Friday, April 30, 2004

Miss Varsha on her sabbath

Well boys and girls, I am off to Beantown for the weekend, so play nice while I'm gone. I've been hauling ass all morning trying to get some last minute things done before a mad dash to the airport, where I need to show up an hour before my flight on account of I have brown skin.

As soon as my flight lands, I shall be whisked away to the local Whole Foods (TM) - shop at your local co-op dearies, it's better for the farmers, environment and has untold assciated snob value - to shop for dinner ingredients. And then onwards for a frenetic period of cooking and cleaning before the guests Rvijay, NilouxDi and Truckie show up.

To make up for this uncalled for burst of friday activity I intend to do absolutely nothing tomorrow except lie around on a sunny beach somewhere in Cape Cod working on my tan. A perfect way to enjoy our one day off as decreed by The Lord. And put away your Bibles, y'all because Consort Commotion is a Jew and our Sabbath is on bloody Saturday, alright ?

Courtesy of the "No ? Really ? Fuck That !" department, I bring to you this partning tidbit. Every major hotel in Tel Aviv is required to have a Sabbath elevator - one that runs non stop all day long on Saturdays, stopping at each and every floor which is meant to be used by the Ultra Orthodox Jews, since apparently pushing the elevator button would violate the prohibition against working. I just report it people, I don't make it up.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Miss Varsha and her breakfast issues

As a general rule, Consort Commotion never eats breakfast, since apparently he belongs to that half of the world population which can wish away hunger by insisting that they're not hungry. This disturbingly large group of people consists entirely of him and those girls who piss me off by only ordering a large salad when we go out to eat, then reluctantly tear of half a shred of a lettuce leaf, nibble on it, roll their eyes at me and insist "Oh God, Im so stuffed !"

Anyway. Taking advantage of the fact that he is no longer around to harry me in the mornings by jiggling his car keys and fidgeting in the doorway when I am trying to get a fucking bite to eat, I make it a point to eat something before I schlepp my ass to work everyday.

As usual, this morning I had a moral battle over whether I should eat first at the local Starbucks (TM) and then catch the bus, or take the bus and then eat at Ye Friendly Neighbourhood Non-Evil Non-Corporate Non-Chain shoppe. Since I was half an hour later than usual I settled for the Starbucks. The downside of this descision always is that most of the decent breakfast items get eaten by the suburban commuters who apparently have no lives and thus drive in to work at 6:00 in the am. Imagine my horror when I went to the counter and found the only eatable left was strawberry shortcake.Strawberry Shortcake.

The Hell ? WTF ? Did the bakery mix up the orders of a downtown coffee shop with the local kindergarden ? Are there little, twee adorable moppets pawing confusedly through butter crossaints somewhere in Minneapolis looking for the pretty one with the jam and icing ?

I just had to grit my teeth and start the day off with the usual overpriced cup of coffee. Oh well, at least I have my lunch salad to look forward to. Though I'm not sure how much I'll be able to eat, since I'm almost fully stuffed.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Miss Varsha posts a FAQ

Um, sorry FAQ ?

A place to get all your stupid questions answered. After considering various ways of cordially introducing myself to the teeming throngs, I just said "fuck it" and put it all in one place.

So who the hell is Varsha Commotion anyway ?

Your friendly neighbourhood guest Blogger. Except not so much the friendly.

Yeah right. That's not even a real name.

Of course it's not. For various reasons, this is an Anonymous blog where people are welcome to, but not encouraged to use their real names. The correct form of address for Miss Varsha is, of course, Miss Varsha. Not "Varsha" or "Ms. Varsha", but "Miss Varsha". Miss Varsha is not enamoured of those who are overly familiar, or feminists stuck in 1997.

What's up with the pronoun confusion ?

I can only attribute it to Plumpie taking a few drags on her crack pipe. I am neither a man trapped in a woman's body, a woman trapped in a man's body, or god forbid "just bisexual". I am a happily heterosexual 20 something female, and it would be nice if we could all remember that, thanks.

Why the bad attitude ?

Because there are more than enough people full of sunshine, the milk of human kindness and goodwilled moxie to rival the world's population of bland white wonderbread.
I don't have a secret, tender heart of gold and am not going to grow one either, so don't hold your breath.

What's up with all the TLAs ?

It's a habit I picked up in college, and have found hard to break over the years. A TLA, appropriately enough is a Three Letter Acronym, and anything I write non-formally is liberally sprinkled with many such. Commonly seen ones are TOD, OMG and WTF. Although failing the three letter test, OTOH and STFU are also commonly used.

What's up with the bullet points ?

It's a not very clever, yet surprisingly effective way to make my point by repeating information while putting different funny spins on it. It's also how people who actually got functional degrees in college and did not spend their time mooning over English Lit. and Sociology are trained to write.

Who/what is the NASAL HAIR FROM HELL ?

Bob Dylan. Conceivably, pictures taken from slightly under face level and in extreme close up will do no favors to anyone, but ageing men with large nostrils are especially advised to be careful. Said singer spent his entire 10 minute Oscar (TM) performance being pictured in such a way. Needless to say, I do not like his music and hold him in the lowest contempt.

But...but...he's the best there ever was or will be ! You have to see that ?

It's called personal taste. Deal.

But you live in his hometown, not a stone's throw from that one place where he first started out, and in fact have spent many a summer eve in that self same place yourself !

