Thursday, September 27, 2012

What is up?

I get freaked out when someone meets and greets with a ‘wasssup?’ I know I’m always suppose to say ‘Nothing much, you tell me?’ in the same super-excited tone. But really, why ‘wassup’ at all. What's wrong with the good old 'Hello, how are you?' So, wassup you asked? Let me tell you what I really want to say -

**I don’t have many Indian neighbours. And it’s tough to get along with firangs. You know, we don’t have much in common. So when I heard an Indian couple had moved in the building, I got excited. Maybe they were cool like us? (*winks*) So like that, I went and rang the doorbell. I heard the sound of trinkets. I wanted to run away but it was too late. A sweet girl in 7th month of pregnancy opened the door. My dreams were shattered. I don’t get along too well with most mothers, nothing personal, but some of them just talk about their babies, and I’m really not that interested!

So she talked and talked and talked in a Bihari accent. She’s so sweet and innocent that she doesn’t walk much because of the fact that she has a habit of falling. Ya, me too had wider eyes looking at her condition! Anyway, the first thing the Boy asked me was, ‘What do say when they open the door’? Adventure trips, I tell you!

**We live in a country which is famous for its notorious activities where akeli ladki is like khuli tijori! So much so, that we have people coming from neighbouring countries to spend their weekends here. One weekend we went to this pub which had hordes of young men looking for pretty damsels. There was a huge table and we took two seats. Three other men came and joined us. Now the Boy had to go and get drinks. He asked me if I would be comfortable sitting alone. It was a tough question. I realised I was 29 and I had to handle these things now! So off he went and I set my eyes on my cell phone. He took good 15 minutes which seemed like eternity. Anway, one man patted my knee. I could have collapsed. Without a word in the noisy pub, I shook my head and pointed to the Boy at the bar. The man could have easily rolled on the floor laughing! Instead, he shook his head and asked if his friend would be able to convince the three girls on the other table to have drinks with them. They had a bet and he was just doing some sweet talk. I should have been embarrassed, but surprisingly we had a great time after that!

**The Boy will be going to another country for some project work next week. I have already been there and so I decided to stay back. I calculated the amount that we will be spending on my ticket and visa. I decided to spend that money on shopping instead. Isn’t that a wiser decision? I’m so ready for 30!

**Speaking of 30, I had set a few goals for myself. And I’m glad I’ve been successful. This has been one of the most satisfying years. Hopefully, I will continue to ‘grow’. The good news is, I’ll be spending my 30th in Goa. So much for being a good girl!

There is so much more, but I’ll stop right here. Next time, someone asks ‘wassup’, I’ll start my harangue. How would that be to stop the epidemic?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mahi and Manmohan - The (il)logical Review

The movie Heroine is so bad that the only (il)logical similarity I could  come up with was the present government - United Progressive Alliance. The two have been making headlines this weekend, both are highly depressing and intolerable, both could have done so much better, and so, read on before you waste your time on either!

*When you enter the theater, you look forward to some spicy gossip, bedrooms stories and an insight into an actor’s life. This is something refreshing and has never been done before in Bollywood. You are excited and confident of a repeat performance by Madhur Bhandarkar.

*The UPA looked reassuring as well in its second term. India was glistening before 2009, just like Fashion and Page 3. We looked forward to Dr. Manmohan Singh and his army to rock the stage.

**Mahi Arora (Kareena) is a leading actress who looks quite glamorous initially. She is in an insecure relationship with a married co-star who uses her position for his own good. Although he tries his best to form a decent relationship with the star, her madness and insecurity leads to their split. You don’t understand whom to feel sorry for. 

**Now Dr. Singh is a sincere man. He has tried his best to keep his allies together. But they are like small children who wouldn’t agree to the smallest of things without saying a NO.  Didi, Behenji and Amma have shown their doubt time and again. Behenji broke up long time ago and Didi took a divorce because she doesn’t like Walmart. You really don’t know who the bigger fool is.

***Mahi’s madness leads to her downfall. New actors come and take her place. She isn’t considered a good actor and so she takes up a small time film on prostitution which is performance oriented. As luck would have it, the movie gets shelved. And oh, in between she falls in love with a cricketer (read: poor Yuvraj Singh) and leaves him because he wants to commit a criminal offense by marrying her. She also spends a night with a female friend and a well-wisher. She then leaves her because she thinks she was used! 

***Raja, Adarsh, Kalmadi, Inflation, Lok Pal, Sensex, Rupee, etc hit headlines in the last few years. Scams came and scams went. UPA predicted a growth story of 9% but sorry, it got shelved for its own reasons. We did better than the world on paper, but in reality, our top States went powerless for hours showing weak signs of growth.

