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Take your kids to Florida!

Floridaaaaaaaaaaaaah! My first tryst with the United States when I landed here 5 years ago to look for guys apart from pursuing a masters degree. Just remind me why I left the Godly state of shorts-in-winter to a place where outdoor swimming pools are seen only in movies. Just freakin remind me someone!!!! *ominous glare at Pi*

Anyway folks, that’s where we were last weekend soaking in the sun, splashing in the tepid waters of the Gulf of Mexico, jet sking…. in DECEMBER, mind you. I had forgotten how blissful it is not to bundle up every time you walk into the balcony to look at the stars or throw trash.

The main highlight of this vacation, apart from the weather, the relaxation, Mickey Mouse, the greenery, meeting good friends and all the blah that would put us to sleep, is the fact that I finally walked into a strip club.

Tampa being the Mecca of sexy nude lithe bodies dancing on laps of fat lusty men (you could reword that to suit yourselves), all my girlfriends jumped at the idea. A chance to see all this live! Our respective hubbies were shell shocked, especially Pi. ‘No way! I’m not going in with my wife. Sorry!’

‘Arey! What’s with you? Here’s a wife allowing you to feast your eyes and you are such a chicken…tch tch! Now all my friends will be convinced that you are scared of me. You better come.*snarl*”

‘I know I won’t get any action with you around. What’s the bluddy point?’ he asked concerned.

Oh well, I didn’t really buy that. If you know Pi, you would be convinced that it was for moral reasons and not for the cool front he was desperately trying to portray. What if his mom came to know? What if the stripper reminded him of poor Pooja Bhatt from Sadak?

Totally ignoring Pi’s point of view, all of us headed inside… after paying the entry and getting weird looks from the hefty bouncer. Aptly named, I thought… seeing how they were stripping us out of our money.  Just to let you know, this was an impromptu plan and we were all headed back to our resort from the beach. So we were in shorts, wet hair, sandy undies and salty red eyes. It came as a surprise that they even let us into the world's second best Strip Club (so they claim).

We entered. A dingy place with dim lights, mostly blue. L-shaped stage with three poles reaching all the way from the mirrored floors to the mirrored ceiling, slightly different from Disney. A flat chested, big bottomed, slightly paunched woman, completely devoid of any clothing except transparent heels, was dancing around the poles moving from one pole to another without any emotion. There were chairs placed around the central performing area where distinguished people (drooling men/lesbians), who wanted to get up close to the strippers were seated. Every now and then, the stripper made way to one of these gentlemen, did a split and grabbed her tips with her non existent boobs.

We girls were totally entertained while our guys had their eyes riveted to the football game playing on the big screen television. Another girl with a better body and better moves started her act. Some of us got daring and pulled out some dollar bills and sat on the coveted seats upfront. She came closer, smiled and thrust her boobs on my face! I would have preferred giving it to her in her hands. ‘First time? Don’t be scared. Are they your husbands?’ she asked us laughing at our finesse in placing money at inappropriate places and our husbands’ constipated grins. I turned to look at Pi. Pi got out some more change and handed it to me like my mom would do in Tirupathi to place in the arthi plate.

A few more strippers later, we were done with this place. We had a fill of boobs and butts to last us a lifetime now.

Maybe I should have tried saving one of these unfortunate women from this brutal profession. The pretty one that kissed me.


I was almost there

My project submittal went out of the door yesterday and since then, I have been dreaming about this day. A day all by myself with no plans. Bliss! No needy hubby, no harried boss, no cranky clients, no bothering colleagues. Last night I slept with eager anticipation, beads of excited sweat peeking from my forehead. Can't wait.

  

I wake up at 6 am (of course, it was a little late considering my agenda) and jump into my gym clothes. Spend some time running, till I get tired. Then I walk at 8% incline for some time. Even that gets me warmed up quickly; so I start ambling in the treadmill at 4 mph and at 2% incline. Perfect. Look at the time lapsed. Only 4 minutes?? Bah! I guess 5 minutes should do for today. I will spend extra time with the weights and crunches. …34, oof 35..oof 36..pant puff 37…collapse! I will not die staring at a ceiling. Very unglamorous. So I collect myself, go to vending machine, get myself some Gatorade (smart choice) and a Snickers bar (not such a good choice, but after all it’s a dying wish. So justified.)

