Priceless Conversations


Some conversations are worthy of documentation.

A: *laughs ‘aiwein’, as he likes to put it*

Me: To that, imagine me saying ‘kuchh bhi’, nautanki style.

A: Help me visualize.

Me: Imagine me standing in front of you. Now imagine yourself laughing for no good reason. Then imagine me saying, “kuchh bhi!” in a voice that manages to scale three pitches in two words. Simultaneously, imagine my arms swooping in from my sides up to your face, like you were a damsel in distress and I were your knight in shining armour, saving you from a bad sprain. Now imagine all this synchronized tomfoolery ending in a Bharatnatyam flower-mudrika.

A: *prolonged silence*

Me: Now I shall go imagine you taking an aspirin for the headache all that imagining gave you.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Anger and Other Bullet Points


It has been over a year since I left behind the agony that was Chennai and returned to Delhi. Though the two cities are chalk and cheese, the one common denominator they both provide me with is the ability to seethe with anger. Why Chennai made me angry is a mystery I shall leave for my million-copies-selling book. Why Delhi makes me angry provides fodder for this ten-minute post.

Delhi has some of the best planners in the country residing and working in the capital, yet every morning sees the pedestrian daring the automobile owner to run him over and the automobile owner challenging the pedestrian to risk crossing him and escaping unscathed.  You have office complexes across the road from major metro stations, yet no one with the sense to place a foot over-bridge across a six-lane carriageway. You have a single pedestrian path, scarcely two metres wide; leading into metro stations that should cater to incessant footfall, leave alone provide separate access for ingress and egress. And then you have the quintessential couple that decides to saunter right ahead of you, ready to break into a love song at 8:30 on a Monday morning while you cuss and swear and consider taking your chances at getting off the footpath without having a truck mow you down.

You walk home every Tuesday evening when the weekly haat takes over a kilometre worth of road space right outside your home with absolutely no police intervention that can prevent the delinquency and thefts that occur. Of course, there is also no alternative traffic route suggested for that day, so you have man, car and cow struggling for space on the same road, while the vegetable hawker along the shoulder refuses to budge an inch. All while you patiently wait for Bittu and Tina to finish their Sporty Lamon Soda, so that they allow you the tiny space you need to walk into your lane.

We haven’t spoken of aunties the size of Third World countries, yet, have we? The same ones who eye that little space between you and the girl adjacent and then do the shifty dance with their bum while you splat into another human being. They choose to rather comfortably spend the journey half lodged on your left thigh, till you sigh, give up and relinquish your spot to them. In return, they extend to you a look of gratitude that clearly says, “Ha! I win!”

The icing on the cake(walk) that is my journey, of course, is the share autos and Grameen Sewa tempos that dot all of Delhi’s borders. Twice a day, I am made to truly feel like cattle when fifteen of us are herded into a space meant for nine while U.P’s auto drivers all oscillate between secretly giving in to Schumacher-like tendencies and emulating Rajnikanth. There is a complex hate-hate relationship that these transport providers have with the local police. One day you find them shaking hands and standing watch while you board or alight, another day the same guy informs you that these ‘illegal auto waale’ have been banished and you are left stranded at 8.00 p.m. at Delhi’s border with no way to get home.

But, all that stands apart from the loaded looks your kurta gets and the ‘mistaken’ brushes against your thigh, the way the autowallahs stand too close when they want to know where you want to go and the leering smiles they give you when your hand accidently touches theirs while handing them the ride’s fare.

If shooting dirty looks could kill, I’d be a happier Delhite.

My Mind Wanders Often…


I never get Sundays off. As if it wasn’t enough that Mondays put the ‘blue’ behind ‘Prussian’, the Universe has conspired since the day I got to high school that Mondays would be designed to suck the life out of me. So in school I spent Sunday nights praying I passed the Monday test, during under-graduation I wanted flight tickets to Delhi every Sunday evening to spare me the horror of another week in that hell-hole and post-graduation sees me put my vocabulary to extremely innovative use as I cuss at Monday reviews, AutoCAD and fate come 7p.m. Of course, if I am overworked, then the only reason you would want to speak to me is if your idea of a fun Sunday evening is to have your head bitten off by me.

