Friday, May 26, 2006

Goodbye for Now

Comments have been disabled once more. I conclude it is indeed the rapid posting. I think blogger has a problem with any more than x number of comments posted a minute.

Oh bother. I wanted to finish updating the archives today.

Anyway, folks, from tomorrow I go off the air for an indeterminate period. Till then, enjoy your lives. And I'm sorry about the comments thing. But you know where to mail me: sunayanaroy@gmail.com; in any case, if my theory holds good Comments ought to be working in a few hours.

So long, and enjoy your lives.

Blame It on the Food

I drop by occasionally at Sailu's Food, and I tell you, some days she makes me so darn homesick. It doesn't help either, that she's from Vizag.

It's the mention of all those podis and pachhidis and vadas and food you just cannot get north of AP that does it. I have never understood why people have such problems adjusting to the food down south. It's awesome! In Vizag, where I spent my youth, we had 2 fantastic cooks as neighbours and they always thought my brother and I needed fattening up (because that strange Bengali food, you know, all sweet, cannot be as nutritious as Andhra stuff, right?) so we were constantly fed, wherever we went.

S's mum made this mean mutton curry, not to mention a prawn and raw mango dish that still makes me go weak at the knees with just the thought of it.

L's mother used to make rasam that was so beautiful to have that I'd hold it in my mouth a second or two instead of drinking it straight down, so as to let the different tastes in it reach the different parts of my mouth. She made fantastic dosas too, and let me tell you, they don't taste alike, dosas change from household to household.

E's mum made an egg curry that even I who don't like eggs so much, used to eat.

And then there were Nair Aunty's appams. Somehow, the ones Ma and I make just don't taste so magical.

I wish V could see the place where I grew up. The Vizag colony used to be a fantastic place to be a kid. Each of the quarters had its own front and back garden, and we all grew guavas and mangoes. Flowers for the daily puja were hardly ever bought. It was easier to get the ones you didn't have from your friends' gardens.

In our garden we had two curry trees that my mum would pluck her curry leaves from, and a guava tree that I fell out of several times when bitten by the odd pulla-cheema (tiger-ant) -- I still have problems eating bought guavas, they are just not fresh enough and I don't care how snotty that sounds -- and three mango trees that wreaked havoc on our poor roof by either bombarding it with giant mangoes or falling on it during the cyclones that part of the coast is prone to. We had all kinds of flowers and birds and snakes who liked to live in the plants. There was a particular group of babblers who used to be my personal alarm clock, while at the back I actually saw pheasants and once or twice, a cuckoo. Did I mention we were only separated from the colony swimming pool by a pair of swings (i.e. the end of the colony park) anda wire fence?

We had a row of bougainvilleas out at the back which I occasionally fought to get into some kind of order. Have you ever tried trimming a bougainvillea? They are thorny! I would usually retire from these battles well scratched, and go to my room complaining. There was also a jackfruit tree out back into whose upper branches Hardy-the-kitten once fled. He stayed up there, mewing piteously, so I got the gardener to climb up after it.He did, only when he reached the branch Hardy was on, the kit looked disdainfully at him and stalked down back to the ground. Unassisted.

...

I wrote this far and then went off to a meeting. After the meeting the mood's passed. So this is all you get. Till the next time I drop by Sailu's maybe! It bothers me though that my kids will probably never experience such a place for themselves.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Replies

Rohini said...

Roll-a-cola. Do they still make those. I used to love them. Those and Phantom cigarettes.
To answer your question, I would throw them away.

Rohini - Well, I found these 2 rolls but I can't remember where I bought them, unfortunately. I used to love Phantoms too. We coloured our lips red with the 'flame' tips. I ate both lozenges, incidentally :-)

Albatross said...

Even I thought they stopped making Roll-a-cola already !
You might just try trading them for a fortune with some antique food collector :)
On similar note, do you still get those coin chocolates....?

Albatross - Yes, you do, but they're mostly imported Gulf chocolates and not all that tasty. Was given some good ones at my wedding, as part of my trousseau from V's side.

As for trading the Roll-a-colas, too late, I ate 'em!

Grafxgurl said...

its working now.

Grafx - It's not, at least I can't comment. And it's MY blog!

Jhantu said...

Being sex minded I would have my girlfriend sexily stick her tongue out and roll it over the roll-a-collas, while all the time thinking about the more useful things her tongue could do if we werent on the damn tube.
(is this publishable--not sure)

Jhantu - So you'd feed your girl ancient lozenges which have been rolling around in the dirt of your bag for weeks, would you?

Folks, Comments was working again this morning but isn't any more. Wonder why. I've been uploading all my old blog archives from the rediff Sunny Days and putting up all those comments. There weren't so very many but do you think the rapid posting triggered something off?

Problem with Comments

For some reason, Comments has been playing up since yesterday. Wishful complained, and then I noticed I was getting double notices for every comment and now I see, despite what my personal settings claim, comments have been disabled on my blog.

I don't know how to fix this, sorry.

Stoopid Blogger. Normally I say stoopid when I want to be affectionate, but not this time. This time it's just a long, drawn-out expletive.

(Don't pull a face now, I did mention our project to clean up our language before.)

Anyway, if there's anything you wanted to say and couldn't, mail it to sunayanaroy@gmail.com, and I'll put up a post of my replies, ok?

