A Special Tête-a-Tête

Wednesday, 28 March 2007 0 comments
Maybe it was something about the amazing weather we've been having lately here that people on the streets are being super friendly... and so I found myself lo! and behold! bumping into my landlord and exchanging real, actual, you could even say near-geniune, pleasantries. In the past, I often passed T on my way to the metro or coming home late one night when he too, would umm, be opening the door for his boyfriend. The conversation would be stilted due to several reasons - me knowing T hates me for still occupying his flat (why? see blog entry on "putting out kitchen fires"); T being generally awkward and unsocial; and me silently cursing him for getting action and at the same time praying that he would not say something, anything about the flat. or why I was still in it. But inspite of the banalities, I could still get hurt as it happened once when he totally ignored me on the street while walking home with the bf and so we couldn't even have that little awkward conversation which makes a landlord-tenant relationship so special. More reason to blame the new bf, I say!
Any-ho, Monday was the kind of day when the right temperature met the right gust of wind and decided to spread a general warmth and cheer around everyone. As I was yakking on the phone and about to cross the street, I saw T approaching. "Just a sec," I told my friend.
"Hi there.. long time. How are you?" I smiled at T.
"I'm good. It's a lovely day, isn't it?" he said, smiling back.
"It is indeed. We haven't seen you around. Have you been well? Out of town?" I asked.
"Yes I was in Chicago for a conference," he said (still smiling).
"Ah, well you know M is going to India next month. If you need anything, please let her know," I said.
"Thanks a lot but if I did tell her what I wanted I might give her a pretty long list," he said (STILL smiling. wow!).
"Oh I'm sure she won't mind," I said. "OK, well have a nice day."
"You too, enjoy the weather," he said. (OMG.. still smiling)
I called M and shared the brilliant news - he TALKED to me. what's going on? Daylight Savings Time, perhaps? I'm pleased as punch.. he doesn't hate me anymore.. does he?

So Sick of It

Thursday, 22 March 2007 0 comments
What are the high and low points of being stuck at home with the flu?
High:
1. the bed/couch is your best friend. you get to sleep really, really late or just nod off during the middle of the day not because you can but because you're so drugged up you can't help it.
2. you discover daytime TV. besides looking forward to Oprah, I finally caught up with the loves and lives of Ridge, Brooke and co. on "The Bold and the Beautiful." amazing how they still recycle those affairs.
3. the bad throat makes you acquire a certain something in your voice which in turn makes you call everyone you possibly know so they in turn can make appropriate sympathetic noises and give you all the home remedies they know about bad throats but finally say what you've been dying to hear all along: "you're sounding terribly sexy!"
4. can't taste a damn thing. can't eat much of a damn thing. lost 3 lbs!! best diet ever :)
Lows:
1. idle mind is a devil's workshop... figure that one out!
2. a stuffy nose just snuffs out all sensory pleasures, especially nice-smelling food... which is kinda good because then i'm not eating it, right.
3. made the mistake of going out to cover a Hill event... trying to cough v.discreetly inside a packed committee room is the most painful thing I've done since.. since.. since.. my gums were giving me trouble last week. plus couldn't shake hands with 22-yr-old cute congressional intern coz i would make him sick too. bah.
4. no booze while you're sick.. but the alchohol content in the throat syrup is making me feel pretty good!

A Tale or Three

Sunday, 18 March 2007 0 comments

Before I say anything else, let me report that there are 2 doves right now sitting on my porch railing who are shamelessly canoodling away to glory... one of them is definitely more aggressive and the other is happily accepting the pecks without any untoward complaint. i have recorded the event with several pics.. as you can see.. i don't think they will mind a little paris hiltoneqsue kind of fame. aww, the loveburrrds.
what else? friday was freezing rain here in DC and in the middle of all that action, I had to pay an emergency visit to the dentist. basically I was told (and I quote): "you've been a bad, bad, bad girl." and I need my wisdom teeth pulled out asap otherwise I will be damned in hell. since I had the fear of god put in me I made hasty appointments with the oral surgeon, etc. but the whole wisdom teeth thing in the U.S. is such a con game.. anything to serve the interests of the dental community. hrrmpf. but those who've had it removed say it's made a difference so let's see what happens. watch this space.
I think my folks have some sixth sense about what I'm talking about here. so I think baba felt sort of left out and guess what! he just managed to do something that warranted his presence here. and the story goes that he was coming back from kuala lumpur on a business trip and one of his hand bags got switched with someone else's. baba's hand bag contained: 1 bottle of Black Label, 2 bags of sweets. someone else's bag contained: 3 bottles of Black Label. who profits? your guess is as good as mine :)

