Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Things I wish I could tell my ten year old self.

-Don't wish you were older. Responsibility is big deal, not necessarily a happy deal.

-Do everything you can. Go to singing classes, karate, diving, fencing, dancing....anything in the world you can find. You'll only be this brave and uninhibited when you're ten, at twenty it'll halve and and at thirty it'll seem silly. Oh, and you won't have time for it.

-Homework is not the worst thing that can happen to you. There are bigger and worse things you'll need to face, and no, I'm not talking about a zit.

-Enjoy your time with your parents. Your parents are young when you're ten. Play with them, ask them a million questions and exhaust them! They'll only get older as you get older and their time with you will keep getting more and more limited.

-Don't be in a rush to fall in love. Spend as much time with yourself as you can. There is a time for loving another person and when that time comes, you'll find there is lesser time and love you can give to yourself. 

-There is a different freedom at every age- make sure you enjoy it.

-Wisdom comes at a price, enjoy your innocence. 

-Whatever you do, as you get older, keep fighting cynical people. Happiness is yours to claim. 

-Don't ever stop imagining or being curious.

-TV is evil. Go out and play hop scotch. 

-Eat as much as you can, your metabolism will suck when you're older!

Oh and quick PS to my 35 year old self:
Don't wish you were 25 again. At 25 you wanted to be 15 and at 15 you wanted to be 25. Shut up and enjoy yourself.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Dumbledore

It feels like I'm in love again.

It's not what you think though. This is a bit unusual. This is the kind of love that is like a feeling of pure inspiration and awe.

I met this lady at a conference/discussion setting in New York and I thought she was strange and eccentric looking; I almost didn't even notice her. She had a quiet but under-the-surface bubbles kind of a demeanor about her, that makes you almost miss noticing her.

Luckily, she wasn't as shortsighted as me. She caught my eye across the room and smiled at me and so I felt compelled to at least say hi (I was feeling peculiarly anti-social on that day I think). We exchanged a quick hello-whereareyoufrom dialogue and then I confessed to her that although I was visiting the city for a short time, I was madly in love with it.

When she said what she said next to me, I instantly knew I wanted to see her again. "New York is like a famous king. And all kinds of people come to his amazing court- entertainers, artists, bankers, lovers, dreamers, actors, bakers... And they put their best foot forward and show the king what they can do best. If the king likes it, he asks the person to stay and show him more. If he doesn't like it, you will have to leave, but you'll surely be back next time, to try to make it in New York's court once again!"


And so we met two weeks later, at what has now become "our place". It's a little coffee shop in uptown NY. She took me there when she heard I was writing a novel, because this place is special to writers- people who have written their books there, frame the cover of their book and hang it up on the walls of the cafe. It has covers of books written there for the last fifteen years hung up on its walls. It's quite overwhelming and fascinating at the same time.

And that is exactly how she is. She is overwhelming and fascinating at the same time.

When I decided to get on this journey, with my sabbatical, writing a book, being away from everyone I love in a new city, I didn't realise how much it's going to change my world. I didn't realise that I was walking in to a new phase of my life, transforming and becoming a new me. 

And transformation is always hard. Especially when you're not expecting it. But I really do believe that every five/seven years every one us evolves- with or without knowing it. All of us learn one big lesson, and fight our way against all odds. God knows, those days are hard while you're re-discovering and re-inventing yourself. It's literally like peeling out of your old skin and coming into a new form. Shedding all the rubbish and carrying only what is absolutely needed for the next five/seven year phase.

So it couldn't have been better timing for me to have met this woman. I don't know what I bring to her, but she's helping me through my metamorphsis without even knowing it. At a time when I am searching for my new self, she's showing me the world through her eyes.

I call her my Dumbledore. 

She has that eternal naughty/mysterious/wise twinkle in her eye- like she knows the secret to life, but she won't tell you because she knows that it's much more fun when you discover it on your own. What I also love about her is that she takes pleasure in looking at everything- she epitomizes the phrase 'it's not about the destination, it's about the journey.'

