Monday, March 29, 2004


Hi folks! I will be posting for plumpie while she's away.I have three passions in life- oriental food, movies and my 3 1/2 year old son.All of which will be very obvious in my forthcoming posts.So here we go!
I spend all of Saturday with a friend's wife. Drove around town, went shopping, watched "sex and the city" (I can only do that with a girlfriend) ate lunch in a new restaurant in town called " new yorker" (I live in Pune).The only new yorkish thing about the place is the New York skyline painted on one of the walls and it has the twin towers in it.The food there is vegetarian (Jain versions available). It is a regular mix of Italian, Lebanese, Mexican and Indian. We had Hummus with Pita bread as starters and Falafels and spaghetti with an onion cheese sauce as main course Hummus was very nice (almost as good as mine which I make for my food fanatic husband : he has it for breakfast) and well presented , but what took the cake was the sizzling brownie with icecream, though the waiter poured too much of the chocolate sauce on it.
Sunday was a leisurely day. Helped my son paint a Tee-shirt for my father-in-law all morning, went on my weekly piligrimage to Shivaji Market- Pune's answer to Mumbai's Crawford market.Made baked chicken with mushrooms and green beans and zucchini salad for dinner and crashed out watching a feel good flick called "Under the Tuscan Sun" .A perfect weekend. Touche!

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Single and Swingin'!

I am pissed off. ALL my conference confirmations have been addressed to "MRS." Plumpernickel. How can people assume that all women attending are married? Why should they assume it? Why can't they just stick to "Ms."? Atleast like my Newsweek subscription, it hasn't been addressed to "MR." Plumpernickel! Thank God for small mercies.

Monday, March 22, 2004


I will be gone for almost 10 days and will not be able to update my blogs. So, I got a guest blogger! Tantarara! Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome SistahSuzy! My one and only real-life sister, mother of my adorable nephew, my hugest critic and the one and only person who can drive me up the wall in one minute flat with the utterance of one sweet word, "Oh!" The intonation of the "Oh!" varies and is usually a sarcastic, "If you think that's impressive, you suck bigtime!" Sometimes the "Oh!" means, "I can look through you but I will keep up appearances and not say anything to embarrass you, save this oh." My favourite one however means, "You twit! You obviously do not measure up to me and are a clod of dirt on my dog's paws." So let the fun begin! It will be fun to see what the sistah has to say on moi blogge.

Thursday, March 18, 2004


Sometimes my efficiency surprises me. I slept for a full 7 hours yesterday night for the first time this week. I have been making do with 3 to 4 hours everyday and my body felt stressed, fatigued and achy. I was hoping to get up at the crack of dawn to exercise and cook lunch for my parents who would be in town for the day. When my alarm clock rang, I switched it off and thought I'd snooze some more, but I slept for 2 hours more and woke up at 8 'o' clock feeling remorseful and guilty. I have to get in to work by 9:00 am (it helps that my workplace is just ahead the street) and I had to have lunch ready. Instead of the spread I had planned, I hurriedly cooked paneer curry and vegetable biryani, took a bath, cleaned the bathroom, had breakfast, dressed and was out of the house sharp at 8:58. My efficiency amazes me at times!

Tuesday, March 16, 2004


Paris! Here I come! I got my visa.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Weekend? What was that again? The Calcutta Club- Telegraph Debate 2004

