Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Multiple Worgasm


I love words. It is as simple as that. Words have been a passion, a refuge, an icebreaker, a relationship maker, a relationship breaker, a reputation creator and wrecker, a way to wheedle my way through life. I take to words in every form; be it a book, a blog, the back of a toothpaste tube, the back of an autorickshaw, rude graffiti on the door of a public toilet or even a well-spoken person.

There are the word bores and the word whores. I loathe them and love them, respectively.

Then there’s that lot of people who automatically assume that if they throw a whole lot of pseudo-intellectual psycho babble at me, it’s going to open doors… in more ways than one. NF, the pompous so-n-so from oh-so-many years ago, springs to mind. He waxed on about the umbra and penumbra of the moon in some kind of poetic verse, oblivious to the fact that my eyes had rolled back into my head. He didn’t even stop when I began to gnaw my way through the plaster on the wall in a desperate bid to get away (or at least imbibe some turpentine to ease the pain). He didn’t even stop when I had left. He probably noticed my empty seat three hours later when a bit of wall plaster fell into his eye and blocked his view of the blasted penumbra or whatever.

“You should find out whether a guy reads PG Wodehouse first before anything else, “ advised Terror #1 as I stifled a guffaw and decided I’d give the young fellow, still green behind the ears et al, a patient listen – if only to humour him.

A few days later, whilst KO, BC and I satisfied a craving for gelato and froyo, we spied a chap seated alone at a neighbouring table reading – you guessed right – PG Wodehouse. KO, who is always ready to pimp her friends out just so that she can have her cheap entertainment (what with the price of movie tickets in this city), began goading me. “Go on,” she whispered with her trademark evil gleam in the eye. I actually considered it for a second.

“KO,” I said pensively, rolling a bit of froyo around in my mouth, taking in the young fella’s ill-fitting beige-and-brown checked bermudas, bright green t-shirt with something that looked suspiciously like Tweety on crack printed on it under a lint-infested cardigan.

“Yes, child?”

“He is terribly chappal-party,” I said, uncharacteristically resorting to a more vulgar vernacular expression as words had suddenly failed me.

For there, peering cheekily at us from under the table, were his horrendous pair of leather flip-flops. You know. The kind that men here seem to embrace with great enthusiasm when they turn 50. Replete with that gargantuan ring custom-made for a gorilla’s big toe.

So much for Wodehouse.

If you’re thinking, “Gee! Judgmental b*!@#”, you’re probably right. But is there any other way to be?

However, Krazy Frog probably described best how I take to words. Although I must caution here that Krazy Frog is terribly prone to exaggeration. He needs to learn to put that bottle of Black Dog down at some point.

I yammered on excitedly about a word someone, who may or may not have caught my fancy, had used. A word long since forgotten by a world that thinks “awesome” and “kewlness” are the only words one needs to know to get by.

“Oh, my god! He used the word ********. Who even uses that nowadays?” I gushed. “Hmm,” said KF, before adding, “You know what?”

“What?”

“A man does not have to physically pleasure you. All he has to do is keep throwing fancy words at you and you’re done.”

And that, folks, is a “worgasm”.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Who Stole the Cupcake from the Cupcake Tray?



That's Noddy, my one-year-old Dobidor (or Laberman). I thought he was pretty useless (but lovable). I am now beginning to realise he just might have some great acting potential. This is what I achieved using a dog treat, a camera and a tray of freshly baked cupcakes.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

How to Lose a Girl in 10 Seconds


1.Fart in the middle of that soulful dialogue about her beautiful eyes on a quiet, moonlit evening on the beach. Such sound effects are sure to break up the mood.

2.Dribble while chewing your food open-mouthed. She probably has a dog back home who does the same thing - but then, he still gets to share her bed at night because he looks cuter even while slobbering all over the floor.

3.Pick up the bill at the restaurant and then pass it over to her as soon as she offers to pay or split it - without even the semblance of an argument or something about going dutch. Pick your nose before doing this. Worse, DRIFT (Dig, Roll, Inspect, Flick, Taste)

4.Ride your fancy motorcycle in a stance not unlike a woman giving birth.

5.Stare at her cleavage. When confronted about it, tell her you were just admiring her dolphin pendant (which was actually a flower, but then, who can really tell the difference, eh?) or worse, say, “Tell your b**bs to stop staring at my eyes”.

6.Borrow money from her on your first date. Never return it or say a word about it - even on the off-chance there might be a third or fourth date.

7.Confess that you really cannot remember her name from the previous slightly drunken night when you asked her for her number at the club.

8.Unload on her the heart-breaking story about your ex-girlfriend who was an absolute b!*&# because she wouldn’t put out.

9.On your very first date, suggest names for the several children you plan on having with her.

10.Share with her material on your as-yet unwritten book titled “A Million Lovable Facts About My Mom”.

With creative inputs from Terror #1 (especially on points 3 and 5) as well as others, who wish to remain anonymous for fear of winning the ongoing “Who Dated The Biggest Dingleberry” competition.


If you liked this, you will definitely like fellow-blogger Bhumika's take on Ball Breaking

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gosh, I can be gauche!


A lot can happen over coffee. Hell, yes. Like horrific self-realisations about how gauche I can be, even if only fleetingly so.

KO and I seated ourselves down for coffee and a quick bite in the middle of our mammoth shopping trip. We cooed with delight, noticing the bottles of hand sanitizer on each table. Since we’re both rather finicky about it - we carry our own sanitizers everywhere (KO sometimes showers with it) - we thought it was one of the best things to happen to coffee chains since umm… well, since the introduction of those tasteless chocolate doughnuts.

We placed our orders. Two energy drinks, rather dubiously named “XXX”, a samosa for KO and a chilli puff pastry for yours truly. Not so difficult to remember now, is it? However, it appeared that both the staff and I had left our brains back home that afternoon. Our waitress came over twice to reconfirm our order - and that proved once too many times for a feeble-minded flake like me apparently. I completely forgot about what I had ordered.

Our drinks and a plate with two samosas were placed on the table. The dubious drinks had nothing else on them except for “XXX” - we had to figure out for ourselves which one was grape and which was wild berry. KO’s tasted suspiciously like tobacco. We were right. The fineprint said the drink was a substitute for nicotine. The irony? Both KO and I are non-smokers. One sip and I felt like I was sucking on an empty carton of Gold Flake Lights. Sick.

“Mmm-hmm”, said KO, gesturing toward the plate of samosas. “How strange”, I thought while helping myself to one, “Why can’t these people place the samosas on individual plates for each of us?” Yes, I was having one of my blonde moments and had begun to believe that I had ordered a samosa as well.

I wolfed it down, still blissfully unaware that it wasn’t my order in the first place. I was too busy swapping tales of dodgy dreams. After I’d gulped down the last crumb, KO very matter-of-factly asks, “Hey, hasn’t your order come as yet?”

The horror of what I had done descended upon me. I had just gobbled up KO’s food. Without batting an eyelid. Unapologetically. Unthinkingly. “Oh, my God! KO, I ate your samosa!” I howled loudly, oblivious to the attention the rather dramatic response was drawing from other patrons. “No, no, it is quite all right. I was not going to eat the second samosa anyway”, KO said magnanimously.