Unfortunately, no one fell in love with the UPA. And we are yet to hear about Lesbian/Gay stories!

****No one would trust Mahi. She made a low budget film but there was no way she could attract audience. In an attempt to get rapid publicity she leaks a sex tape of her and her co-star who was in love with her for the second time. You are forced to think about the Shahid-Kareena and Riya-Ashmit MMS but can’t draw any similarity. Anyway, Mahi realises how low she had stooped and so she leaves the country to end her suffering.

In the course of the movie we also see how she refuses to sleep with an actor who subsequently cuts her scene from an important movie, her gay fashion designer (Manish Malhotra?) who gives her all the gossip, her PR Manager who asks her to do cheap tricks to gain publicity, wives(Gauri Khan/Suzzane Roshan?) controlling their director/actor husbands, superstars from yester-years losing respect in old age, and the other dirty pictures of Bollywood. Overall, Mahi is a highly insecure cry-baby popping pills at every given opportunity. All the time you wonder who really does that!? The character is so depressing that it makes her despicable.

****UPA has lost all its charm. The government is facing wrath from all sectors. We don’t hear anything about the Common Minimum Programme. You never know when the government will fall and so the cheap tricks have started. We saw the PM come live on TV for the first time in 2.5 years. He looked like a robot talking about money and trees. A whopping 100 Crores is being spent on an image makeover. What are they thinking? We’ve seen the ridiculous Monsoon session, we’ve witnessed the rise in violence all across the nation, we’re noticing the alarming rise in prices, we’re distressed with the state of roads and general infrastructure, the list is endless. All this combined makes the UPA, you guessed it right, despicable.

*****Heroine fails to impress because it has tried to cover too many things in one small movie. Moreover, the character of Mahi is so insecure and depressing that you fail to sympathise with her. All the while you feel she deserves the treatment she gets. The moment you begin to like her she does something extremely foolish and you start to curse her again. Even Halkat Jawani fails in such a scenario. You get through the film only because you keep looking for familiar characters and want to know more about them. You get through it only because you wait for something interesting to happen. Sadly, it doesn’t and really, it’s all Bhandarkar’s fault. He could have done so much better.

*****What can I say about the UPA? When you look around and you see countries developing at a fast pace, you feel sorry for India. We have so much potential but our politicians have failed us. If Madam had not taken the tax payers money to Switzerland, if Dr. Singh even had minuscule control over his team, if growth stories had made more headlines than corruption stories, if the Government stuck to the most important reforms, if…

We are a nation of hopefuls. Even if we need 7 runs to win from the last ball and Harbhajan is at the crease, a small corner of our heart believes that we will win. That’s the only reason we are tolerating this government. UPA could have done so much better.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The e - Baby Shower!

Y’s hormones were playing havoc in her life. The baby was due in 1 month and she was having a nervous breakdown. To top it all, her husband N, had to go abroad for an urgent project and she was left at the mercy of the in-laws. Not that they were mean, they were NOT him!

When the going got tougher we decided to have an intervention. So, enter best friends P, R and Me. The problem – we were in 3 different countries and there was no way we could meet Y and cheer her up. P was in Bangalore meeting deadlines. R was in Germany for she had won a 50-day all-expense-paid Journalism workshop. And I was writing, cooking and partying in the Middle East. But we are best friends and we had to cheer up Y come what may.

I racked my brains, brainstormed over conference calls, browsed the Internet and came up with a mind-blowing idea that made me proud of myself! With technology playing our Messiah, we planned a surprise E-Baby Shower for the Mommy-to-be. 

We had to plan everything to the T so that it all comes together on the same date and if possible, same time. We had to find snap deals for we were looking for a great experience without making a hole in our pockets. The first things we ordered were Flowers and Cake. Y loves Yellow roses and they were not hard to find. We specified a particular time and date for delivery. The site was very kind to cater to all our demands.

Silly Badge!
We are quirky people and normal gifts are not our forte. We found this superb website with a MomBastic badge and ordered one immediately – again same date.

The gift couldn't be complete without a picture, card and a poem written by me! We decided to find a portal that can make a card with our picture and my poem as text. I had sent a picture Rakhi before from iTasveer and they were very prompt in their service. I browsed their website and we had our card ready to be printed and delivered – on the date of the Baby Shower.

