Thursday, June 28, 2007

$0.70 richer than I was three months ago!*

So, it's been about three months since the day when I - in an uncharacteristic fit of a) optimism b) insanity c) technological curiosity d) all of the above - signed up for google's adsense thingy. I think it is now time to ask the question:

Does anyone know why the stupid sole banner I signed up for, is half-hidden under the half-inch wide blue line that runs across the top of the page? The one that has all the 'SEARCH BLOG', 'FLAG BLOG' and the (modestly title-cased) 'Next Blog' links? Anyone??

* And if THIS doesn't tempt you, I don't know what will.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Normal Programming Resumes

Despite my incessant kvetching about my parents’ looniness, I had a relatively sane childhood. No, really. I was fed (rather well, for which I blame them to this day), clothed and not forced to break rocks in the burning sun for not doing my homework (an incident which occurred with distressing (for them, that is) frequency).

It was only during my adolescent years I realised, that all this endless parenting (have I mentioned that I’m the fourth of five?) was making the needle on their sane-o-meters oscillate dangerously. The following incident will illustrate how.

The parents had apparently, early in their lives, nursed in their hearts the desire that one of their children would grow up to be an engineer. Not just any engineer, mind you, an engineer from IIT. Their first three offspring being more inclined towards the life sciences and art, the mantle was passed on to me – their one child who showed no inclination towards anything in particular.

The father is an engineer. Now you may assume that this would qualify him to decide whether or not I had an aptitude for the profession, but you would be wrong. Apparently, when you become parents, things like logic, and the ability to see what is staring you in the face, take wing and fly out the nearest window. And so it was with my parents. It was decided one cold day in December, that I, their one child who showed less of a talent for mathematics than your average amoeba (actually amoebae are better off, they can multiply without help. Get it? Get it? Ha ha ha!), would become the next engineer in the family. And this despite the fact that I had, in all my years of primary education (save one - the year of my grade ten board exams), displayed a lack of left brain activity that could only be described as uncanny.

To be fair to them, I did, in the eleventh grade, confuse them a little. I signed up for that deceptively named subject – Engineering Drawing. “If that isn’t the sign of a future engineer, we don’t know what is!” thought my parents. What it was, was a simple case of selective vision; they saw Engineering’ and went “Aha!”, I saw ‘Drawing’ and went “Oo fun!” So while I drew three types of rivets and the occasional cross-section of a crankshaft (without knowing how any of them actually worked), my parents smiled at each other knowingly and dreamed.

As a result of this dream, after I completed the twelfth board exams (with abysmal grades in maths, mind you) I was signed up for those IIT entrance preparatory classes. “But I don’t want to be an engineer! I want to do an English honours course.” I said to my parents. “No,” they replied, firmly yet lovingly, “there are no jobs for English honours students. What will you do once you graduate?” Being, back then, of the species known as Teenageria Cluelessium, I had no answer to that and agreed to the classes with the warning that they were wasting their money. As expected, it fell on deaf ears.

Typically, at this point in the story, the girl’s left-brain awakens with all the force of an active volcano and dazzles all with its brilliance, proving to the world that all parents are always right and gosh! The world might just have its next Einstein! To which I will only say, “Right. And life is a Karan Johar movie.”

I realised after about a week of attending though, that these classes weren’t quite as hellish as I had thought they would be. I still didn't understand a word those teachers said, (except for that one jolly old Punjabi gentleman, who would upbraid his students with a cheery “Hiyou bilaady fooool!”), but I did understand that in a class of twenty-five odd (and some of them were very odd) boys, H and I were the only girls. H was already seeing someone, which left me with sole ogling rights to Jaspreet Randhawa.

Jas, in that entire class of twenty-five young men, was the only one who did not wear glasses, did not dress in clothes his mother might’ve bought for him, did not have his oiled hair in a neat side parting and did speak in grammatically perfect English with all his articles ready and present (ref: grammar, you pervs). It also helped that he stood six-feet-two inches tall, had the softest brown eyes I had ever seen and a smile bracketed by dimples you could drown in. Pretty as Michelangelo’s David, but alive and umm…more substantially clothed (which was sad, but you can’t have everything. Also, Delhi winters, ‘nuff said).

So Jas and I got to doing what awkward teenagers did back then, which was, avoiding each other like the plague. This continued for about two weeks until one morning, as I was walking from the bus stop to class, he stopped his bike and offered me a ride. From then on it was but a small step to chatting in all the breaks and drinking chai at the tapri around the corner.

It would be nice to say that we walked off into the sunset holding hands (no actually, it would be crap. And a bunch of lies) but soon I got into the College of Art and we fell out of touch.

So, although nothing ever came of it (the pretty boy and me, i.e.), my parents did learn that attempts to play puppet-master with my academic/professional life were more likely to backfire. Their subsequent tries at spreading the loony were limited to showing me resumes and photographs of eligible (by their standards) men who were all, by some bizarre coincidence, very religious, hirsute and balding.

