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Thursday, December 30, 2010

...

"Loneliness watches and sighs, then climbs into my bed and pulls the covers over himself, fully dressed, shoes and all. He's going to make me sleep with him again tonight. I just know it."

~Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sigh

The irony of our lives is that when you want to travel, you don't have enough money and hence, you need to work to be able to travel. But, when you start working and have some money, you don't have time to travel.

Sigh.

Getting a wanderlust and a travel itch is not going to help right now.

I left at 7:30 am and came back at 11 pm today. I have started to wonder if the job is really worth it. It doesn't pay that well after all. Besides, my dad asked me to quit and start studying Spanish and Sanskrit - something I've been wanting to do since a L-O-N-G time. But if I did that, there goes my financial independence. (Not that I have a lot of it with this job. Meh.) It's so tempting, this offer of my dad's. I will have enough time to study and work on my book. And hopefully, if my dad agrees to loosen up a bit of his purse strings, travel. But it's that asking dad if he'll agree to do this bit that makes me stronger about not quitting. Only, I'm not really that strong when it comes to parental pressure. It's just much easier to agree with them so long as they are not asking me to marry someone or kill someone. This is very complicated. I am thoroughly confused. I want to work. It's a great work atmosphere and a little money is better than no money. But, I'm getting a fabulous opportunity to learn what I've wanted to do since a long time, have some free time to work on my book and finish my scholarship proposal and all and travel. Wattodo? :/ Somebody give me a This-is-the-right-decision-in-life guide please.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Welcome to the land of Over-Educated and Under-Employed

That's my cynical view of my M.A. Except, I signed up for it knowing full well what I'm doing. And what's more? I'm already about to finish writing my proposal for PhD. That's the child in me refusing to let go of my secure world of student-hood and step into the adult world just yet. Just 3 more years, it says.

But, about the bootiphool ceremony! We were awarded our degrees at the Grand Hall in the uni and it was pretty awesome and big. Though, I expected it to be a bit more Harry Potter-esque. But, it was modern and bright and airy and just not old and creepy enough. Ah, well. :P It still is special seeing as that's where I was awarded my degree.

We were all sitting downstairs, on the left and the guests sat in the balcony. Which is how Atom managed to get really nice and pretty shots of the Hall and the ceremony. Then, a procession of all the important people from our departments and the university came and we all stood up to welcome them. They all wore their respective university gowns, which made me realise that when I finish my PhD, I'll have to buy my own gown. ::sigh:: But, since everyone was from different unis, it made the stage look pretty colourful and all. :)


And then, after the ceremony, all of us went to the School of English and spent some very precious last moments there. S was very proudly showing off M (who btw, is now her FIANCE!!!) to everyone. I, on the other hand, was dying to get drunk! So, after lunch, JD, Bijli (JD's close friend, whom we all adore. She graduated a couple years ago with Banking type course and is now working somewhere there) and I went to our favourite bar in the Uni and did many tequila shots and JD with coke! :D Now, that's a perfect end to a perfect day. :D However, the best part was when I wore the gown in the bar and JD presented the rolled-up drinks menu to me with the bar in the background. Perfect. After all, that's where we all got distinctions: sitting, chilling, drinking and smoking in the Terrace Bar. :P

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Star Status

  1. Back in Mumbai.
  2. Officially an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Leeds.
  3. Single.
Am writing this down, mostly, just so that it sinks and becomes real: both, the Graduation bit and the single bit. I have pictures for the first one but no memories that could make the second one real. No fights, arguments, disagreements or dissatisfaction to account for it. It was a mutual decision to avoid the long distance thing. Just like we were having a conversation about apples or something as trivial. I thought it might be easier since it was so short. But, will still take some time getting over it. Anyway, it's alright. Life goes on. Only, note to self, for future reference: Watching silly rom-coms after a break-up is a recipe for disaster. As is reading his letters. Avoid at all costs for the next several months.

But, the Graduation ceremony was awesome! :) Will write more about it next time. With pictures and all. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Letter to the Landlady of the House

I didn't tell you all last time this happened, but on the day of my farewell party, the landlady here screamed at me for no reason at all. She kept screaming random things about how I ruined her life and her kitchen and her house and God knows what else. And she did it again. About three minutes before I was leaving for my graduation ceremony. And this time, I'm going to chronicle her bitchiness on the internet forever without sparing any details.

Ms. Memo,


  • You need to stop crossing lines with people. It is NOT okay to scream at them. Whether you have valid reasons to do that or not. And btw, do you like, pick occasions for unleashing this unpleasantness on me? Farewell party and Graduation ceremony. Just when I'm supposed to be happy and spending time with my friends?
  • Stay away from the family, dude. One more word about my family and you will be dead meat. I mean it. I'm sure there is some or the other law about mental torture or racial harassment in this country. I am not kidding. I WILL do it.
  • This might be your house but everyone here pays for living here. So, simply making rules like "No Chinese style cooking." or "No using bodywash." is not right. You would need to consult people who live here and make rules together. You might be the landlady but since you live here, you are also a house mate. 
  • You most certainly did NOT "allow me to stay here for free." I'm somebody's guest here. And if you read the contract papers carefully, which I'm sure you know word for word, you'll find in there that everyone here is allowed to have guests for as long as they want. 
  • You can NOT ask someone not to cook anything "nasty". Just because you are not used to something doesn't mean it's "nasty". And I especially don't think you have the right to say something like that when you eat sardines 3 days out of 7. Nobody else complains, not because this is your house and you can do whatever you want, but because when 7 people, all of different nationalities are staying in one house, people understand and adjust. Not scream at each other. Oh, and btw, really?!! Did my CHOCOLATE CAKE really "stink the whole house down for two days"? I didn't hear anyone else complaining. They loved it. And what do you mean, "I didn't offer it to you"? Isn't it the rule of the house that whatever is on the dining table is meant for the whole house? So, doesn't that include you? You do know the rules, right? Since you made them and all? You could have helped yourself if you wanted it. 
  • I can't be cleaning the counters when I'm in the middle of cooking something. You can't accuse me of being unclean.
  • That duvet you thought I was going to give away to a charity shop? It was there NEXT to my stuff, not WITH my stuff because I was using it for the 2 days that I was sleeping on the couch. Next time, get your facts right before accusing me of anything.
  • "I boil a lot of water when I cook"? I refuse to give any kind of consideration to this kind of accusations. 

There are a lot of other meaner things that she said. But I'm exhausted. I feel outraged that I let her scream these rubbish things at me and didn't say a word. And now, that moment when I could have retaliated has passed. But now that I am no longer shocked at the kind of things she says, at least I will not keep quiet if and when this happens next time. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

While Travelling: I Observe and I Think (albeit, without much success)

  1. London airport is a lot quieter than Mumbai airport.
  2. Mums love embarrassing their kids everywhere. I thought it was true only for me. 
  3. There are way too many pigeons in England. And they are really fat as well. Maybe they have more feathers to keep them warm? Hmmm. Answers my next question, which was going to be 'Don't they feel cold?!!' They are also very stupid. All of them kept pecking at this piece of stone in turns. Even after realising several times over that it's nothing edible. Stupidity aside though, they are really brave. Not at all afraid of freely roaming around amongst people and in case of one particular pigeon, flying in their faces. And over my head as well. Which gave me the fright of my life. Evidently, I've spent a lot more time observing the pigeons than the people here. But also, talking about birds and fearless pigeons has now reminded me of the film The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock. Which was one the most traumatising experience in my entire life. Don't watch, people. Also, talking about The Birds, I've been reminded of a teacher I used to have when I was about 10. To keep the boys from hurting the sparrows, she said that if we hurt one, they all come in flocks to peck at us and hurt us. Gosh, it gave me night mares for days after that. What a horrible lie to tell kids, even if it was for them to not hurt someone. Since I'm talking about birds and unpleasant things, a few days ago, I dreamt that I sat on a pigeon and killed it. ::shudder:: This is the longest I've ever spent thinking or writing about birds. It can be a whole post by itself.
  4. And I saw a girl at the London coach station, sitting on her pink, floral suitcase, with her pink backpack, painting her nails. And I immediately categorized her as a certain type of people before reminding myself that a) I'm being very mean and small and unfair. And b) I love pink myself. Even though I'd never buy pink bags and suitcases, I have loads and loads of pink tops and pink nailpaints. 
  5. Dark clouds have silver linings. Literally.
  6. London is such an extremely pretty city!
  7. National Express coach rides from London to Leeds (Ok, anywhere to anywhere) are EXTREMELY boring. 
  8. Extremely seems to be my new favourite word.
  9. I'm running out of things to write. It doesn't seem like I'm very good at the whole observe and think thing. 
Well, anyway, to update on things, I'm in Leeds and have already met with S, Atom, JD, Grace and all my ex-housemates. And it has been lovely! :D I'm happy to be back in Leeds. It feels like I am back after a holiday rather than this being my holiday. Oh, I'm going to be very disappointed when these 10 days will be over. But hey, I'm not going to think of that just yet. :) 

Monday, December 6, 2010

An example

I am having a lot of fun on my new job! Today, I had to translate some classic Hindi dialogues in English from some really shady Ajay Devgan film. An example:

"Vaishi darindon! Ek aurat ki izzat ka tamasha banate hue tumhe sharam nahi aati?"

