Tuesday, 17 September 2013


Girls do not wear helmets in Delhi. It is a rule. Bordering on becoming one, at least. Our poor heads are of no value apparently. :/

Rusk with cold milk is delicious.

Roomie and I have same nightdress that has a cow's face on it.

I want to go home.

I am reading The Lowland at a leisurely pace coz I am scared that one day it will just end.

"Main naa nahi bolunga. Aap soch lo." --- you'd think this was some boyfriend of mine, but it's not. It's my gym instructor emotionally blackmailing me when I expressed a desperate desire to go home.

There is an epidemic. Honey Singh.

Big Boss has begun, there goes one hour of my life down the drain as people gather in my room to watch it. :I

Also, I am broke, yet again. Everytime I punch in my pin number at the ATM, I almost expect it to scream at me.

ok enough

Good night.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Red Label: the compromise.

Coffee has become such a hot accessory for intellectuals these days. 'Oh I can't think without my morning cuppa.' Really? I doubt your ability to do so with or without it.

Not that I don't enjoy my morning cuppa but it's enough now. Really. I want tea.

No this is not a tea vs coffee post. I am quite in love with both it's just my rant against God for making the tea-brewing process so complicated.

In winters, I can pretend to love coffee at any hour but in this weather, my heart longs for tea.

The light Darjeeling one with a hint of delicate aroma that I would sip at home and the super-sweet milky ginger tea for those headache-days. My father looks down upon the latter and dismisses it as 'fotano-cha' (which is a term of abuse because in his head he is comparing it with a divine cup of 'bhejano cha').

So one humid summer evening I trudge down to Gola stores ... yes that's the name of my neighbourhood grocery store. I find that huge box of Lipton Green Label. It was the broke-phase of the month (after 20th) and Green Label was too expensive so I abandoned thoughts of tea leaves and moved towards tea-dust and got a Red Label. Sigh.

Mom had suggested tea-bags but I detest them. I mean normally your troubles end in the kitchen but with tea bags you put the trouble in the tea cup. Okay after your tea has leached out, what do you do with the bag? Throw it in the dustbin? So then you might as well have used a normal strainer, same amount of trouble.

But if you carry it in your cup and settle down, what do you do with it then? Assuming you have not settled down beside the dustbin. Okay you put in your saucer, do you? chee!! I judge you. You are what my pishi calls 'jekhanekhayshekhanehaage' (you-defecate-where-you-eat)type. chhi chhi chhi!

No saucers -- who has them these days? No one even uses a cup, we use a mug, don't we? A mug for bathing, a mug for drinking, a mug that has our face on it, no matter how retarded we look on the cup, and then if you do the dishes yourself, you have the pleasure of rubbing Prill-soaked 'Scotch-Brite' across your pretty face. How utterly adorable!

Okay so then, no saucer, so what do you do with the soggy bags? Do you leave it in the cup? And then you take a sip and the wet thread reaches your lips or do you very skilfully hold the thread as you drink? Genius! But too much work thankyouverymuch.

So no tea bags, and Red Label.

Of course brewing it is not easy and not half as romantic as it looks on tv, you know a pristine white tea set, people pouring milk delicately and asking you 'sugar? how much?' On your own it's about milk in tetrapacks (unsightly 'dechkis' at home or worse in the form of bricks hardened in the freezer! - that's how my mom keeps them!) and the tea being poured into a strainer not out of a huge nice-looking pot.


I open the packet and discover that there is a serious dearth of rubber bands "gardar", which is stored in such abundance at home, all gathered together in a plastic case. Fine. The truant flaps are secured with a tic-tac, not even remotely 'air-tight' but it's not Darjeeling tea so well whatever! Then by a wondrous stroke of luck the milk tetrapack chooses to be empty at that very moment so one has to make black tea with Red Label. Good luck.

After a sad attempt there is something that aspires to be the Darjeeling variety and one settles down with that. And then after admiring it for a few seconds one has to come back to reality and face the empty dish with the wet tea leaves (sorry dust). 

They were happily bubbling and frothing a few minutes ago and now in a ugly brown mess they stick yuckily against the dish whispering 'clean-me' 'clean-me' into your ears. So well you clean. Which is not troublesome as I like my tea lukewarm not hot. 

