Tuesday, October 16, 2007

For a few kilos less....

Mama protests violently when I say so , but my unpredictable yo - yo like body weight IS her fault . Here is why !
- She ate and ate and ate when I was a tiny embryo - something that little, fed with a billion fried eggs , potatoes and god knows what else WOULD greet the world as a hefty 9 pound ( and short) wriggling mass !
- I was always a little , well, picky .So to confuse my infant brain , she would feed me all kinds of pureed stuff . So where I may have got tired eating 1 banana , I would drink 3 with ease ....Net net , developed a supermodel shape that landed me my first modelling contract ! Any class of pre - schoolers would have pointed to me and said - look , CIRCLE
- Then , there was my special treat. A daily dollop of butter ( large dollop ) ....till I was about three .

Now I read somewhere that fat cells increase in number ONLY in the early years of childhood. after which they just EXPAND and CONTRACT , but they are ALWAYS there , waiting greedily to be plumped up ! . So a person with LESS fat cells would be able to eat away and remain as thin as a reed , while poor cell heavy people like me would forever be trying to keep food away from those nasty cells

A trifle simplistic , you think? I think it sounds like a lot of common sense.

Anyway , so I grew from an adorable baby , to a chubby and cute pre schooler , to a FAT girl . ( that is when i graduated from cute and cuddly to plain overweight ! )
Ballet classes did not help , and even my doting father would admit that my Bharatnatyam "ta thai " caused minor baby elephant tremors in the house !

Fortunately , somebody likes me somewhere , and just when I turned about thirteen and started wishing for a change in the definition of nice figure , I lost what my mother was calling puppy fat ( trying to suppress the fat cell story , I think ) - and dramatically acquired a 21 inch waist ...

Anyway , that did not last either , so college was slim and svelte, B School and its timings gave fat cells extra food , working life saw them expand to new heights , and since then , they pretty much decide every once in a while ( they = those nasty billions of cells ) that its the time to party ( evading with ease the occassional personal trainer , aerobics class , and GM diet )

Determined soul that I am have formulated a plan to squash them by transmogorifying them into muscle - I have joined a GYM!
( Do NOT laugh , sandy has ALREADY done that ! )

Pulled to the gym by 1. its proximity to my house 2. the fact that it has DANCE exercise classes on offer and 3. the chance to bump into John Abraham if he uses his one day transfer pass and comes to Worli instead of Bandra

Kept at the gym by
1. Nice wake up-py feeling early in the morning 2. Belief that those cells are DYING - I can feel them cry for sure 3. Rigorous follow up on my tracking sheet 4. Okay not John , but not bad at all :-)

Its already been 5 classes ( no I have not reached a perfect 0.7 waist hip ratio yet !) , this time I intend to get rid of those evil cells once and for all - HA HA HA HA ( wicked evil laugh)

I promise to post pictures of the new me so that you can recognise me when we meet next...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

There is a Great Wand in the Sky !

....and THAT is how we won the match .

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ouch Potatoes.

I’m still reeling from the after effects of the( India vs Aus) match . And have completely given up attempts to rationalize why I sat chewing my nails ( or whats left of them ) to tinier bits into the wee hours of the night, jumping angrily every time sandy tried to change the channel .

Lets just say its hereditary.

Basically , now we need to buy a new television. So far , I have been content with skulking around the house doing anything but watching TV, while Sandy gets his exercise of the day surfing like a champ between channels .

With my new affection for the game , watching matches is turning into one of our ‘moments of stress' . ( Though not as bad as ‘who has delayed whom this morning’ – that one can get REALLY bad ) . Every commercial break , hubby dear switches to watch Amitabh strut his stuff or the totally non funny Great Indian Laughter Challenge . Ignoring me writhing on the floor pleading with him to not make me giddy with this flitting through worlds .

Sandy claims , though , that my love for cricket is likely to last as long as my love for glass painting / cooking in the oven ( for which we bought an oven ) and probably not as long as my interest in working out with personal trainer/wanting to learn salsa.

Lets see. Meanwhile maybe on Monday I should finish watching the finals in office !

Oh ..and I am suddenly feeling very enthusiastic about my blog and have posted PICTURES .

Friday, September 21, 2007

Death of a Phone ..

