Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
(It COULD just mean that my city geographically is prone to rains through the year, but where's the magic in THAT! Bweh! Unimaginative staid people of the world, don't make me like you!)
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I'm ashamed I stooped low enough to let my expression be influenced by others' perceptions of me. So to make amends to myself.
Its been a yuck day. Met good friend S after very long last evening and had a great time. But even meeting him this afternoon, even getting a new passport, even getting tons of work done and a very productive day in office, even coming home and cooking up a lovely meal for N and catching up with him after way too long did nothing to shake away the one constant of the day - that silken cloth of dejection, so light and sheer that no one else can sense it, yet heavy enough to stop the flow of fresh air to my heart and mind. That being said, I've smiled and laughed like a bloody hypocrite all through the day. Its scary, this ability to wear a mask at will. It doesn't feel like me. Then again, the cynicism and isolation don't either. Tough to tell if that thing called change is good or bad. Time will tell I guess.
Little black box, wait a while will, ya?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
(Collective sigh from women of the world? Sounds about right!)
But today. Today was the day I tore myself away from interesting company (my bestest indulgence, really!) and ran off to watch the 2nd half of a match for reasons I still cannot explain. (P: I Louuuuu you!!! Soreee for ditching and running to seee match liddat! You still come 1st! It meant nothing! I was thinking of you ALL the time! GOD, I sound like a MAN!)
But this was THE match man! And how it ended! Purrrfect for an India Pak - one of those phenomena as awaited yet thankfully a little more frequent than a solar eclipse! And wayyyy more special (Ok don't get all geeky and scientific on me here, its just an expression!) considering how we won! :D
But did you notice? Did you see after all that nail biting when they finally zoomed in on the Indian players celebrating in gay abandon? When they no longer have the expectation of a whole nation weighing them down? That's when you see it. These players, these exalted, worshipped souls who carry the burden of India's pride on their delicate shoulders are just boys.
Young boys (yeah, this happens when you turn 26, you start talking like one bleddy Aunty!) who whoop and jump in joy just like any of us normal people. The facade of being a 'cricketer' falls to reveal kids soaking up the pure joy of a win.
Rain, chocolate, music and words all fade into gray against the rich colors of their joy :) Wat a! :D
I have to confess, I might just be a closeted cricket fan after all.
Oh! And this was post 150 - a dual celebration is in order methinks! :DDDDDD
Monday, September 24, 2007
There's all kinds of mornings right?
Ones that simply don't want you getting out of bed, the temptation to snuggle further into the covers is just too much, despite a whole work week that beckons...
Ones that aren't particularly sleepy, but have you keeping your eyes closed in a desperate attempt to avoid the world you don't want to face yet ...
Ones that you're delighted to wake up to ... 'school picnic' mornings, 'start of travel to exotic location' mornings, 'going back home from foreign country' mornings and such others ... wish there were more of these, don't we?
And ones that you're happy to wake up to simply cause the rain stands outside your window, gently nudging at first and then beating down its will upon yours with the furious vibration of windows, even closed ones. How can you say no to that, Monday or no Monday?
Its that kinda lovely morning now. As the MdDee's commercial would say, I'm louuuing it :D
Good morning everyone! Rise and shine!! :-)
Friday, September 21, 2007
Evening before last, Boss asked me if I was getting enough sleep . For added effect, she pointed beneath my eyes. As if it wasn't painfully obvious already. It's now official. I have dark circles. Go on, print it out, put it on air. I have dark circles.
No, my crib isn't that silly, hello! I don't particularly mind dark circles. (I've worked enough in the beauty business to know there's enough and more out there to conceal them). What I do mind is the message of exhaustion they send out about me. What I do mind is feeling a wee bit of that very exhaustion seeping in for real in the last few days.
I love my hobbies. I do. Like any other sane person i look to them for comfort when I'm on my own. But as luck would have it, my hobbies tend to exert the same tiny set of faculties - my eyes and my wrist - over and over again.
To put it mathematically:
Reading books + Reading blogs + Working on a laptop all day staring at xls sheets and the like = Visible Dark Circles = Sending out VERY wrong ideas of active nights filled with partying and sundry excitement.
Writing blogs + Working on a laptop all day + Glass painting + Painting / Sketching in general = Wrist screaming "Save me from this tyrannical monster of an owner!"
So you see, after struggling to draw all of TWO flowers on my latest project, the glass painted Geisha, and wincing in the pain of pressing down on the outline leading tube WHILE squinting to ensure the flowers don't turn into cabbages, it was BUT expected that I'd blog about how my hobbies will someday be the death of me!
Flowers, books, cards, cash and any such tokens of your sympathy / empathy / love to pull me through this tough time will be mostest welcomed :D
*Now that I read what's written above, Kavita's words ring true - I should've considered a career in spewing out hyperbole (Yes, I know there's no such thing but humor me will ya?)*
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I'm just back from a deliriously wonderful evening with Palli and Pangal. Conversation with a woman about life, love and sundry others to the accompaniment of fantastic music while our tired butts were sunken into the comfy couches at Book Cafe over Hot chocolate with Marshmallows and cheesy pizza is as good as it gets. And just when we thought it couldn't get any better, dropping in on Pangal and spending the next 2 hours loudly karaokeing to trashy english music (read boyzone, backstreet boys and even britney!!) and classy hindi music (RDB, B&B and Euphoria) was clearly the highlight of the day we hadn't anticipated. Seriously, if the voice of 2 other people screaming "Roobaroooooooooooooo" with you doesn't send you into throes of utter happiness, what will? :D
It makes me appreciate the city I live in even more than normal. If at home, it'd take me an hour to get to a friend's place on a weekday and another hour to get back. I wouldn't ever make weekday plans given the status of evening traffic in Bombay. I have nothing against the city i was born in, i just really love living here and the many conveniences it offers.
Seriously, someone once asked me if i had any material wishes. A car? A house of my own, perhaps? With a garden maybe? I thought about it a LOT and said no ... I don't think any of those things are aspirational to me. I missed to see how the simple everyday conveniences this place offers are what I found aspirational. And having them made me take them for granted.
