Monday, December 07, 2009

Yeh tera ghar, yeh mera ghar...

We've finally found a house! It's breezy and pretty and centrally located.

The owner is a nice lady and she'd built in a shoe closet into the house for good measure :) Now we probably have 7 pairs of shoes between P and me, but it's always nice to have the option to own a few extra pairs no?

This is enough good news for the next 2 weeks I suppose. After which we have Christmas to look forward to :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday - 27th Nov

What a wonderful day. Rainy in bits. Breakfast with Penguin and the Viking (or is it the Thug? I'm losing track of the blog names!) followed by home cooked lunch at my place.

Followed by DVD viewing of Chupke Chupke.

Followed by a 4 -5 km run, the most sustained and break free run so far.

And then an ideally light dinner and ice cream with friends.

And freezing plan for cycling by the beach with D tomorrow.

And did I mention this was a 3 day weekend, so we had the day OFF in Singapore?

So here's to 2 more days of utter pfaff :)

Monday to Saturday - House hunting news

Another consolidated topic is house hunting. Admittedly, the search outcome has not been ideal so far, but honestly I've seen some houses P and I really like and one of the 4 waitlisted options must work out over the next 1 week. If not, then we have a clear back up in place.

Yay again!!!

Monday to Thursday

I know this is cheating, but I have consolidated points to list.

Over last 2 weeks following the corp athlete program, have kept to following rituals unfailingly:
1) Running 4 km once every 2 days
2) Eating something every 2-3 hours and avoiding junk at bad times of the day.

Yes I am obsessed with good health and being in shape, but I love that I'm able to consistently move in that direction and stay committed to the cause. So yay!

Sunday - Nov 22

Chilled out day which followed a brilliant Saturday of interesting company and food.

Also finally broke the egg curse - i.e ate self made scrambled egg without subsequent tummy upset (which has been the norm for some 10 years now).

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Woohoo. The day started with some good news. And my very kind boss is currently lugging P's guitar here to Singapore across the Atlantic. So yay to that.

I shall run this evening. Shall. Shall. Shall.

Friday Happy post

Main Talli, main talli, main talli ho gayi.

It's been just about a year or more since drinking was indulged in. So this was indeed, a brilliant Friday.

Also, you know, it's Friday. So. Yay!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Week so far

Has been far from happy to be honest.

It does feel (naively so, one might tell me) like this is the most stressed I've ever been all my life. Also A's very straightforward observation of "you look terrible" (ref the growing dark circles and generally pallid complexion) delivered to my face today could've plunged me into deeper gloom had I not had other more preoccupying matters on the mind. Imagine.

But I AM glad to report that I've begun to run 4 km once every 2 days after the corp athlete training. Also ensuring I keep up my glucose levels with snacks between meals. One apple every day and 1-2 glasses of milk/ yogurt drinks. The endorphins help pep me up even on really low days. And I promise to keep up this routine no matter what.

So there's my sad little update for the week. Sorry if I've depressed the crap out of someone who came here to read something happy :S

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Actually saw house number 2 and 3 today. V came along for one of them and helped the veto process.

I have to admit, the optimism from the Saturday post isn't misplaced at all. Each house so far has been better than before.

Also this week has got to be fab. Reasons cannot be disclosed in a public domain. Pls to blindly trust for now. In case of keen interest, email and I shall let you know.


Got started on house hunting. Finally. The 1st few houses can be depressing and confusing, but having a friend come along helps in the absence of a husband type person to bounce ideas off.

The Penguin accompanied me on Saturday and got me out of the dingy disaster that was termed a 2BHK before one could say "Shazaamm" (or before I could burst into tears).

But it has started. Which means it has to end. And well, at that.

Don't ask me. I find it tough to explain this weird optimism myself. Touch wood.

Friday Happy post

Apart from the innate Fridayness that Friday brought along, I worked from home on a beautiful rainy day and got all of my pending work sorted out. A friend came home for lunch and we happily stuffed faces with home made food and conversation. The Penguin made aloo parathas for dinner which were polished off with the raita I made.

Even before all of the above happened, the day arrived with this inexplicable feeling of brilliance which lasted all day long. And deprived as I often am of brilliance, I shall be the last to wonder how and why.

Fridays --> Happiness.

Hence proven.

Thurs happy post

My 1st big project for the year was kickstarted with a group presentation I'd been slogging over for a bit. Went off much better than expected.

There was the minor matter of my pressing the 'end call' button instead of 'unmute' when I was posed with a question by the super boss. Career limiting move notwithstanding, the otherwise staid conf call broke out into laughter when I got back into the call in a nervous rush and confessed to the group my clear lack of technological prowess. Entertained people across 5 time zones in the process.

If that's not a happy day, I don't know what is.

Wednesday happy post

Went to this training at work called the corporate athlete program. Very inspired to live life in a way that does more justice to my health and relationships with people. Happy day despite work overdose in evening due to all day training.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tues happy post

So we threw this sepprise party for D, V's girl.

Her Bday is Thurs this week, so over the weekend I made up this awesome convincing story about how I need a woman's opinion on this house I had to see on Tues evening and could she pls come with me. V gathered her other friends, Penguin found me a legit house near the restaurant I was to drag D to, and she honestly bought all of it. Honestly, she didn't notice it was a surprise until we were literally at the table where the gang was waiting for us! :D

Evil tricks like this run in my blood I think :D

Brilliant Tuesday this has been :-)

Monday, November 09, 2009

Monday Happy post 2!!!

So much happiness. I might faint and fall down from the giddiness of it all. No i'm not being sarcastic.

The cousin with the 3 year old kid visits in December and will likely bunk with me. The flatmate is conveniently out then, so yay to not worrying about disturbing the poor thing.

This is the 2nd time the 3 year old nephew will see me. And I'll be damned if I don't make a lasting impression on him. In no time, everyone will know I'm his favorite aunt.

(I need to ask my mother if this competitive thing runs in our family. Really.)

Monday happy post.

Accomplished something very significant but cannot talk about it until plan goes into action over next 2 days. More to come tomorrow.

For now, *Evil Grin* at being 80% en route to pulling off this brilliant stunt.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sunday Happy post

Had the most incredible pumpkin cake made by the Penguin's colleague.
Slept without being woken up by delivery man ringing the doorbell or upstairs people drilling holes into their floor at 8.30 am.
Spoke to S for very long, after very long.

Did I mention, I love Sundays?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Saturday Happy post

Learned my 1st ever Punjabi sentence.

"Thwadda naam ki aan?"

(aka what's your name?)

By next weekend I'll learn how to say "Stop beating your brother". Isn't that cool? (albeit useless for a few years at least)

Friday, November 06, 2009

Friday happy post

It's a Friday.

Need I say more?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Good news bytes: Day 2

A very good friend might move to Singapore in a matter of 3-4 months. It's wonderful news not only because I'd have a great friend around the corner, but also because this is something he's wanted for a really long time.

Here's to wishes being granted, and to prayers coming true. :)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I've realized this month is going to be crazy personally and professionally. In the spirit of taking charge of my own destiny and all, and to avoid plunging into deep blue depression, here's my plan.

Each day I promise to post about 1 thing that made me happy in the day. As a reader, you do not care, and that's cool. But I need to be able to come back here and NOT see more depressing crap.

Actually, crap is fine, so long as it's happy.

So today is day 1.

My FB status lines have off late reflected the murkiness of my moods. Everyday there's something new teetering on the edge of 'not so great' that suddenly degenerates into 'outright pathetic' and I put up a new angry status on FB.

Now the younger brother is on FB. (The mother, thankfully, is not)

After days of silently observing his sister's angst (anger he's used to, angst is new) he finally posted today on my status saying "dude, your status lines are starting to freak me out. we need to talk"

Like most men in my life, the brother is an inexpressive moron. But while on one hand, I'm feeling stupid at having worried him so, on the other hand, I'm secretly thrilled that something I said elicited a concerned response from him. Turns out after all the years of not being there for him and of barely staying in touch, he does love me after all :)

I'm going to put myself to sleep on that happy note. :)

Good night to you too ...


The most incredible part of coming to work these days is sitting by a window. So when the rain starts in a distant corner of the sky visible through the window, you can see the landscape start to gray out. Tall buildings, trees, highways - all gradually blend into the vast gray rainy backdrop until they disappear.

And suddenly, you see drops hit the very window you're at. And you know it's here.

Happiness, I think, is just this.

(Of course, there is the chance that you're home at the very same time, curled up with good music, a book and a cuppa tea in hand. But let's not get carried away, shall we?)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A few years back...

About this time...

1) I took my 1st ever alone vacation out of the country - There's nothing like a solo trip to make you feel like a true grown up. I've travelled alone often, but there's always been someone at the other end I know I'm going to spend time traveling with. This was the 1st time I not only traveled alone, I also went around the place all by myself.

My host would get off work every evening and take me around non touristy places, but most of the bigger stuff was done all alone. I hate growing up and feeling like I have responsibilities most of the time, but I've never felt so grown up in a GOOD way ever before :-)

2) I met P: Apparently every time my parents went around Bombay to invite friends and relatives to our wedding, they'd get asked standard questions like "where's the boy", "where are boy's parents" and so on. Once the whole spread of locations had been laid out for the audience (Girl in Singapore, Boy in the US, Girl's parents in Bombay, Boy's in Madras), the 2nd obvious question would follow in utter shock - "How did this even come about!?!?!".

