Honesty is now obsolete....it died a slow death

Malegaon’s Additional Collector, Yeshwant Sonawane was preparing to celebrate his 52nd birthday on January 28. His family had planned a celebratory dinner for him. A simple man, he was too shy to celebrate his own birthday. He preferred to stay out of limelight. Sonawane is now famous rather unwittingly and for reasons he may have never imagined. His gory death grabbed front page headlines and became breaking news. On January 25th he was burnt alive in broad daylight by the local oil mafia. His crime? He was guilty of conducting raids to uncover hoarding of kerosene and petrol. In other words, Sonawane was just doing his job. A Rs 10,000 crore fuel black market killed Yeshwant Sonawane.

The news made me seethe with rage. Have we now become a banana republic, moving towards utter anarchy! How can the accused murder a high ranking official with such impunity? The sad part is, you and I know what the bitter truth is. Shinde and his gang of goons know that they will get away with it. A man despite a history of pilferage and adulteration cases thrives because he has the support of the elected and the custodians of law. A nexus of corruption protects its kin and it’s eating into our nation’s integrity. It is tattered; it’s torn, ready collapse any minute.

Way back in 2005, S Manjunath was shot dead for cracking down on fuel adulteration in UP. In 2003, NHAI project director Satyendra Dubey was killed for daring to blow the lid off corruption in the NHAI. Is this is how you get rewarded, when you are the lone idealist? Believed what you read in books, what your elders taught you, that good always wins over the evil and truth always prevails! Baah this is all bunkum, get real. This is the new, improved shining India - compromise, adjust or else prepare to fail.

The government builds houses for the poor, the rich grab it. The house that you paid for has more sand than cement. The road contractor builds his empire by laying out roads that cave in at the mere mention of rains. The country is put to shame because a paunchy man treats the games as commonwealth and siphons off millions. The nation is enraged and expects the government to intervene. The government sacks him, three months after the games and strangely he continues to be the IOC chairman. Is this justice? Does our government think we are gullible fools - a sack here, a committee there, is enough to pacify the public! You sir are a mere spectator, just pay your taxes on time. You refuse to pay bribe and your case languishes for years in the musty cabinet of a babu with pan stained teeth. A faulty meter, your passport that you gave for renewal, a no objection certificate, your hard earned money that was kept aside for your old age, everything expects baksheesh now. It is you against the system, how long will you survive? Sirjee, chai pani is now our birthright!!

Never Ending Story

Courtesy : Google
Today was special, just too special. As she stretched herself like a cat, Dia smiled. She didn’t do her usual running up to the window and furiously drawing the curtains – strangely the morning sun didn’t hurt her eyes. She had a beatific smile plastered on her face as she ran up to Dhiren and planted a wet slurpy kiss on his cheeks. She pushed him aside - I’ll make tea today. Dhiren was looking very alarmed now. What’s wrong with you darling, is everything ok? She smiled her secret smile. Naah, I’ll keep my rendezvous a secret. If Victoria can have a secret, why can’t I?

Dia had asked for a half day at the office today. The drive didn’t seem even one bit annoying to her. Why, she wasn’t even gnashing her teeth. The cacophony of horns almost sounded like music to her, she had to stop herself from tapping her feet.

Her heart didn’t do the familiar plunging-into-abysmal-depth thingie as she entered her office. She had a song on her lips, albeit a little off key. The few hours she spent in office were sheer torture. She had to stop herself from checking her watch every five minutes. Gosh, did she love the pretty diamantes on her pink watch. She was distracted and made a lot of mistakes in her “status report”. When grumpy Kohli yelled at her, Dia had to stop herself from yelling back. Naaah, she didn’t want such trivial things to come in between her and her special day.

When it was finally free to leave, Dia felt like a bird out of its cage. She parked her car at the mall. I hope I’ll find what I’m looking for. Last time she felt so cheated. All this unnecessary baggage – did she really need it? Shut up Dia, focus!

Her heels clicked furiously as she walked, her heart beat faster. She gave an adoring look to her shoes – it was love at first sight for her. True, she had to forego an entire month’s lunch for it – but it was worth every penny. Yea, it did pinch a bit...okay a lot. But it made her feel like a diva. The mall smelt good, oh so good – the smell of coffee wafting around, the excited chatter of shoppers. It felt like home. And then she saw what she had come looking for, a late evening text that had sent her schedule in a tizzy. The love of her life, her passion, the reason for her existence, those four gorgeous letters S - A – L – E.

