...and then

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Sach intertainment (Courtesy my ex-colleague Ranjona Bannerjee)

How nice to have just about half the world talking about you. Nicely.

Those of you on twitter will know exactly what I am talking about. Here's a bunch of things that has appeared on my twitter home page by various fans.

"Now I know what god really looks like. He's 5'5", maharashtrian and plays cricket! Tendulkar Bappa Morya!"
"Sach intertainment"
"I saw history made today"
"Yay" (me)
"This is the finest thing we have seen on a cricket field."
"Truly the GOD of cricket! WOW! the one record,the one milestone,the one EVEREST that was left...he has conquered it with dedication n grace!"
"The GOD has just showed, how rightly he is 'The God'!!!"

And through all this, morose old Shekhar Kapoor is playing drama queen.
"How many Indians must die before we get rid of corrupt governance? Terrorists, Fire, Hunger. Twitter for change" (Shouldn't it be 'tweet' for change?)
Lighten up for just a bit, Mr India.   
Speaking of happy things, another list post. Things that have made me happy these past few days.

  • Finding, by chance, my mum reading my blog
  • Waking up to see my daughter's goofy smile 
  • A story I did got picked up by a university here for a demo on how-to.
  • My skin's stopped being hormonal and has gone back to glowing normalcy :p
  • An email with a very nice thing someone I used to look up to in college said to me. (Hi, you-know-who-you-are!)
  • Pants
  • Finding http://inkspillz.blogspot.com/
  • Dropped a kilo or two. Yay.
  • Reading first posts in blogs.
Honestly. I am not just saying this for effect. These things do make me happy. 
On another note, everyone's saying, "You make us proud" to Sachin. Can anyone tell me why any of us sitting on our lazy arses, staring into our computers or watching tv while eating a big bag of baked chips should be proud that Sachin is a dedicated, focused, disciplined, consistent, humble, bloody brilliant sportsman?
For, I don't think we had anything to do with where were born -- if our criterion for saying we are proud of Sachin is that we share a nationality -- and the only batting most of us do is to do with a movement of an eyelid. 

That said, Go SACHIIIIIN!

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Monday, 22 February 2010

Adding to...

A previous post

I can't find stuff that Jeet Thayil has written his post-America era. I don't think these are from then but they could be. And my copies of his books are back in India.

If you can find it, please read Shape-Shifter. It is my favourite. Read this interview and understand yourself why I lust after him. If you know me well enough, that is.

If you don't: His "weird co-passengers answer" and this earlier post should tell you that we'd have been made for each other, had both of us been single. (In my head, of course. He probably likes really thin women with killerbones... I mean collarbones...curly hair and a shimmering nosepin, none of which I have.)

See that I-hate-posing-properly-for-a-picture smile? Sigh...
(Picture: The Hindu)

By Jeet Thayil

The Boredom Artist

Life, said Hobbes, is nasty, brutish and short.
He left out boring, as grim a condition as any.
His tigerish namesake's epiphany,
in 20-point captions, is a Sunday slot.
Then there's Chekov, who, a moment ago, wrote,
The earth is beautiful, as are all God's creatures,
only one thing is not beautiful, and that is us.
Between philosopher, toy tiger, doctor, there's
a ladder of land no man claims as his.
I'll settle down there with old friends, familiars:
a monkey, my famous barking birds in pairs,
and defrocked Sukhvinder, the bald brahmin bear.
Dawn, like whiskey, half-lights a watery world:
all things break down to flesh, food and fear.
It's late December in Fleetwood, downstate NY,
"glorious showers, thunderclouds continue".
My mind unwinds as the century slows,
dribbles its years to a whining close
and defunct days peddle the news.
Listen: nothing, not even love, is true.

Slumming in Bombay, Beelzebub

found himself at home. Finally, he
had a reason for lethargy.
Inert like everybody, unable to sleep,
he blamed the humidity.
No use to say, "But B,
that's what this city does: saps you,
leaves you spent like change,
separates the dudes from the ditties."
He was having none of it,
a tools-down, feet-up, none of it,
and then the boss arrived, unexpected,
on a Sunday.
But his boss - now what? - had changed.
Hard as it was to believe,
she seemed kind, distracted, humorous,
endearing even.
The day she came to take him home
they were seen at the Hanging Gardens,
hand in hand, watching the dust bees
ride their pollen machines.
It was Christmas Day, just after dawn,
even the heat and humidity at peace,
it seemed, and Beelzebub's boss serene.


