Saturday, July 28, 2007

This post is dedicated to Ads [not really]

There’s one place on the net that really cheers me up, every single time I visit it.

Ads of the World.

It could be because I’ve come across some really special work here. Special in ways that are hard to describe; special because it’s kept me smiling for days and days after; special, to me specifically, because it’s told me things that I’ve craved to know – of ideas and minds at work, of potential explored, of inclusion in forums like The Work and One Show; of hope for a certain luminous career.

Bizarre isn’t it? Advertising and hope, for me, sometimes go hand in hand.

But of course, like with all great ideas, some of the work here is terrible. It makes me want to slap up a bunch of shallow writers and art directors, who’re too busy jerking off on over-dosages of marijuana, whiskey and self-importance to even consider that their first job is to caress and love and adore and carefully fashion each word and image they send out into the world, so that it says exactly what they intend it to.

The other day I came across a series of ads. The copy looked lengthy. However, because of some of the comments [thank god for some people who love their trade enough to whet everything] I decided to read each one.

I’ll let you decide for yourself, what you think.

When our shoes wore out
Torture me
Money lender
May God forgive you
Crime against humanity
Life and death of a Bhopali child

Okay, maybe I won’t. As with all else on my blog, it gives me great pleasure to tell you what to think about these ads. Specifically about the person who wrote them.

Indra Sinha; he writes like butter. Read the last one especially, and you’ll know what I mean. He’s clearly among the finer writers I’ve read on the net [which shows how ignorant I am, because he's a legend, they'll have you know]. Really, Ivan deserves a thump on his back [because I might never have discovered Indra, who I first thought was a woman -- obviously, I can't say enough how ignorant I am, so let's just move on.]. And the best I can do with my newfound adulation for this star is to buy his books.

If you want to read more from him, here’s his blog.

And, whatever you do, don’t ask me why I’m giving him a plug, when he doesn’t need one from an itty-bitty inconsequential arse like me. I’ll just do a stomping raving Rumpelstiltskin on you.

Have an interesting, ejyoocative, smooth read my dollies; this is my early Diwali gift to you.

Friday, July 27, 2007

La La La Loyal

Loyalty. It means so many things, especially to anal-retentives like me.

One of them is to remain mummified in promises made and broken aeons ago, for fear of toppling beliefs and ideas that form the rock of ones foundation and consequently exposing oneself for a frivolous, unserious cad [cad-equivalent of woman in this case]. It is that over-burdening sense of self-censure that becomes, when stretched beyond the periphery of reason, one’s nemesis.

So I am stuck. With my anus-faced* nemesis.

And I’m twiddling my thumbs waiting for it to pass. But this time, it seems to be a particularly virulent bout that my daft, inept brain is battling with. The idiot. It keeps rising out of the molasses every now and can’t-recall-when with much working-upon, much coaxing and cajoling, and then, like a ludicrously lazy lumply glucose-deprived whale it just splotches right back at the slightest hint of inattention, raising volcanoes of shit that must be cleaned and scrubbed off the walls, just to rise and splotch back again. Disgusting, lumbering slow wit.

Sometimes I wish I could fly – in my head, would be a good start.

Just like everybody else.

Such a shimmering oasis, isn’t it? To be like everybody else. Just even somebody, as long as it’s else and not self.

How do they do it, this nebulous pack of otherhood?

How do they stay so unbound?

Unbound, frivolous and free.

Now I’m being a sicko.

See, that’s the three hundred and thirty third fallout of loyalty, my style. Perversely anal-retentive.

*which is such the cleverest pun on janus-face. Sometimes I impress myself. Deeply. To a distraction, even.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Another reason why you should read my blog


Spoiler ahead

[Since this is the season of spoilers, Potterkind and all, I’m having my own, with its own spanking disclaimer on why I must tell you about why I must pimp my blog here - disregarding your unspoken need to find these things out about me at your own sweet leisure. As you can tell, I hate people forming their own opinions about me. Especially at 'their own sweet leisure'.]

Now that I’ve explained things that needed explaining… here goes.

I never thought I’d say this. But I’m proud to be a schmoozer.

Ok. No. let’s do this again.

I’m proud to be a SCHMOOZER.

Oh nevermind.

