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.