Mama tells me I started talking at the age of nine months . And by the age of one I was Baby Bilingual . ( I did not deem it necessary to walk till I was two and a half – mother claims my preferences haven’t changed since )

At two I called a pregnant houseguest (who was complaining to mama about her ailments) a hypochondriac , and at three told some pretty girls in a market ( who were admiring a very happy papa’s cute daughter ) that ‘I’m not a doll I’m a Rupika’

Not surprising that every afternoon my bleary eyed grandmother , weary of my unending desire to communicate would tell me ‘pranana vangriye rajati ‘ and a lot of other things I don’t remember which basically meant " Princess ( if calling you that gets you to shut up You Brat!) Spare my life and Let me sleep …."
Things haven’t changed since . Yesterday my Newest Victim ( NV ) told me I had murdered their Phone…..
NV claimed that in its entire life , poor Phone had not received as many sms’s as it did in an hour of messaging me ( let it be known here that NV loves hyperbole ) .
I felt very guilty for a while –considered getting myself a pseudonym – Rupika the Phone Slayer /The Communicator ( sequel to the exterminator) …. and I was wondering how to make amends with poor Phone.
Till the Voice of Reason in my head finally spoke – NV was equally guilty !!
a. They could have charged Phone and THEN it would have lived!
b. They know that sensitive soul that I am if they had NOT replied I would have stopped messaging

Any one of my 22 readers would see a pattern here and know that it is hypotheses time now . Why did NV become a co - conspirator in killing Phone ( or why do I end up turning normal human beings into SMS Rock Stars )
1. Initially out of politeness ( Now that I have got a message it’s good manners to reply , right ? )
2. Followed by a strong competitive instinct( SHE cannot sms faster than ME )
3. Entertainment on the go ( Hmmm…this is marginally better than radio !) and Intellectual exercise ( How shall I reply to THAT now ? )
4. A closet belief in magic ( What if those damn Cartwheels actually work ?!)
5. Curiosity . ( Whatever next ? ) ….

…..( there was a gap of a full working day between the beginning of this post and what follows now so if you notice a dramatic drop in quality please attribute it to mental exhaustion )

Come to think of it , this IS the end of this post . Need to do more research on this subject . There must be more than my 5 Top of Mind Ideas ! Maybe will write myself a brief . Maybe will post the brief....

PP( Post Post ) : Henceforth , Phone above will be referred to as RV or Real Victim.
PPPPP: ( Post Post Post on Photograph in Post ) That's my parents in the photo , still smiling ( because I hadn't spoken yet )

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

How to Cartwheel without Breaking Your neck .

My brother hates eating curd even today and we all blame it on my grandmother. A true tam brahm lady , she believed that dahi is the source of all that is pure and good – she used to threaten him /coax him and finally bribe him with chocolates till he ate his daily bowl of dairy goodness.
Why, you may ask, am I writing about curd, of all things .Valid question.

I think what Amma did to Tarun with curd is what Papa did to me and cricket. For him, cricket was a joy meant to be shared with all who were willing (and also unwilling!). For him there were two ways to ruin a match – rain stopped play and family not sitting with him and hanging on to every word/ball on TV . Come exam or birthday party – god help he ( or in most cases she ( she being me )) who did not settle quietly to watch the match and laugh about Henry Blowfields commentary on earrings or grow teary eyed over Gavaskar's 10000th test cricket runs ( in almost the 10000th viewing ) .Studying , talking to friends and other such things when there was a match on was , well , to quote, just not cricket !

Net Net as soon as I was old enough to think of good enough excuses, I stopped watching cricket and nothing since then succeeded in drawing me back.

Nothing, that is till the day I discovered Cartwheeling! (And also a minor  variation in the game, called 20 – 20 cricket)

It also started with my dear husband’s obsession with the game. Watching cricket turns him into a totally deaf ( except to commentary ) and speechless (atleast to me ) person , to whom I suddenly become invisible. Experience has taught me that he STILL retains the power to detect movement – so for example , if I jump around the room and spin wildly in semi cart wheels , he wrinkles his nose and frowns.

About last week someone asked me what the score was (and what I was up to) sometime during a match. And that’s when it happened …! Almost as soon as I said cart wheeling, India ACTUALLY took a wicket …Hmmmm … I would have forgotten about it , but in the next match I figured that doing mock cartwheels and alternating them with spells of sitting still seemed to be working ( India won the match versus Pakistan )
A firm believer in the power of expelliarmus charms and invisible cloaks, I was less surprised by this and more by the fact that I had watched a full cricket match!!
Not only that – I actually watched India’s next match as well (which we lost despite cart wheeling, flying and a minor space expedition) (yes I love Calvin and Hobbes) and then (wonder of wonders!) I watched a non India cricket match without any one asking me to!!!

Curiosity about human behaviour (mine and every one else’s) almost begs for an analysis here …or hypotheses at the very least
• Was it just that this new fast paced format made the gentlemen’s game a little less elegant and much more thrilling ( action from the word go !)
• Or was it that for the first time I started watching a match of my own accord , starting with a query on a score, moving on to a casino like thrill of wondering whether my next move will be ‘lucky’
• Could it be that that entire cart wheeling with no broken neck made me feel like the Nadia I could have been (I KNEW I should have kept up the ballet and gymnastics?)