Let me hence reiterate. I love the fact that I can step out at 2 am and not worry about my safety. I love that I can drop in to visit a friend on a weekday and get back home without being stuck in agonizing traffic. I love that I can live my weekends to their fullest coz i don't spend 50% of my time in traffic and travel. My love for this city isn't rooted in cold convenience. Its what the convenience brings to my life that I value. The ability to connect with friends as often as i wish. The ability to not treat travel time as an unwanted side effect of the job i love so much.
To those who tell me I'm wrong about Bombay: This is MY take based on MY experiences in Bombay. Pls don't judge. Its my experience i talk about, likely not yours.
And don't get me wrong. I love Bombay. For its vibrance and warmth. For the many friends who live there. For my family. But the agony of trudging to anyplace of value always left me too spent and drained to enjoy any of that. My south and central bombay friends laugh at how im a suburbanite. How i live in a "gaon". How they need a visa to get to my place in Bombay. Oh yes, I know this is all in jest. But what they don't get is their Bombay is very different from mine. Where only taxis ply. Where they could hop into a family car and get where they wanted to in 20 mins. Good for them!
But those convenience theories on bombay never applied to me as i grew up. Seriously. My folks couldn't afford a house in the swanky parts of central bombay and we lived in the suburbs. I travelled 3 hours per day through crowded local trains to attend college. EVERYDAY for SIX years. And then struggled to stay awake through the exhaustion and study and do family time as well. Just the memory - OUCH!
Yes i loved train journeys where i made some of my best friends. But i also remember being bogged down too many mornings hoping i could just skip the ordeal that lay ahead! I remember mom on weekends, wondering if she should drop in on a sister who lived 20 miles away simply coz weekends were the only time she had - to rest at home and escape the travel, and no matter who needed her, she was just TOO DAMN exhausted to head out in a train ONCE again! (She still did. Power to her!)
I know that if I ever move back to Bombay, I'll not endure 30 years of train travel like my parents did. I know I'll wanna live someplace close to work. I know my sanity and peace of mind rests on my ability to do the things i love and meet the people I love. Without having to spend 3 hours getting there. I just hope that when I'm back, I can afford to live in the Bombay I hear so many people rave about. That the vibrance of the city is not dulled by the sheer effort to survive daily life. Pray for me!
P.S.: No im not moving now! This post was just triggered by a sweet 10 min cab ride back home from Palli's home marvelling at how wonderful it is to be on a free highway with no honking in my ears and fumes in my face. :)
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
How late is too late to try and connect with your parents as a friend, not as someone who occassionally asked them for a little extra money and now as someone who barely manages to pull through a single adult conversation, without squirming that you're missing that sitcom to be aired in 5 mins?
How late is too late to try and get back in touch with that friend you childishly refered to as the 'bestest friend' in your teens? After all those days of telling yourself you'll call him/ her or atleast drop a mail, and repeatedly forgetting to amidst the many deadlines you're so caught up with?
How late is too late to start out on that new hobby you've been promising to enrol for? To run the 2 miles you promised urself every weekend? To revive the sketching talent you were once known for? To go learn line dancing like you always wanted to (and darn the slacking weekends that just passed you by) but you never did?
How late is too late to start on that thing you recognize you'd be brilliant at - the dream career? Lucky as you have been to discover it, how late is it to shun the meaningless 9 to 7 existence and move on to finding fulfilment and connecting with your own innate talent?
How late is it to ..........
Make that movie you always wanted to?
Write that book?
Learn that music?
Visit that exotic country?
Catch up for a REAL conversation with your better half?
Share delicious laughter time with your child?
How late? The optimist in me would say never, but the realist in me does sometimes think ahead to the time she's 55 and not as nimble on her feet or agile with her thoughts and just KNOWS she doesn't want a SINGLE thing on her list of 'I wish I had's ..... she just knows.
Perhaps, that's why today she lives the life she failed to live even until 6 months ago. Its turning her into what she'd call 'the best version of herself ever'. And into a simply happier person. In the quest to preempt regret in the future, she's gone and found delight in the present. :-)
So, how do you live your life?
This one's inspired by this beautiful post from Mr Adrian. Read it. I promise you'll be touched like never before. :)
Sunday, September 16, 2007
So to my anonymous friend: Like I've mentioned before, this blog is mine, and although reading it or not is definitely your prerogative, your opinion (even if its as childish as "it looks like puke") loses all credence when you hesitate to back it with your name. Combined with the nature of the comment, it makes you the lowest order of anything alive, yes? So thanks, but no thanks for dropping by, and keep your trolling comments as invisible as you keep your identity. Bugger off!
Seperately: The payasam turned out brilliantly despite no tasting through the cooking process!!! Am bringing it to work tomorrow to share with friends :) Good week everyone!
I've tried my hand at 1st principle Semiya Payasam ("Vermicelli Kheer" for the uninitiated) 2 times before. Both times it failed to turn the right shade of pink coz i didn't leave it on a simmering flame for the 30 mins or so that it's supposed to be.
This being Chathurti and all, I promised myself i'd make the perfect payasam and offer as "naivedyam" (offering to god types) to Lord Ganesha. Clincher being ur not supposed to taste the naivedyam until you've offered it to God.
Anyway, here's the payasam and we're headed out to my favorite Vinayakar temple in the city - the Senpaga Vinayakar Kovil. Will taste and let you know later how it turned out. Atleast for now, its the right color. :) I'll make my peace with that :)
Saturday, September 15, 2007
"Here's what I think. You are a good person. You're made of good materials. That's just a fact. A scientist would say its in your cells, that it's built into your DNA just like the color of your eyes. Wherever it comes from, just being you is being good.
I don't mean you can't make mistakes like the rest of us. But you're luckier than the rest of us because if you just do what feels the most like you, you'll be fine. And forget about evil. There's just no way."
