Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Teenagers are stupid

I should know, I was one. When I read about teenage girls who get into strangers’ cars without giving a thought to who those men might be, attracted by flashy clothes and loud music, I can't help but think “Stupid, stupid, stupid girls” – but I also know that they wouldn’t have given a single thought to anything bad happening to them until it actually happened.

I don’t mean that I was ever dumb enough to be attracted by strangers in flashy cars (when I was a teen, there weren’t many flashy cars around where I lived - or expensively dressed men, for that matter), or that anything bad happened to me. But there was an instance when I COULD have got into trouble and probably nobody would have noticed until it was far too late.

This was when I was 14 or 15, during a School Day entertainment night which was held at a big auditorium – I think it was the erstwhile Rajarathnam Stadium in Madras, but I can’t be entirely sure. My memory is a bit hazy there.

Anyway, we students had prepared skits and songs and dances etc for the evening programme, to be followed by the prize giving ceremonies. I didn’t concern myself with the prize-giving (obviously because I wasn’t one of the top rankers). But I was involved with a longish musical skit – backstage (I’d helped paint the background scenery and props) and on stage (I was singing along with a couple of other girls between “scenes” in the skit). It had been good fun all along because I’d ended up missing lessons (along with everybody else to do with the play) while we prepared the backdrops and costumes and practiced the song, and so on.

So, on the day of the programme, all of us who were involved with the entertainment programmes were bundled into hired buses and taken from school - still wearing our uniforms - to the stadium a few hours before the start. Some of the students were to be picked up from the stadium by their parents after the programme, and those who didn't have private transport arranged would be taken home in the hired vans. I was one of the latter, because I was living with my grandparents and they certainly couldn’t have come to the stadium to fetch me.

The evening went by quickly. Our skit was much appreciated and for once I didn’t mind standing on stage singing, because I was part of a group of three girls plus a boy from my class who sang the male part. (Why three girls for the heroine and just one boy for the hero? I’m guessing it’s because Sujith was the only boy who WANTED to sing! And to be frank, we three girls – from different classes – were the English teacher’s favourites.)

Anyway, while the prize giving ceremony was coming to an end, we were busy in the changing rooms, dismantling everything, checking our lists to make sure that the props and stage clothes were accounted for, and looking for misplaced items, etc. I was among the three students who ferried the various things from the changing room to where the vans were waiting.

By the time we were close to finishing, the prize distribution had been done with, the Vote of Thanks had been given and the evening had come to an end - it would have been around 10 p.m, I guess. The audience had dispersed surprisingly quickly, with parents scouting out their kids and ferrying them off home. One school van had already left with the first batch of performers/helpers who had packed up early (because their turn on stage had been earlier than ours).

One of the teachers had told me earlier that I would probably be in the last batch of students to be taken home. This was okay with me because I was enjoying doing something different, being out late (officially! oh the thrill!) with my schoolmates and generally scurrying around self-importantly with this or that clutched in my arms. We had nearly finished, the van was being loaded with our things when a teacher asked me to take a last look around the rooms to make sure nothing had been left behind. She then got into the second van that was just leaving.

Now, the main doors to the auditoriun had already been shut and locked; in any case, we had been using a side entrance to get backstage and to the changing rooms. I duly peeked into the rooms and made sure that nothing had been left behind. Then I went back to the exit that I had used to get in - except, when I stepped out, it was into near darkness. There was no van or anything, so I knew it had to be the wrong exit.

I should have gone back inside, I suppose, and tried to find the correct exit, but no - I decided that I would just walk around the building to get to the van. After all, I was already outside, and I wouldn't lose my way if I circled the building on the outside.

In theory that was not a bad idea - at some point in the perambulation I would get to where I needed to be. In practice, though, it was really dark and lonely, and the building was a lot bigger than I'd envisaged. There was nobody about as I stumbled along, trying to see in the partial darkness. The grounds looked very big, very deserted and very quiet. At first I didn't register these things as potentially sinister, I was concentrating so hard on where I was putting my feet. In fact, I was actually relieved when I saw a group of lungi-clad men standing near the boundary of the stadium, smoking in the light of a streetlamp - and yes, you can call me stupid for feeling relief rather than fear. They all stared at me as I hurried along; one of them shouted something at me although I didn't really hear what he said, and the others laughed.

But it was then - and only then - that I realised that it was not exactly advisable for me to be where I was with nobody else in sight. Also, it struck me only then that if the last van had left without me, I could actually be in danger; with that thought, I picked up my pace, no longer worried about tripping, not daring to look behind me to see if any of those men were coming after me. I was very lucky, as it turned out, because the van was just leaving. I ran up shouting and waving my arms, hoping the driver would hear/see me. Evidently somebody DID see me, and thankfully I got in when the van stopped.

There was not a single student I recognised in the van; and although I recognised the teacher from having seen him in school, I didn't know his name and he certainly had no idea who I was. Had I not been in uniform, he probably would not even have known me as a student from the school.

To be fair, this wasn't totally his fault - the exodus of students had not exactly been organised. Nobody really knew who had left and in which van; nobody was keeping track of the students. The teachers who had been working with us on the skit had been picked up by their husbands immediately afterwards, or had left in the earlier vans. The teachers who were assigned to accompany us in the vans were unfamiliar with the students taking part in the programmes - they were there merely as escorts, being male.

All in all, although the evening had been a success, the organisation was utterly shambolic. So, between that and my own stupidity, I could have been in physical danger. But I was lucky - unlike those teenagers in Darby, who paid for their stupidity very much more horribly and drastically - because I got the chance to continue with my life as before... other than gaining a little more common sense.

I guess somebody Up There must look out for SOME fools, if not all of them.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Book meme No. Umptyfive.

May have done this, maybe not... but on the balance of probabilities, I think not (hopefully). So what if I'm happy to do endless numbers of book tags? At least it gets me posting and keeps this blog alive!

1. Favorite childhood book?
The Water Babies, by Charles Kingsley

2. What are you reading right now?
The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou

3. Bad book habit?
Reading while on the phone with someone and not concentrating on the conversation.

4. Do you have an e-reader?

5. Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?
Several at once.

6. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Not really, other than including lots of blogs in my reading.

7. Least favorite book you read this year (so far)?
The Finkler Question, by Howard Jacobson

8. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness. It’s supposedly teen fiction but oh boy, was it a riveting read or what! It’s actually the first of a trilogy (didn’t know that till I’d finished the book) so now I’m desperate to know how the story ends! Gotta get the other two…

9. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Reasonably often, especially with recommendations.

10. What is your reading comfort zone?
Fiction (bar M&B/Harlequin type romances and most chick-lit), some non-fiction (autobiographies, travel writing, biographies, etc)

11. Can you read on the bus?
Anywhere, any time.

12. Favorite place to read?
Anywhere, any time but best of all, curled up on the sofa at home.

13. What is your policy on book lending?

14. Do you ever dog-ear books?

15. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?

