Thursday, December 31, 2009

Oh duck!

Ordered roast duck for dinner tonight. The restaurant manager recommended that I order half a duck for 4 people. Wish I hadn't listened to him, when I went to collect my duck - there it was, my wannabe piece de resistance, in a tiny box. Bigger than a matchbox, yes, but smaller than a size 5 shoe box! Oh well, the duck has now been downgraded to hors de oeuvres status. Prawns are lording it tonight. Not that anyone cares, it's the silly drinky season, after all!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Never let your hands shake while administering Tabasco. My Bloody Mary turned out to be a Bloody Bloody Bloody Mary! Added so much Tabasco, I burnt my lips. Switched to Vodka and Sprite thereafter. Needed the cooling effect so badly, I lost count after 3 drinks. No matter, since everyone, including BH, were in high spirits as well. Two wine drinkers consumed a bottle each, a solitary beer drinker generously left 4 bottles for the kabadiwalla, and a turkey was demolished as well. Have sailed to office today on extremely choppy seas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Can you read too much?

My poor little 6-year-old nephew has been accused of reading too much. His teacher told my sister that he even reads during 'break-time' instead of playing with his class-mates. So what? He's just discovered Harry Potter and the Famous Five, for heavens sake!

Snapped at my sister for not reprimanding the teacher. She snapped right back at me, and said that she didn't want Rohan to be like our family. She wants her children to be gregarious and 'well-rounded' and not terminally dysfunctional social misfits.

Technically, I could box her ears, because she's younger than me and we live in India where family elders can do exactly what they want with, well, family youngers! Held myself back, though. Trying to be Gandhian except when it comes to alcohol, nicotine and seafood.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Y has Raj Thackeray been given Y security?

This is ridiculous! A man who instigates mobs to attack 'outsiders' has been given security? Hell, we need security from him and other politicians and rabble rousers!

There's a theory going around that the little coward must have sent himself a letter saying that he'll be attacked on the 25th of Dec by a bunch of North Indians. I wouldn't put it past him. He's been shivering in his shoes ever since his security was taken away. Bullies. Cowards. Same difference.

Am seriously considering lurking around Mantralaya singing, "I want my Y security" to the tune of Knopfler's "I want my MTV".

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Back to adult fiction with Juliet Naked

Moved from teenage fantasy/romance to middle-aged angst in a few days. Nick Hornby is consistently enjoyable. And his latest, Juliet Naked, is his best - so far. Not about a boy (geddit?) but a reclusive middle-aged former rock star and alcoholic. An acoustic, bare-bones, untextured version of his first hit, Juliet, is dicovered and packaged as Juliet Naked (I'm a good girl, I am,, I don't read porn!). And when news of this spreads to his internet-groupies, a lot of interesting things happen. It's hilarious - and dripping with irony. Trying to stretch it out as long as I can, but only have a couple of chapters left, damn. Fortunately BH has returned with 2 and a half kgs of books from Landmark.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Don't knock it till you've tried it.

So there I was, flat out on my back yet again, doing the bed-rest thingie and bored witless. Re-read two Wodehouses in a row - not a very good idea because my back hurt everytime I laughed out loud. And then I wondered about Stephanie Myers - my physiotherapist had been whining and moaning about her 12-year-old's ghastly reading habits. "She's addicted to some rubbish about vampires," she muttered darkly. I was curious - all the little girls I know have been lapping these books up.
Since I was at a loose end, I asked BH to get me one of the books, and he dutifully handed me the very first in the series (Twilight) with a visible sneer.
Hell, I loved it for many reasons:
1. Well-written, not trashy like most best-sellers are
2. Sparkling wit
3. Exciting sexual tension
4. Dead sexy hero - hot, dangerous, witty and noble- sigh. I want! I want! I want!
5. Clumsy heroine with self-deprecating sense of humour
6. And, of course, the thriller bits starring other evil vampires
I'm DEFINITELY going to buy the rest!
P.S. Wish a vampire had sunk his fangs into me when I was in my early twenties - no need for anti-ageing unguents and freedom from frail, creaky bones and all that crap.

Monday, November 9, 2009

And then there were nine.

The MNS may have won 13 seats, but four of their not-so-gentle men have been suspended from the assembly for an act of sheer stupidity for 4 lovely long years. God certainly does move in mysterious ways! I'm a born-again believer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A stern message to owners of all fine dining establishments

Please do not put regular brands of alcohol on your menus and then blithely inform me that they're not available and attempt to tempt me into drinking seriously expensive upmarket piss instead.

Hello, I smoke Wills Navy Cut. Which, my darlings, also implies that I DO NOT HAVE self-esteem issues. Do understand that some people select a particular brand because they enjoy the taste, not because of the stupid hyped marketing shit it stands for!
Hopping mad. Hate, hate, hate wannabes! And sneaky, pushy restaurant-wallahs.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Food glorious food

Saw Julie and Julia DESPITE the fact that I kept falling asleep while I was reading the book. Finally gave the book the boot after ariving at the midway mark. I woke up with relief, thereafter! What drew me to the movie: Nora Ephron and Meryl Streep. And I'm glad I saw it because Ephron has cleverly put in large chunks of Julia Child's life - that was the highlight of the movie, really, together with the loverly food. Ooooooh the fish swimming in a wicked sauce in the restaurant scene - loved the skillful way it was deboned too. And the evil chocolate cake with almond slivers, the pork chops, the sinful fried bread - drool. Not surprised that my popcorn tasted like thermocol while I was watching the movie.

Streep was marvellous as Julia Child with an annoying loud excitable voice, frumpy hairdo and dowdy clothes - she managed to be charming inspite of the drawbacks. Now, if only the entire movie had been about Julia Child I'd have recommended it warmly. But that Julie Powell bit bored me to tears. Such a whiner and moaner without a sense of humour at that. Unforgivable. And all that rubbish about feeling Julia Child with her and listening to Child's voice in her head while she was assiduously following her recipes. When people tell me they hear voices in their head, I urge them to lie down on a nice comfy sofa - in a clinic.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A big hand to the hand!

We've shown the finger and got the hand in return! Feeling immensely satisfied today. Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh and Haryana are with the Congress, yay. And ha ha, going by the numbers across the 3 states, I can now look forward to the day when Indian citizens say, 'BJP who?' Not that I feel even the slightest twinge of affection for any member of the Congress party in Maharashtra - no way.

Office is stuffed with Marathi manoos and its great fun watching the 'score' on the TV in the canteen. Howls of 'Jai Maharashtra' rent the air everytime the MNS gets a seat. Oddly enough, not a single cheer for the Shiv Sena. Raj has evidently done a great job of purloining their party propaganda. Besides, as the Marathi bai manoos' in the office sigh, he's better looking than his cousin!

Monday, October 19, 2009

3 day weekends zindabad

-Saw Roman Holiday for the 15th time on Diwali. Loved it just as much. Have a bone to pick with the Smirnoff guys though. Got a free ugly keychain with my bottle - think they adjusted the cost of the keychain with the percentage of alcohol in the bottle: 5 drinks, zero buzz, not even a vague hint of a buzz. Criminal offence, if you ask me.

-Saw the end of the last Indiana Jones flick, and the beginning of the first. Enjoyed the silly jokes almost as much.

-Saw Inglourious Basterds. Like everyone else, loved the movie and Christpher Waltz. Was also delighted that Hitler was made uglier than ever before.

-Saw Wake up Sid, and unlike everyone else, yawned through the flick. Where was the humour, dude? However, have to concede that it was way better and way more honest than that dreadful Dil Chahta Hai - remember that movie where Amir Khan pretended to be a teenager? EEEEK. Evidently Botox was not around in those days.

Have sternly informed BH that I cannot take popular culture anymore. It doesn't agree with me and till Bollywood gets real cool instead of this wannabe cool I will not suffer it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wearing a sexy status symbol on my finger

Not a ring, but a purple mark that says I've voted. A tad disappointed though - this time the mark is not on the rude finger. Sad. I really enjoyed flaunting that. Guess assembly elections are not as flamboyant as general elections.

Had big fat huge row with man at polling booth, as usual. He was too lazy to find my name and tried to send me back home. Gave him a stern lecture on kantala in the time of democracy. He cowered and with fumbling fingers found my name in the log book. Jerk!