I worked throughout the weekend. I was supposed to go to the Calcutta carnival at Chaplin Square with Mad, but could not, since I was at work. Wrapped up at 6:00 pm and then Mrs. Nimbupani came up and gave me a pass for the Telegraph - Calcutta Club debate held at the Calcutta Club. The topic was 'Should the state fund the arts?' The panelists consisted of Jayant Kripalani, Mahesh Bhatt, Rahul Bose, Shyamanand Jalan, Irfan Khan, Nafisa Ali, Rajeshwari Sachdeva and Victor Banerjee with Dileep Padgaonkar moderating the debate. As was expected, Nafisa Ali did not have a clue about what she was speaking, Irfan Khan was out of his depth and Rajeshwari's argument could only be termed as school-girlish. Nafisa Ali, Irfan Khan, Victor Banerjee and Rajeshwari were speaking for the motion and the other four against the motion. The against-the-motion team was easily the better one and it was a pleasure to listen to Shyamanand Jalan's clearly defined points that were a testimony to his skills as a solicitor. Mahesh Bhatt was somewhat of a waffler and chose to debate the issue rather personally citing his problems in getting his movie released and in getting funding for Saaransh. Jayant Kripalani was fun to listen to, but rather theatrical and his plea of not letting the 'grubby little fingers' of the state to the Arts a bit over-done. Rahul Bose cited the recent International film festival to build up his case and the fact that 25 documentaries were not allowed to be screened because they were uncomfortable for the state. Jayant Kripalani elaborated on that and dragged in the fact that Leni Riefenstahl's films were screened at the festival, but was unaware of Ms. Riefenstahl's gender and provided a moment of hilarity when he was informed of the same.

While introducing the speakers, Dileep Padgaonkar mentioned the fact that Nafisa Ali wanted to be identified as a 'Bengali Babe'. Madame Ali is campaigning against Mamata Banerjee this year in the forthcoming elections and one can only feel pity for the party that has chosen such an bubblehead to campaign for them.

I do not know whether the organisers could not get politicians this year or generally wanted to dumb-down the event, but I was looking forward to another interesting political debate (as it mostly is) instead had to suffer 'Bengali Babes'. I hope next year's topic reverts back to politics or social issues as has been happening in the past.

Also, I desperately need a holide. The only count of days I have, is from project timelines. How sucky can that be?

Saturday, March 13, 2004

These tests are addictive, I tell you

Er... What great gifts, do I have any?

crystal heart
Heart of Crystal

What is Your Heart REALLY Made of?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, March 12, 2004

The night mechanical engineering failed its graduates

Last year I was visiting the sis on my vacation and the trip was disastrous. We fought like cats, there was a triangular cold war brewing for various reasons and all we did was spew bile at each other. I guess all of us were stressed out and my family always takes out unpleasantness on the people we love and we excel at it and that is exactly what we all did at my sister's. The day before I and Mum were supposed to fly back (early morning flight and all that) the sister and BIL organised a night out, to let our hair down and put the ill-will behind us. Two of BIL's colleagues (very young compared to the BIL who was actually their boss) also came along. Both were engineers, one an electrical engineering grad and the other a mechanical engineering grad. We set out and the first pub we hit (Wunderbarr - for those who know the city I am speaking of) was nice and all that but also full of very young people and even I felt old. One of the fellows who had bragged until I could gag about being a regular at the place did not seem to be so and then the same guy told us about this farmhouse that had happening and rocking parties and we decided to head out for some fun.

The ride took ages and we headed out of the city, happy that fun times would soon descend and we would rock and drink and be happy. We were driving through the night in darkness, without proper lights or roads and there were sugarcane fields all around and no sign of habitation when suddenly there was a huge pop and we realised that one of the damned tyres had sprung a puncture. The engineers in our car were cocky and cool and pooh-poohed the fact that no help was around. Afterall, how difficult was it to change a tyre? We jumped out of the car, and frantically looked for a torch and discovered a feeble one in the glove compartment that could conk out any moment. The sis and I stood away secure in the hope that the men would take care of the puncture. For 30 minutes complete confusion reigned. They were all looking for the car manual that could not be found. Finally the sis located it stuffed in the boot somewhere in a plastic cover and relief swept over the guys. Then the manual was flipped over to find out the instructions to change tyres and they could not locate it. The BIL stated very confidently that those instructions could be found on page 81. Well, there was no page 81! Somehow with the aid of the flickering light of cellphone dials the instructions were discovered. Then the men all had different opinions on how a tyre should be changed, despite the clear instructions and cursed and yelled that the jack was not fitting underneath the car and then I realised that something was amiss and that the fellows were not awfully capable of changing tyres. Sis and I stepped into the fray and assisted the fellows in setting the jack up (read: lifting the car while the guys got the jack in place). After that was done, the guys fumbled and cursed and it took them another 30 minutes to get the deflated tyre out. Then the spare tyre was taken out and the fellows twisted it this way and that but it just would not go in. Finally, I offered to help and the fellows brushed me off. After another 15 minutes of grunting and cursing, I couldn't take it any longer and stepped in. By that time the fellows were too exhausted to care. In 5 minutes I had the tyre in place and one of the fellows fastened the nuts and bolts or whatever you call the screws. All this while what do you think the BIL was doing? Helping out? Oh no. He was standing at a distance barking out crisp, incorrect, unwanted and annoying instructions from the manual. It had taken us over 1 and 1/2 hours to change a tyre. This when we had a mechanical engineering grad who supposedly was a car freak. Suzy if you read this, remember how we laughed afterwards at "engineering graduates"?


