Thursday, November 30, 2006

Casino Royale...

...or, My what pretty blue eyes you have Mr. Craig!

First, so while he'
s just not as smooth as him, or as twinkly-eyed as him, he does have a certain, something, no? We don't know whether it's because of the startling blueness of those eyes (such pretty eyes!), or that just-skimming-gravel voice saying, well...anything at all really, but the hormones, they have approved and once they do, there is nothing for the brain to do but play along.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new James Bond!

Blonde, blue-eyed and guaranteed to make you want to shove Eva Green out of the shower (out fragile creature!) and sit with your head on Daniel Craig's nice smelling**, broad and ever-so-capable shoulders.

Go watch it.*

*That is, if you can stomach some amount of on-screen violence. I know I spent a lot of the 2 1/2 hours a) cringing in my seat every time some mean bastard battered some other not-so-mean-bastard with less batter(y?)-power, and b) restraining myself from yelling out at the screen, "BoysboysBOYS!! Stop with all the mindless chasing each other up and down construction sites! You're going to hurt yourself (but did they listen? of course not. And *continued*
chasing each other up and down girders like particularly nimble-footed mountain goats)!"

**Alright, so I don't know if he smells nice or not, but would it kill you to leave my dreams alone?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Trading Places*

My darling daughter,

Today, you turn thirteen.

I thought long and hard about what to get you for this birthday, this birthday which marks your first step into adolescence. The date itself means little; your rapidly expanding mind and your changing body tell me that you are now on your way to womanhood. Still, a birthday is a birthday and birthdays mean gifts.

So what does one gift a butterfly half out of a cocoon?

Butterflies are beautiful but delicate, prone to getting their wings caught and torn, as they flit from flower to flower. And my beautiful, delicate daughter, I would not want you to be hurt in any way.

So I give you, the gift of caution.

You are now at an age where your mind is full of questions. I will try to answer them as best I can.

You ask me why it is I worry so much about you. When I know that you are now a whole thirteen years old and can look after yourself.

I worry, sweetheart, because I know that you don't. I know that you always see the good in people, their honest hearts, their pure souls, and I almost don't want to tell you the truth and have you lose your faith.

You ask me why caution has to mean hiding your face, your clothes, your body, your identity.

(For a thirteen-year-old, you ask some tricky questions!)

To begin with, I would prefer it if we called it 'protecting' rather than 'hiding'. You hide when you are afraid of something. You protect when you are afraid for.

This will protect you.

There are people in this world who are terrified of change. They have lived their whole lives in a certain way and anything (even if it is a good thing) even slightly removed from this way frightens them terribly. They fear that in this new world, where things are different from how they were in their time, they will have no place. This is not true - for a new place is very different from no place, I think you will agree - but it is very difficult to change minds which are set in stone.

Fear makes people do terrible things, child. This will protect you from the repercussions of that fear.

You ask me how things will ever change if we never even attempt to change them.

(my little revolutionary, my changer of the world. I see so much of my younger self in you!)

I tell you that I want things to change as well, but change takes effort and time and patience.

(and blood and sweat and tears but I want none of those to be yours!)

But mother, won't I feel stifled? What if it's really hot outside?

My child, It might be hot occasionally, it might be uncomfortable but if you look at it as a shield, or an invisibility cloak, well, that changes things doesn't it? Can you see how it will be? You can walk around the city all day, anywhere you please and no-one need know it's you! Can you imagine the freedom? You get to decide who you want to meet, have conversation with, befriend. Also, now that you're on your way to becoming a woman, why it works as well as Athena's shield against all that unwelcome attention!

How long have you worn one, mother?
Why, all my life, child! Ever since I turned thirteen, exactly the age you are now.

"So...I can be just like you?", you ask me with a smile on your face.

"Yes, sweetheart, you can be just like me", I reply as I hand you your gift of caution, your shield of black silk, with a small lacework window to the world.

* is a writing exercise** on Caferati (where I have, till date *never* been able to figure out, whether or not I am a member (sorry, Peter!). I take 'technologically-challenged' to new heights, as you can see).

** And I don't think I've managed to do what the exercise intended either, but whoever said this blog was supposed to be a showcase of fine writing? Wasn't me!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Frankly, Scarlett...

Blog-people, my darlings, my absolutely adorable munchkins!