We went to a chapel that she wanted to show me the other day and I was stunned by how much time she spent looking at everything, even though she had been there a million times before. Even for the millionth time, she expressed and felt the fascination for every little thing she was looking at in the chapel. At one point, she made me hug a pillar!

And I realised just hugging a pillar made me feel better- it gave me five minutes to truly understand and appreciate what I was doing. I realised in that moment that I giving to myself and, my, my, what an important lesson to learn!

I understood my next challenge- she told me what to do next without me asking her! I wondered how she even knew, but she answered that too, without my having asked her.

She giggled and casually remarked, "It's like we were given to each other isn't it? Two kindred spirits!"

Oh, she's quite something, my Dumbledore :)

Quotes I love - My new mantra

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T.S Eliot

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Shards of glass.

The bile rises in my throat.

What has he done?
Why does my soul feel like
A loud clock, 
Ticking ominously in my ear?

Times freezes.

What is happening?
Why does it feel like
I'm standing still,
And my world is cracking up rapidly?

My hands are numb.

What should I say?
Why does it feel like
There are stones in my mouth,
Suffocating my speech and my breath?

A scream echoes in my head.

What is he saying?
Why does it feel like
My heart has exploded,
Into a million shards of sparkling glass flying around me?

Time unfreezes.

The music has stopped,
I haven't sung my part,
My cry still stuck in my throat,
Trying to remember how to sing without him.

And I don't where to,
But I just keep walking.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sixteen things I love about New York.

Sixteen things I love about New York in the sixteen days I've been here:

1. The subway.
2. The tall, tall buildings- it always reminds you that there are things out there that are, and always will be, way bigger than you.
3. The old man who was getting out of the subway who swiped his metro card for me because I was having trouble with mine.
4. The Russian shopkeeper of a seconds store who pronounced my name wierdly (in a nice way) and on learning that I was Indian, broke into song- 'Mera joota hai Japani, ye patloon englishtani, sar pe la topi roosi, phir bhi dil hai hindustani"!
5. The fact that I can sit on a bench in front of the NASDAQ building in Times Square at 3am, in shorts and a tee shirt, and discuss boys and giggle about romance with an old school friend.
6. The amazing clothes that people wear in this city; especially people with the weirdest clothes- people-gazing at it's best!
7. The fact that all dogs are super friendly to each other (I love walking my friends retriever to the dog run!)
8. The cafes.
9. The road-corner kebab thelas.
10. Getting lost in the city!
11. Sitting in central park in rainy and freezing 9 degree weather and watching Bocelli and Tony Bennett sing Sinatra's New York, New York (for free!).
12. The fact that almost everyone I've met is SUPER friendly and for some lovely, strange reason they're all super eager to show me this fabulous city.
13. The fact that I feel safe no matter where I am and what I'm wearing.
14. The fact that very cute guys (imagine Sawyer from Lost) across subway platforms randomly flash me their handsome smiles, wave at me and make me blush.
15. The amazing music scene in this city.
16. The artists in this city- the musicians, the writers, the story tellers, the painters, sculptors, actors- it inspires you so much! 

One of my favourite descriptions of NY so far, "New York is like a famous king. And all kinds of people come to his amazing court- entertainers, artists, bankers, lovers, dreamers, actors...etc. And they put their best foot forward and show the king what they can do best. If the king likes it, he asks the person to stay and show him more. If he doesn't like it, you will have to leave, but you'll surely be back next year, to try to make it in New York's court once again!"

I can't wait to discover more of this amazing city :) 

PS: Attaching a funny picture I found that tells you 16 ways to NOT love NY!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tall Glass Giants :)

Pit pat, tap tap,
I walk down the dark stairs.
My mind is somewhere else 
Another time, another place.

And then there's a loud rumble,
Like a mellow thunder.
Wind rushes past,
Fast, he's definitely in a hurry. 
I smile,
Because I'm on my way,
I'll be there soon.
I can hardly wait.

Pit pat, tap tap
I climb up the dark stairs.
My mind is somewhere else
Another time, another place.

And then there's light!
From up above
Tall glass giants, chin up,
Looking down sternly,
Still, twinkle in the eye.
I smile,
Because I can hear it
I can smell it.
I'm finally in New York!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Adventures!

