January 31, 2005

Weekend Diary

“Dilli jaane ke liye passport hona maangta hai kya?” the autorickshaw guy asked me this evening. I was returning from the airport, having seen off my friend who had come visiting over the weekend.

It was the first time I had a non-family-member guest coming over to stay, and things proceeded quite well. Which is fabulous, since I am not much of a hostess. (You who are nodding your head vertically…stop!) She is not an amiable guest either, so that complicates things.

Being in the same situation as someone often deludes me into believing that I am quite similar to them. Just a few months in different worlds have convinced me that nothing could be further from the truth. My friend and I are not two weird jokers from the same circus. We definitely belong to different troupes. We want the same things out of life, but for different reasons.

I even managed a trip to Mumbai, which behaved quite nicely weather-wise and stink-wise. I think I might just make friends with it.

Meanwhile, my passport to Delhi is ready. Am off this week for a ten-day break. I’ll need a window seat on the plane. I’m going to spend the two hours looking out of the window, through the clouds, at the ground. I am sure my home is somewhere on the way between Pune and Delhi. It is neither here, nor there.

January 27, 2005


Dear World,

I apologise for misunderstanding what you were saying all these years, because of ignorance on my part. Somehow, I got the notion that the word “wedding” refers to the ceremony in which a couple ties the knot, and marriage refers to the life sentence thereafter. Therefore, when you told me the following things, I understood the things directly below the following things:

I went for my cousin’s marriage.
You went to live with the couple till they divorced or one of them died

My sister’s marriage is in Coimbatore.
Outside of city limits, she is a single woman who does not have to pick up other people’s wet towels off the floor.

My marriage is on the fifteenth.
For one day only? What a bother!

Making marriage arrangements is such a hassle.
You are making arrangements for possibly the rest of your life?

Dictionary.com lit a candle in my dark head today. I will now go for my friend’s marriage, which is in Delhi. On the fourth. I am sure he has made all the arrangements.



Fifteen seconds into “Page 3”, I was regretting having come for the movie. An event manager was chirpily explaining to an NRI what Page 3 meant. As if India invented the concept, some months after Ayurveda, and a couple of days before the Zero.

Two and a half hours later, I felt like giving Madhur Bhandarkar a standing ovation for his effort.
It’s brilliant how the glitz, glamour, and nausea of the P3 world has been depicted and dissected so effortlessly. No comments on the story or individual characters, because all that should be experienced first hand ASAP by anyone who hasn’t seen the movie.

“And above all, Atul Kulkarni” the posters had screamed. With good reason! Totally in love with the guy, with no plans of recovering.

Bhandarkar has assembled a fine cast, and I wonder how most of those people felt while performing the roles of emotionally warped socialites, since that is how they are perceived in real life anyways. How would it feel to be just one aspect of yourself?

Konkona Sen is perfect for her role. I am glad she did not get anything more to do, because that would be sacrificing integrity of character to the actor’s histrionic ability.

However, I hate her for wearing “my watch” (lost on the road after three years of service, wondering if she picked it up!) and reminding me of it. Farewell 2500 bucks, you are about to be donated to the Titan Watch company soon.

Most memorable line from the movie: “Imaandaari ke saath samajhdaari bhi zaroori hai”

Until next time: “Watch it!”
(Due apologies to Manu :p)


“There isn't nothin' like the sight of an amputated spirit, there is no prosthetic for that.”

This was meant to be a review of the fantabulous movie I saw last night: The Scent of a Woman. It is too good to review, so I am giving up even before I begin. It’s a movie with a vision about a blind man with a vision. It’s a movie about learning to grow up, and continuing to learn when you have grown up.
The director sure drove this Ferrari at top speed down all the turns with his eyes wide open!

Oddly enough, the starkest memory that I’ll carry from the film is the dilemma of a poor scholarship student who has to choose between telling on his errant classmates (and consequently getting a scholarship to Harvard), and keeping quiet (only to be expelled and have his life ruined). And all this because he unwittingly happened to see some boys playing a prank.

It’s the perfect grey situation for many, I guess. But for me, the decision would be quite obvious. I’d snitch. Not just because I am not the best of human beings, but because I don’t see why I should suffer because someone else was up to mischief. Saving the ass of some villain in the name of comradeship is not my personal idea of integrity.

What would you have done?

January 26, 2005


Anyone being made to work on a public holiday earns the full right to subject herself to public ridicule anyways, so here goes.
Please read and constructively criticize. It is a fledgling attempt.