So that's there. Why is it so much trouble? Did Bertie ever realise the plight of Jeeves? I do. Though I wish I had someone like Jeeves.

This mashi of mine, once gifted us a tea set, very delicate in shape but its colour was lemon yellow with broad brush-strokes of orange and green. You could not even drink water in that unless you'd be wearing sunglasses. It adorns the last rack on some sad shelf in my house. I have a lovely dream of breaking that set. One cup at a time.

Oh and all you people who love tea in your 'matir bhaand' and conical glass: go die. 

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Home again. Back again.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that people who come to spend a holiday in the city blog about it, either when they arrive or before leaving. Since I am not extraordinary, how can I break the tradition!

So there was the customary outing with close friends, hahas and heeehees, the usual desperate effort to ignore relatives. Though really feel bad about not being able to meet some of them--an old uncle who wished to see me, my four nephews and nieces who are quite adorable (I hate kids but I love them). 
Ma would potter about in the house finding a million things that I could/would/might need in Delhi. She has discussed in great detail how much weight I have put on and how after a few months my eyes will be invisible as the fat in my cheeks expands in every direction. Then as I lazed around in my favourite, soon-to-be antique, sleeveless nighty, she looked at my arms and said (chewing every word) that I should rotate them c-l-o-c-k-w-i-s-e and a-n-t-i-c-l-o-c-k-w-i-s-e.

Baba is still in his post-retirement hyperactive phase. This is such a dangerous phase. Species suffering from this are gripped with a sudden fear of an empty bank account, daughter going on a shopping spree does not help things. At night before we go to sleep, the dining area is flooded with torch light, or so I thought, then I realised it's actually some hopeless new kind of bulb that emits an apology in the name of light. If Ma and I are reading in the morning, he arrives and switches off the light and parts the curtain. Often we are not in our best attire, fit to be seen by neighbours, but who cares? Then suddenly he will pace around with crinkled eyebrows mentally computing the cost of running the house and then asking me how I manage... my replies are nothing short of scandalous and often they shock him out of his wits. 
Before I arrived I made grand plans of visiting grand places. Nothing happened. I just lay there, like a dead body. Every day at eleven, Baba would tempt me with a cup of Darjeeling tea, which is my definition of luxury and sipping that I would read t2. What else does one do on holidays? I think even if I go on a Europe-tour, it won't feel like a holiday if I do not get my t2 there. The horoscope, the useless fashion advice, the outrageous celeb-photos, the twitter updates--nothing spells 'welcome home' more than t2 does.

There is much little sky visible from my window now, a house at the corner of the road is becoming a four-storey flat or something.

The two sides of the lane that leads to the main road is full of red stains of paan, the increase in the number of red blotches is directly proportional to the rise in the number of Marwari households and the number of cars and the number of drivers and the number of offices. 

Every time I come home I try and look for changes, as if looking for some sign that says that things change when I am not here. But they don't. Not much. My room is still the same. The other rooms are still the same. The paint is peeling off the walls from the very same places as they did few months back, my mother still needs the mandatory eye-drops at night. She still walks down the steps one step at a time because it hurts otherwise. The annoying showpieces still stand where they stood always. In their own subtle way, the universe reminds me that they can all 'muddle through without you'. For a few minutes nostalgia is replaced by a sense of obhimaan (I do not what English word fits in here) when I realise this. Ironically that is also comforting, it helps me to be in denial about my need for being there ... there's still time ... I tell myself. Till things remain the same, I can feel a little less guilty about not being there. For them. For my parents, for the rooms, for the city.

Good night.

Sunday, 21 July 2013


In the fifth standard the language was a nightmare.

In our syllabus, the poem 'Tal Gach' by Tagore was included. I read it, liked it, and recited it aloud. Although I wished Tagore would have paid homage to a shorter tree, being 4.8 I was not (and still am not) fond of things that peep into the sky.

I was never into metaphors. In the exam if I were asked what the poem was about, I perhaps would have written 'Tal Gach' (duh!) and that would be it. Of course the marks revealed my royal ignorance. I had still not learnt the magic word 'Kobimon' (the heart of the author) which was to be used to tell the examiner in verbose and magical sentences what one's own thoughts about the poem was and present it as the possible thoughts of the author but how does one really know?

