November 17, 2013

Kinds of people you see at a concert

We went for an Indian Ocean concert on Saturday evening. It was brilliant. They totally rocked it. But that’s not what this post is about.

The concert was at this place called the Music Academy. It’s a HUGE auditorium, with seating upstairs and downstairs. The upstairs seating is quite a distance away from the stage, to be honest. You can’t really connect with the artistes, you know what I mean? So anyways, there was this one guy who, right from when the band appeared on stage, was so enthused, that his energy was quite infectious. He was this typical HCU-JNU ‘buji’ types, you know? Long hair in a pony, kurta and jeans, spectacles, a metal kada on his right wrist (yes, I have a keen sense of observation, sometimes for the most inconsequential of things). He literally couldn’t sit still in his seat. The band started playing. This guy was in his element. Clapping, shouting, whoo-ing. The rest of the audience was looking at him and sniggering, some of them with grudging admiration. And then, after a couple of songs, he just couldn’t contain himself. He got up from his seat, went and stood in the aisle, and stood there for the following two hours. He was standing there all by himself, but I don’t think he cared two hoots.

One word for him. Respect. I SO wanted to go and stand with him and clap and shout like that. But I didn’t. Why, you ask? I guess I was embarrassed. I didn’t want the rest of the audience to look at me and laugh the way there were at him. Pathetic, I know. I preferred to sit in my seat and be an enthu-cutlet.

And that got me thinking. At every concert, you will different kinds of people. Here are the ones I have observed:-

1)      The Tripper
The guy who inspired me to write this post falls into this category, so do many many others I know. They come to the concert purely for the music. For the experience of seeing their favourite band perform live. For them, it’s not just another evening spent listening to music. They really believe in the music. It is an out-of-the-body experience for them. They will be right in front of the stage (or standing in the aisle due to lack of any other choice) and clapping and shouting. They go into a trance. They know all the songs, and they don’t care a fuck whether they get pointed and laughed at. They didn’t come to make a good impression anyway. They came for the music. They came to trip on the music.

I fall into this category partly. I go for the music. But unless I have the right company, I can’t bring myself to stand in front of the stage or in the aisle (Arun, how I missed you at the Swarathma and Indian Ocean concerts, seriously).
The trippers are an absolute joy to have at a concert.

2)      The London Mondon Statues
And on the other end of the spectrum from the Trippers are the London Mondon Statues. They don’t move a muscle. They sit there like statues and give an obligatory clap at the end of each song. In their minds, they’re probably making plans for the next day – what to make for breakfast, what dress to wear to work, when is the due date to pay credit card bills etc. I cannot for the life of me understand how they can sit still like that when music is playing. But then, I for one will move even to a Himesh Reshammiya song. So I’m no one to judge.

3)      The Updaters
“At Indian Ocean concert- so-and-so checked in at Music Academy”. “Oh wow dude. How is it?” “It is awwwsum!”

How would you know? You’re not even listening to the music. You are too busy letting the whole world know that you are at a concert.

And not because they are excited about it. Nope, they just want the whole world to know that they are oh-so-cool. They spend most of the time at the concert giving live updates. But ask them what their favourite song of the band is, they’ll blink at you. Dude, the people on the stage, they deserve a little more respect.

4)      The Record-keepers
They want to take low-resolution videos of the concert from a far distance despite strict instructions that photography and videography is not allowed. Why? How else will they prove to the rest of the world that they actually DID go for the concert? That grainy little video? Yes, that’s the proof. You think I’m being too critical? Let me ask you. This is the digital age. Videos are available all over the net. You can listen to the audio online. Buy CD’s. Why in the world would you want to take a one-minute clip when you can watch several better videos of the same band performing the same song on Youtube? Or is it BECAUSE you want to upload it on Youtube? Ah... ok. NOW it makes sense.

5)      The Pretty People
They come to get their pictures clicked for Page 3. Period.

6)      The Closet-Trippers
Yours truly falls into this category. Given a chance, I would be up there on the stage with the artistes, jumping and tripping on the music. But I don’t do it. Why? I’ll tell you when I figure it out, ok?
So we, as mad as we are about the music, and despite knowing all the songs and the lyrics to them, will not move from our seats. We will sit right there and then proceed to clap and shout and whoo and sway and what-not. We will sing along, we will clap till our hands hurt, we will shout till our throats hurt. But no, but will NOT move from our seats. Go figure.

7)      The Where-am-I-I-Think-I-Lost-My-Way ones
They came in because they had two hours to kill in the evening or wanted to get away from their kids. Oh look! There’s a concert happening! Let’s go! Two songs in, they realise this is not how they wanted to spend their Saturday evening. And they walk out. Well, at least they are honest about it, as opposed to those who come to a concert and proceed to spend the next couple of hours playing Temple Run on their phones.

Which brings me to the next type.

8)      The Tag-alongs
They just came along because someone wanted company. And offered to pay for their tickets. So they thought, “Oh what the hell”. You know exactly who they are because they will be spending most of their time on their phone playing games or reading, will go out every ten minutes to attend “important” phone calls, go out to get things to eat, take umpteen loo breaks, and sometimes disappear for hours and return just ten minutes before the concert ends. They’re harmless, except for when they are sitting next to you, and you’re in the aisle seat, and every ten minutes you have to move back to let them go. You know who they are.

That’s all I can think of for now. How many more do you think there are?

November 6, 2013

"I miss you" doesn't quite cover it

When people come to know that I’m new to Chennai, the question that naturally follows is “So, how do you like Chennai?” My answer usually is “I don’t, really”. I mean, what’s there to like? It’s hot all the time. You feel exhausted all the time because of the heat. The autowalas will fleece you, given a chance (although it’s slightly better now, what with the meter finally being implemented). It’s a lot more expensive. I don’t have many friends here. I can’t speak Tamil at all. Etc etc etc.

