Thursday, December 10, 2015

Where The Flash reminds me of The West Wing

A dozen posts have been written in the past few weeks - all in my head, of course. And as expected, none of them made to the interwebs.

And before we proceed, allow me to say there are perhaps spoilers ahead, so proceed with caution.

So. I'm watching this week's episode of The Flash, and there's a scene where Joe West gives the watch his father gave him to Barry Allen, saying he always wanted to give it to his son. Now, Joe has a daughter, and as it now turns out, a son as well. But the watch his father gave him must be given to the boy he brought up as a son.

And this episode reminds me of an episode from one of my favorite shows - The West Wing. I love that show, and I watch it over and over. That show is why my list of new shows to watch keeps growing longer and longer, because I just keep going back to that show.

But just because I love The West Wing doesn't mean I'm blind to its flaws. Like just how chauvinistic it is. The brother sent me an article about the show several months ago, and my response was this:
I don't see why the word secretly is in there. Anyone who doesn't admit Aaron Sorkin is an asshole and a sexist and an utter douchebag is an idiot. 
That article is spot on about everything, by the way. Especially the fact that CJ Cregg would never have become Chief of Staff if Aaron Sorkin hadn't left the show after the fourth season.

AnyWAY. Why this episode of The Flash reminded me of The West Wing. There is an episode in the second season, I think. It's Thanksgiving, and Bartlet has Charlie running around trying to find the perfect carving knife. After several rounds of this, Charlie discovers Bartlet already has a knife and exasperatedly asks why he needs another. And Bartlet says it's because he's giving it away - to Charlie. Now, this knife - a Paul Revere knife, which apparently means something - has been handed down the generations in the Bartlet family.

Now, here's my thing. Joe West has a daughter, but in all fairness, he brought up Barry, and so calling him his son who deserves this watch his father gave him is... okay. Sorta.

But. Bartlet. The man has THREE daughters. THREE. And, at this point in the show, has known Charlie for just about one year. ONE. Compared to TWO DECADES of having three daughters.

Tell me Sorkin isn't an asshat.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Flashes and flashbacks

Like with most things I am terrified of, I can pinpoint the exact moment lightning began to scare the bejesus out of me.

I was in my early teens, and the mother used to teach in a school that ended a good hour after the brother and I got home. So as the responsible elder child, I was in charge of making sure the brother and I changed after getting home, ate our lunch, and (ideally) started on our homework by the time she got home. Which of course meant that we would get home, put on the TV, dawdle over our lunch, and then squawk and change five minutes before she would actually get home. (Oh, like you didn't know this, Ma.)

Good times.

Anyway, one afternoon, we were having our lunch while watching TV. I can't remember if a storm was already ongoing, or if it sprung up out of nowhere, but I do remember that our sofa was against the windows, and the TV screen faced the balcony door. And that it got darker as the afternoon progressed. And suddenly, out of the blue, a streak of lightning flashed across our TV screen, all the way from across that long living room of ours. And I'm pretty sure I grabbed my poor younger brother and screamed.

Not so good times.

I love rain, and I'm quite fond of thunderstorms. But lightning, to put it bluntly, frightens the crap out of me.

Last night, as I left work, after hearing about tornado warnings coming and going in various parts of the city, I looked up at the sky and saw lightning continuously flashing in the sky several miles away. In the direction I was headed. A part of my brain said it looked a lot like when the particle accelerator exploded on The Flash, but the rest of my brain kept having flashbacks to that afternoon all those years ago.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Beginnings and endings

It's shaping up to be a strange, strange weekend.

I'm not a parent. I don't foresee becoming a parent anytime soon, and contrary to the beliefs of everyone around me who likes to tell me I don't really mean this, I'm totally and absolutely okay with that. Because God forbid I should know how I feel about parenthood.

Two weeks ago, I got to work, parked the car, and checked my email. I usually have my phone mounted on the dashboard, and glance at messages as they come in during my drive to work; that day, for some reason that I can't recall, I had chosen not to. So I checked my email as I was getting out of my car, and I see a note from my manager that my team mate's son had died the previous night.

Today was his memorial service. And as I sat there, surrounded by my coworkers, including my manager and VP, mothers all, hearing them weep silently as the priest spoke of the loss of a child, something I've always believed was reinforced even more - I may not be a parent, but I don't think there can be nothing tougher than having to deal with the death of your child.

Tomorrow, I'm hosting a baby shower for a friend. I'm the only unmarried woman in my current social circle, but somehow I've ended up being in charge of this shower. Organizing this shower has created a good deal of stress over the past couple of weeks, because despite having studied and worked in women-only environments for close to a decade, I've never quite got used to just how utterly bitchy women can be. And some of the women who are helping and attending the shower tomorrow have been stark reminders.

But my friend is having a son in a few months, and that needs to be celebrated, even as my team mate mourns the loss of his. And so it's shaping up to be a strange, strange weekend.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Parental conversations, Part 2

This post is a complete cop out because I realised we're almost at the end of October and I haven't posted anything this month. Having said that, these gems have been collected here over the past year or so, just waiting to shared with the world. Characters, my parents are.

The father, on whatsapp, on being sent photos of wounded hand compared to the previous week:
"Looking much healthier.
Letting the nail polish show itself now."


Conversation between me and the parents before the mother came to stay with me for two months:
Me: Can Mamma's phone be fixed so it logs into her Skype account and not Baba's?
Mother: Arre we are ek jaan since 1983.
Me: Yes but if you're here and trying to call him on Skype you'll end up calling yourself na.
Father: Now that is a good example of a closed loop as used in circuit designing and programming languages. :D
Father: And. i will not be able to call M on Skype because... :(

I don't even know what the man means half the time. And he uses way too many emoticons.


The mother, seeing me the morning of her day of departure after a two-month stay with me:
"Are you dressing up so much today because I'm leaving?"


Mother: Listen, when you land for the wedding, there'll be just a week to go. You're not going to insist on going to China Bowl for dinner, are you? There'll be a lot of work to do.
Me: Yeah, but we'll still have to eat, won't we?


Late night Skype calls on wedding outfits:
Mother: For the sangeet toh I am going to buy.
Me: Everything else you're going to rent or what?


Over whatsapp:
Me: Look at these amazingly comfortable linen pants I bought. They're perfect for summers, do you want a pair?
Mother: No, I have plenty.

Two days later, on the phone:
Mother: I have to tell you what I did. I didn't want to spend money on new pants, so I got all my pants shortened and made them into capris.
Me: Well, what are you going to do in the winter then?
Mother: ....oh.
Me: Sigh.
Mother: Achha, I hope you know that when I said no to those pants I was just being polite.


