The Men In My Life

My life would be incomplete without them. Every time things go wrong, I reach out for them. They are not one, but many. My needs are not one, but far too many. Just one man is not enough.

Oh, they are a pain. They make me go on a wild goose chase, they make me wait, they make me stew and fret. Just one call is not enough. Heartless, insolent, smooth liars – yet I can’t survive without them. What they do, the husband can do better, but he is so busy and always short on time. I don’t want to stress him any further. Sometimes I wish I could do it myself. My life would be so much simpler.

I have a daily morning guy. At the crack of dawn, the first person I think of is him. Does he know how impatiently I wait for him? Peering anxiously over the balcony, the sight of his parked scooter sends me into a frenzy. My heart leaps with joy when I hear the sound of his shuffling footsteps and I rush to open the door just when I hear the gentle thwack on the foot mat.

A Suit-able Expedition

With the festive season approaching, I decided I wanted a traditional outfit for myself. Not that I don’t have enough of them, my closet is crammed with my largely unworn saris. In Gurgaon, if you wear saris for a casual occasion, people look at you as if you’ve landed from Mars.

Now we women have this unique talent of creating islands of needs even if we are swimming in a sea of plenty. You can’t possibly expect me to wear one of the many outfits I purchased this season, do you? (Insert horrified expression). And on festivals I wouldn’t be caught dead in a western outfit. I want a formal churidar suit for myself and come to think of it, I don’t even have a single one.

So one pleasant evening, we headed to one of the popular malls of Gurgaon. The husband wanted a new pair of spectacles and I would be surveying the many boutiques for “the perfect one”. The mall on a weekday is a pleasant place to be in. It’s surprisingly uncrowded , you don’t run the risk of your toes getting trampled upon and landing an elbow or two in your stomach. The husband busied himself with the onerous task of selecting the perfect pair (yes, both of us are a match made in heaven) and I trundled off for my survey.

Old Boys Have All the Fun

Chulbul Putin
A new study in Britain has revealed that the typical nifty 50 is more sociable, happy and active than most 25- year-olds. They enjoy more nights out, travel further afield and catch up with friends more frequently. Their partying would put even a 25 year old to shame. 50 it seems is the new 25!

Take the case of Vladmir Putin, the 58 year old Russian P.M who is all set to replace his rusty old model with a sleek, acrobatic one. And no, I don’t mean his car. Putin apparently has split from his wife and is preparing to tie the knot with the 24 year old gymnast, Alina Kabeva. Alina’s father when contacted expressed ignorance about the ‘good news’, but added if she marries such a man it will be great, he’s quite similar to me. What’s so great about marrying a man who reminds you of your dad!
The septuagenarians, it seems are having even more fun. It has been reported that Morgan Freeman, the 72 year old Oscar winning actor, is all set to marry his longtime sweetheart E’Dena Hines. The 27 year old incidentally, also happens to be his step-granddaughter. Freeman has been maintaining a 10-year relationship with his step-granddaughter, which means she would have been barely 17 when they first ‘got together’. “Becoming Mrs. Morgan Freeman has been E’Dena’s goal,” revealed a family source. Some girls, it seems are intent on making a transition from sugar daddies to grand daddies. And granddaddies are only too happy to oblige. 

Let the games begin!

My overoptimistic guest blogger Cacofonix, is unfazed about the stink surrounding the Commonwealth games. He presents the perspectives and solutions as a true Indian.

It is just a conspiracy by western nations against India, as the secretary of the commonwealth games committee has confirmed. By white people who dare to say that their standards of hygiene are superior to ours and that the games village is filthy. For heaven’s sake, they are the ones who do not wash their bottoms, and instead use dry toilet paper for removing fecal matter after their ablutions. Fecal matter is a biological byproduct that unifies India by being visible all around, emerging from the behinds of all life forms, two-legged, four-legged or otherwise, squatting, hanging or otherwise. Our ancient texts teach us to treat all living forms with respect because our souls progress through several births, up the food chain. If, at the games village, a member of the canine family has chosen to deposit the said matter on a spotless bedspread from an Italian designer (purchased thoughtfully by Kalmadi-ji at Rs 4,500,000 apiece during one of his many visits to Europe to study the drainage systems there), we must not take the typically dim western view in describing it as ‘stray dog s*it’, but rather consider it as a natural action by a living being blessed with good taste, strongly indicating that its soul is close to being human. Not to forget the fact that the venue is a ‘village’, and in villages, things are done in the open.

