Thursday, December 17, 2009

Browsing on a slow day at work...

And found that Nat Geo's Photo-of-the-day pics are very cool :)

Monday, December 14, 2009


Last year, I was in Dubai when I celebrated my 30th birthday. It was a turning point of sorts - I had a baby on his way; I had just noticed the first few strands of grey in my hair & I was entering a new decade in my life. It was a bit unnerving.

The 31st, in contrast, is completely -- um, what's the right word for it? -- "un-unnerving". I'm loving the 30s!!! I really am. I can't imagine why I was so apprehensive about it - I feel more confident today than I did back in my early or mid 20s; I feel more secure in my relationships; I have a career that rocks; I have goals that give me freedom from the aimlessness of my 20s; I use my credit cards more freely; I feel more in-control; the experience of motherhood has been life-altering. Perhaps I miss my old waistline on occassions; but that's about it.

Maybe it's life falling into place that makes me feel like this. The past year has been a little Benjamin-Button-like.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Selatar Flying Club

This Sunday afternoon we went to the Seletar Flying Club on the outskirts of the city. It's quite a unique spot - sipping beer (or cola if you're a nursing mum), overlooking an aircraft hangar & a beautiful sunset. Nice evening.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Saint Jack

Our friend A told us about this movie screening. Saint Jack was made in 1979 & banned in Singapore for almost 30 years. The ban was finally lifted & the movie was brought here by the National Museum for 2 screenings over the weekend. It sounded compelling & we promptly asked A to buy tickets for us.

The movie is about an American man Jack Flowers, a pimp (unabashedly so) making his living in Singapore in the early 1970s. The story starts off with an easy-going Jack making a small living out of introducing Chinese girls to white tourists & expats; and goes on to tell us how Jack starts a US army-sponsored hotel where US soliders in Vietnam could find recreation while on leave; and Jack's growing sense of disillusionment with this little empire which fails to live upto all the expectations he had from it.

The plot is set in Singapore 30 years ago, its alleys & lanes, its small businesses & seedy hotels, its Chinese & Tamil faces, its gangsters & street-side hookers, its impetuous white expat drifters, its bars, the tiny version of Changi Airport, the Raffles Hotel & Fullerton post office from 30 years ago. The city has changed beyond recognition in the past 3 decades & I could barely relate to that Singapore from how I know it today. I am undecided about what I think of that old Singapore; perhaps it had a stronger character than the glitzy/ artificial Singapore of today; but then again, movies always make eveything look more romantic than it really is.

The movie itself was pretty interesting; mainly due to some very witty lines. As the head of the National Museum said at the beginning, the movie is a white man's fantasy - probably so; but it was more than your sterotypical "Asia-seen-from-the-eyes-of-a-white-man" (or even the "look-how-America-has-screwed-up-Asia"). The style of the movie was bold & quirky; there are transvestite hookers, dwarf gangsters, disenchanted young soldier-boys, obscure bartenders. It was quite a unique movie.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Singaporean-isation of Rudolf

We went to Orchard Road today to show Kabeer the Christmas decoration & I was pretty unhappy with what they've done to poor Rudolf the Reindeer. Firstly, he's a she; and secondly he's some sort of a fashion-diva who loves shoes & fashion accessories!

Monday, November 23, 2009

"After Dark" by Haruki Murakami

Oh. My. God. This is the awesomest book I've ever read! Everything about it - the narrative style, the plot, the characters, loved it all. What I loved the most were the details though. The details of every character in the book, of every place in the book, of every scene in the book. Wow.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Does this happen to others too?

When someone says something offensive or rude to me, I almost never can think of a smart comeback right away; and then (sometimes days later) I'll think of a witty reparte, but it would already be too late to use it. And its such a burden of missed opportunity, I can't wait for that person to say/do something mean again.

Maybe I need to get a life.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Savoury Ice-creams...

Sound like a terrible idea to me...maybe I'll try them nevertheless. This is at one of my favourite breakfast places in Singapore, by the way.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Moment of Realisation

Can't use the "I-had-a-baby" excuse forever....Must lose weight!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Pulau Ubin

This weekend we went to Pulau Ubin, a small island village on the eastern coast of Singapore, with some friends. Its a bum-boat ride away from Singapore. Once there, we had a lazy afternoon lunch & then rented bicycles & cycled across the island. It's a quiet, green, beautiful place; particularly at some points along our route, the view was spectacular. The humidity & heat aside, it was a perfect weekend.

