...and then

Thursday, 23 August 2007

She's got a memory like a rat-trap - full of rats.

I am sure M would love to say that about me. As much as our marriage is one near-perfect heaven, every once in a while, like self-respecting couples often do, we tend to get on each other's nerves.
Him with his withdrawing into himself and just be and me with my incessant desire to do things, to be - on the roll.
And then, at times like that, we are usually breakfast and dinner for each other and have to politely request for our heads back without sounding too needy.
I am sure Mathew would love to say that about me, then. Because when we disagree, argue or just plain fight I tend to remember the things that hurt me most in the past. To my credit, I don't exactly bring them up because it's a rule with me. No ancient wounds to be uncovered and picked at in an argument that we try our best to keep fair and mostly unpainful.
But the problem with remembering the things that hurt in the past is that the memory fries my circuits and then there's no stopping me. I become a complete expert at taking offence. I am so good at it that even a blink of an eye-lid I can misconstrue as a personal attack. Why, even if M took a breath I'd think he was trying to fill his lungs with enough air so he can bellow at me or talk non-stop and tell me exactly how much I am pissing him off.
It's fun though, sometimes, because once we're done biting each other's heads off, we're left wondering what it was all about. And then, like all good couples, we promptly dissolve into giggles. Or hugs. Or pillow-throwing. Or just plain ole goofiness.
And that's what my rat-trap holds most. The giggles, M's sexy, sexy smile and all the nonsense that we generate to makes life a little less difficult for everyone around :)

(Title from a line in Margaret Atwood's 'UglyPuss', which features in 'Bluebeard's Egg and Other Stories'. That, incidently, is a must read by all standards.)

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Traffic stopper

In an epiphanic sort of moment today, while I was on my way to work, I figured out the reason for man's (as a gender) audacity, confidence, alpha-ness - or whatever else you call the lack of hesitation to go after the things he wants - with which he lives his life.
It's the ability to whip his penis out and pee right there in front of a million passing vehicle while curious children, disgusted/embarrassed women and indifferent men watch.
Imagine the kind of freedom he lives with when he knows that, at least most of the time, no one's going to be overcome with lust at the thought an exposed penis. When he realises that the whole world isn't going to come to a standstill and ogle till their eyes dribble out if he stands by a wall and takes leak while he's chatting away on phone or watching the arc pouring out of his crotch. It must be terribly liberating.
And that is the reason men will ogle women without realising, or many times caring, that it's offensive. That it's a personal violation when you stare at my chest or keep looking at my legs.
That is the reason men will go boldly and dare to touch a woman who hasn't allowed him to do so. Or pass lewd comments at her as she passes by, even though there is the risk that she might turn out to be a scare like me and beat them up.
That is the reason they try and steal surreptitious glances at other men who pee by them - to feel better about their own sizes, even though it could be that they'll end up feeling worse.
That is the reason they'll run women down at work because of nothing else but that she's a woman.
And that is the reason they'll be unfaithful, they'll be courageous when it comes to beating up other men who hit on their women, they'll be demented when it comes to that promotion or laugh like mad at films like "There's Something About Mary"....
All because they can unzip their pants and pee on the road.

(P.S. I am not talking about men who have a healthy sense of self esteem or those who are well-adjusted. I am talking about those you walk around with "On my way to Loser Land" sprinkled over them.)

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

You know the worst thing about a mobile phone and an iPod (or any other gadgetry that you carry like a third arm)? The worst thing, that is, as far as I am concerned? It's completely taken the romance out of the rain.
First it was that icky flood in Bombay two years ago that we terrible media types have been going on and on about. When that rain happened, I began recognising a diminishing sense of romance and love for the rain. I used to seriously be crazy about it. I remember walking out of a boring lecture to go get drenched - thank god for large classes and backseats. Now I realise how notdone that kind of thing is. If I were the teacher, I'd have whacked me.
And now I walk around listening to seriously smile-inducing music and it starts to pelt. I just don't know what to do. I use bags that are made of anything but leather or plastic - in most cases natural fibre is what I carry. And there's no way on earth that a nice Lambani-embroidered bag is going to protect my phone or my iPod. And so if and when I want to get drenched - even though I love umbrellas - I can't because I am carrying stuff that's not too kind to moisture exposure.

These days I've decided to leave my music maker home and the phone, well, I just place it under the rest of the world in my bag.