Wherein my mother would get to explain how her out of control daughter ran off on a solo trip to this country where she met the friend of a friend, and how they got talking and kept in touch over the distance after she came back and so on and so forth.

And how we now have what one could easily term 'ajab prem ki gazab kahaani'. Many thanks are being sent up into the atmosphere today. Many.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Does the fact that we love Fridays so much mean we hate our jobs through the week? Is there a correlation between the two? Really? Coz then it means... uh. LEt me shut up now. I do enough damage to myself in this space.

I've been recently fascinated by the Myers Brigg model of categorizing people types. Our team at work once took the test collectively and discussed what the test threw up. It was fascinating for several reasons. Some people were so in the gray area of the various dimensions (extroversion vs. introversion, planning vs. non planning, thinking vs. feeling etc) that they simply couldn't arrive at a conclusion on who they were. Others had profiles that theoretically made them quite ill suited to work in this company. And with some others, who had the perfect P&G profile, you could just tell that's the profile they'd have fallen into.

Here's a brief description of the dimensions so you can get some idea.

The ideal P&G profile is apparently an ESTP - Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking and Perceiving (Outgoing people who can live in the moment and use their minds more than their hearts). And guess what I turned out to be? An ENFJ. With a 96% on the F.

Pah! So basically I'm almost the exact opposite of the kind of people who could make it big in P&G. Apart from, of course, the E (which I score like a 4% on - i.e. I am probably a recent convert from I to E, AND I probably reserve for a select set of people).

I know you're probably thinking it's stupid to conclude my lack of fit for a job based on what some personality test tells me.

The truth is this. For most part of my work, I like the ability to solve problems on my own. I like the people I work with. Most of the time anyway.

But. BUT. It bothers me, this whole process of aligning with a zillion folks and finally seeing my proposed solution executed in a watered down version of its former self. I don't even know if the consumer gets what I thought she wanted by the time a million people have seen it and interpreted their own version of "what's best for the consumer".

I used to take it personally at first, and suffer in the process. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to detach from the rightness or wrongness of it all. For now, I do my job, and I’m happy if I can do it well.

It’s the same with the whole feeling vs. thinking thing. Being an F person makes me more prone to taking things personally. And more prone to avoiding conflict. Avoiding is a light term seeing as I LOATHE conflict from the bottom of my heart. But then I am my mother’s daughter, so what could’ve turned into a doormat trait, is now a decent balance of being able to stand my ground and running FAR away from the situation when needed.

So each of those days I come here and whine about my job? It’s not so much how much I hate the work itself. It’s more hating how it makes me feel (useless, incapable, non smart, evil slave driver etc etc).

ENFJs (aka people like me) are apparently best suited to jobs that involve caring for and nurturing others - nursing, teaching, counseling, hospitality etc. And guess what my life long dream has been? To teach kids. My happiest moments in the week are when I read to a bunch of 4-6 year olds at the library and they look like they’ve had a brilliant time. Better still when their parents walk up to me and ask if they can get my number, if I do this for a living, etc.


I don’t mean to whine. My job probably gives me everything I need in life right now. Security, the ability to pay my EMIs, challenges for my restless mind and a chance to work with some fantastic people. I appreciate all of that. The choice to walk away will be a tough one to make, if I ever do.

But I constantly wonder, if I'm settling for less. Not as much coz I’m doing a job that isn’t perfect for me, but more coz I am NOT in a job that I COULD be perfect for.

Know what I mean?

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Really, my dreams deserve a post all of their own. It's funny how their occurence is strongly correlated to whether I am IN this country or not. The side conclusion is also that I don't have them when I'm sharing a house with P, but let me not get all sentimental now.

Before last night, there's been goons pushing me and the Penguin to escaping from bathroom windows, blindness before an exam, make up aunty at my wedding not turning up and other stressful situations

Last night saw more other stellar performances:
1) My neighborhood is plagued by a tiger which later turns out to be a man who changes into tiger ever so often, on demand. Junoon, anyone?
2) Once again make up person (this time uncle not aunty) at my wedding is late so I’m freaking out. Then I realize it’s a double wedding with a distant cousin I don’t even like. No make up suddenly seems like a vacation in comparison.

Reality by(/i)tes: My homeopath seems to think there is some correlation between how frustrated I am with my 'married' living situation (aka P and I talking 10 minutes on the phone everyday and hoping that constitutes a marriage, for the moment anyway) while I try to convince her that it's purely frustration that has to do with HOW LONG this distance has taken to resolve (we're still a month away from resolution, let's not forget). Nothing to do with being married or not. I'd have liked to share a roof with him even IF we weren't married.

Obviously my subconscious is trying to tell me something. For now I choose to read it as "the best way to drown your sorrow/ frustration is to drink lots this weekend". Anyone have a better take on it?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Pizza!!!

Ooh that name is about to bring some very random hits to this page because of Cambodia and all. Although what this is really about is a happy Ms. Tic.

After being grumpy and whining about life and work and life and more work for about 3 weeks, even I have to tire of being a cynic and turn a new leaf.

So there. Something magical about the weekend that was Diwali, and nothing at all to do with the actual festival has had me smiling ever since. It just feels like things will work out one way or another. Like every good thing that I might have done in my 28 year long life might finally have a chance to pay me back now, and that it ACTUALLY WILL!

For starters, Wake up Sid was watched. Twice. And liked very much. The wedding sari was worn to a Diwali party the Penguin and I threw for friends. And what a party it was! You know how there are things men hate admitting they love to talk about? Yeah so when they're around women who 'force' them to discuss these things. they give the women a run for their money. As soon as the topic of "your ideal mate" came up, we heard groans from around the room, which over the next 30 minutes turned into an intense probe session mostly led by the men. Oh well. They had fun, girly or not. And that's all that matters no?

Then other good things happened. Library visiting. A 3 day weekend I didn't know about until the evening before. Lots of chill time with the Penguin which hadn't happened in very long. Catching up on Filmfare and chick lit reading. Eating yummy food things. Meeting the old flatmate and her mother. Really nice comments on the wedding pics. A warehouse sale and goooood shopping. And so on. :)

The cold was the only thing that didn't get better. The nightly blocked nose has persisted through the week and led to bad dreams every night. Ranging from the Penguin and me trapped by goons and trying to escape through a bathroom window (who were we kidding? it was the 20th floor!) to me going completely blind except for flashes of light all around me, they were surreal and freakishly correlated to not being able to breathe properly. But I'm starting on a dose of strong meds tonight, and hopefully sweet dreams (preferably none) will be had tonight onwards. YAY!!!

That's all from me folks. If my hand stays good, I'll blog more often. :)

Monday, September 28, 2009


Was an incredible month. To put it rather simply.

I got off work and on vacation on the 1st. Until about last week. A never before 20 days off work. YAY! :D

P and I were legally wedded, temple wedded and church wedded in a span of 3 days. There could have been more considering his father is Sikh, but his parents are just too nice to put us through the elaborate ceremonies that it would entail.

Plus, secretly, I think uncle and aunty aren't quite the ceremonial types. They'd rather throw a 2nd drinks and dinner party for their friends (our reception in their hometown, Chennai, was the 1st). And a 3rd, perhaps.

After 2 weddings and 2 receptions across 2 cities and after lugging relatives back and forth between the 2, apparently the only valid ceremony was the one we had at the registrar's office because we belong to different religions.

Not only did we have to put up notice for the wedding 3 months in advance, we also had to stand in front of registrar office uncle and read the statement "I, _________ daughter/son of _________, hereby take ___________ to be my husband/ wife of my own free will and state that I am not being forced into this marriage" out loud. THRICE.

(What, so inter religious marriages are the only ones forced on people is it? What about the ones where you're supposed to see some dude for a minute and then decide you want to marry him? Isn't that sad and deserving of punishment like 3 times recitation??? )

You heard that right. THRICE. We each had to read this para thrice as if being punished by a teacher in school. The best part is the solemn expression with which registrar uncle finally congratulates us when the 3rd reading is done.

Anyway, 3 bucks over the table , 1000 under, and poof. We were married.

It rained cats and dogs in Mumbai on our 1st wedding (The temple one). And still so many friends turned up. The penguin was there looking ravishing in a sari i gifted her. And until the VERY END, like until the thali was tied around my neck, I kept thinking Mogambo would show up and go "SEPPRIISSSE, Here I am!!!". But she really meant it when she said she couldn't make it. To make up for this, she called us once every 3 hours to see how things were proceeding. (we love you stupid woman. dont feel bad and all.) My boss, the ex boss and the ex ex boss were all there. So was my korean flatmate. So were friends from b school all the way back to school. We hadn't done the mass email to the class groups, but we loved that so many of those we invited could actually come and have fun with us :-)

The best part is, although P and I had been dreading how serious and boring the ceremonies might turn out to be, they actually turned out to be incredibly fun! Apparently the priest later told my mum he's never had SO much fun conducting a wedding. And guess what? Just before we left Mumbai, we'd given her very similar feedback on how cool the priest was! And our guests kept laughing coz we kept laughing and it was all just one big party :)

Chennai was kickstarted with the hilarious registered wedding of the 3 times recitation fame. The church ceremony was cozy and about 30 minutes long. The reception was nothing like the usual. We didn't stand on a stage and get pictures taken with a long line of people. We just mingled and spoke to everyone. And I got away with looking utterly non bridal. As a consequence, those are my favorite pictures of all.

