Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Catwalk? Pigs can strut too

It is the Jungle Fashion Week. Much sexy and lot exciting than Lakme-India Fashion Week. And this is my contribution to the world of fashion.
I will update the post with matching pink strappy sandals later.

The Pink Passion

The Little Writing Helper



Since so many of you long to be part of the 'workshop' I attend, I decided do something about it. Something that does not involve booking flight tickets for all you guys :p

This is one the 'tools' that we use to search for intriguing prompts. I bought this book last week and trust you me, it IS interesting. Of course, to make it work, one has to be a little more dedicated than what I am right now, but it works wonders. Definitely.

And another idea would be to post a prompt in my blog every week. You can work on it and send me a link to your story, so I can have fun reading it too. And if I am vetti enough, I'll try to compile everything in another blog. Will this work? Or should I just create a group blog and like-minded people can join and we form an e- writing workshop?

Just let me know which idea sounds feasible and less time-consuming. Yes, I am a bored housewife but the couch is extremely inviting :D

Friday, March 24, 2006

Writing Workshop - VIII

Chip Off The Old Block
Prompt: You are an alien who has been sent to earth. You arrive in the heart of New York City and land in the middle of a city block. The first thing you encounter is an unidentifiable object(known to earthlings as a melting chocolate chip.) Study it. Send a transmission back to your planet about your first earthly discovery.
****

I slowly make my way across the planet; the warm stone tingling my soles. It is a crisp morning and I am brimming with enthusiasm. I am Fat Boy Slim. Now before you ask, I am neither fat nor a boy. I am a podcaster. Nobody really knows what we were called before we became, well, you know, podcasters. We are Uggs who live in pods on Planet Gnogg. Every new moon, we cast our pods and move into new ones. Hence the nomenclature. Or is it because we transfer information from one area to another? I can't say coz we really don't have any literature on it.

This is my first mission. Our leader Glutinuous Scumbag saw this new planet through his Furrospecs and sent me on this top secret expedition. It's Top Secret, so ofcourse, the entire planet knows.

I had parked my ship and was exploring the area little bit. And that was when I ran into it. Dark, sensuous and soft to touch. A trifle too soft maybe but I guess our Freezoids will take care of that. But I knew we should befriend this planet as soon as possible. I mean, we could pick our bedding stuff right off this huge open shop and not pay at all. This IS a fun planet.

I close my eyes and think of Scumbag. He receives my report.


Psst: As much as i am an ardent fan of sci-fi and have devoured every possible book of Clarke & Asimov, this was a tough cookie :( I wrote this in the last 10 mins of my 30 mins, after rejecting 2 pages of ideas. If someone else can do justice to this, I would be happy :)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Writing Worksop -VII

Start with ""When I babysit for you pipsqueaks next saturday night, I am going to..."


Now
"When I babysit for you pipsqueaks next saturday night, I am going to..."

2 hours ago
"That's a pretty saree," I remark, watching my mom in the mirror.
"Remind me to borrow it for our college annual day function next month."
She smiles her winning smile, "You can keep it."
Alarm bells ring in my head. My mom hardly lets me touch her wardrobe so why would she go around gifting me her pretty saree?
"Sweetie..." she begins. Now sirens are screaming aloud. Does your mother EVER call you sweetie?
"Your aunt and I are attending this house warming ceremony and"
"And?"
"You need to watch your cousins."
"No way! They are brats, evil monsters and they always scream"
" I'll increase your allowance this month."
"Nothing can make me change my mind."
"I'll buy you those shoes you've been eyeing"
"Deal."
"Thanks darling and this includes next Saturday too."
Before I could raise the war cry, she disappears leaving me with my "cousins".

I turn around. Typhoon Tarun and Twister Tara grin at me innocently. Like I am going to fall for all that childish charm. I close my eyes for a second, trying to think of evil spells that would turn them into toads. None come to my mind. "So these are the rules," I begin, only to realise I am speaking to the walls. The pests have vanished. Damn! Double Damn!

