Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hibernation

Yes for a while there I literally went underground and for good reason. I needed to go underground for reasons of introspection and more importantly just to look at life and not necessarily write about it. So let's launch into some small tit bits right away.

SO I was waiting outside the mall waiting for a friend and this cat came along. I have a terrible history with cats. They've bit me twice and once in Cyprus some kittens scratched me viciously so when this orange tabby came dangerously close I just froze. She languidly went on making eights around my feet while I was terrified waiting for the inevitable hiss and scratch. She did neither and sat down next to my feet for the longest time but I only began breathing normally once she left.

I missed going to Arte yesterday but I was so tired from the day before that that I just didn't have the energy. You hear some very heartwarming stories from Arte sometimes. Twice I've heard the an artist gave away their work for free because the prospective customer loved the painting so much. There was a bond between the artist and the patron in a matter of minutes and money became inconsequential. It's so beautiful to hear...


Saturday, November 30, 2013

There and back again

My apologies for having disappeared for the past ten days or so. You can understand that being with family can completely envelope you in a way that you forget everything else. Anyway here I am back in Dubai. Delhi was fabulous. The weather was perfect and being at home after a long time was wonderful beyond words.

I was fed something as soon as I opened my mouth. My sister kept me laughing with her never ending supply of jokes. Being in Delhi always means going back to my roots. The old albums invariably come up and I see the pictures of the tomboy that I was as a teenager and I remember what a charmed life it was. How loved I was. How loved I still am.

That's my beautiful mother. Had I been a fraction as beautiful as her I would have been gorgeous!




My father decided to continue working even after his retirement. I'm so glad that he did. He is still just as active and full of energy as he ever was. His love for singing is thriving and he keeps recording old Mukesh songs in his voice which we all love to hear. In fact he has quite a following on youtube.









And that's my baby sister Mini. She's eight years younger and I spent most of my time with her. It was just so wonderful to be with her after such a long time. She has the most bizarre sense of humour and she kept me in splits most of the time. Here's a small example..


Sis: don't make tea for me. Ask mummy to make.

Me: why?

Sis: because you make it so well, I can't digest it.

Me: what's that supposed to mean?
Sis: it means when scared give confusing answer.

Monday, November 18, 2013

PARUL A Love Story

Another day of waking up at noon and languishing in a blanket all afternoon was just so so nice. My sister and I had a lovely day out at Khan Market. There used to be this restaurant called Chonas at the corner which is still there but now it's a restaurant and bar. I remember meeting friends there as a teenager. It looked much too low lit and depressing now for me to go in for old times' sake.

When I come to Delhi I go nuts browsing and buying all the lovely Indian brands. Anokhi has to be one of my absolute favourites. I love their skirts and this time I found a beautiful cotton dress too. Fabindia is alright I guess. The quality of their clothes has gone down. The choices are few and the prints rather uninteresting and yet I managed to find two nice kurtas. As my husband reads this account his head is in his hands I'm sure. And also I absolutely love Forest Essentials products. I must thank Supriya Varma for introducing me to them.




Of course no shopping trip is complete without going into book stores. I love the smell of books. The stacks and stacks of words just waiting to be read. My sister suddenly laughed and said at a book shop,"Didi your book is here!" And I looked and there it was a book called PARUL A Love Story by Harsha V. Dehejia. I was tickled pink and I had to buy it of course. I did read the first two pages. It's about a Gujarati girl who is very proud of her Gujju heritage. A married man with a son falls in love with her. That's as far as I got. I might actually read this book!

There was a skincare brand shop whose name I can't remember. There was a skeleton in a white coat standing outside it so I took a picture of it and put it up here. My sister had been hankering for Chinese so we went to this nice place called Chinese Wok. It's a lovely restaurant. It was getting rather late so we got the food packed and I introduced my sister to the yummy virgin Pinacolada. She loved it! The wonderful joys of being with family simply cannot be described.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

A lovely day

When you wake up at noon and your mom hands you a cup of tea you know that you're home. You smile, you have a cup of tea and you know it's going to be a lovely day. My mother was appalled at the state of my hair and she slathered it with henna the first chance she had. I protested and then protested some more but of course that's really pointless when your mother wants you to do something. I mean parents will always make you feel like you've just never grown up. "You're treating me like I'm a fifteen year old girl!" I said. "Actually you're more like seven and a half." my father replied.

Papa and I went to the Great India Place mall in Noida. I wanted to pick up some books. On the way I saw the moon from the car window. It was a beautiful yellow moon and I just had to take a picture of it even though you can't quite see how big it was. You get the idea.



The mall was overflowing with people. It was fun shopping. Papa was so patient while I browsed around. There were lovely lanterns hanging from the ceiling. I talked for a little while to a little baby chewing her mom's bag. She had that joyous little smile that only babies have. They have no idea why they're smiling but they are truly happy in that moment and it never fails to warm my heart.

There were so many people shopping intently that sometimes I went into a shop and then just walked out because I couldn't make my way to the displayed items. As I stood in the aisle of fiction books someone or the other pushed me or my bag but somehow that didn't really bother me. When one comes to India one gets into this zone where pretty much nothing really fazes you which otherwise would. I looked for my tarot deck in the book shop but I couldn't find it. I'll try again tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Reporting from Delhi

So I flew down yesterday from Dubai to Delhi. I had to shop for a few things at Duty free but I couldn't be at an airport and not have a coffee so I sat in an easy chair and had myself a cup of mocha, some kind of cheese croissant and a banana bread. When I travel alone I tend to wonder who I will end up next to on the plane and I always hope that it's going to be someone who will leave me alone with my book. Normally I would always request a window seat. I like the city getting smaller as the plane takes off. The cars and the people becoming miniatures. This time I forgot to ask for a window seat so off I went in to the plane and reached seat 7 C to find a young man sitting at the window. I had an aisle seat and no one in between. I took out my hand cream and used it liberally. I always use hand cream when I don't know how else to keep myself busy. I took out my book and began reading. As the pilot announced take off the boy crossed himself so I figured he must be Christian but I noticed a kada on his wrist which I thought must be some kind of fashion statement. He looked really young and somewhat sad. As the plane took off he seemed to get further upset and covered his eyes. He seemed to be crying. I thought to myself," Oh well I'm gonna have to talk to this one." I put away my book, took out my trusty Philips camera and tapped him on the shoulder. He looked around at me with his eyes all red. I asked him to take a picture of the Dubai skyline. He asked me how to zoom in and I explained. He took the picture above, handed me the camera and sat wiping his eyes again. Suddenly he asked me if I lived in Dubai. I told him I did and then the whole story came out in a rush.