Was my life a big fat lie?


Since last week I have been in a state of distress – should I stop crouching under the table searching for cobwebs, bid adieu to my critically critical state and let go of my fetish for “out damn spot”. The whole purpose of my life has gone for a toss. The world doesn’t seem perfect anymore. Why should I be a stickler for punctuality now? Who cares! I now spend hours in front of the mirror asking myself the purpose of my life – who am I, was my life a big fat lie?

All because the Earth is wobbling and can’t get its act straight, the zodiac signs seem to playing musical chairs. The world is caught up in an astrological mess not of its own making. Earthlings are busy proclaiming their loyalty from their desktops – I am a fish, will always be. I thought I was hot, what went wrong with me. The Gemini is acting bullish and is worried that he will have to clean up his act – Are you telling me I can’t flirt with Miss this and that? Karan Johar is appalled that he might have to shift his loyalties from his favourite letter K. My Name is John? Much Much Hota Hai? Hrithik’s Roshan has dimmed – Papajee, will Krrish now be Eeesh? Ministers are running to their favourite astro baba – Has my ring of destiny changed. Shall I shift from sapphire to jade? Bejan Daruwala is huffing and puffing all the way to his neighbourhood water tank, only to stand on its top and scream....Sooooooside

I am trying hard to make a transition from the virtuous Virgo to the confused Leo. Err...should I gargle and practise my roar. Perhaps I should sharpen my claws and change my gait to a menacing prowl. Start lording over and act like a queen.

Then there is this added stress of an undesirable 13th. Wasn’t twelve enough? The name is a spelling bee champ’s dream come true – Ophiuchus! It’s a vowel overload and how the hell does one pronounce it. I prefer big – O. Sounds kind of cool, no? Actually I would have preferred being that opi something . Apparently Big-O traits include being a seeker of peace and harmony, interpreter of dreams, inventive and intuitive. This attractive species can either rise in life and find untold fame and wealth or be completely misunderstood and lead a miserable life. Almost like a character from an Ayn Rand book. Maa, couldn’t you have waited till November. What was the big hurry, really!!
But at least one thing is making sense. The husband and I had a doomed Virgo-Aquarius pairing. After reading Linda Goodman, I had tears in my eyes. Darling, Linda says our marriage will not survive. And now thanks to the tilt, my marriage is destined for a long innings. It will break my heart though to see my witty, classy, experimenting, water bearer become a fierce determined Capricorn. But the fun part is, now I am the lion and he is the goat. By God - what a union it will be.

And guys before you sign off..I have some good news to share. Err not THAT good news - my blog has been shortlisted in Best Of Blogosphere (Humour and Satire) category by blog junta. The bad news is, I am expected to canvass for votes. So here's the deal if you vote for me, jannat awaits you and if you don't.... remember that text you were expected to forward to at least 155 contacts (forward or else your are doomed to eternal damnation!) Jannat is just a click away.

To vote for me in Personal category click here http://apps.facebook.com/polldaddy-polls/?view=poll&id=4428045

Let’s be friends shall we?

Courtesy :avg.org.uk

I often hear people talk about their 2 AM friends. Friends they can call up at an unearthly hour and bawl their heart out. I never had one and would be very pissed off if someone decides to appoint herself as one. I am just too passionate about my sleep and let nothing come in between me and my trysts with dreamland. There’s no other place I’d rather be.

Neither do I have my girlie gang aka “Sex in the City”- friends who stuck with me like fevicol and saw me through my ups and downs. It’s not as if I’m not friendly. I smile a lot, scowl occasionally, hit off famously with people I like. But I do have a grave shortcoming – I am a phoneophobic. Rarely do I pick up the phone to have chatathons with friends. Five minutes into the conversation and my eyes glaze over. Despite my worst efforts, a few of my old pals have managed to hang on by sheer tenacity. And of course my newer bunch of offline/online buddies who pass through my life like a whiff of fresh air. Unfortunately newer relationships come with an expiry date, you make some and you lose some as you move on with life.