This Guy's Getting Fat

A link V sent me ages ago and which I occasionally go to, but keep forgetting to put up here:

1-2-3-I-Love-You

Not just cos of the Beatles, but also because he's good to read, I recommend this blogger.



Adding more, later on:

This is my poll for the day:

If, while stuffing your cell-phone charger into your handbag you encounter the last two lozenges of a roll of Roll-a-Cola which you vaguely knew had been lying around in the bag for a few weeks (maybe more), and when you pull out what remains of the roll and discover that there's a grain of mouri (aniseed) sticking on to the topmost lozenge -- what do you do with it? Why?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Day in The Life

You know you've become too ardent a blogger when you start feeling vaguely guilty just because one day you were too busy (and not really in the mood) to put up a post. And yes, since I'm talking about myself, I will use the less negative "ardent" in favour of the "rabid" which was how the sentence originally started out in my head.

Anyway.

Lots to tell, actually. I rather believe yesterday was one of those life-changing days your horoscope promises you with unfailing regularity every morning. After a frantically busy day at office, I was picked up in the evening by Ma and M'khurima (a.k.a. Cousin T's mum) and carted off to the gynae. The USG results were all ok, and you can actually see the kid in them, which, as you can imagine, is pretty cool.

To be strictly truthful, after I saw the kid in the scan everything else became a bit of a blur in an unimportant world. Talk of bonding with a plastic sheet! But I wasn't the only one, heh. When V checked it out later that night he had just the same goofy grin on his mug.

Anyway, the doc said all's ok, blah blah, eat properly, blah blah, oh and hmm, what's this I see, your placenta's slipped down, ok we must put that right with a bit of rest, so no office for you for 2 months, hmm?

This is why I go to her, because I honestly would freak out if any other doctor just took my world in that casual way and shook it so hard. Just like that. But her I trust. Anyway, it turns out -- folks who are unduly squeamish skip the next few lines -- that when the placenta slips down it's at greater threat of having pressure put on it when I move around. The baby'll be ok, but the placenta might bleed and then I'll be losing blood, which, I can tell you without referring to any doc at all, is never ok by me. Plus, I guess, with a damaged supply line, the kid won't be all that happy. Anyway, none of this has happened, and to avoid this, I'm being parked in the garage for the next two months, not to be taken out much.

That pretty much changes my life as I currently know it, but I don't think I'm complaining. I've felt so tired of late and I guess it's shown on the blog too, where I keep whining. When I created my Orkut profile last week I used the picture of Sarah Sylvia Cynthia Stout taking the garbage out as my profile pic. I guess I don't mind the rest. It'll give me all the time in the world to

(in no particular order of priority)

1) Put my darling flat to rights. It's been waiting a month and a half and I haven't even unpacked all my books yet.
2) Watch all those movies
3) Get the internet and cable tv connections installed
4) Read the books I married V for
5) (blushing slightly -- well, ok, I would blush if I knew how to) Er, finish embroidering those funny table napkins I meant to give V as a wedding gift
6) Figure out how to use my sewing machine. It was a wedding gift and I pretty much adore it but I haven't the faintest idea how to load the thread so that it doesn't snag from time to time. Then I can stitch stuff for the baby as well as alter my trousseau to fit my new shape. *Sigh*
7) Actually cook. Now that I'm doing it more often, I enjoy it if I'm not hurried. And since I have awesome cook genes in me, I might as well bring them to the fore now.
8) Watch tv. I haven't followed a single show or caught anything I wanted to catch in over a year. That's true, believe it or not.
9) Sort out my clothes. Lots of old stuff I don't think is worth keeping around for a whole year more. Anybody know any deserving charities in Cal who'd have any use for the kind of clothes I wear? Drop me a line.
10) Spoil V. The poor man's been as overworked and generally stressed out as I, and I do know that, and I'd really like to make things a bit easier for him. I know I can when I have the time.

You all do know what this list is for, right? This is for chuckling over in six months' time when I can pretty much see half of it remaining undone. I am phenomenally lazy when I can afford to be. So projects 1, 2, maybe even 6 and 9 may well remain but the gleams they currently are in this mother's eye. Oh well, can't win 'em all.

More later. Oh, and don't be surprised if I go off the air for a while after Friday. Like I said, we don't have the 'net at home yet.

Monday, May 22, 2006

I Hate You, 'Flu Germs

This is what my horoscope says today:
Recent changes have given you more responsibility. Don't be worried -- be flattered!

Interpretation:
V has picked up viral 'flu and has been out of circulation since Saturday. Well, almost. If he hadn't danced around the house on Saturday evening -- I use the term 'dancing' in a very loose sense, obviously -- writing Jeeves and Wooster DVDs, he might not have had an utter relapse.

In other words, I'm more than a little pissed. When I'm in front of him and have to see his woeful face, obviously, I cannot be too mad -- so I decided not to skip work today (I had important training classes lined up anyway).

In any case, what really got my goat was the chicken pox scare. It's been going around and a whole bunch of ppl in V's office picked it up. I told him a weekend ago, to get the vaccination done, since he didn't have the brains to get it over and done with when he was younger, but he managed to evade it. Then, on Friday afternoon I get a call from him saying he's not feeling that great, so he's going home early from work, and he suspects it might be the pox.

