Sunday, December 28, 2008


We kept reading about it in the newspapers; but it didn't strike as a reality until it happened to people around us-- people we know by name, by their faces, by their families -- people who lost their careers overnight. It was depressing to begin with, even scary; then somewhat relieving ("Thank God, we still have our jobs"), a matter of fact ("These are tough times after all, aren't they?"); and in the end it has turned into anxiety & stress ("What would I do if that happened to me?").

I feel gloomy at the ruthlessness of businessdom; and the trying times that lie ahead for many of these families; but I hope & pray & wish everyone a better, more stable & certainly a more cheerful 2009!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mumbai Terror Attacks - few weeks later

I am a big fan of Arundhati Roy; although I don't quite agree with all her views (her anti-globalisation stance, for example). But I thought this article by her on the Mumbai terror attacks hit very close to home & was very thought provoking. I agree with the essence of what she observes, that India is completely in denial that the problem could be within (irrespective of whether or not the ISI was involved).

PS: I don't agree though that the Taj is an icon of the inequalities & injustice in India. I think its an icon of the 'good life'; the opportunities & dreams that make Mumbai the city it is.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Being 6 months pregnant

The best thing about the 6th month of pregnancy:
The kicking :)
To feel the little person inside me; alive & kicking (quite literally); with feet & fists that are incredibly strong for his size*; this first connection between me & my baby is quite a special feeling.

The worst thing about the 6th month of pregnancy:
The appetite.
I've been nicknamed "Porky the Pig". I have an appetite these days for everything edible. Any time of the day. Any number of times.

* The doctor says he weighs around 500 grams right now. Isn't that adorable? :)

End of a great holiday

We had a super holiday in Dubai. My 30th birthday & the surprise baby shower our friends threw for us (uff, that last sentence makes me feel so old!) made the visit more special.

Dubai is somewhat different from what it was 2 years ago (loved the very europe-like JBR walk, especially at this time of the year; hated the new spider-web of flyovers...very confusing); but the things I liked about the city are still the same; and that's what made the holiday great.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mumbai Terror Attacks

I couldn't believe that it was happening; that it was real. In my country, in my city, on the same street where I used to work not so long ago, in the terrace restaurant I loved, on the railway platform I've waited at, in front of the cinema halls I've eaten popcorn at. It could've been me; I'm glad it wasn't me; but I'm sad & pained that it had to be some 155 (or more) others; probably just like me.

But sad as I was for the death of inocents, the thought that has bothered me the most is that these terrorists were 17 to 20 year olds.

When I was 20, I had dreams, I had little or no worries, I had a full life to look forward to. There was just so much living yet to come, early 20s is the time to hope & dream. And yet, here are 20-year olds who have so much misguided, misdirected anger within them that they believe in a cause which assures their death; which involves opening fire indiscriminately on men, women & children they don't know; which involves attacking sick people in a hospital; and actually believing that it is all for the greater good of their people & feeling no remorse for it.

No amount of brain-washing in a terrorist camp should be able to convince a 20-year old that this is worthwhile; that this is justified; and that there should be no remorse in killing. And yet, there are these 15 young kids who were convinced. And plenty more of them where they came from. Why? How? These weren't stupid young men; they were smart; they were determined, they were focussed.

I don't know why & how they were convinced, but they were. Figuring out the whys & hows probably is the solution to terrorism. I hope India doesn't launch the American brand of "war on terror"; it may be useful in appeasing the immediate anger in the public & keeping the Narendra Modi's of the world silent for a while; but I don't think killing terrorists will kill terrorism; there would in the end always be more terrorists born than killed. The problems are much, much deeper than that.

PS: I feel so grateful to the NSG commandos & all the other men & women in uniform who fought in the city these past 3 days!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Holiday in December!

We're going to Dubai in December & I'm super super excited about it! How I've missed Dubai this past year & more!

We're looking forward to meeting all the friends we left behind in Dubai; it's going to be great catching up with them all. Like it usually happens with friends who've been away for a while; a lot of things have changed for most of them since we left Dubai, and yet very few things have changed between us.

Also, its going to be like an "end of an era" trip. Dubai was the city where H & I started out as a young care-free couple & now we're on our way to parenthood going back to the same place. Yeah well, maybe I'm getting too dramatic! :) But can I at least call it a 'mini-era'?

Another big item on the agenda is food! Between H & I, we've already planned every single meal we're going to have in Dubai. Including breakfast :)

And finally, there's some baby-related shopping & some partying on the to-do list...although I hear 360 degrees is no more :(

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Its a boy!

The doctor told us yesterday that our little baby is a boy! :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quantum of Solace

Watched "Quantum of Solace" this week. I have to say, getting into the movie, Bond was my least favourite secret service agent. Jason Bourne is hot; Ethan Hunt is passble; but James Bond, absolutely puts me off. Firstly, there's something very unattractive about a man with vanity. I also imagine Bond would be really fussy & irritating to be with (will have martini only shaken not stirred; won't stay in a budget hotel) -- snobbish & high-maintainence. And then there's that smug confidence of getting women into bed, which is so very unattractive in men.

