Friday, July 24, 2015

I will happily support your business, but spare me the CSR angle and your charity

These days, I find myself increasingly being asked to attend events. This makes me happy because I like meeting people, doing fun stuff, being entertained, maybe eating an hors d'oeuvres or two and generally being sociable and spending my money in the vague direction of "Art" and "Culture".

However, off late, every event, every business venture seems to have a charity hanging on its coat-tails. This annoys me a lot. Why it annoys me is because, I know most people use it like a scam and to hoodwink their friends, family, social acquaintances, rather shamelessly, guilting them into opening up their purses. This is wrong and unethical on very many levels. If you want people to spend, make your business/ product/ service attractive and competitive, to make people want it and aspire for it. Making people do so, under the guise of "doing good" will probably not make them repeat the action, and sooner or later people will realise that they are being hoodwinked. There is no shame in being a business owner or capitalist. In fact, in my eyes I will rate you higher than, if you tell me you are associated with a NGO/ charity.

I am also amazed, when people I hardly know or have not met and spoken with for ages, suddenly pop in from the blue and ask me to support some charitable venture. Why would I? I am happy being a charmless, friendless asshole rather than a sitting duck. I am happy to support a business or enterprise, because I feel it makes more sense and in a way is being more useful and contributive to society, than a silly little support group to inflate egos of bored housewives.

If you do need funds for charity or any social endeavor, just be upfront about it, rather than making people buy your stupid doodads. I will be serious about your charity, if I know it is just that and not a way to make me buy shit. I do support many groups doing useful work, but the moment they ask me to attend an art and cocktail event, I will bid them a fond farewell! I am happy attending such an event ONLY for art, but I really dislike this idiotic trend of 5-star charity and doing-good. Even a famous activist used up funds for booze and beauty parlors, so before getting sucked in to any such activity, do stop and think!

Monday, July 06, 2015

How to be a Houseguest from hell

1. Insist on visiting, citing concern, when host has met with an accident.
2. After being categorically told that your visit will be very inconvenient, visit anyway.
3. When your host is being rolled into the Operation theatre, call and demand a car be sent to pick you up from the airport. Then specify, which car and which driver.
4. On reaching, visit the hospital at 10 pm, and demand to see the host, who is lying unconscious after being wheeled out of the OT an hour ago.
5. The next day, land up at the hospital at 7 am, before your host is sponged, ready or has breakfast and his medicines.
6. Sit in your host's cabin for the next 14 hours. When his wife asks you to leave during the afternoon, so he can relax, ignore and say you will paste your butt in the cabin itself.
7. Lie on the couch, while your host's wife who has slept only for 3 hours the night before sits on a chair the entire time.
8. Talk loudly, gossip, be a general annoyance all through the 14 hours. Keep playing candycrush loudly, when other people are trying to sleep.
9. Order host's staff and wife every few hours for tea, coffee. Interfere in meal plans. Give your unsolicited opinions.
10. Leave at night, only when asked by the host and then say, you are being insulted.
11. Insist your host speaks on facetime with your obnoxious and rude daughters, nevermind that your host is UNWELL and has just been operated.
12. Order host's staff around the next day, until you leave finally.

And then, after all this, expect royal, entitled treatment all through, for life.

Dear ladies, please note, if any of your male acquaintance gets married, behaving like this will ensure, you will be banned from the couple's life, forever.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