Yes. I know. Thanks for being the 800th person to remind me. I still don't like his fucking music.



So Plumpie trusts you with her Blog. You must know each other really well !

In a matter of speaking. We have actually met just three times. There was that one time where we recognized each other at that railway station from a mutual description, and that one time she woke me up in that one train since she was bored, and that one time we had lunch together where we went somewhere else and stood up those other people we were supposed to have lunch with.
Good times.

Who/what is Consort Commotion ?

Just about what you would think. We are not married, since Miss Varsha does not believe in marriage (or monogamy for that matter, but that's a whole different issue), but have been in a stable relationship which is now approaching the two year mark. Consort Commotion is a delightfully nerdy, yet endearingly cute scientist who's only major flaw is failing to admit that human beings as a rule should have TWO eyebrows. And he has never once attempted to teach me manners, Demian.

So he must have pursued you, and wooed you and Eeeeeeeeeee! It's so romantic !

No. I saw him, wanted him, remembered the fact that is was, indeed 2002, and asked him out.

Who/what is Richeek. M ?

I can't believe this name was actually mentioned by Plumpie. Girl is in so much trouble...

OMG ! Is Richeek M. the same as Consort Commotion ?

I wish.

OMG ! I'm Richeek M. !

Marry me ! Remember that one thing I said about not beleiving in marriage and all that ? Forget it ! And that one guy called Consort Commotion ? Who ?

What's with this obsession with good looking men ? It's all about inner beauty and hearts of gold anyway.

Um, yeah, if you say so. Miss Varsha believes that on the whole, all people suck. At least the good looking ones are easy on the eyes, and look better when you remove all their clothes in an intimate situation, so she prefers to hang out with them.

Hmpf. I don't even like you. I'm never reading this Blog again till Plumpie gets back.

That's your prerogative. Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

You're fucking hilarious and I love you. Do you have your own Blog ?

No. I used to, but it didn't really work out. If indeed I undertake to launch one again someday, it shall be suitably advertised.

Off to Hotlanta!

For two weeks, this blog will be wholly Miss Varsha's domain. I am off and I hope you all have a very nice time. Miss Varsha, you better take good care of my blog or else no sparing Richeek M. Heh! Cheers!

Monday, April 26, 2004

The smallest loo in the world

Last month, in Paris, during a walking tour in the Le Marais area, our little group was taken to a cafe for a leetle cup of refreshing cafe au lait. Now, it so happened that that particular day was rather cold and all of us were dressed somewhat modishly but not too warmly. As it so happens, such conditions often pressurize one's bladder and increase the need to go take a pee. By the time we reached the cafe, I could make out that a lot of people in our group were in urgent need of a bathroom and the cafe owner pointed and told us that the washroom was upstairs. One by one, the ladies and gentlemen trooped upstairs to relieve themselves. Since it was a ultra formal group (all lawyers or spouses of lawyers, what else would one expect?) everybody politely averted their eyes on their return and placed their orders. When my turn came, I understood why most people had a strange look on their faces after returning from the loo. The so-called washroom was tiny. It consisted of a tiny chamber pot, a hanging bulb-holder and its dimensions were barely two feet by two feet, and no I am not joking. Even airplane loos are bigger than that. I suppose it was ok for men, but for the ladies it was hell. I atleast had to roll down my trousers and pantyhose and it was tough. Some women had worn layers of clothes and I wondered how they managed. After we all had coffee and something warm inside us, someone cracked a joke about the loo and the entire group burst out laughing, and whenever I think of Le Marais, the first thing I will remember would be the tiniest loo in the world.

Imelda and I

I love shoes and I currently own about 32 pairs. By Indian middle-class standards it is a lot. It is a lot of shoes for someone with my salary and background, but being the dressing-up freak that I am, I still want more. A lot of my shoes have been purchased out of need. I had to buy 2 pairs for my various foreign jaunts this year. I need sturdy but stylish shoes to keep me going during the conferences, tours and trade-fairs I am attending all this year. In India it is very difficult to get good western wear. If you are a millionaire playboy, it doesnt matter, but if you are not and are merely a low-level manager (like me) it is tough. However there are some saving graces, one of them being Woodland shoes. I have 8 pairs now and all of them have been extremely trustworthy. They last for ages, look marginally stylish and are very comfortable. What more could anyone want?

Woman smarter?

I wish life was easier sometimes. I've had to struggle and fight for everything and I so envy babes who have it handed to them on a silver platter. When I look back and take an overview, I'm still at the receiving end because my life choices are not conventional by Indian standards. When I do that, I feel bitter and sore at life's injustices and I wonder whether my independence is really worth such a cruel price. The people who matter to me are fairly non-judgemental and borderline supportive and for me that is enough. Sometimes and very sometimes, despite my insouciance and thick-skin, it hurts.

We had a work party yesterday that included spouses. Note: Spouses and not merely significant others. Even if it would have included SOs and I had one, I would not have taken the SO with me. If I was 2 years younger than I am now, I would have, but now I know better. For a man to take his SO it is perfectly fine and no idiotic questions are asked, but for a woman in India to take her SO along invites idiotic queries. I have never wished I was a man, but I always feel that men have got the better deal in patriarchal societies such as ours. Nobody bothers about the personal lives of any man in the workplace but a woman's personal life (especially at the workplace) is dissected, placed under observation and questioned and queried until she feels guilty for being single, married, having children, having a family and just being a woman. It sucks and it sucks bad.