Now at work, muttering darkly under my breath about whip-wielding employers who deny virtous democratic souls a holiday after they keep the wheels of democracy moving. Sigh.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Old song, new twist

Been singing an old REM song today (under my breath, of course), with new words:
'Would you believe they're bombing the moon?'
And on to another subject: While all our intellectuals and activists are making scathing remarks about the Maharashtra government for declaring EVERYTHING shut on election day, I'm NOT with them. Hey, I want a holiday!!!
And yet another subject: Obama gets the Nobel Peace Prize for what? Hello, he hasn't done anything remarkable yet! That prize should go to American citizens who voted him in. They deserve it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Arms and the Woman or begging for arms!

In one of my daily 'It's your turn to deal with the plumber/carpenter/ bills/cook, you lazy sod' squabbles with BH, I realised in a flash why Hindu goddesses are depicted with more arms than Hindu Gods - we work harder and it's got NOTHING to do with female emancipation. Our ancient Goddesses evidently slogged like crazy in the days when women didn't have to do the 9-9 and run the house. Hell, I want more arms - I need more arms!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'm back - for 5 secs!

So got up at 5 am (yes, A.M. i.e. in the morning, before the bloody birds sing and the sun is still in deep slumber) to go to the gym. Why? Because I'm working again, boo hoo, and I rarely get back home before 9 pm and I desperately need to de-stress. I WISH I WERE A DOG - THEY DON'T GO TO OFFICE, DO THEY?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

God is great!

Office shut at 3 pm coz of ze Ganpati immersion today, yay! Am now a convert. Fervently chanting "Ganpati Bappa Moriya, phudchya varshi lavkaar ya."

Safely ensconsed at home now with chips and Thums Up for company. Must confess though, that while I don't enjoy being stuck in traffic jams, I love the music, particularly the drums. Some of the Ganpati and Durga puja drummers I've heard are so bloody fantastic, it's such a pity they don't have the opportunity to jam with Carlos Santana. Now, that would be music to my ears!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My inner Lady Macbeth

Flipped through Macbeth (my favourite play, and one of my favourite heroes - Batman and Winnie-the-Pooh are part of my unholy triumvirate). Never realised this before but it hit me real hard today - I have a wee bit in (ulp) common with Lady M. Check out this line, it's one I repeat (in modern English, of course) to BH every night. "Wash your hands, put on your nightgown; look not so pale..."

Jeez! My astute sister is right -I'm a freaking control freak!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Vir Sanghvi - sigh.

Yet, yet, yet again, Vir Sanghvi has made me gush like a lovesick teen. He's every writer's rockstar, he's just got to be! At this very moment if you ask me to choose between drinks with Roger Waters, Kurt Cobain's ghost or Vir Sanghvi, I'll take Sanghvi!

A few years ago, I felt a warm glow spreading through me when he likened Raj Thackeray to Mini Me. And today, I laughed uproariously at a sentence in his HT Sunday column, Counterpoint: '...any suggestion that Sardar Patel can't walk on water is anathema to the BJP...' Fanfingfastic - it's not what you say, it's how you say it! The rest of the article is brilliant too, but of course. Ooh, what a writer!

Wistfully told BH that if he wrote like Sanghvi, I'd be the happiest woman in the world. For a change BH didn't sneer. He looked wistful too - not because he gave a rodent's posterior about making me the happiest woman in the world, but oh, to write like Sanghvi! Had to reassure him that he wrote wonderfully well too. I mean that's why I had the hots for him, because of all those amusing notes he'd pin up on my softboard in office.

And now for a spot of perspective. I don't lurve Sanghvi's Rude Food column in Brunch. It's hit or miss, and frankly, I don't live the high live (nor wish to - ew) so I can take it or leave it.

I don't think we agree on music either. Frinstance I love Tull (and always will), he scoffs at Ian Anderson's Flamingo act on stage - which I rather like, hello, it's iconic. But when it comes to politics, Sanghvi's my man - my main man.

And while on the subject of music, my ex-colleague and bore-buster Pearl the Perilous One, sent me an mp3 clip of an early '80s Brit band - The Cult. Great sound, sexy lyrics. Almost like The Doors without Ray Manzarek. Yum.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Griffin has announced that it's godawful poetry fortnight, YAY!

Should you have the urge to spout some godawful pomes, click this link: Son of Godawful Poetry Fortnight - 19th - 31st August

BTW, my humble contribution to this fantastic, much-looked-forward to annual event:
They dragged me with brute force to the door,
Callously kicked me down the stairs below-
And screeched like the oft quoted Raven, “Nevermore!”

I staggered to my feet and limped my way across the street,
With fumbling fingers groped for my pack of woe,
And struck a match - Ah, even in adversity life can be sweet.

So now I wander lonely spewing dark, belligerent clouds,
That lurk on high o’er the stained cityscape,
And insidiously creep into the lungs of the teeming crowds.

All I ask for is Keats' Grecian urn to tip the ash,
While contributing generously to the city's smog,
It wouldn’t hurt would it, that dead sexy touch of dash?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

To go or not to go - that is the question.

Got a bad case of the sniffles on Thursday night. By Friday morning, low grade fever had set in. Followed family rule and drank vodka that night - to kill the germs. These germs were made of sterner stuff. Hastily browsed through swine flu symptoms on the net the next day. Heck, they're the same as normal flu! Who can tell? Generously gave BH the sniffles and fever too. We have decided to be noble and skip office tomorrow. Well, BH insists on keeping his colleagues out of Kasturba Hospital. I'm still the new girl in school so am not quite sure what I should do. Let's see how I feel in the morning. Damn. Hope throat swabs are not required.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Excuse moi garcon, there's a dragon in my fruit!

Tried dragonfruit for the first time. Apprehensive (as always) because it looks kind of like an armoured vehicle, and was persuaded that it would taste metallic. T'was scrum, though. A tinge of sweetness and a tinge of tartness - perfick, tres refeshing! The nicest thing about it is that it's so easy to eat. Cut it in the middle and scoop it out, period. Cherries, however, remain my fav. fruit. Nothing can beat it on the tastometer, not even chocolate.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Can't work in my nightie anymore, WAAAAAAAH!

Whenever my bank balance dips to shocking levels, I exchange my pretty, faded nighties for work wear and do full time at an office. Can't rely on the dribs and drabs I get from freelance to fatten my piggybank, or even make it pleasantly plump.

So, I've been working full time for one week now, and I must say I miss my nighties so bad, it hurts! Trying hard to be stoical about it. Sternly reminding self that when bills have to be paid, even jharoo-pocha assignments are a blessing. Consoling self that the people I'm working with are rather nice, but know deep down inside that even if I worked in an office with a pub and live rock acts and a Belgian chocolate dispenser, I would hate it because it eats into my time. God, working from home is such a joy- was such a joy. Sniff.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Life's a bitch and other buzz phrases

I warmed to the phrase, 'Life's a bitch,' when it did the rounds. This rolling phrase gathered a fair amount of moss, and became 'Life's a bitch and then you die.' Nice. But even better, far better indeed, was the counter phrase, 'Life's a bitch and then you don't even die!' Sums up my personal philosophy nicely.

I enjoy counter phrases best of all. Like 'chicken poop for the soul' instead of that icky sticky 'chicken soup for the soul.' Have lost count of the times I've been asked to contribute to the Indian edition of the 'chicken soup' series. "Sorry," I've said firmly, "nothing remotely fuzzy or heartwarming has happened to me ever, thank heavens. But I have loads of material for a 'chicken poop' edition, if you so desire." They never desired that, tragically.

Which brings me to Chinua Achebe's lovely book, Things Fall Apart. Read it over 10 years ago, and was very moved. Have forgotten the story by now, but what remains deeply embedded in my mind is the title. So philosophical and stoic and strong. Things fall apart. Love the implication: So what? Deal with it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I smell a dog - and rats too.

Right. so I'm one of those shameless Mumbaiphiles who can witter on (and on and on) about how special this city is - particularly during the monsoon. Tragically, my enthusiasm has been curbed somewhat this year. Went to fancy restaurant with Best Friend last night. Crinkled nose in the posh foyer: 'Ew- there's a doggy smell here,' I complained. Best Friend sniffed and snorted. "Damp carpets, that all.'

And the rains have been flushing rats out of their burrows and into our homes. Not bashful at all, these rats. BH was watching TV one night when Rat the First scurried in from the window and squeezed its flexible body into a crevice the ways only rats and roaches can. Driver got me a rat trap and it had an occupant the very next morning! Driver, BH and househelp marvelled at its size while I refused to take a gander. Thereafter, Driver deposited the rat at Carter Road, near the sea. Rat the Second (even bigger) sauntered in last night while BH was watching TV again. BH's hackles rose and he displayed an alarming tendency for raticide. A chase began (cannot report it because I'd hastily locked myself in the bedroom) . Half an hour later BH entered the bedroom sorely disappointed- the rat had eluded his murderous attempt. We have now concluded that BH was a cat in his past life - the hair on his limbs stood on end for a couple of hours thereafter- not with fear but with intent to kill. His wish was granted soon thereafter - he swatted a housefly to death. Ah, those are the other pests the rains bring with them. And fruit flies too. Vomit!

