Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Thanking her Lucky Stars

At a recent drunken gathering I was asked what my will-he-make-it-to-a-second-date tests were. (Which probably just goes to show just how drunken the gathering was, because asking ME for second-date-tests is a bit like asking a kake-da-dhaba-da-butter-chicken eater, whether they want their beluga caviar on crackers or plain chilled. ‘Pointless’ is what I mean). So anyway, I thought really, really hard (I was drunk too) and came up with this:

”He shall not be queasy about street food.”

And then I thought about it some more and I realised that I’m probably at my wisest when drunk. Because you know, not-queasy-about-street-food says so much about a man. No, seriously. I will not date a guy who goes all ‘organic aloos’ on me. A man who is NQaSF is a man who is not afraid to take chances. He’s been there, eaten that, had the jaundice and risen like a phoenix from the ashes. What has not killed him, has given him a stomach of cast-iron and an immune system that pooh-poohs at sissy amoeba.

The NQaSF guy is not just tough, oh no he’s not. This man, much like the perfect vada, is all crispy crust and soft insides. You might not think it to look at him, but ladies and gentlemen, he’s a romantic! This is a man who knows the joys of eating roasted bhutta while walking along bandstand, and the comfort that comes from conversations punctuated with the silent, contemplative munching of corn-kernels. He knows the sense of community that comes with standing around the paani-puri-vaala’s red-cloth-draped matka and struggling to finish the paani-puri in your plate before the lightning-fast vendor starts his second round. He knows the stomach-flipping way of using his (clean) handkerchief to wipe off that dab of imli-chutney from the corner of your mouth (which might sound gross but is actually all awww-inducing when the hormones are a-ragin’).

He knows that nothing completes a rainy day better than a glass of sweet cutting-chai, strong with the flavours of adrak and elaichi, and he knows that the best accompaniment to this chai is piping hot samosas, smothered in green chutney, served in those faded-green leaf donas.

And now, the government wants to ban them all.

It’s a good thing I went and got married when I did.

Friday, May 18, 2007

With Apologies to Nike

So. In my mother’s endless quest for more grandchildren than she knows what to do with, I have been instructed to buy a panchang. For those of you in the dark (from me, who has had an occasional glimpse of light and winced) a panchang is a Vedic calendar based largely on the phases of the moon with an occasional nod to the sun, the nine* real planets in our solar system and two mythical ones (Yes, we have mythical planets. Don’t you?).

The panchang is pretty much the how-to-live-every-day-of-your-life guide for all good, religious, Hindus (I score exactly zero out of three). It has every single day of (however remote) religious significance marked out on it and if you’re even borderline familiar with Hinduism, that is a LOT of days. There is ekadashi, which happens once every month – I know some people fast on this day, there is amavas, which is essentially a moonless night, so I’m assuming people switch on the street-lights this day, and a whole plethora of other days which I have no clue about. All I know is that some involve fasting, some involve feasting and some involve wearing yellow clothes and feeding cows (unless this one of my mother’s twisted little ways of getting a laugh off her children).

’What does this have to do with my mother’s potential grandchildren?’, you might ask.
‘Apparently, lots’, I will say.

You see, since my mother has realised that mere badgering has done nothing to increase her tribe, she has switched to plan B i.e. tempt your daughter with the promise of “super” offspring. Apparently, doing the deed on days specifically earmarked for er…such activity will ensure that the resultant bundle of joy will be the kind of bundle of joy that is the very epitome of joyousness. As they were wont to say in shady seventies Hindi movies, “Heera hoga, heera!!" (He will be a diamond, a diamond!).

But it’s not as simple as it sounds. You can’t ‘just do it’ (sorry nike) on the days circled in red marker. There is A Process. The two parties involved must first have gone though a period of celibacy (ten days, I think). On the designated day, when the clock strikes the magic hour, both parties must bathe, wear clean clothes and light a diya in front of bhagwaan-jis of their choosing. They must then invoke their individual ancestors, inform them of their intentions to further (deepen?) their gene pools, seek their blessings and then get down and do the dirty.

Because of course, *nothing* gets you in the mood like the mental image of an audience of stern-faced gods and grey-beard ancestors watching you as you get it on.

*or is that eight now?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Not merry, not even close.

You know what this heat is? It’s insidious. It gets under your skin. You can shed your layers of clothing till you’re naked as a jaybird, and even that won’t be enough, you’ll want to take off more. This heat. It lies low all morning, patient, waiting, pretending to be all ‘oh pay no attention to me, I’ll just lie here in this corner doing nothing at all’ and then, when the sun’s at its peak, it pounces. Runs under your skin like an army of spiders, starting at the back of your neck, then spreading. Across your shoulder blades, down your arms, in the crease of your neck. A million little metallic spiders under your skin.

God I hate May.

And like that’s not bad enough, there are clouds. They’ll hide the sun for a couple of minutes every now and then, fill you with longing, make you turn your face up to the sky in anticipation, and then float away.

If May were a man, he’d totally be the kind all your girlfriends told you to stay away from, knowing all the while that you were too far gone to listen. Because May? May was Bad News. He was the kind who’d never call when he said he would, vanish without a trace for three months and then, without any warning, show up at your doorstep. You’d be all casual because you couldn't possibly let him know, he’d know, but pretend not to.

Crafty bugger, that May.

But I’m three summers old in this city and I know that these clouds mean nothing. I know there’s going to be no rain till June. I know. So you can stop flitting across the sky, stop your hide-and-seek with the sun, just stop with the goddamn teasing alright?

I’m on to you, May.