This is the sort of thing that traumatises women into giving birth to 2-headed babies and gives them nervous tics.

Anyway, to cut a painful story short, none of the little red sores appeared, and when I finally packed him off the doctor yesterday evening (accompanied by our landlord from upstairs and one of V's childhood friends, so stop making me out to be the heartless wife yet again) he came home with the news it was only the 'flu. Idiot.

But, on a more serious note, this entire episode just confirmed what I was starting to believe -- I simply cannot work a regular job while the kids are small. I can't go to work and spend the entire day worrying about how they are doing, if they are eating. If I'm this concerned about a 30 year-old idiot who doesn't deserve any TLC, what will I do when faced with a sniffly 2 yr-old who has the 'flu?

Which means, thanks to the 30 yr-old (ok, 29, but that's as good as) idiot, I now have to reconsider all my career plans for the next five years.

Now you know why I'm not my bright li'l usual self.



Going for the USG this evening. Hoping V's wrong and we're not having twins. If we are, why, that's one more reason to pray for an early, merciful death. That and the fact that I seem to have been born a generation too late and missed sleeping with the Beatles as well as Pierce Brosnan.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Sultana's Dream

And then I footled around some more and found this text. Had been wanting to read it a long time. Thanks, SepiaMutiny.

Now I really must go work, so see you later, alligator. Monday, maybe.

Margaret Atwood and Little JUDEans

Found this at the JUDE Writing in Practice blog.


Signed up today at the Blabberwocky forum

These kids make me feel ancient, mostly, but in a nice sort of way. They will never know the things I loved about JU, so it only makes sense they enjoy stuff we only dreamed of.

Incidentally, the Atwood link is mainly for all of you poets out there.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Screwy Thoughts

I've been meaning to blog about this for a few days but keep forgetting to.

There's massive renovation happening all over our office, especially in our old room. That's where the Ladies' is, so I wasn't particularly surprised to find a screw lying inside the commode, at the bottom. As predicted, it rusted nicely orange over the next few days.

When I went to, uh, powder my nose, this Monday, I saw a pin lying there. You know, the long, thin variety. What I daresay a screw can be melted down into.

Which raises the question: How scary are the corroding powers of, uh, human waste?

(Don't even waste your time surmising what if somebody'd fished up the screw and then a pin had fallen in later -- who'd fish it up in the first place and why?)

Perhaps I do think too much. But, it wasn't V who said it first. My mother beat him to it nearly two decades earlier, and she sounded a great deal more exasperated than he ever does. What she actually yelled was, Eto bhabchhilish keno? ("Why were you thinking so much?")

Speaking of mothers, she's in town.

Speaking of screwy matters, I wonder if this will be my first post to be flagged as 'Objectionable Content'? Ye gods and little fishes!

My Parents Scare Me

This is what I am scared of:

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sun, sun sun, here he comes

And I say, it's all right. I want to go dancing like you cannot believe. It's a shame I married a man who doesn't like to dance. And it's doubly sad that I'm too tired to do my middle-of-the-night-dancing-to-weird-songs-on-tv these days.

But.

Since I feel a couple of years younger, several kilos lighter and definitely unpregnant, I'm dancing in my head.

This is why you shouldn't wear swishy skirts to work. Especially not red and white crinkled cotton swishy skirts. We all know what they say about red being the colour of passion. Or wait, wasn't that pink?

Part of the hilarity at office is explained by this. We all tried it out. Some of us are more suspicious than others.

Nostalgia. Uncalled For, but Fun

You know how you feel when you've been drinking the night away and you wake up? And you are lying next to this cute guy and it all starts coming back to you bit by little bit? And you lie there smiling, wondering what he would remember? And how he would feel about it in the morning? And then (if you're me, at least) the bathroom beckons, so by the time he's up you're in the kitchen making coffee, so he's completely knocked offsides and really doesn't know what to say to you.

And then you realise that guys get more embarassed by one-nighters than girls do. (That is, say, if the girl we're talking about happens to be anything like me.)

Kumar Prasad Mukherjee

A very interesting man called it quits last Sunday. He was in his eighties and in a lot of pain, being in the last stages of throat cancer, so it was merciful for him, but the rest of us lost a fascinating raconteur.

Listeners of Hindustani classical music might remember Pandit Kumar Prasad Mukherjee's singing. Those who read Bengali will perhaps know his books, which are mainly memoirs of his eventful life. My father knew him through both, but I only knew him as my university professor's brother-in-law who she asked me to look up in Madras last summer, when I went back home after the M.A.

He was staying in a guest-house, and his students were taking it in turns to run down South and keep him company. He was far from home and in a land where he didn't like the food or the women. Where other men would grumble though, he used it all as food for an enjoyably acerbic tongue. He came to visit us once, and it was a treat for my father, who does not get to discuss the things he enjoys with the people he usually meets. (That includes us, the family. Hmmm...)

