Saturday, December 31, 2005

Looking Back

Bah! I'd rather look ahead. 2005 has been a good year for me and la familia and I'm waiting and watching out for 2006. I'm NOT looking forward to turning 30, no I am not. I'm not looking forward to exams that I have to take in 2006, and I am not looking forward to working out to lose all the weight I have gained thanks to stuffing my face with chilli and white pepper crab. Wish all of you who read my blog a very happy new year!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Blushing Bride

She came to me and told me she was getting married and blushed furiously. How cute! Then, panic struck in and I asked after the mandatory congratulations, "How long will you be on leave?" Being in-charge of a team sucks sometimes and meeting targets even more, but I like my jam and preserves along with the bread and butter, so I did my job and winced inside to see a tiny cloud crowd her glowing face.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


As I sit and blog this, I am numb. As most of you know by now, gunmen opened fire in IISc Bangalore and wounded 4 and killed 1. The person gunned down was someone I saw every single day all through 1997-2000. He was a professor at IIT Delhi, where I studied, in my department. He taught half a course I took, and we passed his room every single day on our way to classes. Like most professors, he would always be engrossed in studying and truth be told, he was not a star like some of our other profs, just a quiet, decent, upright, nice, serious person and one of the most loved professors in the department. I'm still numb. I don't understand the madness and terrorism and senseless killing. I don't understand why innocent lives are snatched. How can anyone justify this? How? The good professor will be mourned by our institute, his students and colleagues. I wish his family strength. I don't even want to imagine what they are going through.

My father is a scientist as well, and a lot of my friends are into academics. It could have happened to anyone. As I sit and try and make sense of the horror, I feel unsafe. Terrorism in India makes no sense. What ends are they trying to achieve? This is the second person I know directly affected by terrorism and to me still it makes no sense. I'm angry now and feeling helpless.

Today I posted a nostalgic post on my childhood. I was raised on an idyllic IIT campus, or so I thought. It was the best childhood ever. Now, I don't know what things will be like in the future. Will any place ever be safe? Can any child really play without fear and be free to roam and explore without any sense of impending danger? I feel shaken to the core.

Girl You'll Be a Woman Soon

There was a time when we discussed boys, bras, Simone Beauvoir, GPAs, ice-cream, hair dos, nails, professors and late night shows. Now, we talk about significant others (or in my case the lack of, and I'm sorry but now it sometimes hurts when you all seem to say, "spinster", anyhow), bosses, careers, pregnancies, how it hurts to wear socks now, housing loans and if it is better to buy houses or flats. We used to be in a hurry to grow up but somehow, I'm not so convinced I like it entirely.

So, thank you ladies for replying to my email within one day. We are all spread over the globe. I have not even met some of your husbands, boyfriends, children but they all know how I rigged the elections. So, thank you for the inclusions and I hope we meet soon.

The Scent of Green Tomatoes

Today, for some strange reason, I can smell the pungent, sour, scent of tomato plants and green, unripe tomatoes. Every autumn (In the eastern parts of India, tomatoes grow in winter and not summer), my parents (both amateur gardeners but deep enthusiasts) would plant row after row of tomatoes. Every year my father would hope for a bumper crop, and my parents would enthusiastically envision bottle after bottle of ketchup, pickles and preserves. Almost every year, our kitchen garden would be ravaged by goats and my parents would be tomato-less and forlorn.

Sometimes when the tomato plants managed to escape the goats' attention, we would have small, red tomatoes that mother would use in chutneys, salads or we would just munch them raw with salt. My younger brother and I would have fun playing amongst the tomato plants, pretending to water them and trying to spy butterflies and caterpillars amongst the tomato rows. I still love the velvety, prickly silvery green of the plants and today I can almost feel the squishy, black mud between my toes. The patches of afternoon sunlight, the smell of the plants, the chirping of birds, insects, the fluttery butterflies, the shimmery spider webs, the occassional mongoose, the lovely green grass, the blue sky with cottony clouds floating, the humming bird nests in lemon groves, the hoopoes and the wood pigeons, I miss all of them.

My parents still stay in a huge bungalow with a large garden. I just don't have the time to go visit them often and to laze in gardens watching blue skies and birds any longer. Growing up is such over-rated shit.


I am back 3 kgs heavier, relaxed and back to work. Sigh!

I've totally lost the urge to make lists for the new year. I should, just so that I can laugh at myself later.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Plumps is on vacation - finally! Plumpie is away being pampered, drinking tom kha and bubbly, contemplating the new year and the changes, people watching while sipping on iced tea and tender coconut water and contemplating ways of doing in the blackberry - currently floating it away gently into the ocean is the favoured option. Bliss!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dark Eyes

This should be interesting. I hope the old geezer still has stuff to say. Sometimes I feel he's said it all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Desolation Row

Cinderella, she seems so easy
"It takes one to know one," she smiles
And puts her hands in her back pockets
Bette Davis style
And in comes Romeo, he's moaning
"You Belong to Me I Believe"
And someone says," You're in the wrong place, my friend
You better leave"
And the only sound that's left
After the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up
On Desolation Row

"You are beautiful and young. You would have no difficulty in finding the right person."
"Can I import you to India and will you please tell that to Indian men?"
"Do they not tell you? I shall let it remain a secret then."

Somehow, I have always managed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sigh!

Oink! Oink!