But having said that, I find Daniel Craig the most likeable Bond so far. Probably because he was the first to fall in love. And also because he wears jeans to work sometimes (as against the previous Bonds who have always been in expensive well-tailored suits that eventually get soiled by blood & dirt).

About the movie -- well, it's a Bond movie -- there are good action scenes, exotic locales & pretty girls.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend in Macau

I had a stressful last week at work thanks to all the market turmoil & was looking forward to a totally stress-free weekend. So H planned a weekend getaway for us in Macau. It was an impulsive holiday -- we literally booked our flights on Friday & were off on Saturday morning.

Macau is all about casinos. And casinos. And then there are casinos. A world so far removed from all the recessionary fears we hear about everywhere these days. The casinos were crowded, money was being bet in millions, & towards late evening it seemed like the whole of China was in Macau (we were probably the only two brown-skinned people there). Yes, we did gamble, but I won't get into the painful details of how we quadrupled our money on day 1 & then watched it all evaporate on day 2 into the hands of a sympathetic but lousy dealer. Then I vowed to settle the score with him & lost some more. If only we had some more time there....!

"The Venetian" was surreal. Really. Re-creating Venice on a Chinese-Portugese island can be neither easy nor inexpensive. It reminded me of the movie "The Truman Show". It was amusing how our gondola-driver (who insisted on singing an Italian love song for us on the canal); looked Asian but spoke with an Italian accent; and told us made-up folk-lore about how true lovers always kiss under the 'bridge of reality'. It was romantic, but in a really really cheesy kind of way! :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trip to Bangkok - Part II

While in Bangkok, we watched a Khon show (the traditional Thai classical performing art). The dance form is typically based on stories from the Ramayana (called Ramaniket in Thai). The play we saw was titled "Hanuman" so the story was familiar & we weren't too bothered by the fact that the "narrators" were singing in Thai. I loved the costumes & the masks & the jewellery. The dance in itself was quite difficult to interpret, I thought; with some characters in masks & the others with mask-like faces...a lot of the emoting is done through hand gestures & movements.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trip to Bangkok

We wanted to spend this Diwali with family so we visited my cousin in Bangkok over the long weekend. Bangkok reminded me of Bombay a lot; its chaotic but lively and fun. Some of the things we did:

- Loved the Chatuchak weekend market & the Suan-Lim Night Bazaar. Shopping in Thai flea markets is so easy on the pockets!

- I was curious to see "Patpong", the infamous red light area, so we went there one evening. It wasn't as shockingly sleazy as I expected it to be. We went into one of the sex shows where the girls were meant to be doing some tricks with ping-pong balls in their private parts; but the bar was too smokey & H decided I shouldn't make the baby breathe all that smoke, so we exited before the show started. Well, maybe some other time. Or maybe not!

- We ate the yummiest food while in Bangkok. Thai food has been my favourite for a long time, but even the Indian food in Bangkok is delicious!

- We saved the last day in Bangkok for some sight-seeing. "The Grand Palace" was magnificent (in a very over-the-top sort of way). The "Temple of the Emerald Buddha" had some of the most beautiful Asian paintings I've ever seen. The "Reclining Buddha" was umm, well, massive!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween Sushi

Sushi inspired by Edward Munch's "Scream"! I think it's hilarious! :))

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Being 3 months pregnant

The worst thing about the 3rd month of pregnancy:
My stomach is big enough to make me look noticeably fat; but not large enough for people to realise I'm pregnant. I feel like one of those big-bellied Disney characters.

The best thing about the 3rd month of pregnancy:
There's *hope* that the nausea, fatigue, dizziness shall pass soon! Also, with all the reading of pregnancy books, I discovered that there' s this whole alternate world of baby-related words that I knew nothing of until now. (Ask a non-pregnant person to construct a lucid sentence using words like 'progestron' or 'gestational age'; he/she would be stumped.)

Monday, October 06, 2008

I saw my angel

The moment I saw you,
I knew life had changed forever
You moved right in, swiftly
to the center of my heart.
From here on, love
would mean your happiness.
From here on, peace
would mean knowing you're well.
From here on, bliss
would mean watching you be.
A part of me, yet
an angel from another world.
I want to protect you, always
you're precious, invaluable.
I love loving you,
my miracle, you fill me with awe.

PS: We're having a baby!! And these were our thoughts after our first scan! :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Try not to judge me...

I've never blogged about my sub-conscious before; but last night I had the most ridiculous dream ever. It was so monumentally over-the-top, I had to post it. So here's how it goes:

The dream started off somewhere in the near future when the banking industry had collapsed & there were only about 100 jobs left in the industry globally. Everyone else was fired. So we moved back to India, rented a small place in Dharavi(!!) & lived through some very difficult times.

Then, one day, a head hunter called: "There's an opening. Mithun is making a movie & wants to cast a new actress opposite him. You had mentioned in your resume that you would do any kind of work except act in a Mithun movie. But these are desperate times. What do you say?" I weighed my options. We hadn't eaten in days & I thought that H deserved a better life. It was a difficult decision, but I said yes.

