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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

the secret diary of mayawati@UP

14th November

I look around my humble room with pleasure.The pink swarovski chandeliers, all 4 of them, are blazing brightly ;the diamond studded pink bed has been turned down for me for the night; the chantilly lace curtains( pink) are fluttering delicately in the gentle breeze of the air conditioners. Four baskets of the best chocolates ( uhmn pink)  for my delicate nibbles has been kept next to my jewellery cupboard  ( there is nothing more pleasurable than counting one's diamonds while nibbling on Belgium liqueur chocolates ) .After spending the whole day with these upper end 'manoos' it is nice to be back on my own turf . I never forget , and also do not let others forget, that I am a dalit .This humble room is one of my  odes to my humble roots ( another 'small' one is at Noida ). The song I have been listening to the whole day is playing in the background ( aa dekhen zara, kitna kisme hain dum...). Shashank Shekhar Singh is such an inquisitive thakur. He wanted to know why I have taken a fancy to this song . I let him in on many of my strategems but it would never do to tell him this one and so I  quelled him with one of my maya memsahib look . (Kanshi Ram ji ,God bless his soul, used to love my memsahib looks. Infact he had told me that the day I perfected these he would make me the chief minister apparent -and thereby hangs the tale of how I sat on the 'gaddi' of UP). After making so much  girly fun of Rahul baba I could not possibly disclose to triple S  that baba's 'lalkaar' on the banks of the Ganga has left me slightly shaken and to prep myself  up for the battle of UP I have been playing and re playing this song. I found myself humming" Aa dekhen zara ,kitna kisme..".
The phone rang, interrupting me in the middle of  a graceful piroutte .  It was  not the lemon phone, that's for my lemon and green dresses; not the pink one, that's for my pink and purple dresses; certainly not the red one -that's only for someone very, very special. This was my fourth phone -black-for my business dealings. The voice whispered," Vijay here". " Vijay from dalitnagar?" I asked politely.  "No,no,no",said the person, sounding horrified. 'It's Mallya,Vijay Mallya. I want you to bail me out .Can you lend me a few hundred crores?"  I naturally asked him why I should do so. "Because ferrying you all over the globe for your secret shopping sprees has landed us in the red." The cheek of the man. He obviously thinks I am a babe in the woods ( just because I look like one). Thankful for the inputs from my Secret Service men I could tell him curtly that he should be asking Deepika .P for the loan as his airline had flown her 45 times whereas I had only used it 44 times. Before he could beg some more I disconnected and flopped on the bed .

My mind worked, fast and furious, for a solution to the danger posed by the congress. Should I play the Italian card ? Nah .Already done to death. Besides,what if someone leaked out my preference for Italian handbags?(even though I carry them in a way to make them look as if they are from lajpat nagar) Should it be baba's jerky waves and shifty eye contact ?nah- not enough dum. Just then I remembered the words of my personal astrologer -"4 is your lucky number-always think in terms of four and multiples of four". Eureka ! I had got it. Multiples of four can be for other smaller things, like gold bangles and diamond sets and... Tomorrow I will announce the division of the state - into four parts .

Chortling (gently) at the look on Rahul baba's and Diggy Raja's face at this announcement I drift off to sleep, my head resting on black pillows. Why not pink? So that the  jet black hair color does not show up in the morning !

Monday, November 14, 2011

the secret diary of rahul@gandhi

14th Nov                                                                                                           

It feels so good today. I am smiling from ear to ear while writing this page. Ofcourse ,throughout the day I maintained a grim ,purposeful look – just like mummy and priyanka had told me to do. But first things first. I  must tell you why today is special –mum ,finally, spoke the magic word. I had been waiting for this magic word for years ( and the whole world thinks I am waiting to be anointed the prime minister ) . I spoke to her just half an hour back – after finally getting Rita  B off my back ( but more on her later). The phone at 10 Janpath  was picked up on exactly the second ring and mummy came on the line on the count of five. ( These counts are very important –on the first count portends irritation; the second stands for anger ;  the third for danger. Things start getting better from the fourth count … ) I had rehearsed my opening lines , and my lines of defence, but she spoke before I could open my mouth. And her first words were “ well done”. OMG!! I almost sank back against the wall in relief ,but immediately straightened (incase Mayawati’s men were lurking somewhere snooping in on me ).My lips had stretched back to form“thank you” but once again she pre empted me. “The  speech was good .You had learnt the lines well .Your body language was right –neither humble nor arrogant. But your eye contact ! tch tch .It really needs a lot of working on .You were only looking at the crowd in front of you. There was no eye contact with the left or right”.Indignation gave me the courage to finally speak.” Mum, it was you who told me to leave the left and the right and  concentrate on the centre”. She clicked her tongue in exasperation.”That was for  the political parties, not the crowd. You have to work through the whole crowd, weave your magic – just like dadi and daddy used to do .And I am sending Diggy Raja to U.P tomorrow. He will teach you how to wave  to the people .Your wave was very stiff and jerky –just like Manmohanji’s wave. Catch some sleep now. You have to wake up early tomorrow and rehearse your lines and moves.”  I whispered goodnight to the silent phone  and sank onto the nearest chair. The words “ well done “ reverberated in my ears.I smiled. But then the thought of another day with Rita B crossed my mind. I stopped smiling . And then remembered –good ol Diggy ,with his statements, was joining me soon. I smiled.
I must sleep now. Will write about madam B tomorrow.