He was an eighteen year old living in Delhi and visiting his sister in Dubai. He was born and brought up in Dubai but his parents had moved back to Delhi two years ago. He said Dubai was his home. It was where he was most comfortable and even though he had not cried when he left it two years ago somehow this trip had stirred his longing to be 'home' again. We talked for a long time and he told me all about his family. His father was Sikh and his mother was Catholic. When he turned fourteen he was given the freedom to choose if he wanted to follow Sikhism of Christianity. He had chosen to be a Catholic. He told me all about school, his subjects, that he sang on stage but only because he was expected to do something creative in the curriculum. He loved boxing and wanted to be a commercial pilot right after school. I was given a detailed account of a flight simulator and how his girlfriend had moved to Jalandhar and he missed her.

The conversation always came back to Dubai and how one cannot get the citizenship so unless one has a business in the country retirement in Dubai is not an option and even then you'll never be a UAE citizen. Every time he spoke of Dubai his eyes would well up again and I would try to tell him that he had his whole life ahead of him and once he became a pilot he could get a job with any airline and be in  Dubai or anywhere else in the world he chose. He was worried about his upcoming mid terms as most children are. During the entire conversation I spoke very little while he told me everything that was going on in his life. He was so overwhelmed with what was happening to him that he completely seemed to forget that I had my own story but I didn't mind at all. I prefer asking questions much better than answering them.

After filling out the immigration form I went back to my Miss Marple mystery and he stuck his nose to the window. At the end of the journey I asked him if he was looking forward to seeing his parents, he replied in a really low and sad voice,"Yes..." I burst out laughing and couldn't help but saying," You haven't left Dubai, you've just temporarily moved. Think of it like that!" He smiled and looked a bit better.

I got out of the plane bearing a big shopping bag and got through immigration really quick (separate counter for Indian passport holders- very nice), even my bag came through nice and quick. That's a picture of the Delhi International Airport interior, quite interesting. I wondered what the various mudras meant. I was out of the airport and in the arms of my mom and sister in about fifteen minutes and my father drove us home. I was warm and happy. I forgot to get woollen clothes from Dubai to which my sister said that I always ended up wearing my mother's cardigans anyway. Which is very true, I always end up wearing my mother's cardigans and shoes. I used my mother's make up till I got married and bought make up for the first time at the age of twenty seven I think. My favourite coat is my mother's too and I've had it for fifteen years and it's still going strong. I feel her love and warmth whenever I wear it.

I got home and had two dinners. I'm going to gain weight in a big way. I can already see it. The maid looked at me and told my mother,"Dimple is looking weak." C'mon I weigh 68 kgs only!! Now every half an hour or so my mother asks me what I want to eat? And you know what I'm in a perpetual state of feeling like eating something. Don't you just love being home?

I had to explain a lot of things to Anshuman before I left him to fend for himself for the next two weeks. The best way to get his complete attention was to take him out on a nice dinner and then lay out the instructions. So I asked him to take me out on a date before I left. He said he'd made a booking at a nice place. When he came home I asked him where we were going? I was all dressed up in my nice black dress and he refused to tell me. I asked him again and again and he finally said," I booked a table at Sarvanna Bhawan but then you said you wanted to dress fancy so I changed it to Aappa Kadhai." I gave up.

 Finally we had dinner at this lovely place on the 52nd floor called The Observatory. I had the sea bass and a virgin Pinacolada which was so yummy that my eyes voluntarily closed when I took a sip, actually more like a gulp. I don't sip I gulp. I had my husband's complete attention and I was able to tell him all that I wanted to before I left plus I got to wear my brand new necklace from Arte. Win win! My husband sang a song from 'Purab aur pashchim' movie very sincerely- I mean he literally sang the whole song at dinner,"Hai preet jahan ki reet sada main geet wahan ke gaata hoon. Bharat ka rehne wala hoon Bharat ki baat sunata hoon." I laughed so loudly throughout the whole song that people stared but we didn't care. I wiped happy tears and I knew how much I was going to miss my husband.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Quiet days

Last couple of days have been so lovely and peaceful. I've deliberately stayed away from the television and it's really so refreshing. I've been reading Miss Marple's mysteries and they're so much fun that I can't get enough. I got two volumes of four books each and I think in a couple of days I will finish them both. I can't explain how happy I am to be reading so much after such a long time. This break is wonderful and the weather is so gorgeous that long walks are a daily pleasure.

I saw Thor 2 a couple of days ago and loved the movie. Even though I love Chris Hemsworth but Tom Hiddleston who plays Loki totally stole his thunder in the movie I think. I wish the leading lady was someone other than Natalie Portman. She looks like a misfit just as she did in the first movie. There's just no warmth about her. I don't like her. 

