Wednesday, October 31, 2007

And you run, and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking

Relax, they say. Take it easy.

Are you kidding me?

I have been on this treadmill of life since I know. Running and running and going no where.
It’s like that escalator in a fancy mall. Keeps going up only to fold and come down again, doesn’t matter if someone’s riding it or not. No one has asked it to stop. After a point it really doesn’t matter cause it’s much more comfortable to keep moving than standing still and getting people to suddenly notice it. ‘Why did it stop?’ they ask. The poor escalator, mortified with all the attention, keeps praying, ‘Lord, just let me move. Anything to not let the world look at me with ridicule and pity. I was born to keep running. Don’t get me to stop!’.

Monday, October 29, 2007

snapshots

Taken in Goa. These could be a simple case of bad photography but watch the photos carefully.....the road is in motion and therefore blurred, while the green remains steady. Paradox?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Go Goa!

First, after boarding the flight, we couldn’t take off. Some schmuck of a passenger got held up at the security check-in. So there we were tight as sardines (doesn’t help when you fly low fare airline!) waiting for an hour for ONE odd passenger to board.

The motley crew of co-passengers added to the predicament.

Next to me (thankfully I had the aisle seat) was a young American couple. The woman was dressed in the shorts that covered a little more than a bikini bottom and the man wore a cap big enough for both of them. They kissed and fondled approximately every 10 seconds (I am not kidding!). Now you may think how do I know unless I stared constantly? Hold on! I have manners. They kissed with dolby digital “muuuassshhh” and that’s how I know. And you can call me a party spoiler but trust me, it's very hard to keep one's eyes trained on the inflight magazine for over an hour!

Then there were the trio of men behind me. Men who bantered loudly and left their cell phones on highest ring-volume and didn’t switch off till the hassled flight attendant came over and insisted. Men who grabbed my seat from behind every 15 seconds in a desperate attempt to take pleasure from the khajuraho telecasted live from next door. Finally they got bored too and began discussing their plan to 'drink and make merry' (or did they say Mary?) now that they have managed to keep their respective wives at their respective homes. Then as the aircraft turned right to descent, one of them spurted loudly “Kya right mara, dekha!”

On the other side of the aisle sat an older couple. Michael Jackson-with-a-blonde-wig lady and the Stetson-clad gentleman held hands through out the flight. I thought it was very sweet. Then the lady wore her Jackie-O sunglasses while disembarking at Goa and I feared she would trip and fall since it was an late evening flight and it was pitch dark outside.

Then there were uncles who raced each other to the toilet as soon as they got in the aircraft and the mandatory wailing kid. Looks like every airline worth their milage points has to have atleast one of these wailers. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love kids. It’s their indifferent parents who bother me.

Getting off the plane I got into a cab whose driver is single handedly responsible for Mr. Mallya’s decision to change the Spykar team to Force India. To slow him down I said,

“Hello, I am not in a hurry!” To which he said,

“But I am.”

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Meaningful Interaction

Meeting a friend whom I have known for a while but haven’t had the opportunity to interact in real space, was refreshing. There were no effort-to-make-an-impression, no pretension-of-being-my-best-self, no what-do-we-talk-about-now. Conversation flowed formlessly and effortlessly filling the evening with a relaxed candor that cajoles yet respects. The chocolate was a bonus ofcourse!

Useless

Useless Question

How many of us are not familiar with the following image?

A gent in ‘safari’ suit (the hideous Indian concoction!), his mouth streaked red from a chewing paan, passing lewd innuendos at women when he is sure no ones watching him.

They seem to have permeated all our cities and towns with amazing resilience and will. You can just about visit anywhere and lo behold the above featured gent would be waiting to greet you at every murky corner. But I gravely fear for this genre of creatures. With them we shall lose an essential identity of our cities....so let's put our hands together for the 'Suffering Safari Seducers'!

Useless Observation

Cars in Mumbai sport less scratches/dents than Bangalore despite the celebrated traffic overflow.

Useless Conclusion

The above goes to prove:

Mumbai has better drivers. Which means,

A. Mumbai has better motor driving schools

B. Better trained traffic cops.

Useless Treasure

Buying Advaita Kala’s ‘Almost Single’ on an now-regretted impulse at the airport. I have to work on my natural instinct to empathize with ‘slayed-by-critics’ writer. This one is a ‘must avoid’.