As a kid I displayed extreme bouts of friendliness. When I was barely four, a boy in the school’s busy corridor dared bang into me. Like the pint sized version of Hercules, I pulled the alarmed looking boy up by his collars, looked deep into his eyes and asked menacingly “Pataa hai main kaun hoon”? I have hazy memories of poking another boy in his eyes with a sharpened pencil - thankfully he survived and is now a middle aged gent living happily ever after. To make up for my misdeeds, I would often take my entire class to the Principals’ room during lunch time and demand a treat. It helped that the doting gentleman happened to be my dad. Within a year I was shunted off to another school and pulled up my act.

I spent the best years of my life in that school – bunked most of geography classes diligently and spent my phys-ed classes in the cloak-room (a sophisticated term for the loo) discussing world peace. I miraculously managed to be right in front a gigantic water pipe which burst accidentally and spent the rest of the day looking like a drenched puppy. I jumped walls and went gallivanting to the nearby market only to come back to school to catch the school bus (the DTC bus was too crowded).

My school buddies are the ones who saw me fumbling and fidgeting at the mike during the inter-house extempore. They are the ones who saw me through my worse fashion disasters – green eye liner with psychedelic pink nail paint, ill fitting red pants with white shoes which I thought looked oh so cool. In short they were the blessed ones who saw the best of the worst in me.

I spent the most trying years of my life in college – hated the subject, never felt so lonely. The vivacious girl went quiet suddenly. I started working, got married, made new friends and somewhere down the line completely lost touch with my school mates. It’s only after I left my job, I reconnected with my school group after a gap of over two decades. At the school reunion, my evening passed in a state of delirium switching between extreme happiness and acute embarrassment. I had managed to forget nearly all of my batchmates – gasping in a sea of unfamiliar faces with familiar smiles mouthing my patent line – Jeez, you do look familiar, what was your name again? My memory span of a sparrow let me down and how. But my smile never left my face, even when a guy I faintly recollected went up to the husband and announced proudly – Purba and I bunked all our classes together, boy did we have fun!

It’s been a year since I got back with my school friends. When we meet we let our hair down (whatever is remaining of it) and bond like we didn’t miss a beat, as if that chasm of over two decades didn’t exist at all. It is with friends from our growing up years that we let our carefully constructed defences down and accept them unconditionally with all their flaws.

Why is it as we grow older it gets more difficult for us to reach out? We think twice before calling a new acquaintance a friend. The person will always have the longest checklist to fulfil. Do we share the same wavelength? Does he have a sense of humour? Is Fountainhead her favourite piece of literature? Is she compassionate? What is it in for me? We take a million years to make up our minds and a few measly hours to get permanently put off. Why should friendships come with an expiry date? Shouldn’t we fight tooth and nail to keep them alive!

Somehow I feel social networking sites are making us unsocial. We are happy living in our cocoons – we seek solace in shopathons, spend endless hours on the net and read books on pop philosophy to soothe our aching souls. Rarely do we visit a friend until invited, call only when it’s absolutely necessary. And to make him feel special on his birthday, we scribble a hasty message on his FB wall.

Today I’m going to pick up that phone and call a friend. So what if it’s inane talk about the weather. Today I’ll smile at the guy at the gym, so what if he stinks and prefers wearing the tiniest of shorts.

Err or maybe some other day. He smells like a wet towel anyway and the phone call will have to wait. I have so much to do today....play my turns on lexulous, check my mails, finish that write-up, spend the mandatory hour on my blog and the Zara sale is on, damn!! Friends can wait, can’t they?

Normal is Boring

The last fortnight saw Delhi grapple with one of its harshest winters. Shivering Delhites covered themselves up with tons and tons of woollies, almost looking like walking woollens stores and, er, very- very healthy. Many were spotted sporting a new fad: made-in-China earmuffs to beat the icy winds. Everyone from rickshawallas to street hawkers to students, were seen sporting a pair. But the Chinese are having a good laugh at our expense – apparently these were originally designed for their mutts. Have Delhites finally comprehended the deeper meaning of “Who let the dogs out”?

