Thursday, December 13, 2007


Kaise meri subah se shaam,
Kya raat hoti hai,
aisa kyun hota hai
kab ye baat hoti hai...

Jaise tapte sone se,
tapta sona milta hai
Aise hi kuchh mera din,
meri raaton mein pighalta hai

Sooraj ki hichkichaati kirnein,
jaise har taraf ki baraf par bikhre hue taare,
kya aasmaan zameen palat gaye,
ya din me phir raat hui?

Kyun tu bhi ai mere dost,
ye padh ke hairaan hai,
meri baaton pe itna gaur na kar
bas... kal mera imtehaan hai :)

(I spout random inane poetry at 5:00 AM after a whole night of studying Statistics. Finally, exam over!)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Picture abhi baaki hai, mere dost

What I love is the simple triteness of Bollywood. And even then managing to make me accept their banal words as a major philosophical truth for my life. Am I so besotted with "the pikchars" that I swallow every over-cliched maxim they choose to throw at me?

And the fact is that yes, I do believe in quite a lot of the most banal things that the movies say. Anything that makes me happy, or sad, or hopeful or angry... or any number of the vast range of emotions I go through when I see a movie I like. Not to mention the wit that surfaces few and far between in our movies.

One of the best one-liners of all times, had come from Mr. Gaikwonde (how many out there remember this classic role essayed to delirious perfection by Anu Kapoor and his dysfunctional telephone)- "Kamaal hai Seema- ye dikhai nahi deta aur ye sunaai nahi deta."

Sridevi in Lamhe "Mai to Kunwarji ko tabse pyaar karti hoon jabse mai paanch saal ki thhi" was a muhtod jawaab to Anita's (I think that was her name, I don't remember for sure), "Mai Kunwarji ko paanch saal se pyaar karti hoon".

Another line that I remember mouthing, to all my friends, was "Someone somewhere is made for you" (read Me!) from DTPH. Oh, I so believed in it (and let me reiterate that I still do- if I could find my soulmate and Mr. Perfect, so I believe the rest of the world can, too).

I guess the next one is an all-time favorite with half the world -"Hum cake khaane ke liye kahin bhi jaa sakte hain", from DCH. This was one movie that was full of a lot of wit (unlike most Hindi movies of the time). The badinage between the three friends was hilariously witty (even at the very serious end- "Perfection ko improve karna mushkil hai"- which is one of my husband's favorite lines- for himself, obviously :)

KANK - "Har shaadi ki buniyaad sirf beinteha mohabbat honi chahiye."
But, well- let me come to the line jo aajkal mere zahan me ghoomti rahti hai-

"Hamaari zindagi me bhi, hamaari filmon ki tarah, end me sab theek hi ho jaata hai"

This may be the tritest clichedest saying in the whole world, but I love it. I believe in it. It gives me hope. It makes me smile. It makes me happy. Om Shanti Om was this amazing incredible witty funny romp which kept me laughing and enjoying every bit of it, but what stuck with me was SRK making his Baatli award acceptance speech- which was one of the most touching scenes in the movie.

And I do choose to adopt this as my current {atleast till the next SRK movie comes along ;)} truth in life, ki hamaari zindagi me bhi, end me sab kuchh theek hi ho jaata hai. Kyunki aisa hi hota hai. Kyunki this is what moves us along. This is the talisman that burns in our hearts and warms us with its presence. This is Hope.

Aur agar theek nahi hua, to ye The End nahi hai...
Picture abhi baaki hai, mere dost..............................

Friday, November 02, 2007

Karwa Chauth

So I kept the Karwa Chauth- my first ever, obviously.
And it led to this host of questions arising in my mind, and questions about why the questions came (sounds convoluted- believe me, it was even more confused in my mind).

Firstly, I wanted the questions not to come. I wanted to accept totally and with complete faith the institution of the Vrat, and the idea behind it. I wanted to be any one of those millions of Indian women who take it as their unquestioned duty (and privilege- after all, what higher privilege than being married and showing it) to do the Vrat. I wanted that mindlessness, that total faith, that complete acceptance.

In parts of North India (especially the Punjabi belt), the Karwa Chauth is no longer just about the vrat itself. It has been totally commercialized- look at the millions of advertisements in the national print media. It has become the occasion to flaunt your saree, wealth, status- or who got the bigger, better gift from their husbands (Dah-ling, a can wear it the next time I take you out in the car I got...)