About 10 years ago, mom decided to revamp the scale of celebration at home. Ever since then we've done something new and creative each year, with silken cloth, little tables, decorative material and flowers. We'd house Him in a lovely house we'd constructed and decorate Him from head to toe till He looked absolutely smashing :) And then on the morning of Chathurti, Amma would get us to be ready by 8 am and huddle everyone into the living room where we'd all pray together.
The unvarying tradition however, was to play the Ganesh Mahamantra cassette for about 2 hours after the morning puja. The house would reverberate with the sounds of "Sukhakarta Dukhaharta" and "Gajanana Sri Ganaraya" in Lata Mageshkar's voice, and my mother would go about her chores in a state of absolute bliss.
Of course, the geek that I was, I'd crib endlessly about how i couldn't study in peace with all the noise. (God, how spoilt WAS I!?!). Mom normally loses her arguments to me in the spirit of keeping peace, this was the one thing she'd never back down on (More power to her, yeah!:D )
And today as i live hundreds of miles away from home, on Vinayakar Chathurti, I sorely miss the songs i cribbed about while I lived at home :( Having discovered the internet and online music as I have, however, i was inspired to look for the songs I love on MusicIndiaOnline - and guess what?! I FOUND THEM!! :DDD
They've been playing in a loop for a while now and I could swear, both my mind and my room feel better than they have in months! :) Add to this the fact that I finally wrote out an email I'd wanted to for WAY TOO long but couldn't until I was completely convinced about it myself. I've done it now :) and the rush of happiness and of inner peace is palpable :) Maybe its just a coincidence that its Chathurti today ... maybe not!
Happy Ganesh Chathurti ya all! :) Have a great year ahead :)
Friday, September 14, 2007
You're Watership Down!
by Richard Adams
Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
by Joseph Heller
Incredibly witty and funny, you have a taste for irony in all that you see. It seems that life has put you in perpetually untenable situations, and your sense of humor is all that gets you through them. These experiences have also made you an ardent pacifist, though you present your message with tongue sewn into cheek. You could coin a phrase that replaces the word "paradox" for millions of people.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
S drove me to our venue for this evening's dinner with the other CMKers and our conversation touched topics I wouldn't have ventured near with a male boss. Not cause they'd be any kinda disappointment, but just cause sometimes it takes a woman to be able to let your guard down.
Anyway, where the conversation ended up was at that enigmatic thing we call chemistry.
Now for me, chemistry is a more than 'spark with a person that can end in romance'. To me it denotes the richness of the space between people in general. Chemistry exists with better halves, yes. But chemistry also exists with friends, bosses, co workers and most other people we interact with right? So how come it gets mentioned only in romantic contexts all the time?
Take for example, that delicious thrill you feel when a coworker gets exactly what you mean when you explain a theory to solve a complex problem. You don't have to spend a good 10 minutes explaining the why's and how's. They just GET it. THAT's chemistry. Intellectual maybe, but chemistry it is. :)
Then there's the boss who when he coaches you just has to say the words and understanding dawns on you like the first rays of the morning sun. Principles simply glide their way into your mind without the obstruction we term 'doubts'. THAT's chemistry.
Then there's that friend who when he hears you say "I feel like SHIT" may not always know how to SOLVE your problem, but can certainly take your mind OFF it. This is the class of people who know just the thing to say to make the sun shine out from behind the clouds for a teeny bit, even if they can't really chase the rains away. People, the very thought of whom, gives you that wonderful reassuring warm feeling in your soul. THAT's chemistry.
Remember the person you met and just KNEW this was gonna get interesting? That exchange of repartee, casual banter, the ability to make each other laugh, to get into a conversation that kept you awake past the wee hours, that left your hands hurting from all the typing, that took your mind off even your favorite most critical activities? THAT's chemistry.
What I've observed over my short life although, is that chemistry doesn't have as much to do with individuals themselves as it does with the space between them. What do I mean?
It means A can find chemistry with B even if they're both the most insipid boring people in the world (heck, maybe THAT's what lets them click!), even if A is this hyperactive talkative being and B is the quiet sober rarely speaking type, even if A knows a LOT about everything, and B knows nothing about absolutely anything.
It means that when you think you've found chemistry with someone, there's very little you can actually credit to the person in question. Likewise, and more importantly, if you DON'T find it with someone, it's no judgment to how interesting/ wonderful they are. Net - the feeling is largely independant of the individuals involved, but hugely dependant on the intersection domain of their interactions, and hence completely unpredictable and varying!
For good reason too! Imagine if all of us could 'click' with only certain personality types! If the world ran on formulae like that, we'd never be able to form and maintain the diverse circles of 'special' friends/ co workers/ bosses etc that we can now. :-)
Some other time maybe I'll dissect the subject further, but for now remember, its not you, its not me ... its the space BETWEEN us that determines our 'Chemistry' :D
1. I cannot stand to see people's palms on a restaurant table right before they commence eating. Visions of germs and bacteria and the like cloud my vision causing me to cringe/ make faces/ roll eyes/ screech with vicious intensity that they take their hands off the table. (It comes from my father's constant nagging of us when we did the same as kids). Kinky ALWAYS does this when we go out together to eat (usually we hit low tier places where the tables aren't exactly covered with freshly laundered table cloth) and 6 out of 10 times that we go out, I drive him sullen and angry to the point of abandoning what he was saying and cribbing about my (un)adorable eccentricity. He also passes on this knowledge about Unpred to whoever accompanies us to dinner/ lunch, resulting in it being a not-so-secret quirk anymore.
2. I can't stand to see people having things inserted into their skin, be it a needle (EEEK!) or a scalpel (OMG! OUCH! FREAKK!) or even so much as another person's fist (read fights in movies) I cannot stand the sight. I avoid most violent movies for this reason, and if forced to go watch, spend most of the time with eyes closed asking the person beside me to let me know when its safe to open my eyes. Now you know that NOT doing medicine was more like a default option than a thought-through choice!