Note to myself: Must do more of this; I used to be an outdoorsy person once upon a time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

An ode to the equity trader?

Every time I listen to this song, I find myself picturing a hotshot equity trader sitting at his desk sometime in September-08, peering with disbelief at his Bloomberg screen, with his Rolex-clad hand clutching his head & his mouth in an "O". I wonder what Coldplay was thinking about...

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"

One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happy Diwali

The festival of lights & sparkles was special this year - it was Kabeer's first. There were laddoos, poori-aloo, lights, taash, grand-parents, yellow flowers, sparkles, puja, friends. The best part was dressing up Kabeer in his Fab-India kurta; he looked like a little Gandhian :)
This was our third diwali in Singapore; but it was our first visit to "Little India" during Diwali. And God, was it manic or was it manic! The decoration in Little India gets put up around a week or so running up to Diwali; and its usually a bit gaudy (1960s stuff with apsaras in typical 'namaste' poses, elephants, and south-indian rangoli patterns). But by the night of Diwali eve, the place turns into an absolute vibrant festive crazy thoroughfare. I've never seen as many people, as much traffic, as much loud music* & as much indiscipline in Singapore before. It felt like Diwali back home!

*The music blaring on the loudspeakers was really random south-indian film music; but Kabeer loved dancing to it :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Is there anything better in the world than a little toothless smile?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Every Second Counts

I don't usually pick up biographies, and I've never been a follower of bicycle racing (my only exposure so far had been Aamir Khan's cycle race in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander which I watched from the edge of my seat in Gaiety-Galaxy a long time ago) but for some strange reason I picked this book by Lance Armstrong. I won't say it's a great book, but while I was reading it, I got really fascinated by the sport of cycling & by the Tour de France; I read up a lot about the race itself, about its little traditions, about the various stages (its very interesting) & have decided that I must make a visit to France & drive along the Tour track; its my latest addition to my "Must-do-before-I-die" list.

Competing in the Tour de France is an incredible feat I think - the bikers cycle around France for 3 weeks or so, through the mountains & crowds, at average speeds like 40 miles an hour & in the end the difference between winning & not is a few minutes. Its an absolutely physically abusive race & to win it 6 times is beyond incredible. I loved every detail described in the book about how the winner goes about this awesome-but-ridiculous feat. As Armstrong mentioned, there's a lot of attention to detail, even small details like how your hand moves on the handle-bar of your bike could shave off a few seconds of time; there's a lot of strategy; a lot of technique to it. Its also a team-sport; who would've guessed that?

By the end of the book, I'm totally sucked into the world of TDF & I'm so going to follow the Tour next year.

PS: After a very long time, I read a book which didn't begin with the words "what to expect..."; its refreshing :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This is my frustration talking...

Damn you, Formula 1...!! Its been a nightmare getting to work all this week because of the blocked roads. Now I'm worried that the vroom from the engines is going to keep Kabeer awake over the weekend. Can't wait for the race to get over & be done with.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Catching up

I have not connected with my blog for a while now. Some updates from the past 2 weeks or so:

- Being back at work hasn't been as depressing as I made it sound in my last post. After the first couple of days, I actually started finding it refreshing to have other thoughts challenging my brain. Also, I find I've become a better mother with this slight distance - I've stopped worrying too much about how much he eats, how much he sleeps, how much he poops & instead of micro-managing him, I've actually learnt to spend quality time with him when I go home. Also, everyday when I return home, Kabeer gurgles & jumps on his bums with joy -- makes me feel like I'm on top of the world!

- A close friend of mine got engaged this month & another found out she's pregnant. So I've been feeling very cheerful & excited.

- We finally watched a movie in a cinema hall. Our first since Kabeer was born. We watched "Kaminey" & I found it to be pretty cleverly written & made. Even though I think stories about the grimy parts of Mumbai have already been done to death; this one had the feel of a Guy Ritchie movie -- which I liked at most points but thought a bit 'wannabe' at other points.