I find them with their heads inside the fridge talking in whispers. I make a mental note to remove the Colas from the cooler. I mean, who would want to be blamed for their leaking noses?Would you?
"Ahem. Let's call it a truce."
They look at me meekly. Do they know the word truce?No time for all that research now.
"Look, I have a major test tomorrow..."
"But tomorrow is Sunday"
"Er...this is a special class and I need you two.."

"What's a special class?" asks Tara very softly.
"That's not the point. I want you two to.."
"Did you know your nose-tryles become big when you speak?", says an excited Tarun, while Tara giggles. Grrr. I mentally scratch Tarun off my New Year's gift list.
"They are nostrils not nose tryles and No, they are not big. Now listen, you two can play but I want no noise. Deal?"
"What's a deal?" Aargh they should ban kids from asking questions.
"Nothing. Now go play and leave me alone."

45 minutes ago
It's been awfully quiet in the living room. Should I check on them? Naah, not now. I need to first know what happens between Cole and Phoebe.
"Cole slips his arm around Phoebe..."
"Aaaaaaaa." Loud scream. I throw the book down and rush to the living room to find Tara wailing.
"He is hurting my tonsils."
What? Damn! I should have read those darn medical journals at the dentist office instead of last year's issue of Women's Era.
Tara clears her nose and continues, "He pinched my thigh."
"But sweetie tonsils are not in your thighs," I say, all matronly.
Tara shoots me an indignant look, "I know but I am crying coz he pinched me and then if I cry some more I'll catch a cold and then when I have a cold my tonsils grow big and then Amma will take me to the Dr.Murthy and then..." *
Phew! Somewhere during her outburst I stopped listening intently and started counting 'and then's. I think there were 7.
I look up. She's finished speaking.
"Hmm. Sorry Tara but good work on medical err tonsil research. Shame on you Tarun. Apologise to her and come, sit in the kitchen with me." I take Tarun with me. As his punishment. Or atleast that's what I believe.

10 minutes ago
Tap Tap Tap. I lift my eyes from the book and stare at him. The tapping stops.
"P-H-O-E-B-E. Pee-ho.Peehobee. L-O-V-E-S. Loves..."
I close the book.
"Is that for your test?," he asks.
"Yes. Can't you stay still?"
He looks at me with his big round eyes and says, "I am bored. When will mom come back and take us home?"

As I look into his eyes, I remember a little girl with frumpy hair, throwing a tantrum and a young lad taking her hand and telling a story.

I smile and say, "Come, let's play a prank on Tara and her tonsils."

Now
I pull myself to my tall 5 feet height, clearmy throat, crinkle my brows and use my serious voice (normally reserved for those silly men who want to do friendship with me**) and growl,
"When I babysit for you pipsqueaks next Saturday night, I am going to bring my water pistol. So beware"

P.S:
*True incident. I was the irritated babysitter who was pushed to the end of the world by my precocious 5 year old cuz ~K, who proceeded to give me that lecture on "tonsils".
** Inspired by Ms.Soup's experiences in University campus.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A small word for the world

...A giant epic for the Little Girl :)

Well, wanting to exterminate my reading block, I spent a few hours in the book store and managed to read The Good Earth, Brokeback Mountain, The Cider House Rules, Light in August, Anna Karenina and The Unconsoled. In BRIEF.

One day, I hope to read them in full. For the time being, I am glad I was able to read the synopsis without getting bored :)

Food blog updated and hopefully I'll find the time to chip in with couple of more recipes and as for this blog, well, I am extremely tied up staring at the ceiling. I managed to count the cracks in just the east side and there are 3 more sides waiting :p

Totally unrelated, I took up an IQ test. Stop sniggering, I need to feed my ego at times. Anyways, this is what it says :

Score:
You scored 126 on Tickle's IQ test. This means that based on your answers, your IQ score is between 116 and 126. Most people's IQs are between 70 and 130.

