Saturday, June 30, 2007

Road Rage

It's been a while since I was really didactic here. You know, laying down the laws like only I can and do. Many of my current readers may never even have read about my rules for shopping or smoking or tipping, say. Well, right now all my energy is focused on a pure, sheer anger at all those offspring of bachelors who dare endanger the roads for The Bhablet.

The other night, we were driving back home. The Bhablet was sleeping in the sling, and he and I were buckled in while V drove. Suddenly this idiot of a man decided to cross the road right in our way and came very close to being mowed down. Ordinarily my anger would have been due to the fact that had anything happened to him, it would have been us as the owners of the car -- the 'big' folks, the 'rich' ones -- who would have been in trouble. Even though V was driving responsibly and it was the jerk who nearly came under our wheels. But right then I was suddenly furious. How dare that creature nearly cause an accident when there was a baby in the car? To my shock I realised that I was angry enough to stop the car, turn around and beat him into a pulp. I'm not joking about this, I really was that angry.

Now I am hot-tempered, and calm down as swiftly as I heat up, but there are rare occasions when I lose my temper in a way that even a Scorpio like V cannot match. This was nearly one of them. In that mood I am dangerous, and by that I mean I have absolutely no qualms about hurting you, and I don't just mean physically. The last time I got that angry was when this car was weaving erratically through the lanes on Camac Street one afternoon, and nearly caused V to go off the road by his unpredictable driving. That time I did lose it. I stopped the car, bawled that driver out and was so angry, I shook for a good twenty minutes afterwards. Afterwards I was sorry for the language I used. (The man started yelling at me as soon as he realised what I'd come to say. Attack being the best form of defence, I imagine.) But I was in the right. If he had caused an accident, there would have been two infants in our car who would have been endangered. I'd rather he lived with a yelling than that on his conscience.

So, what I'm getting at is this: all these near-accidents occur because these people are in a hurry. But if you really sit down and calculate the time they take to weave erratically through traffic down one crowded street, the time they really save comes up to maybe a minute, mostly even less. If the traffic were less chaotic, and it would be if they were calmer, they would reach sooner. That guy who nearly came under our wheels was trying to cross the road at nearly midnight. There were no cars behind us, so all he had to do was wait five seconds. How long is five bloody seconds?

We all leave home late for our appointments. Most of us are perpetually in a hurry, anxious to get home, to catch the maid, to meet our deadlines, to please somebody who matters to us. Well, guess what, none of that will happen if you're involved in an accident on the road. Stop thinking that it doesn't happen to us. It happens to us, to our friends, family, neighbours.

Calculate the time you think you are saving. When you dash down the road without regard for the traffic swirling around you, trying to avoid you, you are probably saving at most a minute or two. You miss your bus, ok, you are very late and you get into trouble. I still think that's better than causing somebody else's death or even injury.

Start thinking of your hurry in these terms. Honking impatiently at the car in front of you when it's obvious that the real reason you're all held up is because of a breakdown six cars ahead is not going to create an empty lane for you. But it will irritate the driver in front, who is probably in a hurry too and is perhaps not really dedicating his morning to holding you up. Generating some road rage may not be the best gift you can give society.

Am I sounding too idealistic here? I'm trying to think as a driver and a pedestrian. I know how nervous I get when I've got into a mess in the middle of traffic. I know the other drivers are irritated. I'm trying my hardest to clear the road as soon as I can. Honking at me all the while is only counter-productive, I promise you. And these days, I realise, mostly I'm thinking as a mother. When I watch scooterists drive with their entire six-member family perched on any old how onto a two-wheeler, the mother inside me is shocked at their recklessness. When idiots dash to cross the road just in front of our bonnet I could scream at them. I don't much care for them endangering their own lives, but I worked damn hard to create and then preserve a Bhablet -- who are they to endanger him?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Britney Spears. Yes, Britney Spears.

You read that right. I'm writing about Britney Spears.

Mad Momma
's latest tag got me checking up on what was popular when I turned 18 (in 2000, and I hope that makes you feel old. It does me.) And there was Britney Spears, a fairly attractive young girl. Maybe I didn't think too highly of her music or her dress sense even but I really had nothing against her.

