Hello, I’m..

Amidst all the babas and the slutwalks and the dancing politician ladies, I’m outraged enough to lose some of my narcissism. So I thought I’d reinforce it with a meme that’s been lying in the drafts for far too long. Honestly, this may be over a year old but I wrote the answers only now.

So here’s a bit of me, because I always keep my eye on the ball: Q. Why does this lousy blog exist? A. For my grand-children to know the Greatness that is Me.

Every phrase needs to be completed with three answers about yourself. Easy to figure as you go.

I am

  • Generally at daggers’ ends with the whole world and a bit heartless in arguments
  • A typical Virgo –  as in extremely critical of myself (as of others), aware of my flaws and good at hiding them unless I decide to be self-deprecating 🙂
  • A borderline hypochondriac with several OCDs

I want

  • To ensure that my future turns out at least vaguely like I dream it
  • Many material possessions that WILL buy me a slice of happiness
  • To live only till I have all my loved ones around me

I have

  • A husband who loves me unconditionally
  • A temper I am not proud of, and an acidic tongue
  • A mother compared to whom I’m horribly inadequate (and quite happy with it)

I wish

  • People would say things like they mean them. Mind games make me feel tired
  • To accomplish something that I’d leave behind and would make me “feel” if not “be” successful
  • I’d be able to stick to things I vehemently believe in now, when they matter most

I hate

  • Obsession with religion
  • Women who perpetrate atrocities and social injustices against other women, in the name of tradition
  • A messy house

I fear

  • Dependence – physical or financial or emotional, of my own or that of my family
  • People morphing into worse versions of themselves
  • Uncertainty of all kinds

I hear

  • The helpless cries of less privileged women and children
  • The advice from good friends
  • My guilt, loud and clear

I search

  • The world to throw me a clue
  • For new things to try, whenever the opportunity comes
  • For interesting conversations in the most unusual prospects

I wonder

  • Why society matters so much to so many people? Isn’t a sizeable rebelling populace enough to change the face of society?
  • Why we feel out of control in matters that are in fact only in our own control? Like weightloss, saving money, relationships?
  • When I’d learn to cook a meal of soul-satisying rajma-chawal!

I regret

  • Having made a hasty and hence poor decision when choosing my job post-MBA
  • Having worn my emotions on my sleeve for a really long time
  • Having said things I shouldn’t have and not apologizing. Teenage did NOT suit me well.

I love

  • The security of coming back home to someone I love, respect and with whom I can always speak before I think. Then defend the spoken word with warped logic. Then make frustrating hypothetical comparisons. Still be undivorced 😀
  • Vacations involving beaches or cities with reams of historical facts
  • The whole process of looking up recipes, looking for ingredients and cooking something new
  • (Far too many things for just three points!)

I always

  • Make lists to remember stuff
  • Pray only when I’m in trouble and resolve to pray other times too
  • Worry about something or the other

I ache

  • For Delhi – the city of my childhood
  • For more girl pals who “get” me
  • For the day I’d make peace with who I really am

I usually

  • Make a huge fuss about hygiene
  • Seem aloof and shy OR cold and annoyed, when in new company
  • Am up for a good movie or eating out

I am not

  • Someone who can easily adjust in new places, because one of my OCDs is having things just so
  • Rigid, even in the most out-of-the-question arguments
  • Someone easily likeable

I dance

  • When I’m alone at home
  • To hardcore Bollywood mujak
  • Best when I’m a tad drunk

I sing

  • Completely off-key
  • Along to the ipod music in the car, many times
  • Two songs my brother HATES to annoy him

I never

  • Cough up the courage to be confrontational, when people are being unfair. Takes me an agonizingly long time to bring it up. When I do, I’m more likely to let it rip but the damage is sure to have reached epic proportions by then.
  • Give up a book no matter how much I’m dying to get on with life
  • Confide in anybody completely. It’s a control thing, I think

I rarely

  • Ever leave food on my plate
  • Come back from the mall without having bought something
  • Accept compliments gracefully

I cry

  • Out of frustration
  • When someone I love is in pain and there’s nothing I can do
  • When some old memories come swimming back

