Monday, May 29, 2006

If I Could...

I would watch you sleep, see your dreams chase each other behind your closed eyes.
I would listen to the whisper of your soft, slow breath.
I would wait till the morning slid in through the curtains, and gently nudged you awake. Be with you, as you made the journey from last night's dreams to the reality of another day.

I would sit there, curled up and comfortable, on the couch by your bed, and inhale the second-hand-smoke from your first cigarette of the day.
I would watch you, as you threw off the sheets, slipped your feet into your chappals and shuffled off into the kitchen with a resigned sigh; I would smile at that.

I'd listen for the contented bubbling of the percolator, as it prepared your first - of four or more, depending on what kind of day you were having - cup of coffee.
Black, no sugar.

I would relive the countless mornings that we'd gone through the same routine - sleepy mornings, cigarettes, slippers, coffee - and I would wonder; would you do things differently, if you knew I was there?

If you knew all of us were there?

This post, incidentally, is in answer to the question Amit asked, about what you would do if you were invisible.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Mumbai Blogger's Meet

One's very first blogger's meet was attended, and while one cannot speak for all the attendees, one had a jolly good time.

The words flew fast and furious, as a multitude of topics were discussed - ranging from programming, photography, marriage, sexuality, previous blog meets and of course reservations - disputed and dismissed, sometimes all three at the same time.

We apologise profusely to those bloggers, whom we might have deafened/frightened/horrified with our...errr...vociferous (?) reactions to the issues being discussed.

Our impressions of some of the bloggers (because we didn't get to speak to all of them as much as we would've liked to):

Amit was a lot less vocal than we expected. Although to be fair, he would have had to be a lot more than just vocal, to be heard above the din (yours truly being one of it's main contributors).

2) The
Idea smithy was all spunk and fire and feminism and SO the kind of woman we'd *totally* ask out if we were a guy. Or gay. Since we're neither, we'll just say, she's awesome fun.

Evenstar, dainty and delicate and Juliet-like; one could almost picture her standing in a latticed balcony, leaning her cheek upon her hand. Until she mentioned, in her soft voice, that she'd just gotten back from attending an anti-reservation protest at Azad Maidan (which turned out - as she discovered later - to be a pro-reservation rally, but hey, she was there. Which is more than we can say for ourselves). The things these Juliet-like women get upto these days, I tell you!

Sakshi was just like her blog; straightforward and very chilled out.

5) Oh then, there was the mysterious
Mr. Gera (whom we find mysterious primarily because we have no idea what his first name is) who spent a lot of time explaining how, if you took the code from the back of his t-shirt, and inserted it into the script on the front of his t-shirt, you would get four small camels.

We're terribly unclear about how exactly this was supposed to happen, but there you have it.

Mr. Gera helpfully added - in between turning round and round to show everyone the front and the back of his t-shirt - that it was 'absolutely useless, but totally cool'.

And you know, somehow, at that point of time? It made perfect sense.

The Bombay Addict, as his name suggests, a true blue Mumbaikar. From Uttar Pradesh. We found we had a bit of a wavelength-matching-thingy going on here. Until he played devil's advocate over the reservations issue, after which we screamed and bit his head off. We're sorry we bit your head off, Anupam.

7) Then there was young Akshay, of
Trivial Matters who was, pestered incessantly to hire us as his pappu* (person who brings him chai, polishes his lenses, sets up get the idea), declared undying love to, and proposed marriage to, all within the space of five minutes, under the benevolent influence of two gimlets.

Akshay, displaying remarkable intelligence for one so young (also, one who consumed in succession, one baby milk shake** and two (or was that one?) mojitos), declined all three proposals. Smart kid!

8) The bachpan-ke-buddies from Rajasthan,
Parijat and Piyush, were quite unlike what we expected IIT students to be. I mean, you know how you definitely expect IIT students to be intelligent, but not a whole lot more than that? These two were *bright*. And refreshingly laid-back.

Vijay. Who came, who saw and who was probably left speechless with horror/shock/disbelief because he spoke all of ten words in the four hours that he was there. Although he did take up the difficult task of typing out all fifteen names and URLs and then mailing them across to all fifteen of us. Thank you Vijay!

The rest of the attendees (whom we *really* wished we could've spoken to more) were, Zack,
Saket, Anthony and Selvin.

All in all, it was an evening well spent. To quote a certain famous blogger, fun came.