Also, have I ever spoken of how my mind can come up with extremely judicious ways of squandering away precious time when every second counts? This gone Sunday, at 1 a.m., when I should have been enumerating housing stock and creating pretty pies and splattering them on sheets, I was instead wondering: whatever would happen if there existed a parallel universe where every number had an identity? NumberMommy would tell her kid to study hard; else, he will end up as the housing deficit of Gangtok.  Two NumberAunties would spot a neighbor who has recently had surgery done and whisper, ‘Did you hear? She was fudged!’. Eve teasing would occur in the form of NumberRomeo1 telling a friend, ‘Dude, check out the curves on THAT integral!’. A little kid would run home after the races yelling, ‘Mommy! Mommy! I ‘one’ the race!” Moreover, arranged marriages would be a whole lot dicier because, didn’t you hear? He got into Census of India 2011.

The moral of this post? I am a sleep-deprived geek who needs to find something better to do on Sunday evenings.

P.S: Propriety states that I credit Sahil Sasidharan here for physically assaulting me with a thwack on my back with a roar that sounded a little like, ‘Dude! This idea is a gold mine!’ and for causing me to choke more than once on my lunch while putting forth inane suggestions for this post, some of which have, sadly, been incorporated.  Thanks, Sahil! 🙂

 

 

This Year, I Resolve To…


Despite being awarded Cynic of the Year on 31 December 2010, I decided that I will be a Brand New Person, at least for the first month of 2011. And the plan of action involved doing everything that 2010 Me would have puked on, what with me being a cynic and all. So I copied Anjaana Anjaani onto my portable hard disk, joked about my laptop crashing and my life coming to a standstill, wore a bright red windcheater that drove people into epileptic spasms of laughter and made a New Year resolution.

I think I liked the old me better.

I also went a step ahead and instead of promising myself things that I really needed, such as hitting the gym or sleeping more often, I decided my New Year resolution would have me being positive in situations where I otherwise would have started counting my last hours. KhiKhi burst into peals of laughter when I confessed, hoping for an evaluation that affirmed that I had successfully driven myself closer to self-actualization, and instead said, “Yeah! I’d like to see THAT happen!”

If I were to count my blessings, the list would read something like this:

  1. I am a strong, healthy person without any major diseases.
  2. I study at the School of Planning and Architecture.
  3. My most major expenses are the prints I take every week for my review.
  4. I am studying Planning, which is taking me to new places and by the time I am done, I will know a few cities like the back of my hand.
  5. I have a small set of people I hold close to my heart and I know that when I need them, they will come hold placards at protest rallies I organize and tell me those jeans do not make my bum look the size of a country.

Since I suck at giving up awards conferred on me, I shall also simultaneously list my un-blessings:

  1. I am a strong, healthy person without any major diseases, apart from chronic migraine and balding at 23.
  2. I study at the School of Planning and Architecture. OhNo. ‘nuff said.
  3. My most major expenses are the prints I take every week for my review. I need to get a life and some weekend plans.
  4. I am studying Planning, which is taking me to new places and by the time I am done, I will know a few cities like the back of my hand. Till now, that list only includes Bathinda.
  5. I have a small set of people I hold close to my heart and I know that when I need them, they will come hold placards at protest rallies I organize and tell me those jeans do not make my bum look the size of a country. Forming this tiny circle comes at the cost of heartaches, tough lessons and knives in my back I could have done without.

There. So much for resolutions. I think they are nice things, however, these annual promises. They allow us to live in a tiny happy bubble that leads us to believe that we are capable of positive change. They are also, however, causes of impulsive (and expensive) Make Me Better decisions such as gym memberships and cookery classes. And they are exceedingly fascinating, because we all know one person who puts up theirs as a Facebook status or encourages earth-shattering discussions that begin with, “So, what’s your New Year resolution?” or writes long, tedious blog posts about it.

 

 

 

And We’re Back


What better way to commemorate a hundred (odd) days away from the blog than a *drum-roll* blog post! *ta-dum dhoosh*

That sounded better in my head.

