...and then

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Bus bhi karo

I took a bus ride from Kerala two days ago. I am not going to complain about bad roads, a mildly funny movie they played and getting nearly no sleep. I deserve all that for not booking in advance by some other more of transportation during holiday time.
See, all that seemed perfectly fine when compared to the co-passenger from hell sitting -- what do you know -- right next to me.
The fact that she rudely stepped on my gorgeous red overnighter to get to her seat immediately put her on my get-irritated-even-if-she-so-much-as-breathes list. Of course, her really UGLY hairband -- that she didn't need at all -- put me off her some more. So apart from my decision to be prejudiced, she gave me enough reason to have the bus stop at some lonely place in the night and get her thrown out to the snakes or foxes or whatever.

1) She was a wriggler. You know the person sitting next to you, only lightly touching your elbow or knee and constantly shifting pulling pushing sliding skimming shaking ruffling shuffling clicking adjusting siddling expanding scooting - ALL THE BLOODY TIME! Tell me, is it just me?? Because I constantly find myself telling people close to me -- many times only in physical proximity -- to "oh! for god's sake, settle down." I was so close to telling this chick to pipe down before I tied her to her seat with her dupatta. But then this was one of those few times when motion sickness came to my rescue -- I started to feel queasy and had to think of purple satin shoes and hot pink upholstery and a Waterman pen that I plan to buy next month to take my mind off my really squeamish tummy.

2) As soon as she sat down, she whipped out a phone and called the guy who just dropped her 1.786 nanoseconds ago. (How do I know this? I think they heard her up there in Kashmir when she said bye to him leaning over my seat, calling his name out.) In a situation like this, you can't help but overhear conversations. So I don't know what the deal was but apparently the guy on the other side owed her money or something and he was supposed to give it to her before she boarded the bus. So all I could hear was this chick saying over and over again in various accents (yes, there are various accents in Malayalam as well) that it was perfectly ok that he forgot, oh-hay that he forgot, ok that he furgawt, wokay that he fergoat, ok that he forgot. Who apologises for seven minutes for forgetting something?

Bad as that was, as soon she hangs up with multiple-apologetic Kochumon, she whips out another phone, frantically keys in a number and starts cribbing out poor K'mon and how he forgot to give her the money! After all those 'forget its' she actually bitches to someone else.

3) 155 more phone calls follow and each time she has to turn her head in 398 ways to get a signal on either of her phones. And her elbow is CONSTANTLY bumping into mine.

4) Phone calls over. She glances at me, glances out of the window, screws her pudgy neck around, glances at the rest of the bus. She glances at my bag, she looks at the driver (we were sitting right in front) she checks out a cute guy two seats behind. I'd have stood up and applauded if she had checked under the seats and in the miniscule overhead cabin. I like careful travellers who look for any signs of terrorism. Especially in a nightly Cochin-Bangalore bus.
And her elbow is constantly bumping into mine.

5) She adjusts her ugly hairband. And then begins the MOST irritating part of who she was. She obviously is completely clueless when it comes to levers and seats. Because she kept fidgeting and fidgeting and pulling and pulling and push... you get the idea. She kept yanking the lever that would recline her seat so she could sleep. After denting my PMS-ing right breast with her elbow three times, I leaned over and helped her with her damned seat.
Forget a thank you, she didn't even crack a smile. Maybe she was actually looking for something she dropped on that side of the seat.

6) She covers herself up and settles down to sleep. I almost cry with relief.
 She hogs the arm rest. Rudely pushing my gentle elbow out of the way, thank you.

7) And then, she snores. Snores. Snores.

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Monday, 15 October 2007

Commitment phobic

We'll keep deluding ourselves
With birthday and anniversary dinners
Collecting crystal, making love,
Buying pleasure in music and vacations.

And we'll laugh at each others' jokes
Sometimes only because we don't want
Minute-broken hearts or complaints of how
Someone else always "laughs at my jokes".

We'll have children, maybe,
If you're not too old and I, not too fat
And we'll give up smoking and frivilous shopping
So that they can have that
Trip to the moon.

And then, old, spent and perhaps happy,
We'll pray for peace and children who love us;
Till we see, in our geriatric wandering,
A minute of pure, clear, light

Flashing loud and clear, even without our glasses.
Then we'll wish we could live our life all over again
Differently; Or, wait, wish to be reborn
And not take the same turns.

Or we could just be honest now, my love,
As you lie, satisfied and sweaty, on me
Your mouth a luscious O against my summer skin
And vow never to say 'I do.'

October 9, 2007.

Friday, 12 October 2007

What makes work worthwhile and other musings

Work gets funnier day by day. Really. I've cribbed about it often enough to make everyone think that I am stuck in the wrong place. But of late, the kind of copies I see make me laugh till someone (usually the writer of the piece) looks at me like she or he wished I choked on my laughter and dropped dead into the little blue trash bin near my desk.
But how can you not laugh at these?

