Yesss! There is very definitely a NIP in the air.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
The annual visit to Kolkata ended a week back.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Today is Ashtami, and I assume that Maa Durga has already started to feel a little sad hollow in the pit of her stomach, because the end - of her longed-for visit to her baaper bari (maiden home) - is slowly drawing to a close.
- A flurried ten-handed goddess-wife-mother
- A spaced-out, always-high husband
- Four squabbling children
- Sundry hapless assistants
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Serial watching is serious business.
Friday, August 20, 2010
There I go, that's absolutely the wrong question to ask.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I hate tunnels.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Grand Slams look unfamiliar these days.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Not just the low-pressure zones in the sky that invite the heavy rain-clouds and the monsoon, but the hollow feeling in my stomach when I look at the still-wet washing hanging on sagging lnes inside rooms where they have no business to be. Wet clothes should dry fast and smell fresh and sunny, not go on hanging for ever.
Is the muck that rises up to greet your feet (or ankles, or knees, or waist - depending on the water level) when you wade from job to home, or anywhere to anywhere.
To take the raincoat or the umbrella? The foldable brolly or the huge one with the hook-like handle that always gets stuck in other people's bags? Whatever I decide is ineffectual anyway, because the monsoon has a mind of its own. And a heavy downpour can throw cold water on all my decisions.
The sheer cussedness of auto-richshaw drivers who are always zipping up and down, but never where you want to go. In monsoon, along with dengue and malaria, auto-rickshaw refusals reach epidemic proportions. Even if you have tons of grocery bags on your arms, or wet-and-wailing children in your arms. They'll never go where you ask them to, but always stop and pick up the next person.
Personified by me when I am standing in the pouring rain, trying to flag down an auto, with an ineffectual umbrella in one hand and the aforesaid tons of grocery bags on the other hand, getting horribly late for home.
Personified by monsoon-mad Mumbaikars who seem to be in love with this misery-pouring season. As Obelix would say, "These Mumbaikars are crazy!"
Me arguing with the above-mentioned mad phalanx and saying, "Monsoon, huh? The sooner it is over, the better. And anyway, why doesn't it just go and rain on the lakes, instead of messing up my life?"
Is a fast-forward to a future when the lakes are full and the sun is shining.
Care to add some more words to the list?
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Probably I'm late, as usual. Probably everyone of you have already been there and done that.
But I'm just so, so excited about about this on-line bookshop I've just found out about - FLIPKART.COM.
They have the most amazing collection of books that most other bookshops (even my favourite haunts like Landmark and Crossword everywhere) do not have in stock. And they offer you pretty decent discounts! And they'll deliver it home, if home is in India, without any shipping charges!
I managed to track down a whole lot of completely delicious and completely unavailable-elsewhere women detective fiction authors from the 1940s-1960s. Everybody's heard/read/seen/bought/trashed/loved Agatha Christie. Her contemporary, Dorothy Sayers, - more erudite, and, ergo, less popular - graces Crossword/Landmark shelves in her shiny reprinted avatars. But I totally flipped over when I found rows and rows of juicy murder mysteries by Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh (Christie, Sayers, Allingham and Marsh are together revered as the Queens of British Golden Age Crime Fiction), Josephine Tey and Patricia Wentworth! Virtually close enough for me to reach out and touch! Now I can't wait to bite into them!!! And it's great fun just browsing along and adding random favourites to my wishlist!
But if you are completely unmoved by Miss Marple and Miss Silver, Lord Peter Wimsey, Roderick Alleyn, Inspector Grant or Albert Campion and the rest of those ancient genteel-detectives, you can always search and find your own poison!
A site for all bibliophiles to flip over!! I have!
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Sometimes, I travel to the ad agency where I work part-time via a little neighbourhood called Amboli in Andheri. It is a place where many of the residents are Catholics, and it's a place where things seems to slow down of their own accord.
My auto-rickshaw, which hurtles down the manic Andheri roads when it is not fuming at traffic jams, trots with leisured ease down the winding paver-blocked Amboli roads. The sun seems softer, the shops seems sleepier, the air seems gentler. There's a playground where somebody has thoughtfully hosed down the grass-less field, so that the kids can play without the swirling dust choking them. There's a street-corner flower-shop, where a maxi-wearing young lady with flowers in her hair deftly weaves myriad garlands. There are gaggles of goats and sheep by the roadside - some leaping out to surprise the auto-driver, some chewing cud casually. And there are numerous wooden or concrete crosses with the legend I.N.R.I (Jesus of Nazareth, King - Rex - of Jews; in Hebrew script, I and J looks the same).