Now? They just bug me to make babies. I’m not sure if that’s an improvement – the sane-o-meter self-imploded at grandkid number 3.

So, what was I saying again? Oh yeah, parents. Don't you just love 'em?

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Rain should be seen in silver beads,
threaded on soft, dark hair.

It should be breathed in, off skin,
in the nook of a neck.

It should be felt, fingertip to raisined fingertip
Its trail, tracing furrows down a chest.

It should be tasted, teased,

sipped off smokey lips.

Heard, whispered,
against the sound of your name.

Addendum: It should be banned, for moving souls like me,
to poetry.

*Ladies and gentlemen, exhibit (a) of GP. And you can't say I didn't warn you - that profile's been up for ages now.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Television - How much is too much, Part II

In other news I have realised that being a freelance writer is no less fraught with danger than say, being a crocodile psychotherapist.

The thing is, when I was gainfully employed with a legitimate company, I stuck to office timings. Which meant that my television watching was seriously restricted to about one hour in a day, if that. Now, since I work (using the term loosely) from home I am forced to watch more television that I could ever be comfortable with. (And yes, I mean ‘forced’. YOU try ignoring it when you have to walk past the damn thing fifty thousand times in a day). So yes, I watch a lot of television. Some days I watch so much of it that by the time the SB gets back from work, the couch and I have moulded ourselves around each other and the only movement in the room is that of my thumb, frantically pressing buttons in the forlorn hope that one channel out of 99 will play something that can hold my attention for a whole minute.

It was during one such day that I came across Shekhar Suman’s debut album. And I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen.

It starts with a man’s torso silhouetted - framed lovingly, so you can count every muscle - in a window. The camera pans around and it is Shekhar Suman! In possibly the most self conscious ooh-look-at-me-wake-up stretch ever to be seen. SS scans the horizon, looking for, we know not what. But wait! His eyes narrow…he’s spotted something! And the camera sweeps to the beach, where lies a mysteriously abandoned guitar! SS looks around – after ascertaining that no one’s watching, follows the finders-keepers principle and filches it.

He’s dreamily strumming a few chords when suddenly! There is a bikini-clad woman! Lying languorously on the rocks, letting the waves wash over her! As SS blinks in disbelief, she walks towards the camera, then does the standard break-surface-and-toss-hair-backwards thing. After a few more babe-on-a-beach moves, the camera cuts to SS, who has changed out of his pyjamas (but stuck with the vest) and is now wearing jeans. He sits on a rock, strumming the guitar and singing, vanishing and reappearing alternately with the beach-babe until the last frame, where there are two SS’s a strummin’ an’ a singin’.

Babe does some more babe-on-a-beach things.

SS has now ditched his vest for a shirt and a jacket. And put on a pair of I’m-so-cool shades. He sits on some stairs in the middle of nowhere and plays the guitar, while a bunch of random children gather around him. The beach-babe has, in the meantime, put on a pretty summer dress, got herself a bunch of flowers and is running, o’er hill and err…around/away from a church.

Babe finds the aforementioned random children and hands each of them a flower. The children smilingly accept the flowers, probably worried about what the crazy-smiling-lady-with-the-flowers might do if they refuse. SS wipes his hand on his shirt and asks her for one too. She simpers, and obliges. This is obviously a sign that they can now wear colour-coordinated outfits because in the very next scene, SS and Babe, clad in matching-matching pink, are running around trees. Babe decides that she wants to go solo and waves around a couple of yards of diaphanous-pink-fabric.

Swirl, swirl.

It is now night. And SS and Babe are doing the salsa. Or something like it. Only, since babe’s dress has no pockets, she has hung her keys on the back of it. (Not too smart I think; they’re bound to fall off with all that twirling). They salsa for a little while then retire to a bonfire (see? Told you she’d lose the keys) which obviously warrants another change of clothes.

They clink their glasses together and kiss and this is where it goes from just ‘icky’ to the code yellow of ickiness. SS runs his hand across babe’s collarbones and round to the back of her neck, while his elbow rests comfortably on her chestal region (eeuw). His gaily patterned Hawaiian shirt vanishes as though it never was, and babe snuggles up against his bare chest. (Code Orange! Your toes are refusing to uncurl!)

SS wakes up hugging a pillow and wonders where babe went until he realizes that she was but a dream. He sits up in bed and sorta laughs to himself then walks up to his window and lo! There in the distance, is the guitar that started it all! He runs towards in slow motion, picks it up, gives a look-over (decides that well, whaddya know! This one’s filch-able too!), turns to the camera and winks the creepiest, crawliest, make-your-skin-want-to-get-up-and-run wink I have ever seen (Code Red! Code Red!! Someone send in the Haitian!!).

Do take a look.*

*Why should I be the only one to suffer?