Birthday Loving

Thursday, 15 March 2007 0 comments
I don’t want to get all senti, but I’m definitely going to miss throwing a nice party for my mum who turns 60 in the next few days and is finally retiring from a long, and highly rewarding, career. So I’ll do the next best thing: write about her crazy adventures! :)
It’s easy to describe your mother as a traditional caregiver, slaving away in the kitchen, a self-sacrificing woman with multiple roles who does everything to make home, hearth and everything in between complete. I’d like to think of Maa through a series of vignettes: as a 12-year-old, sitting on the rooftop of her family home, legs dangling and freshly-applied oil dripping from her hair, the clothesline behind her as she bites into an apple and frowns at the camera because the sun is getting in her eyes. Or at 16 when she aces her class and wins the basketball trophy at school, she gets a call from the principal’s office: not to be cheered or to be chastised, but to be asked if her parents would be interested in a certain boy who happened to be a relative of the principal’s? Then a stark studio picture circa 1965, wearing one of those tight kurtas of the day and a shy smile, but a confidence that perhaps came from riding the rickshaw with her best friend to Allahabad U. and enjoying the whistles and filmi songs along the way. Finally, the Sadhana fringe and the dark sunglasses and the crowded rides on the local train that came along with her move to do a master’s at Bombay U. She was always cool and she didn't even know it.
But Maa is basically having a party wherever she goes and no matter what the age. And just last week she was having another one at a friend’s son’s wedding. They were the bong baraatis going with every intention of having fun at the expense of a punju bridal party. Maa stuck to good old Coke and watched as two of her pals happily headed towards the bar. As Aunty #1 and Aunty #2 gulped down their Old Monks and JW, the intensity of laughter increased. The good times were rolling so well that Aunty #1 craved a fag after nearly 10 years of quitting. Aunty #2 told her to shut up and breathe the tandoor smoke instead. The three 50-somethings continued to comment on the food, the lovely bride and why Sonu Nigam was still as cute as ever and considering “these times,” how he had not managed to split up with his wife, a bengali, of course.
“We were sitting in one corner and just laughing so loudly, after a while your father had to come and shhh us up,” she said. “So after that I had to look after those two properly.” Will somebody grow up, please?! :) Nah, why bother.

Sightings and Musings

Monday, 12 March 2007 0 comments
Spotted: Hardball’s Chris Matthews walking in a daze near Zara’s in Georgetown.
Spotted and Giggled: One squeaky Blue Jay bird circling one frustrated grey cat behind the Federal Judiciary building. Cat loses the old fight. Again.
Spotted and Observed: An Abercrombie & Fitch-type couple on the Orange Line playing curious flirting game: Boy (imagine blonde version of Christopher Reeve) enters train and sits down. After 5 mins. a girl (imagine Margot Kidder with hazel eyes) enters same train car and sits in seat across from boy. Boy looks down, pretends he doesn’t know her. Girl delicately places purse in empty seat next to her. Looks at boy and smiles. Boy smiles and shakes head. Girl pretends to undo jacket button, tosses hair and makes hand movement to say how hot it is. Boy, fairly amused by now, laughs and looks down. Girl rolls her eyes and sends text message to boy. Finally, boy goes over and sits next to her.
Spotted and Glazed Over: A silver hybrid Volkswagen Beetle with some snazzy wheels in Arlington ie. one of my dream cars.
Spotted: At least two women near Chinatown wearing a red and black keffiyeh ie. the Palestinian scarf. It did not look they were making a political statement.
Spotted: Man strolling in red kilt and sweater at Union Station (did not stop to spot lack of underwear)
Spotted and Consumed: Another near-perfect cappuccino at Bagels and Baguettes on the Hill. The coffee and sandwiches are to die for – on weekdays you can see the line out the door – but it’s perfect to fix a hangover on a late Sunday morning!

Stop Press!