14th November

Monday, September 19, 2011

a day in a life

I must have been about fifteen when I read 'A day in the life of Ivan Denisovitch' by Alexander Solzhenitsyn  .The story is set in a  Stalinist labor camp , designed to break its prisoners physically and spiritually . By replacing prisoners’ names with officialistic combinations of letters and numbers, the camp erases all traces of individuality. For example, the camp guards refer to Shukhov, as “Shcha-854.” The protagonist Ivan Denisovitch Shukhov does not passively accept this attempt to dehumanize him, however. He shows that the way to maintain human dignity is not through outward rebellion but through developing a personal belief system. At meal time, no matter how hungry he is, he insists on removing his cap before eating. This practice gives Shukhov a sense that he is behaving in a civilized manner. His insistence on his own dignity amounts to an underground declaration of war against the state that imprisons him .   The book impacted me strongly. For days I would think of Shukhov, battling the sub zero temperatures, hunger and the brutality of the system. With time the print blurred but what always stayed in some corner of the mind was an image of a cell- Ivan's cell. Whenever I would see, or enter ,a small room the image of Ivan's cell would raise its head and reality would merge with story.  Needless to say ,cramped spaces always left me feeling uncomfortable- like a prisoner in a camp.

The room is about 8ft by 6ft. It has no window-just a door .There is no furniture apart from  six wooden tables and benches. It can seat about eighteen ( three on each bench) but there are never more than twelve to fourteen of us. We are supposed to report at 9.30 'sharp' .  No one is ever late but also none reach before 9.25. In those five minutes we walk in ,sit and also take out our pens/pencils .There is a total absence of animosity , and also of any attempt to make small talk. I don't know if we greet each other -I don't remember it happening. At 9.30 the door opens for the last person .He/she enters with a sheaf of papers .The papers are given out and the test starts.  The test ends.The papers are redistributed amongst us so that we check each others papers .Scoring is done and the papers returned.We all fare pretty pathetically but no muscle twitches and no one winces .At 1' 0'clock the door opens, wider this time, and two guards enter with our lunch. Lunch is the same every month .We eat our lunch in total silence. Newbies to the system have been known to initiate conversation .They either do not show up  the next time or ,if they do, are also silent. Post lunch is another test. Same procedure. It is evening .We  leave.
I step out and look at the sky.Why did I never notice it earlier? Dusk seems to have never looked more beautiful. I breathe  in fresh air and smile at the man roasting peanuts in one corner of the street.  Solzhenitsyn's Ivan could never leave his camp at Siberia. I am out until the next time.This is a day in my life.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mein Kampf

In the process of doing some research on Hitler , i also ,but naturally, read up on his autobiography.  On going  ( read flipping) through  the book it seemed to me that Mein Kampf is more of an exposition , and a justification ,of Hitler's ideology and political views and less of an autobiography. But there were two things which i found striking : firstly, the title ,which translates to 'My Struggle' ,and secondly , an uncanny similarity between hitler's thoughts and the thought process of our politicians.
The best thing about the book , for me, is the title. I am sure if any , and all , of us was asked to pen our thoughts for a book titled 'My Struggle' we would have no problem/s in doing so. We would never experience  problems such as 'writers block' or paucity of material . This is not to say that life itself is a struggle -on the contrary life is joyous; truly a gift to be savoured .It is when we come across  some others ( please note the 'some' as opposed to 'all' ) with  whom we do not share the same wavelength,or ,to put it more bluntly, are on diagonally opposite wavelengths, that the struggle begins. The struggle of being polite, keeping up appearances, not being rude ( because one believes that life is a karmic cycle) etc . Ofcourse ,there are other struggles also -struggle for freedom ( Gandhi) ;for independence ( most asian women ); against corruption ;against cancer ...the list is endless and that is why i believe that 'Mein Kampf' is a universally applicable title.

