31 October 2005
First of all, I'm okay. Really. I'm one of those people who was in faraway South Delhi when the blasts happened, happily dressing for the Chanel fashion show that night. I put on the television, just mindlessly surfing before I went out and caught bits of "Pahargunj mein" and then I tuned out. Must be one of those terrorist fellows who are always being caught, I thought and resumed dressing.
It was a good day. A great day. A day when general celebration hung in the air. People were leaving early, Diwali hampers kept arriving for one or another of us--we had gorged on apple pie and barfi and ju-jubes. There was a lightness to all our steps, thanks to nearly full page ads, which meant fewer stories. Roshini, my colleague and I, were going for the fashion show--a 'black tie' event, which meant we had the added luxury of going home and showering and changing. And so we left, gigglesome and humming under our breaths. All was good with the world, it was almost Diwali time and people were happy and bustling and perhaps we'd go to the export surplus market at Sarojini Nagar, tomorrow or the next day?
The traffic was enormous, but traffic generally is around six-ish, so we thought nothing of it. And then, like I said, I showered, slipped into a skirt and did my make-up and Roshini called, "There's been a couple of bomb blasts," she said. "Oh fuck," I said, and, "How bad was it?" "I don't have any details, but we should leave soon," she told me. We were still thinking in terms of our evening, whether or not it was totally wrecked, what the traffic situation would be like. "Where were the blasts? I asked her. "Oh, in Okhla, and near the CP area." My heart contracted. Small in Okhla, Priya in CP and my mum on Teen Murti Marg.
I called my mom first. "I'm at home," she said, "Why?" And like terrible deja vu, because I had been the one to tell her about the 9/11 attacks, I told her. And as I was talking to her, her family in Hyderabad called, wanting to know if we were okay. Small was at a friend's place and equally shocked when I called her. And Priya's phone was unreachable. I checked with Roshini. Both our signals were down. The network was probably blocked with people frantically calling each other. I called Priya again. Finally, the call went through. "I'm at the airport," she said, sounding scared, "And they've declared a bomb threat here as well. There are sniffer dogs everywhere and they've cordoned off our area." She said she'd call me back when things got a little less crazy.
We were headed to the Imperial Hotel, on Janpath and we passed several markets, each closing rapidly. At Yusuf Sarai, the cops set up loudspeakers telling everyone to go home. My phone rang or beep-beeped at least five times, all from people who wanted to know if I was safe. "At Diwali time, when everyone's so happy how could someone do something like this?" I asked Roshini, who shook her head, "They're sick." And that's when I guess it hit me. Someone hates us. Someone hates us enough to kill innocent people preparing for the festival of lights with their families. People who probably had plans. People who had saved and saved and SAVED just to shop on Diwali. People who took a half-day from work, to go out with their families. The children probably swinging between their parents hands, butterflies in their stomachs from the excitement. And I'm pissed off.
I love this city. I love all its unpredictabilities. I love Sarojini Nagar and Pahargunj--I just shopped at Pahargunj last Sunday. And I hate the fact that my haunts are ruined. That I will have to live with fear when I enter a crowded place. That most of the hawkers will leave because no one will shop there for a while. And while I, the most unreligious of people can feel a sense of loss for my festival, I can only imagine the pain others are going through. And those messages on TV asking for anything, any goddamn sign that the people they cared for were alive, those broke my heart.
As for the fashion show, predictably, it went off well. It was well-attended, all the p3p showed up dressed to the nines. The Chanel representative offered a brief one line about how "zorry ve all are for ze blasts that 'ave 'appened tonight." But life went on, nonetheless. We managed to stay cocooned in that world for a while. Then I went home and switched on the television. And saw the papers this morning. And it all came home to me.
So yeah, I guess this purpose of this post is to tell y'all we're okay. All three of us. The city as I saw it this evening. People are, well, if not bustling, still shopping for Diwali. Crackers aren't going off every five seconds, but there are distant booms. We're subdued, but we're okay.
Have a safe Diwali.
