Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Welcome To The World - Anhad and Paavaki

Its strange how time flies and how things change. Just like while driving, the landscape keeps changing from one beautiful and picturesque view to another, the situations in life keep changing from one colourful scenario to another. It just seems like yesterday when eight of us used to live together in one flat during my engineering days. We were great pals, eight girls who knew each other's secrets and stories. Each of us went through various highs and lows, saw each other crying and breaking down, saw each other fall in love and moving on, celebrated each other's successes in exams and later in work and so on. A couple of years after graduating some of us got married, some went for higher studies and some continued working. However, now another phase of life has started, another landscape in the journey of life. Ruchi already has a beautiful daughter Pari, who is now 20 months old. Parneet was blessed with a baby girl Anhad, on 29th December and NV was blessed with a baby girl Paavaki, on 13th January. Its almost as if another gang of girls is in the making :-)

ANHAD & PAAVAKI
















I used to chat with NV every day for hours. Even when she went to US with her husband our chats continued in the same fashion. It is since the day Paavaki was born that we haven't had a chat even once. She has become so busy with changing diapers, feeding the baby and taking care of her needs that she hardly gets time to sleep, therefore coming online to chat is near to impossible for her. I realise that life has changed dramatically for her and she is struggling to get used to it. I so want to meet Parneet and NV to hold and cuddle their little ones but it's not possible anymore. We are all in different cities and very busy with our lives. We just manage to send mails to each other, share snaps and keep each other updated with the latest gossip and news.

I really wish at times that all of us could be together again, along with husbands and kids. It would be great to have that sort of a reunion sometime. Sigh! Wishful thinking, that's what it is.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Long Island Weekend......... Contd.

My last post (or should I say non-post) was unintentional. I accidentally posted just the title and hence the funny post without words happened. I would have removed it but when I got a couple of comments on that post I decided to let it stay.
Anyhow, this post is about what I did this past weekend and how does Long Island come into picture. I met GO (My George Orwell) on Saturday after a pretty long time. None of us remembers when was it that we last met, as if we have collectively lost that portion of our memories. I can guess that it must be close to 2 years but I am not sure. Its funny really how we don't remember when and where did we last meet. We have stayed in touch throughout, courtesy orkut and phone, probably that's why we never realised that time is flying by and it's probably 2 years that we haven't seen each other. Finally we met and I noticed that GO looks as cute as ever; the same smiling face, the same witty jokes, only this time GO had a car :-)
We wanted to catch a movie, or to be true, it was I who wanted to catch a movie because I usually don't get company in Gurgaon for the movies. The only available option was Chandni Chowk to China! GO warned me that it was a crap movie but I HAD to watch it, so we did. Crap was an understatement, the movie is outrageously bad. I don't even want to write about it. However, GO and I still had a good time by laughing at everybody and everything in the movie. After the movie it was time for TGIF, yeah whats a date without a couple of drinks!! Oh, didn't I tell you that it was a date? Well it was, seemed like it at least :-)
Whenever I want to try a new drink, I mostly end up getting confused and then I order what I love drinking, Long Island Iced Tea. I love its name (specially because Tea is the only beverage that's not in it), I love its color, I love its taste, I love its ingredients (gin, vodka, tequila, rum and triple sec) and I love it because its stronger than any other cocktail :-). So I had 2 LIITs and they were enough for me because I did not want to scare GO when I met him for the first time after soo long. The next time we meet, I am going to have more. You reading that GO?
We laughed, discussed drinks, friends, old times, new times and later GO helped me walk to the parking lot, even 2 LIITs make me need support while walking. He dropped me home and I have to say now that I really had a great time. Would look forward to the next time you come here GO :-)
Sunday was another thrilling day. I met another great friend, Karan. We attended an MBA fair where some Australian Business Schools were participating. Karan had come with some friends and three of us who had taken the GMAT (all 3 of us have decent scores), got on the spot offer of admission from University of Technology, Sydney. Now, how cool is that?? You go to an MBA fair, you are not even interested to study in that country and you are offered admission in a University that's ranked 9th in Australia. None of us was delighted however, because we have gone through gruelling days and nights to apply in couple of universities in US and we are still not sure whether we would be offered an interview, let alone admission, and here we get a straight admission offer with the only condition that we need to submit our documents. I mean wasn't that too easy?? Still, I GOT AN ADMISSION OFFER FOLKS!!!! In August, probably I would be writing from Australia about how much I love Sydney and how cool my university is :-)
When 3 of us had admission offers, that called for a celebration. Since we were in Vasant Vihar we went to RPM, the only disc in the vicinity. It was time for LIIT again :-). The LIIT in RPM was stronger than it was in TGIF. We drank and danced, 5 guys and me, all of them sweet and decent guys, and had a great time. So this past weekend was my Long Island Weekend and I still feel that I just can't have enough of LIIT :-)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Of Drinks, and Cigarettes, and Books