Every once in a while the BIL* does something that redeems him from being thought of as a fuddy-duddy by me. The western India part of my family lacks a SOH**, but then when you least expect it the BIL does something cool, funny and nice and is offered redemption. Yesterday I was speaking with the sis and she told me of the company BIL works for going public. Then she told me that she had thrown away the papers for BIL's stock options because they did not think it would ever go public and would ever be of any worth. I asked her how the BIL reacted to that and she giggled and said that he laughed his head off at the thought that somebody could throw stock options away. This is the man who blows his top when his sea-kelp turns mouldy and is thrown away by the sis without showing him and the same man who sees red when his CD collection (comprising almost 1800 CDs) is jumbled up. It is at times like this when I really like my crazy family.

*BIL - Brother-in-law
**SOH - Sense of humour

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Thank God for small mercies!

A few minutes back, I was reading the comments on one of my favourite blogs when I noticed that my comment had been deleted. I sort of know the blogger (no, he is not listed here) and I texted to ask him what was so personal about my comment that it had to be deleted. Apparently the blogger thought that my comment was barbed and aimed at his life (which it was not, it was aimed at my idiotic friends who forget my valuable existence when they meet anyone of the opposite sex) and he didn't want his girlfriend getting the wrong messages. I have a serious message for Indian men, not that any read this blog, but hey, its MY blog, so here goes: GET OVER YOURSELVES!

The ex and all the other exes, had problems with my ex-blog. When I look back, I realise that the problem was not with my blog, it was a problem they had with me. I am blunt and open BUT I do not read meanings into flippant remarks and that is where the problem lies and that is why I avoid friendships with married people or those in serious relationships because in 9 cases out of 10, things I say are deemed "dangerous" or "inflammatory". I do not understand the short leash in relationships so if people have a problem, I know it is time for a fond farewell. As for me, if any of my future boyfriends have problems with what people comment on my blog, it means they are insecure and do not have a life to bother about anyone else's opinions and hence will be booted out mercilessly. yes, I am very cruel in matters of ze heart. It is a known fact that most bloggers (mostly Indian, I do not know about the non-Indian ones, since I havent met any) exhibit a marked lack of life, so why would anyone bother about comments from uncool losers?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Arranged Marriage post # 2

This post is about another arranged marriage, but one that took place long, long ago. It is the story of how my grandparents (maternal) got married. The story may not be very accurate because I don't remember it too well, it was related to us (me, my siblings and my cousins) on a hot, summer afternoon during one of the many summer vacations that I spent with my grandparents and I remember wanting to escape to my uncle's library instead of being forced to listen to my Grandma (who could talk the hind leg off a donkey) relate yet another story. Anyway, I have tried my best to recollect whatever I could.

My grandfather had been married before and his first wife died early of asthma. They had no children. My grandmother was a tomboy and the eldest of five daughters but her father died when she was in her teens. One of her father's friends knew my grandfather and he suggested to my grandfather that he could get married again and that he knew just the girl. My grandfather (I have always known him to be quiet, firm, gentle, principled and very stubborn) agreed since he knew the family and a date was set for the marriage. My grandmother carried out all negotiations of the marriage herself. She was all of fourteen years at the time of her marriage and my grandfather must have been 24 or 25. Reportedly, my grandmother rode into town to arrange for her marriage party and according to her, people were used to her coming and going, so nobody had the inkling that it was she who was to be married. It was quite something in her time and I'm talking of the time when India was still a british colony. Till the day she died, my grandmother was the types who was always heavily involved in any and every sort of activity and always a busy bee. I wish I had paid attention when she related stories about times gone by. For one, I would like to know how she coped with marriage to a man she knew nothing about.

