Saturday, August 15, 2009

Some Rakhi (the non-Sawant variety) thoughts

"Happy Rakhi Sawant, brother darling!!!"..i crooned into the mobile phone..
"where?? where??" my brother excited-ly asks..
"not rakhi sawant, i just wanted to wish you 'happy rakhi'. thought i'd make your day and say 'rakhi sawant'.."
"shey!! i almost dropped the baby- was changing the nappy. dont give an old man too much of excitement".

we chit-chat for a few more minutes and then hang-up. It's ironic ..really!! Growing up, i wanted to tie the string around his neck very very very tight rather than around the wrist. Now whenever someone asks about my bro/sis.. i speak with warm fondness. One becomes mellow with age and lose the fangs!

I dont have a biological brother per say - only a younger sister. But my aunts and uncles more or less compensated that void for me by giving me truckload of cousins. While my female cousins (someone told me that cousin-sister / cousin-brother is a wrong usage) where the subdued variety who'd give their toys to me without a murmur, make my favorite dishes when i am staying with them during summer vacations, and narrate bed-time stories over and over again until i snore away at nite ... their male counterparts kept the law of averages.

I am not joking when i say that some of their actions have resulted in life-long humiliation for me. For example, my name.. No, not Keerthy.. none of my relatives even know that name. They know me by my pet-name - which was actually a nick name one of my bros decided on one fine day. The name stuck like a bad habit. My parents started using it... publicly!! Just imagine my shame and horror when i have friends visiting my home & my dad calls out "Mottuuuu... ur friends are here"...i die a thousand deaths.

My brothers enthusiastically welcomed the idea of having a new victim to play their sadistic pranks on during the holidays. Every year they learnt new tricks and swear words in school and i was their favorite guinea-pig. If ever my parents thought that growing up in a city would make me even a bit street-smart, those illusions were completed misplaced by how completely naive i was to the a-new-prank-every-hour strategy my 3 Big Bros (BB) played on me.

For years, i said "No Thanks" to cream biscuits. Ask me why?? Coz they have monster-poop in between them. Really! The brown ones are the mud-monster ; the ones that eat worms and your nose squiggies..The ones who eat monster poop becomes vulnerable to attack whenever they walk barefoot on ground. BB, such a daring young fellow.. protects me from those monsters and takes my share of biscuits. So gallant of him, no?

Then there are the "Frooty" tetrapacks! Breeding grounds of insects. But those would just crawl out through your tummy the next day - the Fanta/Pepsi/Cola ones are the worst. They try coming out through your nose. On innumerable occasions, i have sought BB's help in killing the nose insects. They say the strategy is simple - but very painful, only a pro should attempt it. BB drinks up the cola at one go.. And close his mouth and nose by hand. You see ! he is suffocating the worms that is trying to come up through his nose. Die you fiend...die!!!

Then there were the games - did you know that the most important role in the world Badminton Cup is that of the person who picks up the shuttle-cock which falls out of the court? I had that privilege every single time :D ... or that the person running after 'out of boundary' balls in cricket get the 'child-of-match' award? Such neat things i learn..

Freshly grated coconut give you mustaches, Jam >1 spoon per day gave you squint eyes, kicking your elder brother's shin results in a lost tooth (this was proved correct!) on..and so forth.

Once they passed outta school, i got a promotion from being a guinea-pig to being an accomplice. Now they needed me to do copy the Record book in neat cursive writing, to call up girlfriends ("hellooo Uncle!! Anjali there?? this is Meena.. her class-mate"), to whisk away couple of fried chicken pieces from kitchen before the lunch/dinner, etc..etc..

Then one fine day ... they got jobs elsewhere in the country and out of it and went away.. We still kept meeting once in a while - during someone's marriage or similar.. I still got ridiculed for my clothes, BMI, hair-cuts etc. during those meetings. But the edge wasnt there.. It was more of a small-talk than full-hearted put-downs i was used to and was looking forward to. Then, they got married and had kids -- i tried avenging the wrongs done to me and tried choosing the names for my nephews and nieces. But then, i couldnt find anything much degrading so settled for the almost normal .. Amey Shivshankar, Navneeth etc. I got married and they grudgingly admitted that i am indeed no more the little girl who used to tail them all the time. Though, it would have been great if i had a stunted growth.

I am sure that history would repeat itself. My kids would in all probability suffer all that i did from my brothers' kids. They would hate each other during the growing up years..but the end..they would wish badly that they could turn the clock back to those i do now.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Show me the money!!!