Mother: Have you talked to your brother lately? Why is he losing so much weight?
Me: I *just* told you how much weight I've lost. Why do I not get asked that in such a tone of concern?

(In all fairness, the brother has always been a stick who just doesn't put on weight, the lucky schmuck. And I'm... not like that.)


Me: Next time you call me on Skype at 6.30 am on a Sunday to watch a puja the entire khandaan is present at, can I get a 5 minute heads up so I'm dressed a little more appropriately? I had to wriggle off camera before I let anyone see me.
Father: I noticed.

The master of understatement, this man is.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

On the new phone, and things that are needed

This dependence on technology is a funny thing. I didn't own a tablet till I finally gifted myself one on my birthday this year, after two years of chickening out. And barely six months later, I forgot to take it with me on one of my weekend trips, and didn't know what to do with myself on the flight.

I'm a bit of a late adopter when it comes to technology. I didn't buy my own laptop till I was two years into my first job, unlike most of my peers who had one in college. And I *refused* to get a smartphone, or even data on my phone, till four years ago. I was a Nokia loyalist (except for a brief affair with Motorola when they came out with this really cheap flip phone - *not* the Moto-Razr that everyone in college had). My last year in India, my former boss gave me her Nokia E71 when she got a smartphone, and that phone was just perfect.

Then I moved to Amreeka, and got me a BlackBerry because that's what all the gal pals back home had. And wouldn't you know it, just as I got that, everyone else moved on to iPhones and Androids. I finally moved to Android after graduation from b-school, and two months ago, upgraded from my S4 to my latest phone, an S6.

When I got the S6, I deliberately didn't download all the apps I had on my previous phone. I wanted to see what I needed and what I could live without. Turns out, I can't do without Whatsapp, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, and the Kindle app. Facebook came a day or two later. Skype, Saavn and Pocket followed soon after. Out of Milk was downloaded on my first trip to the grocery store after getting the phone; I still haven't got the Kroger app, which I should, because I'm losing out on coupons that I normally remember to load up as I'm shopping.

I resisted adding my work email to the phone initially, mainly because it wanted to encrypt things that I didn't understand and so didn't want to get into. But while I can do without my email, not having my calendar readily available was driving me crazy, so I gave in within a couple of weeks.

In the months since, I've downloaded a bunch of the travel apps I use regularly (including Uber and Lyft), Evernote, OpenTable, Cricinfo, Google News, OvuView, Mint, Amazon, and Unit Converter (I'm amazed myself at how often I need this app). And in the last couple of weeks, a bunch of fitness/health related apps because they have been needed to start tracking things. Of course, this isn't counting any of the preloaded apps like Gmail etc.

And while this seems like a fairly long list, it's actually much shorter than what I had on my previous phone. No games, for one. I've resisted getting Candy Crush Saga and seem to be getting along just fine without it for now (it’s on the tablet, so I’m still playing it, yes). I don't have all the bank or loyalty program apps I had previously. And I haven't got feedly yet - which I suspect won't last very long, but let's see.

And to think I used almost none of this a short four years ago.

So I'm curious - what are the must-have apps y'all need?

And since we're on the subject, does it drive anyone else crazy that the S6 won't let you swipe from the last screen to the home screen, but makes to swipe all the way back one by one? AND that you can't choose which screen you want to go to by just pressing the corresponding dots?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

On songs that stay with you

I listened to a lot of Asha Bhonsle's songs growing up. Her life caught my interest me too - the nuggets of gossip gleaned from overheard parental conversation and whatever I read/saw in pre-Internet days about her seemed fascinating.

One of my favourite songs by her is actually a duet - a duet with her elder sister, Lata Mangeshkar. I always preferred the younger sister to the elder, but something about this song played so beautifully every time I heard it.

And for some reason, I think of it every time I hear another song, another duet, that came out (relatively) a few years ago. A duet between Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal. I don't what it is about this song that reminds me of that one, except perhaps the fact that you'd never think these two voices would play so beautifully together. Especially since, at the time this song came out, the two singers were on such different paths as singers - one seemed to get all the "western sounding" songs, one all the more "classical" songs. But then this song came out and blew me away.

NB: It's annoying me tremendously that I can't find the complete video for Imaan ka Asar on youtube, so if anyone finds it, please direct it my way. Thank you kindly.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


One blog I follow (that's still updated) does a monthly list of everything the blogger (do we still call it that?) read that month. And every time I see those, I wish I read more - but we all know that's not gonna happen.

Then another blog I follow (which is miraculously also still updated) did this post on TV shows watched over the summer. And I thought, hey, I could totally do that, because if you weren't already aware, I watch way too much TV for my own good. And then I figured I could add movies to the list because one of my favourite things to whine about is the fact that I have to check off the books I do read, and to keep track of all the TV I watch, but nothing to keep track of the movies I watch.

So anyway, here's my list of stuff I watched over the last couple of months:

