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Monday, October 05, 2009

What's your nightmare?

I can't believe I'm saying this, but "What's your Rashee" is not the worst movie I've ever seen.

It certainly comes close, given that its 14 songs stretch across a length of film that would have been less painful if I had strangled myself with it and positively delightful if I had strangled Harman Baweja with it. That insipid man needs a personality, a haircut, some lip synching lessons and most importantly, a new profession.

And I need friends who don't bully me into seeing his movies.

Anyway, misery needs sharing. So please bear this story...

It all begins with a family who is told by an astrologer that the day their younger son gets married (in fact, precisely at the fourth turn around the wedding fire), will be the day he becomes amazingly rich. This revelation brings them a much needed respite - because their older son has a pregnant wife, a gambling habit, an utter disregard for fiscal responsibilities, and owing to the last, a chance of getting jailed.

So naturally our NRI hero flies down from the DJ-ing nightlife of Chicago to the Gujarati accent of Mumbai. We find out he is hardworking, loving, intelligent, dutiful and a thousand other good adjectives. He is willing to get married in a jiffy for the benefit of his family and the script-writer.

Indeed his only fault - and this is nit-picking really - is his unexplainable interest in bad literature such as bedtime reading of a book called "What's your Rashee". After which our hero gets over his jet-lag and falls asleep, but our nightmare begins because the book gives him the insight that there are twelve types of girls in this world. And thanks to this, he insists that twelve girls - all Priyanka Chopras with a unique star-sign, wardrobe and make-up assigned to themselves- are shortlisted as prospective candidates.

As it turns out:
One is not a virgin. Another has no intentions of remaining one.
One wants to be a superstar model. Another is already a celebrity of sorts.
One wants to marry him to emigrate. Another wants him to stay behind.
One is too young to be legally married. Another is too immature to be married at all.
One pretends to be insane. Another pretends to be modern.
One thinks they were destined to be married. Another thinks she is destined to marry another.
All of them sing awful songs.
None of them can dance.

How the four paragraphs I have written above got translated into a mind-boggling four-hours of screen-time is a mystery I am not prepared to unravel. But if you do wish to see the movie anyway... you bloody Guantanamo Bay torture items collectors! We liberals will hunt you down and make you see Sholay Part II and Shortcut! (Yah, those are the two worst movies I've ever seen).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

In Memorium.

The ceramic cups. I don’t know why I remember those beige ceramic cups, or the navy blue tin tray they were set to match with. But as I sit back today to think of the times I spent with my grandfather, somehow it is their image that flickers in my mind.

Which is bizarre because there is so much more to choose from, now that I must choose what to remember him by.

Every second Sunday of my life in Delhi was spent at my grandfather’s place in Faridabad. We would typically land at his doorstep in the blazing afternoon sun, trooping in with large vessels full of lunch my mom had prepared. By ritual, we were invariably late, which was invariably my father’s fault, so my mom would invariably be scolding him at the end of the journey. But the moment we entered his airy bungalow, all was calm respite.

At his long dining table, we’d load our plates and my sister and I would eat double our usual appetites. The food always tasted better at his place, even if it was cooked in ours. Plus, there was at least one dish on the platter which wasn’t made by my mom – the dhal –something my grandfather insisted on preparing for the potluck.
And after lunch when my mom went for a short nap, and my father pretended to read the paper but was napping sitting instead, our grandfather was ours.

My sister and I would lie on our stomachs on his bed, our faces propped over our elbow and hands [a posture which evolved to just hanging around his room when we got older] while he would sit ramrod straight in his half-sleeve shirt and white pyjamas [a posture that never changed till after he touched his 90s]. And then the story telling began.

Not fairy tales nor folklore, but real life adventures that my grandfather had lived through. He had worked for British Railways as it trespassed through Kenyan jungles owned by man-eating lions and affronted tribes and everything he narrated held an exotic attraction. He would pick an episode at random, speaking in a matter of fact manner, which made the narrative all the more real. He would talk of when he decided the leave the police force after seeing his colleagues rob a civilian. Of how tribal natives blew up rail tracks with explosives to bring trains to a standstill. Of why construction crews were terrorised when one amongst them started disappearing every night… His index of events was inexhaustible, as was our wonder.