The travel and the socializing beyond our capacities did take its toll. P and I slept like babies through this entire vacation. My body clock which usually wakes me up at 8 am, went to sleep with me. And not a single day did we wake up earlier than 10.30 am. *Proud look*

Except the day the earth shook. We were on the 5th day of a nice leisurely post wedding break in Bali, when at 7.15 am the sound of rattling windows and doors shook us up. Shook me up, actually. P would've slept through it all had I not screamed "GET THE PASSPORTS AND MONEY. AND RUNNNNNNNNNNNNNN". In fact he almost slept through my screaming as well. All he could mumble to my horrified screams was "I'm sure the tremors will stop in a while. Can we go back to sleep now?"

I'm stuck with this for life, can you believe it?

Right. So to the question, "how does it feel to be married?" (You want to ask it. You know it. I know it. Let's not play games, ok?)

I might as well tell you now. It feels no different. I still write Ms. Tic not Mrs. Tic as my name on travel forms. My surname is still the same. I look exactly the same (I'm still scrawny apparently) and P does too (scrawny as well). I still call his parents 'uncle' and 'aunty' and drink in front of them. He still calls mine 'uncle' and 'aunty' and eats non vegetarian food around them. I still talk till my jaw hurts (it really does btw :S) and he still listens without zoning me out. (I love this guy, have I mentioned?)

The one thing we'd love to have changed is to actually start living together. But ever since my company took 5 months to answer the question "can you move me to where P is" with a resounding NO, and kindly offered that I could instead move to the HQ in the US and do a weekend relationship with him for the next 2 years (Ooooh how generous. Thanks!!), we're kind of in the dumps a wee bit and looking through options that won't, you know, take 5 MORE months. OR have one of us be unemployed for more than about 6 months.

So there. That's what I've been up to the last 1 month. This vacation has been AMAZING, and I cannot help but hope against hope that the next few months are the same. :)

Pray for us, if you believe in that, or just send good wishes our way. And if you get to share a roof or even a city with the person you love, and you haven't said your thanks yet, please do. :) Not everyone is as lucky as you :-)

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I spent a good part of today feeling sorry for myself (long story, but legit enough to worry about, I promise you) and indulging in a series of 'Why Me" type questions. After abandoning some useless attempts at sleep which only got me more worked up, I switch on the TV to guess what? Juno!! The ultimate movie about how there's always a cooler alternative than to feel sorry for yourself. It's as if the universe is telling me to shut and get a grip.

So I shall. Have fun tonight i.e.

What are your weekend plans, say?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

For those who believe in prayers...

The 3 or 4 odd times in life I've had the chance to pray for something significant, like really ASK for a choice to be granted at a life changing juncture, I've held back from being too specific or picking from amongst the top 2 choices.

And learned that it's always for the best.

If I'd gone to IIMA vs. B for example, I'd have been a nervous wreck by the time the 1st year ended, instead of having as much fun as I did. But I refrained from asking, although A and B were the top choices, and everyone knows A is the more glamorous option of the 2. I kept holding back and saying 'I'll take what's sent my way' until I found out that A was actually the ONLY one I didn't make it through.

The same holds true for recent turn of events. And if what I've been granted in life so far is anything to go by, then only good things lie in store, although I'm finding it tough to see it right now.

Hope. Faith. Courage. I hope to find you and keep you over the next few months. Work with me, will ya?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

There's something to be said..

for the fact that every time I start to lose hope a little bit, something happens that brings me back to being hopeful.

For that, and for everything else that's gone right in the last 2 weeks, and to whoever is orchestrating the musical that is my life....


Monday, August 03, 2009

Another 2 weeks ...

Go by.

This time bringing with them such gifts, that I'm on the verge of believing in 'good' and 'bad' times.

Finally found a nice girl to move into my room when I move out. And by nice, I mean really nice!

The broken laptop has been replaced by a new one. A phenomenon not known to many in my company in the current era of cost cutting.

Some health issues have been sorted out. The larger ones anyway. I'm hoping no others come up and everything else is as petty as my sneezing (really I've started to appreciate those small ailments a lot now, if they mean the larger stuff stays away)

Closure on some very critical formalities pertaining to the country I live in.

Incredibly good friends from the past have gotten back in touch, through what can only be described as coincidences of the highest order. :-)

Work, oh work, has been OH SO GOOD. Meaningful projects, and the realization that I have a wonderful set of colleagues to work with. Gives me hope for the year coming up. And the travel that it brings along can only mean more adventures. :)

I'm going home this Friday for 3 days :D It's going to be hectic and action packed, but it's going to be pretty awesome as well! :D

No more weird dreams :)

The whole P and I living together thing is a discussion that's at least going somewhere. It may not end up with the most desirable outcome, but at least for now, I know that the powers that be are talking about it with other powers that be. Compared to 6 months of almost zero updates, this is progress. Only it may be December, vs. October, by the time we start to live together, but we've done this long enough for 2 extra months to not kill us. So that's fine.

Much bonding with the other flatmate DM. Much fun at home (I've now watched 3/6 Star Wars movies coz she's such a manic fan, egged on over the phone by P who has found a willing partner in crime) and much much traipsing around the country(in our case, city)side doing nothing in particular. Many feelings of "Why didn't we do this earlier?" and "Darnit I'm going to miss her when we both move out in a month's time" are coming to mind now, but that only goes to show how good a time is being had. :)

And the Penguin's birthday is coming up. And DM's. And planning these, esp. with that Penguin being so excited since the last 2 months, is going to be some task, but is going to be tons of fun nevertheless.

So there. If you hear me whining, put one tight slap, coz I need to count my blessings as of this moment, and hope there are only more to come. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

2 weeks ...

flew past in a flurry of crazy unproductive activity that yielded, unfortunately no returns. Workwise, anyway.

Thankfully, today I caught up with someone whose sanity always restores my faith in my company. The kind of person, who if he left his job, would leave a little less for me to aspire to in the years to come.

After my conversation today, I feel a little more convinced that the shit is temporary. That deep down somewhere, I do have passion for what I do. Even if it's not THE thing that will make my life meaningful and content, it IS the 2nd best thing. Maybe 3rd best.

Not worth giving up on, for now anyway.

That's a comforting thought, especially since I've been feeling utterly lost more often than not at work lately.

1 big personal milestone was achieved that provides some sort of security blanket in case I lose my job (bladdy jinxer I am) or something equally drastic. So yay! And biggu thanks to the powers that be who made it happen. yayyayyay!!!

My dreams are getting weirder and weirder. Last week I woke up in a state of panic after a dream where my parents tried to force me to take on P's surname. My parents, who don't particularly care what name I keep or leave, and know that force is the least likely way to convince me. Who later, when I told them about the dream, laughed like it was the funniest thing they'd heard all week. My mother went so far as to say "Maybe you really WANT to take on his name, and your subconscious is acting out".

Nice try, ma. Nice try.

My other dream had junta lounging around in my living room on the morning of my wedding. No one seemed in any particular hurry to make it to the Muhurtam. On trying to be the voice of sanity in the room, I was asked to "take a chill pill. the muhurtam isn't running away anywhere".

When we finally did make it to the venue, make up aunty could not be found. As I ran up and down a weirdly large hall looking for her, I bumped into P who had turned up looking like one proper tambi - in shorts and a white button down shirt. Grumpy as hell to boot. Not like I cared. My make up wasn't done yet, so I ran off to look for aunty.

I woke up in a state of panic both times wondering why I'm seeing all this least-likely-to-happen-nonsense in my dreams.
The next few weeks are bound to be rather interesting and I'd be lying if I said I'm not curious to knwo what my dreams have in store for me.


Ooohhh also a new hire from work came over on Sunday to see the house. She's the latest candidate for non psycho women to take my room when I move out. She seemed sweet and sane and not at all scary. Only thing is she apparently has other options, and will let me know this week if she picks me or not.

I've never been good at doing parallel processing with my options. So while DM asks me to check around with my other options X, Y and Z, I cannot help but hesistate thinking that this constitutes cheating on new hire non psycho girl. Such misplaced sense of morality will get me absolutely nowhere, alas.

But it is how it is. So let's wait and see if she turns out to be the ONE.


*start mush*

In other news, V's brother, the mystic wanderer was here from Vietnam over the weekend. Many chillings were done and many funs were had. I think he was delighted just to be able to speak in English and be understood without miming or wild gesturing.

His presence helped keep me distracted from a good deal of unknowns that would otherwise have made me pull out my lovely long hair out over the weekend.

Dear wanderer, I noticed that note you left on my table. Touched as I am, I should be the one to thank you, and not the other way round. The number of expletives I yelled on the phone on my way back from work on Friday might have multiplied over the weekend, had it not been for your distracting guestly presence. :)

*end of mush*

Ok now dear reader/s. I need you to send me your bestest most positive vibes for *certain* things to work out over the next 1 month. Being Zen like and calm is all a good thing to aspire to, but it's not my natural state of being and the hard work of staying this way might make me lose all my lovely hair and go completely bald. And we don't want that, no?

K I have an 8 am meeting tomorrow, so tata and bai for now. Sleep well, be good and err.... don't do drugs. Or caffeine. Etc.