On my first day of shooting, I met Mithun. He looked at me for a few seconds & said, "You do know that I sleep with all the actresses I work with?". What the --??? Did he just come on to me? I was shaking with rage: "How dare you, Mithun-da? Have you noticed how old you are? What do you take me for? I need the money; but I need my dignity more!". I tore the cheque to pieces & stormed out of the studio.

Now, there was another man on the sets watching this whole scene. It was Sanjay Leela Bhansali (I'm not making this up!!!) And he was thinking to himself, "Thats the kind of woman I want to make my next movie about". So SLB walked up to me and offered me 50 million to make a movie based on my life. I was over-the-moon elated. He wanted to cast Ash to play my character, but I told him about how she had ruined all his previous movies for me & that I would prefer Sushmita Sen to play my character. He saw my point :)

With our 50 million, H & I started a small micro-finance company in Mumbai to help the rural poor. It was a satisfying life.

No, its not over yet....Finally, Barrack Obhama in the presidential debate, cited me as an example of exemplary resilience needed in these tough economic times!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How bankers get paid

Watched this on BBC - HSBC Chairman Stephen Green talking on how bankers' compensation structure is one of the reasons of the recent meltdown & something that needs to change: "I think it is important and will become much more the focus of attention to ensure that remuneration schemes operate in a way that is lined up with the long term interests of the owners of the business. There has been far too much focus on payments that are very short term focused, people who pick up the tab for short term profits, without having to bear the costs of long term impairments."

While I agree whole heartedly with Green -- (in all banks, performance-bonuses are based on how much revenue you generate in the previous year/ quarter/ month) -- I also realise that this "reform" is attractive only in theory. For the simple reason that banking, like any other business, is a matter of demand & supply. When the going is good, the shareholders & owners of the business want to see quick growth; they don't want to see their money sit idle in a risk-averse but slow-growing bank; they want to see quarter-over-quarter returns. And there will be demand for professionals who can deliver exactly that.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Flight attendants

I've heard so many Air India travellers complain about how the flight attendants in Air India are not young enough, or pretty enough, or slim enough. I wonder how this expectation came about that flight attendants are required to be young & pretty. I've rarely known of anyone who would judge the quality of a restaurant, for example, by how pretty the waitress is. Why then are airlines judged by the beauty of their air crew?

PS: The service quality in Air India is another topic all together; completely unrelated to the physical appeal of its air hostesses.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

India Shining -Gandhi and the Laptop

I saw this sculpture made by a Kolkata artist named Debanjan Roy; I found it amusing (not sure if that was the intended effect the artist meant to have). I don't know why Gandhiji is all red-- (thats more of Chairman Mao's colour, yes?); but the laptop that's replaced the charkha & the title "India Shining" makes the piece very tongue-in-cheek.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

ERP Woes in Singapore

A friend sent this YouTube video to me the other day; a parady on the recently-hiked ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) in Singapore. This video is likely to be funny only if you know how Singaporeans who drive to work everyday plan their travel schedules for the WHOLE day around when & where the peak-hour surcharges & congested-roads surcharges could hit's almost a national obsession :))

Monday, September 01, 2008

I've been MIA!!!

The past month has been a roller-coaster ride (which thankfully ended on a high); so I've logged into my blog after really long today & realised I need to start blogging again; it's my daily dose of therapy which I've been missing lately :)

I used the time to do other constructive things though -- watched a lot of the Beijing Olympics; learnt how to make delicious biryani; did some quiet reading on weekends (H has been travelling a lot); sorted out some nagging loose ends at work.

Missed out on two weddings though which I would've loved to attend -- one in France, the other in Delhi; and skipped almost all my mandarin lessons last month; haven't watched a new movie in ages; haven't had a minute of exercise for as long as I can remember.

It's time to get back on the schedule now... :)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

When everything changes

Just when you think that everything has fallen into a routine of unvarying regularity, life goes whack again. I'm not complaining though; stability is quite over-rated.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"The Myth of the Rational Voter" by Bryan Caplan

This is a book written by an economist who argues that democracy = bad economic policies.

I guess it confirms what we all knew all along: democracies elect their respresentatives irrationally. Voters most often (and inspite of having adequate information to make a rational choice), make choices emotionally rather than rationally. Especially when it comes to economic policies we tend to choose policies that are not in our best interests. The author cites many examples like say the voters' bias for employment as against productivity.

It struck me that India probably has more examples to prove this hypothesis than any other democracy in the world; even with an economist as the prime minister. Loan waivers for farmers, oil subsidies, inflation, the whole "Maharashtra for Maharashtrians" debate, nuclear energy deal -- all issues that the voters saw emotionally, rather than rationally.

An interesting read. A short article by the author here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Dark Knight

First, let me say, this is a GREAT movie. Everybody I know has already said this, but I'm going to say it again: Heath Ledger is absolutely brilliant!