I felt my cheeks burning with shame. “I am so sorry!” I lapsed into silence mulling my terrible social faux pas. How could I have been so obtuse and unaware? Then the second wave of horror struck - as KO chuckled at my beetroot-red face.

-KO?
-Yes, child?
-What if this had been a date?

O.M.G. It could happen. I am now watching myself...very, very carefully.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Veni, Vidi, Visa


It is that time of year again. Indulgence. That is the key word and what better way to kick things off than with some hard-core retail therapy?

Armed with cash, cards, cheery smiles and a mental must-buy list, KO and I shopped our way through dozens of stores across the city this weekend.

My planned list comprised of jeans and dresses. Shoes? Definitely not. Although I would have loved to add more to my burgeoning shoe rack, which would give Imelda Marcos a hard run for her money, I simply do not have the space for anything more (despite having recently given away over 30 pairs – that is how dire the situation is). So unless someone could point me in the direction of a nice delicate pair of white or off-white stilettos, footwear was strictly off my shopping list.

Just jeans and dresses. That was the plan. And what did I end up with? Well, three pairs of jeans, a pair of capris, a wee denim skirt, two tops, de-stressing aromatherapy products, dozens of junk accessories - including earrings, bracelets, necklaces, finger rings - a maroon clutch, tiny terracotta artefacts for the house, a wall plaque with a nasty message for Bin and a hot pink rubber cow that flashes like a strobe light when you shake it.

Not bad. I didn’t veer that much off my planned course now, did I? Also, on the positive side, I haven’t changed my mind about any of my purchases. Yes, not even about that pink flashy cow.

On the downside, the dresses were disappointing. I almost found something I liked. However, one look at myself in the trial room mirror (subjecting KO to a horrific preview as well) and I couldn’t get out of the little black number fast enough. The dress screamed “Forget the drinks, dinner and gripping conversation; let’s move this to the bedroom right away – and oh, keep the money on the night stand”. Yep, prudently discarded that.

KO fared almost as well. With just jeans on her agenda, she ended up with two pairs of jeans, capris, a bunch of handbags - including one gigantic enough to house a healthy Shetland pony - aromatherapy products, clutches and junk jewellery. Of course, KO decided that she would also shop for our Christmas presents and kept barking at me to stay away from certain sections of the store. After she’d bellowed at me a couple of times, I was forced to feign interest in a pink pig table lamp that lit up when its nose was jabbed just to kill time until she had finished shopping for our presents. Oh, the wretched indignity of it all.

Six hours, aching feet, bulging shopping bags and considerably lighter wallets later, we joined BC to bask in the refreshingly tangy iciness of kiwi frozen yoghurt, pleased as punch with our fruitful shopping binge.

As Swoosie Kurtz said, “Veni, vidi, visa”.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Non-Oestrogenic Existence


Surviving more than a quarter of a century as a female in India** has given me a fairly strong sense of what I would like to do if I am reincarnated as an Indian man. Those with no sense of humour (which often goes hand-in-hand with poor comprehension skills) would be well advised to stop reading right now.

At the risk of being a veritable rabble-rouser, here goes (in no particular order):

1. Scratch and dig at every part of my anatomy that itches in public (this would also reassure me that everything I was born with hasn’t fallen off in some freak accident)

2. Urinate on every public wall, tree and milestone I see (the more public viewers, the better because it pays to advertise, you know)

3. Similarly, flaunt the tightest pair of speedos I can find on the beach, strategically positioning myself in front of sun-bathing women who are otherwise distracted by other male forms in boxers (because if you’ve got it or not, you have got to flaunt it)

4. Leer at, pinch, grope, rub and/or fondle every slightly desirable female form I encounter on a public street (because that is what women are on this planet for)

5. Do exactly as my daddy says (because my daddy’s the strongest, greatest and most importantly, male)

6. Use every opportunity as a platform to advertise my manhood (because I might secretly doubt it myself). For eg.:
- Get me the choco latte…because I am a man.
- Move your car out of the way, damn woman driver, man coming through!

7. Declare the kitchen out of bounds for a man with the cliché “a man’s place is not in the kitchen” (because a freak accident could damage what I was blessed to be born with)

8. Order all women who might have had the misfortune of crossing paths with me, voluntarily or involuntarily, to do my every biding - be it in terms of food, beverage, household chores, bedroom chores and so forth (because women will always be lower than pond scum)

9. Dispense advice rather freely that relationships can only work if women “suppress their personalities” and make “200% of the effort” (because a man making even some semblance of that effort would be tantamount to castration)

10. I. Me. Myself.

Acknowledgments:

- Terror#1 - for suggesting that I blog this

- IMM - for making me aware of the existence of an “International Men's Day

- All the related and non-related men in my life, including the ones who’ve come and stayed (and shown me that there are endearing exceptions to the aforementioned) as well as those who have exited (graciously or otherwise)


**No racist or anti-national sentiments here. This is the only country and race I am qualified enough to comment upon.

If you liked this, you will definitely like fellow-blogger Bhumika's take on Ball Breaking

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Knock Knock!


There’s a good reason why KO’s blog is called “Kaotic Workshop”. Where KO goes, chaos is apt to follow. Not that KO is not a good egg. She’s the best there is, but she ought to come with a hazard warning taped to her bottom.

So, thus it was that another mundane chinwag with the aforementioned blessed damosel triggered a rather bizarre experiment of sorts. Well, the International Man of Mystery had a lot to do with it as well (I said I would give credit where it is due, didn’t I?)

At the end of a 30-minute conversation with KO, I had been sufficiently egged on to send out a simple text message saying “Knock! Knock!” to a random lot of people from my phone book. Within seconds, minutes and an hour, I had my various responses:

"Who’s there?" - 60%

"Howdy dudee" and other forms of greeting - 20%

"How you doing?" (Including details of how the respondent was doing and where they were doing it at) - 10%

Promises to call soon (and reasons as to why they could not talk at the moment) - 10%

Variations in spelling of “who’s/who is” - 30%

I must add here that KO refuses to let me lecture here on the right spelling and grammar citing the “flexibility of text messaging language”.

When no response was received to the “Who’s there?”, 50% of the target group followed up. Apparently, (as Pest ranted on about), it is sacrilege to not carry a knock-knock joke forward once one has set it in motion.

The more colourful follow-ups included 10% cussing with a “Wtf?!” and another 10% suggesting that perhaps I had sent the text message to a wrong number?

30% of my target group tried calling me to no avail, while 10% texted me asking if I was all right.

The aforementioned Wtf-ers also suffered a breakdown of their vehicles within seconds of cursing me. If you spotted a crazed man, who has allowed prosperity - and a lot of it- go to his waist, herding vehicles away from his stranded car last night, that was the Pest.

Terror #1, who must learn to stay off the sauce, sent a follow-up which read, “Nobody here said the man who isn't there”.

Our (foregone) conclusion? I am in touch with all the right people. I dare say that if I had used people from the Chicken Shit series and other vile beings (black)listed on my phone, the results would have been different.

My thanks to the following people (in no particular order):
- My unsuspecting target group - For the 100% entertainment you provided.
- International Man of Mystery - For inspiring the chain of events with your “timely” response, which took all of five hours.
- KO - For inciting chaos as usual.