Thursday, November 07, 2013

The weeping waif

So I went to the mall after a long time to buy tickets for the new Thor movie. As I was driving back I needed to take a U-turn at a roundabout. The car next to me suddenly cut me off at the exit and I had to hit the brakes to avoid hitting the prize asshole. Suddenly there was a bang and I realised the car behind me had banged into mine. I immediately got off the roundabout, took the U turn and parked at a bus station further down the road and waited for the car behind me to catch up but after a few minutes when it didn't turn up I went back to the roundabout and found the other car- a Nissan Juke still parked at the roundabout. I parked, got out and looked into the other car and saw a woman crying. I asked,"Are you alright?" but she didn't reply. There were a few people around and they said she had been very upset and crying all this while. I figured may be she thought I had run away before the police arrived. Anyway we parked in the parking behind the mall. The two men who had been hanging around were trying to talk to her but she was on the phone and not answering any of their questions. I was a bit worried about her but I figured she was speaking to someone who would come to her aid so I stayed away. In the meantime there seemed to be some smoke coming out of her car which alarmed me a bit but it stopped after a while. One of the men gave me his card in case I needed something. Well my car had barely got a scratch while her car's face had got smashed in so if anyone needed help it was her. I got a look at her when she came out of her car. She was thin dressed in a snug tee and jeans. Her hair was blonde and closely cropped. She had really vulnerable features. I guessed from her accent that she was probably Russian. She looked completely lost and panic stricken and my heart went out to her but I thought it better to wait till she stopped speaking on the phone.

The ambulance came and the paramedics asked me if I was alright to which I said I was and pointed them to her. She ignored them and kept speaking on the phone. Finally they took her into the ambulance. The police came and asked me what happened. I explained the accident and then they spoke to her for a while. Finally the Arab policeman asked me my age and I replied,"I'm 39 years old." He smiled and said, " You're small." "Small?" I asked. He went away smiling to the other car. I admit I looked down at myself and thought," Am I short or am I still young?" Finally the police left after giving us the accident slip. I went up to the girl who was still crying. She looked like a waif up close and I asked her if someone was coming to pick her up to which she said no. She lived nearby and I offered to drop her home but she wanted to wait for the recovery vehicle to come and take her car to the workshop. I asked her if she wanted me to wait with her but by that time she again got on the phone. I waited ten minutes while she spoke to someone on the phone. I asked her again if she wanted me to stay but she again said no so I saw no choice but to leave her alone.

I felt really sorry for the poor girl. She was really shaken up but somehow her reaction seemed a bit out of place. I mean yes her car got smashed and the airbags being deployed must have shocked her but she just couldn't seem to get it together. Somehow I got the feeling that there was much more going on under the surface. May be life hadn't been treating her very well lately and the accident was the last straw and she broke down. I hope she is fine now and whatever has gone wrong with her will sort itself out soon.

I mean you'd think life would be pretty sedate when you're on a break but something always happens. Always happens.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Diwali Mubarak

I haven't been here for a while but here I am again. Diwali came and went and I finally did wear a sari. There was a lovely bash at Manisha and CK's place. Manisha draped the sari for me and I admit I felt quite lovely.
















There was a quiz with two teams and everyone made so much noise that the neighbours complained and we had to contain ourselves and try not to kill each other for two and a half points.















It was Diwali night yesterday and the lights in the home gave it such a warm glow that I felt content and blessed. So here's wishing all of you a wonderful Diwali filled with love and light.











Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Flurry

So suddenly there was a flurry of activity today and I didn't get around to updating my blog. Ankita came back from the US armed with a citizenship. It was so good to see her after such a long time. I went to her place, had chole chawal for lunch and had a leisurely cup of chai. It's so wonderful to have a close friend that I can completely connect with. Everyone deserves that one friend with whom they can be completely natural. Your 3 AM friend that you call simply because you're feeling like an owl and sleep is far away.

I was talking about tarot in one of my earlier posts. I have been hesitant in actually picking up a deck and doing a reading. Ankita wanted a reading and again I was hesitant wondering if I would be able to just get back to interpreting the beautiful images in just one moment after a hiatus of three years. I made an excuse and told her that the deck I normally use is missing a card. She looked at my living room table which houses about twelve different decks. I collect tarot decks. I find their imagery and meanings fascinating. Anyway she pointed towards them and I finally gave in and did a reading with the traditional Rider Waite deck.

It has been a while since I did a reading and I almost got the celtic cross ( a formation in which the cards are laid out for the purpose of reading) wrong but then I managed to put the cards in place. As I turned them over one by one the familiar images made it easy for me to do a reading. It was a good reading and I'm so glad I did it. So thanks Ankita for pushing me! I loved doing the reading for you!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

School days


Quite some time ago a school friend was compiling a CD of the favourite songs of the class of '92 at Apeejay School Noida. He asked me to send him a write up which I did. The CD never materialised but today as I was digging into some old work files I found the following write up. Enjoy!


A journey called life. It sounds lofty and tedious but really it’s like a dream that goes by before you have the time to wake up and lock it into memory. I think most of us were about seven years old when we joined the school at the edge of Delhi and UP. The principal an ex-military man never tired of telling us-“ Jesus was born in a barn and our school was born in a godown.” Those were the days when we would jump out of the school bus and run to our favourite swing with our favourite friend. Sometimes the bus was late and someone else had your precious swing but the disappointment didn’t last for more than a few seconds because you still had your favourite friend by your side.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of you have that elusive childhood friend that you just can’t find now despite google, facebook , linkedin and a plethora of networking sites on the world wide web. Once in a while you catch yourself thinking about those childhood games like iggo duggo, pitthu phod and ice pice(eyes spy) and you wonder if your friend is married with children. Do you remember a special school bag that you carried? I had a small green attaché that I used to carry during exams only because it wouldn’t hold my regular load of books. The most wonderful thing about exams was the fact that there were no classes afterwards and the moment an exam got over there was a riot that was hard to contain.

Then there were break time. Food and water especially in summer were of great importance. A lot of us finished our food in the 10 min short break and then raided other people’s lunches shamelessly. We drank cool water in the heat causing the owner of a certain brown bottle to scream,”Who drank my water?” The thing is some people would actually not share their cool water and caused some others  to make them pay for it. Then there was arm wrestling very often amongst the boys of course while the girls played a game called elastic. Remember that game anyone?

