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


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.


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?"


(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: and it promises to be as sassy as Moon herself! :D Go read, and enjoy!! :D