But I did feel a bit upset at the director. It was almost as if Christopher Nolan was so taken in by Heath Ledger's Joker, that he gave the entire center-stage to him; Batman looked like an after-thought. This is a comic-book story about good against evil; but there was very little room for Batman to emerge as a hero. Joker came across as a bigger icon of evil than Batman did as an icon of good. That made me feel a bit cheated.

But what did work for me, was that for a comic-book story, "The Dark Knight" is an incredible 'thinking' movie. Spidey made a miserable effort in his last movie to do a thinking movie & failed. This movie, on the other hand, explores the whole 'US war on terror' situation -- the hero who must fight dirty; a villain who's psyche you can never hope to understand; the conviction that things will get darker until dawn breaks again; the 'social experiment' I thought mirrored the US dilemna on nuclear capaibilities in the Middle East. Very nicely done.

Finally, Heath Ledger. There's a close-up shot of his face in the interrogation room (his make-up is running & he has a creepy scarred smile)-- absolutely gave me the shivers!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Most Disappointing Sequels

I made a list of "Most Disappointing Sequels of Recent Times". (Well, mostly because I had nothing better to do, but also because bad sequels really do disappoint me!). Here's my list anyway:
# 5) Indiana Jones - Crystal Skull
# 4) Sarkar Raj & Dhoom 2 (it's a tie)
# 3) Shrek III
# 2) "Lost" Season 2 & 3
# 1) Matrix Reloaded & Revolutions

PS: If I were to make a list of the most disappointing remakes, Umrao Jaan, RGV's Sholay, and Devdas would be my top 3.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Memory is a deceiving thing;
But hard to dismiss.
Moments we ought to forget;
Persist & subsist.
Moments we ought to cherish;
Disappear & desist.
Imagine a different world;
Where memory doesn't betray like this;
A world with memories only of bliss.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Did you know...

...that breathing air in Mumbai is equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes a day?

I'm not shocked with this piece of statistics; I did breathe that almost-air for 20 odd years; but when put like that, it makes me worry a great deal for the health of my family back home. Especially my little nephew who would've smoked over hundred-thousand cigarettes before he actually starts smoking!

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers

I liked this book.

It started off as a stereotypical story -- Chinese girl arrives in London & feels disoriented in the west. The narrative style I thought was cliched-- broken English; spoken like a Chinese. And the naivity of the girl was over-done; she came across as a moron.

But somewhere around pg # 100, the English got better, the writing was more heartfelt; her wistfulness more acute. I felt for Z & her claustrophobia in London; I was tickled by the "lost in translation" moments; I was touched by the love story of the two diametrically opposite lead characters; and the small everyday observations about the contrasts in the Chinese & Western cultures made it an interesting read.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pink, plastic, "Hello Kitty"

Is it a massive over-generalisation to say that South-East Asians love all that is "Hello Kitty" much more than any other group of human population ever loved any single brand?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


When we watched the movie a couple of weeks back, I was the only one who came out of the movie still wondering about the game show problem that Kevin Spacey asks in the MIT classroom in the movie (Yes, I did feel stupid being the only one who didn't get it).
Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, "Do you want to pick door No. 2?" Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?
I thought that the answer in the movie ("yes") was counter-intuitive & it kept bothering me for days (I do get obsessive about the silliest of things sometimes) so I wiki-ed it up. For all those movie-watchers like me who're mathematically-challenged, please look here. Wikipedia has explained it quite well...besides, I thought the pictures of goats & cars were cute (its bizzare that the car is smaller than the goats) :)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

So we visited this quaint & charming hill station in Malaysia & it was a lovely & memorable holiday.

We stayed at a Tudor-styled cottage-hotel called "The Old Smokehouse" and it was a slice out of colonial English holiday-life. Cuppa tea in the garden, wine by the fire-place in the evenings, even our breakfast was served in courses! :)

The landscape of Cameron Highlands is BEAUTIFUL. The tea-plantations cover a lot of land and there are points in the hill roads where you can only view acres & acres of tea plantations in any direction you see, as far away as you see. It's like a massive green carpet in the distance & a lovely never-ending garden up close.

And the weather was perfect. It was nippy, but not oppressively cold. In the mornings, the mist would sneek through the doors & windows until everything became bleary, romantic & bollywood-film-like (If I resisted the temptation to dance around trees or roll down the hill slopes, it was only because H is too shy to do such things).
Sigh. Back in Singapore's hot, humid & I see Monday-morning zombies as far as I can see.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Happy Anniversary :)

We glanced back from our speed boat,
At the track of ripples we left in the river;
Followed by the dew drops on leaves adrift-
like tiny gems on water; floating together;
And between the ripples & the gems;
A bleary reflection of two happy faces--
Both of us & this sojourn in paradise.

Monday, June 30, 2008


I think "tranquillity" is such a beautiful word -- it's got this soothing, whispering sound to it -- the word itself makes you want to believe that such a thing as 'tranquillity' actually exists.

We were in Pune last week & while gazing at this countryside-in-monsoon view from atop a hill, I realised what a beautiful word 'tranquillity' is!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A year in La-La-Land

It's going to be a year in Singapore this July; and although we still feel like new-comers, it is home now. Sure, we still miss Dubai; but we've stopped comparing the two cities. Its like comparing ice-cream & Brad Pitt -- both are great, but in different ways.