And we all grew together and so did the school. All of us fell in love at some time or the other with someone. I remember a particular someone sitting in class on the 3rd floor looking lovingly at his special someone on the 1st floor with his back to the teacher. I think the teacher said something witty and sarcastic that I just can’t remember. It was all well if you were in love with your own classmate but if you liked your senior you had to keep going around the hexagon in circles till you got a glimpse of the loved one or even better if he/she said two words to you in which case you smiled like an idiot the whole day for a very good reason. Our school was really quite hard on love. It was a bad thing and our hormones were to be kept in check at all times. We could play sports, do dramatics, study, sing, run, write articles even poems but God forbid that we should fall in love. Parents were called and punishments were of a wide variety.

Well I have come to the end of the quota given to me to write this. I would have liked to include names but I don’t have space. The point is when I look back I realize that we were all unique and together we made a fantastic and extremely interesting lot. Some of us excelled at sports, some at studies, some were wonderful actors and some were just wonderful people. Nostalgia should be indulged in small doses so let me say that I am so fortunate to be in touch with all of you and I wish your children would be in schools where they study, play, act, run, kick, laugh, find friends and fall in love, so when you hear the teacher complain remember there’s a small scared kid standing outside. He’s just like you.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Dusting cards and crystals

So there's always that one corner of the house that you constantly forget to dust. To be very honest I forget to dust many corners but none more so than my tarot table. I used to always wonder why my mother would yell at the maid because she wouldn't pick up the little things on the tables and dust properly. I'm not really the yelling or the supervising type, I just do it myelf. I figure it saves me a lot of energy I would have spent following the maid around and yelling. But like I said there's always that one corner which seems to collect layers of dust despite your best intentions. Every time I would come back from work and look at the table and think about picking up each little crystal and candle and washing and dusting it I would put it away for another day. Although I think the deeper reason was that I didn't want to accept the fact that I had completely given up on something that gave me so much joy for so many years. So Tarot continued to gather dust.

My tarot table has a lot of crystals and candles. The crystals have little stands and have to be handled carefully so no one is allowed to touch them aside from me. Today I finally got around to dusting my little table. I lovingly put each crystal under the flow of water. It is important to wash crystals and preferably put them under sunlight so they would get 'charged'. They send out a lot of positive energy. I used to wash them religiously when I was doing Tarot on a regular basis but I haven't done that for almost three years now ever since I got myself a full time job. Well the full time job has now come to an end and I have some free time on my hands hence my attention turned to my cards and all the candles I hadn't lit in a while. The Robin Wood deck that I had been using for many years used to have the usual 78 cards but unfortunately I somehow lost the Knight of Wands so I can't use that deck anymore. It is not really possible to find the Robin Wood deck easily in Dubai or even in India so I might have to order it online. I think I will do that tomorrow. I would like very much to get in touch with tarot again. So if you'd like a reading you know who to call! 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The imaginary scar

Let me relate this incident once more because it's important to know why I'm writing this post. The false ceiling of our bathroom fell on me a couple of days ago and as you can see it scratched my face. I had got it repaired just two weeks ago and I got really pissed as hell at the men who repaired it. I called and blasted them and still I was angry as hell. The interesting thing was that not only was I angry but after a while I got a bit distressed. The reason was that that harmless looking scratch might leave a permanent scar on my face. The scratch hasn't healed yet so I don't know if it's going to actually leave a scar or not but at the time somehow the fear took on a disproportionate intensity and I washed my face several times. I couldn't stop looking in the mirror and touching the slightly angry thin red line next to my eye. It distressed me even further and I began to cry. I called my husband and cried like a baby saying that my face will be scarred forever and I'm going to be ugly for life. He soothed me and said,"Even the moon has a mark on its face." I felt a bit better and decided to forget about it but I couldn't. Yesterday as I applied a liberal amount of concealer on that little scratch it distressed me a bit again. As I washed off my face in the night I touched it again and I wondered why it distressed me. I recalled a friend who recently went through surgery and has a very visible and prominent scar. I didn't even see it until she touched it self consciously as she was telling me about the surgery. I realised that she probably looked at it every morning in the mirror, touched it and wondered if she was still beautiful. I hope she didn't because her beauty shines through her eyes. She has a serenity and grace in her demeanor which puts everyone around her at ease. She is a devoted and loving wife and mother. But there's the scar, so insignificant, so unimportant. And here I was crying like an idiot child over a scratch. I feel ridiculous about the way I reacted. I've said many times that it really doesn't matter what a woman looks like her beauty is unique and twinkles in her eyes, in her laughter, in the way she takes care of her family, the way she supports her friends, the way she loves and much more. And yet I had shed tears over a scar that may or may not even be there. In that moment I had forgotten how lucky I was that I hadn't lost my eye in the accident. I forgot that even if my face was a criss cross of scars the people who really love me will continue to love me just as much. Love doesn't recognise scars. I've understood that I'm a long way from understanding beauty. I mean what if there is a little scar on my face? Would I like myself any less? I hope not. That would be even more distressing than the actual scar.

Let the festivities begin

Om and Sonia threw a wonderful Diwali bash and it was time to meet old friends. Everyone was dressed in ethnic finery. Some women rocked a sari the way only us Indian women can. I admit I really wanted to wear a sari but if you've been following my blog you'd know that I don't know how. I still have saris given to me by my mother that I haven't worn yet. Still I wanted to wear one but I didn't know whom to call for help. I even thought of going down to the courtyard where a lot of Indian women bring their children down to play then I thought about how the conversation might go if I approach one of them and ask for help.


Me: Excuse me
Stranger woman: yes
Me: Hi my name is Parul.
SW: Hello I'm so and so
Me: Actually I have to go to a Diwali party and I don't know how to wear a sari so I was wondering if you could help me drape one.
SW bursts into laughter.