 

After the gym & shower, it is still 7.30 am (cutting myself some slack for distractions in the swimming pool area). Back home, I pull out my painting supplies and scout around my 1 bed-room apartment trying to find a place to carry out my artistic venture. It takes me precisely ½ hour to conclude that I have a very tiny apartment and I cannot bloom as an artist if I don’t own a house with a studio in the attic with Venetian windows throwing light at the perfect spots where my easel would be placed. I let out huge moans and sighs and settle for the breakfast table after spending another ½ hour shifting the microwave, the mixer, the toaster and the water jug to the floor. I have a vision on how my painting would look like. It will depict the seasonal changes (yeah, I know it has been done million times before- but mine will be abstract) and I will hang it in the study area. People will be wonderstruck and heap praises on the artist and I will smugly say, ‘It’s not a big deal at all. I have done better. The entire collection of good one’s, I burnt.’

 

Yikes, Its 9.30 already! Yes, if you must be wondering- I paint awfully fast. If you see the end product, that’s what you would conclude anyway. With glowing satisfaction that I painted something other than my nails after precisely one year, I am feeling all heady and ready to take over the world.. err.. mall. On the way to the mall, I give my much-neglected car a much-needed wash and shine. Feeling like a good owner, I promise to treat myself to an extra pair of jeans from Express. Aha! I am like a lioness. I pounce on my prey and drag it to the bushes (in this case, changing room). If I like it, I will devour it. I shop till I can take it no more. My hands are aching carrying all the shoes, purse, clothes and cutlery. I can puke at the mention of ‘sale’. But I have one last thing to do here. Buy a little something for Pi, like a cookie. I know this will not pacify him for the damage I have done, but it will make me 2% less guilty.

 

I catch some lunch on the way and head to the library. Do some more research on Financial vehicles that would help me save up my change from this mall expedition. I make a list of potential stocks and mutual fund companies and feel much better about my situation and the fact that I won't go bankrupt in another year. I check out some, ‘How to write Fiction’ books instead. All geared up, I start my best seller, ‘Once upon a time, long long ago…

 

After a satisfactory 30 pages down, I start cooking a meal. I have ambitiously invited 10 of my friends for dinner. Last minute pizza option sounds alluring, but the satisfied look on people’s faces after they’ve lapped up my stuffed brinjal and licked the last of the tropical dessert seems more appealing. I start to cook my 5 course meal, while cleaning up my apartment simultaneously. I have changed the bed sheets, put new rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom, changed into my favorite kurta, set the table when the door bell rings, “Beep beep…beep beep..”

 

Strange doorbell, I think to myself. Hey, we don’t even have a damn doorbell. Thinking hard, I realize I have been thinking and realizing in my sleep.

 

I shut the horrid alarm off! SIX F***ing A.M.???? Is this a time to wake up on a holiday?


Guilty as not charged.

I have been working like a worker bee (for the lack of better example for hard-working beings). I am totally surprised at myself. I didn't realize I could sit in my cubby hole designing roads after the sun set. We have a system where we work an extra hour every day and take alternate Fridays off. At one point I couldn't fathom myself actually working on my Friday off. Forget that, lately I have been even working on weekends. Next thing I know, someone actually called me workaholic. I wouldn't have winced if I were called an alien.

But you see, I am gaining a lot of worthwhile experience and thoroughly enjoying what I am doing working 12-13 hour days. You would think my boss is breathing down my neck at this moment. No, I write this in perfect sobriety and in the tone of an enthusiastic geek. I am not even regretting the fact that I can’t call friends or party or blog or paint or read books or cook or clean bathrooms or do laundry (ermm... this list actually is making me glad about staying this late on a Friday night). Heck… I am not even regretting the fact that I have to wear nerdy glasses now for all that eye damage (Can I ask for worker’s comp?). But what I regret is this phone call-

Nowadays Pi has realized that to get my attention while at work, he has to be really creative. "How is it going?" will be met with a non-enthusiastic-almost-at-the-verge-of-nervous-breakdown "What do you mean- how is it going.. Don’t you know I have work to do…blah blah.. Ok, Gotto go!" *bang*

Back to the fateful phone call,

Hubby (from home, ebbing with enthusiasm): Congrats!