This benign spirit seems to guard and cosset lilting lulled-down Amboli from the heat and dust of Andheri - with its buzzy busy-ness and reckless skyscrapers and frantic shops. Amboli houses are small, dilapidated, sloping-roofed shanties, or four/five storeyed small-townish apartment blocks.
That place has a character of its own - a stubborn refusal to blend in with the rest of the faceless, multi-storeyed, swanky-malls-dirty-roads urban desertscape of the rest of Andheri.
It's anyone's guess how long this oasis will hold out. Deserts have a habit of taking over everything around it.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
My maid, who lives with us, often mispronounces English words. With the unexpected effect of hitting the nail on the head!
For instance, she says "China" instead of "channel" (her favourite TV 'China' being STAR PLUS, with its plethora of primetime tearjerking soaps). Maybe she's just being prophetic, CHANNELS in India are about the only thing that are not being MADE IN CHINA at the moment.
She also says "Anyplane" instead of "aeroplane". Again, it is an insightful comment on the aviation sector, especially since any number of airlines are now fighting it out for their piece of the sky.
But the one I just love is "TOPIC JAM" instead of "TRAFFIC JAM". It is almost poetic in its possibilities. Check this out:
Elder daughter sitting in front of a pile of books right before exams, wondering where to begin. TOPIC JAM.
Packed Staffroom at our college. Teachers talking in loud voices across the room at cross-purposes, everybody unable to hear anybody else. TOPIC JAM.
Fourth lecture after recess. Poor students yawning away at my Communications class, head already full of Accounts and Economics and Maths. TOPIC JAM.
Me racking my brains, stumped and struggling to come up with new names/lines for pens/financial services/just-about-anything for clients who seem to be insufferingly insatiable. TOPIC JAM.
Newspapers refusing to budge beyond the misadventures and misdemeanours and misappropriations of Lalit Modi, even though the IPL is history. TOPIC JAM.
Me gazing at "still working"/"loading"/"refreshing" monitor, cursing slow Internet traffic speed. TOPIC JAM.
Lovely phrase, is it not?
Monday, April 12, 2010
The Copy-Kitten (my younger daughter) is a bold little mite. She tries her loudest best to argue the pants off people ten times her size (and age), and her voice is the 'most-heard' (top-of-the-volume-charts) in the playground.
But two things scare her, especially at night. Especially when she's in her bed listening to her routine bedtime story, and she wants to go to the drawing room to get a new book. So I have to suspend my story-telling and accompany her - small hand gripped tightly in mine - to the bookshelves to pick out another book.
She's scared of Wee Willie Winky. You know, the fairy fella who looks in at windows and peeps through the locks, to see whether all the children are in bed by "eight o' clock" (That's for Brits, I've modified it to 11 o' clock). The Copy Kitten calls him Winky Willie and gets all round-eyed when the curtains blow in the night-time breeze. It just might be Winky Willie, she claims in a hushed voice.
But she is re-assured by my BIG-ness (age-wise and size-wise). From the pictures of the puny, pointy-eared Winky Willie in nursery rhyme books, she has deduced that her Maa will be more than a match for him.
What scares her more are AATANKWADIs (Terrorists - she pronounces the word in the Hindi way). Whenever there are noises of crackers bursting too loudly, she'll get all worried and plaintively ask whether there are Aatankwadis around. What do they do? Where do they come from? How can we save ourselves if they do come? How will we fight them? How will the police fight them? ....
I don't know where she learnt about terrorism. I don't know when and where terrorists will strike. And this not knowing makes my reassurances rather unconvincing, at least to myself.
The Winky Willies of fiction I can combat. But as for the aatankwadis, I feel as helpless as any four-year old. And angry, at this spoiling of innocence that is the legacy of our terror-riven world.
Monday, March 22, 2010
I travelled with Deepika Padukone today. As I was coming to work, I sat alongside a smiling Deepika, all demure-pretty with a clip in her hair and a sunny yellow dress, posing against an impossibly-blue sky and a fairy-tale cottage with a riot of flowers in the garden.
Surprised? Don't be. Ever since I came to Mumbai, I have travelled with the likes of a fresh-faced Salman Khan (with long-hair, cute-smile and his shirt-on, looking like he did in his Hum Aapke Hai Kaun days). And with Amitabh Bachchan, when he was still a beardless and helmet-haired angry-young-man with an intense gaze and a sneer on his rouged lips. And a cherubic-fresh Preity Zinta, or an angelic-vacuous Aishwarya - often dimpling down at me or gazing down at me from both sides. Or sometimes a Shah Rukh Khan from his floppy-haired, puppy-eyed days, who looks ready to break into a K-k-k-kiran every time the vehicle stutters in a traffic jam.