16. Not even with text books?

17. What is your favorite language to read in?
English is the only language I read in. Unless you include very slow German (and slow AND poorly comprehended) Hindi and Tamil.

18. What makes you love a book?
Plot, humour, writing style.

19. What inspires you to recommend a book?
When it’s so good that I regret finishing it.

20. Favorite genre?
Humourous fantasy (I’m thinking of you, Sir Terry…)

21. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
Hard-core science fiction.

22. Favorite biography?
Keeping Mum, by Brian Thompson

23. Have you ever read a self-help book?

24. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Push, by Sapphire (made into the movie “Precious”, which I haven’t seen nor very likely to see).

25. Favorite reading snack?
Indian snacks (spicy, crunchy, savoury).

26. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience
A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth. Hype plus the fact that it was written with the West in mind.

27. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
Depends on whether or not they agree with my opinion. :)

28. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
Regretful, but firm. If it’s bad, it’s bad.

29. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
Japanese. WHAT an achievement that would be!

30. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking.

31. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
Not nervous, exactly, just unwilling – Why Evolution is True, by Jerry Coyne.

32. Favorite poet?
John Keats.

33. Favorite fictional character?
Nanny Ogg.

34. Favorite fictional villain?

35. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Anything that I would normally read.

36. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
I dunno… a few hours, perhaps.

37. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
War & Peace – Leo Tolstoy

38. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Easily? Nothing. With difficulty – people yelling at me to stop and get some work done.

39. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
I guess it would have to be Gone With The Wind, now that I’ve finally kinda sorta come to terms with Rhett Butler played by that jug-eared chap.

40. Most disappointing film adaptation?
To Kill a Mockingbird, but only because it left out such large chunks of the book. No complaints at all whatsoever against Gregory Peck playing Atticus Finch. He was perfect.

41. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
Ack. Don’t want to think about it.

42. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
I skim books before borrowing them from the library.

43. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
Bad writing. It would probably stop me after a few pages, though. I doubt I would get as far as halfway.  

44. Do you like to keep your books organized?
I’d LIKE to, but my organizational skills are somewhat pathetic.

45. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
Keep ‘em, mostly, especially those I buy new. Once in a while I cull the trashy ones (bought at charity shops) and donate them back to where they came from.

46. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Nothing in particular within the genres I normally read.

47. Name a book that made you angry.
Push, by Sapphire.

48. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
(Years and years ago when I was 12 or something) – Kim, by Rudyard Kipling

49. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
The Imperial Agent, by Timeri Murari. He’s a good enough writer (going by his newspaper columns) but nowhere near Kipling by light years.

50. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
All my reading is guilt-free and done for pleasure.

(Umm Oviya, you are tagged!)

Anybody else interested in doing the meme, please feel free to hijack it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Don't count on me when it comes to Italian numbers

I’ve got to counting in Italian now, and I can’t really imagine ever wanting to say numbers over 100 in Italian - or write them out in words, for that matter. There’s a very good reason for this reluctance – they become super-long goods-trainish compound words that you can’t break up because them’s the Italian rules, miei amici (my friends)! (I hope!)

A random three-digit number, say, 555 – cinquecentocinquantacinque (phonetic pronunciation - "chinkweh-chento chinkwanta chinkweh".

A random 4-digit number – 3257 – tremiladuecentocinquantasette ("thray-meela dooeh-chento chinkwanta-setteh")

I derive a childish satisfaction out of saying the numbers out loud, simply because it's fun to do so - as long as I'm never verbally tested on them without due warning. I'd hate to take dictation on these, I can tell you! If I was learning Italian in a proper classroom, I have no doubt that I’d be blinking like an owl if I was ever asked to translate random numbers out loud without writing them down first.  

I’ve no idea what 10,000 is in Italian (maybe diecimila? literally ten-thousand, but I'm not sure), and I’m not certain I want to find out. But I guess I will, eventually, like it or not.

And they think German has long compound words...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Can anyone explain a mac?

What is the point of a mac (short for macintosh)? I mean the garment, not the computer. I understand it is something like a raincoat but more formal looking, single or double-breasted, usually with a belt. It might be "shower proof", but if the mac doesnt have a hood to keep the rain off one's head, what is the point in wearing it at all? A hood-free mac will not do much to keep clothes dry, because the rain will most certainly drip down your hair and face and neck and wet whatever you're wearing. So why bother with a mac? Is it just a meaningless fashion statement? Or is it some kind of a British tradition, for who knows what arcane reason?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Io amo la lingua italiana

There is something about the cadence and flow of the Italian language - the "feel" of the words on my tongue when I speak, the musicality of the words that I hear, the rrrrrrolling of the rrrrs that is so much fun - that pleases my heart and soul and vocal cords...

For loving or for fighting, Italian is so very much sweeter than that supposedly "most romantic" language, French.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Here's to the Johnny Knoxville and the Jackasses!

Saw “Jackass - 3D” yesterday and I can’t remember the last time I laughed hard enough for my stomach to hurt. That said, while I had to fight off cramps caused by laughing, there were also moments when I got the dry-heaves at the thought of what was happening on screen. (I couldn’t watch – I would definitely have yarked up dinner if I’d so much as peeked.)

For those of you who (sensibly?) have never seen Jackass the TV series and don’t know what it’s about - basically, it’s a bunch of guys (including a dwarf and a grossly overweight man) behaving like... well, like jackasses. There’s no storyline at all, either to the TV show or to the “movies” – it’s just a series of ridiculous, horrifying, stomach-churning, gut-wrenchingly OTT pranks and practical jokes. So much of it is about testing the limits of physical pain and endurance, not to mention taking bad taste to unprecedented depths (sometimes literally). There are no women in this show, but that’s no surprise if you ask me. I cannot imagine any woman subjecting herself willingly to such pointless physical pain and tomfoolery.

I say pointless, but there IS a point – entertainment. While the show is all that I’ve described and more in the way of nauseating antics, it’s also hilarious. Sometimes I find myself wanting not to laugh, but I end up laughing anyway, from sheer shock. Why is it funny to watch men deliberately put themselves in the way of pain and bruises? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the fact that most of the time they choose to do what they do despite knowing that they’ll end up hurt. Sometimes they don’t know what hits them (literally), sometimes they know what’s coming.

There’s a lot of laddish yuckiness – farting, vomiting, pissing, violence which involves being hit in the privates, testing the boundaries of the most revolting things one can experience (being covered in dog shit, anybody?) and so on. But 99% of the time, whether they’ve been ambushed by the others, or been through the wringer by choice, the Jackasses end up laughing – no matter how painful the experience they’ve just been through. If they can laugh at themselves and see the joke in pretty much everything, why should we not laugh at them?

I must confess that I did not think I had it in myself to enjoy Jackass. It's so diametrically opposite to good taste and cultured pursuits. I would have considered it beneath my dignity, thought it compromising of my good taste, and other such prissy sentiments. It’s really not like me to enjoy such crude humour as Jackass provides. At least, that is what I would have said, had I been able to do so without knowing myself for a hypocrite. The fact is, I DO like it; therefore, it stands to reason that crude humour MUST be like me. My only saving grace is that subtle, witty, intelligent humour is also very much to my taste.