Things did not improve at all. The only source of respite was the collection of story books at home (Sukumar Ray and his sexy son who created that sexy sleuth, Sharatchandra with his series of 'bous' and 'didis... only Srikanto was a welcome relief, in fact come to think of it, I was rather uncomfortable with all the ichore-pnaka girls falling for the very guys whom they called 'dada'). I never read Bibhutibhusan and no Tagore (I could not understand anything he wrote, when I read Bolai I thought 'okay so you love the tree but why would you go rolling down a slope?? The muck! The dirt!' So there. Fortunately, things have changed.

At school too the situation was grim. A teacher (not particularly pretty to put it mildly) who was fast approaching the age of retirement would teach us byakaron by uttering loudly (gesturing with her hands) 'amar mukher moton chaand, amar haather moton podmophool'. (my face is like the moon, my hands are like the lotus). Sweet.

But then God was kind and from the eighth standard onwards we had some amazing Bangla teachers and that was when I realised my mother tongue is not a nightmare.

Now almost a decade later, somewhere away from home, the language is a source of comfort and is almost a confidante, a friend, with whom I can talk in a tongue that no one else around me understands. Together with this friend, journeying on the crests and troughs of those curved letters I can travel to that place I call 'home'.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

New Place

Been a little more than a week at this new place in Noida. I am in love with the room, the balcony and the fact that I don't have to share the loo with 4 people. Obviously the only thing I detest is the distance I have to travel to reach office every morning but that's an okay deal as in return I get some much-needed peace of mind.

In Kolkata I stay in Salt Lake, a place many do not even consider to be 'in' Kolkata, (a fact they conveniently forget when they spend hours gossiping at City Centre). I love Salt Lake (do not know if we'll stay there forever but still ...) , it's quiet. Though the proliferation of ground-floor offices, eateries and people who spit out betel-nut juice everywhere does get on my nerves yet even now once I enter Salt Lake, I feel I'm home. The space, the calm comforts me. I know for people who stay in busier parts of the city Salt Lake seems like a desolate place but not to me. I feel suffocated elsewhere. I do not like having twenty shops near my house, I do not enjoy hearing the noise of traffic all day every day.

Perhaps that is why I have taken quite well to Noida, (at least the sector in which I stay), it is green, there's a lot more space to breathe. Safety is a concern but I'm sick and tired of living in fear.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

The pretence of it all ...

Why are there no jobs in Kolkata? 

You argue there are. Well okay, there are. But not ones that I want. 

I can't work as an intern for months on end with a four figure salary fucking my brains out.

I can't work as some kind of professor or whatever fancy terminology is attached to my name when my salary is less than the cost of my handbag and I know that after I leave my students will rush out to buy a copy of the latest Ramji Lal. And I can't pretend to be an intellectual when I know I am not.

I can't work as a teacher in a school because I am not as good as my mother is. I can't handle children and I do not want to teach them. To be a teacher you should be a good person. I am not.

I am not an engineer/full-time content writer/technical writer so sector 5 is all about restaurants and not about jobs.

I am not a journalist (even their life pretty much sucks in Kol).

So my job is in Delhi. I am quite happy with it. But the question is why is it in Delhi? Why NOT in Kolkata?

Kolkata has all the nuisance of Leftist politics and bandhs.

Please my dear, don't give me that shit. Even here people walk in late into office. For every bandh we have in Kolkata, you have your Ram Navamis and god knows what. Also the people in your offices are mostly from the Eastern and Southern parts of the country--I wonder why! I am not generalising, just an observation. So what happens? Kolkata is where they drift off to sleep and suddenly here the very same people wake up and start working? 

About punctuality.

Oh we reach late, we do not work, we are lazy. Okay. You reach early. Then you go on FB or buy bags at online portals and just show off. New car, new lover, new house--give me a break. 


Please do not make me laugh. Yes you have better roads and a nice metro system and that's about it. Your public transport system minus the metro is non-existent. And the people on the road--the less said the better. You just need to hear them speak. 

So forgive me, I really can't understand WHAT the goddamn pretence of professionalism is all about.  And I still can't understand why these offices can't work from my city. Nope. Don't answer that. I may attack you.

