Tuesday, November 26, 2013

We have moved to a new address...

Hello folks,

The posts here just got moved to wordpress, and all newer posts will feature there, now onwards. You may want to follow that blog instead on this from now on.


Go on!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Gold Plated?

We care so much for the impression we make on others, that we actually forget to care about our own people.

The international biodiversity conference is happening in India this year, in Hyderabad to be precise. All roads in the entire city have been dug up on both sides, so that the roads can be leveled and be re-laid. No more potholes and awkwardly sized bumpers to be found. Four lane roads have suddenly metamorphosed to six and eight lane roads. The dividers have been shattered, only to be rebuilt in a semi wall kind of way; that a pedestrian cannot run across the road, and must walk till the closest zebra crossing to cross the road. They are actually creating a pedestrian walk for some roads, oh my god! The pillars that support the flyovers are being used to depict the Indian culture and scenes from the great epics. Trees, gardens and pretty bushes of flowers have sprouted everywhere overnight. Every single goddamn streetlight is working in this part of the city. The drainage systems have been fixed. There are suddenly signs and directions on the road. The only thing missing is trash cans at regular intervals, on the road side and the civic sense to use them. Probably that is why they aren’t there is the first place. How badly would it reflect on us if we would still litter the roads with trash even if we are sure to find a trash can just 50 meters ahead? Better not provide those, the worse that anyone would say is, “Oh! These people don’t have amenities to dispose trash. That’s why the chocolate wrapper or chips packet is lying around. ”

Does any of this make you feel happy or proud because your city is going to look truly beautiful now?

I am sure each person in the city has something to be happy about with the changes that have been made. Wider roads, less traffic blocks, yay! No pedestrians running right in front of your car, high five! Lovely flowers and shady trees, ooh-la-la! Street lights, thank god my daughter/sister/wife/mother feels safer coming home! Direction signs, whew! I can manage to find my way around.

Happy I am too, with each of these things even if I spent most part of the month cribbing about the bad planning. “Why couldn’t they just do it section by section? Let there be some relief somewhere in the city? Do they have to dig every single main road at the same time so that I can’t drive above 30 anywhere? Do they have to take so long to fix the roads, to construct the dividers? When will this be over? When will they move all this sand and stone from the roads?”; I have been complaining incessantly.

But that’s not all. I have a bigger concern here.

Why didn’t they do any of these things before?

I know you (the state government) need the money and the budget approval and sundry. I am not saying it was possible for you to do it all at once. The government would have never granted a single city a sum as huge as 577.35 whooping crores, in one go. If you say we are a poor city and are not granted funds at all, I wouldn’t believe it. All this development does fetch you something. The taxes we pay are meant to be put to use. They are not for your pockets, you know? I am sure you can petition for the basic infrastructure. Did you ever try? Did it never strike you that the citizens of the city are suffering because of the bad roads, the water logging, dark streets, potholes, traffic, pollution and what not? Or did you just decide to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear? How come it took you just 3-4 weeks to get so many things fixed, while it would generally take you ages to get anything done for the common people?

Must you make a show of all this to all delegates of the United Nations and the people attending the conference. Could you not have taken these simple measures for US, the people of the city? How come you value the words, opinions and the ideas these few hundred people, form of the city or India in general, more than the lakhs of people of this city or the other million Indians? The image they take back is more important than the amenities we get?

Not one of these guests of the city should find it difficult to cross the road, if they need to. But it is okay if we have to battle the traffic when we want to cross? A couple of accidents wouldn’t bother you would they, if it is one of us? But one guest gets injured, and you and we will be shamed by the media for not being a city with a sense of safe driving, and bad traffic management. One dark street, one guest touched by an unfriendly hand and it will bring your government down. So you make sure that all streets are lighted. Could you not have done that for us before? Must we always walk in the fear of lingering shadows and groping hands? I am not saying you should be a hostile host or that you shouldn’t provide them protection. My god, no! But can you not be a better guardian to us too?

When will we learn to put us and ours first and the others later?

The change that you are bringing about is only temporary. Aim for something more permanent. What you are doing is not constructive. It is destructive in the sense of how you make your people feel. Do it for others, and we will be there to partake the short-lived joy. Do it for us, and we will celebrate long.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A shade of grey, a balanced blend

There are the first signs of a smile beginning to form as I contemplated penning down my thoughts.