Me (thinking we got someone’s socks in our laundry): Tell tell! (as you can see, I am intrigued easily)

Hubbs: Your credit card bill is at an all time low!!! You haven’t charged anything this month. Great job.

WHAT?!! Now I am highly enraged and guilty! All this overtime money and no time to spend it?! I need to get out more, get a life! Basically, I need to shop.

Pulling out credit card, typing- www.amazon.com.


Hair gone today, back day after tomorrow

One inch, is what I told her. When she spun my chair around to face the mirror, one inch was what was left. I looked like a retard from a recent trip to Thirupathi. Or worse like a cross between a balding German Shepherd and Hilary Clinton. Remember these words of wisdom, my friend - When a short haircut goes haywire, going shorter is not the solution. Grow it out. You will look like a demented wet sheep for a while, but it will eventually pay off. The long lustrous mane will bounce back to original length to make you look slightly more demure than Shahrukh Khan in Ashoka.

Next morning, I saw a banshee and almost got a heart attack. Calmed my agitated self when it was brought to my notice that the mirror reflected the mirror’s observer- me. However much I tried, I couldn’t get the hair to follow Newton’s law of gravity. Gel, oil, mucus… everything was slathered! I stuck a few pins, and wrapped my head with scarves. Much better.

My colleagues are nice people. I will trust them to come up with some compliment for this piece of art on my head. When I had grotesque clothes on, they praised my color sense. When I heated spoilt sambar in the microwave, they went ‘hmmm.. yummy smell’. But no one said a thing about my hair till I couldn’t take the suspense anymore and asked them, ‘What do you think?’

‘I like it.’ She says, almost wishing I wouldn’t give it to her. ‘You look settled,’ says another.

‘Settled? As in a woman? As in married?? As in mom with kids??? YIKES!!!"

So I go and pick another barber to cut it shorter and make me look younger. Younger is what I went for last time around too.

Long story (hair) short, I have finally agreed with myself to be in transition phase. I will just hibernate. I will grow out my hair and definitely not meet anyone till my keratin fibers reach my shoulders. No parties and no video shoots. *popping Vitamin E pills and checking growth with vernier calipers*


Dear Sister,

I used to look up to you as a kid and now things have changed dramatically. I grew taller. I can never thank you enough for being what you are for me- the best big sister.  You made the mistakes, and I learnt from them. You set the standards really low, so everything I did was a big achievement in the family. My first step, my first bicycle ride, even that fact that I managed to barely scrape through high school. I even got things I didn’t ask for. You fought tooth and nail for the BSA SLR, while I was handed the Street Cat without even having to wince. You rallied hard and strong for a study table, and they bought two instead and put one near my bed. (Frankly speaking, I wouldn’t consider that as a perk.)

You wanted to go to an engineering college away from home. They protested, you cried. They finally relented after making you sign a 20 page pact, but they drove me to the same college in a black limousine 3 years hence. You were notorious in college, always getting into trouble. I was the apple of their eye even when I was fined for vandalism in the college premises. You changed your branch from coveted Electronics to lowly Civil Engineering in the middle of a semester giving them a heart-attack. While I was praised to the skies for wanting to make it big in Computer Science. You joined some unheard of Civil Company while I got into Microsoft like many. But back home, I was an instant celebrity.

Thanks my dear sister, for being what you are and what you will be.

You did get married against their wishes. You paved way for me, I thought, much to my delight. But alas, you did not do enough damage as they are angry with me for the first time in their lives. It's too much to deal with and I'm traumatized. O’ Sister, why did you NOT pick a Mallu non-Brahmin for your husband?

Pissed,

Li'l bro Beta

PS- He didn't actually write it, but I stole the words from his mouth.


