am respecting the privacy of people who cannot find a place to be alone together in this city. But when I am walking into a coffee shop at four in the evening with someone who is strictly a friend, I do not want to see people making out. And don’t ask me to ignore them because I cannot. And don’t ask me not to notice their uncouth behaviour towards the rest of the world.
Hypocritically enough, this does not bother me in a non-Indian context. But in a country where the girl’s neighbor’s sister-in-law is sure to see this scene, and the girl and the boy are sure to break up after they have realized that their families will never accept them, and the girl’s prospective groom’s uncle will make enquiries about the girls “crackter” in the neighborhood, PDA seems like carelessly imported goods.
On the other hand, maybe I should scout for an old age home for myself.
If anyone who reads this disagrees with me, just leave a smiley. Indulge a lunatic. If, by any chance, you agree, do leave a comment and surprise me.
Joker Anna: You can leave hugs. That kind of PDA is totally acceptable!

July 11, 2005

Raindrops

It has rained a little and the clothesline is a necklace strung with shimmeing droplets. I am smiling because I know that when I step out and flick my forefinger against the clothesline, the droplets will all fall to the ground at the same time, and will create - for a moment - a curtain of diamonds.

And who knows, tomorrow it might just rain again!

July 09, 2005

Made Up

I must have brushed past a woman who was wearing many different kinds of make-up. Suddenly, I was led by my nose back into my schooldays, to the highlight of every year in terms of the number of free periods it generated: the Annual Day.

The school believed in mass participation, and so even if you had no special talent, you were thrust on stage as part of a group of 200 hoarse voices welcoming “our parents dear” in ridiculous color-coordinated frocks. And lots of make-up.

Annual Day was the only time I smelled make-up. Tonnes of compact, lipstick, rouge and what-have-you. Generously applied by teachers over the faces of girls whose mothers had paid for the three-inch thick layer of goo on their darlings’ faces.

I don’t know if it is my imagination, or make-up really does smell stronger after it’s been on for a while. Prize distribution used to be last event of the programme, often a good three hours after the welcome song. The “parents dear” would be dozing off in the chairs in the auditorium, while the poor “prize winners” would be pushed into an empty classroom and made to sit quietly for the entire duration of the programme.

As luck would have it (yes, luck alone), I was always there in that room. All prize winners were supposed to wear the school uniform and the school blazer. I did not own a blazer for many years, and so I borrowed it from my best friend, who was taller, and the blazer sat awkwardly on my shoulders (as did the prize in my hand, in hindsight).

Despite our everyday clothes, we were all three inches deep in make-up. By the time we were herded to the backstage door and made to queue up in the open air on the chilly December night, the smell of make-up had overpowered my being. I was in a most unpleasant haze that made me forget everything. We had been made to practice bowing once facing the chief guest and once facing the audience, and then making a dignified dash for the wings. I don’t think I ever got it right. All because of the make-up smell.

And then I was there next year, winning a prize for Moral Science if nothing else. (Digression: I can totally picture a news item dated 2050: Ino Awl, the genius who proved Einstein’s theory of relativity wrong, discovered the cure for AIDS and prevented World War 3, was found hanging from the fan in his lab yesterday. A suicide note said that he killed himself when he realized that no cure would ever be found for those who had won too many prizes for Moral Science.)

The smell of make-up carries too much baggage for me. I detest it.