There is one other major reason I like Jackass – the lead Jackass, Johnny Knoxville. He’s good looking the way Jim Carrey is good looking. (I’m a big fan of Jim Carrey.) And oh man, is he in superb physical shape or what. Then again, he has to be fit to withstand the sort of physical trauma he puts himself through.

Note: Click on the link in the first paragraph to read the Guardian interview with Johnny Knoxville.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

And the correct answer is...?

I have a small problem when people greet me with a perfunctory “You orright?” (or just “Orright?”) - I don't know what to say. "You orright" does not really give me a chance to enquire after them, instead forcing me to merely smile or reply with an inane “Yes thanks”.

How DO you respond to “Orright” (suggestions pls)?

Also: How do YOU respond to “Orright” (answers pls) - assuming you get asked the question. It probably doesn't happen outside of the UK.

*Orright = “all right” spelt phonetically

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Drifting eyes (and empty sockets?)

Is it just me, or is the sentence "Her eyes drifted slowly to my pocket" touched with just the teensiest shade of the macabre? Personally - and this is just my opinion - I'd much have preferred her gaze to drift, rather than her eyes. (Were the scene set in Zero Gravity circumstances, my preference would still remain the same.)

Just sayin'...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Sunday Scribblings – “Intense”

Ever since I mentioned to Pete that I wanted to visit the US around mid-to-late October - preferably the New England states - to see the Fall colours because they’re more beautiful there, he’s been on a personal mission to convert me to the glories of autumn in the UK. Basically, every time we pass a tree with any hint of colour other than brown, he makes sure to point it out to me. Mostly, he does it to annoy me (it works) because he knows perfectly well that he’s preaching to the converted on this issue. I love autumn in the UK, because I think the countryside – especially in Shropshire - looks beautiful this time of year. The autumn colours have been especially pretty this year, the colours more intense and a bit more varied than I remember from last year or the year before that.

That said, my mind has been set on seeing the Fall colours in the States ever since I laid eyes on the spectacular photographs that my sister sent when she first moved to the USA. The trees were absolutely glowing with jewel-coloured leaves and the ground was carpeted in them too - red, pink, orange, yellow, scarlet, rust, brown and every variation on those hues.

Apart from the glorious colours, the sheer novelty of trees clad in such intense colours was stunning, because I’d only ever seen trees in the tropics (all variations of green, and in Madras, all variations of green with an overcoat of dingy brown dust) at that point.

In the UK, as my mother-in-law pointed out recently, the different varieties of trees in the countryside mean that they do not turn colour uniformly or at the same time. Also, there are lots more evergreens (at least in Shropshire) which don't turn any sort of colour. (In spring, though, the dark green older branches are tipped with the most tenderly bright green new leaves - how I love that!)

The predominant colour in the trees here is yellow. They range from mustard to golden to lemon with shades of brown - all lovely, I admit. There are of course some trees (but never in concentrated numbers) which sport glorious shades of orange, rust and red. Pete NEVER tires of pointing them out and saying "See? We too have trees that turn red and orange".

And me, I never tire of saying to him "Yes, I see a single tree and yes it is gorgeous. Now show me a hillside or a wood full of trees just like this and I will concede that the Fall colours US trip is unnecessary."

He hasn't been able to, yet.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Anthems for perverts?

Odd how two of Sting’s most famous songs are what I consider anthems to the less savoury type of human beings in this world.

The Stalker’s Anthem – “Every Breath You Take

The Pedophile’s Anthem – “Don't Stand So Close To Me"

Time to call The Police, do you think? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA*!

(*If you're wondering why I'm haha-ing, it can only be because you didn't know that Sting belonged to a band called "The Police". NOW you can laugh at the pun!)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The 10-years-together anniversary meme

I read an article recently which said that the longer a couple are married, the less they know about each other’s doings and thoughts. Which - because Pete and I have been married for 8 years, with the 10th anniversary of the day we met being 26th Oct - led me to reflect on us as a couple.

I probably know more about Pete and his family than he does about mine – but it’s easy for me because he has only one brother and no cousins to speak of, and nobody he really meets on his dad’s side. I know more about my MIL’s family, partly because she has more family than my FIL, but mainly because I’ve been told about them and met some of them... whereas I have two siblings and more uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces on both sides of the family to populate a small town in the UK. This, coupled with the difficult-for-Pete-to-remember names as well as the multiple Kumars and Radhas and Sujathas and Hemas (to mention just a few names) who are part of the extended family, makes it pretty hard for Pete to keep track of them. I do catechise him on the main members of the family off and on, just to keep him on his toes, and I have to say he does pretty creditably, considering.

The list of questions which were posed to the couples (in the article) was given at the end of the piece, so I decided to hijack them and answer them – and I got Pete to do so as well.

What is your partner’s favourite way to eat an egg?
My answer: Poached, on toast (Correct)
Pete’s answer: With me (Correct).

What is your partner’s favourite city?
My answer: Dublin (Correct)
Pete’s answer: New York (Correct).

Who, given the sole choice, would your partner invite round to dinner?
My answer: My mother (Correct).
Pete’s answer: Me. (hmmm.... oh ok, Correct) :)

What part of your partner is she/he most embarrassed about?
My answer: Stubby fingers (Unconfirmed, unless "hmmm" means something)
Pete's answer: Smelly armpits (Wrong!) (No further clarifications, sorry) (His explanation: IF your armpits were smelly, which they are not, you would be embarrassed.)

Your partner wins a sizeable sum – how would they spend it?
My answer: Buying enough speakers, amps, and other such items to wire every Glastonbury concert for sound and light. (Wrong! Correct answer: Travelling with me. Pete's explanation: I have enough stuff to keep me knackered!)
Pete's answer: On me. (Hmmm.....)

What animal is your partner most scared of?
My answer: Spiders. (Correct.)
Pete's answer: Spiders - not animals, but still. (Correct)

What would be your partner’s favourite job, other than the one they are doing now?
My answer: Being a sound engineer for large music festivals. (Wrong! Again! Arrrgh! Pete's clarification: Would not want to do it as a job … Fantasy job yes but not for real)
Pete's answer: Looking after me. (Correct. Perhaps I should have said Wrong. Is he beginning to sound just a teeeeeeeeeeny bit complacent?)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reality TV and me

Although I’m not a fan of “reality TV” shows, especially the completely inane ones like Big Brother, Pleasure Island, Fear Factor and so on and so on, I have to confess that I do watch and actively enjoy shows like America’s Next Top Model (note that I do not include Australia’s/Canada’s/Britain’s or any other country’s spin-off series), Runway, Catwalk etc.