No, I don't travel in a Merc. I travel in auto-rickshaws. And one of the greatest amusements is to find whose image will be there on the inner walls of the rickshaw when I climb in. Glossy, glamourous and larger-than-life travelling companions I can look at when the rickshaw is stuck in a traffic jam.
And imagine myself in the company of stars. After all, Mumbai is the City of Dreams, and a little bit of tinsel gets rubbed off on me even when I am caught in the middle of suburban roads and daily chaos.
Unfortunately, all auto-rickshaws do not have Bollywood stars as interior decoration. Some have lights and blasting sound-boxes, some have shabby velvet and some have shiny rexine. But, for me, the shine is missing from a rickshaw-ride if I don't have a brooding Amitabh by my side. Or a rosy-cheeked Aamir. Or a twinkling Juhi Chawla.
I'm not choosy. Just celebrity-struck when I'm traffic-stuck.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
...is a man (the AGE-OLD saying is reversed, obviously...we are the NEW AGE women, are we not?)
I have a husband who (till now), loves me a lot. I also have a husband who criticises me a lot. Oh, they are one and the same person (till now, at least).
And although I appreciate the love and crib at the criticism most of the time, on retrospecting (on the belated and auspicious - to shopkeepers - occasion of Women's Day) I realised I should value the criticism as much as the adoration.
Because the spouse's criticism...
...keeps me grounded. (Too much flattery swells the head.)
...gives me a challenge. (I thrive on 'TO-DO-BETTER' lists.)
...gives me a chance to fight back. (Shouting is a good stress-buster.)
...has become such an inextricable part of my daily routine that I would probably die of shock and deprivation if he changed suddenly and became all 'red roses and diamond rings'!
...lets us enjoy the process of making up after a bout of accusation-flinging and screaming match.
Now, I am not going to tell you how!!!
HAPPY WOMEN'S LIFE!!!!
Monday, February 15, 2010
Being a neat-freak, I would probably have chucked them straight into the dustbin.
Till the tear-drop-shaped beige half-shells of a kilo-bag of pistachios were rescued by my daughters, who demanded, "Maa, we want to play with them."
The younger Copy-Kitten, who loves her Sunday-morning pasta, went to the kitchen, withdrew enough pots, pans and ladles to set up her own restaurant, and started cooking pista-shell Macaroni (resembling the shell-pasta - conchiglie - I often make for them).
The older Lil Cat, who is now deeply into the rollicking-Roman-and-gallant-Gaul world of Asterix comics, decided to convert her hoard of pista-shells into sestertii - the coins used by Julius Caesar and his ilk.The Copy-kitten, true to her name, abandoned her presumably half-cooked macaroni, followed her sister and became a sestertii-trader.
When children propose, Mummy obliges. So I spent the better part of Valentine's afternoon (the spouse was away in Pune on post-blast news-duty anyway) mixing gold and silver acrylic paints with binder and applying colour painstakingly to about two hundred gold and silver sestertii. The new-found treasure is now safely stashed in an unsed moneybox. And I re-learnt a lesson that happiness often lies in the most trivial of things.
You are welcome to come and share. The macaroni, the sestertii, or the remaining pistachios. Or your take on the question stated in the title of this post.
Friday, January 15, 2010
I was writing a kite-flying post for my other blog, Past Continuous, where I mentioned the manja - the sharp paste containing powdered glass that is coated onto kite-strings to give bite and edge to cut the strings of competing kites.
In Bengali, when a girl dresses up in all her finery, people (especially older male relations) often comment in jest, "khub manja merechhis toh!" (You've put on a lot of manja).
Presumably, it means that adornment (dress, make-up, et al) is like a weapon with which the woman arms herself (like the kite's weapon is the glass-edged string). If life is a battle of sexes, then it is only logical to step out armed with a suitable weapon.
For whom, though? To cut other kites, or females, out of the competition? And, is there an underlying assumption that women are like playthings in the hands of men, and they can pull us along like kites? Ahem, ahem!!
But the manja is a double-edged thing. It can cut other kite-strings...and also cut the palms of the inexpert string-puller. So, men beware!!! If you persist with making inoffensive but double-meaning comments to prettily-dressed members of the opposite gender, remember that your palms may get badly slashed, especially across the heartline.