November 18, 2009

The reason I haven't been posting regularly....

.. is that I am bored of this blog template. Yes, that is the reason! Well, ok, maybe not the only reason - but a major contributing factor it is! So, then, what is the answer? Spring cleaning - during and after - always makes me feel happy. A blog look revamp it is. Yay. But.... I am unable to find a great blog layout and I don't want to 'settle' for an okie-dokie blog layout this time. But - and here is the clincher - I want a free layout. Help!! I have been to most of the popular blogger template sites and liked and downloaded a few, but nothing seems to click. Where should I look?
Oh and lets save modding a template or making a brand new one as the 'none of the above' option.

November 10, 2009

Feminity and essence of womanhood

Don't you think that the environment in which we are brought up, affects us most? I know, I know, age-old debate and all that - conditioning and inherent qualities and all that, but I really do believe that conditioning - both conscious and unconscious - molds us to a great deal. I mean 'My Fair Lady' is a great celluloid piece and all that but it takes a lot of effort to de-learn all the 'unwanted' and learn the 'much needed'. It takes a lot to be a 'lady'. Where am I going with this? Well, I was going through my awe-inspiring drafts folder and came across this snippet. I don't know what transpired when I wrote this, so the above para was just a sort of introduction/explanation for the snippet.

I remember (and for some strange reason whatever I remember of my childhood school days is always in technicolor) watching my mom comb and style her long glorious hair and wishing that I too inherit her hair when I grew up. I remember her perfectly draped saris, perfectly rounded nails - both painted and unpainted, her musical laugh - so lady-like. I remember hoping that I would be a lady just like her when I grow up. I guess for every little girl, her mother is the fairy queen. Much as she might rebel in her teenage years, she will try to emulate most of what she remembers/sees still as the magical quality that she thinks makes her mother such a lady. And its not all appearances - handling pesky, nosy relatives, managing a household, arguing gracefully without raising her voice - yes, we all wish we could be like our moms in almost all areas. She is the epitome of femininity and the way she takes care of her family, makes time for her work, your school and your extra-curricular activities without stressing it out defines for you what being a 'lady' or a 'woman' really means. And it got me wondering today - am I today what I wanted to be like when the young and idealistic me defined what a 'lady' is?

Nope. A firm no. Nowhere miles near. But is that still how I want to be - the basics of it - yes! Surprising, isn't it? All these years and still the notion for me about what goes to make a perfect woman is still the same?

Do you have an ideal for what a perfect woman is?

October 26, 2009

Two incidents that got me thinking....

That was one long break from this blog. I have been toying with shutting this blog down, but I get this niggling voice that says, oh this I should blog about and all...

Heard of rodent problem? How about the massive traffic, food, or even cockroach problem? Well, this one coffee shop in Pune I had been to faces what they call the 'police problem'. Nestled in the middle of buildings housing BPOs, the 11/12pm deadline mean they lose out on their main customers - BPO employees looking for a caffeine shot to boost up energy levels. Why not build it inside one of the buildings, I asked. Restricts clients only to that one building - this way there are walk in clients as well (like me). Plus, most of the BPOs have coffee shops or kiosks in their cafeteria. The BPO employees come to this cafe for meeting up with different people too. Hmm... Whatever the reason, they switch off the lights if a police van approaches. And the event the police do prod them to shut down, am sure money changes hands. Yes, I can see the problem. Its our Indian 'chalta hai' lets-make-this-one-occasion-an-exception attitude. We are all more than happy to bend, bypass and break rules. And who is to blame? The people whose duty it is to safeguard the rules! [How, and if, they perform this duty is a different part altogether] Police problem, indeed!!

Oh and a shout out and a big thanks for the kind lady at Pink Attire, Pune. Well, get this. Outside the venue of a formal do, in a part of the city you know nothing about, dressed in your dressy best. Not the best time for the person in charge of getting the gift to start muttering about gift wrapping - especially when there are no gift or stationary stores in sight. The lady at Pink Attire, puts her conversation with her client on hold and graciously gives us a swatch cloth to be used for wrapping a gift when we barge into her shop and explain our fix!! Any old cloth swatch would have done, but she eyes our gift, and asks her masterji to get a gold tissue cloth swatch. She could have simply shooed us away, and regaled her clients about the 'weird people problem' that she faces. Class? Manners? Nah, just attitude!

Anyway, check this tutorial for cloth/fabric gift wrapping.

[Image from: White Apricot ]

September 1, 2009

Overdosing, cravings and what have yous

Feeling like OD-ing on sleep right now. Yesterday, it was chocolate (thanks to a gift hamper by these generous people, but more about that later). Over the weekend it was eating all kinds of sinful food.
Hmm... I wonder if one can OD on awesome holidays. Imagine that!! That will take care of my cravings for these three days!
What do you wish to OD on today?

August 31, 2009

A modern-day love story...

I have been meaning to write this for a long time. Being a subject so close to my heart, I don't think I am in a mood of studied writing. Be warned - lots gushing and mushy stuff ahead.

Hubby, sis and papa.
For making this love story possible.

She sighed as she beheld the one she craved. Yearned for. One day... one day..

Chapter One and Only
It all began over a couple of years ago, when I got my iPhone as a birthday gift. A birthday gift that I insisted upon. And boy, am I glad I did. Back then, it was my Apple-adulation that was the main reason for craving it; right alongside the look-its-so-sexy and ooh-so-shiny. Yep, back then it was lust. Just basic lust. Then....