ROTFL

(For those who don't know Hindi as well. Or even at all. :P Translation: Scoundrels! You are trying to make a scene out of a woman's honour. Aren't you ashamed of yourself?!! Except, scoundrel doesn't even begin to cover all the possibilities and slimy nature of the word that a vaishi darinda has. I must say, I've done very well so far. I even translated: "Pake ped pe paka papeeta, paka ped ya paka papeeta. Pake ped ko Pinku pakde, Pinku pakde paka papeeta." :P

Sunday, December 5, 2010

About that (Un)employed status

Subtitled: Mixed Emotions

Big news, guys! I'm no longer unemployed! :D Now, I subtitle Hindi films and serials in English for a living. And so far, it's a very cool job. :)

Mixed emotions, because, well, this office is a long, long commute away from my home. So, 6 days a week, I travel for 5 hours (yes, 2.5 hours one way) and work for 8.5 hours. Which means, that I officially don't have a life anymore. Besides the commute tires me very much. And the pay is not that great a motivation either. So, I wonder if it's really worth it. I won't even get time for writing/ reading. On the other hand, it's a fun job. And irrespective of that, hey, it's a job! For so long, I was looking for something and I was hitting dead-ends everywhere. Besides, I only want a job for a few months, before I go back for my PhD. (hopefully, I mean) And since I'm enjoying it, it doesn't seem that bad after all. ::very very confused::

Btw, for the last two days, I've been subtitling a television serial called Mahi Way, which is a total Bridget Jones-rip off. And I like this coincidence that out of all the weepy, stupid, bhartiya nari-types that I could have got, I got this one. :D Since I have been quite out of touch with Hindi television, I didn't even know this one existed. In fact, in one of the chapters in my thesis, I'm planning to focus on how relevant is the genre of chick lit in India coz we have seen Bridget Jones, Sex and the city, Shopaholics, all translated into television and films. But, even when we have books like Swati Kaushal's A Piece of Cake or Advaita Kala's Almost Single, (both, brilliant books, btw) television and films are still mostly dominated by regressive, traditional, Sooraj Barjatya-types. This one will be very good input for me! :D

In other news, Moon got placed at an awesome company for next year! :D This is very exciting! We went out to celebrate last night and did the whole awesome cocktails thing that makes me feel very sexy. :D But, on the downside, it seems that Sun won't be able to come down to India after all because the flight tickets are way too expensive. And I cried very much when she sent me that email. She says that if she doesn't come this January, she won't be able to do so until next year, around the same time. And none of us knows where life will take us by that time. :( I was so looking forward to seeing her and being 18 again with the two of them. Does any of you know anything that I can do to get cheaper tickets from Auckland to Mumbai and back? Please help this poor, pining-for-her-friend me!

But, in the good news, I'll be leaving for Leeds in 48 hours! Now, if only the weather Gods don't make the flights stop and all, I'll be back with S and Atom in 3 days! :D

So, yes, mixed emotions. Happy for the job? Sad for not having any time because of that? Happy for Moon? Sad for Sun? Happy for meeting Atom again? I don't know!

a PS on Chicks' Lits

I don't know how but I forgot two of the books that I had read, one of them, absolutely brilliant!


  • Advaita Kala's Almost Single: 'My name is Aisha Bhatia, I am twenty-nine years old and single. I dine at luxury hotels and stay in five-stars during my travels, thanks to my job; I can name old and new world wines with great elan, and can tell my cheeses apart. I tolerate my job, hate my boss, and bond big time with my friends, while routinely suffering from umbilical cord whiplash. I really don't care for my vital stats right now and I don't have a cute/ funny nickname. Hence the introduction. It stinks but it sticks. In fact, sometimes I think there should be support groups like the AA out there for people like us...' Predictable? Yes. But then again, most chick lits are. They are supposed to be. What's a chick lit if not predictable. It's not about the what but rather about the how. And that how has been executed very well by Kala. This is one of the funniest book I've read in a while and a rare gem in the category of Indian chick lits. :D
  • Sonia Singh's Bollywood Confidential: Raveena, a wannabe Hollywood actress, accepts a lead role in a Bollywood film for the lack of jobs in Hollywood, comes to India and obviously, falls in love with the lead actor opposite her in the film. A lecherous director, a strong, silent type hero, a bitchy supermodel who regards her with jealous eyes as competition for the silent hero's attentions and some bizarre, crazy twists, this one's a total Bollywood pot-boiler as well. Maybe this Bollywood type plots are a something diaspora chick-lit authors think is how Indian chick-lit should be. Researching this idea is so going to be a chapter or two in my thesis. :D
Ok, that's it. For now. I have ordered a couple more books from Flipkart (Aside: I must mention here how Flipkart is a bad, bad thing and Flipkart plus Internet Banking, a lethal combination.) So, after I come back from my Leeds vacation, I might put up more reviews. Until then, well, other things. :P

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chicks and their lits

I have waaaaay too much time on my hand. Unemployed status is a very funny thing. Coz then, you are bored out of your wits. But, you also get a lot of time to read all kinds of trash! :D Good times, methinks!! :D Best thing about it is that I can totally pass it off as my "research" for PhD proposal! :P

  • Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary and Edge of the Reason: I worship these books. Nothing can be said in their praise that hasn't already been said. They are examples of excellence and nothing said against them will be tolerated. Okay, 'nuff said. 
  • Varsha Dixit's Right Fit, Wrong Shoe: Funny, Bollywoodesque story of Nandini and the love of her life, Aditya. Totally feels like a script of a Bollywood film (or, even a Hollywood rom-com - I don't know why only Bollywood is so badnaam for making melodramatic rom-coms.) It has it's typical moments of hate (and lust) at first sight which later converts into love, a misunderstanding, a heart-broken break-up, a sacrifice for the greater good, a revenge plan, lavish celebration functions, a twist and a happily-ever-after. 
  • Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan's You are here: I had read this one about 2 years ago. But borrowed it again to re-read for the proposal bit. It is very chick lit-ish. And funny as well. But, it could definitely have been better. Arshi is 25, just broken-up with a serious boyfriend, her job sucks and her best friend is getting married. It is a very funny quick read for the most parts. But, Madhavan has this tendency of going into long-winded philosophical insights, which though funny, are sometimes tedious and out-of-way. However, Arshi's room-mate, Topsy makes brilliant cocktails and Madhavan has provided us with some of her recipes, which I totally intend to use very very soon! ;)
  • Anjali Banerjee's Imaginary Men: "Lina is a single, 28 year old match-maker, who has come down to Calcutta from America for her sister's wedding. Of course, all the aunts descend on her like hungry crows with their advices and their knowledge of so-and-so's son/ nephew/ grandson/ neighbour's son - all eligible bachelors. Cornered and in a panic mode, Lina lies and says she's engaged. But what she didn't expect was her eldest aunt telling her that she'll be coming to America soon to check out the boy herself. Now, Lina has to find the perfect guy and convince him to fall in love with her and get engaged in three months. Except, she already sort-of has the hots for this one guy, who is totally wrong for her." Obviously. Hmmm, I write brilliant blurbs. Somebody should hire me to do this. 
  • Rekha Waheed's The A-Z guide to Arranged Marriage: This one is oh-so-filmy, it makes me nauseous! Maya is a Bangladeshi British in love with this other guy. But they keep having their on-moments and off-moments. She keeps swinging between "He is so great, only he gets me" to "Such a bastard, why did I ever fall for him?!!" Meanwhile, her parents are going berserk and falling over each other while trying to line up a series of failed "alaaps" (men who come to 'see' the girl for marriage) for her. She starts getting irritated, resulting in her parents carting her off to Bangladesh, in the hopes of finding her someone and then, send her to some obscure village to live with her nan. What's more, she "finds" herself there! And of course, the end is so silly and filmy! Even if the plot doesn't bother you, the obvious grammatical errors will! I don't think the publishing agency got this one edited or proof-read at all. Such a big putt-off! Not recommended. Obviously.
  • Monica Pradhan's The Hindi-Bindi Club: Very interesting. Kiran, Priety and Rani are all first generation American Indians. Their mums are best friends. A very, very interesting tale of how three women find their relationships with each other as well as with their mothers. One of the few good ones. :)
Okay, that's all that I've done in the last few days. Am reading a few different books (not chick lit though :P) at the moment. Will put up the reviews or at least blurbs soon enough. :)

PS: Since we are talking about chick lit and all, here is a brilliant project taken up by Moon of writing a chick lit: http://girl-uniterrupted.blogspot.com/ and it promises to be as sassy as Moon herself! :D Go read, and enjoy!! :D

Monday, November 29, 2010

Break and Ba(a)d

Watched Break ke Baad yesterday with my cousin, Bik. It's a nice film, one of the regular rom-com ones that have become very popular in the last 2-3 years. Watch once just to refresh your mind kind of thing. :)

Director: Kunal Kohli
Starring: Imran Khan, Deepika Padukone

Abhay (Imran Khan) and Aaliya (Deepika Padukone) have been dating each other ever since they must be like 6. But Aaliya is a big dreamer and very adventurous. Abhay, on the other hand, is very much afraid to leave his cocoon of safety even though he is not at all happy there. Aaliya moves to Australia to fulfil her dreams and the problems of a long distance relationship begin. Abhay follows her so that they can work it out together. But, priorities and situations change for both of them.

