Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Chocolate For The Soul

Today, I got a sticky gooey square of chocolate. *Big toothy grin*
In my mail box... From my cousin Vidu, who is probably now on her way to India.
She made my day, not just by complimenting me on my writing skills but by also letting me know that her brother shared her opinion. WOW!!!.....Compliments from the family...Now, that means so much more to me than anything else in the world!!!
*stupid sheepish grin*
Well, a round eyed, awed 'OH MY GOD!!!....YOU HAVE LOST SO MUCH WEIGHT' comes a very close second !!
* shuffles foot around like Long John Silver prodding at an imaginary ant with his wooden stump *
Yup, I am a big sucker for compliments!!!...Aren't we all??
Be it the size of a little M&M or a giant nutty Snickers bar, nothing like a compliment to put a goofy smile on my face and an endorphin induced spring in my step!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Children For The World

Sesh, my director, send me this video today. Many of you may have received this in your mail box at some point in time or may have chanced upon it while trawling the net. Its powerful, moving and demands immediate action...which is why I have uploaded it pronto, just in case there is even one visitor to this page who hasn't seen it yet.

For once, words fail me!!!

The Martians Have Landed !!!

God must have had a testosterone surge on Monday night...Because just as I was snuggling under my covers with a rather interesting book , the door bell rang and in walked three beaming martians. Well, whoever said trouble comes in threes definitely knew what he was talking about!!!
As far as outward appearances went, they looked like a trio of cheerful cherubs sans the harps, wings and halos. But the grizzled dame in the bell tower of my Venusian sixth sense wasn't fooled and began to clang her warning bells.
Don't get me wrong here. I am not a man hater nor one of those 'girly' women who is beset by fits of giggles and vapours in the presence of the opposite sex. Some of my best friends are men. But I am, first and foremost, a cranky crab and a true blue Venusian who likes some semblance of order and cleanliness in my living space. The cardinal rooming rules as far as I am concerned are:
Cups & plates belong in the kitchen sink, preferably with some water in it so that the stains do not set - The Exo Fairy does not hold a 9-5 job!!!....
Garbage, and that means even the teeniest tiniest scrap, belongs in the trash can & it goes without saying that the trash can needs to have a bag in it....
Lights switches are also subject to Newton's 3rd Law & demand an equal and opposite reaction namely 'Switch Off' .......
Loud animated conversations after 12 a.m. = baaaaad headache the next morning = DUMB idea.....
And most importantly, cigarette smoke does not qualify as fragrance of any kind - so, if you must smoke, open the goddamn windows!!!...
Unfortunately, ignorance is indeed bliss for quite a few martians from work and since our employee ratios are overwhelmingly skewed towards men, I do have the dubious responsibility of keeping the Venusian flag flying high from time to time, esp in the pad we inhabit.
To be fair, some of them are highly domesticated and serve as exemplary models of the New Age Man, but then, there also are those who insist on adhering to the stereotype!!

I debate calling my better half for some moral support but my eager fingers on phone are stayed by memories of the last time he came to my rescue. In response to my distress calls, my knight in the shining armour drove himself all the way to Bangalore and then, believe it or not, left me to watch my umpteenth rerun of an insipid Hindi movie while he took off with his best friend for a drink. And did he make amends when he got back?? Oh no, he didn't. He and the rest of the inebriated martians started a conversation which went on till 3 a.m., and then when hunger struck, decided to hit the roads in search of food!!! So nopes...This was most definitely the time for some girl power...
A short conversation with my alter ego, Kkay, and another friend is all it takes to awaken the warrior within. As I gird my loins in anticipation of skirmishes ahead, I can only hope that the cosmic hormonal balance is restored soon & peace, once more, descends in my pad....Fingers Crossed!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Manic Monday

I hate Mondays!!! Especially those which come after a long cozy weekend spent under the covers with books, TV and lots of calorie laden goodies to munch on. Well, that was exactly how I spent my weekend, thanks to the tentacles of terror which had gripped the country and kept most of us in Bangalore indoors. The only time I bestirred my lazy corpulent self was to drive across town to drop off some DVDs at my designer-friend Ranjit's exercise which was well worth the effort because at his place, I was accosted by the cutest, fluffiest and might I say, the naughtiest kitten I have ever seen.
Here's a pic of the feline brat.....Don't you just love that wide eyed look of pure unadulterated mischief shining out of those luminous eyes??? I wish I could pack her into my bag and smuggle her away to Chennai...though I suspect Ging would not be very amused by that.