PS: And from other parts of the world, people who love this city, my city, their city are rallying up around us. Rohini, another of my colleagues, who isn't originally from here, told me how surprised she was at how very much she felt. It grabs you, this city and we will not have any abuse of it. We're Delhiites no matter how far we go and our umblical cords are never cut. This post by Thalassa_Mikra says it all.
26 October 2005
a maid empowered
a wednesday date
weak in places
sucker for pretty faces
a silk cut smoker
afraid of my broker
assertive at times
terrible at rhymes
a loyal friend
a means without an end
sometimes very lazy
prone to being hazy
a nighttime daydreamer
a balcony screamer
a theme song singer
a doorbell multiple ringer
a feminine creature
a no-drugs preacher
a bargain shopper
a three pub hopper
sometimes good, sometimes very bad
at this moment, a little sad
Blog Quake Day.
Spread the word.
Desi Pundit and Indian Writing have good posts up. And the latest India Today has some pictures which you should look at. Especially one of this injured baby girl being fed milk.
24 October 2005
See the pyramids along the Nile, watch the sunset on a tropic isle, just remember darling all the while... you belong to me
Went for my first cards party of the season the other night. Good fun. Small and I put in about a hundred rupees each and consequently lost it all. Then since my money had run out, I watched as the stakes grew higher--from 10-20, to 50-100. God, people in this city have a lot of money. There were people casually saying, "Panch sau ki chaal"and tossing in crisp new 500 notes while my poor broke soul kept going, "Nooooooo, give it to meeeeeeee!"
Are cards parties a solely North Indian concept, I wonder? I started playing, I think, in first year college, at a friends place, where bless her, she had a one rupee-two rupee table. I cleaned up that night--won some 700 bucks. The rules are pretty easy, for a straight round, you get dealt three cards--the highest is a trail, that's three of the same number. If you have an Ace trail, that's like the best ever, and everyone has to give you "goodwill" for getting such fantastic cards. Then there's the pure sequence-- a set of cards like 7, 8, 9 of the same suit, like all clubs. Then there's the impure sequence, with different suits. Right below that is colour--basically when you have all hearts or something. And then the piddly ones you shouldn't be betting on like pair (two of the same card) or highest card (like if you have an Ace or something).
Then there are the variations, which the dealer chooses. My personal favourite is "mattha" where everyone gets dealt one card which they put on their forehead without looking at it. You can see everyone else's cards though, so it's great fun when you see someone with a two of hearts on their forehead betting against someone with a King. Normally at parties, people play one round of straight before diving right in to the variations.
At larger parties, with the REALLY rich people, there are car keys tossed casually on the table. Or piles of 500 notes. Small was just telling me how she went to this party and someone won FOUR LAKHS. Fuck. There's also this fantastic urban legend, which I have helped stay alive, about how Ajay Bijli won PVR Priya through a game of cards. Can you imagine how that round would have gone? ("I see your three lakhs and raise you one movie theatre.")
Usually though, I'm sucky at bluffing. My dad's really, really good at it, I've seen him intimidate everyone else into quitting a game with a hand like four, queen, seven. But I guess that only happens when you don't care how much money you're losing. People who know me, also know that if I'm betting it means I have a really good hand and everyone backs out. Most unfair.
Cards parties always bring back so many memories. Last Diwali it was at Golfer-Ex's place, where I lost all my money and only won when he loaned me some 1,000 bucks. Of course, then I promptly gave him all my winnings. It was only fair. Then there were the times Leela and two of her friends and I used to play in her house. Those were innocent parties, where not much money was lost, but, oh, we did have a good time. Cards are not a serious business for me, but I have always loved the thrill of a gamble. When I was like six or seven, we went to some Air Force mela in Hyderabad where you had to bet on a number and then this chappie would roll a dice. Reader, I won. Much money. :)
Of course, I promptly bet it again and then lost it all, but it taught me a valuable lesson. Always know when to stop and don't be greedy. In other words, quit when you're ahead.
Have a fantastic cards season, and wish me luck for our cards party on Wednesday!