Both, Imran and Deepika are good and convincing in their characters. Though, you can clearly see that Imran has grown a lot since his Jaane Tu... days in terms of his acting. Deepika, on the other hand, started off very well in her un-emotional, non-commitmental, adventurous kind of person role but her portrayal by the director and her portrayal of the character, both go downhill a bit after the interval. It's a good tale of coming of age, balancing your personal life and your careers, realising what's more important to you and prioritising etc. However, it's a bit hurried and at times, you feel like you're being rushed through the film. You feel breathless, just trying to catch up with it. Though, Deepika wears shorts most of the times, and even with Imran next to her, I was sort of conflicted over who should I be drooling over. Imran or Deepika's never-ending legs!!! So sexy! Wish I could have that! My legs are probably half the length hers are. :/

Music is good, cinematography and locations are cool (totally made me want to go to Australia! :D) and situations, very real and believable.

But, there was a slight problem. Watching the film made me feel very sad and depressed. This, I realised, is going to be the truth of my life for a few years to come now. I will keep flitting between realising my dreams, doing something worthwhile with my life, career-wise, maintain my personal life, with my various, innumerable friends, my family and hopefully, a special someone too. But what if I make a mistake I regret for the rest of my life? What if I compromise for the wrong thing? What if I give up  my dreams for someone and then, blame that person for the rest of my life? Or what if I let go of someone important for something inconsequential (in the long run) like my dream of travelling the world? Or a degree or something! Why can't life come with an instruction manual for difficult decisions? I don't want to drift around feeling like I fit nowhere. Sigh, the one down-side of globalisation. Relationships are all spread all over the world. Family in Mumbai, boyfriend in Leeds and best friend in Auckland. How do you deal with life like that?!! :(

*Picture courtesy: Google images.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happiness in Star-land! :D

Happiness is in the air, fellas. Lots and lots and lots of happiness!

I've booked tickets to go to England for 2 weeks for graduation. Which means, I'll see Atom again! :D And I'll also do the whole formal graduating with a robe and all! I leave in 12 days and I'm already crossing off dates in my calendar! :D My father is not pleased with my behaviour. :P ::giggle giggle:: (See what I mean? :P)

Also, I just got an email from Sun. She might be coming back for a visit in January. Which means a Celestial Goddesses reunion!! After more than a year and a half! Man, somebody needs to warn the weather guy that Mumbai is going to be flooded soon. :P

And, Moon took me out for lunch today. She also gifted me 2 books very much to my taste - Eat Pray Love and Right fit, Wrong shoe (a chick lit!!! :D) I'm not quite sure what the occassion was for such lavish treatment but I had the most gorgeous time ever with her! She also proposed me marriage, which makes the count to 3 women and ZERO men who have proposed me marriage so far. Should I be worried?!! Do I have a strange vibe that only attracts women to me?!! Ah well, at least I've only ever attracted extremely sexy women. ;) :D It can be a good back-up plan, no? ;) :P :P :P Anyway, we also had the most sinful sizzling brownie, whereupon, I thought I had died and gone to heaven!! But, I had to soon get back to the reality of Mumbai locals that immediately reminded me that I'm still on planet Earth. Sigh.

But nothing can dampen the bubbling joy I have been feeling since morning! :D Like I said, happiness in Star-land! :D

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's the American Thanksgiving today. And even though there is no formal celebration and (being the staunch grass-eater that I am) definitely no turkey. But there is no reason why there should be no sentiments and mushy speeches. Warning: lots of mush and tears ahead. Proceed at your own risk. :P

To God: For giving me this life, with all these people in it and for keeping the extra share of love from each one of them for me. I know I crib a lot. But I'm sure you know how much I appreciate this life, the comforts, the loving family, the doting friends and all the academic success. :) Thank you very much!

To my parents: For everything. For pampering me and for disciplining me. For making me understand the value of relations and also also making me aware of my individuality. For waking me up in the mornings. For keeping the biggest piece of chocolate for me. For making sure that I get everything I wish for and for making sure that I don't take any of that for granted. I love you two. Even when I'm super pissed off with you and even when you exasperate me no end, I love you very much. And no one should EVER mention this again but I used to cry myself to bed practically every alternate day when I was in England because I used to miss you both so very much. Thank you for being you.

To Sun and Moon: For being my pillars. For the long nights spent talking about boys and about things best not mentioned here. :P For being my sound-boards. For making the extra effort to wrap my gifts. For making chocolates together for the first time. For pinning up my dresses while dressing up for events. For going bra-shopping with me. (Trust me, it's a BIG ordeal!) For sharing the best time of my life with me, making it all the more special. For knowing me better than myself. For writing the long emails and letters when I was away. For talking me out of my blues. For reminding me of my "balls of steel". :P For looking to me for strength. For believing in me. For making me believe in me. For growing up with me. I love you two more than anything else in the world! Thank you for being my soul mates.

To S: For being the reason England was beautiful. For being my ever-ready travel mate. For being my baking-buddy. For being my shopping advice. For introducing me to couchsurfing and for my first real Thanksgiving meal ever. For indulging my passions for almost everything from silly Bollywood films to bitching about "Indian men". (Disclaimer: For all the men who read this, it is not meant to insult you unless you come in one of these categories.) For putting up with me every time I crawled into your bed and cried "Mummeeee!!" (Yes, I really did that to her!) For taking care of me when I was shit-faced pissed. For being the sound of my conscience and also for reminding me that I'm an adult and can make my own decisions. ;) I love you very much! Thank you for being my proverbial better half. :D

To Kyra, JD and Sara: For being my fun quotient in England. For all the drunken games of never have I ever. For the passionate, sometimes intellectual, most of the times silly discussions on Bollywood and popular culture. For being the ones who understand what being an Indian in England means. And for understanding what being an immigrant back in India means. For the rajma, the alu chaat, the gulab-jamun, the daal makhni, the mojitos, the risotto, the cocktails, the wine, the cake and so much more! Oooh, and for being my first joint! :P For the Emotional Attyachar and Munni dances. For the future ventures. For all the marriage proposals. :P I love you all! Thank you for being the best kind of mates anyone can hope for!

To Atom: For being the reason England became all the more beautiful, even in autumn! ;) For the long chats, often resulting in us sleeping at 3 am! For being interested in things you are interested in. And for looking up things I'm interested in so that we can talk about them. For sharing my love for films. For believing in me and my book. For saying the loving things that make me feel special. For treating me like I'm precious. For the friendship. And for the love and warmth. For being so kind and understanding. Thank you for being so special!

To Xavier's and the School of English, Leeds: For shaping me. For giving me the confidence I have today. For making me a person ready to go ahead and face the world with all it's challenges. For sheltering me enough that I feel I have someone to lean on and for letting me go enough that I learn not to take that support to lean onto. For quenching my thirst for knowledge and also for fanning my quest for more. You are the best alma maters anyone can ever hope for. Thank you for the great learning experiences!

To Chhaya Mam: For giving me a role model. For being absolutely the best teacher I've ever had in my entire life. For taking that extra effort and being our friend more than our teacher. For always being interested in anything and everything that affects us. For giving us excellent guidance and superb opportunities. For being so understanding, kind and gentle. For being the inspiration in my life. I love you, mam! Thank you for being the reason English Literature was my best decision ever.

To June, HG, Kannan, survivingbrain, pj, smalltowngirl and all the others who are kind enough to read my rants, pleas, opinions that nobody else really cares about, for commenting and consoling me, for giving me brilliant advice and for being the awesome bloggers that they are! :D

Happy Thanksgiving to all!! :)

Lots of Love,
Star.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dentist Dolours

Oh, the physical pain!! :( Had to go to a dentist yesterday. I'm sure I've mentioned my dislike for doctors of all sorts. And so far, dentists are the worst ones. Because they cause me physical pain. (That may also be because I've only been to a dentist, an orthopedic doctor and an opthalmologist before. And obviously, dentists have been the most intrusive of them all.) Anyway, needless to say, I have been quite traumatized since yesterday.

Well, to be fair, this time is going to be nothing compared to the last time I had to go to a dentist - about 7 years ago for a root canal treatment. (For obvious reasons, I took extra good care of my teeth ever since and thankfully, have never had to go back there again except for a couple regular check-ups. That is, until yesterday, of course.) But this time, I had to go there because the cap on my tooth came out and I have to get a new one made. So, really, nothing compared to the trauma of last time. But, even then, I got my mouth raped by a weird metallic instrument and a really yucky, gooey substance several times. And honestly, is it just me or does the dentist's chair really look like a monster with a long, long neck and a single eye at it's end, one long hand with a strange fixture attached to it and one shorter hand with several long fingers that can just about go to any lengths to make you uncomfortable? See, see, I'm not lying! Have a look yourself!

Ugh, gotta go there again today for trying the new cap. And probably one more time sometime later to get it fixed. Uff, the problems I have!! Sigh. :P

*picture courtesy: Google images

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'll be there for you!