Coming back to my manic Monday...This is just one of those Mondays which went down-hill from the moment the cock crowed. For starters, my resolve to work off my weekend excesses with a brisk early morning walk at the crack of dawn proved to be a washout, thanks to the pouring rains. And then, just when I managed to drag myself into work looking forward to some much needed human company, I snapped a strap on my sandal. Drat!!!...Trust my luck. I have since then spent the day at my desk in an uninhabited office, being socially challenged since a trip to the nearest gossip hot spot would require me to hobble all over the campus like Long John Silver on his wooden stump. Quelling my yen for gossip, I try hard to focus on work but am distracted by mouth watering visions of plates of steaming rice liberally doused with fiery fish curry - my favourite one, which has bits of raw mango simmered in a coconut gravy !!! How in the wide blazes am I supposed to work when assailed by visions of such irresistable gastronomical delights???

*Sigh* Mondays really do suck!!...I just wish I could fast forward the rest of the day so that I can get back home and delve under the warm comfort of my blanket!!! Actually I wish I could fast forward to the end of the week, when I can go back to Chennai and cook myself my favourite fish curry!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Jago India Jago*!!!

A live bomb defused in Bangalore this morning, thanks to the vigilant citizens who are now quite determined not to bow down to the weak terror threats. I am rather proud of my adopted city..for the resilience it has displayed and the alacrity with which it has bounced back on to its feet. But the sense of exhilaration was short lived. This evening, as I cut through the bustling crowds on Cunningham Road to one of my favourite bookshops for a much needed browse, a rather excited DSK rang " Have you heard the latest news?? Serial blasts in Ahmedabad.....there were 7 blasts....oh oh oh..its 13 now!!!....This sounds more serious...the bombs were in tiffin boxes and on cycles...there are people hurt and killed....Are you outside??? Please get yourself home fast, ok?" And that was the end of an evening jaunt for many of us. Clearly, the word was spreading and people were heading home to safety and to tune into the latest news.
Shucks, what is happening in India???...It's almost as if the Toiba thugs are conducting practical recruitment tests all over our country to rope in fresh candidates!!! When will the powers-that-be wake up and do something???

* Jago = wake up [hindi]

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bangalore's Blasts Defused???