1. Look at the painting/ artwork and see if it makes you think or happy.
2. If it makes you happy and you are happy with the price, buy it. Obviously, this should be avoided if you are high or drunk (yes, it happens).
3. If you share your home space with a family, take a general consensus. Art leads to many future disputes, because people are different and opposites attract. So what you like, may not be appreciated by your partner/ kids. Be democratic. Remember, after they kick the bucket/ set up their own homes, you are free to do what you want, until then, maintain peace.
4. If the artwork makes you think, does it give you positive thoughts? There are very many artworks that are provocative or just depressing.
5. If the artwork gives you non-negative thoughts and you think it will not revolt you in the future, buy it.
6. Do not buy Art for investment. It is stupid. The only people who benefit from Art sales are Art dealers and grand-children/ great-grand-children.
7. If you have lots of money to burn, cool. Let's be friends! If you have a limited budget, buy younger artists, keeping the above in mind.
8. If you have a limited budget, do not be embarassed to ask the dealer for a discount. A 10-20% discount is easily achieved from most dealers. Do remember, this is true in ALL countries. I have bought Art from over 15 countries and have achieved this everywhere. However, be respectful of the Dealer and the Artist, while requesting discounts. Niceness goes a long, long way.
9. Always request the Dealer for an Authenticity Certificate. If the Artwork is not new, ask for a trail of ownership.
10. Get invoices and avoid all-cash deals. This I recommend for 3 reasons: Firstly, if the Artwork increases in value, and you want to sell it at a later date, it will be easy to account for this sale. Secondly, you can place a value on what you are leaving, after you. Thirdly, if a dealer is willing to go through a shady deal, maybe the artwork is not the value that is being ascribed to it.
11. Never be afraid to enquire about prices of Art. A lot of good Art is cheaper than jewellery/ eating out and will give you far more pleasure!

Happy collecting!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

2 Dollars And 99 Cents

I had a very interesting conversation with my nephew today. He told me of his friend's mother who was an artist. Since I am always interested in discovering new artists, I looked her up. As I had suspected (and voiced to my nephew), her talent was housewife-mediocre and consisted of rajasthani ladies, flowers, etc. I was at my snarky best, but my nephew was strangely silent.

I asked my nephew whether he agreed with me or not. He said quietly, "Mausi, you do realize (1) she is doing what she likes and monetizing it, however pedestrian it may be and she has found a way; (2) I am also planning to work with music - I don't know how, but I do, and I may come across many snooty people like you, who will look down on me, because I am not good enough. I know how it feels, so I would like to be kind."

This was humbling coming from a fifteen year old, and I have been thinking about it long and hard.

One needs to be kind and people need to make a living, however, being a critic too is important. I would not like people not to make a living, but I think it is also important for people to be good at whatever they do. Mediocrity probably allows people to pull along and perhaps be happy, but excellence gives satisfaction and a feeling of achievement like nothing else.

Being the queen of mediocrity at a number of things I have done to make a living, I know that it pays the bills, sometimes really well, but also creates dissatisfaction and a feeling of general unhappiness. I hope all my nieces and nephews, try to excel at one thing at least. It needn't be their livelihood, but I think it could be the secret of a happy life.

I would love everyone's comments on this!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Pointers to all married couples on how to treat your friends who are living together, single, widowed or divorced

Pointers to all married couples on how to treat your friends who are living together:
TREAT THE COUPLE AS YOU WOULD ANY OTHER MARRIED COUPLE. Its as simple as that. Don't try to match make, or exclude one of the partners from events or invites (you wouldn't dream of doing it to a wife or husband, would you?). Most importantly, stop questioning on when and if they are getting married. Don't bitch about the partner, even if you can't stand him/ her.
Pointers to all married couples on how to treat your friends who are divorced/ widowed/ bereft of significant other:Include in all events, as you did before. Don't remind of times gone by, to rub things in. Make them laugh, if possible.
Pointers to all married couples on how to treat single friends:
Include in all events, as you did before. Try and introduce to other singles, if not to match make, at least to socialise. Do not treat as social lepers or say stupid stuff.
Most importantly, remember that your friends who are living together, single, widowed or divorced are people too. Being sensitive and not stupid goes a long way.
The above post begged to be written because after a certain age, one normally socializes with married people, and some married folks just do NOT GET THE MEMO on being nice to people who aren't in traditional relationships.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

On Annoyance

I used to get annoyed with a whole lot of things that no longer annoy me, such as housewives, pet owners, bikers and grapefruit. The thing about annoyance is that one can live with it and perhaps grow out of it, mostly on realising that there are worse things and/ or becoming or owning the annoyance.

I now have a fresh set of annoyances which I am compelled to list.