Then I got my paws on it, and started trawling the web and finding all about apps - free and more, SSH, themes, utilities. And the games. Once I started, I was hooked. I spent hours searching for app sources that I could add to my Installer. And then I discovered the mail facility. It was then that I truly fell in love. Soon, my GPRS bill was more than my phone call bill. But....

But it was tough trying to turn my nose up almost everyday on people (friends and colleagues) who were either just out to get me or diss the iPhone. Every story has villains - temporary ones or otherwise. But my love triumphed and held true. And then, one day...

One day my husband, S, told me about 2.1. And that I should upgrade. And all the people on the communities I had become a part of soon were saying the same thing. So... Took a deep breath and a backup. And upgraded my lovely to 2.1. And downgraded it back again the very next weekend. It slowed my love's reflexes. And she needed to sleep and recharge herself almost everyday!! And then there were those spells - she would just blank out all of a sudden. It was a trying time. It hurt me to see her so. So back to 1.1.3 it was. And then...

And then, soon, 3.0 was out! It had copy paste - global!! One weapon less in the iPhone-detractors' arsenal. It was fast. It worked on 2g as well. Landscape keyboard for messaging and more!! Another weapon gone. And it had global search. But my earlier experience advised caution. And so I waited, regularly checking out forums and message boards for any problem or glitch that I might encounter. And a couple of weeks ago, I (ok, fine, the hubby [I really can't bring myself to do such a severe operation on my love, you understand]) upgraded it to 3.0. And went into a app finding and downloading tizzy. And....

And they lived happily ever after.

All this while I have yet to find the perfect theme (am currently on buuf2). Any help, suggestions are welcome. If I find more, well, who knows, I might just write up a sequel to this....

August 10, 2009


... old, well-loved books. Enjoyable, never-will-be-bored movies. Eateries/haunts where something new and delicious is always waiting to be discovered.
Why do I find myself reaching for a Nora Roberts or JRR Tolkien? Of late, where is this willingness to re-watch Star Wars, Transformers, Sex and the City, and many more cropping up from? Why when hubby wants to try out some new place, the first thing that pops in my mind is why not Out of the Blue, Cafe Basilico or Moshe's??
Do I need some comfort and soothing for unknown reasons? Or am I sub-consciously gearing up for change??

July 16, 2009

Bombai nagariya....

It has been a unique experience living in Mumbai (not that I am moving out, yet). It just struck me today that a lot of things that used to strike me as weird or convoluted actually make sense to me and some I can even relate to. Blame it on the dichotomy that living in Mumbai is. So, I compiled a list. Care to add to this?

Prior to Mumbai I never:
  • felt the need for a locker in office. I fought to get one once I joined here. You do need a place to stash your just-in-case clothes for a sleepover at someone’s in the event of a riot/flood/rain/train strike/what-have-yous.
  • wore flip-flops/sturdy shoes to office only to switch into my heels the minute I opened my locker. One twisted ankle and dozens of ladies scoring my feet with their heels have made me give up my heels on my way to and fro from office. That and the state of my both feet and high heels after a week of daily abuse on Mumbai streets and trains.
  • understood the dark portends of 'too much rain'.
  • realized how lucky I was to have two days off as the weekend.
  • knew the existence and, indeed, the need of weekend getaways.
  • realized how easy it is to take for granted the impromptu meet-ups with friends - you know, the 'hello-are-you-doing-nothing-right-now-too-?-then-lets-meet-up kind. It makes such a difference when say, friend lives in Mulund, you in Andheri and the place that you both really check out is in South Bombay.
  • felt like a tiny, insignificant spec in the mind-boggling human mass that inhabits the earth.
  • understood the grit it takes to wake up every morning, make the 2 hour commute to work, slog, commute back home in 2 hours, eat, watch telly for half an hour, sleep and get up to do this ad infinitum all the while fighting for a toehold on the train that takes you to the tiny box that you call office and back.
  • lived in a city that is so awake all the time! Bangalore was a snooze fest. Pune was awesome but nowadays is only marginally better than Bangalore. In Mumbai, however, I don't get weirded out traveling alone even at 11. There are traffic jams here at 11 at night, for God's sake!
  • understood the true meaning of customer service. Pune has its siestas, Bangalore its I-don't-need-your-business-but-since-you-are-in-my-shop-what-the-heck-ness, and Mumbai its home-delivery boys even for a humble kiraana shop which is open till 10. Even the fruit and vegetable vendors shut shop only after 11. I realize this is due the late hours the residents have to keep, but, seriously!!
  • seen class differences blur like they do in Mumbai when it pours.
  • seen total strangers bond over cheap baubles or an irate commuter like they do on Mumbai local trains.
  • understood what a difference it makes to take a local train 3 minutes later than the usual one.
  • realized how the mounds of garbage and filth that one passes by everyday, slowly become invisible.
  • could comprehend how the can't-afford-to-stop-to-get-involved attitude lasts most of the year and suddenly transitions into helping hands during the monsoon.
  • sympathized with Bombayites who complained that they found other cities boring. Am hoping that this 'boring/itchy' phase lasts only a short time when I move out of here.
  • realized that people actually meant it when they said they were jealous of my one person cubicle. Ironically, I still have a one person cubicle. Yep, in Mumbai.
  • could come to terms with how anyone could justify that changing trains, taking the foot-over (train tracks) bridges and catching the bus on the run is exercise.
  • realized that when they claim to love of Mumbai in spite of everything they do/face, Mumbaikars mean it.