Just read what Lovely Lizza has to say here, and you’ll know I’m not that sort of schmoozer. There, I said it. SCHMOOZER.

La la la la la.

I sing.

I cook.

I schmooze.

I suck. At the first two.

And because I’m generous, I will spare you dollies the agony of my list. [Which might perhaps include all you lovelies].

So, you bettah watch your manners now, ‘cause I’m pretty quick with this flipping thing.

Schmoozy kisses to y’all, then.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Where is G on Mendeleev’s Table?

Your waking mind can be such a deceiving, insidious monster. It can fool you into believing things about the seductive simplicity of its own power. Things as stupid, clichéd and untrue as 2 plus 2 equals 4.

Things like putting memories, and thoughts and people out of your mind.

But it never is as simple as saying I’m not going to let my mind dwell on this memory. Or that one. Or any one of those that made up a year and some, na?

After all, how much is one year of your life, really? Give or take some?

Nothing much, your mind will tell you. It will goad you into believing that you’re being a weak fool to be so stuck. Until, of course, the day that you discover with horror, the truth behind your inability.

The terrifying, overwhelming, colossal truth.

A truth that you could’ve only discovered by waking up in the middle of a dream, quite by chance.

A dream so inconsequential, that its essence is the boring detail that makes up the necessary but perennially unnoticeable continuum of each waking day.

Was the window of the car rolled up three quarters or three fifths?
Did the grey corduroy of the car seat look slightly greyer under the shadow of four sets of bums?
Were you secretly pushing and expanding your muscles in the back seat trying to greedily but subtly hog more space as you were squeezed in with three other people?

And if you realise that even at the heart of a numbingly boring dream, in the midst of noticing the grey of the car seat, the rolled-up-ness of the window, and the secret measuring of how much space you’re making by flexing your butt muscles, there is a deep dull sense of only one thing -- the one thing that you’re trying to escape in your waking moments; the one thing you’ve told yourself should be easy to get past if you just ignore the urge to dwell on it; then what?

I’ll tell you.

Then, suddenly it dawns on you that this dull ache, this consciousness of a singular thing is what makes up the fabric of your thought. It is the thoughtron that you will arrive at if you were to continuously divide your thoughts by themselves, down, down, down well into infinity, to finally arrive at the inner universe of singleness. Indestructible. Indivisible. Building block of your presently thinking self.

And with the deepest sense of terror, you realise that the essence of those thoughtrons is the letter G.

Like a Warhol poster of Campbell Soup cans spawning endlessly, it is the pixel of your consciousness. The letter G. The image G. Grey and Green. Buddha and Gold.

Then it makes sense. The sudden, breathless sightings where there could have been none, like the one at South Extension market, in a blue Benetton t-shirt, pausing a moment, hands cupped, head bent, to light a smoke.

Last night, I saw a baldpate. I couldn’t believe it. Luxurious golden locks reduced to a straggly rim already?! Wasn’t this supposed to happen in our forties, a decade and a half into togetherness? But I happened to notice it at a despondent moment in the course of one iffy night. Yet again.

Why must you be so unsure, even in my dreams? And why must I continue to dream?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bloody, bloody Mary

Just so you appreciate this momentous exchange, I was born in September.

A bunch of us were squeezed around a corner table in the cafeteria, getting to know one another at the beginning of the first term. As always I was lost, somewhere, and I snapped back at this tremendous point in the conversation.

M: “No way! I’m not a virgin”.

Not quite sure of where this conversation was going (or coming from), but suddenly aware that this was probably a good point to enter it I said: “so, you weren’t born in September, hanh?”

Thankfully none of the others heard this. Only M did.

M: “No, I’m not a virgin, or a virgin!

H: “Oh. That. I just... er... get excited when I hear the word vir...gin...go...virgo. See, I’m a virgin… go. Virgo-virgin. As in, the Sun Sign, y’know. [and a virgin, but you needn't know that just yet. Especially not yet].”

On the 14th day of July, Today, we complete ten years since the Best Friend and I met, a couple of days short of a decade since this luminous exchange.

While much has changed [and we’ve grown into swan-like sophisticated women, is what I’d like to be telling you] I’m still a virgin. In the solid, Linda Goodman sense of the word, I am.