Strangely, in distant lands, a brave new breed is shedding clothes even as the mercury goes plummeting. New Yorkers are dropping their pants for the “No pants subway ride” event where the participants are expected to go pant-less as they go about their normal routine. This unusual annual happening started as a small event by New York City Prank Collective, now has over 50 cities in two dozen countries around the world, participating. As if dropping your pants was not enough, a clothing brand in Madrid had offered the first 100 customers at its store free clothes as long as they showed up in their underwear. Shoppers in their bare minimum braved the cold and waited outside the store overnight to grab their freebies. Thankfully in our country, we are not expected to turn up in our underwear until it’s for the casting couch. Instead we have to bear our film-stars, posing and preening on National Television in their Amul- Macho underwear-baniyan spouting words of wisdom like - Yeh andar ki baat hai. Thank you, but we do not want to know.

If Delhi was inadvertently sporting doggie accessories, they had another surprise, pleasant or otherwise in store for them. Every Delhite’s pain in the arse, the magnificently inept, slothy Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) made its debut on FB. Within two days of their joining the social networking site, they were swamped with over 1,278 complaints, forcing the agency to restrict itself to what it’s comfortable with – garbage. Yes, only stinky complaints will be entertained on FB. The rest of you with complaints of illegal construction, encroachments and bad roads can go to hell.

Talking of film-stars, we will soon see Aishwarya make her debut at the Sabzi Mandi. In case you’re wondering if Ms Rai has found a new vocation speculating on onion prices after her dazzling array of flops, let me put your agitated mind to rest. A star-struck horticulturist and Padmashree awardee, Haji Kaleemullah Khan, has developed a rare variety of guava and named it “Aishwarya” after the Bachhan Bahu. According to Kaleemullah, the new variety is sweeter than the common guavas available in the market, looks like an apple and has soft seeds unlike the varieties of guava available today. My only query for Mr. Khan - Will the guava also giggle like her?

But come to think of it, a lot of our celluloid stars look like fruits and veggies. Shahrukh, post his Ra-One stress looks like a philosophical raisin. The oh-so-posh Ms Zinta is like a Washington Apple - Himachal is too desi for her. Forever fiery Rakhi Sawant is red hot mirchi or rather bhut jolokia – the hottest chilli in the world at upwards of a million scoville heat units. Ms Sawant is hot for all the wrong reasons! Big B looks like Big P, a pineapple. Next time you spot a pineapple, imagine it sporting a pair of white shades, looking adoringly at its baby pineapple. The fat pineapple sulking in the corner is Amar Singh.

A Match Made In Heaven

Will You Marry Me?

They do look very happy and gay, don't they? The Paes-Bhupathi partnership is similar to a typical marital union. They squabble, they sulk and when they makeup, the sparks fly.

After clinching their first doubles title on their reunion at the Chennai Open tennis tournament on Sunday. Image Courtesy - Times Of India

Bring On The Thali

There are many things unique about our cuisine and one of them is the thaali. The word plate doesn’t do justice to the thaali – a gigantic steel tray with a smorgasbord of tiny bowls, each holding a tantalizing promise. You gleefully rub your hands, dying to dip your fingers in the glistening curries just to get a taste. You find out much toyour dismay, not all of them are lip-smacking, you screw your nose and put away the offending bowls. And then you brace yourself for the non-stop indulgence. The constant buzz of the attendants, imploring you to eat some more, insisting you are such a frugal eater. Then out of nowhere someone gives you an extra helping of rice, some more curries, you are now cursing your snug fit jeans and wheezing with exhaustion.

Has anyone of you been to the Andhra Bhawan canteen for their thali? This no frills, Udipi style restaurant has an epic following and finds a mention in Frommer’s travel guide. My first visit was aeons ago, as a newly-wed. The husband was way more compliant back then, ready to indulge the whims and fancies of his brand new wife. I have a faint recollection of that place, but what I distinctly remember is the taste- furiously spicy (the one that makes your nose runny) and delectably delicious. The husband’s delicate palate didn’t share my feelings of ecstasy though. Ever since our fiery experience, he has refused to even look at that direction despite my many entreaties. Not the type who gives up easily, I finally managed another trip nineteen years later, this time with my 16 year daughter and a close friend of mine.