Chitra put on her spectacles and reached for the peach cardigan, which lay neatly folded next to her pillow. With trembling fingers, she put it on. The fake mother of pearl buttons wearily slid into the buttonholes for yet another day of thankless service.

“Amma had no sense of colour! A peach cardigan for her buffalo-complexioned daughter? I’m glad Vaishali refused to take it. It’s such a bother to have to tell someone they are looking foolish.”

She emerged from the bathroom, and went to the kitchen. Her plate from last night’s dinner lay unwashed in the sink. The tap had beaten the center of the plate clean with its staccato dripping.

“The good-for-nothing maid is late again. I am sure I will die of a heart attack if she ever rings the doorbell at seven! I must deduct twenty rupees this month for this late-coming business. She must have gone to Vaishali’s house first. Madam must have paid her extra to work early mornings. She’ll be tired by the time she reaches here, and will do a sloppy job of cleaning.”

She prepared a cup of tea. Ginger. Half a spoon of sugar.

“Doctor sahib would have scolded me: Chitra Didi this sugar will be the end of you. God bless his soul. Vaishali was a lucky woman. Lucky and foolish. Both brother and sister never realized how good life had been to them. My Shekhar went to the Lord without noticing how patient I was with him.”

The Times was lying on the footmat outside the door. Chitra picked it up and turned the pages.

“What a nice picture of Dilip Kumar! Where are my scissors? This must go into the scrapbook. Who knows how long he’ll live?”

“Wait! Isn’t that Balaji Rao? Yes! That is surely his crooked nose and sharp chin! I knew he’d be bald when he grew old. When did this happen?”

Three-fourths of an almost toothless smile played upon her lips. “Does Vaishali know?”

Chitra knotted her wispy grey strands into a hasty bun, secured with just two pins. She put on her towel slippers, then decided to wear her chappals. Perhaps the bai had not been to Vaishali’s place after all.

She looked for a place to put the newspaper while she locked the door. It would be disrespectful to put it on the doormat. Amma would have freaked if she saw knowledge being insulted by her daughter-in-law. The rules were always different! How coolly Amma had turned her eyes away from the Balaji Rao business!

“I cannot wait to see the look on Vaishali’s face! No money to subscribe to the paper, eh? Then where does that half liter pack of full cream milk come from every day? One should drink skimmed milk and pay to keep up with the world, if it comes to that!”

Chitra knocked at the door down the corridor.

“Babuji was too kind. Buying Vaishali a flat so close to ours. Shekhar took care of her till his last day. And now I am saddled with the responsibility. And madam will never come over to be taken care of. It is always me who has to go ringing her bell, asking if she needs anything. Such a bother. Now what is keeping her? Is she bathing in the full cream milk?”

A chink opened in the door.

“Undo the chain baba! Who is coming to rob you so early in the morning? And what took you so long?”

“Chitra Bhabhi! Come in. come in. Sorry to keep you waiting. I was watering the plants in the balcony. I did not hear the bell.”

“Is your cold better? Doctor sahib always said Chitra Didi, drink ginger tea for a bad throat! God bless his soul!”

Chitra scanned the wrinkles of Vaishali’s face for traces of emotion. None. Obviously, she had not heard.

“Should I make you some ginger tea Chitra Bhabhi?”

“Only if you are making yourself some. And no sugar please… Doctor sahib….Say! Has the bai been here already?

“She came last evening to clean. She needs to take her son to the doctor, and she won’t come today.”

“She never told me! How am I supposed to know all this?” Chitra vaguely remembered the maid servant saying this to her, but a wave of anger swept the faint memory away.

Chitra fidgeted with the top botton of her peach cardigan. “How do I tell her that her beloved “Bala” is gone? What if she starts crying? Who will handle that? Such an insult to the memory of Doctor Sahib. I wonder when she met Bala last. Even after her husband’s death? Ram Ram! Why do I have to be the one to do it?”

“So what brought you here so early in the morning, Chitra Bhabhi?” Vaishali put down the tray with two cups of tea and a packet of Monaco biscuits.

“I just came to ask about the bai. Such a nuisance that woman is! I am thinking of getting a new one.”

Vaishali smiled: “They are all the same Bhabhi. You cannot do without them, so you have to adjust.”

Chirta hated people who always remained unruffled.

“That was nice tea. But very heavy - with that full cream milk. You should switch to skimmed milk at your age, Vaishali.”

“Habit, Bhabi.” Vaishali smiled.

“Ok. I must go now. Have to wash the utensils. Such a pile in the sink. I cannot stand the sight of such filth.”

