Monthly Archives: August 2009

>Some days, you just NEED to be out!

>This is what a week that I began on the I’ll-stay-at-home note ended up as:

Monday: I was invited to judge an event for the Direct Marketing firm Amway. They were having a Mr. and Mrs. Amway contest and said it wouldn’t take more than 2 hours. I reached the venue punctually at 5:00 pm and knew right from the onset of the programme that with 20 couple contestants, there was no way I was going home before eight. I was so wrong! The programme ended at 10:00 pm! Five hours of judging that left me ravenous for good food. The Guy and I ended up going out for dinner that night, but more out of necessity than anything else.

Tuesday: Was supposed to be a stay-at-home for sure. The Guy and I had gone to check out stuff at a furniture shop in the evening and were supposed to be back in an hour and a half. But Destiny had other plans for us. My sister received an award that day for her contribution to the cause of street children and my nephew wanted to celebrate it with an outing. My parents were roped in without a hitch and there was no way we could have refused. Nay?

Wednesday: My friend M had planned a dinner at her place for our newly-wed friends (eight months into a marriage is still newly-wed!). It was a well arranged but informal gathering that we thoroughly enjoyed.

Thursday: The only day this last week that we were home! The Guy and I have been fasting on Thursdays for Sai Baba. Thankfully, unlike the past few Thursdays, there were no invitations this time and we spent the evening constructively by eating healthy and staying at home.

Friday: Technically, we did spend this day at home but with friends coming over for dinner, it didn’t quite feel like what a day at home feels like. It was a dinner, I thoroughly enjoyed hosting! I had planned a sizzler party because with only six people to feed, I could do justice to the idea. I wish I had pictures to show you how much pains I took to lay the table, but there was just no time for clicking! But please let me describe the details and feel good. The starters included, sunken submarines, galawat kebabs (outsourced), paneer fingers and corn salad followed by vegetarian and non-vegetarian sizzlers. I added a slight drama by printing out tiny menus for everyone and I can show you at least what they looked like.

My friends loved the idea though I was fully prepared to have it laughed at. I was doing it for fun anyway!

Saturday: Two more freelance bylines for me! A friend of mine and colleague also made her freelance debut in the same issue of the same newspaper. And that was cause enough for us to get together for dinner! Actually, it was a long overdue dinner: my friend and her husband have also recently launched their own placement consultancy and that’s quite a big deal that we wanted to celebrate! Finally managed to do it this Saturday.

Sunday: No reprieve on Sunday either because it’s the weekend – the official outing day. I stepped out of home at 11:30 in the morning and returned at 10:00 in the night! A hawan to welcome the latest addition to our family – my pretty li’l niece – at my parents’ place was followed by lunch. We went shopping for The Guy after that. In the evening, we went for Kaminey with our friends and decided to try out a new eating place with Awadhi cuisine thereafter. Came home and had another couple drop in for coffee and discussion.

All of this happened in a week I was intending to spend at home 🙂 But tell me, which one of those things could I have avoided?

Cross-posting this over here to revive my party blog.
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>Vote for…

>your favourite header and make things easy for me. It’s probably irrelavant for you (is it?) but obviously not to me. And since I can’t make up my mind about which header is best suited for this blog, I’m going to go by popular choice.

#1: The first one literally was the first one I made myself! It’s about who I am and what I like to do. Decode the images and you’ll know what I’m talking about

#2: Just a little bit of creativity. Used a picture I clicked on my trip to Agra to make this one.


#3: And another one from another picture I clicked on the same trip.


#4: And here’s the one that’s not been put up yet. It’s about a few of my favourite things.

So now you take your pick on which one you prefer and help a very confused me.
UPDATED TO ADD: And the voting results choose Option 1. Option 2 lost by a very, very narrow margine of 1%. Here are the stats:
Option 1: 38%
Option 2: 37%
Option 3: 7%
Option 4: 16%
Thank you for helping me out!