I have decided to take your advice. And take a chill pill, (or a whole handful of them, what the hey!) and *breathe* a little. And in order to so? I will NOT be going in to work today (Ooo! I *love* being defiant! Take that S & B*!). Because today (so far) is turning out to be too pretty (It's cloudy! And there might be rain!) a day to spend cooped up in a cubicle.

Look at me not giving a damn!

Rhett Butler would've been proud.

* Names have NOT been changed because I couldn't possibly care less** now.

** OMG this is getting addictive! Soon I will not care about anything! "Brushing my teeth? Showering? Who needs 'em!", is what I will say. And alternately, I will also say, "Sheron ke muh kisne dhoye hain!***".

*** You don't go around brushing lions' teeth (unless you're ummm...not very bright).

Friday, November 17, 2006

You know you're really stressed out* when... get to the counter**, tell the guy to go easy on the sugar, pay, pick up your change, and then forget to pick up the damned coffee.

*Which brings me to the question that is baffling the pants off me - WHY am I stressing myself out over a job I no longer have? It's bizarre, BIZARRE I tell you!

That conscience, you know, she can be SUCH a pain.

**The Fresh & Honest stall at Churchgate station which, despite it's very corny name, has some really good coffee***.

*** And no, they haven't paid me to say that...sadly.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Madraka vs. Mishra

In all those years and years spent with the family, we often wondered, HOW is it that none of these people look remotely like us? WHY are we the only ones who ever come home drunk? WHY does no-one else in this family say, "Pass the beef please, and the extra-garlicky sauce while you're at it."?

Turns out, we're actually Madraka*.

Thank you, Jai.

*Madraka women, to be precise.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Special Place in Hell...

That Jethmalani fellow, is one smart - if completely morally reprehensible - bastard cookie.

In his client's defense, Mr. Jethmalani has stated that Jessica Lall was shot NOT because she refused to serve alcohol, but because she refused to have sex with a random stranger.

And that, according to Mr. Jethmalani, is surely good enough reason to get shot in the head?

And while you're busy being flabbergasted at this pathetic excuse for a defense, notice how he cunningly slips in a 'tall Sikh gentleman (indeed)', - whom no-one seems to have seen or heard of until today - who turns out, luckily for Manu Sharma, to be the killer.

It's a good thing I'm not the judge - I'd hang both the scum-bags.

Of Ancestors and America

He was a sprightly old thing, my grandfather. Waking up at the crack of dawn, rushing through his morning rituals; the datun, the bath with cold water - and never mind that we were bang in the middle of a hill-station-winter - and the prayers.

The prayers were, to us, the funniest part of the process. We'd actually shake each other awake with urgent whispers,"Wake up! Nanaji's doing puja again!". He'd be putting on his shirt and coat, all the while reciting shlokas at rapid-fire speed. That done, there'd be the frantic whirling of the lit agarbatti in from of the assortment of small idols and photographs in the pasty-green-painted puja room.

We never understood though, what the rush was all about. He'd retired from practice (he was a lawyer) ever since we were old enough to know him, but come every. single. morning and there he was, popping out of bed like toast again.

By the time we'd be groggily sitting around the table for breakfast, he'd be all ready to go. In his black coat, and crisp white suit, wooden cane in hand and impatiently tapping his feet.

He was very proud of us, his 'foreign-returned' grandchildren and he'd show us off to all the acquaintances he'd meet on his interminable walks around the city. "These are my grandchildren. Do you know, they live in Nigeria!" as if living in Nigeria was something so fraught with danger and exotica, that the fact that we were alive was nothing short of miraculous.

But what I remember most about him, is the way he'd speak to us; always in English, and very loudly. Almost as if our inability to speak Hindi rendered us slightly deaf as well.

After we moved to India, he'd visit us once a year, and that one month would be filled with episodes of frantic-spectacles'-searches (which he'd manage to misplace at least thrice a day) and squeals of shock as we'd occasionally find his dentures by sitting on them.

I don't know whether I was his favourite grandchild or not (or maybe just the one who looked like she could do with a good dose of general knowledge, or hell, any knowledge) - he had way too many of them - but I was definitely his first choice when it came to discussing American politics. I use the term 'discussing' broadly though; mostly it would be him asking me questions in his booming voice, "Do you know who is the president of the United States of America?", and me meekly replying, "Yes nanaji, it's Bill Clinton".

He'd positively beam at that, and then go on to expound on the good things the Clinton administration had done for America in particular, and the world in general.

