Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Story of My Assassins, by Tarun Tejpal.

I picked up a lot of books this year but couldn't finish many, thanks to lack of time and occasionally just out of sheer boredom. The Story of My Assassins is a fast paced one. Smartly written, the author takes the reader for a giddy roller-coaster ride through the elite society circle of Delhi, the underbelly of the city, brutal crime scenes in the heart of U.P and  more.

I have not been in a good mood these days and the last thing I wanted was a brutal crime-politics-sex cocktail. Thankfully this book had that all-important ingredient- humour. The humour kept me going. The plot is replete with twists and turns and is not predictable. What disappointed me a little was the very typical depiction of the underbelly of the city, from slums to railway stations etc. It was like an RGV film , and at times I felt that I was reading a Slumdog Millionaire script.

The book  revolves around the assassination attempt on a journalist, the subsequent arrest of the five suspects and the story of those 5 suspects. So whether it's the story of Hathoda Tyagi, Chini or the rest, they are all gripping. From fingers being sliced to delicate knife patters being etched on chests , from rape to passionate extra marital sex- it's all there. I reiterate , the humour comes as a welcome relief. Just when things get too brutal for comfort , a laugh-out-loud line eases the tension.

Overall it was an enjoyable read.I intend to read more of Tejpal. Alchemy of Desire. Sometime later. Now it's time to get Possessed by Byatt.

Oh and Happy New Year everyone. :)

Good Night.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Full Stop.

I will be officially jobless from tomorrow. I have a huge problem with endings of any sort (okay not romantic ones , they appear- heaven knows what I mean- too cheesy to bother me now). I can never manage to end things properly, especially if it actually meant anything or slightly more than anything to me.

 There was a tuition, a chemistry tuition, when I was in class 12, a very gentle old man, loved the way he taught and tolerated our nautanki. Towards the end of our session he began to take some horrid mock-tests, and that did it. I stopped going after clearing my fees. Just stopped. Did not even call. I know I should have but I did not. Did not care a fig for Chemistry, still don't but the person was a nice man. He deserved a call, a "thanks". 

Then there was another teacher. A so-called "tuition",  but it was more , much more perhaps because it had something to do with Literature. There were people who called him for silly doubts and grave affairs. I wasn't bothered with any. So after classes stopped , I wasn't "in-touch". Then there were calls about teaching a junior, I  promised to be in touch. But I never made that call. The reason- I did not have anything to say. When you have nothing to say you make a call to friends not to people you respect and are in awe of. To this day I think of calling but I recoil in horror thinking of the conversation. (worrying runs through my veins )

So now there is this job, of course I did not like everything hence the resignation. But there are people who meant no harm, who made me laugh, saved my ass on a couple of occasions, they deserve a proper goodbye.  But I have not been going for the last two days, tomorrow is my last chance to say a proper goodbye. Not that people are waiting for it , just a basic courtesy. Something that I find myself incapable of doing. The possibility of having to explain my reasons for leaving, and smiling, and talking is just too arduous to me.Curling up with a book, looking around my dusty room and worrying is infinitely easier. Now this is gnawing at my brains. I really wonder what is it with me and endings.  

Wednesday, 28 December 2011


I love cakes. It shows. There are nice ones, and there are yucky ones. The chocolate ones that are rich and dark are yum ! and the yellow and white, pink and white, any-colour and white yucky pastries are ewww. Some times I wonder with what do they actually make that yucky cream? It churns in one's guts and is the stuff that puke is made of. So obviously I steer clear of them. Yes this post is a cake report.

1. Monginis: No definite opinion because I have visited parties where stupid parents had ordered a joker or a barbie to be made out of the cake. Seriously, you want your child to have a toy, gift them a toy, why make a toy out of cake? A barbie or a joker is not chocolate in colour, they have pink/red/blue/green stuff in them, everything that involves the use of pukish cream. All these experiences were terrible. BUT! Last year I attended my friend's birthday and there was this super yummy cake from Mongi and another friend said she gets the same one for her birthday every year. The cake was heavenly. It was a pure chocolate cake. Loved it!