While I don’t consider any reality shows to be high-brow - because reality TV doesn’t lend itself to intellect either on the part of the makers or on the part of the partakers - I certainly do think that the shows I like tend to require more in the way of talent and creativity from the participants. I also believe that one can actually learn something from America’s Next Top Model, if one is of a mind to, and if one has the ability to.

I hasten to add that I believe it’s only from Tyra Banks that one can learn; yes, she is ridiculously twee sometimes (for example, coining the word “smise”, which apparently means “to smile with the eyes”), but she is the only person I can think of who can also actually DO what she describes, which is to convey emotions through her eyes and with her body language. And yes, that includes “smise”. I think she’s totally professional and competent when it comes to anything to do with modelling - and a hugely intelligent person if it comes to that – and that her flagship show is the slickest of slick productions. Anyway, those are the reasons I watch America’s Next Top Model - not because I want to learn to “smise”.

As for Catwalk and Runway, they’re interesting mainly because I’m deeply in awe of the talent that the wannabe designers display in coming up with amazing designs and actually stitching them without any help in the limited time available to them. But also, I’m always curious about testing my idea of beautiful, whether it’s to do with clothes or people, against the decisions of the “judges” of those shows.

I know that I’m not good at “thinking out of the box” in terms of creativity. I couldn’t come up with original creative ideas or designs to save my life. But because I know of that shortcoming in myself, I’m always looking for validation of the choices I make when I watch such shows. Do I have good taste or don't I? I do know that there’s no such thing as the “right” choice, that tastes differ and so do opinions, but what I try to do is learn to appreciate other people’s point of view and see the clothes through their eyes. Basically, to see beauty in the unconventional.

Sometimes the judges and I come to the same conclusion, but for different reasons, and that’s what I try to learn from. More often than not, especially when it comes to clothes designs, my “winner” turns out to be the loser because, as the judges put it, the designer “played it too safe” in designing the outfit. And that is when I know that I too had probably played it safe in making my choice.

Then again, sometimes the winning outfit is so outlandishly ugly that it’s the clinching factor in proving, entirely to my satisfaction, that the judges have just displayed neither good taste nor discernment.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Call this news?

“Shopping sprees could include splashing out on a £12 million Ferrari 250 GTO, a week in a private villa on Mustique for a cool £85,000, or a couple of private jets - a Boeing 767 costs around £56 million.
Alternatively, the ticket-holder may decide to put it all in the bank.”

You’d be forgiven for thinking this extract is from a tabloid, but you’d be wrong. VERY wrong. This is from a “news” item in The Telegraph, one of the more respected – and supposedly respectable – newspapers in the UK.

Since when was speculation considered “news”? Is the alternative proposed by the writer the ONLY other alternative? Why would the winner buy just one £12 million Ferrari? Why not 8 such Ferraris, with the remaining £5 million on a garage to house them? Why just a week in a private villa? Why not a year? Why not 113 separate houses costing £1 million each? Or maybe 226 houses for £500,000 each?

And while the reporter is writing such “news”, why not speculate that the winner could also well give every last penny of the lottery winnings to charity or – as likely as any of the other possibilities – to the reporter himself/herself?

Also, what makes the newspaper think that it is a “Briton” who’s won all this money? Why can’t it be an immigrant who’s not a British citizen? Wouldn't that just be a poke in the eye for every tabloid including The Telegraph!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Why Stephen King is like God

Let me explain.

I'm currently three-fourths of the way through the expanded version of Stephen King's novel "The Stand". I've read it before but it's well worth another read. It's a marathon of a book at a total of 1325 pages, but it is also, to me, one of the most riveting reads ever. It's an epic. It's a classic. It will also NEVER be a textbook - I hope. That way, no dunce of a Literature student or a hack of a Literature teacher will get the opportunity to pick it to pieces in a bid to explain the magic of this amazing writer's genius ability to draw his reader deep, deeper and deeper still into the story...

But I digress. I was going to tell you why Stephen King is like God.

Okay, this is why. You can pray as much as you like for the hero/heroines, wish as hard as you want that they will not die, scream yourself hoarse begging him not to kill off the good guys, the interesting guys, the guys he gets you to admire and love... you could have a titanic conniption right at his feet for all the good it does. The good ones still get killed off, just as if you'd never said a word. If that sort of monumental indifference isn't godlike, I don't know what is.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Out of this world stupid

If you saw an advertisement where a snake crawls suggestively over a naked woman’s body, would you think of:

a. Perfume

b. Fruit juice

c. Body lotion

If your answer is b, purely on the basis of this question, you’re obviously the moron who came up with the idea for the advt in the first place. Did you ask to be taken to our leader when you first arrived on Planet Earth?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Guess who's William Shatner's newest fan? (psst... he was Capt Kirk in Star Trek)

I wasn’t a fan of William Shatner until fairly recently, when I saw a comedy roast where he was the guest of honour. The roasters outdid one another in filthy language and tasteless references to Shatner, but there was nothing even remotely funny for nearly the whole of the programme – until the end, when Shatner rose to “defend” himself. He was absolutely hilarious and every shot of his zinged home unerringly. His sense of humour and timing were impeccable, and that was the day he gained himself another fan. I’d not seen him in anything other than the original Star Trek as Capt James T Kirk, most famous for shagging anything vaguely reminiscent of the female of the species, so he was pretty much a one-dimensional character to me. I thought he’d be a monumental bore as a person – but now that I’ve read his memoirs, I’m pretty sure that “boring” is not a word that would ever describe him. In fact, I’m wishing I could meet him!

The reason for this total makeover of my opinion of Shatner is his autobiography entitled “Up Till Now”. He is side-splittingly funny, with the sort of deadpan humour I adore. I was reading the book at work and from time to time I had to put it away and remove myself to the bathroom so that I could work off the fits of the giggles that came over me. I loved his wry reminiscences and his ability to poke fun at himself, and I was hugely impressed by all the things that he’s done in his lifetime – for instance, I didn’t know that he was a stage actor for a long time, that he did most of his stunts himself, that he wrote successful novels and screenplays, that he did so much for charity… and so on and so on. But then again, I knew literally nothing about Shatner and his life inside and outside of movies - other than he was the hero of Star Trek. So everything he wrote about himself was new information to me.

Getting back to his memoirs, what I love above all is that he does not seem to have succumbed to the pressures of fame and become an alcoholic or drug addict or both, like practically every Hollywood actor seems to have done at some point. At least, the impression I get from his book is that Shatner was too involved with his work to ever bother with those vices – even at his lowest points when he thought he would never make any money. Sure, he did by his own admission not shy away from women when he was between marriages, but compared to celebrities today, he was practically celibate. AND he seems to have a genuinely loving relationship with his three daughters, which is even more awesome

Yep, it’s definite. I admire William Shatner intensely, and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. I also wholeheartedly recommend “Up Till Now”. You won’t regret reading it, and you’ll definitely get a lot of laughs out of it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why I love Sir Terry

Vintage Terry Pratchett - the man has not lost his touch. Still giggling every time I think of this:

"There is a lot of folklore about equestrian statues, especially the ones with riders on. There is said to be a code in the number and placement of the horse’s hooves: if one of the horse’s hooves is in the air, the rider was wounded in battle; two legs in the air means that the rider was killed in battle; three legs in the air indicates that the rider got lost on the way to the battle; and four legs in the air means that the sculptor was very, very clever. Five legs in the air means that there’s probably at least one other horse standing behind the horse you’re looking at; and the rider lying on the ground with his horse lying on top of him with all four legs in the air means that the rider was either a very incompetent horseman or owned a very bad-tempered horse."