Okay, so last night I went out with my cousin Chummu and had two cocktails and five cigarettes. I needed it, the break I mean; the break from monotony. Yesterday I tried a Gin cocktail for the first time; usually I am a Vodka or Wine person. To tell you the truth, I could hardly tell the difference between Vodka and Gin. Probably because the Gin was mixed with other things to make my cocktail. I wanted to have more drinks but did not, since we had to come home later and I did not want Dad to suspect that we had been up to some mischief when according to him I had taken Chummu to check out an awesome new Pizza place.

Last night was fun. I smoked for the first time and smoked five cigarettes in a row, which later made me feel that all my innards are on fire and that my intestines have turned to ashes. I have tried to smoke twice before but could never suck it in. Last night I managed to achieve that feat and in amazement mixed with a sense of achievement stopped only after five cigarettes and when I had started feeling queasy. However, I am not going to have a smoke again, never. I had a very disturbed sleep last night because of those five bloody cigarettes.

Anyhow, I and Chummu had a sort of reunion yesterday. It had been a reeaallly long time since we talked like that. It was good, everything, the drinks, the gossip, the sleeping together, even those cigarettes in some way. I also had a talk with GO (My George Orwell) after having my drinks and cigarettes, and it was fun too. I giggled a lot while talking to him. Usually I don't giggle, I laugh. Was I flirting? Naaah. GO is an old friend, I can't flirt with him after all these years. I don't think so!!! However, I know I usually am a big flirt after a couple of drinks. But no, I wasn't flirting with GO. Oh well, I sense some confusion here :-)

Oh, the best part of last evening was that I bought two books. GO was after my life to read Nineteen Eighty-Four, so I finally bought that and another GO-recommended book, in fact his favourite, To Kill A Mockingbird. That makes me a rich book lover for sometime. I and GO have plans of catching up this Saturday. Its been a long time since we met, so GO would drive all the way from Noida to Gurgaon to meet me. That's sweet of him, ain't it?? :-)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Helplessness

What do you do when you really want to talk to someone but can't? When you have absolutely no way of knowing anything about them. When you can't call or write to them. When you know they would never call or write to you.

What do you do then?

Pray.

Why doesn't even praying help? Why doesn't it release that knot in your chest, which threatens to explode? Why doesn't it stop the tears from coming at the weirdest of times? Why doesn't it end the suffering?

Symphony Raaga

On Saturday I got a glimpse of how schools are slowly getting westernized. In the good old times (I have already started talking as if I am ancient), school annual functions used to be a cultural fiesta with performances that included genres like classical, folk and western. My niece Maahi is an adorable three year old kid who is a pre-nursery student at an elite (and expensive) Gurgaon school. The school celebrated its annual function on Saturday at the Sirifort Auditorium. To start with, when we got the invites for the function the venue surprised me a little. I mean, the last time I was at Sirifort it was to see Anoushka Shankar live in concert playing some compositions of Pandit Ravishankar on her sitar. Sirifort is one of the best and largest auditoriums in Delhi and a school is using it for its annual function!! Maybe I really am ancient and it happens like that these days but my school had its own auditorium and grounds for such events.
Anyway, Maahi came home on Friday with three pages of instructions for parents on how to dress their wards for the function. She got a pretty but awfully flimsy and see-through dress from the school. The pages instructed the parents to make her wear white high-neck sweater inside the dress, to wash her hair on the day and to keep her hair loose. Maahi got immense attention from us on that day. Her mom (my sister, Dido) and my Mom constantly checked whether Maahi had matching beads for her hair, matching gogos, what makeup should she wear etc etc. Maahi's waist length wavy hair (we are very proud of her hair) were washed and kept loose since morning. I was her makeup woman, Dido was the hairdresser and my Mom looked after her wardrobe whilst Maahi's Dad drove us all to the venue.