Fall after a Fall

A bachelor’s party before the wedding doomsday

Before your first day at school you got a Milky Way

A cancer that started off as a Cindy Crawford mole

They close the bowling alley just when you are on a roll

Like your last meal before the death row penalty

You dig into the chocolate dessert to realise it is salty

Your perfect location for solitude attracts a crowd

The way a silver lining leads to the gloomiest cloud.


So….

I refuse to admire the brilliant orange, red and yellow

I’ll not applaud when nature performs it's best show

I shall tear my eyes away and close my gaping mouth

'Coz I know winter is coming and I can’t go south.


I want Heaven, but I'd hate to die.

Climb the Kilimanjaro

Backpack around the world

Write a book

Learn Finance

Get Organized

Adopt a child

Lose 10 pounds

Of all my lofty ambitions, I would be damn happy if I could get these cross-sections running for now.

 


Utter Nonsense

Twin-I called out of the blue, 'I have to tell you something. Promise me you won't breathe to a soul.'

 

'I promise', I said hastily without thinking obviously dying to hear what he had to say to me after all these years. It being a secret kinda escalated my curiosity to higher planes.

 

‘I am serious about this being hush-hush. If you feel like telling someone, please call me and tell me only, Ok! He seemed really concerned about trusting me. I would be too, if I were in his place. I have a reputation of having a ‘hollow-mouth’ (a Tamil saying which makes sense in a weird way). Some people say I have no mouth, its only holes.

 

‘Ok baba… if you don’t want to say it, you are free to leave me alone. You called remember’, I said indignantly, taking a great risk. The risk of actually forgoing the right to learn something dark and dirty. It better be juicy, I thought.

 

‘Alright Alright… here it is. My brother, Twin-II is going through an ugly divorce from the Bitch.’

 

I gasped. Just one year of their marriage. I offered sympathy and joined him in Bitch bitching. Feeling choked with emotion that Twin-I found a compassionate confidant in me, I offered any help I could render.

 

 

“Of course, why do you think I called you, in the first place. You said your best friend knew Bitch.. so… I thought you might shed some light on her past so that we have a solid case in court proving that she is indeed a psycho.”

 

“Wait a minute! I have no association with her. I hadn’t even heard of her till your brother got married to her.”

 

Hmm… Egad..yes! now I remember.

 

Flashback to 1 year ago. (I am in pigtails and baggy jeans)

 

Nice Guy who is a great friend of mine and a great friend of Twin-II told me that Twin-II was going to get married soon. “Why is it not out in the public yet? Is he even planning on inviting us?” I wondered aloud.

 

Nice guy shrugged and didn’t want to get into any controversy like any other nice guy,’ Don’t tell anyone that I told you’.

 

I typed a mail to our school-mailing group so that I could share this news with everyone.

 

Dear Twin-II,

My best friend, Priya has a best friend called Bitch. Priya says Bitch is getting married to some Twin-II from our school. Are you the one? If yes, wow! Congrats!

 

-Alpha.

 

He owned up and thus the entire junta knew that he got married.

 

Back to present days. (Eating left over Tao Hoo Pad Bai Kaprao and talking to Twin-I)

 

‘Oh yeah! Oops, I lied.’

 

‘You did what? Me and my family was banking on you to help us in this case.’

 

‘Sorry. Wish I could be of some help’.

 

Twin-I quickly hangs up the phone after warning me of the dire consequences of blurting out this news.

 

‘I wouldn’t dream of it’ I assure him.

 

I fought mentally and physically to stop myself from spreading this gossip. My best friend came in, I plastered my face with Band-Aid (waterproof). ‘Any news?’ she asked and I ran into the bathroom and locked myself in sheer pain. Snatching my prerogative to be the first to deliver this piece of information was the worst punishment… but I bore it all. I came out victorious for an whole hour when she told me,

 

'BTW, I’m sure you’ve heard. Twin-II is getting a divorce.’


Hmpfff!! Then I hear the same thing from 6 other people. 'Don't tell anyone , OK'.