PS: My dream city (the city I want to settle down in) still remains Pune. It’s the city where I spent the first few heady years after college. Sigh. But, won’t embellish on Pune in this post; this one is about Mumbai.

Pic source.

July 15, 2009

Lifestyle change?

College. With little pocket money. Trying to stretch it to cover petrol, outings, food, dates, birthday gifts, movies, accessories, CDs and more. And trying to save some of it. Money seemed so important back then. Used to hand it out miserly.
Working now. Earning. Trying to stretch it to cover rent, petrol, groceries, shopping bills, credit card bills, insurance payments, beauty parlor payments, movies, Internet costs, maid costs... blah blah. And THEN trying to save some. Money is still important. Its just that now, I spend it like water. Lifestyle change? More like a mindset change.
Does it suddenly hit you, on some days, the enormous change that time has wrought on your spending habits? For me, its when I visit my mom or my in-laws. They still live like they used to - spending wisely. Somehow, between college and now, I have gone from spending miserly to lavishly without stopping for a second at wisely. Have decided to find out where it is, and stay there.
The problem, of course, is the return journey to miserly. Its uphill, you know! So when you are not concentrating hard (like when your concentration breaks coz you just spotted those Aldo or Charles and Keith heels at half off or a Mango or Van Heusen sale), you just sort of lose grip and slide back to lavishly . Still trying to find wisely. Do let me know if and how you found it, especially if you are living there.

July 14, 2009

The Indian TV reality arena

Take a look at this. Originality - where art thou?

Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao - I'm a Celebrity…Get Me out of Here!
Rakhi Ka Svayamvar - Who wants to marry a millionaire
Sach ka saamna - Moment of truth
Dance India Dance - So you think you can dance
Indian Idol - Pop Idol/American Idol
Bigg boss - Big Brother
Biggest Loser Jeetega - The Biggest Loser
Jhalak Dikhlaja - Dancing with the stars
India's got talent - America's got talent
Kaun Banega Crorepati - Who wants to be a Millionaire?
Bakra - Candid Camera, Punk’d
Khulja Sim Sim - Let's make a deal
Kismey Kitnaa Hain Dum - Night fever
Fear Factor
Kya Aap Paancchvi Pass Se Tez Hain - Are you smarter than a 5th grader?
Kam Ya Zyaada - More or Less
Naya Roop Nayi Zindagi - Extreme Makeover
Poker Face - Poker Face
Deal Ya No Deal - Deal or No Deal.
Mastermind India - Mastermind

Don't get me started on the Sa Re Ga Ma, Roadies, Nach Baliye, Laughter challenge wannabes (I loved these three, btw). At one point there were as many as 3 variations each of the Nach Baliye and The Great Indian Laughter Challenge formats airing. I have already posted about the Doordarshan days, so will not get into that.
Is it just me, or there is nothing fresh and Indian on the reality scene? I know it is easier to bank on the tried and tested show formats from other parts of the world, but seriously, is there a paucity of new ideas or all the ideas exhausted (ya, right. that would be the end of the world).
I would rather watch Survivor, Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, Project Runway and Top Chef - and sometimes even Beauty and the Geek - than any of the current crop of Indian ones. I think only the most offensive, controversial and voyeuristic ones have been copied/remade. Oh, and lets not get into the discussion of IF reality is entertaining - it most certainly is. In all kinds of way: fun, sleazy, voyeuristic etc. That is not my point.
Wouldn't you like to see a desi version of The Amazing Race or While You Were Out or Guide to Style? But going by the trend, I guess we should expect something more on the lines of Temptation Island.
What do you guys say? Any super, original (I hate this overused, over-abused word in this context) ideas for a fun new show?

Btw, did I miss any (or get any wrong) in the list above?

July 13, 2009

Tea Centre, Churchgate

Three awesome weekends in a row.. How often does that happen?

Me and S discovered the Tea Centre near Churchgate recently. We used to walk past it when it was undergoing renovations and the tea-lover that I am, I used to sigh and say that once it opens, I am going to be spending a lot of time there. The reviews on burrp! were all positive too as were Gaurav, Lulu and the knife. Woke up a couple of weekend ago and decided that the weather was too beautiful, and me too lazy, to make breakfast and off we went to Tea Centre.
The incredible variety of teas on offer made choosing what to get, time-consuming - so decided to get the three we really wanted to taste. S stuck to Indian for breakfast and had the poha and upma, which were both good. My masala omlet, however, done more in Spanish style than Indian, lacked masala(!). The teas were superior though. The Banana Caramel and Hot Buttered Apple ones are liquid desserts - novel and lovely!!

Do try the scones - served with cream and jam - they are dry, crumbly and surprisingly filling. The best part about this place is that everything is freshly made (except the bread of course). So, the scones take anything around 15 minutes to turn up.
The service is slow, the ambiance has a old-club feel and the bells to summon the waiters are quaint.
I liked the place, and have fallen in love with the teas on offer here.

June 3, 2009

Gratitude and Nobel prize... the person who comes up with the technology to convert human
brain waves into sound. Huge sales profits to the mobile company who
brings this first to the market. Put me down for 20 right now. One for
the lady with the office crisis on the phone in the local train - next
to me - 30 straight minutes. I admire the guy on the other end.