 I am bored. Bored to the point that I'm going to put up a F.R.I.E.N.D.S quiz (AND I am bored enough to write F.R.I.E.N.D.S like that.) Ok, two questions per season so that I don't go overboard. :P

  1.  Joey: I play _____________'s butt. 
  2. To whom did Phoebe say, "You're going to Minsk."?
  3. Who told Rachel, "I'm pretty much totally intimidated by you."? 
  4. Chandler to Joey: "Yo Paisan, can I talk to you for a sec? Your ________ is a very bad man!"
  5. Monica to Chandler: Ten bucks says I'll never see that woman again in my life." Who was this woman?
  6. Which of the girls dated two guys at once?
  7. What was the name of Joey's girlfriend with whom Chandler fell in love?
  8. Emily: Ross play __________? I don't think so."
  9. What did Monica call losing one's virginity?
  10. Where did Phoebe meet her father?
  11. Who looked himself in the mirror and said, "You're just a love machine!"?
  12. What is Monica's favourite cocktail?
  13. Who said: "I made a whole speech about how you do not cancel plans with friends."?
  14. What was Chandler talking about when he said, "Anything that can fit into this can't be scary."
  15. Why did Phoebe say, "Okay, okay. It's James Brolin."
  16. What is Chandler's middle name?
  17. Monica to Chandler: "Guys can _________?!! Unbelievable! The one thing that's ours!"
  18. Where do Mike's parents live?
  19. Why did Monica destroy the foosball table?
  20. Joey doesn't share _________!!!

Okay, have fun! :D Btw, have a look at this gem I found online:

Gosh, they all look so different!!! It's like looking at a picture of you from school and thinking how young we all were! :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What do you make of this?

And when I say this, I mean this.

I was stuck in a train for about 2 hours because of this yesterday. But what does that say about the inefficiency and the corruption in our country? Time for bullet points (and some introspection).
  • It's been ages that the over-head bridge has to be built and it hasn't even started yet. 
  • Inspite of the level crossing gate, people cross the tracks according to their convenience. Is it only the authorities that are to blame?
  • 3 deaths in one morning?!!! Pathetic! And how much of a difference does it make after 2 days for others? Nothing. People forget it as soon as the trains start working again.
  • For some reason, we Indians believe mob protests can solve everything. And the sad thing is, more often than not, that's the only thing that can make the officials get into some kind of action.
  • Commuters and residents protest. Political parties take advantage of it. 
  • The Railways blame the government. The government blames the police. The police blames the commuters. The commuters blame the railways. Yes, that's the only way you can get rid of the responsibility you should have shouldered and go back to watching your porn. 
Congratulations on being a resident of this city of dreams, Mumbai and this land of diversity and rich cultural heritage, India!! For once, I wish we could stop living in the past and look at the present reality of our city and our country.


Friday, November 19, 2010

A Strange Thing called Life

One of my distant relatives passed away yesterday. Yet another person from my grandparents' generation. Everytime this happens, somewhere, I am aware that I will have to face this day sometime soon too. Whenever my grandparents talk of death, I deny it. I have always denied death. Always believed it wouldn't happen to someone who's so close. Death is for others. Not for my immediate family. Yet the truth remains that it has touched my family before. And it will touch us again. Am I ready for it? Is anyone? Are you?

It's so freaky that one day, suddenly, you just disappear from the surface of the earth, just like that! And for the first couple months, people mourn your loss and even after that, people will miss you sometimes. But, their lives go on. Your absence makes no difference in anyone's life. It scares and depresses me that once I'm no more, I'll gradually become just a picture on the wall or a sporadic memory. But then again, coming to think of it, even when we are alive, doesn't that happen often? I doubt if so many people I was "friends" with in school or college ever remember me except for some random thing they might suddenly remember about me once in a blue moon. I doubt if I'm anything more than a passing thought (or even that) for CPV even though at one time, I was an important element in his life.

On the other hand, I have a new niece and she is oh-my-god so adorable! (On a completely different note, remember the time I told you about how I never want to have children and all but I'm scared of the family pressure I'd have to face? Oh, I guess I miscalculated and before anything else, I'll have to save myself from the pressures of consumerism and commercialisation. When I heard of my niece's birth, I went into a children's store to buy something nice for her and gosh, I wanted to buy EVERYTHING there! I want a baby girl and I want one now, just so that I can dress her up in all these cute little outfits, give her brilliant toys to play with and just generally, coo over her! One of my other friends has also had a baby girl and honestly, now, all I want to do is have babies and bathe them, dress them and play with tiny little hands and feet! And if ONE more person told me that I want dolls, not babies, I will personally kill them. hmph. Gawd, somebody save me from myself! Ok, aside over.)

Anyway, like I was saying, it's scary that people are replacable. But that's how I see it. Someone goes and a new person comes in. Old "friends" lose touch with each other. But, new friends are always coming in your life. Grandmother goes away but a baby girl comes into your life. Ok, I don't know what I'm saying anymore. So, I'll stop. Now.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

No one

Sometimes in life, you are all alone. Just you. And no one else by your side. And even if they were, you still feel alone. In spirit. All, all alone.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gift Wrapping Paper Quotes

My room looks like a bomb-site. The parcel that I had shipped from England has arrived and I'm in the middle of the process of keeping everything away. Needless to say, I HAVE to write this post now coz I'm surrounded by things that have to be put away. :P

But, the good thing about clearing your cupboards to make space for more books is that sometimes you come upon a really really prized thing that you had kept away and re-discovered after a long time, making you very very happy! :)

This thing for me is my favourite gift wrapping paper. Yes yes, I am a soppy old fool, don't bother about me. But, I do keep all the gift wrapping papers that I get from close friends and I will preserve them for years until one day, when I won't have any place to keep them I'll have to cry my heart out to throw them out. Anyway, this particular gift wrapping paper was given to me by my cousin, Bik on Rakshabandhan last year. Now, Bik always asks me what gift I want for Rakshabandhan AND for my birthday and he always gets me just that. And, every year, I ask for books. :P So, it has been a tradition with us for last several years that we both go to Crossword and he gives me a thousand bucks. And I spend it all on books! :D But, last year, I just gave him the title of the book I wanted since none of us had time to do that trip together. So, he got it gift-wrapped in Crossword itself. And Crossword has lovely gift-wrapping paper! It is plain paper with lots of different book-quotes written on it. :D Here are the quotes:

  • Books had instant replay long before televised sports. ~ Bern Williams
  • Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures. ~ Jessamyn West
  • You can never be too thin, too rich or have too many books. ~ Carter Burden
  • I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork. ~ Peter de Vries
  • Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read. ~ Groucho Mark
  • The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who doesn't read them. ~ Mark Twain
  • I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. ~ Groucho Mark
  • Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. ~ Mark Twain
  • There is no spectacle that is as terrifying as the sight of a guest in your house whom you catch staring at your books. ~ Roger Rosenblatt
  • People say that life is the thing but I prefer reading. ~ Logan Pearsall Smith
  • A good novel tells us the truth about it's hero but a bad novel tells us the truth about it's author. ~ G. K. Chesterton

Monday, November 15, 2010

Draupadi

I watched the play Draupadi directed by Tina Johnson and Shivani Pasrich at NCPA on Sunday. I must say, after all that I had heard about her, I did not expect something so mediocre from Tina Johnson.

Rating: 2.5/5

Draupadi, for those who are not familiar with the Hindu mythology, is the wife of the five Pandavas from the epic, Mahabharata. The Kauravas (the evil cousins of the Pandavas) challenged Yudhistir, the eldest Pandava, to a game of dice. Yudhistir lost everything he owned to the Kauravas including his brothers and finally their wife, Draupadi. She was humiliated in front of a whole court full of elders. Lord Krishna came to her rescue and even when Duryodhana, the eldest Kaurava, was pulling her sari, it never ended. Finally, he gave up and she couldn't be completely de-robed. The Pandavas were then sent into exile for 13 years. However, Draupadi, it is said, sought revenge for her humiliation for all of those 13 years. And when they returned, this episode was used as an excuse for the battle of Kurukshetra between the two sets of cousins.


The play Draupadi, is about a modern day woman, Maaya (Chaaru Shankar), who faces the same challenges as Draupadi did in her times. Having faced severe humiliation at the hands of her own family, she has to make a choice - whether she wants revenge or should she forgive? Draupadi (Shivani Pasrich) is still on the earth, her soul, having been denied from the heaven because of her pride and vanity. She sees Maaya trying to commit suicide and stops her. She offers to give Maaya advice if she would perform a special pooja for the redemption of Draupadi's soul. Maaya ignores Draupadi and seeks revenge. Finally, they both realise that revenge brings no change and nothing can take away the pain of humiliation. It's best to forgive and forget. It is only through forgiveness that you can get redemption.

Thus the premise of the play is that you must forgive and forget. However, the reason the play did not work for me was because they forget what they are asking to forgive. How can a woman think of forgiving one of the most humiliating, most invasive and most painful act committed by a man against her? Something that makes the woman feel impure for no fault of hers? Thus, the very premise of the play is based on shaky grounds.

As far as the performances go, Dilip Shankar is excellent in his role as Krishna. He manages to capture the world-wiseness as well as the mischief of Krishna's character brilliantly. Unfortunately, none of the other characters are as well-portrayed. Kaurava (Sanjit Bedi) is not evil enough, Arjun (Arjun Fauzdar) is not man enough, Maaya is not distressed enough and Draupadi is just plain annoying in her look-at-me-I've-suffered-for-so-long-and-only-now-do-I-realise-forgiveness-is-the-key comments. I think the whole point of Draupadi's character was so that she can show off Ritu Kumar designed beautiful dresses. The only point where I liked her was when there was a mini dance sequence during Arjun and Maaya's wedding. It was beautifully choreographed by Aniruddha Das and very well-executed as well.














