Monday, January 31, 2011


When do things slow down?

I thought it would be after I took those exams.

Then it was going to be after that huge project at work got over.

When that trip finally happened.

When that subsequent project got done.

When my applications got finished.

When my mother came back.

When this project got done.

When the project wrap-up finished.

But there's always another project, another crisis at home, another agenda to meet.

When do things really slow down?

Do they ever?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My first love

So. I saw Dhobi Ghat. In a nutshell, I loved it. I can see why a lot of people wouldn't, but I thought it was a beautiful movie.

Prateik Babbar and Kriti Malhotra were both delightful, while Monica Dogra wasn't as bad as some of the reviews I'd read had made me expect. I mean, everything else apart, why were people quibbling over her accent of all things? She's supposed to be an investment banker from New York. How else did you expect her to speak?

What disappointed me in the movie, more than anything else (and it breaks my heart to admit this), almost from the first frame, was one thing: Aamir Khan.

I fell in love with Aamir Khan as a toddler, after seeing Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. Over the years, fleeting fascinations for other actors came and went, but my love for Aamir Khan never ever faded.

I always say the reason I never grew to love Shah Rukh Khan, or the movie DDLJ for that matter, is because I could never forgive them for sweeping all the awards when Aamir Khan so clearly deserved them for Rangeela. I cringed and hid my face when he went through his phase of doing movies like Raja Hindustani and Mela, cheered in Lagaan like it was an honest to goodness cricket match, and fell in love with him all over again when he started doing the kind of movies he's been doing for the last few years.

And much as it pains me to admit it, while I've loved most of his recent movies (except Ghajini, which I didn't bother watching), I haven't been that gung-ho about his performances in them.

I first felt this way while watching Rang De Basanti I think. Fabulous movie, but I kept wondering why Aamir Khan was doing the voiceover on behalf of Sue's grandfather. I mean, the man is brilliant as an actor, but his voice has never had the impact that was needed for that narration.

And it's the same thing that bothered me when I was watching Dhobi Ghat. He camme on screen, looking all intense and fabulous. I sighed. Then he spoke. And I cringed.

Has his dialogue delivery always been this bad? I can't remember being this bothered by it in any other movie. The brother's theory is that he's got so used to doing either quirky or super-intense roles that a relatively regular role like this, in an "artsy" kinda movie, was hard for him. I dunno.

I have never hated writing a post more.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The bus ride

In Zirakpur, just outside Chandigarh, is a place called Chhatbir Zoo. Chhatbir was a frequent weekend destination for the family in my childhood during our Chandigarh days. It's really like any other zoo, except for the area where the pride of lions lives. The lions roam freely in a cordoned off sanctuary-like area, so the only way to visit that area is either in your own car, or in the cage-like bus they take tourists in. There's a hilarious (for others) story in the family which relates how I once got on the bus, and realised only after we'd entered the sanctuary that the parents had got left behind. I was reunited with my frantic parents a good half hour later, and then was allowed by the zoo officials to come on the bus ride again with them. Two-two bus rides I got. Great fun.


I was in Nasik a few days back for my cousin's wedding. We flew in from Bombay, on the one daily flight that goes there. We got off the tiny plane at the Nasik airfield, got into a bus, and rode to get to the tiny matchbox of an airport terminal. The bus ride lasts eight minutes, and goes through a lovely, forest-y route, lined with trees.

Reminded me of the Chhatbir bus ride, is all.


So, after a two-year long engagement, the cousin got married. Great fun, was lovely meeting the clan after ages, and only one or two "you're next" remarks, to which I very categorically responded that only clones of Aditya Kashyap or Arjun Burman will do. What was probably most amusing was the absolute bewilderment some of our Bengali relatives and friends expressed at seeing the hash of Bengali and Punjabi rituals.

"They've been standing in that one spot and dancing for the past ten minutes. Why don't they just come in?!?"


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

After the rain...

Was going through unpublished drafts of old posts, and came across this one which started sometime in 2007:

Have you ever gone to your front gate after it's stopped raining and looked at those droplets of water that hang from the grill? Have you ever tried to take them onto your finger and balance them there for as long as possible?

My brother's friend was having lunch with us recently, and he was rather bewildered at the debate my brother and I were having over our individual reasons for enjoying filling ice trays. Personally, I love seeing the way the water cascades over the squares while you keep pouring the water in just one spot. I think it's just fascinating.

The brother had some other very elaborate reason for loving filling ice trays, which I can't now remember. I do however remember the bewildered look on his friend's face, and his "But... they're just... ice trays."

I was on the phone with the best friend yesterday, and our topic jumped from serious topic to frivolous jokes, and back to serious issues, with the same ease a gazelle displays while prancing around.

I miss having such random conversations. There are very few people you can have them with.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Good riddance 2010, hello 2011

Annual flashback time, I suppose. It's funny; I've been wondering about how I would write this post for weeks, but now that it's actually time to write it, I have no idea what to say.

If I was to sum it up, though, I would simply say this: 2010 sucked. Really. I hated the year more than I remember hating any other year of the past 25 years.