To all those who now want to hunt me down and kill me: Why knock when you can ring?

Vote for this budding writer

The things I have to do for friends and the things friends make me do just because I have a blog!

This is a request to all you readers out there: Please go on over to www.storywala.com. Click on "Authors" and vote for Author Number 41 - Ajay Kuruvila with a story titled "Drugs, A Girl And A Scam".

If he wins, I get his gratitude for life, which must be displayed in the form of cash and/or alcohol.

Monday, October 18, 2010

How to Tell You Are a Nosy Busybody


Here’s a quick quiz to tell if you belong to that aggravating tribe that suffers from the chronic inability to mind their own business.

Situation #1: There’s a clearly 18-year-old girl standing at the bus stop sporting rings on her toes. You:
A. Think she has pretty feet and that it’s probably time you got a pedicure yourself.
B. Ask her whether she is married. When she says she isn’t, you scowl and look accusingly at her ringed toes.
(+ 10 if you lecture her on how only married women in India must wear toe rings)

#2: There’s a garden party on at your neighbour’s house. You:
A. Peek over the wall, wonder what the occasion is but say no more.
B. Hang your head over the wall, supply minute-by-minute updates on who is at the party, what is being served, what style of clothing is being flaunted and so on
(+10 if you telephone your neighbour to ask what is going on and shamelessly wangle an invite for you, your family, your son’s classmate’s ailing grandmother, her incontinent cousin etc)

#3: Your colleague opens up her lunch box. You spy cheese and deep-fried goodies. You:
A. Say “Oh, yum!” and go back to your “feast” comprising of two peas and a carrot.
B. Give her a lecture on what a terrible diet she has, the effects of cholesterol, the advantages of eating two peas and a carrot.
(+10 if you supply a calorie count for each item in her lunch box, +2000 if you call her fat, +3000 if you aren’t exactly a poster child for health & fitness yourself)

#4: You hear that a couple has gotten a divorce recently. You:
A. Go “tsk, tsk”, make some expression of sympathy and shrug it off with a “C’est la vie. It is probably better this way.”
B. Exhaust every contact you might have to find out what went wrong, speculating over “obvious reasons” like did he cheat, was she “too dominating”, was it the in-laws?
(+10 if you are judgmental enough to say how frivolous youngsters these days are for walking out of a marriage without suffering it through for the rest of their lives unlike the good old days)

#5: There’s a couple stranded on the road; the guy busy changing a flat tyre: You:
A. Offer to lend a helping hand or go “Tsk, tsk” and carry on.
B. Stand around scratching your arse, offering advice on the best way to do things or sniggering at the stranded duo.
(+10 if you ogle the female occupants of the car and +200 if you then scratch other parts of your anatomy)

#6: You see a car stopped next to a toppled scooter. You:
A. Wonder what happened but carry on since it really isn’t any of your business.
B. Stop, gape and automatically assume the lady driver knocked the scooter over.
(+10 if you give the driver, whom you instantly presume must be guilty, a lecture on the cardinal sin of not knowing the local language.)

#7: You’re regularly checking on my blog because you:
A. Think it’s a decent read or “time pass”
B. Think it’s the best way to keep tabs on yours truly, providing you enough dirt for your next gossip session with the rest of your group of jobless busybodies
(+10 if you have texted/Facebooked/emailed me asking who/what I was referring to.)

#8: You’re reading this post and thinking:
A. Haha! Right on! You tell ‘em, girl!
B. Oh, my god, is the b*t** referring to me?
(+10 if you’re thinking “I wonder who she is referring to? Let me text/Facebook/email her and see.”)

Scoring:
Mostly As: You are one of a dying breed. It would be lovely to catch up over a cup of coffee some time. Text/Facebook/email me.
Mostly Bs: As BC says, you are appallingly “downmarket”. Remember to carve that on your epitaph before hurling yourself before the nearest speeding bus and doing us all one big favour.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The War Against Wassup


“Wassup?”

Or other variations of that irritating word.

Nothing can be more annoying than that single word popping up on my cellphone. Is it a greeting? An expression of concern for my well-being, perhaps?

For the most part, it appears to be a handy substitute for all those who have trouble making any semblance of decent conversation – and there are plenty of that sort out there as I’m beginning to find out all over again.

“I would like to lynch the next person who sends me that singularly most annoying word again as a text message”, I cribbed to Terror#1 this afternoon. “What is with the word anyway? What is one expected to say in response?”, I spat.

Terror#1, who often shares my sentiments on a lot of things like this – blame it on our “hilly-billy” backgrounds (as BC puts it) – reasoned that it probably stemmed from people being in AIESEC, where it is supposedly a way of greeting. He then went on to explain that since the word is used in Budweiser advertisements, the “Wassupers” were probably hoping to star in the brewer’s next commercial. I suspect Terror#1 might have had one too many Buds to come up with that explanation!

I would even venture that one’s usage of “wassup” is a keen indicator of one’s social prowess. Take for instance the little episode the other day as BC and I shared a couple of laughs and a chinwag over some fruity cocktails and chicken wings.

Well into the pleasant evening (pleasant up to that point at least, eh, BC?), a waiter came up and looking rather apologetic told me, “Ma’am, your bill has been paid already”. “What?”, I asked feeling rather stupid. “That guy at the bar insisted on paying the bill”, the waiter replied sheepishly as BC and I exchanged slightly alarmed but flummoxed glances.

“Can we reverse that?”, we pleaded, sneaking a peek at our benevolent benefactor, who leaned against the bar watching us expressionlessly. The waiter shook his head, his face mirroring our confusion and angst. I considered giving him an earful for not having checked with us before being a total pushover and acceding to the man’s demand.

My inner bitch grappled with my inner goody-two-shoes – should we ignore the bill payer or go over and say thank you? The Pushover brought us a note from the guy, who continued eyeing us uncertainly. The note said something to the effect of “Could I join you guys? I only want some conversation.” We gave it the once-over, noting the bad handwriting, awkward sentence construction but decent grammar and perfect spelling. We nodded our approval to the Pushover, who then plonked another chair next to BC and not me. Was I ever glad! (Guess who was in line for a fat tip that night?)

For the next what-seemed-to-be-eternity, our benefactor waxed on about social media and made some polite chit-chat – the major part of which I refused to contribute to, opting instead to feign deafness as the music was “too loud”. In doing so, I put BC in a spot – she took it upon herself to act as an interpreter of sorts until I told her to give it up. Each time he asked me something, I would signal “Loud music, I cannot hear! Forget it!” BC has yet to forgive me but loves me still, bless her good little heart.

To his credit, Social Media Bloke was decent and had played his cards well up until then – our basic courteousness compelling us to give the man and his near-monologue on social media a patient listen. We are nice like that. It could have continued to be that way. However, he made one catastrophic mistake – he sent us both a few text messages with that singularly annoying word – “Wassup”.

Almost needless to say, Social Media Bloke has never seen or heard from us since. Yes, my inner bitch won – and after some wrestling with her conscience, so did BC’s.

Death to all Wassupers is all I can say at this point – and no prizes for guessing what their one-word epitaph will read.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Basically Bla...