Yesterday, I was talking with a bunch of senior people at work and they started talking about stabilising factors and family and the importance of being stable. I held my tongue politely though I had many biting repartees to offer and then one of them turns to me and says, "Plumpie, you're not getting any older, you should do something about your life, you know." Out of all things, that hurt the most. Whatever makes people think that single people are not stable or happy or satisfied? I'm not happy or satisfied because I have a million things to do careerwise and I occassionally feel lonely. I have just got out of a relationship (4 months actually, but it still feels like just now) and sometimes I miss human presence around, but now I can deal with it. I have so much studying to do that the loneliness creeps in very rarely. Despite my sometimes unhappiness and dissatisfaction (who in the world is actually always happy or satisfied anyways?) I think I am very stable. I do not decamp or do unstable things, I've never even been reckless all my life! I do not mix my personal and professional life, I dont ever step beyond boundaries, I dont even get high at work parties (I rarely get high, atmost I am very happy) or say inappropriate things to anyone. I have never made a fool of myself, I have never slipped up, and as far as I can recollect have been very serious about my responsibilities. How much more stable do I need to get?

This is an idiotic rant and a result of a lot of stress, but still the hypocricy remains and the deep differences between the two sexes.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

What Bobs!

To the fellow who after staring hard at my rather considerable knockers commented in bengali-accented English, "Bhat Bobs!" (read: What boobs) while I was walking down Park Street today afternoon: May you never be able to perform when required! heh!

I'm sorry

Mom's second operation was not very successful. She is in a lot of pain and is suffering a lot. It kills us to see her this way, but the fighter that she is, she is still holding up.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Rolling up ze sleeves...

My tiny apartment is resembling a dump. This Sunday I shall scrub and clean and make it more inhabitable. I also need to do my paperwork. I hate the house being so disorganised. After I returned from Paris, I got so immersed with work, the house just went to pieces. It used to be so cute and cozy, now its just messy and untidy.

I'm planning to turn the spare bedroom into a den and living room. Get a bookcase and some huge cushions and some nice colourful curtains. I already have 2 paintings for the room. One is the one I picked up from Montmarte and the other is one of mine. I have a nice frame for it, so it should all be ok. I don't ever plan to share my house again, so I don't need another bedroom. This way I will have more space in my bedroom. Half my tiredness gets over if I come back to a nicely kept apartment, I really need to get cracking on this.


I've signed up for a free Gmail acoount. I plan to send all my mails to be saved over there. I hope it remains free. Somethings in life should be free.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Evidence that the nephew is a Boy-boy...

Moi: Sweetie, I am getting a car.
Neph: Which car, Aunty?
Moi: A Maruti Alto
Neph: Oh! That is not a good car. Please get a Mercedes or a Accent or a car with an interesting roof (in nephew speak: a convertible).
Moi: Umm... I'm too poor to do that, cutie-pie.
Neph: Ok, then get a ford Ikon.
Moi: Umm... lets see
Neph: And make it blue
Moi: Ok
Neph (losing all interest in an aunt who gets an Alto rather than a swank car): Mamma, Aunty says she wants to talk with you (the little liar!).

My nephew is 3 and knows more about cars and the associated snob-values than I do. A humbling thought that. I shudder to think what he will be at 18.

Bittersweet Symphony and car rides

Yesterday was horrible. The morning started with a stinker of an email and the entire day revolved around that. The thought of it still sends shivers down my back. Then in the middle of the bedlam, the sis called up to tell me of the success of Mom's operation and the brother getting summer training at the place where he wanted to, which would most probably morph into a PPO (pre-placement offer). That is happy, happy news.

Onto unrelated topics, I'm getting a car - a black Maruti Alto. I had 6 colour options and I thought black looked the best. If I had to buy a car, an Alto would not be my choice, but beggars can't be choosers, eh? Besides, a car would make life so much more comfortable for moi and I wont have to bother about late nights, being alone and worrying about getting home or visiting people across town anymore!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004


Mom has gone in for surgery. She is due for knee replacement surgery on both legs. Her second surgery is due on Saturday. I know her knees will never be what they were, but I hope the replacement gives her a new lease of life. I've been very stressed out and so has the sis. She gets hyper and frazzled easily and called me up and told me that Mom was in a lot of pain but was very brave about it. She sounded very nervous and I know it must have been very hard and taxing for her. I haven't slept for more than 3 hours on any night since 2 weeks, because I turn insomniac when I worry and I am very worried and I hope both the surgeries go off well.

It is at times like these that I know who my true friends are.

Monday, April 19, 2004

A very girly post

I like to think I am a socialist, but sometimes my theories are severely tested. I have had enough. I am no longer giving people the benefit of the doubt.

I really dislike manipulative and scheming people, hence Mad and Ruhi are off my friend list. I don't deal in shit and I have no time for asshats. I like meeting people, but I don't like making friends. Unfortunately, most people think that because I am polite and nice, i am friendly. Its just that I am well-brought up and well-mannered. Sad, how people turn out to be so disappointing again and again.

Overworked and nonsensical

I can rest in peace now that I know ze blog is in the very capable hands of Miss Varsha. I hope everyone enjoys Miss Varsha's posts as much as I do. I know someone else also does, but sadly this blog is not as popular as my ex-blog and my secret, sometimes attention-seeking drama queen misses all the action. Still, atleast there are no annoying people around and even if there are, I am glad they are all silent.