Now ,coming to the' similarities' between you know who and whom. Consider these Hitlerisms :

"If you wish the sympathy of the broad masses, you must tell them the crudest and most stupid things."
When i look at some of the gems spoken by our politicos it is hard to ignore the fact that either they are very naive or they believe the junta is and that is why they spout the  absurdities that they do.

Another one - "Life never forgives weaknesses." Is this why our honourable and' honest 'P.M is perpetually silent? He does not want to acknowledge any weakness for the fear of not being forgiven?

 He doesn't know that the present has already judged him -as will history .
And the judgement is not very forgiving !!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Fourth of July

There is a familiar sinking feeling  somewhere in my stomach. Familiar because I have been experiencing it annually for the last 16 years or so - ever since the girl was school going and school was re-opening after the summer break. The girl is no longer a school kid, but the boy still is- and the sinking feeling is stronger for him. No, it's not because he is a boy- but because he is a boy who simply revels in the freedom the summer break brings . He is in and out of the house (playing  cricket in the park, cycling with friends, going for 'PSP parties, swimming ,reading ( he read 'Animal Farm' and understood it !) in and out of the kitchen( eating , eating and some more eating) in and out of his father's and grandfather's offices ( doubling up as an office assistant -a euphimism for 'helper boy') in and out of grocery shops with me ( he loves fruit and veggie shopping as much as i do ) and in and out of our hearts.
The last two days have seen a distinct drop in his appetite ( though not in the play schedule). I know that he is experiencing 'Monday  blues'. He knows that we know. I sit him down for a 'talk'.
me : wassup?
boy: don't want school to reopen
me: why?
boy; it is so painful
me: what is?
boy: the continuous evaluation
me : oh
boy :the continuous tests, homework, projects ...
me : oh
boy :there is no free time- all my time is parcelled into slots
me : oh
boy : all my friends also feel so- i am not the only one. And mom, stop saying 'oh'.
I give him the usual pep talk of how school is necessary , how it is actually fun- but just that the fun has been disguised to not look like fun ,how the teachers teach so well(!) etc. He looks at me ,patiently waiting for me to finish,gives me a kiss and goes off.
I look at the calender to check the date - yes,school is opening on the 4th of july.The irony doesn't escape me .
 Did somebody make a movie on it called 'Born to be free' ?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A view of the Anna Hazare ' Show' from the sidelines

It is early evening on the third day of Anna Hazare's fast . Two men are exiting from the place of action. The fatter of the two remarks, 'ekdum neta hai". The other opens his betelnut chewing mouth to riposte ," neta nahi- abhineta hai woh".They burst out laughing and stroll off  in the opposite direction, presumably to look for more entertainment. Their remarks seem to be the final nail required in the coffin set up by the editor of 'Open ' magazine in an article which calls Anna 'obsolete', publicity hungry and a puppet of the media. My vote is decided  before being cast. I walk in and look  around with a jaundiced eye. A man is selling 'pappadums', another( keeping in mind India's culinary diversity ? ) is making " jhal murri'.  Two policemen are leaning on a barricade , discussing the current mistress of their boss . A bare chested young man struts around. His shaved chest and unshaved back have been painted with slogans supporting Anna Hazare's call  for changes in the Lokpal bill. The young man disappears inside a mobile toilet. Many khadi kurta clad young men and girls can be seen. The men have curly hair; the girls have put up their hair in studiedly untidy buns . And yes, they have that great symbol of Indian marxism- the 'jhola' on their shoulder.

 On the left are the tents. The first has a handful of  senior citizens with straight backs and faces. A glance at the banner explains all- 'Ex sevicemen in support of the fast' .The second tent is the 'information desk'. Many busy looking men are manning it. The third 'shamiana' is where all the action seems to be taking place. On one side is a dais. A rockstar lookalike is exhorting  the crowd to please put up their hands and clap. I look at the crowd squatting on green durries and realize that the word 'motley' was coined for  just such a group. There are the young, the middle aged and the aged ;the jean clad  nymphets to the salwar kameez wearing aunties; the lower divisional clerks rubbing shoulders with serious men .Their seriousness tells us that they are either bankers or managers or both.Where the  last line of the squatting crowd ends, the first line of the television crew begins.Their cameras are trained at the dais and at the guitar strumming rockstar lookalike. He looks very familiar. The penny drops. He is a bhajan singing disciple of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.Now he wants the people to sing along with him- 'hum honge kamyaab ek din...'.They lustily respond, swaying to the beat, hands up in the air,clapping in rhythym.