When he returned to Madras last month because the cancer had set in once more, we all knew this might be the end. And now that he's gone, I'll think of him when I pass his residence in Golpark, because I found him fascinating to talk to. In his rough, papery voice, as he lit up one cigarette after another -- the way he saw it, at his age they didn't make any difference -- he would frequently rebuke me for my lack of knowledge, but he would also smile gently and be happy I came to visit. In my world there are very few old people left who I enjoy visiting, so his absence will be felt.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My Life As Depicted by the Funnies

When my father's friend became a grandfather, he (my father, I mean) turned a violent shade of green. Thereafter, I felt like this --


I first started suspecting I might be pregnant when I realised how voraciously I had started eating. I was never a big eater but suddenly I felt hungry all day. Ever since, I've felt like this --

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Appeal

Dear Reader,

I probably oughtn't do this to myself because I daresay once I publicly declare that this site is not really dedicated to putting dear V down you will all feel cheated and never visit no more, but the fact is, judging from all the responses I have received over varied posts, I'm getting a bit concerned.

See, V's a nut. But I have never denied that he's a handy nut. And obviously I wouldn't say that if he didn't do stuff to prove he's handy. Yes, there's much that he doesn't know about running a house -- but he's never had to run one before in all his twenty-nine years. And therefore there is much that he doesn't realise needs doing at all. When we first started playing house-house (or bari-bari as we Bongs would call it) he seemed to assume that laundry did itself, and kitchens would be magically cleaned and that vessels left out with food in them would not face any threat from corrosion, attract insects etc. Stuff like that. He's fast losing all his illusions. But he's also learning, if you do something carefully and correctly the first time round, it saves you time and effort later. Like, if he somehow finishes packing the tiffin while the maid's around, he doesn't have to wash up or clean up afterwards.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is, the man tries. Mostly. So I do not diss him. Well, not much. Not so much as you'd notice. Anyway, even if I'm occasionally a bit rude about him, there is no reason for anybody to assume that I'm a man-hater. Because I'm not. I find them silly, but I've always been fond of the critters. Especially V. So don't give him any more reasons to smirk at me or so help me God I will murder the man, and then I might miss him and it'll all have been your fault. You, commenting lightly on important matters.

Sincerely,
Exasperated Wife

Monday, May 15, 2006

Calling All Husbands...

... we know, you often think us wives are a demanding lot. Most of us, however, do work as many office hours as you and then usually do more housework than you. That makes our mindsets a leetle different.

Lingerie or a deep cleavage might turn you on everytime -- but this is the stuff our fantasies are made of. Try it out and see!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

'Tis the Season to be Sleeping tra la la la la lal-lal la

The weather's changed the last week or so. V and I were wishing Ally-the-car had reached already*, because the nights are lovely for drives. For those who don't know what I'm talking about, the kalboishakhi season has finally reached us, and the heat has given way temporarily to awesome thunderstorms, strong winds, black clouds and what the Met office never fails to call "evening showers". (And that's a gross understatement. Showers indeed. When these babies get going nothing in the way of raingear is any protection.) The ants are scurrying about, the trees are looking partly washed (it'll take much more washing than a few thunderstorms to get all that pollution off) and everybody is feeling slightly unsettled.

I'm informed those with a romantic bent to their mind are feeling moody. Good for them.

Me, I just want to sleep. It's lovely weather to do almost anything in, and sleeping is one of them. Right now, I would love to be tucked up tight in bed, snacks by my side, a movie loaded on the Mac and the remote nearby. Say a hot drink handy too, while I'm dreaming. Oh, and I almost forgot to put the husband in place. Yes, well, I think we'll leave him out of the covers just yet in case somebody has to run down and get stuff, like more food, or newspapers so that bedsheets don't get all crumby, things like that.

Now certain observant readers will have already realised I said I need books and a movie around me to sleep comfortably and are wondering at the contradiction. Well, there isn't anything paradoxical in that at all. As was mentioned to Jabberwock recently, I find something intensely soporific about watching movies at home. Especially when I'm watching from bed. It used to shock V, then he used it to tease me for a while, now we are both accustomed to this quaint little quirk in my nature (never mind all his rude little jabs in Jabberwock's post). It is taken for granted that a movie will be watched twice, the second time from somewhere in the middle, so that I can watch all the stuff I missed.

Those of you in the habit of feeling sorry for V (I wonder why your parents didn't do something about such nasty little habits when you were younger) can relax his time around. He was shocked when I slept through the end of Sanjuro, but by the time we sat down to Shaft (am refering to the orginial version here) he was prepared. He watched it through till the end, refused to let me see what I missed when I woke up, and has been firmly refusing to play it any more ever since. So I still don't know what happened.

*Ally, along with some books and stuff of ours, is due from Madras next week, with luck.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Blankets

Will somebody buy me Blankets for my birthday? Please?

My first thought, on being informed that I was officially 'banished' from #427 was, man, now how will I ever get to read K's books?

The brother-in-law has a nice collection and I had only got my teeth sunk into the (metaphorical) steam rising off the top of the frothy (metaphorical) foam over the (metaphorical) coffee that is his library.

And that tells you where my priorities lie.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Of Dowries and Gifts

I've always been proud of the fact that my parents' marriage had nothing to do with dowries. But as I grew up, I was told that while this was true, it was not that nothing had been asked for. My paternal grandmother (who was, from all accounts, one of the nicest people ever, and certainly not the money-minded type) had hoped my mother would bring some furniture with her, apart from the regulation bed. Not because my grandmother wanted stuff for herself, but because it would show the respect and love her son would recieve from his in-laws. I can understand that, but the question remains, where does one draw the line? In this case, my grandfather, a barrister and a gentleman with very strong views on everything, scolded her and said that gifts had nothing to do with affection etc. So my mother brought with her only as much as her parents felt they could give.