Your Intellectual Type is:

You are equipped with a verbal arsenal that enables you to understand complex issues and communicate on a particularly high level(Then why does The Mr always forget to buy flowers?). These talents make you a Word Warrior. Whether or not you recognize it, your vocabulary is your strongest suit—use it whenever you can. Since your command of words is so great, you are also a terrific communicator — able to articulate big ideas to just about anyone. Your wordsmithing prowess will also help in artistic and creative pursuits. The power of words translates to fresh ideas off paper too(Will post pics of my recycled Cardboard side tables). Since you have so many words at your disposal, you are in a unique position to describe things in an original way, as well as see the future in your mind's eye. (That i do. I see myself sitting in the couch reading Shopaholic series for the rest of teh day!)

In short, your strengths allow you to be a visionary(someone's having a roaring time laughing) — able to extrapolate and come up with a multitude of fresh ideas. And you are in good company — bask in the brilliance of Word Warriors who have walked before you. William Shakespeare let loose the power of his pen(Hehehe...How divine). His ability to articulate the most subtle nuances of human nature and to create colorful characters are why his stories still have a major impact — even 400 years after he first wrote them. Whether you put pen to paper or use your understanding of the words around you to come up with creative approaches to problems, your potential as a Word Warrior is terrific.

Great Jobs for You:

Because of the way you process information, these are just some of the many careers in which you could excel:
Writer
Translator
Publisher
Attorney
Poet
Politician
Journalist
Lecturer

Bah! So much for surprises! If only I can somehow inspire myself to finish my writing assignment :(
And going by this report, yours truly has decided to try out for Civil services. If nothing else, my memory will help me remember the Panipat war details clearly enough to pass the exams and become a 'Collector' of sorts. Don't laugh! I had fruit loops for breakfast and I am sure my mind is all looped up now.
Let me scoot before I blabber anymore. And yeah, I reverted back to old template as the new one attempted hara-kiri. Counseling in progress.
Ciao!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Serenading the devil

I miss my job.
I realised that the only reason I was able to write many happy essays earlier was I had my own punching bag - My work. All my gripe, my negativity was absorbed by a project I disliked, by PMs I hated, by lines of code that barely made sense and I was left with a cloud of peace to tinker with and have fun. But now, with nothing but writing to keep me company, I seem too frustrated to write. It's been a year since I read a book. It takes a huge effort to sit through 10 pages and after that I lose interest altogether. I write posts and delete them.

"I need to write, if i want to be read. I need to read, if i want to write."
It's a vicious circle.

I am a big, big girl in a big, big world

Yesterday watched 'Sex & The City'; the episode where Miranda gets married and Samantha tells everyone that she has cancer. If you watch this show with the understanding that it's a different culture altogether, you can appreciate the little nuggets of wisdom that are sprinkled across the 30 minutes. But if it is just about the 3 letter word in its title, then there's really nothing much you can glean.

Anyways, this post isn't about that. In this episode, Miranda says, "You're my people," to her 3 friends. I've always dreamt of similar scenes. Of sitting with 'my people' in a coffee shop, discussing life and love, laughing and hugging; just being there. However, it is always just a dream. Now the 4 of us are in 4 different corners, each with our own ball of string to play with , get tangled in or knit. We barely get to talk, much less meet. And I miss them dearly.

I don't exactly remember how or when it happened. Well, who needs such trivial details? All that mattered then was that we were together. The 4 of us: Princess Dee, Kan, Pdp and Moi. The 3 Musketeers and their Sarcastic South Indian friend. Dee and I lived in #511 with ~V while Pdp and Kan shared their abode in #514 with Dvani.

Ours wasn't an ideal group where if you rewind and play, you will see 4 girls laughing and munching popcorn or riding their battered bicycles towards the Insti, in black& white. Or in technicolour. But there were moments of sublime tranquility where a tired mind always found a lap to rest; of unbound love where a broken heart regained its strength; of unbridled enthusiasm where extra miles were trudged just for a glimpse of a known face under the pancake, speaking an unknown tongue.

I want to relive those moments. I crave for the simplicity of the equations, quadratic or not. Everyone was just a knock away to hold, to laugh at, to scream and to advise. Even in that infernal 3rd year when relationships were strained and stretched to the limit, there were soft edges and gentle creases that made one smile and feel cherished.