I am a reformed character now - I have not bought any clothes for the last 2 weeks. Losing ALL my cards, ATM, debit, credit etc. had something to do with it, yes. I must find a way to fund my habits. (Er... shopping for clothes, books and musics and not what you may have thought) Any suggestions? Varsha, I don't even want to hear yours...

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Miss Varsha enjoys her namesake

Just a quick note sending out love, kisses and a general feeling of bonhomie and joi de virve to all and sundry.
Lest people look askance at this sudden sunny attitude, let me clarify. In fact there is a rather clever pun in that last line, but I don't want to toil over it. The fact is that after groaning under a never ending winter and at the tail end of a ten month long drought, it has been raining all day here. And raining hard. Like real rain, like in India, and not the pi$$ant sprinkles that gets the Lutherans undies all tied up.

Oh it's an absolutely GORGEOUS day in my opinion.

For those whose dubious parentage does not stretch back to UP (the heart of Indias Hindi speaking heartland), and since due to an entrenched post colonial hangover, Babelfish is unable to provide translation services to the mother tongue of HALF A BILLION people (but if you need the upper danube dialect of Latvian ? you BETCHA !), Varsha means rainfall.

Miss Varsha

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Miss Varsha tests the waters

Is it terribly bad manners for me to guest blog when Plumpie is still around somewhere ?
Presumably, but since I couldn't give a shit, please don't lecture me on it.

I will of course refrain from Blogging in earnest until that fateful day when Plumpie is actually in Hotlanta sleeping her way to the top of the corporate ladder, this is more of a test run. Here's a few tidbits to hold you till then

(a) If you happen to be a Kill Bill fan, then know that any scene involving Elle Driver rules all
(b) Inviting women over to hang out with you in the gayest section of any city is not a cool way to impress them
(c) Spring is not really here until you see the fine, muscular men running around the lake you live next to start to do so without the impediment of upper body garments.

Miss Varsha

Friday, April 16, 2004

Nine yards of woe

I've worn a Sari today because I have to go for a formal dinner today after work. My sari is a silk grey and black pochampalli and I've worn it with a black silk blouse. I normally avoid wearing saris because it is exremely tedious to drape them well. It takes me all of 20 minutes just to get my front pleats right and I need my maid (or someone else - on various occassions its been my sister, my mother, a friend, my brother) to pat them down. I'm also taller and wider than the average Indian woman, so the average length of a sari is not too good for me because I can't get the proper number of pleats in the front.

I am very comfortable in Saris and they make me feel nice and feminine. However the Sari has clearly not been designed for feminine comfort. If you are in a hurry to visit the ladies' room, the sari is a serious impediment to quick relief. With trousers, you just wiggle out of them in a hurry, a tinkle here, a tinkle there and you are done. In a sari, you need to be careful about not crushing it or letting it dangle in dirty, disgusting places. Once you are done you need to waste another ten minutes in fixing up your sari again. I have yet to discover how sari-clad women do their business in a jiffy and am so much more appreciative of women who wear saris everyday to work.

For those of you who want to learn how to drape a sari, just Click Here!


We have beautiful paintings all over my workplace. When I'm unhappy, I go and take a walk along the corridors and see the works of art and feel better. I have some favourites. One is a Husain in oils and the other is a Laxma Goud. I looked to see whether a picture of it was available on the net, but I think this painting has always been here. It is done in pencil and watercolours and the technique is similar to THIS one. Beautiful, isn't it?

Blue, blue, blue

Ze mommikins is going to have an expensive knee replacement surgery at Pune. I wish I could have gone to be with her, but I can't. I'm stressed about everything: work, mom, expenses, promotions and money, but I know I'll cope. The only problem is that I just can't sleep. I've not slept more than 12 hours this week. I hope to catch up with the sleep this weekend, if the sleep-gods choose to be benevolent.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

I spent my last 10$ on birth control and beer

Someone sent me this song few days back. I like idiotic songs like this. Here are the lyrics for no rhyme or reason whatsoever.

When I was a young girl like normal girls do
I looked to a woman's love to help get me through
I never needed any more than a feminine touch
I hated the thought of kissing a man it really was too much
I did not drink, I did not smoke I did not say "goddamn"
I was polite I was sensitive before I loved a man
My family, they were proud of me were proud of what I am
But then along came Lester and my tell of woe began
I spent my last ten dollars on birth control and beer
My life was so much simpler when I was sober and queer
But the love of a strong hairy man has turned my head I fear
And made me spend my last ten bucks on birth control and beer
It was June 1983 when Mary Lou and I did part
She said she loved another dyke my god, it broke my heart
I was bitter and disillusioned to lose another girlfriend
Lester came to work at Papa's store and decided to ease on in
Before my last heartbreak nothing made me more sick
Than a hairy-chested, cheap double-breasted suited man with a hard dick
I guess that I was courios I guess that I was young
I guess it was that rum and coke I guess that I was dumb
For of course, for a woman to love a man she must also love to booze
If a woman don't drink beside her man then she will surely lose him
As I sit in this hetero honky-tonk and reflect upon my past
I think about those girlfriends and why they didn't last
For there's certain thrills that lesbian love simply cannot supply
Like paying for abortions from sperm gone awry
And so I say to you my friends without this man I'd die
So listen to my tell of woe and hang your head and cry

Idiotic but funny.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

One way ticket

I went out yesterday to hear one of my favourite city bands play. They played crap and stuff I have heard millions of times but they played the crap well, however I digress. When I returned home I saw that I had 26 missed calls. This is the story of my life. Never at the right place at the right time.