This afternoon, right about lunch time, just as a large number of the denizens in the city were smacking their lips in anticipation of a much-looked-forward-to meal, Bangalore was mildly shaken by a series of bomb blasts. Nothing normally comes in between my food and me. So, I first heard of the blasts long after lunch was done and only when my karmic sibling, Pradeep, called to check if I was back from my morning's jaunt in town. Much to my disgust, he could give me no more news than that there had been 6 blasts in the city because apparently the NDTV news site stubbornly refused to open out the lead story. Trust technology to falter in my hour of need!!!
Agog with curiosity, I marched in search of a television set to find out the gory details and found one at the end of the corridor, with a buzzing crowd already around it .
As I listened to a rather frenetic news reporter repeat his lines over and over again at a speed which defied sound, a colleague snorted in disdain " 6 bombs, one victim and a few injured??? Must have been a local wanna-be terrorist!!!...Someone who wrapped up left over Diwali crackers and, when no one was watching, shoved it in any which deserted place he found!!!.. I tell you, we are damn lucky to be living in this country where a lot of people can't be bothered to think or plan or execute meticulously!!!....Had it been a locally planned bombing in Iraq or US or anywhere else in the world, each bomb would have had a hit rate of 50-100"
I take a moment off from the sleepy dogs and the beaming corpulent faces on screen to digest his words. He does have a point in that, how can 6 bombs not claim more lives than one? My train of thought comes to a screeching halt as the phone begins to ring. A friend from the land down under. The loss of a ear doesn't seem to faze my colleague, who continues to hold court
" And look at those bumbling cops....they are just prancing back and forth, preening and posing for the wonder they have nothing to report other than the basic information!!!...These guys haven't the faintest clue as to what they are looking for and imagine allowing the news crew to walk all over the place..They will only contaminate the evidence and finally, to placate the people, will cook a story assigning the responsibility to the L.T.T.E or the Naxals or the LeT.."
The calls keep pouring in, some from people stuck right in the heart of the troubled zones. I am touched that so many love me but I am also rather surprised to see urgent news flashes about networks in Bangalore being jammed. Seriously, what did those bozos know???? Here, my ears were beginning to burn from the steady stream of calls while the idiot box was telling me that networks all over Bangalore were jammed ??? Just as it was telling me, and the rest of the world, to buy their theory that a few piddly little bombs amount to a 'rocked' and tottering Bangalore??
I decide to ditch the chattering crowd, the eloquent orator and some pompous guy on telly, for the less vocal and equally informative offerings thrown up by Google Search. So, an hour later, after having waded through many dramatic headlines and news alerts, I had to concede that my colleague did have a point when he spoke about the amateur terrorist and the poor quality of planning and execution...
Apparently most of the bombs were 'planted' randomly near bus stops and traffic islands, without serious intent to kill. There only seemed to be one semi-serious plant which claimed a life and seriously injured two others - Although most of the news channels were still arguing about the casualties. All the others, contrary to media reports, were just big bangs with a lot of hot air. Now, why on earth would anyone would waste time and energy, making and planting little baby bombs whose impact, so to speak, was to accelerate heart beats for a few hours and ruin every one's Friday evening? And although the preening bomb experts and sleepy dogs on T.V were unable to explain the who, why, and how's of the bombs, the ubiquitous Laskhar e Toiba's name along with SIMI was doing the rounds as possible culprits.
I do not know about the SIMI's involvement, but I do wish the Toiba thugs are tuned into India or World News tonight... because I bet my last shiny penny that the LeT killing machines would probably line up and commit suicide in droves if they heard of the ignoble blasts which was being laid at their doorstep!!!

Disclaimer: This post intends no disrespect to the memories of the victim/s of the Bangalore blasts nor does it mean to denigrate their passing away in anyway. Life is precious, and my prayers go with the families of the bereaved.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Chance Sitting...

Ging, as a rule, never ever poses for pictures...But yesterday, as I was fiddling around with the camera trying to snap a decent picture of DSK's new watch while packing my bags for yet another sojourn in Bangalore, Ging actually deigned to pose!!!...
....Ok people, so she has ghoulish eyes...But seriously, what did you expect from the demon kitty????