And then she went and got herself in and out of relationships and although I'm usually an avid reader of the gossip column, I wasn't following her life all that closely because I was in university and that took up most of my attention, the bits I had left over from closely scrutinising myself and agonising over my life. You know, because I'm a navel-gazer, when I get the time to be. Then one fine day I hear she's had a baby and there was a slight sense of shock. The kind you feel when somebody you were kids with (if you know what I mean) grows up on you. And then she had another one, and this when I was going through my own horrible pregnancy and I was wondering why she would do that to herself, when I remembered that I hadn't done it to myself either -- V had done it to me (and boy will he pay for the rest of his life.) So then I started feeling a little bit sorry for her. I mean, kids are cool, and I'm sure she had plenty of help, but it's not nice feeling like an elephant for two straight years.

Then came a series of events. She went without panties. (So? Like you've never done that? Really? Never in a short skirt?) She held her son on her lap in the car. She shaved off her hair. Got a tattoo too, I hear. Blah blah.

What have I done since we got me a Bhablet? We'll pass over the panty issue. It's none of your business, and I do know how to get out of a car without flashing. I have once held The Bhablet in my lap in the front passenger seat. That happened because we had an adult Golden Retriever in the backseat. I didn't think I was doing the right thing but sitting at the back wasn't an option. But yes, I have made sure that has not happened again. I haven't shaved off my hair, but I did burn it (by accident) when I was going through a particularly depressed phase a couple of years ago, and I ended up chopping shoulder length hair into a very close crop. Last month I got a tattoo. Why are any of those things objectionable?

Like this mum, I don't think any of us mothers are in any position to hold a spotlight to the mistakes that other mothers make. And if you are a perfectionist or particularly exacting, then you must have even less of a righteous stand, because no baby will let you bring it up the way you think it should, and therefore, by your own lights, you're probably failing more often than the rest of us lazy bums. And as Dooce points out, when we were all learning to cope in those ghastly early months, none of us would have come out very well in paperazzi stalking. (Thanks MM, for the links.)

I have no idea why Britney Spears does what she does. But I think it's a dangerous trend when you have men morons like Donald Trump thinking that they have a right to 'do something' about it. She wants to lead her own life, she makes her own mistakes. She makes an ass of herself, that's her problem. She stays in the public eye, you read about her shenanigans, well, you both hopefully know what you are doing. And yes, since she is a public figure, she has given you the right to form your own opinions about her doings perhaps. But when you virulently attack her and try to assert that her children should be taken away -- well, that's when you, the reader, come across as a very sad person. Britney is a mess anyway. Did you know you were too?

P.S.
Yes, MM wrote about this earlier, but she copied it from me, because I just wrote about it, didn't I? Now don't argue.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Late Night V

I: (whining) I never seem to get anything done. Other people have kids, they manage the house, the children and even jobs, and just look at me.

V: You do plenty. Who are these other people anyway?

I: Well, look at P. She does all this stuff for her daughter and here my son is lucky if he rates a massage once a month. I don't even cook for him.

V: She doesn't have to do any household work. And how do you know what she does all day anyway? Next.

I: Well, what about T? She just went back to work.

V: Who? Oh her. We hardly know them. You know even less of how well she copes. Who else?

I: There's R. She went back to work, and still manages to spend so much time with her son...

V: You sure she exists, right?

I: (Not really hearing him) ...and there's MM. She has two kids and had no maid and did all the work and freelanced.

V: You also do a lot... How do we know she really exists?

I: (struck by the thought at last) You mean they could just be syndicates?

V: Could be.

I: (cheered by the thought) Oh good.

I: (on further thought) You mean I could also be a syndicate of writers?

V: (by now barely awake) Sure.

And then we fell asleep.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tagging Along

Came across this tag at Crazymumma's and decided to do it. Just like that, and because I should be doing other things.

These are the things that have been a part of my life so far --

4 Jobs

Freelance journalist
Freelance scriptwriter
Actress (Yeah, I made good money for six months)
Copywriter


4 Movies I love

I love movies. I especially love the atmosphere of darkness that they encourage. I find it very comfortable to sleep in.


4 Places Lived

Calcutta
Hyderabad
Visakhapatnam
Madras


4 Places Vacationed

Mussourie
Darjeeling (Hey, I'm Bong, where else did you think I'd go? And I love the mixed platter at Kev's, so there.)
Puri (see above, except for Kev's)
Badrinath and The Valley of Flowers (same trip)


4 Dishes I can make

Without a cookbook (and with a toaster) I make some real mean toast. With a cookbook I can make most things that do not require steps more than half a page long. With a microwave however, I can take over the world. I only haven't done so yet because I've been busy.


4 Sites Visited Daily

Sunny Days
Gmail
Yahoo Mail, My Yahoo
A random selection from my blog links on the right.