Chitra got up to go. She thought of leaving the newspaper behind “by chance”. Let Vaishali find out herself.

“By the way,” the temptation was too much, “Balaji Rao passed away yesterday. I saw the obituary in the paper this morning. I thought I should let you know. Poor man must have died alone. We are all alone. Live alone. Die alone.”

Vaishali’s face was blank. Not a trace of shock?

“I went for the funeral yesterday, Bhabhi.”

“Oh!” Chitra could manage nothing more, and nothing less.

“I am making pooris for lunch Bhabhi. I know you love them. Do come over if you feel like it.”

“Thank you Vaishali. Pooris are so oily. You must change your diet with age.”

“For whom, Bhabhi? After all, I have to live alone. Die alone.”

Chitra left without a word.

January 24, 2005


Godawful Airplane Reservations Blasted Travel Agent Bullshit Bidding Hogwash Apex Fare Crummy Cash Payment Fricken Fool Who Wants To Go Home

Feeling much better. Thanks.

January 22, 2005

Sorry for the Interruption

I eavesdropped on a discussion about Madame Bovary a couple of days ago.

Woman 1: “It is the story of a woman who wants too much out of life. It is a lesson in the dangers of vanity.”

Woman 2: “She can’t have enough of men! What lust! I’m glad Ketan Mehta made her go up in smoke and called her Maya”

Nosey-parker ole me had to butt in: “It’s about a woman who has a romantic notion of love that one man cannot fulfil. She finds bits and pieces of her ideal in her many lovers. The fabric of society cannot sustain the stretch of her imagination. Her story is the story of all dreamers, it is the tragedy of the dreamer in all of us.”

Woman 1 and 2: “Aren’t you going for lunch?”

January 19, 2005

Yeh Kaisi Maya Hai?

Sampooran Singh should be tried and hanged for driving so many people to the brink! :)

Khud Se Baatein Karte Rehna Baatein Karte Rehna
Aankhen Moonde Din Mein Meethi Raatein Bharte Rehna

Khud Se Kehna Jaati Hoon Maein
Khud Se Kehna Aai Maein
Aaisa Bhi To Hota Hai Na Halkisi Tanhaai Mein
Tanhaai Mein Tasveeron Ke Chehre Bharte Rehna
Khud Se Baatein Karte Rehna...

Bheege Bheege Mausam Mein
Kyon Barkha Pyaasi Lagti Hai
Ji To Khush Hota Hai Par Ek Udaasi Rehti Hai
Abhi Bas Roothi Khudse Khaime Mante Rehna
Khud Se Baatein Karte Rehna...

-From Maya Memsaab

January 18, 2005


Every morning, when I go out to feed the birds, I see her standing in her balcony. She’s my age. Wearing a peach or pink nightdress, her hair uncombed, she stands there facing the rising sun, looking at nothing in particular. She’s leaning on the railing, her hands clasped together. Her face says she’s miles away from where she’s standing. She is the new daughter-in-law of the family on the floor below. She spends her whole day at home.

We do not acknowledge each other’s presence in the morning. In the evening, we sometimes bump into each other. She’s going for a walk with her husband when I am coming back from work. She is dressed prettily and clinging to his arm. I look like I am walking out of a tornado. The elevator does not stop at her floor, because I have commanded it to go to mine.

I don’t know her name. She does not know mine. We face each other through the iron bars and smile. For the time it takes for a rickety elevator to travel up one floor, we both wonder what it would be like to live the other’s life.

We Are Mad

We spend half our time being scared of ghosts: imagining there are things/people where there are actually none.

We spend the other half of our time filling up empty spaces in our homes/hearts/lives with imaginary things/people.

Someday, I hope to grow up enough to acknowledge that there is nothing.

January 16, 2005


I went with Bong neighbor, her lizard-exterminating boyfriend, and his school friends to Shirdi yesterday. Waking up before five in the morning and bathing in cold water was the most religious part of the exercise. Brrrrr.

The drive was beautiful. A big, round, red sun sneaked upon the horizon and set the scattered clouds blushing. Obviously, the cloud population had been up to no good in the dark.

We stopped at the Shani temple on the way. Three burly parking attendants blocked the road and forced our driver to park in their special premises. The guys changed into rented orange dhotis and took a dip in water. They then walked to the temple, Bong and I following. Flies and filth were everywhere. We stood outside while the guys went in. Construction work was in progress around the temple, to give it a holiday resort look and feel. Men in rented orange dhotis groping their family jewels outside a temple that is dressing up in donation money to attract more donation money. I somehow managed not to throw up. In retrospect, it was only because I had no dinner and no breakfast.