I've been so bad with blogging and writing lately, that you'll wonder why I'm saying what I'm saying next :P But there are some super exciting life updates.

-I'm quitting my job!
-I'm taking a 4 month break (ah, the idea of not waking up to do the same damn thing and seeing the same people everyday)
-I'm going to NYC (whooooooooooo hooooooooooooo)
-I'm...wait for it....WRITING A BOOK (yeah, the top item on my Before-I-Die list is happening right now!)

Now you must wonder how the hell I'm going to write a whole book when I can't keep up with even the blogging. Although there is no excuse, let me just give you a few facts about what's going on (more updates!):

1. LOL (Love Of Life) is taking a sabbatical with me! And so we've been busy making plans for the next four months. This is the first time we've made a 'Couple Decision'... I know we live together and some people treat us like we're already married, but we still have 'Firsts' as a couple (how awesome is that after three years of being together!). What I mean is... Although we've made some fairly big decisions together before (moving in together, what kind of furniture to buy etc), they haven't been this big and this detrimental to either of our futures, in terms of the impact it would have. We actually sat down and calculated our finances together (this is HUGE for me- I haven't ever talked money with any other person like this) and budgeted for the plans we have for the next four months and in his case, almost a year and a half...which brings me to the most exciting part... Our Plans.

LOL is planning to do an MBA (yeah, so cliche, I know; but I'm compelled to love him anyway!). So his plan is to take time off and study for the GMAT. Once done with the exam and writing at least a part of his applications, he plans to spend the next three weeks with me in New York! YAY! This is his first time to the US (oh, and his VISA came through thanks to the realllly nice VISA interviewer he luckily had), so imagine spending maximum part of that time in NYC! Wooooo! I'm very, very excited about this. 

He then comes back and goes on a one month mountaineering course that certifies him to be a professional mountaineer ('My boyfriend? He's a professional mountaineer'- how cool does that sound!). He's back home after that and I'll be back around the same time too... for....? That brings me to the next part of my 'why-I've-been-busy' story.

2. Remember my best friend, soul sister, and ex-roomie Moo? Well, she's getting MARRIED! I was dying to blog about this in my earlier Happy Times post, but it was totally hush and I couldn't talk about it until she was sure she's going to get engaged.

Hers is a unique and beautiful whirlwind romance. It all started a little before our MegaEurotrip in June. She started half-heartedly emailing him saying she's a little tired of being set up by her parents and she's not sure if she'll ever find her The One. I, on the other hand, was convinced from his very first email that they would be on FIRE! He's a super happy person and she's a big load of sunshine and they have similar ideas about life and all that- what's not to love about each other? 

They fell in love before they even met (he's American and lives on the west coast) and they fell in love so damn quickly, they didn't even know what hit them. And of course, when they did meet, in Bangkok (yeah, one night in Bangkok!), the sparks flew, the earth stopped moving, their hearts skipped beats and all that, and by the end of the week, he proposed and she was calling me screaming, 'I'm engaaaaaaggggged'.

So on that front, the wedding is here in November and it's going to be the biggest party ever and I will scream and dance, and cry- out of happiness that my best friend in the whole world will finally be with her prince and out of sadness, because our 5 year inseparable stint would have come to an end. She's moving with him to the States and I will miss her madly.

3. My other best friend, D's romance is also going very, very well and I'm pretty sure she'll be announcing her engagement early next year too (fingers crossed). I love the way this guy makes her feel and I'm hoping it all works out :) (I've realised I have great instinct for this kind of thing- fell free to get in touch if you want Love Advice :P )

So, as you can see from all the updates above, there are two things that starkly stand out- 

a. I'm a BIG sucker for romance
b. I'm a BIG sucker for best friends

Does that tell you anything yet? Hell yeah! My book is about both of the above :)

Much more very soon!

PS: I will write about the awesome MegaEurotip- I started writing a draft, but it got a wee bit carried away and it's become a short story now! So in due time, (read as when I have a one minute breather from my crazy life to shorten it), I will blog about the Marvelous Adventures of A Moo and Geebani (more on those names later!). 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Quotes I love (Quote of the week :) maybe, month!)

"Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born."

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Quotes I love: Thinking of getting this as a tattoo. What do you think?

"You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Happpy times!

I can't believe I haven't posted here in so long- wait, I can believe it...there's just been wayyy too much happening. Although, I wanna go into detail on all and make this is a lonnnng post, I have a feeling I'll lose all of you at this sentence :P So, WAAAAIT- it won't be a long post- just some updates, promise.


I leave for what I think, will be the TRIP OF MY LIFE, tomorrow morning. My best friend Moo and I entered this fabulous Win a Free Trip to Europe Contest run by this really cool company called The BackPacker Co (you HAVE to check out their trips!). And YESSSSSS, we WON! We're now going on a * wait for it * FIFTEEN DAY trip to Eastern Europe, covering SEVEN countries! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I can't believe that a) people actually win things in real life (especially in light of recent events) and b) I'm one of them!

So, after battling the witch from hell, aka the VISA officer at the German consulate, and getting our VISA (phew!), we're heading to Germany (Munich), Czech (Prague), Poland (Krakow), Slovakia (Bratislava), Hungary (Budapest), Slovenia (Ljubjlana), and Austria (Vienna and Salzburg)!! I haven't had a proper holiday in one and half years and a holiday of this sort, well, never- so OMGGGGG, Moo and I are DYING with excitement! (And think of all the stories I can write in this blog after!)

Send me any tips you have for our travel- We're both Eurotrip virgins and we'd really appreciate it!

PS: Don't give us tips about packing light. I know we ought to- but we're two GIRLS, going to Europe for the first time, just the shoes make up one bag :P

All Other updates:

1. Incidentally LOL (Love of my Life) also went for the trip of HIS life. He just came back from a 15 day trek in the Himalayas. For those of you who know it, it's the Annapurna trek that takes you upto 18,000+ feet! In his own words, he 'went a boy and came back a man'. And I tend to agree :P Btw, he also had this crazy incident at the airport on his way back which I must tell you about... He met a Nigerian kid, a footballer, who had to take a flight to go to Delhi and missed it. LOL met him and instantly lent him money for a ticket :O When he told me this, I laughed until I peed a little. I mean, Nigerian- has he not heard of enough scams?! He'd never see a paisa of his money again.

The all-knowing, stereotyping, cynical me ended up being super embarrassed- because the kid actually called LOL a couple of days after and wanted to pay back the money! WTF and FTW! Serves me right for being so narrow minded. But I'm glad I was wrong- It always makes me feel warm and fuzzy knowing that there are good people in the world.

2. We have three adorrrrable dogs at my office and one of them gave birth of six adorable little puppies. They're a mix of Lab and German Shepherd, so they're even more adorable looking. Unfortunately we lost two of them- the runts of the lot- but the rest are happy and squeaky and FAT as hell. They eat ALL the time and wanna chew everything in sight. It's nothing short of adorable.

3. Work has been super depressing and stressful this last month (getting better now maybe?). But I won't get into that right now because I'm super happy and this is a happeeeeeee post :)

4. My best friend D, who recently had the crap experience of having her heart shredded by this one arse****, just met someone!This is the girl who just a week before said that there is no way in the world she will ever believe in true love again! Why this is making me so happy? Apart from the fact that my best friend is falling in real happy love, I LOVE seeing people in love (I have a theory about this, but more on that later). I love people believing in love. I'm in love with LOL and I think everyone should know how crazy, whooping, calming, screamy, content and exhilarating this gorgeous way of living is!

More more and more after my Europe travels.

Much much happpppy EXCITU,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why God...Why?

There are essentially two things that I feel very strongly about- women's equality issues and religion. Don't get me wrong- I don't go proactively campaigning out there about burning bras, but I will participate heatedly in an argument and/or beat you up if you're a male chauvinistic asshole.

The other thing that is now added to this list is Auto rickshaws drivers- I have SO much to say about these pigs- I can write a book. 

Since I just had a very frustrating experience this morning, let me first just say- AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGHHHH!!!! &%#%%$!!@!!!!

Ok, now that that's done...