If you're looking to lose your dignity in a hurry, quick, head to the nearest hospital and ask for a procedure that involves a) some degree of nudity and/or b) some sort of organ involved in excretory and/or reproductive functions, and voila! You've got yourself a winner!

Having decided that there was no better way to spend a fun Saturday afternoon than make three wasted trips to a hospital while they sorted out their ultrasound appointments, software and radiologist's schedule, I finally found myself in the waiting room with Cousin Binky waiting for an ultrasound.

We found the only two available seats in a corner of the crowded room and settled in. I glugged down water at routine intervals since they usually insist on a full bladder before conducting the scan.

After a longish wait, the nurses yelled out, "Basically Blah?!" "Yes!", I hollered back, leaping to my feet, preparing to wind my way up to the desk. "Is your bladder full?", they shouted across the crowded room, while 40 people now hung at the edge of their seats to be informed about the state of my bladder. Feeling slightly flustered at having to share such information with 40 nosy strangers, I mumbled something about "Hopefully. I've been drinking water" before slinking back down into my seat.

Five minutes later, I hear the same chorus: "Basically Blah?!"

40 heads automatically turned toward me, obviously now well and truly intrigued by the well-being of my bladder.

-"Yes?"
-"Is your bladder full?"
-"Yes."

Repeat the above shouting match about five times. My "full" bladder now had the fan following of a Colors TV soap. Step aside, child bride, BB's Bladder is the new star.

Having now convinced the nurses that I had a bladder worthy of being scanned by their tardy doctor, I was ushered into the examination room. The doctor threw me a look like I was a worm who'd popped out of a delicious fruit salad.

She barked, "Is your bladder full?" (Jeez, whatever happened to good, old-fashioned "Hello" ? Or should I have introduced myself as "Basically Full-Bladder Blah"?)

-"I think so. I've had a lot of water."
-"I asked you something, you're answering something else."
-"Yes, my bladder is full."
-"Do you feel like passing urine?"
-"Slightly."
-"Is it urgent?"
-"No."
-"Then your bladder is not full." (Guess who got out on the wrong side of the bed this morning?)

Awkward silence ensues, during which BB curses her indolent bladder.

Doc Charming, nonetheless, condescended to scan me and my sorry excuse for a full bladder. Then there was the incident of the cheeky gall bladder.

- What did you drink? Coffee?
- No.
- Then why can't I see your gall bladder?
- Old gally ain't feeling too sociable today and is in hiding, deal with it.

A while later, I walked out of the room, results in hand, and exited the place with Cousin Binky by my side. As we left, an infant in the waiting room mouthed its first words ever...

You guessed right.

"Bladder".

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gibbering Over A Gecko


Anyone who has known me long enough or well enough would know my severe aversion to the common gecko. Although I am crazy about just about every creature great and small, geckos (and men?) are not on that list.

The little fiends have terrorised me for years now. The aversion really kicked in when I spent two years in Chennai - possibly the worst two years of my life (not counting the two wasted with Ducky, of course). Geckos would bide their time in the common bathroom, waiting for me to trot in. Once I was well and truly in the midst of my bathing routine, they’d hurl their writhing bodies into my bucket of water or, worse, land on my bare back.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve run screaming from the bathroom in terror. I once ran full tilt, clad in only a towel, into my hostel warden. She glared at me in disgust, eyeing me not unlike a smug gecko, before declaring, “You Ooty girls have no shame!” (I had spent ten years in Ooty before moving to Chennai). “We Ooty girls also have no courage in the face of geckos!” I called back cheekily, before scurrying away to safety - away from conniving geckos and seething wardens.

During a mandatory early-morning meditation session, I’d find myself face-to-face with a colourful garden lizard, replete with cilia-like spikes down his back, doing his morning push-ups, regarding me with a bright, beady eye while I looked on in mute horror.

Last night, the gecko brigade unleashed its horror on me again. While I scrubbed myself down with St.Ives’ apricot scrub in the bath tub, I heard a distinct “clink” beside my foot. Looking down, I spotted a young, pale-faced gecko eyeing me in the most disconcerting manner. In a split second, I was out of the bathroom. However, I have obviously developed some courage over the last decade. I returned to the scene of the attack brandishing WD-40. (Yes, it was the only thing closest and quickest to grab. Besides, it is touted as a versatile product with 2000 uses - I might have added #2001).

Then, standing six feet away from my tormentor, I spritzed like I’ve never spritzed before. My assailant first tried to dive for cover behind a giant bottle of strawberry bubble bath. However, I kept at him, like the cops dispelling a mob with a water cannon. Horrors! Completely disoriented (and possibly rust-free for life), he ran straight for me! I squealed, leaped over him and took cover in the bathtub again, keeping my finger down on the spray gun. I was GI Jane with that WD-40 I tell you.

This is when he breached the boundaries of battle, the unsporting scoundrel. He hopped into my bedroom at top speed like a highly caffeinated kid on a pogo stick. Too chicken to follow him immediately, lest he leap at me, I allowed him to skip under the bed before throwing on a bathrobe and dashing out for my weapons of mass destruction. Oh, yeah! Bring on the Baygon Multi-Insect Killer.

He was nowhere to be seen when I returned. “Fire first, ask questions later”, I reasoned with myself and doused the entire room with Baygon, spraying liberally under the bed, until I could taste the chemical on my tonsils. I swear I heard my neighbour, two blocks down, gag.

And just like that, it ended. I heard and saw no more of my attacker. What has become of him still remains a mystery this morning. Is he dead or plotting a more ferocious attack?

There was one positive thing to the entire episode. I am severely hematophobic - I’ve been known to faint, grow dizzy, break out in a cold sweat and clutch at inappropriate animate or inanimate objects for support at the sight of blood.

You can imagine my terror when I had to undergo a routine blood test this morning. However, five minutes after meekly offering up a vial of blood, I was trotting out quite normally with my dignity intact.

How did I manage to stay cool and calm this time? Simple: I kept my eyes closed and my mind firmly on the offensive gecko, reliving the horror of him making like a wallaby and scurrying under the bed.

One phobia to conquer another. And that’s how it’s done. *Holstering WD-40 and taking a bow*

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Monsoon Madness is Upon Us

As the Indian monsoon set in and the roads turned murky with suspicious flotsam and jetsam bobbing merrily into gutters, potholes and other unfortunate orifices, the damp air appeared to have affected the workings of otherwise rational human minds.

Monsoon madness, it would appear, is upon us.

How else could you explain why Bin would hurl a whole bottle of Bacardi Breezer in the Ant’s face, mistaking the figure skulking by her car to be a -- of all things -- a watermelon thief? Never mind that there may have been laptops, mobile phones, wallets and other valuables lying carelessly about -- oh, no sirree, that crouching form must most certainly have come for watermelons. This begs the question -- what watermelons? I have no answer to that one, simply because there were none in the vicinity. A more likely explanation would be that Bin has been afflicted by the monsoon madness.

The madness does not end there.

No doubt the deluge of Jamaican Passion upon the Ant’s face coupled with the shock of being pronounced a watermelon thief had a more damaging impact on the Ant’s brain than initially suspected. Some days later, in the midst of a mundane conversation, I mentioned something to the effect of “I will give her a call” or something equally bland. The Ant went saucer-eyed before exclaiming, “What! KO has nipple rings?”