- Kabeer will start eating solids soon & to prepare for the occassion, we went shopping for him. I was so fascinated with the stuff thats out there in the market for babies! We bought this cute cutlery set with suction (so that the baby won't be able to hurl it into air- - isn't that really clever?) & a feeding high-chair with adjustable height, adjustable back, adjustable tray & the works (state of the art stuff which pleased H more than it pleased Kabeer), and a training cup to train him to move from the bottle to cup. Parenthood has really brought forth the consumer in me! :)

- It was Teacher's Day on Saturday & my thoughts were with a teacher who's had a lifelong impact on me & who passed away last year. He was a 'Gandalf the Wizard' in my life - a source of worldy wisdom & inspiration; and although he was meant to only teach me finance, he has taught me a lot more.

- This weekend, I successfully unpacked the last of the cartons & feel a sense of accomplishment. Not just that, my wardrobe has never looked more organised. My mum would get teary-eyed if she were to see it!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back at work

The lovely four months of maternity leave flew by & I'm back in office on weekdays now. Its much, much tougher than I imagined it would be; the separation anxiety is excrutiating, listening to Kabeer on the phone makes my heart break into a thousand pieces, expressing milk at work is painfully tedious, & weekends have never been this precious. Working mothers often worry about how their child is going to get good parenting while they're away. That thought crossed my mind too; but my bigger worry is a selfish but agonising anxiety that maybe Kabeer will stop missing me eventually; maybe he'll forget my face which has always been his favourite, most familiar face; maybe he'll think of me as someone who just shows up on weekends. And then instantly I feel terrible for wishing that my son misses me & cries for me when I'm away.

Also, we moved apartments this weekend. That seems to have added to Kabeer's disorientation a bit. But the new apartment has a ceiling fan which manages to delight him every time it makes a rotation.

Anyhoo. Back to opening the cartons now. Someone please tell me - why cant I stop bursting the damn bubble-wrap plastic????

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dev D.

I loved this movie. I had seen SRK's Devdas and hated it (special mention needs to be made here of SRK's long-drawn death scene & its hideous melodrama); and when I saw the promos for Dev D, I expected it to be an edgier, less glamourised, more real version of the same story, but the tragic tale of Devdas without melodrama was hard to imagine.

I also thought that the story of Devdas was basically bland - lost love makes this weak man drink himself to death - devoid of any strong characters. Well, Dev D is a loser too, he is selfish too, and he definitely suffers from a bigger male ego than SRK's Devdas; but he never tries to invoke pity from me (the viewer) & I wanted to know how far he would go with his insane broken heart/ ego. A Paro with attitude and gumption also was an interesting twist.

What I liked about this movie was its audacity. I don't mean just the audacity of the language, or the openness about sexuality, or even the audacity of Paro's character; but the audacity that the movie has shown in doing away with the filminess of Devdas' tragedy.

Abhay Deol, I'm a fan.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Banyan Tree, Bintan

The beauty of South-East Asia in all its glory: the pristine beaches, the blue water, the warm sun, the green valleys; we saw it all in our weekend stay at the Banyan Tree in Bintan, Indonesia. The beauty of the place was beyond words & the luxury of Banyan Tree left us mesmerised. I'll let these pictures tell the rest of the story:
PS: Staying in a villa in the middle of a valley did get a bit spooky at night. Especially when I heard bats outside. I was glad Kabeer made the night really short by waking us up at 6 am :)

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Play

The stage is set,
Characters there are many,
Each a protagonist,
Of his epic story.
There is much self-created chaos,
There is much randomness,
But there is reason & faith,
That the plot will fall in place.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Port Dickson, Malaysia

We went to Port Dickson for three reasons: (1) H was dying to make a road trip in his much loved Porsche (2) I desperately wanted a getaway before I start work again, and (3) this is an ideal age for travelling with Kabeer - he is young enough not to move on his own & old enough to be able to sustain the travelling.

It took a lot of planning - we were carrying about 15 pieces of luggage (including a steriliser, toys, bath stuff, bed stuff, pram, rocking chair & boiled water among many many other things). In the end, it was all worth it because..