My favourite things Singaporean?
1. The very cool people we met & friends we made in Singapore
2. The greenary & natural (??) beauty of the island
3. The quality & variety of Asian food
4. The fact that there are four national languages & a melange of inter-race customs, cuisines & festivals.
5. The quirky taxi-drivers (It takes time, but you do eventually find them entertaining & amusing!)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Life Ahead

Years of half angst, half eagerness;
Anticipating my life ahead;
And now here I am, approaching the destination called "Life Ahead";
Wondering if this is where I dreamt of being then?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Singapore Flyer

We did some "touristy" things in Singapore when my folks were here; one of them was going aboard the Flyer (the Singaporean equivalent of the "London Eye"). Well, the Singaporean skyline is not half as magnificient as the London one; but the view wasn't bad either.

On one side was the busy bustling city & then on the other side was the peaceful sea & golf course. Quite a contrast, eh?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Charlie Wilson's War

Watched Charlie Wilson's War last week... what can I say, I'm watching a lot of movies these days :)... Its an enjoyable political satire (funny, witty).

The movie makes a case (a bit simplistically) that the US action of arming the Mujahideens in the 80s may have been well-intentioned. But it also seems to suggest that because they meant well, they were right in doing them or that they were necessary (Wilson even refers to them as the "glorious" days that ended the cold war). Thats where it didn't convince me.

What I did agree with though, was the political reality of how it all ended -- the Congress was generous in doling out money for arming the anti-soviet --it made them look heroic & patriotic-- but didn't want to spend anything on re-habilitation of this war-zone once the Soviets were defeated --there was no political advantage in that.

PS: Philip-Seymour Hoffman is fantastic in the movie as an out-spoken CIA agent.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Indy & the insipid crystal skull story

I used to love the Indiana Jones series back in my school days (that era when VCRs were used & we used to rent cassettes of Hollywood movies on family-weekends), & I associated the movies with good old adventure-hero machoism, bit of comedy or romance, and an implausible but entertaining plot.

Which is why I was so disappointed that Speilberg decided to make the new Indiana Jones movie all about special effects (did he conceptualise the movie in front of the computer?).

It did make me wonder though -- was the movie poorly made; or is it just me getting older? I'm renting "Raiders of the Lost Ark" this weekend & watching it again just to be sure.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chinese Buddhist Art

Saw this huge painting on the tiled front wall of a Chinese monastery here & it caught my attention.

I don't know much about Buddhist philosophy, but this painting seems to depict some sort of a struggle for survival -- with the monks helping from one side; and demons attacking from the other; while men & women struggle in a sea-storm (of life, perhaps?)

Would love to know more about it --maybe it's a scene from an ancient mythological story; or from the religious texts, perhaps?

Click on image to enlarge

Friday, May 23, 2008

Consumer Psych

Have you noticed how television commercials always use a male voice-over? There's always a man's voice asking us to go buy a brand of detergent or cooking oil (although they're products more likely to be used by women).

It seems consumers (including women) associate a male voice more strongly with reliability & knowledge, rather than a woman's voice -- so says some consumer research.

I find it completely bizzare though...none of the men I know would be able to make a knowledgeable recommendation on a brand of detergent. They would rather check with their wives or moms on what to buy.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


My folks are visiting me this week & its a big occassion. They dont travel much because of dad's health; so its rare for them to visit me. Next week is going to have some quality home-cooked food, healthy dose of nostalgia, lots of hugging & long jogs down memory-lanes :)

I left home one day,
Meaning to go away.
A long distance later
I realised I’d never really been away.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I had seen these words engraved on one of the walking trails in the MacRitchie Nature Reserve. Thought they were beautiful.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Whats happening in my life lately...

I have less than a year before I turn 30; and to tell you the truth, the thought is quite unnerving. So I decided to make a list of things to do before 30. I don't want to do any of those dare-devil things like bungee-jump or sky-dive (that sort of adrenalin rush is quite over-rated, I think). Neither have I ever wanted to kiss a French guy or get married to a stranger in Vegas (I'm simply not that spontaneous a person). Does anyone have any suggestions?

The other day someone at work said to me "I am flying to Mumbai next week. Do you know how far it is from Bombay?". haha!

I watched a show on "The History Channel" the other day which spoke about Nostardamus' prediction that the world will come to an end in 2012. If it is true, doesn't that change everything? All that we work for or worry about -- health, savings, career, kids, global warming, market crashes, oil prices-- they wouldn't matter anymore. Maybe I won't need to clean my desk after all.

Have you tried salted popcorn & ice-cream as a combo? It's quite a good dessert!

Friday, May 02, 2008


Got tagged by J...

Last movie you saw in a theater - Michael Clayton

What book are you reading - "A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers"

Favorite board game -Scrabble

Favorite smells - Herbal Essence hair products

Favorite sound - My nephew's babbling

Worst feeling in the world - Hatred

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up - Check my blackberry (I'm pathetic, I know)

Favorite fast food place - A dimsum place near work (yes, that counts as fast food in this part of the world). "Subway" is also a favourite.