The first thing you notice about the place is the mass of humanity determinedly walking towards the canteen. You realize, nearly the whole world seems to share your love for the Andhra thali. You bravely overcome your fear of crowds, the promise of a good meal being the overpowering emotion. Thankfully one doesn’t have to play musical chairs to get seated- there is a token system that takes care of it. The service is very no-nonsense, but brisk and you can forget about …Madam, you hardly eat...entreaties. They couldn’t be less bothered. The attendant literally bangs the pre plated thaali on your table. My eyes literally lit up at the array of mean-looking curries – a selection of sambhar, rasam, veggies and two non-veg dishes. The word ‘hot’ gets redefined at the Andhra Bhawan canteen. We literally collapsed half way through and had to swig cola to battle the fiery assault. But the meal is scrumptious, even a food snob like my daughter gave it a hearty thumbs up. She was a trifle disappointed though at the lack of cool guys to check out in the vicinity. Nopes, not a single dishy looking guy – even the Mum agreed. We could barely finish our meal and I walked out swaying like a drunk, a big grin pasted on my face. Yes, it is possible to get high on Rasam and all things zesty.

I have a weak spot for the Gujarati thali they serve at Rajdhani as well. Thankfully I don’t have to wait nineteen years between each visit, even though it’s just me in the Ray family who is gushy about this eatery. Every time we go to the mall I look wistfully in the direction of Rajdhani and start walking towards the restaurant as if in a trance. Baby Ray and Papa Ray exchange meaningful glances and shake their heads in mock dismay. Once in a while they do succumb or perhaps my imploring puppy look gets too much for them to bear.

Image courtesy - trekearth.com

What to do, I can’t help but love their delectable savories, the simple vegetarian fare and an assortment of karhis. And what makes the experience unique is their selection of fresh-from-the-tawa mini rotis. But that doesn’t mean I adhere to their stuff yourself to the gills motto. During the meal my hand is mostly over my thali moving in clockwise and anticlockwise direction. And if that doesn’t work I resort to a loud, emphatic nahiiin much to the amusement of the attendants. It always works- the ladles of ghee disappear magically.

It’s not as if all my experiences with the thali have been divine – some of them have been gastronomic disasters. Like the Hyderabadi thali I had in Agra in a much recommended restaurant…under salted and unspiced to suit the firang palate yet floating in kilos of oil. After my last trip to Rajasthan and having nothing but ker sangri and gatte ki sabzi I’ve sworn off Rajasthani cuisine. I steer clear of the North Indian version with its mandatory shahi paneer and dal makhani. Despite my many years in Delhi I have a special aversion to the dairy-fat fixated North Indian cuisine.

Yet it is these thalis that bring out the earthy taste of Indian cuisine. A cornucopia of delights, it’s easy on your pocket and is truly the aam admi’s meal. And for me is not just a meal but an experience that represents the true essence of our country - chaotic as hell, diverse yet immensely satisfying.
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Does Size really matter?

Scientific studies claim that our brains are shrinking. In a world of inflated egos where a family of four requires a 27 storey mansion, Gen Now takes pride in their thimble sized devices while our dreams have assumed mammoth proportions – size indeed is a conflicting issue. Is big always better? We are still groping in the dark about the implications of this evolutionary trend but do our shrinking brains actually indicate that we are getting dumber?

Our young live in a copy-and-paste world and see nothing wrong in it. Life’s greatest mysteries are just a Google search away. Protests are registered through online campaigns – click to fight child abuse, free an activist, save the seal, stop global warming. We do not let such trivialities come in between us and our comforts, we let facebook take care of it. People are battling Farmville addiction, fighting with angry birds on their mobiles, having cyber-sex and breaking up on the social networking sites. Is something really wrong with us or are we just evolving?

Let’s take a few case studies.

Case 1 - Our Desi Livingstone, Dr Binayak Sen. The man, a gold medallist from Christian Medical College had a bright, moolah laden future laid out for him. He could have set up a Nursing home, ill treated the wealthy and made a killing out of it. And what does this strange man do instead? Goes off to the jungles and dedicates his life treating the tribals. And here’s when it gets dumber. Not happy with playing Santa Claus to the poor and doling out medicines for them, he goes ahead and starts dabbling with human rights. Yeesh! Does he not know the poor have no rights! Imagine fighting for their right to live with dignity. He should have just let these chhota people living on the fringes, die of malaria, cholera, hunger. Who asked him to fight on behalf of nobody’s children, when he could have led an air-conditioned life, watched NDTV with his nightcap and joined some online campaign to ease his conscience. In this David V/s Goliath battle – size did matter.