Isn't she adorable with that loud stage makeup? :-)

We reached the venue before time, handed over Maahi to her classteacher (as instructed) and went inside the audi to take our seats. There were customary speeches and then the function began with a semi-classical Symphony performed by 120 students and the only Hindustani program of the evening. The kids were awesome in the Symphony performance, it was obvious that they had been practising for months to do some justice to those compositions. Thus, the evening began fabulously and then immediately lost steam.
Each class performed a dance number and we cheered enthusiastically because the kids were adorable, even with their slips and flaws. They were excited at being on stage, happy at being dressed up, and were no less than superstars for us. However, the selection of songs by teachers was somewhat disappointing. Little kids danced on those disney songs and nursery rhymes and the senior kids on Micheal Jackson numbers. There was not even a single Indian dance, no Punjabi, no Rajasthani, no Bollywood, no Classical. The evening climaxed with a musical 'Fiddler on the Roof' and by the end of the evening we had a feeling that we are probably in the US or UK because the program had no Indian touch to it. Ironically the evening's program was called Symphony Raaga on the invites, which is a very Indian name. I wonder what our kids are learning in such institutions. They would never know what it is like to do the Bhangra or the Garba or any Indian dance form for that matter. They would all know how to Tango or how to move seductively on Salsa music, which is all very good, but isn't that education incomplete? Is it because these schools consider the Indian dance forms to be beneath their attention, I wonder.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Introducing My(!) George Orwell

This is a special post because here I introduce My George Orwell. Yeah, My George Orwell. Everybody knows George Orwell, the author of the famous book Nineteen Eighty-Four, but My George Orwell is not the same person. So My George Orwell or GO, for the sake of brevity, is a friend with whom I discuss books, blogs, music and many other things. He has introduced me to some wonderful things and I love my conversations with him. To begin with, it's refreshing to know a guy who can talk intellectually about books and music and technology in the same breath. Being from the Engineering background, most of my guy friends are either useless computer nerds or else too much into girls and movies, shallow I should say. Books are something most of them stay away from and even if they read, it is mostly autobiographies or self-help books. Fiction is a far-cry for them and if they do try a work of fiction then their reading efforts are limited to Chetan Bhagat and Sydney Sheldon.

Now, GO knows his books. He is the only guy in my friend circle who can make me feel ignorant when it comes to discussions about books. We give each other a lot of gyan and I just luuurve talking to him. Anyway, now why do I call him GO? I told him today that since most of our conversations are intellectually stimulating, I would like to post them at times and therefore I wanted to give him a pseudonym. He absolutely did not want to be called by his pet name so after much thought I asked him which was his favourite book. He replied that it's difficult to single out one book but still the best would be, To Kill A Mockingbird (I told you, GO knows his books!) but since the author of this book is a female, I couldn't have given him her name as a pseudonym. The next favourite book that came a close second for GO is Nineteen Eighty-Four. Moreover, GO tried to convince me for a good ten minutes yesterday that how important it is to read Nineteen Eight-Four, since I haven't read it yet. Hence I call him My George Orwell now and I think it suits him. I could have called him by his real name and there is no real need for a pseudonym but it struck my fancy that I want a pseudonym here. This makes it important that GO can't reveal his identity when he posts comments on my blog. You are reading that My George Orwell??

Our conversations mostly are something like this:

Me: you know something... yesterday's conversation triggered some thought process
GO: about books, music?
Me: yeah, i was thinking of what you said about those books..... Namesake, Gone With The Wind, The God of Small Things
GO: ok, go on
Me: I think you have a good point there. They ARE girlie kinda books.... a guy won't enjoy them as much as a girl
GO: not chicklit.... but feminine
Me: yeah not chicklit. They are wonderful books, anybody would enjoy them but yes feminine
GO: so I won't read Gone With The Wind then :-)
Me: haha... I still think Gone With The Wind is worth it. I mean I have read Great Expectations and Oliver Twist and liked them despite the fact that they were all about guys
GO: me too me too.... but I read the abridged versions
Me: oh don't do that!! abridged versions spoil the fun
GO: I was in 7th or 8th at that time
Me: have u read Pygmalion? By George Bernard Shaw
GO: No. He is known more for quotes than books I think. He has said so much
Me: yeah true
GO: father of one-liners
Me: btw i share my birthday with him
GO: oh wow
Me: couldn't help bringing it up. 26th july.... me and GB Shaw.... 2 great writers :-)
GO: sun signs, birthdays and girls
Me: yepp... anyway... Pygmalion is a play. something like Shakespeare's works but more modern
GO: hardcore literature? come to think of it I haven't read hardcore literature much
Me: me neither. But I love classics any day. That was such a romantic period, I feel drawn towards such books. So, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, Leo Tolstoy, GB Shaw all work well for me
GO: Fountainhead?
Me: yeah read that too. Ayn Rand is awesome. And the other book.... whatsitsname?
GO: Atlas Shrugged
Me: Atlas Shrugged yeah....
GO: they are difficult to comprehend
Me: you know there is a school of thought based on Ayn Rand philosophy
GO: yes, about individualism and all that
Me: yeah, the idea is wonderful. It does provoke thoughts
GO: oh yeah, talking of abstract books... u read ulysses?
Me: well, no. ashamed as I am of not reading Ulysses but I haven't
GO: don't be. I read 1 page and then left it. It took the author 7 years to write it.
Me: wow
GO: read Mitch Albom? Tuesdays With Morrie? Five People You Will Meet in Heaven?
Me: naah
GO: wonderful books... when you feel low and small in life, read these two books
Me: I love feel good books
GO: :-)
Me: hey I want a good pseudonym for you. what shall it be?
GO: call me KB... sounds like a Russian spy's name
Me: yeah, similar to KGB :-)
GO: yep
Me: hey have you read a book called The First Lady.... too much of sex, but good plot
GO: author?
Me: can't recall his name. Most of his books are like that .... sleazy :-)
GO: you read all of his books? :-)
Me: hey this Nothing Else Matters song that you were talking about is amazing
GO: yeah.... i have started singing.... so close no matter how far
Me: yeah beautiful song
GO: I am crazy for classic rock
Me: and the guitar is awesome
GO: okay, listen to this song at least twice then I will give you a link
Me: :-)
GO: a performance by another band that played it on Cello.... amazing instrumental and video
Me: hey it was beautiful.... i heard it thrice!!! So sad and beautiful
GO: sad and beautiful, yes

and it continues like that. I and GO can talk like that for hours and it's amazing. I mean you can never get tired talking of books. There are so many books out there, so many genres, so many authors that each conversation about them seems new and exciting.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Okay, I stop Mooning and am back on Earth

Urgh!! I just read my last post of 6th January and I feel disgusted. Such an icky post it is!!

Trust me to get carried away whenever I pen down a poem. But to get carried away to that extent!!! I actually wrote an entire autobiography in that post. To all those who commented back with sweet and encouraging words, I know you guys were only being kind to me. The way we are kind to a lunatic or to kids and let them believe in their fairies and Santa. Thank you very much guys, I am touched :-)

To top it all, I read Shobhaa De's blog yesterday and left a comment there about how I never read any of her books because I was under the impression that she writes depressing stories but that I was pleasantly surprised at the liveliness in her writing and would definitely try one of her books. She actually e-mailed a reply to that!!! A one-liner reply about appreciating my frankness and a thank you. I saw that mail and went all Yay!! and Wow!! and dreamt last night of getting a book of my poems published and Shobhaa De unveiling it for me. Oh when will I grow up???

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Poetry And Me

I have been writing poems since the age of 5. I even distinctly remember where the first inspiration came from. Although I don't have a great memory and I often forget many incidents that others around me remember in detail, but I remember this episode. That is because I have a very selective memory. I remember things, people and incidents in great detail if they matter a lot to me. Anyhow, so this incident somehow has remained intact in my head. The image of a 5 year old, skinny and laughing girl, watching TV with great interest when what the only channel has got to offer is a 'Hasya aur Vyangya Kavi Sammelan', yeah that's a gathering of poets who pride themselves in humor and satire. I don't know how it caught my 5 year old fancy but immediately after the program that was what I wanted to do. I told Mom that I wanted to write poems and she laughed and said that I could when I grow up. I never had the patience to wait so I just gave it a try. Writing poetry in English never occurred to me back then. The obvious choice was Hindi because I had watched the Kavi Sammelan in Hindi, and although my vocabulary in both English and Hindi was very limited at that time, I was still more comfortable in Hindi. I remember my first poem was more like a song and it was something about dancing flower buds :-) In fact since my Mom collected a lot of my poems for many years, I had the opportunity to read that poem numerous times in the coming years and every year it embarrassed me more than it did the previous year. I won't even dream of putting it down here :-)

So I kept writing poetry in the years to come and I always wrote of things that I saw in nature; flowers, snow, water, wind and sometimes there was an occasional poem about fairies or people. My family was proud of my poetry, all of my poems rhymed perfectly and I read my poems on a few occasions in the morning assembly at school. On one big occasion during the time when Uttaranchal was still a part of Uttar Pradesh and the people of Uttaranchal demanded that it should be a separate state, there was a gathering of several poets from Uttaranchal who wrote and read their poems in front of a big audience. I had the privilege to be a part of that gathering and as the youngest poet I read one of mine too. It was about the state of Uttaranchal and I had written that only because I was asked some days back to write something for the occasion and not because I had any real feelings on the subject. I was too young to understand why we should have a separate state and had to think hard before writing the poem. Anyway, I did write that poem, read it before the audience and accepted their applause. Incidentally, I don't remember any of the poems of other poets who were present there, some of them were well known writers too. In fact I don't remember anything else about that evening except that I read a poem before a big audience and then rushed back from stage to my Mom sitting in the audience. I was in 8th or 9th standard at that time, not too young but somehow my memory fails me about the other happenings of that evening.