(1) Kabeer turned out to be the most non-fussy traveller :) He was cheerful in his car-seat for the 5 hours drive from Singapore to Port Dickson. He surpassed all our expectations & gave us another reason to love him even more :)
(2) I experienced the best massage I've ever had & for the first time, got one while overlooking the sea :) and

(3) H loved the drive. The drizzle made it even more memorable for him

Monday, July 13, 2009

Kabeer this July

Kabeer has come a long way since his poop-milk-sleep days; he's doing newer, cuter things now. Like he says 'mama' sometimes in the middle of a sentence of gibberish!! Of course, he has no idea what it means, its just a sound he can make & I cheer him when he makes it; so he enjoys making it. But its a ego-high for me nevertheless. I pose different questions for him expecting the same answer :)

Q: Kabeer, who do you love the most in the whole wide world?
A: ma-ma

Q: Kabeer, who is the coolest person you know?
A: ma-ma

Q: Mere pass bangla hai, paisa hai, gaadi hai. Tumhare pass kya hai?
A: ma-ma

Monday, July 06, 2009

Happy Anniversary to us!

I remember the day when I first met H. He was my senior in college. He was slightly slimmer then, but also looked a lot geekier. Admittedly, there were no sparks at first sight. But my best friend started going out with a close friend of his & we were forced to spend more time with each other. He didn't have a romantic bone in his body ("if its not your birthday why do I need to get flowers?"); but I gradually got to see him for the generous & kind man he was & adored him for his straight-forwardness (which complimented my complicatedness rather well). A previous failed relationship had led me to believe that all men are chauvinists at heart; but H changed my mind about the male species in general :)

And when the sparks finally emerged, they were giant ones. Of course, like all college romances we had our highs & lows, but finally decided that we wanted to suffer monogamy together.

I think we had the potential of becoming a great love-story if only our families had objected to the union, and forced us to elope, but none of that happened. Our parents were over the moon elated. The engagement followed & then the wedding; both the events are a blur now.

The first year of our life together was in Bombay & it was not an easy year. H had a difficult boss & worked long hours. We bought an apartment in the suburbs (which meant an hour of commuting every day); and our then modest salaries were eroded repaying the housing loan. We barely saw enough of each other that year & the frustrations from work were often carried home. That year my dad had his first brain-stroke & it was painful for me (and still is) to see what it had done to him. H was my pillar of strength, hope & optimism then.

Then we moved to Dubai. It was a fresh start & we had a fantastic run -- both personally & professionally. We finally went on our honeymoon (and Istanbul was an unforgettable destination). We felt appreciated at work, H finally got his dream car (& then another one as his dreams upgraded). We travelled around the world together, we watched movies, walked hand-in-hand by the creek, it was all a very long honeymoon :)

We moved to Singapore 2 years ago. On our last anniversary we were in Malaysia & the following month found out we were having a baby. H endured me throughout my nauseous & testy pregnancy & stood by my side during labour without passing out. Kabeer has taken our togetherness to another level; he's been the most important milestone in our married life; he has made both of us fall in love once again -- with each other & with him.

Today, on our anniversary, I look back at our time together & feel grateful that we found each other all those years ago. "Happy anniversary & I love you."

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Kabeer is 3 months old

Kabeer celebrated his 3-month-birthday by going to a baby spa (how pampered are we!!) & loved his first experience of swimming. It was so much fun to watch him swim, we promptly took up membership at the spa. I think this is the next Michael Phelps in the making :)

Starting with the warm-upThen in his pool:And he turned out to be a natural swimmer :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My favourite MJ memory

It was 1999; karaoke night at "jazz by the bay" in Mumbai. I had very little idea of how ridiculous I sound; it was my first time at karaoke & my first song was "Beat It". An awful rendition, but such a fun memory :)

King of Pop, R.I.P.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

I'm scared...

...not of losing my job, but by the thought of having to start afresh.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Another Sleepless Night

Rajib Chowdhry -- I really like this artist & have been following him for a while now -- this is an oil painting titled "Another Sleepless Night". I like how the dishevelled bed can tell a story; it looks soft & comfortable & inviting; but clearly is not a place of peace for a restless mind.
(Incidentally, this also reminds me of my friend D who has always pondered about satin bed-sheets - -They look sexy alright, but how do people manage not to slide off them?)