Sunday, July 13, 2008

When The Gods Smiled Down

I must confess that there are times when Chennai and its denizens stretch my nerves to its snapping point. And there is no point cribbing to the my moggies because Ging almost always sleep through my rants while DSK takes offence at every single vituperative I utter against his beloved city and being a true blue cancerian, remembers it for posterity. Unfortunately for me, it is rare for him to be at the receiving end of the special Chennai attitude, so when those rare incidents occur, it is with much enthusiasm that I seize the moment to communicate a multitude of gleeful ' I told you so' s.
So when yesterday evening proved to be a goldmine of many such moments, I could only thank the the Gods for beaming down at on me and grin away as the events unfolded in front of me.
The first signs of DSK's woes for the evening appeared soon after we settled into 'The Boat' to go shopping at a well known city mall. The boat, by the way, is an Hyundai Elantra which now transports DSK to work and back & which I sometimes meanly refer to as The Titanic. DSK hasn't had the time to explore the Boat's workings and was faced with his first challenge when I, being a music aficionado, switched on the CD player in eager anticipation of listening to some vintage rock but ended up flooding the car with songs in an alien language. In response to my raised eyebrows, poor Dsk fiddled with the knobs, checked all radio and CD channels but all his efforts to find a non alien non Tamil channel proved in vain as did his efforts to change the CDs. The Alien Song CD's staunchly held the player captive, refusing to come out and in sheer desperation DSK called his driver for an explanation
" Ba, what language CDs have you put in the car? .....Ohhhhh, Korean aa???...ok ok ok......I see....Ok, ok now tell me how to change the CDs? hmmmm....... mmmmmmm....... Whatttt??? I can only change one CD inside the car??? What about the other 7??? Whatttt??? I have to change from the back??? What back?? You mean from the boot???? no....boot means Dickie...not shoe"
The look on Dsk's face is priceless. And as hard as I try, I cannot suppress my giggles. DSK looks extremely perplexed about his driver's explanation of having to change CDs in the boot. And considering that we were hemmed in by traffic there was nothing he could do other than try make sense of his driver's gibberish.
" Where in the Dickie should I change the CDs? ...But I can change one Cd inside the car, no? I have tried all the buttons but it is not coming out...What should I do?.....hmmmm.....mmmmm......No, I didn't understand....hmmmm.....Ok, forget it, we will change it tomorrow morning"
Obviously, the effort has been too much for Dsk or perhaps, he didn't want to provide more grist for the laughing mill beside him. So we listened to Korean music of all genres - slow, fast, classical, romantic, rock, club......all the way to the mall. And this was just the start.
At the mall, while browsing through goodies on display, I spied a set of cookware I had wanted for quite a while and honed in for the buy. After much frowning and gesticulation, the sales boy finally deigned to take notice of my rather obvious interest.
" How much for those pans? On that range?"
" Big pan?"
" Big and small"
" Madam, that set....all together"
" No single pieces???"
" I go check madam..."
" Yes pleassseee.....And tell me the price if single pieces are available"
And he scampered away for what seemed like eternity during which time I paced the entire floor many times over. Just when I was going to report him at the Store's lost and found, he emerged sporting a rather bemused expression
" Madam, 850 Rs. Small no price"
" No price? Means what....its free?"
" Madam, no box for small price...come tomorrow"
Is he stark raving nuts??? To even imagine that I would drive all the way back across town the next day for a teeny weeny saucepan!!!...I march purposefully towards the cash counter holding a crock pot in one hand, using the other to drag the puny open mouthed salesman, who by the way is clutching on to the small pan and a large box.
" Your salesman tells me that he does not know the price of this pan because he cannot find the box???? Come on...Don't tell me that Shopper's Stop does not have prices on its system???" My voice has risen a few notches inviting curious glances from fellow shoppers and rather apprehensive looks from the salesperson. But this really is the pits!!!!....
" No price" That's the gawky salesman at his plaintive best, looking for allies.
" How can it be???? I really would like to speak to the store manager because this is the first time in years that I have heard anything so ridiculous in Shopper's Stop...How are you all running this place? Like a Kirana shop??"
All at once, the counter is abuzz with activity as the sales boys jump to the task of finding the price of my small pan. Anything, just anything, to shut up the indignant virago !!! After a team huddle, a slightly more confident salesman approaches me with trepidation.
" Ma'am, the small pan is 850...we do not sell the the larger pan as a single is the part of a set which comes with that cooking range and a dish"
After all that melee, now this!!!....I am at my wits end and hell hath no fury like an alpha denied. As I turned on the wimp salesman, I could see a bemused DSK making his way towards us.
" but he told me that it was available as a single piece"
" I say set...." The wimp gets his two bit in!!!!
" what's happening???"
As I apprise gamma moggie about the situation on hand, the plaintive bleats of the wimp salesman are shushed into silence by the rest of the group who seemed to have realised that their only hope was to pacify me and get me out of their floor. But not before they have dealt with Gamma Moggie....
" What is this??? You guys cannot sell us a set of pans because you do not know which are available as single pieces...And can't find boxes to figure out the prices???..I can't believe this!!!...."
I think the disbelief in his voice permeated every one's thick skulls because the salesmen suddenly transformed into models of efficiency, writing out bills for the crock pot and the small pan. Clutching my prizes in the elevator, I contemplated performing my little ' This would happen only in Chennai' victory song and dance routine but the grim expression on Dsk's face stays my feet. I have to exercise extreme restraint to not gloat but then, I decide to take the higher road and not rub salt on raw wounds.
On our way out, I check out some dark glasses and decide to buy one. A nice salesman presents me with my warranty card, a sleek care case and asks in all seriousness
" Madam, you will wear this now or I shall package it"
And that cracked me up....Even DSK, the faithful son of Tamil Nadu soil, can barely conceal his mirth at that ...As we zipped back home in the boat listening to Korean music, it struck me that life in Rajani-land does have its lighter moments!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Reversal of Fortunes!!!