3. Sleep simply does not come easy to me. If it does, it's always waiting to make a run! This runs in the family. A sliver of light through the window, under the door, flimsy curtains etc are enough to wake me up/ not let me sleep. Even the most minute sounds such as typing on a keyboard, a moving chair and the door bell are enough to wake me up. (My bro and I shared a room for a good 15 years, he has MANY crib stories for anyone who wants to know more!) I have thick red cotton curtains for this very reason. And living away from home has only spoilt me more than ever before as far as silence is concerned!
4. Even until a year back, i couldn't stand dishes in the sink unwashed. I HAD to wash them. (Yes, Monica like visions floating in ur mind would be considered appropriate right now) Now a simple rinse later, I can leave them until the maid comes in and does the washing. It doesn't bother me. Back then, it SO did!
5. It used to scare the crap out of me when people got off Indian trains at a station on the way (Like say at Mathura between Mumbai and Delhi) and I'd know that std waiting time was less than 5 minutes. I spend most of my energy screaming at them to get right back in or they'd miss the train. This I've acquired from my folks. (Oh, DON'T even get me started on the family quirks, you'll just refuse to associate with us :D). I've gotten over this one as well having imbibed the "Don't need to break head over other people's stupidity" principle pretty well.
6. Sleeping in the afternoon puts me in a sullen mood. I SWEAR, I don't know why! But on a weekend afty if i decide i need a nap and wake up at like 6 pm, I'm the most moody, silent antithesis of my usual talkative self. I cannot explain this and am still looking for someone to blame it on/ trace it back to. (Family isn't exactly coming to my rescue this once!)
7. I cry when i get drunk (the 4 - 5 times a year that I DO get drunk). Rivers and rivers of tears. I cry out of happiness. I cry out of sadness (real and imagined). But I cry. English doesn't quite capture the expression 'Phoot phoot ke rona' but that's what I'm like when i get drunk enough :) If you're with me at times like this (which is unlikely unless you're a very very close friend, this special spectacle is reserved for a special few :D), please to not panic or be afraid for my well being. Its like annual spring cleaning for my mind and soul. I'll be good as new post the outburst, so don't lose heart (or sanity!) in the meantime. :D
Edited to add at Palli and Kinks' insistence respectively:
7. Sometimes (I Repeat, ONLY sometimes!) I snort when i laugh. This is ONLY when my guard is down and I'm around really familiar people and I laugh with no care for the world. Its a deep delightful sound (even if only to my own ears!!) and ends with a little snort, sometimes. Used to be reason for plenty of ROTFLing when we were in IIMB. Now only Palli has the pleasure of ROTFLing to it.
8. Apparently I'm always in the middle of smsing someone. Even when I'm in the midst of company, apparently I don't hesitate to take calls and smses. I think it has something to do with my fetish for staying connected. Also my fetish for truly instant messaging (meaning i cannot NOT reply to sms ASAP). Sigh .. whoever knew digging into one quirk would uncover so many new ones ...
9. Like Palli, I cannot stand wet bathroom floors. Its OK to have the shower area wet, its OK to have sink wet, however for bathrooms that have a designated shower area, the rest of floor needs to be clean and dry. Wet Floor --> Higher chances of brown footprints being left over when you walk in and out. So my bathroom has one bathmat inside and 2 outside despite the fact that it gets cleaned 3 times a week. What did you say? You don't clean your bathroom most of the time? Emm...don't wonder too much why i keep declining your invitation to come over then! (Now just like Palli, I'm sorry, I love you simply for reading this blog.. don't scamper away muttering 'spooky weird mad woman' even if that's what I am!)
And that's all i can remember. If any of you think I've missed something critical, then point it out ONLY if its funny. NOT needed otherwise (in case it wasn't clear, that IS a warning!) :)
And I tag my usual enthu cutlet blogger friends (this is what they call fake motivation - bleddy most of them rarely even blog, still i need to call them enthu cutlets!) to write about their quirks. For the sake of specificity, that means - SS, Samesh, Ketan, Vish, Harika, Palli, Amaresh, Ravi, Shiv and Nuts to write about THEIR quirks. (Yes, I'm taking you ALL down WITH me :D)
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Mogambo's cribbing that I'm depriving her of her lunchtime accompaniment (come to think of it, this is a brilliant way to get something u want na, praise someone to the hilt so they'll do EXACTLY what you want them to, and sucker for praise that I am, i even fall for it.. CHE!). And although I spent most of last night chatting with HER, she ended with saying she'd rather have had me blog. Yeah, i feel special!
Reasons I didn't blog (yes, I know no one else asked, but don't stop a woman on the brink of something will ya!):
1. The wrist has been giving me unnatural trouble. Read - pain:
Yes, blame it on the incessant blogging and chatting and such other online activities. I bought a wrist band when this problem peaked last year, and the doc suggested i use support when i type. Now I'm back to wearing it. Its not yet close to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. So DO NOT post panicky comments!!!
As an aside, this friend sent me an email with detailed pics of an operated wrist (for the record, i cannot stand even the sight of needles so you can imagine what the sight of raw exposed flesh on someone's wrist did to me!). The mail was more cause he wanted me to read up some exercises for the hand to prevent it from getting worse, but I'll do that once i get past the nightmares I think :P
So anyway, the wrist has been a little bad, and so I figured might as well give it some rest.
2. Optimal Initiative Pacing:
Well that's what we call it. What a layman would say is, how much blogging is SO much that people can't even catch up on ur posts when they're written. I figured I'd gone on an overdose of sorts and needed to give my kind friends a chance to catch up on old posts without wearing themselves out. Hence the break in writing :) (I hope you guys leveraged the chance well... if not, no need to tell me about it!)
3. A wonderful packed weekend:
With a recap of the awesome bhindi with leftover rasam at Palli's place on Fri nite, then a failed attempt at downing some Absolut Citron (Tip: Rasam and Vodka DO NOT go well together, in case you didn't already know!).
