17

The magic of Rahman

I am such a nut, that I totally forgot to blog about this very exciting experience of my life! Around 2-3 weeks back, I had the chance to go for the Intimates Concert by A. R. Rahman. Ah, what a treat that was! The music, the singing, the visual effects, it was just so stunning. It was my first concert ever, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Throughout, I was recording snippets and sending it on Whatsapp to Moo and rest of the friends and parents. They pretty much heard him live that ways.

Abhi, Nish and me had gotten the tickets around 3 months back and good that we did, because they were sold out within the week! The event was at Nokia theater in LA, which has just been re-named to Microsoft. Abhi works at Nokia/Microsoft for the phone division and has been strictly instructed to get us VIP seats next time. When we entered, we realized we were going to find a LOT of desis from San Diego State. But it was alright.

Somehow, in the whole deal, as usual I got wrangled in this weird situation. Prasad, a colleague, was going to be there with his wife, 2 kids and some friends. This guy CK that I hung out with some old friends had told me that he had really wanted to go but the tickets were sold off. Turned out, Prasad had to go to Kansas at the last moment with our bosses for a meeting. So I volunteered and got his ticket sold off to CK. Although I had told CK that the seats were pre-decided, he was kinda taken aback after he paid me and when I told him that he will have to sit with strangers, AND drive himself since Abhi and Nish were picking me up. *Awkward*. This was 2 days before the concert. On the day, Prasad emailed me if CK was still going, if not, he wanted it back because everyone had gotten their flights pre-poned. Now, I was caught between a rock and a hard place. I called CK and asked him if he was still going. Somehow, now that I was not going to hang out with him there, he seemed to be giving the ticket back quite eagerly. 😉 If you know what I mean. Phew. I am holding Prasad on gunpoint and have informed him that he owes me a lunch, because thanks to his son dancing in the aisle, they got spotted by the tour manager and GOT UPGRADED TO THE VIP SECTION!! He got to take pictures and shake Rahman’s hands!!! So jealous!

It was supposed to start at 8 pm, but it started at around 8.20, not too bad considering the Indian standard time followed elsewhere. The moment Rahman came on the stage, it was huge! Everyone was on their feet super excited, and screaming and clapping! But that was nothing compared to when the songs began. They played songs from Dil Se, Roza, Saathiya, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Taal etc with a  mix of Tamil and Hindi. I don’t know a drop of Tamil but nothing stopped us from singing and dancing in our seats like crazy. They sang a lot of songs from their latest hit OK Kanmani and I had no idea that Southern Cali has so many Tamil people. I had conveniently assumed it to be a Gujju state. 😉

The nicest feature, next to Rahman singing of course, was this female dancer who was coming in for some songs and dancing  with a mix of contemporary and Kathak style. Visually it was incredibly stunning and I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. She was so graceful, compared to the ‘baby-goat-trying-to-stand-up’ kind of my limb movements. There was a piece where Rahman tried out creating music with this Wii like instrument. That was sheer magic! At the end he admitted that they are musicians and get excited with such gadgets. 😀

The evening ended with Maa Tujhe Salaam for the credits and Jai Ho, of course. What I missed was THE Swades song. That would have been mind-blowing and would have for sure reduced me to a bawling pool of tears.

For more, go to my Instagram page.

26

Motion Se Emotion

If you are easily disgusted by talks about poopies, please DO NOT continue further. If you cannot stand talks about toilet habits, please STOP NOW. Or maybe you can just watch the Piku trailer. Whatever. MOO I know you will hate this post! Ani, I am sure you are already fascinated.

TOO MUCH INFORMATION ALERT

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Have you guys seen Piku yet? Or at least seen the trailer? I will link it down below so that you can watch it. It is pretty cute and funny.

Regarding the toilet humor, quite literally, I found it hilarious and one that resonates with my household pretty much.

We are a family of people with badddd stomachs. And it includes the dog as well. Our daily discussions start in the morning with the quality of motion. My parents and I are hoarders of Sat Isapgol(hemp flax?!?) which is a natural fibrous laxative. The most exciting thing to have happened when I was newly exploring San Diego after my new move to USA, was discovring packets of Isapgul at an Indian grocery store. It was magnificent.

My father is always complaining about how he is either constipated or he has diarrhea. He will claim he needs to eat less because his stomach is not okay, but you don’t see that in reality. How the heck is he still so skinny, I have no idea. I remember hearing the same dialogue every day of my life since childhood, “I will eat light tonight, my tummy feels bloated.” My mother has issues with fissures because she ignored a lot of her digestive health as a child and also childbirth pretty much screws women up. So, she is not supposed to be eating very spicy, ginger-ey or garlic-ey food. Yet she does, and proceeds to complain about it till you get sick of it and yell at her, like, if she knows she is not supposed to eat those things, then why would she! She is also allergic to eggs and screws up her stomach with even a piece of cake, or anything that has eggs in it. Yet, she will eat that and then complain all night, morning and day.

I, am worse, in many ways. My laziness is at such a height, that when I was a kid, I wouldn’t go for days, just because it seemed like so much work. I had learned how to control myself, despite all the warnings I got from my parents all the time. It made travelling in trains and buses easier for sure. It annoys me to death, the way my mom will go to the loo in the train first thing in the morning, and will come back and ask for the paper soap and napkin in front of the ENTIRE compartment of people. I cannot stand the thought of going for my business in the train. Ewwwwwwwwww. When visiting India for the first time after starting my Masters, I had to go to Indore for a cousin’s wedding by train, within a couple of days of landing. While there, I made a fabulous decision of drinking 4-5 glasses of yummy jaljeera, in that sweltering heat, and god knows what kind of water. My mom always makes me carry a bottle of water from home since a 9 year old me got Typhoid. The jaljeera binge looked like the worst idea ever when it ruined my time. My grand plans of eating all the awesome chaat, that is so famous and that I thoroughly miss, went down the, errr, flush. The train ride back home was miserable, since I was shooting from both the ends and had a fever going on. The lesser said the better. I remember eating only ice cream for the next 2-3 days. It was just horrible.

I am usually oscillating between the two ends of the spectrum. It’s either nothing, or diarrhea. I tend to develop the latter at the time of an exam or interview. I have learnt to keep Pudin Hara(a green mint capsule) with me ALL the time. If I eat Thai food, I need it guaranteed. If I eat spicy street food in India, I will need it. If I have an important meeting or presentation, like hell I will need it. On the day of my flight back to USA in January, I spent the lat few hours at home flitting in and out of the loo. My uncle would call to talk to me and say bye and he called me 4 times, and the times I was inside. He was laughing because he knows my agony way too well. His 10 year old boy has the same stomach and mental disorder. Do you know the feeling when you are super sure that if you dig in the ground at a certain point, you WILL find treasure, but it’s a fruitless effort? Sighhhhhh. The hurt and the disappointment. 

You know, if I am going out or have a party to attend in the evening, I start planning my outfit as soon as I learn about the event. The next thing that pops in my hair is about when to wash my hair. And the third thing is, how and when to go and empty my stomach. If I have an early morning road trip, touristy thing, my running events, I HAVE to wake up so that I keep half an hour to get ready and around 45 minutes just to force my stomach to behave itself and let it go….(Elsa style from Frozen). The day I accomplish this, I have a certain glow about me. 

When I lived with roommates in Lonavala during my Engg, we were a super conscious bunch who overcame eventually the need to tell that they are going to need the loo for quite some time. It was 4-5 girls and one restroom. It had to happen. Thankfully the bathroom and loo were separate! But during the deed, we would be constantly flushing because OMG, lest someone hears us doing something that every human being HAS to do. One of the roommates, IB, did not think we could hear. So we ended up naming her Ploppity Plop. 😀 In the States, we have the exhaust fans installed in restrooms, which makes me feel so much better. But I have my own bathroom in my room now, so I am at peace. At work, I tend to go for any business when no one else is there. I don’t know why, but I need complete privacy. If someone comes when I am in a stall, I go deathly still until they have left. Mind you, my work starts at 7.30 am. It is way too early for even my head to function, it’s a long way ahead for the tummy. I end up going for the deed at work mostly, after making sure that all the stalls are empty. I am not a big coffee drinker except an occasional iced coffee or well, free coffee in office(which is disgusting by an unanimous opinion by people). But I have discovered the potency of just 2-3 sips of hot coffee or green tea. That’s all I need. The flip side? Since 3 weeks, my weekends at home have been extremely disappointing. I hope I am not getting addicted. Drink more water, PB!!

I haven’t even mentioned about the dog yet. Moony’s sessions are just funny. First, in order to avoid making the surroundings dirty, we carry a newspaper page with us. Now in USA, you get baggies with which you scoop the poop up, and I have done that for my old roommate’s dog. But I feel it just leads to landfill and my mom is more worried about the cost bit. So newspaper works better. Now as soon as Moony squats and gets into the position, my mom quickly put the paper right under him. She just has to pick up the paper after, ball it up and put it into trash. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Our day is spent trying to dissect the quantity and the quality of his poop. My father claims that he can even read Moony’s facial expression to figure out how satisfied he was with the outcome. I am told about all this even on Skype. Sometimes he doesn’t seem too happy with his business, so we know that an extra trip outside is going to happen. Sometimes we know he needs to eat his bit of grass to calm the sounds from his tummy. As he is getting older, we see all signs of an older grandpa in him. His tummy is much weaker now. You can hear his tummy making gurgling sounds a lot of times. He is turning into Mr. Stinkaroo as well.

We are strange people with stranger toilet habits. One thing that I totally miss about my half an hour on the pot in India, is reading my Pune Times or Pune Mirror. Such was our level of dedication that my dad had installed a makeshift rack to put the newspaper. US weekly just doesn’t cut it. During exam times, I used to sneak in my Nancy Drews and other books. It was the only place where my mom wouldn’t suspect me of any funny business. Although the Indian loos in the old houses would screw my knees. I do not recommend squatting for 30 min straight. 

Squatting reminds me that it is supposed to be the best position. So, Shawn and I ordered three of these things called the Squatty Potty, One for each of us and I actually took one to India to gift my parents. It was quite appreciated. 😀

16

Justice for sale

My newest Facebook comment on Arjun Kapoor and Salman Khan got me 99 comments. Out of those 99 comments, there were comments from 2 guys who I think are pretty brain dead, defending Salman Khan, calling me Congressi Sonia Gandhi and an unforgiving sinner. 8 people texted me to ask what is wrong with my FB friend list. 😀

 

All and sundry are definitely aware of the Salman Khan case that has been doing the rounds. He allegedly was driving drunk on a night in 2002 and drove over a footpath injuring a few people and killing one. The case has been languishing in sessions court since then and finally he was awarded a sentence of 5 years for driving under the influence of alcohol, culpable homicide not amounting to murder and for not having a driving license. Within a record time of an hour, he was awarded bail by high court for 2 days, and then after 2 days, the High Court passed a super quick judgement to squash his jail term and set up a new date. Tareekh pe tareekh, tareekh pe tareekh, anyone?

  

It makes me laugh(and shed tears on the side) that the lawyers and courts are tumbling over each other in their over eagerness to please Salman Bhai. Just a day before that, I read the saddest report on rapes, false naxal allegations on women and blatant violation of human rights in the tribal belt of India. I read up everything I could on Soni Sori and have been disturbed ever since. There are thousands of under trials who have been counting months , and some even years, till they get atleast a date in court for bail proceedings. I don’t know what to make from this.

There is this Arjun Kapoor who claims that no matter what anyone, or any court says, he completely believes that Salman Khan cannot do such a deed. There are celebrities claiming that footpaths are not meant to be sleeping on. There are hordes of celebrities visiting his place as if someone has died. Well, someone did die. In 2002. Under his vehicle, which is still being used by the way. He had the guts to send his driver to claim that he was the culprit, and he woke up after 13 years in order to ‘realize his mistake’. Kamal Khan who was a witness and had given a statement that Salman was indeed behind the steering wheel, disappeared one fine day. Another person died, who kept his claim alive that Salman WAS drunk and WAS driving. Having been tortured according to several reports, and being shunned by family and friends, he passed away literally on the streets after contracting TB. What a sad, sad end. I wonder where this generous Human Being was then.

Now, my mom and I are fans of his style and his movies. My mom had a huge crush on him when Maine Pyar Kiya came out. I fell in love with Salman Khan and Madhuri tai after Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. I whistled loudly during Ek Tha Tiger when he swaggered around. I don’t want to count his remakes, because I hate them to be honest. I feel they are made for people who have a really, really low IQ, even though I love masala films. I am extremely intrigued about his affairs and lap up all stories and old pictures of him and Aishwarya Rai and Katrina Kaif. But that is where my love ends. 

My father cannot stand Salman Khan. He gets mad when mom or me drool over him. He always says how can we like a person who is such a ‘gunda’, kills people, hits women, claims to have conquered all his actresses. He cannot stand the movie Hum Saath Saath Hain because they show Prem to be the most generous hearted person ever, whereas during the same movie he set out to hunt a protected species of rare deer with other imbeciles like Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre and Tabu. He chased a deer round and round till it was tired, then shot and injured him, and then cut its neck off with a knife. Real macho, Mr. Khan, real macho.

There are countless people who insist that his ‘mistake’ should be forgiven because he has done a huge amount of charitable work. According to that logic, Bill and Melinda Gates should be handed a couple of grenades and a free rein with a license to kill. His nonprofit Being Human began in 2008 or 2009. Only if our judiciary wouldn’t have been asleep for so long and had passed the judgement within a couple of years, would there have been less furor over this judgement? I wonder. I am not even harping on the fact that he claimed of drinking water in a bar when he was a known alcoholic, short tempered, egoistic enough to think he is always right(he still is if you watch Bigg Boss *rolling my eyes*), he hid inside his home till the cops came to get him after running away from the site.

 I am sure, after 10-15 years when the judgement finally passes, he will be fined Rs. 500 for driving without a license in the end and will be let go. 

But the charity will continue.

Whatever helps him sleep at night.

6

Bollywood shollywood: My guilty pleasures

I am a big movie buff. I think more than movies, I am a big gossip buff! I am always browsing Bollywood websites in search of those spicy tidbits that newspaper or PR articles tend to miss. It somehow gives me great pleasure to tell people that X is involved with Y and not with Z actually, or A cheated on B with C, you get the idea. One of the first few blogs I had come across were the celebrity style decoding experts. Oh, what fun those are! I don’t know a squat about why are Ritu Kumar’s clothes more expensive than my mortgage, or why Sabyasachi’s one pastel blouse makes the bloggers go ‘OMG’, but the clothes sure are pretty! But still, nothing beats the gossip sites!

The blind item columns are my guilty pleasures. Although I can tell how some stories are absolutely fake and so randomly made up, nonetheless, they make for a fun reading. I had a phase a while back, where I would dig up stories about yesteryear’s stars and their naughty doings. This was when I used to be in the lab at grad school ‘working’ on my research ‘sincerely’. My mom was one prime source of the juicy tidbits. She remembers a lot of stuff covered in Stardust, the super controversial magazine at the top of their game that time. So I would google old news and articles to find out who did what exactly. Like a good girl, I would report my findings back to my mom punctuated with ‘Arre, nahi, waisa nahi tha, sachchai toh yeh thi” while my dad would shake his head like an elephant troubled by a fly. Trust me, stars that time, were upto no good! The things they have done, the steamy affairs that they have had, can put a current Bollywood star to shame. 2-3 weddings, religion changes, pregnancies by rakhi brothers, shaadi stoppings at the dot of time by another jealous actor and the actresses mother, ooh, so much fun!

These days, gossip begins and ends with PR stunts. Telling if relationships are real or fake is sort of hard. Two exes and co-stars praise each other, like no tomorrow for promoting their movie and then drop each other like hot potatoes as soon as #200crores are achieved. Plus, whatever they do is not so out of the ordinary anymore. Everyone around have girlfriends or boyfriends and are pretty much doing the same thing. But what makes it interesting is the play of the feelings in front of the entire media and world and the game of truth and lies.

There have been times I have found myself insisting really hard while gossiping with my friends with a “Yes! It IS true!” and throwing in a “You guys are useless, know nothing, I KNOW it!”. It is hilarious how I find myself insisting on something really happened, or defending why it happened or did not happen. I am practically a third(raised to the power n) person, yet I find myself so involved with the lives led in Bollywood.

It is funny how we stand so far from the glittery world, yet somehow get drawn so easily to it. People in India live for the 3Cs, Chai, Cricket and Cinema. I definitely find it hard to disconnect myself from the entertainment news. It gives me a vent, it makes me relaxed and it is pure, unadulterated fun.

Maybe that is really the magic of Bollywood lives.