And here's another painting I like from the same artist. This one is titled "The Morning of 27-11-09". Interesting, uh?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Marley & Me

The movie made me want to get a dog. Until H pointed out that I am petrified of dogs; then the movie made me want to like dogs. Even the difficult ones.

But even as someone who is not so much into dogs, I quite liked this movie, mainly because I saw it at this juncture in my life. There are many movies made about great people & their spectacular lives. This one is about ordinary people & their ordinary lives. There are no dramatic twists & turns in their lives; just simple ordinariness & the pleasures of that ordinariness. I felt connected to Jennifer Aniston's character in the movie -- the career-family dilemna; the feeling of being overwhelmed & gratified at the same time; adjusting to & enjoying the joys of mundane everyday family life. I just saw a lot of myself in her.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thoughts on a moonless night...

I remember gazing at the sky, and feeling small & insignificant in the enormity of the universe. When I gaze at the sky these days, I don't feel that anymore. I've seen the center of my universe now. There's just one person there and the universe revolves around him.

Friday, May 22, 2009

American Idol

I followed this season of American Idol & loved both the finalists. Personally, I would've voted for Adam, but I do prefer the under-stated over the flamboyant & thought Kris was a more "likeable" guy among the two -- his modesty gave him a certain vulnerability; which was lacking in Adam, who was more of a confident showman

And then today I saw this news piece on YouTube. I don't know if American voters really were biased against Adam; but it would be ridiculous if it were true. Especially so because its America!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Mummy Returns

So the chaos has subsided & normal life is being restored at our home. We've started going out, meeting other adults and getting bits of sleep every now & then.

Before we had Kabeer, I had resolved that I won't turn into one of those parents who can't stop talking about their own baby. But inspite of my best efforts, I cant help talking about Kabeer's angelic smile. Its the most heart-melting, "awwww"-generating, cuddle-worthy & kiss-inspiring thing I've seen. Here's some proof:

PS: Doesn't his face remind you of chocolate? :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Experiences of a new mom

If I put my mind to it I could write a book about my 2 1/2-weeks worth of experiences as a new mom; but ever since we got Kabeer home I haven't had the time to indulge in idle thought & therefore the book will have to wait. I could however put this quick post together.

The first week back at home was what I call the "tornado week". Complete chaos & panic. By the end of the week, we had begun to believe that everything we're doing is wrong & that we're the worst parents ever. Particularly on that fateful night when Kabeer howled & cried for 5 hours at a stretch & we were close to tears ourselves (all the books & websites said that the baby's brain development is directly linked to the amount of milk intake & sleep he gets; and I was beginning to get worried that my baby is going to have a brain the size of a pea).

The first week was also the peak of excitement. Even when Kabeer was napping, we would stand by his crib & watch him sleep & admire his sleepy expressions.

By the second week came the realisation that exhaustion catches up with you & that sleeping is important. I also realised that there are two kinds of moms -- the ones who stress too much & the others who don't. I probably am the worst kind of mom in the first category, although I so want to be the bindaas mom of the second category. Having realised that I'm stressing too much, didn't help though; as I still continue to stress over my struggles with breast feeding (by the way, whoever said that breastfeeding is a natural instinct is going to rot in hell) & the erraticness of Kabeer's sleep.

It's week #3. I can't remember when was the last time I had a peaceful nap or a peaceful anything for the matter. Yet, whenever I'm not with Kabeer, I miss him.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Although I thought "Lollipop" would be the most apt name for our baby, we decided to stick to something more conventional & respectable in the long run; that's how we landed on "Kabeer".

In Islam, "Kabeer" is one of the names of Allah. "Kabeer" was also a 15th century mystic poet & spiritualist in India, who famously avoided all formal religions & disassociated himself with fundamentalism in spirituality. He drew from Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism & Sufism, but advocated that God can be found by anyone who seeks Him.

O Servant, where dost thou seek Me?
Lo! I am beside thee.
I am neither in temple nor in mosque:
I am neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash:
Neither am I in rites and ceremonies, nor in Yoga.
If thou art a true seeker, thou shalt at once see Me:
thou shalt meet Me in a moment of time.
Kabîr says, "O Sadhu! God is the breath of all breath.