I was completely befuddled. How on earth did a completely innocuous statement suddenly transform into something with earth-shattering implications? I mean, if KO sports radical pieces of jewellery, I can bet my bottom paisa that the pope would sport a tattoo -- if you get my drift.

KO reacted with the expected level of shock and horror when accused about her “dirty little secret”. The allegation, born out of a much mildewed mind, had a profound impact on the poor lass. She packed her bright red suitcase, wrapped a brighter green ribbon around it and presented herself at Oo’s doorstep in Ireland, calling herself an early Christmas present. I haven’t seen her in almost a month. (Read KO’s Irish escapades here)

The only apparently unaffected soul is BC, who appears to have pulled through the dreary weather relatively unscathed. However, considering that even BC has been babbling something about her being possibly kidnapped and taken back as a price bride for the Kikuyu people, I might just have to resign myself to the fact that I seem to be the sole survivor of this drizzly season.

I am Legend! Woot!

(As you can probably tell, Basically Blah has no material to blah about and is looking to incite a riot. My apologies to my regular readers, especially the ones who take all that time and effort to Google my blog every single day!)

Monday, June 14, 2010

What’s In A Name?


In a country where possibly 7 out of every 10 people are addicted to Bollywood, well versed in the who’s who (or should that be who’s doing whom?) and what’s what of tinsel town, trust B-C, Bin and self to stick out like sore thumbs yet again.

B-C was to cover the launch of a spa in the city recently and I tagged along for lack of anything better to do. The press release boasted the presence of several “high-profile” Bollywood celebrities - Ritesh Deshmukh (which I confess was the only name I recognised on the list), Ashish Chaudhary, someone else, someone else, yadda yadda….

B-C made it through the barricade of big bouncers with me, increasingly wondering why I had turned up there, in tow. A long painful wait ensued during which I foraged around the snacks table, obliging the generous waiters who quite obviously thought I was a reject from a home for consumptives, and followed B-C on a guided tour of the spa, quite easily envisaging it to soon turn into a house of pleasures providing Bollywood wannabes and C-graders for a suitable price.

Finally, the first “celeb” arrived - fashionably late. His name was not on the list of expected VIPs. To our credit, B-C and I instantly recognised who he was, although his actual name completely eluded us. “Salman Khan’s brother”, B-C scribbled on her notepad. His name?

“Arbaaz Khan!” I declared triumphantly before B-C clicked her tongue dismissively. No. “Altaf?” I ventured again. No, B-C indicated with a quick nod of the head, her own brow furrowing in thought. “It’s definitely something with an A” I said again, determined to get this right and as self-assured as the time I’d smugly declared “They’re all Ganeshas!” while standing in front of a row of what I was later informed were idols of Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god.

“Ayaaz?” No. This was futile.

“Let’s text Bin” suggested B-C, telling me, in not so many words, that when it came to Bollywood knowledge, I was as helpful as Paris Hilton on a Mensa test. While she shot off a text message to Bin, I sent one to Cousin Binky - “What is the name of that weird-looking brother of Salman Khan?”

Sohail Khan” came Cousin Binky’s prompt reply. Right on the money! Cousin Binky saves the day!

Bin’s not-so-prompt response, on the other hand, took the cake, the baker and the whole goddamn confectionery.

“Sulaiman!” she texted back gleefully.

Tsk. There isn’t much else to be said. It must be hard being Salman Khan’s hardly famous brother.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Of Chillis, Berries and Mithuns

So I’ve got the King of hotness at home.

Well, before certain males begin to preen and the curious gossip-mongering lot make a dash for my Facebook page in an attempt to dig up the latest and greatest on yours truly, let me cast a slight damper on things.

I am referring to the Naga King Chilli, sourced from an acquaintance who hails from the state of Nagaland. This particular variety of chilli (as Wikipedia told me) has earned its place in the Guinness Book for its spiciness.

Having long been the Dallay chilli’s greatest fan (arguably), I was quite excited to get my hands on this variety. Unfortunately, I’ve managed to source just a couple of dried ones, ready to have their seeds planted. Let’s hope that in three months’ time, I’ll have more to write about the little dynamite. (Alternatively, if you are in Nagaland when you’re reading this and of altruistic disposition, let me know if you could send me some fresh stuff!)

That aside, I have a little box of something called ‘bukari’ from Nagaland. I can only hope that is how it is spelled or pronounced, for Google has failed me, as have Wikipedia and every other self-proclaimed storehouse of knowledge.

For the adventurous gourmands, this is a made of a particular borum and tastes a lot like the variety of tituara or lapsi I got from Darjeeling (the sweeter, blander sort as compared to the Nepali/Sikkimese/Kalimpong stuff). It’s peculiarly sweet-ish, got the slight aftertaste of an overripe-bordering-on-rotten fruit and leaves a fat round seed lolling around in your mouth. Not really much to write home about, but considerably worthwhile blogging about I thought - since it’s a) new and novel (to me at least) and b) the Internet can’t shush me for yammering on about a trifling berry.

Thanks to the new Naga acquaintance, I’ve also learned that the Mithun is supposed to be incredibly delicious! No, gross… not that inebriated-looking Disco Dancer silver-suited Bollywood actor fellow of yesteryear with the son whose only claim to fame is his strange moniker. This is a species of gaur that is also Nagaland’s state animal.

The sombre-looking beast - the sort that throws you a look that could fry an egg or wither a blimp - appears perpetually irate. I suppose it’s wise to say one ought not to proffer him one of those king chillis.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It Just Trips Off The Tongue


“Language -- we play with it, argue about it, spar with it, judge others on it. Who said language was only for communicating?”

When A-Word-A-Day’s daily snippet popped into my mailbox this morning, the lines above got me thinking. One’s command over the English language, which I long thought was a really solid advantage anywhere, is, as it turns out, something of a double-edged sword.

Choosing to look at the glass half-empty, let’s see how one’s fluency in this language of foreign origin now adversely impacts an Indian in India - here are the commandments for all those (unfortunate?) Indians who are apt to believe their first language/mother tongue is English:

1. Thou shalt be entitled to titles.

No “Lady” or “Lord” type British titles for you. The titles bestowed on the comfy English speakers here are a lot more colourful. While my dad dealt with the likes of “East India Company”, I had to contend with tags like “White Pig” (literally translated from the Tamil phrase) thanks to delightful classmates in cordial Chennai - until the day I walked up to a blackboard and corrected a Tamilian’s Tamil spelling for the word “yaanai” (elephant). Almost needless to say, the look on their faces was absolutely priceless. Then there’s the more mundane “So-n-so’s British.” My mother’s son-of-the-soil brother insists that his “sister is British” because “her father was British!” Who am I to point fingers? I tell everybody “my mother is British” and “KO is related to the Queen.”

2. Thou shalt be the butt of all jokes.

You are always the “outsider” in any gathering where a vernacular language is the chosen medium of communication. Even if you do choose to converse in the vernacular, your conversation is subject to intense scrutiny by the vernacular experts who cackle at any slip-up or, having found no grammatical errors, then attack your “anglicised accent,” mimicking you with an even more ridiculous accent - something akin to playing a Geoffrey Boycott commentary on slow.

