Saturday, September 1, 2007
We have all been there. Done that. Crossed over and made sure we've hit our scores. But where must we go? What must we do? What would be the right thing to indulge in?
A very long time back, I have made my choices. From a conservative mindbank to a bohemian brought-up. There was a time, when it was all ambition, all dreams and all modern mirages. I was a small town girl, with no more than a good education, a nice school and college pedigree and a nice tight bank balance. Marriage was an option, but the pressure almost made it look like it's the only remedy. The only remedy to my life. There were careless whispers, the most nerve racking fights and the societal obligations that used to form unseen blocks on the road.
And then there are my classmates. In school, they were modern hypocracies- as if they were raised to meet the demands of the husband in impeccable english. Shakespeare and Camus were mild spectators to the art that was the family maker. In college, we had T.S.Elliot, Poetry and Nietzche, an almost aphrodisiac to an extra good conversation on a late night while courting. And there were girls, from popular schools like Sacred Hearts, Yercaud and Lawrence, Ooty along with a pinch of Corpus Christie, Kottayam- all waiting in line, to get married, to cousins, friends and aquaintances from the same colony in their city. Or others with fiances doing their engineering and waiting for visa and green card. All was planned, the education was a time bider, the nuances of chain smoking, a hobby that lasted till the farewell party in the stadium.
And there we were, the batch of 2002, in a mild feminism class on the far end of the main block, trying to redefine our lives. I can't tell, really. It wasn't that feminism class, nor was it the urgent requirement of the theory of the modern woman. It was my head. By all means I meant to marry, have kids, make dosa with that tangy chutney for my family on a sunday morning. But I was adamant. I wanted to go back to work on monday 9 am sharp. And I believed in financial independence and making a life i can look back and smile at. I believed in circumstances and not societal obligations that would put an end to my desire to stay on top of the economic route.
Many said that I have made bad choices, others smirked at the fact that I was single while women my age had babies to show. I was sidelined in conversations in family functions. My folks had excuses to give, "Oh, she wants to study" or "Well, she decided to work for a bit" underneath that fallacy of a 'good time'. And to top it off, I dated bad men. I could never ask for commitment until it went out of my hand. I made huge mistakes, I thought commitment was for ninnies, until it hit me right back on a bad day. I had to take some uncalled for decisions, I was to blame as much. But let me not digress. My friends are still in the loop hole. They are smart, young strapping women with a masters degree, a poised smile and much to show as good writing as much as making good dal on yummy ghee rice. Infact we want men in our own way, not for society nor for a 25-but-not-married nameboard. We are as good as it can get. And a tad better because of the choices that we have made.
Today I watched this real nice movie called Monalisa Smile, one I could never fathom as to be deep and logical. And then it struck me, that I waited for my own good. Now as I set out to marry, I'm glad I am making a choice from my heart. No pressure, no limitaions and absolutely not settling for my age or family.
Maybe we will marry, maybe we won't....but what sets us apart from the conformists is the fact that we own our minds. And we definitely have not bid time till we find 'that' match. And now, as many people look upon me, and gasp "finally!", I can smile in the knowledge that nothing about me has compromised. And nothing can be different, even if I was single. Only now, I have decided to love someone really nice, forever!