I’m also pleased to report that over the years the Best Friend’s learnt much more about me. In fact I think she quite likes me. I too now know pretty much all that there is to know about her, which is why, since we’ve exhausted the reservoir of exciting-discoveries-to-make-about-each-other, we thought we’d celebrate ten years of being best friends over a couple of bloodies and a rich, expensive, not-counting-calories dinner at an exclusive restaurant, to bring the swing back into things. To rediscover what a joy it’s been to have made each others’ acquaintance etc.

Of course, this is beginning to sound very Sapphic. This celebration of girlfriend-anniversaries and all, but then, I think a decade’s a good time to celebrate togetherness with anybody, especially if they become a best-somebody in your life, and better still, through 10 years. And even more so because they aren’t family, which means that they weren’t forced/ arm-twisted/ incriminating-blood-group-on-birth-certificate-black-mailed into remaining ever-lastingly bound to your affection. They actually chose to stay. Self-inflicted.

Wow. I need to blow my nose now.

So, about the best friend. She’s the smartest, bravest, un-funniest, quirkiest, most tolerant, and sometimes most unnervingly exasperating friend I’ve ever had.

I admire her.

I love her.

I feel like pulling her ears. Sometimes.

Like the time she marched through this really unsafe dark dingy deserted narrow gali in Bombay at an hour approaching midnight, in the sort of place that gives you the shivers even during broad daylight, and worse still, with me in tow. I argued with her. I thought I saw shadows lurking. I said it felt unsafe. I said I had a strong instinct for this sort of thing. I said everything I could to not go there. But instead of just arguing like respectable people, she scoffed at me, which is a very bad thing to throw in the face of women’s instinct. And so, belittled and defeated [did I mention that I simply CANNOT argue with her?] I followed, clutching my large yellow umbrella in shaolin readiness. And all this for what? Ask. Go on, ask, dammit. All this for some soggy-arsed, ridiculously overrated biscuits from a famous Bombay Irani restaurant, which happened to be SHUT when we got to it. To celebrate her birthday, no less.

With M, I have realised, there is no limit to being unreasonable.

With M, I have also realised that loyalty can mean unimaginable things. Especially with a pissy person like me, it can mean holding on to, loving, and supporting your best friend even if she’s the rudest, nastiest, most disagreeable person to have walked the very narrow, very fragile path of non-blood relationships. It’s really fascinating how she’s held on, considering that even I’ve been tempted, often enough, to say to myself, “Look H, really, it’s been an absolute ummm…errr.. I can’t say pleasure, but it’s been a bloody intense experience knowing you. I love you and all. I mean, there’s no doubt about that. But listen, I really don’t think this is working out. You get?”

I get. Dammit. I do get.

But M obviously has a heart of gold and the hide of a particularly well-fortified rhinoceros.

M also has the most fascinating self-authored dictionary of definitions. Not just any kind of definitions. Definitions that map the many wondrous stages that relationships or non-relationships go through. The subtle, inconceivable and often unfathomable distinctions that must be observed, noted and acted upon while doing useful things like labelling and indexing a relationship.

Often she has, not without a hint of scorn lacing her indignation, exclaimed exasperatedly.

M: “No, no no no no H! How many times have I told you, that doesn’t yet make him a boyfriend!”

Under her fine tutelage, I can now identify, with the ease of a somersaulting chimpanzee picking fleas off her knees, the 4,581 stages that must be transcended before a boy becomes a boyfriend.

On my part, I can proudly claim to have taught the Best Friend a thing or two about National Food Conservation. At first I did it by patiently being the [uncomplaining] dustbin that has over the years hoovered up all the food she’d order like a princess.

M: “H, let’s order this, this and that. And that. And then, let’s finish with this.”
H: “Is that all? Are you sure? I mean there’s me AND you. Have you accounted for all two of us?”

But obviously, such silently dignified, suggestive sort of remonstrations did nothing to improve her ordering manners.

I had to resort to harsher measures.

H [sternly]: “I’m not leaving this restaurant till you finish, M.”
M [whimpering]: “but they’ve turned off all the lights, and they’ve upturned all the chairs.”
H [coldly]: “I don’t care. Polish that off, or we’re going to be here to greet the morning staff too.”