At first I thought it would be easy to write about a tomboy because all my life I have believed myself to be tomboyish, if not necessarily a tomboy. I still do. (Psst… I love being the rebel, the exception, the misfit and the non-conformist) I gave it a sincere thought, putting aside the image I like to portray of myself. Am I a tomboy? Am I an extreme? I realized I wasn’t.

I asked the husband, “Do you think I am a tomboy?”

“Who you? No. I think not.” That reply came in a tone which a husband would have used when a wife would have asked “Am I fat?”

It was like taking a safe zone, unsure of what you reply would ensue. So I prodded him a little more and asked him for his definitions.

“Tomboys are girls who wear guy clothes, sneakers, talk like men do, play sports and fight physically, don’t wear make-up”

“That is still more than 50% if you give me a score, with the sports and physical fights being an exception. Now, my BFF plays cricket, follows almost every sport, and does prefer shoes over sandals, but I still wouldn’t call her a tomboy. I prefer shoes too, dressed like a guy till I started working in a company which MAKES me follow a dress code, have plenty of guys as friends as compared to a handful of girls. In fact, my guy friends always forget there is a girl in the group when they talk about certain things that would be considered rude in female company. And neither do I wear make-up. Does that not make me a tomboy?”


“Hmm…then what in your opinion is a girly girl?” I ask, sneering a little. Strangely my prejudiced mind equates them to bimbos.

“A girl who likes to dress up, wears make up, paints her nails, cares about her hair, prefers skirts/ frocks over pants/shorts, heels over sports shoes, likes gossiping…. I don’t know. Where is this going anyways?”

“Atleast that means I am not girly”, I say, somewhat relieved.

“Well, you can dress up when you want to and play the part of a girl well enough” he said smiling.

“You are a strong headed girl with shades of both tom-boyishness and girlishness. You are willful. You take up the role that the time and situation requires you to. A balanced blend of both.”


So, not satisfied, I asked people. A lot of them, their definitions of a tomboy and a girly girl. You see, the definitions are relative and perspective based and keep changing with the era.

Everyone I asked answered on the same lines as my husband, all 3 questions.

Maybe, in the past, as a kid, I would have hated it if somebody would have called me girly. For a girl who still speaks in the masculine gender, it sounds like an accusation. The older and wiser me knows better. Shuffling between roles and holding my ground, that’s my definition.

I am a shade of grey. And I am proud of it.

What shade are you?

Thursday, September 29, 2011


People say that girls make the best-est friends, whether it is as sisters, somebody you share your bus seat with, your friend from the breakfast table or your cubicle mate. You will always find a girl around you with whom you can share something with, even if it is the big bore that you keep coming across in the washroom. A small smile and an understanding starts brewing. No wonder there are words like soul-sisters whereas there is nothing like a soul-brother. Each girl is like a package. She is like ‘Bertie’s Every Flavor Beans’. She can be the flavor you want her to be. She will laugh and cry with you. If she is your best friend she will even make fun of you, but unlike the way a guy does it, it will be in private. She will be very careful with what she says lest she hurts your sentiments as she tackles the wild side of you. She will be there to lend you an ear. And she will actually listen. :) Men don’t. They only make sure that you don’t brood over it, but they generally do not have the patience to hear you out. (Hasn’t happened with me, but I know a lot of women who will swear by it) She will conspire with you and she will keep your secrets. Once in a while out of spite she will also be a bitch and do the back stabbing thing. But most girls do come back straight alright once they have had their go for all the mental reasons that only they can think of. She will giggle and guffaw with you over silly things. And she will be the drama queen to have things her way.

I am all smiles now.