1. Jealous, bored housewives
2. People who feed my pets behind my back
3. Sattu - actually this should have been at the top of my list
4. People who insist on walking on tracks and do not make way for runners
5. Assholes who do not give way to me when I am biking
6. People who cannot hold their drink
7. Overly thin people like Amal Amaluddin who people like George Clooney marry. Why George, WHY?
8. Overly thin people who don't put on weight
9. Stick insect women who wear skin tight jeggingy things and short teeshirts
10. My sister and mother in a cold war situation
11. People who feed stray dogs (if you love them so much, adopt them and take them off the streets ASSHOLES!)
12. The SO's non-shaving days - sweetie, its not a sexy stubble, it makes you look like an out of work struggling starving actor
13. Dirty cutlery
14. Bad wine
15. Half empty restaurants where the hosts ask you if you have a reservation
16. Fit people talking about chia seeds and the like
17. Name-dropping
18. Parents moaning about kids, education, precocity at dinner parties
19. The annoying anti-smoking ads in movie theatres
20. The supremely annoying manyawar ad which is only shown in movie theatres

So, what annoys you?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Summer Days - Brahmi Sherbet

My Grandfather had an Ayurvedic medicines manufacturing business. Apart from medicines, he also made restorative products like Chyawanprash, different kinds of digestive aids, gripe waters, syrups and a unique Sherbet concentrate, called Brahmi Sherbet*. Brahmi Sherbet was made from a mixture of herbs and aromatics, and the main ingredient was Brahmi herb.

On googling, I found that Brahmi is used for Alzheimer's disease, improving memory, anxiety, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), allergic conditions, irritable bowel syndrome, and as a general tonic to fight stress. People also take brahmi to treat backache, hoarseness, mental illness, epilepsy, joint pain, and sexual performance problems in both men and women. It is also sometimes used as a “water pill.”

Whenever we visited my grandparents, which was basically during every summer vacation (until I left for college), Brahmi Sherbet was offered to every visitor and guest during the summer months, the moment they would step into my grandparents' home. Brahmi Sherbet was a bright jewel emerald green in colour and had a sweet, herbally, vetiverish flavour. After dilution with water, it would become a bright jade green. The only reason why I liked playing around with it, was because it had a kaleidoscopish effect on the glass, and bright colours always fascinated me. At my grandparents', the Sherbet would be diluted with water from the drinking water hand pump, after pumping the handpump vigorously for ten minutes, to ensure really cool water. After mixing it with water, the Sherbet would be poured into tall, brass glasses. During the height of summers in Uttar Pradesh, the Sherbet would be so cool that there would be water condesation on the brass glasses, despite the water coming from a handpump and not the refridgerator!

I used to dislike it then, perhaps because the flavour was too complex for a child's palate. I would find inventive ways to avoid it and when nothing worked, I would pour it into the many plant beds that lined my grandparents' inner courtyard. I would also often do a disappearing act right at the moment Sherbet was poured for everyone and then slide in softly and clutch an empty glass at the correct moment and pretend I knew nothing of the one filled glass that was always left.

Apart from water, Brahmi Sherbet could also be mixed with cold milk. It would turn the milk into a light milky minty colour and I liked it better than mixing with water.

Last summer was brutal and we were off colas and other soft drinks. One wished for never-ending glasses of cool liquids. On one such soul-sapping day, my boyfriend demanded Roohafza. After being more than a little dismissive and a tad snooty, I finally took a doubtful sip of my boyfriend's Roohafza drink. The first sip of the sweet, herbally, floral drink suddenly reminded me of huge, cool, brass tumblers filled to the brim with Brahmi Sherbet. Funny, how the tiniest of things can bring back repressed memories. Sometimes, I wish I could go back in time and relive my life, and perhaps do things differently (read: drink the Sherbet rather than pouring in flower beds). Drinking Roohafza now, I can sometimes hear my grandmother's gravelly yet mellifluous voice ordering us to drink up the Sherbet.

* I thought Brahmi Sherbet was unique, until I googled it and saw Baba ramdev's Patanjali also manufacturing it now. No surprises there, I suppose?