Movies, in the theater:
  • Inside Out - talked about briefly here. The red man is still popping up in my head when I'm driving.
  • Ant Man - It was actually a lot more fun than I expected it to be, mainly because for some reason I went in with minimal expectations.
  • Mr Holmes -  Friends were debating between Southpaw and Trainwreck, the latter of which I really wanted to see. And then suddenly this was suggested. Not bad, but I'm not sure I see Sherlock Holmes retiring to the country because of a case gone bad. More research is warranted on the book this movie was based on. Also not sure if I came out of the theater yawning because of the movie or just because of the way life has been in general.
Movies, on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon, and so mainly repeats:
  • Jab We Met - because I hadn't seen it in a while, and felt the need to.
  • The Boxtrolls - if ever you wondered, is there an animated movie you didn't love? Till I saw this movie, the answer would have been no. This one - I don't even know what they were doing.
  • American Sweethearts - Seen right after The Boxtrolls, because I needed a random chick flick to get over it.
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 - I was in the mood one day. I still maintain it was fun, but not as fun as the first.
 TV shows:
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - obvs. Piled up the last week to watch at one go, and there may or may not have been sniffles. There's a Jon Stewart shaped hole in my heart right now.
  • White Collar - Caught up on the final season on a couple flights over the past two weeks. This show is one of those shows that I loved when it started, and then my love for it reduced but never went away. So I let it pile up and watch seasons at one go, rather than as every episode comes out. But man, the series finale gave me major feels. I mean, I knew what happens. I read all the reviews and spoilers. Even so, the last 15 minutes or so had me gasping and sniffling. And the shipper in me really, really wishes they'd brought back Sara somehow.
  • Catastrophe - HILARIOUS. If you have Amazon Instant Video (or even you don't, because Lord knows there are ways to watch it), you should watch this show. I know people are describing it as a rom-com, and it probably is, but it's also not, but it's just so good.
  • The Mindy Project - The thing about this show is that everyone who knows me and knows the kind (and number) of shows watch assured me I would love it. So about a year ago, I caught up on the first two seasons. And I liked it, but I didn't love it. Definitely not enough to watch it regularly when the third season started. I watched the first half of Season 3 a few weekends ago, but the rest is still waiting in my Hulu queue. I'll get to it - eventually.
  • The West Wing - Lord, I don't even know what number rewatch this is. But anytime there's nothing current to watch on my list, and I have to choose between starting a new show from my never-ending to-watch list, and rewatching this show, this show wins. I finished Season 5 last night. I don't know if I want to see the last two seasons again yet, because they're the most painful ones to watch, Donna's and CJ's increased awesomeness in those seasons notwithstanding. Because I will NEVER forgive the show for what they did to Toby. NEVER.
 On the to-watch-eventually list right now:
  • The current season of Suits, but I'll probably wait for it to end and then watch the whole thing at one go.
  • Gilmore Girls - I'm halfway through the last season, and it's hurting. I'll get through it - eventually.
  • True Detective and Fargo - because everyone tells me I must. At least the first season, that is.
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - I haven't watch the last dozen episodes or so, and need to catch up at some point. But that means I need to give in and get HBO Now, and I'm not ready for that commitment till it becomes available on the Roku (also because you know as soon as I get it, marathon watches of all kinds of shows will get started). So, eventually.
  • Second seasons of Broadchurch and The Blacklist - when they come to Netflix
  • Parks & Recreation -
There are also a gazillion movies between my Netflix, Amazon and Hulu queues, but I'm not good at watching movies by myself at home, so who knows if those will ever happen.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

On things that don't change

Ten years ago, a friend's father came to pick us up from campus after the two of us were done with classes for the day. As we got into the car, he told us since we both refused to learn how to drive, we should marry guys who would be able to afford drivers to drive us around. To which I had responded, "or you know, I could get a job and pay a driver's salary myself."

Today, a friend and I went shopping, and then to her place, where she showed her husband her purchases, and explained to him exactly why she had bought she had, and why it all made perfect sense. And after he rolled his eyes and approved of everything, she turned to me to explain this is why you marry a guy who lets you buy whatever. To which I responded, "or you know, stay single and not have to justify anything at all." To which her husband grinned and nodded.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Where I write about something random because the thing I actually want to write about is just beating a dead horse

It's hard to explain to some folks what I mean when I say I'm an introvert.

My current set of friends flat out refuse to believe it. And from their point of view, it might be understandable. I do end up being the one making a lot of our plans to meet up. A bunch of us were at dinner recently, and somehow started talking about how we had all met, and as it turned out, I was the lynch pin who had introduced everyone. My response to that was if my friends from previous lifetimes heard this, they wouldn't be able to stop laughing.

It's taken me a very long time to get where I am today, to be social at all. My first year in the US, I spent my entire Thanksgiving break holed up in my apartment, not meeting anyone, not talking to anyone, not going out at all other than running errands. And it was perfect. Now, four years* later, I can't remember the last weekend I did that.

In the last ten days alone, I've gone out to meet people every day on the weekends, and I had plans three out of five weeknights last week (one of which, thankfully, got cancelled). And I'm not even counting the work lunches last week.  And while I know this was a little out the ordinary - things aren't usually this packed - for someone who has never had a social life, this is, frankly, bewildering.

And exhausting.

I'm not a people person. I never have been. When I used to do executive coaching in a previous lifetime, I would get off the phone after a 30-minute coaching session and need to sit in silence away from everyone for a while. I remember having a sleepover at my home with the gal pals some years after we were out of college, and when the sleepover spilled into a lazy Saturday at the home of one of them, I found myself getting away from them halfway through the afternoon and going to the other room to sit by myself for at least 15 minutes to decompress. And these are the girls I love more than almost anyone else.

Going into my second year at B-school, I had set two goals for myself: be more social, and to be more proactive about reaching out to people if I need help. Three years later, I can say I've made myself be better at both those things, but they're still an effort. Half the plans I make with people wouldn't be if it weren't for my obsession with animated and superhero movies. A lot of my socializing wouldn't happen if I was better at saying no to people (that should be my next goal, honestly).

And invariably, when I come back from most of these get togethers, I feel just so very tired. Interacting with others just plain exhausts me, and there's nothing that can change that.

Which is why when folks from back home suggest things like joining a book club or some other group activity because they're worried living alone means I'm turning into more of a loner than I was, I don't know how to explain to them that I need less people, not more.

*It was realized this morning that yesterday marked four years of living in the US. Hence the multiple references to previous lifetimes.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

200 pages

A conversation at lunch today:
Look, I read the first three Harry Potter books. I even started the fourth. But then I got to page 200 and they were still playing Quidditch. I mean, that's 200 pages and nothing's really happened. So I got bored and never read the rest of the books.

But it was the Quidditch World Cup! That takes time! And stuff happened!

Oh please. Nothing happened at all, and it was 200 pages, so I just stopped.

I have nothing to say to you.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Of dreams, conversations, and voices in the head

So I had this dream, right. I dreamed I was going somewhere with a friend, and I was driving, and all of a sudden she looks at my dashboard and says, "you need to get gas, the gas light is on." And I respond, "what rubbish, I got just got gas the other day, the tank's full."

And then I woke up, realized I was incredibly late, and practically ran out of the door to get to work. And halfway to work, the gas light does indeed go on, and I think to myself, "but I just picked up gas the other day." And then realised that was in the dream.


So I called the father this morning, and for once it wasn't handed over to the mother without so much as a hello, not that we are complaining or anything, and I chatted with him after more than a week, not that we are complaining or anything.

Anyway. I asked how the monsoon in Delhi was going, and got the following rant:
Listen, all I know is as soon as the Power Minister visited Gurgaon, and announced Gurgaon will never have power cuts again, we started having power cuts after weeks of none of them. And then as soon as the IMD announced the monsoons had arrived all over India, the rains in Delhi stopped completely. And now our Prime Minister has gone and announced India's going completely digital, so...

One needs to learn the art of whining without sounding like one is whining from the man.


I saw Inside Out last night. Nothing is cuter than the short movies Disney/Pixar has started playing before their movies. I was practically holding my breath thinking Lava was going to end in tragedy and I would start crying less than ten minutes into the movie (oh, like you don't do that every time you watch Up), but thankfully it all ended quite happily.