But then- I think Punjabis have a penchant for turning every occasion into a reason to flaunt themselves (considering that I am one, I know ;)

I kept asking myself, why the vrat? Does giving up food and water for one day really make your husband live longer, make him richer and happier (In my case- he would probably be happy if I gave up food forever- considering my weight ;)

Or as the feminist junta is quick to point out- you don't see men doing the same for women (apart from, of course, the two most important men in my life- Shahrukh Khan and my husband (in that order). My better half offered to do the vrat with me- for my longevity and happiness, since he is as much of a feminist as I am. Maybe more- I just sit and crib about the state of Indian women, he says we should do something about it.

However, the presumption here is that most Indian men don't care about their wives living longer, or being happier. I am sure that they do-only they are not expected to keep a strict fast to prove the same.

And yet... I did it. Did I do it because I am Indian? Because I have internalized certain norms of behavior, which I will feel guilty about not following?

Maybe my reasons are the same as everybody else's. I do want to die a suhagan, but mostly because I know, living without him is a pain I cannot bear. Because I would willingly give up the last drop of water if it makes him live longer.

Because it makes me a part of this larger community of Indian women who kept the Karwa Chauth. I was imagining a globe, with Indians in scattered parts- from Kenya to Canada- women all over who did the vrat. Wherever an Indian woman is, the Karwa Chauth is an essential part of her being married. So I kept imagining random dots in sarees waiting for the moon rise. And I was one of those sprinkled dots.

And lastly- because of Kajol and Shahrukh Khan.
Because, to this day, this moment, I can never hear the following lines and not cry. Itne saalon se, isko sun ke aajtak aankhon me paani aata hai

"Tere haath se pee kar paani,
Daasi se ban jaaun Raani"

I just believe in this. Totally. Unquestioned. Completely. Kajol believes in it because she loves him- totally.

It is only love that matters.

"Har shaadi ki buniyaad sirf beinteha mohabbat honi chahiye"

(again, SRK in KANK)

Then, the Karwa Chauth becomes a true prayer. Not because you have to do it, but because you want to. Because its not a tradition, it is a choice.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In Memoriam, In Sorrow

I am writing this with a grieving heart- not because the sorrow is any less, but because I believe he deserves a great eulogy. I am sure lots of others have been shedding tears about whoever their favorites were (and who died in battle), but my tears haven't stopped. For Dobby.

After reading this, I realize that I was not the only one crying. Yet, we all cried for different people. There is mourning, there is pain, and there is triumph. Oh, much is said and written, yet I feel that Dobby was not mourned enough.
Can grief ever be enough at death? Yet it is essential for our catharsis. Grief is what makes us real, it is our ability to mourn, to remember, to cry- to feel the depths of pain that make us truly human.

I keep remembering the little things. Especially the socks. The patterns of snitches and broomsticks. His lines keep coming back to me-"They is giving you two the same"... "a barmy old codger if we likes"... "your Wheezy"...
Oh Dobby, Dobby......
His utter devotion to Harry. His caring for Winky. His delight at getting Ron's jumper. His big tennis ball eyes looking lovingly at Potter.

He was always such a bechara. So servile. So happy every time Harry so much as smiled at him. So devoted, so faithful, so lovable. And the end..did she have to use the word "supplication". That killed me...
I was worried that she'd kill Harry. I didn't even think about Dobby. Strange-we all so seldom think about the death of people we love most. Maybe, they do live within us.

My only satisfaction comes from the fact that he died in the arms of the person he loved most in the whole world. And that he died saving Harry's life (that would have made him happy).

(only, I still can't stop crying. I had to stop reading for two hours while I cried. But the tears come back again..and again. My words here can not lessen the depth of pain, nor can my tears extinguish the grief).

I have no idea whether house-elves, like wizards, move on. But I hope they do. I hope wherever he is, he's happy.
Dobby, we'll miss you. You'll always be there - dancing happily in your tea-cosy.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Daaru, Jua aur Aurat: Kkahani Vegas Kii I

Finally a travel chronicle- For the first time ever, this blog features something I did, as opposed to my endless rants on how I feel, how I felt and how I'm going to feel...
Oh, don't go away, the whining and cribbing will be back soon ( I know just HOW much you all out there empathize with me!!!)