Case 2 - Our much loved Celebrities. Says who, celebrities need to be cerebral. If they need to feel nerdy despite their pea sized brains, they can always sport librarian glasses and quote from the Mahatma. Like our high on life, Ms Lohan has revealed in her New Year's resolution - "Today is the first day of the rest of my life 'The future depends on what we do in the present.' -Mahatma Gandhi" I hope she’s aware of his celibacy fixation– they didn’t call him the Mahatma for nothing!

Here are a few more pearls of wisdom from our much idolized –

So where’s the Cannes film festival held this year…Christina Aguilera

Internet is a great way to get on the net….Bob Dole
 I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother & father….Greg Norman

AIDS is just a little more worrisome than a common cold and it’s curable, so just go out there & get it done….Kajol

Smoking kills. If you are killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life…..Brooke Shields

And yet we idolize them?

Case 3 - Mainstream Media is relentlessly dumbing down its readers, listeners and viewers. A national daily devotes an entire article to tweet nothings exchanged between a ballsy woman and a cricketer whose spinning balls spell trouble. Kangana’s implants, Amir’s Dog, Kareena’s weighty drama grabs national headlines. Rakhi Sawant dispenses Insaaf on TV and a dozen demented women bare their claws over a Rahul Mahajan. A past her prime Ms Anderson’s entry in Big Boss sends the nation into a tizzy - of course size matters. Switch on India TV and you immediately want to flee the country to someplace far far away – maybe even Reykjavik. Camera mein kalaa jadoo….Khatarnaak batak…Khoon peene wali nurse…And the anchor is looking earnest, trying to scare the living daylights out of you. It always works.

Case 4 - The government definitely thinks we are dumb. It taxes our income, expenditure, gifts and assets, with the assurance that it will be utilized for development. It is used for development but of a different kind - the minister’s many bank accounts in the Caribbean islands. To ensure our netas get a truly global outlook, we fund their trips to Germany en-famille to study the drainage system intricately. The CM’s MIL gets a flat, the MLA’s son’s career goes sky rocketing. And we love our politicians so much that we gleefully pay millions for their Z class security. While we the aam admi, pay bribes to get even a faulty meter replaced, do not expect police help because they are too busy taking care of our VIPs. We are content at cracking jokes at the ineptitude of the representatives we elected. So who’s dumb?

There are some who may argue that the shrinking brain should be of no concern to us. After all, not many of us utilize our grey matter to think. Some of us use our hearts, while many use the below-the-belt appendage! So who cares about the size, big or small.

I Hereby Resolve to.....

Image Courtesy exurbmagazine.com

My first reaction to a suggestion for a list of resolutions was- But I never make them! If I want to work towards a new, improved me, why wait an entire year, why not start now. But it’s the first week of January; the whole world is wracking their brains hard towards their a little more of this and a little less of that list. So why should I be left behind? And I thought hard, really hard and came up with this.

I will act less violently the next time I see a pic of Kareena Kapoor pouting at the camera. Of course the ‘come hither, I’m too hot for my own good’ look is not directed at me, but for her million panting male fans. In reality though, I’ve yet to come across a living being who’s as much in love with Ms Kapoor as the lady herself. This year, the new, patient me will pout back in all my lip glossed glory.

I will finish what I started – City of Djinns that I have been reading for the past two months, Atlas Shrugged- that I should have finished ten years back, In an Antique Land- collecting dust for the last three years. The batch of muffins that I was supposed to bake five years back. I bought the moulds and then conveniently stored them in the darkest corner of my loft. Note to self – find those damn things.

I will stop criticizing our hard working netas and send a personal thank you note to all of them. Thank you for working so sincerely for the benefit of your bank balance and contributing to the growing GDP. May the zeros in your scams rise significantly.

No more forwarding stale Rajnikanth jokes to my friends. Enough of Rajni Saar knows Victoria’s Secret....Can make onions cry....Killed the Dead Sea......Can play the violin with the Piano... Has threatened to delete the Internet if we don’t stop circulating jokes about him. I actually took his threat seriously. Please Saar, anything but the Internet, my life depends on it.