Monday, October 22, 2007

safedi tujhe salam

Mr. Safedi-ki-Chamkar won himself the first prize for drawing. He must have charmed the lady judge!

Recently heard this amazing Chennai based music group 'Oikyotaan' who are in the contemporary folk music space, particularly influenced by folk forms from Bengal and Rajasthan. It was a treat to hear them and one can only love their attitude. Bonnie started the show by reminding the audience that they don't play requests and they don't play popular bollywood numbers but they are confident that the crowd would love it and they did!

The layers and textures of sound created were spellbinding. With no digital sounds the tonal range was awe-inspiring. The guitars blended well with thavil and the vocal with earthy passion....I for one am surely looking forward to their album release in December.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ro@Dandiya

video

Wendy, we love you!

video

cactus@bangalore

I spent the evening with Cactus. It’s a popular bangla rock band who played in Bangalore for the first time. The venue was the Koramagala Durga Pujo.

The performance was good but the crowd was disappointing. Usually these shows warrant ‘standing only’ crowd, but last evening there was enough room for a hundred more. Anyway, Ro and Ma had a good time. It was touching to see Ma agreeing to stay for the whole stint and actually appreciating the boys for their energy. Ro remembered most of the numbers and sang along. He won my heart when they started playing the opening score of ‘We Will Rock you’ and he turned to me and asked,

“Why are they playing Queen?”

I haven’t consciously brought him up on a diet of rock bands. Honest. Much of my ‘listening’ these days happen in my car while alone. I consciously didn’t want to expose him to the limited genres that I listen to. But glad to note that he assimilates well :)

video

Sunday, October 14, 2007

first flush II

A sudden crashing sound from the kitchen got her back to her modest three bedroom apartment. The cat must have got in again. She always keeps the net window shut. But the new paint smell gives her a headache and that had led her to keep the window open for a while. That was before she got caught in the old memories. She left the album on the table and went to close the kitchen window. The gust of wind had toppled the precariously balanced vessels that had been disarranged during the painting work. While putting the vessels back in their rightful places, she thought of him again.
It had been the kitchen. That ended her story. His actually. It must have been a day like this. He had got back from school and had gone to the kitchen to fix himself a snack. Leela Aunty was out with her mother for a movie. The Kamal Hassan-Rati Agnihotri one, where the two lovers die at the end. She couldn’t recollect the name. Bunty, his sister was in her house.
No one had heard the sound of the gas burner exploding. It was when she had heard the alarming thud on their main door that she hurriedly opened their apartment door. First, she didn’t even recognize the smoking black and pink contorted lump that was lying at her doorstep. Burnt all over, he had dragged himself out of his apartment and fallen unconscious infront of their door. She shivered remembering the acrid smell of burnt flesh and his terry-cot school shirt. It was when she saw his sandaled feet that she had screamed.
He died two days later in the ICU. She wasn’t allowed to see him. It didn’t matter really. For even today, she can feel his express heartbeats and the soft comfort of his shirt.

Friday, October 12, 2007

first flush I

While putting the old photoalbums back in the book shelf after the painting job, she flipped open one of them partly on impulse and partly out of curiosity. She had forgotten what images this one has stored. As she turned the pages, his face grinned back at her. Impishness shining in his eyes. There they were. Nearly two decades back. Back when she wore her hair pulled back in a severe plait that made her scalp go numb. When a camisole was enough for her modesty and a red-framed glasses helped her see better. And she was taller than most boys in her class. They had gone to the neighbourhood park which was their usual haunt on a Sunday afternoon. When the rest were busy feeding the fishes in the pond, she had sat down on the bench watching the clouds take familiar shapes. She loved doing this.

A sudden yank at her long plait had broken her reverie. It was him. While she was still grimacing from the sudden hard pull, he lifted the glasses sitting heavy on her small nose and hid it in his hands leaving dirty splotches on the lens. She had gotten angry.

“I wanted to see your eyes. They are beautiful” he had said before she could yell at him.