I know that it's such a small, small thing compared to, I don't know, 3G scams, CWG, Bofors and that very long list. But apart from all that, I wish someone asked us regular citizens about our smaller everyday piss-offs. I pay my taxes on time and every time, and yet no one will help me get a damned auto to where I want to go to. 

Let me illustrate in a few examples what happens to most people who try to get autos in a city like mine (that includes all big cities other than the awesome Bombay). 

Scenario One:

It's raining. A lone girl is standing on a lone road with a lone umbrella. She wants to go home. She hails an auto.

Auto guy: Where?
Girl: ____ (names an area)
Auto guy: Ok, 300 rupees
Girl (baffled look): What? Why?
Auto guy: Can't you see its raining maydum?
Girl: Errr..yes.
Auto guy: Then? What you're asking?
Girl: Do you think they pay me extra at my work on the days it rains?
Auto guy: Who cares about you? (Cocks head, looks at Girl like she's retarted and speeds off like Schumacher)

Moral of the story: Come rain or shine, no matter how late or early it is, just pay what he asks you to pay. Or walk home.

Scenario Two:

Girl in an auto. She's reached her destination. She gives the auto guy a 100 rupees for the 40 he asked for (this is 20 rupees more than the auto fare, but what can she do?).

Auto guy (speaks gruffly): Give me change.
Girl: Sorry. I don't have. I have only 30. 
Auto guy: So? 
Girl: I had kept 30 change but you asked for 40 and I don't have change for a 100.
Auto guy: So? Huh? So?
Girl: Sorry. I don't know.
Auto guy: So? You don't know means what should I do? You must keep change no? Give me 100. I'll keep it.
Girl (too dumbfounded to speak). She walks into a close-by supermarket, buys a cabbage she'll never eat, just so she can get change.

Moral: Carry change. Always. Remember, if you don't have change, it will ALWAYS be your fault.

Lots of scenarios such as these- you can't take an auto to somewhere too close or too far off- extra charge. You can't take an auto from a guy at the auto stand- he's too lazy so it'll be extra charge, please. 

So I'm putting down the top five things to not do when taking an auto- it may be useful to some of you- remember, you travel by their auto, you follow their rules.

Top 5 DON'Ts when you're taking an auto:

1. Wear shades- they automatically expect you to be rich and have oodles of money flowing out of your ears. It's why you're wearing shades and it's why you're going to donate some of that overflowing cash to the auto guy. He deserves it more than you, dummy.

2. Speak in a language other than the regional language: Don't you know, you pay extra just because you don't speak in the regional language? I mean, commmmmon, learn the language already- how hard can it be- it's just a whole new language.

3. Wear western clothes: Are you Indian or are you not? Then what's to ask? Wear Indian clothes- dhoti, sari-blouse etc. Otherwise, the very wise Mr. Auto Guy will assume you're opulent and take all your money from you. Because if he's not rich, no one else is allowed to be, okay? (if only someone would tell him that the rich don't take autos- they have enough cars/private helicopters. Only us middle class people do- we just like to dress nicely/ how we like).

4. Ask him to stop anywhere other than a main road: He goes only where HE wants to go. You're not paying him, he's doing YOU a favour. So don't you go and ask him to take a right into the galli you live in. That's just too much to ask from him- he has to draw the line somewhere you know.

5. Ask him to put on this auto meter: How dare you ask! It's only there for show. Believe it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Light and Love

I've recently gone through the very difficult/hurtful process of losing a friend and it's got me thinking about how fragile relationships really are. And how foolish we are sometimes in thinking...no, really believing, that they're indestructible. Because the truth is, nothing is indestructible and nothing is inevitable. 

We're all human. We're all very very different...and ironic as it is, we spend all our lives looking for people who are like us; people we can get along with- with the same values, beliefs, etc. Like Anne of Green Gables says, we're all looking for a 'kindred spirit'. 

And when the 'kindred spirit' comes along, we're excited, because in such a big world with its crazies, its funnies, its weirdos and all the strangeness, its amazing that when we can find someone that we can get along with like a house on fire. We're surprised and then grateful for being able to find such a great friend. With time the friendships blossoms in a way that keeps you looking forward to all the new things that it brings with it. It brings almost the same/similar feeling of anticipation that you get when you meet someone you want to have a romantic relationship with-- excitement wise I mean; the excitement, the comfort, the discovery of a whole new person is nothing short of exhilarating.