Very recently, a well know actress in Mollywood (malayalam film industry, macha...!!) consulted her lawyer to file a divorce case against her husband of 6 months. That became the flash news in all Malayalam channels - experts/friends/lawyers called in to give their opinion. Serious (or seemingly) newspapers had the front page heading announcing this snippet the next day! why, why, why??? Isn't privacy a right anymore?

it kinda always surprises surprises, but amuses me that some people go to any extent to have money..or fame...even 15 mins of it. and most people like to see that on prime time tv.

Yes, i am indeed talking about the new breed of reality shows that is being aired by almost every general entertainment channel nowadays. Game shows - well..almost all are games right?? in a way or the other.

the other day, i caught an episode of 'Rakhi Sawant ka Swayamvar' on TV. Great!! now marriage is a game - a prize to be won & several contestants trying to better each other for the coveted crown. Slightly interesting to note that most of the contestants had some inclination/aspiration towards the glamor world. Is Rakhi trying to get her share of publicity or is the prospective-groom/winner getting his 'ticket to Hollywood'? Seems like a win-win situation for all involved - Rakhi, the winner & the producer of the show.

The part i liked the most was when one of the contenders when he was asked by Ms. Sawant on why he is being so introverted and reticent all the time replied that "i have a lot of stuff to tell you..lotsa things.. (this by the way seems to be the most oft repeated dialogue in the show).. but when i see people watching me.. i cant speak. i am a very private person"...heeeehahahhahahaha.. well, he did proceed to extol his virtues and his intentions in the next 5 mins - just 2-3 millions watching. no biggie !

Another thing about the movie i find really amusing is how Ms. Sawant lowers her fake eyelashes and looks oh-so-coy whenever interacting with husband(s)-to-be. Maybe it is a very obvious hint for a Mr. Johar to sign her up for his next 'filled with family values yet has modern outlook, shot in snow-capped resorts or skyscrapered city' movie

Then there was this "Moment of truth" or rather its indian counterpart "Sach ka Saamna"... Here, apart from publicly humiliating yourself, you could also break your parents' hearts, wreak your marriage and alienate your kids...all for what? for Rs. 10 million. You could at any point of time refuse to play more and leave with all that you have won(?). But why do that? Play on.. a few more heart-breaking, life-wreaking revelations never hurt any one, has it?? Even if it has, am sure it's not as big as anything that could not be mended by 10 million bucks. Or even better, haven't told your wife that you cheated on her?? or to your parents that you'd never forgive them for not buying you that pista ice-cream when you were 5? is your golden chance.

Then there was the MTV / Channel V shows - Roadies, Get Gorgeous, Teen Diva.. more and more..

Why do people - people like you and me and the general public want to see these shows? and more importantly why do we want to see the very personal and most embarrassing moments in other people's life? We hear about couples announcing their divorce on tv - explaining why they are doing it. Contestants rating other co-contestants - voting them out, speaking candidly and often very brutally about what's wrong with them... What if that person who is being verbally thrashed and singled out is someone we know or someone we care about.

We could always say that "nobody forced them to be in the show...if they don't mind sharing, why shouldn't we see?".. Long live free press/media & mediocrity.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Life's like a box of Chocolates...

I don't trust people who say they don't like chocolate.. yeah! like you are done breathing oxygen now..and wanna try something else.. or maybe walking on 2 foot doesn't give you the kicks. i believe they had a rather uninteresting childhood and got their bearings completely wrong.. how can someone not like little pieces of heaven in your mouth?? howhowhwhwowowowo??

i've been a chocoholic all my life..and i frankly dont see that changing anytime in the near future as well.Coming to think of's kinda funny that an inanimate object could actually be of so much significance in your life.. Believe me when i say that i learnt life's lessons or made my important decision armed with a choc in hand.

the first thing i ever made was a chocolate milk shake.. that one was straight enough.. u put in milk - cold/hot/lukewarm.. n scoop in 4 table spoons of chocolate powder in it..add sugar if mom is not in kitchen.. stir like crazy..gulp it down..sllluuuurrrrpppppp...
After numerous attempts at making chappatis that looked like exploded view of Africa, srilanka and mutilated donuts.. my mom was quite happy that i could do anything edible at all.. But her happiness was shortlived ...dozens of Cadbury cocoa powder tins started lining the kitchen cabinet. Choco-milkshake became my staple diet. One choco to go with idli, with rice..just before school, back from school, before tuitions.. u get the picture.. Faced with the prospect of refurbishing my entire wardrobe to accommodate my burgeoning waist line, i was asked for a forced resignation from the habit.

But there were still birthdays, family friends coming over & i-stood-first-in-class which could not be avoided. Come to think of it, it is very probable that my above average marks in school was just one of my means to get to guilt-free/ share-free / parental-approved chocolate.