BTW, the rat menace threatens to take on serious proportions. Best Friend has reported several in her home in Santa Cruz, my neighbour says he saw a mouse scampering near his computer mouse at his office in Haji Ali - the office bought 14 rat traps and all were packed to capacity the next morning. This is a plague warning for Mumbai city. Where on earth are the BMCs rat catchers?

P.S. BH now is threatening to get a pet snake to deal with the rats much more exciting than rat traps, he insists. I'd much rather have a transmigrant soul that's currently in its feline avtaar.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The bag lady to end all bag ladies

UP CM Mayawati may go down in history as the bag lady of the century, but I’m giving her a run for her money. Despite the fact that my figure can be described as a jolly sight more statuesque than hers (which is not saying much), and despite the fact that I have not commissioned statues of myself carrying ugly mummy handbags, I beat her hollow in the frump stakes. Faded tracks and tees are my thing. The more ghissa-pitta they are, the softer they feel and I lurve them. Better still, they make me look desperately poor and when I go for a haircut, the parlour ladies don’t make an attempt to coax me to get highlights, a perm, a platinum facial, whatever - they probably assume that my haircut was paid for by collections in my tin can at traffic signals. Very liberating!

Of course, on the rare occasions when I venture out for dinner or a movie, I dress up spectacularly – in my best faded pants and faded tees. Of late, Beloved Husband has started gasping, ‘You’re going out in that?’ He feels so strongly about it that a few weeks ago he tossed his ATM card at me (it missed me by a whisker) and gruffly said, 'Go to Esprit, go to Mango, go anywhere apart from Nike or Adidas, use all the money you need and BUY SOMETHING REMOTELY DECENT AT LEAST!’

I was shocked - never has he flung vast amounts of money at me before. Almost felt like a glamourous bar dancer. Meekly followed his instructions though, and bought a couple of things. Was too dazed to go the whole hog as instructed. Later, asked Best Friend if his reaction had been OTT. ‘Nope,’ she shook her head sadly while fiddling nervously with her fork (and refusing to look me in the eye), ‘I’ve, um, been meaning to talk to you about it too.’ A crushing et tu Brute moment for me.

So now, I’m seriously contemplating a makeover. Haven’t acted on it yet coz I’m still sulking with both of them (hey, it’s MY life), but mean to. Someday this year, perhaps. Let’s see.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The new babalogs in town

Monica, our new cook, insists on calling us Baba and Baby! Beloved Husband blushed prettily the first time she indulgently cooed, 'And how would Baba like his tea?' but now gets terribly annoyed. Have been ordered to instruct her to address us as something else, heck anything else, even rotters from hell would do very nicely for us indeed, but no luck. Monica forgets and then gets into a flap when I politely remind her that we're past our prime (and gone off possibly too).

Damn. Too old to be called baby, way too old to be called babe as well (sigh). But now have come to the conclusion that perhaps Monica estimates ages from an emotional rather than physical point of view. For eg: shoe drawer fell on foot this morning and cracked a nail on one of my toes. Almost fainted when I saw the blood. Hobbled to the doctor who did what doctor's do: whipped out a syringe for an anti-tetanus shot. Howled, screamed, wept, had to be held down by the hefty receptionist and, most importantly, did NOT feel a twinge of shame when the doctor sarcastically asked, 'How old are you?'
Monica's right. I am a baby!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Doggone it!

Two years ago, Best Friend and I experienced a deliciously crazy impulse on a Sunday- decided to take a walk down Marine Drive while it was pouring - not just cats and dogs but man-eating tigers and nasty werewolves. Lingered for a few hours there because it was so beautiful - the sea was angry with muscular waves lashing against the tetrapods, the sky was hazy - oooh it was mindblowing. Tragically it wasn't high-tide or we could have cheerfully showered in the gigantic waves that energetically leap out of the sea.

Thereafter, we walked to Westside in Kala Ghoda to buy towels and a change of clothes. The doorman let us in with a broad grin despite the fact that we were leaving puddles the size of Powai lake in our wake. No one in the store darted curious looks in our direction either. See, that's what I love about Mumbai!

This was followed by tea at Leopold (boring - and the food is trashy too!) and then the nicest part- a longish stop-over at The Ghetto to keep us warm and cosy for the drive back home.

Yearned to repeat the experience yesterday but Best Friend said no - politely but firmly: 'Wimbledon finals. Federer. The monsoon can wait. Besides, we've got to go during the day to watch out for Tavleen Singh's dog poop,' she cannily added, to ensure that I didn't attempt to persuade her to change her mind. I was silenced.

Heck, why can't the Marine Drive party-pooper Tavleen Singh get off her high horse and buy a pooper-scooper? Her doggone battle with the BMC is raining on my parade!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Have become a twit - officially

Signed up with Twitter and feel like quite a twit coz I have no idea what to do. I had to hastily stop it from gaining access to my email lists - gosh, I don't particularly wish to tweet to clients and the billing chaps at vodafone and tataindicom and my chartered accountant! Tried to send a tweet or whatever it's called to the friend who urged me to check it out, but failed. Called her. She tried to tweet or whatever me, and that failed too. Instead I discover that I have 2 followers who wish to know if I would like to earn money by conducting online surveys and suchlike. Bah! I bet the Viagra and Cialis guys will be my next ardent followers! My tweeting life is over - I have seen the light.

Spent last evening with said friend who urged me to join twitter- t'was fun. Once a week I leave my lovely reclusive lifestyle behind and venture out to see the world.
First stop: Rhythm House- just had to buy a Tears for Fears album or my heart would have stopped beating. Haven't stopped listening to Mad World and Shout since.
Second stop: Dingy, grungy restaurant in Colaba that has reinvented itself as a rather lively resto-bar. Used to hate this place during my hostel days but the makeover is pretty decent. Smirked when I caught sight of a pompous TV news anchor who is better recognised as the soggy umbrella-weilding sod commenting on the monsoon in depressing Milan subway every year. 'It's raining again,' he says in an alarmed voice that never fails to make my astute sister turn an unflattering shade of purple. 'Of course it's raining. you eejit,' she snarls at the TV screen, 'it's the bloody season for rain. Moron!!!'
Anyway, the drip was attempting to muscle his way into the crowded joint. 'Do you know my name,' he haughtily asked the doorman and sundry waiters who yelled ' No room, no room'. He demanded to speak to the manager. Dunno whether the manager knew his name, but honestly doubt it. Who recognises him when he's dry?
Stop 3: A tedious one-hour traffic snarl on the sealink. Thought it was supposed to be a seablink- a dash over the sea and then land ahoy and all that, but nope. We crawled - snails would have outpaced us. Never again, shudder.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pop goes the King of Pop

Okay, so I've laughed at Michael Jackson a fair number of times - not at his music, though. He was one of the best in the Pop genre -he frequently pushed the envelope with ease. It may not have been my thing, but whatever it was, he did it well. It was the hair and the face and skin jobs, his wacko behaviour and the thing he had (allegedly) for little boys. Feel a twinge of sadness now that he's at the pearly gates of heaven.
Here's a little piece I wrote inspired by him in the mid-eighties, when he was at the height of his career and I was just embarking on mine. Goodbye Wacko Jacko and thanks for all the fun!

Once upon a time there lived a black queen who had a mulatto step daughter called So White. He disliked her with a passion because she was far prettier than him, and all his gay friends became straight the instant they saw her. This made him feel like the odd man out, a terribly uncomfortable feeling if you really think about it.

After a great deal of sleepless nights alone, he hired a punk to lure her into the depths of Harlem, and to do away with her there. Once in Harlem, So White’s womanly intuition took over, and she escaped. The punk didn’t bother to pursue her, because, as the old Harlem maxim goes, 'Why chase girls when you can chase cocaine?’

So White clambered up a rusty drain pipe, pushed open a window, and tumbled into a room belonging to an acid group called ‘The Dwarfs’. The seven men – Junky, Dopey, Stony, Drunky, Hippy, Snorty and Cokey accepted her immediately as they desperately needed someone to play the tamborine because their woman, Moll, had taken off with a New York Philharmonic cellist. And So White took to them instantly because she saw in them the realisation of her favourite fantasy : Seven at one blow.