Good night!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Murphy's Law

How do I begin to tell you how my seemingly productive, calm and normal day turned disastrous as the clock struck ?

Until 5 pm I was happily working away at my laptop, which although slightly injured (I don't know how it happened, but the laptop screen portion has literally snapped at the place where it joins the keyboard.) was still working fine.

At 7, my boss calls from the offsite in one corner of Singapore, and asks me to join them tomorrow so I can help out with some presentation scheduled for the evening. I wonder how to transport the laptop that cannot be closed anymore to this place, but say yes nevertheless.
At 7.50 pm, I decided to call D who has been indicating for a while now, that she'd like to move into my room in the current apartment when I move out in September, but has been pretty indecisive about it, leaving me frantic to figure out my other options (which includes calling about 20 people I know in the city and putting out the word that I'm looking for a non psycho woman to take over my room when I leave).

By 8 pm D basically confirms to me that she will move in and is OK with our terms and conditions etc etc. I'm happier than ever at the closure of such a big to do on my list, and in my happiness call my flatmate DM to tell her the news. DM is just around the corner and indicates that we can discuss the exciting progress as soon as she gets home in 10 mins. I can't wait, I'm SO excited! But wait, I do.

Tragedy 1

At 8 pm, my laptop starts acting weird and finally sighs and gives up. Screen goes blank and I can no longer see what I'm typing. Now the only way to shut it down is to physically press down on the relevant button. And I do that. End of computer.

Tragedy 2
Realizing instantly, this is the laptop I need for an 8 am meeting tomorrow with my super boss, who sits in Panama City, and whose number, alas, I don't have on me. To email him I need my computer. My computer, as shown above, is dead. Extreme fail has just happened.

Tragedy 3

Then I realized my own boss in Singapore expects me to be there with the same computer by 10 am tomorrow. And that's not going to happen (unless IT can transfer the info into a temp comp and give it to me tomorrow morning itself. Right. That's SO happening) which means I need to let her know there's a problem. Except the boss is busy with the offsite funs and isn't picking up her phone. The party will likely go on well into the night, and post that, calling her to say "boss. computer died. I may not be able to help with presentation tomorrow" might just be a career limiting move.
Tragedy 4
Remember D who called me a while back and confirmed she'd take over the room when I left?
D calls me, 10 mins after all this and tells me she doesn't want to move in after all. Now I really like her despite all this, so I won't go into details of why this was a massive pain.
But my contract says I need to continue paying rent in this house for 2 months after I leave if I cannot find anyone to replace me. It's only fair to the folks who continue to live here. But I'm now back in the market looking for non psycho girls. ARGH!!!!

Post all this DM, my flatmate, comes back home, makes the righ sympathetic noises and is kind enough to loan me her personal laptop for the night and tomorrow, so I can use webmail to let the boss and super boss know about the problem.

I'm actually going through with the 8 am call coz i have the req docs in my sent items on outlook. The rest is still a pain to manage, but DM's made it all a little better with her computer.
I can whine to P on chat about this, I can blog about it, and actually go through with one critical meeting tomorrow. Already writing about it makes it feel smaller, less messy and more manageable. I imagine it will all fall into place. Somehow.
I hope the morning brings with it an end to my spate of bad luck. Good night :-)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Indian Television Syndrome

1. You wake up in the middle of the night looking impeccable.
You're in your best sari and coordinated jewelery. Dark circles is a word unknown to your skin vocab. Your hair, oh your long dark hair is still straight, sometimes with little symmetrical waves at the very end.

2. You're a woman in one of 3 profiles:
(a) The innocent, very nubile, fair maiden loved by her parents, and ready to be married off to the handsome, richish person from a good khaandan. To become paraaya dhan only after kundlis have matched of course.
(b) The hardened housewife, facing angst in her new home. Keeping a brave face and sacrificing your own desires for the man you love/ his siblings/ your in laws. The glue that holds the khaandaan together in the face of the great calamities that befall the average Indian household on a daily basis. Later to turn into benign and benevolent mother in law to sample (a) above.
(c) The evil vixen type aunty whose eyes gleam with glee at the suffering she has managed to bring upon those she resents the most. Generally tends to wear heavier make up than (a) and (b).

3. Parampara (tradition) is very important to you:
What has been done for centuries is obviously the right thing for your precious household. The women are the bearers of the burden that is family honor. The men sit back, relax and eat the delicious food that is first served up by the mother, later by the gharelu wife. Women can work and all that, but only after they've done everything the in laws, siblings and other assorted relatives need. No compromises there.

Women will unequivocaly blend into the new family and like a pre programmed robot, forget about the family they lived with all these years, then proceed to autogenerate feelings of love for the in laws she only just met today.

Women will observe reeti rivaaz with utmost dedication - karva chauth for the long life of their husbands, adopt the family surname as their own and give the family *good news* within a year of the wedding.

If by any chance the woman in question cannot conceive, she will either be shunned to a life of misery and finger pointing or sent back to her parents home (much wailing and crying at this announcement).

Any arguments against the above, especially logical, will be countered with mentions of Indian Culture (TM). You will be led round and round with well rehearsed arguments such as this until you are too confused to remember what you're original point was. You will then be stuffed with lots of delicious food (after all, mehmaan is like bhagwaan) and sent home.


I've watched too much Star Plus in the last 2 days and I'm reeling from the utter nonsense TV continues to spew in the name of entertainment. Really, it's depressing to see how channels are only regressing further into the past instead of encouraging people to pursue rational thought.

No wonder you still have single men on Star Vivaah (the TV version of making demands for a pretty, fair, slim girl who will blend into their family and cook well while the women are asking for partners who will double up as friends and understand and support their careers. What a strange collision of expectations!

Is it just me, or were we better off in the 80's with television serials like Nukkad, Rajni and Byomkesh Bakshi?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

If you knew you had a year (and no more) to live...

Would you still be doing the job you do today?

Would you still keep the grudges you hold against those you haven't yet forgiven?

Would you still visit your family as rarely as you do?

Would you still be comfortable with the figurative distance you and the sibling have developed over time?

Would you still be whining about the little things?

Would you still hold off on that phone call to the friend you haven't heard from in years?

Would you still be saving up enough money for when you can finally start doing what you know will make you truly happy?

Monday, June 29, 2009

A birthday story

Alas but hurrah - to the fact that I finish 28 years on the planet today. I know I should be sad that I'm turning older, but the thing is, each time I look back in time, I realize this is the best that life has ever been, and so there's really no need to turn the clock back, or relive a certain age. Nothing beats being where I am now! :D

Now I'd hoped that this birthday would gently pass me by and not get on anyone's radar, but the Penguin, determined young woman that she is, would not let that happen. And so a sepprise bday party was arranged by her.

On Friday evening, young V asked me to do dinner with him and his girl D on Sunday night. Since I'm naturally gifted with Sherlock like sharp instincts (and also because V, D and I don't EVER plan meals more than 2 hours in advance), I instantly knew something was up.

To cut a long story short, after I almost cancelled my own surprise party (You can call me a bitch now if you like. I can understand), the Penguin finally confronted me and told me to shut up and turn up coz people had been invited and the cake had been baked.

And I'm so glad she did! :-)

The 1st thing I noticed as I walked in was the usual suspects seated on the floor. AND a laptop propped up on the couch looking over, what was undoubtedly going to be the table on which the cake would be cut.

Strange, I thought to myself. Until I saw what was on the screen and almost fell down from the sheer ingenuity of it all (or from my own clumsiness at tripping on the foot of the table. We don't have to conclude which one, right now)!

On the screen was a webcam image of P projecting himself from his living room about 20000 miles away. Proud grin on face to boot! Suddenly the significance of what had originally sounded like a rather late party (9 pm in Singapore = 9 am on the east coast, USA, where P lives) dawned upon me.

As the Penguin brought out cake that she'd baked herself (deep dark chocolate. Sinful, but oh so good, like most things in life :D) and started to precisely count out candles to stick on it, I felt supremely ashamed of how idiotic I had been to almost ditch this event. Not to mention incredibly lucky to have someone love me enough to plan out such an elaborate event involving all the people I love - even if 1 of them lives in a different continent.

We spent the next 1.5 hours doing what we do best - making nonsensical conversation, stuffing our faces with cake and alcohol and making fun of the birthday girl (Ahem - ME). And even after P signed off and got on with his Sunday, the others stayed on and got drunker and drunker.

At some point, we realized that the wine had almost run out, and the Penguin brought out a bottle of Moet Chandon that she'd been saving for a special occasion (Smug grin on face - check) and we proceeded to get more happy as BlueBagel played incredible AR Rahman music. The finishing touch to the evening was the Penguin's rendition of happy birthday on her violin.

Sigh. Watta budday!

So far, today has been wonderful, and I'm now going to get home and cook everyone from last evening a nice meal of risotto and paella.

But for everyone who made it to last evening and esp. to the Penguin who made it all happen - THANKS! You're the best. :D

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Palace of Illusions

I made my acquaintance with Chitra Banerjee's work for the 1st time when I was nineteen and studying engineering. Even for someone who hadn't thought about marriage until then, a title by the name of "Arranged Marriage" was too much to resist.

<-------------Begin Digression---------------->
19 was when I was just about unlearning a lot of what I'd been taught as a child (not quite as much as i unlearned in my B school days 2-3 years later, but that's fodder for a whole new post), one of those many things being the method by which I was expected to marry.