In the years I have been away (the past few months have felt like a lifetime lived and wasted), I joined the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi for a Master’s degree in Planning with a specialization in Housing. It is not as fun as it sounds (and if it doesn’t sound like fun, then bang on!) Sleep is no longer considered an important bodily function, no amount of work is good enough, co-operation and symbiosis are words best left to the dictionary and ranting becomes the norm. I’ve even lost my sense of humor. GAH.

Recent realizations indicate that I may have an OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, for those from Mars). I feel an irrational need to label and tag everything I do. I put data in folders. Tens and tens of them. I capitalize the names on each one of those folders. When I name my music, it HAS TO contain the artiste’s name, followed by the name of the song. I have begun classifying the movies I store into genre folders. When I make a PowerPoint presentation with a group of 8 people, I take everyone’s parts, make a folder (again) and then rename everyone’s parts with their names. Even if we have to present in ten minutes and there are forty-five slides to compile. Heck, I had a brand new black bold-marker and nothing to do one Sunday afternoon, so I went and labeled every spice jar in the kitchen with the spice it should contain. Needless to say, it gave my roommates fodder for two years’ worth of ribbing and the labeled jars never contained the spices that I intended them for. I just might end up on Criminal Minds. Oooooooh! Shemar Moore, Thomas Gibson, Matthew Gray Gubler *obscene amounts of salivation*

SPA has a few friendly dogs on campus, one of whom I have named VIP, for the sole reason that he waltzes into our classes, curls up right next to the teaching platform and shamelessly goes off to sleep as a prof drones on, while we look on in absolute envy, longing for a full night’s sleep. VIP reminds me of Puppae, the street pup my roommates had adopted a year ago. While he was with us, I eventually got tired of his flaws, but in retrospect, I find myself missing the cute antics, the incessant need for love. Distance is probably a good thing because it allows us to focus on only the positive. There is only so long you can remain upset with someone, unless they give you a solid reason to hate. I have friends who have lasted the entire period I was away from Delhi during under-graduation and then I have ‘friends’ in Chennai who I ultimately got tired of, simply because their flaws eventually overshadowed whatever good they had in them. A long-distance relationship is easier in so many ways, because it allows you time for yourself, for friends, for studies, for marathon Criminal Minds sessions; yet it is a million times harder because you have to keep the chemistry going, the faith needs to remain unshaken, the commitments need to be adhered to. I probably expect too much of people, because honestly is definitely not everyone’s forte and being disappointed seems to be mine.

I really don’t have a point to prove with all gobbledygook I seem to be capable of (except for wanting Shemar Moore. THAT is not to be taken lightly!). SPA. Like I said, ranting becomes the norm.

Why…


  • …is “Coffee, sometime?”, so darn hard to say?
  • …is it so hard to follow rules, but so easy to ‘zara side hona’ when a lady the size of Bangladesh attempts to fit herself in that little space between two metro seats that would otherwise count as… well… nothing?
  • …have the aliens told Ma that lesser salt in my food will help me lose weight?
  • …should I quell my childish streak just because I am twenty-three? I will continue to throw my hands in the air every time my circa 1952-model laptop finishes saving a Photoshop file and do a hands-rotating-near-chest-hips-not-coordinating jig every time I figure out a structural detail a five-year old could draw in his sleep. Yeah, babeh!
  • …is there a silent-farter in the coach every time I travel by the metro? Every. Single. Time. MEH.
  • …can the tightest jeans and the shortest shorts be tried out, but it takes a saree to get The Boy to give you a second look?
  • …can’t I understand the difference between the prefixing of ‘in-‘ and ‘un-‘ when attempting an antonym?
  • …do men NEVER get it when we want them to ask us out? And if anyone gives me the ‘men can’t read hints’ bulls**t, I will hunt them down and assault them. Battery, even.
  • …bother providing world-class facilities when the citizens who use them can never get their heads out of the gutter? I suggest everyone try at least once, to get into a metro at peak travel time. The men push the women, paw wherever they can, the ladies squeal and throw bags to save a seat and somewhere amidst the mêlée, the kids get crushed and senior citizens get propelled in and out of the coach without needing feet.
  • …does Ma’s face register more satisfaction when an irritating mosquito has been murdered, than when I get through a Masters course?
  • …must all Delhi men look diagonally when they walk and all women look down? The female gender is not meat and even if it takes me a machete to get that into the male brain, I’m all for it.
  • …must I face my demons to prove my strength? I feel the need to surround myself with people who make me happy, but fate has other dirty plans for me.
  • …must the Delhi Government attempt events that are the scale of the Commonwealth Games when Connaught Place requires six months for a facelift, ‘streetscaping’ involves the digging up of medians and then allowing Pretty Rain Pools to accumulate in them and freshly inaugurated stadia have their roofs caving in? As much as I try to be a cooperating citizen and comply with the zillion travel delays that occur owing to the infrastructure overhaul, I find that all that is happening is a merry Pass-the-Parcel with the blame game.
  • …must all good things come to an end, especially when they involve kittens on the desktop and forgetting to save files you have slogged all day on?
  • …not?