A fairly idiotic post that should have been left unwritten

This blog is meant to be a place where I can vent. If you don't like it, don't read it, and if anyone reading it has a whiny or idiotic comment, I shall delete it (the comment and not the post). This blog may or maynot be a true representation of events. I, as the owner and creator of the blog have full creative licence over it. If you feel things are not depicted "truthfully" you should realise that I didn't mean to depict things the way they were. No amount of sanctimonious statements will get me to change ANYTHING ever written on this blog. This blog is also not meant to show me in a good, pure light simply because I am not very good and not at all pure. So, if that makes you uncomfortable, please leave. I may on occassions put up bitter, raw and hurting rants. My advice to you, is to let me be. I do not need solace, and MAYBE what has been written is not true at all.

That said, I can now continue posting whatever I wish.

Arranged Marriage post #1

I need to start some project on my blogs in order to stave off boredom. As it is, this blog has become boring and no one reads it. So, if you have been a silent reader, let me know by clicking on the comments link and saying, "I sometimes read this too!" It shall be hugely appreciated.

Over the next few days, I shall be relating stories about "Arranged Marriages", the good and the bad. Some will be my experiences, some will be of people who I know. Before I start, I need to announce (since, I AM an attention queen, now sadly corralled into oblivion, but I had my time, oh yes, I did!) that I am single, have never been married and that arguments (if any) would have tilted to the ridiculous had my dear countrymen been aware of the existence of this blog. I for one, think "Arranged marriages" suck. Like communism, the concept can be appreciated, but sadly, practical implementation is next to impossible.

Let me start from my parents' marriage. Let me also mention (since some family reads this) that I relate the story from a very non-judgemental point of view and that despite being fairly close to my parents, I can be objective about their lives, as I can be about mine.

My father married because his cook ran away. My mother married because she had no options and because she had no ambition but to be a good wife and mother. Now, you may realise that the two reasons are sadly not convergent. My parents' marriage exists because both of them are too lazy to look for other options and still care too much about what people would say if they separated. I also suspect that almost thirty years of cohabitation has made them too dependent on each other. Anyway, this post is supposed to be about the story of their marriage and I shouldn't meander away from the topic.

When my mother reached marriageable age (23 or 24 and armed with a postgraduate degree in history), my grandparents started hunting for a suitable groom for my mother. The criteria of selection was that the "boy" should be well-educated and "foreign" returned. After searching high-and-low and rejecting scores of "boys" my grandfather was told of my father (very well-educated and "foreign" returned) and they met each other. Now, my grandfather was a well-respected figurehead in the community he belonged to and when my paternal grandfather heard that my father had been approached by my mother's father, he sent a missive to my father that he should accept the proposal even if the "girl" (my mother) was one-eyed or lame. The clincher was my father's cook running away and creating a situation that my father could not cope with and thinking that a wife would take care of messy household situations, my father agreed readily to get hitched up. My mother's approval was to be final and she got to meet my father once or maybe twice and I suspect was not given too much time to think about it. My mother was happy that she had been a good daughter, my father was happy that his problems were now solved and my grandparents were happy that the last of their parental duties 1 were over and so my parents got married and continue to be married for thirty years.

1In India in earlier times and maybe in some uber-traditional households even now, daughters are perceived to be a weight around their parents' necks and it is the foremost duty of the parents to get their daughters married off as soon as possible, once they reach the correct age.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Heh! As if I needed a dumb test to tell me this!

I'm an Atheist!

Which Enemy of the Christian Church Are You?