However, the poetry writing spree was abruptly stopped when I studied in 10th. I had a big accident and in the aftermath a big loss that nobody including me noticed for a long while was that I had stopped writing poems. A couple of years later I tried but I couldn't. I thought that it was just a childhood thing and I had now grown out of it. But it seems that poetry is too much a part of me because it resurfaced many years later and this time in English :-) I don't write great poems, in fact I feel embarrassed in sharing them with many people, so they lie dead in my laptop. And I don't even write that often now, only when I feel so full of some emotions that they cannot be expressed in any other way, I write a poem to let them out. This happened when I started writing a post on December 11, the only way I could write on that day was in the form of a poem although it was very unstructured and effortless. I composed directly on blogger and edited very little and thus happened my first poem after years that was written for anybody to read.

Yesterday I read a poem on one of the posts of The Unsung Psalm, which was beautiful. I started writing a comment on that post and what came out were few lines that started with the last line of the poem that he had posted. I like the lines that I wrote and would post them here too

I do not die

I just live on

To see what you do

When I am gone

Would you feel me

In the morning dew

Or forget my touch

In days too few

Would you hear me

In the gentle rain

Or would I call you

Just in vain

Would you know

That I caressed

Or would you be

Forever unimpressed

When The Unsung Psalm asked me where those lines were from I paused to think before replying that they were out of my own head. I read the lines again and again to decide whether they were any good but then I decided that good or bad, they were mine and I liked them and I would not abandon that poem as an orphan that belongs to no one and yet exists. Hence, I replied that they were mine and therefore I am putting them here on my blog too. Good or bad, they are mine :-)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The New Year Begins

I watched Ghajini on the first day of the new year and really liked it despite the violence and just okay music (except Tu Meri Adhoori Pyas). I had a mind to write a review of the movie but I just read a post by Chandni, who is one of my favourite bloggers. She wrote a review of RNBDJ and it was plagiarized word by word by a certain Ms Salty Sea Breeze who posted it on her blog as her own. I feel offended for Chandni and that kills the mood to right a review now. I will write it some other time.

Anyway, the other day I read some lines by Vikram Seth that really touched my heart. I will dedicate them (even though they are not mine :-)) to The Unsung Psalm whose writings I enjoy. Here goes:

Some men like Jack and some like Jill

I'm glad I like them both but still

I wonder if this freewheeling

Really is an enlightened thing,

Or is its greater scope a sign

Of deviance from some party line?

In the strict ranks of Gay and Straight

What is my status: Stray? Or Great?


A few years back I read A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth and found it unnecessarily stretched out with irrelevant details although the plot and its setting were really good. There were many things that I liked about this book but the unnecessary length killed my interest in it when I had managed to read only about three-fourth of the book. It was the only book of my life that I had not been able to finish and I blamed Vikram Seth for that. However, when I read the above lines of poetry by him they salvaged his reputation in my eyes :-). Also, I found that Vikram Seth did his schooling from my hometown Dehradun (Welham Boys and Doon School), so that kind of settled the fact that I would definitely read more books by this author :-)

Luckily, the day I watched Ghajini I found that there was a Sale at the Om Book Shop in MGF Mall at Gurgaon. A sale and that too at a book shop is too tempting to ignore and so I went inside telling myself that I would not buy anything but would just take a tour. I already have around 5-6 still unread and good books lying around at my home and I had told myself that I would not buy any more books until I finish those that I already own. However, the shop offered a great bargain on many books and the shining hard covers of books had an almost lusty appeal. I think everyone would understand if I say that I finally did buy books but only 2 of them. One is of course by Vikram Seth (An Equal Music) and another is a collection of spooky short stories :-). It has some stories by authors like Edgar Allen Poe and Charles Dickens and has a beautiful cover, hence I bought it.


I got these two books for just 500 bucks, can you believe it? Such beautiful, hardbound, original books together cost just 500 Rupees!! Wow what an amazing start to the new year :-)