The movie itself, btw, was totes adorbs. I now know what was happening inside my head when the parents made me move from Chandigarh to Delhi at the age of 9. And I could see the little red man with Lewis Black's voice driving inside my head when I was driving home last night and again to work this morning.

And it might be soon to tell, but this movie might just end up messing with my thought processes the same way Everybody Says I'm Fine did. Because the voices in my head still go from 0 to completely panicked and crazy every time I go for a haircut or even just a head massage.


I was telling the father about a coworker who gets... excited over everything. And after giving him a few examples of what had agitated her over the past couple of weeks, I made the mistake of saying I could see myself turning into her in a few years. To which I got the response:
Can we just be clear that I wasn't the one to say that? I may have been thinking it, but I didn't say it.



Monday, June 29, 2015

Where we ramble about Anuja Chauhan's books

Much as I have loved Anuja Chauhan's books ever since I first read The Zoya Factor seven years ago, I have always hated them a little bit too.

There, I said it. At least two readers of this blog can now gasp in outrage. The rest of you probably couldn't care less.

This post has been festering for a while now, to be honest. I started and deleted versions of it every time a new book of hers released, and after the last one, the festering began again. And then of course, procrastination happened. But then this morning, I read this summary/discussion/critique/what-d'you-call-it, which prompted this post.

Here's the thing - my favourite thing about all of her books have always been just how Delhi they are. The conversations - full of Hinglish, the descriptions, the throwaway lines that make you giggle endlessly, like this one from Battle for Bittora (possibly my least favourite of all her books):
I knew my face was wearing the smug expression you see on the face of a Sarojini Nagar market  t-shirt seller when you don't buy a tee, claiming its too expensive and then come back, red-faced and perspiring, after two hours of rootling through a gazillion stalls and say sheepishly, 'woh t-shirt phir se dikhana, bhaiya.' 
When you've gone to a Delhi college, and spent hours rolling your eyes at friends who insist on shopping in Sarojini Nagar, that line is everything. And it's lines like that make me go back to her books, and make me have the parents buy them as soon as they release and send through whatever relatives are visiting whatever city I'm in.

But because her books are so rooted in Delhi, and in a certain part of Delhi, a lot of what the Ladies Finger post says is true. There's classism, and racism, and social boundaries are very clearly drawn, never to be crossed, except when absolutely necessary, and in the most ridiculous ways.

From what I can tell from the acknowledgements in each book, all of Anuja Chauhan's books have been from worlds she knows. The Zoya Factor was from her time in advertising, Battle for Bittora was from her mother-in-law's life in politics, and Those Pricey Thakur Girls, I suppose, was from growing up in Delhi in the 80s. She writes about worlds she knows. She writes about the Delhi she knows. And the Delhi she knows is a little like the Delhi I know, and a lot like the Delhi in her books - classist, racist, and very, very conscious of status.

I'm not good at parsing books and movies for every piece of social injustice, though. Also I'm frivolous. So I ignore those pieces of her books. Also, I mean, it's chick lit. Why read chick lit - even by an author whose best pages definitely come from interactions with friends and family rather the lead romantic couple in her books - if you're going to complain about the "find a guy and all will be well" theme in them?

But. There is something about Anuja Chauhan's books that annoy me tremendously. And it is the fact that she writes her lead female characters as utter twits and ninnies. Zoya wasn't a complete idiot, but was remarkably naive and susceptible to the Great Misunderstanding that is a compulsory part of every romance novel. Jinni, while showing the occasional flashes of brilliance like when she was offered money to drop out of the race, was completely clueless most of the time and definitely written as someone who would always need Zain's wise counsel to see the right way forward. And then there was Debjani Thakur, who made me want to tear my hair out. Yes, you're a molly coddled pricey Thakur girl from Hailey Road, but for Pete's sake, apply yourself a little, wouldja? And read the news a bit if you're trying to be a newsreader?

And that's why I liked The House that BJ Built. Because Bonu Singh may be doing things out of misplaced loyalty to not-so-nice parents, etc., but she wasn't a complete twit, y'know? Okay, yes, a lot of how ballsy she is may have been more told to us rather than actually shown, but she's probably the only Chauhan lead girl who wasn't written like a complete pushover who's easily manipulated. I mean, alright, Ashok Chacha tried and all, but she said no in the end, didn't she? There were logical explanations for every action she took, even if some of those explanations were rooted in Great Misunderstandings.

There's a lot to roll your eyes at in this book. The time gap, for example, did not add up. And the Trings were not living in the Annexe thirty years ago, because Chacha and Chachi moved in there while Hailey Court was being built. The Asharfi storyline made me want to rub my eyes, reread certain pages because I wasn't sure if what I thought had just happened had actually happened, and then made me want to punch someone. Also what is with Bonu not having any friends other than the Trings? Zoya had Monita, Jinni had Rumi, but all the Thakur girls, come to think of it, seem to be largely friendless.

But if you're picking your battles, and ranking her books simply by the intelligence levels demonstrated by the lead female character, this book does well. Now please excuse me while I go text a friend and ask her to return my copy of The Zoya Factor so I can reread it and decide if Nikhil Khoda still trumps a more intelligent female lead, and therefore if that book still trumps The House that BJ Built. Although first-book nostalgia tends to play a strong factor for me - it's why Arabella is still one of my favourite Heyers. Okbye.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Where by we, we mean I

Let us get announcements out of the way first. There is a wedding in the family this winter. It is not ours, so shoo. We are tremendously excited about it, and so we are willing to indulge people who talk about nothing else on the phone and therefore don't even ask people about what might be happening in their lives. Not that we are complaining or anything.

We might be talking like this a bit because we have been reading Anuja Chauhan's latest book recently.

So anyway, we were in Delhi last week. Mainly for wedding related gatherings, and of course wedding shopping, but also extremely important things like mangoes and bhutta and hair spas. Now six days in Delhi is never ever enough, and when those six days are spent shopping for wedding outfits during the day and working during the night because we have no vacation days and have to beg for time off, it is all very exhausting. Nonetheless, Delhi is Delhi after all. It is... home. Y'know?

Now wedding shopping in Delhi is... interesting. I mean, first of all, let us be clear. Delhi fashions were, are, and always will be way too jhataak for us. So the first line uttered in every shop we entered was invariably:
"bhaiyya shaadi ke suit dikha do, par zara kam jhataak ho toh."