 


Wok Talk

If I hadn’t I chanced upon Madhu’s site and drooled over the picture of Tao Hoo Pad Bai Kaprao, I would have mistaken it for another swear word the Vietnamese pedicurist uses on me. That’s a whole different story. Someday.

Frankly I have never ever used basil leaves or white pepper or for that matter shallots in cooking before, but hey! Recipe is the bible and Madman (No, I didn’t just abuse him- He calls himself that) is God. You kinda trust a guy who owns a restaurant. Never question a dentist when he is drilling your tooth (the fact that you can’t speak at that time has nothing to do with my theory).

‘I hope you make more of this dish’, said Pi when he looked at the bill that included the Wok, the big dabba of white pepper and half a gallon of peanut oil. He hadn’t even tasted it yet and I could already see positive vibes.. Aha! I combed the whole town to get the freaking shallots. I distinctly remember what shallots are… they are dry fruits inside shells. Forget I even mentioned that, coz when I did find the shallots- they were nothing but miniature onions!! Jeez Madhu, why the hell couldn’t I use plain ol onions? I wouldn’t have minded discarding ¾ of a large onion if need be.

Armed with everything other than light soy sauce (here, I become a little adventurous and wild- I use dark soy sauce instead), I start my project only to realize it's easier than I thought. The hunting is the more difficult part, the wise one had once said. I am already in the last step even before I started. I hope this still qualifies for an exotic dish. Now I get slightly worried, but I decide not to share the recipe with anyone. I’ll just say, it's too difficult to explain. Problem solved. Unperturbed, I throw in the basil leaves and I pick up my novel while I wait for it to wilt. It takes 5 seconds… never mind! Needless to say, it was a howling success and I can only hope and pray that Madhu will help me to finish the white pepper… or else its going to be Tao Hoo Pad Bai Kaprao for every meal without Tofu & Basil (both being shit expensive!).... with idli on the side.


Lovely Bones - A book review

I am thankful for Lovely Bones. Alice Seabold is a very charming writer and has done a wonderful job in expressing human emotions through her characters that come to life almost instantly. She aims to shock at the same time relate. The book definitely kept me away from everything else I had planned for that Sunday. I had to know if they found Susie’s killer. Don’t worry people, I haven’t killed any suspense of the book. The book itself starts with Susie telling us, "I was fourteen when I was murdered on ….." It made me sit upright till I finished what Susie had to say from her heaven. Susie Salmon was brutally raped and murdered and was the last victim of a serial killer. Seabold leaves out the graphic and sordid details. She doesn’t make you sick with grief, but rather she makes you want to reach out to her family members who try to pick up the pieces of their lives after her death.

The story is from the perspective of the little girl, Susie, who cannot let go of her life even though her niche in heaven is all she wanted during her stay on earth. She has Vogue and Glamour as textbooks and in her school in heaven and the boys don’t pinch her butt. But she longs for her family and wants to kiss Ray Singh again. Her soul wanders around watching her distraught dad desperate to find her killer. She envies her sister, Lindsey, for leading a life she never could, but is proud of her fortitude. Susie helplessly looks on as her mother drifts away from the family, unable to cope with the tragedy. Her kid brother, Buckley, will never understand why there is a void in his life.

The most touching moments are when the father remembers the time he spent with his daughter building little sail ships inside the bottle. Susie was his only child who loved his crazy hobby. You cannot help, but cry for the mother who is fighting to find her real identity and in the process hurts herself even more. Susie wants her family to move on and stop crying over her, but as times goes she yearns for the mention of her name every now and then. Its not a very easy thing to let go and move on.

It is a sad and depressing book, I agree.. but it is emboldening and very real, the recounting filled with innocence… the voice of a child. Lovely Bones is a book that is compelling, spooky, heartbreaking, sometimes funny and definitely worth it. I am a sucker to good endings and I feel Alice Seabold has done justice to it…unlike my recent reads, Da Vinci Code or The Namesake (both recommended).

Never done a book review before. I give a book to Patrix and let him do it. I have always wanted to tell you all about this book and Toinks just instigated me.


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