>Pink Weekend

>

A photo essay on our latest weekend trip to Jaipur
We took the train from Lucknow to Jaipur on Thursday and as is usually the case with all our trips, our train was delayed. So instead of arriving in Jaipur at the scheduled time of 11: oo am, we reached a good four and a half hours late! We made the most of that time by playing scrabble on the way and when we crossed Agra we caught a glimpse of the Taj Mahal. That faint structure in the picture, yes, the one that’s barely visible is Taj Mahal. It appeared much clearer to the naked eye than the camera could capture.

Instead of checking in at the hotel, which was some 25 kms from the main city, we first stopped at the busy Jauhari Bazar which is a must-visit for all tourists. And all tourists do visit it for various reasons.


For one, the Hawa Mahal is situated right in the middle of this busy market place. For those who don’t already know this, the Hawa Mahal isn’t actually a palace; it’s just the facade of a palace. If you happen to take a peek at what’s behind, you’ll find squalid slums!

It’s a tiny window into the rich world of Rajasthani art and architecture. I was quite fascinated by these lamp posts that lined the dividers on the road.

The market follows a standardised pattern of signages and you won’t find the facade of the building crowded with signboards of all shapes, sizes and colours. Talking of colour, the orange colour of this building is what people refer to as pink. But if you ask me, it isn’t pink at all!

Of course, the shopping in Jauhari Bazar is supposed to be a tourist’s delight. You’ll get everything here: from bandhini sarees and kohlapuris to mojaris and bangles. My friend totally flipped for the colourful mojaris and picked about half a dozen of them!

They are lots of typically Rajasthani things to choose from as well like fancy embroidered umbrellas and multi-huded puppets.

The LMB -one of the most famous eateries in Jaipur – is also located in Jauhari. While the delectable kachauris that we snacked on did not make for such a great photo-op, this pile of phirni sure did!


By the time we reached the hotel, it was dark and the illuminated hotel facade looked rather impressive.


We were staying at Hotel Shiv Vilas and loved the grandeur of the place.

We spent most of our time relaxing in the pool since relax is what we had gone to do!

We had been a tad worried about the weather in Jaipur before leaving Lucknow, apprehensive that it would be too hot there to move out at all. But the Sun was holidaying too and the weather was perfect. There were dark clouds overhead that sprinkled light showers on us intermittently but never to spoil any of our plans!

We spent the afternoon of August 15 on the terrace attached to our room and enjoyed the view from there.

We decided to have dinner at Rambagh Palace that evening. On our way, we stopped to get ourselves clicked at the Jal Mahal – a palace in the middle of water.

I could go on and on about Taj Rambagh Palace, but I’m going to save that up for another post, another blog! For now, I will leave you with an image of moi in the royal washroom of the hotel!

>Me vs blogger me

>

If a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, would a blogger by any other name write any differently? Perhaps not. But perhaps, a blogger who writes anonymously would write a whole lot differently. I’ve been in the blogosphere for a couple of years now and been around enough to know how different people are at different levels of comfort making public their real identities: some will safeguard it will all their might, others will make no effort to be known in the virtual world as they are known in the real.

Most people who read my blog know me as D and most others who know my name have chanced upon it by accident. I don’t think I’m any different if you know me by one name or another. So why am I at pains to remain D for the blog world?

I mulled over this question for weeks and months and finally came up with a coherent answer: I just don’t want any more relationships. I like meeting people, I like to make friends but I can’t labour to do either. If I meet people, good. If I make friends along the way, good. If I don’t, still good. Is that hard to understand?

In the real world that I inhabit, I have plenty of friends and plenty of family members around me. There are relationships I cannot sever even if I wanted to and there are relationships I do not want to sever, ever. Then there are people I meet at work, because of work, through work: colleagues, business associates, ex-colleagues… some people I can’t wish away and some people I do not want to wish away. Between all of those, where is the will to forge new relationships?