While she was getting ready to tussle with him for her glasses, in one sweep he had pulled away the pink plastic band that held her thick plait together. Still holding her glasses in the other hand he had run his fingers through her hair, tousling them gently till it framed her face.

“You are pretty” he had said looking intently.

A strange jolt ran from the tip of her hair to her toes. She had started to shiver. Wordlessly he had put his arms around her and held her close. With her head on his rapidly beating chest, she could feel the heat of his body.

“I feel funny” she had squeaked.

“I feel funny too” he had said, his voice quivering.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

no Moonlight and definitely no Valentino

For the last couple of days my home has become the hopeless temple of doom. The furniture has been disheveled and paintings torn down and the curtains stripped.

All in the effort of giving the walls a fresh coat of paint.

The icing, is that the painters speak ONLY Tamil and completely ignore my mother’s desperate appeal for sense in this chaotic madness. They go about their work with a sense of purposeful glee putting my mother’s years of good housekeeping in absolute disarray.

With the rising dust, there is also my father’s rising temper to deal with. His tolerance for ‘unsettling’ situation like this is zilch. So my poor mother is caught between the thumb-sticking painting crew who take deliberate pleasure in turning to dust my mother’s years of hard work and my father who is as agitated as a fizzy drink in a shaker.

As for me, I head home barricading myself with a rare stoicism and the determination to resurrect my abode once again from the heaps of rubble and paint-splotched dust.

But still I lust for a handsome painter who would sweep me off my feet and dust me away gently....sigh!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Chance Observations:

Most beautiful sunsets are usually also the most unexpected…it stuck me while staring out of my Jubilee Hills office window towards the Hitech City yesterday.

Where else will you find a 'Flyover Bakery', except for below a flyover? (Yes, it's there I swear!)

India wins matches when I am not watching.

Have you noticed that FAT is just one french fry...oops one line less than EAT?

Chance Encounter:

Almost met the Andhra Chief Minister. Well almost. As his motorcade passed infront of my office delaying my trip back to the hotel by about an hour!

Chance Hope:

Though they have closed the Sparks in Bangalore sealing forever the last happy memories with bro....they still have it in Hyd...

Chance Wisdom:

Every smile is a new beginning.

Shaken and not Stirrred!

I was never a fan of Rakhi Sawant. I don’t like sex bimbettes who shake their booties in front of one and sundry primarily because I don’t have that kind of booty to peddle in public or private and also because I like a little refinement and a certain degree of sophistication.

I still squirm inside a little when someone uses cuss words particularly in my native tongue. I have a visible grimace when someone spits or pees on the road or when men adjust their underwear and scratch their over-rated body part/s in public. Now you can call me na├»ve or stuck-up depending on where you are coming from, but it’s a genuine issue with me.

So from my limited exposure to Ms. Sawant, I wasn’t impressed. She has this crass, on-your-face attitude that I didn’t find too palatable.

However, to celebrate the arrival of a new TV in the house, I gave in to my mother’s desire of watching Naach Baliye 3 together. Now, I am completely not exposed to the NB 1 or 2 so I thought it would be interesting to watch. And as it was, it was Rakhi and her partner Abhishek’s turn to shake their stuff. The concept they pulled up was awesome, and that’s thanks to the choreographer. But the way she handled the post-dance review and spoof she made of Amitabh and Hema Malini was quite a treat. It was her completely unapologetic approach without crossing over to impudence that impressed me. All celebrities carry a lot of artifice. Specially the wannabe lot. It’s a part of their trade. But here is this woman talking about her impoverished background without an iota of guilt or even pride. On listening one wouldn’t feel sorry or ever want to patronize. It was so damn matter-of-fact and narrated as an enjoyable anecdote that one would smile rather than feel sorry. Usually we either use impoverishment as sympathy lever or wear them like a badge. In contrast, this approach was so refreshing.

Yes, I like her now. And yes, I am trying to get home on time on weekdays just to be able to catch her on NB 3. Cheers!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Lightbulb of the Day

A smart lady friend carries a pair of flat slippers in her rather sexy laptop bag along with the laptop of course. When quizzed, she said that she ‘needs’ to wear stilettos in office to match her outfit/s but when she is leaving for home she would rather change in to her comfy flats while she prances around to catch the auto-rickshaw driver’s attention!