19 October 2005
a) So you know when you're making out with someone? And there comes this bit when you're all heavy breathing and you go, throatily, "So, um.. do you have something?" and he goes, "Yeah, give me a second." Now I never know whether I should be insulted that he came prepared, or thankful, because now it means we can get on with it, instead of just putting our clothes back on and playing Scrabble. On the whole, I'm always a little bemused sorta teetering between insulted and grateful. It's not a good sort of emotion, bemused. I'd much rather he didn't have any protection and we went on this gigglesome Middle Of The Night condom adventure. So much more fun.
Of course, then there's the guy who carries condoms ALL THE TIME. I'm talking constantly equipped with the red and black Kamasutra* packet nestling next to his change. Sometimes when it's hot, you can see the outline of the condom in his wallet. He thinks it's saying, "Ooh. look at me. I'm getting some" when clearly it's saying, "Help! I've been in here since 1993!"
*Durex rips. Trust me. I know THREE people this has happened to. Which sorta defeats the purpose of a condom in the first place.
b) You know sex in the shower? How does that work exactly? See, I've tried it, only the water kept getting into my nose, which wasn't sexy because every two or three seconds I'd resurface sputtering. I know some people have managed great acrobatics in the shower but HOW? Do you wear scuba equipment? Do you hold your breath? How do you avoid constantly spitting out the water that's in your mouth?
c) So yeah, I know I'm going to write this and post this and certain people who shall remain nameless will either cackle furtively into their morning coffee when they read it and/or post a dirty comment or email me telling me what a slut I am for talking about sex. My explaination for those people, (coz I'm a fair kinda gal, I like everyone to have their own points of views) is that they've been watching too much Bollywood. So, yeah, in a country that's grossly overpopulated, our one medium of sex education shows us a) nodding flowers b) a roaring fire or c) butterflies. So it's really not that surprising that most people who grew up in the Era of the Nodding Flowers thinks sex is a like a nature documentary. ("Mummy, mummy, where's my pistil?")
On the other hand, even school didn't do a very good job with their sex ed. In class 7, they taught us about zygotes and x and y chromosomes (I aced that test by the way) but nothing about from whence they originated. I mean, I had all these books about how the man plants the seed and all, so for the longest time, I thought the guy had this actual seed (that looked a little like the cotton seed) which he put inside the chick's bellybutton.
I'm sorry, this was supposed to be a list for boys wasn't it? Oh dear. But I realised I didn't have very much to say. I mean, how to make a list for boys? You may think women are these mysterious creatures etc, but I swear, guys are ten times more confusing. Really. We never know what they're thinking (and when I say we I totally mean me)
And huzzah for this ongoing Bloggers vs. IIPM thing. I don't have anything new to add, so I'm just going to stand admiringly at the sidelines and clap. And say, really loudly, "Fuck the corporate world, biatch!"
12 October 2005
I lurve Vikram Seth. I want to marry him and have his babies. I met him, some eight years ago, a cranky 16-year-old (or was I older? Eighteen? I forget). Anyhoo, so my mum calls me from the living room one evening and says, "Look who's here!" And I'm in an old nightshirt, my hair standing on end and I growl from my room and whine about how I was sleeping and on the phone and I don't want to meet anyone. But finally I emerge and ohmygod, it's Vikram Seth. In my living room. Looking at my bookshelf. Oh my god. And he's very sweet and fully prepared to have an intellegent conversation and all I can say (oh forsaken rehearsed conversation on Kafka and Camus!) is, "But I'm in my nightie!" Over and over again. Finally, he gave up on me and left and I just wanted an earthquake, right then and there to swallow up my sorry soul.
