Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hot Chocolate and friends

They were together for about two months. Two months of dates in which he'd tell her stories of how he'd been with two women (twins, no less!) at the same time, how he'd been the stripper for his friend's bachelorette party, how he'd been picked up by so many women that he'd almost lost count; that he was a loner and 'not a nice guy'. And there she'd be, lying in his bed, in the dark of his room, thinking about the many faces people put on to hide hurt, and of how well both of them played the couldn't-care-less game.

She almost laughed at the fact that she was playing body-double for a girl whose ex-boyfriend was playing her rebound guy. Almost.

But the thing with body-doubles and ghost-exes, was that you knew they weren't the real thing - they weren't supposed to last. It was what they call 'a willing suspension of belief'. You bought your ticket, watched your movie, lived someone else's life for a few comfortably numb hours and then went back to reality.

Which is why when he started calling her again (a year after that movie ended) she refused to take his calls, deleted his number, then re-saved it as 'Bad Idea'*.

And then she remembered that one night when they'd been something like buddies. When they silly-danced with each other on You Sexy Thing - doing the butt-wiggle, the gospel-hands and the pretend strip-tease. For that one night, she had to admit, they had been friends...good friends. The kind who told you to stop whining and get on with your life. The kind that held your hand and fake-flirted you back to smiling, laughing and realising that life didn't stop just because people moved on.

she never did take his calls, but she smiles every time she hears that song.

*Which probably just goes to show that there's no such thing as a completely bad idea - 99% fucking stupid, yes, but hey, how else would you learn?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Oscar Material

A phone conversation with a friend, with whom I spent all 2 1/2 years of post-grad, just showed me that I am (despite the whole shy, quiet person deal) a frickin’ *brilliant* actress (or is that ‘actor’ now? Man, PC is so not my thing).

She: So I’m going to be in Bombay on Tuesday, and since you’re unemployed (yeah, rub it in, why dontcha? Bitch.) you’re coming out to meet me.
Me: *sigh* Oh alright, but there must be alcohol.
She: Yes, yes, there will be.
Me: Oh wait…you’re with Raymonds…which means, you’re staying in fucking Thane*!!
She: (shocked silence)
Me: (wonders what the hell the ‘shocked silence’ is all about)
Me: (slaps forehead as memory surfaces: this is the friend with whom I spent all of post-grad in Hyderabad)

Post-grad in Hyderabad = 2 1/2 years of not saying ‘fuck’, or c***, or even haraami out loud because the classmates would wince if I said anything stronger than kamina. The word ‘asshole’ would elicit horrified stares and the one day I said ch***** aloud, all the boys in my class - all fuckin’ 28 of them - drew in their breaths collectively and just stopped short of screaming ‘get thee behind me spawn of satan!’ and hiding behind the desks. It was just too tiring to train all of them into accepting that girls occasionally swore too (picking my battles and all of that), so I just switched to doing it in my head.

”Here is the *_______* project, you *_________*, *_________*, excuse for a project partner.”

”Keep your *_________* neanderthal ideas to your *_________* self, won’t you please?”

And I managed for 2 1/2 years. 2 1/2 years of being a ‘good girl’, of being a butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-my-mouth-no-siree girl and a who-needs-their-mouth-washed-out-with-soap?-not-ME girl.

Or alternately, 21/2 years of being the girl who spoke with inexplicable pauses in the middle of her sentences.

*By which I only mean really-really-*far*-from-where-I-live-Thane. I’m not a location snob** or anything.

** I’ve lived in Kandivali and Kalina. The latter, which is guaranteed to elicit looks of ‘Oh you poor thing! However did you *manage*?!’ So no, no location snobbery at all.

Friday, March 16, 2007


That the one day in the year that getting smashed out of your skull is legitimate, done, approved of, is the day yours truly was born.

Now I'm not superstitious, but really, coincidence?

I think not.

Happy St. Patrick's all! I'm off to get very, very drunk and pass out on a beach.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Television: How much is too much?

So we’re lying on the rug in a morning-lit room…my cheek against his back as I breathe in the smell of his cologne. He’s talking but I can’t hear what he’s saying - I’m listening to his voice, soft, low, drawly. He decides that this isn’t enough; I should know what he’s talking about. So he picks up a bunch of post-its and starts writing me notes. He scribbles, folds, then passes them over his shoulder, I open them and laugh. They’re drawings. Anatomical drawings, like the kind you see in biology textbooks.

And then goddamit, I wake up. And HE goes back to being gay*.

*Which is, of course, the only reason why we’re not a couple.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I dodge behind a pillar when I see them approach. I wear sunglasses and avoid eye contact with anyone once I step outside the building. I even take the stairs if I see that the lift is already occupied by one whole person.

You never know whom she’s gone and made friends with.

No, I haven’t suddenly decided to enter the gumshoe business, nor am I practicing writing a bad spy novel. What I am doing, is reeling in the aftermath of the four-foot-ten-inch hurricane of friendliness and outgoing that is my mother.

She was here for two days. Two measly days. And in those two days? She went and befriended, advised and made life-long devotees of everybody within a ten-mile radius of my life.

My frequent admonitions through gritted teeth as I tugged on her sari aanchal, were of no avail. No amount of - “Ma! Stop smiling at strangers in the lift!” and “You don’t have to make conversation with the sabziwalla for christ’s sake!” or even “Please ma, let him drive his cab. Do we really need to know which part of UP he’s from?” - helped. And now she’s gone, and left me to fend for myself against this sea of super-friendly strangers.

Somedays I am convinced that I am a victim of a baby-swapping episode.

In the last one-year, all my lift rides had been spent in a peaceful contemplative silence during which the lift-attendant and I conducted in-depth studies of our personal footwear. I wondered whether my shoelaces were tied into perfect bows, how the pink swoosh contrasted nicely against the dark blue background, whether the soles were bouncy enough…you know? Lift thoughts. Now? I am suddenly and without warning being addressed as ‘baby’ ('baby'??) and asked solicitous questions about whether the house-keeping staff turn up on time, whether my bai is doing her work well and that if I ever need anything, I only need to inform security to send ‘Manoj’.

Every gaggle of aunties I meet now, accosts me with friendly cries of “Hello beta! You must tell your mummy that the boy/medicine/yoga exercise she recommended for my young-female-relative/age-related-ailment/random-joint-pain worked wonderfully! She’s getting married! / I’m cured! /Look at me do cartwheels now!” At which I can only smile weakly and reply, “Yes auntie, I definitely will” because I have no idea who these women are.

The sabziwallas now all flash friendly smiles at me, conduct conversations in Bhojpuri, which I don’t understand and offer me vegetables I don’t know how to cook. When I tell them I cannot understand a word they are saying, they laugh and say, “Achcha aap nahin samajhti hain? Koi baat nahin. Apni mataji ko hamari taraf se namaste kah dijiyega.”

The neighbours, whom till today, I only knew as the people who shifted their furniture at odd hours of the night, now stop me and tell me what a nice, friendly, social lady my mother is.

I have to fight the temptation to lean against their shoulders and brokenly sob, “You don’t know the half of it!”

I’m sure my real mother is a quiet, reclusive academic, who lives in a small, secluded cottage in some remote hill station. And then I wonder how she must cope with her unintentionally adopted miniature hurricane.


Update on the Baby Front:
The only thing more horrifying than your mother telling you to start making babies, is when she starts telling you how.

Excuse me while I go and pick up my ears. They sort of melted off the sides of my head while she was talking.