4 places I would rather be

Tonight? At a nightclub somewhere.
Or in bed. Holding a friendly V, not the snarling monster he can be sometimes.
In my bedroom in Vizag as a sixteen year-old wondering what the future held. It'd be fun to discover a Bhablet all over again, I'm thinking.
Or I could be in bed. Being held by V while I play games on his cell phone.

I'm not tagging anyone either. Do it if you find it fun. And may the Fours be with you.

Get Thee Behind Me!

A conversation V and I had the other day:

I: (whining) I don't feel so well....

V: Why don't I give you a shot of Kahlua?

I: No thank you. I really am not touching liquor.

V: But it's not liquor.

I: (raising an I-can't-believe-I-married-this-person eyebrow) Oh? Then what is it exactly?

V. It's not liquor. It's, uh, liqueeeeerr.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Babababa

Mark the 21st of June, 2007. Mark it and spare a little sympathy for a poor ol' Sue whose baby is definitely turning his back on his babyhood.

That morning, The Bhablet spoke. When V was fixing him up post-bath, he suddenly looked up at him and said, very clearly, "Baba".

Now I'm sure I need not describe what that did to V or how much naughtiness The Bhablet got away with all that day.

Mind you, now you're not to think that I'm jealous or anything, because really, I'm not. Besides, when The Bhablet wants me (or Ma-like services), he calls out "Emm" so I have a name too, in his vocabulary. What I don't have is a wee baby. I can't believe I was waiting for him to grow up. How dumb was I?



P.S.
I'm not back. Not at all. And if you are V, reading this, then you should know that I'm not even here. I'm in bed right now resting my wrists. Not that they need it, because I don't strain them. And I typed this post with my elbows. Father-mother-god-promise.

P.P.S.
Henceforth, The Bhablet will be spelling his name with only one 'e'. That is not protesting a certain person who ought to be forced to write out 500 times that 'movie' is spelt with only one 'e', not matter what an illiterate numerologist says. The Bhablet has changed his spelling because by now he figures that people know how to pronounce his name, and besides, on the car sticker we just put up, V forgot the 'e'.

Friday, June 15, 2007

For You, on Your First Father's Day

Last October, when The Bhaeblet had just been born (referred to then as the Wee Bhaeblet, or WB) I wrote about V coping with fatherhood. As common sense will tell you, being fond of children is no guarantee that fatherhood comes easy. In fact, fatherhood may just permanently cure you of your fondness, if you aren't careful.

Well, V took to it like a duck to water. I, caught in the welter of post C-section pain, sleep deprivation, leaking breasts and too many aunts, hated him for it, but deep down, I was mostly envious. I'm not saying he assiduously changed every nappy and kept his temper against all odds and so on. He is after all not a saint. But he coped with a demanding 12-hr work schedule as well as a new baby and survived both, and I found that pretty impressive eventually. (Then I was too busy snarling to notice, sorry love.)

He left his job and began his freelancing when The Bhaeblet was a month old. That takes guts (and a lot of support from me, duh). And all through the rocky months that followed, when he had his bouts of depression, when things between him and me could have been better, he still coped with fatherhood better than you'd think. I keep saying 'cope' because what with his sleep issues and colic, The Bhaeblet was not an easy infant.

And now The Bhaeblet is nearly nine months old, and I see certain things:
  • He listens to me better when V is around.
  • He eats better, quieter and more when it is V who is feeding.
  • He falls asleep easier when it's V who's on bedtime duty.
I think that says more than I possibly could. So I just wanted to tell him, on his first Father's Day, that he's a good Baba, and all three families (his, mine and ours) think the world of him for that.

(Perhaps this post isn't entirely about him, all said. An encomium or two may have crept in, for me. But this is my blog, so who cares.)

NOTICE

Just wanted to say that since the surgery will be on my right wrist, odds are that I'll be out of (blogging) action for a week, ten days. You'll know when I'm back.

Also, my conscience is prodding me to admit that the surgery is quite a minor thing. The tendons leading to each thumb have got inflamed because of, oh I don't know, I was told ' repeated injuries'; and I need a little cut in each to relieve the pressure. Am just spending the night in the nursing home because I need the rest. (So they say.) Also because then the insurance company will fork out. Also, I'm only getting one wrist done today, another one done say six months later. So nothing to be concerned about, folks.

(On the other hand, I might go crazy on the anaesthesia and run amok in the nursing-home. So perhaps you ought to be concerned after all.)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gimme the Munnee (Please?)