The Queen happened to see her playing at his favourite gay bar in the Bronx, and immediately made enquiries. Having extorted her address, he injected some more female hormones into his veins, singed his hair, wore white socks with black shoes, dark glasses, and, armed with a syringe containing an overdose of heroin, he rang her doorbell determined to mainstream her. The minute she opened the door, he shot the needle into her arm, and sang ‘Beat it’. On returning home that evening, the Dwarfs found her lying in a stupor. ‘Dipsomaniac broad’, snarled the disgusted Dwarfs (no doubt due to the influence of their strict mormon upbringing). They dragged her out into the porch, and set out in search of a tamborine replacement for that night’s gig at Brooklyn.

A few days later, America’s chart-buster Prince, happened to stumble over So White on one of his nostalgic walks down Harlem. He fell over and in love with this mulatto vision, and rushed her to hospital. Several hours later she opened her baby blue eyes to find him perched at her bed side. ‘Who are you?’ she whispered weakly, ‘Prince’ was his modest reply. ‘Oh you’re shamming’ she chuckled, ‘and cute’. Upon which he French kissed her, and she passed out again, but for a shorter period this time. After their marriage and subsequent divorce, they lived happily ever after.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Finally - finally, finally, checked out Savita Bhabi

Read so much in the papers abt Savita Bhabi, Bharat ka comic book porn star, but never felt inclined to check out the site. Porn is not a turn on. Till my only nice (niece) told me that her boyfriend wrote an article on SB and the response was astonishingly overwhelming. Gosh, popular culture demands a dekko. Imperiously ordered said nice to open the site -she obediently followed my instructions but I noticed (with pathetic tight-arsed auntly relief) that she averted her eyes from the screen- my big sis has brought her up well. Okay so she doesn’t play the sitar, but a guitar is good enough to mollify potential conservative in-laws, innit? You can always play Jumping Jack Flash in the deathly dull and boring Ananda Shankar style to keep them happy. No crazy, irrational joy in that version. Sorry, but that’s how I feel. Owned the record once, only because Stones was not available in Cal. Snowflakes (also on the album) is infinitely worse. Don’t even go there.
Gasped when I browsed through episode one - SB’s torrid encounter with a door-to-door bra salesman. Man, SB is amazingly purty and smoking hot! BUT the artist currently known as her creator is hotter still. Fantastic eye for detail, even the wall paper in SB’s house is laboriously detailed. Haven’t laughed so much in ages- the situations are ridiculously corny and cater to age-old adolescent fantasies. This is Nancy Friday, Indian ishtyle- why do ghissa-pitta doctor-nurse scenarios when the cricket-playing young lad next door has more resonance? Have to admit that I hastily skimmed through episode one- too yucky for my taste.
Must reluctantly concede, however, that it’s a good job. The apna haath zindabad lot now doesn’t have to rely on alien blonde, blue-eyed wenches to keep them happy!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Who moved my monsoon?

It finally rained today for 10 full minutes. And then the sun (sodding spoilsport) came out, sob. Just when the ambience was perfect for Jet's Look what you've done (my current fav song). Listening to it anyway but it's sort of lost its magic. Need dark moody clouds, a steady stream of rain and billowing curtains to enjoy it to the max.
Aila and El Nino be damned - bring my monsoon back!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The latest addition to my bookshelf

Ever since I decided to quit working full time and panhandle as a miserable freelancer instead, I've been at my sister's mercy when it comes to books. She buys them, I borrow them and we have a fantastic agreement: if I like a book much much much more than she does, I get to keep it forever. Yay!

My latest freebie is Tarquin Hall's The Case of the Missing Servant. Giggled appreciatively through the book, didn't feel remotely slighted by his satirical take on Indians and Indian-English - thought it was done very affectionately. Loved his hero Vish Puri, India's 'Most Private Investigator' almost as much as I adore Andrea Camilleri's grouchy, commitment-phobic Inspector Montalbano. And enjoyed Mummy too - she was quite a character! The story was okay - but the way it was written was very engaging. Hall's tongue-in-cheek style lifted it out of the ordinary.

Can't wait for his next book on Vish Puri - am willing to panhandle with a little more determination so I can buy it myself!

Friday, June 5, 2009

An update on my 'Songs to get over cretins' list

This selection features my top 5 'getting over it' songs from the chick brigade only:
1. Carly Simon's You're so vain still tops my list. Think it always will.
2. Pink's So What I'm Still A Rock Star deserves second place. Never been a Pink fan but this is such a fun getting over song. Enjoy the 'you're just a tool' part the most! Hats off to her - she got him back despite the song! Way to go!
3. Lily Allen's Smile. Love it!
4. Amy Winehouse's Back to Black. Super smokey voice, great lyrics, great music. It's 4th on my list only because I prefer 'sit on this, jerk' getting over it songs to dark intense emotional outpourings. That means you STILL haven't gotten over it, Ms. Whinehouse.
5. What's Up by 4 Non-blondes. Okay, so it isn't a getting over it song but still it's a great chick anthem!
And as for Gaynor's I will survive - well, it's so fuddy duddy in comparison, innit? Yawn.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mumbai's doing a Limp Bizkit

Swelter. Swelter. Swelter. Mother Nature is a real sodding mother! I hate it when the sky pisses weakly for a few minutes. The damn sun comes out stronger and turns me into a miserable squelchy puddle. What we need is two days of pelting rain - or at least 5 hours non-stop to cool the city down. Have become frighteningly environmental-friendly and cannot bring self to run the AC all day.
Note to self: Install a gigantic bathtub, toss ice-cubes into it and jump in with a book - the way I used to deal with those interminable powercuts in Cal.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Nights won't be the same again

I find it difficult to imagine nights without Jay Leno on NBC's Tonight Show. Saw the finale last night, where his sucessor was introduced. Wasn't remotely excited about O'Brien taking over, but perhaps I'll get used to him. Perhaps. Wasn't terribly impressed with him last night, for certain. Now hoping and praying that Zee Cafe will air Leno's new show - starts in September. Hell, WHY do things have to change?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Good Heavens - no adrenaline in my life!

Read Roald Dahl's autobiography (Boy and Going Solo) and was struck by a depressing realisation - I haven't lived! Sob!
Never left home after school to work in a strange, primitive country - Mumbai was just a different city and hardly primitive compared to Cal! Never commanded an army while I was a teenager. Never did acrobatics in a fighter aircraft, let alone flew one. Was never chased by a German fighter plane. Never broke my nose repeatedly in separate accidents - though I did stick a pea up my nose out of curiosity (to check if I could still breathe normally - btw, I couldn't!) and had to have it surgically removed. Never suffered from temporary blindness - however, I did smear Vicks Vaporub on my eyelids once to find out what it felt like to be blind. Heck, I've never even be caned!
The things that happened to him may not have been nice, BUT adversity (if you manage to survive) gives you such richness of experience. Sigh. I'm just another deathly dull and boring hamster on a treadmill. I don't even deserve a name - people like me should just have impersonal numbers.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My family and other nutters

Parents were here for a few days - with three daughters contesting for their affection in different ways.
1. Me: Drill Sergent: Planning their every movement with annoying precision. VERY unpopular but got stuff done, innit? Going to inherit a bad debt, most likely.
2. Sis 1: Very pleasant but we have learnt something new here. Never ever attempt to socialize with her when she's had only 4 hours of sleep. A rottweiller would be cuddlier and way more charming. An asterisk in the will is called for. Most definitely.
3. Sis 2: The potential star of a Karan Johar Bollywood flick -'Mommy, Daddy, nobody lurves you more than I do, gasp, kiss, hug, gasp, kiss. Mommy, Daddy, nobody lurves you more than I do, gasp, kiss, hug, gasp, kiss.' Can't bring up the will here. Heck, she's been this way since she was born. Mum used to call her the Lap-lander because she always contrived to land up in their laps till she left home an aged person after college!
We looked at each other and groaned, 'Chee! Can't believe we share the same genes!' Yet we hope that we all gave them a good time in our own wierd ways.
Mum was in nostalgic mode. She's lived all over the world but her best memories were of the years she spent in Sierra Leone with cool mist shrouded hills and sunny beaches to choose from. Thank god she hasn't ever heard Bryan Adams or she may well have broken into 'Those were the best years of my life.' The three of us would have vomited together. Ah, those genes show up when you least expect them.
My fav anecdote: M.K. Gandhi was assasinated. My grand-dad held a small service at home, where not 1 but 5 minute's silence was called for. Mum and her siblings broke into giggles during the solemn occassion. My grand-dad glared ferociously, broke the silence, and gave them a scathing lecture on Gandhi's sterling virtues. Mum defended herself staunchly: 'Sorry Daddy, but his ears are ever so funny!'
Those damn genes again!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Adam Lambert lost because America lost it!