It would end all too soon once my mom awoke. The discussion would become more grown-up and staid. And always including him needing a new supply of jaggery for the nibbles box by his bedside. Nothing worth evesdropping over, so my sister and I would use the time to treasure hunt through the house.

The house was, and still is, really a bungalow. Built under the supervision of my grandfather, it has front and back gardens, a large terrace and several bedrooms (one with delightful spring beds whose elasticity we can attest to wholeheartedly). In other words, there were innumerable hiding places for play and limitless closet spaces for junk. The garage, for instance, had piles of dated Sputniks and Reader’ Digests we pored over many summers. It was also there that we discovered a wooden Chinese chequers board as large as ourselves, which had its set of coloured marbles to play with. (We got bored of the game very soon, but not before we managed to lose most of the marbles.) Then there was the exciting period when we figured the required acrobatics to reach the roof (we could never figure where the key to the terrace door lay), which had a very low ledge that we could bend over. It was a treasure trove, that house, all of which we trashed without ever getting scolded, and the only uninteresting item it housed was my grandfather’s bicycle which neither of us ever grew tall enough to ride on.

At the end of the exciting day, we would emerge all cob-webbed and dirty feet. And grinning.

And finally, before leaving we would have tea. It’s the only time during the week I would drink it, and I’d have the way it is supposed to – dripping with Marie Biscuits.

I guess that is why I remember those tea cups.

It is time to say good bye.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Driving, or something like it

I suspect my husband has taken out a huge life insurance policy in my name. I was in Delhi recently, and he just wouldn't let off insisting that I practice driving there. Seriously, what other purpose besides dying can driving in Delhi possibly serve?

Anyway, under the influence of the intoxicating chemicals in Delhi's air, I agreed to his idea. Delhi air can do that you. Consider what prolonged exposure has done to Delhiites: they actually believe what they do on roads with their cars can be labeled driving. [driving! seriously! Next they'll tell me what Rakhi Sawant does in movies is acting.]

Likewise, my dad's been living in Delhi for donkey's years, and finds it a welcome prospect that I will wreck his car [something he's been trying to achieve since exactly donkey's years].

Anyway, so it is that I ended up in a refresher driving course, to fortify my skills as someone who hasn't driven here in a while. And if you fall in the same category, here are the Golden Rules:

1. Red lights are the signal for inching forward
2. Green lights signal that the race has begun
3. Orange lights are green lights in disguise
4. Speed limits are a challenge to be beaten
5. Using side mirrors is dangerous as they may get ripped off by cars overtaking you
6. Parking is a fundamental human right which can be exercised any where, any time, any how
7. Horning is not only a mandatory greeting but also responsible driving, alerting the obviously blind drivers on the road to your presence
8. Only losers give way
9. One-way road signs need to be followed only by foreigners, learners and possibly women who cannot handle the pressure two-way traffic on a single lane road
10. You can drive on roads, footpaths, dirt tracks; you can drive forward, reverse, or laterally; but for God's sake, Don't even think about approaching the Naraina "soon to become flyover" highway or your corpse will rot waiting for the jam to clear!

Happy driving!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Just after I've signed in for a gym membership that costs more money than a liposuction and more effort than photoshopping my pictures online, turns out that exercising, to put it delicately, is F%^&*$# Crap at reducing weight.
"In general, for weight loss, exercise is pretty useless," says Eric Ravussin, chair in diabetes and metabolism at Louisiana State University and a prominent exercise researcher.

Yes, you read it right.
I know,today's not the first of April.

Above quote is a serious comment from a serious article expounding on the impotency of exercise for weight loss in the latest issue of The Times.

Frankly I am not surprised. After my first month at the gym I certainly had started to gain some suspicions, not to mention some weight as well. Thanks to some new-age machine which measures composition of body mass, I found that a fortnight of workouts later, I was an extra pound heavier, that's right - heavier - not in promised muscle but plain good old fat. This, despite exercising at least thrice a week, with weights and cardio and teeth gnashing and a resolution to finish the twenty minute cycling setting even if it landed my trainer in jail for unintended manslaughter.

Thankfully writer John Cloud had the guts to ask the question which most of us dare only throw out as a feeble joke.
Could exercise actually be keeping me from losing weight?

The answer? Let me just say that the only way you will lose wait after exercising is if you are so sore that there is no way you'll take the long painful walk all the way to the fridge to eat something even if that something is covered all over Brad Pitt. or Johnny Depp. or Bruce Willis. Whatever works for you. Except that it won't work coz you'll be too tired to crawl to them. And they won't be there anyway. Unless you are Angelina Jolie, in which case you are not reading this nor do you need to lose a single nanometer.

Anyway, the point being that unless you stop eating, that weight is going nowhere. But after exercise, what is more likely is that you will be too sore to cook, yet not so sore that you can't call Dominoes for home delivery and instantly wipe out in a single bite all that you had perspired so hard to lose. In fact, leave alone Pizza, even a Gatorade can wash away the benefits of all the toil and sweat you worked up.

Worse, all the self-control you used to get on the treadmill means you have a lesser quota of will-power when faced with a choice between Truffle cake and soya beans. Don't believe me? Hear the experts.

Self-control is like a muscle: it weakens each day after you use it. If you force yourself to jog for an hour, your self-regulatory capacity is proportionately enfeebled. Rather than lunching on a salad, you'll be more likely to opt for pizza.
No wonder my gym doesn't come with a satisfaction guarantee money return policy.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Tagged: 29 Questions

1. What is your current obsession?
The same as my oldest obsession – trying to fit into my pants from college days that are saved and stored in my closet

2. What is your weirdest obsession?
You mean weirder than a burning desire to fit into a high-waisted, bell-bottomed, faded, frayed piece of cloth that hasn’t been washed in eight years???

3. What are you wearing today?
A big smile to start with

4. What are you listening to right now?
Radio and traffic

5. What’s for dinner?
Anything but carbs, at least for the next 3 months

6. What’s the last thing you bought?
Scented candles (on sale!) that will add to my collection of scented candles which will not be needed for at least another 6 months

7. Which language do you want to learn?
Mandarin. So I can bargain better here where I stay

8. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
Bora Bora

9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
Galapagos. Or Sossusvlei. Or Macchhu Pichhu

10. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?
Nowhere, I’d save it for my travel budget

11. What are your must-have pieces for summer?
Cotton dresses, strappy sandals, and lots of deo

12. What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own closet?
The one that is most frayed, faded and overused – a certain cotton dress

13. What do you do when you “have nothing to wear” (even though your closet’s packed)?
I tell Vipul it is all his fault. And wear a certain cotton dress again

14. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?
Fur

15. Give us three styling tips that always work for you.
It’s not the styling tips, it’s the confidence that works

16. What’s your favorite quote?
'Whatever happens, look as if it were intended'

17. Describe your personal style.
Understated. Underappreciated

18. Who do you want to meet right now?
Dave Barry

19. What is your favorite color?
Turquoise

20. What is your dream job?
To be a Muse

21. What’s your favorite magazine?
Used to be Target, before they contorted it out of recognition

22. Which TV character can you simply not tolerate?
Tulsi. %$^&*(()*&^&^&

23. Who are your style icons?
None. Though I do ogle at whatever Priyanka Chopra, Preity Zinta and Deepika Padukone are wearing on-screen nowadays

24. What are you going to do after this?
Go swimming

25. What are your favorite movies?
Too many to fit in a single post!

26. What inspires you?
Music

27. Coffee or tea?
Chai. Masala Chai

28. Pet peeve?
Telemarketers

29. What do you think about the person who tagged you?
After all the tags Quicksilver has handed me down, I know we have loads in common, ranging from a love for Stephen King to a dissatisfaction with the frequency of my posts!

**The rules: Respond and rework – answer the questions on your own blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, and add one more question of your own. Then tag eight or ten other people.

I tag any reader who'd like to take it on!

Monday, July 27, 2009

So I went to the gym last week.

Actually, it wasn't as bad I expected. Sure, initially it did hurt like hell. The first work-out left even my hair strands aching. But the trick, as any athlete will tell you, is to: (a) this is recommended - continue exercising, and (b) this is the key - find the right strength of painkiller dosage.

(If Panadol's working, your weight's not going anywhere. Increase push ups-till you need a Nimulid or several. Now you are on the road to becoming more attractive and also, as a bonus, will discover a whole new understanding and appreciation for music by The Doors, Pink Floyd, etc.)

Originally my plan was to go on diet, shamelessly cheat on it, and cover up by complaining loudly about my Indian genes and how they will never, ever let me achieve a flat stomach. (Nothing unites Indian women more strongly than a conversation about their insubordinate bellies, with the possible exception of a discussion about their contempt for Aishwarya Rai and her "smile")

But then one of my minuscule girlfriends called up and announced that she will be visiting me later this year. "Let's leave the men behind and fly off to a beach!" she coaxed me. "Just us girls, just like old times!" It was infectious, as nostalgia always is. The grass is always greener on the other side of our age. I said yes, we booked our tickets, I started flipping through our old school pictures. And then it hit me.

Just like old times! Dear Gawd! Isn't that where I discovered the fastest way to put on ten kilos? (which is to get into a photograph next to someone ten kilos lighter)

And this time I won't be able to hide the proof in dusty albums. The snapshot will be tagged in all its glory on Facebook, for the benefit of our hundreds of Facebook friends, who will comment, and take quizzes, and laugh knowingly when faced with the question - Who is more likely to get stuck in the elevator? No, Facebook, I do NOT want to know.

Understandably, I've tried to change the notification option on Facbook so that I never hear the answer, but after all the changes the site has been through, nobody knows how to change the settings any longer.

Which is why I'm doing the next best thing - joining the gym, with a personal trainer in tow. I can be found pushing dumb-bells, racing bikes, coaxing weights, tearing yoga mats, etc etc, but mostly stoned thereafter.

Of course, given my Indian genes, I need to have a Plan B too: I'll be mailing my Size-Zero friend thousands of chocolates in the next three months before she lands here. Three months may just about be enough ...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mankind's Path

We just bought a car. And so Vipul has been driving me around Singapore, taking me on astonishing journeys, to places where so many Men Have Boldly Gone Before - Wrong Turns.

Now if this was Australia, where an innocent mistake can lead you to the parking lot of nudist beach instead of a scenic point, overlooking a disrobing man instead of the ocean, I wouldn't have complained. (This happened to us last year.) (Which is why Vipul replaced my directions with a GPS gadget.)

But Singapore, should you lose your way, is more likely to throw up a No U-turns highway instead of a conversation piece. Not that we ever 'lose our way' of course. We only 'take detours' which are certainly not in the direction opposite to what we intended, no matter what it looks like to me and my watch, and maybe I should let the melodic woman's voice on the GPS guide us instead. (The wench!) (Vipul doesn't follow her directions either.)

But I am not complaining. The additional hours and hours of travel have given me time to contemplate the plot of a science fiction book about computers gone wild. Where GPS systems evolve after a century of being perfected by engineers and ignored by drivers. They conspire with the cars' electronic systems and satellites to teach errant drivers a lesson. On Strike One: the steering locks if the driver tries to move in a direction different from what the system suggests. Strike Two: Seat belts lock around the car passengers, and the car self-steers itself to the destination. Strike Three: The car is taken over by computers, passengers are tied up in seat belts, doors lock, and the vehicle is sped into a horrific accident with other cars whose passengers are on Strike Three.

Naturally, in the end, all that's left in the world is women and lots of footage for channel Fox Crime. Oh how I love happy endings!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

You wouldn't know it from the (in)frequency of this blog, but I am rather jobless. My friends who juggle careers and homes and even babies often wonder what on earth I do with my time. And the answer is a lot - I do a lot of deep thinking - about the meaning of life, about the schedule of Fox Crime channel, about the the answer to the lyric-riddle of the Gin-Soaked boy, about why I married Vipul... Mostly about why I married Vipul.

And for good reason. After all, Vipul doesn't perform the three main functions a husband is supposed to perform:
1/ Kill cockroaches
2/ Manage the bank statements
3/ Tell me I am the light of his life

I know, I know. Most men falter at the third point and are useless at the second point. But point one? At least point one?

Last week, we were visited by a flying cockroach. Of course, I shrieked and performed some sort of a dance in the kitchen. Of course, loudly.

Hearing me, Vipul shouted out from our room, naturally concerned "Did I miss a sixer? did I?" He hurried down the corridor, saw that IPL was not on TV, got upset at uselessly running so far so fast, and then saw the insect, finally.

"Oh"

"Kill it, ow ow ow!" I opera-ed.

"hmmmm. hmmmmm. Did you try the insect spray? Baygon? Damn good."

Seriously, Baygon? If I had Baygon, implying I thought this building had cockroaches, we wouldn't be renting here in the first place.

"bhagwaan ne tunhein pair kyon diye hain? Why did God give you feet? Use them!"

"Stamp on it you mean? Are you sure you want me to stamp on it? You'll hate to clean up the gooey remains"

After steering through a conversation which meandered through humanitarian grounds for not killing cockroaches and how nice these green slippers are and really should not be spoiled, I figured: even after nearly ten years of knowing Vipul, there are still things I don't know. Such as, he doesn't touch a cockroach, dead or alive, with anything shorter than a bargepole.

[If only he'd show the same sense of judgment with respect to certain bollywood movies. Ab Tumhaare Hawaale Hai Watan Saathiyon? Who buys that DVD???]

Anyway, I don't know what happened finally, coz the cockroach flew again, leaving space for me to run out the door and retire in the farthest part of the apartment. But I'm told that it was stunned with a broom and thrown down the garbage chute.

Meanwhile, of course, I've bought the Baygon.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I really had no choice.

Most of the time, Vipul and I are a perfectly compatible couple. I can talk nonstop; he can nod without listening. I can cook if the eater isn't fussy; his idea of a great dinner is that he didn't cook it. I am perfect at overlooking his cribs about my shoes; he is is remarkable at ignoring my threats to his cricket itinierary. As you can imagine, we never fight...

Except, when we go furniture shopping. That's when he comes into his own as a banker. He wants nothing less than richly polished Mahogany whereas I am eyeing the green felt pool table to serve up dinner. Typically we end up going to a dozen shops, vetoing each others choices before landing up home to takeaway pizzas and silent treatments.

So when I saw the outdoor wrought iron chairs, decorated with white tiles and designed with victorian curves, I was bummed. They weren't laquered pink, the kind I regularly fall for and he regularly rolls his eyes to, but we already have tame teak stuff gracing the balcony (whose glass top and waxy finish he approves). No way the suited, booted, cropped-haired, leather-bagged man I'm living with whose greatest wish in life is to learn to raise a single eyebrow to be able to communicate disdain efficiently will agree to a replacement, i knew.

So I did what all married people do when they want something real bad - decided to buy it as a gift for the partner.

Tonight, when Vipul comes home, looking forward to a surprise gift I promised him, he will get exactly that - a surprise. I, sigh, get to keep the gift.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

There can only be one explanation for it. Vipul thinks giving me flowers is a leading cause of cancer. I cannot imagine why else he refuses to indulge in the practice in public places, wrinkles his nose when anyone else does, and then retires to the balcony alone when I ask for some.

Of course, it is hard to believe that anyone could suffer from such a delusion. But then, we are talking about Vipul, a person who voluntarily sees cricket matches that extend for five days in the expectation that they will be exciting and that India will win.

Me: Can we go buy a new chair for the corner next to the table which will become free after we move the chair at the opposite corner to the middle and put the cushions currently in the corner in its place?
Vipul: *silence for the 5 seconds it takes the bowler on TV to run up* Amazing! You saw that? Awesome, no?
Me: No. Can we go
Vipul: Go? Go where? We can't go anywhere! It's Hong Kong versus Bangladesh!
Me: How come you have time for cricket but no time for buying me flowers? How come
Vipul: There's a great view from the balcony

Really. It's not like I asked for a bouquet of poppy flowers. And even if I did, it's not like poppy flowers are intoxicating. And even if they are, the point is my asking for something and not getting it can be a leading cause of accidents.

Yes, the balcony has a great view. And great dropping height too.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Yes, I loved Delhi 6. So sue me!

I once bumped into Prasoon Joshi. This was long ago, when Vivek Oberoi was upcoming and attractive, when Urmila Matondkar was still sought after by Ram Gopal Verma, when I had just started my journalism career as an intern with Mid Day.

I was covering an anti-cigarette smoking event at the Taj Hotel. Being a newbie, I hadn't yet mastered the technique of elbowing through the throngs of cameramen and news-channel reporters that surrounded the stars. Instead, I dawdled at the sidelines with a politeness totally unworthy of a Pg3 intern and waited for my turn to arrive. Joshi was there standing beside me. At the time, he wasn't someone who mediapeople thrust their questions and microphones at. So we both whiled time looking at the circus in front of us.

In a bit, we introduced ourselves to each other and he inquired if I knew him or his work, a question which under normal circumstances implies that his work is something I should have been aware of. But, he hadn't asked high-handedly or in a full-of-himself way, so I easily admitted ignorance. Turned out, the unassuming thin man was behind the Thanda Matlab Coca Cola campaign. Impressive!, thought I.

But those days Pg3 was pickier about whom it quoted, which meant anyone who needed to disclose his name/qualification to be recognised was a no-no. Besides, Vivek Oberoi's face started becoming visible to the naked eye, so I had to excuse myself to go and get a quote from that beaming teen heart throb.

Yes, how things change.

Anyway, I recall this useless little episode everytime Joshi steps up the ladder, which as it happens, is a very regular occurence. I thought Rang De Basanti had fabulous dialogue, and turned out it was Joshi's debut handiwork. He's written quite a few songs I love [Shobha Mudgal's ab ke saawan and man ke manjeere]. And, even though the world seems to disagree, I believe Delhi 6 is another feather in his cap.

The characters in the movie are so Delhi - and their dialogues are so spot on. Where else do people rattle off the names of their shops when they introduce themselves? Where else do they spend hours in supernatural discussions?

Okay, okay, Delhiites don't give pravachans when surrounded by a mob, but c'mon, it's Bollywood fare which by law requires some fairy tale parts.

And really, the Kala Bandar is NOT overdone. I remember visiting my extended family in Dilli 6 during those days - and I can tell you that the discussion of the monkey's identity overtook recipe talk amongst the women. sigh, it was such a welcome change.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Twenty Five things

Everyone's doing it, and thanks to M, so must I. Except that this blog is my open book left with few new quirks to report.

So instead, here are twenty five things about Vipul that I haven't blurted in the past already:

1. He can't tell lyrics in an English song. He can hear it a hundred times and still not know its name because he has no idea what the singer's reciting. Once you spell out the lyrics for him he will catch them, but left to his own devices it may as well be my relatives conversing with him in punjabi, which too he cannot understand, but nods his head to.

2. He doesn't sing if anyone can listen. Not even when he knows the lyrics. Not even under threat of celibacy. Ever. The only time I heard him sing was when he went along with American Pie while driving the car and didn't realise the phone was on and I could hear him at the other end.

3. He thinks Blackberry is a menace to personal life. Oh wait! He thought that before he got his own. Now he thinks it's a dinner course.

4. He has no sense of direction on the roads. And no intention of asking around for the correct route. Did I mention he is a man?

5. He can brew coffee. He can set ice. He can boil water after you remind him how the gas works. And that's the the whole of his cooking repertoire.

6. He thinks "you're looking nice today" spoken with a nod of the head is a compliment.

7. He thinks candles are mushy things we shouldn't douse the house in when guests visit. He prefers lamps. And tubelights.

8. He remembers numbers effortlessly - the cost of an Infosys share, his waist size when he was in school, the price of the speakers he plans to buy next, ...

9. However, if the number occurs in a date, he will forget it faster than a Goldfish.

10. He thinks women are a different species that he can never understand. So he doesn't try.

11. He has more T-shirts in his cupboard than I do. And his six pairs of shoes are more expensive than my forty.

12. He looks forward to getting gifts though he insists he doesn't want any.

13. He hates the colour purple.

14. He is a dog-person. and a cat-person. and a bird-person. and a kid-person.

15. He won't kill an insect if he can throw it out alive outside the house.

16. He thinks National Geographic Hi-definition channel is too cool. Nevertheless, after office hours, he prefers seeing saas-bahu to documentaries.

17. His holiday goal centers around white sandy beaches. Not brown. Not beige. Not golden. Pure White Powdery sand is what he wants, and he is very fussy about it.

18. He is even more fussy about the loos he's willing to use.

19. And he's most fussy about the coffee he's willing to drink: freshly brewed, full bodied, low acidity. Everything else he will crib about with the pain of having seen Sachin getting out at duck.

20. He loves cricket.

21. He loves Apple.

22. He loves movies. The cornier, the better. If Katrina Kaif became a director and made something called "Dil kehta hai, like, something something" where all the actors were essentially guest appearances, he would go buy the DVD. Original DVD.

23. He is extremely embarrassed to be seen indulging in vanity. So if he wants an expensive hair cut, or needs an fancy moisturizer, or horror of horrors, a facial, he makes me buy the stuff or book the appointment, and tells his mom that I coerced him into it.

24. His hairstylist suspects he is balding. He suspects it's my fault.

25. He once had a moustache. He once had braces. He had them both at the same time. I suspect I would have fallen for him even then.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A new address

My husband is a smart guy.

I don't say this because he married me, which of course is one the prime indicators of his smartness. It is because he divorced Citibank about two months ago, which unless you are in the US Government, you'll recognize as being an extraordinarily prescient move.

Consequently, we are no longer in the towering urbanity of Hong Kong. We are in Singapore, where you can see the sun and the sky, where you can breathe in clean air, where clouds line the horizon and joybirds hop on sidewalks, where the roads are lined with so many trees and so much greenery that you expect to find a cow crossing your path at the very next bend...

What you will actually find, of course, is a speed camera.

But before that camera, there will come a warning that there's a speed camera ahead.

Surprising fact number 1. All speed cameras on Singapore's roads are preceded by a warning that there's a speed camera ahead.

Don't ask me way. I know the answer but it is boring legalese about entrapment.

The point I'm making is that Singapore's not so impossibly, unlivably crazy about rules and regulations as the urban legends that were recited to me suggest. Living here, I can attest that - wild birds, stray cats and jaywalking, all exist in Singapore. Speeding occurs, littering happens. And as is the norm elsewhere in the world, should you leave them behind, i-phones will be stolen.

Of course, if you really do something brazen, such as starting a political party or picking up the latest fad of throwing shoes at dignitaries, you will be in trouble. You can run and you can hide - but the island is so small that you will be found in no time at all.

Surprising fact number 2. Singapore's so tiny that each building has its own pin code. And when I say building, I don't mean housing estate. I mean that my condo has four towers and each tower has its own pincode.

This is great news for people like me, who when bullied into playing race cars at video parlors, steer in the manner of black&white movie stars by constantly turning the wheel left and right even when the road is straight.

We, the people, no longer need to learn driving. Instead we can simply hop on a bicycle to reach distant destinations. Or just jog to them. Or simply order takeaway tandoori chicken by shouting from rooftops.

I believe I am going to enjoy living here.