2. Nahoum's: It's not a store. It's NAHOUM's! It's in New Market. It's the place from where my dad got my birthday cake every single year (even this year). Always the chocolate one. No pukish cream. Just a piece of awesome cake. However over the past few years , I found the cake too sweet at times, and there's this scent. Then there are those delightful macaroons and soup sticks (which I polish off without a drop of soup).

3. Flury's:  even if one does not have a sweet tooth, the bright pink box can cheer up any soul. It cheers me up. Bright pink and a golden cursive flury's. The "baba" cake was a yummy fruit cake , the pastries are yum and my friend got a chocolate cake which if given half a chance I could gobble up in a single sitting.

4. Kookie Jar: I like the pyramid. Hated. HATED the lemon tart. (it's lemon and butter...and it's supposed to be very popular). The cakes are tasty but often too buttery. Waaaay too buttery. I prefer their savoury stuff, the sandwiches and the tomato breads can brighten up a dreary afternoon in a jiffy. Often after catching a movie at the mall, i head to KJ and armed with my favourite bread , I plonk myself on a rickshaw and return home, well on my way to become a few kilos heavier.

5. The French Loaf:  Their cake was awesome. I had one from their chocolate fantasy range, it wasn't too sweet (this matters, especially to people like me who love larger portions :), you can eat a lot of what's not tooooo sweet) . Their Sandwiches are yum (Subway like) and so are their breads but those envelopes and what-not savoury dishes...sorry did not work for me. Too bland. A special mention of the tiramisu. Comes in a tiny cup , but wasn't there something about good things coming in small packages? :)

My mother also makes nice cakes at home, plain old ones that can be stored in a dabba and pulled out at night for a lovely midnight snack. Then there was that yummmy delight me and J (my friendu) cooked for G (our furry bro), it was an adorable one decorated with Gems and icing. There was a special charm to that, buying those ingredients , buying that icing bag. A cock (yes . morog.) flew inside that shop as my friend and i were busy buying cake-stuff. The poor thing had it's legs tied and was making a last attempt to escape. But it was  scary and funny. one moment everything is calm and the next there is a screaming cock flapping it's wings beside you.

TLC, Rachel , Nigella (with her yucky way of making stuff) and Masterchef Australia leave no stone unturned to whet my cake-appetite. A special mention of a certain Mr. Zumbo who makes houses out of cakes, a person with a disarming smile creating larger than life desserts. Love him. MA taught me so many words, I know what's a ganache ! :) In comparison , the Indian version had an episode where they made a rasgulla black forest which was the favourite of Aishwariya Rai. (rolls eyes , sticks out tongue...wyak wyak)!! who watches it anyway!!

Okay bye. 

Friday, 23 December 2011

Blah- la la la la.....A long post.

I spend a large part of my day reading blogs of people I don't know . I always go through these "about me" sections on other social networking sites as well and I see these lists of singers and I feel like an uneducated and uncivilized moron. But a moron who had fun nevertheless. I do not like instrumental music, it puts me to sleep. I do not listen to Western classical music. I do not listen to Eastern classical music.Okay sometimes I do. Very rarely. I like some compositions of some artists but no i certainly do not claim to know "anything" about it.

I do not listen to those classic rock songs, my friends used to flood my inbox with songs waiting for an excited feedback. They were disappointed. I could hardly get through the entire songs. The hard rock ones I don't even understand. One of my friend sent me alternative rock , coldplay, I liked reading the songs. Yes you read it correct , I wrote "reading". I am actually worse than the auto wallah who listens to nasal Reshamiya all day. Why? Because at least he has a definite choice. I don't. I like a bit of this , and a bit of that, and might be a bit of that too.

So what do I listen to? And how did I end up like this? That is what this post is about. (If you are yawning then well go to sleep, I feel like talking about this now, so I will.).

We had this tape/radio thing, small thing, imported thing where I listened to Preeti Sagar belting out one Nursery Rhyme after another, in her wonderful sweet voice. Then one of my relatives gifted me a cassette of Sukumar Ray's poems , a funny voice introduced me to "hukho mukho hyangla" "ram gorur er chana" and the rest. Then came the Bollywood typhoon. Super Hit Muquabla and those songs. (I don't relate to people who have grown up watching Cartoon Network all day, we did not have cable TV, we had dd1, dd2 .That's it.) My first Hindi cassette was Hum Aapke Hain Kaun? and I mugged up all the lyrics. Many others followed.