Sent from my iPhone

May 29, 2009

Yearning for the heavy downpour-y weekend....

for no social obligations.
for no grocery shopping (as the better half would have done it anyway)

to catch up on my sleep
to spend a lazy afternoon with a cup of steaming hot chai and a book

for catching a silly movie on DVD
for finishing the next level of the current game on the playstation

to do absolutely nothing but laze
to catch up with my ever-growing todo list - happily.

for a razai and an afternoon nap
for the wind to bring in the cool wet-earth fragrance.

to watch the green trees dance with the wind
to hear the rain make its own music.

[Pic source: Unknown. Actually, Google.]

May 25, 2009

A movie, a movie. My precious couple of hours for a movie...

All right, multiplex owners, IPL is over, done, kaput. You can drop your pretense of having a tussle with the producers and whosoever. Had you not had that rigmarole, you would have had poor ticket sales this IPL entertainment season; but your strategy paid off and now people will flock to see movies. So now start screening movies, will ya? And please, please, good ones?

May 22, 2009

A twisted sense of humor...

Long, gangly body, refusing to stop growing. Short, frizzy hair refusing to grow. Why, oh why, she cries. Why can't I have long, silky, straight tresses?!
Years pass. A quarter of a century old, with graying hair. Sigh.
But wait!! Growth spurt! Her hair! Yea! She colors. Straightens. Smiles at her straight-as-rain, long, silky hair. For two months.
Two months! And inch long gray roots. Six months. Hair long enough to obliterate the straightened hair.
Nature/fate/life has a twisted sense of humor...

May 18, 2009

Dear neighbour,

You don't know me pretty well - I live in the building next to yours, on the same floor as yours. The pink curtained windows of a living room? Yep, that's me! You know, I can see your entire home: all your rooms. I like your place - it seems so happily and messily lived-in. Umm.. not that I keep a watch or anything: I don't even know who live at your place... Not that I am looking! Oh well, this is getting worse. Let me start over....

When I first came here, I didn't know of the Mumbai rule of no socialising with your neighbours. Even if my window does look out into all their rooms. Like a good Mumbai neighbour, I stuck to the rule and didn't knock on your door three nights ago when I first heard the racket. Nor the day before. Or yesterday. But tonight, well, I just might. Yes, I just might break the rule. Why? Because..... I am very, very, very anxious to know what it is that requires nine whistles of your ancient pressure cooker to cook!! I am going to die of inquisitiveness otherwise.

Your curious-as-a-cat neighbour,

P.S. I wonder if, while writing down the recipe for me, you will lament about (and hopefully, apologise and promise no repeat performance of) your cruel job/fate that forces you to cook at 1 in the morning?!!

May 12, 2009

On my telly

Other than IPL, of course. Hubby and I have a deal - he watches all IPL matches he wants unless they clash with my must-watch programs. Simple, right? Yep, it is, and fair as I watch a total of 5 programs in the week - and two of them are programs we both watch, so that makes it 3, right? ;) Anyway...
Tim Gunn is back this Thursday on AXN! Right after the first part of the Top Chef finale. And Project Runway has started on DTL! The Rachel Zoe Project is off (I really didn't get how it was soooo huge in the US). Survivor Tocantins is getting really interesting and Heroes airs on Star World to make my TV watching list complete. Sweet!
So, what are you watching on TV today? Umm, aside from IPL, of course ;)

May 9, 2009

Mother's Day post

Happy Mother's Day! So, what are you going to do this Mother's Day? Me, I asked my dear friend, Sunita, to pen down her thoughts this Mother's Day. Sunita lost her mother to cancer this year. Their faith, character and strength were unflappable through those terrible months.
Here is what she says:

God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.
~ Jewish Proverb

Writing about mom, is like trying accumulating an ocean into a tiny bucket.

As a child I would get excited at special ‘day’ approaching and would spend time thinking about the various things to do and make for that day. The little pieces of paper, lace and handicrafts were scattered on the table to make an appropriate craft for the occasion – a Christmas cracker for Christmas, a card for New Year, an Easter bunny for Easter and so on.

On this occasion of Mother’s day, we all like to remember the good things and times we spent with our mom and look forward to making her day all the more special.

I’d like to share one of the many stories from my childhood with you. During our childhood days, my sister and I were always excited about writing letters to Santa weeks before Christmas, asking for different kinds of gifts. The letter used to be handed over to mom to be posted and we used to anxiously await Christmas day. After returning from the midnight Mass, we used to rush to the tree to open our presents. I still recollect how we used to jump with joy on receiving the gifts that we asked for. As kids we never realized that it was not just the two of us who used to have the gleam of joy in our eyes and hearts, but also our mother - who was our real ‘Santa’, providing our desired gifts inspite of our financial conditions. She was always there for us, providing for us, teaching us and caring for us. She laughed with us, cried with us. We shared all our problems and secrets with her. She was more a friend than our mother.

Mothers are truly a gift from God. It’s only sad that we sometimes don’t treasure or realise the worth of this precious gift.

Personally, I feel dedicating just one day as Mother’s day is not fair at all. The woman who spends her entire day, her entire life - selflessly just to ensure that her family needs are met and that all the bonds are well united, certainly deserves much more than just one day in a year to be dedicated to her. I believe that every day should be ‘Mother’s day’. Why should we wait for one day in a year to shower the best treatment on our mother? Why can’t we do it every day? If she gives you her best all through your life, I’m sure you can do that too.