There were a few good moments in the play. For every scripture-spat dialogue, there was a genuinely nice and thought provoking dialogue and Dilip Shankar provided some much needed, intelligent comic respite. Do watch if these kind of things interest you and you have absolutely nothing to do instead. But, don't expect ingenious stuff. Feminism and mythology finally seems to be overdone now.


*Pictures courtesey: http://www.draupadi.in/photographs_staging_play.htm

Friday, November 12, 2010

A 12-year old conversation

A whispered conversation with my friends when we were all about 12 years old that I just remembered:

Girl A: How could you invite him home? You know what all boys want, no?!
Girl B: Yea, but I told you, Girl C was there with us as well!
Girl C: Yea, but what do you mean all boys want this?
(some blank spots)
Girl A: Yea, it seems for the girls, the size of your breast increases after you do that and for the boys, the size of their you-know-whats.
Girl B: And you also have to put it in your mouth!
Girl C: Ewwwww!!! I'll never do that! That's where they pee from!!
Girl B: But then, if you don't do it, you'll never have children!
Girl D: Well, you know, my uncle and aunt. They never do it. They don't have any children. They have been married for more than 10 years now.
Girl A: But you have medicines with which you don't have babies but you can do it. That's what your uncle must do, of course. Or else, he wouldn't like your aunt because he was forced into the marriage.
Girl D: No no, it was a love marriage and they don't take any medicines! I know. They just don't do anything.
Girl B: They must have good self-control, no?
Girl C: What's there to control? It's dirty anyway! Maybe your aunt thinks like me and asked her husband to not do it.

I'm not quite sure if I'm happy I've grown up. I feel jaded and wish I could have that innocence again. But, I suppose since I have grown up, I might as well enjoy my knowledge, no? ;) ::wink wink, nudge nudge:: :P

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Too idealistic......Do I ask for too much?

My dad told me last night that I shouldn't get married. Sounds like FINALLY my parents have realised that it's ok to not get married and have kids before you can blink, right?!! But no, what he meant was, I shouldn't get married. Ever. Because I'm too idealistic. I ask for too much. A marriage is all about compromise and I won't be able to do that. Thus making both, myself and my partner unhappy. So, I shouldn't get married at all.

Wtf?

The whole discussion began from where, you know? From my PhD topic. Can you believe it?!! I was telling them about how I want to do post-feminism and popular fiction etc. And my dad said that he thinks all the feminist type people are a bit too much. I totally lost it and of course, I retaliated. *rant alert* Of course they are a bit too much. They have to be. Because of people like you. And people who think like you. If and when I marry someone, I intend to always be treated as an equal. Does that mean I'm asking for too much from my partner?

I will not dissolve my entire personality and go to live in his house, with his parents and adapt to their way of life. He doesn't have to do that. Why should I? I want to set up my own household, where both of us will together make new rules. [To my dad: Us making new rules WILL involve making compromises for me as well as him. So, I'm not scared of compromising or adjusting. I just have a problem with it if I'll be the only one doing it or I'll be the one changing 75-80% of my way of life while he only has to make some extra room in his drawers. That is what I mean by equality.]  I will expect my partner to share the household responsibilities. And mind you, I don't mean that he'll "help" me in household work. Because you help someone in THEIR work. If he lives in the house, it's his house as well. So, it's his duty as well to cook and clean. So, it's not "helping" me. It's doing his own fucking duty. If both of us work. If both of us earn money and stay out of the house to work, why would it be only me who cooks and cleans? My dad said: Relationships are not contracts. No, but they come quite close to being like contracts. I'm not going to make my partner sign an agreement about how he should cook on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and clean on the rest of the days or anything. But, if he expects me to do all the things all the time, he'll probably stop getting food until he realises I'm not the type. (Though, of course, these things will be pretty clear even before that stage comes. So, there'd be no question of that.) My dad totally told me off for thinking this way because things are not like that anymore. Doesn't he work and "help" mum in her household work? Of course he does. He makes tea for all of us and puts away the utensils and stuff. But, there are many times when we have a lot of relatives over at our place. And almost everyone knows how Indian system works. Guests are treated like royalty. So, they won't do anything. But, in out family, ALWAYS, all my aunts and female cousins will gather in the kitchen and start doing stuff along with my mum while the men all sit out and chat. So, the women will make food, serve the men first, then eat and then, clean the whole fucking thing up. While men sit, chat and eat. Why? What have the men done so much that they need to be treated like that? Have they just come back from ploughing 15 acres of farmland? Or from cutting down logs and logs of wood? Or have they all just had some kind of an accident? No. That's just how things work. And, my dad will never touch a thing in such situations. Because then, his (and my mum's) "reputation" will be ruined in front of all the family members and they'll gossip for years and years to come, all implicating that my mum is a bad, bad influence on my dad and she has totally wrapped him around her little finger. Coz you know, that's what women can do. Either be Virgin Marys or be the evil Komolikas. No grey shades allowed for them at all. And, believe it or not, this is 21st century Mumbai!

How can the "feminist types" not be too much? They have to be if they want to assert their individuality! But the moment they want to do that, they are told that they are too inflexible. They can't compromise and so, shouldn't get married at all! How about this father? I like my romance and sex. So, if I don't get married, I'll not just get it like I do now, but also flaunt it (because I don't like having a secret life that I have to hide from you to save your emotions and your precious "reputation"). Suits me. You tell me if it's alright with you.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The sitcom that is my life...

Last November, on the Bonfire night, I had gone out on a date with this Greek-Albanian guy I'd met randomly somewhere. It was absolutely the most boring date I've ever had! He could barely speak proper English. How he stayed in England is a mystery to me. But, his English was so basic, that once we asked each other what do we do and where we are both from, we were pretty much stumped for conversation. Coming from such varied and rich cultures, we should have had LOADS of things to talk about. But the moment I'd say even ONE big word in English, he'd start looking all perplexed. And explaining things to someone who is hyperventilating for not understanding is not my cuppa tea. I asked him if he liked reading. And he said, "No." Yea, just that, no explanations, no asking me if I did, nothing at all. Just, "No." And THEN! He said, he liked singing. And he started humming a song. In Albanian. In the crowded, noisy bar. IN MY EAR! How I wanted to burst out laughing! Needless to say, I never met him again. 


***********************************


A couple days ago, my father asked me what I was trying to tell him the previous night. I told him that I was asleep even before he came back! So, obviously, I didn't talk to him. How could I have told him something? Apparently, as it turns out that he had come into my room after I had gone to sleep and when he was there, I mumbled something in my sleep and then shouted out numbers "2100" and "2500" before going back to sleep. I have absolutely no clue what those numbers meant. I just know that it's dangerous if I talk in sleep because fortunately, this time, I was talking to my dad in my sleep and shouted out numbers in Gujarati. But what if I was talking to someone else? Like Sun and Moon? or Atom? My dad would be scarred for life! :P


***********************************


Later that day, Hoppy came to our house and both of us were fooling around. Then, Hoppy went and laid down his head in my mum's lap. I got jealous and shooed him away and went and laid my head down in my mum's lap myself. Hoppy, being the mischievous little brat that he is, came and snuggled in next to me, subtly trying to nudge my head out of my mum's lap with his own head. There was much tickling and laughing and we both ended up taking pretty pictures of lovely bhai-behen ka pyar in my mum's lap. :D

Last night, I went to Hoppy and my grand parents' place. My aunt (Hoppy's mum), my granny and granpa and I, we were all talking about adult worldly things, like reconstruction, building towers in place of old buildings and houses etc. Hoppy got bored and piped up, "Granpa, have you also worked in a construction company when you were young? How do you know everything about everything? If my cycle is broken, you repair that. If the bulb or the fan is not working, you repair that. If there are problems in the building, you know the solutions. Why do you do everything?!! This is your age to shut up and do your own religious things, no?"

When you watch THE worst play ever, you torture your blog-readers with its details

I watched the world's worst play EVER yesterday. A Gujarati play called "Ek Aham ni Rani" (An Arrogant Queen.) I often watch Gujarati plays with my family on Sundays. Gujarati theatre is a very good place to be, actually. It's doing really great, with good actors, directors and ideas generally. But, then, once in a while, you get such shit, you want to stop watching Gujarati theatre altogether!

Anyway, Ek Aham ni Rani is directed by Latesh Shah and the lead character is a very famous Gujarati actress, Sujata Mehta. Yesterday was actually it's premier show. Now,  Latesh Shah is actually this person who has built a whole company based on various spiritual things. He has taken teachings and precepts from all sorts of things, like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Osho, Yoga, Meditation, Hindu philosophy, Jainism etc and built his own "positive thinking" and "power of love" kind of spiritual khichdi. And this play can be best described as an advertisement of his stuff. Yea, I know!!

Ok, I need bullet marks from here onwards.