But in my heart of hearts, I know those are just excuses.

The real reason I’m not able to like Chennai is Hyderabad. I miss Hyderabad terribly, like I’ve never missed any person before.

I miss it all the time. Most days, it’s ok. It’s just a fond memory in my mind. A mild longing, more like. It’s been a year since I bid adieu to the place, to my life there. But not a single day has passed when I haven’t thought about those five and a half years, and I let out a wistful sigh. Five and a half short years that gave me a lifetime of lessons and memories. An affair to remember.

But like I said, most days, it’s ok. Just wishful longing.

Then there are days, like today, for example, when the wishful longing makes way for a large gaping hole in my heart. A strong desire to be back there. As though, you know, I need to be there. I need to see the places and people to hang on to my sanity.

And it’s not just a longing for the place. It’s a longing for everything that the place stands for.

Freedom. Adventure. Breaking free. HCU. Midnight strolls around the campus. Love. Life. Passion. Survival. Red FM. Necklace Road station. Uncertainty of life. Heart break. Drinking and tripping on Pink Floyd and Mohit Chauhan and Gulzar and Irshad Kamil... Living alone. Friends. Soul mates. Roommates. Gulmohar Park. Kundan bagh. Old Monk. Coming home to hot yummy food. Endless conversations. Comfortable silences. Orange wall. Knowing that you’ll never be alone and friendless. That your SOS lives just across the street and hovers around you like a satellite. That if you get a craving for biryani in the middle of the night, it WILL be brought to you. I miss being my own master. Not having to bother about what to cook for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I miss reading till late into the night and watching sitcoms back to back on weekends. I even miss the MMTS trains journeys, during which i have made some life-changing decisions. I miss cracking PJs and talking nonsense; nonsense that will be reciprocated with bigger nonsense and not sense and logic. I long to sit on the terrace with Prusty and Pattanaik, watching the moon and singing ‘chand wale gaane’. I miss my comrades and the companionship.

I miss the life that was and never will be again. Because according to some stupid prophet, life has to move on. Whatever.

September 25, 2013

Date a man who reads

…but DON’T marry him.

When you’re dating, it’s all so cool. You’re proud of the fact that you’re dating a man who reads a lot. You’re thrilled he has more books than he has clothes. You find the idea of you and him, cuddled up in bed, reading, oh-so-romantic. You find that concentration so hot. You’re happy that when it comes to buying gifts for him, you don’t have to rack your brains too much; all you have to do is gift him a book, and he’s the happiest man in the world. You’re already churning up visions of him reading to your children as he tucks them in at night. All that ‘intelligent’ conversation gives you such a high. You melt into little pools of adoration when he quotes from your favourite books, and doesn’t give a second glance at a hot chick passing by when his nose is buried in a book (alright, I exaggerate here. Such a man does not exist. Even with his wife sitting next to him, he will still check out other women. That’s just how they’re wired).

So awesome he is, no?

That’s what I used to think too. I used to find the idea of a guy who reads very attractive. I still do. Especially since reading isn’t a habit that men adapt to naturally. Also because none of my exes were much into reading. They’re a very rare species, the man who likes to read rather than watch cricket or fiddle around with his tab. I’m not saying they don’t exist, but they’re quite rare. To be honest, I have always wanted to cuddle up in bed with my guy, reading, falling asleep with the book open on my face. I have wished that my boyfriend would be awed when he set his eyes on my collection of books (which, incidentally, is bigger than my collection of clothes I think), and would, without wasting an instant, lose himself in them, forgetting about me altogether (yeah, I’m THAT kind of girl. Ignore me for another girl, I will punch your face. Ignore me for a book, I can forgive you). But like I said, none of exes found books as magical and essential as I did. I didn’t grieve too much about it, though. Because they were awesome in their own ways.


God must have thought, so what if you didn’t date a man who reads, puttar? I shall get you married to a man who reads. And you both shall live happily ever after in your home filled with books in every possible nook and cranny.

And that’s exactly what happened. I got married to a man who really does have more books than he has clothes. We cuddle up in bed reading, and when I fall sleep with the book (and my spectacles) on my face, he puts it away very gently, taking care to not wake me up. While all this is super-awesome, I soon found out that being married to a man who reads as much as my husband does, comes with its own share of problems. And what are those, you ask?

1) I keep the milk to boil and tell him to watch it while I go brush my teeth. He does so, with his nose buried in the newspaper. And while he’s busy catching up on what’s happening in the world around him, bang in front of the stove, the milk happily boils over and spills on the stove and kitchen platform. And that, my lovelies, is a sure-shot way to raise your BP right in the morning. Works every time.

2) Me (in the morning):  Please take the trash out, baby.
S: Hmm (but of course, reading)
Me (in the afternoon): Please take the trash out. (an octave higher, this one).
S: Ya… (still reading)
Me (in the evening): Take the trash out!!
S: What? Oh, yes. I will.
Me (next day): Take the fucking trash out! I’ve been telling you since yesterday!
S: Oh sorry. I forgot.


3) The whole family is sitting around talking. Dad, mom, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, siblings. We’re all meeting after months. Everyone’s talking at the same time, one over the other. Catching up, gossiping, laughing. And in the midst of all this, one guy sitting silently with –yes, you guessed it- his nose buried in a book. Before our last trip to my native place, I told him that if he did that again, I will throw the book into the pond in my mom’s house. Surprisingly, it worked.

