What Women Want

It’s been millions of years since man stood straight, started a fire, invented the wheel and moved from stone to copper. And they still haven’t figured out what women want?? Seriously guys what’s wrong with you! She gave birth to you, nurtured you, cared for you. She is your mother, you sister, your daughter, your best friend, your wife - she completes you, your constant companion through your highs and lows, she makes your house a home.

Yes, she baffles you with her startling contradictions. Her softness caresses you yet she can wound you with her harsh words. Her love can move mountains, melt stony hearts but god forbid if she loathes you. She takes no pains to hide her feelings. She can scald you with her fieriness.

The Not-So-Secret Diary of Mallika Sherawat

Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all. Ah, don’t bother mirror, think I will just tweet and ask my million fans. And ha, don’t I know the answer already. I am Mallika, Viagra to men, the hottiest hottie that ever will be. Damn am getting late for my appo with that hot shot Director. One look at my you-know-what and he was floored. I have this effect on men yaa.

Remember my first movie? Who doesn’t. That dude, watssisname, just wouldn’t stop kissing me. Giggle, giggle. Anyways the movie was hot but I was way hotter. All they talked about was my seventeen smooches. Seriously guys, were you actually counting? I wasn’t ;) A “Murder” later Mallika had arrived and how! Of course my non-stop bragging about my non-existent talent and miniscule wardrobe helped. I cooked up a cock and bull story about my small town beginnings. Too bad they found out that I did all of my schooling in Delhi and impressed my lecturers at Miranda House with my intellect. Bunking all classes without getting caught requires intellect naa.

It didn’t take long for Hollywood to discover a bombshell like me. I made my debut in an epic movie like Myth. My role was tailor-made so that the international audience could see more of me. The audience had to sit wide eyed throughout the movie, afraid to blink lest they miss my scintillating appearance. My jaw dropping appearance at the movie’s premier at Cannes had everybody sit up and take notice. And guys I had not forgotten my sari home and arrived in my petticoat and blouse. IT WAS A DESIGNER ENSEMBLE. Go get a fashion sense you morons! This year I stunned the fashion fraternity again at Cannes with my flair for style. I was named among the 13 best-dressed celebs. But does anyone back home care? Only the firangs appreciate a Diva like me. Boo to all you who thought I looked like a character out of a Tim Burton movie with a beehive of a hairstyle. I had a beehive because people call me honey. I make Yanni, the great musical maestro drool. Can you believe it, he dedicated his new composition to me even though his music is all Greek to me? Why just a composition, I have a milkshake named after me - Mallika shakes or is it Mallika shake? Who cares, I am never going to have it.

A Feline Obsession

All these years we have been lead to believe that it is Axe, the deodorant that makes women lose reason and maul decidedly ugly men, with their olfactory senses driving them to insanity. Calvin Klein’s Obsession, which was launched way back in 1986, promises you way beyond just hot-looking chicks. Just a generous spray and you will have tom cat, smelly cat, this cat, that cat and a stray jaguar or two (if they are visiting your neighbourhood) following you around in a mesmerized stupor. Just imagine this spectacle, you- the Pied Piper of Hamlyn with a bunch of frenzied cats? Way hotter than an Eva Mendes writhing and rolling around in the dirt in her Calvin Kleins or a Brooke Shields purring, Nothing comes between me and my Calvins.

In case you are thinking that Obsession’s feline charm is a figment of my fertile imagination, I’d like to clarify that this startling find is actually backed by hard core research. Researchers at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo, New York experimented with a range of different fragrances and how two cheetahs reacted to them. The results left barely a whiff of a doubt. Estée Lauder’s Gorgeous occupied the cheetahs on average for just two seconds. Revlon’s Charlie managed 15.5 seconds. Nina Ricci’s L’Air du Temps took it up to 10.4 minutes. But the musky Obsession for Men triumphed: To their surprise the cats spent more than 11 minutes sniffing and nuzzling up to a tree sprayed with CK’s top selling fragrance. Unfortunately the tree did not reciprocate. So what if we can’t save our tigers and cheetahs, we can at least keep them happy.