" Do you think you can come home this weekend? If I leave for Rome on Thursday morning, Ging will be alone till one of us comes back....I will keep her bowls of Whiskas out but she will be alone...Pavam poochi " Dsk's voice trails into a mournful silence as he hopefully awaits the big yes from me.

With 101 things at work screaming for my urgent attention, I would have probably mumbled an distracted affirmative if it wasn't for Ging's very vocal protests in the back ground.
Obviously, she was devastated at dad dearest's impending departure.
And her incessant plaintive yowls and wails about poor Ging being abandoned and left to starve by her cold hearted family had the desired effect on the beta moggie's guilt prone conscience.
*Serves kitty right for picking daddy over mommy!!!* I think to myself with smugness writ all over my face ....Mean, I know but I couldn't resist that one.
" well OK..I guess I can get back on Saturday evening..its been almost 2 weeks anyway"
" Saturday afternoon? "
* Is he kidding me???*
" No, night or maybe even Sunday morning...I am not too sure..."
" SUNDAY!!!"
*Kitty wails reach a new crescendo in the back ground as DSK's voice rises several decibels and is hastily lowered to avoid irking Alpha *
" Oh, ok...Saturday then...." And then it is my turn to whinge " I don't even know why I am coming back. Ging really gives me a hard time when you are not there...She turns ultra aggresive , barely lets me sleep and is a gazillion times worse than a live-in mother-in-law" From the corner of my eye, I see my colleague backing out of the room as I knit my sparse brows together and stick out my thick lower lip, wearing my trademark expression of absolute petulance.
" It's ok....You just keep out of her way and make sure she has enough to eat...If she wants to be friendly she will come to you"

She will come to me???
...Now that really got my goat!!!...I had to wind up my work and lug myself back home just to babysit Ging and Gamma moggie has the cheek to tell me that if Ging wants to be friendly, she will come to me!!!

So, I wasn't in the best of moods when I flew back to Chennai last weekend but my anger ebbed in the wake of the rousing reception Ging gave me. But it seemed as if daddy's heartless departure was a reality check of sorts which brought on a reassessment of priorities for Ging. For starters, I was given an over warm welcome by the kitty. And then when I was laid low by a nasty bout of food poisoning Ging, unlike her usual demanding self, transformed into a darling cuddle bunny making sure that I was shepherded back into bed no sooner than I had gotten out of it.

Now, mind you, unlike her predecessors, Ging didn't serve mauled mice or decapitated squirrels in bed for strength and nourishment. Nor did she let up on her feeds. But on the whole, she was less brattish and demanding. And the week went by without any untoward incident and surprisingly, with much amity between Ging and me.

Even so, I was expecting Ging to revert back to type the minute she sighted Dsk at the gates. And it came as a bit of a shock when Ging turned her back on Dsk on Wednesday night, refusing to look him in the face or even join him in burrowing into his bags in search of treasures from foreign lands.

The shock gave way to unholy delight when I noted the rather determined expression on her face as she set about to ingratiate herself with me. All of Dsk's pleas were in vain because Ging just refused to budge from her stance or even glance at Dsk's peace offerings. And to rub salt on raw wounds, she made a great big show of examining my effects, even submitting to a test brush with my brand new 'Made in Europe' brow brush.
Ok, so that test brush was no concession from her because she enjoyed it thoroughly but bad cat daddy, being consigned to the corner, wasn't allowed to participate.