4) Karma can be a real bitch, you know. For all the times that I used to pretty much ignore my mom when she tried talking to me during train journeys because I was too busy reading, God is now paying me back. I get the royal ignore in the train from S, who takes out a book before the train even leaves the station. I have had to grab the book from his hands many times and say to him “Talk to me!”.

5) 8 out of 10 times, he will not be paying attention to anything I’m saying, because he’s too busy reading. And then when I bring the same thing up a few days later, he’ll be all “What?? When did this happen?! You didn’t tell me!!” Umm.. sure I did. Maybe if I had written it in a book and given it you, you would have remembered it better?

6) Reading in the toilet. Need I even elaborate?

7) Sweetheart, do you know why I request that we switch off the lights during sex? Not just because the tubelight is a mood-killer, but also to make sure that you don’t start reading even during the act, in case a book is somewhere there in the vicinity. Because frankly, I wouldn’t put it past you.

8) And to top it all, he has ebooks on his tab as well, which he will bring out when he doesn’t have a book handy. As if I didn’t have enough competition already.

9) We were travelling by a night bus to Palakkad a couple of weeks back. Since it’s a night bus, they’ll obviously switch off the lights. So I thought “Thank god, at least now he won’t read and will talk to me instead”. And out comes the stupid fuckall smart phone in which- no prizes for guessing!!- he has ebooks stored! That pushed me over the threshold. I would’ve thrown it out of the window if it hasn’t been an AC bus. I made up for that loss by confiscating the phone and keeping it in my handbag for a while. Can you imagine!!

So ladies, don’t complain that your guy spends too much time on his phone and tab. Consider yourself lucky. I, on the other hand, have to compete with books, magazines, ebooks, newspapers, tabs, smartphones-with-expandable-memory-that’ll-allow-you-to-store-damn-ebooks, the internet, brochures, condom packs, cereal cartons, CD covers, Wikipedia, “I fucking love science”, graffiti on the walls, blah blah blah.  

But the silver lining to all this is that I can spend as much as I want on books and he’ll never ask me why. Ha!

P.S. I love you. Which, by the way, is a book by some lady, in case you want to read that as well.  

August 29, 2013

The Truth About Sex

*The post is liberally peppered with the word "sex". So don't even go past this line if you're squeamish about it. I don't want to get any comments saying that you found this crass and gross*

Our primary source of knowledge about sex is more often than not from movies, books, television, etc. Right? We’ve all eagerly waited for our parents to go to bed so that we watch some “late night HBO-type fun” (those who have watched ‘The President is Coming’ will get this). Another source, of course, is porn. But that’s a whole different point of view.

We tend to form our opinions (not to mention expectations)about sex from whatever we see in all these movies and read about in Mills & Boons and Jackie Collins novels at a young impressionable age. That boys and girls form different opinions about it is another matter altogether.

I can’t speak for men, but as a woman, I have realised by now that we should simply not believe what we watch and read about sex. It might just lead to a whole lot of disappointment when you actually do start having sex. I won’t say I was disappointed, but it did bust a few popular notions. So here you go, a list of thing I feel popular culture tends to lie to you or build stereotypes in your mind about sex. All the virgins out there, take notes. All the non-virgins, help me out, ok?

1)      White bedsheets.
You know what I’m talking about, right? 90 percent of the sex scenes I have seen have couples wrapped tightly in pristine, pure white bedsheets, much like how you swaddle new born babies (apologies for that disturbing parallel). Here’s the truth. Nobody has sex wrapped in bedsheets, let alone white ones. Unless you want your limbs to get entangled in them at the most crucial moments. And the white sheets remind me of hospitals more than anything. Besides, the feel of skin on skin is so much better than the feel of bedsheet on bedsheet (that doesn’t even sound sexy)

2)      People have this notion, owing mainly to films, that sex is purely a nocturnal activity. My friends have stopped calling me past 11 at night now. Even if they call, they hang up quickly. Why? Because they don’t want to be the reason to delay any ‘activities’. Or if I don’t pick up the call, they just assume that it’s because I’m busy *nudge nudge wink wink*.
What makes you think I have sex only at night? Or that night is the only time I have sex? Sex needn’t always happen only at night. It can very well happen in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Or all of these times, if you’re up for it! Sure, it’s a lot more convenient at night, because you’re not in a hurry to get ready and rush to work. But you needn’t necessarily have the energy for it at night either, right? And believe me,  if you’re in the mood for it, it won't even matter what time of the day it is,.

3)      Movies and TV shows (Read- Sex and the city) show the woman having screaming orgasms during sex. Naturally, I was under the impression that orgasms are a given, that it’ll just happen. So imagine my consternation when I discovered that orgasms are not as easy as they show it to be. Oh not for the men, though. It’s pretty easy for them. But for the women..phew, is it a lot of work or what! I’m not saying it’ll never happen. But don’t count on having one every time. Don’t get hung up about it. Because the point of sex is not the orgasm. If you keep obsessing about reaching a climax, you’ll simply not enjoy the rest of the act. And it’s no fault of the man, really (well, sometimes it is). That’s just how the female anatomy is.

      But when the orgasms do happen? Yes, they’re every bit as amazing as they describe it in movies and books. That, alone, is not a myth. ;)

4)      You need not look like a hero or a supermodel to enjoy sex. The heroine in the movie has flat abs because she gets paid to look beautiful. But you have no such obligation. Trust me, the guy does not care if there’s a tyre around your tummy and the girl doesn’t care if you don’t have six pack abs. I personally feel, out of experience, that good-looking people, or people who think they are good-looking, are not all that great in bed. Those chiseled abs may help in turning you on, but when he’s just lying there on his back, as though he’s doing you a favour, expecting you to do all the work, it’s not much of a turn-on anymore.
So stop being conscious about your body.