I always knew the issue of dowry would never arise in any marriage of mine. So I smirked when when V's mum proudly told my parents that I was to bring nothing apart from the regulation bed. I got upset when my parents tried to buy me jewellery -- if it was expensive it would sit in the bank locker, and what good would that do me, pray? -- and generally ticked them off for trying to buy me other stuff (kitchen stuff blah blah) till my mother got good and mad and told me it was her daughter's wedding and if she felt like a grand do it was her business and none of mine and would I kindly shut up now, I was being a colossal bore. Or words to that effect. (Now I think back, I know, it was stupid, but back then, it felt really scary, having folks give you so much. And jewellery-wise, I was proved right. It all went into the bank and will stay there till I force it on my poor daughter. Who will then have to pay locker-rent for her life-time. And thus the saga continues...)

Anyway, you get the idea. And as you may have read in my earlier post about the stuff V and I did get after all, one could hardly say that we were stinted. So imagine my utter shock when I realised that the mother-in-law did harbour a vague resentment on the grounds that her son wasn't given gifts as grand as the stuff given to her daughter-in-law. Heh heh... imagine V's state of mind if my parents smilingly told him that the mamarbari money was not to be directed towards his baby (the Mac he drools over every night. Even after 3 months. I hate it) but to, say, something along the lines of rings and jewellery. Even I wouldn't do that to him, not even at the height of a fight. Or, that instead of model cars, they would prefer to give him a, I dunno, what do sons-in-law get traditionally? Say more clothes.

I don't get it. If her son's happy, he must have a reason to be happy, right? And you can't deny his happiness when you see him set out his silly cars (well, ok, they are actually quite hot but they detract attention from ME and that's always a bad thing) or fiddle around on the Mac (which I admit gave me some ecstatic moments too, but I'll deny that if you ever say it in front of V). And it all brings me back to what I was saying earlier about dowry. Part of the reason I didn't want all the stuff my parents wanted to gift us was because I felt V was being bloody bribed to marry me. Me! I'm incentive enough to marry me, any day. Not some stupid Mac. Even if it is a darn handsome machine.

Now the thing is, officially, my marriage was as free of dowry as any other. But I got more as gifts than most brides get as dowry. How does that figure? It makes me vaguely uncomfortable, but then I remember the wedding was also about my parents doing something they had waited 23 years for, and they definitely had ideas about how they wanted to do it. They only spent what they could afford, I do admit that, and gave nothing that they didn't want to, but...

I guess V is right, I do think too much.

I think I ought to focus on 2 points:
1. Nothing was asked for, therefore all gifts were given with love.
2. My parents enjoyed the shopping so much, I did feel bad about playing spoilsport. Ever seen two 50 yr-olds gleefully go over the crockery they have bought -- and which they don't have to carefully clean and maintain -- and which they would never buy for themselves but can totally justify buying now since it's for somebody else? My mum actually did that for the dinner set and the Tupperware while my father did as much over my laptop (a gift I try not to talk about, since it kinda undercuts my grousing over the Mac) and its accessories.

I really ought to have brought my parents up to listen to me more. Now it's too late.

Funnee

I seem to have mentioned JAP's blog in a couple of posts around and about in some people's comment sections -- no, he doesn't pay me hafta, but he should -- and this time, I'm dropping a link here to his latest.

I like stuff like this.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Of Stalkers -- The Confused Kind

The other night, V and I were busy in the thick of a fight, and we'd just reached the stage where I was going to tell him in no uncertain terms just what I thought of him and his pusillanimity. (The verbally challenged, go look it up in www.dictionary.com. That's your little lesson for the day.) Anyway, just as I was getting ready to speak, my cell phone rang.

Irritated, I answered the call.

Hullo.

Hullo, is that Sunayana.

Yes, who is this? (I was in no mood for Pleases.)

My name is Rocky S, I want to make friendship with you --

This, in the middle of a perfectly good fight... I ask you!

So I told him curtly not to call me up ever again, particularly in the middle of the night and cut him off midway in a convoluted sentence in which he was trying to explain how the middle of the night was a good time to 'make friendship'.

Whatever.

That completely ruined the mood, as you can imagine. And since V was right in front of me I decided to share the joke rather than try to pick up where we'd left off. Somehow he didn't find it as funny. Wonder why?

Rocky S (or a friend of his since this was from a different number) was silly enough to try again, a few minutes later. So I let V answer and had the joy of watching my husband yell at some dumb kid for daring to make crank calls to his wife. It was quite cute. And he decided to take his angst out on this person, so there was colourful language thrown in for good measure. Now V's brother may be a far, far better swearer than V any day, but V's not too bad himself. And I don't normally let him swear at me because then I usually answer in kind and I'd like to break the habit because I honestly don't want my children's first words to be "bokathoda" or anything equally sweet. No matter what my friends plan.

That was Episode 1, last week.

This morning, the weirdo struck again. Gave me a missed call first. Since I didn't recognise the number I didn't bother to call back. After a minute or so he called back, but this time didn't ring off. So I answered. And he went, Sunayana?

Yes, who is this please?

I want to make frien--

That's when I got bored and put the phone on the table. Was too busy to listen to his whining anyway.