The way it had always been done in the family (for years and years, without exception) was that when I turned 23 or 24, my jaadhagam (horoscope) would be sent out into the matrimony market for perusal by the parents of eligible boys. (Why these very eligible boys weren't looking for girls themselves, was a question that never occurred to me to ask. Perhaps because marriage was a distant reality, one I hoped would never befall me. Academics and accomplishment were far easier and far more fulfilling, asserted the geek in me.).

Once the parents had ascertained a certain compatibility of families, and the matching of horoscopes had been confirmed by various permutations of vaadhiyaars i.e. priests (probability of a wrong match decreases as the number of potbellied vaadhiyaars confirming the match increases) the boy's family would come home to see me - also known in Bombayized Tamil as "ponnu paathufying". While I would have to look my prettiest and coyest best, the parents would ask me to list my talents and while the parents pretended to discuss important worldly matters, the boy and I would be gifted with a generous 20 mins to talk to each other, and make up our minds on whether or not to spend the rest of our lives together.

I shudder even as I explain the above, although much has changed since then. For one, my mother, a big fan of horoscope matches in the 90's, underwent a radical transformation of beliefs by the time the millennium descended upon us and told me to go find my own boy (Tamil or not), failing which she would put me through a friendlier version of the arranged marriage process.

There would be no need to match horoscopes, no need for ponnu paathufying to humiliate me. I could take a few months to talk to the guy on my own terms ("email, chat, phone whatever makes you comfortable, child") and the parents would only meet after we'd OKed the whole thing.

Not like this made me feel much better about the notion of marriage, given coffee with strangers has never really been my forte and knowing me over 2 months of casual meetings is very very different from knowing me with my temper and stubbornness and loving me despite it. Few people had had success in this matter so far, and mathematically, it just didn't seem probable enough that a complete stranger would succeed where I'd manage to put off so many others.

Still, the "Arranged Marriage" process as i knew it at 19 was a diametrically opposite notion to the "We'll Arrange For You To Fall In Love" process that it has now become.
<---------------------End Digression--------------------->

And so I was drawn to a book by the name of "Arranged Marriage" since the devil was rather unfamiliar to me, but was a devil whose name was being dropped around me more often now than when I was 15. The book itself is a series of short stories, in Chitra's lyrical melancholy style. It was my 1st taste of Indian writing and I LOVED it.

Over the years, I've read Sister of my heart (one of my all time favorites), Vine of Desire (a not shabby, but not very worthy sequel to Sister of...), Mistress of Spices and Queen of Dreams (def not her best works).

And I thought I'd read them all until I read Palace of Illusions this weekend. Call me stupid (or call me a feminist!), but I thought the notion of retelling a story of testosterone and adrenalin through the eyes of a woman was a brilliant place to start.

It helps, also, that Chitra echoes my generation's issues with the characters in the epic. I personally always thought Yudhisthir to be an unrealistic idealist, who for all his babbling about Dharma, couldn't save his wife from being molested when push literally came to shove. Bheem has always been in my mind a caricature of a character - the classic stereotype of all brawn and no brain, and I wondered why Nakul and Sahadev were in the story at all given their poorly etched character profiles.

And to the women in the epic, I don't think I ever paid any attention at all. It's only when Chitra starts to narrate Draupadi's story, that you start to see the world through her eyes. That's when you realize that while all this while you took for granted that the women in that era would've been born compliant, they probably had as tough a time following the illogical rules they had to live with, the inane traditions that treated them as lesser beings than men. And when Draupadi resists these, you're tempted to get on her side and resist them with her. This despite her many shortcomings - her temper, her pride, her inability to forgive and her life long resistance to toeing the line (all of which now sounds like me! :O)

As is typical of me, my vote for love of her life also went to the underdog - Karna. And although the whole sub plot of how she falls for her husband's worst enemy is rather Bollywoodishly executed through the book, with glimpses into both their hearts every now and then, and a climax that would put Karan Johar to shame, I still found myself cheering for them at the end.

I'd seriously recommend the Palace of Illusions to anyone who loves reading Indian fiction and is a feminist. (Btw, if you belong to the generation that watched it every Sunday am on Doordarshan, then I promise you, you'll still be able to put a face to all the names.)

And if you walk in with no memory of the women (sidelined as they were in B.R. Chopra's version), Chitra Banerjee will make sure she gives you reason enough to remember them by after you're done with her book. :-)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

About a boy...

This is, indeed, continued from the post before last.


Reason I brought up the whole limited disclosure thing was to be able to gently slide in the presence of the *boy* into this blog.

I've kept him hidden from public view for long enough now, and we're getting to a point where not talking about matters involving him just makes it tough to write anything here. I don't mean to sound like we're joined at the hip. (Far from it, actually. We don't even live in the same city yet.)

But like so much of what happens around me everyday involves the Penguin (and see how she gets mentioned here ever so often?), a lot of what happens in my life also involves the boy. And as fiercely protective as I have been of the privacy of our relationship so far, it's now come to a point where the privacy binds my hands and keeps me from telling stories I'd otherwise have enjoyed telling. The blog suffers as a consequence. And that's just not fair.

So there. There is a boy; there has been for about a year now. And we shall henceforth refer to him as P - not to be confused with the Penguin. And stories shall be told henceforth with no fear of some unseen force avenging me for my happiness (coz insane happiness is what has accompanied the arrival of P)

{And I hereby promise that this is the extent of mush you'll hear from me on the topic.}

How I met P is a story I love to tell because it reinforces my most basic belief that everything happens for a good reason. Since telling the story in it's full form would involve violating the privacy of people other than P and I, I won't quite go there right here right now. Let me just say that it comprised a chain of events that at each point felt like it was the most painful thing to happen, but led to a subsequent and unexpected reward in its wake. (How's that for vague!)

As of today, P and I live on different sides of the world. Our relationship has leveraged technology in the most creative ways imaginable to avoid impoverishing either of us (so far, anyway). No one else has wished for a Harry Potterish floo network / portkey system of transportation (you know the kind where you vaporize out of one place only to appear instantly at your destination vs. sitting through a 24 hour flight?) as much as I have.

P and I have spent the last 1 year trying to plan when and how to end up in the same city (even country). Every individual purchase decision has been accompanied by 2nd thoughts on the lines of "is this too heavy to move if I move to be with her/him?". Changes in the economy have had implications on our life far beyond anything we imagined. It has put into question the very possibility of keeping both our jobs while being in the same city.

Funny thing is, while the visual in your head is of me pulling out my hair, I'm actually smiling as I write all this coz I'm realizing we've made it alive through a lot of crap like this and haven't lost the ability to laugh at ourselves and things around us :)

Closure on our situation is probably a month, maybe more, in the coming. Living together is probably 3-5 months away. Until then, we've made our peace with the uncertainty and given it it's place in our lives. After all, as a wise friend once told me, stability is not an end state. It's simply a moving target.

Net - If there's anything I've learned in this relationship, it's probably that you can't let anticipation of the destination ruin the journey for you. And I am determined to savor every bit of this journey, while it lasts :-)


The Penguin and I are leaving for a weekend trip to Malaysia tomorrow, which is why I figured I'd write this now. We're staying in this rainforest place and plan to pack in a trek, some dolphin sighting and a boat ride through a croc infested swamp in the dark. The last is not as dangerous as it sounds i'm sure, but if I don't come back, you know which animal to blame.

Be good and rest well (while we paint Malaysia red). And don't tell my mother about the crocodiles.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


*Note - This isn't a continuation from previous post.*
I've always felt like nature conspires to make me feel better when I'm going through an exceptional case of the blues. As lover of rainy weather, the way this generally goes is, the more upset I am, the heavier it rains, and the windier it gets.

Another weird phenomenon, not correlated with the blues is that weather in cities that I'm visiting does an about turn for the better as soon as I land, and goes back to normal the moment I'm on the flight out.

Cases in above points are my internship in Madras in 2004 (a 1st in 10 years summer showers spate kept the temperature at an unbelievable 24 to 25 degrees vs. the usual 30 something) all trips to the US in the last 2 years (bar the Jan end trip where I refused to leave the house for fear of freezing to death) and all days in Singapore where it has rained and made you go "WTF! It was bright and sunny until a minute ago, where did that rain come from?"


I've recently begun to feel very strongly that my job with its constant need for improvement and striving for perfection has only made me more and more critical of myself and others. Worse still, I'm now quicker than ever to point out flaws and trying to fix them. A perfectly fine attitude that might make me successful in the workplace, but risks alienating all the people I love with the constant need to have everything in place and on time.

I'm sure all jobs ask for perfection, so maybe this is just me responding in an undesirable manner to well intentioned conditioning that is supposed to prepare me for success? Or not?

What, if not that, explains my godawful penchant for pessimism which only seems to have gotten worse over the last few years?


How would you recommend one prepare themselves for a life of temporary isolation coming up ahead of them? Would you recommend they overdose themselves with social company so intense and frequent that the isolation feels like a relief when it does come?

Do you, instead, recommend they start on the journey already by simulating the lack of an active social life in their own life right now? By staying in Saturday nights, by not calling the folks they once called on a regular basis? By turning into a social recluse now, so that the eventual isolation is just a natural conclusion to a journey already started?