We (nope- neither do I suffer from MPD nor am I pregnant {undergrad hostel joke-he he}, just me and my better (definitely-once you get to know us) half (introduced to one and all as TBH- The Better Half, or Tall, Black {actually, he's more on the saanwla side (guess where I picked that from)(also- I'm a gori-chitti Punju racist)} and Handsome (I'm losing track of these brackets within brackets within...oh heck!) ) visited Las Vegas recently. An oasis of sin(?) in the middle of the desert. Quite definitely Paradise Found.

Yes, Vegas is the Garden of Eden, recreated and redefined. It is where everything is legal, permissible, right. Where one sleeps in the morning and goes out at night. As TBH put it- all the rules are inverted in Vegas. This was apparent the minute we entered Nevada- from the border to Vegas, nobody was following the speed limit. The glittering lights, the first view of the Strip, the historic casinos (where poker history was made {TBH is a poker lover (yup, poker meri sauten hai) and so I got to hear it all} made us both go Look! Look! Look! - till a near death swerve got us looking at the road again!!

There is the historic (and old) downtown, where it all started. As the story goes, Vegas started as a place for entertainment and recreation (euphemisms, how I love thee) for the workers of Hoover Dam. A win-win situation for all.

Downtown is festooned with lights, lights everywhere. The most amazing feature is the 1500 feet long arched roof over Fremont Street- which is actually a screen. Its quite awe-inspiring at night as it comes alive with the most psychedelic colors and patterns possible.
To quote U, "Its Diwali everyday in Vegas".

Quite literally. Diwali is also a day for Jua, gambling, in India. And so, it IS Diwali all the time. From every possible card game, to sportsbooks, to racing, to real estate. Gaming Hells have donned a whole new glamorous avataar, they are now Gaming jannats as they are reinvented in the casinos, miles and miles of real estate dedicated to every form of gambling.

Each of the casinos was more glamorous and grander than the next. Bigger, better, showier- it was impossible to comprehend- and its even more difficult to put here in words just HOW grand they were. The architecture was mind-boggling, with Paris and Rome vying for attention next to Monte Carlo and New York. The pyramids were just half a mile away, right next to the beach at Mandalay. Treasure Island was a stone's throw away, right in front of Venice. Ahh! The gondolas. The Bridge of Sighs. St. Marks' Square. Tao.
(the nightclub to end all nightclubs. I felt like Arthur- the people, the lights...the people).

(Look at the sky! Its a huge artificial
ceiling- so its always early evening on the piazza. Beyond which are the nightclubs).

TBH played poker, while I lo
unged around in the fashion of the best of Bond (plunging neckline dresses and sipping sultry martinis seductively {sultry martinis?- oh, well, you get the picture- besides, I love alliteration} babes {now, if only I could buy the body to go with it} (too many brackets again). Or stare at the women. Each more glamorous than the next. The dresses, the shoes, the stilettos... ... the stilettos (there I go again).

I was obsessed with their heels. How did they ALL manage those pointy 6" heels? And here I was, tottering in my 2" itsy-bitsy heeled sandals (I gave up and walked barefoot for the rest of the night). It did take away from the glam doll- hot babe picture I was trying so hard to project, but my feet were killing me.

Not only is it already morning (and I'm not in Vegas anymore, alas!) but the length of this post is getting to be quite unwieldy. Not to mention boring.
I'll continue the Kkahani in my next post.
(In true Kk fashion, the story is endless).
So you can all wait with bated breath for the next episode!!!!!!! After all, I haven't even touched on the "Aurat" topic I promised in the title. Yes, I fooled you into reading this one..and the next...and...

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Marvin's the clearest thinker I know.

Or maybe

"We apologize for the inconvenience."

Apology NOT accepted, God.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Haan bolo,
tum bhi to lafzon me taraasho..

ki tumhari chubhan, tumhari pyaas,
waisi hi hai jaisi meri...
jo mere man ki khalish hai,
kya uska aks tum me bhi hai

ye jo lafz mere labon par kampkapaate hain
kabhi inka sannaata sunte ho,
Ankahi si hazaar baatein,
kya tumhaare labon par hazaar mauton se milti hain..

kya tum bhi kabhi meri tarah tadapte ho...
kuchh sunne ko taraste ho...
bolo, kabhi to izhaar karo,
ki shayad meri khamoshi ko awaaz mile

Kabhi to tum bhi awaaz do,
haat badhaao, intezaar karo
Dil ki awaaz sun, sab tarqon se pare
kabhi to beinteha pyaar karo...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ode to Baba Sehgal

A lot of people (read: bloggers) have dedicated reams of virtual paper writing tributes to their favorite music directors, singers etc. like RD Burman (does he feature everywhere!).
Listening to some of his songs today- gems which I rediscovered today, I decided to write this especial feature on Baba Sehgal.