I met him today also and had a really hard time sticking to being professional. There were long gaps in my interviewing process as I gasped for air while he talked to me. Then as we wrapped up he said, "Haven't I met you before?" "Yunh," I said, blushing madly. He smiled. "Weren't you.. um.. dressed rather unconventionally?" Professional resolve dropped and I gasped at him, "Oh my god, I can't believe you remember that!" (Oh, eM, eM, was that a squeal? Did you squeal in front of Vikram Seth? Don't squeal, no, no.) "I thought it was very endearing," he told me then and I wanted to kiss him. But you will be happy to know, I held on to my baser instincts and simpered like a 14-year-old meeting Nick Carter. "You must've been all of 16," he said and, "How old are you now?" "I'm 24," I said, rapidly adding the two months left. "Wow, it's been eight years, huh?" and he looked so wise and beautiful I nearly kissed him again (Okay, any excuse to kiss him, I admit. And yes, I do know he's gay. Oooh, I just said I do. Ooh. *gets a grip*) I finally came up with something to say that wasn't MarrymeIpromiseI'llmakeyouhappyandI'llevensharpenyourpencilsandmakeyoucoffee. "Goodness I feel old." "Not as old as I do," he laughed and oh, he has a lovely laugh.
He signed my book even, saying Well met again in his scrawly handwriting and yeah, well, there was kissing in my head happening. What is one to do when one has big crush on one's professional relationship-type people? See, unlike Salman Rushdie (who I have not met, but wouldn't it be cool if I had?) Vikram Seth is eminently kissable. He's so down-to-earth, a Dilli-wallah like me. No reporter would ever feel like kissing Salman Rushdie, I mean, unless she looked like a supermodel but then he already has his supermodel wife so technically he's already probably judging you in his head as you walk in and technically, technically you have already failed the test.
Anyhoo, so as we left, me still walking on air (Endearing! Dude!) the photographer looking most amused at my early entrance and consequent conversation, he says to me (the photog, ie, not Vikram Seth), "I've never seen anyone both gushing and drooling at the same time." "Hmph," was my witty retort. "You should've asked me to take a picture of the two of you," he said then, teasing, but I didn't care, coz ha-ha, Vikram Seth thought I was endearing and not him, so what did he know.
So that's my Famous Person story. For the love of God, if you know me in real life DO NOT bring this up. I like to think of myself as a calm, rational journalist, not usually prone to gushing, but oh. Oh.
9 October 2005
a) Sex always, invariably, at some level or another, screws things up.
b) Sex in real life never lives up to the picture you had in your head. It can't.
c) It's better to have sex with someone you like as a person as opposed to someone you fancy the pants off but don't know the first thing about them. Trust me on this one. It holds the key to waking up the next morning feeling like shit.
But you're going to have sex anyway. Of course. What else were we built for if not to copulate? It's all good baby. Calm yourself and remember these things about the boys.
1)If you can smell him, don't screw him. (Caveat: by `smell' I mean body odour of any sort, like sweat. Even if it's clean sweat, gross. It's called deodarant. Use it. Not if he smells subtly sexy of some gorgeous cologne. Go with the cologne-smelling guy. He just shaved for this party)
2) Figure out very early on if you're a boxers or briefs person. It may sound like no big deal, but trust me you don't want to realise you have a phobia when the guy's stripped down to his chaddis.
3) You can tell a lot about his *ahem* other talents by the way he kisses. It's not that hard to guess. Use the rule of tongue judgment. ;)
4) Some things will NOT make for an effective session. Are you quiet and is he noisy in bed? Does he hate the post coital cigarette? Does he wear polyester socks with an argyle pattern which he rolls up and puts into his shoes? NOOOOOOOOOO. Don't sleep with him.
5) When setting the scene and when you're going out for dinner, choose pizza. Not tandoori chicken, not seekh kebab rolls. Even if you're okay and minty fresh, ew, imagine having Onion Breath murmuring sweet nothings into your ears.
6) Don't use up all your best moves in one go.You need a trump card. You'll know it's effective if you get sharp indrawn breath (if he's a quiet person) or 'Oh baby' (if he's the type who talks.
7) Own your own body. Then own his.
8) Know that this could end in an hour. He could just put on his shoes and leave and never call you. Be okay with having to look in the mirror the next morning and feeling like a slut.You're not.