I am not always

  • Non-judgmental
  • Fair
  • A loveable daughter

I lose

  • Some battles for the sake of the war 😉
  • Sleep when I’m worried
  • My cool for a WIDE variety of reasons

I’m confused

  • About the direction my professional life is taking
  • About why my definition of God must conform with anyone else’s and cannot be personal
  • About whether I expect too much from myself, others and even situations

I need

  • Financial security
  • My personal space to be clean and uncluttered
  • To be connected through the phone or the internet at all times

I should

  • Learn to be more detached and not take everything personally
  • Cultivate more patience
  • Save my sarcasm for only those who get it

I dream

  • Of having all the time and no obligations in the world to do all the nothing I want
  • Of having kids 🙂
  • Of vacations and celebrations and surprises and successes

I had great fun doing this. So many things to think about my favourite subject – Me!

I’d love for some people to take it up: Pepper, Dipali, Tamanna, ChandniWSW?

A Book Tag

Read this tag at Chandni’s, and found it interesting.

The tag says that the sentences below need to be completed with names of the books I’ve read. Zimble. Here goes:

In school I was: Out of My Comfort Zone

People might be surprised I’m: Dork

I will never be: The God of Small Things

My fantasy job is: Catcher in the Rye

At the end of a long day I need: The Last Song of Dusk

I hate it when: Unaccustomed Earth

Wish I had: Two Lives

My family reunions are: One Amazing Thing

At a party you’d find me: Midnight’s Children

I’ve never been to: A Palace of Illusions

A happy day includes: A Suitable Boy 😉

Motto I live by: An Equal Music

On my bucket list: The Golden Gate 😀

In my next life, I want to be: Emma

.. and I’m done.

Take it up and weave your story. Be sure to leave the link 🙂

Time Capsule

If I was to summarize the past few days, it’d be a very long post. So I thought I’d just collage it all up here for posterity but not delve into the details, and hope that when I do turn senile, the collage will help me recollect the memories. Here goes:

Shopping. Dry cleaning. Email wars. Gifts. One important presentation. Staying up all night after a really long time. Laziness. Last minute packing. Saris. Missed flight. Long airport wait. Books. Bangalore. Durga Puja. Food. Family. Festivities. Dancing. Music. Glorious food. Sleeping in. Holiday extension. Vacation planning. Early morning flights. Exhaustion.

Meanwhile, there’s been no update on the work scene. I’m just twiddling my thumbs till I hear more.

In the midst of all this though, I managed to squeeze in my answers to a tag i.e. The Book Tag. Wanted to post this on FB as that’s where I was tagged, but I prefer the blog. Read and take it up, if it catches your fancy… it’s kinda long, but much more fun than the what-are-you-wearing-right-now type tags 🙂

Warning: My take on the tag is going to involve a great deal of modern Indian fiction. I’ve been in an experimental phase reading new Indian authors, and have loved it for the most part