This is it. No more American Idol for me. If the best singer/performer of the season doesn't win, why am I wasting my time? The music is crap anyway - Adam lifted it like never before, but evidently a majority of the voters prefer safe, boring, earnest shit. So upset, I have the urge to hit the bottle - I mean literally hit it on their stupid heads ! Bah! Boo! And the punchline of the joke in the post below too!!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

When I think of Amar Singh...

When I think of Amar Singh, my all time fave joke (heard it abt 20 years ago) always pops into my head:
Young African-American family in Noo Yawk. Their baby, Ernie, has just uttered 'mother' for the first time.
His mum gets very excited and calls her husband.
Mum: (Gushing) Guess what? our Ernie's learnt half a word!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

So much for our pompous political analysts!

They were wrong - terribly wrong, thank god. They were wrong about the 2004 elections too. Boo! So next time round I refuse to listen to them witter on and get heartburn in the process. I will get poll predictions from my sabziwalla in future instead. He rang my doorbell while I was still doing my victory dance.
"The Congress is winning," I screamed, instead greeting him with my usual polite namaste. He broke into a broad grin and did a sort of victory dance too. Well, more of a jig. And then he told me that in UP (where he's from), people are sick of caste politics. They believe that the Congress is an inclusive party, and they've begun to prefer that.
Second highlight of the day: Watching the BJP (Arun Jaitley) admit defeat in public. YAY!!!!
Third highlight of the day: The Congress may not ask the SP and oily Amar Singh to join the UPA fold. Hooray!
Fourth highlight of the day: Watching an ashen-faced Karat mumble some rubbish about the party getting into introspection mode. What's to introspect, dude? You're the biggest problem in the party!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Congress is in the lead so far!!!!

Yes! Yes! Yes! Oh yes! Oooooh yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And if the trends prove right and they win (looks likely), like bloody wow - India gets a secular, sensible, stable government with an intelligent man at the helm!
A question for Mr. L.K. Advani: So who's weaker then? Manmohan Singh or you? Hah! BTW, the poor old weak dear (Advani, not Singh) hasn't emerged from his house to face the TV cameras yet. He's probably moaning with an ice-pack on his head - his last chance at becoming PM has been ground to dust - YAY!!!!!
A question for the Left parties: Why the hell did you let Karat behave like an eejit? He's to blame for your sad showing. Make him stand in the corner - or throw real eggs at his face!
BTW, over the last few days, I saw TV footage of a smug Jayalalitha smiling graciously while receiving 3 bouquets (Modi, Karat and can't remember who else). Today, looks like no wooers will be lining up outside her door. Tsk.
Oh joy!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

@#$%!!!!!!! *(&$# !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shivering in my shoes -the election results will be out tomorrow. Have been spending sleepless nights of late, shuddering at the unpalatable possibilities. Karat's Monster (the third front bogey) has made things messier than before - oh how I'd love to meet Prakash Karat in person and give him an earful!!!! If the weasley NDA comes to power, the usual cry of anti-incumbency will not hold true. I don't care what the analysts say - as far as I'm concerned, Prakash Karat alone is the man to blame. , here I come!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The incredible sogginess of being

Pining for the monsoon. Can't wait. Saw 3 wispy clouds in the sky last evening - stared at them hard, willing them to become fat and burst - would have gamely done a Liril girl dance on busy, bustling Turner Road as thanks. Nothing happened -they defiantly floated away instead. Damn. It's so hot, I can't bear to exert myself to do anything. Whine! Moan! Groan! Wish I lived in a cold wet place with deep grey skies. Hate, hate, hate hot, muggy, sticky weather. My annual monsoon countdown has begun and it's only mid-May, sigh. Hope the weather bureau is right about early rains. Am dying!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I can die now - finally saw Slash's face!

This here is a glowing testimonial for American Idol. Last year it gave me the chance to watch Andrew Lloyd Webber (sigh) at work and this year the show gave me the opportunity to see Slash's face. Like, bloody wow! For years and years and years I've wondered what Slash looks like - only caught brief glimpses of his face through his curly mop while he was playing guitar god. I mean, come on, that guy is so hot he even made Michael Jackson acceptable (to me) when they did the song 'Give in to me' together.

So yeah, now that I've got an uninterrupted look at Slash, I can die. It would be nice though, if someone told me what Meatloaf meant by 'that' when he sang 'I would do anything for love but I won't do that!' Then I'll die with a wider smile on my face.

And omigod, did you ever imagine that someone would do Led Zep on Idol? Adam did just that last night and he was good! Better still was his duet with Allison the rock chick. Gosh, this has just got to be the hottest season on Idol!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Showing the finger!

Voted! Can't stop myself from gazing fondly at the mark on my finger - that finger- the rude one. How odd that they picked that one! Knowing my astute sister, she's probably laughing hysterically about the choice of the finger on her HT blog (Expletive Deleted).
Right, I've done my bit - but I'm not relieved at all. VERY worried about that darn third front!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

No goosebumps last night on Idol, damn!

Waited eagerly with bated breath for Adam Lambert to strut his stuff. He did the Beegee's 'If I can't have you'. VERY interesting version, and as always, the best of the lot, but not magical like he always is. Damn- I guess we all have our off days. But he's still the clear winner. Of the rest of the lot, the lovely pink-haired rock chick Allison delivered again. She's not going to win, but she's my fave second best.

Meanwhile, I'm getting a bad case of the shudders re: our elections. As far as I'm concerned, votes that go into parties led by Pawar, Patnaik, Jaylalitha, Lalu and Paswan (to name a few) are really votes for Prakash Karat. Ew. How horrible is that? The future of our country is being orchestrated by a bitter, spiteful man who will do anything to ensure that PM Manmohan Singh is vanquished.

On the flip side, even if that ghastly third front does win, it will probably collapse within months. A shoddily cobbled together coalition of regional parties is incapable of ruling a country. Petty squabbles for power will follow, divergent interests will clash, and the stability of India will hit a new low. Am not looking forward to the future anymore. Sigh.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wondering Aloud

Cook did a bunk so I felt liberated today. Had a spam sandwich for dinner (yum- and who gives a shit about clogged arteries anyway!) and then watched Idol. Am wondering now if years of substance abuse makes you delusional or is Adam Lambert really hot shit? My hackles rose when Seacrest announced that Lambert was going to do Steppenwolf's Born to be wild. I mean, I love that song. But Lambert blew me. He did a punked up version- abso brill and so bloody contemporary! Now am waiting for him to do a Jared Leto (of 30 secs to Mars fame). I can hear him doing The Kill in my head. Hope he does it out of my head too.
BTW: have always wondered why Coldplay is regarded as hot- that band leaves me cold.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

American Idol finally delivers with Adam Lambert!

Shameful confession: I'm a sucker for music contests, particularly those that seek to find new lead singers for their bands. In a showoffy way, I have to reveal that I successfully predicted the winners of two of them: INXS and Rockstar Supernova. Hey, I should be a judge!

American Idol, however, is a bit of a bore. Nice voices, but not exceptional, in my humble opinion, and horribly terribly pop. Only two singers, in all the seasons I've watched have given me goosebumps. One was Lakeisha Jones, a woman with the sexiest, bluesiest voice I've heard. She was on a few seasons ago and was bumped off sadly- I've been gnashing my teeth since then, wishing and hoping that she makes it somewhere somehow - she was terrific! My god, I saw Dreamgirls because I heard Lakeisha sing 'I'm telling you I'm not going' and I was sorely disappointed with Jennifer Hudson's version in the movie. She squeaked the song in a Mickey Mouse way and ruined it completely for me!

And this season, it's Adam Lambert. He's edgy and exceptional and delivers every time. The best thing about him is that he doesn't bow down to Idol's sad pop demands and stays alternative. Last night he did his version of Mad World (Tears for Fears). Gasp. Still have goosebumps the morning after. He's given me a reason to stop missing Kurt Cobain.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Bless the Pink Chaddi girls!

Just saw this horrible puke-making video footage of the Taliban thrashing a 17 year old girl in the Swat Valley. It looked so familiar- remember, we recently saw the Sri Ram Sene mob doing quite the same thing in Mangalore? Really, what is the difference between the Taliban and our Tully-ban lot? Apart from the feisty Union Minister Renuka Chowdhury, the rest of our non-fundamentalist politicians murmured the right noises and then happily ignored it. It's our girls who fought back -and made the nation sit up and gasp at their spunk!
Not crazy about Oprah, but feel compelled to pinch one of her lines for the beautifully irreverent Pink Chaddi Campaign lot- 'You go girls!'
BTW, I hope America saw that footage too! What the hell are they allowing that pathetic Zardari and weasley Gillani to do?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Want to know who will win the elections? Ask Sanjay Kapoor!