Then a storytelling session to the kids at the library. Something was up with the kids this time though. I mean, Palli came over to check out this reading thing, so in some ways i needed to put up a great performance, but for some reason, the kids weren't as responsive as they normally are. Maybe it was the stories (I KNEW i should've picked some with more interesting ends). It was more likely the overenthusiatic 2.5 year old punjabi girl in the 1st row who added her own vishesh tippani to everything i said ..went somewhat like this ...
Unpred: So, which other birds do you guys know about?
E2.5G (Enthu 2.5 yr old Girl): I know crow .. crow does caww cawww ...
Unpred: Very good .. any others know any birds?
E2.5G: Once we went to the birdpark and saw many many birds ..
Unpred: Emmm .. that's good for you .. how about we hear from the other kids? What about you guys?
E2.5G: But once outside my window ...
Unpred: *Torn between being nice to enthu kid and asking her to let someone else talk, hoping the child's mom will come to the rescue*
Clearly E2.5G's mom is nowhere around. Probably browsing around the fiction section having outsourced E2.5G's enthusiastic outburst to a hapless ME. By this time most other kids are just so distracted by the monologue of E2.5G that their usually vocal responses have toned down to whispers that obviously don't reach me. SIGH!
Don't get me wrong! I love kids. But to put a 2 year old into a group thats clearly defined as being for 4 to 6 year olds and then abandoning her there is real unfair to the poor storyteller (ME! ME! ME!) and the other kids who feel completely overwhelmed and stop contributing.
Anyway, storytelling aside, the weekend was packed with cooking adventures (Tam style Adai, Pasta, Dhoklas, Rabdi), some awesome movies (Flavors, No Reservations), sitcoms (8 episodes, Season 1, How i met your mother) back to back, and good conversation cum company. Amidst all this real world socializing, i just had to give the online socializing a smallish break :)
Will get back starting tomorrow. Hopefully, an evening spent in a Sari (which reminds me, i still dont have safety pins, HELP!) won't be too exhausting on the system. And although the training has been fairly mind numbing so far, atleast it gives my poor wrist a break from typing! Phew!
Nite ya all! :D
Monday, September 10, 2007
Friday, September 07, 2007
But what I just realized is, most blogs I find updated regularly (read 4 to 5 times a week) are by bloggers who are home and blog aside from mostly non-laptop work. I work 9 hours a day at this very laptop and then come home to the same damn thing!!!! No wonder my back and wrist and shoulders and fingers feel like they're on fire (No sweethearts, that's NOT MEANT in a good way!!).
I'm officially obsessed!!! HELP!!! :DDD
Thursday, September 06, 2007
(Lalitha: Be proud. Be VERY proud.... Also, after the microwaving-potato-without-water story, tell your mom THIS and see what she says :D)
Now to the real subject of the post ...
For some time now, I've had P report to me at work. Having gotten promoted recently myself and to a different brand from the one I started out, you'd think I already have my hands full. Apparently, my manager/s didn't think so. So they handed me this bright enthusiastic young woman who's future now officially rests in my hands. Yeah, as if I didn't have enough to worry about!!!
2 months down however, I realize there's something to what they decided for me. (Managers at P&G are so highly regarded for good reason, I suppose!) Coaching someone is officially the best part of my new job. It's sometimes worrying, sometimes stressful but mostly its a rich rewarding experience that lets me come home with a smile on my face. Everytime I'm on the cusp of being overwhlemed by the little things, I look at P and tell myself, THAT's my biggest project, not this small stuff. Not the numbers and the one pagers and the reco roll outs to top management. And for those few minutes, it all seems worth it, coz it gets linked up to another living breathing person. :-)
I wonder, although, how good my boss A had to be to think that this would be the kinda thing that motivated me. It takes deep insight into another person to be THAT good a manager. With my kinda self involvement, my biggest fear is always that I'll forget about P's welfare at some time. That I won't see the times she needs help/ advice/ encouragement and that her enthusiastic being will be let down because of my negligence. But A was never like that. In the course of discussing my strengths and weaknessess, he did this incredible thing. He asked me if I understood why X was an opportunity area. I said yeah, and rattled off examples of times when I'd manifested the trait, looking really ashamed -might I add! And A shook his head and said "Yeah, but that's the symptoms right? I don't really think that's why you did so and so ... I think its for so and so real reasons". I must admit, he read me better than I ever read myself.
THAT's what makes a good manager. Knowing the mind and heart of the person who works with you. Knowing what makes them tick. Knowing that your style is just that YOUR style, and won't work with everyone, and hence developing a unique style to deal with every person who reports to you.
Like A had this tendency to ask me "To, kya chal raha hai life mein?" everytime we started a meeting. We'd spend 15 mintues updating each other on our most interesting stories. A is probably the only person whose been completely clued in to the happenings in my personal life for the last 1.5 years, more importantly the last 5 months. He's been supportive and smiling through it all, keeping me smiling and motivated in turn. I know there's times he's offered more than fair share encouragement on the professional front, simply coz he knew things were sometimes rotten on the personal front. Does that kinda relationship with a boss even appeal to someone else? It never mattered. It appealed to me ... and so he kept it that way with me. Now that's a FANTASTIC manager.
My 1st boss T was and will always stay my personal favorite. T himself a rather unique style of operating vs. most managers, and yet with his 3 direct reports back then, 2 girls and 1 guy, he had subtly different styles. With me it continues to be the constant leg pulling on a personal front coupled with demonstrations of high respect on a professional front. There was always just enough seriousness and just enough jokes. There was never judgement, yet lots of honest feedback. And it worked brilliantly for me. That's another FANTASTIC manager.
When I think about it hard enough, being a boss is in so many ways like being a mother. And this is meant in the best way possible. Mother's who read this blog, DO NOT for a minute assume I underestimate your role and relationship with your child. Point i'm trying to make is, in a people driven culture like my company's, a manager's role best mirrors that of a mother. Here's the parallels.
1. Like any mother ASSUMES about her child, good managers ASSUME and take for granted that the person reporting to them is innately capable and intelligent. That given the right coaching, he/she can become a huge success.