  1. Favorite childhood book? The Five Find-Outers series and The Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton
  2. What are you reading right now? Aftertaste by Namita Devidayal and Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry
  3. Bad book habit? – Reading in inadequate light, and mercilessly destroying the spines of paperbacks
  4. Do you have an e-reader? – Nope, but I’m accepting donations for a Kindle
  5. Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once? One book at a time. At most, I read two at the same time. I think of it as cheating on the book I picked up first.
  6. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? Yes, because I’ve gotten to know a whole bunch of like-minded people and that helps with reviews
  7. Least favorite book you read this year (so far)? Not one for chick lit, so I disliked Almost Single by Advaita Kala
  8. Favorite book you’ve read this year? A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. A monolithic multi-tonner, but so worth it. I can’t believe I let the length of the book dissuade me for so long.
  9. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? Not very often. Definitely never without a recommendation.
  10. What is your reading comfort zone? Indian fiction, Comedies, History
  11. Can you read on the bus? Any place
  12. Favorite place to read? In the car
  13. What is your policy on book lending? No dog-earing and at some point in time, returning them.
  14. Do you ever dog-ear books? Never. Pet peeve.
  15. Do you ever write in the margins of your books? No.
  16. Not even with text books? Only in pencil.
  17. What is your favorite language to read in? English is the only language I read in. Originals translated to English too. Can read Punjabi but the speed and vocabulary is abysmal.
  18. What makes you love a book? Story/ Concept, Humour, Detailing, Quirky analogies
  19. What will inspire you to recommend a book? A compelling story
  20. Favorite genre? If it’s a genre, Indian fiction lately.
  21. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?) – Fantasy Fiction.
  22. Favorite biography? Two Lives by Vikram Seth. Heart-warming and beautiful. Also going to read Out of My Comfort Zone by Steve Waugh soon (autobiography, but still)
  23. Have you ever read a self-help book? What do you know, I have! Some of them can be good fun if they don’t take themselves too seriously. If Eat, Pray, Love (Elizabeth Gilbert) can be classified as one, it’s the best example of how they should be done.
  24. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)? One Amazing Thing by Chitra Devakaruni Banerjee. The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar and Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri were good reads too, though not necessarily inspirational.
  25. Favorite reading snack? Never thought about this, but mostly potato chips. Obesity explained?
  26. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience – Got some serious hard-sell for Shantaram. I liked it, but it did seem contrived in parts.
  27. How often do you agree with critics about a book? I don’t read critic book reviews. I don’t trust Shelfari reviews either. Go by the blurb or by recommendations from friends/bloggers I know.
  28. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? There are very few I have negative reviews to share for, and I think those are well-deserved.
  29. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose? I’d love to read in French, Punjabi (I can, but not fluently) and Bangla (in that order).
  30. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read? Paperweight by Stephen Fry. It’s supposed to be funny, but the many unrecognizable cultural references and incredibly long sentences kept me from enjoying it.
  31. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin? LOTR. Yes, I haven’t read it. Yes, you may shoot me now.
  32. Favorite Poet? Not a poetry fan at all, but from whatever little I’ve read, WB Yeats, Robert Frost, Ogden Nash and Vikram Seth for Golden Gate.
  33. Favorite fictional character? Holden Caulfield of Catcher in the Rye, any given day
  34. Favorite fictional villain? None
  35. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation? Funny ones or short story collections  
  36. The longest I’ve gone without reading – A year and a half
  37. Name a book that you could/would not finish– The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi. Loved his first (The Last Song of Dusk) but this one convinced me that some authors have just one book in them.
  38. What distracts you easily when you’re reading? Real life
  39. Favorite film adaptation of a novel? Godfather, The Kite Runner
  40. Most disappointing film adaptation? In recent times, Aisha as an adaptation of Emma. Oh, the agony!
  41. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time? Approximately 2K
  42. How often do you skim a book before reading it? Almost always. Read a random paragraph somewhere.
  43. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through? A wavering storyline and sweeping clichés
  44. Do you like to keep your books organized? Yes
  45. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them? Always keep them but do lend
  46. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding? LOTR and Harry Potter. I just can’t bring myself to read them.
  47. Name a book that made you angry – A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  48. A book you didn’t expect to like but did? The Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan. Like I said, I’m not into chick-lit but this was unexpectedly witty.
  49. A book that you expected to like but didn’t? My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk, apart from The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay
  50. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading? Calvin and Hobbes, Dilbert, Anything Vikram Seth, Anything Wodehouse

 ————————-

Well, that’s that.. And how’ve you been? How was Pujo / Dussehra / Navratri / Kanjak?

If I were

a purple hammer, would you still love me? 😀

Well, this author is suffering a severe case of blogger’s block aggravated much by lack of time, so she’ll subject you to an arbit tag that caught her fancy. Here we go:

If I were a month, I’d be December. Dial December for happiness and holidays.

If I were a day of the week, I’d no doubt be Friday. Ushering in the good times.

If I were a time of day, I’d be that moment when sleep steals away all meaningful thoughts.

If I were a season, I’d have to be summer. Do I also get to choose WHERE I want to be summer?

If I were a planet, I’d be Mercury. Blow hot blow cold.