You see I am not angry. This wasn't a rant. Just trying to understand things. Because on a hot afternoon when you want to be home, with your parents and your friends and you can't--life just gets a little drab.
Having said that I do not hate this city. I am earning a living here. My city too has it's share of ills and pretentious jerks--just like Delhi does. But my city could do with more jobs. MANY MORE JOBS.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

My take on the few places that I have been to in Delhi:

1. Dilli Haat: dragged there by my over-enthu aunt on a sunny winter morning. Nice place to be on a winter morning if you like shopping for new-market-pavement-type stuff or ethnic fabrics. I was not shopping, so was quite bored. Then I noticed few puppies and started clicking photos. People love the food out there. Food was great but the place was dirty--sorry I am not a fan. Many people lurrrrve this place. I did not. It's okay.

2. Select City Mall:  huge mall, huge shops ... yes that's about it.

3. Hauz Khas Village: erm ... no clear verdict on this place, it's where you find filth alongside the most expensive boutiques. I actually enjoyed taking a leisurely walk down the place. Narrow lanes, shops selling overpriced food and clothes. I went to the Yodakin store, which I liked. You can shop for books published by independent publishers which you are not very likely to find at your local Crossword.

4. Lajpat Nagar: uhh ... love-hate relationship with this one, hate the crowd, hate the congestion, (New Market is also crowded but I'll never hate it!). Anyway it's quite near to my pg in south Delhi so I do frequent this place mostly out of necessity.

5. Green Park market: It has two places which offer South Indian food (Jyoti Vihar--Malgudi Junction--type) where one can have good filter coffee and south Indian food at a very reasonable price.

6. C.R. Park markets (1 and 2) : Any other person from Kolkata would instantly feel at home with the huge fish markets, Kali mondir and Dadur dokan (I hope I am getting the name right!) selling chop, cutlet, dimer devil etc. But what spelt home for me was the sight of a packet of Mukharochak chanachur in one of the shops. That old bespectacled man cheered my heart. So many nights I have lain awake under a mosquito net in my bed in Kolkata either reading a book or observing lizards, with a kouto of chanachur beside me. Only to wake up with an upset stomach. Sweet memories.

7. Fact and Fiction: A tiny bookstore opposite the Priya cinemas. Amazing collection. Must visit.

Have also been to the Book Fair and Comic Con but too lazy to write about all that.

Wish to visit the old forts and CP and Janpath and Sarojini ... as and when I get the time.


Thursday, 11 April 2013

The first day my rommate mentioned the word 'bellies' she left me slightly confused. Something like 'I have a rack for my bellies' ... bellies? stomachs on racks? how violent! Of course it took me a while to understand that these are shoes. Pretty, dainty, shoes.

Shoes are very important. Ask Cinderella.

Sleeping Beauty woke up from her deep sleep after the prince kissed her. She did not kiss him back. She had not brushed.

Also 6 pm in Dilli is like 4 pm in Calcutta. How very amusing! It's still bikel byala when you leave office. The amusement ends when right after shondhyebyala it's dinner time. Very strange.

Okay bye.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Stuff that spills out when tubelights stop working.

Okay I was supposed to have finished some pending work by now. But the tubelight in my room just stopped working. I won't be able to read. I won't be able to sleep.  So well ...

On a bright sunny autumn day, when the soft clouds floated in the clear blue sky like small cotton tufts, Bhuto was born. It was that month of the year when Debi Durga visited her earthly abode, four children in tow. Bhuto was the youngest of nine children. His eldest sister's son was born a month before him. It happened like that in the 1950s.

Bhuto's family lived in a village. They weren't poor, in fact, they were quite rich. With several orchards of the choicest fruits--mangoes, jackfruits, litchies, a pond, and many cows--poverty was something they knew nothing about. Bhuto's childhood was a colourful kaleidoscope of memories--learning how to swim with an upturned kolshi (a metal utensil with a narrow neck used for storing water) that would float on water, climbing trees, attending the local school, eating a basketful of mangoes perched upon a tree and in the evenings whispering sweet nothings in the ears of his best friend--Budh,who was the gentlest cow they owned.

Bhuto's father was a doctor. A fact that explained why he had such luck when it came to marriage. His wife Nonibala Devi was the most beautiful woman in that village. Had Bhuto's father been a regular village bumpkin, he would never have won such a beauty as his bride. She served him well. Nine healthy children; six of them boys. No one could complain.