--> Like the night when the powers went out before our compre. I was one disappointed wreck who didn't receive a decent intern station and Kan sat up all night by my side with a fan in her hand and caressed my head till I fell asleep, tired of crying.

-->How we all cuddled up in my room(#140) and talked and recorded 'Aaja mere gaadi mein beit jaa" in various voices in a small tape, till my backie(the girl in the back room or the front room, depending on where you look at it from) screamed at us to shut up. The tape, btw, is with you Dee, hopefully :)

-->Sneaking in trays of food from the mess to avoid the crowd, and sitting atop rajais and munching rotis with prawn pickles that parcelled their way from Goa.

-->The lunches in Golden Dragon, Cnot, ordering plain rice, chilli chicken(along with the cans of tuna that Dee's mom bought for us) and feeding each other, making sure the other person is stuffed and trying hard to pedal back to hostel safely on stuffed tummies.

-->Standing outside Pdp's door and knocking nonstop, barging in and giving her piece of your mind and then doing the same act next week, making her gang up with the other 2 and wait outside your door.

-->Trying our level best to educate Kan and increase her Pondy IQ and failing miserably at that.

-->Cycling to an until then unknown Ceeri bakery and ordering our first cake for Dee's b'day. Waiting for that insomniac to go to sleep and decorating her wall with streamers while taking care not to step on her.

-->Pdp and I, sitting on chairs outside the bathrooms, washing Dee's clothes before her Big Play and giggling to ourselves at her 'garments'.

-->Pampering Pdp so that she gives a warm massage.

-->Listening to Bryan Adams' "C'mon c'mon" song, making Kan the Queen Mother and rushing to her for advice.

-->Trying to make Kan and Dee undestand how 'one hour breaks' are essential between study hours, failing which staying awake till 4am preparing for an exam and falling asleep on the table.

-->Bickering and crying and then walking back into Dee's room to 'borrow' a top that would fit me better than her.

-->Spending 8 hours in the mess to bake our first cake. And then graduating to making biscuits and macaroni within an hour.

Four years of memories can't be packed inside a capsule. But on certain days, when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, when you see the dark lining on every silver cloud, when your head aches and heart throbs, you but wish the four girls can be...together, for a moment.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

No thanks.

Somethings don't change.
Like the new shining road just before the elections, like our blind worship of Super heroes on celluloid, like our absent-mindedness of our local Councillor's lack of commitment, like our nonchalant shrug of shoulders about the last terrorist attack.

It is funny that we should talk about our lack of Olympic medals once in every four years when we allow THIS to happen. How can we be so callous? Why do the Tendulkars and Gangulys and Sania Mirzas ALWAYS take centre stage? Is it because their sport is more glamourous? Is it becoz they look good on screen, have dazzling smiles?

Our cricketers have scaled new heights with their talent and they maybe capable of more but what do these sportswomen lack? Not talent, definitely. So why do we ignore them and then think of them only when they return from the Olympic village sporting empty necks? Is that fair to them?

We announce a retirement plan for cricketers. We exempt their gifts from import duties. We give more acres of land to tennis icons who come from wealthy families. We celebrate their 38th birthdays and 21st Test centuries. We are hurt when they lose a game or make a double fault. And then we sit back in our comfy sofas and point fingers at the Malleswaris and Kutraleeswarans for not doing enough to increase the medal tally at Olympics.

Writing this post doesn't make me a saint. I am just another parasite, feeding on someone else's sorry state of affairs to gain my 2 minutes of fame in cyberworld. Tomorrow the empty potato bins would grab my attention and Bhatinda weightlifters would be a figment of my imagination. Another pixel that lost focus.

We are a nation of ingrates; a shoal of happy goldfishes which forget what they were looking at a second ago with one swoosh of the head. yes that's who we are. Blissfully ignorant people.