In my teens, i became very picky.. i completely eschewed milk chocolate..what a misnomer, i say!. I got a inclination towards the darker and bitter variety. This actually served me well..not many around me liked the bitter ones..and i got to have them all without bothering about the heartbreaking task of sharing one's chocolates.. and unlike the sweet ones, a little piece of the bitter one goes a long way..

so why do i love them?...not just me, why do most normal, sane people love them? the only theory that i can think up of is... those little dark darlings reminds one of their own childhood....of eating things which tasted good and caring two hoots for their calorific & nutritional values. yes, ofcoz.. u eventually grow up and then get into the rut of adequate servings of vegetables, fibre-rich fruits.. not so much fat..smaller portion sizes..frequent small meals... no red-meat, no fried stuff..and more such self imposed rules to the most satisfying activity in life.

i would be lying through the teeth if i say that i do not think of calories when i buy that thick slab of extra dark belgian chocolate. i mentally calculate the no: of times i should say no to other sweet / fried treats to compensate for my indulgence when i tear off the wrapper and break a big piece outta the slab. but the moment i bite into the rich, creamy, dark, aromatic bit..and let it dissolve in my mouth..i close my eyes and i am back to being a 3 year old..getting her big Dairy Milk Chocolate bar for getting her alphabets right.. The rest of the worries can wait.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Statistics be Damned..

A finance professor of mine told the class once that the worst way to start a day is by reading the daily paper.He says 'You wake up, all charged up, sing a 80's song about sunshine & new-starts, plop down in your fav chair, grab that cuppa and whiff at the tantalizing rich aroma of coffee and full cream, take a sip and then you spoil it all.. you open the paper. The first thing you see .. murder, rape, kidnap, turmoil, earthquake, bears running loose in stock market..Now is this what you want to read first thing in the morning?? Save your newspapers for afternoons, when you are in office and feels like having a siesta.. Nightmares..errr..daymares guaranteed. '
Bad thing about me is that.. i dont follow advice until i am once bitten. It was true as a 4 year old when my mom asked me not to play with matchsticks... and this queer character flaw stays put till now too..No, not playing with matchsticks..the not-listening to the 'experienced' thing.

But then again.. this 'reading paper in morning' is not much of a problem with the kind of papers that i subscribe to. Economic Times & Business Line are hardly the ones the people would expect to find accidents & kidnaps detailed in all its goriness & grotesque. Nor does it treat 'Sanjay Dutt can now legally marry' as a subject of national importance and put it up in the front page with a 4x6 pic of a beaming Mr. Dutt like TOI does.

But then lightning struck. I was chewing on the toast and skimming the paper i glanced at the article on the front page - 'Divorce rates on the rise among couples in Metros'... the article further explained that last year saw a growth of about 50% in the divorce rates..specially for couples living in the tier -I cities of India. Irregular work timings, increase in the number of women in work force, nuclear families, growing financial independence amongst 20yr olds...etc..etc.. these were just some of the reason.
The toast stuck. Hardly three month into marriage, would we fall prey to the statistics??? A shiver run down my spine.. A fast-forward of Sex & the City & Bridjet Jones' Diary snapshots run thru my mind. Not that they are divorced.. but they are alone..and pushing 30. Damn.

On way to office in a rickety auto-rickshaw, i hear the over-enthused RJ giving bored listeners tips to make the upcoming Valentine's day all the more make up for the dull n dreary economy if nothing else... Tips were as cheap as Big Bazaar prices really... Stuff like put hand-written cards n hide them where your friends/family/foe is least likely to find it... or ..plan and make a special dish and surprise your loved ones for dinner instead of the usual dal-roti or whatever... or send a small gift via courier or someone to the recipient's office instead of home address. That sure would boost the GDP, I snickered .. But hey, probably i can use that... and then write a book on how not to be in the divorcing metro couple list...or atleast a blog.. hmmm.. fantabulous idea.

cards.. cards.. hand written??? i imagined writing sweet-nothings in a post-it and sticking it to my hubby's wallet..But then i was never good at writing..(well, you should know that by now).. and these sweet nothings..hmm.. how would i dream that up??? well, guess i can just try translate some Hollywood love songs. Googled up for the hit love songs in hindi cinema.. and got these..

"Masakali..masakali..."(googled for meaning of masakali and found it was a white pigeon).. huh.. would he take it as a stool pigeon?? pigeon is hardly the word for your spouse..
"Tera emotional atyachar..." ..well..hmm.. i guess i should try other methods...

Home made meal?? yeah!!! i can do that.. i can cook...even if painfully slow..i sure can cook. I tried making biryani... painstakingly and perfectly i started with the washing, peeling, chopping, grating, slicing, grinding, sauting, frying, tempering, the time i finished making dinner, it was 1 am.. he was fast asleep (after having 2 packets of good-day biscuits & 3 litres of water to quench hunger).. and i didnt have the heart to wake the poor soul to eat dinner.