I cannot half believe it that I could have ever said this. Bought up like a guy and with guys has always made me think that boys make the most wonderful friends. They will stand by you as brothers, friends, body-guards (remembering how many guys have been beaten and had their shirts torn off), pretense-boyfriends, advisors and what not. Maybe that is why I am so tom-boyish and not the girly-girl. Being brought up with guys, kind of makes you tough. You learn to scrape your knees and elbows and learn nothing of shyness and grace. You learn to keep your tears in check. 1) Because men won’t let you cry. Nobody knows how to make fun of a bout of tears the way a guy does. 2) It becomes a matter of self-respect to cry in front of a guy. You have to be as tough as they are. They will play the fool to make you laugh. And they will teach you obscene language so that you never get ragged. They are the ones who will come back to you even after a fall out. They will apologize if they know that you are the stubborn one. If you are a tom, they will forget that you are a girl. You will be let in to all their secrets and included in all their groups. You will be amazed to find yourself walking arm-in-arm and arm-over-shoulders with them. They are the ones who will go out of the way to do anything for you, the ones that will say “Anything for you Ma’am” and you will be left wondering since when did you start getting addressed with a feminine tag. They will be the first ones to notice whether you got your threading done or not, with the insensitiveness to point out what the lady at the parlour missed. They will be the ones to tell you that the other guys are going to ogle at you in a particular attire. They will not mind when you don’t use eyeliner, but they will be curious enough to know why not. They would like it if you would wear a skirt because it is a reminder of sorts that they are hanging around with a girl, but they will curse and damn the same skirt if it makes you sit unnaturally with your legs on one side on a bike. A different species they are!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pride Personified

He is like a story book character. He would probably be a villain, if the book was mine.

I have never seen a prouder face before. I don’t know him; yet. The only interaction that has happened is exchange, no not exchange, of me wishing him good morning. A squarish face, with a prominent jaw-line. Tanned skin, unkempt wavy hair. Tall, probably 6ft., he holds himself to his full height, without any of the anomalies/glitches that tall people have; like hunching from their shoulders or bending from the waist or looking down and walking. The gravity doesn’t seem to affect his stance.

He looks at things around him with a lazy interest, giving the impression that he may be drowsy. But his mind is keen, absorbing everything that is being discussed. He isn’t a part of the discussion, but he is very much there. Those lips part, to mock at us; his objects of entertainment. He doesn’t smile the semi-circular - lips turned up kind of smile. It’s a crooked, lopsided kind of grin. A mirthful laughter that makes you realize that his features are set in a dour kind of way. Nose; sharp, pointed and dead center, the nostrils a little flared when he laughs.

His aplomb is such, that if he were to sit at his desk with his legs on the table, that would look like the normal decorum. What he wears, or what he does is what would become the trend for the people around him.

His pride is his quintessence. I have never felt it so strongly in anybody else.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Runs down in the 'Jeans':

Jeans have remained the ‘in’ thing for centuries, ranging from the bell bottomed or flared jeans to the skin/slim fit jeans and cigarette pants that one sees these days. They are like the LBD. They never ever go out of fashion.

Only that, jeans have become more scandalous now than fashionable. Remember Mr. Obama’s ‘Mom Jeans’ that caused a scandal last year. But, thank God, they were ATLEAST in the right place. That seems to be a rarity now, with people letting their jeans run down.

Me (sniggering a little, nodding towards the staircase): “Bye! All the best! Don’t worry too much about your viva, you will do well. And, tell that classmate of yours to pull his pants up; putting his undies on display isn’t going to fetch him any extra marks.”

Sis (in an exasperated tone): “Di! Stop staring at the wrong places.”
Me: “That guy is going up the stairs. He is the only person I can see up ahead of you. And more than anything else I find his fat bottom and drop down jeans obstructing most part of my vision frame. ”

*Sis rolls her eyes and walks away to her exam*

I suppose you have read/heard this before – wearing tight jeans can lead to impotency. And the counter part? Wearing sagging jeans impedes your walking abilities. What is the fun of having to drag your feet along? Or putting your bum out and walking in a very ape like manner, trying to prevent the jeans slipping off and revealing ‘the other half’ of your anyway half covered bottom?

Weird is the way the dressing sense is going. Flashing of inner-wear and cleavages is the in thing. And it is not only the men and their “Jockey” showing through. I find more and more women creeping into this category too. “Flaunt it if you have got it”. Is that the common motto for all cleavages? :S These girls really need to get a grip. But irrespective of sex/age I think that nobody likes to see such sites in offices, malls or even in clubs.

Do you know how G-strings came into existence? They were designed by a granny who was shocked to discover that her grand-daughters had given up wearing underwear because its band would show up while their low waist jeans would go down!