Saturday, August 18, 2007
the day dawns on nothing old
fake lashes avoided on the whole
Maybelline’s magic was my goal
Wedding cards were printed fine
maybe it’s exciting, just the line
praying that my soul bigtime
owes to it to it’s saviour fine
Stilettoes, sandals, suedes and pumps
I chose my type, give me the trumps
carefully tightening around my ankle
they rose on it that cute little buckle
Revlon had that elusive shade
though I was told it would fade
took that chance and made my day
discounts, sales, I got my way
glow face pack, Blossom Kocchar says
maybe it was for the face
tried to stick to Biotique fruit pack
almost forgot, it’s still on the rack
Greece, Istanbul, Paris and Rome
All I was asking for was a dome
clean and clear honeymoon we want
Thomas Cook could only taunt
Blinging, panting, breaking my head
figuring out that saree on the bed
diamonds, sheer white, throaty and chic
hoping that would do the trick
Bouquets, clutches, I got many
though it all seems so funny
that flowers maketh a wedding nice
pretty, charming and free of vice
Now all that’s left for me to do
is stick that pretty veil on my head
tiaras glowing, trying to practise
on my road to endless bliss
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Many a time, we need that abstract personal chaos to hit our life, at that precise moment, to figure out how we can cope up with our life kit. And despite many good things, it’s funny how providence actually challenges you to acknowledge just that. The way we live our life.
Preparing for a big wedding ain’t easy. The mad shopper that I am pulled many strings, found out early bird sales and moped about the house with those rare kanjeevarams. The boy was supportive, extremely understanding and totally complimenting the above mentioned sale trophies. The job was getting better, with mid term increment signs by the boss who finally rubbed a little sugar onto my designation. The new flat was signed on, the bills paid before hand. Honeymoon tickets worked upon and wedding cards punctuated with the right words. Those dainty gold stilettos aimed to dazzle the onlookers eye at the aisle, the sheerness of the saree pallu, resplendent in ivory and gold, the glitters on my hair, the diamonds on my throat totally matched to the glory of my saree. The boy’s suit looking radiant with just that Van Heusen touch, and the lipstick from Revlon just the exact shade that Halle Berry showed off on countless magazine covers. What can really get one riled up at this precise moment?
One thing I forgot about in this entire bargain was the slot marked “health”. Health, it’s just an aberration, how can health be on your life to-do list, they asked. Especially if you’re getting married to the right person, at the right time with the right clothes? I had a bad stomach upset, a minor lifestyle disease, a small inconsistency in the myriad jungle of health hazards. Just right before a wedding! Can you believe that?
And as I panted as if my heart had a hole when I was climbing every step of the few storeyed building, as I waited patiently for that nauseated feeling to go away, as I chanted the bible causing many a delirious notions, I finally realized the weight of happiness – health. Sometimes, in this long road called life, we get sidetracked into many small interests, shown in blown up movie theatres and advertisement billboards, as the way to lead to a healthy life. How many of us have seen “Organic food” mentioned in eco-narcisstic stores, probiotic curd billboards strewn across towns and brown bread Subway sandwiches? But what’s to be thought of and understood is “quality of life”. To us, quality of life seems to signify Esprit bags, endless trips to the Subway near home, iron shakti in your cornflakes and 30-mins for sure Dominoes Pizza. And we live, in traffic infested cities, breathing in more chemicals on our way to the organic Fabindia store, taking in more and more cheese in pastas and pizzas alike, living in total denial of health, companionship and time for ourselves. And do we even know the difference between organic and natural? What can a day in Ananda Spa, after a year of slogging give you – a friggin 5000 buck shield for life? Do you even have time to take a road trip you promised your friends that New Years eve? Do you get time to sleep, to fight, to understand your partners moods on that bright Sunday noon? Are you wasted – on cheap booze, snorting lines and hazaar cigarettes? Have you pursued your passion for fashion, guitar, salsa?
Quality of life, needs to be worked upon for sure!
I sum this up with a small sentence, the doctor said to me the other day. When he heard I am a journalist, he laughed, ever so slightly, enough to cause a tiny disturbance in my head. “You won’t change the world, please remember that. But you can take care of yourself, eat the right food at the right time, and stop burning your health on the altar of these high-flying stress filled jobs and in turn try to lead a better healthy life,” said he. Stress can really kill everything for you, and thanks to him, a month before my wedding, I’ve nailed the culprit.