Such is my patience. Such is my conscience. Such is my relentless commitment to saving the Best Friend’s soul from great volumes of embarrassment when she is accusingly stared down by hordes of hungry disembodied eyes in the Afterlife.


She isn’t just all relationship-librarian, food-waster and H-supporter. There are other endearing, respect-worthy, nostril-flaring-pride-inducing things about my best friend M.

She happens to also be one of the bravest, strongest, and most honest and committed fighters I’ve ever seen. She doesn’t resort to cheap things like yelling and getting pissy [like someone we know] and then settling back into complacency [also like the same someone we know]. She actually does constructive things about the things that move her, make her indignant, and get her blood racing.

Like the time she packed her bags and shifted overnight to Ahmedabad during the Godhra riots.

She went for a month, and returned after two years. She went as a volunteer with a well known NGO. Within a few days she branched out on her own [because she wasn’t satisfied with the commitment levels of the NGO] to bring together a spirited gang of riot affected widows, who, five years down, are not only earning their livelihoods more than fifteen times more successfully than they were earlier, but are also now confident advocates of their right to expression and freedom.

She did this without pay.

She did this without two square meals a day.

She did this, because she cares enough.

Obviously, I’d like to take credit for this, by association and all [you know how it is, being Best Friend to a Star - you become the mysterious source that finds clutches of anonymous fame in confirming rumours - I’m angling for that role].

However, being quite a well known household letter in international blogging circles myself, among all three of my very International readers, I think I’ll just settle for feeling lung-burstingly, heart-swellingly proud of her.

Here’s to surviving many crushes, almost crushes, almost relationships, not-by-a-wide-berth-relationships [and the fewer-than-my-two-big-toes reverently-unmentionable real proper relationship(s)] fortified by each others’ excellent counsel, and a certain dictionary-like invaluable tome of wisdom.

Here’s to loving The Bee Gees, Bloody Marys and Chilli Chicken [which is a proper-noun because it’s our National dish at our regular watering hole] with exactly the same intensity.

Here’s to ten years of being Best Friends! [This just called for an exclamation mark.]

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Sibling

Because I’ve known her all my life, and because no number of artistically, emotionally, poetically wrought words can do justice to what she means to me, here’s a short dispassionate essay, devoid of, as far as I could help, ‘weasel words’, that will give you a police-station artist’s sketch of this uncommonly gifted, wondrous creature.


The Sibling is a rare creature. There is only one Sibling in the world, in fact; which is why The Sibling is superlatively precious. Precious like my liver is, only that I don’t get to see my liver ever. I get to see The Sibling every once in a while, which is too far apart, and not very much more sociable than my liver. However, it makes The Sibling infinitely more popular, statistically.

The Sibling has a very distinctive and weighty opinion. On everything. One that is at all times to be considered, no make that: embraced, with deep and sincere gratitude. In fact, no one’s opinion ever counts like the Sibling’s opinion does.

The Sibling is entitled to every infraction in the book, because it is a well known fact that whatever the Sibling does, was, is and will always be for the best of mykind.

The Sibling is an authority on everything in The Known Universe, and I insist that I will have NO argument on that. Even from The Sibling.

The Sibling is a creature of exceptional grace and beauty, and has been known to attract innumerable compliments, men and disbelieving horrified stares when it has been known that The Sibling is a blood relative of mine - a sibling, no less.

The Sibling has been known for the following Great Acts of Courage and Altruism:
- Giving away her favourite clothes, make-up, books to me, without my asking [wistful/ admiring look does NOT count as asking].
- Doing my homework for me.
- Standing up for me, ALWAYS, against teachers, friends, parents and the World at large.
- Staging elaborate dance-and-song-shows on the neighbouring mattress, each time I’ve been ill.
- Swearing to support me unto my last breath.
- Entirely sponsoring [tickets and all] my
first ever trip abroad.
- Regularly assisting me in
pulling my head out of my arse, which is a tricky, anatomically challenging business.

The Sibling has been known for the following Not-So-Great Acts of things-other-than Courage & Altruism:
- Cutting my Barbie’s hair by trickery.
- Disowning me when I sang publicly at a school audition.
- Slapping me, severally, before peer-group audiences [but she did warn me, each time, I’ll have to admit, and no doubt it has contributed to my sterling character].
- Ridiculing me publicly over my drooling pink-affliction.