3. Thou shalt be infallible in all things English.

If you are good at the language, the bar is set even higher for you with almost no margin for error. This mean you cannot afford a single typo, errant comma or grammatical error in any of your written works - be it a simple email to a colleague, a note to a neighbour, your college thesis, the to-do list tacked to the fridge, or a hurriedly scrawled recipe for prawn curry. As for pronunciations and the spoken word, God save thy soul if you happen to spout a more vernacular expression. For instance, an “Arre yaar” or a more colourful vernacular expletive. (No, B-C, that still does not mean we will stop laughing at you for saying “I promise on Lord Jesus…”)

4. Thou shalt be witness to double takes.

You speak in the vernacular. Listener does an exaggerated “I-freeze-in-my -tracks” before saying, “Oh, my God! You speak Tamil/Hindi/Kannada/Malayalam/Fill-in-lingo-of-your-choice?”, which may or may not always be followed by the obscure observation “You do not LOOK like you speak xyz lingo.”

5. Thou shalt be the English language ready reckoner.

Move over, Google, Websters, Oxford, Wren & Martin. You are a cheaper, handier version of a dictionary and thesaurus. You shall provide spellings, definitions, usage and synonyms at anybody’s behest for any word or wannabe word in the English language. A failure or inability to do so will cause ripples of amazement wider than even George Bush Sr.’s keeling over and throwing up on the Japanese PM evoked.

6. Thou shalt be the Brit wannabe.

Somehow, an “English language expert” in this country is immediately construed as being one who idolises the Brits and all things Brit,is dying to live in the UK, turns up the old honker at anything Indian. Does having fluency over a foreign language immediately make one a traitor to your land? How about looking at it as being able to cock a snook at the Brits in their own tongue? In any case, I don’t quite get what all the competitive hype and hoopla is about when it comes to the various races. I am not the one who hoists the Union Jack every morning nor do I even know (or care)what the UK national anthem is. I prefer a hot samosa to a drab old scone any day. I might be guilty of preferring a man in a suit to a lungi, but then, that really is a matter of personal taste rather than allegiance to a country! (Basically Blah prepares for hate mail from a certain N Rajakutty)

7. Thou shalt be perceived a snob.

The “English type” come with a tag attached that can never be shaken off. Absolutely no opportunity to prove otherwise. You have been, are and always will be a snob. It doesn’t matter that you may not actually think of yourself as too cool for everybody else around you. You are “one of those” and you just have to be a snob, looking down upon anybody else who may be more fluent in the vernacular and whose English skills leave a lot to be desired. Sigh! When a neighbourhood nanny trying to get a colicky baby to sleep shushed a woman squabbling on the road outside for disturbing the little fellow, the belligerent passerby shot back, “Oho! You English people in your bungalows (we live in apartments, fyi) think you can tell us what to do?” The nanny had made the mistake of speaking in the lingo of the sahibs. So apparently, speaking in English makes you appear to be a cut above the rest - who cares what you really think about yourself?

To the wise auto driver (a dying breed in Bangalore) who said that learning and knowing good English in this day and age is a must else it will get you nowhere - there is plenty of truth to what you say.

However, in my next life, Oh Big Guy Upstairs, can I please be Vatal Nagaraj, bastion of the local language? For starters, he is male (I haven’t heard anything to the contrary); secondly, he is on the other side of the fence (or the 'English Channel' as I like to think of it) and it looks like the grass is far greener on that side - just ask the camel he's seated on (not seen in pic).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mushroom & I


This post has taken a long time coming. The other day, I got around to reminiscing about the days of old with KO, who has known me since I was knee high to an ant. The conversation wound around to one of my best buddies from boarding school, Mushroom, who I still keep in touch with from time to time despite being separated by miles of ocean. In retrospect, Mushroom was the proverbial trouble maker.

The one thing that drew us together - a sure-fire reason that still draws me to some people more than others - was our shared craziness for all creatures great and small.

After returning from a weekend home, Mushroom ran up to me, bursting with excitement. Drawing me away from prying eyes, she showed me a biscuit tin with holes poked in the lid. Raising the lid, I spied a bunch of cabbage leaves with a whole lot of tiny butterfly eggs.

Thrilled to bits, we kept the tin in her desk in our classroom, waiting for them to hatch. And hatch they did. Right in the middle of a Math lesson. We suddenly noticed a sea of tiny caterpillar larvae swarming out over her desk. As inconspicuously as possible, we tried to herd them back into the tin, only to have them pop right back out through the holes in the lid.

Growing more adventurous, they then swarmed over to other desks, creating quite a row with girls squealing in horror and running for cover. Needless to say, we were thrown out with our precious biscuit tin to release the wannabe butterflies in the woods surrounding our playground. However, we kept finding stragglers in the classroom for days afterward.

Our foray into entomology didn’t end there. There was the matter of the housefly called Snoopy - held hostage in an empty glue bottle by a couple of curious eight-year olds. Snoopy, R.I.P.

Entomology aside, Mushroom and I were probably “wiser beyond our years.” Engrossed in drawing the Garden of Eden for a Scripture class, we decided to go all out and ensure Adam and Eve were “anatomically perfect.” When we sat back to admire our handiwork, it suddenly struck us, “What will the teacher say?!” In panic, we grabbed an eraser and hastily tried to erase Adam’s generous manhood.

Erasers, back then, were ineffective things that left an ugly black smudge on paper. Ultimately, we ended up with an erroneous Adam with a suspicious black cloud over his crotch area, which, when held up to the light, even boasted a hole in the paper.

A terrible giggle fit later, we found ourselves thrown out into the corridor once more, wielding our masterpiece; Adam now sporting green-crayoned “grass” scrawled up to his waist with Eve almost up to her eyeballs in misshapen foliage.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Many Furlongs Away From Home - Part II

Day II dawned later rather than early. With no clock in the room, I slept on until nearly 9 before one of the group sounded an alarm that the breakfast may be running out.

Once breakfast was done, and B-C (who would put Rumpelstiltskin to shame) was roused and scrubbed behind the ears, we opted out of the trip to see a waterfall and settled down to a game of carrom.

When the group returned, full of tales of a terrific clamber and scramble over rocky terrain to get to a fabulous waterfall, I steeled my morose heart by telling myself that city slickers, who haven’t been born and raised in the boonies like I was, would find three stones and a pebble challenging.

I don’t care that the photographic evidence might have declared otherwise. I don’t trust technology anyway. (Hey, who threw this grape at me? It is sour!)

After lunch, which was the previous day’s re-hashed lunch plus re-hashed dinner, I waddled off for a siesta, accompanied by B-C and KO, while the rest worked themselves up over settling the bill and what time we ought to leave.

The ride back was relatively uneventful, save for the time Team Red decided to play dirty so as to gain the No. 1 spot in our little cavalcade. We resorted to the old stop-we-want-to-buy-tender-coconuts-hoo-hoo-hoo-sucker ploy- you know, the one where you flag your “rivals” down and tell them you’re stopping to buy tender coconuts because you’re dying of thirst and then step on the accelerator and zoom off into the horizon as the suckers eat dust.