And as far as quality of life is concerned, I rest my case.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Apply enough moisturizer
If I could offer you only one cover-up for the future, moisturizer would be it. The spectacular mind-blowing benefits of moisturizer have been constantly tested and approved by cosmetologists whereas the rest of my advice is ultra-cool, without boundaries and waiting to get more reliable by my own meandering experience…
Gimme a minute I say…and let me dump that advice on you.
Enjoy page three parties, hot ribbed six pack-abbed hunks, halter necked blouses, lip gloss and high heels right now, or whatever. Later when you’re old and can’t move a muscle, you will look at orkut pictures of you and crib. Trust me, you had a lot of charm and sex appeal and you gave it away to Fabindia and that’s not fair. You will also know then that the power and the beauty of youth and the fabulousness that is your cleavage was a big possibility.
And if you think you’re fat, join a gym. If not, stay away from diets.
Worrying about future only makes you an aunty. And trying to know your future or trying save up for the same, can be a huge mistake. Worrying in my case is as whiney as Enrique Iglesias trying to sing while crying. Or doing sudoku on a moving bus that’s headed to Chennapatna. The unrealized worries are those that wake you up from your wet dream, the kind that shake you up like Shakira on a cloudy Mumbai evening.
Do one thing that makes you smile. Infact, do anything that makes you stay calm.
Sing. Badly. Bathroom-door-creaking decibels on a rampage kind of singing. Try to copy Sanjay Malakar.
Stop taking people for granted. Don’t try to play with someone’s feelings and think that you can get away with sleeping around. It comes to bite you back, with vengence.
And one more thing, stop taking shit from relationships. However close someone is, or however long you have been friends, or lovers if they don’t respect your life, times, likes and loathes and differences, they’re just going to be passé. Soon.
If he thinks you’re just for a good hickey, dump him. You deserve more than that. And if he thinks walking out on you suddenly one fine day is only HIS call. Then, refer him to your psychiatrist. Relationships, acknowleged or unacknowledged, need two hands to clap. And he must be really dumb to think, he can get away with anything. Without an apology or an explanation.
Add gloss to your lips. Always.
Stop thinking you’re not good enough. And stop thinking someone’s better than you. That can lead to a mammoth waste of time. You’re your best bet, you’re your only competition.
Compliment your boss, insult your ex-boyfriend. Wink at that cute boy next door and visit St. Tropez on vacation. If you don’t know how to. Let me know.
Delete old mails from assholes. Keep funny chats on gmail. Make space for new trendy clothes in your wardrobe and invest in Franklin Templeton shares. Store kinky smses from many a nice midnight, and don’t bank with HDFC.
Stretch your mind. Stay non-judgemental.
Stop graveyard shifts, pampering your editors, bitching about your collegues and wasting time on the net.
Don’t feel bad if you’re boss complained that you didn’t stay over after 11 pm. You had to party at Elevate and that’s still a valid excuse. The job is just a job. It’s not your entire life.
So, you’re into digital art, music, mystery shopping and part-time styling. That’s good as long as you indulge in all of them and end up doing a good job of all of them. Specialising in just one thing is a big no-no. So, if you’re dad says you gotta be an Engineer, tell him you also need to practise football to make it to the star team in Infosys.
It’s nice to know what you want to do with your life even if it’s not in synchrony with the traditional ways of going about things. This minute, this month, this weekend, next year at Hollywood. All others who don’t know what they want out of life at 40, will stay that way till 60, until one day they realize they’re wasted on weed and cheap booze and spoilt their chances of cheering the FIFA World Cup 2010 at South Africa.
Eat fruits. Get plenty of support. Stop pissing everyone off.
Do the Himalayan trek. Do the jiggy this birthday. Be kind to your stamina, you’ll miss it when it’s gone.
Maybe you’ve found that man of your dreams, or maybe you didn’t. Take my word, it’s all about how you want your life to be. Maybe you don’t want children, or maybe you’ll do a rainbow family a la Angelina Jolie-Pitt, stop looking at others lives to justify yours. You’re the star and you have made great decisions. Your choices bear luck, and others rear bad memories. But always remember to do the right thing. The thing that you need to make your life better.