So he messaged. And that's one's so funny, I'll type it out for you.

Few relations in earth never die. READ AGAIN. Few(F) Relations(R) In(I) Earth(E) Never(N) Die(D). I jst want 2 have frdshp with u.Do u know [name removed] i want her inf

Well!!!

It wasn't even me he wanted to 'make friendship' with, middle of the night or not. I'm not sure but I think I'm insulted.

First he's too cheap to call. Then he says he only wants info about another girl. Some people just have no tact, I tell you.



Later Note: Since my blog seems to be read mostly by non-Bengali speakers, I just thought I ought to point out that "bokathoda" is how a kid might pronounce "bokachoda", which, as Cousin T so memorably defined for me once, is Bengali for "foolish fornicator". That's something else you know, now.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Deadline Looming

It's one of those Days, as I just mailed to V. Days with a bad capital D. You know, when things don't so much not work as work in entirely exasperating fashion.

The latest project we're going nuts over is about doing what we have been trained to do so far, except that this time we use the new software to do it. Which we, (read my team and I) did not create. And whose logic therefore takes us some time to grasp. Not just time. A whole lot of time, much brain-addling and in the end, desperation. That is to say, we do understand what we are doing, but we didn't entirely, to start with, and the only reason we do know what is happening now is because of all the things that have gone wrong so far.

If, at this point, any of you is tempted to tell me mistakes are for us to learn from, go boil your head.

In other words, I crave comfort food. V made me some fantastic sandwiches (egg and tomato, never thought I'd grow to like tomatoes so much) for lunch but they're long devoured and my body, having gone through the incredulity

-- What? You mean that was all?

the desperation

-- Turn the (transparent plastic) lunch box upside-down, moron, there are bound to be a few crumbs somewhere!

and the anger

-- You will pay for starving me, bitch...

has finally turned vengeful

-- Yes, keep on dreaming of those finger chips. Yep, focus on the ketchup, kid. And right after I'm done messing with your mind with the chips, I'll move on to hamburgers, pasta, pizza and chocolate boats.

Now you know just why I hate my body. Not because I'm one of those narcissistic/anorexic women, but purely because it's paying me back for all those years of neglect during my University phase. It's as mean as I am.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Afterglow

Isn't afterglow an awesome word? It's just the way it means, I think. You read it and in your mind you see a soft aura. After whatever it was.

if you wanted to find peace of mind
then you could find it any time you liked
you are the afterglow

There are still some days and nights when I think I made a mistake. I know why I got married and all of it didn't have to do with V. In part I decided to get married because I was very lonely, and V seemed like he could make that go.

you are the afterglow
you are the midnight show
the only one i know
you come and then you go

Also, see, however precocious it may sound, by 21 I was experienced enough to know that once you have mutual comfort and security, romance follows. In other words, you don't have to start with the moonlight and roses.

(You can always start with wine, and we nearly did, but it's not always advisable. You know what they say about the vision-altering properties of alcohol.)

I admit it, I do think sometimes I could have been less hasty. When I see friends of mine going about their careers and academics, stuff which for me has to take a backseat now. But I also know I wouldn't really trade my life for theirs willingly. Not because of sour grapes, but because, in a very basic sort of way, I honestly am happy. I like having a home and a husband to go to every evening. That sort of way. And though I grouse about it, I do like the thought of having a baby.

feeling my way all of the time
all of the time doing just fine

I was rather ill last weekend. And ending Thursday with a huge fight with V didn't help much. But afterwards, there was the weekend. In which we didn't so much make up as forget the fight, which somehow seemed felt better. To makeup is to remind yourself of the fight, in ways. And we had a nice weekend, in which we did nothing at all except sleep lots and eat lots and spend long hours just feeling peaceful. Moving and everything else has really been stressful on both of us. We needed this timeout.

all of the time feeling alright
taking a while raising a smile makes it all worthwhile

Check out Patches

A comic strip I stumbled upon last week is Patches.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Can't Buy Me Love, Maybe, But It Can Make Me Ever So HAPPY

Passing on from my spoof food posts, have any of you ever seriously contemplated colouring your hair? I don't mean the boring dirty blonde or safe maroon or even the mehendi many of us have done. I mean serious blues and greens and purples. Colours that make you feel alive. Despite V's suggestion I will not add orange to that list. For one thing, it's too close to the dirty blonde that does not suit most Indian skin tones and for another, it will clash with far too many of my clothes. So, for that matter, will purple, but what a glorious colour all the same.

I remember visiting V's place (much before the marriage sometime) and his parents were setting off for a wedding. His mother came home from the parlour downstairs a little upset because they hadn't done her hair the way she liked it. They stuck it out in duck's tails which didn't really do much for her. The X-Men look rarely goes with a conventional saree, if you think about it. Anyway, I fixed that, and while I was re-setting it, I realised she'd let them add streaks of glittery blue mascara. Very discretely, but pretty cool, huh?

I like glittery blues on hair. Also deep pinks and loud purples and warm blonde-browns. But my all-time favourite, which I've been unable to get any parlour to do for me is a dark, blackish, deep-in-the-forest green. Something like this green, but a little more glowing somehow. Awesome. Someday I shall get just that shade and be what my mamas call a very happy camper. Of course, I'll probably have to get new clothes to match. And a new bag. Shoes that colour aren't easy to find either. But I'm sure I can find something in contrasts. It's all about determination really.