I spend a lot of time on the internet but I’m not here to be tied down by a new set of strings. When a regular blogger is away for a considerable amount of time, I do wonder if everything is alright with her. When a blogger goes on a vacation, goes on a new diet program, tries out a new dish, talks about her babies, I’m interested. I feel for bloggers I read. But I cannot go beyond that.

I have never tried actively to meet a blogger even though I haven’t tried to resist it actively either. But I’m conscious of the fact that once I meet someone, I’m committing to go beyond the blogosphere relationship. And once I do that, I will not step back. But am I ready for it? Am I ready to take on another relationship and everything else that comes with it? What if I do not like the person I meet or the person doesn’t like me? That’s going to affect our virtual relationship as well, isn’t it?

I hear all the time of bloggers finding some of their best friends in blogosphere. Perhaps, by resisting new ties, I’m resisting friendships that could be. But any relationship is about give and take – of emotions, times, energy. I have nothing to give just now that I already ain’t giving enough of to people around me.

Some people are great at managing a zillion relationships and managing them well. I’m not one of them. I have to labour at every one of them. And it hurts when a relationship goes wrong. I don’t want that hurt. Is there something wrong with that?

>Shopaholic and me?

>You’ve got to be kidding! What makes you think I would be one?

• That I never seem to repeat my clothes and therefore buy more clothes?
• That when I can’t find a reason to buy things for myself, I find reasons to buy them for others?
• That I do not remember the clothes I have?
• That my shoe closet is spilling over and that my shoes now have to crawl their way into The Guy’s shoe rack?
• That I buy clothes not because I need them but because they need to be with me?
• That I can’t get over a sale?
• That I realised there’s more to bags than bags that you carry to work – like clutches and totes and travel bags and some more clutches?
• That since I travel frequently, I need to shop before every trip? Every place is different and has different wardrobe requirements.
• That I buy silk sarees in the middle of summer because I’m in Benaras and can’t come home without ’em sarees?
• That when I’m in Bombay I can’t come home without shopping for clothes, bags, shoes and such stuff that I can get only in Bombay?
• That when I’m in Goa, I must dress up like those tourists and therefore buy cheap cotton shirt dresses that I can never wear back home?
• That when I’m in Nainital, I have to raid the Tibetan market to find the most comfortable piece of nightwear I don’t need?
• That when I buy a dress, I need to also buy accessories that go with it?
• That my husband will not let me enter a crockery store because I may hoard more glasses, plates and platters for home?
• That I miss Delhi because I need to go binge shopping instead of just random shopping?
• That I genuinely do not have any more space in those stuffed to capacity drawers in my wardrobe?
• That I will make my husband and father shop because there’s an offer at the store that says free shopping for women for the amount that men shop?
• That I think it’s nice to have a choice of shower gels and different scrubs for different parts of my body in the bathroom?
• That when I feel low, I think a stroll in the mall can make me feel better?
• That I do not feel guilty for any of it?

Oh, come on, which one of those things do you think makes me a shopaholic?

>Memories make a place special

>The childhood home
That favourite corner where I crouched in every game of hide and seek.
The cement and alabaster roof that burnt under our feet as we played hop scotch.
That tiny space under the staircase from where I dug out precious treasures flung away by the family.
The aangan where I squatted to suck a juicy mango as a three-year-old.
Nani’s room with Nana’s perfume and talcum powder on the dressing table.
The store room with the chest of drawers with Nani’s toiletries.
The warm sun of a winter afternoon on the garden where we sullied our hands with wet clay.
The balustrade along the staircase which doubled up as my slide.
The window sill in Baba’s room where I sat pretending to read a book before I could read the English alphabet.
The dining room of discussions.

The school where I spend 12 formative years of my life
That tree in the school with its gnarled roots where we sat in to share lunch with friends.
The cool corridors where we lined up, giggled and fell out of line.
The amla tree whose fruit was forbidden by the school mali.
The teak wood benched – polished smooth – on which we bent and prayed in the chapel.
The pink parlour for four-year-olds with a pink tea set that we fought over.
The rotten smell of fish in the Biology lab, the caustic smell of chemicals in the Chemistry Lab.
The comfortable infirmary bed to rest on, on days of stomach cramps.
The water cooler conversations, back-stage bickering.
The dust on the black school shoes as we shuffled out the school gate.
The classroom opposite the canteen where the smell of fresh aloo tikkis wafted in before break time.