I'm working again. I scouted around, looking for folks who need stuff written, because I'm your vulgar hack writer. I don't mean I do porn (I find it too funny) but that I write whatever you need written, dictated to your taste. In other words, I prostitute my MA and am quite proud of my ability to write in different styles. I often think that's why I enjoy this blog, because here the voice is entirely my own, and you can make out the changes in me down the years.

Anyway, so I'm back to reviewing new books and writing my old column for The Statesman. An excellent reason to buy the paper, if only on the Thursdays (children's supplement) and Sundays (reviews). I toyed with the idea of auditioning for an AIR slot, but realised, to my disappointment, that that was asking for too much from a hard-working V and his I-want-your-attention-now son. Oh well, there's time ahead. Only thing is, The Statesman takes a couple of years to cough up their meagre payments, so I'm really working more for the love of the thing than the ready cash. That and the free books. Hey, so I'm honest.

Actually, I was dying to get back to writing stuff that would have to measure up to a certain standard. Funnily enough, that was because of this post that a B'lore newspaper printed -- sans permission -- and which on a later reading came out as being Very Badly Put Together. So Sue got her act together, got her laptop online, and got a life. Or something like that.

Oh, and when I wrote again on the whole Orkut/park issue, I was careful to re-read and then post.

Surgery Tomorrow Afternoon

I've been unusually gentle with The Bhaeblet these last two days. Even when he's been at his most difficult, I just couldn't summon up that anger that used to rise so easily before. I keep thinking, poor baby, I'll be away for a whole night and day, and I do hope he doesn't think I've left him and gone. Because if he did cry for me, I would probably tear off my hospital gown and head right home, right then.

Ok, while we're being all misty-eyed let me also state quite firmly that I do not believe that mothers can hear their children cry from anywhere. For one thing, despite our assertions to the contrary, we are not superwomen. For another, hell, why would we? Most likely that myth was built by women whose babies' cries rang in their ears (for years) from having to hear it all the time. Whiny brats. You have to admire the rhythm of that sentence though.

It's like this: the room is booked, the OT lot have been warned, Sue is heading nursing-homewards again! After the typhoid and the C-section, I did think they would let me be. But no, now they want to cut my wrist for me. All these years, whenever I felt particularly depressive, I often fantasised about doing just that. Never had the nerves (am really bad at handling pain, I freely admit it. Am never getting another tattoo. Probably.) And now they are going to go ahead and do it for me, and hell, I'll pay and be grateful for it too.

I feel most ill-used. But then I think of The Bhaeblet, and I just feel like howling. They are taking me away from my baaaaaaaby! For a whole night and day. Meanies!

Links

I'm in a blogging frame of mind this afternoon, so you may get more than the three posts shown on this page. Please check the archives if you were looking for a recent one.

Ok, I have been meaning to link to these two ladies for a while. Both I admire (although really, it would be hard to pin down any one reason why) and both taught me in University. Although there were other teachers who impressed, these two teachers of mine might have ended up teaching me the most I ever learnt in those five years. (And that's not just because one of them kept teaching courses that I kept taking.)


So, with a grin and a bow, let's move aside for

Supriya Chaudhuri at Novel and Modernity

(This one's mostly for those interested in literature, philosophy and a little football.)

and then grin once again and hop over to read

Rimi B. Chatterjee at Live Like a Flame.

(This one's a mixture of a lot of things, including a link to the JU admission form.)

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Cappucino Years Already?

The more famous Sue wrote (as Adrian Mole):

"I sometimes wish I wasn't a parent, even when I am alone I carry [my children] with me, across my shoulders and inside my heart."

I should be asleep right now, but parenting hurts too much tonight. It hurts me in my tummy, which gets kicked all day; it hurts me in my breasts, from a little tooth only just venturing out; it hurts me in my wrists, injured and needing surgery soon; and it hurts me with a cold and vicious guilt inside me, keeping me up bleary-eyed and restless.

I learnt, oh, years ago, that loving hurts. Loving your parents hurt, when they let you grow up (and even when they don't). Loving a sibling hurts, if your sibling is my brother. And loving somebody outside the circle, somebody you went and decided to love, that hurts too, especially inside your chest, for utterly inexplicable reasons, mostly when they turn away. But I swear loving your baby hurts worst of all. Loving a perfect little thing and yet being perfectly ready and willing to hold a pillow down over his head until he stops wailing. Being distraught with guilt and resentment when you are told that the reason he is so clingy is because you have spent so much time away these last two days -- when you have pretty much put whatever made up your life for 20 odd years on hold because of him.