The trip back home was a whole other story though. The trains were running terribly late, because of something called a 'Jumbo Block' at Borivli. When it did arrive (the train, that is), it was packed closer than a can of sardines and we ended up getting a full-body-massage with essential oils of everybody else (eeewww, I know. Totally). But you know what? This compartment, that's hot and humid and filled with five times more people than it was ever meant to hold; there's no screaming, no tempers flaring. In fact, the women are smiling, some are actually laughing and everyone is helping everyone get some place to stand. Dupattas are being cheerfully disentangled, children are being pushed towards their mothers, single chappals are being laughingly returned to their owners.

Do you see why I love this city?

*Because *everyone* seems to have a more interesting job than we do!
** Which was a disturbing shade of pink.

Friday, May 12, 2006

I Laughed...

...till I had tears running down my face. And random office people gathering around my cubicle, with worried expressions on their faces. Which made me laugh even more.

This woman (or at least I think she's a woman) is hilarious!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

O Happy Day!

I feel all happy and warm and fuzzy inside, blogworld.

And I'm feeling this way because the Desperate Housewives have been caught red-handed. Or bloody-knived. Or whatever term you use to indicate the end of absolute, utter machiavellianism.

Let me explain.

Me: One of the quiet ones. Come to work. Do it. Inform all concerned. Leave.
Key characteristic: Dependable, unobtrusive.

Boss: Sweetheart (in the absolute, complete nice-guy sense). Dream (as opposed to dreamy, although some women do find him that as well) boss - in the sense that, he's got the very rare characteristic of making people *want* to work with/for him*
Key Characteristic: Very intelligent, very perceptive and a great buddy.

Desperate Housewives: The official team-bitches. Average (and I don't think that's bad) workers, above-averagely-intelligent women, both of them.
Key Characteristic: The knives they carry around, sharpened and ready for stabbing, into the first unsuspecting back.

What had been happening blogworld, is that these two, for no known reason, had been using guerilla tactics against yours truly. Nothing very obvious, but things like going up to the boss and telling him things like, 'Don't you think this would be a better way to manage project a?' or, 'project b needs to cover so-and-so aspects, don't you think?', specifically when I wasn't around (a and b, being my projects).

Then there were the standard kitty-party-aunty techniques - the whispering and giggling every time I walked by, or spoke on the phone or even came back to my desk for the love of god (and what on earth is so frantic-whisper-worthy about that??)! Oh and then there was the incessant gossiping on sametime (the intra-office IM. This is significant; it'll make another appearance further into the story).

Now the DHs are widely known as prize bitches - it has been said that if they had MPD? They'd be bitching about their alter-egos. They're that bad.

I had spoken to boss about this and he, in his characteristically sage manner, told me to not give a fuck. He told me that there would always be some people who'd dislike you, even if it's for no other reason than that other people like you. Which was some consolation but not enough blogworld, because, well...I'm not used to being actively disliked. Let alone, disliked enough to be schemed against**.

And then this happened.

After a meeting with the DHs, boss walks back to his desk only find this message on his IM, "Isn't he dum?! i mn he dsn't knw wht he's tlking abt!", and it's from one them.

Boss decides to play along, types back: "Ya I knw..."
DH1: "Ya! Dnt knw hw he got ts job."
Boss: "Srsly"
DH1: *stony silence* (because she notices that DH2, whom she is supposed to be having this conversation with, hasn't been typing)

At this point, DH1 turns saucer-wide eyes to DH2, who's completely oblivious to everything because she had no idea that she was being bitched-to.

DH1 realises the horror of the situation, just as boss bursts into loud guffaws and summons both of them to his cabin.

He shows them the typed conversation and then sits back, and with unnerving patience, listens to their fumbling, clumsy explanations and sorry excuses. And then gives them three kinds of hell. And tells them that if they're so unhappy with how things are done around here, well then there's the door.

Somedays, I absolutely *love* my job.

Like those few professors in college, whose classes you'd *always* attend because they just made everything so damned interesting.

** I know that sounds really dumb, but see, like I said, I'm unobtrusive. And quiet. And I mind my own business. So...well...get my point? I think it takes a certain amount of *effort* to dislike someone whose actions don't affect your life at all. And that someone would so go out of their way...well, that makes me a little queasy.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

How I Wish It Would Rain

'Mostly Cloudy'* says the weather report.

Who does that help, I ask you!