- Footnote from "I Shall Wear Midnight", Terry Pratchett's latest novel starring Tiffany Aching and the Nac Mac Feegles and, here and there and now and then, the city of Ankh Morpork.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Politicians and their games

While I’m embarrassed about the corruption and political machinations that have led to Delhi and India being humiliated in the world’s eyes, and unhappy about those poor workers who were injured in the bridge collapse, I somehow hold out the hope that the Commonwealth Games will still be held and maybe even be a success despite the dismal lead-up to them. I can’t help thinking that somehow India WILL come up with the goods, even though it doesn’t seem that way right now. Not logical, I know.

But even if things go swingingly well from this moment on, and the various teams all decide that they will not pull out of the Games, and the athletes’ quarters are made hygienic and clean, and the roads and bridges and buildings are safely rebuilt/completed, every politician and top bureaucrat who allowed the situation to get into the shocking state we see now should be called to account for it. Perhaps they could be fined heavily – hit ‘em where it hurts most – if not actually sent to prison. It’s the least that should happen.

I bet, though, that the politicians will deflect attention from this by using the Babri Masjid as an excuse, no matter what the Supreme Court’s verdict turns out to be. Its decision will disappoint the practitioners of one or the other religion, after all. Reason enough – or unreason enough, actually – to incite riots.

Perhaps there was indeed a temple at the spot in Ayodhya before Babar pulled it down, but shouldn’t it be enough that the masjid also has been pulled down? Isn’t that tit for tat? I wish the Supreme Court could decide that if anything should be built on that spot, it should be a building that is half-mosque, half-temple. Wouldn't that be the most perfect, the most elegant solution? But that's just a pipe-dream... so, in real terms, the only thing to do is provide justice for the families of all those who were killed in the riots that followed, and get all the known killers – of both faiths – punished.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

And a new era begins...

I would like to present a momentous moment of more than merely momentary mportance. (Note: I DO know how to spell the word right, but I wanted to continue the alliterative theme.) It’s taken nearly 6 years and much moaning and groaning interspersed with temper tantrums and unsolicited sarcasm to get here, but my blog and I are at that point at long last. It’s kind of a thrilling moment, so bear with me while I thrill away for a minute or two.


This, dear reader or two, is my 500th post – a more than usually significant milestone because I’ve not been the most consistent of bloggers. There are those who manage 1000 words in one post, or 1000 posts in a year, or 10000 posts in 5 years (kindly ignore any mathematical discrepancies) but I’ve not been among them, although I’d like to be. But I think that you (dear reader), and you (dear other reader) and I can be pretty certain that’s never going to happen. So if you’re happy to sing “For she’s a jolly good pom-pom*, for she’s a jolly good tum-ti-tum*, for she’s a jolly good blankety-blaaaaannnnnnnnk*, and so say both of us”, I’m happy to listen.

Thank you.

*pom-pom, tum-ti-tum, blankety-blaaaaannnnnnnnk = generic terms to replace “fellow” because I don’t know the female term for “fellow”. If you do, please to sub it.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Dear Diary...

I used to keep a daily diary when I was younger – I probably started the habit when I was in the 8th standard and continued, increasingly sporadically, over the next few years until it petered out completely by the time I was 25 or so. I still have those diaries, safely stored right at the bottom of a box full of books. I haven’t seen them in years; I think the last time I had a look at them was when I was unpacking the big box of my books that had been sent over from India.

The reason they’re at the bottom of the box and untouched in several years is that I’d really rather that nobody ever got to read them – me included. The entries were by turn embarrassing, pathetic, maudlin, overenthusiastic, usually happy, sometimes angsty, sometimes angry... but mostly they were mystifying. There were lots of references to people by their initials or by private nicknames that I’d coined. Who were JT and MS, among others, and who were the unfortunately named Fish Face and Aruvai Rani (Queen Bore)? Or Anju Paisa (Five Paise) or the 5H Guy?

You’d think I would at least remember Fish Face and Aruvai Rani given that their names were so evocative... but no. I didn’t have a clue as I re-read my diaries. I literally could not put a single name or face against those initials and references. And yet they featured so much in my life then – they must have, to crop up in my diary so regularly and cause me so much joy and heartache. I suppose I must have expected to remember them – possibly for ever - which is one reason why I didn’t feel the need to maintain a de-coder for those initials and nicknames. The other reason, of course, was the small matter of keeping the identities secret from any accidental reader. Secrecy is, after all, the hallmark of every teenager. But I really do wish I’d known that the 40-year-old me would desperately require a key to the shorthand devised by the 14-year-old me... I would have taken the trouble to write all names in full along with descriptions of who they were and why what they said or did had mattered so much.

The worst thing about re-reading my own diaries as a grown-up was how incredibly embarrassing I found the pre-teen and then the teenager that I had been - how practically every reaction I'd had seemed really quite over-the-top. About the only thing that I didn't embarrass myself with was my writing... although the emotions were all over the place, I still managed to write coherently and mostly with humour - no matter how angry or sad or happy I was. You'll just have to take my word for this, though, because nobody's EVER going to read my diaries while I draw breath. (Once I've stopped drawing breath, I'm pretty certain I won't care... but if I'm wrong, the curious diary reader had better be wary of some radical hauntings with me in the starring role.) You have been warned.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Sunday Scribblings – “Wait”

Of all my positive character traits – FAR too numerous to start listing, my pretties - the one that has caused me the most grief over the years is the compulsion to be on time for appointments. Usually I’m not just on time, I actually get to my appointments early. If I'm late it's usually for reasons beyond my control, not because I started out with no time to spare.

When I was younger and possessed of less patience, I would start getting antsy about 10 minutes before the agreed time, and get progressively hotter under the collar for every minute past that time - so that if the person I was meeting was late by just 5 minutes, I’d still be seething. (Eventually it struck me that getting mad at the other person for not being early was a pretty irrational thing to do.)
After many instances where I’d waited at least 15 minutes past the appointed time, and a few where I’d been kicking my heels for a good half an hour, I decided that I too would show up late and make THEM wait for a change. Which was a very good plan of tit-for-tat revenge – or would have been, if only I could have followed through on it.

The problem was that I found it absolutely impossible to force myself to be late. For one thing, I always worried that the other person would end up having to wait – and yes, I know how idiotic it sounds, considering that was the exact situation I wanted to engineer. For another, I was terminally optimistic, telling myself that perhaps on THIS occasion they would be there on time... despite having never experienced any such thing. It was a shining example of is called the triumph of hope over experience.