Yeah so I gave up on that lame idea and settled on wearing a Churidar Kurta instead. The party was lively and I met some people I hadn't seen for months. The highlight of the party for me was the fact that I met someone who likes to read my blog everyday. Vaishali is Anshuman's friend's wife and we've been friends for a while. She said she could relate to my blog and that warmed my heart. She has a beautiful twelve year old daughter Ria and I'm very fond of her. That's us in the picture (L to R Me, Ria, Vaishali, Sonia and Ankita)

Sonia gave me a very thoughtful gift- four beautiful diyas. I had been wondering where I would get them from and I couldn't be more grateful. The smokers were in the balcony as always and old memories of when Anshuman used to be at DDB brought sweet nostalgia to the party. Apparently team DDB played a cricket match against another company's team and instead of water they brought beer in an icebox. Yes of course they lost in grand fashion but the hilarious thing was that when the ball raced away between two fielders both of them pointed towards it expecting the other one to chase it. I would have liked to be at that match. Eleven drunk people playing cricket and actually ducking the ball when it came to them.

Friday, October 25, 2013

My silly puppy

It's been a lovely day altogether such a contrast from yesterday's disastrous happening. Well the false ceiling that I had just got repaired a couple of weeks ago fell on my head and scratched my face.  Anyway I don't want to think about that. that's the wonderful quality of time- it passes and things change each day. But I digress. It was a lazy morning and we went for brunch to this lovely place called More cafe. For those of you who are residents of Dubai I must say that the ambience of their outlet in Gold and Diamond Park is the best of all. Some of the art on the walls is rather nice and available for sale if you're interested.
The afternoon was perfect with a cup of tea, the beginning of a new book. No I didn't finish Dracula. I gave up halfway I'm ashamed to say. I started reading a Miss Marple book. Easy to read mystery that is not going to tax my brain too much. I'm just not in the mood for a 'serious' book. Ninna was by my side enjoying the sun as one can now open the windows without turning into steamed dumplings. Anshuman took a few lovely pictures and here they are.

Weird dream

I had a weird dream in the morning. Actually most dreams are weird. I read somewhere that they are a way for your brain to get rid of the garbage thoughts that are leftover from the day. So I was dreaming that an old client gave me an assignment. I was to get on a plane and go to a village in some European country and exchange some money and then fly out the next day. I found myself in a beautiful quaint little place which looked like something out of a storybook. All I had with me was a slingbag with a small wallet that had a few old and wrinkled notes. I kept thinking I will have no time to really see this beautiful place. I walked around looking at the fair skinned pretty people. The whole place seemed like it was frozen in some long lost time.

As I was wandering around I got hungry. I sat down at an open air cafe sort of a place and there was a movie being shown on a large screen. It was Casablanca and I watched as I ate chole bhature for some reason. And then four men came and sat around me. I got uncomfortable, got up and started to leave. One of them got up and said something to me. I kicked him and pushed him away. He fell and I ran away. It was evening and getting dark. I finally got to the money exchange and it was shutting down. I ran and banged on the window. An old woman told me I needed to get a photo ID before she would exchange the money. I showed her my passport but she said that won't do. She told me to go to the library next door and ask the manager there to make me a photo ID which would be acceptable to her. I ran again and found myself in a dark library full of old books. I found the manager, an old cantankerous  man who tried to shoo me away as the library was closing. I thrust my passport at him and he took it saying the photo ID will take two days.

I walked out into the night thinking to myself that even if I could delay my flight home by two days I don't have the money to survive for two days. I thought of calling my client but I couldn't find a phone. And then suddenly it hit me that I had travelled to the past and my client was going to get an exorbitant exchange rate and make money. I didn't know how to travel back to the present. I had no passport, no money and then I woke up.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Déjà vu

Sometimes you see something and you get the feeling that you'e seen something before as they call it in French- Déjà vu or 'already seen'. It happens to me quite often and may be all that means is that things get repeated a lot in my life. Anyway I was walking with Ninna the other day and I saw a pair of slippers under a hedge. I wondered who they belonged to and why they left them there. They certainly belonged to a man and since the mosque is close by I thought may his slippers were stolen from the mosque before and the man decided to leave them under the hedge to avoid losing them. But then I thought there was just as much chance of them getting stolen from their present place. I moved on and enjoyed the long walk.

Next day I found the slippers in the exact same place. I looked around and there was no one around. I thought to myself may be someone just ditched them but that couldn't be true. I mean you would throw away slippers if they were torn or really old or you lost one and the other became useless. these looked in fine condition. I moved on and enjoyed the long walk. Yesterday as I walked with Ninna I looked for the slippers under the hedge and there was no Déjà vu. The slippers were gone. I looked around and saw two men speaking on their mobiles. Both of them wore shoes so someone had taken away the slippers. I wondered if the owner himself had taken them or someone who really needed slippers decided they were a kind gift from God.

I moved on and took a long walk.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Moving

Time moves on. I haven't been here for a few days. There wasn't much to say really. Life is more complicated than usual these days but as always I'm alright. And as always everything is going to be alright. I haven't heard any new songs. I haven't been anywhere. I've been on long walks with the dog. I've thought about things. I've watched many movies, none of which I can recall at this moment. I've read about four pages of Dracula. It doesn't look like I'm ever going to finish that book. It might be cursed. I still don't have much to say really. Just came by to say hello. Hello.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Manmarziyan

It's been a wonderful lazy day so far and I'm loving it. When I find a new song I love it's like I've found a gem that I cannot stop looking at and touching. Recently I heard this song from Lootera at a friend's place and totally fell in love with it.

Anshuman and I went to this restaurant called Rare at the Desert Palm Resort yesterday. There weren't too many people and we sat outside with a view of the Polo course. The sky was exceptionally clear and the stars were twinkling. We could see the Dubai skyline in the distance. I had the Sea Bass which was quite delicious. However it came with some boiled vegetables which I didn't touch. Anshuman enjoyed the Pheasant and salad. The portions were rather small but perfect. The music was unnecessarily up tempo and rather intrusive. I mean I was in no mood to listen to Jim Morrison break on to the other side.

It's a nice drive as the resort is on the outskirts of the city. Anshuman darling got flashed for speeding. His reaction was,"Ooopsie!" accompanied by the little boy smile. What could I do. I smiled right back at him.