  • The show was supposed to start at 8:30 pm and started at 9:45 pm. The excuse: Obama and traffic in the city. Answer: organisation and good planning.
  • Since they were late, they tried to do things quickly coz the hall has to be emptied by midnight. And, they said dialogues so fast that I could only understand half of them.
  • Also, since they were running late, they left a few loose ends without tying them up and I don't think they were supposed to be left that way.
  • There was one dialogue in there, for which I hate the play with all my heart and soul: "Of course a woman should aim high and fulfil all her aspirations. But she should never forget that she is also a house wife. The home and all its relationships have to be held together by the woman of the house." If thoughts could kill, the dialogue writer and the director would have been dead about 138 times by now. 
  • Latesh Shah probably tried to experiment with the character of Sutradhar (narrator) but it was one of the worst sutradhars I've ever seen. He himself played that character and kept saying things like, "If you think positive, everything positive will happen. You can't decide in your head what is going to happen. You have to take that risk." or "You should praise people. You know, if you praise people, they will be pleased and they will work harder for you. Show appreciation and you will lead a peaceful life, both at work and at home." Thank you very much, Mr. Shah but if I wanted to know this kind of stuff, I'll go and buy a Robin Sharma type self-help book. When I come to watch a play, I want entertainment. 
  • There is a teenage daughter, who started "drinking, smoking, doing drugs and finally, tried to commit suicide" to escape the realities at home because her mother was so busy with all the work, she could never give her any time. May I point out that the father was a real estate broker who used to work from home? Is he not equally guilty of the girl feeling the need to resort to intoxication because the atmosphere at home is so volatile? 
  • The acting was mediocre at best. The lead character often messed up the pronunciation of words while trying to say things. And the English of the characters! "Make sure that both of them doesn't get away with cheating on my company." "What a confidence!" 
I will stop now. I don't want to think about it more and give myself a headache. Or lose my readers. I hate self-help books and I would have gladly read one instead of watching this play. That, I think, speaks volumes about it. If this play ever comes to your city or if you ever think of watching it, be warned, it's going to make you want to throw up. I want my ruined Sunday and my money's worth back. hmph.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Good Deed of the Day! :)

6th November 2010 will always be special for me. :)

It's the day I donated blood for the first time in my life! :D I am super scared of needles. Hate them. There used to be a time when I couldn't care less if I had to be given an injection. But, then, I grew up I suppose. Anyhow, one of my dad's patients needed blood urgently. And my dad also went in for donation. He always does, whenever he can. He's my hero. I want to be like him. I mean, I don't want to be a doctor. I just want to be a person like him. :) So, my mum and I went along as well. Just in case we are also eligible to donate. My mum hasn't been able to since about 12 years. Her haemoglobin is very low. And I used to be underweight. This time, I was just about half a kilo under the desired weight limit. :D So, they didn't fuss and allowed me to donate. :)

It was very strange. Coz the doctor could see that I'm scared and nervous. But, he needed the blood as well. So, he only asked me once if I'm sure. And I refused to even look at the needles. Did you know they're ENORMOUS?!! Anyhow, about 3-4 minutes later, I started feeling really warm and dizzy. And I told my dad that I'm feeling a bit strange. But, he said, it's almost over. No problems. And it was! :D It was over before I knew it! And once I recovered from the dizzy feeling and light-headedness (in about 2 and a half minutes! :P) I felt a new high. The high of knowing that you did a good thing today and probably helped someone save somebody's life. Life is good. :)

I recommend everyone to donate blood, especially since so many people need it everyday! Accident cases, Thalassemia cases, operations - everyone! So, you are doing someone such a big favour AND feeling good about it! :) Besides, people like Moon and me can overcome their fear of needles. ;)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

50th Post!

So, this post is about nothing except for the fact that it is my 50th post on the blog. :D And yes, you will be subjected to these kinds of posts when 1) I don't have anything else to write about and 2) It's the 100th post, the 200th one, the 350th one, the 500th one, etc.

I also have to tell you that I've crossed the 1000 visitors mark in the 3 months! :D Yay! My 1000th visitor was someone from Calicut! :D ::hearts and music notes doodles::

Thank you for reading all the crap, all the rants and sometimes intelligent things that I put up here and also for commenting and making me feel better about myself! :D ::blabbers drunkenly:: (hey, I'll celebrate, won't I? :P) "Thank you, Thank yous very muchs! I love you alls!!! I feel like the Kings of the Earths!" :D

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hoppy-isms

Hoppy, my 10 year old cousin. (See, I'm so intelligent, no?!! Happy + hopping all over the place = Hoppy! :D No? You don't think so...? :( Ah, well, I think it's an intelligent name! So, there! :P)

As children are, he is often the source of entertainment in my drab, drab life! :P 

Being the youngest in the family, he is often called "baby" by everyone. Once, when he was about 6 and we had gone to Rajasthan for a holiday, he had just woken up from an afternoon nap and I said something to the effect of "My baby has woken up!" And he just started screaming, "What baby, baby, baby?! All the time baby, baby, baby! I'm not your baby, ok?!!" causing all of us to burst into peels of laughter. On the same trip, whenever he was tired, he would say, "Uncle, my tyre has gone flat." And my dad would have to "fill air in his tyre" by basically going back to the hotel/ car if we were too far away and letting him go to sleep. Once he rested properly, he would wake up and say, "Uncle, my batteries have been re-charged. Let's go somewhere!" 

Recently, after I came back, my mum made pani-puris (golgappa, puchka, whatever you call it! ;)) and the mint pani was a bit spicier than it usually is. And he couldn't have it with as much relish as he would have like to. But of course, he can't say that my mum made a mistake in cooking. It's an ultimate insult to her! :P (Now that I think of it, it's awesome that he's learning that so soon, when he's only 10. I think there are some thing boys must learn from their mothers' wombs and come. And not criticizing women in something that they are good at is one of them. It's the recipe to a healthy life. :P) Anyway, since he couldn't say anything to her, he turned on my dad and screamed, "Uncle, if you want everything spicy, why don't you keep some chillies separate for yourself? Why do you make aunty put them in food for everyone? Now, no one except for you can eat this!" And boy, did we all laugh! 
See his naughty smile? Here's what he must be up to: 
Mischievous that he is, he used to always pull my leg. (Ok, you probably will too, if I tell you why but hey, I'm possessive about my things, ok?!! :P) I have a specific plate and a specific spoon that I use in my house. No one else should use it and I definitely don't use anything else. And Hoppy, knowing this, just before I sit for my meal, will grab my plate and spoon and serve himself. And I scream at him and everyone else in the vicinity. :P Then I went away to England and Hoppy was bored. So, he turned on to my father and started doing everything that he does. He would want to sit in the same chair that my dad uses and drink tea from the same cup that he uses. So much so, that once, my mum was scared that both of them will break the chair and ordered two new, exactly same chairs for both of them. :P And if he is ever staying over, as soon as he hears my dad's bike come up inside our building, he'll go and sit next to my mum in front of the TV. Since, my dad always does that when he comes back home from work! 

Sigh. I don't want him to grow up at all! He seems to become taller and older and more mature everytime he comes here. And I wish he would just stay my baby and do silly, stupid things for us to re-capture our innocence for a few moments when we are with him!
This is him doing a silly dance pose for the camera at a cousin's wedding venue, after the ceremony was over. Hee.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Election Mayhem

The Mumbai suburb that I live in has its local election today. I'm so glad it's going to be finally over. Because, ever since I've come, I've been hearing nothing except for blaring loudspeakers asking us to vote for various worthless candidates. Besides, people have been ringing our door-bells thousand times a day to ask us for our votes (One of the candidates used to be our local cable person and he had once argued a lot with my mum and said inappropriate things to her in the past. Needless to say, he's never going to receive any of our votes.) and they have been calling people's landlines and putting on recorded messages for publicity. May I point out that whoever designed these people's election campaign is a BIG jerk?!! Because, when I would hear the loud-speakers everyday from 8am to 8 pm and when people would disturb us in the middle of our work, I didn't know who I'd vote but I DID know who I wouldn't! The local elections have never been such a big deal before! This year, they just crossed the line!

The day I came back, there was no electricity in our house from 11am to 7 pm! But, that doesn't stop the ruling party at the moment from coming and asking for votes. You can't fix the electricity problems when you have been voted into power. How can we expect you to keep your promises this time? Of course you are going to disappear once this is all over! Being a conscientious citizen, I do want to vote. But, honestly, WHO is actually worth it? Not a single person or party!

So, anyway, I studied all the local candidates and their "promises" and the party ideologies and finally decided that I will vote XYZ person. All in vain. My name was not on the list at all! (May I also point out here that I was in England for too long for my own good? I actually stood in the "queue" to find things out and wasted so much time! It was only after my dad and my uncle came in and butted in that they looked at what we had to say!) I told them that I have already voted last year for the General elections and the address on the list was incorrect but it was still at the same centre. Uh huh, zero, zilch, nada results! But, maybe, my name might be in that other centre. Some of the names have come up in that list this time. Ok, lets check then. Umm, sorry, it's not here either. Maybe it's in that other centre there. Some of the names have come up in that list there. About 3 kilometres away from where it should actually be. How many efforts do you expect me to take for voting the lesser of the four evils? That's it. This is your loss. Very less people actually conscientiously go to vote. And this is what they get for it. Is it any wonder that we are not really developing the way we should be?!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mencynicism

Mencynicism is the kind of cynicism that is born in a woman because of men. All the men she ever encounters - in her life, on the streets - everywhere. I've found that Indian women are a lot, A LOT more mencynicists than any other women I've come across.

