Friday, December 23, 2005


This weekend is Abbhya's wedding in Hyderabad. His sister, Z, is to follow suit next month. And I'm getting suddenly sentimental. We've shared the passage from children to adults so intimately. I don't know how much a part of their lives I will continue to be in the future.

(I dug this up from my Zatang archive. I wrote it for him when I was eighteen.)
Dear Abbhya, I still mean every word.

And everytime he puts his arm around me and says 'Stick in there,' I'm filled with new resolve. I love him and I'm now looking forward to our transition from young adults to geriatrics.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Demystifying the double-speak

This is just brilliant.
Make time for a good read.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Stars wrapped with fuchsia ribbons

There's about a month left to go for my best friend's wedding. And I, the overworked, underpaid, procrastinating friend, have done next to nothing about arranging a suitable bridal shower.
I was initially planning on a huge party at one of the lounges, with plenty of dancing, alcohol and loud bawdy jokes. (But we do that almost every weekend, dahling.) A night out would be a trifle redundant, so I'm still working on an appropriate substitute.

I've also decided to make a 'wedding care package' for Z, which would comprise a large number of little nothings.

A scrapbook with lots of embarrassing photographs and some of the letters we had written to each other. (Though we lived down the road from one another, exam times were when the two of us were quarantined. So we'd scribble notes and send our maids to deliver extremely important messages to one another. Yes, there were phones at the time, but this was such, such fun.)

A couple of books which I had recommended, but being the scatterbrain that she is, she'd forgotten about. Then again, maybe she was politely ignoring my suggestions. Anyhow, some forced reality reading, then.

Plenty of funky innerwear. This was supposed to have been done yesterday, but I was completely distracted by the Fabindias they've placed in every conceivable shopping area in the city. Also discovered was a new Good Things store tucked away on Comm. St, which took up a fair amount of time as well. (B was most upset that we weren't shopping for naughty lingerie.) You horrendously seductive pashmina stoles, you.

And lengths of double-shaded raw silk with which to do whatever her heart desires. (Because we are absolute divas when it comes to creating stringy tops from any sort of fabric.)

Knick knack shopping having been decided, the actual wedding 'present' still needs some serious contemplation. Instead of an inebriated girls' night out, I was thinking of gifting her a day at one of the spas I criticise ever so often. (Okay, so sue me. I'm ready to make a compromise for my best friend's complete rapture.)
I may be a junglee myself, but Z totally deserves the best.

Much like the best friend. (That would be me.) See?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bean town

By the time I get home it's around nine pm and the national highway isn't lit well enough for me to enjoy the walk back from the bus stop. Recently they've started digging up either side of Old Madras Rd with the lackadaisical intention of expanding it. We were glad to note that the bulldozers and road rollers make occasional appearances.

Last evening, the traffic forced me onto the dug-up part of the road on the side. Which was okay really, because most of the motorcyclists and the odd car preferred the same recourse.
As I brisk walked the last stretch before turning into my bylane, the ground gave way below my left foot and I dropped straight down. Three feet. And landed clumsily on my left ankle. I also scraped my knee through my jeans (on the jellystone-soft mud mixture that was forming the foundation for the expanded road). Something that hasn't happened since my last fall on the basketball court back in college. And just the other day I was noting how most of my sports scars had nearly disappeared, too. Ah, well.

This morning at the office someone poked his head inside the door.
'Excuse me, this is for a survey. What is your opinion on changing the city name to Bengaluru?'
Aarti replied instantly, 'Arre, I don't mind if you call it Chennai also. Just do something about the roads.'
I second that.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Upwardly mobile

My office is actually a small apartment on the first floor of a house. Our landlord lives downstairs with his family. Since most of our space is open – with large balconies and the terrace – we can hear most of the domestic affairs on the ground floor. Often, we find ourselves smiling when we hear aunty baby-talking to Tiger, their pet dog and shouting insults to her son in the same breath. We can hear uncle cursing salespeople when they knock on the door, interrupting an impromptu siesta. Sometimes, we even catch snatches of the son’s conversations with his girlfriend.

When I leave in the evening, uncle’s usually walking around the garden, waving his arms while doing some deep breathing exercises. We always exchange a smile, and sometimes, when he’s in the mood, he indulges me in small talk. Normally, it’s about how far I have to travel to get to work, traffic problems, the work we do and temperamental weather.
Last evening, though, he was arguing with his son. I dropped my gaze and focused on the paving as I made my way towards the gate where they stood.

‘See this girl,’ uncle said suddenly as I was on my way out, ‘She’s coming from so far everyday just to do something she enjoys. Ask her how much she gets paid. You’ll start laughing.’
I did my uncomfortable half-smile at the son. He half-smiled back and twirled his finger near his ear, indicating his father’s lunacy.
‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt…’

‘No ma,’ uncle said, ‘You tell him no? Tell him your work and what you’ve studied and what you’ll do in future. You told me that day, no? Tell him. Let him know.’
The son was growing visibly impatient.
‘Uh, uncle, I think it’s better if I just…’

‘What?’ the son burst out, ‘What the hell do you want me to do? Leave my job and do some stupid course where I’ll just be wasting my time and your money? What’s your problem, huh? I’m not asking for any money from you. I pay for myself when I go out with my friends. I bought my own cellphone, my own car, my music system…what’s your point, huh? Stop this drama, okay? Leave me alone. I don’t care what you want.’

Uncle didn’t seem alarmed by this sudden yelling.
‘I’ll tell you what’s wrong,' he said, 'I’ve been asking him to leave his call centre work so he can get some qualifications and a better job…’

‘What better job?' his son interrupted, louder this time, 'You’ve done your degrees and engineering and all that bull and I’m earning more than you are. What’s wrong with you? You’re so stupid, man,’ he shouted one last time before he slammed the gate behind him.
I was at a loss for words. I looked at uncle and he ventured an apologetic, ‘Kids today, no...,’ before he turned around and walked back inside.

I'd like to clarify that I’m not being self-righteous at this point, but I’ve often wondered what it is that my generation stands for.

If spending an easy thousand bucks in a few hours at a nightclub is an achievement, if impressing your peers with a fancier phone every month is important, if increased purchasing power is viewed as the right to disrespect the people who love you, if money is the only thing that drives the young and upwardly mobile today…
it’s bloody pathetic.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Friday again already

This is turning out to be a reminder of my blog-neglect. Ah, well.

He waited at the coffee shop for forty minutes.
Okay, I'm being stood up.

She sat in the crowded bus and sighed.
He's going to think I'm one of those girls who enjoy showing up late.

He checked his inbox once more.
Her cell phone bleeped the low battery bleep just before it switched off.