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How to cook your own big fat chick lit

Ingredients: One part favourite teenage Mills and Boon (however corny); two parts bad body-image issues from Bridget Jones's Diary; one-third parts each of forced situations, some wit and a happily-ever after.

Method: Put it all together and stir till you get sufficient word count, throw in windingly random chapter-heads, misquote the epigraph (a quote from Anais Nin, no less),find a dogged agent and you have Liza Palmer's Conversations With The Fat Girl.
Okay, so we all know about America's obsession with looking good and, more importantly, being thin. There is nothing new there. And there is nothing new in Palmer's attempt at exploring it either.
Palmer's protagonist, 27-year-old Maggie has always been fat. At 12, she found her soul mate in fellow fat girl Olivia. And now at 27, Olivia is a coveted size four -- thanks to surgery -- and about to get married to the perfect Ken doll while Maggie still shops in the section for large women. Maggie, however, has also graduated in art history, works at a local barista and lives with a dog. Cute.
But wait. If she has an art history degree, a supportive family, is good at what she does and is fairly intelligent, what is Maggie doing in the speakeasy pining over a good looking waiter who moonlights as a sculptor? The answer, then, is what Palmer's self-flagellating novel totters on. And on.
Maggie's story is all about how she realises she has outgrown Olivia's friendship, and learning to be comfortable with being "fat". The problem is that at 27, Maggie's reactions, logic and life are at best adolescent, at worst, plainly stupid.
With a narrative that swings between days at a San Francisco school where Maggie was avoided because she was fat and the present where Maggie avoids everyone else because she is still fat, Conversations is one long chasing-its-own-tail tale. Instead of a regular progression of her growth, there's just this one iteration, reiteration and further annoying reiteration of a singularly simple fact: Maggie is living like a loser because she is fat.
That, incidentally, is another dichotomy on its own, because the book is peppered with instances that suggest that Maggie only thinks she is fat and is not actually so.
To cut a short story shorter, this book has nothing new to offer. In the end, Maggie breaks free of Olivia's friendship, gets a job at a prestigious art gallery, a kiss from lover-boy and a weight-loss membership at the gym. Heck, why didn't she do all that right at the beginning?

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Strange things that have happened this week.


Unsolicited advice to aspiring poets.

1 Do you use the word 'yonder' in daily conversation? Even once? No? Then don't use it in your poems. Which takes us to point #2

2. Don't try and find a word that rhymes with it. You'll only come up with 'wonder', unless you want to use 'blunder', 'thunder', 'torn asunder'. I thought not.

3. Don't rhyme if you have to cut, colour, spit and polish the idea in the line to fit the rhyming word in.

4. Show, don't tell. Please
'Still rocks.'
'Electric electricity' (!!). Yes
'Silent vacuum'

5. Use "deafening silence" only if the silence is deafening. Don't use it for a quiet night. Or a pleasant enough poem.

6. Shards, angst, the depths of your shattered soul -- all very nice. But if you are still writing this when you are 23 and are not sitting in a padded cell or, at the very least, getting therapy, then stop. Grow up. There's a reason it's called adolescent angst.

7. Use a semi-colon. It speaks volumes. Also of your work.

8. Keep it simple. Even the complicated stuff.

9. Read Jeet Thayil.

10. Read, edit, read, edit, read, edit. Take at least a week to make it right. You may love your first draft but slowly you will come to realise that there is much more that can be done, some more that can be taken away.

And in the 'weird things keep happening to me' department.

Is anyone else getting email that is from "buddisttrains"? What the hell is that? I've got something from them twice this week.

Suddenly, there's almost no money in my bank.

I can't find a piece that I had done on Thayil for Daily News and Analysis. He has been my favourite living Indian poet for a while now.

Is it just me? Or is that word verification thingamejig throwing up real words that are misspelt these days? In the last four days I have - poleez, jinzeng, tranter (not a real word but sounds like one) and djigkle.  Yes, I think about these things. 


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Why I like some authors...