Take More of Robert & Tim's Quizzes
Watch Robert & Tim's Cartoons

Monday, March 08, 2004

Papa don't preach

After keeping me in a state of nervous apprehension for well over 4 days and making me dizzy with anxiety, my father *finally* started his *serious* discussion about arrangements for his upcoming conference and some help he needed from me. Trust Papa to be the joker-in-the-pack. With incredulousness writ in my voice and with my exasperation tending me to a hissy fit, I asked papa, "Is this the serious matter we had to discuss?" Papa looked at me with irritation and said "Yes." I had a hissy fit and papa could not see a point to it.

Apart from that, the weekend went well and I made up all my sleep deficits. Mamma fed me up. She made me drink a huge glass of carrot juice everyday and made sure I ate five kinds of fruits and five kinds of veggies everyday. My skin is glowing as a result of all the pampering and my dark circles have disappeared. I seriously need to go home more often.

I might be in Paris in the later part of this month for a conference. Whatever else I do, I shall visit the Louvre. That is one of the things I had hoped to do before I die. I didn't think my dream would materialise so quickly. The Gods of small things seem to be smiling on me. Now, I just hope I get my Visa! Last year I didn't get it on time, so I hope I have better luck this time.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Why death does not scare me

I used to be scared of dying alone and being discovered half-eaten by maggots or termites. Then, I realised once I was dead, it didn't really make a difference. What matters instead is that the time I spend on planet earth be as interesting as possible. So, here I go, infusing some excitement and fun into my life. Yes, I shall blog about it.

Treasure Box

This has started from Helen and I’m wondering what I would have in my treasure box. For a frightfully acquisitive individual like me, I have very few things I really treasure. Lets see how it goes.

- My CK eternity. I love it and can't do without it.
- One letter from one of my exes, that I keep to remind myself that love can be sweet and innocent.
- BD CDs. For those of you who know, thats my favourite singer and I can't do without them. I have about 23 now and I can't bear to lose them.
- My baby albums and my pictures of college.
- My nephew's photographs, paintings and cards.
- My college sweatshirt.
- My parents' photographs.
- Copy of 'Love in the time of cholera' (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
- My art books
- My marathon completion medals and numbers

I guess thats it. I could live with that and on that.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Holiday bliss!

I'm dreading going home because the pater wants to have a talk with moi. Now, that means two things. (i) They want me to check out some proposal for an arranged marriage. The last one was dealt by me with my characteristic insouciance. On email, I promised the young man that I would ignore his height if he would ignore my fat. As was expected, I thankfully didn't hear from the young man or my parents from his parents again. (ii) My father has thought of yet another retirement plan. He sucks at planning anything sensible and my suggestion that he abandon such foolhardy ventures have been met with a sulk that lasted for days. Though I know it is one of the two, I'm still dreading it. I need peace and calm and I very much doubt I would find it at my parents'.


I swear I hadn't read THIS before typing out the last post. The similarities are frightening. Is cohabitation really all the same?

5 reasons why I still am single despite the last post

1. I can wear anything I wish at all given times without being told my ass resembles an elephant's behind.
2. Nobody says anything when I eat in storage containers and not bother with plates or dining tables.
3. I have supremacy over the remote control, no pesky kids watching cartoon network or husbands/ boyfriends watching news/ sports channels all the f****** day long. Not that it helps, I havent watched TV for the past 3 days, but the power is ALL mine.
4. I get to read the newspaper first thing in the morning. Reading a non-fresh newspaper is one of my major grouses against the world and mankind in general.
5. I get to set the rules of just how much swinging is ok in 'Single and Swinging'.

5 reasons why being single sucks

1. No dual income
2. No dual income
3. No dual income
4. No dual income
5. No dual income

I wish I was a millionairess playgirl at times like these.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Ten ways to reduce expenses because your employer decides to make all your f****** tax-cuts in one month thus reducing you to penury