If I were a sea animal, I’d be a tortoise. Letting the world go by, and living long enough to see it all.

If I were a direction, I’d be the one where home is. That’s the anchor, the direction could change.

If I were a piece of furniture, I’d be an old antique chair in an open verandah.

If I were a liquid, I’d be chilli vodka. Or orange juice. Or green apple iced tea.

If I were a tree, I’d be a guava tree. I love the smell.

If I were a tool, I’d be a hammer. I don’t really know why.

If I were an element, I’d be titanium. Look ma, I can flyyyyy.

If I were a gemstone, I’d be jade. Love its green.

If I were a musical instrument, I’d be a guitar. That should up my coolness quotient.

If I were a color, I’d be purple.

If I were an emotion, I’d be compassion.

If I were a fruit, I’d be bananas. I already am! 🙂

If I were a sound, I’d be the sound of thunderstorms!

If I were a car, I’d be a convertible.

If I were food, I’d be cheese.

If I were a taste, I’d be spicy.

If I were a scent, I’d be that of woodsmoke. Reminds me of Delhi.

If I were a pair of shoes, I’d be the longest-worn sneakers.

If I were a bird, I’d be an eagle.

Seven's too few

.. things to write about oneself, for someone as self-obsessed introspective as me.

The long and short of this post is that GM tagged me, and I can’t help feeling like an idiot whining about it in my last post. Here’s what the tag is all about:

Reveal 7 random things about yourself.

Here are the rules of the tag.

1)      You have to tag 7 people.

2)      You have to link their pages in your tag post

3)      You have to leave a comment in their comments section telling them they’ve been tagged.

4)      You have to say who tagged you.

So here goes:

  1. I bite my nails. Whatever dead tissue was supposed to make my stumpy fingers long and feminine has been consumed. So much so that my wedding photographs show these five red dots on each hand right where the nails and the mandatory red nail paint are supposed to be. Someone saw the photographs and commented “OMG, what happened?  Is it some custom that you have to.. like.. get your nails ripped off?” Ok, she wasn’t that impolite. She just said “That’s weird.” Because *be very scared* I have no nails no more.
  2. I love shelling peas. I mean, if there was such a designation as a Sheller of the Pea Pods, I’d be rocking those appraisals. I’d be clocking 80 hours a week, and they’d pay me huge bonuses and I’d build more Shelled Pea mountains. I have loved shelling peas since childhood. My mother introduced me to it when I was merely 2.5 years, when there were no play-dates and she just needed me off her back. I have photographic evidence. (She says it was to teach us to help around with housework at an early age. Who’s having the last laugh now?)
  3. I am claustrophobic. I hate entering elevators, stadia, temples on festival days, crowded buses and trains. In those few moments when I struggle to get to a place with more air, everything closes in at the most scary and alarming pace. I would rather stay alone at home all day, than tag along with friends/family and experience that EVER. It makes me really sad that a lot of people perceive this fear like some sort of snobbery.
  4.  I dislike reality shows with terribly over-precocious sounding children being made to perform. You know the ones where they sing songs with words that should ideally mean nothing to their 5-year old selves or the ones where they crack the really tasteless double entendre jokes. I could never reconcile with the apparently popular Boogie Woogie – the lesser said the better. These shows are all extremely annoying, and I am totally not ashamed of playing the moral police on this one.
  5. I simply do not understand the concept of excesses in written language. For example, on being asked what your favourite color is by some random questionnaire on some godforsaken social networking site, why would you reply “GREEEEEEEEEEEN”. If I asked you the same question in person, would you stand up, take a deep breath and yell “GREEEEEEEEEEEEEN”? Probably not. So have mercy on that keyboard.  Also, while I’m at it, let me enlighten you that one question mark is questioning enough, and one exclamation mark is exclamation enough!
  6. I am obsessed with movies/ books about the 1940s, based in India or abroad. I am sure one of those regression things will reveal that I have some connection with that decade from my past life. Everything about the events and the history is simple and elegant yet dramatic and intriguing. How can you not love?
  7. When I’m reading something on the laptop, I keep selecting the text as I read. I like to believe it makes me concentrate. It’s damn annoying to others, I’ve been told.