And, now, I know why we are all so jaded and mencynicists here. *Rant Alert* I feel concious of stepping out of the house. I wear loose kurtis, tie up my hair in a tight plait, wear minimal jewellery and zero make-up. I try to be as inconspicuous as possible. And I hate it because it's not me. I like flaunting myself. But I don't do it here. I still get stared at, I still hear the catcalls, I still sense creepy men making inappropriate gestures behind me. And I'm not even someone I'd call exceptionally beautiful. I can't even imagine what the really pretty girls must be going through! My creep-radar had gone so down for the last year that it's working over-time here. And it bothers me no end. I notice the rude graffiti in the ladies compartment of the local trains and my blood boils over. Why the fuck do we have to go through all this abuse? And I can't do anything about it. ANY FUCKING THING! Coz I'm just the one. They are so many. It's me who'll have to face the consequences. I have never hated being physically weak so much as I do it now. I wish I could just go and slap these people without having to worry about the what-ifs. I wish I could make eye-contact and let them know exactly what I think of them without having to bother about what might happen later.

Some of the experiences I've had in the past: I'm walking on a crowded street and suddenly something wet brushes against my arm and I find white stuff on it. I look back and there is a sea of men whose backs are facing me. I'm walking on a very crowded railway overhead bridge and I can feel someone trying to push himself on me from behind. In the same situation, on a different day, I can feel someone trying to grope me from behind and all I can do it press my bag against me and keep crawling along with the others because there is no space to turn around and confront anyone. Besides, it's the same situation of turning around and facing a hundred different men. Who can I point fingers at? Countless times, I've got into a ladies compartment in a local train and there are drawings of penises on the seats and numbers on the walls. Countless times, I've been stared at, head to toe in that creepy manner which makes it clear that the man has obviously undressed me publicly in his mind. I've heard innumerable catcalls from the passing train when the ladies compartment of our trains passes them by. And I'm from Mumbai - one of the safest cities in India. I shudder to think what the girls and the women in Delhi must be going through! Even though I'm sure nothing will happen to me here, I am still fed up of all the indirect abuse we put up with all our lives. Do these men really think of NOTHING else at all? Is there absolutely NOTHING in their lives apart from harassing women and thinking about sex? This kind of behaviour is what makes sex a dirty thing, while it should be a beautiful, sensual thing. It may have something to do with the sexually-repressed society we live in. I'm not saying that England was a haven. Not at all! I did face some random catcalls there as well. But, I've never been harassed or creeped-out like I've been here. And I know every single woman has faced something or the other like this in her life. Probably more than once.

And if this wasn't enough, we always have the cheating and the commitment phobic boyfriends to remind us that men really only think with their penises. Is it any wonder that we think there are no decent, date-able guys left in this world?!!

*Disclaimer: I do acknowledge that not all men are like the ones mentioned above. I just wanted to point out that the percentage of men who are is too high for us to rest at peace.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Confusion

FINALLY!!!!!!!!! I visited Xavier's and South Mumbai in the last two days. And I felt really happy for the first time after I finished meeting up with my parents and others at the airport. The whole of the last week was a very disorienting and depressing week. I want to go back to England. But, I can't figure out if it's because I miss my life in England or because I miss Atom. I suppose they are not exactly mutually exclusive now. But, I still used to feel annoyed by the smallest of the things here. Like, the heat and the humidity, even though I know that I'd prefer this to the extreme cold any day! The constant stream of visitors and relatives whom I really don't care about annoyed me. They have always annoyed me. But this time, the realisation was tinged with the fact that had I stayed on, I wouldn't have had to face this. Everything seemed to crowd in on me. I felt restricted, suffocated. I felt it even more acutely since for the whole year, I was not answerable to anyone but myself and my work deadlines. And I actually regretted coming back! I know I used to miss home a lot and I was very excited to come back but as days went by here, I felt the longing for Atom, my independence and my comfortable life all the more strongly.

And I hated the fact that I felt all of those things. I felt as if I'm turning into one of those people, who come back from abroad and start feeling disgusted about the place that was their home for 20 years or more. Thankfully, I never felt disgusted about anything in Mumbai. Only sad for its population, vehicles, congestion and pollution. But still, never disgusted. A strong longing for England and everything that England means for me but no disgust. Which was a relief. But, then came a stage where I felt nothing. I wanted to feel a sense of belongingness return to me, go to the places I know and feel a sense of "Ah! I'd missed this!" or "Ah! How this has changed!" But, I came up blank. No emotions. If there was no disgust, there was no pleasure either. And sometimes, I think I might have been better off with feeling disgusted but at least there'd have been something. At least I wouldn't feel emotionally dead! 

But, in the last two days, I went to Xavier's and to the places I, where used to love hanging out: Marine Drive, Chowpatty, Sun's house (even though she isn't here, we went to meet her father, whom we are all very close to.) And I felt that warmth, that feeling of belongingness, the sense of familiarity, all coming back to me. I travelled by crowded Mumbai locals and didn't feel annoyed. I saw people shitting alongside the railway tracks and didn't feel disgusted. I walked under blazing sun and didn't feel horrible. And I smiled and smiled until my jaws hurt. I met one of my old professors, Jeannie on the first day and then, my most favourite professor of all times, Chhaya mam, on the second day with whom I chatted for over an hour. I had the pav bhaji at Cannon, Kapoor's Punjabi Kulfi at Chowpatty, Pasta at Cream Centre, which was chosen by Moon and just sat at Marine Drive with Moon staring at the sea and singing Hindi songs, the city zooming past behind us. I also met one of my other close, close friends, Mungi (hehe, Mungi is actually what he calls me coz I'm so tiny. Mungi means an ant in Marathi. ;)) And I didn't realise how much I had missed him in the last year until I met him. We talked for a long time and pulled each other's legs as usual. :) Moon and I also met Father T, our college counsellor and he still remembered how we had given presentations on Hinduism and Jainism respectively in his human values something class in 11th grade, which was more than 6 years ago! T's office is one of the favourite hang-outs for most students in Xavier's. We are all friends with him. :) And he gave us both a cd full of Xavier's stuff and I was oh-so-happy but also very emotional! I wanted to put up one of my favourite videos from the cd but my internet here is S-O-O-O S-L-O-O-O-W! :/ So, I'm sorry, but I don't have the patience to wait while it uploads pictures and videos. :P

But, basically, like I like to call it, I've finally got my mojo back! :P And I still miss England, Atom and S. But, I'm less depressed and more happy. :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kuch Khatte, Kuch Meethe! :)


Mums are a strange, strange species. Especially mine. She's unique. She deserves the weirdest person on the Earth award really! Sometimes (about 5% of the time she spends with me) she is so loving and at other times (the rest of the 95% time she spends with me,) she is so bitter and snappy and she keeps screaming at me! 

For instance, when I was in England during the summer and didn't get to eat any mangoes this year, she froze a lot of mango pulp for me so that when I come back, I could have that and don't miss out on it. She cooked all my favourite dishes for me as soon as I came back as she hasn't cooked for me since over a year. She offered to buy me a ticket to go back to Leeds for my graduation ceremony as a gift for getting First class in MA. But, on the other hand, she keeps screaming at me for not waking up on time and about how she slaves and slaves for us, cooking things we like and taking care of the house and how nobody cares etc etc etc! 

Life is full of sweet and sour moments. I wonder if we'd appreciate the sweet moments without having experienced and knowing about the sour ones. But, now that I've just come back from England, after a whole year of blissful independence, it is very difficult to control myself when I feel my mum is screaming at me unfairly! I do appreciate all her efforts a lot more now. But I also don't like being screamed at all the time. :/ Wattodo?!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Memories

Have you ever got one of those text forwards which says "Memories are strange. They make you laugh at times when you cried and they make you cry at times when you laughed."

This is so true! Now, when I think back of the day I was so upset because our crazy old landlady, Ms. Memo (Thank you, Atom for the name! :P) had screamed at me for no reason at all, I don't feel any of the hurt I had felt that day. Or when I think of the times I and S were upset with each other over some issues or when Moon had burst out crying coz her then boyfriend had threatened her with some ridiculous thing or when I was so upset over my B.A. results or when I was upset that CPV hadn't called yet or that my mum keeps screaming at me all the time, it all seems so silly and frivolous. I want to laugh out really loudly when I think about how I (or others) cried at some of those moments. However, the moment I start thinking of the good times together, my heart aches for those times again and my eyes fill up!

I remember how Sun, Moon and I used to chat about inconsequential things and laugh and laugh until our sides ached. I remember how Moon and I used to go to chowpatty and Marine Drive and just sit and stare at the sea. I remember how Sun and I used to bitch about a certain professor of ours in our final year at Xavier's. I remember how S and I used to bake together while exchanging our relationship notes and plan our trips together, always spending much more than we intended to but also having lots of fun together. I remember how I wouldn't even crib to wake up at 4:45 am to go to Xavier's for English lectures. I remember how Atom used to call me the sunshine of the house and other soppy but extremely fuzzy, warm things. I remember how he would notice small things about me and tell me he would miss them, like the way my accent takes on an American twang when I say certain words. I remember how JD, Kyra, Sara and I would talk about Bollywood (amongst other scandalous things :P) and dance on songs like Emotional Atyachar and Munni Badnam. I remember how both my cousins used to be such adorable babies at one time and how they have grown up to be brats who love to both, annoy as well as love me! I remember how Ruhi and Curly, my ex-flatmates, used to laugh at my silliness when I would take pictures of everything that I cooked!