Dress sexy. Wear leggings. Try to save up for a Manolo or a Jimmy Choo. Take care of how you treat your body. Life is a gift, however clichéd that might sound. Abusing your body is only going to cut your life by half and not let you enjoy everything that life has to offer you. So, make a tidy bundle out of your energy.
Don’t dance if all you’re aiming for is my left leg. Just so you know I’ll be wearing a stiletto and you wouldn’t want to go over what karma is, all over again.
Ask for directions. Even if it means you have to speak chaste hindi to some cheap bugger on the road. Calculate distances beforehand, Making me walk a good 5 kms in the guise of finding a CCD at Motibagh is not done.
Invest in beauty products. And compulsively read Beauty Magazines. They tell you that polka looks good only on minis, not on sarees. And they make you understand the importance of not wearing blue eye-liner on a brown outfit. You’ll save a lot of people eye ache.
Bear with your parents but stop taking them for granted. Dad too needs to invest in himself and mom too needs a day off cooking. If you’re married, visit them on weekends, shop for them, take them out but stop depending on them for everything. And if you’re unmarried and above 25 and still relying on folks for money, you need a birch bath.
Buy good things for your siblings. They love you anyways. But also make sure, you make it very clear to them that Kill Bill is playing at 9 pm on Star Movies and you need the remote by then.
Know that men come and go, but girlfriends stay on. And as long as no one takes you for granted, you’re on track in friendship. And also understand that when someone is getting close to you suddenly, you need to know why. And when someone at 25 has no friends, there must be some reason. Though, you certainly cannot tell this objectively.
Come back from Illinois and London when you’ve turned 60. No amount of AC, Cheetos and Nutella, can buy you love in your homeland. Make sure you stay connected to your roots and occasionally help out your village in India.
Live in Mumbai once, but leave before it makes you hard; live
in Chennai once, but leave before it makes you soft.
Travel. By train. No amount of early morning flights can get you into the joy of traveling other than a good all-nighter in Shatabdi express.
Accept certain inalienable truths, Nike’s swoosh will stay , Advani will play the saffron card, America will try to secure the global police badge and philander every country unless we Asians get together and bash it’s balls, and you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young Nike was reasonable, politicians were noble, a cinema ticket costed 10 bucks and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders. Period.
Don’t think that theres something called a free lunch. Stop depending, lending and borrowing. Maybe you have a Citibank savings account, maybe you have a wealthy aunt; but you never know when either one might run out.
Stop colouring your hair a bleachy no-money-to-buy-coconut oil colour. By the time you're 40, it will be a bald patch. Instead, try Sapna Bhavnani and stop using a scrunchie.
Be careful of whose socks you borrow, and whose experiences you imbibe. Also stay patient with those who give you gyan. Once the 16 seconds are over, feel free to hit them with your black bag.
Advice is like Chocolate cake. Good as long as its being eaten, but once it’s over, you have a stomach problem at hand. And loosies early morning. Advice is a form of energy, dispensing it is a way of
digging into your soul, picking up points where your ass was kicked, learning from it and passing it on in as much of a boring manner as your yoga teacher and dumping it on any one with a listening ear.
But trust me on the moisturizer…
P.S The original Baz Luhrmann song, I parodied. Click here
Friday, June 8, 2007
I now can empathise with women who take time off work for a year or so to have a baby. It’s the same kind of back-to-being-busy nerves that one has to fight when you are entrenched in the working-from-home mode or if you have taken a long break from work, and are then suddenly faced with a deluge of work and responsibilties. You are suddenly at sea. The feeling is no more as familiar as it used to be.
I know what it is now to be struck by a crippling sense of inadequacy or low confidence. This has nothing to do with lack of experience or anything like that. You have already been in high-pressure and highly demanding jobs. You have also handled the crazy deadlines and done the graveyard shifts. But after this lull, will your ship weather the storm? Do you have it in you to go back after a break and get back into the groove or will you fail?
