Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘personal’

Meanwhile, a little later, I’m kinda alone with the male half of the engaged couple, trying to fill that thing called the uncomfortable silence.

As usually happens in such situations (it’s practically a blueprint. Notice it next time), we begin the social interaction by swigging from our bottles and smiling at each other dorkishly. Then we both speak at the same time.

 “So…”

 “So…”

 “You first,” he invites.

 I open my mouth to speak, only to realise I don’t really have anything to say. Meanwhile, he’s looking at me expectantly. So I rack my brains…except the pressure of situation gets to me and my mind goes blank.

 For God’s sake, it’s not like I was on the stage in front of a room full of people! Just say something clever and witty and….

“So, you have sex with your curtains open?” I blurt out.

 And noncommittal.

 Before my horrified eyes, the guy squints at me and says, “Sorry?”

 Is that sorry as in I can’t believe you said that or sorry as in I didn’t catch ya?

 It is possible that he didn’t hear me. What with the music, the ball game and screaming kids, it is pretty loud. Thankfully, it is the latter. One would think that having been granted a reprieve like that I would make amends. Not me, no, sir.

“Why are you getting married?” I ask next.

After he overcomes his initial shock over such a bald question, he gazes into the distance as he ponders the imponderable.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” I say hastily.

His mouth forms into an O as he thoughtfully exhales. “No, no, you’re right. I don’t know why I’m getting married. I don’t want to.” And he goes on to talk about the redundancy of the institution called marriage.

Crap.

I can see the woman hovering nearby. Out of the corner of my eyes I see her approaching. I start panicking. “Oh no, no, no.”

“No, you’re right. Marriage is a fucked up institution. I’m going to tell her after the party that I need more time.”

“Oh my God!” 

Too late.

We both turn around to see the woman behind us, staring at us, her face ashen with shock.

Before you judge me, you’ve got to understand, I spend most of day, alone. Sometimes (very rarely), when the work is going along great, I’m happy, but mostly, I’m in a bad mood.  I have no conversations with any human beings apart from my maid, cook, gardener and the car wash guy. Which is a good thing because they are the perfect targets for my ire. Besides my work comprises thinking of ways to subject my heroines to potentially humiliating situations. So, is it any wonder that I have zero social skills?

Anyway, to drag a long story longer, my faux pass (is that the plural for faux pas?) don’t stop there. Meanwhile, after having swigged a half bottle of Old Monk (on top of the beer he’d been slugging since noon), the host decides the time is just right for a moonlit motorbike drive. Apparently he’s some kind of a bike aficionado ’cos he has a garage full of bikes. He invites me to take my pick of the bike or ride pillion, whatever I fancy. I fancy staying out, I tell him. He shrugs his shoulders and calls me a loser. He then similarly dares the men, and men being men, cannot resist a challenge.

 I saunter back to terrace to join the women folk.

 “You didn’t join them?” The hostess wants to know.

 “Are you crazy? With them being so drunk and all?”

 Her eyes widen in horror. She starts hyperventilating and rushes to talk to her hubby. To no avail. As any woman will tell you, reasoning with a sober man is next to impossible. Add booze to the equation and you have a better hope of India wining the world cup. She rushes back and glares at me balefully. “I need an intervention.” (how American’s love this intervention business.)

 So all the women rush downstairs but by then the men have already left. They return after a nail biting two hours. We hear that the host, sloshed as he was, fell off his bike a couple of times on the kuchcha road and knocked over the society barricades for which he was fines 500 bucks. But other than that he was none the worse for wear. And thus ends our eventful thanksgiving.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I walked into the airport cutting a sorry picture.  As if dragging a suitcase that was larger and heavier than me wasn’t challenge enough, I was trying to do it with two other bags slung on my shoulders. And five-inch strappy heels on my freshly pedicured feet. And no, it wasn’t so much role-playing Anne Hathaway in Devil wears Prada as much as lack of space in the suitcase. Okay, okay, I admit, I ran short of space even in the large suitcase. But that’s only because I had to carry some Piggies (My publicity person asked me to carry some copies at the last minute).

In short, it which was the complete opposite of the picture I wanted to convey – that of a cool, calm, collected and sophisticated writer.

I presented myself at the Jet Airways counter, where a skinny thing with an attitude of a designer store saleswoman gave me a look long enough for me to become conscious of each and every one of the fine lines on my face. Not that I have any. Well, maybe just the beginning of a talon of a crow’ foot if you want to be anal about it.

“Sorry ma’am,” she says, “Only one hand baggage allowed.”

“It is one,” I said, patting the gunny sack on my shoulder.  “This one here,” I said, pointing to the obviously laptop bag on my other shoulder, “is my laptop.”

D-uh! Everyone knows that with women laptop bags and handbags are counted as one. As long as you’re not carrying any liquids which in my opinion just defeats the purpose of carrying a handbag. What’s the point if you can’t carry a lip gloss or a deo?

“But ma’am it’s as big as a suitcase!!!!”

“So? It’s cabin baggage specs!!!”

“No ma’am you’ll have to check it in.” Inflexibly said.