Sugar and Ice

I have bad hair days. Yesterday was a bad skin day. I wanted to get out of my skin and stay outside for a long, long time.

I don't like housemates and I think I have to ask Ruhi to leave if I want our friendship to survive. For one, I can't tolerate her food habits anymore. Everything has to be deep-fried and sweet, even the curries and I can't stand the incessant whingeing. Why are women so irritating?

Yesterday, I returned home late in the night from work and thought I'd like some grilled fish and salad for dinner. Thankfully, Ruhi agreed and said she'd pan-fry hers. Not a problem as long as I don't have to eat oil. Now, the day before Ruhi had bought a nice plump rohu and stuffed it in the freezer without cleaning it or distributing it into portions the way I do. As a result the freezer froze all the excess water and the fish was trapped behind a wall of ice. Evening saw me stabbing the freezer for all I was worth with a butter knife to loosen the ice. This went on for 25 minutes and finally after showering choice abuses on the the refridgerator, the fish and the whole world, I managed to pry the fish out. Maybe I should turn vegetarian afterall?

Monday, April 12, 2004

For Guest Bloggers

I shall be emailing you the blogger invites this week. You will have to create an account on blogger (if you so wish, I can do it for you) and use the userid and password to access the blog. Zimble. Guest bloggers shortlisted so far:
(i) SistahSuzy - The sister
(ii) Varsha Commotion - Need I say more?

Please add "Posted by *Blog nickname*" after the title of the blog so that your posts are distinct.

If anyone else wants to guest blog here, feel free to email me.

Keeping up with the Joneses

I and my friends have a very curious habit. We all (yes Varsha, especially YOU) love to play the one-up game. We mostly do it unconsciously, but we play it seriously and in all earnest. Varsha and I had a two month long email exchange in which each of us tried to prove just how deep our roots were entrenched and how original our claims to being genuine UP* wallahs were. THAT is how serious we can get. The game ended with Varsha extending a conciliatory hand of friendship and both of us agreeing that each of our claims had been proved correct and we did not need to try so hard anymore.

This time in Delhi, Ponappa and I played the game again about something that is best not mentioned here. It is a three letter word, starts with S and ends with X. Our stories got wilder and wilder and our faces got more and more determined (to win) with each tale exceeding itself in its claims. Ultimately, I came up with a whopper Ponappa could top in no way and Ponappa looked exasperated and told me, "Ok, Plumpie, you win." She was a bit huffy after that.

The moral of this post is that do not try to play the one-up game with me. I always win and if I don't I look so woebegone that I am allowed to win. It helps being a babyface, I tell you.

*UP - Uttar Pradesh, one of the states in India and where my ancestors came from, so did Varsha's as has been proved.

Friday, April 09, 2004


That is the topic for a web magazine that I chanced upon and loved. I have been very influenced by a number of people after the age of eighteen. Before eighteen, I mostly repeated stuff I read and pretended I knew it all. My first influence were my grandparents. Four adults bound to each other by gossamer threads. All four unique in their own right.

My paternal grandfather, I shall always remember as a loving, jovial, cuddly darling. He was always smiling, even when my father would bully him and scold him because he cheated on the diet he was supposed to follow. He loved food and was proud of it. He had stories, jokes, tricks, and love to dole them out always. He was the one grandparent who always had time for us. While he was alive, I was shy of him and never had the time for him.

My paternal grandmother - the first of my grandparents to die, was an intensely private person. I like to think I get my need for privacy from her. She was always lost in thoughts. She had two passions in life, horses and cards. The former she could not indulge in since she my grandfather was not a rich man, but the latter was a bargaining tool for her. She was a mathematics whiz. She would help us out with our math homework and problems, provided we would play cards with her. She always drove home a good bargain when it came to cards. I could have known her better had I been older. I was however a young fool and I detested maths then and I avoided her ploys since she always won at cards. I never had the time to play cards with her.

My maternal grandfather was a very interesting and in my opinion, a contradictory person. Maybe my siblings and cousins would think differently, but I think he was somewhat contradictory. I have always been intrigued by him because he wore a lot of hats at the same time and wore them well. He was short, very quiet and always calm and collected. I never saw him lose his temper. NEVER, and that scared me. He was always in control and people looked up to him, naturally. He was a doctor by profession, a Gandhian freedom fighter (in the days India was a British colony), for a brief period of time a politician, a social worker till the end of his days and all the while he was alive, he ran his own business. I could never understand how nana managed to get so much done and not fly into a tizzy or rage when things wouldn't go right. He was almost zen in his attitude, come to think of it, he did look somewhat like the budhdha. He was the last of my grandparents' to die and I was there by his bedside when he did. I think I was the second grandchild who did manage to make it to his deathbed in time. He was the only grandparent I did manage to see one last time and say goodbye to. When I saw him in the CPU, I wanted to bawl and cry. The man who was always known to be a pillar of strength looked helpless and fragile and had a million tubes plugged into him. He did manage to recognise me though and grasp my hand tightly. I could not bear to see my grandfather who always was in control, to be so devoid of control and helpless. My grandfather went through and participated in many interesting and historical events in his lifetime. I however never had the time to listen to his stories firsthand.