It’s been 10 months since my mom passed away and tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Exactly a year ago, she was admitted to the hospital for a test on this very day and I bought her flowers to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. The doctor didn’t know about it and asked her why there were flowers at her side. Mom replied back with a smile ‘It is Mother’s Day and these flowers are from my daughter’. All during her life she taught us how to be patient, kind and never to give up no matter whatever may be the situation. She too reflected these virtues right till her last breath.

I lost my mother, my friend and the most precious treasure God gave me. However I know that today she is in Paradise and will be proud of her daughters and as protective and caring of them as she was during her life of earth. During the year after her death, the three hardest things to forget are: her birthday, any day where we regularly convened as a family, and Mother’s Day.

Well, Mother’s Day has finally arrived, and the advertisements and signs in the greeting stores just reminded me again not forget Mother on her special day.

As if I could ever!

Happy Mothers Day!

April 28, 2009

So you think you are old?

Scene 1: Suburb. Building entrance. 3 women are talking and playing with their kids.
Woman in skirt rushes down the stairs with grocery bag in hand.

Kid#1: Hi, didi.

Woman in skirt smiles, pinches his cheek, smiles at the ladies.

Mother#1: You are thin na, that is why you are a didi. We all are not slim, so we are all aunties.

Woman in skirt - [Weirded out as they have never spoken ever before and as Mother#1 appears to be at least a decade older]: Oh, and here I thought that it was the skirt that did it!

Now, there are two issues here - the auntie issue and the weight issue. Note: rant ahead.
So the kid called me didi. Its been 3 years since some kid did. Its been 3 years since my friend's son first called me Priyanka auntie. And yes, it did give me a moment's pause and I heard the horrid voice repeating 'Auntie. Auntie. Auntie.' in my head (like in that old hair coloring ad). Auntie. That one word had over-the-hill, unattractive, old, uninteresting and tubby all bundled into it. Isn't that what we have been programmed to think? It escapes me why we all think of growing old as bad, something to dread. The first gray hair, the first spotting of dark circles, or crow's feet - all spell disaster of biblical proportions. We all want to remain young, perfect, read, in the 20s. When we were kids we couldn't wait to be 20-something and when we are no longer that, we wish we could turn back time.
Have you all noticed how the Mom in all the advertisements have changed? Gone is the woman with her hair bundled in a bun and her saree pallu tucked in by her waist either slaving away at the stove or rinsing utensils. The new mom wears trousers or cut offs, doesn't wear a tikka and still manages the kitchen and cooks without seeming drained and tired. Drastic change, huh? Can't we have something that changes our definition like that for the word 'auntie' too, so that at least our kids won't grow up dreading the words 'auntie' and 'uncle'?

Ok, now picture this. Imagine if the woman in the skirt was actually a teen girl in a skirt, but overweight. What if the kid calls her auntie? Do you think the woman would tell her that oh, because you are overweight, the kid called you auntie? No, that is a sensitive issue. It is not politically correct nowadays to call a fat person, well, fat. The logic being that it is discriminating and insulting. Fine. Now using the same logic, how about not calling someone rail-thin, scrawny, painfully-thin, emaciated? If there is a 'normal' size, then thin and fat are two extremes and calling them that is discrimination, right? But then, I guess, the underweight people are overwhelmingly outnumbered by the overweight people.
It is not the word 'thin' or 'fat' that is insulting, it is the way people say it. Subconsciously, we are all programmed to accept a certain size as 'normal' - some of us don't even question it even when we are adults. Some of us actually envy people who are 'normal' without an effort, while we (the non-normal people, both ends of the spectrum, mind you) are not. I don't sympathize. I am sorry, but I don't. My genes - passed on my 'normal' parents and well-preserved grandparents - don't make me lucky or you any less luckier. If you don't want to be overweight or underweight, do something about it. Isn't 'accomplished' better than 'lucked out'? Exercise, eat right and if nothing works, accept your body type for what it is. If you still hanker for what you can't achieve, do it in private. Do you tell strangers in the hallway about your yearning for a fuller butt, non-jiggly body parts or lesser hair on certain limbs? Then please oh please, do not talk about your weight to me - the next time you do, you just might receive a 'Auntie mat kaho na. I am in denial!' wall hanging from me on the spot.

April 26, 2009

Trim, snip, chop. And then some...

One of the first lines of Keanu Reeves in Constantine is ' Constantine. John Constantine. A$$#*%^.' He says that to a demon before killing it off. I thought the dialogue defines the character better than any long-winded explanation could. Now, here is, to me, the most unintelligible part of it all:
Why would anyone in their right mind try to edit out parts of a movie whose involved and detailed storyline is about demons, angels and their violent war, try to take it from 'A' to 'PG' and end up showing a movie that is disjointed and unintelligible? Why would anyone want to put this tattered version of a really good movie on prime time and advertise till kingdom come? And why do morons like me end up trying to watch it 'one more time'? No thanks. Will stick to renting out the DVD next time - no ad breaks and unedited. But, no wait, there is still our censor board to think about. They make decisions not only on what kids should or should not watch but also on what adults should. I pity the guy who eagerly paid good money to watch a badly edited, hopelessly mangled censored version of a movie called 'Sex and the city' which, unfortunately for him, should have just been the 'Girls and the city'.