Future child's name - Need to discuss with H first!

Finish this statement. "If I had a lot of money, i'd...." -Make a movie with Johnny Depp. And buy a holiday home in the Alps.

Do you drive fast - Not really. I'm a bad driver.

Do you sleep with a stuffed animal - No. Although H does have a tendency of stuffing himself (especially when he gets Indian food)

Storms- Cool or scary -Scary.

What was your first car - Ford Ikon.

Favorite drink - Coconut water.

Finish this statement. "If I had the time, I would..." - Travel around the world. Write my autobiography.

Do you eat the stems on broccoli? -Yes

If you could dye your hair any color, what would be your choice? - brown streaks.

Name all the different cities/towns you have lived in - Mumbai, Pune, Dubai, Singapore

Favorite sports to watch - Cricket, Tennis.

One nice thing about the person who sent this to you -His music

What's under your bed? - The floor.

Would you like to be born as yourself again? - Absolutely. Wouldn't mind being born as the Sultan of Brunei though.

Morning person or night owl - Morning person.

Over easy or sunny side up -Sunny side up.

Favorite place to relax -By the ocean.

Favorite pie - Apple pie

Favorite icecream flavor -Cookies & cream.

Of all the people you tagged this to, who is most likely to respond first? - ??? They're all pretty lazy :)

Who gets tagged next - Lalunadiosa, Jas, 666

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mock Meat

I had never eaten mock meat before; I assumed it would be a bad imitation of the real thing (after all, how tasty could tofu get?)

But the other day we walked into a vegetarian Japanese restaurant (I know!! It sounded wierd to me too!). I tried some delicious mock-tuna sushi & mock-beef teriyaki. Having been so sure that tofu could never amount to anything significant in life; I was surprised by how that piece of tofu was made to look, smell & taste so good & so much like meat!

Its remarkable -- how the things we hold on to as "real" all our lives, turn out to be nothing but a perception created by our own senses! And I don't mean just food.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I love Hong Kong

I really do!!

Its crowded, unpretentious & fun! Its the perfect opposite of Singapore (there is no clean air; no broad roads; it doesn't like rules; and its not pretty to look at). But I thought the city is so spunky & spirited!

"Lan Kwai Fong" is the clubbing area of the city; there's this one street with bars & clubs on either side of it & is the heart of Hong Kong after 10 pm. The place is a riot...people were literally spilling out of the bars & dancing on the streets. And we saw all sorts of people there -- there was a good representation of every possible race -- also, there were freaks in blue wigs, there were the dancing merry-makers, the heavy drinkers, there were blondes with pink bunny ears-- it was a carnival !

I also found it amusing how there is a escalator running through the middle of the city; most people take the escalator from home to work (down the slope) & work to home (up the slope). Its supposed to be the longest escalator in the world & is always packed with people. And at every level of the escalator one can step out & find (again,) bars & restaurants around. SoHo I thought was the most fun destination for such mid-escalator evening drinks.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

"My Name is Red" by Orhan Pamuk

This is the most beautifully written story I've ever read... its a classic.

Here's a love story; accounts of life in 16th century Istanbul; a murder mystery; intelligent discussions on the philosophy of art in an era when renaissance art was evolving in the west & its impact on eastern art; a novel narrative style.

There are way too many reasons to love this book. Its a treat to read.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Clean Desk Day

The Dilbert strip had been running this theme all last week about Carol's cluttered desk; and it inspired me to do something about the piles of loose papers on my desk.

So this morning I pulled out from the stationary cabinet 5 fresh new plastic folders to file away all papers. I spent some quality time setting a strategy for the filing, naming files, and putting markers & seperators in them. I even colour coded them (all pink separators have status reports, all green separators have pending issues and so on). I feel a sense of accomplishment. Setting up the organising strategy is half the battle won, isn't it?

Now all I need to do is go through those piles & put each paper in its right place. Hmmm. Maybe tomorrow? Err, tomorrow after lunch? On second thoughts, maybe I'll give myself till end of next week?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Maroon 5 Concert

Its concert season in Singapore; and we had spent most of our excitement over The Police & Santana concerts last month. But inspite of that, Maroon 5 was a lot of fun. Firstly, we had awesome seats (6th row from the stage; and I swear he was looking straight at us while singing!!); and secondly, the guys were great. Even H who had dismissed them earlier, was humming 'She will be loved' on our way back :)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Johnny Gaddar

This movie surprised me; its quite a thriller - - an interesting plot & made differently from the run-of-the-mill Bollywood thrillers.