But the female in the house who enjoyed undisputed authority was not Bhuto's mother it was Bhuto's paternal grandmother, Shoshthi Devi. She was a woman of voracious appetite (one large jackfruit would be her breakfast), sharp intellect and an enormous memory that had soaked up all the verses of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata (the compulsory daily ritual of reading aloud the two epics that her daughter-in-law was made to follow had something to do with it perhaps!). When she passed away in her late 90s her grandchildren were running about joking and laughing as her white-haired son assembled her funeral pyre. She was too old to evoke tears. Can anyone grow so old? Should anyone grow so old?

Years later when Bhuto's mother Nonibala would die, in a different house, in a different country, all her six grown-up sons would gather around her, as she would lie peacefully dressed in white, sandalwood smeared on her forehead, surrounded by tuberose flowers--her sons would gather around her and pose for a photograph. Photographs are for creating memories, capturing beauty--but this one captured death and robbed it of its dignity.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Of phones and vegetables.

Looking at the numerous shops in wide-eyed wonder, I was was ambling through the roads of Mussoorie, one winter, long time ago. I was in class 5 and was fascinated by the shops and wanted to buy everything--spoons, combs, shawls--everything. Baba's voice shattered all such grand plans- 'Egulo shob Kolkata tei pawa jay'. 'All these things are easily available in Kolkata.'  He bought a red cutlery set and a woollen cap both of which I guess he thought would not be available in our beloved city. (Parents!)

This dialogue was repeated on every holiday. In Puri my mother wanted to buy a hnari , (a vessel we use to cook rice etc.), now don't ask me why, (this was a woman who brought home a honuman-kola-khachche soft toy from Fonria Pukur). She did get the hnari but not before Baba could grumble - "Ki dorkar chilo? Egulo Kolkata tei pawa jay".

Anyway so basically going somewhere with Baba, and buying something without him grumbling was a rare experience. If you needed the thing then no problem but if it was a thing you want to buy just on a whim then God save you! Buying around 10 kilos of fruits and then washing them and displaying them on a huge dining table in a not-so-huge room is perfectly normal but buying some clothes just like that is what demented people do!

He is lucky enough to find friends who are equally abnormal. One of his friends has a farm somewhere in Baharampur and whenever he comes to Kolkata, we don't shop for a week. He brings a supply of vegetables and fruits that we have trouble storing in the kitchen. Once this friend of his brought this huge bunch of litchies and after displaying them on the dining table, my father expressed his wish to have his photo clicked with the litchies. FINE. I indulged, brought the camera as my mother looked from the kitchen where she was busy admiring brinjals. The woman loves her begun
and if there is an abundant supply at home, rest assured that the goddamned vegetable will be on the menu, sneaking its way into every dish like James Bond, shukto with begun or better still neem-begun, mach with begun, two slices of begun bhaja and some aloo-begun er torkari--till we are ready to scream . . . and then gauging the situation, she camly says "ponka chilo , na banale kharap hoye jeto" (it had pests, so would have rotted had I not cooked it all).

 -- I digress... where were we ? yes, Baba and litchies. So I got the camera and was ready to click and through the lens I saw a grown-up man smiling like a silly kid pointing at the litchies. I asked "Is it necessary to point?' 'Yes! My friend has brought litchies, this is what friendship is...you all won't understand ...now click.' (Of course I won't ... we are a screwed up lot who buy cups of coffee for 100 bucks and don't send kilos of fruits to each other's house--how would we know!)

Something about buying useless things like clothes irks my father which now that I think of it, is good--great in fact. Because he is convinced that he looks good in two colours--red and yellow. After various shocking episodes of him bringing home shirts of both these hues, now only my mother and I shop for him.

So on one birthday, I decided that I need a new phone. I wanted a particularly expensive model and that was supposed to be my birthday gift. I don't know what sort of a miracle happened and he agreed. In reality I never expected him to. But he insisted that we walk to the store (which is at walking distance but I take an auto... actually once I took an auto and realised that the distance is embarrassingly short so I got off a little further than the intended stop.) So we walked to the store and I got my expensive phone (earlier I owned a black and white Nokia so EVERYTHING was more expensive than that!) and we waked back. He was not grumbling but his face was swollen... like Akbar's flaring nostrils in Mughal-e-Azam. I knew what he was thinking-his first salary was perhaps half the phone's value, some families survive on that amount, he was perhaps spoiling his daughter rotten, how did he EVER agree to it... and so on. So on that day I told myself that until the day comes when the phone just falls apart and fails to come together again--I will continue to use it. (I loved it ...but that was secondary.) My resolve was strengthened further when during a family gathering someone spotted this phone and asked me the price, I innocently revealed it and the concerned relative pinched her sister in a not-so-subtle way... (look-how-kaku-is-spoiling-her was the subtext of that pinch I guess!)... And that's why my darling I am not changing my phone, I am not buying those 'smart' phones, those touch-screen phones. I am happy with my dinosaur-age relic.