And yet, despite the pain and the resentment, I can't walk away. Nobody knows him and his temperament like I do. They only love him but I know my son. And knowing him as I do, I carry him inside me still. Even when he's asleep in his cot, stirring restlessly in the heat, even when his lips part ever so slightly as he breathes, he is really inside me, in the deepest reaches of my heart, a little boy I will never let go.

Love hurts, and tonight, I just wish it would stop and let me sleep.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Here Comes the Sunne

Because you asked for a pic, and I couldn't resist showing off:


The little thingummy on my calf is Polly. You can't make her out so well, but the close-up pic is on the Mac and V is busy. Later maybe.


Later:

I was this dressed up for what was my first mixed night out since, oh, forever. V was babysitting and cheering me on, and he doesn't like clubbing (I do) so don't waste your breath feeling sorry for him. Anyway, things went well, and all was fun, until the morning after. And then I gave up alcohol. I think I've been doing well on that, incidentally. Still haven't touched a drop, despite repeated tempting by V. (Am considering crossing my fingers at him. Would that make him go away?)

Since my laptop's finally on the 'net and I hardly use the Mac any more (so there, Mr. Jobs, the Mac has a lousy keyboard) I'm pretty sure I'll never get around to posting that close-up of Polly. Anyway, take my word for it, she's pretty hot too, in a very understated way.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Shameless Plug

I do not believe in mixing business with pleasure (unless it comes in the form of liquor and a very sexy man -- oh wait, where's the business?) but I just wanted to show off our site. V's planning to revamp it, but in the meantime I love what he's done with the Portfolio section.

Oh, and since I brought up liquor -- allow me a clarification here. As of last Sunday I have given up liquor forever. And this time I mean it. Not another drop of alcohol will cross my lips. I will visit Olypub, but I'll have those beefsteaks without the beer. (I'm told that can be done somehow. Well, I'll find out how that's done.) And I don't want to hear any sniggers about it. This time I'm serious.

Married Women Should Not Do Orkut -- II

The last time I wrote about this, everybody picked on something I had considered relatively irrelevant (i.e. not requiring explanation) -- so I'm writing again, to clarify my stand.

Ok, the reason for the second half of that post (the park bit) came from a remark I heard from a German friend who lives here in Cal with his Indian wife and baby. They had ventured into the Dhakuria lakes one afternoon, looking for a quiet walk and some fresh air, and instead they were met with the sight of all these couples indulging in almost-sex. And please understand, I'm no prude when it comes to sex, so when I say almost-sex, I really do mean just that. I myself have known boys to get BJs there, although that happens at dusk rather than during the afternoons.

My friends were quite upset, obviously, and I was a trifle apologetic, seeing as how both the husband and wife were from outside West Bengal. And then the man said, "I didn't know it would be like that. I thought it was a place where I could go with my daughter." That last sentence hit me hard. (Else I'm no good at remembering quotes.)

I thought it was a place where I could go with my daughter.

Seen from that perspective, one's views change quite a bit. Lots of things which I'd have overlooked, laughed over, perhaps not even noticed, become unacceptable. You see, I have no problems with my kids asking me about sex or even what that 'Aunty and Uncle are doing on tv'. But if you had a decent upbringing, 12 odd years at a good school, why on earth are you making out in public? You wouldn't do it in front of your own parents, why should you force my parents to witness it?

So, to answer your question, you yourself draw the line. If there is something you are uncomfortable about or ashamed to do in front of the elders and children of your own family, please extend that respect to those of the families around you. So, no, I did not condone the Goregaon police picking couples up and giving them a hard time. But nor do I like these couples giving the hardliners so much fodder. Everybody has a libido, and it's not that hard to control it. If you're having trouble with yours in public, please, visit me. A short crash course in parenting ought to take care of that particular problem.

I suppose this is a part of the larger picture. Cousin J and I were discussing the way our peers behave in buses. The other day I got up because a couple of women with two babies and several older children got on. Only after I did that another lady gave up her seat as well. All the others looked at us as though we were fools. When, on the rare occasion V, B and I do go to Big Bazaar, we are invariably jostled. By middle-aged mothers. Have they forgotten what it was like, carting a heavy child around? Why would they jostle babies anyway? These are the things I do not understand. When I watch women my mother's age get hassled, I try to stick up for them (if they need it, which mostly they don't), because, hey, it could be my mother there.