Doggie Tales


You know how some seriously cute stuff happens when you least expect it?

My sister takes me to visit a friend of hers and to my utter child-like glee, I find out that she has a teenage Labrador puppy, Iris. Although she is only about three and a half months old, I still refer to her as teenage because she still clearly has the mind of a child and doesn’t quite realize that her body has grown way faster than her head has (I can already see teenage brickbats being hurtled my way). Anyhoo, Iris doesn’t really care that when she licks my feet now, I worry more about my toes ending up detached from my feet, than responding to the unending tickling it is causing. After much pampering and puppy-talk, I am then led to an inner room, having been told that I am going to be introduced to ‘Archimedes’. While my extremely fertile imagination runs amok, I find my sister holding a guinea pig! It was a brown ball of fur and looked utterly confused with all the attention (and I refuse to accept any counter-arguments that state that guinea pigs are incapable of evincing emotion).

Formal introductions took place in the form of, “Gini, meet guinea”, and no, it is not as funny as it sounds 😐 Once I took Archimedes into my arms, I distinctly refused to let anyone else even touch it, assured that my namesake was the happiest continuing it’s perennial nibbling while it was with me. Iris had other plans though. As soon as I made myself couch-comfy, she came bounding up to me and climbed on my lap, salivating and trying her best to swipe Archimedes into her mouth. Petrified, thinking that if Iris doesn’t get Archimedes she may try her luck with my nose, much squealing occurred while I held Archimedes in the air like it was a Wimbledon trophy, Iris barked and whined and basically walked all over me and the other humans in the room reveled in the entertainment.

All chaos and potential injury notwithstanding, I adore dogs.

Last May, my erstwhile roommates picked up a wounded puppy they found on a roadside and brought him home to nurse him back to health. Christening him was a matter of much discussion and after the throwing about of some extremely sensible names, he was very innovatively named Puppy Singh; further shortened to Puppae (sigh…). He was the stupidest, greediest, love-hungry, attention-seeking twit I had ever come across. I suppose the reason we all were nuts about him was because he was so needy all the time. It seemed to validate our existence for those few days.

Since we would eat on the ground, we would lock him out of the room, for we once found ourselves sharing a bowl of dal with him. Those ten minutes outside the room would give rise to howls that would lead you to think he was dying and we would scarf our food down. When he would be let in, he would give us the most wounded look and we’d all spend hours after that, individually making up for the audacity of wanting to eat our dinner in peace, to him. He was quite the Casanova too. Girlie parts, if you know what I mean, were of great intrigue to him. I had this roommate who had waist-length hair and Puppae loved nothing more than sleeping on her draped-out hair while she slept on the floor. This one time, we were all sitting on the floor and he was about the house playing Sherlock, when ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’ begun playing on the speakers and this lil thing comes jumping inside with great enthusiasm… it was hilarious, the timing of it all. Of course, it isn’t quite that funny if you weren’t one of the roommates. Or Puppae. He always found the most inaccessible, unpleasant areas to relieve himself on and the house almost always had a few hundred newspapers spread out over an equal number of spaces. He loved baths and even more so, dirtying himself up soon after. The neighbors saw, on more than one occasion, an overexcited puppy bounding out of the ground floor flat in B block, closely followed by a distraught, panting house-member trying her best to cajole it back in. He loved hugs, legs and Pepsi. He was a complete pain-in-the-ass and I miss him like crazy.