My maternal grandmother was my favourite grandparent. She was also the original drama queen. So we all know where my genes come from. She made every grandchild feel special. She had a fiery temper and a sharp tongue that could be controlled by no man, not even by her husband. She was a very strong woman and a very entertaining one too. She was sharp, inventive and controlling. She hated to see people not toeing the line. All my cousins and my sister and brother were bullied into our best behaviour whenever she was around. I know we were and I know my three cousins in Delhi were - our mothers would collectively threaten us with dire consequences not to do anything to annoy my grandmother. She was always dressed very neatly and I don't remember her without matching jewellery. She played lady of the manor to perfection. She was the moral (she wasnt "moral" actually, she allowed a lot of leeway, but her sense of justice was always very out of proportion) guardian of the village my grandparents lived in. She was the lady protectress, the benefactress and woe befall anyone who wouldn't behave in the proper manner with her. I think she scared people into submission. Life with her was never dull. She was always upto something. Her life had mission and purpose and she was always busy, though I could not actually figure out just what with. She also embarrassed all of us with her exaggerated claims. We were the perfect grandchildren or so she would have everyone believe. We were all hugely talented, wonderfully intelligent and the most gifted set of individuals if one was to hear my grandmother. What I never realised was that it was love that she felt and I was always embarrassed with my grandmom. She had fantastic stories that I would cringe to hear because they were all so exaggerated. Despite her drama, my grandmother was a fun person. I was however a bit scared of her pushiness and I never chose to know her. She would always try to talk and get to know us better, but the books in my uncle's library fascinated me more and I had no time for her.

These four people are my first influences and heroes, though it has taken me a long twenty seven years to realise it and while they were alive, I had no time for them.

E M Bypass and surprises

I should not bother about common perceptions about food. People told me that sushi was an acquired taste (Hello Varsha!) and that it would take some getting used to. Bollocks! I loved sushi from day one. I did not find it fishy or uncomfortable. If I can eat raw oysters, I can eat sushi. If you love seafood, you will love sushi. Yesterday I didscovered that you get pretty decent Japanese food at the ITC sonar Bangla. It is not expensive either. A set meal consisting of a salad, sushi, miso soup, prawns and fish (red snapper in my case) cooked Teppenyaki style and dessert would cost you INR 900 (approx. $ 20). You could also order a similar set but consisting of pork and chicken and that would cost you INR 800. I was also surprized to see the restaurant almost empty apart from our table, and we were at the Teppenyaki counter. So it was 6 people around the counter and a totally empty restaurant. Weird, but we got excellent service.

The meal started with a salad (I dobted its origins, but it was nice all the same) that consisted of lettuce, button tomatoes, slivers of carrots mixed with a light dressing and toasted sesame seeds sprinkled all over. Then came the sushi and the sashimi. I got salmon with a blob of wasabi and a inarizushi. Then the chef prepared my prawns (or should I call them lobster? It was a huge one) and the smells wafting of the smell of the food was tantalising and when my prawns were finally done I dug into them with a gusto I had not displayed since my meals in Paris. Next came the miso soup which truly speaking was not too great. I had a much better one at Kifune in Paris. By now, I was happy and ideas flowed out of my heads like water. Good food and wine do this to me, I suddenly become a genius. Then the chef prepared the red snapper which was very nice too and then came the rice. Last but by no means the least, came the icecream and the fruit. Now, this is eminently surprising. The fruits at ITC sonar bangla taste like cardboard. There was no taste in the peach, plums or the melon. I've bought tastier, juicier fruits off the streets. I also had wasabi flavoured icecream (very quaint) and a lychee flavoured one and ended the dinner with tea.

Returning home was nice. It had rained while we were having dinner and outside it was pleasanter and seemed lesser humid. When I reached home, I had broadband connectivity. What could be better?

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Guest blogging anyone?

I got my US Visa! Will be in Atlanta for 8 days sometime in the last week of this month. All people (including Varsha) who are interested in guest blogging while I am away, email or call me!

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Round about the cauldron go

My friends Ponappa and Poo took me out for lunch to this place in Munirka called 'Moshe's Olive' or 'Moshe's Oliva'. The 'e' or 'a' was too stylised for me to make out in a hurry. We went there since it was the nearest decentest place to hai hai tee dilli and I absolutely refused to go to that horrible Essex Farms which is a watering hole for paunchy sardarjis and their wives dripping in bright jewellery. I was pleasantly surprised by the food. Admittedly after french cuisine, this was er... decidedly many notches down, but still the food was pretty good. I had a grilled rawas, AP had a grilled basil chicken and Poo had some sort of a vegetarian sandwich. We also had a huge pitcher of a melon-ice cooler that Poo pooh-poohed as "kharbuje ka ras" (melon juice) in her true punjabi philistine manner. (Varsha, do you notice the anupraas alankaar?) This is the same woman who had begged me not to make loud, patronizing comments on Punjabis during her sister's marriage since 90% of the wedding party would consist of punjabis. The wedding was all that I detested - loud, crass and very punjabi. But I digress. We ended the meal with sinful desserts, all chocolate, all gooey and all fattening and sinful.