Almost everyone on my google talk list has some tongue-in-cheek comment about Independence day. Everything ranging from lines that include "corporate slavery" to serious questions about what freedom means to me or to them.
I wish they'd not ask such questions. Because, honestly, I take questions very seriously. I can't dismiss them with a wry one-liner or ignore them entirely. Questions are enticing, maddeningly enticing. I can't resist the hugely satisfying bait of a question. And true to form I had to answer what freedom meant to me. Or it would burn up from inside me and trouble me forever.
I've thought about it and thought about it and thought about it. But everytime I come up with an answer I realise that it takes care of only one facet of my life.
For example:
Many times freedom to me means the ability to dislike someone and not having to pretend otherwise. Now I don't mean I should be allowed to be mean, or rude but I shouldn't have to feel guilty for ignoring the person after a polite hello.
Or the freedom to express my liking and admiration for someone without them thinking it is flattery! And then I think, that's it? Something that superficial is what one of the things that freedom means to me is?
What about having the freedom to love someone even though they've hurt you? What about freedom to ask your pride take a walk and make up, irrespective of who is wrong? Especially when you've done it too many times, and you think once more is going to turn you into a doormat.
On it goes... And I still don't know what it means to be free. Maybe eventually freedom is being able to go to bed every night knowing you have a decent life - some of which is your making and some of it is Someone Else's.

What does freedom mean to you?


The thing about confessions is that they're a disease. Unless you have serious issues, things you need to take with you to the shamshan ghaat, grave - where ever - or you're a terribly asocial person, chances are that if you catch someone's confession - no bra, secretly stalks girls with green kurtas, killed someone, was a man, used to be a woman, only pretends to eat, has lice, absolutely anything - you'll be making one of your own pretty soon.
That's a tool I've noticed people with very high EQ use pretty often. And it's not like they pull it out of their jhola and wave it in others' face; it usually comes to them naturally because subconsciously they know the best way to get someone to talk is to tell them something that is seemingly personal.
That's a question I think about a lot. What is personal? Sure you don't want all that's going on up there out on exhibition but if you are what you think, then it's likely that what you think will one day make its presence felt. What do you do then?

Question 2: If you've done something not so acceptable but it's a sheer work of genius would you talk?

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Wednesday, 8 August 2007


After nearly five years of consciously avoiding television, of fighting every war that came my way from well-meaning friends, I gave in last week.

The TV came in and I felt like I had betrayed myself. I would first steer clear of it. Avoid it like the plague. I thanked all kinds of good gods that it had a room to itself and I didn't have to see it till I went to that room for absolutely anything.

I told a friend of mine about it and in that gentlemanly way he has, he asked me if getting a TV was still something to get excited about in my proletarian life. I was mad enough to hit him but then I ignore fleas these days. I don't tell every random person that I now have a TV. I tell people who have patted me on the back, cursed me, teased me, wrung me out and taken my trip about not having a TV. So when I tell someone - choosily - that I now have a TV, it's only me looking for solace and assurance that I haven't committed the biggest crime against peace and intellectualism by getting one.

1) Less reading
2) For some strange reason, more sex
3) Fewer early mornings
4) More dinners at home
5) Ugly Betty
6) More laughter...guffawing. I can't believe I lived without television news.

You know what I really miss, though? Looking absolutely clueless when people talk about television shows. Now I am one of them - talking incessantly about how Boston Legal's not as cutting any more or how Ugly Betty's so close to the real thing in many ways.
The good thing, of course, is that I can now see friends making fools of themselves on news :) (I say this affectionatel, ok?)


Tuesday, 7 August 2007


Many times I think we are just waiting for people to disappoint us. Even the people we like a whole lot - we are just waiting for the day when they'll let us down and we feel miserable. And we ALL love to be miserable. That is where the best poetry comes from, the best art, the best kind of unnecessary expression. From pain, real or imagined.
It's a lot more difficult to write about happy things. I am going to try sometime.


Ever wonder if what people say when they are drunk is absolutely true or they're just shooting their shy mouths off?


What is ugly? And why is it so difficult to call someone ugly in public. I notice whenever someone says that in public, people will make that person feel like the worst form of life. I never see that reaction when someone's being complimentary.

And if we can't say 'ugly' about a person, then we'll find other words for it. We're so good with euphemisms.


Friday, 3 August 2007

The rick guy asked me...

I was talking to the husband yesterday while getting work. I hang up and the rick guy pipes up:
A little annoyed I ask: "Kya?"
"Aapka boyfriend thha?"
"Aapse matlab?"
"Nahi, aap bolo pehle. Kuchh aur mat sochiye."
"Achhaa, aapka bachcha thha?"
I am getting really annoyed now and ignore him.
"Nahi, main is liye poochha kyonki aap 'baby, baby' bol rahe thhe."
"Nahi, madam, all girls sitting in aato talking to boyfriend," he says thinking maybe my understanding of hindi is insufficient.
I say with a big thunder-cloud frown, "Toh?"
"Sab log boyfriend ko 'baby baby' bulata hai."
I smile and relax. And he takes that as a cue to continue.
"Ladki ko baby bulaya toh thheek hai. Par ladka ko kaise baby baby?"
He grins at me and I stupidly try to tell him it's a silly term of endearment, as if he doesn't know.
And as I pay and get off he says, "Boyfriend?" and I say, "Nahi, husband". Pat comes his sign-off line. "Achchha, toh phir baby hoenga to kya bulayengi?" By the time I give him some innane reply, he zooms off leaving a tobacco-stained grin in the air.