By the way, it is these white westerners who really spoil their own dogs by feeding them holy cow meat, and ox blood, and dressing them up in tartan square kilts and bowties, and taking them to beauty salons and what not. So, you will agree that they are being hugely racist in describing canines in our country in a demeaning way, just because the dogs are dark-skinned and poor and do not have access to affordable healthcare. We are a democracy and our canine souls can do as they please. It is not a case of our country going to the dogs.

A foot bridge has collapsed in front of a stadium. There is such a fuss about it, even after the Chief Minister has confirmed in her press conference that this foot bridge was not meant for athletes. Especially white athletes. Three laborers may have died. But they were Indians and they were poor. So, it does not matter. An enquiry commission will look into the accident and confirm that it did not matter. The souls of the laborers have already moved into the highest human form for their next births and will get elected to Parliament. Or get employed by the police.

Losing My Religion

People often ask me whether I am religious. I can never give a straightforward response to that. Yes, I believe in the existence of a supreme intelligence, who I look up to for guidance and succour. When things are going good I thank Him (or ‘Her’, as it suits), when things are going downhill, I bombard Him with why me? He is my constant companion in fear, hope, in happiness and in moments of despair. But what do people mean when they ask, whether I am religious? Do they mean to ask “do you pray and engage in religious rituals”? I pray only under duress, rarely visit temples, do not believe in rituals, and I never fast, unlike most of my friends. Yet I think of this higher being as my protector, benefactor and expect ‘His’ unconditional love. That’s unrealistic isn’t it, considering I hardly work towards this relationship!

But tell me one thing, why do we pray? Is it because it makes us feel good or is it because we are expected to? We meditate to feel closer to ‘Him’, to find inner peace – and rituals are supposed to be a means to that end. But if we are getting stuck with rituals as the end, is it making us any better? We are living in a fast-paced world and many of us lose sight of the intent behind these rituals. It is now more like a duty that has to be performed, rather than being a construct within which we can seek enlightenment.

I know am treading a tricky path – most of us take our religion rather seriously. When we observe Monday fasts, or a Friday fast it is never sans expectations. For many of us religion works as a barter system. Dear God, if you make my son pass this exam, I promise to fast for 12 consecutive Mondays or I will not touch a morsel of food till the moon comes out, for the long life for my husband. One dares not deviate, even if it’s food that one thinks of the whole day, in fear of retribution. We dare not question our age-old traditions because we have fear lurking at the back of our minds. Why are we God- fearing when we should be God-loving.

Once, when I was much younger, I decided to fast on a religious occasion. I was miserable, hungry and salivating even at the sight of karelas. God was the last thing on my mind. So, now you know why I don’t fast anymore.

I do not consider myself an authority on religion – but for me, being religious means respecting other human beings and being kind to others. I try not to be judgemental and am allergic to being sermonized. For me, happiness is my religion. Only if I am happy can I make others around me happy. Only if I believe in love, will I be able to love others.

The Bumbling Mum Diary – II

Continued from Bumbling Mum Diary - I

It is one of the first things your family and friends enquire about, when your baby is born. Years later, when you are recounting baby tales - you are saddled with the same query. And sooner than you realize, by Gosh! You are asking the same profound question!!!! How much did your baby weigh?

For most first time Moms, their baby’s weight is akin to a scorecard for their motherly performance. Quite similar to Indirank, which we bloggers wait for, with bated breath every month. For me, each visit to the pediatrician was fraught with anxiety. Chewing my non-existent nails, I would wait for the verdict – two kilos in just a month...yessss! 

My baby girl was born underweight at a mere 2.6 kgs. I was aghast, a little shame-faced that I had managed far from a bonny baby. Maybe, I should have listened to my Mum and had those ghee laden laddoos... I should have been less bothered about my burgeoning weight...Should have slept more, hogged more...I was constantly plagued with these concerns.

But like most underweight babies, Tee managed to catch up really fast. I was jubilant – so what if I was cranky, depressed. At least I was doing a fine job as a Mum. Sadly, despite her piling on pounds, my baby was not exactly chubby. I would wistfully look at roly-poly babies sleeping contentedly in their mother’s arms, stare at their sumo wrestler frames and wonder why my baby preferred a size zero frame. Ahh...the cruel irony of fate. 

Oh, I toiled hard - tried a clever diet of mashed fruits, pureed cereals, freshly squeezed juice, experimented with all varieties of Cerelac, but my baby refused to plump up. The stubborn thing that she was, she would clamp her mouth shut and gave a firm thumbs down to all my path-breaking initiatives. Even if I did manage to coax some of it down her gullet, she would promptly puke it out and preferably on her unsuspecting mother. I even made husband click pics, so that later in life I could furnish photographic evidence of the systematic torture in her tiny hands.