—SONGS OF KABÎR, translated by Rabindranath Tagore
(Source: wikipedia)

Monday, April 06, 2009

He's here!

April 2, 2009. 8.20 am. When the moment came, it was surreal; it was like a scene out of a movie. It was a feeling, an experience like none before; I could barely believe it was happening to me.

She held him
For the very first time,
His head in her arms
His palms locked into fists,
"What do I do now
With a thing so precious?"

Then, as if by instinct
She lifted him to her lips,
And a kiss
So soft but deep in touch,
Magically replaced that cord
Severed only a while ago.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"In the Womb"

Our wonderful friends D&A gifted this DVD to us & insisted that it was a "must-watch". I loved it. National Geographic tells the story of a foetus - from conception to birth - through 3D imagery. It's actually like getting a peek inside the womb & looking at an unborn baby. Not all parts are "cute"; some make your jaw drop in awe; some make you go "yikes!"; some make you smile. Much like the experience of pregnancy itself :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Six-Word Memoirs

Another one of those Facebook exercises - - There's this book "Not Quite What I Was Planning"; its a compilation of memoirs written by people; each one lasts only 6 words. I haven't read the book yet; but a friend on Facebook prompted me to try writing my own 6-word-autobiography.

Ordinarily, I never have a problem being concise; but describing my whole life in 6 words took a lot of attempts (besides, am I not way too young to be writing an autobiography?)
"An epic drama. Tears & laughter."
"Turned 30. Don't feel it yet."
"My optimism made me like this."
"Wish I could sing or paint."
"Been in love. Been loved. Yippie!"

I finally settled for this:
"Ordinary things happened between extra-ordinary moments."

I know its pretty lame (too generalised?); but somehow it was the only 6-worded sentence that could sum up my life so far. Give it a shot; not as easy as it looks! :)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Colourful Singapore

I've blogged before about my fascination with colourful Singaporean buildings -- the vibrant Clarke Quay and the charming wooden window panes of the Old Hill Police Station. I like such structures because they seem to bring some shred of exuberance to the otherwise clinical look of this city (Not that these colours are all spontaneity, but they are cheerful).

Continuing on the same theme, I also find the "Red Dot" building here, well, very red. And very striking. Reminds me of an over-sized English telephone booth. In a quaint way.

Also like this graffiti-styled exterior of the Performing Arts Center. What do you think of it?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Being 8 months pregnant

The best thing about the 8th month of pregnancy:
The ultra-sound scan.
By this month, our baby weighs a whole 2 kgs! We look nostalgically at the scans from the first few months when he looked nothing more than a speck of grey on a black back-ground; and can't help going, "aww, our little boy is all grown up!". (I even catch myself thinking sometimes that "he's going to get married & have his own kids soon!") Yes, I do realise that he's not even born yet.

The worst thing about the 8th month of pregnancy:
Time crawls.
The feeling that the countdown has begun, but its not moving as fast in reality as it is in my mind.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

I quite liked the movie.

- I thought the two young kids who played Jamal & Salim, are awesome actors; mature beyond their age, and with beautiful sparkling eyes. The "Jamal-meets-Amitabh" moment is for me one of the most memorable cinema moments of all time... :)

- Liked the whole concept of bollywood-isation of the movie; love triumphs over all & ends with a mass dance-do. Cute :)

- I was born & raised in Bombay; I've seen what a slum looks like - from the outside & from the inside; and like most people from the city have acquired the ability to stay unmoved when I come across slum-life, poverty, or child beggars. But inspite of that, some of the scenes from this movie did move me.

- Liked the little twist of irony in the end...the one piece of "knowledge" that Jamal had the opportunity to pick up from a book (The Three Musketeers); was the one piece he didn't know.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

25 Things About Me

A facebook tag from my friend Aquin; so here are 25 things about me:

1) I was born in Mumbai & it still is my favourite city. Growing up, I never realised that it was such a difficult place to live in for people who aren't born there. I see that now, but love the city anyway.

2) I love Bollywood. Not because I don't see its absurdity; but I love it inspite of the absurdity. Maybe even for it. After all, this is a world where Rakhee can be confident that her dead sons will return to kill Durjan Singh; and then they do return; without seeming even remotely far-fetched.