Finally, after one too many occasions of waiting endlessly, I decided that I would from then on only wait 10 minutes past the agreed time – for anybody, for anything – after which I would either go back or go on, whichever option took my fancy. That worked a lot better, because it gave both me and my friends/family/acquaintances a firm cutoff time... plus, in those far-off days of the dinosaurs, when there were no mobile phones for instant information exchange or real-time updates, at least they would know to ring home and see if I’d gone back there or not.

When I met Pete, I was all optimistic once again, hoping that my luck had changed with regard to the waiting game. Sadly, that was not to be. He is possibly the least time-conscious person I’ve met – I mean, not even in the heady days of first acquaintance did he manage to meet me on time. At first I was inclined to take it personally, accusing him of being late because he didn’t care. But later, when I met his friends, they all reassured me that Pete being late for anything was a given – he was an equal opportunities latecomer, not discriminating against anybody by arriving on time.

That pretty much set the seal on my fate - always a waiter, never a waitee.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Sunday Scribblings - "Faith"

Does anybody still like George Michael (formerly of Wham! fame, more latterly of driving-under-the-influence-of-drugs-and-crashing-into-a-shop fame)? He shot straight to the top of my Most Favourite Pop Stars list when I first saw him in the video for “Careless Whisper”, and has remained there pretty much since – as a singer/musician, that is.

I remember me and my cousin both sighing “HOW could she be so hard-hearted as to not forgive him?” when he begs her to “Please stay!” even as she rushes away to her waiting private aircraft – “she” being his girlfriend in the video who caught him cheating on her. (In our defence, it was his beautiful brown eyes, thick blond hair, slightly protruding teeth and the squeaky-clean image he had then, that made our pretensions to feminism vanish in a flurry of besotted heartbeats!)

Of course we were broken hearted when he outed himself as gay, because it meant that we stood no chance of ever capturing his heart – because naturally there would have been every chance of one of us (mainly me, natch) becoming Mrs George Michael if only he’d been straight. (What? I had ambitions, dammit!)

Anyway, over the years I have loved loads of his songs right from the Wham! days. His songs, but never Andrew Ridgeley's, not even in Wham!'s most popular period. I don’t really remember any of Andrew Ridgeley’s songs because he was a wishy-washy singer and also didn’t look as macho as ol’ George – in fact, he looked downright campy and gay. Yes yes, I know, the irony...

So, as I was saying about George Michael, songs like “Faith”, “Father Figure”, “Freedom” and many others (but NOT, EVER EVER EVER and let me say that again EVER EVER EVER EVER, “Last Christmas” - EVER!) are just as good to listen now as when I first heard them.

I’d been wanting to see George Michael live in concert, but that particular ambition was struck off my “wanna do” list after I watched a recording of his most recent concert on Sky (a while back). It was such a disappointment, with George Michael (I can’t seem to refer to him as just “George” or just “Michael” – it’s GOT to be “George Michael”) completely lacklustre and devoid of any kind of enthusiasm. He didn’t look like he wanted to involve the audience in the music or interact with them in any way. Frankly, it was like he was just going through the motions because he had to.

Had I paid good money to watch him sing live and got the sort of performance I saw, I would have been extremely pissed off – and heartbroken too. I guess I don’t have faith any more in him as a performer, although he was – and will always be – a fantastic musician and singer.

Monday, August 23, 2010

What an ajeeb editing style, sir!

It’s been a while since I read the Ramayana – any version. The last re-reading I did was years ago, and that was Rajaji’s abridged version. And before that, it was the Amar Chitra Kathas, which was even MORE years ago. My mother got me Ashok Banker’s version, on request, the last time she came back from India (a good year and a half back), after a couple of friends recommended the books highly. I hadn’t read them thus far as I’d been saving them up for a “dry” spell (where I’d be stuck with 2-3 books that were non-fiction) – which is what’s happening now.

Anyway, I’ve just finished Book 2 – The Siege of Mithila. The books have been good reading so far, all things considered, although the editing is somewhat quirky. I understand that the language has been more or less updated for the modern reader, but since the books have presumably been written in English by the author and not translated into English by anyone else, I don’t see why the conversations between the various characters couldn’t have been entirely in English.

I don’t have a problem with the occasional entire sentence being in Hindi, and certainly think it’s right for the few Sanskrit verses quoted in it to have been transcribed verbatim, with the English translations provided alongside in both cases. But why intersperse shuddh English speech with random Hindi/Sanskrit words?

For instance, Brahmarishi Vishwamitra saying to Rama: “The sands of samay are running out, rajkumar.” WHY do that? What’s with the “samay” in the middle of the sentence? How would it sound if Vishwamitra had said “Time nikal ja raha hai, Prince”? Ridiculous, right?

Bad enough that it's ridiculous, but worse still is the fact that such linguistic randomness breaks the flow of the speech and intrudes upon the reader’s consciousness as it’s so awkward. Why could the editor not have had Vishwamitra say "The sands of time are running out", leaving the “rajkumar” intact at the end, if necessary. That Hindi word at the end of the sentence would not have been as intrusive as the “samay” in the middle.

I’m not being nit-picky here. (If I was being nit-picky, I would have made a fuss about the many inconsistencies in spelling and the few misspelt words that I came across in both Book 1 and Book 2.) I’ve written about this as a genuine grievance, because the odd language intruded upon my consciousness more than once while I was engrossed in reading the story, putting me off my stride. The first such instance made me laugh, but when I kept coming across this weird editing, it became quite quickly a real irritant. It’s possible that this hasn’t been picked up as an annoying feature by other readers/reviewers, in which case I guess it’s just me.

The grievance is still genuine, though.

*ajeeb = odd

Friday, August 20, 2010

The contents of my handbag

Like a lot of women, I like bags. In fact, I don’t just like bags, I love ‘em. I simply can’t pass up a shop that sells bags without spending at least a few minutes window-shopping no matter how rushed I am for time. And if I have the time, I can while away an hour or so looking at all the bags – the colours, the shapes, the sizes, the textures, the *gulp* prices – and wondering what it would be like to buy them all. Out of necessity, naturally, not out of greed - although non-bag-lovers might see it as greed. But, as they say, one person’s necessity is another person’s greed. (Or the other way round.)

Unlike a lot of women, however, I only own one handbag. I don’t need or want more than one, and if I find one I like, I tend to use it everywhere all the time until it’s threadbare or worn down to near transparency. At that point, with a heavy heart, I am forced to go to a bag emporium as an unhappy buyer instead of just as a happy wanderer.

The problem with having to buy a bag is that a lot of them look nice, but most of them don’t have the qualities I desire - low price, good looks, medium size but with optimum-storage-and-plenty-of-compartments. Or rather, these qualities do exist, but not as applicable to any one bag. This problem is further compounded by the fact that any bag I buy, no matter how perfect before I buy it, immediately loses all lovability the moment the sale is final. At that point, any sort of bag carried by any random woman – short of an actual bag lady – takes on all the desirability that my bag had possessed just micro seconds before.