In the mean time Mr. Tagore also entered my life through songs to which I danced at the parar pujor functions, paying great attention to my dance movements and seldom understanding a syllable of the song. Come on ..Not every Rabindrasangeet is a "purano shei diner kotha" or "phool e phool e".  In fact my mother had this desire that I will learn how to sing. She gt this harmonium and sent me to my neighbour to acquire some singing skills. I learnt "shara jibon dilo alo shurjo groho chaand" and I thought "what a stupid song! about sun moon and stars, everyone knows alo dey etc etc" Yes I was a cocky child (benre paka jake bole, no sick jokes please). Needlessto say that the lessons did not last long. I can't sing, I should not sing. But I still sing, whatever I want  .
Till today I firmly believe that Rabindrasangeet should not be introduced to one before one has the capability of understanding the words. But then may be I was just a lousy child. Thankfully I am slightly better now. Mr. Tagore makes sense to me now, more than he ever did. But I do not get this Shreya Ghoshal-Shaan and Babul Supriyo- performing-Tagore-songs sort of functions. No thanks. Mita Huq , Hemanta, Chinmoy , even Swagatalakhhi will do for me. I had this cassette , Swagatalakhhi's,in which I heard "kotobaaro bhebechinu" for the first time, I was nursing a broken heart at that time and listened to it for days.

For days on end that Aunty taught me "sa re ga ma pa" and then I said I need "words" and a proper "song", so that clever lady told me "okay, learn this two line song- no-mo  no-mo bi-na pa-ni, no-mo ba-ni na-ra-yo-ni" it was sung in the sa re ga ma tune only. Yah try it , you'll know what I'm talking about. I was duped. Anyway I am not a crooning birdie. More the screaming kind.

But it is only in the last few years that I have really started to "listen" to that dear old man's  songs. There's another reason  why for a long time I was repelled by his songs. My father loves these "functions", he took me to this yearly "mela" (fair) where people performed these songs , I grumbled about the cold, the mosquito bites, the crowds, he remained unfazed and for an eternity I associated rabindrasangeet with weird people closing their eyes and singing and mosquitoes biting me.I have recovered. Thankfully.

Back to rock bands (yes right after Robi thakur, so what? it's my blog nah?) , I have come across people going gaga over Floyd, that Park, Yes. Nah thik jome ni sorry. Boddo chyachaye. I like reading them.That Cobain person, with some Spirit that smelled. Sorry I do not understand that brand of lyrics. I prefer complete sentences, conventional sentences. Too postmodern for me Mr. Dylan is a sweet person who makes sense. I like him. Mr. Billy Joel also works well. I haven't heard much though.

When I was in the fifth standard I watched MTV Most Wanted, Shehnaz hosted that show, a nyaka girl with a cute nose ring . So a whole lot of BSB, Westlife, Shania Twain , MLTR Vengaboys and other such stuff to which I nodded my sleepy head for a few years. I used to hum "I'm a Barbie girl" (GOD! a part of me is making faces right now) .Westlife still works for me. "Seasons in the sun" . Yes oh yes , it works for me.

I am bad. But my "badness" has its limits. have not heard that Bieber person. Gaga. I don't know how to react. I am often just gaping and wondering "what" is happening?

The endless "magnet" sessions had their own magnetic attraction in school. Bollywood never left me. I and a pal of mine had our own "la-la" game, one would imitate the tune of a song, by replacing the words with la-la and the other had to guess the song.

Oh OH OH did I talk about the singing classes at school? Five Hundred miles, Jamaican farewell, Julie Andrews (LOVE LOVE LOVE HER) polly wolly doodle, filled my life. Mrs. R, would dictate songs , we would write them down in our copies with stupid spelling errors. The best part? We learnt a song, it went like this-

"Why doesn't my goose ,
squack as loud as thy goose?
When i paid for my goose,
twice as much as thine."