‘Jockey‘ by far has become the most popular inner-wear brand. A brand that people love to show off. *rolls eyes* With the trend that men today follow, I wonder if the sales of RED Jockeys went higher this Valentine season. *Chokes*

Jeans facts also reveal that people, especially women, those of a little plus size, buy jeans which are a size or two smaller and make it a target to fit into them. :O I blame LEE for this. Coming up with their ‘skinny – not for the masses’ jeans. All the mass (pun intended) did try to fit in there. The skinny, the slim, the big, the fat and the obese, everybody wanted to fit into it. I admit, I wanted to get into them too when I had not shed my baby fat. Now I hate them completely.

Also, I am still to understand what is the fun of wearing torn jeans. You may want to call me stuck-up with the old fashion, but I really don’t think that gaping holes at the knees or anywhere else for that matter look very fashionable. Agreed that it is in sync with the workman attire that jeans were originally designed for, but now that denims are part of chic fashion, don’t you think torn jeans are passé?

Jeans did make a lot of other things popular though, like:
- Tattoos just above your lumbar vertebrae. Quoting:
“You are closer than you should be, if you can read this” (in minute writing)
“Dekho magar pyaar se…”
- The jockey brand
- G-strings
- Tummy tops
- Piercing

I swear I have a personal itch to try pulling one of those sagging baggy pants down and see what it results in. I think that there will be a day when I will really try it on somebody. Maybe on a day when I am in one of my devil-may-care-moods. Watch out people!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chomp. Gnaw. Slurp. Scratch. Burp.

Oh yes, I am finicky!

Chomp. Gnaw. Slurp. Scratch. (I mean the spoon scratching the plate here, dirty mind!) Burp.

Aarrrggghhh!! I hate those sounds. I am a sucker for good table manners and I find it disgusting to share the same table when people act like uncivilized cavemen while eating. There are better ways of relishing good food than being pompous about it.

1) The cattle-men:

The first commandment is to keep your mouth closed while chewing. Don’t go through the Open-chomp-close-chomp-open routine. I don’t see much difference between that and the cows chewing on their fodder. Open-gnaw-slap the jaws together-open-gnaw. Do that in my presence and I am sure to recommend you as the next Orbit-star-the-Jersey-cow!!

2) The doggie-ish:

The soup, tea, coffee, the dal, the rasam or any other liquid that you take in, is to be sipped, not slurped. Kindly, leave the lapping sounds for the other long tongued animals.

3) The cannibal types:

Non-vegetarian food is more difficult to handle than vegetarian food, especially when it has bones. Also, not every meat is easy to tear using a fork and a knife. Certain dishes do require the explicit use of hands and teeth. But, (yes the big butt of all matters) when it comes to basic table manners, one must make sure one doesn’t resemble a cannibal tearing into flesh. It may be a trying experience, but do try to take small bites instead of looking like a person who hasn’t been fed from ages. The animal in your hands is dead, and it isn’t going to run away anywhere! Keep up the patience!

And please, I beg, don’t dump the bones back into the food that you are still to consume. Transfer it neatly into another plate. Thank you!

4) Yes we know that you loved the meal and it would be a better idea to let the cook know so, than proving it by trying to eat the last grain of rice on your plate. For goodness sake, eat till the last grain if you must, but don’t make that screeching scratching noise with the fork and spoon. We aren’t starting to play banshees here yet!

5) I am trying hard here, not to type cast anyone. But, this is a habit that I have seen prevalent more in the south than in the north of India.

South Indians love eating anything, everything and food of any consistency with their hands, be it a chutney, a pickle, vegetables, salads, curries, rice, sambhar and rasam. Most people learn to eat that with a little bit of genetically handed down help.

Trust me, eating with hands is fun. It gives you a very homely feeling.
But making balls of rice and tossing them in your mouth or licking the dripping rasam up your elbow (yuck!) or dragging the food all over the plate while mixing it and then putting all your fingers in the mouth with the food, or to lick your palm clean are not sights that are fun watching.

6) Buuurrrrrppppp! An age old method to let the cook know that the food was excellent and the diner’s stomach walls are under strain and are threatening to burst. The burping days are passé now. If you cant really keep that smelly burp bottled up inside you, learn to hold a napkin up to your mouth when you do so. Letting everybody around you know that your stomach is going to be overworking itself during digestion are not the the most charming manners.

If you think that all these sounds must necessarily accompany good food, then please keep them confined to the privacy of your home. Don’t be a public embarrassment, atleast to the people you are sharing the table with.