Now the other problem is current fashions. We have been made to understand that Pakistani serials have become very popular in India. Which we are okay with because we gather they are a little less insane than the Indian ones. But as a result, Pakistani styles are the current fashion in India. Which is all well and good, because they're really gorgeous, but can we please agree that anarkalis and shararas and whatnots do not suit every body type? Therefore, the most common conversation we had in this entire shopping process was this:
"Bhaiyya salwar ya churidar ke saath nahi hain?"
"Aaj kal yahi fashion mein hain."
"Aaj kal jo fashion mein hain woh nahi pasand na."


However. The mother and I are extremely efficient, with the result that between Karol Bagh and CP and GK-I, we are done with the wedding shopping, barring one outfit. We did not have the time or energy to go to Chandni Chowk, and Shahpur Jat was wayyyyyyy too jhataak for us - except for one shop that was wayyyyyyy out of our budget. We are a little sad we didn't end up making it to South Extension, because it has been too long since we had the juice and bhel puri there, but the friend who has said she could meet us in South Ex came home the next day, so what is there.

The one outfit that is left is also not completely worrisome, because we know what we want, and the mother will have it done by the time we land back this winter. Accessories need to be picked up locally, and we need to try and find someone who can do some tailoring for us locally, because there was no time to get blouses made for the saris one has chosen, but that and all can be figured out I think.

So, productive week. Even though we didn't get to eat enough foods or meet enough people.

And now we will run to our next meeting.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Where I ramble about TV shows and movies

I've come to realise that the second I publicly say I'm going to blog about something, the chances of actually doing so go straight to zero. Case in point - this month. I told @moronmoron I would write about why The Avengers infuriated me even though I loved most of the movie, and I didn't. I wrote in my last post I wanted to write about season 11 of Grey's Anatomy, and I didn't.

Oh, well.

I think it's fair to say that I watch a lot of TV. The fact that it took me two weeks between watching that episode and finishing the last the three episodes of Grey's Anatomy this past week is only partially due to the fact that I seem to have developed a social life that gets in the way of my TV watching, and mainly due to the fact that all the shows I watch on a weekly basis were having their season finales.


I was infuriated by the latest Avengers movie because I couldn't believe they had reduced a kickass character like Natasha Romanoff into a lovesick, baby-wanting woman who used lines like "still think you're the only monster?" after narrating the story of how she came to be sterile. I had conversations with two guys after seeing the movie, and although one of them argued that that line could have been interpreted to refer to her history as an assassin/spy/whatever-it-is-that-she-was, they agreed her arc in the movie was jarring.

I looked up online reviews of the movie to see if others had felt the same way, and surprise, surprise - I wasn't. There were plenty of articles and reviews that expressed my fury far more articulately than I ever could. But here's the thing - a lot of them talked about how Marvel doesn't know how to treat women. Now, I'm not qualified to talk about what Marvel has done outside of their cinematic universe, but I sure as heck disagree with this statement, because just look at their TV show. That show has had major ups and downs in its two-year run, and I have no idea what its season finale was all about, but them women on that show - they're awesome. They're smart, and strong, and amazing to watch.

And if you think about it, a lot of the shows I watch, despite being fairly "soap-y", write women really well. Shows like Once Upon a Time and Grey's Anatomy get astoundingly ridiculous at times (I mean, why anyone would ever want to move to Seattle is beyond me), but both these shows - even Castle as a matter of fact - have female protagonists who are kickass in all sorts of wonderful ways. Grey's Anatomy, especially, shows women balancing their careers and their families/kids in a way that no other show that I can think of does.

Sidebar: Since I seem to be stuffing everything into this post, I'll be honest. My biggest gripe with Grey's Anatomy in particular has always been its lead male protagonist - Derek Shepherd. Ever since the second season, where a, he turned out to be married, b, he chose his marriage over Meredith because it was the "right" thing to do, and c, basically came out and called her a slut because she chose to deal with the break up in a certain way, I've hated him. And then there was his complete arrogance regarding his professional brilliance, whether it was sidelining Meredith over the trials they did, or trying to oust Amelia from the Head of Neuro job because he decided he wanted it back - that guy was an ass. And had no character growth whatsoever in 11 years, unlike Alex Karev, who started out an ass, but is now the best I'll-do-it-grudgingly-but-I'll-do-whatever-you-need-me-to friend a girl could ask for. End sidebar.

What do I want from a movie or a TV show when it comes to women? I don't necessarily need the Bechdel test, because Lord knows it's flawed. I mean, depending on who you talk to, Age of Ultron technically passed it. I want women who are smart and kick ass. I want women who have female friends, and I want women who have male friends. I want women who have/want a relationship and kids, and I want women who don't want that (Christina Yang, you are missed). I want women who can say cheesy lines like "the only one who saves me is me" to the man she's in love with when he comes to save her.

Is that so much to ask for?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Where we react to that episode of that TV show

I just watched that episode of Grey's Anatomy. The one from a few weeks ago, the one that everyone who knows the show exists knew about within minutes of it happening, because this is not a fandom that is able to contain its spoilers.

I've been catching up on this season of the show over the past ten days or so, and have had a lot of thoughts that I wanted to blog about once I was done with the season. But now that I've gotten through this episode, I need to react to this episode in isolation, separate from the rest of it.

There's always that one episode of Grey's Anatomy that gets to me every season, and makes me beak down and bawl like an idiot. In its 11th season, this one was it. The last ten minutes of the episode were it.

The episode reminded me of this conversation.

The episode reminded me of a moment that took place in college. I was presenting in class. What I was presenting on, I can't remember. But I remember the room we were in, and where I was standing. I remember my professor telling us about her father, and how she had to take the decision to end his suffering, because her mother couldn't. I remember standing, facing my classmates, and watching each and everyone of them sobbing at my professor's matter of fact narration. I remember wondering why I wasn't sobbing. I remember my professor rolling her eyes and turning to me, saying "chalo, at least you're still the sensible one. Let's carry on now." I remember beginning my presentation, and having to stop because my voice broke. I remember taking a deep breath and starting again, only to break down completely. I remember turning around to face the wall, taking long and deep breaths and trying to get it together. I remember turning back, mouthing sorry to my professor as she looked at me exasperatedly, and continuing with my presentation.

I remember thinking if just the thought of having to take such a decision could shatter me like this, how had my professor survived it. And I remember thinking I wanted to be like her when I grew up.