There's a terrible genetic flaw that runs through the women in my mother's side of the family - the tendency to shelter and protect others from any darkness so they can lead comfortable lives oblivious to the stress that exists in their midst.

All of these women are smart, educated, liberated and capable. All successful in their worlds outside the home. From where I stand, I wonder often why they let it happen at all.

Cause, this sheltering, although well meant, eventually makes the recipient so used to its business class comforts, that eventually he loses all will / capacity to grasp the import of problems, more so the tendency to tackle them head on.

This in turn leads to the women lamenting the years of pampering and sheltering the family, and intense disappointment at having to wade through all of life's troubles alone.

I wonder, sometimes, how far down the generations this genetic flaw travels.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

25 days is not a break...

25 days away from one's own blog is more like temp retirement.

But really, I haven't been doing this on purpose. Between the work and the yoga and the busy fun evenings spent bonding with the soon to leave flatmate, there's very little time left to blog.

And anyway, it feels like I censor so much of what's going on in my life that there's very little I can say without violating my self imposed boundaries of privacy. More so lately.

The Penguin often pulls my leg about how I am secretive to the point of being occasionally dishonest on my blog. I try to trip her on semantics, but I have to acknowledge that she is right.

So what is it that makes me hide from the outside world so much of my life? I'm hardly one to be quiet about anything, much less, coy about the details of my personal life. It's certainly not some feminine sense of shame that keeps me from sharing and baring it all. It IS however, a morbid fear that my happiness will be taken away if I reveal too much of it to the world.

You see, for all my good sense, I am endowed with a penchant for superstition, esp. the kind that will take away happiness from you if it realizes you are in possession of over abundant quantities. I am indeed one of those people who in the midst of utter contentment and joy thinks to herself, "What calamity lies round the corner, say?". The eternal optimist and the glass half full are terms obviously alien to my ever-gray vocabulary.

Put simply, for the last year or so, I've followed a strict policy of limited disclosure in this space because I've been scared shitless of losing my happiness if I shared it with the world.

But when I thought about it this morning, I realized, nothing bad has ever come of writing here. The cooking only got better and more experimental. The running is now supplemented by yoga. Travel has grown exponentially. The work after a lot of crap phases is looking up. My health is better, or at least has been attended to by 5 different specialists and is on its way up. The mind has only become clearer, and the spirit stronger.

Ever since the 1st proper post I put up in Nov 06, life may have seen its ups and downs, but the ups have undoubtedly beaten the downs. UNDOUBTEDLY. :-) Even I don't have to be an optimist to see that.

To be continued ....

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dance pe chance....

This Yoga thing is awesome. Especially for someone who is as perpetually high strung as I am, it forces me to focus on the moment and not plan for every minute that's coming my way. I actually breathe easier, get more oxygen in and am engulfed by this rather nice feeling of wellness.

What makes this place even better, is that amidst the 30 odd choices of sessions they have everyday, about 2 are Bollywood dance lessons. And nothing, as you well know, helps release inhibitions better than group dancing to zesty Bollywood numbers.

My issue with partying is that even if I'm having fun listening to the changing music, after an hour or so the 'shake-hand-in-air-shake-leg-hip-in-coordination' routine starts to get rather boring, and the joy starts to wear off. (Unless of course the alcohol has kicked in by now).

But this class is everything partying is not :D There's obviously no alcohol to simulate the fake high, and there's a series of DIFFERENT seeming steps that you get to do with everyone else. You fumble together, you trip together. And when the master does a particularly long winded step that's straight out of a run-around-the-tree movie scene, you laugh together. :-)

And yes, there's the occassional Hermione in class who picks up every step as soon as it's taught and then flaunts it shamelessly to lesser mortals like yours truly, but every class must have its Hermione no?

The fact that many many muscles are now making their presence felt (rather emphatically at that) after many years of being practically non existent, was of course, expected. I plan to stay all Zen like and Yogic about it though (barring the occassional whimper as I stand, sit, walk or God forbid, climb the stairs).

Indeed, it's a good life.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The good, the bad and the ugly...

The good: I cannot feel that numb pain in my arms anymore.

The bad: It probably IS the pain from my just initiated yoga sessions that is overwhelming any other pain, and hence creating the illusion of previous pains having vanished.

Not to mention the mental agony of feeling like an utter loser with Chinese aunty next to me breezily bending over and touching her toes WHILE smiling at the world. Why do I not have nice stretchy flexi limbs like that elastigirl, say?

The ugly: My attempt to vent pent up anger through yoga came to a disastrous end today when I emerged angrier than ever at the instructor who in his misplaced enthusiasm to run us through as MANY asanas as possible conducted them SO quickly that we spent at least 8 of 20 counts per asana transitioning from the previous one into the current one.

I swear I would've walked out mid class (it isn't exceptional, given how many bad movies I've walked out of) except the rules said something about respecting the master and not walking out midway yada yada blah. I had to be content with muttering below my breath, which as you know is just not fulfilling enough. Alas.

Notes to the instructor from today:
1. If you start off on that "Inhale Exhale" chant, then either keep it going so our lungs follow some semblance of rythm, OR when you pause to chatter midway TRY to start off where you left off. It's excruciating for us, your students, to have FINALLY steadied our breathing and then to hear you say "EXHALE" when we're getting ready to INHALE!!! And, calming, it is most certainly not!

2. Not everyone knows what *kapalbhati* (a form of rapid breathing that exerts the abdominal muscles and is known to have several benefits) is. The idea, I'm sure they've taught you, is to assume there are new students in every class and that not everyone is an expert. (I almost suspect you are nature's way of getting back at acronym and jargon spouting P&G type people) And to start talking midway between a rapid fire kapalbhati and then start again, in the process screwing up our inhale exhale cycle is just CRIMINAL!!!

3. I'm never coming to your class ever again. There! I hope I've made my point. (Not like you'll notice, but everyone who reads this knows. HAH!)

Ok, I'll put myself to sleep on my recently acquired habit of gruesome thriller type novel now. Good night!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

*Finishing* school for women...

Special attention to bolded portions please. Valuable lessons for a good life are hidden here.


Deepti, 18, recently cleared her class 12 examination. And that, her parents decided, was enough education for a girl. Four months ago, they fixed up her marriage. Deepti is now training at the Manju Sanskar Kendra in Bhopal to be an ideal wife to a boy she has only seen once, and with whom she occasionally chats on the telephone with her parents' permission.

Six days a week, Deepti attends sermons at the Kendra, an institution set up to train women to surrender to the more powerful in the family -- in this case, the husband and in-laws. Aildas Hemnani, the Kendra's head, coaches his students in a spacious room that doubles up as a prayer hall for the Sindhis in Bairagarh, a Sindhi-dominated residential area on the outskirts of Bhopal.

"Aildas bhau [brother] is teaching us how to keep our minds and bodies pure and our tempers in check," says Deepti. Among other things, he also ensures the girls know how to always keep their heads covered and ensure the pallu doesn't slip off.

A retired Madhya Pradesh government employee, Hemnani's idea to set up this 'unique institution' evolved during a discussion with Sant Hridayaram, who is highly revered by the Sindhis.

"I was distressed by the constant bickering among families all around me. At times, it led to divorce. I told Sant Hridayaram that families are breaking up because girls nowadays have too much ego. Parents don't have time to train their daughters properly. Girls must shed their egos to build a happy family. Sant Hridayaram suggested I start a training course."

In 1988, Hemnani made the rounds of local schools and persuaded one of them to let him use its premises for two hours every day before the regular classes began. He lectured for two hours in the morning, six days a week, to the few girls who cared to attend.

Hemnani has authored three textbooks for his students, drawing inspiration and information from Geeta Press, a publishing house that prints Hindu religious books. Hemnani distributes these textbooks free of cost to his students.

One of Hemnani's textbooks, Grahasth Mein Vyavaharik Jeevan (Practical Married Life), claims: 'Science has proved that when menstruating women touch leaves and plants they wilt and decay faster.' However, when asked about the source of such a study, Hemnani becomes defensive, "I cannot give you proof. I have heard this and read it in the books that have been published by Geeta Press. What proof can one have of the truth the mahatmas have said?"

The books are studded with many other such nuggets. 'Too much sex,' avers one, 'is the cause of diabetes and tuberculosis among men.' Hemnani's books lay stress on abstinence within marriage as a contraceptive measure and advise women and men to engage in sex only for procreation. Care during pregnancy includes elitist, regressive advice such as not looking at blind, disabled, deaf and 'unattractive' people!

The three-month course is free and does not follow any fixed calendar schedule. It includes lessons in Gurmukhi, the script for the Sindhi language, recitations from the Granth Sahib and teachings culled from Hindu religious books, including the Puranas and the Bhagvad Gita. It costs community donors Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 a month to keep the course going for a handful of girls. The expenses include distributing booklets, cassettes of hymns and light refreshments like nutritious drinks for all devotees who use the prayer hall on Saturdays.

"Men build society and women build homes," declares Hemnani. Towards this end, the girls who attend his course are taught to sew, cook and pray -- in theory. "We don't have the facilities for practical training."{Ms. Tic: ROFL} More importantly, they are taught how to conduct themselves in their in-laws' household.

Nisha, another alumni, attended the course for a whole year before she was married off to a businessman whom she hadn't seen before marriage; she had not even been shown his photograph. Nisha claims the Kendra taught her to 'adjust properly.' She elaborates, "Sometimes when I get angry, I remember what bhau taught us and my anger vanishes."