5)      Ladies, it’s ok to enjoy sex, and be open about it. You don’t need to be so shy, batting eyelashes and blushing when a man touches you. I know it’s a deeply emotional thing for us, but it’s ok to let go. In fact, from what I’ve gathered, men like it when the woman is a lot more proactive. So shed those inhibitions and start enjoying sex. It’s not a sin. And don’t expect the man to do all the work. Not only is it unfair, it’ll also make sex boring.

6)      The girl is sitting on the bed, bedecked in bridal finery, waiting for her brand new husband to come into the room. He comes in, sits next to her, gently lifts her face, he says something corny, she blushes, and they fall to the side, scene blurs. The quintessential suhaag raat scene (for the south Indians, imagine the scene play out with the groom in mundu and the bride with a glass of milk in her hand).

When did the wedding day become all about the first night? What about the rest of the day? The fact that the boy and girl are entering a new phase in their lives? All of that loses importance in the face of the fact that they’ll be getting laid that night (for many them, it would be the first time). For the unmarried ones out there, it’s not mandatory that you have to have sex on your so-called first night! That’s bullshit! Think of it from a practical point of view. You’ll probably be up from about 4 am that day, standing on your feel all day, smiling at thousands of people. How in the world do you expect to enjoy sex when you’re so bloody tired?! Relax. It’s not mandatory. You don’t have to have sex if you’re not ready for it just to prove anything to anybody. Do  it when you’re in a more relaxed state of mind, after all the wedding madness has ebbed.
Of course, this is a completely personal choice. All I’m saying is, don’t get tensed about it. you have the rest of your lives to have sex. It’s ok if you don’t do it on the very first night. There are people who do it on the wedding night itself, and I really admire their patience. I, for one, got a wonderful foot massage on my wedding night. Right then, I knew I’d married the right guy.

Also, the chances of a woman getting pregnant after having sex just once are very less. Unless they're an incredibly fertile couple. 

7)      Stop associating sex with marriage. Period.

So what do you think? Am I being silly here?

August 3, 2013

Spaceman Spiff is lost

I’m not writing much lately. What I am doing, though, is complaining about it a lot. It’s not even writer’s block. It’s an insult to genuine writers if I call it that. Maybe it’s because of my job. It is so mindnumbingly boring that I can actually feel my brain cells dying, one by one. All I do is copy-paste and fill in mindless spreadsheets with data I care two hoots about. That’s eight and a half hours of my life that I’m never getting back, everyday.

If I dig some more, I could come up with more reasons as to why I don’t write anymore. But I know as well as anyone that those are just excuses. Excuses like lack of time, fatigue, caught up in the drudgery of household chores- but it’s more than that. I don’t know what it is. My blogger friends ask me why I haven’t updated my blog in so long, and I have no answer. Even my mom and dad have started asking me why I don’t write anymore.

It’s not like I don’t write at all. I do. I scribble in my diary sometimes, a few lines here and there. But I think more than not being able to write, I think I have lost confidence in my writing. I start writing a post, and halfway through, I decide that it’s not good enough. And I give it up. Just like that. In fact, when I started typing this post too, I was pretty sure I’ll write a paragraph and then abandon it after that. How could I give up so easily? How could I give up on something that is the very core of me, the thing that defines me, gives meaning to my life?

Maybe I’ve lost it.

There. I’ve said it. It’s out in the open. And now that I’ve actually physically typed it out, maybe I can start to deal with it.

June 6, 2013

Of ghisi-piti jawaanis and some good news.

Reportedly, before she signed on the dotted line for Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Deepika Padukone made a deal with director Ayan Mukherji. “I will wear spectacles in the first half of the movie, if you let me wear short dresses, shorter skirts, shorts and bikini tops throughout the film.”

“But the major part of the first half is going to be based in Manali! How can you be wearing shorts and short skirts there? Especially during the treks on the snow-capped mountains. It’s supposed to be cold in Manali, you know.” Ayan Mukherji tried to reason with her.

“I don’t care. I will not wear anything that covers my legs. That’s it. The audience is stupid anyways. They won’t notice. Also, if my character has to undergo a transformation from geek to cool, then you have to get rid of the glasses. Because, you know, people who wear spectacles are dorks.”

“Alright alright. You can have whatever you want. Jeez, the things I have to do to draw crowd to the theatre when I don’t have a good enough story to do that for me.”

Ok fine. I just made all that up. But I really can’t think of a better reason why Deepika Padukone is prancing about in Manali wearing tiny little skirts and shorts and dresses. Not just her, the rest of the ladies, except Kalki, are also similarly dressed.

YJHD is basically a cocktail of many Bollywood films’ themes and concepts that have been doing the rounds for so long that it’s just not appealing anymore. The timid and shy girl who wants to break free from the rules that bind her (Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge), a group of friends going on a trip that leads to a whole lot of self-discovery and other inspiring stuff (Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara), the boy and the girl deciding not to be together because they have different dreams and different goals (Love Aaj Kal), the boy finally realising that he can’t live without the girl even if it means letting go of his dream (a whole lot of movies).

My problem with the movie is not so much the story but the jaded clichés. FYI, not all medical students are geeks. Not all of them wear spectacles and walk around with a book in their hand all the time (I’m not kidding. Deepika Padukone walks around with her textbook in her hand while pushing her shopping cart in a supermarket. Dood. Seriously?). And not everyone who wears spectacles are uncool. As a chashmish myself, I take offense to that. First there were fairness cream ads telling me that my life is doomed because I’m dark. And now there are films telling me I’m dorky because I wear spectacles? Can’t I catch a break?!