April 13, 2009

My idea of THE Sunday brekkie! Yum!

March 26, 2009

Of Mumbai and more... I

I had serious reservations about living in Mumbai two years ago - still have as a matter of fact. But the famous Mumbai spirit is ever present and infectious. But being an outsider, I observed that in spite of having the best bus transport in India (BEST), the traffic situation is terrible. And getting worse. A lot of contributing factors: bad roads, slow flyover constructions, terrible and untrained drivers, road blocks like filth, garbage, illegal parking, and sometimes just the humongous human crowds. What are the agencies who are supposed to provide for the public doing? Why are some of them thriving, while others are woefully fumbling and stumbling?

Recently, BEST, traffic policemen, firemen have all realized the importance of actually turning in a profit rather than just waiting for the government to wake up and allot them funds. Better late than never, I say. BEST has been the path breaker and how! They are already turning in a profit, adding new buses to their fleet every year, paying their employees a pretty penny, and making moolah from advertising space both on and in the buses. Add to that the fact that their buses are almost always clean, or maybe I should say, swept and seats wiped. It seems nigh near impossible to evade buying a ticket, so I guess, this is a big contributor, but be that as it may, they are really a shining example. Oh, they could do more, sure, but hey, when you take a look at, say, our locals, traffic policemen and firemen, well, it becomes clear how far ahead BEST is.

Generating a profit is not for the money part alone, it also means you are able to pay your employees a decent salary - enough for them to be motivated to do their jobs properly without resorting to bribes. It also means expanding your workforce, which in turn means a bigger profit. And if these agencies fight for it, they will soon have laws standing by them to make it easier for them.

Take BMC for example - their Keep Mumbai Clean act is wonderful. Everyday, on my way to work, I see scores of their personnel clearing the trash and even the human feces from roadsides and footpaths. And they seem to take their work very seriously. I travel by the Western Express Highway, JVLR and Powai. Every road that I see is clean. Admittedly, these are all arterial roads. I frankly have no idea about the smaller, more densely populated (and hence, more filthier) roads and areas. But this initiative is commendable, especially in a city like Mumbai, where trash and filth seem to have become a part of the cityscape.

If our traffic policemen can take a cue from BEST to raise funds here are some ways to go about it:
  • Fine illegally parked vehicles. Double the fine for those who are double parked. No new law required for this one. Can be implemented straightaway.
  • Fine vehicles which have broken down on the middle of the road. A large fine if broken down on an arterial road, a larger one if broken down on the highway. A hefty one if broken down on a flyover. (seriously though, why do these decades-old, smoke-belching trucks want to use the flyovers when they woefully lack maintainance and the power required to negotiate the flyover? once these trucks break down, you cant move them and these people start their repairs then and there and leave behind grease and oil to show for it. fine them. if they can afford to strike days on end protesting the fuel prices, they can cough up fines for not maintaining these vehicles too). Also, make towing a vehicle compulsory. People waste time sitting in traffic just because some idiot thought that he could flout laws and common sense and not service his vehicle for a dozen of years. He should be fined for causing offices and people loss of money and mental trauma!
  • Fine abandoned vehicles - you know, the vehicles which have broken down and have been abandoned in the middle of the road - and include the towing charges as well.
Even if they implement this, their inflow will increase enough to actually recruit more who will help implementing these rules and fines.

For the BMC, well, things are not easy. They cannot fine people who defecate on the roadside as there is lack of sanitary services these people could turn to. And no, this is not to start the debate on how the slum dwellers are living illegally on government land or not. Bottom line is, it cannot fine them. So then, what can it do?
  • Fine for dumping garbage right next to the garbage bin and not in it.
  • Fine for leaving behind refuse and garbage after any and every festival and gathering - religious or political. If people can take organize gatherings, they can organize the clean-up as well.
  • As it falls to the BMC to take care of our roads, they can also charge every single hoarding - whether lighted or on sticks, large or small; on the divider, near the footpath and of course, over the road. BMC could mint thousands during election time or when some political big-wig comes visiting. And lets not forget political hoardings congratulating their party head on his/her birthday, political scaffolding larger than the deity whose celebrations are on, wedding mandaps and more. Admittedly, this would be neigh near impossible to implement what with the BMC and local politicians being in total cahoots.

Local trains. No, I don't have any suggestions for this one. Why? Because, there is no separate agency which operates this for Mumbai! Centrally governed, how can anyone have any inkling of the daily hassles? Why not increase ticket fares? What about the poor, you say? They don't pay for the ticket when it so low either! Why not increase the ticket price, for people like me who actually pay for tickets? Why not recruit the beggars on the train to clean the trains every night? How about recruiting about 50 people whose sole job would be to close the train doors at night? Almost everyone who commutes by locals, has an opinion on how they could be better. But most of these would require dedicated and constant aid from the government which, woefully, we have come not to expect at all. So, the locals go on, overburdened and with nowhere to go. Let me backtrack a bit and state for the record that the daily job done by the Central and Western Railway is admirable. So many trains, crisscrossing tracks, high train frequency all must be a daily headache and miracle to manage so successfully [yes successfully, ever heard of a Mumbai local accident or derailment?]. Dirty trains and stations? Ever think twice before tossing that wad of plastic or paper on the tracks? Where can it generate money from with tickets as less as 4 rupees and scores of people traveling ticketless nonetheless? No, there is not one but myriad reasons why the locals are the way they are. And if we as citizens and users don't change some of our habits, well, we have no right to complain about these agencies and the way they work.