Thursday, 8 March 2007 0 comments
The news is not that it’s international women’s day and how we must celebrate our womanhood by avidly following Elizabeth Hurley and Arun Nayar’s nuptials in a castle and then a palace with Parmeshwar Godrej and Shilpa Shetty’s air kisses at all the parties thrown in between. It’s not even news that the Cricket World Cup is starting next week and the cup itself has become slightly damaged thanks to overzealous fans (in Kolkata, where else?) and for a change we don’t have to stay awake at odd hours of the night to see the matches. It’s not news that I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby has been found guilty of lying and to say that everyone is disappointed not to hear from Karl Rove instead of Richard Artmitage, would be mildly putting it. And it’s certainly not news that Daniel Radcliffe aka Harry Potter is now making love to horses on West End.
The news IS that Steven Spielberg has started pre-production for Les Adventures de Tintin. And it’s not going to be an animated feature. Blistering barnacles! 10,000 thundering typhoons!!! Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus, the Thompson Twins and of course Snowy and Lady Bianca's parrot... all coming to the big screen... can you tell I’m excited? Some might think that Hollywood will ruin a good thing but I think Hergé would approve of Spielberg taking a shot at it. After all, worse movies have been made of other franchises. But the Batman (OK only the ones with Christian Bale) and Spiderman movies are doing their fans and creators proud.

Holi Sunday

Monday, 5 March 2007 0 comments
My roomie and I had a really fun potluck this Sunday afternoon. Some highlights included M cooking kadai chicken till 3 a.m. and waking up 4 hours later to make appetizers; playing antakshari and singing horribly out of tune, of course; C brings guest who brings another guest who knocks over furniture; D’s guest falls off papasan chair! Sits right back up to sing Rafi melodies; U brings bloody mary mix without the vodka…duh! Takes out trash to compensate; G makes cutting chai sans sugar. Su steps in for second round, makes kick ass adrak chai. And props to most women who turned up in desi outfits and the 2-3 men who obliged as well :)

Some random quotes from the afternoon:

“I really can’t look inside his brain right now.”
“I might gag if she dances on the table.”
"I look like Punju aunty on her morning walk."
“If your landlord evicts you now, you have enough people here to help you move.”
“The heat is on, yaar.. umm, sorry I didn’t mean it to come out like that.”
“What’s funny is you state the obvious and then make it worse by explaining what you just said!”
“Did you just say hermaphrodite?”
“The irony is you women can have it anytime but you don’t have the desire. Not always at least.”
“Can you please stop announcing I look like Michael Jackson?”
“Last time I had a potluck at my place you slept over, remember?”
“I am going to rediscover my roots... on Palace on Wheels.”
“Start by losing your American accent.”
“Yeah my room is cosy. It’s definitely not Starbucks or Kramer’s.”
“Am I supposed to know where your room is?”
“I’m getting a feeling you like flan.”
“How come I don’t get introduced to her… because I’m not from MIT?”
“Look at your shoes. What’s your size?”
“Of course I have talked about you… just not very good things.”
“There’s a lot of talent in this room.”

Thanking You Very Kindly

Thursday, 1 March 2007 0 comments
There are kind people and then there are those who actually perform random acts of kindness without knowing what they just did.
I woke up carrying a headache the size of the erstwhile U.S.S.R. (ie. very big) and almost couldn’t turn my head without a piercing throb attacking my central lobe system (ie. freakin brain in general). But I dutifully trudged to work and tried to gulp down my coffee without burning myself, hoping against hope it would work a miracle in 90 seconds or less. Clearly, it did not. It continued to get so bad, in fact, that I had to call a friend: “So what exactly is dizziness a symptom of?” Stupid question. “It could mean a lot of things,” he said in clipped medical tone. “But sit down, or lie down, somewhere.”
So there I was on the Metro, trying to have a quiet shut eye while listening to Norah Jones and commanding caffeine and central lobe to meet harmoniously for my sake. I didn’t really notice when some dude got in to the seat beside me. And I didn’t really notice when my eyes started watering up… just a trickle and before I knew it, I was wiping away a tear! No, the music wasn’t as moving as the train (except for tracks 5 and 13, but more on that later), the dude next to me didn’t smell of onions and I don’t think I was PMS-ing. Maybe I was stressed about a deadline or mourning my dead plant or missing my dog. No, I was just having a random emotional outburst. Anyway, this dude also has his music going on but he finally notices the silent sniffler next to him. And I can definitely feel he’s getting uncomfortable because he’s getting very shifty (not in a shady way, though). Finally he taps me on the shoulder and asks, “Would you like me to move?” I could’ve started howling – but then it would scare everyone out of the train – but I managed to shake my head and smile. He was kind enough to ask and that’s all I needed. Besides a couple aspirins and more coffee. Sanity, at last.