Have a strange feeling that the REAL reason is still missing . Will watch the next match and report. Watch this space!

PP ( Post post ) . This post isn't really about cartwheeling without breaking your neck , is it ? Apologies if that was why you read it !

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Confessions of a serial SMSer

I have been accused , recently , of being a serial sms- er .
( Please note that the accusing party , also , couldn’t help complimenting me on the speed with which I can sms , and my ability to be witty while sending an sms every 10 seconds )

In defence of why I like to sms….

Its non intrusive
- With a phone call , the person at the other end HAS to talk to you - You’re on the other end of the phone hanging on and booming in their ear!An sms is like a gentle nudge ….the recipient can easily ignore it if the choose , or can reply at their own pace …

It lets you stay in touch
- With all those people who you want to just say Hi to , but really don’t have enough to say for a full phone conversation

Its a neat way to make new friends
- A lot because of 1 and 2 above. And also because silly small questions seem less silly and less small on a tiny mobile screen than if you were to ask them in person !
It teaches you to be clear about what you want to say
- Try sending a long rambling sms with a reliance phone. After 20 words it will tell you ‘no more space’ and then you just have to cut out the fringes and say what you really want to

Its mental gymnastics
- This is really last but not least .If you have ever had a battle of texts with someone , you’ll know what I mean . With a worthy ‘opponent’ sustaining a volley of sms’s is hugely entertaining and makes you feel happy that you haven’t lost your college debating skills yet

On a somewhat unconnected note – haven’t written anything for ages .Largely because I have also discovered Facebook ( yes the very same social networking site that various employers across UK were thinking of putting a ban on )

The speed with which face book catches on irrespective of age group ( I have facebook friends who are 15 years older and 15 years younger , each with their own networks of friends their own age ) shows how much people want to be in touch , stay connected , and will grab any solution that helps them do so within the madness and speed of everyday living ….With facebook I am now in touch with all my various cousins tossed across the globe - with whom the average frequency of conversation was at Christmas/Diwali depending on which side of the family . Now I get messages saying ‘why does your facebook status say irritated ? what happened’ Also met friends who I haven’t spoken to in YEARS .

Still …all excuses …I am determined to write more regularly now.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Real Working Woman

For the year after we were married , we lived a fairly nomadic life.
Sure , we had all the trappings of a civilized existence - the durables , furniture etc etc , but we were the sort of people who ate out 5 days a week and had to scurry to hide things under the bed when guests came !
We were , ahem , fortunate to have the services of a maid named Kohinoor who breezed in , splashed some water on the dishes , added to the pile of things under the bed and daintily touched some parts of the floor before she breezed of . This , of course , was on the days she graced our home with her presence
Cut to present ...
Our home is really prettily kept , neat and tidy at most times.Even Inlaws coming over requires at best fresh towels in the bathroom .We eat meals that range from Biryani on weekends ( home cooked ) to , and perhaps more importantly nutritionist certified meals on weekdays with salads and the works ..
As much as I would like to claim that the entire credit goes to me , my conscience forbids it .
When we moved to Mumbai three years ago we had heard about the unparalleled efficiency of the Mumbai Bai - the housemaid .
But that didn't prepare us for Usha - my maid and the reason I can go out of the house every morning -leaving my pajamas on the bathroom floor , teacups on the dining room table , and a pile of dishes in the kitchen , assured that when I come back I will find a neat and tidy house and a (usually ) decent meal.

Usha lives with her family ( daughter , son and husband - an office peon ) in a semi pucca house constructed in the compound of a police station near our old house ( about half an hour from our present one )

The four of them share 2 rooms and a bathroom with her brother in law and his family . She has had a tough life - married early , her husband is a bit of a loafer so has been unemployed off an on , lost one child at the age of three months , knows that her house is an illegal construction and can be demolished any day , leaving them without a roof over their heads because her mother in law left everything to her other son .

And yet , she is not one to feel sorry for herself or even content with her lot . She recognizes that fate has dealt her an unfair hand , but is determined that tomorrow will be better for her and her family .. not because of luck or someone else ,but because of what she can do .

When her husband lost his job after their kids were born , she was firm in saying that she will start working , and she did , five jobs that kept her busy from dawn till late evening , but kept her household running.