This is rabid discrimination. And deserves a legitimate protest eh! Doesn’t the auto guy have a right to see PYTs in stilettos?

And just maybe, that's the solution to the menace of auto guys refusing to go to a destination of your choice rather than his choice!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Gandhi and the Japanese

Yesterday was Gandhi Jayanti. As usual the State did its bit. Prayer meetings, discussion on Gandhi and his philosophy, book releases, launch of some poverty alleviation program or other. The politicians did their bit too. Churned out sound bytes and more sound bytes. Particularly Mr. Kumaraswamy, who refused to resign and facilitate transfer of power to the next government who are just dying to claim their 15 minutes of fame.

But how does all this affect us, the common people?

All liquor stores are shut and none of the restaurants serve alcohol, atleast officially. What usually happens is that the lovers-of-the-bottle stocks up enough to run Oktoberfest at home.

Personal experience: I had planned a japanese lunch with a friend at Harima. But lo behold! I reach their minimalist-designed sliding door, to find it shut. Unbelievingly, I tried to slide the door open only to notice a tiny sign stuck on the door in English and Japanese saying “In honour of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, we are closed for today”.

This was a surprise. I have worked in India’s booming ITeS/BPO industry and I know how we fail miserably to negotiate with our foreign clients to stop work on our national holidays. In my last organization, we had managed to get 15th August and Diwali as holidays for our people. But mostly, organizations work with shutters down and give free lunches and sops to dull the blow of working on a legitimate holiday.

Knowing the Japanese stickler for heritage and national sentiment, I should have been better prepared for the proverbial shut door.

Finally, we ate at a Mediterranean lounge–style restaurant located at the floor below, which served a decent buffet.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Have you heard the song Shopping by Barenaked Ladies (yeah, it’s a band!)? If you haven’t, don’t bother. It’s a pathetic song with an equally pathetic tune. But the lyrics....

…Well you know that it's going to be alright

When we go shopping

It's always lalalalala...

Shopping spree begin

It's always lalalalala...

Everybody wins

So shutup

And never stop

Let's shop

Until we drop…

Oh, I am a great believer and practitioner of Retail Therapy. Nothing gets me up from the blues quicker than a half-hour spent shopping. It could be for anything and it could be for anybody. Given that I am not particularly bigoted, I would buy the monthly grocery with as much enthusiasm as a wedding trousseau. Neither am I an overtly self centered shopper and therefore, when I am not working, I am most certainly running errands for my family and best friend who have entrusted their hopes and dreams (i.e. lists) with me (sometimes even via email). And I do this with a sense of purpose and pride. While it also goes to prove I have moderately good taste for folks to trust me with my judgment.

But I am a pretty impulsive shopper and that isn’t limited to stuff for myself. I have bought things for friends and family that I just happen to see on my way to somewhere else. Mostly it delights them but this impulsiveness is not without its downside. I am a sucker for shoes. On my mother’s last count, I came close to our Jaya Amma’s horde. To add to her misery, I am not very experimental. Which means there are pairs of shoes that look similar to each other and try as she might she isn’t able to fathom why one would buy shoes that look like true copies and the same design in three colours??? Now, the difference is only for the discerning, but who is going to tell her that. If that wasn’t enough, she also thinks I have way too many clothes than I would even need and she has put a deadline for me to donate 1/3 of my wardrobe before she lets me sneak in another set of clothing. Mothers!

But no such problems with the man in my life. I went shopping with Ro, yesterday. I realized men are absolute cuties till they grow up :) He was patient, enthusiastic and very encouraging. No complaints, no hanky panky and he loved everything I bought for him. I must remember to enjoy this now, for this bliss wouldn’t last for long. Before I know it, he would be asking for a debit card and instructing me to not bother with his shopping specially clothes. Till the ‘teenage devil’ takes over, let this mother be.

Well as to how I view shopping: It’s my own little contributing to this nation’s booming economy. Little yes, but every drop..oops rupee counts isn’t it? tralalala! Disclaimer: This is most definitely not an invitation to send your respective lists :)