Pachpan khambey, lal deewarein of the college years.
The college café and the penny pinching.
Idling away warm winter afternoons in the lush green front lawns.
The warm smiles shared with the spastic boy at the college PCO.
The photocopier boy – expressionless, indispensable – outside the library.
The auditorium packed for a talk by Rajdeep Sardesai.
The gazebo in which the teacher’s voice drifted away into nothingness.
The TV room in the hostel in which we ooh-ed and aah-ed over Hrithik Roshan.
The bathroom that was used always with the door unbolted!
The balcony in which we spend long evening and longer nights when the power snapped.
The room in which we learnt to sleep with lights on because the roomies wanted to study.

The places where we wrote our love story
The walls that I tempted him to cross to come meet me and which he never did.
The roads on which we went for long drives.
The dinner at Hyatt to which I wore the skirt borrowed from a friend.
The pizza place for heart-shaped pizzas and an instant photograph on Valentine’s Day.
The PCO across the college where I could ask him to call me back.
The cyber café that charged thirty rupees for half an hour as I wrote love letters on Hotmail.
The friend’s place where he would drop me off after each date.
The coffee places which smelt of cocoa beans and love.
The Swatch kiosk at the mall from where he bought me a watch
The topmost closet in my room where I hid his cards and gifts.

What places are special for the memories they bring back to you?

PIMPING THIS: If you have time, hop over to my other blog where I’m going to be featuring my photos every Wednesday as part of the ABC Wednesdays. Go, show me some love!

>My Best Friend’s Wedding

>Have you ever lost a friend to a marriage, or to their spouse?

It’s the hardest kind of loss to face because it’s not a loss anyone has prepared you for. One moment you’re best friends with someone and the next you’ve sacrificed your friendship at the altar of your friend’s wedding!

In the last year or so, two of our (The Guy’s and mine) very good friends have taken their wedding vows, both of whom we used to hang out with almost every other day, both of whom sat and poured their hearts out to us discussing their confirmed bachelor status versus arranged marriage, both of whom broke the news of their engagement to us before anyone else, both of whom went shopping with us during the wedding preps, both of whom had us dancing like idiots in their baraats, both of whom disappeared pronto after their weddings! Now, if you ask me to understand that, you’re asking for a little too much!

You see, I’ve been there – I’ve gotten married and been newly-married. And I’ve not lost track of my friends because of that. Nor has The Guy. And we haven’t asked each other to get rid of any friends because either one of us didn’t get along with them. How do I make sense of any of this then?

I can quite understand when you’re newly-married and the new relationship is taking all of your time and energy, but I do not understand how it’s impossible to get out for a coffee break once in eight months! Explain this, if you can. Just because your wife doesn’t like me will you give up on our friendship? And how will you explain this when you know that there’s plenty of time to socialise with other people?

As a couple, do you give up your individuality? Does marriage mean leaving behind things you did as a single person, leaving behind friends as well?

I take a long time to make friends but once I do, I give to them all that I have to give. Once I have given of me like that, how should I understand why you’re holding back now? I feel cheated. I feel like I was used because when there was no one, I was there. And now that there’s someone else, you dispose me off (?)

I know how the advisory on the ‘How To Handle a Newly-wed Friend’s Spouse’ manual goes. And I have done everything in the book: taken the initiative, tried establishing a relationship with the spouse, tried to understand what isn’t even apparent, tried giving space, even time and got zilch in return. So let me tell you that none of it works if the better-half of your best friend is bitter about your friendship with him.

I have finally given up on these friends and friendships. But I hold a grudge. And a fear – of my other best friend’s wedding!