So the class was divided into two groups. One began "Why doesn't my goose?" After the first line the second group began "Why doesn't my goose?".The two groups sang simultaneously, one line behind each other, creating a royal cacophony, the memory of which is making me laugh a decade later. Phew.

Anyway so naturally with this amazing history, I easily get annoyed by people who try to force their Floyds and Parks and Chopins and Coldplays down my throat. Whenever people go gaga about anything I lose my interest  instantly. A reflex action. I am yet to read Harry Potter. I am yet to read Twilight (don't even know what is that, wolf, man, thesis on anemia..vague ideas I have).I don't need no education. I don;t need no thought control. Shoo! Shoo!

I have this bag full of old cassettes. They had their own charm, those long brown threads, that would get all coiled up in the tape recorder, and I would patiently straighten it out with pencils. Limewire, and youtube has killed all that. Who hasn't laughed while hearing a poignant song rendered hilariously funny by the "fast forward" button? I have. You haven't. Good. Go to hell.

They say a playlist reflects one's personality.  Baishe srabon, Bari barsi, Amar mukti, Path harabo Abhiman, Billy Joel, Chandrabindoo's bhin deshi tara, Agni, Maa Rewa by Indian Ocean Hotel california,Saawan ka mahina, mehbooba o Mehbooba, Ole Ole ole by ricky martin (was he endorsing ponds?) . Friends title track, Jungle book title track...these are a part of mine. Now, go figure! Oh I also had Dhinka Chika.Now I don't. Grew tired of it.

I have to sleep. This is such a boring post. Did you read it? Really? I am bored of writing. Tired actually. But I'll publish it. May be some poor soul rotting away in an office, just like me, will spend 5 minutes reading this, forgetting about annoying colleagues and prison like office.

Why did I write this rather long and boring post? I was singing on the roads . "We wish you a merry christmas" and some other hymns. My friend was annoyed. But I was happy. Okay Good Night. It's cold.Mr.Tejpal and my blanket are beckoning me. Another drab day awaits.


Sunday, 18 December 2011

Nothing "grand" about it.

Grandmothers come in every variety. A friend of mine introduced her's as her "best-friend". For most people I know, their grandmothers are a source of TLC and god knows what else. I am not so lucky. My thakuma expired before I was born, hence her daughters i.e my pishis call me "ma" , my mother explained in childhood that this was because they thought I was their mother in my previous birth (I came into this world soon after her death). So I saw my thakuma's pics in albums and I was very happy because she was very pretty. I thought if I was that pretty in my previous life then by default some of it will manifest itself in this birth too. Nature however had other plans, we shall not go into it. We shall not.

So now my maternal grandmother, my dida, is alive and kicking (metaphorical kicks of course). From what I hear, I never had a cordial relationship with her. In my childhood, during winter, she used to admonish me for not wearing socks, cap, sweaters etc, and she nagged a lot about that. So one fine day, she came and knocked at our door. My mother was sleeping. My aunt was doing something ( I obviously don't remember what), and I went to answer the door , I peeped, saw my dida and very firmly shut the door. I told my aunt there was no one at the door and asked her to tie my hair in two pigtails. My aunt ,overcome with love and affection at my earnest demand, very lovingly did that. Only to hear some ear-splitting doorbell ringing a few moments later. She went, answered the door, dida complained, and they set out to find me. Upon finding me, as expected the very first thing dida said was "in this cold no caps , no socks". I very calmly replied that a cap will spoil my pigtails. Then I walked away. The story lives on, of course.

Now things have taken a different turn, it's not about caps, it's all about great life-altering things like my weight, my marriage, my hair, my skin, every cell in my body and every atom of my room. My mother is not well, hence dida has arrived and on the first day, after hearing about all the doctors, prescriptions , possible problems, she calmly proceeded to take the most important step for restoring my mother's health. Nojor-porano (burning the evil sight that others have cast on you), no issues if that burning was a symbolic one and the ritual was some anna-type fast or puja, hell no! this is burning in the literal sense, she comes armed with god knows what in her fist, raising hell fire in front of my face (and my parents') three concentric circles and then it's left to burn on the gas. Yes now we are all safe and healthy and we'll live till 90. Thank you so much. (reminds me of that milk jingle..rahoge fit , fit and fine, jiyoge past ninety naaaaaine...doodh doodh doodh, wonderful-doodh).