We didn’t want to send any baby items for Y because, as Indians, we are superstitious and rarely buy stuff for the baby before its arrival. We didn’t want to hurt the Mother-in-law’s feelings and so decided to buy pink ribbons or leather shoes only after the baby was here.

The last item on our list was food. No party is complete without yummy grub. We planned to order a pizza online from Dominos. Yes, all of us ordered a similar pizza. Technology was really Godsend.

It was a Sunday. We asked N to take us all on video conference on Google+ hangout and then call Y. Y was already ecstatic since she had received the badge and the card early in the morning. Our mailbox was flooded with her thank you messages and how her day was made when she read the poem. 

We all ordered Pizza for delivery at 2 p.m. IST. With our laptops in front of us, we were ready to party! We told N to call her and let the ladies enjoy their day. He begged us quite a few times to let him be a part of it, but this was an all-girls party and men were strictly not allowed.
The Card

What followed was a laugh riot. When Y came online she couldn’t stop giggling. Her door bell rang and she received the Cake and Flowers. That set the tears rolling. I told you, hormones were already playing their role, and this was, quite literally, an icing on the cake. We sang our usual ‘Congratulations and Celebrations’ better than the contestants of Indian Idol. We couldn’t taste the cake, but that wasn’t important. Y was happy, immensely happy.

The Flowers
And when the pizza was delivered she was shocked. Of all the things, she couldn’t have even dreamed that we will order food. We laughed and laughed, till the baby was rolling inside Y's tummy!

That day took us back to our school days. It was my 16th birthday. The table was full from the 16 gifts, flowers, cards and a Chocolate Truffle cake. We had ordered our usual Pizza, Noodles and Chilli Paneer at our favorite joint.  We spoke about boys, blushed and giggled till to no end. Only now, we were talking about husbands, babies and careers. But the people and the laughter was exactly the same.

Thanks to Technology and Online Shopping, we could recreate our teenage years even though we were miles apart. I’ve bought gadgets, clothes and other gift items from the Internet, but no experience can replace the joy we saw on Y’s face that day.

This post is a part of the contest at in association with

P.S.  I forgot to paste the contest code (mentioned above), hence the update! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Barfi – Life’s little Lessons

- Imperfection is all around us. How we handle our flaw determines our life’s happiness. Burfi’s (Ranbir Kapoor) happy-go-lucky attitude never lets us feel he was deaf and dumb. We saw him as a normal human being who went through a crisis in life.

 - Handicap is not a disease. It’s a way of life. You may be perfect from outside, but crippled at heart. Your mind might be at one place, your heart - at another. Shruti (Ileana D’cruz) suffered from the worst disease – a wandering heart.

 - Every heart can feel love, happiness, anger, jealousy, hatred and sadness. A mind can be under-developed, but a heart is always at the right place. Be wary when you play with feelings – you never know when someone gets hurt. Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra) possessed an IQ of a child but had feelings of a woman. Her heart felt hatred and love with equal passion.

 - It’s not your lines, it’s not your stars, and it’s not your Karma from previous birth. We are the makers of our own destiny. If God gives you a problem, he gives you ample of chances to rectify that problem. He gives you strength, determination, and good luck. It’s your attitude that determines if you’ll win or blame your destiny for the rest of your life. The story of Barfi does exactly that. He falls in love, she breaks his heart, and he deals with it, and moves on. He helps a friend in need, falls in love again, destiny breaks his heart but he doesn’t give up. He makes sure he wins the battle with 'destiny'. 

 - Actions speak louder than words. And that’s why this film is so special. The direction is flawless, the characters play their part to the T and the story is heart warming. When you will come home after watching the movie and reflect over it, you will find your life much happier than you ever thought it was. And if not, you will strive hard to achieve that happiness.

Barfi doesn’t make you go Wow. It touches your heart and stays with you for a long time.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Where East meets West

“What? You don’t have two seats together?” I was angry.
“No. But you can try to exchange with someone.”
Yea, right. Like anyone from a window or aisle will want to come to my middle seat.

So the trip began on a bad note. I felt like crying sitting 20 rows away from the Boy. It was an overnight flight and I sat squeezed between two rather good-looking men. But well, that was a fantasy that should have been fulfilled at another age and another marital status!

“You can have complimentary breakfast and we will give you an early check-in at 9:30 a.m,” said the kind soul that sat at the Hotel Reception. Thanks to them, we slept like dogs till 1.