Somethings don't change.
Like our coffee shop talks on Mr.Q's millions, like the Left's obstruction of every Right policy, like how political parties switch allies faster than I switch channels, like how it takes ages for the courts to reach justice and that too in favour of the accused eventually.
Somethings NEVER change.

Will we?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Celebration?

I don't believe in setting aside one day to celebrate womanhood. Yet if slowly that one day spreads its clutches to the rest of the year then I am game.

I refused to cook yesterday coz I didn't feel like it. The Mr immediately took over the job. I didn't have to ask, I didn't have to fake a headache and we didn't order out. And it felt nice being treated like that. By a man. So to day I want to celebrate the women who didn't/don't have that privilege.

  • My 78 year old Grandma. For raising 8 kids, of which 7 were daughters, all by herself (Grandpa was away in Calcutta or Ceylon for work). For giving them the strength they needed to go through their lives with pride and stand up for themselves when they needed to and for teaching them that being submissive doesn't mean you give up your right to enjoy life.
  • My 6 aunts. Each blessed with a life that could have been better but each making the best of whatever was given to them and raising their kids with more freedom than what they were given.
  • Amma. It's a miracle that she gets up everyday before us and wakes us up with hot coffee. Her joints ache, her legs are permanently swollen. She can't hold vessels coz most days she doesn't feel her fingers at all. The doctors wonder how she is moving about considering her condition, which for all their great studies they can't figure out. She doesn't realise she has burnt her hand or cut herself until i point the scar to her. And not a single day was I asked to eat outside. Irrespective of whether she suffered from fever or cold shivers, she was out of the bed EVERY single day to make sure we had our 3 meals. And that they weren't left overs. Through all this, not once did I see her wince in pain. Her suffering is her own. For raising me to be a strong willed woman, teaching me the nuances between compromise and cowardice, telling me I am worth milions and to wlak out of any place that doesn't treat me that way. And for teaching me to smile, even if i felt like crying inside. For that smile, I would do anything.

I celebrate these women everyday. The men in our lives feel they are angels too but having grown up in a male-dominant society, they never voice it out. If such a day gives them an excuse to be all mushy and tell them they are wonderful, then so be it.

A man's face is his autobiography. A woman's face is her work of fiction.
~Oscar Wilde

To all the prize-winning works of art around the world, Happy Women's Day!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Little Lost Girl

Little Girl is quite fed up
Of all this painful growing up.

Why is it wrong to crave and want?
Why does Fate tease and taunt?

Little pleasures are hard to find
With the rest of the world lost in grind.

She yearns for silent walks in rain;
Every drop silencing her pain.

She used to spin colourful yarns,
Now she struggles to stifle yawns.

She longs to reach and touch her dream,
But all she ever does, is scream.

If this is the fun, life can dole
Little Girl wants to live deep inside a hole.

Do you wonder, what's this about?
Ask her( if she ever comes out!)


Thank You. For Everything.

In the still of the night and the noise of the day...

This is for my little daughter. Or son.

I didn't give my name for the Blank Noise Project coz I never wanted to write about it. Writing, talking, reading about IT meant dealing with skeletons in the closet; Handling truths I'd rather not remember. Realising I never really forgot them. But some ghosts need closure. In some way.

One can no longer argue that the girl invites such harassment with her attire and attitude. If no, then please tell me what did a 10 year old girl in pigtails and school uniform have that his wife couldn't offer? Dammit! I didn't even have breasts. So what was he groping and searching for? And why was he panting in my ears and trying to push himself onto me? And why didn't my mom ever tell me that it was wrong even for old men to touch me? Even if they looked like Grandpa coz Grandpa would never, ever do such a thing.

If strangers touching you is bad, then what is worse is when someone you know, someone your family trusts, gropes you. When he gives your mother more work and makes her stay late in office and comes home early in his old scooter and sends you out to buy biscuits for him, only to wait by the dark staircase and grope you. And you don't know what to tell your mother about her Manager and stay quiet. Till that day when you grow up and realise what he did was wrong but it's too late to scream or shout.