Hot, Buttered Toast

I have noticed many bloggers who put up tantalising trailers or promise posts and then forget to deliver. Rimi comes to mind, but there are far worse offenders. Now, I don't want to be ranked among them, so, as promised, here is the recipe for

Hot, Buttered Toast


(drumroll dies out, the audience is gestured into silence).

Yes, well, toast is a concept not all that easily grasped. Proper toast should be crisp, with the butter melted on it. It should not be soggy.

This is a very important thing to remember because far too many households dish out vague excuses of soggy, blackened bread as toast and it has been my unfortunate experience to have to politely eat them.

Ingredients:

1. Bread, preferably at least a day old. (Always refrigerate bread older than a day.)

2. Butter, spread with a blunt knife, not a spoon.


Method:

Put two slices of bread very carefully in the toaster, adjust timing to a minute and look elsewhere. (Toast does not like to be watched. If you watch it, it will burn the exact same second as the bell rings or the milk on the stove boils over or anything else claims your attention for a fraction of asecond.)

When the toasted bread pops out, see that it's a light brown all over. If not, pop back in for another 15 sec.

When done, remove from toaster and place on a plate. Put in the next batch. Now butter the first lot.

Eat hot.

Ok, class, now what are the things we learnt today?
1. Staler bread toasts faster.
2. Those few seconds of airing are vital for the toast to get crisp and yet remain hot enough to melt the butter spread on it.
3. Cold/soggy toast is awful.
4. Burnt toast is carcenogenic (really). So if you've burnt it, please don't try eating it. If it's burnt only at the edges, at least scrape off the burnt bits before you eat it.

For those who live without a toaster, there is hope yet. You can always buy a stovetop toaster, something that looks like a flat, mesh-covered surface with a handle which can be placed directly on a low flame. When toasting on this, remember to turn the bread over every half minute or so.

Just to make you feel bad about your breakfasts, folks, V and I had fried eggs and bacon with toast this morning. And we are both carrying ham sandwiches for lunch. Chew on that.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Lost Generation

A note on this post. I put it up quite some time ago, in my private blog, because I didn't think I was ready to have people read this about my father and have stuff to say about it. I re-read it yesterday and decided that he deserves that his story be read. I have removed the details because I still am personally not ready to see them in print, but this story deserves to be told. It's not his alone. Many people are writing about those days, and the days that went before, and it's my generation who will have to ensure that the lessons don't die out.

Maybe I'm posting this at last because I hadn't realised before how many misguided people there are out there who might actually forget that movies like Rang De Basanti are only movies, and not solutions to their daily problems. Greatbong's latest post probably nerved me to put this one up today.

Read on. If you have something to add, do so. Don't tell me how it made you feel. And I might not respond to comments on this one. It hits too close to home for me.

---

The Lost Generation

Reading this got me writing this post.

We don't talk about it much, and our generation was protected as far as possible by our parents who refused to speak of their lost youth. Since I grew up outside Bengal I was even spared the horrors my friends heard as they outgrew their childhood.

But somebody must speak. I can't, because I don't know the story. But I did sit at the dining-table four months ago and hear my father speak in a stranger's voice about things which still give me nightmares if I think too long about them. I don't know all of what they did to him. He was not a Naxalite, but many of his friends were. He was picked up by the police, and tortured, and attempts were made to get 'information' out of him. That he was got out and then hustled out of the state was largely due to his father's influence (my grandfather was a well-established barrister) and my father's own excellent academic record.

But the trauma doesn't go away, does it? I sat by and heard my father sit there reciting a long string of names -- all of them first names or people refered to as such-and-such's brother, so-so's daughter -- the way I would chat amongst my friends when telling them about the children I had grown up amongst. Baba grew up among these people too, but he lived to outgrew his childhood. They 'disappeared'.

That was one story I heard. Later that night, I was chatting with V (since this was before the marriage we were still in separate cities) and he told me about a great-uncle of his, who had been in the police force during the Naxal era. He, as a young child, had heard some of the stories from this uncle, who believed that the stories should be told, if only in the hope that somebody learnt from their mistakes. So he told a young child about man-hunts and lynchings and brutal orders from authorities to annhilate the brightest of the youth.

My father's generation refers to themselves as the lost generation. And so they are. They lost the idealism that ignited their parents, they lost their friends and many of them lost themselves. My father's story upset me because I hated to hear such things. But it upset me personally because it explained many of the contradictions that we see in him, the violence I still have bad moments remembering. That evil can twist a person's mind beyond their own control is an abstract concept few will disagree with. Try living with that in action. Try watching your eight-year-old brother get thrashed within an inch of his life just because your father grew up on violence. Watch that same father enthuse over the death of a man whose only known crime was that his father had helped eliminate hundreds of Bengal's children.

The Naxalite movement, in all its wisdom, did much to damage my brother's childhood, something only my mother and I ever acknowledge.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

World-Famous Scrambled Eggs

Inspired by several food blogs I have been idly perusing the last two months I am emboldened to add at least a recipe post to my own blog. In other words, rejoice, for here is my world-famous recipe for scrambled eggs. That, by the way, is not an idle claim since this recipe has travelled as far as Idaho, which, from where I'm sitting is halfway across the world. Its main claim to fame is that it requires precisely 3 ingredients. So read on:

Ingredients:

1. 1/2 tsp butter or vegetable oil.
2. 2 medium-sized eggs
3. 1 tbsp tomato ketchup or any other sauce that happens to be your favourite.