Well, we didn’t so much zoom off into the horizon leaving a trail of dust - it was more a slow taxi and takeoff as the confused GC meandered about a bit in confusion as a bunch of hysterical women shouted in his ear to “Go! Go! Go!” just seconds after screaming for tender coconuts. I swear, if we’ve put him off women for the rest of his life, I can scarcely blame him. We did leave the other two cars behind, blinking in utter bewilderment, calling us up to tell us that it was okay to “have our coconuts.”

GC, I fathom, got his back on us for all the trouble our fickle-mindedness had caused him by hitting a speed breaker at high speed, causing some of us to bump our coconuts heads on the roof.

As I crawled back home well past midnight, it struck me that I’d actually had a really good time, with scarcely a moment to brood over other brow-furrowing events. There is something to be said about going on a holiday where one plays no part in the planning or execution, with your sole responsibility being to just show up at the appointed hour (or an hour later with a plausible excuse) and then just going along for the bumpy, muddy ride.

Besides, a tiny bump on the head is a small price to pay for a car-full of laughter and memories that provide plenty of fodder for private jokes between a bunch of people who will forever remain my closest friends.

[For the politically incorrect version of events, visit Kaotic's Workshop.]

Many Furlongs Away From Home

Basically Blah is back from a very quick but much-need weekend getaway.

Destination: Texwoods Resort near the Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary close to Chikmagalur.

Joining a bunch of strangers on a holiday was a first of sorts for me. While I knew I had KO for company, B-Complex decided to join the dozen or so of us setting out on this “trekking” adventure after initially having opted out since the trek did not include palanquin bearers for her personal comfort.

As with all big groups going on holiday, we set off (in three cars) a good hour or so later than planned once all the stragglers and their excuses for tardiness had been gathered. As always happens when you have men at the wheel, the three vehicles got into a surreptitious race to stay at the head of the cavalcade.

Of course, the four women in “Team Red” might actually have nudged their genial chauffeur (GC) into it. We must be allowed our juvenile delights once in a while. Speaking of juvenile delights, one of mine is to keep people from sleeping during a journey, and hence, I found myself making some incessant chatter much to the chagrin of B-Complex and KO who cannot (otherwise) keep their eyelids open in a moving vehicle. Well, the outcome of that "intellectual" discussion was that we inferred that buns without yeast are biscuits. Go figure. *snigger*

We made it to Muthodi under Ms. Zeus’ able navigation and GC not-so-helpfully asking around for “Bhadra Life Century”; deciding against Texwoods’ owners directions with distances given in furlongs. Who, in this day and age, gives distances in furlongs?

Anyway, some, I don’t know, 20 furlongs later, we found ourselves transferring into Texwoods jeeps for the bumpy, dusty crawl up to the resort situated in the middle of a coffee plantation.

Post an uninteresting lunch, B-C, KO and I caught an afternoon siesta, while the rest bobbed about in the swimming pool with leaves and orange bugs for company. Then leaving B-C to her own devices, KO and I set off at a brisk pace to explore our surroundings in the hope of finding something more interesting than coffee bushes. We were sorely disappointed and returned to the resort just as darkness completely set in.

The night brought with it a bonfire under the watchful eyes of a statue of Infant Jesus sporting blue nail polish. Everybody sat around it in a semi-sombre silence, smoking, drinking, munching on supposedly barbecued chicken, exchanging a private joke or two within their little cliques or sharing obscure jokes with the bigger group.

After dinner, which consisted mainly of a re-hashed lunch, Team Red, sans GC, sat by the pool, dangling our feet into the icy water and taking in a spectacularly clear night sky. We then decided to call it a night just as a few wine-soaked others thought a midnight swim was the need of the hour.

[Part II to follow]

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Top 20 Lessons People Wish I Would Learn

(Or top 20 things people have said or wish they could say to me)

1. That cool pub in Chennai is called Bikes & Barrels not Bird & Basket. (And it really is cool, so your mocking laughter is uncalled for.)

2. We cannot understand your tendency to laugh raucously at a scene in a movie that was not meant to provide comic relief in the first place; we also object to your tittering even 10 minutes after the scene. Your misplaced mirth is a catalyst for B-Complex whose glee has a tendency to create tremors measuring 1.2 on the Richter scale.

3. You watched Saw 1 through 4 back-to-back and thrive on gory horror flicks but keel at the sight or even suggestion of blood in real life? Don't you think there is something amiss in that?

4. It is not normal to shout out you cannot find the Gummy Bears as soon as the lights go out instead of groping around for a flashlight like the rest of us.

5. Give up claiming you can speak Telugu; all you can really say are a bunch of offensive lines someone taught you back in hostel. Besides, it isn’t polite to comment on the size of anyone’s anatomical parts no matter what language you may say it in.

6. Relax, it is only a friendly game of Scrabble; not the World Championship and you don’t need to win at everything.

7. Not everything green, leafy and in your plate is part of some underworld plot to eliminate you slowly but painfully.

8. Wouldn’t it be easier to spell your surname just like the other 1,000 people from your community or must you be difficult and different all the time?

9. While on the subject of spelling names, it really isn’t worth cultivating a haematoma just because somebody inserted that extra “H” in your first name.

10. The correct term would be “bindi” for that dot on the forehead, not “moni” - however that came about!

11. No, painting the dog’s toe nails pink or silver does not speak volumes about HIS fashion sense.

12. Get a grip on your creative juices; during work hours is not a good time to experience a creative Big Bang.

13. Learn to hang up the phone; yawns followed by a light snoring should give you some indication that this conversation was over a long time ago.

14. Recording a person snoring and then assigning that as a personalised ring tone for whenever the person calls is not okay.

15. Respect your elders. That includes refraining from regaling people with tales of how your sibling ran after a sparrow with a salt shaker or accused a pigeon of hanging a large pair of chequered pyjamas on his balcony.

16. Not everybody even three years your junior still wears diapers or can be referred to as a “foetus.”

17. Dirty socks do not go in your mother’s handbag - same as that picture of the beaming moustachioed politician in a crisp white shirt and tri-colour scarf does not belong in her wallet next to the family picture.

18. Some of us like to saunter up mountain slopes not dash up to the summit like there’s a scalp-collecting brigand on your tail.

19. People tend to spook when you smile at people just because you got a funny image of them in your head or heard an unintentional innuendo.

20. Do not tease people on a diet with food or complaints about your high metabolism. You really are toeing the ragged edge of disaster with that one.

Women's Reservation And All That Jazz

After much bordering-on-comic drama, the Rajya Sabha finally passed the contentious Women’s Reservation Bill. I am not sure on which side of the fence I sit on for this one. Women ought to be able to make it to Parliament on their own merit (and vote-bank politics, and goondaism, and promises of free colour televisions).

For this is a country where 90% of men believe that women belong in the kitchen, must be leered at and not heard, must cater to a man’s every whim and fancy etc. and 8% pretend to think otherwise (since it is “cooler” to appear “broad minded”) but secretly agree with the majority.

The remaining 2%? Well, I’d venture that 1% are “open minded” meaning they are open to having their male friends and relatives tell them what they ought to believe. The other 1% is an urban legend.