I clearly recall the run up to the last general elections- most of the celebrity political analysts I read were confident that the BJP would win a thumping majority. Hmm.

So there I was at Dilli O Dilli with a bunch of people: 9 of us gloomily bemoaning the thought of BJP rule for another term. One of us, though, was very cheerful: Sanjay Kapoor, the super editor of Hardnews. Sanjay eloquently rubbished our theories. He was absolutely certain that the Congress would come to power. We eyed him dubiously and quoted the regular supposed-to-be -hot-shit poll pundits. He laughed and told us to watch and wait. Bloody hell, he turned out to be bang on!!!! And in usual Sanjay fashion he didn't call us and crow 'I told you so!'

I spoke to him yesterday and asked him who would win this time round. He confidently told me who would lose but asked for a few more days to predict who would win, what with these new equations turning up. I trust this man- he has an ear to the ground and a keen, analytical mind. So, ha ha, I will know who is going to win before I cast my vote!!!! Hurry up, Sanjay- can't wait to know if i should bring out the champagne to celebrate or countrymade brew to drown my sorrows!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Saving the planet Mumbai style

Enjoyed a wierd sort of Earth Hour (8.30 - 9.30 pm, 28th March). Beloved Husband earnestly (and sternly) warned me in the morning that he wanted the refrigerator switched off too. I sighed inwardly- he was exceeding the brief, as always. His burning desire to save the planet makes him a little more attractive and a lot more annoying. But I didn't contest him then with howls of outrage at the prospect of good food gone bad, oh no. Why bother, when ve haf our vays? I knew exactly what would eventually trip him up.
At 8 pm, when I brought the candles out, I heard him sigh wistfully. 'There are two good movies scheduled for 9,' he muttered.
'Well then, you'll have to miss the first half hour, won't you?' I snapped.
'I could always watch TV by candlelight,' was his forceful rejoinder.
'Sure, and I can leave the fridge on too,' I said brightly.
He fought with his consience for a brief moment.
And so he watched TV by candlelight and I left the fridge running.
We did switch off all the lights and fans though. We did our miniscule bit.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Arvind Adiga and my Driver

Sorry about this, but I have to start this post in classic, frequently jeered at Satya Saran mode: 'While I was at a traffic signal...' GAK!!!!
So- while I was at a traffic signal, a vendor shoved at pirated copy of Adiga's White Tiger through the window. I declined to buy it since:
a) Already own it
b) Do not buy pirated books
But, I was inspired to tell Raju, my driver, the story of the novel. He was fascinated!!!! A lengthy and lively debate followed on the moral issues thrown up. Who was more despicable? The driver for murdering his employer or the employer for making him take the rap for his wife's accidental murder of a street child?
Gosh, I really wish this book could be translated into India's regional dialects and sold at a nominal price. Or at least, made into a Bollywood style flick so India's silent majority could see it.
That would be a step in the right direction for social justice!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An alarming trend

Have been wondering why so many people are dying on planes of late. Every other day the papers solemnly inform us of another death. It could it be the cabin pressure of course or the yucky food, but I have another theory: maybe the mid-flight victims were soulfully humming 'Nearer my god to thee' under their breath.
Moral: Never pray while flying!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

No plans for the future, sigh.

A few days ago I called an old school friend who cheerfully said, 'Hey, I was just about to call you- you'll live a hundred years!'

I shuddered and made her take her words back. Living a hundred years is a goddamn curse, not a blessing! That conversation brought to mind a promise I'd made to myself when I was in my teens:

Plan A was: I would kill myself on my 30th birthday to save myself from the indignities of aging. I briefly contemplated my promise when I boisterously brought my 30th birthday in at a pub and shrugged it off with a 'Naah- not yet. Not sure if they have vodka in heaven, and besides there's so much more to look forward to. Better to go with Plan B.' Um, it turns out that I was wrong about the 'things to look forward to' part!

Plan B: I'd work very, very hard and save money to buy a cottage in Manali with a garden. Then I'd retire from the world and grow things in my garden. Not pretty perfumed flowers, but calming weed. That would be my compensation for suffering from failing eyesight, liver spots, gout, lumbago, arthritis, menopause, housemaid's knee, whatever! But you know what? Plan B doesn't excite me anymore.

The tragedy is, I never had a Plan C as a fall back option. I have absolutely no idea what to do with myself as I grow older and decrepit. Being an alcoholic is silly and boring - unless, of course, an effective hangover cure is discovered. Seeing the world is tedious with all those annoying security checks and terrorist-proof restrictions and even worse, you may die in a strange place and return home in the baggage hold and take your final cruise down the baggage conveyer belt. How sad is that?

Maybe I should learn something new to keep me excited about living. Now if only I could figure out what.

Monday, March 23, 2009

And here's to you, Mr. P Chidambaram- a nation turns its affectionate eyes on you!

I'm getting fonder and fonder of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram as the days go by. Check out this excerpt from an article: 'Taking on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who had described the shifting of the IPL out of India as a "national shame", the Home Minister said that most people in India thought that the Gujarat communal riots of 2002 were a national shame.'

Well said!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Rock chicks in Mumbai

Was very excited reading about this all girl Led Zep tribute band called Lez Zep- really wanted to go for their concert in Mumbai (tonight). Backed out nervously, however, when the ad cheerfully announced that Farhan Akhtar will be performing at the same show too! Absolutely cannot suffer him singing again- have a weak heart. Am really annoyed at the way concert organisers have started mixing up artistes and genres. What the hell is that all about? Come on, would you willingly go to a restaurant that serves Chinese, Indian and Continental cuisine?
Damn. Gnashing my teeth. Hope they come to Mumbai again and get an entire show to themselves!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hail (or heil?) Varun Thackeray!

If the allegations of making nasty communal statements are proved true, it seems that Varun Gandhi has more in common with another political dynasty. Saw a few clips of his speech and almost threw up with disgust. I'm a bit worried about him being barred from a career in politics, though- he may get back to writing poetry full time and my god, is he a lousy poet or is he a lousy poet?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hey hey, my my, rock n' roll will never die

Rohan's favourite car music: CSN and James Brown, but CSN is his absolute favourite.
His latest trip in life is to cruise around the city (his words, not mine!) while listening to the album his parents own. I accompanied him for a drive today and he was astonished when I hummed and sang along.

'Rock is for boys, not girls,' he admonished me sternly. After I shut him up with a threatening 'Oh yeah? Sez who?' the problems began- he started questioning the lyrics. For example:

'Why is he saying, "We are what we are?"' he scoffed. 'How silly is that? Everybody knows that they are what they are!'

I tried to explain but believe me, it isn't easy to lighten up dark lyrics for a 5 year old. Every song- every single song on that album was analysed in depth. I am now seriously considering writing a children's guide to rock lyrics.

Was relieved to get back home to discover Rehan (Rohan's one-month old sibling) waving his arms and legs in the air while listening to baby jazz on his boom box. The only lyrics were 'Rock with Elmo!' (said in an excited squeaky voice). Nothing to analyse there, whew.

Gosh, am so exhausted after that drive I've decided to skip the gym today. But I have to confess that I'm delighted that Neil Young was right- rock n' roll will never die.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chicken or paneer?

These are the highlights of menus at dinner parties in this country. And I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE both with a passion! I'm forced to settle for the crudites and chips (thank god for those standard life-savers and hunger-stavers- or else I'd be reduced to eating paper napkins for sustenance). What's worse is that even a lot of restaurants and pastry shops have followed suit. Heck, what happened to the good old cheese patty is what I want to know? I have scoured all the upmarket joints in the city and have come up with zilch. I hopelessly inspected mid-market pastry shops and finally discovered one (just one, can you believe it?) place that makes cheese patties. And not pure cheese but cheese with corn (ugh) and cheese with mushrooms (passable).
So now with deep resignation I have decided that I must buy an oven and learn how to make good old-fashioned cheese patties for myself. Sigh. It's so difficult to live in these times.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hell & damnation. Or what Delhi taught me.