3) I enjoy reading. My favourite classical authors are probably Tagore & Tolstoy. While in Dubai, I found myself reading a lot of Arab authors & really enjoyed most of them. It changed my perceptions about Arab literature. These days, I'm digging some good Chinese authors.

4) I have a long wish-list of art I would love to own. But its always the expensive one's that I like (and therefore can't buy). I aspire to have a MF Hussain in my home someday.

5) The current #1 on my list of must-visit travel destinations is China & Japan. China, because I want to see Beijing; I've heard so much about it! And Japan because I want to eat Jap food. And also because I wonder if Tokyo is anything like what they show in the movies.

6) I believe in God; but I'm not God-fearing. I don't believe in rituals; I find that they lose meaning over a generation or two. I do believe in prayers though. I go to temples or churches occassionally (very rarely actually); but I prefer connecting with God in the solitude of my own home.

7) I love my work. There's nothing else that I would rather do professionally. But that doesn't mean I don't find my weekends awfully short.

8) I find 25 is an incredibly large number; I don't have that much to talk about myself!

9) I try to eat healthy; but rarely succeed.

10) My cooking skills have improved since I moved to Singapore. But H is still the better cook among the both of us.

11) My earliest childhood memories involve me fighting with my brother. He was bigger & stronger than me; but I had a shorter temper. So I inevitably picked up fights that I had no chance of winning.

12) I was a nerd in school. I used to wear big plastic glasses & had braces on my teeth. I was quite like Ugly Betty. Except I never got a job in a fashion magazine. And never had a cute boss.

13) Everyone who knows H & I as a couple, acknowledge that we're poles apart. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But its been 9 years and we're still going strong; so I guess we work.

14) I have a habit of asking hypothetical questions to H to gauge his love for me. Like, "will you re-marry if I die?" or "if you knew the world was coming to an end in the next 2 minutes, what would you do?". He never gives me the answers that I expect (i.e. "of course not; I'll never get over you" and "I will hold your face one last time"). His answers are always unromantic (i.e. "I'll die before you do because women have better life expectancy" or "If the world is coming to an end anyway, I will smoke as many cigerettes as I can without worrying about its health effects"). Inspite of those answers, I feel compelled to ask him more questions.

15) The pregnancy has changed me a great deal. Its one of the rare occassions when I find myself thinking more about another person, rather than myself. Before this, I was pretty much self-absorbed.

16) My dad has been my hero for the longest time. Until he got older & I realised there was a negative side to being a stubborn over-achiever. I still do consider him the most intelligent man I've come across. Sadly, that part of the gene pool went to my brother rather than me. I only got his looks, which lets be honest, aren't very impressive. I would've rather inherited my mother's looks.

17) I find its never a good idea to ask, "so what's new?" when I run out of conversation. In my experience, 99% of the time, the other person will respond with "nothing".

18) I like to dunk biscuits in my tea or coffee.

19) I love my nephew. Cuddling him (whenever he allows me to do that) is the most satisfying thing ever. The fact that he hates it does not bother me.

20) I hate awkward conversations. I can never tell someone, "I think your fly is open"; I would rather pretend I didn't notice.

21) I love the British accent.

22) I can't believe I've said 21 things about myself already!

23) I hate smoking ever since I lost my grand-dad to cancer. Yet, I'm married to a smoker :(

24) I like the idea of spending old age in a small cottage in the mountains surrounded by green valleys & blue brooks. Maybe Nainital. But I know I'll never get there. I'm too used to city comforts.

25) I'm the worst driver I know.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The World This Week

There's a whole lot of events that happened in this past week, that I want to blog about; but didn't get around to it; hence this bhel-puri of a blogpost:

* I wept when I watched Roger Federer weep in the Australian Open. I can't imagine the anguish of being the second-best in the world (at anything) and not being able to be the best. That too after a fight that long & emotionally tiring. Having seen the top before must make it even harder.

* A lot of debates happened this week (mainly in the banking circles), when Obama announced a limit on executive pay on Wall Street & most people cheered it. I don't feel bad for the execs; but I do feel the announcement was very un-American; kind of a u-turn on the American dream.