Method:

1. Heat the butter/ oil in a a non-stick saucepan (never used any other kind myself, so can't help you there).

2. Take off flame, break eggs into saucepan. Working quickly, stir it for about 5-7 seconds so that the eggs start scrambling and the yolks mix well into the whites.

3. Return to fire and continue stirring for another minute. The mixture ought to be forming uneven, light yellow lumps and should be a little wet and sticky.

4. Remove from fire and add the sauce. Return to fire, continue stirring till you reach desired consistency.

5. Eat with hot, buttered toast.

Notes: You can really try this with a variety of sauces, or even a combination of different sauces. Worcester by itself is not a great idea, like soya sauce. Or so it seemed to me. Tabasco was liked by some.

You don't really have to do the on fire/off fire thing. I do it all at one go, but perhaps the first time you'd rather do it that way to ensure the eggs don't cook and dry up too quickly.

I like my scrambled eggs a little 'wet', so I give them another 30-45 sec after adding sauce. V likes his drier, so his are cooked for about a min or a bit more. You choose.

For those who like the traditional version, add a dash of milk (1 tbsp) and a pinch of salt and pepper instead of the sauce. Method remains the same otherwise.

Those who want variety can experiment with shredded (canned) tuna bits, ham bits or even bacon bits added just after the sauce. They require no extra cooking time.

Coming Up!
Recipe for Hot, Buttered Toast!

Flipside

I don't really have the time for this, but the new comic I'm reading is Flipside.

Check it out. I'll finish with my mail and go finish that darn project. Then -- maybe -- I'll do a post. Why don't you start the prayers and I'll see how motivating I find them. Hmm?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Monday Morning Blues, Clichéd as That May Sound

It's May Day and I'm at office. That makes it two days running that I had work and V did not(including Saturday I mean, which is always a holiday for him). Sometimes life isn't the teensiest bit fair.

We've been given a project: a Direct Mail package upon which our mysterious wonders to perform and obviously, I'm stumped and blogging instead. The thing is, I don't much like direct mail solicitations. I always read them, get attracted to the offers, and never follow them up. I usually forget all about them and by the time I come across the envelope/letter once more, the offer has expired. So it's really difficult proving to be impossible for me to write a salesletter which I find convincing.

What does one do at this point?

Sadder news is that I have finally reached the latest post in Questionable Content. When I first saw the site it was featuring strip number 500-odd. So I had a nice old time reading through the archives, seeing how the story worked out. Now that I've gone right through the archives I'm reduced to reading the one strip a day.

A Midsummer Night's Dream was quite good, actually. Very impressive. They spoke in Bengali, Tamil, Sinhala, Malayalam, English, Hindi and Marathi and since I knew the storyline following it was not a problem for me. Also, with the Tamil and Malayalam, since I was comfortable with the sound of them, I could occasionally recongise the odd word, which helped. With Hindi and even Marathi I knew where I was. With the Bengali though I was frequently at sea, since it was all poetic stuff! They had created an apron stage of sorts, complete with balcony, and the backdrop was a bamboo scaffolding covered with white chartpaper. The paper was torn through when the fairies entered, or when the lovers tore their way through the forest. Very imaginative. There were ropes hanging around and all the performers spent much of their time hanging from them. You could definitely see how Peter Brook's version had influenced Supple. I was particularly impressed by Oberon and Titania, not to mention Joy Fernandes as a spectacularly scatalogical Bottom. I mention Fernandes by name because he was really good on Saturday night, and it was only after the show that Supple announced that F had lost his father that morning and would be flying back home to Bombay for the funeral the next day. (He did, and came back in a few hours for Sunday night's show).

The open-air performance was well-scripted, well-rehearsed and very magical. The music in particular deserves special mention. It was simply superb. But also, as a friend of mine remarked, it was put together by money. So it was. After the privations of Goa, this was particularly painful, and made me wish there was some way we could apply for funding ourselves, someplace. It wasn't really sour grapes that prompted that remark, but wistfulness. Supple took his pick of Indian and Sri Lankan actors and it showed, but he also had the money to build the play he wanted. Ok, I admit he may have wanted more that I don't know of, but what he got was mighty impressive all the same.

I miss acting.

Yesterday (Sunday) we had the house-warming (or 'house-warning' as I apparently called it in my sms invites to all my friends -- I blame T9 for that one). A lot of people came over and it was fun, seeing them together after so long. Sonali and Akhilesh-who-is-usually-introduced-to-her-friends-as-Husband came early, since they had a dinner invitation afterwards. So we had the chance to have a nice, long chat before the rest of the horde arrived. The good thing about having the house-warming yesterday was that the rest of the flat finally got sorted out at last. There are some cartons still to be unpacked but they'll keep, seeing how they mainly have books. Right now the place look pretty livable and V and I were admiring it last night after everybody had gone home. It may not be much but what it is was made by us. And nicest of all, the flat's realising the potential I sensed the first time I saw it (in total darkness late in the evening). It's cosy and it feels like a happy place that wants children in it.