There was a reason I have never read Anita Nair. When I first heard of Ladies Coupe (Penguin India, 2001) in 2002, I was interested firstly by the fact that a relatively young woman had written a book that was being widely talked about. I was also interested because I saw her picture and envied her for her curly hair and high cheekbones (yes, I've been brainwashed into the marketing ideal of beauty). But I took a look at the book on one of my trips to Landmark (on Nungambakkam High Road, not Spencer Plaza) and was disappointed. 

The thing was, some two years before, I'd just devoured Eats, Shoots and Leaves by the fantastic punctuation-nazi Lynne Truss and fallen in love with it. I knew when I was losing friends rapidly that I was using the book as my friend, philosopher, guide way too much. People around me couldn't as much hum without me saying a comma was missing. Anyway, as always I digress. So if you've read the book, you'll know what I have against Ladies Coupe (how the hell do I get that accent mark on e?) 

For those of you who haven't read it, let me explain. Truss has very cutting style and is truly one of those geniuses who can write an instruction-type book and make it funny. One of the first and best examples of what she means in her book is the film title 'Two Weeks Notice', the one with whatsisteeth and Sandra Bullock, (who, by the way, should never be allowed anywhere near a camera unless she wants to clean it.) 

Truss says the title should have been punctuated thus -- Two Weeks' Notice. Because, as we all know, Bullock is giving her boss a notice of two weeks. Which means there should be an apostrophe. And because it is plural, the apostrophe goes after the S. Otherwise what does Two Weeks Notice mean?

I have the same problem with 'Ladies Coupe'. I can forgive it when I see 'Ladies' on train compartments. Most of those who stencil those things in couldn't care about grammar or punctuation. But when you are a writer, writing in English, and I assume thinking in it as well, you just cannot be forgiven for a book that's entitled wrongly. 'Ladies' Coupe' is what it should have been. (Compartment would have been perfect but hey, that's her wish, whereas punctuation is not.) She didn't miss putting that accent on Coupe, did she? Most of us who have pretensions of correct pronunciation would have managed saying it 'coupay' without the accent on e. But she didn't forget that. She forgot the apostrophe.

Since then Nair has been someone I sneered at and looked at derisively in that judgmental way I have. I've never picked up a book written by her. 

However, the last week found me desperately seeking some reading matter other than my newspaper, my crochet pattern book and a giant book of bedtime stories and rhymes -- as much as I enjoy all three. Who doesn't like a bedtime story? I found a copy of 'Mistress' on the bookshelf. A quick synopsis for the interested (courtesy Nair's very bad website).

"When travel writer Christopher Stewart arrives at a riverside resort in Kerala to meet Koman, Radha's uncle and a famous kathakali dancer, he enters a world of masks and repressed emotions. From their first meeting, both Radha and her uncle are drawn to the enigmatic young man with his cello and his incessant questions about the past. The triangle quickly excludes Shyam, Radha's husband, who can only watch helplessly as she embraces Chris with a passion that he has never been able to draw from her. Also playing the role of observer-participant is Koman; his life story, as it unfolds, captures all the nuances and contradictions of the relationships being made--and unmade--in front of his eyes.

A brilliant blend of imaginative story-telling and deeply moving explorations into the search for meaning in art and life, Mistress is a literary tour de force from one of India's most exciting writers.

Nair is a very smart woman. Look at the elements -- adultery, Kathakali, a cello, a white man in Kerala and a river. How can one ignore a book that claims to include all of these? So Kathakali and adultery did their magic on me and I went for that over a rereading of A Cook's Tour (Anthony Bourdain).

I must say, at this point, that having read the first couple of pages, I discovered the reason she is so successful -- it is because she is a superb storyteller. 

As I read, I kept asking myself if I have lost eight good years of reading because of my judgmental nature. Had I gotten to her earlier, would I have read more, hence known more, hence gone on to writing more? I felt a sense of being unfair towards this author who I had dismissed because I was anal about punctuation. (I still am but not as bad as I was.) 

For, honestly, right from the word go, she had me gripped. Her characters were full and raw, her description of people a tad romantic and adolescent but engaging all the same. Just like a good storyteller would do it. My blogosphere (excuse me, please) friend Judy Balan (see blog roll for link. Oh, hell, ok, just click here, lazy farts) had a pretty accurate and fairly succinct detailing of the difference between Writer and Storyteller, which for some reason, I can't find now. So I read with a sinking stomach the words of a born storyteller. 