2. Like any mother, good managers struggle with drawing the line between letting their direct report make his own mistakes and giving him all the answers.
3. Like any mother, a good manager trusts in and stands up for his report, more so in public than in private.
4. Like any mother, a good manager is constantly alert for signs of trouble. Is the child demotivated? Not performing well? Not happy? Not liked? Not content? Not comfortable? There is always the tendency to watch out for the yellows before they turn into reds.
5. Like any mother, a manager has to cope with being harsh on a report when the situation so demands. It may not be pleasant, but if that's what makes most sense for the others' welfare, then that's what shall be done, no matter how bitter it feels.
6. Like any mother, a good manager is constantly trying to tell the world how good a job his report has done. His pride and joy lies in the accomplishment and success of his report.
7. Like mothers have to deal with kids leaving for studies and careers away from home, a good manager has to deal sometimes with letting go of someone - sometimes to another team, sometimes another function, sometimes another career. Nothing is as important as the happiness of the report. Even after all that time and care you invested in them, you always know they're not here to stay. And it still doesn't change how hard you work at making them successful.
Nayak once told me (and he wasn't the only one) that I'd make a better mom than a wife. Although he got kicked badly for that statement, and although i resent that kinda role comparison, I can only hope that the statement bodes well for P. :)
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Obviously, like every little significant / insignificant thing in my life that gets wordspace on this blog, tonight's dinner will be written about.
Rasam .. or was it Sambar?
The rasam turned out FABULOUS (and i'm gonna need one of kinks/ vijay/ palli/ deepa/ pangal/ sid to vouch for this! so leave a comment people!!!).
Not without event though. Here's how the story went ..
(rasam making almost done, Unpred turns to nearest innocent to-be-victim)
Unpred: Lalitha taste this and tell me if it reminds you of rasam
Lalitha: Hmmmm .. emmmm ... mmmm ... Sambar type look and feel is happening ...
Unpred: But tell me, net net, what's the diff between rasam and sambar?
Lalitha: (Sighs at the utter stupidity she's having to encounter as a guest) Duh! Sambar has coconut!
Unpred: Well .. then what's wrong with this? I don't even stock coconut! How can this be Sambar then (grappling with understanding Lalitha's sense of logic)
Lalitha: (With all the knowledgable solemnity of a Remy in Ratatouille) Hmm ... too much dal .. too little water .. too little tamarind also ..
Unpred: So we add water and tamarind juice?
Lalitha: Not sure if its all that simple woman! Just tell junta you made Sambar no ...
Unpred: *Sambar again??? But there's no coconut! :S Bleddy, shudn't have committed and raved about how i'd make rasam .. now i'm stuck ... is pride more important to me? Or is maintaining the semblance of taste?*
(Makes rather quick decision and allocates priority to pride - OBV!)
Unpred: Tamarind juice+ water it is! So it might taste of nothing finally, but what is life without a little calculated risk (agreed its NOT calculated, and 6 other people's lives are at stake but the words PRIDE PRIDE PRIDE are doing a small dance around my head)
(Quickly pours the aforementioned into bubbling liquid and realizes now salt and sundry spices will have to be added to make up ... now realizes what Lalitha meant by 'not so simple'... Adds everything through the dawning realization ... )
Outcome: The bubbling concoction magically tasted like rasam finally methinks. Sid did make a comment about it being Sambar, but promptly took it back once he tasted it (Ok fine, it was coz i threatened to never invite him again if he didn't call it rasam ASAP, HAPPY?)
And honestly, even to my discerning tastebuds, it did taste pretty good. Anyone who wishes to try can come over, really, half of it still sits in the fridge. I may be great at taste, but proportions - clearly not my strength! There was much most sighing and oohing and aahing over the rasam (and lalitha's awesome potato curry - dry, oily, spicy and PURRFECT!) and we felt suitably elated.
Game of Taboo - Men vs Women.... Women kick ass :D
Lots of tabooing has been happening lately, yes. So it happened tonight as well. The jealous buggers split the dream team of Unpred + Kinks after our recent spate of victories and proposed a men vs women match. I shed tears, even tried proposing a P&Gers vs. non P&Gers split ... anything to get my incredible taboo mate back on my team .. but didn't happen. Ah, well, such is life. And all's well that ends well. We beat the boys. By a 12 point margin. *Evil Grin*
Highlights of the game:
1) Vijay running out of cards and screeching ... "No more no more .. pochu pochu" with frantic worried expression on face ... (ok u really had to be there!) while the rest of us rolled in laughter
2) Vijay: "You use this to soak up something spilled on the floor ... no no .. not mop .. close ... u use it to SOAK up split stuff ... "
Kinks: TODDLER!!! (WTF!!! More rolling laughter! Logic was explained later, apparently he thought u cud use the toddler's diaper to soak up spilt stuff :S ... don't ask me, I have Taboo chemistry with him, but even i wudnt have cracked that one!)
3) Lalitha: Pointing excitedly at me ... "What's the difference between Rasam and Sambar" (dear reader, hope u were paying attention earlier)
Me: Emmmm .. DAL! Tamarind! WATER!!!
Lalitha: Woman!!! difference !!! Sambar!!! Rasam!!!
Me: emmmmmm .... more dal? less dal? more water?
(ur right, I shudve seen THAT coming!)
We still think Kinky's toddler joke was the highlight of the evening. For the record, we were SO obsessed with the game, we finished EVERY SINGLE card in the deck... it was 11.15 pm by the time everyone left. And guess what i did right after? Eh, well .. my blogging obsession is common knowledge now, so no genius points for that anymore.
[for the record: Harika, Mr Roy and Soggy, we missed you guys, and i shall do this once again sometime over a weekend when i have enough time and resources to cook for 10 people... pls don't be mad!]