She loves me very much, she thinks I am wonder-woman. So whenever she watches KBC , she tells me at least 5 times that I should go there. She tells me I should skip. As in, not skip lunch, or breakfast or anything but actually "S K I P" , like with a rope. I almost have convulsions imagining the sight and the activity.

She loves me. She loves nature. These two coincide and create mayhem. She thinks juices from all vegetables are beneficial. So vegetables that I find disgusting in a cooked state are offered to me in a raw , mashed up semi-liquid state. Gourds, bitter-gourds and so on. 

She is concerned about my health and tells me that the dust in my room is responsible for my cough and cold, she asks about my defecation schedule,she tells me very proudly that at my age none of her 4 daughters were "like" me,implying, not in a subtle manner, that she thinks me to be a version of Frankenstein. 

Okay I am tired of writing and ranting. She is here to stay. I am a very good person. I am a very good person. I am a very good...I am a very...I am a....I am.....I...

Be with me Lord.

Monday, 12 December 2011

By the way.

The mercury is dipping. I woke up today morning and I thought it was July . The same overcast sky, the same cold, the same it-might-rain scenario. Thankfully it didn't but officially the season of wearing socks is here. That's one extra activity in the morning. ARRRGH!

As it is taking a bath is becoming a nightmare , on top of that there is this stupid thing called a gel bathing bar by Fiama di wills. A soap is a soap is a soap. It is not a gel if it is in a bar and trying to fuse a gel and a soap , they have created a super slippery variety of soap that has a mind of its own and launches itself into ambitious trajectories whenever it so desires.

But the icing on the soap (very literally) is that when I use it , place it back on that soap dish/rack or whatever and  take a look at it few minutes later, it is a thing of beauty, transparent crystals form all over the body of that wretched thing. A thing of beauty, in a cold bathroom at some evil hour in the morning. What do these people think when they come up with products like this ? I am sure you have not been able to imagine what I am talking about, and since I am too lazy to get a snap , let's forget about it.

Every single morning, when I sit in that godforsaken shuttle and travel through Bypass, I always imagine myself making the same journey back a few hours later, the sky darker and me tired. Every single day I imagine what I would have done if I did not have to make this journey, I could have done what I liked, I could sleep, read, eat , be a merry crocodile. Then suddenly the dust blows right into my face, thanks to all the flyovers and metros and god-knows-what-else being constructed, and I come back to reality, I realise I have missed a whole stanza of the song I was listening to.

It's the same story in the evening, while I return, finally the day being over, I think of the same ride awaiting me early the next day, what if I could skip it?

When did life become so miserable? If I actually try to pause and find out the moments of the day when I am happy or at least at peace with myself then well ...there are some..

1. When sometimes I reach the office early, there are not too many people around and it's quiet.
2. After 6, if I don't have work at office, I eagerly await that much awaited going-home hour.
3.Stepping out of the office. There is this sense of freedom I can't explain.

I know I have made it sound terrible but believe me I don't work in a concentration camp.

Last year I bought a few books at the Book Fair. Many of them are still unread. This year's fair is knocking at the door and I'm excited again even though I know there isn't much to be excited about. Books that I can get anywhere, no great discounts , dust-storms. For the past few months there has been this strange restlessness which has prevented me from actually finishing any book. I have finished 3 or 4 probably. I start reading one, then I jump to another. Anyway looks like I will break the jinx with The Story of My Assassins by Tarun Tejpal. Enjoying the book immensely. It's brutally honest, smart, funny and by all means I am hooked.  Oddly I found this one at BCL. I recall my very first visit to the library, back in school-days , there was not a single book by any non-British author , and now the fiction shelf is overflowing with so many Indian authors. I am happy.

Rambled on, in a non-cynic way. The bitch has been tamed by life. Not for long. Just you wait.

Friday, 9 December 2011


I have just realised that my grammar is poor and I make stupid spelling mistakes. I have to get back to my Wren and Martin as soon as possible.I wish I could blame it on my inclination to use sms language but it is more than that, it is my sheer laziness to be a little more careful and responsible.

I am sad.