I shrugged as if to convey an insouciant, “If I gotta, I gotta.” But my heart was pounding knowing what was to come.

“You’re overweight,” she said after a moment. She quickly rectified her unfortunate choice of words to mean luggage before I could pass out from shock. The upshot of the conversation was that I had a choice. Either I could, like, a zillion rupees in excess baggage, or, open the suitcase and ditch the stuff I didn’t need.

Now I knew what I couldn’t do, and that was the latter. One, because there was nothing I didn’t need and two, I only do that abroad when flying Ryan Air. I also knew what I wouldn’t do and that was pay for excess baggage because, well, paying to transport kilos other than the precious few on my body was anathema to me.

My brain kicked into action. Wait, there was another solution.

“Business class has a larger allowance, right?”

“Yeah,” she said doubtfully, trying to figure out where I was going with this. She’d have to wait. I had to figure it out myself first.

“How much goes an upgrade cost?”

She mentioned a figure that was marginally higher than what I would have to pay in excess baggage.

She nodded.

“Do it.”

And so I got:

  1. to board the plane last and exit first
  2. a wet towel!!!
  3. more solicitous stewards, although that can be a pain.
  4. more space, not that I needed any. There’s enough leg room in economy to fit two of me. Front to back!
  5. and….and I got to carry my stuff for free!!!!

This was an auspicious beginning. Things were auguring well for the launch.

Read Full Post »

Finally it was the 22nd and the day before I was to fly out to Delhi. There I sat, in the spare room of my house (Get that? I have a spare room. In Bombay!) surrounded by 15 outfits not counting jeans, tees, PJs and other casual wear; 6 sets of lingerie, not counting changeable straps and sports bras; 5 pairs of shoes not counting my bathroom slippers and Nikes; endless accessories – four belts, a huge make up kit, 2 perfumes and 3 eau de toilettes, scrunchies, headbands, clips, pins…

….and a cabin baggage-sized strolley.  

I swear I was having a tiny Rebecca Bloomwood moment. Like the aforementioned shopaholic, I was having a minor panic attack at the thought of stuffing everything inside the tiny luggage.

Okay, okay, don’t panic, I told myself. It’s just a question of doing things systematically. For instance, the clothes can be sifted through. After all there are only two launches. I don’t need 15 dresses for that. I have the little black dress so I can certainly do away with the red one with the beige and purple flowers. But what if the LBD is too much for 5 o’clock launch, I said to myself? The blue satin number’s shoulder straps are a little dodgy so can’t rely on that totally. And I’m not sure the white printed silk one goes all that well with silver sandals.  No, I’d better take them all. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

And then there’s the shopping I’ll do in Delhi.

Fuck it! I’d better go out and buy myself a bigger, correction, the biggest suitcase available.

So armed with a lot of enthusiasm and not as much cash I made a trip to Lokhandwala market. Of course, since the luggage shop is right next to Firewalkers, it made sense to quickly duck into the dress shop first. Trying out dresses with a suitcase in hand, albeit an empty one, was plain…unwieldy.

Why was trying out dresses, one may ask, when I already had 15 dresses? Well, the answer is that although, verily, I had 15 dresses, not a one among them felt like THE ONE. Besides it makes sense to purchase something you like when you see it. Cos you’ll never get it you actually need it. It’s some kinda Murphy’s Law of Cosmic Causality impervious to prayers and positive affirmations.

Well, Firewalkers didn’t have anything but the shop around the corner Xact had a 50% sale going on so managed to pick up three dresses for the Bombay launch. Yes, I’m almost certain there will be a Bombay Launch.

Then a quick trip to the ATM and it was onto the luggage shop. I resisted the urge to pick out a set of matching, monogrammed suitcases and picked out the largest, sturdiest suitcase available.

Phew! Packing crisis averted, onto excess baggage crisis.

Read Full Post »

Recently, I was asked to write a column on what women want. I figured I’d check out what’s out there on the subject first.  And this is what I found. It’s so hilarious, I just had to put it up. Enjoy!

Read Full Post »

Sometime ago, the Times of India was doing a story on how more and more men are shedding tears these days. They wasnted my opinion on whether it has suddenly become acceptable, fashionable even for men to cry? Or are these men sissies and the fact remains that real men don’t cry?  

I had forgotten about this story and finding it was quite serendipitous. Interesting read. And not only for my expert take :-).

Read Full Post »

As many of you may know, recently I had desperate need for a notary as I had to get an affidavit (and no, it wasn’t a name change) verified.

So I sent a flunky (basically the security guard at my building looking to earn an extra buck at the expense of his current job) to Andheri Station east to get a stamp paper of Rs 10 denomination from one of those little stalls that specialise in preparing legal documents. He gives me call from there and says it’s not available. “What do you mean it’s not available?” “The government has become so vigilant since the Telgi scam that blank stamp papers can only be bought from the court of something like that,” he says.

How ridiculous is that? What does the government think? I’m going to open a fake stamp paper racket from the cosy confines of my home? Besides, the scam involved creating fake stamp papers, an activity that typically takes place before buying one. What can I possibly do after I purchase one except type on it?