The last bit was all that I wanted to say when I started writing but you see my first class-teacher was damn right when she had said -- "she is very talkative".


Saturday, 2 March 2013

Sugar and spice and all things nice

At times when I take the metro to work I cross this bakery, located right across the Iskcon mandir. I look at the bakery with its shining door amidst the squalid surroundings and my mind conjures up images of a delightful chocolate cake, cheese sticks and other goodies ... for a few seconds the music of the earphones die. Then I cross the shop and the spell is broken.

My room has one window with a long blue curtain, it is never opened, because ... I really don't know why. Once I tried and was hit by a dust storm and I never tried again. A part of the window is blocked out by a piece of wood, that's where the rented AC will fit in another month or so. The point is that throughout the whole day little or no sunshine enters my room. So this particular Saturday, having spent a good amount of the day in bed, I decided to take a walk to that bakery.

Dodging autos and cycles, which were being driven by people who had sworn to bump me off the road, I reached the bakery--Golden Fiesta. Bikes and vans blocked the entry, squeezing through them was not an option so somehow managed to find a gap. Inside there was everything that I could possible ask for... cakes, pastries, bread, chocolate sticks, low-fat milk coffee (shoot me if I ever drink that!), eclairs and what-not. Having ordered two savoury puffs and one pastry to be packed, I took a walk around the store, trying my best to ignore the two aunties who were ordering dozens of cakes.

It's not the best cake-shop in town, it's definitely not the best cake-shop I have been to but all the same it's a shop full of bread and cake that brought back memories of days when I happily walked inside Kookie Jar, bought a loaf of bread and returned home happy,  the day my heart did a dance seeing the bright pink box with a golden "flury's" scribbled on it, the day when I bunked a disastrous French exam and went to the French Loaf instead and gleefully shared coffee and cake with my partner in crime and of the day when a crazy friend dragged me to a cake shop called Rouge, in a god-forsaken part of the city where I had the most amazing red velvet cupcake packed in a beautiful box.

At times it's bags, at times it's a book but today... today I am happy with my cake.


I spend a good amount of my very precious weekend browsing through people's albums on FB, looking, gaping, laughing and then kicking myself for being such an ass. Here are my favourite ones!

I me mahself: One album. One face. One particular angle. 300 something photos. Need I say more?

Mah new job: Congratulations. We are happy for you. You have joined the bandwagon of individuals who earn their own living. But (Surprise! Surprise!) you're NOT the first one in the world to do so. Your parents have done it... and they did not have the time to click pics of--mah desk,mah computer, mah coffee mug and mah god-knows-what-else!

Mah wedding: Some albums are nice, sweet. Some overdo the "sweet" bit. Seriously if it's been a while ... and you've been married for quite sometime but your DP is still that of you and your partner's cheek-to-cheek photo then the cover pic should be that of Digene.. we'll need it!

Also sick of moshari hata salwars, anarkalis, red/orange pants, babies, ugly wedding makeup.

Okay bye.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Jumping Jack

Remember that scene from Salaam Namaste where a very pregnant Preity Zinta craves a dessert and Saif gets it for her. I too have a craving but not for a dessert. For my city.

My roomie left for the weekend, her home is just a 4-hour journey by train. To mock my pain, God sent a close pal from Kolkata to this city during the weekend, and we met just before she boarded the flight to Kolkata and I took an auto back to my PG.

In other news, I made the blunder of watching Contagion on a Saturday afternoon. Film's nice and all but you don't want to spend your Saturday watching doctors cutting open the top of Gweneth Paltrow's head and you definitely don't want to watch Kate Winslet dying of some disease before you grasp what exactly she's doing in the film. hmm but worth a watch. Watch it okay? good.