Nisha has also learnt how to protect her and her husband's health and to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. "That is taught only to older girls when they are about to be married. I know I should not sleep with my husband during menstruation. He will fall ill," says Nisha.

Women's groups first heard of the Kendra two years ago when a local newspaper published a feature on it. "All they teach is subjugation," says Kumud Singh, secretary of the Bhopal district committee of the National Federation of Indian Women. An attempt by the All-India Democratic Women's Association to engage Hemnani and his students in a dialogue has been rebuffed.

Sandhya Shaili, president of AIDWA's Madhya Pradesh chapter, wonders how long the girls will follow such retrograde ideas. "They are teaching girls how to attune themselves to the demands of a patriarchal society. The girls are young and immature. I wonder how many will stick to the teachings once they start having problems."

"The Sindhi community here is very conservative," she adds. "Two years ago they demanded that co-education in schools be stopped. We protested and stalled the move.

Singh, meanwhile, feels that boys should also be coached. "Training and restraining boys is necessary. If men learn to respect women, half the problems families face would be solved."

Hemnani says he would like to coach would-be husbands as well. "I wanted to train boys too but nobody is interested," he laments. He has also created a course that would train women to be ideal mothers-in-law but, like the course for boys, that too didn't take off.

A permanent address for the Kendra came up in 1994 when a rich Mumbai-based stockbroker, Sukhram Das Mehtani, spent Rs 1 million to provide a place for the 'unique institution.' His only condition was that the Kendra be named after his only daughter, Manju, who died before her 18th birthday. The centre is now run from a large, bare hall, with a tiny sitting room and a little kitchen in the compound of a public school.

Hemnani has been running the course for the last 15 years and it has been confined largely to the Sindhi community in Bhopal. Saturdays see the highest attendance, when 30-odd young women and a couple of matrons come to the centre.

But his ideas are now gaining popularity outside Madhya Pradesh. He recently held a 10-day camp for youngsters in Ahmedabad and Junagadh in Gujarat and will soon visit Jaipur in Rajasthan.



Have you seen this?

As if there's not enough in this world right now to depress us.

I know I sound like a broken record lamenting on how women are treated unequally in our society. But all my cribs about changing surnames and quitting a job for someone's sake pale in comparison to what you see on this blog.

Makes me wonder what the hell I'm doing with all the opportunities life presents to me. About time one gave back and tried to make a change. Hmm.

It starts now ...

You know how sometimes you have this wish that's somewhere inside and waiting to surface at the right time and make itself known? And you know that feeling (part relief, part anxiety) at having spoken it out loud? I'm feeling that now. I've finally put a wish into the system so to speak, and will now wait and see how things go.

Being a strong believer in the *wish-granters help those who help themselves* policy, I DID spend a good 5 or 6 months planning and paving the way for this wish to be granted much easier than otherwise.

But now, I'm going to sit back, relax (there's no need to laugh like that at the prospect of my relaxing) and wait. I've done my bit of sowing, and it's time to reap.

P.s: Behind the scenes lies an interesting story I will someday tell on this blog. After all wishes have been granted and the dust has settled on what has been a very interesting 2-3 years of my life. :-)

In the meantime, can I ask that you pray for me, kind reader? :-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Is all I am capable of spouting right now since I am in the middle of a call AS i write this. Could this be the career limiting move I've always been afraid I would make? Maybe not, considering my boss just called me on the other phone saying "Kitni baat kar rahe hain, raat ko saade nau baje" (Loosely translated --> How much they talk at 9.30 in the night?)

I know that this new role is fabulous and is supposed to open up all of these very essential avenues for me personally and professionally. I know it gives me the chance to travel and meet people from all over the world AND the chance to influence a larger scope of business than I did earlier. I know I must feel indebted and grateful and bow in sheer gratidue and appreciation of what has been sent my way.

I know, OK?

But for a teeny tiny minute here, can i please pause and WHINE about how my back hurts and my body and mind are stunted from the series of pm meetings that leave me with ZERO time to myself? About how my social life has dwindled to meeting the Penguin for an hour every week and I'm so F&*^ing exhausted that the one day I missed setting the alarm, I slept off until 10.47 am in the morning and even then only woke up coz the maid knocked on the door? ME - with the silly body clock that cannot sleep beyong 8.45 am on weekends even. Also that work days are so busy that I have to think twice before I take a bloody pee break!!!

Phew. That felt good!

And they continue to talk .....

Edited to add: Ooooohh that was post no. 301!!! :D

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Going home!!!!

August 2008 was the last time I went home to Bombay. Now I've seen my folks after that in a different city, and I'm in touch with friends and all. But it feels incredibly nice to be going back after all this time. It's a new house the family's moved into, and are super excited for me to see. S will be a 10 min drive away and so will N's wedding venue. Bombay will be seen through very different eyes :)

AND I get to pass through Madras for 2 days before that! YAY!! :D

Cya at the end of the week!

Monday, March 30, 2009


from a whirlwind series of travels once again.

So much for jumping with joy at the prospect of no travel. I've suddenly been put on another assignment at work and apparently travel comes as part of the larger package.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Lately, travel seems to have become the element that punctuates life in a rather appealing manner. For all my whining, I think I'd be mopier without it than with it.

2 trips have been made between the last post and now, and the next trip (hopefully the last of this fiscal) is to India in April for N's wedding. Despite the fact that I've been out of touch with most batch mates from B school, I realize I'm actually quite excited about seeing some of them after all this time. Not to mention, being able to wear that rather coveted, yet rarely worn collection of saris .


You know how they say the mind is a fickle thing? Now, there isn't a bigger fan of stability than yours truly here. But ever so often I find myself reminiscing about points in time where life was not quite in the pits, but was not quite in a rut either, if you know what I mean? If anyone up there is listening, I'm not wishing for anything to change, really. Just saying.

One IS allowed to reminisce without being told off for being too wishy washy no?


My room is making me sneeze. No really. Every time I'm outside, I'm fine. Then I come home and the firing of the cannon that is my nose begins. I'm not exaggerating, but every time I sneeze, there's about 7 of them in a row. Really.

Rooms full of people are moved to intense concern at the histrionics of my nose, and I have to hurry to assure them (WHILE recovering from the trauma my body has just been put through) that I am OK and this counts as normal in my world.

The most delicate interval (Let's call it the period of make or break) is that between when my nose has sensed that a sneeze is on its way and when the actual sneeze decides to arrive. My face contorts into this expression that is a facial analogy of an athlete's 'get set go' position. Reason I term it delicate, is IF anyone in the room happens to mention ANYthing that has ANYTHING to do with my sneezing in this interval, then the sneeze stays stuck in my nose. Annoyingly so. There's actually this brand manager I work with who once took pleasure in halting my sneezes. Thankfully, I have successfully invoked his kinder instincts and put a stop to the torture that was sneezes stuck in my nose.

Life is indeed much better now.


After this whole Mangalore Pub and Muthalik issue, I've acquired a strange aversion to anything that carries the baggage of being cultural. Even remotely so.

Yes, I understand this is an extreme reaction. But I now respond sharply to things that I previously assumed were just *normal*.

Like women moving to be with men post wedding. Like men who boast about not being able to cook, not stepping into the kitchen (I'd like you to conjure up mental images of large gorilla thumping chest and growling "I no enter kitchen"). The whole women taking on their husbands surnames, regardless of whether it is compulsions from their families or as a way to prove love.

I wonder if the men in question even tried wondering about how love is a 2 way thing, and if she takes on your surname to prove hers for you, then what's to stop you from doing the same, or asking her to reconsider her decision coz it seems unfair and one sided?

I'm not judging women who do this. I'm just wondering why everyone takes it for granted that the gestures (The mangal sutra, the toe ring, the sindoor, the ghunghat, the choodas, the surname and in extreme cases the changing of the first name) have to ALL COME FROM the WOMAN?

And the worst part is, I just heard from someone that a friend was forced to take on her husband's name because of a few tiny glitches in managing the registered ceremony. As if we didn't have enough things to worry about when we marry, this is one more to add to the paranoia. ARGH!

Imagine both spouses being clear about not doing this surname thing, and then being forced to do it for something as mundane as lack of planning? I'd seriously whack the peon/clerk in question. Esp. if he followed it up with anything on the lines of "Aaj Kal ka aurat log....".


I love this community of women bloggers and commenters - intelligent, articulate and seemingly living their lives on their own terms. Because, to me they signify everything that is Anti Muthalik. And everything that I can be proud of as a woman.

To the women out there, those I know and those I don't...but am proud of anyway...

I want to tell you how it sometimes feels when I look at the whole bunch of us from an outsider's perspective. When I try and float above my body and look at this group (including myself), objectively.

I see you putting yourself last. At the very last. No matter how educated/ evolved you are, more often than not, you give in to the temptation to deprioritize yourself. You neglect your own health and postpone those doctor's appointments until you've sorted out the ones your husband and kids need. Maybe even your parents.

You put your feelings on the back burner, especially so when you see family displaying negative emotion/ discomfort of any kind.

Husband - He's angry? Let me rush to pacify him. He's too busy? Let me get out of his way. He's too quiet? Let me give him more space, maybe I'm suffocating him? Maybe I've done something wrong? Let me fix it? Let me compromise on what I want and give him what he wants?
Maybe THAT will put the smile back on his face?