However, All Things considered, The Sibling is a dazzling, awe-inspiring, lifelong-allegiance worthy Princess.

The Sibling celebrates her birthday, every 12th day of July, which makes her a Crab, by Linda Goodman’s good oracular opinion.

So it is mandatory to join me, at this point, in saying “Happy Birthday Darling Beloved Sibling.”

This is where I SING [disregard the uncomplimentary detail about a certain school audition, and imagine a hauntingly beautiful voice trembling across continents, bearing good wishes and siblingly love.]

Happy Birthday to You,
Happy Birthday to You,
Happy Birthday
Dear Darling Sibling

Oh, and, The Sibling is second to none. She reposes on a pedestal with The Mother & The Father, snugly nestled between R & L-B-o-H.


The Sibling & I, aged 7 & 5.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lexicon of …

There’s this little game we played the other day. Right & Left-Brain-of-H. We were in office. There was a pile of work gathering mass in that perennially unquantifiable state of to-be-done [Hell, I’m almost certain is just the sort of desk at which to-be-done can never, never get done]. Understandably, we were devastatingly bored. Make that: plain devastated. And so we thought of things that were worse that the work piling up on my desk. Things that were worse that the number 4. Things that make us both agree.

And since we’re both in that pale-faced, red rimmed, glassy eyed, moronic, blood-circulation-less, unrelenting stage of blog-addiction, this is what we couldn’t think beyond…

A lexicon. Of…

The most abused words on blog:



Random Rant

Random Ranting

Ranting randomly

By now, you’ve got the drift, no doubt, of how many types of non-sequential ways there are to launch tirades on weblog.

The daftest word on blog:


Presumably F*** [don’t ask me why I’m being so farkin’ moral, suddenly] & Ugly. Now why would you do that to two perfectly stand-alone-potent offensive words? Why would you make them sound so nothing-ish? And more importantly, what do you reckon it means anymore? I certainly haven’t a clue. Not unless, of course, you tell me that I’m a fugly bitch. Because then I am SO going to take offence, and, I’ll have you know that I’m NOT a bitch, ok? [Well okay, maybe sometimes, often, I am.]

The most S&M acronym on blog:

As is evident, there really isn’t much [more] to be said about this, than’s already been said.

But after mustering up this scant list, which amounts to nothing much if you’re cynical, we realised nothing had really changed for us.

It hadn’t made us feel anymore equipped to approach a certain terrifying pile of fast rising work that was threatening to snow down in Machu Picchu if it wasn’t addressed soon.

And, it certainly didn’t make us a better brain [than we already are].

So, the moral of this post is, don’t go bitching out non-[con]sequential linguistic preferences on weblog to feel better about yourself.

Apart from being an extremely, deplorably perverse form of self-gratification, it is futile.

Not because it doesn’t work, but because you’ll still have a pile of to-be-done at the end of it, however sharp, witty, sparkling you think you are. Make that: you are. 

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Lucky Seven, and a happy birthday wish for someone’s Mummy

This is what I'd written originally. I'm posting all of it now, because I know it won't be read, such a long time after. Which is a good thing, I suppose...

Yesterday, in giddy anticipation of today, being the mother of 7 and all, something happened. Again.

Something involving an unlikely angel. An angel with a perky moustache and a pert nose that’s given to showering meteors of attitude on just about everybody, Prime Minister down; an angel who likes to keep up with the latest mobile phone schemes which he doesn’t fail to bring to his employer’s notice at opportune moments [like when the employer’s sharing a quiet, hand-holding moment with someone special]; an angel who hates being asked to stay overtime, for if he is, he’ll make sure you know how displeased he is by taking the longest, slowest, winding route around the city at 1 am.

An angel called T. D. [which is the obvious shortening of a very potently weighty name] who likes to turn up the volume of his favourite song on the radio, regardless of the tone, quality and length of conversation in the backseat.

T.D. [as he insists on being called even by his wife, we suspect] has, on the last two occasions I’ve met him, displayed the most puzzling hint of foreknowledge.