1. Wash your hair at home, manicure your nails yourself, pluck your eyebrows yourself all the while cursing taxes and nursing malevolent feelings against the whole God damn world.
2. Read all those books you bought and never read (because well, you bought other books) instead of buying more books.
3. Do not buy any new clothes and this is the one that breaks my heart in two.
4. Walk, walk, walk everywhere. I don't have a car, can't afford cabs thanks to my state of penury and refuse to take smelly, dirty, sweaty, disgusting public transport. This will also work wonders for those inclined horizontally such as, yours truly.
5. Gift favors instead of gifts as birthday presents and pretend you are turning over a new less-materialistic leaf and pray that the recipient does not do the same.
6. Make coffee/ tea/ cold shakes at home and pretend you are at Barista's and reinforce the feeling by saying aloud, "I anyway hang out all alone." Then burst into tears and wallow in self pity for a while and then think that any liquid lost (tears in this case) is loss of liquid and will reduce weight.
7. Avoid sea-food and pretend for a short while you are returning to the mother-earth bosom of vegetarianism.
8. Pretend you left your wallet at home/ office if ever you decide to hang out for a coffee/ tea/ drink with colleagues/ pals and justify it by totalling the number of times you have treated all the imbecilic cretins.
9. Break the news gently to your pals that you will not be accompanying them for a weekend trip and cite bankruptcy as the reason in the hope that one of them will own up to deep pockets and fund your trip, though with friends like mine (refer to previous comments) the likelihood of this happening is close to nil.
10. Do all your internet work at work. Check mail, update your blog and talk with friends at work only.

If everything fails, turn to family/ parents with tail firmly between your legs and a contrite expression.

Monday, March 01, 2004


The encouraging thing is that publishing in India has finally come of age. Even in this age of televised entertainment, people are picking up books perhaps due to the wide range that publishers offer. More and more writers are getting published, and some are even making money. No longer do I have to hawk my books and stories in other lands. My readership has always been here, and now I can write exclusively for the Indian reader, without having to make compromises that are often necessary in order to get published in the UK or USA. So away with the sensationalism, away with the exotic East, away with maharajas, beggars, spies and shikaris, away with romantic Englishwomen and their far pavilions.

This excerpt from the preface of Ruskin Bond ‘s ‘The India I love’ is significant of what is happening in India right now. Things are changing. I see it everyday. I see it in people all around, I see the change that people are allowing in their lives as they realize that all change is not bad. I see my 54 years old mother using the Internet to work and network. I do not stand in any queues these days. My tickets are booked on the net (and I no longer fear using my credit card online), my clothes are washed without me having to lift a finger, my bills are paid by auto-debit, my taxes are calculated online. I like it. I am now left with more time to work, to play, to read, to paint. When I go to bookshops, I see all kinds of people buying books, the same with music stores, where I see people of my parents’ generation snap up the latest releases with a glee equaling those of the teenagers. I see confident young people, I see young people who have made it despite all odds. I see young people who still have a twinge of conscience, who elect to stay on in India. I see hope everywhere. I also see rickshaw pullers alongside gleaming Hondas. I also see beggars trailing people emerging from gleaming malls. I also see people grow green tea in plains and people chucking it all up to teach in the land of their birth. I see talented actresses setting up workshops and encouraging young people in theatre and the arts. I see struggling single mothers with fractured legs working and smiling. I see happy young couples at amusement parks and movie theatres. I see the mosaic of life sparked off by a preface and my melancholia lifts and I face another day and I know where I have to be.

Celebrity spotting

Writers like coffee too. On Sunday's I try and have nice weekends. I usually go and get my hair and nails done and after that walk down to the closest Barista, have a cup of coffee and/ or a biscuit, read some magazines and lounge (usually it is not very crowded on a Sunday afternoon) and then when the place starts getting crowded leave for home.

Yesterday, I was late and when I got to Barista's it was evening and much more crowded than usual. I went up to order my coffee and there was a familiar looking fellow at the counter. I suddenly recognised the chappie, it was Amit Chaudhuri but one can never be too sure, especially if the one happens to be me. Then, the fellow gives his name as "Amit". I smiled to myself and just stopped myself from saying something idiotic like, "I liked your books." I actually did not like them as much as Amitav Ghosh's books. Now, Amitav Ghosh and me have a strange connection. I spot him once in 2 months on a regular basis and usually at Forum. The conclusion I've drawn from this is that Ghosh really likes forum or shopping, whatever. Anyway, the weird thing is that Chaudhuri looks exactly like his photographs but slightly younger. I thought he'd be older than what he is.