My Maa would make it worse with her edition of motherhood horror stories. You think this is bad? Wait till you hear mine. I was a skinny baby and continued to be so despite her herculean efforts. Not the type to give up easily, like King Bruce she tried and tried until she was tired. My dad had to resort to clownish gyrations to keep me amused during my feeding ritual. I was subjected to endless experimentations – stinky goat’s milk diet (yuck, yuck, yuck), eggy diet (no wonder I couldn’t stand the smell of eggs for the longest), visits to the new, happening Russian specialist, oh she tried it all. It was only at the age of 17, after attending a music camp at Aurobindo Ashram in Nainital , did I start eating properly. The food was so bad there it made me realize the goodness of home food. I returned skinnier but wiser.

Rent A God Services

The one stop shop where all your prayers get answered.

Are you tired of getting ignored all the time, despite donations, raving, ranting, banging your head, thumping your chest in front of a lifeless idol??? It’s time to shift your loyalties to a God that is available 24 x 7 at your beck and call. Presenting a divine being, who not only listens but also acts.

No more trying to accumulate “good boy acts” for a better Karma. Now you can kill, plunder, bribe, blackmail without a care in the world – Bhagwan jee is here to wipe your slate clean.

Now, this no ordinary God but God-Man. This double faced genius discovered his gift for gab at an early age and has honed it to perfection. Too lazy to work to earn his living, he dispenses gyaan to lost souls and feeds on their fear. He has special affinity to cash rich cows and weepy voluptuous women. His band of interns who he likes to call his followers, also double up as his henchmen. You are most likely to find him sprawled in his sprawling ashram, with state-of-the-art facilities.

Haven is a place on Earth

Have you committed fraud and are on the run from the long arms of the law? Come rejuvenate your aching legs and tired soul at god’s own shelter for fugitives, a heavenly haven for the living. You will be offered a free herbal drink on arrival. Have fun teeing at our golf course with dacoits from Chambal and murderers in hiding. Complimentary yoga classes and Baba’s preaching also included in the package.

Specialist....Bapu Ass-a-Ram 

Maa Vaishno Laundry

Is your money feeling lost, stashed away in an unknown bank in Mauritius? Like Moses, God-man will part the Sea and guide your long lost funds to a path of deliverance. He will not only wash your dirty linen but launder your money as well. At Maa Vaishno laundry your bored black money transforms into sparkling white. You will be told of the methods to whatever is required whenever necessary.

Specialist....Shudh-ansh-u Maharaj

The Secret Diary Of Sharad Pawar

In the 80’s when I was barely in my 50’s, the iconic Madonna jee sang “Material Girl”. What a song it was, and how hot she was.....wah. The other day I heard someone call me India’s material boy. Oh boy! I had tears of joys in my eyes and my heart swelled with pride. Of course, I am the original material boy even if it is Madonna jee who has been singing it all this while. Wherever there’s money you’ll find me. I may never have held a cricket bat, yet I am the crooked face of cricket. First Mumbai Cricket Board, then BCCI and finally ICC – cash-rich boards here I come.

People love sniggering behind my back. Sharad Pawar is the face of corruption, they say. He has enough personal wealth to run Delhi for five years. What bakwaas, I say. Go ask the Election commission and they will tell you how poor I am, so poor that I can barely buy a flat in amchi Mumbai. I am a crorepati, but there’s nothing official about it.

And do you know how hard this Marathi manoos works? I hold not one but two portfolios – for agriculture and food supply. Under my dynamic leadership we managed a bumper harvest of wheat but forgot to distribute it. Who was to know that the Meteorological Department will be so dreadfully right and actually make a correct prediction about the temperamental monsoons? Alas all of it is rotting in godowns now- grain, grain everywhere but not a morsel to eat. If despite a bumper harvest, the poor are still dying of starvation, is it my fault? The poor have been starving in past and will continue to starve in future. This is how we keep population growth in control. If the grains are rotting, let them rot, I can’t eat all of it can I? And now Supreme Court is ordering me to distribute it for free. Arre baba, somebody please tell the honourable judge, nothing in this world comes for free, not even sympathy!! Taree, from now on I have ordered all my servants to have nothing but rotten grains. Charity, as they say begins from home.

The Chai Story

My day begins with a cup of tea; well actually it begins with the ritual of fixing that perfect cuppa. Out come the tea set and the tea-cosy. Boiling water is poured over tea leaves and allowed to soak in the tea pot to bring out the flavour, not a minute more, not a minute less. Not too milky, a dash of sugar and the perfect brew is ready. For the husband and me, it is almost like an initiation of the long day ahead. Sipping our tea, we pore over the newspapers (we read three of them), have a good laugh or a heated debate as we leaf through the news.