Here's the song I'm in love with today Manmarziyan Enjoy!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Slow

Mornings with the dog are wonderful and slow and I can look at the shadow of the Neem tree outside my window for a few hours easily. I watched the new season of 'Suits' and quite liked it. I mean it's good time pass. What I really like are the strong women characters and their suits. Jessica Pearson could make a jute bag look good but the designer suits she wears make her look like something of a sensual shark. Well you gotta have the figure for the suit otherwise it might as well be a jute bag.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Rush: The sport and the men

I went to Ibn Batuta yesterday to drool at the new retina display Macbook Pro at the Apple store. The cinema is right next to it and I thought why not watch a movie so I bought two tickets for Rush simply because it has Chris Hemsworth in it. Yes I'm one hundred percent prime time in love with the man who plays the Norse God Thor. I'm eagerly awaiting the reprisal of his most famous role in the sequel.

But I digress, I'm here to talk about his latest flick directed by Ron Howard- Rush. When the movie began and I heard the screaming tires on the race track I thought the only good thing about this movie is going to be Hemsworth's baby blue eyes but I was so wrong. He plays a flamboyant Formula One driver James Hunt who is pitted against the rat faced, risk averse racing genius Niki Lauda. The film is based on a true story but many who have known the two men in real life have said that the director has taken many cinematic liberties in portraying the rivalry between the two. All that apart Ron Howard expertly sketches two strong characters and more than that two men with a passion for the same sport but with distinctly different personalities and approaches to it. While the reckless risk-taking of Hunt's character is thrilling, the dedication, intelligence, tenacity and persistence of Lauda's character moves your heart.

What really got me applauding the film was the respect that develops between the two men. It is not a begrudging respect but a genuine admiration for the other man's abilities. I thought to myself if you combine the two men you'd have the perfect race car driver but somehow one knows that that's not how it should be. Both the actors played their characters with great finesse and skill. The story is not only a thrill on wheels it is inspiring and anyone who loves sports will never forget this one!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dinner with friends

So I met some close friends for dinner yesterday and it was a leisurely pleasant evening. As you can see I wore this lovely white skirt from Topshop and my favourite blue shoes. My friends kindly complimented me on the skirt and I was thinking to myself I hope they don't notice the tiny hole in the skirt thanks to an ember from a cigarette.

When old friends get together old times come alive. There were so many funny stories told but I can only remember a few. CK and his friends threw a party for some 30 interns in Ahmedabad. The bachelor pad was swept clean and they went to work. When they returned and began climbing to the third floor some water was flowing down the stairs. they began giving the choicest abuses to the stupid fucker who left the water on. Finally when they reached their apartment it was revealed that the stream was flowing from their house. They opened the door and got soaked as the water hit them. The lone mattress in the living room was floating away and the whole house was flooded of course. The amazing thing is that they managed to get the water out in time for the party and had an amazing time getting sozzled in the dry state of Gujarat!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Splashing around

So the Eid holidays have begun and we had quite a splash today at Anshuman's cousin's place. They have a lovely home quite close to where we live. They threw a pool party and off we went. Now I did learn to swim but I'm still a bit scared of water so I stayed out of the pool and attacked the yummy carrot sticks like a hungry bunny. I actually woke up at noon today so in my defence I was really famished. Everyone jumped into the lovely pool and had a great time playing some version of pool handball with buckets serving as
the goal. It was great fun with much laughter and I was content cheering the swimmers on from the sidelines. Phani and Rajat have a beautiful home with an enviable art collection. I found this ballerina by a Pakistani artist called Jamil Baloch done in pencil. The brilliant strokes and the sheer skilled control of the artist took my breath away. Somehow her outstretched hands and upturned face made me feel as though she is waiting for it to rain down from the skies. Another beautiful little person I met was a one and a half year old little girl called Nandini. In all the time I spent with her she went up two stairs and then came down the same two stairs with the help of a pillar some hundred times. SHe is still finding her feet and has mastered going up the stairs on her own but coming down is still a challenge but she's a very focused young person and I'm sure she will master the skill very very soon.

The food was yummy and I had more than my fair share of dessert- kheer, rasgullas and halwa. I'm so stuffed and satiated that I could take a very long long nap. I think I will. Happy Eid!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Arte

So I went back to Arte the handicrafts fair at Times Square last Friday hoping to run into some old stalls and new ones. I met B (she won't let me writer her complete name for some reason) and we went around the place. There seemed to be lesser people than last time but it was just as much fun to see people selling their wares. I ended up buying two lovely blue bowls, some doggy treats for Ninna, couple of amazing smelling candles and some nice trinkets.

B was distracted easily by cakes and chocolates and I had to keep looking for her every five minutes as the sugary hooks of cupcakes got into her and she got mesmerised. We went and had some tea and lemonade at Starbucks and then drove home. I missed seeing Sue Tyson's stall somehow. I love her jewellery and I didn't spot Palmlights either which was a bit disappointing but all in all it was a lovely day.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

All dolled up

I love getting dolled up. I don't like doing it everyday in fact if I had to put on makeup regularly it would make me quite miserable. It was Anamika's 40th (Ana for short) birthday and I thought why not get a new dress. I mean you don't even need an excuse to buy a new dress. So off I went to my beloved Ibn Batuta. I tried on some twenty dresses but this one stole my heart. I usually stay a mile away from red but the embroidered dress looked so perfect I had to get it. The dress code was 'dare to bare'. Trust Ana to come up with that one and hence the grand canyon of a neckline. I decided to do another thing out of character. I wore a heart around my neck. I bought it because it was so pretty but even as I was buying it I was thinking to myself that I'm never going to actually wear a heart. But I was feeling rather adventurous, it was an all girls party and women are usually kind to one another. I mean even if you commit a fashion faux pas they are sensitive enough to not say anything to your face. I drove down to her place and since I've never driven myself there of course I got hopelessly lost. I must have called Ana some twenty five time before I finally made it to the party. There was a lively bunch of women gathered in the living room. I met some friends I hadn't seen for a long long time. I love hugging my friends and I got to hug so many at the party that my heart was filled with the warmth of joy and sheer love. It felt really good.