The meal would have been excellent had it not been for Ponappa's and poo's mush and fake lou. The table next to ours was filled with a sardar family and I did not even have to argue my case with Poo. She agreed that most Punjabis are loud and crass and showy and a pain to share any public area with. They were so loud that we could barely hear ourselves. We also did our share of celebrity spotting. I saw Bachi Karkaria at a table close to ours. I'm not so sure she's a celebrity but she is more well known that a whole lot of people. I didnt expect her to be so tiny and bird-like.

Ponappa's redeemed herself by following my advice and doing exactly what I told her to do at her interview. So I'm happy. I wish I was not such a manipulator and a control freak, but Ponappa has no direction (Poo and Jackie/ Jacqui pull her in opposite directions and she's so naive it hurts.) and I need to kick her butt to drive some sense into her head. I hope things work out exactly the way I want them to. It would be fun working with Ponappa.

Note: I detest crassness and loud people. I do not hate punjabis, I just can't stand it when they are loud, crass and showy and a majority of punjabis get that way. It just puts me off. Poo one of my best pals is punjabi and so are a lot of my friends, still I can always have my jokes. hehehe...

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Games People Play

I have very few good friends. I am a very asocial creature and I am most happy when I am reading and playing music on my own. I hate being interrupted and I can forgive the interruptor only if I like the person a lot, or else I feel bugged about my space being invaded. These days I hardly have any spare time and I resent anyone wasting my time. On the other hand, I go to lengths to maintain the few friendships that I do have. Sometimes though my friends can be aggravating, very aggravating.

I am somewhat of a scatterbrain. I am bad with papers and money and I completely blank out sometimes, however when I see the colossal mess my friend Ponappa creates around herself, I feel I am better off. My friend Ponappa is two-timing and sadly I am the confidant which makes it slightly rich. Now, one of the person involved is also a friend and the other is of course Jackie/ Jacqui. Ponappa asked me for advice since she felt all messed up. I am notoriously insensitive and seeing the resultant mess asked Ponappa to dump both the babes and cite academic overtures as a reason. That always works, I should know, I have first hand experience. I met Jackie/ Jacqui when I was in Delhi and I did not love her wildly. She's an ok sorts, but somewhat tiring and very high maintenance. Now, Ponappa in private told me that she was proceeding with my advice since she wasn't really in love with either of the two ladies and so I was not overly enthusiastic with both of them and then, I went out to lunch with Ponappa and the other flame who is not Jackie/ Jacqui. What do I see? Ponappa and OFNJ (other flame not Jackie/ Jacqui) coochie-cooing and going all mushy and syrupy. Half an hour ago, the self-same Ponappa told me she was having a problem with this babe being all over her. What the f***? How was I supposed to react? Worse of all they appropriated my nickname and were lisping it all over to display their limitless love and affection to each other. On instant messenger I told Ponappa that I found her behaviour bizarre and she told me that I scared people away because I was too upfront about my opinions and I did not sugarcoat truths. This is the same Ponappa who values "honesty" and "trust" in a relationship. Sure, whatever!

Monday, April 05, 2004

Spots and Scars

My last evening in Paris will always be etched in my memory. I returned from Luxembourg and was totally drained from a long day of presentations, discussions, talk of future employment, thrashing issues back and forth and finally meeting the reclusive grand old man of IPR. There are some people who it is a privelege to meet and I was privileged to meet and talk to him.

When I reached the hotel, tired, happy and somewhat buzzed in the head (as my friends say, i'm always buzzed and touched in the head) I looked forward to a peaceful and calm evening. After a long soak in the tub, I was ready to eat my last french meal. There was hardly anyone in the hotel restaurant but when has that deterred moi? I ordered guinea fowl and foie gras (not in that order) and had just started enjoying my meal when suddenly we heard a loud voice screaming, "Lay off you Pakistani, don't hassle me." I looked up and saw a young jewish man (I knew he was jewish because he was wearing a yarmulke) shouting at the affable Mauritian gentleman who had been dining at the table next to ours. I do not know what had transpired between them, but the Mauritian looked shocked and my jaw dropped. The fellow continued in that vein. Amongst the epithets hurled around at the top of his voice were, "Pakistani pig", "black man", "Allah-lover", "smelly pakistani" and so on and so forth. He ended his diatribe with, "Who lets these dogs in here? I am not afraid of their Allah." He then proceeded to sit 2 tables away from us and to give instructions to the maitre'd to cook his fish so that it was kosher. What hurt even more was that the hotel staff did not say a word. They did not ask him to leave and were nice and attentive to the man. The mauritian seemed shell-shocked and I think lodged a complaint at the hotel. We (one of my colleagues and me) spoke with the Mauritian gentleman later and he told us that he was trying to help the fellow since he asked him what the salad consisted of, at the buffet table. We gave him our cards and told him that in case he wanted to take further action, he could get in touch with us. I was shook up and shocked. I've had occassional "pakis" thrown at me while attending school in Germany but never had to confront blatant racism this way. It was humiliating and sick. I've always hated religion of any sort because I believe it makes bigots out of perfectly sane humans. My belief has been reinforced by my last very memorable meal in Paris. I'm better off without an Allah, without Jesus Christ, Ganesha or Yahweh.