And then began our journey into Istanbul. Tripadvisor had told me to be cautious of notorious taxi drivers. We were vigilant yet they managed to rip us off. Topkapi Palace was boring. I kept thinking of the grand palaces in Jaipur and how we never bothered to pay much attention. I was keenly interested in the Harem. It made me very sad to think how a Sultan kept numerous wives and mistresses. On top of that, they kept Eunuchs to guard the Harem. It is our ancestors who have objectified women. It’s so hard to change the mind set now. It’s depressing, very depressing. Indian kings were no less. 100 wives, 1000 kids, utter nuisance.

We then got lost and hence bugged. That’s the beauty of doing everything on your own. You go through so many emotions. People advised us to take guided tours, but we are nomads, we get a sense of achievement if we get lost.

Anyway, we saw the European and the Asian side of Istanbul, went to a huge island near-by, looked for happy squares, hogged on ice-cream and doner kebabs, and kept the historical sites for another day. Such people should never go to Istanbul because the city is well-known for it’s rich heritage. If you are looking for Mac Donalds in a mall, go to Dubai.

We saw Istanbul’s best site on our last day. But that comes at the end of this travelogue. We couldn’t go the city’s supremely awesome night clubs for the party began at 12 and we were always tired by then.

Our next journey was into Pamukkale. I did not know why people were fascinated by a white colored hill that was made of limestone. But this is a chance we had to take. It was a tourist destination and we would have looked like fools if we avoided it!

Pamukkale Travertines
Walking down the travertine was the first high-point of our trip. The hill has been formed by mineral deposits left by flowing water. From the top, you look down a spotlessly clean white mountain. There is greenery everywhere around it, something that you don’t see next to a snow-clad mountain. We started our walk downwards and it felt magical with water touching our feet at every level. The flowing water had formed mini pools and it was amazing to sit in them. No words, no pictures, nothing can describe the feeling. You have to feel it to know it.

Antique Pool, Pamukkale
We didn’t like the food in Pamukkale. The sun was unbearable and I emptied half my sun block bottle. It was God- sent for my nikhri tvacha! Speaking of which, we saw an antique pool in Pamukkale. It was next to the ruined city of Heirapolis, which, by the way had such an eerie feeling to it. The pool was a natural site where you could swim amidst trees in natural spring water. Pretty sight it was.

Our last stop was Oludeniz. We were the only Indians in the whole village. People confused us with Turks. And when we told them we were from India, they asked if we lived in England ‘coz only Britishers went to Oludeniz! We always thought that wherever we’ll go we’ll find someone from our 1 billion plus population. Oludeniz proved us wrong and we were delighted to be in a foreign land!
Yaka Park, Near Patara Village
The beaches made our holiday awesome. I picked up the boy in water. What a joy it was! Oh, and another highlight was that I walked around the village in a Bikini top with shortest shorts. Cheap thrills, I tell you.

Oludeniz has outstanding surroundings. We went to one park that was set amidst rocks. The water flowed from the top and flowed all through the park. They had smartly places tables in strategic locations where you could sit and eat. We wished we had a park like that in our city of Nawabs where we could have dated in our ‘golden’ days. Anway, it was romantic like hell even today!

Patara Bach, Southern Coast, Turkey
The last day of our trip to Oludeniz was the best one. We went to a remote beach called Patara beach. I have seen nothing like it. You could walk and walk into the sea and the golden sand will never leave your feet. Romancing in clear waters was my favourite memory of the trip.

We had another 3-4 hours in Istanbul before our flight back home. We covered Hagia Sophia. The history of this museum is fascinating. It was a church before the Ottoman Empire took over Turkey. They converted it into a mosque. In 1923, Ataturk became the first President of the Republic of Turkey and he restored parts of the church. He then converted this site into a museum. This place made me remember Babri Masjid and the issues revolving around it. When will we have a revolutionary leader like Ataturk? His efforts to modernize Turkey made me fall in love with him.

We had an over-night stop-over at Abu Dhabi airport. Being residents of Bahrain we can get UAE visa on arrival. We jumped at the opportunity to catch up with friends. The thrill of getting a visa on arrival is unsurpassed. Americans should count their blessings!

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

I found Turkey exactly like India. It is full of history and beautiful landscapes. They have vibrant restaurants and varied shopping avenues. It seemed like an agricultural based economy with plantations and tractors all around the highways. It was like the India of my dreams that has concrete roads, lower density of population, tourist friendly people and cleaner environment. We have more scenic mountains and beaches, our architecture is unparalleled and our food is divine. Really, I dreamt of an improved India all through my trip.

P.S. I realised I don't have many pictures without either me or the Boy in it. Although we don't have much interest in photography, will try to capture more next time.We also don't have many pictures of historical sites. Our interest in them is evident :D