The thing with friendships (one assumes) is that in many ways it's less fragile and less prone to end in 'break ups' than a romantic relationship is. It's a no strings attached relationship in some ways- You can have other really close/best friends. You don't have to have sex to keep the relationship alive. You can talk about the same things for hours and still not be bored. Hell, you can be having a drink and sitting with each other and not say a word and you're still not bored.  You can have boyfriends/girlfriends- and many come and go, but you stay; your friendships pull you through bad relationships. Your friendships reinforce the hope that there are still good relationships out there. 

But what happens when that friendship ends? When it hurts, when it feels unbelievable and silly and stupid and you just feel betrayed, all at the same time? When sometimes it feels worse than breaks ups with your boyfriend/girlfriend?  The thing with friendships that we sometimes tend to forget is that in many ways it's as fragile as a romantic relationship. It is a relationship with a human being after all- there will be misunderstandings, there will be differences and yes, there is room for break ups/ fallouts.  

I think the best you can do is let go and take the time and memories you've had with your friend and smile at them. Smile at the many ways in which the person changed you and put some of his/her wonderful colour in you. Smile at the fact that you got the chance to see a whole new world- that person's world; even if it was a limited offering (although you might have not known it). Like Julia Roberts/ Elizabeth Gilbert says in Eat Pray Love, 'Miss them when you have to and then send some light and love their way' :)

Because when you invest in a person, you can only gain and add on unknown, beautiful layers to your life. Sure it hurts like hell when its over or lost, but really, isn't it worth it when you had the time of your life?

If not, I'd advice you to just give up and invest in a pet. If you love it and feed it unconditionally it won't leave your side :P

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


LOL (Love Of my Life) got a call from an unknown number a couple of days ago. He hung up within two minutes and announced to me that we had won a lucky draw. I was like WHAAAAAAAAAAA.... I mean what are the chances that I (me??) won some random lucky dip type thing. I thought Lady Luck had made it very clear that we'd broken up, never to get back. How then?

'It was at one of those local malls. Did you register?' LOL asked, breaking me out of the conversation with myself.

Did I register? DID I?  'Of course. I've been registering for everything for the last year.'

'What? Why?'

'Have you seen us? 2010 has been the poorest year EVER! I entered every contest and lucky draw I came across. Come onnnn, anything that comes free is a miracle.'

LOL smiled, 'Don't exaggerate. We're not poor. Just going through a bit of a broke phase.'

I hid back a smile although I knew he's right- I mean, it's not like we were under the poverty line. 'Hmpfh. I am poor. Don't know about you.' I didn't want him to take my being broke lightly. 'So what did we win?'

'I dont know.. she wasn't very clear... A mixi, grinder, one thousand rupees cash prize, and a holiday at a hotel in Ooty for two days.'

'Wooooooooooooowwwww. I've never won anything. Annnnything.' I did a little dance right there standing on my bed.

'Listen, don't you think this is a bit fishy?'

'Ey! Shut up. We won!'  And I continued dancing atop our fragile bed.


Two days later, we're having lunch with my family- grandparents, parents, aunt, uncle etc. And I'm excitedly telling all them about how I've won something so super exciting. A holiday to Ooty! (as if we never ever could afford a holiday on our own, and this is a supermely unique experience we've never seen or heard of). 

'In Ooty. Can you imagineeee?' I coo; my eyes all big and dreamy.

'You've been there before no?' my favourite aunt says. Hmmm. Maybe I should re-consider that 'favourite' title.

'Ya, so? We won a random competition. It never happens to our family. NEVER. Cant you people be enthusiastic?'

My relatives oblige. They give me exxagerated smiles and say 'oooohhhh' and 'cooooooool'. 

'What, you want us to announce it to a news channel?' my uncle asks, smiling.

I roll my eyes dramatically and spend the rest of lunch telling them they're such dull people for not appreciating the fact that there's now a lucky draw grand prize winner in the family.