However, these reasons, although important, only partially explain why I only own one handbag. The most important reason of all is that I cannot afford to own more than one handbag. It’s not the handbags themselves that are ruinously expensive, it’s their contents. I will explain in a moment.

I’ve always wondered how other women manage as the owners of multiple handbags. How do they manage to take a different bag each day? How do they have the patience and the will to transfer the contents of one handbag to another that matches their outfit/is appropriate to where they're going/whatever other reason they change bags? What if the bag being transferred from is bigger than the one being transferred to? How do they manage to get all the things in the smaller bag? If they don’t, how do they manage without the things that didn’t get into the smaller bag, given that the same things were necessary in the bigger bag? Is the importance of the handbag’s contents in inverse proportion to the size of the handbag? If this is so, why do these women lug around things of lesser importance – and, I assume, lesser necessity - merely because the handbag is bigger? Do the less important things gain more importance just by the fact that there’s more handbag room to carry them? I just don’t get it.

When I have one (medium-sized) bag, I carry in it all the things that are important and necessary to me on a daily basis. (If my single handbag is bigger than medium, things tend to collect in it, making me lose track of the contents after a while, in turn making it difficult to find the few things that I might actually require.) If I have two bags, I tend to duplicate the contents of the first bag for the second bag as well, so that no matter which bag I choose to use, I would still have all my important items. But if you’re forced to do this for every single bag you buy, the process begins to get extremely expensive, not to mention inconvenient.

Transferring the contents from Bag 1 to Bag 2 (or 3 or 4 or 5 or 10, limited only by the number of bags you own) is a possibility, yes, but in the past I’ve tended to overlook certain items by mistake, to discover their absence in Bag 2 only at the psychological moment – for instance, searching fruitlessly for the keys to get into my house when they (the keys) were inside Bag 1 which was inside said house. On one such occasion I was forced to walk miles to find a public phone from which to call Pete and ask him to come home ASAP – why a public phone? Because my mobile phone also happened to be in Bag 1.

So you see why I own only one handbag.

The contents of said bag:
- Cheque book
- Pen
- Another pen (in case I can’t find the first one)
- Address book
- Spare passport size photographs (I don’t need those any more but they’re a habit left over from the days when every official form I had to submit to anybody required at least one photo)
- Glue stick (ditto as above, to be able to stick the photo onto whichever form)
- Purse (containing debit card, credit card, library card and Boots Advantage card, and postage stamps, plus cash and assorted coins plus emergency cash and spare house key)
- Contact lens case (with lens liquid)
- Glasses + case
- Cell phone (when I remember)
- Headache pills
- Inhaler (as a precaution for me and Pete)
- Lip gloss
- Lip balm (roller type)
- Another lip balm (in a tube)
- Yet another lip balm (medicated) (A girl can never have too many lip balms!)
- Eye liner (in case I might need it to glam up – HAHAHAHA!)
- Little Post-It pad for writing reminders to myself

- An emergency tampon (for me)
- Another emergency tampon (on the off chance that someone in dire straits might ask if I have a spare)
- Fluff (this collects by itself, it’s not something I choose to put in my bag)

And there you have it. The list of contents of my one and only handbag.

What’s in yours?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

IF (NB: not to be confused with Rudyard Kipling's poem)


a. You’re unwilling to hang yourself (or your family or friends) out to dry by writing bare-all emotional posts

b. You can’t think of any insightful/clever/informative things to say about the news of the day

c. You’re not campaigning for yourself in some online contest or other

d. You’re not announcing/holding some online contest or other

e. You’re not talented enough to con anybody into thinking that your life is finteresting enough to read about (or *sigh* yourself into believing that your life is interesting enough to write about)...

...what DO you write about?

Not much, that’s what. (This should explain why there haven’t been many posts on this blog of late.)

Should anybody know of any do-able tags or memes going around, do me a favour and let me know. There’s always the slight chance that I might not already have done it in some earlier desperate attempt to keep the blogging spirit from evaporating entirely...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Maybe it's Maybelline, maybe it's someone else entirely...

My memory seems to be getting worse as I get older. Yes, ok, that’s not news and it’s not like I’m bucking the general trend or anything. I just wanted to mention it, in case I forget to mention it because – have I been here before? - my memory’s getting worse. Basically, I'm not sure that I haven't already written about this in some earlier post - but perhaps it won't have been in these very words!

Anyway, enough said about that, as I’m sure y’awl will agree. My grouse today is all the ads on TV from Maybelline ending with the tag “Maybe it’s Maybelline”. Well, IS it or isn’t it? With the entire ad promoting the product as being from Maybelline, where’s the sense in then saying “Maybe it’s Maybelline”?

I know that the tag is a continuation of the catchphrase that made the Maybelline products famous in all the years (decades?) gone by: “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline”, the idea being that Maybelline products look so natural when applied that nobody will know for sure whether or not the wearer's blemish-free skin or thick long lashes are thanks to Nature or Maybelline.

The point is, Maybelline’s colourful array of products now certainly can’t be marketed using the original tagline – not unless women are born with turquoise eyelids and magenta lips – so they’ve merely removed the first line of the original tag and left it at “Maybe it’s Maybelline”, because possibly that was the phrase that built their fortune and they wanted it to remain in public memory.

Pretty stupid, though, wouldn’t you agree? I think the promoters of Maybelline should ensure that whatever top advertising firm they employ, for whose services they undoubtedly pay huge amounts, is made to use some amount of the money and all of their creativity to actually come up with a whole new catchphrase that will capture the imagination of the people. That will also have the incidental benefit of stopping me frothing gently at the mouth every time I see or hear “Maybe it’s Maybelline”.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Ten hows:

1. How did you get one of your scars?

Got knocked down by an auto-rickshaw when I was on my Kinetic Honda.
2. How did you celebrate your last birthday?

It wasn't my last birthday! I hope to have many more birthdays! Wait, do YOU know something I don't???
3. How are you feeling at this moment?

Quite well, thank you.
4. How did your night go last night?

Too quickly.
5. How did you do in high school?

That's secret information which will not be unleashed on the world until 100 years after never.
6. How did you get the shirt you’re wearing?

It came home with me in a bag.
7. How often do you see your best friend(s)?

A LOT less often than I'd like to.
8. How much money did you spend last month?

All of it.
9. How old do you want to be when you get married?

Old enough.
10. How old will you be at your next birthday?


Nine whats:

1. Your mother's name?

2. What did you do last weekend?

Bought a new washing machine. And a Wii. Set 'em up and played tennis and Sports Resort games and washed clothes.
3. What is the most important part of your life?

The reading part. The talking part. The sleeping part. And the bits in between.
4. What would you rather be doing?

Getting paid lots of money to not work or do any housework. Ever.
5. What did you last cry over?

The onions.
6. What always makes you feel better when you’re upset? Pete. (Especially if he's the one upsetting me.)