And that's the lovely birthday girl with me. I'm not sure what we're looking at and my phone gave us both red eyes but I will treasure this lovely memory of two happy girls for a long long time. There was a small play about how Kumar proposed to Ana and it was hilarious with a lot of dancing. Gracy in particular is such a fabulous dancer that it was wonderful to watch. Ana was grilled with some risque questions on a chat show called 'coffee with Ana' and there were audience questions too. Ana faced the queries with her usual sense of humour and we laughed a lot. After a lot of dancing to item numbers I was ready to call it night. The cake was the torso of a muscled man with the top button of his jeans undone. The lone candle was put in at a strategic place and led to much laughter. It was a yummy cake and I enjoyed my little piece very much. I think I had the liver of John Abraham as it was supposed to be his musles we were digging into. As I walked out and went down two stairs my stilettos got entangled with each other, I lost my balance and fell face down on the floor. Fortunately there was no one to see the disaster and I gathered myself and my bag. I sat down on the swing in the lawn, took deep breaths and took off my shoes for a while. Finally I walked bare foot to the car and drove home and fortunately this time I didn't get lost!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ow! Ow! Ow!

Sometimes I wonder how much pain would a woman go to to look beautiful. Cosmetic surgery is on an all time high. Women want that perfect nose, butt, breasts whatever. Sometimes I'm amazed at the number of women who agree to go under the knife to adhere to someone's idea of beauty. Being from India I know how important it is for some people to look fair and hence the huge market for fairness creams and the beautician will always ask if you want to bleach your face. It irritates me to no end. Indian women are beautiful in all shades of brown. There are  these impossible parameters of beauty that us mortal average women are subjected to and I think it's just not fair. We are individuals and we're all born with our own innate beauty and the people who love us can very easily see it.

I remember my father in law once told me a very interesting story. He had a colleague who was from the south of India. He went for an interview to London and the interviewer said to him," You are so dark, your nose is so big. Don't you think you are ugly?" Pat came the reply,"My mother doesn't think so!" That to me sums up in very few words exactly what beauty is all about. When you love someone they are beautiful. It doesn't really matter what your physical appearance is like, to the people who really care about you, you will always be beautiful.

All that said I went to the salon today to get my eyebrows done. Yes I give in to the idea that if my eyebrows look like perfect bows it's going to make me look pretty. Does it really? I don't know. I remember my eyebrows were just fine even when I didn't get them threaded. I sometimes curse the day I got them done for the first time. Now I pull my eyelid down and my forehead up as the cruel beautician plucks off each little hair and I constantly go,"Ow! Ow! Ow!"

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Repairs

So about a year ago the false roof of our bathroom fell in. We had to call a guy for repairs. He came and fixed something, took a bunch of money and left. The air-conditioning in one of the rooms got stuck at 21 degrees so we called a guy. He said something about a thermostat and fixed something, took a bunch of money and left. A couple of weeks ago the roof started leaking and I put buckets and tumblers to catch the water. So today I called a guy. He came with a ladder. I heard a lot of drilling and something about full service and thermostat. I agreed to the full service but put my foot down at the thermostat not knowing anything about either but wanting to sound intelligent. So he said something about the false ceiling probably falling down again so I agreed to have it replaced. There are a few other repairs which need to be done and he tells me he will get 'top quality' stuff. Yes you guessed it, he's going to take a bunch of money and leave until something starts leaking again and falls on my head. 

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Walking

So taking a walk with Ninna is always a pleasure especially because I get to interact with complete strangers thanks to her. Kids are fascinated by her smushy face and after a bit of hesitation they love petting her. She's a very docile little dog and soaks up all the attention. I met two women today as I was walking Ninna in the evening. One of them had two dogs including a German Shepherd. Both the dogs were only puppies but larger than Ninna in size. Ninna ofcourse has no idea that she is a little dog. She would get on her hind legs and happily play with any dog size notwithstanding. The other woman also had a German Shepherd, a beautiful dog called Arya. I think the owner might be a big fan of the Game of thrones series. I love that series. Anshuman has read all the five books too and almost spoilt the ending of the 'Red wedding' episode. Those of you who are avid followers of the series will know what I'm talking about.

I'm writing this post on my phone. This is only the second post that I've written on my phone. I must admit it's pretty cool! And with that I bid you Goodnight!

Monday, October 07, 2013

These things

Some days there isn't much you can do but bide your time and wait patiently for life to unfold itself. An important phase of life has come to an end and another one will begin but there is space and time in between. This space is crucial, simply to take long walks, watch mushy films and in the words of young Sarah Jarosz- 'peruse and ponder'.

There are times in your life when those oft repeated words 'change is the only constant' begin to make much sense and you realise that there is nothing that can replace patience and tenacity. The patience to wait for the right moment and the tenacity to constantly knock on closed doors till the right one opens up and you make a new beginning.

On that note I'd like to say that even though I will try to update my blog everyday it's quite possible that I may not be as steadfast to my commitment as before.

I'd like to end this post with some of my most favourite words of a song- "These things have always been the same so why worry now"

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Testing

So I went to the hospital today. The person who extracted blood from my arm was either a feminine man or a masculine woman. I was quite confused but didn't want to be rude and actually ask. Then as this person drew blood he/she asked me,"You have such a nice glow on your face." I was surprised and confused even further so I just laughed and admitted," I got a facial day before yesterday." And then he/she went on to tell me how they'd tried everything for the acne on their skin but nothing worked. I kept trying to figure out if this person was a man or a woman but I'm still not quite sure. The complete lack of mammaries and the heavy voice would suggest he was a man or rather a young boy but I can't be certain. In any case his genuine compliment made an otherwise dismal day a lot better. 

Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Paratha Disaster

Anshuman wanted Aloo Parathas for dinner yesterday and I promised I would make some for him. Now it has been a while since I made parathas but that is no defence for making something as horrid and inedible looking as the paratha on the left. The potatoes got boiled and mashed too much. I put so much salt in it that even I could barely eat two and even that because i was really hungry. As you can see the potato filling came out of everywhere as I made an attempt to make a roundish shape with the belan (rolling pin) and thus the paratha disaster ensued.