Okay, so I often whine and moan ceaselessly about my 9 excruciatingly long years in Delhi, but the truth is I learnt a lot of valuable lessons during my stay there. And the thing I enjoyed learning most were the swear words. Henceforth, (I have firmly decided) I will only swear in Hindi. MCBC gives you a much more satisfying emotional release than its English counterpart. Even the innocuous 'Every dog has its day' sounds so much more powerful (and oddly enough, gratifyingly menacing too) when you say it in Hindi: Har kutte ke din aate hai!
This is bound to shock my swear word phobic parents no doubt (hey, the only bad word Dad uses when he's reached the end of his tether is a prim 'ruddy') but a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do. Sometimes I wonder if I was exchanged in the hospital as a baby- but then I remember that I have Mum's smirk and Dad's active dislike for Hindutva* parties.

Teri maa ki daal! Oooh- delicious.
* Just as well that none of us have introduced him to prospective Hindutva - propagating grooms. I'm certain he'd have roared, 'Yeh shaadi hargis nahin hogi' in Bollywood ishtyle. His current grouse is that none of us have married Christians or Muslims. Sigh. What to do, Dad? The good ones were already taken.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

Saw it- liked it! So f-ing there!!! And so what if it had glaring holes in the plot? Come on, has Bollywood ever been convincing or even remotely logical? I've wept with despair at every Bollywood produced movie I've reluctantly seen - when I wasn't laughing scornfully, that is. Screw all the disgruntled slum-dwellers who are burning effigies of Danny boy as I write this and earnest Indian reviewers who regard themselves as God (said in the same breath- ha!). The point is, I walked out feeling good. Even spent 50 bucks on idiotic heart-shaped balloons immediately after the movie. Well, there was this young balloon seller and it was late at night and I was inspired. And no- I did not take those idiotic heart-shaped balloons home- told her to keep the money. Am not soppy or stupid. Just felt good.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rohan's become a big brother!

Finally, the Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and Sri Ram Sene can't stop my family from getting emotional on Valentine's Day- it's the day Rohan's little brother was born. His name right now is Rohan's Sibling till a better one comes along. Family feuds have already begun on the name- a week down the line we may well snap ties with each other. I have no decent names to offer, though. I looked at Rohan's Sibling for inspiration but all I saw was a disgruntled rat with a side parting. A cute rat, but a rat nonetheless. Nibbles or Woffles are all I have come up with so far. He looks too titchy to have a formal name right now. Anyway, it's up to Rohan to decide because he is the big brother after all.

What's hilarious is that my sister now has a set of matryoshka* dolls- both Rohan and the sibling look exactly like their dad! And now for Rohan's latest favourite joke:
Q: What has two trunks?
A: An elephant on a holiday.

*Or rather, patryoshka dolls!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How I survived the VERY last organisation I worked at

The song playing in my head today is Psycho Killer (Talking Heads). It brought back memories of the very last place (thank god!) I worked at, some 3 years ago. The dull-as-ditchwater client servicing lot there drove me batty and gave me many 'Who am I? Why am I here?' zombie moments. The only thing that kept me borderline sane was this song. I'd downloaded it on my pc and played it during the lunch break every single day- man, the emotional release was amazing!

On my last working day there, I cleaned up my pc with joy and deleted my songs-to-get-over-working-in-a-shit-hole-angst list. There were howls of protest all around thereafter from my colleagues in the creative dept. 'You deleted that song too? That's mean- it helped us feel better about working here too!'

Am not a potential psycho killer anymore- but I still enjoy that song.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The fantastic Pink Chaddi Campaign!

Click this link, all ye who yearn to stand up to the Mangalore pub attackers:
It's been set up by the Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women (ha ha- lurve the name!).
I'm going to be sending a whole lot of pink chaddis. Beloved Husband has asked me to add a fair number on his behalf too. What fun! Astute Sister is debating what kind of pink chaddis to send- ugly cheap ones or pretty satin and lace numbers. Friend in Banglore is sending dead sexy g-strings.
Will be in a pub on Valentine's Day (the movement calls for that) to celebrate the freedom of women in India!!!! Even if my back packs up again and have to be on a wheelchair!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

In Cold Turkey mode- ouch!

So, every evening Beloved Husband would return to see me slumped over my laptop with bloodshot watery eyes, playing Spider Solitaire furiously. The damn game had taken over my life completely- I'd even started playing it in my dreams. And, the first thought I'd have every morning was an excited, 'Yay! Another day to play Spider Solitaire!' I'd stopped reading the papers, have stacks of books piled up on my bedside table too, the gym was forgotten, deadlines were almost missed- it was terrible! Heck- I'd even forget to eat!

Finally, on Saturday night I begged him to delete all my computer games. All! Or else, in desperation I may even have got addicted to the even more infantile Purble Place. Hastily darted out of the room when he pressed the delete button. Couldn't bear to see him doing it.

With Spider Solitaire out of the way, I hope to start a new productive phase soon. Right now I'm going through acute separation anxiety. I miss that bloody game so much it's killing me! But I will survive!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Most Despicable Woman in India Award

And the winner is Nirmala Ventakesh! Or should I say Miss Nirmala (flesh-crawling Indian ishtyle!)- this is India after all, and Ms. Nirmala does so love Indian traditions, like squashing women, for starters! How on earth can such a regressive person be a member of the National Commission for Women? She should be ejected forthwith for conducting a shabby review of the Mangalore pub attacks.

Union Minister for Women and Children Renuka Chowdhury has said that Muthalik, the perpetrator of the Mangalore pub attack, behaves like an animal because he has no wife. Perhaps Miss Nirmala (if single) would fit the bill? It's evident that they would easily win a Wills Made For Each Other contest!

Ooh, I'm having a whole lot of fun with Miss Nirmala - I've decided to give her a starring role in my next column. She's earned it, dammit!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Live & learn!

All my life I staunchly maintained that people make places.Now I discover that I was so darn wrong. I hated, hated, hated Delhi- still do! But the friends I made there- like bloody wow! It's been two days in a row that I've met different sets of friends from there. Yesterday was a meeting over a dead serious NGO session, tonight was a brief, frivolous catching up session at a pub-and time makes no difference. Within seconds we picked up from where we left off. Lovely. Suddenly realised that I miss that lot more than I miss the hot chocolate fudge nut sundae at Nirulas's. Hope to meet them more often. In Mumbai, though!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Imagine-our politicians are trying to teach us moral science-the bloody cheek!

I'm beginning to feel that the partition of India should have been done differently. All the vile fundamentalists on one side, and normal secular people who believe in the equality of sexes on the other! The nasty crackpots who attacked women in a Mangalore pub were shockingly like General Zia. Next they'll have us in purdah. And I do not for a moment believe that the BJP has nothing to do with them. Just saw the Karnataka CM on TV saying that he wants to bring an end to pub culture (he called it 'prub culture', tee hee!)- now is that a pat on the back for that crackpot Sena or is that a pat on the back for that crackpot Sena? The Congress is no better- the Rajasthan CM too said that he's anti-pubs. Now he's backtracking of course, falling back on the same old, 'I've been misquoted' lifeline. All I can say is, if he's been sternly reprimanded by the Congress High Command, good! And then there's dreary old Ramadoss who is shocked because he has seen women drinking (gasp) and smoking (gasp) in Chennai and Bangalore! Only men are allowed to have vices in this country, right? God, I desperately need a drink or seven when I contemplate the regressive jerks who run India! Weasels, all.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rohan's current favourite riddle had me stymied!

Q: If buttercups are yellow, what colour are hiccups?
A: Burple!

Monday, January 26, 2009

E by Matt Beaumont- luverly!

Read it while on holiday and haven't laughed so much in years! Never thought I'd say this, but almost missed advertising- almost.

Holiday was nice but I prefer cool hills to hot beaches. Pretty beach, though at Kashid. The sea was gloriously blue, not murky grey like in Mumbai and not too much rubbish washed up on shore: some pretty stones, driftwood, and a dangerous piece of wood with rusted nails- eep. Lots of slippers and shoes too- not in pairs but singles. Creepy- wondered if they belonged to people who drowned. After that, could NOT bring self to step in. Best Friend pooh-poohed my pessimistic suggestion and enthusiastically tested the waters (as is her wont) - and after 2 seconds rushed back to dry sand gagging because her toe snagged on what felt like 3 plastic packets and something that felt like a cucumber landed on her foot!

For me, the best way to view beaches is on an armchair in a balcony. Nice spot to watch the tide come in and think lofty thoughts about life, the universe, and everything without dead people's personal belongings brushing past me.

Beloved Husband AKA Health Nazi did his usual- jogged on the beach daily and made me feel like a slob.

Ooh, 'tis lovely to be back home in my own comfortable bed with clean sheets sans gritty sand!