There, I think that's about all I can think of for now. Boys, separate list for you later :)
Time to get ready for my housewarming party! Woo-hoo!
4 October 2005
So I held my breath and my counsel till we signed the agreement and handed over a shitload of money to the landlady. And even then, we were slightly grumpy. We were so used to our homes, where dust would magically vanish, where people cared enough about you to nag you about dinner, where the hot water tap didn't sputter and hiss at you, where things were already in their places. So we each retired to our own rooms, doing therapeutical things. I made my futon into a chair, slipped the cushion over it and plugged in an earthen lamp on the floor. Priya set up her computer and put a teddy bear on her mattress pile. Small arranged and rearranged her beds till she had the perfect angle to watch television. And then Small and I went out like the good hunters and gatherers we are to bring food to our household.
People should really make ready-made houses. With like, cooking utensils. And a mop and a broom. And even the Scotch Brite and Vim by the sink. Small and I went a little insane with our shopping--buying two identical toilet brushes, and Zero-B for the sink and a broom and a dustpan and a soap tray and cheese spread. God. Then we went to her mum's house and picked up four bottles of water. (We're now down to half a bottle. Mental note: buy water.)
Anyhoo, so there was wine involved and by the time we got back, Priya and her boyfriend had hired a maid (called Lata, who's apparently very nice and has agreed to cook, clean and wash clothes for a bargain price). Only there's nothing for Lata to do just yet. Only sweep, which I hope she's done today (Mental note #2 :Check if maid has swept). And I had company--thank you for being first guest, Monica--who watched, amused, as I swept my room, very badly and collected dust against the walls and made my bed. (and this is the point Blogger has allowed me to recover till, despite the fact that I have now written this post four thousand million times). So, yeah. Making my bed always helps me feel settled. At home. The familiar bedspread, the brand-new lavender sheets, the pillow that has your cheek indentations so you can find your happy spot as soon as you turn in. I love my bed. I love the way it looks all homey.
And so, we have moved in. Other stuff remains to be done. (Mental note #3: Remind Small to call the cable guy. Why can't I call the cable guy? Coz I'd twist myself into knots trying to figure out a time convenient to both of us, while Small will just pick a time, call him, get both of our TVs done and find out about wiring up my laptop. You see why I live with her?) Our sweet little minibar fridge which loves us and tries really hard to be a big grown up fridge, holds only bottles. So our big fridge has gone to be repaired which means, aaaaaaaaaaaargh, more money will have to be spent. I'm sooooooo broke. This sucks. I'm used to being wealthy.
I have also become complete domestic goddess--unpacking yesterday at the speed of light, cleaning up in the kitchen and fixing our drawing room so it doesn't look so abandoned (eM's little handy hint: An old curtain in a pretty shade thrown over a folded over sleeping bag makes a decorative, yet useful, floor cushion.)
I'll stop, was up till 4 am and then woke up at 10 this morning and I've pulled some muscles in my thigh from dancing up and down those fucking stairs. But, (and just once) yay, me!
1 October 2005
I used to think our linen closet had magical powers. If you got into it, it would magically change you from an adult to a child.. I miss that closet
I'm finally responding to all the memes out there that have come to get me.
The first was that 55-word-story thing that everyone was doing. (Thank you Jasmine!)
Right, here goes my work of literary perfection:
She saw him first at a party where he didn't see her. She whispered his name into her pillow every night. Every love song reminded her of him. She'd dress up to run an errand, just in case she saw him again. She sighed to her friends. This was more fun than a real boyfriend.
And exactly 55 words! I'm most proud of myself :)
Next up, a tag by Mint who says, delve into your blog archive, find your 23rd post (or closest to), find the fifth sentence (or closest to) and post the text online.
Easy-peasy. Here I go, back down memory lane.
This is the post here.
And the fifth sentence: i know this too shall pass.
I'm so wise.
Now I'm supposed to tag five people, right? I'm going to be very lazy and just randomly point my mouse at my blogrolling thingie to choose.
Enjoy, you guys.