What's use is a 'Mostly Cloudy' forecast anyway? 'Mostly Clouds' don't help anyone! They don't rain (or not near my office anyway) and make it an honest-to-goodness rainy day. They don't let the sun come out, so you can't officially make statements about how it's hot enough* to fry an egg on the pavement. Or about how the couple of ice-cubes you just took out of the freezer, screamed and jumped back in. Or wonder why this kind of weather always reminds you of this painting***.

A 'Mostly Cloudy' day shows you glimpses of what it's got, makes you think you can have it and then flounces away. Like the worst kind of tease.

So there you are, almost feeling the cool breeze, almost smelling that wet- earth smell, almost tasting the sweet, spiced tea that an *actual* rainy day would bring.

You! Up there! Yes, you in charge of the weather. You've got a sick sense of humour.

*And doesn't this sound like a completely futile statement? It's almost like 'mostly omnipotent'...or...or, mostly dead. I'm not making sense anymore, am I? I'm sorry, clouds-not-raining make me MAa--a-a-A-D!

**Because it's not really that hot. It's just averagely hot, but with might-as-well-be-sitting-in-the-sauna humidity thrown in. Bleargh.

***Wilt-y clocks, I feel your pain.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The (NOT) Lazy Sunday Post

The perfect Sunday, is waking up to a paper with ten thousand inane supplements, which you will spend a good part of an hour reading. It's sipping a gallon of hot, sweet tea while you read the inane supplements. It is a perfectly fried egg, dusted with freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkling of salt.

Today was NOT that Sunday.

It started out with us rushing out of the house because we'd planned to have breakfast at this place called The Crepe Station, on Carter Road. Word of advice, do NOT go there before the clock strikes twelve; they have exactly one-third of the items on their menu (and this is the breakfast menu, for chrissake!) and the service is godawful. The waiter at our table seemed really pissed that people had actually come in for breakfast. I mean, what kind of losers go out for breakfast?? Also, it appeared that English was not his first, or second, OR third language. Every request we made was met with a look of supreme blankness, which had us worrying a little and forcing us to speak like so - "Can We Have A Sand-Wich Please? Cheese And Tom-a-to? No? But It Is On The Breakfast Menu!" - only to be informed by the very stoned looking waiter that, no, THAT stuff's available only after twelve o' clock. Of course! Who has breakfast before twelve! The very thought! After settling for the only items that seemed safe - scrambled eggs and toast (how wrong can you go with scrambled eggs and toast, right?) - we discovered that we were dealing with some very talented people indeed. The toast turned up in a pretty basket, stone cold and jaw-achingly chewy; the scrambled eggs, for want of a better description, porridge-y (zero, ZERO texture, bland as hell and with STRANGE LIQUID RUNNING OUT OF IT!! AAaarrggH!!). Remember that question I asked a couple of sentences back? About how wrong you could possibly go with scrambled eggs and toast? Hoo boy! Did I get MY answer!

Hennywaayy...Unmitigated-disaster-breakfast was made up for by beautiful, beautiful lunch (No, no. We don't live from one meal to another; there was a gap of a good four hours between 'em...honest!).

Goa Portuguesa, you are hereby conferred the title of Saviour of Sundays. For your glorious sauteed prawns, for your succulent, dipped-in-batter-and-deep-fried-rawas and last, but not the least, for your cheesy-but-sweet, Hawaiian-shirt-clad, guitar-strumming, eighties-Hindi-film-song-singer. If you're ever in Bombay, Blog-People, give 'em a try. You won't regret it.

The only, *only* disturbing part of this lunch date (and I'm turning into one of those people who'll find something to crib about in any situation, aren't I? Ah well, my blog, my crib-fest), was the family at the next table. Mr and Mrs. Lucifer (AKA, PAAPPAAAAA!!!-DEKHO-ROHAN-KYA-KAR-RAHA-HAIII!! and MUMMMEEEE!!-ANNIKA-KO-BOLO-BAITH-JAAYEEE!!), and their three precious little demon seed, AnnikaaAAH-bete-aunty-ke-table-pe-jumpy-jump-nahin-karte!, Aaryan-dekho-voh-glass-girne-vaalA-HAI and Rohan-bachche-tumhara-khaana-IDHAR-hai!

Mr and Mrs Lucifer saw absolutely nothing out of the ordinary in their three little *angels* lining up in front of our table and staring at us with frightening intensity. For extended periods of time. Or their using our table as support for whenever 'jumpy-jumping' took an unexpected turn (and so what if the people need to make a frantic scrabble for their lunch which is rapidly slipping off the table? What's lunch without a little panic attack?). Or little Rohan, grabbing my sunglasses for a little chew-and-drool session. It was only the timely entrance of the proprietor, which saved us from crawling under the table and bawling into the napkins.