And then... 

I knew why Nair would never ever find pride of place on my bookshelf. (Moments like these justify the title of my blog.)

Here's why. Those of you who have read the book, please go back and read what I am talking about. Those of you who haven't, I am posting from work and was disorganised enough to not bring the book with me so that I could write out the scene for more clarity. In the light of such circumstances, you'll have to make do with what I have here. Or just stop reading and come back tomorrow when I can edit this post to include the bit from the book verbatim.

So, said white man Chris has gotten off the train somewhere near Shoranur, Palakkad districit, Kerala, India. Radha is immediately attracted to him and his cello. Shyam, her husband, is insecure. I can't understand the relevance of using the device of calling this highly-mismatched couple Radha and Shyam. Another strike against Nair, as far as I am concerned.

They get to the resort that the couple owns and Shyam (in what we can assume are his country bumpkin ways) asks Chris what the instrument is. Chris says its a cello. I presume, because he is an Englishman he knows that the word is pronounced 'chello' and not 'sello' as we in India would call it if we didn't know better. 

Chris: Chello.
Shyam: That's a sello? Come to the restaurant, we'll show you our sellos. Laughs. (Referring to the brand of hot cases that we have in India called, you guessed it, Cello)*

Can you understand why I trusted my instinct about Anita Nair and haven't ever read her? No? Let me try and explain without the asinine pronunciation-spellings and terrible paraphrasing. 

Chris said 'cello' but would have pronounced it the way it is supposed to have been. So, listening to that, there is no way that Shyam would have thought of his Cello hot cases in the restaurant. Because, like Shyam if you don't know what a cello (the instrument, not the hot case) looks like, then chances are you don't know how it's pronounced or spelt. Which means, in Nair's head Chris pronounced cello as sello, which is why Shyam thought of his humble hot cases and made a really bad joke. 

Or I am a complete idiot and Shyam -- as well as the rest of India -- pronounces Cello (the hot case brand, not the instrument) as chello and I am the only one who calls it sello. 

* Paraphrased heavily because I don't have the book.

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Sunday, 14 February 2010

RIP Roshni. I love you.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die. __ Mary Frye

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Why I married my almost double

Mathew is a thoughtful, talented, sexy, funny individual with a big golden heart. Add to that a skill with music and he really had me at hello.We both belong to the same zodiac, we both love chocolate, wine and women (what?!) and our offspring. We both also refuse to let things be ordinary for too long. If you are thinking I have the perfect life, you're right.

Except, we live, for the moment I hope, in two different countries.

Except he hates Bombay and I hate Bangalore.

Except these days we don't agree on anything.

So if we ever do grown up things like buy a house, it'll have to be in Madras. I insist I live and grow our children in a city that is close to the sea. Unless we manage to get to Ireland -- which has the sea and cold weather so we can wear pretty, warm clothes.

Mathew and I met at what was then my fiance's and is now my ex-husband's parents' place. For me, it was love at first sight. He's built with a whipcord-like sleekness that I adore (I hate beefy physiques). He didn't quite touch 6 feet but his smile and the way he slunk low in his chair in his super-used, worn jeans and scruffy sneakers, completely relaxed, had my heart doing double time and my tummy skipping to my liver, from there to my kidneys and back. His smile is horribly disarming and at 43 he still looks 25. No, I don't say this only because he is my husband. He is like that.

For him, however, it was forehead at first sight.

I have a high forehead, as you would have guessed and he says that's the impression of me he took home. (I'd rather he had taken me home but anyway...) My quickly brushed long hair, my dimpled smile, my bright eyes and very charming personality went completely unnoticed.

But this post is not about How We Met. It's about one of my life's unsolved mysteries. Why does Mathew never cook for me? Sorry, not that mystery, the other one. Why do people invariably fall in love with those very like themselves?

I totally believe opposites attract. But what I believe more is after two years of marriage opposites murder. That old song... "You like tomaytoes, I like tomahtoes... Let's call the whole thing off."? George and Ira Gershwin so hit the nail on its head. People who are in no way alike should NEVER marry each other. Oh I am sure the arguments make for hot make-up sex but with someone just like you, you both can indulge in foot-fetish, body food fantasies that may or may not include a name, place, animal or thing without worrying about shocking the skin off the other person.