Which is not to say that it didn't have its lovely moments. It did. The first two months were rather lovely. The brother, a friend and I went to Jaipur for the Lit Fest and attended the first three days. The parents and the princess joined us on the third day, and we drove back on the Sunday - a road trip with the entire family after ages. I took the GMAT in February, and got a surprisingly awesome score. Which meant that the baby steps I mentioned in last year's annual flashback suddenly became more of a reality. Also, I got me a laptop - something I'd wanted for ages but never got round to doing.

And then I turned 25 in March. I know I've said this several times before, but I really did stress a lot about this. I don't understand it myself. Birthday # 26 is in two months, and I'm okay with that. Just... 25 as a number, as an age, seemed to mean a lot more.

And then I went to Italy. And got robbed. Which is when the year officially started sucking. I won't say I'm someone who never cries - I tend to start crying fairly often, particularly when I'm in a temper. The Italy incident, however, seemed to weaken me. You know how some incidents just make you feel lesser and smaller? This did that to me. Even after I got back, I went through a fairly long stretch of guilt, depression, misery all put together. I'd burst into tears at the smallest provocation (or even without, at times), and was just a pain (more than usual, that is) to be around for the next month or so.

And then in April I got an email from the brother which made me burst into tears for a good half an hour. And has now become my official make-me-feel-better talisman. Yeah, it was that kind of mail.

And then came the rest of the year.

Travel went up this year. Apart from the trips to Italy and Jaipur, Chandigarh was visited for a friend's sister's wedding mid-July. Work-related travel happened to Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkata.

The wedding in Chandigarh was tremendous fun, notwithstanding the fact that the gal pals and I were coerced into putting up a performance at the sangeet. And dancing in public is not something I do very voluntarily. I also managed to make a quick visit to Nada Sahib, one of the few religious sites I like to visit - that place always makes me feel extremely peaceful. The trouble was, the mother got hospitalized the day before I was to leave. She still insisted I go, and I made them promise they would keep me updated and tell me if any major developments happened. But... they didn't. And on the second evening, I called the father on the way to the wedding, and was informed that she had been wheeled in for surgery four hours ago. It doesn't help y'know, this keeping things away from people who are far away with the hope of not worrying them.

It also struck me, during this entire episode, that no matter how much I crib about the mother loving the brother more (she DOES), there are some things she will only share with her daughter. And even though she made me go to Chandigarh, she did let it slip once after I came back: "you weren't here when I had my surgery. I needed you." Sigh.

I left for the week in Mumbai almost immediately after that, which was even more difficult. I spent a week there end-July and I have a very strong suspicion that if I ever moved there, I would fall in love with the city. I mean, here, in Gurgaon, when I leave work after dark, it's a scary proposition to look for a rickshaw or even walk to the metro station to get home. I do it often enough, but I know the parents worry when I do. In Mumbai, I was visiting a client who happens to be a BPO. Which meant that I would never leave their office before 8 or 9 PM. Yet, catching an auto and getting back to the hotel never cause a second's concern. It was just so... liberating, y'know? The city clearly loves me - on two out of my four visits there, I had to cancel my flight back and take a later flight.

Work was... messy this year. A lot of issues with people, some altercations, a certain amount of disengagement as well. I've given this job everything I have for two and a half years now. If plans work out, I probably won't be with them this time next year. I still enjoy the work, despite everything. They've been absolutely brilliant to me in many ways - the amount of time off they've given me to deal with my personal issues alone has been incredible. I've learnt a lot from both my bosses, and as a first job, it's been a tremendous experience. But the last six months have been... difficult.

The house had two more fires - the second time, I was home when it happened. Some new friendships were strengthened, some old ones let go of. The brother was very nice to me over the summer - not something I'm used to, but something I could get used to.

The blog was neglected this year. For the first time since I started this blog, I went more than two months without a single post. Too much was happening, and twitter seemed like a sufficient outlet. What was nice though, was that several people actually asked why there hadn't been any new posts. And since you lot never comment here, this was not something I was expecting.

I did get some brilliant news during my week in Mumbai though - a story I'd sent in got selected for publication in Chicken Soup for the Indian College Soul. Considering I grew up reading those books, this was totes exciting stuff. The book should be out this year - much anticipation is felt. Back in June, I'd also entered the post about the father is one of those blog contests - didn't win, but the BlogAdda guys were nice enough to send him a print of the post.

I ran for RAHI Foundation again this year. Unlike last year, this year I tweeted about it, and was incredibly touched by how many people shared my appeal forward. And how many unexpected people came forward to donate.

The last two months became incredibly stressful, with application deadlines looming over my head. Things would have been less stressful if I had procrastinated less, but we shall not head there. I completely neglected my health this year - something I need to get back on track.

Now that I think back, I'm not sure why I hated 2010 so much. I think some of the stressors, while not HUGE, were just prolonged. A lot of the bad stuff was my fault entirely, and could have been avoided. A lot wasn't. Some continue.

New Year's Eve (and Day) were verra naice. Spent with friends, something I really didn't do enough of last year.

The first week of 2011 has been... mixed. Some nice moments, some bad news, some big decisions - it's all happened already. This year is going to be eventful, I know. One way or the other, I'm going to be in a very different place by the end of this year.

I need to start focusing on my health. I need to write more. I need to be nicer to people - both my loved ones and people I can't stand. I need to meet my friends more often.

I'm not making resolutions - just listing things I want to do.

I'm looking forward to this year. And I haven't done that in a long time.

Here's hoping each one of you has a brilliant 2011. :)