And I wish I had all these people right around me, all the time. Because these people made my life bearable and liveable a lot of times. And these people made my life a happy and contented place many more times. I would have been quite lost without all these people. I feel blessed to have people like these in my life. :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The R Word! :D

So, like I mentioned, Romance has re-entered my life! :D And with the capital R too! :D :P Remember I once mentioned that the boy who had sublet his room to me had come back and I had to move out of my room into the tiny guest bedroom? Well, it turns out there is something about two people who live in the same room at different points of time and then meet wanting to share it at the same time as well! :P Needless to say, I've been very giggly and on the moon over the last few days!

However, the thing that pains both of us is that we got together only 2 weeks before I had to leave! This is so unfair! There was no hint of anything even remotely romantic except for a couple very very unsuccessful crushes in the whole of my year in England. But just when I have to leave, bam! I meet this really wonderful person whom I would definitely like to know better! I could have screamed! I probably did too....several times.

Anyhoooo, Atom (Don't ask. Since he knew about the blog and since I asked him if it'd be ok to write about him, I also happened to ask him if he'd like to choose his own name. We had a L-O-O-O-N-G discussion about his name and I didn't like any that he suggested! At one point, he asked me if he could be called Om, coz the first Bollywood film we watched together was Om Shanti Om. I liked the idea a little bit but I could not reconcile his British self to a name like Om! But, ahan, his chat-up line was something like, it'd be interesting to watch Bollywood and I instantly knew! A man after my own heart! :D ::looks up proudly:: Anyway, so, then, I decided to name him after some cool Manga character since he loves Manga and is even studying Japanese language and culture. Then yours truly got confused and tried to name him after a writer instead of a character and he visibly blanched! :P But, finally, we have a winner here: Tetsuwan Atom (The Astro Boy!) So, Atom he is! :D :P) Ok, so, Atom and I have decided that we'll just keep in touch through Skype and email and get to know each other better. We haven't yet established any patterns but have already talked a couple times. :) Sometimes, it does physically pain me that I had to do this but here's to hoping that things turn out well. :) I would feel sorry for myself if I wasn't so enveloped in the fuzzy warmth of the early stages of a romance! :P Would you do that for me please? ;)

PS: Did I tell you that he often kisses my forehead?!!!! No no, not a figment of my imagination! He really, truly, does exist! See why I didn't want to go away? ::sniff::

The Classic Dilemma of an Immigrant

I miss India. I miss England. I wish it wasn't so cold in England. I wish it wasn't so hot and humid and filthy in Mumbai. I miss the sea. I miss the country. I miss the family and the close knit-ness of a Big Fat Gujju Family. I miss my independence. I could never settle down in any place other than Mumbai. I wish I could have stayed for "a few more" years in England. I miss my parents and Sun and Moon. I miss my boyfriend and other friends. (Yea, you read it right. My boyfriend. The reason I was so busy in the last few weeks that I could not put up regular updates. :P More about him in the next post! ;))

Sigh! Now that I'm back in India, even though I love it to bits, I miss England like anything! All I can do is think of going back now! Wattodo?!!

Well anyhow, since I am lamenting about how I have nothing to occupy me here, I might as well take this opportunity of announcing to the world that there is a fresh English Literature Postgraduate and an aspiring writer, just returned from the phoren, who needs employment in the publishing/ editing sector! I can read and write in 5 languages - English, French, Hindi, Marathi and Gujrati and I've done editing jobs for college magazines and journals before. Hmmm? You think pimping myself here won't help? Ah well, never hurts to try now, does it? So, there. ::pointed look::

Feeling the loue!!!

Hello peoples!!! Guess where I'm writing from? MUMBAI!!!! Home, baby! ;)

It's great to be back home! It does feel a bit surreal, like nothing has changed here but at the same time, nothing's same either. But, it still does feel very nice to be back! :) Do you know how many people came to receive me at the airport? About 12 million! :P Well, ok, this time, my hyperbole is being hyperbolic. But, about 12 people came on the airport! It was like I'm coming back from the Moon or something! Speaking of which, Moon was there and she said some of the sweetest things possible! Like, "My life is 66% perfect now! And the rest 33% is in the New Zealand!" (I'm sure you all know this, but I'd still elaborate. Sun is in New Zealand and very jealous at the moment that Moon and I are together once again and she is still there with no clue as to what's next!) So, anyway, Moon and I hugged for a long long time and we were very happily the happies! :D Of course, my parents were there and 3 of my uncles, 2 aunts and 4 cousins! And then, my grandfather (my mum's father) and my uncle and aunt called me to say that I am to come and meet them on the way back home, even if it's only for 15 minutes. And then, my other grandfather talked to me on the phone and made me promise that I'll come to meet him the first thing in the morning! One of my aunts had made moong daal khichdi (a sort-of lentil and rice porridge) with dahi kadhi: my favourite dish! Yes, she brought that at the airport and fed it to me (ahan, ahan, by fed, I mean, FED) and my mum had made a special mint and peru juice that I really like and everyone was hugging me and giving me cards and everything! I, on the other hand, was so dazed, that I was first just bawling like a baby (omg, all I had to do was hug my mother for one second and off I go, like a shotgun! Uff, these emotional girls! hmph. :/ :P) and then, all I wanted to do was go home and sleep. In my room. My green and yellow room, with the beautifully painted wall done by Udu, my cousin. I know it sounds very ungrateful, but I just wanted everyone except my parents and Moon to go away. But, I did honestly appreciate how much everyone loves me! :)

Even before I left, I was staying with Misty in London for a couple days and on my last evening there, she threw me a surprise farewell party that she had planned along with another mutual friend! I was so touched!  Needless to say, everyone in Leeds came to meet me at my farewell party there and I was all teary-eyed several times during the course of the evening! It's difficult, having two lives, both of which you love equally! But, at the same time, it's good knowing that there are people who love you, no matter where you go! :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Irish Tales

About time I post about my Irish adventures, no?

Well, considering we didn't have any real adventures, I guess this would be another gushing-about-beautiful-places and photo-diaries kind of entry. I'll just let the pictures speak about the beauty of Northern Ireland.

S and I mostly drove along the East-coast of the Northern Ireland: along the "Coastal Route" and trust me, it is the most beautiful and picturesque place I've been to in all my trips to various places in the UK. No doubt I loved the English, Scottish and Welsh countryside, the ancient and haunted-looking English abbeys and the randomness of English cities. But Northern Ireland was different.  The Irish country had a different look to it, more rugged and edgy. Like in the picture above, all along, you can see such tiny rock Isles dotting the Irish sea. The fields looked almost the same as the fields on this island. But still if anyone ever put two pictures in front of me, I think I'd recognise Irish fields apart from the others. They have a different, more untouched, wild, unkempt look to them than English and Welsh fields.

We saw a few castles as well. Only, the Irish are funny that way. :P Some of the "castles" were nothing more than 3 pillars on a cliff. One Dunsverick Castle was like that. But it was a beautiful shot, with the grey, gloomy day, the sea and the sky just blending into one mass of grey, the rock isle and the cliff: very atmospheric! :P
I thought two places were the most beautiful though: The Giant's Causeway in the north and Newcastle (yes, there is a Newcastle in Ireland as well! :P) about 45 minutes south-east of Belfast. The Giant's Causeway has got some of the most beautiful rocks I've ever seen. And they were all hexagon shaped and formed patterns. It is a short walk from the parking lot to the Giant's Causeway and there, we came across a bare hillock, which, curiously, had both red and black soil and you could make out a distinct border where the two different tectonic wonders met. Amazing how rocks that are not Tifanny square cut can be so fascinating. (Sorry for the cheesy, cheesy attempt at really sad humour. I've been reading way too much chick-lit for my proposal. :P) Anyhoo, several pictures for the Giant's Causeway:


This last one is of a pile of rocks, barely as high as a one-storey building. But I saw it in a brochure before actually seeing it and these people had posed like that. So, I expected it to be never-ending coz that's probably the illusion they wanted to give. S and I gave our best shots and even though it's no brochure material, I think we did pretty well, no? :P



And the second beautiful place I talked about is Newcastle, near the Mountains of Mourne. There are several hiking routes for the hikers up there when the weather's nice. But we were comfortable and cosy in our car. And I think I've had enough "hiking" to last me for quite a while. :P Anyhow, Newcastle is a quaint, little  beach town but you can also see beautiful, beautiful views of the Mountains of Mourne from the beach. We found a "Mourne Coastal Path" and came across a secluded place on the rocks next to the sea with a tiny stream flowing into the sea. It was so quiet, calming and soothing, we both spent about half an hour, just sitting there, lost with both our individual thoughts. I sat facing the sea, which reminds me of my home and S sat facing the other side, which was essentially, a stream and woods and reminds her of her home. (She grew up on a farm in upstate New York.) And we picked and ate countless blackberries. Sigh. What bliss that hour was. Lots of pictures from Newcastle and Mountains of Mourne. :P


Pretty, no? The second one is the Mourne Coastal Path and this last one is of the Mountains of Mourne as seen from the Newcastle beach. So, basically, I saw everything short of a nice little Irish holiday romance. (Damn.) And I think everyone should visit Northern Ireland at least once if they are in the UK! I can go on and on with pretty pictures if you are not yet convinced. But I swear, I'll just give you my last one: the street lights at Newcastle Beach, which I found very interesting and which is actually a good piece of photography.


I rest my case.