Most of the comedy in the movie seems forced. For example, that scene in Manali where they get into a spat with some hatta-katta gunda-types tourists. The sequence that follows is such a cliché that even your laughter is forced after a point. Hint: the scene is clearly inspired by many scenes from Barfi, which in turn was inspired by Charlie Chaplin. The cinematography of the film is awesome, and so is the acting by Ranbir and Kalki. I have always found Deepika to be even more expressionless than a block of wood, so let me not say anything more about her. ARK is decent, he could’ve done better if his character had a bit more depth. The film drags unnecessarily. At a day and age where most movies don’t go beyond 2 hours, it’s tedious to watch so much of drama for close to three hours. If only the film was as short as Deepika's clothes. I expected a better fare from the man who gave us the adorable and refreshing Wake Up Sid.

The other problem I had with the film? Ranbir Kapoor’s character dreams of travelling the world, of never being tied down in marriage, of being free always. Where did all those dreams vanish, when he met the new, cool Deepika? Was it the fact that she had ditched her spectacles that made her more appealing? Or her gravity-defying bikini tops? (Deepika’s lower half is on display during the first half of the movie, and her upper half is on display during the second half. There is no simpler way to summarize this movie).

Ok, so people have dreams. And sometimes, when they meet the love of their lives, they are willing to trade their dreams, the ones that they have been nurturing for the longest time, for a lifetime of love and companionship. Right? Because what can be better than being with the person you love for the rest of your life.  


I have learnt it the hard way, out of personal experience, that you should never stand in the way of somebody else’s dreams. You can be supportive all you want, you can put up with all the mood swings that comes with being a dreamer, you can bend over backwards trying to be understanding and patient, but at the end of the day, you will always be that one factor that’s standing in the way of that person achieving his dream. You may have fallen in love with that passion, that drive, that determination, everything. But those very factors will soon seem too much to handle. When someone is forced to let go of his dreams because someone is expecting him to ‘settle down’, it will only lead to resentment. Even if he does it voluntarily, sooner or later, he will regret it. It may not be an immediate thing. It’s a gradual process. One that slowly eats away at all the love that was there between the two of you. Until finally, all that’s left is a lot of blaming. “I gave up everything for you. What more do you want from me?” So no, Ranbir, I don’t buy into that logic. You have a dream, go chase it. Go live it. Don’t give it up for anybody or anything. Especially not for a person who is not willing to even leave her city because her clinic and her parents are there. (Yup, believe it or not, that’s the reason she gives). You both will be happy for a while, but soon, the wanderlust will creep in, and when she doesn’t let go of you, the resentment will creep in.

Oh well. Maybe there’ll be a sequel to the movie. Ye Jawaani Hai Ghisi-piti.

On a happier and lesser cynical note, I’m happy to inform you guys that my blog was featured in the directory of India’s best blogs, 2012-13 edition. Yay. J To be honest, I’m a little confused at to why. I hardly even write these days. I was pleasantly surprised.

Soumya too considered me worthy of a Creative Blogger Award. Thank you, Soumya. I shall be doing the post soon. :)

And yes. I finally got a job. J I’m jobless no more.

The dance show was awesome. I did a Bollywood (but of course!) and a cha cha number.

And! It finally rained in Chennai.
But I'm not getting too excited because, you know, this is Chennai. Kya pata, ye baarish kal ho na ho.

Life, as of now, is good. *touchwoodtouchwood touchwoodtouchwood touchwoodtouchwood touchwoodtouchwood touchwoodtouchwood touchwoodtouchwood touchwoodtouchwood touchwoodtouchwood touchwoodtouchwood*

P,S. For some reason, I'm not able to make changes to my blog layout, to add the award label. When I click on the layout tab, an error message is displayed. What do I do?

May 15, 2013

Hotsteps 2013

All my people in Chennai, if you're free on 18th evening, come off. :) Yours truly is performing too. For tickets, contact the number given on the poster.

 Hope you'll make it!

April 2, 2013

Why do I need to change, anyways?

“You’re still the same!”

“You haven’t changed one bit.”

“Tu kab sudharegi? Shaadi ho gayi hai. Ab tho sudhar ja!”

I get this a lot lately. A lot of my friends, family and acquaintances are rather surprised by the fact that marriage hasn’t changed me one bit. It’s as though they expected a new person would emerge out of that marriage hall, someone with a halo above her head. As though my personality would undergo a sea-change just because I’m tied to another person for life now. People, that beauty parlour that I went to for all my pre-wedding facial-scrubbing-waxing-what-not-ing was just to beautify my exterior. They were not offering any personality development/change services. Not that I would have taken it, even if they had.

So why is it such a surprise that I’m still the same old person who you’ve all known and loved and accepted for the past so many years? Forget the surprise. What kind of a change were you expecting in the first place? No no, this is not a rant. I’m just confused. I just want to have a better understanding of this. What did think would happen? That I would suddenly stop being loud and garrulous? That I would stop wearing jeans and skirts and would suddenly emerge wrapped in sari only? That I would stop making non-veg jokes? That I would keep a check on my sarcasm? That I will not start dancing in public places when I hear a catchy tune? That I would stop being a drama-queen? Dude, I’m married. I have SO much more scope for drama, now more than ever! And by some quirky twist of fate, I got married to a guy who not only tolerates all this drama, but actually encourages it! So in reality, it’s his fault. Really. He says he doesn’t feel the need for a TV because I provide all the entertainment that he requires- Dance, music, cinema, drama, sex, violence (Err.. I kinda like biting. Let’s just leave it at that, ok?), comedy. And all this in high quality sound and picture! Man, he should be paying me a monthly cable-bill, right?