Parents - My parents are worried about me getting married. Let me meet the men they ask me to cause it would make them happy. I'm not quite sure I want to do this. But for their sakes, I must.

STOP. IT. NOW. Take a step back occasionally, and think about yourself. Maybe, just maybe, if you're happy, it'll send out good vibes and make those around you happy as well. You are not Ms. Fixit and the more you behave like her, the more you will end up being the only one who fixes things around the place. I'm not saying don't care. But sometimes, care more about yourself than others?

I've seen my mother go through life as if it were a series of tasks. 2 cesareans down, she ran into a hernial issue when I was 15. She postponed her operation by 15 days to schedule them after my class X board exams. Not only was I too foolish to not even think of objecting, but my entire stupid family took the post operative recovery process for granted to such an extent that her hernial recurred within the next 4 years and she underwent her 4th abdominal incision. Not a pleasant memory, but a constant reminder to myself to never take my own health for granted this way.

And to ALL you women out there,

You nurture and you nourish. You manage a household and in many cases a job outside of it as well. If you procrastinate caring for yourself, you'll have achieved a temporary slot into which to fit in the family's welfare. And lost about 2 years of a healthy life in the process. PLEASE DON'T.

Please let's set a good example for the generations to come by respecting ourselves and our well being?

And that's all I actually have for now. It feels nice and familiar, this wrapping up of a post.
Must. Do. More. Often.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Baptism by fire....

I heard this phrase for the very 1st time in 2005 at someone's promotion speech as they described how the assignment that got them promoted had been one of their toughest ever. This was 3.5 years ago. The phrase stuck cause it felt cool to enunciate. I repeated it to myself for a few days, finally relegating it to the status of a fancy term I'd like to use given the opportunity.

Which is when the powers that be decided I needed to learn through experience. Enunciation was just not good enough for Ms. Tic.

There was October 05 to Feb 06 which had me working non-stop under the most stress I had ever encountered in my sheltered existence. It wasn't just the deadlines. It was the deadlines coupled with the need to suddenly grow up at work and outside it. It wasn't just the late hours all week; it was the late hours with no one to go home to. And there were no weekends worth speaking of. It was all work and more work. And then some more.

By the end of a 3 month spate of long hours, I was close to a breakdown and had to go back home on what could certainly have qualified as 'medical' leave.

Of course, when I look back upon this time, it strikes me as the era of my best ever work in the assignment. What we started back then amidst the hours and the late nights is a legacy that has stayed on even after every single one from the original team moved on.

Today, I remember very little of the long hours or lonely evenings. What I DO remember rather clearly, is being productive and being amply rewarded for it. :-)

Then there was 2007.
The year that as it started had 'personal hell' written all over it. Replete with what seemed like earth shattering disappointments, it seemed like the year would beat me down by the time it ended. There were days so awful, I had to physically force myself to just go about doing the things that constitute living - cooking, eating, writing, working and the like.

And yet, when I look back at the year, it's tough to remember many specific instances of pain. There is the fleeting memory of bad phases, but most of all what has stayed in mind is how it turned out to be one of the richest as far as personal accomplishments go.

The 100th and possibly 200th blog post were written within this year. A very fun production was kick started. My 1st ever solo trip (New York) finally happened (setting into motion a series of events I would never have anticipated). Mogambo made her presence felt. The Penguin made her grand entry. I discovered Jamie Oliver, Curtis, Nigella and reveled in the joy of dishing out one new dish after another in my poorly constructed, yet well stocked kitchen. After putting it off for almost 3 years, I enrolled for singing lessons and actually enjoyed them.

With the Penguin leading the way, I entered one new experience after another with a mind that decided it wanted to be more open than closed. Auctions, new resturants, random plays, funky recipes - you name it, I tried it.

And for the 1st time in my life, I think I learned how to embrace optimism. And perhaps cultivated the slightest ability to laugh at myself. Precious! :D

Worth a mention here is that the year marked my 1st ever interaction with the world of Bharat Matrimony.
Fun fact: Every guy I was introduced to through BM ended up getting hitched within about 6 months of having met me. To another woman, of course. In exactly the order that I met them. EXACTLY.
(Incredible, I know!)

And although I whined and cried through it all, wondering why I had to put myself through a process I had little or no enthusiasm for, I do believe it helped the cliched process of self awareness and might have played a big role in making me realize what kind of person I wanted to be with.
No small feat, that!

And finally 2008.
While the dust settled on other parts of my life, this year gave me reason to wonder if I could ever continue in a job that was starting to get so physically and mentally exhausting. With my health sauntering coolly out the door, the hurting hand made me snappy and impatient at work and curtailed my physical ability to put in even a few extra hours if I wanted to. I questioned everything from my willingness to my ability to perform and went through intense self doubt and more intense physical pain.

And yet, in retrospect, 2008 seems like a year that was WELL worth living through. The work was great and more importantly, projects that took the most out of me turned out to be worth every minute that was spent on them. I have new found respect for my health and have learned my discipline with medicines the hard way. Most importantly, the lessons I've learned in the last 8 months at work, bitter as they were to experience, have provided perspective I would never have acquired otherwise.

Cliche after cliche, I know. Yet, all of it true.

It didn't dawn upon me until recently why the phrase 'Baptism by fire' was termed as such.

Now I understand. That moment when you stand at the exit door of an experience that was all agony as you went through it and look back. That moment that you feel cleansed and richer for the experience. That moment that you *know* why it all happened.

That moment, when you finally accept that the goodness of the outcome is so overpowering that it drowns out the memory of everything bad that happened, it's when you've had your personal baptism by fire.

Baptism, indeed :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

WTF to culture

Read this.

*Culture* is soon going to become a basis for defense pleas. Don't be shocked to hear reports of - "Dear members of the jury, I killed only to protect my culture"

It's beyond comprehension how so much hatred can be directed to a person who was born of another bloodline, in the name of *Culture*, while calmly taking in and tolerating more serious issues like
- men who beat up their wives ('He has the right to, esp. if she behaves badly' - Ref Indian Culture)
- incest (Have you read Bitter Chocolate - the common response to this within households is "He's a man, he has needs, so what if it's his daughter/ sister")
- marital rape ('There IS no question of consent, lie beneath the man and do his bidding when he feels like it' - Also Ref Indian Culture)
- not letting daughters go to school ('I don't understand why women can't just learn to stay home and make chapattis for their husbands' - A very cultured Mr. Muthalik)
- Dowry deaths (Still rampant, in case our insulation from the event leads us to believe in its non existence)
- Female infanticide and the stigma associated with giving birth to daughters (Chromosome lesson time perhaps? The man controls the sex of the baby, not the woman. Of course, getting this into skulls that are worrying themselves with which other brahmin person in the vicinity has been corrupted by non brahmin influences is probably a tad difficult.)

All of which, just to be clear, is not only not opposed, but almost condoned by this fantastic culture thingie we hear about ever so often.

This is not even counting basic indignities like abusing your wife in public, expecting that women will pick up leftover food after men, that women will eat after men, that it's OK with all your education and so-called metropolitan upbringing to insinuate in your son's Bharat Matrimony profile that his job is more important than that of the woman in question and hence she needs to move across continents to be with him - like the alternative is not really an alternative at all.

Not to forget insane cultural mores like spending atrocious amounts on money on lavish weddings that are absolutely uncorrelated to the quality of the marriage that follows, feeling obliged to conduct some ten ceremonies and invite a million people just to show them that you love your children and can provide for them, expecting men and women to be asexual creatures until the time that they are lawfully wedded and then expecting them to overnight (literally) create babies, treating cooking as a matrimonial resume bullet point for every woman vs. a life skill for human beings in general.

I'm better off without this ridiculous notion of culture. I'm better off figuring my way through life without referring to an invisible book somewhere that preaches how I must live.

If I hear the word Indian culture one more time, I'm going to give the person a serious piece of my mind. Whether it's a 'well -meaning' relative telling me to *adjust* with my in laws or some aunty somewhere asking me why I'm 28 and not married.

And for THIS Culture we have people dying and taking lives? Pah! Seriously!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Pink Chaddis! :)

Oh cmon! You HAVE to join this one!

Please send every (Good Indian or otherwise) woman you can think of to this page. Please please!

Some super tips on how to be a Good Indian Woman (GIW, TM) coming right up ...

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Indian Culture

The subject has fascinated me ever since the Mangalore incident took place. And I've wanted to write my plans to adhere to Indian Culture (TM, obviously of Mr. Mangalore women beater, the Shiv sena and sundry others who plan to save us from the cultural pitfall that is Valentine's Day) in the next few years.

Work has been insane keeping me up at nights either actively doing it, or simply thinking about the fascinating things I'm learning from this new project. (Geeky I know! But I swear I stayed up tossing and turning most of last night thinking I have all this amazing information to share on Monday, and worrying about how a 1 pager will ever do justice to it!)

And today is more work + a short film shoot (finally!), so I promise I'll make the time to write down how I plan to be a GIW - Good Indian Woman (TM, of the aforementioned parties + parents of 'eligible bachelors' on Bharat Matrimony who define the GIW as an ideal blend of traditional values and modern outlook.)

After all nothing motivates one to action like public commitment. And an awesome topic like this.

More later ... till then, enjoy your weekend!