7. What’s the most important thing you look for in a significant other?
A significant smile.
8. What are you worried about?

Not worrying enough.
9. What did you have for breakfast?

Dosas dunked in Greek yogurt.

Eight yous:

1. Have you ever liked someone who had a girlfriend/boyfriend?

Sure, what's not to like?
2. Have you ever had your heart broken?

Yes, but it was mended with superglue so the cracks dont show.
3. Have you ever been out of the country?

I believe so. But pls check with the Home Office to see if I'm back.
4. Have you ever done something outrageously dumb?

Not telling.
5. Have you ever been back stabbed by a friend?

My friends are nice people.
6. Have you ever had sex on the beach?

A few times. Nice cocktail, that.
7. Have you ever dated someone younger than you?

In my head.
8. Have you ever read an entire book in one day?

Is there some other way to read a book?

Seven whos:

1. Who was the last person you saw?

Don’t know his name.
2. Who was the last person you texted?

3. Who was the last person you hung out with?

4. Who was the last person to call you?

To call me what?
5. Who did you last hug?

6. Who is the last person who texted you?

Anon from T-Mob.
7. Who was the last person you said “I love you” to?

They know.

Six wheres:

1. Where does your best friend(s) live?

School BFF in San Francisco; college BFF in Wellington NZ.
2. Where did you last go?

3. Where did you last hang out?

Hang out what?
4. Where do you go to school?

I dont.
5. Where is your favorite place to be?

With family and friends.
6. Where did you sleep last night?

Left side of the bed.

Five dos:

1. Do you think anyone likes you?

No :-(
2. Do you ever wish you were someone else?

Depends on who's talking to me.
3. Do you know the muffin man?

Just enough that I make my own muffins.
4. Does the future scare you?

Not so much. I plan to remain in the present.
5. Do your parents know about your blog?

Yup. All my blogs. All my parents.

Four whys:

1. Why are you best friends with your best friend?

She's like a magic mirror, she reflects what I am not (but should be).
2. Why did you get into Blogging?

To air my views. They had become musty from lack of sunlight.
3. Why did your parents give you the name you have?

That's a question even I havent asked.
4. Why are you doing this survey?

I have no life. (And I like surveys.)

Three ifs:

1. If you could have one super power what would it be?

To make people forget.
2. If you could go back in time and change one thing, would you?

Yes. Me.
3. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could bring 1 thing, what would you bring?

A Mallu tea-kadai.

Two would you evers:

1. Would you ever get back together with any of your ex’s if they asked you?

There's a reason they're ex.
2. Would you ever shave your head to save someone you love?

In a flash. But they'd have to pay for my wig.

One last question:

1. Are you happy with your life right now?


Friday, August 06, 2010

Monday, August 02, 2010

Sunday Scribblings - "I'd like to thank..."

My father, first and foremost for engendering in me a love of books, reading and the English language.

My mother, for everything she is and always has been, and for her unquestioning love.

My sister, for being the strong-willed, stubborn, brave, independent, loyal, funny weirdo she is :)

My brother, for providing oodles of entertainment (whether I wanted it or not!) over the years, and for growing up to be a brother in a million. Oh, and for providing a much-needed niece and grand-daughter - although credit for this is to be shared 30-70with...

My sister-in-law, for the aforementioned niece/grand-daughter, and for taming the untameable brother with such ease.

My best male friend forever from my schooldays, Rags, for being such a brilliant, quirky, fun pal and my closest rival in everything English. And also for making me honorary aunt (I might have demanded this privilege, but still...) to his beautiful baby daughter.

My best friend forever from college, Lakshmi, for being my soul-mate despite our completely different natures, and for showing me how to extract the maximum from life no matter what the circumstances.

My truest rakhi brother, Shiv, for WAY too much teasing and helpless giggles.

Another beloved friend, Sanjay, for the same as above, except even more of it.

All my dearest cousins on my mother’s side, for a whole lot of fun, games, fighting and laughter while we were growing up.

My youngest cousin, Hema (who is now a not-THAT-young 21) for being such a delight from the day she was born.

My cousins Hema and Sujata (dad’s side) – Hema for being just a month older than me and therefore both best friend and bitter rival as children, and a dear friend now :) And Suj for being SOOOO much fun and so funny, always.

The friends I made at the Indian Express and in the Hindu Business Line – they are no longer my colleagues but they’ll always be the friends who made life SO much fun for so many years... and still do.

The three amazing, multi-talented, simply awesome ladies - Ammani, Shoefiend and Swarna - who were cyber-pals first but became real-life friends so very seamlessly, for letting me be part of their lives.

My Scrabbling friends, some of whom I know personally and some only through their blogs. Thank you for many, many interesting and hard-fought games that stimulated my brain and made me think harder than I would have considered possible. Long may it continue!

Last but definitely not the least, my husband Pete for his boundless love for me and my family, his warmth and loyalty, his common sense, practical nature and optimism (all of which I lack somewhat when the chips are down), his gentleness and crazy sense of humour, and most of all, because he doesn’t see anything wrong with spoiling me silly. Who could ask for more?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Death becomes perfection

Have you noticed how everybody who dies – by accident, by suicide, by murder, by illness, by an Act of God – turns out to have been the ideal daughter/son/friend/sister/brother/parent/grandparent/aunt/uncle/human-being, full of sweetness and light and the milk of human kindness while being the life and soul of the party at the same time as worrying about kittens and puppies and abandoned children and the environment. Makes you glad you’re not the ideal anything, doesn’t it? Because if you were, you’d be dead and people would be reading about perfect li’l you in the newspaper.

Ok, that’s not my own original observation. I came across it, or something like it, somewhere and it struck a chord very loudly. I’ve merely embellished the original here (could you tell?).

I acknowledge that I’m uncharitable and un-empathetic and nasty, but I have to say that it's really irritating to read news items where the tearful friends and relatives of the deceased warble on about the latter’s all-round wonderfulness and lovableness for the first four paragraphs... and then, a paragraph from the bottom, you realise that the deceased in question had died in a drunken brawl started by him on the way back from the pub and this was something he had done many times before. (Started a brawl, that is. Not died.) Or else he had a criminal record for robbery with violence, or for abusing women, or for abandoning children and family, or was in a gang. Or lots of other things, none of which could be considered compatible with the glowing character description in the first few paragraphs.

I do realise that the news content is down to the reporter, and the order of paragraphs is down to the editor who passes that report for publication. So I guess my annoyance is 99% directed at them, not at the relatives of the deceased. (I hope that this mitigating factor in my otherwise mean and nasty character will be well publicised on my demise, and the rest omitted.) After all, there’s every chance that even despicable people have someone who loves them and isn't ashamed to admit it.

Why does being dead automatically add a halo to the character of the deceased even if in life they were anything but deserving of it? And if the glitter on the halo after death is directly proportional to evilness that went before, then shouldn't we be worshipping people like Hitler or Saddam Hussein?