But really, does marriage necessarily change a person? SHOULD it bring about any change? I don’t know. I honestly don’t. While my core personality hasn’t undergone a change (What? I’ve been like that for 26 years. I can’t just change overnight! Give me some time. Like, my whole lifetime), there have been a few alterations. Enhancements, if I can put it that way. The changes may not be visible to the outer world, but within you, you know some things are different. In some way or the other, marriage does change you. Like-

a)      I’m a much calmer person now. I used to short-tempered, losing my calm at the drop of a hat. I’m not so bad now. And it’s not because my husband has had a calming effect on me. It’s because HE tends to lose his calm at the drop of a hat. So I’ve learnt to hold mine. At least one of us needs to be calm, right?

b)      I’m better at confrontations now. I’m really trying my best to open up about a problem, instead of just bottling up everything and letting it fester. I’m more willing to talk about an issue and find a solution for it. And you know why? Because men JUST CANNOT TAKE THE HINT. They cannot understand what they’ve done to piss you off (alright, alright. It’s not their fault ALL the time). You HAVE to spell it out for them. They can crack the IIT entrance, they can be IIM graduates, they can go to the moon, they can be leaders of the country, they can be CEO’s, they can write books, they can cook, they can take the trash out-they can do anything and everything. Except understand women and how their mind works. Sad, but true. So it’s up to us women to make them understand. Because let’s face it, how long can you continue to sulk, expecting them to remember what they did to piss you off two days back? A good chunk of your life will go into this. So girls (married or unmarried), remember. You need to tell them what they did wrong. When they ask you “What did I do?”, they’re not being defensive. They genuinely don’t know. They honestly did not think what they did or said was so earth-shattering that you would sulk about it for two days. When you say “Nothing, I’m fine”, they actually believe it. So if you’re not fine, don’t say you are. You’re just going to lose a good few days over it. Trust me. SPELL. IT. OUT. FOR. THEM.

c)       You tend to stop thinking in terms of ‘I’, and start thinking in terms of “we”. We need to buy a dining table, we don’t want a TV. I don’t know if this is good or bad. It’s soon for me to tell.

d)      You do tend to become a bit more responsible. The decisions that you take, you tend to think it over many times, because it’s not just you alone anymore. Your decisions may affect the other person’s life too.

e)      You tend to start worrying if your period is even a day late. Actually, this has got nothing to do with being married. But the difference is that along with you, your husband also starts worrying. And you have someone who is bound by the law to put up with all your PMS-ing. Ha ha. Marriage is so cool, I tell you.

f)       You start checking out for furniture and home appliances as opposed to clothes and shoes. Or maybe it’s just us. :/

g)  People stop asking you "How're are you doing?", "How's life?" Instead, they completely forget about you and ask  "How is your husband?", "How's married life?" Pfft. I don't like it. I don't like it at all. 

These are some of the things that I can think of right now. But essentially, as a person, I haven’t changed much. Like I told one of my friends, I never gave anyone any guarantee that I’ll ever change. Na- ah.


I just realised that I didn’t share even a single wedding pic with you guys. So here are some.

This was from the previous day's function, where I have to touch everyone's feet and take blessings and all.

And that's Acha, Amma and Chech. My support, my life, my everything.

And so we were pronounced Husband and Wife.
What? It was MY wedding reception. Obviously  I take centrestage. We did a li'l flash mob kinda thing. This was part of that. :)

Like I said, I haven't changed. At all.

Ok, go ahead. Tell me how pretty I looked. :p

March 20, 2013

Wake me up when the summer ends

Have you heard of this movement called Nude Cooking? No? It’s ok, don’t beat yourself up over it. I just invented it.

So in my head, Nude Cooking is this movement where women across the world take to cooking in the nude during a few months every year (March to June, to be precise), not as a form of protest or anything, but for the simple reason that it’s too freaking hot to wear clothes in the kitchen. Frustration due to any collateral damage like oil-splattering etc. will be duly taken out on the husbands.

Yes, you guessed it right. The heat in Chennai has finally gone to my head. My love for cooking is slowly going up in fumes, thanks to the heat and humidity. I don’t even have to switch the gas on sometimes. Even if I’m doing baking, I’m sweating buckets. So imagine the condition while making rotis.

I HATE SUMMER! Except for the mangoes. And you know what’s the worst part? It’s still only March. L It’s only going to get worse. I try not to step out of the house much during the day, venturing out only to go to the gym and dance class, and the occasional trips to the supermarket. And I carry my trusty John’s kuda with me everywhere. I still haven’t recovered completely from my Goa tan yet. My skin is not ready for a Chennai tan.

Summer used to be fun at one time, during school days. Because of summer vacations. Damn, I miss school, just for that. For me, summer vacation used to be at my late Acchamma’s (Acha’s mom) house in Thalasherry. Two months of lazing around, devouring mangoes by the dozen (from the lone mango tree in her garden, planted by my dad years ago. Till date, the best mangoes I’ve ever had), eating kallumakai (mussels. Damn, just thinking about it is making my mouth water), among other things. But Acchamma’s signature piece was her homemade grape wine. Sigh... prepared and bottled months in advance, it would be ready for serving by the time we arrived. She would take it out with a flourish that only one who has spent hours toiling in front of an old-fashioned wood-fire can feel. Acchamma lived a simple life all by herself in that old house. She was a fiercely independent woman. She had this tiny little box TV that had only the Doordarshan channels, and she was very protective about her TV. So she used to ration it out to me and Chech. Which was good in a way, because we learnt to spend summers without a television. That’s when we used to read the most. Ah, the endless summers spent in the company of books. Acha would fashion cricket bats and balls out of madal (what’s it called in English? The stem part of the coconut tree) and oala (leaf of the coconut tree). And then in the evenings, we would go to Acha’s school, which was just across the road. His old school, with the HUGE playground and the gulmohar trees.