Fancy fancy ... hits from never before continents
Oh did I mention, i got my 1st ever hit from South Australia and Russia this week. You can check it on the neoearth counter at the right bottom of my blog :) Nuts and whoever it was in Aus, THANKS!! :D
Edited to add: After the half-line description i gave Lalitha's potato curry and her ensuing outburst on my comments page, I'm a little scared that she might never explain the difference between various gravies to me in future. So here's some more praise for the curry. The potato was perfect, soft on the inside yet roasted to ideal crispness on the outside. The taste was subtle enough, perfect to go with the tangy rasam. And if we really have to compare, while half the rasam sits in my fridge, all of the curry was wiped out. It was THAT good (or my proportions are THAT bad but let's not go there :D) Palli - happy a? :-)
They say this thing about words, they have this ability to just nail you sometimes. If you don't understand what I mean, its probably pointless reading any further. If you do, then you also understand that surge of feeling you feel for someone who has written incredibly well :- ) It's really not all that rare, esp in the blog world. And the above writers all do that for me with their blogs on an almost daily basis. It's this daily treat I look forward to. After a rigorous run of work from 9 am to 11 am, I take my 1st break for the day and browse through these blogs, usually ending up delighted by the content and depth of writing and refreshed to get on with more work :D
(Btw, I love the other blogs I'm linked up to too, that's why I've linked up, they just don't fall into the 'oft updated category' I'm alluding to right now, but doesn't mean they lack that "feeling" thing i'm talking about)
Why I'm saying all this? Coz today, I read this fantastic post that SS put up about why she blogs. Prolific bloggers usually have favorite writers and favorite posts. This post has officially made its place in my personal collection of much loved posts :D If you're the kinda person who gets a kick out of this kinda stuff (you know, words, expressions and the like) then pls to check out :)
Monday, September 03, 2007
I haven't ever been able to crack the science behind lingering thoughts. How is it that some incredibly memorable moments and good times fail to register in memory, short or long term? How is it that some completely forgettable experiences stay etched for way too long, way beyond expiry dates. Stark recollections are funny in the way they occur sometimes for the most inane incidents that have no significance whatsoever.
In reverse chronological order ...
This plays like a movie trailer ... The Village, Orchard road.... A group of people saunter out post dinner ... one stops as eyes rest on the Meritius Mandarin across the road .. suddenly an image of a running girl slamming into the front lobby door looking for a pay phone flashes in the mind ... Cairnhill Road was it? Unable to locate phone, runs past the ATM machine .. and the rest is a blur ...
There's the other one of hearing Robbie Williams + reading the Kite runner ... alternately closing and opening the windows .. fidgety and overwrought over choosing between paying attention to troubling thoughts and Hosseni's troubling words...
There's Galloping Gooseberries club sandwiches + Lime Mint coolers from Fruit Shop on Greem's road while stuck in office on Sundays for a terrible 2 months at Citi ... why i still loved those sandwiches i can't remember, but the taste of mayo + veggies in delicious bread I do....
Of opening the door to A 315 and walking out to a view of the tree outside A top ... Sehgal in the adjoining room playing Bhaage re mann ... pouring rains ... and heading down for hot chai with a content smile despite soggy clothes and overdue assignments ...
Of a whole night in C 302 with Nayak and Sohit spent discussing life, love, the gain and loss of both, missing Kunal, Ma and Dush and then heading out for breakfast at Koshy's after waking up a wildly protesting Papa just so we'd have someone to ride the 2nd bike :-)
Of prepping for the ConB Apex ... bonding with Sam :-), watching Mi3 fall asleep as the clock struck 10 pm and wake up as everyone else fell asleep at 3 am with a fervent "Chalo yaar, kaam karte hain!" :D
Sitting at the french window outside home in Mumbai, watching the hills, listening to Lagaan, wondering how the english lyrics could sound so corny when the rest of "O re chori" sounded so good ...
Hearing the latest gossip from the official VJTI housewives club - Lotli, Sirdesai and Sumit - over library tables while pretending to prep for the GRE/ CAT :)
Being a massive pain of a director through the making of Mukhauta's 2nd production - 'The Unexpected Guest' ....
Mugging through the train jourey from Borivali to Matunga while in class 12 so as to not waste 40 precious mins of travel time ... what's worse ... infecting Nutan with this habit too :)
Hanging out from local trains for the 1st time in my life ... Sharmili .. gracias! :) Or was it Tapi?
Mugging aloud, as per daily skeds all through class 10, while i sat on the window sill and it rained outside .. by sheer accident, touched a frog on the clothes line outside one rainy day .. hand soaked in Dettol for 30 mins post that ... cringing and wincing through the ickiness of it all :)
Sandy and me sitting down with our cups of bournvita and biscuits every evening at 6 pm to watch The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest, me with my secret crush on Race Bannon, him on Jesse Bannon .. :)
1987 ... mom being wheeled into the delivery room .. maternal aunts still pulling my leg about whether i'd rather have a brother who could turn out to become stronger than me someday or a sister who would borrow my stuff and pain me ... tough tough decisions i tell ya .. :)
1986 ... 5th bday ... being delighted when mom mentions post the morning bath that i can wear my new satin red 'frock' to school today coz its my birthday ... no need for the red and pink chequered uniform :)
The mind can't go any farther back ...wishing it to move ahead at the very least :)
Sunday, September 02, 2007
There's however a set of products (mind you, this is more like products with a name, more than just the allure we call a 'Brand') that have just simply made their mark on me. If asked the all too familiar question of 'What would you do if this brand/product was no longer available', my honest reply would be "I don't know how I'd survive without them'. I mean, I'm sure life would move on and I'd find a substitute in due course of time, but that interim period would be filled with much anxiety at finding a suitable successor, if you know what I mean. If you don't, then maybe the outlined examples will help ...
- Dove: I know, I'm starting with a Unilever brand. And i work for P&G. Call me a traitor, but I think Dove is a brilliant brand. One of the few brands I'll admit has what they call 'allure' for me. In that some of their products have just never worked for me, esp hair care. But some others (their Body Silk, shower cream and deodorants lead the pack) are just fantastic. I think its a combination of their 'We genuinely love women' positioning and partly the product action in select categories (Like i said before, Hair isn't one of them) that makes Dove such a loved brand in my life.