Saturday, April 03, 2004


I met people from all over the world, a lot of my perceptions were shattered and apart from cultural differences, people all over the world are the same! I get along famously with Germans (for some strange reason, I always tend to forge strong friendships with German people and this time too, I found a German lady I got along very well with), Italians, Englishmen (or women or British), Norwegians, Koreans, the French (surprise! surprise! I was told that the french were an unfriendly lot, but I seemed to meet sunny, friendly french people who attempted to valiantly converse with me despite me not understanding french and they not understanding English!), Israelis, the Polish, and most Europeans. I however just did not meet one American who I liked even remotely (Maybe because most of them were lawyers had something to do with it?). I met some very interesting American people at a professional level, but on a personal level, I couldn't bond with any. I guess I suck at superficial conversation.

I was asked by ALL Americans how the BPO business has changed the face of India and whether it was true that Indian BPOs were only glorified sweat shops. I tried telling them that what actually changed a whole lot of Indian urban society was not answering calls from the US but the upsurge of the IT industry and that most BPOs were indeed glorified sweat shops and I was related one outrageous story after the other. One American lady told me she had a lot of fun in catching them Indians out while telebanking. Whatever happened to snakes, tigers, godmen, kali and the holy cow? It used to be those a few years back. I am continually amazed at how Americans expect people to understand their accents (doesnt matter what accent it could be, texan, southern or a gruff minnesotan one) but find Indian accents hard to follow. I normally am slow at identifying accents, but don't have a problem understanding any (except maybe a yorkshire one, that one is very tough for me) accent. I also have an Indian accent, but I don't think its very hard to follow. I just hope them Americans would quit whining at the loss of jobs (to India!) as if the only jobs that exist in America are the low-end customer support ones and learn to be more tolerant of the world around them. Blaming Indians seems to be the flavour of the season and I noticed today a lot of the American bloggers have done that too. Not a problem, losing jobs hurt, but er... on using some grey cells it should follow that the moment a cheaper location is discovered, the BPO business would shift out of India. I have meandered, from my original topic though and I don't even remember the point I wanted to make. Anyway, it was wonderful meeting and interacting with people, and intelligent, smart and informed people too.

Tirez! Tirez!

I'm back from Paris and Luxembourg. Paris was beautiful. The five days I was there, the weather was perfect. The sky was blue, the sun was out and there was not a cloud to be seen in the sky. I walked every morning, to the arc de triomphe, the champs elysses and all along Foch avenue (of course I walked through many more avenues and lanes to connect the three, but thats more or less the roundabout walking tour a la plumpie - thanks for the new moniker sistahsuzy) drinking in the spring air, fresh, crisp and so Parisian! I saw most of the touristy places Montmarte, the Louvre, the Orsay museum, Le Maraise, the Eiffel tower, the latin quarter and the Notre-dame. My camera broke the first day I landed in Paris and I was glad. It took the pressure off me to take interesting pictures and prove how happening the trip was. All around me the ladies (and some men too) concentrated on interesting shots (the americans found everything awesome and every five minutes you could hear loud american "awesomes!" ) and I concentrated on recording the sights into my brain. I wanted to capture and preserve and bottle every beautiful sight.

The Louvre and Orsay tours were too quick and I suppose I need to return once again to browse through both leisurely at my own pace. I loved walking along the swish shops near the Louvre. You had just about every design house shop there. The clothes, shoes, bags and girly things were so mouth wateringly yummy, and so prohibitively expensive!

I started my day with crepes every single day. I've never eaten such lovely, melting-in-the-mouth buttery crepes before. Every single day I ate oysters and mussels (or mousels, as the french say it) by the bushel. I blew up my money on food. I only ate french food except for one dinner that we had at a sushi bar, and I now know why french food is the best! I ate dozens of breads (baguettes, walnut rolls and olive breads) at darling boulangeries and drank gallons of wine, coffee and tea at the sidewalk cafes. As a result Plumpernickel is 2 pounds heavier because sadly she does not have the french metabolism. Genes! Sigh!

From Paris, I bought back bread, wine, perfume, prints and one painting of Montmarte bought at the Montmarte flea market. Its not a painting, its an ink and watercolour. I bargained with the artist (I hated doing that, but I'm so poor I could cry and I really wanted to buy a painting that would remind me of Montmarte that to me seemed to be right out of an impressionist panting) and I helped a Norwegian lady get a painting too, driving a bargain that would put any Lajpat nagar aunty to shame.

My wallet was pickpocketed along with all my credit cards and Indian cash and that was the only thing I hated about my Paris trip. It hurt like hell. I had some things that are irreplaceable like my nephew's pictures, some phone numbers and one letter. I hate losing my hard-earned money and I hope the person who stole my money really needed it. I hate losing money to bum-fucked cads. I'd rather lose it to a down and out loser.

Luxembourg came and went so fast it seems like a dream. Professionally the trip was very successful and hopefully after one year, I might be working in Europe! My fingers are crossed tightly. Michel and Maria are bringing me luck or so it seems!

Returning to Delhi, I went to my college and met the gaggle of old biddies. It was good to see the women. Something's changed though. It still is mucho fun to kid with them, but my friends are now bothered about careers, life and choices and that takes away the fun. We talked about old times (read: all the crazy things I used to say and do) and our adventures and misadventures and I missed being that young and carefree again. The girls and I went for lunch and then they dropped me at the airport. They were suitably impressed by the car I get from work in Delhi and I felt somewhat embarrassed. Also met my favourite professors and they remembered me!

This trip has been somewhat overwhelming. I had to make many important decisions and the trip gave me the perspective to make them. I'm so glad that I had Paris to help me make my decisions. I have to go back to Paris again, atleast that is one thing that I've decided, even if I dont stick to my other decisions!