As of this morning, Gamma moggie was still begging for forgiveness from Ging and offering to soothe down her ruffled fur with my brow brushes - an offer which kitty has turned down with barely concealed disdain and oodles of lovies for mommy.
*Wicked toothy grin*
Am so lovin it!!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Remembering Erma

Ok, this is not one of my conventional posts which ramble about Ging's antics or rather her feuds with me or about her blind adoration of her daddy dearest. For one good reason. I have been away from home for close to two weeks now and have had nothing much to write about other than rather mundane gossip from work. So, over the past couple of weeks, I have been reading a lot of Erma Bombeck, an American humorist whose column about suburban home life sky-rocketed her to literary stardom in the second half of the 20th century. And I have loved every page of all her books I picked up. So much so that I have put together some of my favourite Bombeck witticisms....which find a special place in my heart not only because of the wit factor, but also because it can't get truer that that...

" A child develops individuality long before he develops taste. I have seen my kid straggle into the kitchen in the morning with the outfits that need only one accessory: an empty gin bottle."...Err, I agree....not because Ging waltzes in sporting fishnet stockings...She just sports Don C, who invokes bleary visions of empty gin, whiskey & cheap rum bottles by the dozen!!!....

"Before you try to keep up with the Joneses, be sure they're not trying to keep up with you"...So true!!! I grew up watching dad and my uncle vying with each other for the silliest of things like whose house is taller, whose dog is most ferocious, who had the newer car, and...whose drunken antics were dumber!!!. Their feuds were a source of endless entertainment for us though I now wonder how my mom and aunt survived them!!!

"God created man, but I could do better" ...And probably with leftovers rather than a rib reluctantly parted with!!!

" Housework, if you do it right, will kill you. " ....Don't you love this lady???

" I haven't trusted polls since I read that 62% of women had affairs during their lunch hour. I've never met a woman in my life who would give up lunch for sex. " ...This totally cracked me up. I would never give up food for a man and would love to meet a blighted soul who did and actually thought it was worth it!

" I've exercised with women so thin that buzzards followed them to their cars. " ...Isn't it funny how they materialise out of the woodwork, dime a dozen, when we have one of our 'pudgy' days??

"It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else"

" There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, "Yes, I've got dreams, of course I've got dreams." Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they're still there." ..One of life's tragedies is that there are so many people who do this!!!

" Never accept a drink from a urologist. " * Big Toothy Grin* ....How much more wicked can she get?

" People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife. The rules are the same. Look for something you'll feel comfortable wearing. Allow for room to grow. "...Oh,so true!!! I often wonder if people who choose their spouses for their looks, wealth, etc eventually end up regretting their choices....

" Some say our national pastime is baseball. Not me. It's gossip. " - Amen to that!!! * Big toothy smile*
" What's with you men? Would hair stop growing on your chest if you asked directions somewhere? " ....he he he.....I loved that shot!!!

"I am not a glutton - I am an explorer of food”...Erma, if only I could hug you for this one!!!...People laugh at me when I say that I am a sacrificial lamb at the alter of gastronomical delights... but seriously, what would they do without my expert guidance in the matters of good taste???

“Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I'm taking with me when I go.”....Oooooh yes, Ginger is my pick, if Jalapenos don't qualify as a spice!!! And no, this has nothing to do with the cat, Gingerbread..

"The art of never making a mistake is crucial to motherhood. To be effective and to gain the respect she needs to function, a other must have her children believe she has never engaged in sex, never made a bad decision, never caused her own mother a moment's anxiety, and was never a child.”....I leave it to the mothers out there to give their opinions on this one...

" There is nothing more miserable in the world than to arrive in paradise and look like your passport photo." ...Actually, I wouldn't mind too much because I don't photograph very well and my passport has a rather flattering picture of me..But I have seen some horrendous pictures in people's passports...

And the clincher, " I never leaf through a copy of National Geographic without realizing how lucky we are to live in a society where it is traditional to wear clothes"

Is there anyone out there who can dispute this one???