'It's a scam my dear daughter' my father says, looking all sage-like. 

'How do they know our names then? Because I entered the contest and won.' I say firmly. 

Honestly, I can't remember exactly what contest I entered or IF I ever entered a contest in that mall. But I most likely did- after all, they knew our names and numbers didn't they?.

'Ha.Let's see who's laughing when I show you the pictures from my free holiday.' I tell my father, nose high up in the air.


Right after lunch we head to the mall's corporate office to claim our gifts. I am getting the sense that LOL doesn't really want to go. He's doing this to humour me. 

That's fine. He's going to eat his smirk once we're on our way to Ooty. Why is a little bit of positivity too much to ask for these days?

We see the board for Casa Retreats as we climb the two stairs up. See? It's not a scam- they're a real company.

There is a receptionist who nods at us. Another woman welcomes and congratulates us. She tells us we'll get our prizes in 15 minutes-- right after 'the small tea party'. 

A tiny alarm goes off in my head. LOL shakes his head. He wants to head home. I can't give him the satisfaction.

'Dont be rude' I whisper to him. 'Lets just go see no?'. LOL, being LOL, adorable and always humouring me, trails in behind me.

We are made to sit with a guy who takes random/ vague details from us. LOL is getting impatient and snaps at the man, 'Get to the point', he says. I give him a look that says 'I'll handle it'.

I spend the next 10 minutes answering the stupidest questions about where we honeymooned (we havent! They're assuming me we're married), what kind of holidays we take, what kind of house we have and what kind of friggin' toothpaste we use. And every two minutes, there is a lady anoouncing 'Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mr and Mrs. XYZ to the Casa family! Clap clap clap.

I'm getting annoyed now and I'm almost not listening. The 'representative' can say see this and finally brings us to the climax.

We have to buy a membership to their company- they sell holidays. They provide hotel accommodation all over India and 3000+ destinations abroad. Breakfast is free. Travel and other meals are subsidised. All for only 500 rupees a year.

For a fraction of a second, the travel junkie (combined with the broke person) in me wakes up. Then.... enlightenment- an entire Hustle type long con scene plays in my head- hiring fake reps, making a fake company website, people fixing the fake company board on the building...

By this time LOL has Facebooked about the entire event and is nudging me to show me something on his phone.

I inwardly cringe when see the website- www.consumercomplaints.in. I look at the rep and tell him firmly that we're not interested. He says 'Okay madam but we'll still give you your gifts.'

That makes me feel a bit better. At least the gifts were real. We pick up the gifts and hurry out of there.

Turns out the coupons for Ooty are either fake or to some ghastly hotel with peeling paint on walls (review online). There is no mixi or grinder or any 1000 rupees cash prize. There are two more coupons- one for a picnic day locally and another for a two day hotel voucher for Bangkok- I don't even want to imagine what those could be.

On the way back home I'm avoiding eager calls from my friends and relatives who are calling to ask about when we're leaving to Ooty.

LOL christens me Guillable Geetu and points at every sale/lucky draw contest on the road and laughs uncontrollably. 

' So, now do we agree that we got conned?' he asks.

'No. We didn't pay them any money and we spent only 15 minutes there. And in return we got six kind-of pretty glass bowls.' 

It's true. We did.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Memories that got lost

I feel terribly jealous when people talk about their childhoods and have extremely clear memories from when they were 4 or whatever. I hardly remember anything- except maybe blurry snippets of the faces of a few friends, what games we used to play (our entire lives didn't depend on the television even in the early 90s) and the few fights we had. Even when I think I do remember some small thing, it feels like a dream- very censored and hazy and sometimes I can't make out if I'm making it up or if it really happened!

I have one clear memory of a conversation with one of my neighbourhood friends, Shilpa (I don't remember her last name- the beauty of it is, at that age we didn't feel the need to find out). She told me that the sun was a star and I looked at her like she was total idiot. The sun is yellow, not shiny and too big to be a star, DUH. I had a good laugh at her expense. And eventually, obviously I wasn't the last one laughing.

But other than these small fragmented memories, I don't remember much- I don't remember what I spent my time doing. I don't remember what my thoughts were- I just remember wanting to grow up so I wouldn't have to take orders from grown ups anymore.