Acchamma passed away in 2005 March. And along with her, she took our summer vacations. Sadly, I don’t even remember the last summer vacation I spent with her. Once Chechi finished school, it became difficult to match our holiday schedules. And then, as happens with all of us, we grew out of it. We preferred to spend our vacations in the city, with our friends, ‘hanging out’. Trading succulent mangoes for dry popcorn at the movie theatre; grandma-made grape wine for fanta orange at the shopping centre; kallumakai for pizzas and burgers; the rickety old wooden bench in Acchamma’s front verandah for plastic chairs at the shopping complex; bedtime stories for late night television. I wonder if my kids, and kids of the coming generation will have as fond memories of summer vacations as we had... I seriously doubt it. They will have great memories, sure. But not of the same kind. Not of the mangoes-from-the-lone-tree-in-the-garden-homemade-grape-wine-roasted-cashewnuts-fighting-to-watch-TV-stealing-milk-powder-from-her-cupboard-inventing-games-because-there-was-no-TV-plucking-flowers-for-the-puja-room kind...


How is the summer in the rest of the country? Please tell me it’s bad. Please let me get some sadistic pleasure out of it. Please please pretty please.

March 3, 2013

Feels like love

The cupboard was a mess.

“Oh god... I married a slob”, Shalini sighed. She didn’t know where to start. But start somewhere, she had to. She had to make space for her own stuff till they got a new cupboard.

She started pulling out some of Amar’s clothes that were lying in a crumpled mass and put them on the bed. “How hard is it to fold the clothes!”, she muttered. She folded them all and put them back neatly, utilizing the space properly, and making space for her clothes.

“Ok, so that’s done!” An hour and a half later, she had managed to make the cupboard look like a civilized person’s. She then moved on to the smaller wall-cupboard and opened it to see whether there was anything in there to be that could be trashed. One look at the shelves and she knew it was a lost cause. “Forget it.  I’ll deal with this another day”, she  said, closing the door.

And that’s when she spotted it. In the small shelf where Amar kept his toiletries. A small tin of talcum powder. She looked at it for a few seconds, wondering whether or not to pick it up.

But without even picking it up, she knew what it smelt like. She knew the fragrance. The subtle whiff of sandalwood. He used to use the same powder. For her, the fragrance was synonymous with him.

Him... wow.. she hadn’t thought about him for quite a while. She hadn’t had the time, frankly. It had been a crazy few weeks. But that wasn’t the only reason. She had tried very hard to shut all thoughts of him away. It hadn’t been easy. There were days when the pain and the hurt had got so intense, it hurt her physically- a dull, thumping ache in her heart. She could actually feel it. Wasn’t it better to shut away someone who had caused her that much pain? But if only it was that easy.  

She had loved that fragrance on him. She used to find it homely, comforting, erotic- all at the same time. Sandalwood had never really been her favourite scent till then.

For a long time after they split, the smallest of triggers was enough to set her off. A song, a place, a dialogue, a joke. And she would be a pile of mess in an instant. That was all it took. Once, her friend mentioned that she’d spoken to him, and that he’d laughed, and out of nowhere, she could hear his laughter. Just like that. That deep-throated laughter that used to bring butterflies to her stomach. That night, she’d cried for the first time in weeks. And felt guilty for having had no trouble at all in remembering what his laugh sounded like. Guilty because she was to be married in a few months to a wonderful guy. But it’s not like she’d purposely remembered his laughter. It had come to her just like that.

So she’d tried hard to shut him out.

She tentatively reached for the powder tin. “No! Don’t do it!”, her inner demon admonished her. “You know you’ll end up thinking of him and crying. You know it.” She picked up the tin and flipped the lid back, and took in the fragrance.

And she waited. Waited for his face to appear in her mind’s eye. Waited for the tears to come. Waited for the breakdown to happen.

Instead, she found herself smiling; smiling. remembering how she had been so madly, passionately, crazily in love at one time; how alive she had felt at the time; at how wonderful it had felt to love without a care in the world, to love without knowing what the future held, without knowing whether or not there was a future, without analyzing where it was going; how incredible it had felt to make love to someone with so much passion; how special he used to make her feel with the smallest of gestures.

She smiled fondly, remembering how happy she had felt at one time. The hurt, the pain, the anger- all that seemed to have gotten overshadowed. And just then she realised, that she was going to be ok.

The trick was to stop associating memories with people, and start associating them with feelings- of how you felt at a particular time. Maybe, just maybe, that might make everything ok...

January 23, 2013

Wedding Gifts- The Essential Do's and Don't's list

I just got back to Chennai on Sunday after a short visit home. Some of my stuff was still lying at home, and mom wanted me to de-clutter her house (sigh…). But that was not the only agenda. One of my best friends, Nisha, had a baby recently. I was dying to see (and hold, of course) the little munchkin. Both Mommy and Baby Aryan are doing fine.  J Meera flew to the US today, and she’ll be gone for a while. So I had to meet her too. I managed to catch up on two Malayalam movies while there. “Annayum Rasoolum” had great potential to be a good movie, but the dragging narrative and length (three hours) were a major put-off. It was taken in an Adoor style, so most of the movie was silent. The heroine (Andrea Jeremiah’s Malayalam debut) had all of about five dialogues in the entire three-hour movie, Fahad Fasil is just getting better and better with every new film. It’s a clutter-breaking attempt, nevertheless. “Da Thadiya” was a fun watch. Entertaining and paisa-vasool. Oh by the way, Trivandrumites (who are not based in Trivandrum currently), did you know that a ticket at Kalabhavan now is Rs.100?! :O   In Trivandrum! A movie-ticket for 100 bucks! Kaalam povunna pokke… But in their defense, the theatre now has a multiplex-ish look.

