Monday, 28 May 2012


Haven’t posted in a while so lots of thoughts on various tangents are running through my mind. Hence please excuse the randomness.

Have you noticed that as we grow older, there’s a certain amount of role reversal that happens with our parents or guardians? They take care of us all our lives, till we’re old enough to take care of ourselves. And then suddenly, it’s us who start taking care of them; watching them grow old, frail and generally losing control of their bodies and minds--difficult, to put it mildly. But then we can’t really sit with our hands in our heads, feeling sorry for them and ourselves—we have to get up and take charge, and take care of them to our best capacity. The only problem is that once these so-called adult parents reach that age, they regress mentally. As they grow older, they become more stubborn and child-like, which makes the treatment that much harder. So now, not only are you fighting against the illness, you are literally fighting against them too!

I was too young when my granddad succumbed. Not too young to feel the pain of loss, which still gnaws at me till this very day, but too young to do anything about it or to have taken care of him. But he too, was a stubborn old man. I remember that exactly a year before he left, he had a massive heart attack and had to spend over a week in the hospital. Which also meant he had to spend over a week away from work (the man worked way past his age of retirement, all the way till the day he died). The day he was shifted from the ICU to a regular room, he made me give him my cellphone and teach him how to operate it so that he could call his office. I was stupid enough to give it to him, too. Of course, after that I was soundly given many earfuls of trauma from just about anyone and everyone. But that’s who he was. And I hated saying no to him.

Hospitals are the least fun places in the world. With words like death, dead bodies, patients, diseases, doctors and many more depressing ones being thrown around regularly, and the visible dents those roller beds make in the elevators, it’s a miracle that even visitors, doctors and admin staff don’t faint or contract something.

Write or wrong?
I’ve been a writer for a fair number of years and till date, I still question my skills as one. While freelancing, I would regular pour over my pieces wondering whether they were good enough for the publication I was sending them to—whether they would all hover over the computer and laugh at some silly mistake I had made or at my amateur-esque style. Don’t get me wrong; I know this is what I’m meant to do, and I absolutely love it, but still, there are moments of self-doubt and deprecation. So when I receive articles, written by writers who have apparently been writing for years, which are full of grammatical, spelling and even tense errors and with no style so to speak, I am amazed. Some writers don’t even give their piece a final read-through or a spellcheck before sending it in. So you find random spelling errors, punctuation that is all over the place and sentences that make no sense whatsoever. Really? 
I know many people think that the clean-up job is that of the editor’s, which is undoubtedly true. But the editor’s clean-up job is to spruce up the copy to complement the publication’s style sheet, not to correct basic, second grade language. Yes, I am simply venting out pure frustration. A request to any writer who may read this: before submitting your copy to anyone, whether you’re a freelancer or on payroll, do a basic spellcheck and a read-through, and check whether the sentences make sense. After your article is published, compare the final edited copy to your original one and see if you can learn from the mistakes, rather than make the same mistakes again, and thereby lose your job. Take pride in what you write, after all, your name goes on it, but don’t get smothered in unwarranted self-confidence. I mean all this in the nicest possible way. 

Ash RB
What is up with Aishwarya? And I mean what is up with her size and what is up with the media going ballistic about it? Yes, sounds ironic, double standard-ed and hypocritical, no? Every time I have set eyes on Aishwarya in the last few months, I am amazed at how huge she’s become. I mean I know many new moms and they look nothing like her. Yet, somewhere, as a woman, I am also enraged at how much kachra people have been throwing at her with regard to her weight. Dude she’s (apparently and open to debate) happily married, blissfully happy as a new mom and ok with being fat. Leave her alone, right?

And yet, when I saw her in that Elie Saab at Cannes, where many have lauded her for being daring yet beautiful, I just felt terrible and all I could think was, “How did that happen? How did she get so huge?” I feel like a very bad person. Oh well, if you’re in the limelight, you’ve got to get used to the criticism. She doesn’t seem to care, so meh.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Indecision is my middle name

For most people, the prospect of going out of for dinner is a pleasant one, whether with friends, family or on a date. For me, it’s a little different. When I am asked to decide on the dinner venue, I come close to panicking. Even worse is when I’m asked to order, for myself or the others at the table. And this holds true for just about any decision I am asked to or need to take in life. Panic.

Why? Why is it so much more difficult for some people than others to make decisions? Why is it that some people know exactly where to go on a Friday night, what to wear to work in the morning, where to go on a weekend trip or whether or not to move? While others…like yours truly…just pass everything off saying, “I don’t do decisions.”

I’m trying to figure out why I have this phobia and handicap of making decisions. Is it because I’m scared of the consequences, and since it is my own decision, I won’t be able to blame the post-decision mess on anyone else? Or is it just that choice is difficult for me? In fact, I don’t even like going shopping alone. Although I’m not one of those psychos who spends hours trying out a gazillion different kinds of clothes, I do need some amount of reassurance or another person’s opinion before I can commit to spending money on something.

Given the above, you can well imagine how difficult it is for me to make serious, heavy-duty life decisions. I think the only decision that I can remember taking without a single moment of doubt was the move to Bombay. Of course, after moving there have been and continue to be several moments of confusion, when the city drives me nuts and I just want to get the hell out of it. But I did get out of it for a year and then realised that this is where I belong. But since then, switching jobs and switching homes have been ridiculously difficult decisions to make. And sleeping over it doesn’t quite work with me. I pass out, wake up and am still indecisive.

I think the universal debate on destiny versus choices is appropriate here. I am a strong believer in destiny, while interestingly enough, my significant other is a staunch believer in choices. I think I believe in a little bit of both, though. I think that destiny offers us a few choices, then leaves us to make those choices, after which again, she takes over. So really, not much is in our hands. Then, why does it feel like the burden of which direction our lives will turn is upon our not-so-strong shoulders?

Clearly, I am once again at the crossroads of a decision. Life is constantly throwing these things at me. I want to be dramatic and say and that I’m the ONLY one who is constantly going through some stressful, decision-making situation or the other, but my brain is telling me that that is not true. I’ve begun to follow my gut, as far as making decisions go. And I’ve learnt, especially recently, that my gut is often right. This is, of course, peppered with the opinions of those who matter to me. But really, can’t I just hire someone to make my decisions for me? Not that I have the money to hire someone, but the thought is pleasant, isn’t it? Till then, I guess it will have to be lots of phone calls, some long-distance ones to London and New York, to get me by. Sigh. 

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Foodie much

It’s been a while since I last posted. I can’t decide whether I’ve genuinely been that busy or that since the sorrow in my life has reduced, I’m lacking inspiration. Hmm. Work has been crazy. Sending a magazine to print pretty much on your own is a rather Herculean task, if I do say so myself. But I can’t say that I don’t enjoy it, stress et al. And yes, the gut-wrenching pain is on its way out – most of you know why. J

This post is about food. My sister, a total foodie, asked me a while ago to write about food. And now I feel like this would be bang-on appropriate because all I think about nowadays is yum non-vegetarian food. It’s not that my consumption of food has increased greatly, though in my eyes my waistline is constantly expanding. But all day, every day I think “What will I eat today? I am hungry. What yumness can I consume today?” I’m beginning to think I may have a problem. Oh well, we all do, don’t we?

Nowadays, I mostly think about chicken-curry-and-rice kind of meals. Blame it on the Bong in me. My friend recently told me that I eat rice like a chaashi (villager/farmer). After initially feeling insulted, I realised this was, in fact, true, especially on Sunday afternoons. And I’m no longer ashamed of it.

The last really good meal I had (that I can recall) was at Jumjoji, the new-ish Parsi restaurant in Bandra. There was chicken and there was rice – what else do I need? The flavours were distinctly bawa and my company was great too. Hence a wonderful meal.

I’ve also been craving Goan food lately – like the oily Goan Sausages, or Chicken Cafreal – with rice of course! The plan currently stands at visiting Goa Portugesa soon, not sure when though but it must be soon.

I’ve also been suggested this Kashmiri restaurant called Poush, though I have been warned, in the same breath, that the food will be spicy. Ah, what the hell; I’m willing to take the risk.

Oh oh oh! Arsalan, Kolkata’s awesomely famous biriyani place has opened in Bombay and made me a very happy camper. Though the restaurant itself is way too swanky, the food is just like home – to die for. That is the other last memorable meal I had – Chicken Biriyani a la Kolkata, Mutton Chanp and Reshmi Kebab. Slurp.

My sister is coming home after five years this August. We both intend to eat a lot, so I must find the best places for us to visit, gorge on and thereby get fatter. So, if you have any suggestions, please feel free!

And let’s go for dinner sometime, shall we? ;)