Why cannot these agencies aim for profit, when government funds are irregular and in short supply? Aren't these agencies supposed to work for the city and help it gain prosperity? But when will all this come together? When we, as citizens care to see and get it done. Which brings us all to another pet peeve of mine: citizen responsibility. But then, that is another rant, sufficient for another post.

March 16, 2009

Tag: Doormat

Tagged by Sudhir (quite some time ago! Sorry dude, what can I say? I have a Star(t)in Problem ;) ) But once I started, well, I couldn't restrict myself to one answer, and had quite some fun!
Okie, then. Here is the tag.I was supposed to: Cleverly answer these questions, using only song *titles* from one artist.

Pick a band/artist:
Gwen Stefani

1. Are you a male or female:
Just a girl / Orange County Girl

2. Describe yourself:
Doormat / Artificial Sweetener

3. How do you feel about yourself:
Sad for me / Blue in the face

4. Describe your ex boyfriend/girlfriend:
Sweet escape / Spiderweb

5. Describe your current boy/girl situation:
Doghouse / Home now / The real thing

6. Describe your current location:
Trapped in a box / Six feet under / Sinking

7. Describe where you want to be:
Greener pastures / Sundays Morning

9. Your favorite color is:
Fluorescent / Dark blue

10. You know that:
Magic's in the makeup / You started it

11. What’s the weather like:
Stricken / A little something refreshing / Cool

12. If your life was a television show what would it be called:
Suspension without suspense / Tragic kingdom

13. What is life to you:
Brand new days / Get on the ball / Comforting Lie

14. What is the best advice you have to give:
Keep on dancin' / Don't get it twisted

15. If you could change your name what would you change it to:
Hella Good / Paulina

I now tag Sri, Tanu and Veda. Am sure they are going to do a better job at this than me ;)

March 3, 2009

Of the queens and cowards of Bangalore

My sister sent me a mail on the Bangalore attacks that shook me. This is no longer a random incident or goons staging a publicity stunt. This reeks of political agenda. What is the answer? Why don't these same people who are so concerned about their 'culture' target their own film industry, ban Hindi and English channels and, most importantly, rail against the rock concerts that seem to happen only in Bangalore? Aren't these the ways people learn to follow 'western/corrupt' ways? Why target women who are alone? What kind of cowards are these? Incidents like this and this are not only shocking but also unnerving to read about when you have female friends and relatives in Bangalore.

I loved the all-embracing culture of Bangalore, the two years that I lived there. So much so, that I was contemplating moving there! And this comes in. My sister has bought a pepper can and has a male friend who is thoughtful enough to drop her home if it is late in the evening. This in a city which has a huge amount of restrictions to curb hooliganism, including a ridiculous 11 pm deadline. In this post-26/11 days, what is the police doing if they cannot even handle civilian goondagardi?

I feel for all the women in Bangalore. They either change how they dress (as if that is the main issue), stop being who they are or take up arms and do something about it. Am very proud to say that they are doing something about it. There are protest marches, pink chaddi campaigns, the Nirbhaya Karnataka and Blank Noise Project initiatives.
Is this the solution though? Citizens forming groups to curb this kind of menace? No, of course not! The solution lies in nabbing and punishing these offenders by the police, not civilians!! The police, meanwhile, are yet to do anything else than give the media statements on how 'Bangalore is safe for women' and how these victims are media-attention-seeking people. The women who, even after molestation, had the guts to file police complaints are attention-seeking. Shameful, indeed.

February 17, 2009

Catch up

I guess I am playing this game a lot here. Anyhoo.. Here goes. Since the last time I posted I have:
  • developed a healthy dislike of government offices.
  • upgraded the firmware and jailbroke my iPhone (with a little help from hubby dearest)
  • understood that government policies have no logical sense. [My marriage certificate is useless. I cannot use it to change my name on my PAN card. Also, for my passport, I need an address proof. Effectively, what the government officials are saying is, if you are married into this family, they should either transfer their telephone or electricity or water bill to your name. Or you could change your name in your bank. Oh but the bank wants government proof that I reside there. It makes no f@#$%ing sense.
  • learnt that while in Rome dress like a roman. (Learnt this at a recent wedding and am sorry am not going into details - the incident has traumatized me)
  • a date on any day with the one you love is always like valentine's day.
  • taking advice from fellow bloggers never hath hurt anybody: if anything it helped us on our aforementioned date. Thanks Gaurav and Lulu
  • the eat-every-two-hours diet (oops, way of life, sorry) does work.
  • realised that I can spend almost the entire day blog hopping and love it.
  • decided to start another blog (yes, i heard your smirk) and am looking for names. Help, all ye creative ones out there!
  • been horrified to realise that Mumbai is actually growing on me!

February 8, 2009

Axe chocolate misers

So, the Axe chocolate box that I won finally turned up with a measly
two chocolates! Disappointed!!
But the packaging was great. We loved consuming the chocolate man,
Hell, it was free, so, what the hell.

February 3, 2009

Another New Years' post

I know I have posted my resolutions, but I stumbled upon this today. What a fun way to do it! I have always loved wasting time on this site.. its fun!!

Youniverse New Years Resolutions TestYouniverse New Years Resolutions Test

February 2, 2009

Movie Review: Luck By Chance

Let me just get this out of the way: this is an awesome movie. You should be watching this one!