That left just... flowers. This just cannot go wrong. I mean... how can it?? I place order online, pay by credit card (oh.. don've credit card....hmm..can use colleague's card after some maska..damn!! these flowers cost a lot.), fill in the address & time of delivery, click submit & just wait for those scary statistics in head to fade away.

Day of delivery
Was supposed to be delivered at 10 am.. Me wait impatiently with phone in hand to hear super excited hubby call to thank for the flowers delivered at office.
10.30 am.. No call.. Checks if phone silent / switched on/ got network.
10.35 am.. Still no call.
10.37 am... I call him.. How was the day? fine.. Watssup!! Nothing much..
Call up the flower-fellas to realize i entered his no: wrong. They were trying to reach him to confirm delivery address since 9.30 am.. So much for 'cant go wrong online' confidence.
11.30 am... the damned flowers are finally delivered.
11.32 am.. Bemused hubby calls & asks 'Honey,.. any idea why a Mr. Venugopal is sending me roses?'

Damn the florists.. They put the credit card billing address as the sender's details..

Saturday, January 03, 2009

He says... She says..

My single & available (lucky creepos) friends would fly down and kick me in the posterior side of anatomy with a well heeled shoe or throw stones at me if i even utter the M word. They say they have heard it too much from me to last a lifetime. The committed/tied-up ones empathise too much and say "i know..and over here it is.." and make me listen to their version of the story. That leaves me with not much choice other than blogging about it. Here i can use the M word without fearing a violent death. Marriage... phew.. that feels like a load off my chest, i say.

They is all about give n take. The question is who gives?? and who takes?? I guess the score keeps changing.. and nobody truly wins and no-one loses either. Had the conversation between him & her been a part of a badminton, i am sure it would have topped the BWF World Championship's nail-biting anticipation as to who'd emerge the champion. You've serves, counter-serves, fakes, smashes, dropshots..and what-nots..

Rally 1:
He: Arrrgghhh.. there is hair covering every inch of the bathroom floor.
She: not mine.. yours..
He: Oh ya... i have hair which is 10 inches long??

Score 1-0
She: hmmph.. that's y i asked you to let me go to that spa thingie.. they do hair-fall cure spa massages.. only for 3000 bucks per sitting!
He: I got a better idea. Why dont we go off to thirupati and shave your entire head? No hairfall.. Easier on the wallet too!!

Score 2-0

Rally 2:
He: honey..where is my comb??
She: it's on top of the suitcase..under the clothes.
He: (rummages thru and finds the comb) y did u keep clothes on top my hair comb.
She: coz there aint any where else to keep refused to buy a rack..and by the way, y keep the hair brush there?
He: Hair brush can be kept there. it can also be kept on top of the fridge, the mattress, coffee-table..where-ever i wish to keep it.

fault ..Score 2-1

She: darling ..i think you missed a turn there.. we are lost
He:, we aren't.. i still have that thing called direction sense.. i can make it out.
She: cant we just ask someone. Am sure they would be able to help us out.
He: But i dont need any directions. I got it all figured out..
(more turns and twists later)He: We wud've reached home by now only if i did not listen to you while taking that turn. Next time when i drive nobody gives directions.

fault... Score 2-2

She: we are not gonna buy one more thing that start with a lower case i. i've had enuf of this madness.
He: you've 2 tubes of face-wash
She: correction, one face wash n one face scrub
He: whatever.. 2 tubs of that ugggh smelling cream
She: day wear & night wear.
He: hmmph.. and 2 dozen sticks of that lip-color
She : you cant expect me to use the same color lipstick for all dresses..
He: of coz not... but if i want 2 ipods?? that's too much???

(umpire has given up on the score keeping)

She: i do feel really strongly about this issue (issue = any arbit variable can be put in here)..
He: but, it is really not a big thing honey.. you shouldnt get upset about it at all
She: oh but i am... this is something which is important to me..and it bothers me.
He: but honey.. what i am saying is.. if u just think of this as non-significant, it wont bother you much..can't you get that?
She: So what you are really telling me is... though you know i feel this is important..and hence bothered by it.. you would rather belittle the significance i have placed on this and play it down so that i feel stupid about being bothered about it and shut up..instead of doing something about it so that i feel better about the notion that you have put in your efforts for something that is not significant for you normally...but important for you by virtue of being important for me??? is that what you are trying to say???
He: huh..uh..hmm.. wha..???

(umpire baffled..quits job and takes up Art of Living classes)