Friday, January 23, 2009

What a drag it is getting old- with due apologies to the Stones

I'm supposed to identify with Obama, right? Same generation and all that. So it's not bloody fair that while I watched a sexy dude from MY generation get sworn in, I felt more like Bush Senior and Cheney- one hobbling on a walking stick, the other being wheeled in! My gosh-darned &%$$# back has packed up again and I HATE, HATE, HATE the way I walk these days.

I look at Madonna and our desi queen of eternal youth Shobhaa De, and I want to weep even more! I walk like their mothers- so not fair!

Am hobbling off to the beach tomorrow- no swimsuit in my suitcase but a bleeding orthopaedic belt. Really, what a drag it is getting old. Have been listening to that song a lot, of late (Mother's Little Helper). Never liked it much before but now it's sort of grown on me.

What else is happening tomorrow? Oh yes, our Prime Minister will be undergoing surgery in Delhi, while in Mumbai, apun ka Raj will be attempting to re-establish his raj again- another rally is slated in Thane. So it seems like it may be a very busy day in Mumbai's hospitals too!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Nice speech, dude!

The 44th President of the USA has just spoken- and spoken very well indeed! While watching the inauguration I caught myself wishing that I could have been an American for just one day-this day- imagine sharing the euphoria of equality! I hope India gives me a moment like this, and I hope it happens while I'm still alive! If Obama's actions match his words, America will be the most envied nation in the world.
Right, the celebrations are over and the hard work begins. I'm curious, very curious to see how this unfolds. And what's the bet our media is going to pick up on the 'Hindu' reference in his speech and crow with delight over it in their usual OTT fashion! Ew- cringe inspiring.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pigeons vs crows

Today is the day the new President of the US will be sworn in- and also the birthday of an old friend who got so annoyed by a pigeon who repeatedly appeared on his window sill that he wrung its neck and ate it for lunch! I was admittedly startled when he recounted his act, but now, after very many years, I see where he came from. I long to wring pigeon's necks- not personally, but I would love to put a supari on them. They are the bimbos of the bird world- I just don't get them. They insist on flying indoors and crap on everything with fear when you attempt to shoo them away. Two seconds later, the brainless eejits are back. It was Woody Allen, I think, who called them flying rats. Quite right. James Thurber too has made some pretty unflattering remarks about pigeons.

I had to invest in a wire mesh for all the windows in my old house. Didn't bother in my new house, because there are so many trees around. But does that stop them? Naah. Two eggs have been discovered on a cupboard. The cook offered to fry them for me with a smirk- I thanked her kindly but declined. Ew. My friend Ranjona says these days pigeons prefer to live in houses- they've forgotten how to live in trees! Maybe we should talk to philanthropic builders about creating a special room in all buildings for pigeons- wait a minute, there's no such thing as a philanthropic builder- that's an oxymoron!

Crows, though, are bloody intelligent. They only attempt to pop in to the kitchen when a non-vegetarian meal is being cooked. On regular cauliflower, peas and okra days, they deign to pay a visit! Smart- very smart! I have deep respect for them. They have a clear purpose in life, unlike stupid pigeons!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

'Poverty porn' my foot!

I almost never read Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger. Truth is, I'd warily flipped through it several times at bookstores, and then dismissed it. Considering that I'd done the same to Paulo Shudder Coelho, and was justified when I finally had to review one of his books (the things I do for money-sigh), made me smugly believe that Adiga was not my kind of writer. But, never judge a book by a cursory flip-through. Much better to read a couple of chapters (and you can at Crossword- the Kemps Corner outlet- the armchairs there are deliciously comfy) and then decide.

On an impulse, though, I bought White Tiger a couple of days ago and it's fantastic! Well written, a page turner, witty, and disturbing enough to make you wince. This is not, as some critics darkly mutter, 'poverty porn'. It's an honest look at India today. Every Indian should read this book- it should be made compulsory. I say this with the fond hope that sensitivity towards the underpriviliged may replace guilt- and India may finally shine for all. Thank you Adiga- and may your tribe increase!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Guess who may be running in the Mumbai Marathon?

Naah, not me- too lazy for that. But I have a very strong feeling that we may see Amar Singh (the Samajwadi Party's oily wheeler dealer) there chasing his little brother(!) Anil Ambani with a stick. I can see him now, huffing and puffing unbecomingly as he runs as fast as his fat little legs can carry him.

The reason: Just saw Anil Ambani on TV at the Gujarat 'We lurve Modi' bash saying that the BJPs Narendra Modi was his choice for PM - well, words to that effect. Hmm. Interesting, considering that the Samajwadi Party and the BJP don't exactly love each other dearly.

And, after reading HT this morning, am mildly curious about what Amar Singh's other little brother's wife Maanyata has done in the past. Apparently, this babe has many skeletons in her cupboard. What? Was she a gangster's moll? Boring. And considering that eejit Sanjay Dutt's murky past, why should that shock us? Now, if only she had Dawood Ibrahim's skeleton in her cupboard- that would wake me up!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pop On!

So, thanks to SWBs gentle persuasion, saw Rock On (on my pc too!) - and wonder of wonders, did not regurgitate lunch! Not remotely wonderful but competent, slick and more honest than that Dil Chahata Hai rubbish where vast quantities of popcorn were upchucked post intermission. Farhan Akhtar even looked a bit like Jim Morrison with his curly mop and his performance had restraint- most unusual in Bollywood. Arjun Rampal and the chick who played his wife were this close to brill.
The title of the movie, however, should be 'Pop On'- the music was unadulterated pop music crap and I'm astonished because Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy are pretty good. Have done a couple of jingles with them in the distant past and those really rocked! BTW, someone should tell Farhan Akhtar that he must not sing ever- he has a feeble scratchy voice without the sexy rasping quality of say, Rod Stewart or Bryan Adams. Yes, yes, I'm not a Bryan Adams fan (shudder) but I have to admit that he has a very interesting voice- more suited for rock than that sugary shit he dishes out.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A sense of the ridiculous

Loved Mohammad Hanif's A Case of Exploding Mangoes so much that I had to stingily ration it out- just didn't want it to finish. Like all good things, it's come to an end now, sigh. Don't know why some crtics wittered on disapprovingly about the inclusion of Blind Zainab and the crow- the whole scenario is so charmingly ridiculous, anything goes.
And while on the subject of the ridiculous, entertained 5-year-old nephew Rohan today. He had the sniffles so I read out A.A. Milne's poem about Christopher Robin being down with sneezles and weazels. He enjoyed it so much that I had to read it out hundreds of times- have a sore throat now. But no sneezles, weazels or measles! Rohan discovered a wonderous thing: I read out A.A. Milne's dedication to his son, and he gasped with eyes as round as saucers, 'You mean he's not a fantasy person?' I assured him that Christopher Robin was as real as I was. I could see Rohan the cynic looking very puzzled. There was deep silence for 5 minutes- very rare. I was waiting for the next question: 'So are Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit and gang real too?' The question never came, though. I think the clever cat worked it out in his head!
People go on and on about how wonderful it is to be a mother, but I think it's even more fantastic to be an aunt- that way you get to do only fun, irresponsible things with kids- potty duty and punishments are the responsibilty of others!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What happened to the women & children?

The song playing in my head is Tull's Broadsword. Love the song- always have, but these days I scoff at this bit:
Get up to the roundhouse on the cliff-top standing,
Take women and children and bed them down.
Come on, are women and children safe anywhere anymore with terrorists around? Which brings me to the horrific situation in Gaza: if the Mumbai attacks hadn't happened, by this time I'd have signed zillions of petitions condemning Israel. Petitions that I'm sure no one reads but at least signing them makes me feel a wee bit better. But not this time round, no. I feel sick when I read the newpaper reports and look at the gut-wrenching visuals on TV. But then I remember how ruthless the Mumbai attackers were.

The death math, though, is sickening: A handful of Israeli soldiers versus hundreds of Gaza civilians. That's what makes my sympathy attempt to swing towards Gaza, BUT I have sternly promised myself that I will never ever be on the side of terrorist supporters anywhere in the world. Never ever. The people of Gaza voted for a known terrorist organisation. It's not as though they suddenly woke up one morning and discovered to their horror that Hamas was pure evil. My view may be simplistic, but I'm sticking to it. Like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, I have zero tolerance towards terrorists- and I say this more forcefully than he ever has.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Yossarian lives- in Pakistan at that!

Reading Mohammad Hanif's A Case of Exploding Mangoes. What a dead sexy writer- he had me at the very first page itself! I was instantly reminded of Joseph Heller's Catch 22, a book I'd read about zillions of times. Hanif's hero Shigri is so much like Heller's Yossarian- which makes me very happy indeed. The world could do with more like him! Back to the deliciously funny book now.