The episode reminded me of a decision my family took two summers ago. I remember us spending weeks, trying to put off the inevitable. I remember us looking at each other, knowing we had to, but looking for reasons not to. I remember each of us, one by one, finally saying yes. I remember my brother asking for three days. I remember spending those three days, trying to pile in every moment we possibly could. I remember wondering once or twice why we were were prolonging the agony. I remember taking her for a walk with my brother. I remember coming back from the walk and seeing her refuse to enter the house. I remember her lying down in our driveway, and refusing to move from there, as if she knew what was about to happen. I remember the vet arriving, and all of us sitting around her while he did what he had to do. I remember the scream I let out when it happened.

And anyone who tells me I can't, or shouldn't, compare that memory with the loss of losing a parent, a spouse, or a child, can go fly a kite.

This damn show. It just gets to you, man.

That is all.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Pieces of me

I have these nights, occasionally, when I don't get sleep all night. They used to happen only when I went home to India and was jetlagged - I always had that one night of staying up. But over the last year or so, they've happened a few times for no discernible reason.

It happened again last Sunday. I'd been lazy all weekend, and done close to nothing productive. I needed to get up early on Monday because I had folks coming to look at something in the apartment before I left for work, and I had an event to go to Monday evening that I knew I'd be coming back from fairly late. And there I was Sunday night, trying to sleep, but more alert and awake than I had been all weekend.

Someone asked me, when I told them about this, if it was because I was stressed about something. I don't think so, was my response. There's nothing I can think of that's stressing me out at the moment, and if there was something in my subconscious, chances are my should would have informed me by beginning to ache. So, I don't think so.


I don't know when I turned into this movies-based-on-comic books fangirl. I've never read a comic book in my life, but I now watch every single Marvel or DC based TV show that is currently on air (except Gotham, because that show bored the heck out of me). And I just read the first review of the Avengers movie that is releasing next week, and it's got me so ridiculously excited that I need to tell the world about it. When did this happen to me?

(On thinking about it a little more, I think we can all agree to blame the brother for this. Pretty sure it all started when he dragged to watch The Dark Knight.)


I have a Bangladeshi coworker who sits one cube over. A mutual friend introduced us soon after we both moved into our current department, with the words "just wanted to you both to know of each other, in case you were planning to say things in Bengali hoping no one else would understand." Very kind of him, I have to say.

So, this coworker. Conversations with her are quite straightforward and fun, and she has a fairly matter of fact way of talking. So it entertains me no end that occasionally, I'll hear her on the phone, talking in Bengali, either to her husband or parents or some other relatives, and the sheer whininess that creeps into her tone is simply amazing. It's in our blood, you guys.


Along with priority and my own name at the end of an email, I think we can add occasionally to the list of words I can never spell correctly on the first go. I've spelt it incorrectly every single time in this post (which also tells me I use it fairly often).

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Halka Aunty style

One of the nicest things about the company I work for is that, for the most part, they really don't care how you dress. We moved to a casual dress code a while back, and so as long as you're not meeting customers or external partners (or y'know, working in Finance), it's jeans and a sweatshirt every single day if you want.

And since it's a company with a very internationally diverse employee base, which includes a large number of Indians - especially, and this is fact, on the floors IT sits on - I could honestly wear a salwar kameez every day if I wanted to. I've done it occasionally over the past year or so, especially on festivals and such, and it's nice to be able to do that.

So this morning, after getting dressed and ready to leave for work fairly early for a change, I started running over the things I need to do, and realized I need to call the grandmother for nobo borsho - the Bengali New Year - as well as the parents, and probably send the brother a text that he should call them as well (which, now that I think of it, I didn't end up doing). And in all that mental processing, I decided what the heck, let's wear Indian today. And so I pulled out the new white kurta and orange dupatta I had bought a few weeks ago (along with green leggings, in the hope of wearing this outfit for one of the World Cup matches), and wore them with my black jeans. And it struck me, all over again, how much I miss wearing salwar kameezes and dupattas. My fabulous dupattas, mostly.

And since this blog seems to be big on random memories and anecdotes lately, here's one that came to me today. The dupatta I chose to wear today is one of those silky ones that keep slipping off. However, the kurta has embroidery similar to Lucknow-i chikankari, so I decided to wear the dupatta long, over just one shoulder, because that was keeping it in place. And it reminded me of a friend my mother had, back when I was a kid. This lady - Alka Aunty - always wore her dupattas over one shoulder. She was the only lady I knew who wore them that way, and it fascinated me, probably because she was the only one who wore them that way in Chandigarh as far as I could tell. And so when I pretended to dress up, I would wear them the same way, and say I was wearing them "Halka Aunty style" - because apparently at the age of 5, I couldn't say her name properly.

She moved away years ago, and I have no idea where she is today. But it was fun today, wearing a dupatta "Halka Aunty style".

Thursday, April 09, 2015

The odd flashback

A gazillion or so years ago, when I was still in college, I was walking from home to the neighbourhood market - in all likelihood, to visit the lending library run by the sweetest old man ever, who lent all books for 5 rupees for the first day, and 1 rupee for every subsequent day. Unless you were borrowing a Mills & Boon, in which case it was a flat 2 rupees per day.

Anyway, so I was walking. I got a lot of walking done during the years I visited his shops. But this particular walk has always stayed with me because I was walking past the park (which just proves how long ago this is, because that park was taken away from the kids who used to play there to be turned into a hospital or something because it was a legal mandate but then they abandoned the construction halfway through, so now this half-built hospital just sits there, empty, and someday they're going to make a movie where someone comes to visit their past and this hospital will be where they go first because they used to play cricket there or something and I really should stop digressing so much back to the walk), and suddenly I could hear rain falling. Which was weird, because it was bright and sunny and slightly humid and I definitely didn't have an umbrella but I wasn't wet either. But I could hear the rain fall. And then I walked two steps forward and found myself feeling the drizzle. I took one step back and it was dry. I walked forward again, and could feel the rain again.

I was reminded of this moment earlier today, on my drive to work. It's been windy and cloudy for the last few days, with stormclouds threatening to burst but never quite getting there. And this morning was no different as I drove. But then I turned right, and then got on the expressway a minute later, and suddenly my car was bathed in sunlight.

It was a nice moment.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In retrospect

I made myself write a sort of monthly update at the end of February, but somehow the past few months have been such a blur that maybe it's a good idea to think about them as a whole. I'm trying to figure out why I've been on the go so constantly, because it's not like I haven't had my down time. But it has sort of felt like I'm hurtling down a tunnel, towards something I'm not sure how I feel about.

Well, when you put it that way...