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Long long ago, in a land infested with musicians, wannabe musicians and music experts, not necessarily in that order, I have had the privilege to meet many Music Snobs. They are proud, effervescent and a little clogged up in the brain. And of course, with the weed that forms a major part of the life in there, the clogging demanded that music meant English music only.
But that apart, music that is to be loved by all, has been subjected to some judgement and scrutiny these days by this category of snobs. So they judge you? On the basis of the music that you listen. If you’re into Iron Maiden. Megadeth – you’re so cool. With all that kajal, that dirty T-shirt which has not been washed since 1914 and an attitude that can give Ozzy a run for the money. And if you’re pink – take your pick of Britney, Christina, Pussy cat dolls…..! If it’s hip-hop you’re into dancing, but you must have the ability to shake your ass well, otherwise you’re just another dumb ho. Or feel free to strip to then, to be accepted into the royal hip-hop sisterhood. Alternative? Others? Mind you, all of you are judged. No one dare escape the eyes of the music snob.
Let it be, I say. But what bothers me, is the attitude of certain rockers. They believe they are the be all and the end all of music. They claim people judge them, but actually it’s them judging the world. On the very basis of music. And what do they have in store? Nothing. No back-ups. After all that condescending attitude towards other music lovers, they have nothing to show the world. Not a gig, not an album, not even a performance. And they judge. Well, that’s how they live off music I am guessing. And now a word to all those rockers who play their own music in their little closeted rooms: Nothing can be more selfish than judging others people's choices with you having nothing but your own little room to show for it. And the least the other guy did, was to meet the right people and get his music out, however bad that might be. And yeah, we're leaving music critics out of this.
Yesterday, I had a chance to meet someone special. And that inspired today’s topic. It was a certain mister Gregg Bissonette and my, how he took me from a mere spectator to an interested one, it was simply amazing. The drum clinic was the first that I had ever been to, and when my fiancé dragged me there, I was totally zapped. I am into music, not obessessed, but am more into pop culture. Not the Britney and Paris variety. I have my share of rock in my computers, my share of new bands like Death Cab for cutie, my love for any new sound, which explains the Idan Rachaiel concert I loved, Coldplay and U2 – the eternal favourites and a few popular songs here and there. I don’t necessarily belong to any concentrated music zone or category.
And I know zilch about drumming. I mean the drumming I know is the one you do, when you are waiting outside the women’s loo in my office. Just to pass time with my restless fingers, I drum on the walls. Jokes aside, the Drum Clinic was really informative. Greg was funny, raved about Mapex drums and their superior quality, and even played numbers from The Police. But when he played Dhoom Machale, I was astounded. An all round Drummer with a resume full of Joe Satriani, Santana, Don Henley and Steve Vai actually listened to something from Bollywood. That altered the way I looked at mainstream musicians. Music is all about experimenting. And as he played, I could see a group of well-informed wannabees sitting and joking around crinkling their noses in disgust at the number being played. By well-informed, I mean those who know their western music but are way too proud to acknowledge anything remotely Indian. Music is only rock, weed and a bad ass attitude. Not experimenting. Well, whatever….so that’s where the post ends. I would have loved to smack their faces with a chair, but lets say, I walked away from my own judgement.
I have only one thing to say, may the music world flourish. May more musicians live to spread good music and not judge! And those who think Indian music makes you bawl out, I’m sorry but you’re skin’s as brown as mine and you damn well learn to love what the country has got in store for you. Or go overseas and never complain about not having your mom’s dal rice or butter chicken. Shoo…go away! That said, we’ll leave Himesh Reshammiya to his own fate too. Amen.
P.S I got a signed autograph from Greg who actually fumbled to write my name for a bit, but well, I enjoyed myself thoroughly.