She works with extreme commitment , and is extremely intelligent , so people were willing to pay her more , and someone even offered her a job for her husband ( which he took )

Today she is earning well ( I pay her twice the normal rate for a maid ), and she has a couple of other small jobs as well

She has made me open a separate bank account for her where she deposits half her salary (wise enough to know that she needs to have independent financial security . She is ensuring that her daughter does well in school - she has employed a tutor for her , to whom she pays the full fees ( Rs 500 per month - refusing the discount the tutor offered) because she doesn't want any compromise in the quality Bhavna gets .Usha is making her husband invest in a house in the outskirts of Mumbai - taking a loan to do this , and she plans to put it out on rent . (She decided to do this after asking me in great detail why Sandeep and I have bought a house in Delhi when we don't live there)

When people speak of the modern Indian woman , its easy to think first of the woman who is making her hold stronger in the corporate world and urban society, going places that she hasn't gone before, speaking her mind and making new rules .While that is the more visible change , and certainly one to be proud of ,there are many more Ushas across the towns and villages of the country .

Women who believe that they are not bystanders who will watch their lives go by , but will step out and shape their future. Women who refuse to be constrained by their circumstances . They are the ones who most deserve the applause...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Who moved my car ?

One day, when I was about 13 , we woke up to find Papa looking very sheepish.
After much hooing and hah- ing …he admitted that after a Rum to many at a party ( about a kilometer away from our house ) , he had lost his way , run out of petrol and parked the car ‘safely’ on the side of the road and sauntered home, thinking he would run across in the morning and drive it back
Things didn't quite turn out quite as simple. He had woken up remembering only that he had parked the car ‘somewhere safe, somewhere near the house ’ ( as he kept telling my suitably upset mother) . Exact location , or even approximate location turned out to be minor details that had slipped his mind.
So they went off in search of the car …after half day of driving through every alley within a 5 km radius of our house , they returned. The next logical step was a call to his college friend , now a senior official in the traffic police.
The conversation went so ...

Papa – "Yaar Giru , Kuch kho gaya hai"
Giru - "What Shinu ?credit card? Licence? Car papers ?"
Papa – "Nahi , I’ve misplaced the car"
Giru – Loooong silence followed by guffaws …

Well , being the same fellow who roamed around with Papa in their Bihar college days when the same car had a number called BRA – 1 ( yes , really ) , he set off a search for the car and a few hours later , called to say it had been found and detained at the nearby Police Station

Papa ( who always turned from Roaring tiger to Embarrassed mouse in these situations ) dragged along mama and went to the Police station where the car was in the center of a group of Hawaldars – gingerly staring at ‘The Car That Had Been Abandoned’ from a distance almost waiting for it to explode or something…

Fortunately Giru was high up enough in the police for them to believe that the car had been ‘intentionally parked there , temporarily’ so they were able to drive away without much ado

Needless to say , he never heard the end of this !.

Today is his sixth death anniversary, but thinking of him will always make all who knew him smile, because he lived his life as a college kid …with boundless energy and infectious spontaneity that made sure there was never a dull moment around him
We love you !

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Clarity ...!

A friend has told me that my blog must have a PURPOSE . It has to be something that I am deeply passionate about and feel for from the bottom of my heart.
This same guy also thinks I have excess sugar induced hyperactivity , and should drink less coffee , so its funny that he should think I will be able to write about just one thing :-)
So the four things I will write about are
- Managing a house as a working woman
- Must do holidays
And as I have a feminist streak :-) , a bit about all that I like and don't like Indian women going through today ( This will be the serious gyan part )
Thats three things . I like leaving some loose ends
Ciao for now -

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I finally did it !

I started a blog !
For as long as I can remember ( with advancing age I have a short memory ) I have been meaning to do this but inertia and indecisiveness kept getting in the way .
Everyone I know had a blog that talked about SOMETHING dear to their heart- there were mom blogs and mom blogs , funny blogs , poetic blogs , holiday blogs ( and the unmentionable One Post Wonders )
My blog to be had to be special so I toyed with several "themes"
- the " Dedicated to my family blog " - with the classic family album etc - but got too lazy to find the pictures and scan them
- the "Serious blog" - I AM a market researcher and there is SO much gyan I can give to the world at large
- the "Holiday blog "- so that I can show off my 31 holidays
- the "superwoman blog" - where I can write about the travails of trying to be a reasonable perfect ( and modest :-) housewife and efficient professional rolled into a dynamite 5 ft nothing package .

Anyway , tossing a dice , thinking, has been getting me no where so I decided to just START and see what it makes of itself ...
Why the name ? An old friend of my parents ( the one who introduced them to each other ) met me when I was 12 and said - I've known you since you were a twinkle in your dad's eyes '- to date , the cutest way I have been referred to :-) . More later ..