Work, for the past several months, has involved a massive project. And the end is in sight. But the end being in sight means things are crazy, stressful, and all sorts of things. When I came into this role last year, I was told by my predecessor one of the most important things for me to do would be managing upwards. And that's been the most useful piece of advice I got from her. My boss tends to... freak out. Which in many ways is a good thing, because I'm the same, but having to calm her down meant I stayed calm. The thing is, that approach worked till about mid-February, when things got so crazy that I wasn't staying calm anymore. So over the past couple of weeks, I've had her looking at me asking "so, are you okay?" and telling me to calm down.

When I was in school, exam time meant I used to invariably, without fail, get stress pains in my shoulder. In later years, that pain showing was my way of finding out I'm stressed about something. There would be big days - job interview, important project milestones - when I would think I'm fine, and then the pain would start and I would think, "there we go". For the past eight weeks, that pain has been in my shoulders pretty much constantly. At times it's also felt like there's a sledgehammer floating over my head, about to fall at any moment. More recently, the subconscious has gone from just a shoulder pain to just really weird dreams.

So given the work situation, the personal front has taken a bit of a backseat. Moving, having the father here, falling sick, and the big trip - they all happened just as work was getting crazy. So once I got back, there hasn't been much time for anything other than work. I've had to force myself to handle things on the home front, be social, or even maintain any kind of online presence. I have to remind myself to look at twitter, tumblr, or even feedly these days. Which makes me a lot more productive at work, but leaves me feeling a little... lost sometimes. I haven't even kept up with the latest movies or music from Bollywood, which as anyone who knows me will tell you is just wrong. But when you're on a 16 hour flight listening to a Bollywood channel where you can't recognize any song other than Punjabi Wedding Song, you know you've been missing out on things.

A friend got engaged a week ago, and as I spoke to him to find out details, and to other mutual friends to figure out if/how we're attending his wedding, I realised I hadn't spoken to any of them since the beginning of the year. And that's ridiculous even by my standards.

And then there's been the World Cup. Given the time differences, I haven't kept up with it as much as I would have liked. Night have been spent dozing on my couch with the TV on, jerking awake every time the decibels went up because a wicket had fallen. And when this is happening in parallel with the aforementioned work project, it all makes for a very exhausted body.

So just last week, I've had two nights of less than two hours of sleep due to cricket heartbreak, two nights of less than four hours of sleep because of friends texting stories just as you're trying to fall sleep, waking up periodically through the night because colleagues who are working through the night are sending updates and you need to know, dammit, and calls scheduled for really early in the morning.

Amidst all of this, there was one other thing. I turned 30 a few weeks ago. I was utterly depressed about this milestone, didn't want to do anything to celebrate, but didn't want to be lame and sit at home either, so it was a relief when a friend decided to organize a dinner on my behalf. Not one person - friend, colleague, relative - let me forget all day just how old I was turning, but it was touching to see how many people bothered to remind me, I suppose. And of course, once you actually get past the milestone, nothing really changes.

So yes, the days have been about work, and the nights have been about cricket, and everything else has fallen by the wayside. But all of that has finally come to a close this weekend. So it's time to pick up the threads of my life, talk to friends more, start taking care of myself a little more, start taking care of my apartment a little more, maybe even tweet a little more.

Let's see how much of that actually happens.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Where my subconscious starts acting up

There have been weird dreams lately.

Two nights ago, when I had only 90 minutes to sleep between the heartbreaking end of a match, and y'know, work, I dreamt nonstop about the call I had to get on half an hour after waking up, and how everything on the call was going wrong and it was all my fault.

Which is weird because though things have been stressful at work lately, I thought I've become the sort of person who leaves work at work. Once I'm home, I'm not really thinking about it. Clearly my subconscious believes otherwise.

Then last night. Slept relatively earlyish, although not as early as I would have liked to. I knew I had calls starting super early this morning, but I also knew colleagues were working through the night and sending status updates, so I kept waking up and reading emails. So again, clearly not as switched off as I like to think.

But in between those periods of being awake, the dreams. But first, a side bar. I've been getting used to the new apartment, and one of the things to get used to is that there is an attached garage for my car, and a door to enter the apartment through the garage - one of the main reasons I was sold on this apartment, to be honest. Now because of this garage door, the main entrance to the apartment is hardly ever used. It took me three days to realize a package had been left outside my front door, because I never checked. And then the other day, I came home and knew I had to leave again in 15 minutes, so I parked outside the garage and tried to enter through the front door. Only to realize that my paranoia of keeping both locks on the door locked ever since getting robbed some years ago meant I couldn't open the door from outside. So I went in through the garage, and then left ten minutes later through the front door. Only when I came back two hours later, and this time parked in the garage and therefore tried to enter through the garage door, I couldn't, because paranoia meant I had double locked the garage door this time.

I would like take a moment here to publicly apologize to the mother for rolling my eyes every time she talked about how many doors she has keep track of and make sure are locked in her house, since I clearly can't manage even two. Which does not mean I won't roll my eyes in the future.

End side bar.

So the dreams last night. I dreamt I was leaving the apartment through the front door, and as I was locking up, some woman who I didn't recognize but who in the dream seemed to be some sort of nemesis of mine bumped into me and we had... words. When I come back some hours later, I enter my apartment to find every piece of furniture I own has been stolen, and I'm left with nothing. So the conclusion is she stole my key when we had our altercation and so I go to the police station which is nothing like any police station I've ever seen because it's so pretty and for some reason this nemesis of mine is already there and we have words again, and then suddenly, there is time travel and I'm back at the exact moment I was locking my apartment door that morning. Cut to later when I'm telling someone how this time, I knew she was waiting to bump into me and steal my key so I made sure that didn't happen (how, I have no idea). Cut to that evening when I come home and everything is in its place so yay time travel.

And then I woke up because the father was calling to make sure I was up for the first of my early morning calls.

So... the important question here is - is the past tense of dream dreamt? Or dreamed?

Friday, March 06, 2015

Where I add to the noise without saying anything at all

For everyone who is outraged that the video has been banned, I'd like to ask you: who's really watching the video? and gaining/learning anything from it?

For everyone who is outraged that the video was made and is being viewed, and creating a furore because things are so much worse elsewhere, I'd like to direct you what some people like to call the Sainath fallacy.

And for the record, no, I haven't watched it, I haven't read much about it, because I can't. I would if I could. But as I've said before, I can't anymore. I am so exhausted from the perpetual outrage and the never ending latest atrocity and the continual latest example of complete and utter misogyny that I just can't.

And I don't know what the solution is. All I know is I don't see one, at all.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Where we force ourselves to end the writer's block

I suppose I should take solace in the fact that I stuck to my two-posts-a-month plan for at least a year. I suppose the streak was bound to end sometime. I could offer the excuse that it's been a crazy, hectic month, and I haven't known if I've been sitting or standing half the time for the past few weeks, but since I'm the only one interested in those excuses, how does it matter?