Which makes me wonder... when was the last time they made a genuinely good Bollywood thriller? I can only think of lame ones like "Don" or really lame ones like "Humraz" at best.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An Old Song

I'm usually pretty bad at remembering songs & lyrics, but I feel quite thrilled when I think of an old favourite song & realise that I still remember it right till the last stanza :)

The summer breeze entered my window,
Like a free-spirited song whistled in my ears;
As it swirled & danced, it reminded me of a familiar tune,
Relegated, in a far corner of my memory,
but never completely removed from it,
It now ran forth to my lips; I hummed & it lingered,
The words I once knew so well, now re-surfaced;
one at a time; sometimes four or five;
As they rose, they dusted off the age on them,
And soon I remembered that old melody,
That familiar song from years ago.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dying Arts

I read this article about how the artisans of Lucknow, famous for their traditional 'Lucknowi chikan' embroidery, are struggling on account of competition from the Chinese factories, where machines do faster & cheaper embroidery than the artisans.

Its sad to watch traditional arts die this silent death; maybe nobody will mourn their loss; maybe the next generation of these artisans will move on to better-paying jobs in some new BPO company in Lucknow or Delhi; maybe the knowledge will evaporate with this last generation of artisans; maybe *traditional* will soon mean something else; maybe *one-of-a-kind* would be a foolish thing to do.

My point in short: I own a lovely pink salwar-suit with chikan work on it; and I think I should preserve it better than I currently do.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Singapore's Food Courts

The food courts are such a big part of the Singaporean culture and there's always a food court around the corner, no matter what part of Singapore you're in.

The Newton Hawker Center is close to our home & its also our favourite. It's jovial, casual, weekend-ish ambience reminds me of the "chowpatty hawkers" of Mumbai. Of course, there's no chaat served here; but the pepper crab quite makes up for the lack :)

Some of the other food courts in Singapore, especially the ones in the busy business district, can make "no-frills" & "fast food" seem like silly under-statements.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Phone Call to Home

A routine call home every weekend;
Mama answers,
A voice full of
Anticipation, eagerness -
"How have you been?",
She asks.

Followed by asides of
purposeless news,
Of distant relatives,
Of old neighbours,
Of family gossips,
Of everyday banters.

As she speaks of these,
In her voice I hear,
A faint but distinct chant,
A yearning never spoken of,
Layered beneath that insignificant chatter-
"I miss you, I miss you".

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Arab Street in Singapore

Yesterday was the first time that we went to the "Arab Street" in Singapore; and I was super-excited to eat shawarmas & hummus; see sheeshas; and hear someone call out "habibi"; sitting right here in Singapore!!!

It came as a surprise to me that there are enough Arabs in Singapore to be able to have one whole block dedicated to their food & lifestyle!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Herman Hesse's Siddhartha

This book had been on my wishlist for the longest time. Its not a page-turner, I admit; its a story of soul-searching & spiritual evolution... not the easiest subjects for a casual evening read. Until of course, you reach the end of this story-journey & it all seems so simple, so straight forward, and the beauty & depth of Hesse's prose takes your breath away.

While on this book, Kaya tagged me here. This is how her tag works....I'm supposed to write down 3 sentences from sentence no. 5 on pg. 123 of the book nearest to me. Which brings me to a quote from Siddhartha himself:

"Here we are in the middle of the thicket of opinions, in a battle of words. For I can not deny that my words about love stand in opposition, in apparent opposition to Gautama's words. This is precisely why I distrust words so much."

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I thought "Juno" is such a refreshingly different movie. It could easily be categorised under "feel-good" or "chick-flick" and yet its funny (hilarious, actually), very witty, very heartfelt; and its certainly a first-time-ever sort of a look at teenage pregnancy (loved the non-judgemental view of things).

A great movie. The scenes between Juno & her parents are absolute gems.

Oh, and did I mention the great sound-track?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Trip to Vietnam - part II

Most places we saw in & around HCMC were high on Anti-America propaganda & pro-communism propaganda-- be it the horrifying details at the 'War Remnants Museum' about how Americans sprayed pesticides on entire villages that are coping with deformities & birth defects; or the documentary shown at the 'Cu Chi Tunnels' about how the nationalist heroes survived the unethical war tactics used by the Americans . I'm sure every Vietnamese kid learns that in his history & social sciences text-books.

And yet, you see a KFC outlet or a Pepsi machine around every street & strangely there seems to be no tragic association there with America or capitalism.

Here's another example of the strange contrasts we saw in this country stuck between communism & liberalisation... "Hard-rock cafe" t-shirts sold right next to commie t-shirts with Ho Chi Minh's face on it:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

Ok I admit it; we stopped celebrating Valentine's Day a long, long time ago. But I've always loved this piece of poetry ever since I first heard it in the movie "In her shoes". It just fits so well for the day today & for the way I feel about my love (God, it didn't sound that mushy in my head :-) )

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear;
and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)

I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
I want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

Here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Trip to Vietnam

We had a 4-days weekend in Singapore for the Chinese New Year; so we took off to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. And it turned out to be quite an interesting trip.

The lunar new year is also a big festival in Vietnam (its called the "Tet Festival") and the city was almost completely closed during the 4 days we were there. So we couldn't do much of the regular touristic stuff; like sail along the back-waters of the delta; or visit the local markets. But the festive mood in the city was quite something. There were parades & yellow flowers on almost every street in the city & it was abuzz. To give you an idea, this was what the city looked like from a rooftop bar we were sitting at :)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Monday, February 04, 2008

Its strange, the things we miss about the past

Every time I step into the mono-rail trains of Singapore, I can't help but compare the orderliness & almost zombie-like discipline of that commute to the chaotic & fish-market-like experiences of travelling in Mumbai's "Churchgate-fast-train".