Don't tell me about the random rude person who didn't thank you for the seat you gave up or walked through the door you held open as though it was a favour he was doing you. You get all kinds. But for every one of these rude people, you also have folks who are grateful for little acts of courtesy, of thoughtfulness.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

My New Anthem


My parents have given the Fudge a big book of nonsense poems. They insist he picked it out himself in Crossword. Be that as it may, it is really big. In fact, it is the book he is lying on, in the photo in the earlier post.

And in this book I discovered a poem that sums up my situation, not to mention outlook on life, perfectly. This is how it goes:
Nobody Loves Me

Nobody loves me,
Everybody hates me,
I think I'll go and eat worms.

Big fat squishy ones,
Little thin skinny ones,
See how they wriggle and squirm.

Bite their heads off.
"Schlurp!" they're lovely,
Throw their tails away.

Nobody knows
How big I grows
on worms three times a day.

Anon.
It also reminds me of Dick Van Dyke scratching his head and singing "Chimchimeny chimchimeny chimchim cheroo, I does what I likes and I likes what I... do." He is not comfortable with the grammar in that last "do" but, well, rhyme prevails.

Art and The Bhaeblet

Take a Bow, Y'All

Since my blog readership seems to be changing a bit these days, what with the two (or perhaps three) new readers I've acquired, and old folks complaining about the change in nomenclature, I feel it's time to set the record straight. Or, as Douglas Adams so succintly put it, hopelessly crooked, once and for all.

V is the husband. We dillied (and dallied) for about a year and a half, and I took him up on his drunken proposal of marriage and now I'm busy paying for my sins. He's not so bad if you focus on his nice side. Although I admit, given his extreme skinniness, it's hard to focus on him at all. But really, that's my job, so you don't have to try your hand at it.

The Bhaeblet is our baby boy. At the rate he's growing he will soon be our grown-up son but right now he's only eight months old. He manages to drive us up the wall about twice every hour without fail but we happen to (secretly) think the world of him. I usually call him The Bhaeblet but he came into this blog as the Fidgety Fudge or F and I'm considering going back to that. Easier to type.

And that's all you need to know. Me, I'm all over this place anyway.

Monday, June 04, 2007

I'm It

Funny thing, my blog celebrates its fourth birthday (yesterday, if you're quibbling about dates) with a rare tag post, from Rohini. I do believe this is my second ever tag.

I understand the rules to date are to put down nine random facts about yourself, with one of them being false. Well, I'll change it around a little. When I was about 12 years old I realised my many moods had a lot to do with the many names that follow me around. Apart from my formal name (Sunayana) I'm also called Sue, Sunne and Sunny; in addition I have two pet names because my parents agreed to disagree on that issue, and so I'm also called Ayesha and Phuli. That's a lot of names for one person (and perhaps it explains why I'm so comfortable with The Bhaeblet having as many names as he has months.) Anyway, I figured out I have days when I'm Sue (cheerful and rather rebellious) , and days when I'm Phuli (traditional, temple-visiting, a bit mischeivous) and so on. So, I will not write out nine facts but seven -- as the original tag from Talena went, each of which describes something about one of my many Mes, and of them one will be utterly untrue. V will know which one, but it's up to the rest of you to guess.

1. I like to drive my car. I'm a hopelessly nervous driver and was slapped with a 'fine' (read bribe) on Saturday for going down the wrong way in a one-way road. I also managed to dent, scratch and make two holes in the left side doors. But I like to drive nonetheless. Even if my knees are shaking.

2. I like wearing the minimum possible clothing. In fact, I'd happily roam around my house naked except that I realise I have a small boy growing up around me.

3. I like the sunshine. Even in the summer. I stay away from the afternoon glare, but a day doesn't feel quite right unless the sun's been out and bright.

4. I like to wear sarees but I'm hopeless at managing them. I need about an hour and a person to help me put them on. And when I've got them on I wouldn't dream of attempting anything more difficult than walking in them.

5. For all that most people see me as a very loud, passionate person, I can actually be very cold and distanced. I'm good at seeing people as they are, not just as they want to be seen, warts and all, and I'm good at that because I can stand away from them, no matter how much they mean to me.

6. I love chocolate brownies. I love most chocolate things but I don't like Hershey's chocolate syrup.

7. V's my hero. Mostly I'm mad at him and use my blog to snipe at him but I never let anyone criticise him to me. He really is my hero.

And let me end with a song --

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Sunny Days
Happy birthday to you.