But the main agenda for the visit was to sort through the gargantuan pile of wedding gifts that had reduced my room to resembling the store-room of a departmental store. Since we left for Goa right after the reception, and from there to Chennai, I didn’t get a chance to look through the gifts and check what I might want to take with me to Chennai. But Amma and Acha had already gone through them and made an inventory of sorts too (super-efficient parents I have, totally).

I thought they were exaggerating when they told me that we had got a HUGE number of gifts. Only when I saw my room did I realize how true they had been. There were boxes behind the bed, under the bed, on the stool, under the stool, under the computer table, inside shelves. Some had even been kept away in the balcony. And to think that Acha and Amma were just about heaving a sigh of relief at having finally cleared away the collection from Chechi’s wedding (which was four years back, by the way!). I went through the entire pile and picked out a few of the items to take back with me to Chennai. Did that clear up the clutter? Turns out, I had packed merely ten percent of the entire collection. :/ The rest of the stuff, I’ll probably have to get it couriered to Chennai, or my folks can give them away as wedding gifts to others.

But going through the gifts was quite a tiresome job, let me tell you. If you’ve been married, you’ll know that. Tiresome not because of the sheer number, but because of the sheer stupidity in front of you, wrapped in colourful wrapping-paper. Why am I being so ungrateful, you ask? Let me explain why, in the form of a “Do’s and Don’t’s” (Also, I haven’t made one of my lists in a long, long time).

a) If it’s not too much trouble, find out where the newly-marrieds are going to be based after the wedding. If they’re going to be anywhere other than the city where the wedding/reception was held, then kindly do not give any huge gifts that will require a mini-lorry to transport it. I mean, why in the world would I want to carry a giant casserole that can fill enough food to feed the half of Chennai?! Forget why. HOW! How in the world am I supposed to transport it?

b) Give a little bit of thought into buying the gift. I’m sure this is probably the fifth wedding that you’ve had to attend this month and you’re just about tired of thinking of what to buy. But here’s the thing. For me, this is my FIRST and only (yes, I’m pretty sure of it.. I think so) wedding. And I’m not going to get another chance to get a haul like this again (Yup, I’m totally aware of how shallow that sounded). So PLEASE, kindly, put some thought into buying the gift. It doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive. Trust me, even 100 bucks in an envelope is more useful than that eyesore of a lemon set (for the uninitiated, a lemon set consists of six glasses and a matching jug, more often than not in tacky designs and colours).

c) Try to give something different. You really think no one else would have come up with the brainwave of giving a set of casseroles or coffee mugs? It’s not because we want something different. It’s just that we get stuck with multiple sets of the same damn thing, and we don’t know what to do with them! Give a pack of condoms, if you can’t think of anything else! (Nope, no one gave us that. Hmph).

d) For heaven’s sake, please write your name SOMEWHERE while giving the gift. We smile at and accept gifts from roughly 800 guests at the wedding. After a point of time, it’s just faces, one after the other. So among all this, how do you think we’re going to remember what gift you gave, if you don’t write your name on it? If you don’t want us to know, then that’s a different story. But don’t you think we would want to know who the anonymous well-wisher is, who gave us 1000 bucks?   
Another reason why writing your name is important: There are 90% chances that your gift might get rewrapped very soon and be given to someone else. Writing your name ensures that you don’t end up getting your same gift back. Also, if you’ve given something really nice, but haven’t written your name, and it’s time for us to return the favour at some occasion, then we might just end up giving you something that’s worth a lot less than what you spent on us. Then you’ll be all “Hmph, what people yaar. We gave them a La Opala coffee set. They only gave us a Yera set. How mean.”You get what I’m trying to say?

e) If you really can’t think of what to give, then don’t give anything at all. Seriously. It’s perfectly fine. The line at the very bottom of the invitation card “Presents in blessings only” was not put there as a formality. It was put there for a reason. But no one takes that seriously. According to my dad, people get offended if we include that line in the card, and don’t turn up for the wedding at all, because they don’t like to come empty-handed. So he decided not to include that in my invitation card.

f)       f) If the bride or the groom is someone you’re close to, ask them what they want as a gift. I shamelessly told my friends that I want a hard disk, so they gave me the cash for that. To some others, I asked for bed-sheets, so I got some beautiful bed-sheet sets. To another friend, I told her to get me online shopping vouchers, so that I could get to Chennai and then buy whatever I wanted and it could be shipped there directly.

      g) Give gift vouvhers. They’re easy, convenient, and useful.
      h) Give cash.
      i) Give cash.
      j) Give cash.
            k)  And because I can’t stress enough on it, give cash. Even if it just a 100 bucks.

Änd to all those who’re by now thinking “Why so much tension? We’ll just write off ‘Kindly avoid presents’ in the invitation card. That’ll take care of the problem, no?”- Sure, go ahead. Let me know how that worked out for you, ok? Because we Indians are experts at ignoring instructions. “Kindly avoid gifts” is a popularly ignored request, along with “Please flush the toilet after use”, “Please use the dustbin to throw garbage”, “Do not spit on the walls” etc.

Do you have anything more to add to this list?       

P.S:- Aditi and Sid, I do not include your gift among any of the above-mentioned. I absolutely loved it, and look forward to using them ASAP. :)