I keep trying to piece it up- ask my aunts or my grandparents what I used to be like (apparently either my parents didn't love me or the no-memory thing is in the genes, my parents remember nothing. My mother doesn't even remember what hour of the day I was born- How anyone can forget the exact time when something came kicking and screaming out of your body is a wonder to me). 

Anyway, so this is the synopsis of the report I have received from people who knew me from then: I was a well behaved child. I loved sweeping every corner of everyone's house (how life changes!). And I was the kind of child that didn't care much about dolls and toys. Sure, I had an imagination and used to tell stories or paint or write my own 'newspapers'. But mostly, I just constantly wanted company (not much has changed on that front).

I always insisted on a 'real doll'.

Just after I started playschool I told my parents that I noticed everyone at school had 'real baby dolls' (read siblings), and I definitely ought to have one too. My poor parents, having wanted only one child (and me being more than a handful) tried to pacify their 3 year old by giving her a room full toys, but I was a stubborn one, even then. I wouldn't be bribed- no, not me. I told them I would refuse to eat and cried till they assured me that a 'real doll' was on its way.

And that's how my sister was born- a fact I don't let her ever forget. Especially when I want her to do something for me- 'Remember you were born only because of me- you're indebted to me for life.' (of course this actually worked only till she was ten; after which she'd promptly ask me to get lost).

Thank god she's here and thank god she has a good memory because even when eventually I got bored of my new 'real doll' and wanted her away from me so I could play with other dolls my age, she hung around and pestered me. She has 'clear' memories and when I talk to her she helps me relive them now.

Mostly, I thank god because she's the best 'real doll' that anyone could've ever asked for- I can't imagine how dull my life would've been without her.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A new year and new butterflies in my tummy.

It's New Years' Eve and like every year, while everyone is celebrating, I find myself feeling uneasy and not as celebratory. First, it's the end of the festive season and this is depressing (the festive season is the only semblance of a summer-holiday type carefree time for us working class people; because no one wants to work and everyone is out on vacation). Second, and more importantly (read 'more scary') it's the beginning of a new chance, with a supposedly clean slate. 

'Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right'-- Oprah (also borrowed from a friend's BLOG)

This makes me kind of anxious, because it means I have to make the effort to try to believe that everything could be new and nice for the following 365 days. 

The reality is, you'll still be broke if you're broke. Your grandpa will still be ill if he was ill. The government will still fuck you over--they always do. And all those other factors you can't change will still be the same-- whooping your arse every time you look away for even a second... I mean it is technically just one day after the last 365 days right? Not like you have a special date with a Genie on New Years' Eve who will grant you three of your most heartfelt desires/wishes.

What you can do is take control of your life and do things with a lot more determination and hardwork this year. This 'New Year' and 'new chances' thing, it's really just a made-up 'new slate'-- it's a switch in your mind that you can choose to turn on or off. It's still going to be you renegotiating the TNCs (Terms and Conditions) of your life with yourself and renewing your self-motivation deal with yourself. Nothing exciting about that. I could do that bang in the middle of the year in June or July instead of making mass resolutions with the rest of the world on 31st of December.

And renegotiating a new self-motivation deal with myself makes me nervous. I can be a pretty hard bargainer. Hence the butterflies in my tummy.

All that said, I've still gone ahead and made some resolutions:

-Travel once a month or once in 45 days at least, even if it's a weekend getaway. (If I'm lucky maybe a trip to Australia in Aug)
-Lose a LOT of weight (the precise amount is not to be revealed!) and be Fit.
-Pick up at least two more hobbies (preferred options: Sewing and Photography)
-Brush up on French and finish learning Spanish (even if that means making random Spanish and French friends and forcing them to talk to me!)
-Save money and stop being in an eternal state of BBB- Broke Beyond Broke (even if that means making major life decisions)
-Write write write. And write some more.

Ok, that's all. Let's hope I can get these done. I'll make other smaller mental notes as we get on with the year.

Please 2011, if you can, please bless me and my life and give me what it takes to shine :) Thanks in advance!