And you want to know the worst? When a 13 year old boy accosts you in your silent neighbourhood on your way home and flashes his organ and asks you to taste it. Fuck you! I am 1o years older to you. You are like my kid brother and why do you have such raging hormones? And you go home and cry nonstop and all your parents can ever say to your tormented 23 year old self is, "Don't walk alone by that road. Appa will come and pick you up from the bus stop."

In fact that incident only made my father more protective. More restrictions on movies seen at Sathyam Theatre coz girls get assaulted there and not a soul would come to help. In fact, i went out only if I was picked up and dropped back home by my friends. Else i made conversation with my 4 walls.

But what do you do when you're stranded in a bus stop in another city? Why wasn't Appa around when strange men asked me how much i charge for the night? Why didn't they go away even after i glared and swore at them? Why didn't my auto-driver show up early to pick me up? Why do i feel responsible for that night? Since when did 7pm become late night?

It isn't easy to pick yourself up and make it whole again. It was never easy. It took me years to learn to trust men. I can't say I trust them now, except for the few I have in my life. There was a stage in my life when I didn't want to marry. And if I did, i wanted to keep my husband away from my child coz my little heart felt that it was the sight of young girls in pretty frocks and rabbit teeth that corrupted older men. Even if they are good.

For every ~A who will walk by my side in crowded streets, with his arm two inches behind my shoulder so no one would dare fall 'unintentionally' on me, there was an Asshole to undo the strength I built up.

For every ~K who walked an extra mile just to drop me home safely even if it was only 8pm, there was a married Slimeball who sat smiling across the table, in bright offices telling me how my butt doesn't shake when i walk. How my lips are good and pretty. And he hadn't yet celebrated his first wedding anniversary.

For all the ~Rs who stood up for me when a fellow 'friend' looked down my blouse, there were a million others trying to put their hands down it.

You can live with all this, you can survive every single painful past, if at that soft moment when a loved one touches you, you melt just like the heroine in those romantic novels you so diligently read but instead your body stiffens and you want to scream. Scream for all those moments when you didn't shout. Scream for all those little girls and little boys. Scream for yourself. And then you hate yourself coz you are being denied something becoz some other fool took away something that wasn't his. That never was. Your innocence and your trust.

There are days when i scrub myself hard hoping I would never see those invisible marks. I would gladly forgive those demented souls if only I can forget. But I can't and hence i won't.

I don't know how this post can change men. Maybe it won't.
But this I promise, my little son will never touch your little girl in a manner he shouldn't.

Update:
Here are more excellent and poignant posts that continue to shed light on this menace.


Psst:
Yes, it took me courage to write this.
No, I am not fishing for sympathy.
Yes, I would like it if you understand what I am trying to convey and pass on the wisdom you gained.
No, i don't hate you but you still have to sit 2 feet away from my kid.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Happy Birthday Munchkins!


Abhooobear
Originally uploaded by ponckumari.

This, my dears, is Abhooobear (Mind you! There are 3 'o's in his name).
And today is his Birth Day.

I miss him truckloads and I hope he had a great day, sitting atop my cupboard :p Sometimes, it doesn't matter if certain people are real or fictitious, all that matters is that they ARE a part of your life and you do miss them when they aren't around.

Louve you Abhoobear :)
Hope you have a wonderful time (even if I am not around)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Hallelujah!

I am an 'ok sorts' engineer after all :)
Figured out what 'permalink' is all by MYSHELF and also rectified the error :D
This deserves a rousing celebration. So I shall go treat moi to a sumptuous breakfast of Lindt chocolates :D
(Thou shalt not whisper this info in The Mr's ears. God Promise?)

*Jumping around, blowing bubbles with my bubble maker, and singing loudly*

I am a little star.
Aven naan Super Star!

(I am a little star
Will become Super Star)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Inside Out

This is not permanent. Like Smugbug said, Black is indeed beautiful. So I might revert back to my original template in a few days. This is just to humour the perpendicular pronoun :p

Thanks for the link, Jax :) Just another doubt, when i click on any of my archives, the template shifts to my old one. Why does that happen? Do i need to change the stylesheet at some place???