Every time he sees me, there’s a glint in his eyes. A glint that says “I know about all that’s gone wrong, but you’re right didi [big sister] this isn’t just coincidence. Now, where were we? May I please direct you to the stars?”

He smiles. And I smile, each time just as nervous as before. And somehow, once I follow his directions, everything seems spiffy, bright, hopeful.


I met my darling little Tara too, yesterday. Brat who shrieks and wants to grow up super fast just so she can chew gum.

Tara [abruptly stopping her squealing at the chappal-skating we were in the middle of]: “what are you eating?”

H: “who me? I’m errr… nothing, I was talking to myself.”

Tara: “no, I know you’re chewing on something.”


Tara [in reverent whisper]: “are you eating Bubblegum?”

H [feeling like a scum bag for lying]: “errr. It’s not bubblegum, it’s chewing gum.”

Tara [holding out her hand gleefully]: “give me chewing gum.”

H [rediscovering that age comes with a default license to play mind games with almost-four year olds]: “But I haven’t any. This was my last one.”

Tara [coldly]: “then swallow yours.”

H [fake-gulping]: “Ok.”

It’s such a prize to be old[er]. Na?

Tara left Delhi for good last night with her mother, M, and grandmother.

Minutes before their cab came to pick them up, as I was showing M a Himalayan story in the Bedtime Stories book I got Tara, she turned to me with a charming look. The kind of look that precedes a compliment. [How I LOVE that look!].

M: “Are you in love H?”


H [chewing furiously, forgetting the lie to Tara, thinking damn, that’s not where I wanted her to go, AT ALL, really, this tongue-tying T.D.Singh-driven-white-zen-spotting business is getting embarrassing] “Err. No.”

M looked away, unconvinced. Tara squealed. I counter-bellowed. I tried to read a bit of the story out aloud. And then Tara tried to vaporise me with the car-lock remote.

H [disbelieving]: “She knows what vaporise means?”

M [nodding]: “Pogo”.


Can you fall, feel or look in love, well after saying s’long? Hanh?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Jhoomey badariya [the clouds are dancing]

U performed a titillating rain dance for me last night. I had to get down on my knees and beg for it. But it was supremely worth it. Because he did it right outside the men’s loo in office. Which sounds so much better, so much more suggestive, when said like that, but the truth is that our ‘wing’ [if one room be wing enough] of the office happens to nearly share the door with the men’s loo, which is beginning to sound much bigger than the office itself, but it isn’t, it’s just a 3 ft by 3 ft cubicle, which is also probably why it’s such a landmark -- for the sounds and smells it cannot contain. The sounds and smells that it leaks into the kitchen that is less than three feet across from it. Predictably, U & I shoot up a heady cocktail of the most confusing smells each day. Warm coffee and urine. Sometimes it’s warm chick peas, pre and post lunch; or warm coffee, urine, chick peas and beans - pre and post lunch. The one uniformity, however, is that the smell is always warm, like an almost-tangible presence.

But this is about U’s rain dance which he performed in tune with the raunchy rendition of a titillating hindi rain song - one of those it’s that time of the year, oh darling; my body aches, and it pines and it shudders so for the rain… and yooooo; accompanied by some suitably loud and appropriately lascivious laughter from a leery eyed would’ve-cracked-whip-if-she-could-let-go-of-her-bladder dominatrix [famously given to referring to herself in third person when in denial - so clever is her manipulation of English Grammar].

When we were little, The Sibling and I would take great pleasure in dressing a littler U up in our longest skirts and mum’s dupatta and pasting our crayola make up on him with a vengeance [very eighties electric blue eye shadow and rude red lipstick]. Then we would make him dance to Geeta Dutt’s mud mud kena dekh, mud mud ke [don’t keep turning around and looking at me…]. which he did obligingly for his two scary, on-their-way-to-becoming-dominas older cousins.

Happy times.

Revisited. He was just as obliging yesterday. He writhed, and he swung and he wiggled his bottom, flailing his arms sensually with bust thrusts that kept time with his song. By the time he stamped his feet to his last bust thrust, I nearly peed in my pants, because just then a very frightened young intern emerged from the men’s loo, with an expression of discomfort mingled with terror... and determination.

“I shan’t let the boss’ son seduce me.”

Ever. Never. No.