We make it a point to wake up early, just so that we have enough time to luxuriate in the stillness of the morning. It is our moment together, before the day comes crashing on to us, submerging us with its breathless pace and sometimes its unexpectedness.

Most of us have an almost symbiotic relationship with our cup of beverage. As the hot liquid surges through our insides, it energizes us and awakens us nerve by nerve. An early wintry morning and chances are you will spot roadside tea vendors surrounded by the odd rickshaw-wallah or a mason on their way to work. They sit hunched on the pavement, with their hands wrapped around the steaming glass, sipping the hot frothy tea in respectful silence, as if paying obeisance.

Quite a few of us are addicted to our cup of chai – a splitting headache and you reach out for it to unclog your nerves. It rains incessantly, the temperature dips and you yearn for adrak ki chai with assorted savouries. If your nagging cough and cold is making you feel wretched, buss ek cup chai is expected to do wonders.

Remember travelling by train and having tea in khullars? Even if the tea was mostly ghastly, the earthen khullars made it special. And now thanks to modernisation courtesy our ex Railway minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, we get to have our tea in Styrofoam cups. It’s still as ghastly and I can barely take a sip. Chai in Styrofoam cups is not chai!!!!

The Bumbling Mum Diary

Picture courtesy:
I had been waiting nine whole months of my life, for her to arrive. I happily chewed on lettuce leaves, bid adieu to spicy food and grew so fat that I couldn’t recognize myself in the mirror.

Babies had always been my weakness. In the school I taught, I would often wander off to the primary section just to feast my eyes on those cherubic angels. Ah...I could spend hours just tweaking those cheeks. Perhaps sensing the longing in my eyes, I was once sent for substitution in one of the junior classes. Within minutes I had three kids approach me with imploring eyes- they wanted to go to the loo. Soon I had a procession of “thirsty” kids, kids with legs crossed almost buckling over....”Ma’am please?” Of course sweetheart and pretty soon I was sitting in an almost empty class. The kids were soon herded back by their harried supervisor....Purba, how can you be so gullible, the kids just need an excuse to be out! The 40 odd minutes that followed were perhaps the most harrowing of my life. 35 hyperactive kids with a multitude of complaints, requests, tugging at you, demanding your attention - when the bell rang I almost I ran out with relief. Kids are adorable but only from a distance. 

Now it was my turn to have my very own bundle of joy. On D day, I waddled into the hospital with an armful of Tintins, the husband and Mum in tow. A few hours later, my pile of Tintin comics lay untouched and my labour pains had me screaming so loud that I had managed to terrify every single Mum-to-be in the vicinity. Damn, it’s such a lot of hard work, no wonder they call it labour. Twelve hours of extreme agony and what- the- hell- was- I- thinking introspection later I lay sweat-soaked on the bed. The Doctor approached me with the miracle I had managed to create. But did I act like a filmy Mum, hugging her close, shedding tears of joy and wailing ‘’meri betiiii’’? Naah... I just managed one long look at her and flopped back in exhaustion. Why does the happiest day of my life have to be so agonizingly painful? 

When I finally held her I felt more fear than joy. She looked so tiny, so fragile, fists clenched so tight, a mop of jet-black hair framing her pink face....Isn’t she pretty I managed to murmur to the beaming husband.

Sleeping With The Enemy

A groggy Sunday morning and the newspaper headline screams at you, jolting you out of your reverie. Sleeping with your boss can boost your career; with a picture of Paris Hilton smiling vacuously at you for effect (that pic was part of another cocaine related report). You no longer need your shot of caffeine to kick start the day, you’ve already had enough.

A US survey has revealed that sleeping with the boss helps women climb several notches up the corporate ladder. You can be a smart ass chick, be brainier than Einstein, but the well being of your career depends on the presence of a ‘sugar daddy’ willing to give you that extra push or so says the report (wondering whether a boss-type funded this report). But considering how asinine most of our bosses are (am thinking of my last boss) this is a really scary proposition.

So will Business schools now be introducing “sleeping strategies” as part of their curriculum, with helpful visuals of Sharon Stone’s classic act in Basic Instinct?

If you are thinking of trying to make a career in Indian Politics, there’s some really bad news for you. According to a report in TOI, India may have the youngest population of the world’s biggest countries, but it has the oldest ministerial candidates. The average age of an Indian cabinet minister is 64.4. Yes, we are being governed by old fogies and young aspiring women leaders are expected to to deal with them. The safest, sleep-worthy cabinet can be found in UK, where the average age of an elected cabinet is 53.


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