I promise to age backwards. In Woody Allen’s words.... “In my next life, I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you are young enough to enjoy your retirement and are generally promiscuous. Then you are ready for high school, you become a kid, play. You have no responsibilities; you become a baby until you are born. And then spend 9 months floating in a luxurious spa, with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila! You finish off as an orgasm!” Why next life, I want to start right now!

2011 here I come, in all my pouting, earnestly thankful and somewhere near the finish line, avatar. And by the time you finish reading this, I will be in school sporting spiky hair with purple nails, furiously chewing gum and fantasizing about my imaginary vampire boyfriend. Mum, do I really need to take my bath!

Gosh! Time Passes So Quickly!

Every New Year there are some typical things we do. We party, get sloshed and dance to anything that remotely sounds like music. We go charging to the dance floor, move our limbs around energetically, we thump, we bump and manage to collide into nearly everybody (hundred people on a 20x20 dance floor, of course it’s possible). But we are Delhites, we never say sorry! The moment the clock strikes 12, the music reaches a crescendo, we are delirious with joy and end up hugging even that shady looking guy in his cowboy hat. Phew we managed to survive another year!

Have you come up with your set of resolutions yet? Your guilt overload that’s a precursor to the list – you promise to do a little less of this and a lot more of that. At the end of the week, you realize you have bitten off more than you can chew and by the end of the month, you’ve been afflicted by a curious case of short term amnesia.

Let’s do a rewind. Let’s all look back and take stock of what just become past, scrounge for precious nuggets as keepsakes and store them away in our chest of memories. Who knows when you might need them to cheer you up! Of course, not all recollections are agreeable – a few might singe you, make your eyes well up in tears and a precious few that will put the smile back on your face on a dark, dank day.

If I were to think of just one word that defines 2010 for me, it will be re-discovery. This year I stretched myself physically and mentally and discovered a new me. The year gave birth to A-musing, my blog. So many subjects I thought I could never write on, yet I willed myself to. I learnt a new phrase “impossible is just an excuse”. Not that I’ve stopped making excuses, I have an entire collection for my long standing addiction to my blog. I am battling it constantly but I guess a part of me is not trying hard enough. My family and friends came to know me through my write-ups and I had so many of them ringing me up to say Hey! I didn’t know this about you! I earned my little laurels and my year ended with the best New Year’s gift I could ask for - my “Fall of the Feminine” was selected as one of the top 25 Tangy Tuesday posts of 2010 by Blogadda. I connected with the most wonderful, gifted people through my writing and through theirs. Thank you, everyone, for suffering me week after week – and I am glad I got to read your perspectives on life, love and passion.

I got back in touch with many of my school friends – links I had lost in the course of my job. For once I had time for me and made the most of it – I celebrated life the way it should be. I started taking dancing classes, Jazz and Contemporary. I pranced around in the hall with the instructor hollering step-ball-change in the background, doing pirouettes while trying hard not to fall. I got scolded, which had me looking sheepishly for cover. But the icing on the cake was me trying to pout. No, I wasn’t trying a Kareena Kapoor, it was part of a routine and I ended up looking hilarious. Now I have settled peacefully into Yoga, where we thankfully don’t have to pout but simply laugh maniacally at the end of the class.

I am looking at 2011 with a little trepidation. What if I don’t have anything more to say, what if my ideas dry up, will I let all of you down, will I just fade away? And, will I finally be able to stand on my head in yoga class?

Now that I have jabbered endlessly about me, I want you to tell me that one word that comes to your mind when you think of 2010. It would be lovely if you share with me that one memory that carries the essence of the year gone by. Let’s all weave a tapestry of memories, shall we? Here’s to a New Year and new beginnings.

My New Year’s Eve ended perfectly…I notice that the guy carving the Turkey for our table has forgotten to pour the Cranberry sauce on my portion. So I ask for another slice, this time with the sauce. He gives me a knowing smile and in a slow measured tone he says…The sauce…meaningful pause…has ALCOHOL. This after he has poured dollops of it on my daughter’s portion. Huhh!! Do I look the leading lady of a Satsang Gang!!!