Of course, it’s perfectly legal to purchase one from the little stalls but then they lose out on the typing and printing charges, don’t they? So they’ve collectively figured out that the way to go is you can purchase a stamp paper, but only if you get the matter typed by us. Extortion? Ah no. If you must call it something, call it an acceptable form of enterprise, an oligarchy if you will.

But I didn’t know that. Then.

Anyone, I was left with no choice but to take a trip down to Bandra, to the small matters (or is it affairs?) court. As soon I arrived, a black-jacketed lawyer swooped down on me. “Want to get married?” “No,” I said. “I didn’t think so,” he said knowingly. And I’m like what’s that supposed to mean? Agreed I’m no spring chicken but I’m in my dotage either. Agreed I’m no Miss Universe but I’m reasonably pleasing to eye. And I don’t think I give out militant feminist vibes. So why couldn’t I get married?

Then another black jacket swoops down on me. And another. “Dowry case?” “420?” I could go on about that, but I digress.

I finally fought my way through the black sea, landed up at the window and asked the guy for a Rs. 10 stamp paper. “Discontinued,” he says. “Okay, 20 then.” “Discontinued.” “Fifty?” He takes a while, chews a bit on his paan, spits out the juice, wipes his mouth and says, “See, myadam, the cost of porducing a 10 rupee paper is 3 rupees. That means only 7 rupees profit. Gorment has no interest in making only 7 rupees profit. In 20 rupees, only 17 rupees profit, in 50 rupees…” “Yeah, yeah, yeah I get the picture. So what’s the minimum I can get?” “100.” “Okay, 100 then.” “Not available.” Yeesh.

Armed with the 200 buck stamp paper I came home and printed out the matter. Then I called the notary. “What are your charges?” I asked. “200.” I looked at him aghast. “But…but it costs only 45 bucks in Delhi!” I sputter. He shook his head sorrowfully. “This is a state subject and they can charge any amount. As for me, I have to put 25 bucks notarial stamps on the affidavit. So what does that leave for me?” “A healthy 175 bucks profit?” I said sarcastically. He wasn’t amused. “Who do you think pays the rent for this place?” I bought his argument. After all, I’m overpaying for my cubbyhole flat, aren’t I?

On the way back I got a rickshaw which had a faulty meter. I tried to argue with him but he wouldn’t admit to fraud. “Fine,” I said, “let’s go the havaldar and we’ll see who he believes.” So we went to the havaldar and I said, “This guy’s meter’s running fast.” The havaldar looked shocked. “Aisa kya?” and he boxed the rick driver behind the ears. Hard, like only they know how.

And just as I was starting to smirk, the rickshaw driver started snivelling. “I am so sorry, sahib, but the rates haven’t been changed in five years. And with everything getting so expensive how am I to survive?” This appeal obviously struck a chord with the havaldar and he turned to me. “Myadam, let it go, no. You know how expensiu everything is. Tur dal’s 90 bucks a kilo, potatoes 20 bucks… how is he to feed his children? How is he to survive?”

I don’t know, vasectomy maybe? Let’s see, I’m paying for the little stalls’ survival, I’m paying for the state government’s fiscal deficit (over and above the already vulturine taxes), I’m paying to feed the rick driver’s children, since when did everyone’s dearness allowance become my concern? And who’s paying mine?

Read Full Post »

I was watching Spelling Champs on ESPN yesterday. As I was watching the Indian version of the Spelling Bee, one thing occurred to me. Actually two things. One, and that of philosophical, perhaps even ontogenetic  importance, just how bored does one have to be to watch that?

Yesterday was one of my busiest days and yet I managed to finished everything and still catch Spelling Champs. Contrast that with days when I only have to buy potatoes before the cook comes in and yet, I manage to mess that up. Has to be some sort of Murphy’s Law of Useless Pursuits or something.

The other thing that occurred to me was, boy, those kids are bright! Cochleae, Gingivitis, Acciaccatura, no matter what you throw at them, they get it right. And I need my computer to spell occasion and convenient! I used to be good at spelling but Word has made me lazy. Besides, I figure, who uses words like derailleur (French origin: mechanism for changing gears) and piccalilli (A kind of pickle)?

The only mistakes the kids made were because of poor pronunciation by the host, Rajat Kapoor. Man, they need a better host than him. The poor kids had to periodically keep looking at the ‘experts’ for verification. The experts being some gora named Andrew and one BBCD (as in the European counterpart of ABCD), Rana.

However, those kids need some serious phonetics lessons. All of them pronounced H as etch. All of them! The only exceptions being two south Indian kids who pronounced it as hetch. People, it is pronounced aitch.

On an aside, I found this joke and it’s hilarious. Like, seriously funny.

Welcome to the Psychiatric Hotline;

If you are obsessive-compulsive, please press 1 repeatedly.
If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2.
If you have multiple personalities, please press 3, 4, 5, and 6.
If you are paranoid-delusional, we know who you are and what you want. Just stay on the line so we can trace the call.
If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell you which number to press.
If you are depressed, it doesn’t matter which number you press. No one will answer.
If you are delusional and occasionally hallucinate, please be aware that the thing you are holding on the side of your head is alive and about to bite off your ear.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »