19

Birthday No. 28

So, I am a 28 year OLD lady as of Saturday, Sept the 26th.

A giant big thanks to everyone who wished me. It made me feel very special and Princess Butter appreciates every bit of that.

My parents sent me the cutest homemade card on Powerpoint which had a picture of me and Moony. We skyped a couple of times on Friday and Saturday.
My day of celebration had already begun on Friday afternoon with my birthday starting in India at that time. My R&D group took me out for a team lunch to Lucille’s which our usual watering hole. The team is so awesome that hanging out with them is always fun. After the lunch, I came back to my cell phone to a barrage of missed calls and texts from the best friends. I managed to sneak out of office for some minutes to have a nice chat with Hazra.

I had to go to the mall after work to return something and I ended up breaking my shopping ban. Once more. But I found the perfect skirt at H&M for Ani and Moo’s bday gift top and it just had to be bought!

Friday night saw more Skype sessions with parents, this old friend Sayali, calls with Shib, Ani, Moo. My last bday wish was from Ted who decided it would be perfect to tell 60 ‘lies’ on my bday to make me happy, ranging from how nice I am to how I am not weird at all. 😀

Saturday dawned bright and early, with me waking up with princess-ey stretches a la Bollywood actresses. No. It dawned sharply at 7 am with a call to Shawn that “I donttt wannnaaa get upppp!” But I did get up and I headed to the beach at 8 am with Shawn and Melissa. It was cloudy till about 10 am and got super sunny after. We were there till around 10.30 am. 11 days of sun in Turkey have not done what those 30 min did to my skin with respect to tanning. I have clear demarcation where the clothes were and a tan line and it’s so ridiculous! California sun, y u so harsh?!

Corona Del Mar and the glorious California September

I got back from the beach to an awesome surprise! I had a package from Sheri’s berries with chocolate dipped strawberries!! Shib and Hazra sent it to me and that was such a ‘awwww’ moment. 

I showered and ate a bit and I took a nap for, err, 3 hours after. I had a bday dinner with friends at 7.30 pm at an Indian restaurant. The ‘Merican friends love Indian food so that was a great choice of place. Aaand I got 2 bday cakes! Yay for that! A funny thing happened though. The waiter decided to sing Happy Birthday song in Hindi to me, ‘Baar Baar ye din aye’ and proceeded to totally mis-pronounce my name 😀 Friends who don’t know Hindi were obviously clueless but quite amused. I really, really enjoyed my dinner with people who rate quite high in my life as friends. A few drove over all the way from San Diego or LA and that made me feel so special, I can’t even explain.

After the dinner, Abhi-Nish, Madhuri, her roommate Akansha, and I drove over to LA because we were going to spend the night over there. Why were we in LA? We had tickets to Arijit Singh’s concert!! The concert was on Sunday evening and it was a total blast! To be honest I wasn’t such a huge fan and I was not expecting much. But he sang his songs, and KK-Emran Hashmi’s songs that were a rage when I was in college, and a few other hits. The orchestra mixed it up a bit to make the hit numbers peppier. We ended up standing and dancing for the last one hour to Kabira(Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani), Samjhawan(Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya), and a few more. It was the most fun dancing to his renditions of Gangster, Jannat, Murder 2 songs. All in all, it turned out great fun. We got home by 12-12.30 am and here I am in the morning guzzling down coffee at work. Thank God Dennis is not in today.

Arijit Singh live!!

  
I had a great birthday full of happiness, a lot of laughter, happy tears, and all in all, a lot of joy. I spent the weekend with my people, and with gifts from my people back in Pune that made me feel closer. I feel that I have finally stepped out of the fog and in general, I am in a better mood now. I find myself smiling more often, laughing more freely, and feeling sad a lot less. Now if only someone tells the skin and hair to stop ageing, it will all be perfect. I am NOT ready to start anti-ageing regime mentally. I anyways got told that my mental and physical age doesn’t seem to match, and I am perfectly happy with that, thank you very much.

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25

Us cool, Orkut kids

I think I have been on Social Media ever since the concept started. I want to say that I have an inherent need to please everyone and I constantly need social acceptance to ‘fit in’. But, even if it’s partly true, nope. I do not get into those arguments where people curse Facebook for all the social evils in the world or for narcissism and vanity. I am on FB, and very actively share dog and cat videos. I can’t help it if anyone thinks its perverted. Plus, it’s a great stalking tool.

I associate my college life with a very popular social media tool that was such a big hype till I finally moved to FB in 2009. I am talking about Google Orkut. I remember feeling very cool about having an Orkut profile and having lots of ‘Friends’ and ‘Fans’ and ‘Scraps’. 😀

Back until 2009, I used to have endless arguments with new FB users on why FB sucks in front of Orkut and how I will NEVER delete Orkut because I found all my childhood friends there, even if, we excitedly said hello and exchanged messages on Day 1 and never spoke again.

So when Google decided to shut it down, me and the best friend Shibz got very nostalgic about it. It was an important part of our friendship, our lives and a very important medium of avoiding studies. I have archived my Orkut account and you can do it too until Sept 2016. It will be saved in your google drive. The best part of my Orkut profile? The testimonials! Oooooh, the English, the fonts, the sms language! Sigh, we were such cool cats. I am putting in a few of my Testimonials here. Yes, I am that awesome.

This one below is by my absolute best friend Shibz. Back in college, his style could be described as of Abhishek Bachchan in Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. Including his behavior. I have told him plenty of times that if Inhad met him on the street, I would have gone ‘Ewwww!’ And would have never spoken to him. 😀

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This next one is by one of my first friends in San Diego. We were a group of 3 guys and me doing everything together. There was huge drama around this and our friendship pretty much got ruined because he fell for me and got very jealous. Sheesh. 

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This one is by Hazra who I am really close to. Shibz, he and I make a very stupid team. We were the nutjobs back in college and we still are. Such a simple message but he has always maintained that. ❤

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This one is by a classmate in Lonavala. He has tried to be so cool that it’s hilarious!! He was such a simple guy. We got along pretty well. 

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This is by Ani who is one of the BFFs and a general visitor on mine and Moo’s blog. She used to comment earlier but is trying to be pricy now. We have had a mad relationship in college where we did the nuttiest things ever. As for the last line, it is true. She almost hates me.

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28

15 tips for fellow singles to get through V-Day

So we are going to be celebrating a Singles Awareness Day Saturday on, well, Saturday. On the occasion of this SAD Saturday, let me give you a few pointers to get through the excruciating 24 hours where mush and confetti is going to fall on you non-stop.

1. Do not go out to a theater in full taav(attitude) to watch a movie alone. The only thing you will end up watching is some furious making out ALL AROUND YOU.

2. Do not lose your mind and binge eat that entire box of chocolate. You will regret it so much when you step on the scale. Remember my fellow SAD Saturday observer, a moment on the lips, forever on the hips.

3. Do make something special for yourself or order something nice to eat. My special favorites are Egg curry, Pastas, or Tawa Paneer.

4. Do not go to a restaurant alone. Bad idea. The waiters will either thoroughly ignore you or look at you with such undisguised pity. And mostly, you will end up with a table near the restroom or the kitchen. Plus, you may catch umpteen proposals, a lot of PDA and such disgusting things around you.

5. Watch your favorite sitcom. But do make sure you don’t watch an episode with lovers coming together finally, or people getting married, or anything with hot s*x. NOPE. There, there. We don’t want to cry.

6. Do not stalk your ex’s social media. Reminder to myself have been placed all around the room on post-its. Which are thoroughly neglected.

7. Do not stalk and hate on the new girls he is adding in his friend list. Does not matter how horrible you are sure they are.

8. Do not get drunk and drunk-dial the ex. (*Hiding all my wine*)

9. Do not be that idiot who will post things on Social Media wishing parents, siblings, cousins and friends. This is NOT a family love day. It is a day for proposals, affection and the ‘other’ kind of action.

10. Do not pretend you have a date later in the day. Please. Have some self-respect and be supportive of SAD Saturday.

11. Do not send a bouquet to yourself at work. Even if you are writing a note from Anonymous. People will go, ooooh, but in the inside, you know how pathetic that is.

12. Find other SAD Saturday observers and have a picnic together. We used to have our Pavana Dam trip in college in Lonavala every year. Somehow I would start dating people right after V-day who weren’t even a part of that trip. The group was full of SAD celebrators and Friend-zoned people(mostly boys).

13. Do not go shopping. You will thank me later for saving your credit card debt.

14. Do not talk to or meet anyone in a relationship. They are gross on V-day. Just gross. Unless they don’t celebrate it.

15. Catch the India-Pak cricket World Cup match on a giant TV in a newly married couple’s home. This applies for American time zones specially. Again, which I am doing in San Diego, and I shall re-iterate the exception in my point 14. And pray really hard that we do not lose the winning streak.

16

Of Sangrias, games and small joys.

Aah, what a satisfying weekend that was!

I went to San Diego this weekend. Instead of staying with Abhi-Nish, I decided to stay with my girls K and S. K and I were throwing Abhi-Nish a combined Bachelor, Bachelorette, pre-wedding party all in one. We had to do arrangements for that and basically just wanted to hang out together. We went to Party City and picked out the mandatory hat, tiara, veil, and these huge shiny bride and groom badges. We had some sumptuous Indian chaat food after and appropriate booze was bought for the night. We reached home and went through 2 bottles of some good old Sangria. It is a sign that you are indeed turning old, when after drinking, instead of being rambunctious, you end up being drowsy and turning in for the night. Yep. I would like to blame my early office hours, thank you very much.

S said she will sleep in her guy roomies’ room and K and I could have her bed. Her boy is away on an India trip. But we insisted for her to stay and ended up sleeping horizontally on her queen bed. It was like sleeping with cousins. You don’t care how you sleep, but just want to be together.

Saturday dawned bright and early. As early as it can be at 10 am. We made some eggs and tea and had a long chat about the issues that the girls were having at home. Listening to what kind of relation they have with their parents, makes me want to go and give my parents a tight hug. I hope they eventually have the same comfort level with their parents like what I have with mine. I cant imagine it any other way.

We had movie plans before the party. The three of us went to see Interstellar. It was a brilliant movie, but the last 30-40 minutes went on a tangent. I got so confused by the end that I had to read up the story on Wikipedia. Although I already knew the story because of this jerk who posted the entire story on his FB status under the guise of a review. It was the damn whole story and not a dot of review! And I ended up reading the whole thing. I am also a total tool.

Anyhoo, I loved the movie. The graphics, were so insanely real. Nolan’s movies are magical that ways. We came out of the theater and we felt so woozy. It was like the world seemed different. I call that an impact, which I haven’t experienced since quite some time with movies.

After that we reached Dave & Buster’s where we had all gathered for the bride and groom to arrive. I had mentioned the time on the e-vite a gazillion times, and most people made it on time more or less. A few people were sorta busy but they did drop in even if it was for a short while which was pretty amazing. Some food was had, drinks were downed and we proceeded to enjoy some game time. At the cost of sounding immodest, you are looking at the champ of dropping coins in the coin-pushing-ticket-winning-game-thingy. Like this picture I googled, below.

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We collected our tickets and Abhi-Nish got us all shot glasses to remember the fun night we had. We dropped by into the photobooth for some awkward and confused picture taking. 😀 But the end result was quite good! Although it picked out a ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ template for our pictures. Well, pretending to be in Vegas is as good as being there.

Since they both will be in India till the day I leave for India, and we will not meet each other till Feb, we met up for lunch again on Sunday. I had Dosa after such a long time! It was so yummy. If you are in San Diego, do go to Chennai Tiffins some time. Their filter coffee is very good and so are their chutneys.

I really really hope they have an amazing wedding and everything goes by smoothly(#kalatikka). Such happiness is hard to come by and I wish they have every bit of it and are buried in sugar coated pink marshmallows of happiness.

I left for home after that. On a total whim, I decided to stop by at an outlet mall just a li’l north of SD and ended up beginning my holiday shopping. For me. Yay for that. I was supposed to look for stuff for parents for my upcoming India trip. The only thing I have bought is a jacket for Dad. Mom’s shopping is trickier. The woman is as fickle minded as-well, me. So, I walked into Banana Republic and saw that they had 50% off on tops, pants and some dresses were on a 70% off. I don’t usually glance there because even with that discount the dresses are $100 upwards. But somehow I snagged one at a decent price. Plus, I got sucked into signing up for their credit card which gave me another 10 bucks off. Such joy.

So, all in all, it was a great weekend. The holiday season is coming up, and hoping to have many more similar ones. 😀

P.S. I shall be in India from 26th Dec to 23rd Jan. I will be unavailable on a few days in between, but do give a shout out if in Pune around that time.

9

Last few days of summer…

Last weekend I went to San Diego and had a fabulous time!

I joined a couple of friends to go for the La Jolla seven cave tour by kayaking. It was a very hot day and I have tanned almost 4 shades darker even with a gallon of sunscreen on me. But it was all worth it.

The tour guide took us into the sea where Amru and I were on a kayak and her husband and brother were on another. Our arms were absolutely in pain by the end of it. But you know what the cherry on top of the cake was? I along with Amru’s husband, jumped off the kayak into the sea!

After the tour was done, the guides took us to a nice spot faaaaaaaar from the beach. We could see leopard sharks and sea turtles swimming in the ocean and we could see some dolphins and sea lions a li’l further away. They told us that we could swim there if we wanted. Everyone was really hesitant. I could see Ninad wanted to do it, so I egged him on! 😀 I mean, we had our life jackets as well. And he jumped! I looked at him, and slipped off my kayak too, although carefully, because I did not want to get my contacts wet.

I have done snorkeling before, which was a mindblowing experience as well, but this time, I was much more further into the ocean. The hard part was getting back into the kayak. It took all my core strength and mad, furious kicking into the water to hoist myself up. I managed that and was sprawled b*tt up, in the kayak, while Amru balanced the boat, for a good 10 exhausted minutes. At some point, a great white shark did cross my mind. They often have a sighting of one and have to close the beach down. Anyhoo, thank God there were none while I was dangling from the kayak.

The water was just the right temperature. So amazing and a beautiful blue. Usually, the Pacific is very cold, saving for July to September.

Swimming in the deep blue sea is one point checked off from my bucket list.

After the kayaking session, I had plans of going for Dandiya with Abhi and Nisha and their few friends. But we ended up canning it in favor of going to watch Haider. The movie is like an onion. It has so many layers to it. A fabulous example of oedipal complex, the movie has quite a bit of shock factor. A lot of people are pissed off that the censor board released a movie showing the Army in a bad light. I don’t think it was necessarily trying to show the army in a bad light. Now, it is what it is. There have been many cases where AFSPA has been mis-used. We have heard of plenty of cases from Kashmir, North-East, and the tribal areas. Also, those ^#%$&@% terrorists and militants have brought out the animal in everyone. Anyways, in short, I saw a movie that had some substance.

Now I just need to watch Bang Bang in the coming week. 😛

18

Cute or what!

I skipped work on Monday after a crazy Saturday night dancing session.
As I have mentioned earlier, my boss is a White guy in his mid 70s.
So on Tuesday, this is what happened.

Boss : Are you okay?? ARE YOU OKAY??

Me : Yessir, all fine now.

Boss : *Shaking head* You don’t listen to me. I am worried about your diet. When did you have your last annual checkup?

Me : Errrr…..

Boss : So, if something happens to you, then we look for one doctor, young lady?

Me : I will get one! TODAY! (Task still pending)

Boss : You are alone here, please do something about your diet. Please eat fish atleast. Have fish n chips, or chicken, something! *Proceeds to explain about different fishes in the market*

Me : *Grinning and shaking my head*

Boss : So, okay, what really happened?

Me : *Sheepish* My back and legs hurt……. Cuz of dancing for 3 hours at a friend’s Bollywood party.

*Crickets*

Boss : Errrr, okay… You know, mom and dad aren’t here, we have to take care of you…….

Awwwwwwww……..

6

Busy, busy week

So many things happening this week! We have a major customer appreciation event on Thursday and golf event on Friday where I am going to be *tadaaaa* ‘the photographer’s assistant’. I am going to do the most important task of printing pictures and putting them in frames. There shall be legit boozing involved. On Thursday we will have a show and tell and demo of our new pumps that I have designed. There will be many presentations from my R&D group.

As soon as I learned of this event, my first thought was ‘Gotta shampoo on Wednesday night, and flat iron hair on Thursday’.

Good to know, my priorities are all sorted out.

18

Of Yoga, Biryani and Namaste

This August 2014, I will complete 5 years of living in the United States of America. True to the nature of my nomadic life since childhood, I spent 3 years in San Diego and then moved to OC. After living in Maharashtra for 8 years till 2009, this is the longest time I have stuck to living in a particular state. My stay here has been very bitter-sweet. Bitter, made by certain fellow desis and surprisingly made sweet by my other desi and non desi friends. Everybody who I met here, be an American/Asian(non-Indian) or European, has been an amazing person. I learnt many new things about different cultures, lifestyles, thought process and in general, life.

One thing that I have learnt in these 5 years is that the image of India in the eyes of the western world, can be summarized into 3 ‘exotic’ words. Biryani, Yoga and Namaste. According to most of the people I have met, India is such an exotic country, where we eat very spicy curries, say Namaste a lot, do some crazy yoga poses on the drop of a hat and practically live inside the Taj Mahal. A disclaimer, this view is expressed by around 60% people I know. The rest are very well-read or have been to India(my company has a branch in Vadodara, Gujarat and many projects in India for pumps and turbines).

My very first interaction with an American was my Asian classmate, who also became my colleague in the lab later on. She was quite well read and actually practiced Iyengar Yoga that was taught at the school gym. She thought that since I was an Indian, I would be a pro in Yoga and enthusiastically took me for a class after we became really good friends in the lab. She and the African-American teacher, were quite disappointed that I had trouble touching my toes while bending down and I toppled down quite frequently while striking the Warrior pose. But she and my other friends, were very welcoming. We were a bunch of pseudo-racists, who loved pulling each other’s leg about everything under the sun, including their faces, drinking habits and ethnicities. Some of them have had Indian origin friends in schools or colleges but they were pretty much American, so they never really learnt anything about India that was not broadcast on Fox news or CNN or included in a Beatles song. But, Adam would particularly surprise me by talking about Sachin Tendulkar, especially after the World cup win. He was passionate about baseball, so cricket interested him too. Brian would just amuse me no end by pretending to have really limited knowledge of India, but in a funny way.

My friends had told me that the only thing they have learnt in school about India was Gandhi and spices. So, I tried educating them more about Indian culture, lifestyle, different religions, festivals, food, etc. When I visited India and returned, by popular demand, I bought kurtas for them, bindis and bangles for the girls and spent a good part of the week drawing mehendi tattoos for them. It was a task to find a kurta for Brian’s 6’3” giant frame, both in the Indian stores in San Diego and in India. He really wanted it.

Two and a half years back, we had a fabulous time playing holi, and having our own version of bhang(ahem :P). We used to cook and have dinners together since Karen and Chad were my neighbors. So by the time I left the lab, they were aware of the differences between haldi and mirchi, kurta and saree, hum dil de chuke sanam and slumdog millionaire. Here is a fabulous picture of all of us.

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After I joined work, I realized that most people know much more about the Indian culture and lifestyle since many had visited India for business. Yet, there are people here are aware of limited things and end up annoying me just by doing something which they think is endearing. I met a person here in his mid 40s, who got insanely excited when he learnt that I am an Indian. He told me how beautiful the culture is and how respectful Indians are. Everything was okay till the point he told me that he tries to teach his family and kids about respect by showing them Bollywood movies! Every thanksgiving they sit together and watch ‘Baghbaan’ reruns!?!?! I was stunned. Just stunned. After that, every time he sees me, he does this whole process of joining his palms, bringing them to his nose level, bending down and saying out loud ‘Namaste’. I find it very irritating for some reason. ‘Namaste’ is something I rarely say, even in India. I either say Hello/Hi or if they are older relatives or family friends, I touch their feet and say Namaskar, being a Maharashtrian. So this whole rigmarole of doing ‘Namaste’ to me even when surrounded by so many people, I find it just awkward. On my part, I just reply with a hello.

There is another Afghani person on the shop floor, who just loves everything about India, apparently. In his eagerness to show me how much he likes India, he ends up saying the silliest weirdest things to me. He is very fond of meditation and listens to some Shiv chants now and then. He has assumed that I meditate too. He has told me that we Indians have beautiful, pure, white souls and my smile shows him the culture and beauty of India. I don’t know how. In his enthusiasm about explaining how much he adores India and Hinduism, he told me of this picture he shared on FB where a woman has her bre*st out and feeding a monkey baby along with her baby and how he loves monkeys. Errr, awkwardness at a whole another level.

We had a new draftsman join around a month back, and I have started avoiding him already. A couple of days after he joined, I introduced myself to him very politely. He is a middle aged African-American with a good educational background. He told me about how he has been to Mumbai and some other Indian cities for work and how he liked the food there. Ever since then, every time he sees me he says, ”Hello, good morning/afternoon. Where is my Biryani?” Every. Single. Time. Sometimes 4-5 times a day. Initially I laughed and told him that I don’t eat meat, and had a general friendly banter. Then, I started telling that it is in the Indian restaurant down the street and he can go there whenever and get his biryani. Now, I just smile politely and shake my head. Two days back I told him that I don’t know what to say to him anymore.

My previous landlady takes the cake though. She was a 50 year old white woman, who told me excitedly that she spoke to a friend of mine, every time that she would call and speak to a customer care agent in a call center.

Siggghhhh.

End note: My cousin was onsite in Indiana for a turbo training. She is in Cummins. She was asked about India-Sri Lanka issue because that was a hot topic that time. She was asked why were the two countries conflicted. She totally blanked out about the LTTE-Rajiv Gandhi-Tamil-natives issues and ended up telling about Rama, Hanuman, the monkey army, kidnapping of Sita and Ravan. The goras were very intrigued and were fed mythological reasons for the next 3 hours.

8

Of sun, snow and crazy floods

It is a pleasant 14-15 deg C outside. Rest of the USA is freezing under the insanely cold Arctic winds. It is pretty much a 100 deg difference between Chicago and Southern California. Gotta love SoCal! I stepped outside last Saturday in my gym shorts to do my groceries. It felt amazing in the lovely cool weather to have the sun rays splashing on my skin. It just makes me so happy to get warmed up by sun.

But I am also jealous of the mid-west to the east coast! So many people are contacting me if I am okay, or warm enough and to take care. It is almost an anti-climax when I tell them I am sitting in my room with my small fan on. Gee, by the sound of their voices, it definitely feels like I let them down or something. Hey! I don’t control the temperatures!

My friend Mo left USA for India 2 days back and yesterday her city Atlanta experienced 3 in of snow, which is rare for Georgia. Apparently, all hell broke loose! There were choked up traffic jams, people had to sleep in offices, kids in malls and stores. School buses, ambulances, cars were struck. People from her office left after a day and had to sleep there itself. She just escaped the whole tamasha. I almost feel she should have experienced that, just because it will be a great story to tell! Mo, please don’t kill me for this! 😉

Well, I always feel whenever something happens, people only say ‘we just missed it by a week, a day, an hour.’ I am glad it is like that, but I would like to hear something from the horse’e mouth someday. If everyone just missed it, who the hell experienced it??

Well, jokes apart, just the fact that Atlanta went through this mess has made national headlines here. Similar snow fall had happened in 2011 and the city was simply paralysed. They had just 4 equipment to deal with it and the situation was simple way worse that time. I read it is better this time(relatively) because they are well equipped with snow removal equipment now, both in quantity and quality. When I compare this to Mumbai getting stunned by rainfall year after year, I pretty much want to jail the government incharges for life. I can still remember seeing the ambulance stuck in traffic and the driver stepping out to see if there was a way in the rain. It was not even heavy rains. Those were some of my last visuals of Mumbai while going to the airport in June’13. I could only pray for the person inside. Even in Pune, when it is known that every year, there is a period of heavy rain, and normal rain otherwise, why does it wreak havoc on the city? My ground floor house was flooded 5-6 years ago and destroyed a lot of our stuff. Obviously we don’t even expect any compensation. Due to the drain blockage, the rain water was collecting in the building parking lot. We were anxiously watching the water reach the 1st to 3 rd step on the door. And then, I saw disgusting water starting to come out of the Indian toilet and bathrooms. Ugggghhhh! And in minutes, the whole apartment had 4 inches of water. Thankfully, foreseeing the rapidly rising water, my mom and I had started to pile up stuff on the dining table and on top of the bed and other higher levels and let her tuition kids go home. But the clothes, beddings, stuff kept in the bed storage, was pretty ruined. I tripped and fell in that gross water while picking up my confused dog to take him upstairs to my neighbors. The water receded after a couple of hours and my dad, after coming home from work, promptly got into cleaning with my mom and neighbor aunties. He is one crazy fellow. He went to show people the hole in the backyard wall he had made to let the water flow away, and every time ended with his chappal flowing away and he splashing around to retrieve it. Crazy!

My mom and I slept at the neighbors’ place for the night, while my dad slept at my place in the living room. We had to keep the windows open to let the stink go away and poor dad had to volunteer for security. Haha! Now my parents, empty out the bottom drawers of the cupboards every year before monsoon. We are really looking forward to moving to our 4th floor new apartment soon and avoiding this whole drama.

Needless to say, that day, I was very busy taking care of my dog’s tummy rubs, so I pretty much did nothing to help.

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.