"The watchman shouted with his head, 'You may be an MLA in MLA'."
I have NO clue what the watchman or the writer was on about.

"Bipolar disorder: A sort of mood disorder caused by disturbance of mood."

"It was a moonlight day."

"The music was installed in the park so that visitors would have a reluctant time."
By the time this one came I actually did die of trauma.

And these wonders never stop. I painstakingly change their English (or what they think is English), meticulously clean up copy and put it out for the world to see. And then they'll give me the same filth the next day.
These days, I just accept it as bad karma and laugh my way through it. At least this way I beat statistics and laugh more than the usual six minutes a day.


I've been obsessively reading Crystal's (Hi, Crystal!) blog. She's that rare, rare combination of way-out humour, sensitivity, intelligence and decency. You know, it's not just sense of humour. It's plain, mad, tummy-aching laughter inducing funny. She's crazy, really! And I am addicted. I don't know how I am going to get through work when I am done with her archives!
But the point of this entry was not to increase traffic to that blog but to make the observation that I have NO idea how she writes so funny! Or anyone who writes funny for that matter. Like P G Wodehouse and his Psmith.
I read that and I was in love, dear reader! Truly and completely in love with Psmith. He's all I ever wanted to be and all that I thought my knight in shining armour would be! Greatly recommended reading.


Speaking of books, I loved Doris Lessing's sangfroid at winning the Nobel. She sets her shopping down at the steps of her home and plays to the media hounding her door. For God's sake woman, you've won the Nobel for literature. The least you can do is not look like some poor woman in Russia who doesn't have potatoes and vodka for the weekend!
Having said that, I also must admit I am saying it out of envy. Envy of her equanimity in handling the news and envy of her writing skills.


As you would have now guessed I have nothing of relevance to blog about today. Hence this rambling. Incidentally, I'll be turning 28 in a few days and I still plan to be offended if friends don't call or sms or mail and wish me! Suresh says that's okay behavior till one is 23, now I should just be cool as Manali and go on with my day. Hmmph! That's rich coming from him - considering his late-30-something birthday was full of people getting drunk and trying not to fall off the balcony of a lovely Bandra apartment!
Also, just wondering aloud. Should I be worried about the babies not happening yet? I really want at least one before I am 30. Pray for me.


Everyday Mathew gives me at least two reasons that reaffirms my idea that he's the most perfect man alive. And every day, it's two different things. I am completely spoilt for choice. Like yesterday when he decided to surprise me with take-out Chinese when I asked him to marinate some fish that we could fry for dinner. Now I know what to do next time I don't feel like cooking.
Or giving me a tight hug in the morning and saying, "Come here, booze breath." Sigh, I melted at the romance of it.


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Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Seventy in 13

In a city where it takes a minimum of five days (if I am lucky) to get anything done -- and I do mean anything -- I am super impressed with seventymm.
Here's why.
July 2007: Random musings about trying to find a DVD rental service. Hemming hawing, telling Mathew to find out from his friends -- considering he is the one who loves this city!
August 2007: Forget about DVD rentals because we'll never get to watch one considering the schedule we have. Unless I finish my dose of hahas at 12:30 and then pop the corn and slip in a DVD at 1 a.m.
September 2007: Doubts about DVD rentals resurface because it might be a nice thing to do after a Saturday night out. You heard me -- Bangalore loves to sleep; we shut everything down at 11 p.m. thank you.
October 2, 2007. 7 p.m.: Tired of subbing half-assed, retarded copies (one day I'll post some choice pieces here, for general humour and the like)
Dry day. So have to find another way to cheer myself up. Googled DVD rentals + Bangalore. Find a blog that has a pizza-delivery-cheerfulness kinda diagram with seventymm's link.
7:03 p.m.: Click on link. Seems interesting (being the complete film-illiterate I am, I don't know it's kinda famous) so I start to sign up, if only to check out how much less I get to spend at Landmark or MAC (make-up, not burger. No S, see?).
7:07 p.m.: Registeration in process. I move to page 2 where they tell me the various plans on offer. This is a BIG road block, see? Cuz it's got numbers and columns and all kinds of things that will fry my circuits and have me twitching and moaning if I don't switch screens.
7:08 p.m.: My phone rings. Unknown number. I am in a good mood so I take the call.
"Good evening, Ma'am. I am Yashwant from...."
"Hi Yashwant. Whatever you've got that's good news for me, I am not interested."
"But Ma'am, you just signed up!"
"Sorry? I didn't sign up for anything, thank you!"
"Ma'am, I am calling from seventymm."

"Oh! That was quick. Yes, what is it, Yashwant?"
SO then he politely asks me if my registeration process is going well, do I have any doubts, can he help me in anyway.
At this point I am grinning from ear to ear and also falling off my chair due to shock and surprise. I am very impressed.
So Yashwant kindly explains the plan to me, says I can pay by credit card, and I can start watching movies by tomorrow night. The credit card's a hitch -- all mine are maxed out. So he says no problem, he'll send someone over to collect a cheque in half an hour.