And for that reason, I found someone who was a lot like me and yet had very different ideas on what fun was, how to go about things in general, and prettiness. (He finds Katrina Kaif pretty. Just FYI) But, hey, long as we both think I am pretty, we are good.

Time and again I've met women and men with personalities that positively sparkle and pop; and then I've met the other half of the equation and seen them together. More often than not I've been left wondering what on earth they were thinking. It's sad when two really great people are in a marriage that's totally crap.

I know a woman who lived for attention, was outgoing, chatty and funny who suddenly turned and became a loner the minute she got married. She then proceeded to hide herself in lonely a apartment in some cold corner of Bangalore only to emerge months later calling herself part of the literati, a freelance playwright (I kid you not) and writer. She also disowned almost ALL her male friends (she had quite a few of those) and a couple of female ones too. While she insists it's a life choice she made, I honestly think it was her husband who persuaded her, however subtly, to do what she did. Today she has safe, non-threatening (myspeak for absolutely no fun) friends who barely scratch the surface (but who went to her wedding, I suppose). And her husband has the upper hand.

Someone very close to me is today a shell of who he was before who he got married. He: Outgoing, confident, funny to the point of being illegal, intelligent driven, constantly wanting to break the mould and do something different. She: Silent, stubborn, driven, tightfisted, wearing a string of complexes. A few years into marriage saw him being aloof, quiet, distant and completely cold with those he loved best. It broke my heart and I wish them well if whatever they have is working for them.

I've said this in an earlier post and as time goes by I am more convinced than ever that the best way to make a marriage work is to get married at least twice. The first time around you make your mistakes (and learn from them, I hope) so the second time around you know who to look for, what to think and what to cut out from your actually completely psychotic personality. It's truly one of the reasons my marriage is successful.

Or if you honestly don't like being labelled as divorced, at least do yourself a favour and move away from the city your parents live in and move in with a boyfriend. A live-in relationship is a pretty good marriage, except that there's no alimony on parting. But unless he's Tiger Woods, who wants a piddly alimony, right? Living with a man or woman (that you are also sleeping with, not just random asexual roommates) gives you priceless experience and insight, if you are open to it, which later helps you enormously when you find your Mathew.

So Mathew shook hands with me a few seconds longer than necessary when we parted after the first time we met (a sure sign of interest, that) but that was enough for me to know I'd found the person I actually wanted to live with for the rest of my life. It took me a marriage and two years to actually do something about it.

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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

6 Tips on De-Fuzzing a Hairy Forehead

This title of this post was what was in my mail this morning. How can it not make someone's day?



Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Why I love women here

I've been meaning to write this post for a while but haven't been able to do it without sounding ingratiating and over-zealous.

I love Omani women. I would leave this post at that but that would mean leaving those of you who read this (and don't live here) in the dark about why they're lovely.

You'll agree women world over are lovely. What makes Omani women so special is their fantastic sense of fun. Add to that their dignity, grace and mystique, they're just gorgeous. Mostly, they aren't as snooty as their Emirati counterparts. They used to be not as made-up but these days I see many of them hiding their gorgeous skin and lovely eyes behind layers of makeup. Hey, I like makeup, ok? But sometimes it's nice to see scrubbed clean faces and pretty, natural smiles.

Growing up here in Muscat, I hadn't had the opportunity to mingle too much with Omani children and their families. But having come back to work here, I meet Omani men and women on a regular basis and I find them warm, intelligent, driven and strong. I know this comes across terrible -- like a Gregory Roberts Watsisname talking about India but I cannot ignore the fact that these people are truly very hospitable, graceful people.

Not to mention articulate, funny and well read. The women I've met these days are all young -- in their 20s. Most of them dress according to norm (hijab, abaya, etc) They are extremely graceful in the way they conduct themselves -- their well-modulated voices are a complement to the swish of the very fashionable abaya, their lively eyes fit perfectly in faces framed by scarves, their accessories and their radiant makeup are a complete eye-popper. This mixture of tradition and modernity is fascinating for me.

For example, a really vivacious woman comes up to our floor to chat with a colleague (also Omani). The former, I'll call her Nabeela, always has a hello for everyone present in the room. She waves and smiles with those full lips of hers. She's a lovely olive-complexioned woman and while I know she'd look much better without the makeup, she does it so well that I lose sight of the fact that it's there.