The 7 people I’d love to read 7 interesting but random facts about are:

Nuttie: She’s the newest on my blog subscription list, and I know very little about her.

Shreya: She never lets us in on anything other than her taskmaster ASM avatar. This might be an opportunity?

Banjo: How come guys never do this kind of interesting (read: girly) stuff on their blogs?

Megha: Maybe this will get her back to blogging.

Swat: I think she does fun tags.

Titaxy: My way of saying Hi!

Anyone who’s “on the beach” and totally bored out of their skulls.

The 50th

Yayyy!!

Ladies and gentlemen, at the stroke of midnight, as the world sleeps, this blog shall complete its 50th post today.
Ofcourse, we shall ignore the part that it’s already been almost 2.5 years this blog began its existence and I have 50 posts to show for it. Because you see, atleast I have not let it die. It has scraped through bouts of extreme won’t-move-my-butt-unless-something-about-myself-who-else-is-interesting-enough and the ‘I write when I am surrounded by chirping sparrows, misty clouds and nostalgia’ snobbery. And I never promised that this will become a diary of sorts, I just said I’ll try to have this survive. I set the bar low in typical consultant-style – underpromise and overdeliver. Yeah?
But I feel I gotta step this up now. Like cater to my audiences. Like write something meaty. Like make you think. Ok.
Ofcourse, this 50th post can’t be something meaningless (as it is so far giving the impression of being). Here’s what we will talk about today: Me. Surprised? Now, here’s the deal: I’ll put down – Seven things I like to do, Seven things I like to eat, Seven things I like to wear, Seven of my most prized possessions & Seven people I’d like to tag.

7 things I like to do:

Writing: I have written to vent, to express, to keep a secret and to let it all out from as long as I can remember. I find it therapeutic and complex at the same time. I also think that the childhood, adoloscence and old age are trapped in one’s writings. My cousin and I recently read letters we used to exchange about 15 years back, and though the “Fly to” superscribed on envelopes must have made the postmen cringe, those letters are precious hard evidence of a good time had. Sample this: “Brother and I want to come to your house. But Papa is very busy. He cannot absent from office. Mum also wants to come. She will tell Papa we will all go and he can come later.” Ahem.

Reading: For a child who would have been more than happy never making eye contact with anyone, digging her nose into a long long book was the easiest way of going through 24 hours every day. Every book I have read has transported me to a world I built all up in my head, the special effects all being mine. So special is reading and living in a strange world to me, that I remember dreaming about those worlds and imagining myself there, discovering new things. Ofcourse, the next day, all the new things were plugged into the plot of the book. No, don’t go, I’m not crazy.

Eating: Well, now is not the time to rue this. It’s a time to celebrate this. I love food and I am not ashamed about it – a well-roasted bhutta, dripping-in-oil chhola bhaturas, anything in pesto, homemade chicken curry, steaming hot momos from Dilli Haat – give me anything, and you have a happy girl. It poses minor problems like trying to find hippo-sized clothes in malls for human beings, or that of being someone who ends all arguments with “I need chocolate. Will you leave me alone?” But I don’t think worries like inching away (mind the pun!) to size XL slowly but surely, and of not knowing how to deal with arguments in an amicable fashion hold half a candle to the state of nirvana achieved after a meal that begins with cheese jalapeno peppers and ends with chocolate brownies.

Shopping: I’m the person who feels like “Shhhh!! they only sent ME that message. I’m going to be the first one to get my hands on their 50% off merchandise. Yayyyy!!” You can show me how the shirt that was tagged 1k last week is marked 2.5 K now with a ‘60% off’ written next to it in font 42 and big bold black, but my mind will not listen. Yes people, all ye advertisers, I’m the one with the dollars in my eyes whom you worship, lure and rob. I’m the one who looks on expectantly on someone else’s b’day hoping that one little sidie gift will fly her way as well. I’m the one who has closet-fuls of precious useless stuff. And I’m the compulsive kind of shopper who doesn’t even need a companion. Note: I have a wishlist that runs into three long HTML pages. Friends wanting to buy me stuff, mail me.