- Olay Total Effects: I've raved about this brand to people before. And yes, I used to work on Olay, so I won't blame you if you're screaming 'Bias'! To be fair to myself, I worked on whitening products, and this one's an anti aging product. It wasn't ever really my own. But honestly, no other skin product makes my skin glow like Olay TE does. If I leave home without TE on my skin, it just feels so .. so .. naked! Even when its an occassion to get dressed for, I don't have to use make up/ foundation - TE suffices :) It not only provides cosmetic coverage, but also genuinely gets rid of uneveness, dryness and dullness over time. I'm not asking anyone else to try it (that's your prerogative really), I just love this product and am not ashamed to scream it out from the rooftops!
- Gucci Envy perfume: I never ever bought perfumes for myself coz it felt like such a waste of money when plenty came in as gifts. At this one P&G fine fragrances seminar thing, they gave off free Gucci perfumes. And Gucci Envy stuck like no other fragrance ever did! Long Lasting fragrance is this!! Sharp, citrusy and not too feminine or sugary, just the way I like my fragrances. Gucci Envy is an all time favorite fragrance that genuinely 'Lingers' all day, giving perfumes over the world a good reputation :)
- Neutrogena Rainbath Shower gel: Aparna recommended this to me once. She's the maverick as far as brands go, really. Has this knack for trying products and then passing around appropriate WOM (word of mouth) on them to her friends and peers. Rainbath shower gel has the one fragrance no other product has ever managed to simulate - first rain on earth! :D Given my affinity for rains and associated scents, this one's obviously a favorite :)
- Ariel: Ok fine, i work on this brand now!!! I can't help it though, if it's completely brilliant ok! Seriously, i used to think twice before I wore whites in tough dirt/ dust situations. I love white kurtas, they're the most elegant colors for Kurtas ever! But I'd always be afraid of getting tea/ dirt/ food stains on them. Not being very laundry involved makes the slightest risk of ruining clothes a huge entry barrier to wearing some of my favorite shades. Ever since I've used Ariel though, I've even done things as stupid as wear a pristine white brand new kurta through a day in Bangalore city autos and restaurants, and with ZERO stress! Coz i knew Ariel was there! :D
- Axe deo: Procterites yelling 'Traitor', pls to calm down. Almost every male friend I have uses Axe deo regardless of which FMCG he works for. That itself is testimony to how good the product is. Agreed, the 'Axe effect' is a LOT of 'allure' from great advertising, but one has to admit, the product lives up to every expectation (No I haven't tried! Yes, I've been told :))
- Body Shop: Its just the fragrance and colors. I'm not even sure I'm a big fan of their products. I just love walking into a store once in 2 months and picking up one new scented oil (for the room, not the body). My room ALWAYS smells of a body shop fragrance - Sandalwood, Orange, Meadow, Lime, Strawberry, Lavender - U name it, I have it!
I can't think of many more right now. Will def do a follow up post when they come to mind, but this is it for now, these are the brands I'm hooked to - potentially for life :)
What's your story? Which brands are you a sucker for? :-)
Just got home from the movie and wanted to blog about it while the torture from the last 3 hours is still fresh in my mind. So what's wrong with Aag you ask? (Ok maybe u DONT ask, but i tell anyway, yes?)
- Terrible scriptwriting. Now really, this was supposed to be a lift off another existing (and might i mention, BRILLIANT) script. So how could they go SO wrong with this? Its this hodge podge of a story, set somewhere in a place called Kaliganj which seems like the Bombay sealine more than anything else. Bweh! And there's Holi being celebrated in a Tam house (????!!!??? Even as a fraud tam i know Tams aren't big on Holi!!!). Am not quite sure why Rambha Bhai talks like he does, why Babban has sidekicks who range from an old uncle to an IT professional type chap in specs. What the hell was happening in there?
- Terrible screenplay. What kinda dialogues were those? I know of 10 year olds who can speak better and would probably write more original, impactful dialogues. The bad lines don't just take away from the overall script, they even take away from the otherwise brilliant acting of an Amitabh Bachhan or a Mohan Lal. They really do! And for actors who aren't brilliant anyway (Elaboration will be offered in the next para), bad lines just make you want to go for their jugular for inflicting such unbearable torture on your ears and eyes.
- Bad actors. What is with that woman Nisha Kothari anyway? She's SO bad, i can't find an adjective to capture the feeling. A permanent scowl adorns her face except in the 'I'm an auto driver, yet i possess a lifetime membership with Victoria's Secret' song sequence where it's replaced by a forced look of 'being with this Heero guy is sheer bliss'. She barks her dialogues, practically spits them out, and has this shaky angry quality which she doesn't quite manage to pull off. She can't emote for nuts, and doesn't stop at not being a good actor, stoops right down to being a BAD one! Then there's Ajay Devgan who didn't even bother to carry along his standard set of 5 expressions (left 4 behind , ghar pe) and the new kid playing Raj, who lets give him his due here, is cute, but trying real hard to be as stony (read expressionless) as Ajay.
- Bad music. Ok so we've seen a gazillion movies with bad actors and bad scripts. Atleast they had decent music to make up for all of the above. You'd hope that applied to Aag as well, wouldn't you? Dream on! I don't remember a single song except from the trailer, they were all so bad. And seriously, Urmila looks really AWFUL in her patented item number. This isn't coz im a woman and i don't appreciate item numbers or hot women. I totally do! But Urmila in Aag isn't hot, isn't sultry, isn't sexy, IS disgusting, IS unattractive, IS tough on the eyes with her scantily clad boobs that practically pop out at you from the confines of the screen!
There's lots more i could complain about. But its fairly clear that my net reco is DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE UNLESS YOU HAVE TO KNOW HOW BAD IT IS!!!! Amidst everything else, I must admire, however, the resolve of the entire cast to act almost equally badly so that no one can be singled out. (I did it still, didn't I? :D)