Guess what my husband said,"Very nice." Gotta love that guy.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Thirteenth!

Today Anshuman and I complete 13 years of marriage. I have two fond memories of my wedding. Well actually there are a lot of fond memories but these two are my favourite. The first one is our pheras at my home in Delhi and the other one is the time I was standing outside the wedding Shamiyana waiting for my mother and the videographer to come and for some reason I thought why not have a smoke and so I did. I quite enjoyed that cigarette, my last as an unmarried woman.

My husband is a quirky guy and sometimes he says the damndest things. Here are a few of them in honour of our anniversary. Enjoy!

Anshuman- What do you want for our anniversary gift?
Me: I thought of something but I think it's too expensive so I won't ask for it...
Anshuman: It's ok I'll sell my liver for it

At the mall 

Me: isn't that a pretty dress?
Anshuman: why doesn't anyone ever say - isn't that a pretty mannequin? What about the substance? I think the person who makes mannequins must be saying it.

Me: Anshuman please eat some fruit.
Anshuman: Then get me fruit I like. I like peaches and plums. I call you my peach and my plum. Did I ever call you my pear?

Me- "Do you think I'm pretty?"
Anshuman- "you're the prettiest girl in the whole world, in the whole universe. I see your face in the stars. I see your teeth in the stars. You're batwoman and a vampire with a perfectly round face.

Anshuman- do you like your dessert?
Me- no
I taste his dessert. 
Anshuman- do you like it?
Me- yes
He switches his dessert with mine. A few seconds later...
Anshuman- what do you say?
Me between gulps of dessert- thank you

Me: what are you doing?
Anshuman: I'm smelling a 20 dirham note.
Me: why?
Anshuman: because I want to see what it smells like.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

More Is Not Enough

I really enjoy reading Buddhist Parables. I don't actually practice any teachings of Buddhism but I do try to understand it. Of course I'm just your average run of the mill person who doesn't always get the depth of Buddhist thought but the one thing that I do try to do is to stay mindful of the present moment. I rarely succeed I admit but I do try. It is very difficult to deny memory which gives life to your past but in the process snatches away the present moment or day dreaming my favourite pastime which builds beautiful castles in the air again taking me away from the present moment. It is not as easily done as it is said- "Live in the present moment and be completely aware of everything that is." But like I said, I try. Here's a parable that I find relevant in today's world of races where rats run and dogs eat dogs. Enjoy!

There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life. One day he passed a wealthy merchant's house. Through the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. "How powerful that merchant must be!" thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant.

To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined, but envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. Soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. "How powerful that official is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a high official!"

Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around. It was a hot summer day, so the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. "How powerful the sun is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be the sun!"

Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. "How powerful that storm cloud is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a cloud!"

Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. "How powerful it is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be the wind!"

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it - a huge, towering rock. "How powerful that rock is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a rock!"

Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface, and felt himself being changed. "What could be more powerful than I, the rock?" he thought.

He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stone cutter.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Men at work

There used to be a large hoarding just outside our office. For the longest time Swatch had hired the billboard. Aside from loud advertising it had another use. I used it to direct the cabby towards the office by describing the giant wrist watch on the hoarding.

Then overnight they took it down and the view outside my window became wonderful and uninterrupted panorama of the city sprawled below. Today I went to the balcony and saw men hard at work putting together a new hoarding. It seemed like a good photo op so I took a picture but inwardly I sighed a little bit. I'm not looking forward to a giant watch or any other product being plastered outside my window.

Last night or rather this morning I dreamt that I was hacking off my hair in big chunks with a pair of scissors intent on making it as short as possible. I was very upset and angry but when I woke up I couldn't remember why. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Assistant for a day

So my husband very enthusiatically told me he was taking me for a ride in the Cayman S on Friday morning to Fujairah. I was happy to accompany him but what I didn't realise was that he needed an assistant for the day. So I was writing down the route including exactly where the speed radars were the entire way to and from Le Meridien Al Aqah Resort. It's a very nice place and we had a leisurely lunch there. I ate way too much dessert. The next time I see my doctor with the blood reports he's going to cluck
disapprovingly and tell me to curb my enthusiasm for sweet things and lying on the couch. I will look down guiltily and promise myself never to eat chocolate mousse again, at least till the time it presents itself in the form of a cake meant to be demolished completely. I think ever since I've been diagnosed with diabetes I've begun to enjoy sweet things more than I ever did before. Anyway it was a nice way to spend the Friday. The best part of going for a drive is that you can sing together with full power of your lungs. It was great fun as we sang to some nice hindi numbers on the radio at least until the next radar. Anshuman is planning an event and he was mapping a route to Fujairah with the least number of speed radars so that people who will drive to Meridien can speed away as much as possible.

Anshuman drove as fast as 240 km/hr to his great delight. The joy  on his face was really something to behold. The rest of the weekend has been pretty quiet just the way I like it. A much needed trip to the beauty salon and a feast of five bananas later I'm all set to finally begin reading 'Dracula' again. It's a really good book and I promise I will finish it. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sugar

So there were two birthdays in office today so I've already had two slices of cake which means my sugar levels will go through the roof. I need to get a blood test tomorrow as I was diagnosed with diabetes about an year ago. I remember I was really distressed when I got to know but since then I've managed to keep my sugar level in check through diet and medication. It's no fun having to pop pills each day of your life, sometimes it can make you feel like you're actually sick but those times are few and far between. I know that if I watch my diet and get some exercise I should be fine. Giving up sugar hasn't been really that difficult for me. I still do eat sweets once in a while but I don't miss it much because fortunately I've never had a sweet tooth.

But exercising each day is another ballgame altogether. I've joined a gym three times and wasted money each time because I usually quit after a month of vigorous exercising. Everyone has a different suggestion but I think I'll stick to walking if only I could get off my couch after the day's work. Excuses. Excuses. Excuses.