I am sure I have put away atleast one entire pig away in the last week. I've eaten suckling pig, ham of every kind (Iberian acorn fed - mmmmm...), bacon, chorizos by the kilo, pork chops, ribs and have gained 3 kgs.

Conclusions drawn in the last trip:

1. Pork is amazing.
2. If I am hungry, I get very, very crabby and snappy. I need to be fed regularly at proper intervals to keep me in good spirits.
3. Life is very unfair. I could not eat even 1/4th of my suckling pig and that was all I ate for dinner besides a half salad. The thin lady sitting beside me ate soup, starter, salad, 3/4th of a suckling pig, dessert and coffee and two huge hunks of bread. Life, you suck! What I would do for an apetite like that and a body that can accomodate so much food without showing one uneven bump.
4. Shoes with heels should be banned in Montmartre. Somehow, whenever I go to Montmartre, I'm wearing heels.
5. CNN weather forecasts suck. I carried suitcases of woollens and raingear, only to find lovely weather everywhere with the sun shining every single day.
6. Smiling at strangers often leads to very interesting conversations.
7. Sometimes in tiny villages in Europe, I think I provide people more entertainment than the other way round. I find people staring and discussing my origins thinking I don't understand them. V. Amusing.
8. Telling pesky vendors who follow me around touristy places saying either, "Namaste!" or "Assalum Alaikum" that I'm from Hong Kong or Singapore shuts them up effectively.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

What's a Sweetheart Like You Doing In a Dump Like This?

I have to pack and I'm procrastinating. So, just because I feel like making a list, I'm making one of all the chores I would like to outsource.

1. Do my packing.
2. Water my plants and remember which is watered when.
3. Remember birthdays and all important days and do the needful. I'm crap at remembering.
4. Do my papers. I hate this dealing with paperwork thing. Ugh! I hate paper. I hate statements, bills, taxes and dealing with finances. I desperately need a full-time dedicated accountant. Being tall, athletic, with dreamy eyes and a killer technique would definitely be appreciated.
5. Pay the bills. I waste so much time doing this. Enter dreamboat accountant. Sigh!
6. Deciding what clothes to wear. I waste so much time on this it would be nice to have someone decide this for me.
7. Grocery Shopping and keeping track of the basics. Two reasons: (i) I hate idiots in department stores who can't fucking stand in the fucking queue. (ii) I'm crap at it. Right now, I'm out of sugar and have 8 kgs of rice. What was I thinking?
8. Keeping my shoes cleaned. When I'm dealing with this, I wish to God I didn't have so many shoes.
9. Keeping my music, movies and books organised.

If only I could outsource all these mind-numbing, time-wasting chores. Tsk!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Rainbow Colours Or The Worst Coming Out Ever

In these days of metrosexual confusion, it is hard to make out if men are gay or straight. I've had my sraight men friends show me how to blow dry my hair just so (it works!), another straight friend set me on the path to not looking grossly obese and I can't thank him enough. Anyhow. I met my friend Pravat about a year back at a seminar and then we both signed up for a course to increase our credits. Pravat was very sweet, bitingly honest and would hit the nail on the head while all the rest of us were fielding for words to couch the bite. I hit it off very well with Pravat from the first day and we were put in the same group. As a part of the course, we had group assignments and had to give presentations everyday. We had great fun doing those assignments. We got to know each other better and I found the interplay of cultures intriguing and amusing. We swapped stories, experiences, weird boss stories, weird laws stories and family vs. work stories.

One day, we had a rough day in class. I had had a rough day at work as well and most of us had to appear for our qualifying exams and were frazzled to start off with. Then, we got handed the toughest assignment ever. So, we went to our tutorial rooms and for a moment sat and studied our assignments with long faces. Suddenly, someone piped up with how they would go shopping after class to feel lighter and was anyone interested in joining up. As was to be expected, Pravat was the first to volunteer and with an ecstatic look on his face said, "Retail therapy is what we all need today." Maria, also in our group commented that it was nice to see a man who understood the warm glow shopping brought and that she had to emotionally blackmail her boyfriend to go shopping with her. Suddenly, Pravat butted in with, "I'm gay! And its my life and I'm not going to change. I'm out and if you accept me fine, if not, I don't care but I am like this." There was silence in the room and then suddenly everyone started talking at the same time. "Oh! Pravat, these are the 2000s, everyone's cool." "Oh! I have many gay friends." "Nice to know, and I think you're very brave."

I don't know what prompted Pravat that day. Pressure of academics, exams, work, social pressures where one is expected to be as normal and conventional as possible or just indifference by peers, some of whom would have never guessed unless it was shouted in their faces. And then came the questions, "Are you in a relationship?" "How is it in Thailand?" As for me, I had guessed it a long time ago, when Pravat and I went shopping and he thought that the colours I wore clashed and that designers did indeed cater to the anorexic. Which straight man could have appreciated the beauty of the prada slingbacks and known the difference between strawberry and tomato?

Retail Therapy

My Thai friend Pravat has a lot of faith in the restorative powers of retail therapy. Ah! The fun we had maxing our credit cards on Orchard Road! I have been controlling my shopping for the past 2 months. Yesterday, I hit the shops and emerged relatively unscathed with a pair of shoes and a lovely scarf/ stole. I now have my eyes on these uncomfortable, beautiful alligator skin shoes. One half of me says yes, yes, yes and the other half of me says, "No! No! No!" So, will anyone help me decide?