So anyway, she breezes in, her robes dancing around her ankles, her eyes just as a lively, the only highlight on her face is bubblegum pink lipstick. After a big smile and greeting, I ask her what it is exactly that she does here and she tells me. Meanwhile, she asks me about being married (if I am, that is.) So I ask her the same and she says no, she's enjoying herself, and gives me a wink and a five! And I say go for it, girl. To which she says what everyone in this part of the world says: Inshallah.

And it really made me happy that this woman wanted to continue being single in a society where most women are defined largely by their marriages.

I've met a few other women like that, recently. I am quite sure I am not imagining it but a lot of these women I've met have a streak of naughtiness. Like they know a secret that we don't. It's in their eyes, in their often sexily lop-sided smiles. It's in their breezy waving. They talk confidently of the many experiences they've had. They aren't hesitant with their opinions, they are able to express themselves in flawless English and most of all, are so comfortable with themselves and being juxtaposed as they are, with the 'modern world' coming to them via the Internet, their phones, television and their strong sense of family identity. From what I see they seem to be handling it with such great equanimity.

Just so you know what I am talking about, I think you should visit this, this and this.

Way to go, girls.

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Sunday, 7 February 2010

A photo post...

I love pictures. Mine, others', taken by me, taken by others. All kinds. My favourite way to spend time on some days is to go through photographs that capture the heart and soul of some thing, place, person.

This picture is of one of my windchimes. At last count I had 10 -- bamboo, terracota, ceramic, some strange alloy, plastic, now this. Yes I collect them. This one is my favourite

I also happen to love light. I bought this string of chinese lanterns earlier this year. We are still looking for a place to hang it up. I'd love to put it up on a dresser mirror or any other mirror but it also looks good in a doorway corner. Any other suggestions?

This is how I spent part of my salary. I absolutely adore this compact. It's all mineral so no preservatives and it glides on like silk, feels like it too. And it gives you just the perfect glow. I say buy. The lipstick, I feel, could have been another colour -- basically a nude, shiny shimmer that I already have six of, from various brands. I just cannot experiment with lipsticks.

This is Her Madness Shyama and her psycho Devil In Disguise singing doggy. She loves him with a ferocity that stuns me. Must be his shaggy ears. Shyama came very close to being called Kalindi, which is what I wanted for her. It was also the synonym to Yamuna which was my beloved grandmother's name. (One of her names in any case). I conceived Shyama the month we lost my ammamma. But for reasons only close friends know, Kalindi had to be dropped. So I went through many many days of wondering before she came up with a list that had Shyama in it. It also mean the dark one, which is what Yamuna means. And so was born Shyama. Eternally grateful, Abhipraya.



And, finally, this is my marshamallow. He turns 6 months on Valentine's Day and I love him more with every day.Utkarsh was a surprise to all of us. Call me whatever, but I didn't know till I was four months on that I was going to be a mother again so soon. Shyama was only 8 months when I found out about Utkarsh. It was not a happy time for me. But I see him now and realise that my life would have been incomplete without him, his ready smiles and his beautiful dimples, had I been early enough to detect my pregnancy and decided against having him. I am just being honest.

 Whatever It Is That Looks After Us, I thank It with all my self for this little gift.


Saturday, 6 February 2010

It's not the bride, it's not the groom...

It is the pictures.

I had two weddings. I would think that that would be more than enough for most people, unless they are Elizabeth Taylor and I hear, even she's getting sick of it these days. But, as I figured recently, I am not most people. Therefore, I want one more wedding, this time to do it all right (groom will be my current husband, FYI, so I can safely concentrate on other things). Which is basically to focus on the wedding and not on the person I am marrying.

This, in fact, is the culprit. It is also my inspiration to go for plan B in case I don't make it as "world famous, renowned" author/super crocheter of the year, every year/fantastic mommy of the decade, till I die. (If you were world famous and renowned, you would be known, wouldn't you? And hence wouldn't need the qualifiers to introduce you.)  I want to be a wedding photographer of his ilk. I may or may not have his exact talent but I want to photograph weddings without everyone at the do knowing they are being photographed. Preeti and I discussed this before our individual babies came along. Maybe it will happen.