After the fireworks the Bill incited in the Upper House, which is usually the more “civilised” of the two, it will be interesting to note the reactions and counter-reactions in the Lok Sabha as more male chauvinists, representatives of the common man no less, get their dhotis in a knot.

If the RS folks could leap onto the Speaker’s lap and rip the "offensive" bill up - inadvertently providing yet another example of blasé masculine brute force being used to snuff out the possibility of having women on an equal footing - could we expect any better of the Lower House?

Regardless of the outcome of the Bill (and the accompanying dramatics courtesy the Yadavs & co.), here’s my question: will it change the life of the average Indian woman, one with no political aspirations, in even the smallest possible way?

True gender equality cannot be got by burning undergarments, mailing pink ones to misogynists, dedicated pink bus services or frenzied celebrations and women-oriented art exhibitions on International Women’s Day.

It is about changing mindsets, altering thinking and reason ossified by generations of traditional and cultural conditioning and ultimately, getting that neanderthal male ego to move over just a tad.

Hahaha! As if! Just blame that last bit on my wishful Piscean day dreaming of Utopia.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Beginnings

Another birthday over and done with. Cakes cut, glasses clinked, gifts ripped open and awww-ed over, calls galore and all that. Whew!

Time for new beginnings.

Time for a complete revamp of self, life and blog included. It's called spring cleaning. (What? Am I a tad late?) Out with the old, in with the new, good riddance to right rotten rubbish and whatnot. Fret not, Basically Blah readers... It's just that all this dull green could really do with some livening up. Or a touch of Tabasco and a dash of dynamite, perhaps?

Watch this space!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Older...Wiser...Oh, Crumbs!

*Groan*

There’s another one around the corner. There ought to be some way of suing a year for having flown by too fast with provision for additional petitions against one of the lousiest 12 months ever.

With another birthday creeping up to bean me one full in the face when I most expect it, I’ve decided that us ageing mortals really ought to come up with an anti-ageing strategy that works. Although I’ve been blessed (or cursed, as I see it presently) with looking at least a decade younger than I really am, I do think there will be probable cause for concern a decade down the line.

The best I’ve come up with is the “Forever 25” - you know, the one where I insist I am 25 for as long as I can - until someone either calls my bluff by digging up my passport or my dentures fall out while I’m laughing raucously at the “in” sitcom that is a favourite with the youngsters of the day.

Besides that, I’ve already begun fibbing and fudging my age in places where I know I will not get caught. Like when a young lass walked up to me at a grocery store recently and asked me to fill out some forms for a free health drink or something like that. I just went ahead and knocked a couple of years off my life. Just like that. Without batting an eyelid. Of course, that innate guilty conscience kicked in right away, for, as I walked way, I am quite certain a bunch of brinjals and a cheeky bottle gourd called me names that I’d blush to repeat. Stool pigeons.

As B-C and I mourned over the merciless ticking away of time last night, we decided that for the next X number of years we’re going to keep celebrating our 24th and 26th birthdays, respectively. And we’ll do that till our very last breath or until we bust a hip while attempting the 2030 equivalent of the Macarena mania.

Of course, the only one who is super thrilled about her age is KO. Naturally, she would choose to opt to be happy about something just so she could appear cooler than the rest of us. Either that or she simply enjoys being able to look down her honker at us humble souls and scoff at “these youngsters” or spout geriatric mumbo-jumbo about “30s being the new 20s”. Honestly, KO? It’s easy to see wisdom doesn’t automatically come with age!

Oh, and that would be another point against the blasted ageing phenomenon.

*Groan*

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Down But Never Out

"Burger with bun or burger without bun?"

That is primarily what I remember of Pune's German Bakery. After a tour of the nearby Osho Ashram, Bin, B-C and I went over to the renowned bakery for a bite to eat. I had somehow convinced myself that I would never make it out of the Osho Ashram due to some strange mind hex that would be put on me! Of course, the tour turned out to be far less adventurous. We were taken on a short walk of the garden area, told to maintain absolute silence and informed (with much feigned regret) that this area, that area and the next were all out of bounds. Of course, B-C would choose just such a solemn occasion to point out that someone in the group had "alien toes."

Anyhow, I digress.

The German Bakery's menu was very unusual (being completely organic). While I chose the "burger with bun" and stuck to a more familiar fresh lime water, if my memory serves me right, B-C opted for a more exciting beverage - pumpkin and orange or something like that. Memories of happier times.

These memories came flooding back to me as I watched the news recently - the cool, calm cafe now obliterated by a terrorist bomb and I felt quite a pang. I am unsure whether anything justifies the killing of innocent civilians.

As the media goes berserk, countries issue travel advisories, security goes on high alert all over India, we, the general populace, are left wondering: What next? Who next?

In a country where the average lifespan of a person is over 60 years - given that each day is a battle to survive considering our rash road culture, rickety constructions where some engineer made a quick buck, carelessly open sewers and wells, domestic violence, rabid street dogs and more - it is surprising that even half the population makes it for as long as they do. Add to all of that: acts of terrorism. It's just another risk thrown into the mix. We're a resilient race. Down but never out.

The tears, fears, panic and anger may be pouring out now. However, the fact remains: We'll survive yet. That resilience alone speaks volumes about our indomitable strength.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mind Your Language

Having put myself through the paces of a community social gathering, I thought I left with my sanity and dignity intact.

Until I received “feedback”.

All golden (*preen*)…

Friendly? Check.

Of fair countenance? Check.

Linguistic abilities? N/A

Huh?

Oh, yes, that’s right; I do not converse in my native tongue.

How terrible, and that coming from someone who has ne’er said anything beyond “hello” before proceeding to nestle up with the cronies and reminisce about the good old days when they used to live by a river bed, cross a paddy field and enjoy somebody’s spinach crop (or something like that - I have long since stopped paying attention).

Having been born and brought up outside of the confines of my community well, I have long since come to terms with the fact that I am a social outcast of sorts when it comes to hobnobbing with my country cousins. Any non-conformist accusations were really just water off a duck’s backside.

Until now.

Suddenly, it has become of paramount importance to speak in my native tongue - something that could do, but opt not to simply because a. I’d actually have to think before I speak - something that I am not used to since I can rattle off like 300,000 words per minute without stressing the old bean out too much and b. I’m not really into paddy fields and munching spinach if you get my drift.

So, that imperfect score card kicked off “Operation Force-Her-To-Blah-In-Native-Tongue-Or-Else”. I had about much enthusiasm about the whole thing as a prospective visit to the dentist would evoke. If anything, it only awakened my inner rebel who was now determined not to do anybody's biding!

When my own flesh and blood never had issues with it, must society now force me to conform simply to please everybody?

What makes people think they have the right to go around clamping down on others’ freedom of expression (in whatever language that might be)? And don’t even get me started on this being a nationwide phenomenon. I am limiting my rant to the confines of my immediate society only.

Personality and virtue be damned, society says. What matters is that you uphold tradition. True enough, but does that mean it must be imposed on one such that it breeds resentment to the point of revulsion almost?

At the end of the day, the sad thing is that such imposition has only served to make me believe that the people who can make me feel most like an alien are my so-called community by birth.

Live and let live: is that such a bad thing and is that too much to ask?!