I wondered at some point if my grandfather had ever heard of the little episode with La Lewinsky - his complete and utter adoration of the man never waned in all the time I knew him, but with his generation, you never could tell, could you? The man had two wives and seven (!) children and I never, in all those years, heard him address my grandmother as anything other than saahib*.

He would have been a happy man today.

*Mate/Companion. Also, owner/ruler/lord.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Conversations from Last Night

Me: Boss, ye XYZ building kahan hai*?
Fruit Vendor whose cart is FIVE STEPS AWAY from XYZ building: Nahin madam, nahin dekha.
Me: Achcha, aap Toto's** jaante hain?
Fruit Vendor: (smiles shyly) Toto's?
Me: Haan, Toto's.
FV: (giggles coyly) Toto's? Toto's??
Me: (beginning to get a little worried) Haan...Toto's.
FV: (Blushes red, avoids eye contact, and frantically re-arranges the fruits on his cart) Nahin madam, main 'Toto's' nahin jaanta.
Me: (walks away convinced that there is such a thing as too much fruit) Achcha...thank you.

* See, I'm *allowed* to be lost even though I'm five steps away from where I'm supposed to be - it comes with being hopelessly navigation-impaired - what's his excuse??
** is a pub.


Inside Toto's:

Me: You know, I've never actually seen anyone in that DJ enclosure.
Young man: That's probably because it's not a DJ enclosure.
Me: But it says "No Requests"! Why would it have a sign saying "No Requests" unless, you know, there were going to be...'requests'? Unless, they were expecting requests of the non-musical variety...
YM: (thinks about that for a minute)
Me: (launches forth, driven by rum and a pet grouse*) Don't you just hate it when DJ's say, "I don't take requests". You know, you'd think that entertaining the crowds is their job? But noooo! They're all like, "Oh no, this crowd is so pleb, it is my divine duty as a DJ, to *educate* them. I'm just too cool (weird arm-flappy, raised-hand gesture) to take requests."
YM: They do take requests if you slip them a hundred bucks?
Me: (faking shock) Duuude, noooo! DJ's who take money to play are like, the lowest rungs on the DJ ladder. They have SOLD their DJ SOULS, other DJ's totally look down on them. They're like the...sell-outs of the DJ world!
YM: (giggling helplessly) Yeah, I'm sure Akbar Sami never takes requests.
Me: WTF is Akbar Sami??
YM: He's that guy who remixed Jalwa?
Me: (still driven, still grousing) Which is another thing I just don't get. I mean, so you add a couple of dhinchak beats to some random song and suddenly you're a musician? Explain this to me, please!
YM: You're just jealous that they make a whole lot of money. Why do you think people pay them so much?
Me: Because there are a whole lot of stupid rich people in the world. I mean, how else can you explain Rohit Bal actually managing to sell his..."designs"? See the thing is, when you're really sozzled, you don't CARE what's playing. You're drunk, you're happy, the world is a beautiful place, you love everybody and look! There's a guy behind that glass-shield thingy, wearing headphones! and a bandana! and funky shades! and apparently trying to fly by flapping his one free arm, because the other one's holding headphones to his ear! I think I'm going to give him a warm hug and tell him that I love him.
YM: You know, I no longer remember what we were talking about, but I'm glad this place doesn't have a DJ.
Me: I think this is one of those times when you actually make sense.

* And I don't mean one of these.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Free as a bird...

...with vertigo.

Today's the day internet!

Today, after (roughly) a year of incessant cribbing about my job, I'm throwin' in the towel, chuckin' up the sponge, burnin' the bra (oh wait, that doesn't work here does it?) and movin' to (hopefully) greener pastures.

In other words, I quit.

And while right now, I'm soaring through the sky on wings of silver? I'm pretty sure it's going to be a bit of a bumpy landing. Mostly because, I don't have another job lined up.

Why am I leaving then? Well, because I haven't done *any* work which I'd actually be proud to show anyone in the last eight months or so (except for, strangely enough, some writing). And I'd gotten so stuck in a rut that my idea of 'risk-taking' (on a good day) would involve setting my iPod to 'shuffle'.

Yeah, THAT bad.

So now the plan is, I'm going to be spending the next couple of weeks navel-gazing (Hello navel! My! You do manage to gather quite a bit of lint don't you!*), reading dreaded books like this one, fighting the completely expected and entirely unwelcome panic-attacks, and trying to figure out what to do next.

Wish me luck? Or failing that, only *temporary* insanity.

*My belly-button does not really gather a lot of lint. It's just that, what *else* can you talk about to a belly-button?