I mean, I don't really have anything against people having children*, but seriously parents! I mean, has it occured to you that since *I* haven't signed up for the experience yet, it's not really *fair* to inflict your progeny on me? If they have not reached an age/the stage where they can sit down quietly and eat, do they *really* need to be taken to Goa Portuguesa? Order in! Go to McDonald's! Or at the very least, tie them up in their chairs**.

* Well, to tell the truth, I sort of do. Or no, wait, what I mean is, if you are having them, you should jolly well put a little bit of effort into making them behave relatively human.

** I know. I'm tempting fate here aren't I? I'm so going to be saddled with a kid that needs to tied up and strait-jacketed all the time. But you know what people? Whatever that child may be, what he/she will NOT be, is inflicted on society at large.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Thursday's Child

These days, Thursdays make me feel like marching through the aisles between the cubicles in office, and singing, in the deepest, loudest voice* I can manage, Enjorlas's heroic, *thundering* One day Mo-o-o-r-r-r-re!

I so need a new job.


In other distantly-related news, the new ad on television is one of the best I've seen in a long time. My heart goes out to that Bharatnatyam dancer doing the whole neck-wiggling-eyes-rolling routine, while directing runway traffic. It bleeds for the poor maestro, bravely waving his baton, trying to fix a traffic bottleneck and by the time we get to the batsman, using his bat dhobi-style to wash clothes, I'm crying big splashy tears into the nearest cushion.

And while we're on the subject of advertisements, will someone please tell me, what on *earth* does 'Thande Ka Tadka' mean??

*Which, if we'd ever spoken, you'd know, is NOT deep, NOT loud and not even REMOTELY heroic.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


That it is not the *worst* book I have ever read, is, I think, the best thing I can say about it. There is a story buried deep in there somewhere, under all the florid rhetoric, but you will need the patience of a Hindu saint to find it!

(Did that sentence make you cringe? The reference to the Hindu saint? It was meant to; that's the kind of sentence the whole blasted book is littered with!)

The problem with this book, is that every. single. paragraph. is a blog post.

You know how, when you blog, you pick up some dull, uninteresting detail from your life, spiff it up, give it a good little polish with your shirt sleeve and put it up in a pretty frame? That's what Gregory David Roberts has done, only he forgot he wasn't writing a post. He did the whole spit-and-shine routine with every annoying little thought that crossed his mind when he sat down to write.

The thing is, if it's a whole story, a whole nine-hundred-and-thirty-two-page story, it is going to be a very difficult read indeed, if you have nine hundred and thirty two times four (average number of paragraphs per page) bundles of hyper-descriptive phraseology to trudge through. It's worrisome and quite exhausting and you almost start fretting and chewing on imaginary pencil ends for him.

There were times when I'd start reading a paragraph and three sentences into it, sigh in exasperation and startle the general public by yelling at the book to get to the goddamn point already! His description of man's face sent my brain into a tizzy; what with all the 'black eyes dancing in his face like restless beetles' and his 'moustache sprawled across his upper lip like some sated caterpillar' (alright, well he didn't say exactly that, but it's pretty damned close).

Then, there's this absolute gem:
"She snatched at my wrist with surprising speed and dragged my hand onto her thigh, near the hip. The flesh was warm and smooth and supple. Nothing in the world is so soft and pleasing to the touch, as the skin of a woman's thigh. No flower, feather or fabric, can match that velvet whisper of flesh. No matter how unequal they may be in any other ways, all women, old and young, fat and thin, beautiful and ugly, have that perfection. It's a great part of the reason why men hunger to possess women, and so often convince themselves that they do possess them: the thigh, that touch."

Well well well! Who knew? And why didn't they ever tell me?!

Then, every problem, every riot, every killing or general violent situation in the book is solved by the fact that he's a Gora who speaks their (the people of Maharashtra) language [sic]. I got a little tired of his escaped-convict-with-the-heart-of-gold-routine, and quite sick of the oh-how-*quaint*-everything-is! tone of writing.

This is the kind of book you read when you're a foreigner, trying to 'get a feel of the real India'.

The phrase 'Do Not Buy', sums it up quite nicely. If you absolutely *must* read it (though I can't understand why anybody *must* read it), then borrow. Or steal, but do NOT under any conditions, spend money on it. You can get TWO Pratchetts for the same price and none of the agony.