I have also brought home a number of books from the World Book Fair knowing quite well that there are several in my cupboard still waiting to be read and also knowing quite well that I generally don't read beyond 2-5 pages from Monday to Friday. On weekends either I am reading a manuscript with terror in my heart ... afraid that I will let go of some stupid typo and discover it at a stage when it can't be rescued. My career, chosen after much deliberation and an effort to combine what I love with a job that pays me enough so I don't have to beg... has left me with very little time to do what I love. Read. I read at office but all those books just staring at me with their mournful eyes in my cupboard--I ignore. Quite sad.

I joined an aerobics class. While some friends (so-called friends) will jump to the conclusion that this is a sincere effort to reduce the waistline and boost my chances of getting a life-partner, let me tell you it is a very reluctant effort to save my neck from collapsing after I torture it for more than 10-12 hours a day by doing nothing except sitting, staring at the screen or lying down and staring the screen.  Huge probability of me developing adventitious roots or a tail - depends on what you prefer-Botany or Zoology.

The classes are very very entertaining. There are two instructors. Apes. Long hair with a "spring" in their step. They have only one motto in life -- to make people jump. SO I jump. Which would have been fine if I didn't have to bother about the view but they have very thoughtfully placed wall-to-wall mirrors so that we can see ourselves jump. Nice. Thankfully others in the class are -- an overweight aunty, a sweet punjabi woman and my roomie who does not have bones and is slim.

When I am sick and tired of looking at myself, and seeing every ounce of fat bouncing up and down in an effort to reach the firmament and be a part of some royal constellation of fat globules shining in the sky (if it sounds vulgar then thank your stars that you don't actually have to see it!) , I look at others and seeing them in the same plight I feel comforted.  And the icing on the cake is the music. Once while walking back home my roomie was singing this song...weird lyrics by a gentleman called Honey Singh (the nurse had looked at him in the delivery room and said "Honey Sing...") ... okay so I asked her what song this was and she gave a hopeless gasp and replied that few minutes ago we were jumping to that song... OKAY, equally incredulous I countered that what we jumped to were more akin to bongo drums and whatever it was there were no lyrics involved. The discussion ended. We were tired and hungry. Phew.

Oh did you know that shahi paneer in this part of the world is RED and not WHITE?

Okay bye.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

A couple of months in this city and I have realized Home is where the fart is. You won't understand if you stay alone and enjoy the pleasure of farting as and when you like.

No I am not going to continue on that gross note.  So ...


They continue to entertain. 

At about 9.40 am. I am listening to music and trying my best to ignore the blast of cold air that's freezing my face. When...

Autowalla: Sholay picture dekhi hain?

Me: haan kyu?

Autowalla: Us mein double role kiska hain?

Me: kya? ... silence ... pata nahin.

Autowalla:  Sikke ka. (loud guffaw)  kisiko malum nahi...chahe jisko bhi pucho.

Who needs earphones...


After demanding a recital of my daily diet my mother hands over the phone to my father, who, upon hearing that my roomie is a cleanliness freak asks me whether she is having any problems adjusting with me. I had to remind him whose father he is. (Scandalizing!)


Was going okay till I found a photo on my desk early one morning. A photo from a book launch. There were  5 people in the photo including me and the 4 humans apart from me occupied 50 per cent of the photo-space, rest of it was my territory. If all this fat were Helium, you'd see me as a gloriously inflated gas balloon waving at you from the Delhi-sky. 


The funny thing is my roomie prefers to have ice-cream in winter as they don't melt. The not-so-funny thing is that I fall for that logic and hop down the stairs to get chocolate ice-cream at 9pm from the guy right across the street who by the way also sells mumphali. Huh.


The fact that you may reach home and find that there's no water and that people will just say that and continue doing whatever they were doing calmly was not what I had ever imagined. Anyway so far I have been quite lucky. Have edible food, adequate space and a gem of a room-mate.

No this place is not home. I miss my friends, I miss those silent moments browsing books,  the loud chuckles in the restaurants and cafes, and debating for 15 minutes with Baba about who should make the evening tea. 

Yes the place is cold, commercial, rape-capital and whatever else you want to say  and yes every time I walk down a road alone I imagine the worst whenever a bike approaches but---I don't know at which precise moment it started---there's a tiny part of me that feels bad when someone criticizes the city. That does not mean that I'm not spending at least a few moments every single day planning my next visit to Kolkata. Home.