At both my weddings, I was dewy-eyed, giddy and ecstatic that I was marrying the man I loved. The first time, well, at that point I honestly, and truly loved him. The second time I married the man of my dreams, and knock on wood, he still is that man. 99 per cent of the time at least.

Both times I did not coordinate the colour of my fake green-eye contacts to the colours in the venue. I did not worry about two guests who hated each other sitting together having a slug fest with the wedding wine. I did not think about classy wedding favours that get lost the minute the guest leaves the do. I did not think about wedding photographers or a designer wedding cake that used orchids whose petals were crushed by underpaid Thai children imported from, well, Thailand. Or a funky pre-wedding party with a Klingon theme. Or an offbeat wow-inspiring venue like the dark side of the moon or deep under water. And, you know, I really am not that old; except for the 20 year olds who come here, I know you'll agree. I just didn't think the wedding was as important as the marriage, fool that I was. And going by my track record, what a pity if I decided it was time to change husbands, right?

These days, I see all these really nice weddings -- I hope the bride and groom will make them loving, lasting marriages - and I see even more gorgeous pictures and it gets me thinking, really, what the hell was I thinking, concentrating on the groom and not on the wedding?! The second time around, stupid as I was, I should have paid more attention, spent more and planned even more. But the nonsense romantic that I am, I thought, hey, it's my second time, I shouldn't spend so much, so lets keep it small and simple. And, mostly, my parents went with that and didn't encourage any pomp and show.

It was only my mad aunt -- the same one whose behaviour greatly disturbs me these days -- who said no, so what if it's your second time? You should celebrate it just as if it were your first. But unfortunately, it was a little late for good, sane advice like that (the eve of my wedding), and I was left feeling, damn! She's so right.

And truly, this was a wedding that should have been celebrated well. Because it is a marriage that gave me my perfect man, a marriage where our lovely, seriously crazy kids happened and a marriage that will never age. And it deserved all the fun, glamour and preceding weightloss that go with a regular wedding.

So the pictures are really crappy and I am cringing thinking of what the kids are going to say when they grow up and see their Mama's hep wedding pictures and my really odd ones. But the wedding, per se? It was perfect. Just perfect.

Small, sweet, fragrant and pure.

That we exchanged vows in Malayalam will always be a shock to me because I cannot pronounce big Malayalam words easily and I wasn't warned (thanks, Mathew!) that I was going to have to say words that had more than three very complicated syllables, holding Mathew's hand*.

I still, to this date, don't know what I vowed to do in the marriage. And I am pretty sure Mathew tricks me, every once in a stubborn while, into doing things by referring to the Vows. "But, but, but...  you promised! In church too." Okay.

Still, I want nice pictures.

*Mathew held my hand and steadily looked into my eyes throughout the exchange of vows, with a soft smile on his lovely face. It still makes me squirm and it still curls my toes.

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Monday, 1 February 2010

Notes for today

I came across a fantastic mommy blog. Yes, I used both those words in the same sentence, so imagine how good it would have been. I added the link to my blogroll and voila! it disappeared. When I tried to go back and find it, it said the blog was protected and I  had to log in. I did it a hundred times and still no Mad Momma.

So Mad Momma, mum to the Brat and the Bean, if you ever come to my space, please let me find you.


Today, my domestic help came with a trainee (as she's going away to India for 10 days). The new lady's Sri Lankan and doesn't speak anything other than Sinhalese. And my woman is Mallu and has never been to school. I was wondering how the communicate till I asked Chandra, the Sinhala, how old her kids were. She called to Fatima, my constant, to translate for her. And guess what they spoke in.

Pure, fluent, gorgeous Arabic.

The one big advantage of being a homemaker is that you don't have to make the occasional choice of being faithful. You don't meet enough men to warrant any kind of attraction. So the choice to remain monogamous doesn't have to be reiterated all the time.

Unless you fall in love online or something. Then god help you.


Payday came to me after more than a year now. And, boy, is my list long.
New baby cot because Shyama has outgrown her older one.
New highchair
New carseat
Longines/Omega for my father, in appreciation for all that he is.

Oh-kay then, that was the fastest I've spent my salary, ever.


Yesterday was hilarious with my aunt reverting to her childishness and trying to antagonise me. What a laugh I had. More on her on a later date. But right now, I sincerely hope and pray her mind will reach the ripe old age of 43 that her birth certificate proves her to be.

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