Ok then, to the details, and as always, when I love a movie or hate a movie (not if the movie is ho-hum) I will write reams about it. So, you are warned.

This is the first movie that I have watched without noticing the 3-hour length. That is high praise indeed. It doesn't look or feel like it has been conceptualized and executed by a greenhorn, a first-time director. I have no idea how much help Zoya Akhtar had from either her brother or her father or her mother for that matter. This is going to be the best movie of a debutante director. The story and the flow of it in the movie is never abrupt (like so many movies are prone to nowadays, especially those made by the ad guys).

It starts with the beautifully picturized Yeh Zindagi Bhi which will tells a lot about the movie that you are going to see. I won't go into the details of the plot-line. I am gaga over the overall feel of the movie. Nary a dull moment. The casting is superb; I don't think anyone other than Konkona could do justice to Sona. She is her usual competent self; restrained and nothing over the top about her. Of course, there caricatures abound but they do not overwhelm the movie. This isn't a story about one person or for one person. That is what I loved about this movie; the director shows a situation from different characters' viewpoint. Being the brother of the director, you would think that Farhan would be the star of the movie and all, but no.

This movie could easily have become a cynical portrayal of the Hindi movie industry, but thanks to the tight storyline and pace, it comes across as a realistic glimpse into the industry. It could easily have been made the over-the-top, melodramatic and ultra-emotional way that most movies are today, but thankfully, it restrains all the hamming and actually underplays the emotions. So much so that, a horribly betrayed and heartbroken Konkana instead of screaming, crying and resorting to violence ends up sobbing and communicating her heart-wrenching grief through her eyes. Haven't seen that in a really long time. I have been bred on the Arths, Mandis, Mirch Masalas and Kala Bazaars of the movie industry, so forgive me, if I say that I think movies like KANK and TZP are saccharine sweet, cloyingly so.

Anyway, the movie is peppered with special appearances with most people playing themselves and, well, it does spice up the movie. Just a word to Akshaye Khanna: please stop making such terrible faces at the camera. No one would call it either acting or endearing. How does Shahrukh always manage to get great cameos? There are some very tongue-in-cheek pokes at some individuals in the industry, good-natured ribbing and, of course, obtuse references. Anurag Kashyap has the funniest cameo in the movie, IMO. And Hrithik, please, please come soon in more movies - tons of them - it is a treat to watch you on the screen.

The movie has it all, starlets living in the lap of luxury, struggling actors living in one room apartments in Mumbai and the glitzy sets and shootings. Ironically (or was it intentionally), all the struggling actors are portrayed by star-kids (Farhan, Konkona, Hrithik - who is shown that he was a struggling actor once) whereas the Isha Sharvani plays the star-kid here. Dimple as the erstwhile child artist and a queen in her heyday is really good. So are Rishi Kapoor, Sanjay Kapoor, Juhi Chawala and Aly Khan. Farhan is good as well. Except in scenes where is required to do Shahrukh-like poses and sing songs and chase and flirt with the heroine that you see him flounder (and its really funny to see how awkward he looks - like he is saying to himself, gosh, I can't believe I really am doing this). Other than those couple of scenes he is really good.
The attention to detail, I think, has been tremendous. (For all you fashionistas, spot the orange Birkin, which I am sure is Twinkle's on loan to her mom, and an LV on display on Dimple's arm. Also, some couture dresses on Isha.) I can't wait for Zoya Akhtar's next movie. If the result of seven years' work is this movie, please all you Nikhil Advanis and others, please take the seven year break and hopefully your next CC2C will not break mirrors but records.
My rating (yep, am starting a long overdue rating system*): Four yays.
Enough said. Go watch!!

[*For all you Joeys out there: five being the highest]

January 15, 2009

You know you are still your mom's little girl when...

Mom (on the phone): Beta, are you sick?
You: Why, mom?
Mom: Your sis tells me you weren't online on gtalk for the last two
days. Which means you haven't been to office, right? So, are you ill?

[Beginning to understand the ways by which Mom <i>always</i> used to
know when I was lying.]

Sent from my iPhone

January 13, 2009

Pick Pick: Facets of Mumbai (or should I say India?)

This is the face of a changing India. Students from a junior college in my neighborhood, at 8 in the morning, helping the 'Keep Mumbai Clean' sweepers. And carrying placards about the evils of deforestation, using plastic bags and more. Hordes of kids. Is this how we can be aware and learn? Through the kids?

But some things never change. Terrible English and misspellings on hoardings? Easily done. Botching up spellings of places/landmarks? Takes a genius to do that. Come all ye with your guide books and have a great time finding these places: Mount Marr y Church and the famous Elk(c)o Market.

January 6, 2009

Happy New Year

Yes, a little late in coming. So is this post. I was working on this since like a month, but then one of my vices being procrastination, well, I guess you got the rest. So, here are my resolutions. Instead of the todo list that I usually draw up, this year, I thought, why waste time (as none of the ones on my last year's list have been achieved) might as well think of ways to achieve my goals than decide what the goals are. Listed down the ones that I want to do more of and the ones that I have decided to do less of...
So then, [trumpets and all] here are my resolutions for this year.



What are your resolutions? And how was your New Year's eve? Mine? Gluttony, Jack Sparrow, me, mine and wine. What more can you ask for?!


Still updating the blog theme. Will get down to the blogrolling and all soon.

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