* My waist measures 42 inches now! How huge is that! People say nice things to me (like "wow, you're glowing") to make me feel better.

* I wonder who finances the Hindu-radicals in India? And how do they recruit their goondas? When did so many of them crop up? That too in places like Mangalore?

* The Freakonomics blog had a "Bernie Madoff Limerick Contest"; it was quite fun to read some of the entries; like this one:

We once believed in a man named Madoff,
who big wigs loved so much as to payoff,
but a Ponzi he ran,
30 years ’twas a scam,
and now I’ll blame him for my lay off :)

* My dad turned 65 this week. The thought of him being that old depresses me.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gong Xi Fa Cai !

The Chinese New Year weekend just got over. This was our first CNY in Singapore (last year we had gone to Vietnam during the holiday); and I quite enjoyed being in Singapore this year. Our families were visiting, so we went to Chinatown on the second day on the new year & it was like Christmas -- all the lights, the festivties, the dances, the lanterns; the yellow flowers & the orange trees with red hangbao envelopes -- it was quite spectacular. A lot of the places were closed (even the Carrefours & 7-11s were shut during the holidays; when we unfortunately ran out of milk for our morning tea).
The new year, by the way, is the Year of the Ox. Babies born in this year are supposed to have the qualities of "tireless hard work & patience". I'm quite relieved I won't have a lazy son, but an ox doesn't sound as exciting or great as a lion or a dragon. But then again, I take consolation from the fact that at least he won't be a rat or a pig.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I met Kapil Dev today!!

I would usually be excited to meet any cricket celebrity, but I was especially excited today because this was the first time I actually had a long conversation with one of them. And that too with the legendary Kapil Dev...! :)

Kapil was in here doing a roadshow for ICL, thats how he landed up in our office today. Honestly, I wasn't such a big fan of his until now. But he's just such a terrific guy; unassuming, no hang-ups; and such a chatterbox! We spoke about his first appearance on television --for the Palmolive ad; and about his old pals Ravi & Sunny; about Sachin; about the future of one-day cricket; about cricket leagues; and of course, he spoke about Mandira Bedi (because he was talking to me, a woman, and thought that I would have an opinion on women commentators & their sari fashions).

Mementos from the meeting: an autographed mini-bat & a cricket ball bowled by Kapil himself! I'm so pleased :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Preparing, waiting

We've picked up quite a few things to go in the baby's room. Inspite of warnings from the families (that it would be bad luck to buy too many things before the baby actually arrives), we've done a fair bit of shopping in the spirit of "being prepared"; most of it will get delivered closer to the due date. We'll probably leave decorating the nursery for the last month. Doesn't mean I haven't started planning though.

Colourful musings; soft tender tones;
Some blue, some green, some red,
There is the pram; there'll be the baby's bed,

There we sit as we watch him play;
We could change this, get that new,

Trying our best to keep,
A promise of love; that we've made to you :)

PS: I do realise that my blog posts have been getting overly maternal these days :)

Friday, January 02, 2009

"Waiting" by Ha Jin

I read a good book after a very long time. This is a story set in mainland China during Mao's Cultural Revolution; about a sincere, studious doctor, who is trapped in a loveless marriage & waits for 18 long years for his divorce to be granted, so that he could finally be with the woman he loves. It sounds like a simple plot, but is quite nicely written; sort of a political parellel to the entire generation of Chinese youth of the time who were raised to be too patient to speak up for what was right; too rules-bound to know how to live without them; too passive to create change for themselves; while an opportunistic few prospered at their expense.

A friend of mine (she was my Mandarin tutor actually, but since I've discontinued my lessons she's just a friend now); lived in Beijing through the Cultural Revolution in the 70s; & told me a lot of stories & personal accounts from those times. At the time, I thought it incredible; I still do; the stories of how all religious buildings were destroyed, how capitalist books were confiscated, how school children grew up parroting Mao's poetry & writings, how ancient Chinese festivals & customs & knowledge were lost forever in mainland China after they were banned during the Cultural Revolution. That was my first introduction to the bizzare events that happened in China.

Then I came across this book, which makes a beautifully told argument for individualism (as against the collective society) layered beneath a painful love story. And how it takes a certain kind of people to make a society, like the communist China in the 60s & 70s, work.