7:20 p.m.: My reception calls me to come to ... well...the reception. And Yashwant is standing there -- all bright eyed and earnest. Hands me a receipt to sign and asks me for my cheque. I hand it over to him with that huge grin -- never mind that I've just flushed some money down the drain to watch movies that won't fund my education or my trip to Zanzibar.

7:35 p.m.: Three emails that confirm various stages of my signing up and informing me about their policies. Also a follow-up call from Y telling me due to Gji's birthday today, everything's shut so my account will only be active tomorrow. Which is dandy with me, really. Tonight I'll just watch Mr Holland's Opus (again) on Star Movies or something.


Mathew turned 41 yesterday.
It's very hard to believe, and not just because he looks 21.
So he got a really good birthday gift, which I shall not talk about. Suffice it to say it brings peace of mind and cheer :).
Of course, to him it doesn't make any difference because he says he has felt the same every birthday since 17.
We did Bengali dinner as Mathew hadn't had traditional Bengali food and I totally love it.
Review follows.

6 Ballygunge Place.
12th main, Indiranagar, Above Cafe Coffee Day.

For some odd reason, the place likes to position itself as a Bengali and Continental Restaurant. It would get all my points even if it didn't have the dubious Continental tag attached to it.
I walked in half an hour after the time at which I had asked for a reservation. I apologized for it, to my credit, although I feel junior captain Prasanta didn't deserve it.
You see, he kept me waiting to lead me to my table while he finished a personal conversation on his phone.
One point down already.
I next asked if he could arrange for a small cake at the end of he meal. He says no. I say ok, there's a Cafe Coffee Day downstairs, could he get me a slice of pastry from there. He says no. I ask him why, he says no reason but he won't.
Long conversation where he got ruder, and I got more adamant, followed. Suffice it to say, after a long, polite and terribly calming phone call to the delightful owner of 6 Ballygunge Place, I got sinfully rich pastry for Mathew to cut. Replete with candle.
Oh, this only happened because I got to the restaurant before Mathew did.

The good news is, however, Somnath is a regular boy scout of a waiter who is quick with ready suggestions and has the sweetest cauliflower ears ever. Earnest and attentive, friendly without being servile, you can see he'll go far. May be Prasanta should learn from him.

The better news, folks, is the food. 6 Ballygunge Place has no pretensions of being fine dining. It's regular Bengali fare and very good at that.
To start with, I ordered a mango drink. Dried, spiced mango made into a drink. Very like the aampanna that you find north of here but a little thicker.
We decided to be greedy and order fried things for starters. So mango fish batter fried was our choice. I was little overwhelmed because I have a serious problem with deep fried things. My stomach, and my brain, cannot eat it without receiving shocks of some kind. This was spiced and spruced to perfection -- crisp, warm and yet letting the fish be -- but it was a bit much for two people to finish.
The main course is a bit of a task to order. For those not familiar with Bengali and its cuisine, the choice may seem like fish, fish and more fish -- fried, curried, baked, steamed, roasted, grilled.
On closer look you'll find pabda, rui and a few others that you can choose from. My eyes rested on machher jhol and I decided Mathew had to have this overrated Bengali classic and being even more open to experience than I am, he said if it was famous he had to know why.
This was to go with the loochi, of which I have never seen the point. To go with steamed rice was this dish that oozed itself from food heaven into the kitches of 6 Ballygunge Place.
Prawn cooked in tender coconut spiced with mustard oil. See, I am Malayali -- so coconut milk and prawn mean near orgasm for me. (Yes, sometimes that's all it takes.)
Conversation kept us alive till they decided it was time to feed us. And when they brought the prawn curry, I had to do more than just stamp my own foot down to keep me from climbing on the chair and whistling shrilly.
It came in a serene green coconut shell!!!
To say that it was the best thing since fish molly would be an understatement. Like the menu promises, it melts in your mouth. The prawn is cooked to perfection -- succulent, retaining the prawn flavour and just sweet enough to keep you wanting more.
The jhol was a disappointment. Watery, completely vapid and with the rohu being drowned out completely. But Mathew liked it, perhaps because it was his first taste of it. I've had better.
Dessert is always a problem. Mathew has an incorrigible sweet tooth. I need something mild while he needs something that shoots crackers in my head when I take a bite.
Somnath, my lovely boy scout, suggested the baked sandesh and I risked a chhenna malpua. It must be said that I dislike malpuas greatly. What can I say? It was Mathew's birthday.
The malpua turned out just like I expected. Sweet, sweet, sweet with that lovely chhenna taking away the cloying a little. Served with vanilla icecream it was the perfect end to the meal.
The baked sandesh? I can sing paens about it. I haven't tasted anything that perfect since strawberry cheese cake gelato at Amore. Warm, slightly burnt (which is so interestin) and with a texture and flavour that can easily lead to sex.

Verdict: Try and steal the chef from them. It's worth it.


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