I was (Yes, honestly) an ardent fan while growing up (I think I was in Class 8th or 9th). Baba Sehgal had burst on the nascent IndiPop scene with Thanda Thanda Paani. Followed by his other smash hit, Mai bhi Madonna. I fell in love with that song.
(I have been trying to find that song for ages now. If anybody can give it to me, I will be their servant forever. Seriously, this is a fervent request- does anybody have this song? Or can give me a lead as to where I could find it?)

And the amazing 'Jat Ludhiane ka'. Who can forget his 'Miss Loomba Loomba'.

The most amazing part of all his songs are the awesome lyrics- NO JOKING!
They are just so funny and witty and outrageously ridiculous... I was laughing out loud most of the time today :)

Not that we all don't know the story- how this electrical engineer left his job in DESU to go into music. And the rest, as they say (who does?), is history.
(Hai Raam! Sarkari naukri chhod di munde ne!!)

Not only was I reliving some of the most glorious days of my childhood (Ohh! Saraswati Kunj, how I miss thee!), I had one of the most enjoyable funny and glorious afternoons ever, especially as I was doing some extremely mundane mind-bogglingly dull work alongside.

So to all people in the world whose tastes are as weird as mine-
Here is where to go!

And somebody- puh-lease find me 'Mai bhi Madonna'. And while you're at it, also 'Jat Ludhiane ka'. And...
I shall shall shall be eternally grateful.
By God ki Kasam!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bad Habits

This is what comes of staying awake all night, reading other people's blogs and pilfering their ideas. This post is a result of this post.
For it got me thinking. Not just that Indian men expect their wives to be virgins. Just that the whole world does too.
Actually, for most men and women in any normal middle-class Indian family, there is no other way of thinking. The-alternative-does-not-exist.

Yes, some of us might not agree, saying that India has progressed, its not so in the big cities, etc. etc.
Well, sure. Maybe not. But that is how it is in the tens of thousands of towns and cities and mindsets. Its such a blanket mindset that I cannot even begin to explain how ubiquitous it is.

And this promulgates such that most men/women in/on the marriage market(that is how we do it in India) take this mostly as a given. If even a whiff of the fact that the girl ever had a boyfriend/ was seeing someone/ talked to guys (ok, slight exaggeration here ;)) fell into the prospective groom's family's ears, the match was doomed. No one but a pristine bride for our son, thank you very much!!

Its such an integral part of our culture (?). Indian girls do not drink, sleep with/touch men, have opinions or other such bad habits. Oh God, who will marry them otherwise?

Yikes, why did I start on this? The diatribe shall not end once I get started.
I have opinions on this. And other bad habits as well.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Love and Chocolate Cake

I so wanted to bake a cake. SOOOOO wanted to bake a cake.
Every pore of my being craved to bake one!

Don't ask why! Lets call the reason love :)

Okay, now this might be a perfectly natural craving for some of us, but given that
a) I had never baked (Once- but had set the cake on fire)
b) I had absolutely NO ingredients to bake a cake.

I still wanted to do it. And Yes, the reason was Love.

Anyway- I did manage a pretty good cake, with nothing to begin with. Improvised every step of the way. Love brings its own inspiration :)

Here's my first recipe on this blog:

The "Crazily-in-Love" Chocolate Cake

1 cup Aata (Thats normal everyday flour)
1.5 cups of Oil
1 cup of sugar

I kneaded all this together.

7 Oreo Cookies
Chopped them to a powder in the food processor
(that was my only source of chocolate)

15 Cashewnuts
Chopped coarse in the food processor.

Added the above to the dry batter.

NOW- the big question.
I had no idea what to do next.

I did not know how to make a batter with all my dry ingredients.

Inspiration again.

I took out the remaining one-fourth tub of Strawberry Ice-cream. Put it into a plastic container, added some water. And microwaved it.