I don't know why I should miss that chaos, but I do.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Veil of a different kind

The other day, I was watching a *makeover* reality show on tv (yes, I do such things when H is away and I can't sleep) and I thought it hideous how cosmetic enhancements are packaged in such shows as a solution to poor self-confidence, sinking romantic relationships & just unhappiness in general.

I won't say I'm opposed to cosmetic surgeries (a good friend of ours had a terrible road accident & I'm glad her face could be re-constructed). But I do have a certain disdain for the thought that one's physical appearance could be a source of unhappiness. While I worry quite often about how I look, its been just that -- a worry; never an unhappiness.

I guess the pressure to look a beauty-stereotype is much higher on the girls today than it was while I was growing up; and I'm glad it allowed me and my friends to appreciate our individuality. Yet, I wonder if I would've felt differently about cosmetic surgery if I was born with a giant hairy mole on my face :)

While in Dubai, I had written this post about my mixed feelings on the subject of women in veils. I couldn't help thinking of that post while watching the show. Maybe this is yet another case of social pressure forcing women into wearing this veil of a different kind.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Just wondering...

How could Tarzan not have a beard? Surely, there were no razors in the jungle?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Town painted red

The Chinese celebrate the lunar new year in a few days and as the tradition goes, they wear red clothes & use red charms to decorate their houses for the festival. Singaporean markets these days look so incredibly red & beautiful...

Thursday, January 24, 2008


They started airing Season 2 of "Heroes" recently in Singapore & it irks me how the writers of the show keep introducing more & more heroes/mutants on the show rather than working on their plot.

PS: Sometimes I wonder if I've a Hero living at home. Himanshu does possess the ability to stop hearing when I talk...would that count as a step forward in evolution?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A struggle called Mandarin

I started learning conversational Mandarin a couple of weeks ago & its been such a struggle :)

Of course I knew it was a tough language to pick up right from the outset; but then the pin-yin alphabets & the pronunciations were not that tough. The difficult part is getting the tones right; and thats such a unique thing about Mandarin. There are 4-5 different tones...the word "ma" for example could mean four different things when said in 4 different tones. And to my non-chinese ears they are so ridiculously difficult to tell apart!

My encouraging tutor tells me that Mandarin is one of the easiest Chinese languages to pick up. Cantonese or Haukien could have upto 12 different tones!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cricket Controversy

Although I think Indians made too big a deal out of the mishaps in the Sydney game, these Amul adverts made me smile.
Don't miss Sachin's expression & Ricky Ponting's tail in the second one :))

Saturday, January 19, 2008

"After the Quake" by Haruki Murakami

A great, great collection of short stories set in Japan just after the 1995 earthquake in Kobe:This was my first time reading Marukami & I already want more.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The view from my desk

Mechanical drone,
Of towering cranes.
Rushed & ruffled,
Cars & men;
All busy, all at work,
To make the city,
A bit bigger, louder.

And then in the distance,
The restful swish,
Sea collides with shore,
Gradually becomes the sky;
Proud & poised,
Looks in disdain,
At the pointless bustle on land.

PS: Incidentally, I've got one of the best seats in my office; the view is out-standing!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Treetop Walk

We went to Singapore's Macritchie Nature Reserve over the weekend & it was such a refreshing change of view from the city's regular "high-rises and more high-rises" landscape. We did a half-day walk along the 'Tree-top trail' surrounded by green on all sides. The pic below is the view from the rope-way bridge on the trail. Its not exactly nature-on-the-loose; but its close enough to the real thing without having to go out of the city :-)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

In The Country of Men

I loved reading "In The Country of Men" by Hisham Matar; a moving semi-autobiographical story of a boy growing up in post-revolution Libya.

I must admit, when I took up this book, I knew nothing about Libya or Tripoli; or Gaddafi or his Revolution & I had to wiki it up in order to understand the context of this book.

It was a window into Libya (which until now was generalised in my mind simply as 'Arab' or 'African'). One boy's story certainly doesn't describe a country; but it gives you a flavour of its cultural & political scenario.

The book, by the way, is recommended. Reminded me of "The Kite Runner" in some ways.

A good synopsis of the book here.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Amer Palace

I tried publishing this post a couple of times the other day, but for some reason, the pics wouldn't get uploaded. So here goes another attempt...

Here are a few images from our recent visit to the Amer Palace; built by Raja Man Singh in Jaipur around 400 years ago. The Hindu monarch had struck a political deal with the then Mughal king Akbar & to demonstrate his friendship with the Mughals, decorated this palace with a blend of Hindu & Muslim designs. As a result, one finds in the palace beautiful Hindu motifs like elephant heads, set in typical Mughal craftsmanship. I loved the overall harmony of design inspite of this peculiar stew of influences. Or maybe the harmony was a consequence of this unique stew...!