It was a bit of a doozy of a month, though. I moved apartments - well, technically, on January 31, but it's never just the actual day of moving, is it? It's the week of packing that precedes the move, and the weeks of unpacking that comes after. Luckily, I was very strategic about my moving plans - I made the father come stay with me and do it all. He landed three days before moving day to find I hadn't even started packing, and left three weeks later. Based on those three weeks, I can report that it is just nice to have a parent around to take care of you when you're sick, no matter how old you get (more on getting old later), and I'm pretty sure he now has seen more of the DFW metroplex thanks to all his gallivanting with a college friend who happens to live in the area.

I would also like to report that contrary to the impression the previous paragraph may have given, I am a wonderful daughter who really doesn't get enough credit for doing things like actually getting through an entire dinner with said college friend of the father without once informing him how utterly obnoxious an individual he is.

I write really long sentences.

Moving on. The highlight of February, though, was the weekend after the father left. Actually, let's face it, it's probably the highlight of the year because I'm not sure how anything is supposed to top going to Australia to see India play South Africa in the World Cup and have them actually win the way they did. The trip was something I'd been talking about doing for years, had been met by skepticism by all near and dear ones, made actual, concrete plans for almost nine months ago, and the fact that it all actually worked out is something I'm still finding a little hard to believe.

In other news, my phone is slowly but steadily seeing all its organs fail. No, really, I don't know how else to describe it. Six months ago, the camera stopped working. I mean, I'm in Chicago, clicking photos of the mother, and one second she takes a really nice photo of me; the next, the camera just fails. Then, a month ago, it stopped playing any music files. So how I'm supposed to listen to any Bollywood music, I dunno - especially since no matter how many times I clear my Saavn queue, that darn playlist I made the mistake of listening to two years ago keeps popping back up. So yeah, I might need to replace my phone soon, but I've promised myself a tablet as a birthday gift this year, so munnies will go to that, and I'm being all indecisive about things.

Speaking of. Birthdays. Sigh. The big 3-O is nearly here. Can we have February last forever please? Let this month just... not end.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Of recipes and memories

My mother has a bookshelf in her kitchen that has a number of cookbooks on it. Most of them are bought, but among them is a blue diary**, with yellow pages that are falling apart, holding a number of loose sheets of paper shoved in within its pages.

This diary has my Thamma's handwriting all over it. I'm not sure how my mother, the youngest bahu, ended up with it, but for most of my childhood, I remember that being the go-to book that would be spread open in the kitchen any time my mother was making carrot cake, or baked vegetables, or one of several other recipes.

I don't remember seeing it being used all that often in recent years - partially, I suspect, because I paid less attention, but also I suppose because some of those recipes have probably been used often enough to make referring to the actual recipe unnecessary.

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a good cook. I like the idea of cooking, and do it from time to time. But it doesn't come instinctively to me, and that frustrates me. When someone rattles off a recipe on the phone to me, it's pointless because I won't remember any of it. And when anyone tells me to add something "andaaze se", it makes me want to tear my hair out. I need to see a recipe to make anything, and I need to be told exactly how much to put in of every single item I'm adding.

I own one cookbook, and I have a number of recipes saved in my email or my browser favorites. But a few weekends ago, I found an unused notebook I had bought impulsively a couple of years ago (hello, cute puppy on cover of diary. come home with me, yes?), and never used more than two pages of. One of those pages was a to-do list, and the other page was a recipe. And just like that, without really thinking it through, I found myself spending the next hour painstakingly writing down the recipes for the ten or fifteen recipes I use on a regular basis, along with a few that I want to try at some point.

This notebook is now sitting in my kitchen, and has been referred to twice or thrice in the past few weeks. I'm hoping it gets used more often, and that it gets added to more often, and that eventually, I won't really need to refer to it that often, but that it will still sit there, waiting to be opened up and looked at.

** Update: The mother has emailed me to point out that I have my diaries all mixed up. Apparently the one with Thamma's cake recipes is a brown leather bound diary, while the blue one is something she herself used to save and scribble recipes in, and was originally given to her by her father-in-law so she could learn to read and write Bengali.

I was a kid, okay. But the point is the same, really.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

On Broadchurch

If you haven't watched the show Broadchurch, and intend to at some point (and I highly recommend you do because it is amazing), this post may not be for you (also don't search for the show online - at all). Because I spent about six hours yesterday watching all eight episodes at one go, and I'm trying to decide why and how I figured out who the killer was. So even if I don't name the killer outright in this post, the way I try to analyze this, I might, as they say, give the game up.

So, here's the thing. I'm the person who turns to the last page of a mystery book to see who the killer is - once I form a suspicion of my own, that is. I can't help it, that's who I've been since I started reading Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark in my early teens, and I do it till today.

So yesterday, when I started watching Broadchurch, I think it was in the third or fourth episode when a very friendly and nice scene made me wonder. And then  I obviously did a search on the show, while watching, without really intending to find out if I was right. And as it turned out, one of the first results that popped up explicitly stated - as a synopsis in the results page itself - that the second season of the show will be about said character's trial. So a, I was right! B, don't do a search for the show if you've got this far in this post and still want to watch the show, 'kay?

So what I'm trying to figure out is why I thought it was this person. Was it simply because this person, by this point in the series, was honestly the least likely person? And reading and groaning over Agatha Christie as a teenager invariably makes me suspect the least likely person? Or was it the fact that one of the lead cops on the case kept showing her trust in the people she knew, the community she lived in, and the other lead cop kept telling her not to be so certain? And the person I suspected was, after all, the person she would have been most certain about?

And then - this is the truly spoilery part - there's the part where she looks at another woman, who has suffered a different tragedy, and judges her for not knowing. "How could you not know?", she asked. That line was bound to come back to haunt her, wasn't it? By the time that scene took place, even I hadn't already decided and found out who the killer was, the scene was set up, my first thought would have been, "well, aren't you going to regret saying those words."

I think. Would it have been? Would I have seen the point of that scene as clearly if I hadn't peeked ahead? I can't decide, and that's what's bothering me.

I really need to stop peeking ahead when I'm reading/watching mysteries.

Also, for those of you have who have watched the show, is there any point to watching Gracepoint? Because I still don't understand why they remade it the way they did. And I'm wondering I should spend another six hours (or longer since I hear they added a couple of episodes) to see the point of the remake. No, right? Tell me I shouldn't spend that kind of time. Please?