A Shopaholic Let Loose in KL

I love indulging in retail therapy and go berserk especially when on foreign shores. After a relaxing stay in idyllic Langkawi we landed in Kuala Lumpur. By way of shopping, Langkawi doesn’t have much to offer, not that I didn’t try. In Kuah town, famed for its duty free shopping, I was more keen on the Malaysian variety of salted peanuts, slightly hard, crisp with a distinctive nutty taste that we got to sample on our flight. We also discovered the Malays’ knack for humour - unintended of course. On the peanut packets was printed an allergy warning – may contain nuts. In Kuah I did get to stock up on peanuts and also made a startling find - salties can have eyes. Thin, cylindrical, lightly browned things that I assumed were munchies with a local twist and turned out to be dried miniature fish. My shocked expression had my daughter in splits.

So here I was in KL, shopping starved and slightly wary of local delicacies. As our taxi pulled into our hotel kerb I noted to my delight that we were right next to a mammoth shopping mall. We checked into our room, oohed and aahed at the stunning views of the hotel swimming pool, hassled housekeeping with our list of requirements for the room and we were headed for the mall. There was a slight clash of agenda though, Daddy Ray and Baby Ray wanted to eat and Mama Ray wanted to shop.
How can you not shop when you are in retail heaven? The Berjaya Time Square has three wings, with the East and West wing having ten floors each. I must have looked rather fetching, standing in the central foyer, mouth agape, slightly dazed and my heart singing with joy at the sight of so many stores. Baby Ray was in a state of turmoil though, unable to choose between ‘Borders’ and Krispy Kreme. I did a quick survey (groundwork for my future expeditions) before reluctantly settling down for lunch at Penang House.


Our great Nation has a father - Mahatma Gandhi, an uncle - Chacha Nehru and now they have a Didi -Didi of West Bengal-Mamata Banerjee. For over three decades Didi has nurtured this dream, of throwing the fascist, bodmash CPM out of her state. After years of seeing red, she has now become allergic to this colour and sick of the sickle. She takes her name Mamata Ban-erjee rather seriously. She wants to ban anything remotely related to development in her state. She thinks the day is not far when her Trinamool Congress will storm the Red Bastion. In the meantime she is busy cooling her heels as the Union Railways Minister. Presenting Didi in her own words……

I haab come a long way in my rubber-choppol and I smell bhictory. From student leader in Jogmaya Debi College to heading Trinamool Congress, voaat a jaarney it has been. Didi works phrom dil, but does anybody understand? So many times I change partner - Congress, BJP, NDA, UPA. Try different pojishuns, but no satisphaction. Ebheryone loves to think I am a drama queen. Let them think….no probhlem. I am a waarker not a thinker. I go on phasts, threaten to hang myself with a shawl, shout, cry, but in Politics you haab to do these things re baba. If you don’t protest and make loud noises nobody pays attention to you. Now I am being charged of shielding the Maoists. Maoists? voaat Maoists? Don’t you know they have all left Oaest Bengal. They just vacationed in Singur and then used some innocent Railway passengers for target practice. All Maoists have now said bye-bye to Bengal.

How to lose weight...in eight easy steps

1. Crib, whine and complain to anyone and everyone even remotely willing to listen. How can she be so slim, she hogs all the time. Why don’t I fit into my skinnies anymore? I hate my genes, I hate my jeans...Do it loudly and try to pack in as many expressions as possible. Helps you shed fat from your cheeks. If after a few days, your friends start running in the opposite direction the moment they spot you, catch up with them, you could even try out-running them. Don’t forget to turn around to catch their puzzled expression. Do it at least 5 times a week.

2. Stand outside the bakery shop and drool. You know you can’t have that sinful tiramisu or that absolutely divine dark chocolate orange cake, but can definitely salivate. Inhale deeply and to make it more effective you could try a few reps of “kapal-bhati”. Your quivering stomach might attract curious stares, pay no heed to them.

3. Be more active and make it fun. Hide the remote from your family members. If they try and snatch it from you, run around the dining table. Ten rounds should be sufficient. Take the stairs, but do it with a difference. Two steps up, three steps down-time consuming but very-very effective. In office no more e mailing instructions & memos, insist on hand delivering them. Will help you bond better with your colleagues and you also get to hear instant reactions.