We proceeded to Shirdi, where we were herded in a long queue. Devotees, their bawling children, and their aged parents all stood in silent veneration while the closed-circuit TV showed a telecast of the aarti. After the aarti, they broke the queue and stepped on each other’s feet to get to the main shrine. A woman from the underworld stood there with her AK-47 voice, making sure nobody got close to the idol. Lizard-exterminator was made of sterner stuff, and managed to touch the idol’s feet and have our prasad offered. (That’s how your sacred thread traveled, O religious heretic) I did not close my eyes or fold my hands or pray.

Organized religion is worse than organized crime. When one goes to a hospital, one invariably comes out feeling grateful that one is not ill like everyone around is. I get the same feeling when I come out of a temple.

On our way back, we took the Nasik-Pune highway through the Ghats. The mountains and dry bushes and anorexic rivers frolicked in the fading sunlight. Tux, I said a prayer for you there. I am sure God was not in the temple, or anywhere close to there. God was in the hills and the river and the sun was God’s eye. And when I was done asking for what I am sure will soon be yours even without special requests, the sun hid for a moment behind a cloud. I take it God was winking.

January 13, 2005

Pearls Before Swine

I was studying for a while in a “dry” state in the West (State Motto: No wine, only blood). There was a chap in my class who ran a chain of beer bars in Mumbai (What were we studying? Advertising, of course!). He brought back vodka in a 5 litre can of Bisleri each time he went home. Apart from being chief supplier, he was also chief consumer. He lived in the room below mine in the hostel.

One evening (advertising evening = 1am) there was a shortage of glasses on the ground floor.

My name was yelled out till I opened my door. “Give us a couple of glasses!”

Like I was going to give my only glass for alcohol consumption! Huh!

I found an abandoned glass of water on the ledge. I picked it up and walked to the loo to empty it into the basin.

Suddenly there was mayhem on the ground floor.
“Stop! Stop!”

Irritated at the screaming so late at night, I cursed them all and continued my sleepwalk.
A hand grabbed my shoulder and almost dislocated it. The guy was panting like three dogs. He had run up the stairs in three seconds flat.

“Give me that glass”
I quietly handed it over to him.

“What do you think you were doing?”
“Getting you guys a glass”
“What do you think this is?”

He could have hit me. I would have never survived if he hit me.

“You were about to throw vodka into the basin. You know what that means?”
I knew what that meant. Vodka Godhra.

“How the hell am I supposed to know it is vodka?”
“Which planet are you from? Can’t you make out whether it’s water or vodka even when the glass is in your hand?”
“Which planet are YOU from? How can you tell it is vodka and not water from the ground floor?”

The guy left without a word (but with the glass).

January 13

She lived an unenviable life: gave birth practically every year, and returned to tend the house and her daughters with no time to rest, let alone to mourn the loss of a baby. She could not afford the luxury of superstition.

No. I take that back. Millions of women in this country who lead lives like hers cling to superstition for support. For someone of her generation who had never been to school, she was remarkably broad-minded.

She finally had a son. Who lived. She was ecstatic.

When the son married, she told her daughter-in-law: “We have no rituals in this household. You are free to observe any if you please. There is just one festival we make sure we celebrate every year. In gratitude for the son God gave me.”

Even if it meant a small bonfire on the balcony because the family was in mourning, the tradition was kept up.

Happy Lohri to all.

And Grandma, we’re celebrating today!

January 12, 2005


Point: you hand out love as if its a precious commodity. To be given rarely to a chosen few...

Counterpoint: And you hand out love as if it were growing on trees...put in a box on the pavement for all those who want it...

January 11, 2005

A Humbrum Hasmi

The lady who sits next to me at work is incessantly listening to Kisna, so I am forced to write this entry.

Sukhwinder is proclaiming that all gods are within him, and therefore he does not need to go to a temple. The tsunami of decibels culminates in a 50-meter high wave that says:

Aham Bramhasmi

Good enough for anyone who does not see the problem. Torture for those who do.

Brahm = the God’s name
Asmi = (I) am
Brahm+Asmi = Brahmasmi
not brAMHAsmi
definitely not brum haasmi

But Mr Darbar, Mr Ghai, Mr Singh… nobody seems to care!

If I remember correctly, Javed Akhtar was advising some Indian-Idles on TV to get their pronunciation correct before they attempt to sing/act/whatever it was they were doing. Surely HE must have noticed!