Viola! I had milk.
Mixed it into the flour mixture- and my smooth, fine batter was ready.

Added the baking powder (actually, 1 spoonful of Eno) and that was it.

Poured the batter into the baking dish.
Any I had my perfect chocolate cake after an hour.

No, not really- it did break when I took it out of the baking dish.
But it made me immeasurably happy.

I was listening to these absolutely cheesy 80's-90's romantic Hindi movie songs while cooking (the kind you don't want to own up to even being in the same room as). With this mushy smile on my face. For all those stupid silly soppy songs suddenly made sense.

Happy :)

For doing this kind of corny cooking. For doing it to make just one moment special.
(Obviously, later both would be too drunk/ asleep).

Happy First Month Anniversary to ME!!!

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Ekalavya Debate: Should he have cut off his Thumb?

How many of you have seen the movie Eklavya?
I did, a few days back- and so the previous post.

"Dharma Matigrah Udghrutah" was quoted in the movie -
as THE virtuous path being that which your mind and heart says is right.

And so I had a this debate with my friend, about Dharma. He argued that the movie was a letdown, for Eklavya did not follow his Dharma in the end. The character was built up as one whose only motivation, reason for being and self-validation came from following his Dharma (in this instance, protecting the King).
Thus, when the quandary of following Dharma arises in the end- well,
Should he have killed his own son?
Should Eklavya cut off his thumb again???

According to my friend, yes, he definitely should have killed his son, and the fact that he did not takes away from the basic premise of the movie. The manner in which Eklavya was portrayed reinforces the values and sanctity of following Dharma (or at least, what one is brought up to believe).
Me- being a sucker for happy endings- loved it that he did not.

As the movie goes- Dharma Matigrah Udghrutah-
Dharma is what your mind tells you is right.

So is Dharma following centuries of mindless tradition?
Or is it laying down one's life (and love) for what one believes in?

Or is it just a matter of convenience?

However, I do think I would have cut off my thumb.
I nearly did, too...

But finally, my mind prevailed.
Dharma Matigrah Udghrutah...

So why do I still have this lingering sense of guilt??????????????????

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Dharma Matigrah Udghrutah

And so said Aristotle. He says that all human purposes aim at that highest of goals, Eudaimonia. Loosely translated as 'happiness', it can be better referred to as 'human flourishing'. So each and every action is geared to the attainment of this higher "virtue".
More importantly, this higher purpose/ aim is derived from both 'virtue' (as exemplified by courage, honesty, etc.) and knowledge (here, the knowledge of good and evil, OR, right and wrong). Aristotle adds that Eudaimonia is constituted not by honor, wealth or power, but by rational activity done with knowledge. Therefore, simple deduction leads us to infer that ethical
behavior and virtuosity lead the rational person to the best course of action, which, in turn, leads to happiness.
So we all act as rational, thinking and aware human beings, all of us pursuing the most sensible, rational, best and right course of action. And live happily ever after!

Yes, that is indeed the fairy tale it sounds like. For how many of us actually do that?
not me, for one (and so goes the story of my life :)
Are we fallible? I think so- at least I think the human race deserves the benefit of doubt :)
Herein, lies the concept of Akrasia, which is defined as "the state of acting against one's better judgement".
Why would any person ever do that? So asks anybody with a "rational" mind.
Yet we all do it, all the time.
Socrates called akrasia an "illogical concept", and attributes it to a breakdown of reasoning. However, Aristotle (again to the rescue) contends that akrasia is not a result of irrationality, but is a result of opinion. And opinion is personal, and may or may not represent the truth.

Any judgment that we make may be based in objective reason or subjective analysis. Yet the chosen path of maximum virtue may not be adhered to, ever so often.
Or it may be the conflict of reason and emotion (again, the fact that they are considered on opposite sides of the fence is dismaying).
However, I do reinforce the notion that akrasia may be very damaging for being happy- or attaining the highest purpose of eudaimonia.
Having personally experienced it, I also firmly believe in Festinger's Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. And that can lead to tremendous mental and emotional turbulence.

So maybe one should just do what one believes is right. And that remains the eternal question. What is Right?
There exist innumerable normative notions of "rightness" and yet, no two people have the same rights or wrongs.
Therefore, I do what I think is right.

"Dharma Matigrah Udghrutah:"

Dharma is what your mind tells you is right.
Dharma is what your heart tells you is right.