Heaven Is A Place On Earth

Picture yourself reclining on a deck chair in your balcony gazing at the “now it’s blue, now it’s green” sea gently lapping at the shore barely ten meters away from your chalet. A tapestry of dark clouds is playfully darting across the bright blue sky, hinting mischievously at a cool shower coming your way. Behind you, a lush tropical forest, the air filled with the merry chirping of crickets. As you leaf through the flora and fauna brochure with detailed instructions on what to do if you encounter a gecko/monitor lizard/snake, a mild shiver of excitement runs down your spine. It also happens to be your anniversary and you have come to know your daughter has done shockingly well in her exams (the mother was shocked, not the daughter). To celebrate, you have made reservations for dinner at a restaurant that stands on stilts somewhere out there in the sea. Heaven?

Heaven is somewhere in Malaysia, an archipelago of 99 islands nestled in the Andaman Sea. Better known as Langkawi, it is a curious mixture of low lying hills that dot the horizon, the calm aquamarine sea and the fascinating Kilim river with its unique mangroves.

We are but mere mortals and cannot tolerate tranquility for long. If our first day was bliss, the next day we had to atone for our sins. Distressed at our over indulgence of the gastronomic variety, we decided to trek up to Telega Tujuh (seven wells falls). Legend has it that the fairies used to come down to bathe in these pools. A rather long walk and 638 steps later (the husband insists there were more), the unbearable humidity compounding our misery, we felt like we had scaled the Everest. The seven wells give you a breathtaking view of the forests with the sea shimmering in the horizon. Even though the pictures in the brochures promised gushing waterfalls and deep pools, the wells were too tiny, the water scanty, the monkeys too many and all of them hungry. Perhaps the insufficient rainfall in the last few days was to blame (the monkeys I think got inspired by Kareena and changed their mind midway). We finished off our trek with chilled green coconut water. The water was sweet and we greedily scooped out the tender coconut flesh. Ah…nirvana.

Evening we decided to hit Kuah town famed for its Night Market. The market is a vibrant medley of vendors selling anything from garments to trinkets to even fresh fruits and vegetables. But it was the food vendors that grabbed our attention. Hey isn’t that an Octopus, God that fish looks really angry, wow these drinks look violently colourful, are you sure these are fruit drinks? And what did we end up having? Curly potatoes on sticks… I guess the sights and smells overwhelmed us.

A Foodie In Exile

I was standing patiently, awaiting my turn at the neighbourhood veggie outlet. The woman ahead had just purchased nearly all the mangoes that were on display, much to my annoyance. It was then I overheard her friend announce “I stopped having mangoes yaa, too fattening”. My head did a 180 degree turn  and took one long look at her. Weight is such a petty reason to give up one of nature’s most delicious treats. Aren’t mangoes the sole reason of existence for many of us, nearly dying in the scorching summer heat? The sweet aroma that wafts from ripening mangoes, the sticky juice that trickles down as you devour big chunky pieces, ah sheer bliss. This passionate diatribe thankfully remained within the safe confines of my head.

I am a fairly reasonable person and my emotional outbursts are inevitably followed by deep introspection. A few minutes later I was sheepishly saying to myself, who am I kidding, don’t I suffer from food paranoia myself? Chole Bhatura? You must be kidding. How about paranthas...only if it’s sans oil...Ice cream? A teeny-weeny scoop please! Steamed broccoli, sushi? ...yummy, yummy,yummy. Was I always like that? Not really.

As kids, my brother and I would love coming home with Baba from school. It was not something that happened often. But on days luck favoured us; the three of us would make a customary stop for an ice-cream treat. I always managed to finish my portion first while my brother would take his own sweet time to finish his. He would scoop out the ice cream lovingly in slow motion, devouring each molecule, teasing me, prolonging the agony of my by now ice cream-less existence. And now when Baba asks us whether we would like to have ice cream, both of us let out a vehement NO- you don’t want us to get fat, do you? He still likes to think of us as kids, even though both of us are much married with kids of our own.


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