Why bother to chant Sanskrit when you cannot pronounce it right? And it’s not one of those unpronounceable words that you can pardon because nobody can pronounce them anyways. It’s sheer negligence.

And the Shiv Sena will never attack the Mukta Arts office for this perversion of the Lord’s name. They will run after some poor guy who showed an image of Brahma on a poster outside a pub.

January 10, 2005


My podgy little index finger
Was still warm
And moist
From being held in your hand

It gripped an iron rail
I felt it grow strong
And cold
The day I learned to stand

January 09, 2005


The bai walked in today with a warning: “Don’t eat fish!”
“What??” I asked.
“That storm that came some days ago? Did you notice that so many men died, but no fish died? The fish are eating the dead men! If you eat the fish, then you are also eating the dead men! Don’t eat fish!” she explained.

While sweeping the floor, she stopped midway. “In my village, a girl has come from the storm area. Poor thing has only one tattered dress and is not even married. All the villagers are giving her something or the other. She says she came from the storm area.”

I opened my mouth to give her a million reasons why the fish in the Arabian Sea could hardly have fed on people who died hundreds of kilometres away, and a woman from Chennai would not travel to a village on the outskirts of Pune to seek help from those who need it almost as badly. Somehow, I did not see the point in getting into a debate.

Am curious to know where my countrymen and women are getting tsunami-related information. Are there myths being written in villages while you and I catch up with the latest on-site pictures online? But then, aren’t there myths being written through those latest pictures, which turn out to be fake the next day?

I opened the newspaper to see the two little girls selling lemonade to raise money for tsunami victims. An aww-inspiring gesture that sums up another set of common-man’s reaction to the tragedy. The common man who sees the real picture through the fractured prism of the Occident. And jumps in to rescue the world in its own way. And another myth is born.

(I know. This post does not make sense to me either.)

January 06, 2005

Cheep Thrills

One day not long ago, I decided to convert the tiny balcony adjoining my kitchen into a breakfast joint for my feathered friends.

I began with scattering breadcrumbs on the ledge, but the health-conscious birds informed me that refined white flour was not going to get any customers. I switched to Arhar Dal, which I had stopped eating because it was not of good quality. Apparently, it wasn’t good enough for the birds either.

I was about to give up in despair, when Mammageddon arrived and suggested I use bajra (millet). A packet of the same was duly procured, and grains were scattered on the ledge. I stood by the window of the living room, which offers an excellent view of the balcony without disturbing its occupants. I waited. After fifteen minutes, one sparrow “Came. Pecked. Left.”

In the evening, a lot of the bajra was still there. “Wait a few days. The sparrow will inform her friends today,” Ma said.

The next day, Mrs. Sparrow brought her husband along. I left the balcony door open by mistake. Mrs Sparrow, assuming that this breakfast joint could be relied upon for constant food supply now, boldly flew into the kitchen to examine the gaping hole in the ceiling (for the fan) as a potential home. I had to rush in to inform her that my landlord would not allow me to sub-let the flat.

The morning ritual became a habit. I put out bajra before I had a glass of water myself. In about ten minutes, sparrows, pigeons, and crows began their rounds. I sat perched upon the window ledge and watched the spectacle.

On the first of January, I reached home at 9 in the morning. There was a ruckus on the balcony. A dozen very loud sparrows were perched on the horizontal bars of the iron railing, looking like musical notes that were singing themselves out. They were livid at me for being late. Feeling ashamed, I put out the bajra even before I put the lock and key down.

As I put out the bajra today, one hungry sparrow-lady arrived on the ledge while I was still standing there. With one “cheep” that probably meant “Would you leave already?” she shooed me away. Her pals joined her as soon as the door was bolted.

They follow a hierarchical routine, my feathered friends. The sparrows come first of all. Then one pigeon arrives. The sparrows make room for it. Then another pigeon arrives and hovers around the sparrows, fanning them with its wings. It tries to land ON the sparrows! “Oops! Madam, did I step on your toes/beak/wings?” “Pardon me sir. Is that your tail under my pink claws?” Being stupid and clumsy is very helpful if you are trying to make your way through a tinier population. Anyone who has dragged two trolley-fulls of luggage at an airport and left half a dozen co-passengers in need of knee-replacement surgeries will know what I mean. The sparrows just up and leave in disgust.

The pigeons eat and eat and eat. The sparrows gang up on the downstairs balcony and make some attempts at guerrilla warfare, but the pigeons promptly put up the stupid and clumsy act again.