Blog-hopping: One moment I’m reading about what someone in Nairobi cooked the previous night, and the next I’m reading about Vidya Balan’s fashion faux pas. Now I’m celebrating a new mommy’s monthly birthday updates, and then I’ll be exploring the travel exploits of a dear friend. The options are so many; the mind boggles. Ofcourse, alongside, I can read the status update of various friends on gtalk/twitter/FB – it’s almost like knowing what a neighbour is doing, by not always having to ask. It’s like a world each one of us carries on our shoulders – ever-expanding, ever-changing and always exciting. Ofcourse, I’ve been a management student and am genuinely curious as to how people wrote their projects without Google. Respect!

Travelling: Now this is going to be somewhat hard, because the farthest on my travelometer so far has been Kuala Lumpur. Ofcourse, in keeping with the tradition followed by all serious travellers of always seeking intriguing places to go, I have also been to Bhatinda. However, I aspire to travel to virgin beaches where one only sees the colours white, green and blue, or to hidden valleys where one can easily get lost or rainforests where animals of supposedly-extinct species will jump up from nowhere. Now only if that windfall I need (and deserve) will come through!

Lazing: Duh! I mean, weren’t ALL of the above hinting at this? What’s a week of endless binges and exhausting shopping that doesn’t end in a perfectly aimless Sunday. Waking up at 11 am, devouring newspapers till noon, having a big brunch, dozing off again and getting up in the evening for some hectic TV watching – something I do every third weekend. Helps connect with my senses that I lose at work every week. Also has proved very effective in stalling bankruptcy for me. Try it.

7 things I like to eat:
1. Spaghetti with insane amounts of pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, and a generous dose of olive oil.
2. Atta gol gappas @ Delhi roadside, brimming with green spicy paani and those over-boiled chanas
3. Piping hot pakodas with extra-sweet chai, that will always always remind me of the endless road trips made between Delhi and Punjab
4. Blueberry cheesecake with whipped cream
5. Momos – Chanakyapuri, Brown Sugar’s, Priya’s and Dilli Haat’s. I have trouble respecting people who don’t like momos with the suspicious looking red sauce.
6. Maggi and friends i.e. Cheese maggi, egg maggi, veg maggi, cheese egg maggi, cheese veg maggi, cheese chicken maggi.. you get the drift?
7. Indianized Chinese of all kinds
Disclaimer: The list above is in no particular order, and is by no means exhaustive.

7 things I like to wear:
1. Jeans. I prefer faded, extremely old and washed atleast a 1000 times.
2. Black. How can I not?
3. Flats. Ok, I am 5 feet nothing, but I still do love my kolhapuris, strappy flats and flip-flops.
4. Watches of all shapes and sizes.
5. Spectacles. I say so convicingly, because I h.a.t.e. contacts. Black half-frames for now.
6. Silver. Of the tinied kinds. I think I have one pair of earrings of the single studded kind, in every colour possible.
7. Kurtas. Fab India, Jai Ho!

7 of my most prized possessions:
1. The people in my life – mom, dad, bro and now the fiance. I always say it’s not easy being me and it’s even harder knowing me. I’m no diva, but I sure am a trouble child – I lose temper, I yell, I throw tantrums and the worst of all is that I remember and relive all arguments. Yet, there are some people in my life who love me and I am in awe of their patience. If I was them, I’d hate me. Enough said.
2. Greeting cards, wrapping papers, trinkets, bills, notes and other such random stuff – a bag full of these. It could be nosta
lgia, or it could be my hoarding tendencies, but I can’t let go.
3. The oldest phone I ever had. The blue Nokia 3310. It is broken, chipped in all places and so not cool anymore – but it was the first phone I ever had.
4. All my books. All different kinds. But hopefully, the collection will be much larger and better cared for as the years go by.
5. Various certificates for extra currics in school and college.
6. Clothes and other mindless stuff I buy and never use.
7. My old diaries.

7 people I’d like to tag: I’m skipping this. Go ahead, and do this. Leave a link in the comments though 🙂