Three crows fly in formation to the ledge. All the other birds disappear. I wonder if crows dig bajra, or just get kicks out of ruining the party. The peck uninterestedly and leave. It is many minutes before anyone else appears again.

I’m planning to buy a water bowl and build them a swing soon. My own bird circus!

P.S. They are eating so much bajra that they are running up bigger grocery bills than me!

Answer the following

Q: What is a five-letter word for a pizza topping?
A: Guilt

Q: Complete the series: Login > Compose > Insert Address > Insert Text > Send > …
A: Regret

Q: What is a four-letter word for death?
A: Fear

Q: Complete the series: Create > Like > Enjoy > Love > Cherish > Depend > …
A: Kill

January 05, 2005

Aa Aa Eee Oo Oo Oh!

Overnight, Ze Inkpot of Ze Crackpot has swapped the Lagaan look for the Raja Babu look.

(Please to tell me if it be hurting your eyes too much.)

On the collaborative writing front, a set of predictions for 2005 is put up here.
If you go there, do check out the sketches of the chhamiya and the dude. :P

Peace to all.
No broken bones to me.

January 04, 2005

Fortune Favours the Bold, eh?

Saw Alexaaaaaaaaaaander (correct pronunciation) yesterday. Some observations:

  1. A grand sweeping canvas does not an epic make. We live in times when most fancy hotels and heritage resorts look so majestic that even the most ambitious film sets look like good imitations at best.
  2. Child actors rule! Having seen Mughal-e-Azam over the weekend, I cannot help generalizing. The two scenes with Salim junior and the ten with Alexander junior left an indelible impression upon me.
  3. There is not a single line of dialogue that I carried out of the theatre with me. So many scenes were crying out to be written as dramatic, memorable pieces. (Mughal-e-Azam hangover again) Coming to think of it, I haven’t heard a memorable line in a Hollywood movie in a long, long time.
  4. War scenes have been done to death. After Troy and company, I can only yawn through kilometres of footage of kilometres of army lines spilling each other’s blood. I would have shot the war as duels between eagles!
  5. Alexander is a good Aryan boy and the Persian king is an Osama clone.
  6. Babylonians wear jewellery from Jaipur and Sambhalpuri Ikat from Orissa. They wear Gujarati shawls when it gets chilly.
  7. If you cross over the Hindooooooooookush (correct pronunciation) and enter India, you land in Assam. Incessant rain and elephants just don’t happen at wholesale rates anywhere else. For detail, check mosaic tile maps circa 300 BC.
  8. Based on accent, some Greeks are Hispanic. Some are Irish. Many are too drunk to be coherent.
  9. How can you have a hero die of malaria and heartbreak? (Thanks, Heretic.) So you can have a bizarre Indian Maharaja kill him. No comments on the portrayal of India (the land that has never been conquered by anyone ha ha) and Indians (beaded beards???).
  10. It’s an epic minus a soul, a feast without salt. Unless of course, Angelina Jolie and some snakes are good enough for you.

    Urgently Needed: A really bold approach to an epic.

January 03, 2005


Don’t Move!




You are welcome!

So, what were you saying?
You’re through with me?

Rise and Shine!

When God kicks off a year with a weekend, you know He’s got his heart in the right place.

Instead of my usual stay-at-home-and-brood New Year’s Eve, I had the option of either:

- Making myself and others miserable
- Enjoying myself and making others uncomfortable

No prizes for guessing which one I chose. Papun Dada and family were made to put up with the non-smoking vegetarian teetotaler on NYE. They did a phenomenal job. Witnessed thought-provoking conversation after ages. Dada is hereby named Host of theYear for 2004 and 2005.

Saw Mughal-e-Azam with one of the Bong ladies on Saturday. Her persistent intrusion of my personal space, together with comments like “sniff sniff: boys are not worthy of such love”, has me realllllllly worried now.

Bought a Hemant Kumar CD, as a New Year gift for myself, to replace the tape that I have worn to extinction. Put on the music and switched off the lights. Prepared far-too-crunchy-to-be-called-cooked veggies and far-too-limp-to-be-called-cooked chapattis for dinner in the dark. Bong lady came over (uninvited) to eat by candle light and cried into her daal roti dinner while the music played. I prayed the CD would end before I did.

Visited a Delhi friend (along with other Delhi friends) yesterday. Note: first instance of groupism. Had Delhi-like food. Realized I had never missed it much.

Forgot my cellphone at home on the first working day of the year. Have a happy 2005 All!