A decidedly weak looking octogenarian stumbles onto the stage. He is wearing shorts which have a RSS pracharak look to them. He sits down self conciously and adjusts his three fourths.The singer carries on .He asks how many in the audience know about the Janlokpal bill. Everybody shouts,'we do'.He sings," hum bill layenge ek din..."The crowd cheers. I find myself also clapping. Swami Agnivesh walks on to the stage- nothing self concious here, but, surprisingly, he sits quietly in one corner, making no attempt to hijack the limelight. A lady stumbles, her feet caught in the wires of the television cameras.Many hands reach out to help her. Just then a loud cheer erupts from the crowd  The man spearheading the 'show' has made an entry. By the time the lady is helped and settled down, Anna Hazare is sitting on the dais.

I wait for him to make a 'speech'. He is quiet. The crowd is quiet. The quietness is not an uneasy one or a bored one or a dangerous one.It is the quiet between a husband and wife married for many years. It has the same calmness, the same understanding and the same goals.Somewhere in the background the haunting lyrics of Gurbani are being recited by a turbanned gentleman.

I now know why the movement has appealed to the masses, to the twitteratti, to the facebook netizens, to the non resident indians, to the bankers,the clerks,the geeks and the nerds .It appeals not because they believe Hazare is the 21st century variant of the mahatma; and not because they are convinced that the corrupt have met their waterloo. Most of them know the media is orchestrating it for its T.R.Ps. It has appealed because they know a beginning has been made- the beginning everyone was waiting for. They know that things may not change immediately,  most things don't, but they will ultimately change. Anna  may end his fast " when it is mutually agreed between him and the politicians" but not before he would have changed the mood of the nation. Another Anna will come and then another Hazare and something will tell the high and mighty that an Egypt is brewing in India also.

And this is for all ye cynics- Gandhi was a Mahatma not because he was perfect but inspite of being imperfect. Yes,  he enjoyed the press, the foreign media, the' farce' called a fast, the adulation, the attention.Many of his events were media orchestrated. But, hey- he led us to independence ! The nation is not looking for a perfect mahatma. The nation is looking for an imperfect mahatma to free it -not from a foreign rule- but from corruption.

I turn to leave. Opposite the tent is a stall selling kulfi with falooda . Five minutes later i exit the' mela' ,eating a kulfi. From somewhere behind come the strains of Vande Materam .

Sunday, February 6, 2011

eggless chocolate fudge cake

The phone rang. We all reacted in our much rehearsed and practised mode- everyone waited for everyone else to go for it. Ofcourse, i was the one who eventually picked it up( always!) . The voice said ,"hi .what's up?" I answered truthfully, " lazing around"." Good. We are coming over", the voice said. I murmured (not very truthfully) something about how wonderful that was ." Within half an hour ",the voice promised threateningly. I kept the phone and collapsed. I dunno why- but whenever i get the news about impromptu visiting , the first thing that happens is that my mind goes blank.The second thing- i panic. The third -i get into action mode. Quick recce of the house- tolerable ; of the kids- not so but will have to do ;of the husband- not at all but ,again,will have to do. I now run to the kitchen and open the fridge ,looking for the pasta i had made the previous day. Not there. I mull the thought of asking the kids but then banish it. Thank God i have some fresh bread and  mushrooms( will dribble some olive oil,arrange the mushrooms,sprinkle seasoning and bake it ); and boiled chick peas ( chopped tomatoes, cucumber and coriander leaves and chaat masala). But alas! there is absolutely nothing in the sweets department. I throw a glance around the kitchen for inspiration  .My gaze settles on a much thumbed brown diary and inspiration strikes.  My old faithful fudge cake!
Some hours later.The guests have gone .We are back to doing whatever we were doing. The phone rings . Ofcourse, i pick it up .This time i take the news on the chin. The left-overs are all there! and so is my eggless fudge cake.
Let me share the recipe:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup fresh curd
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspn baking powder
1/2 teaspn soda-bi-carb
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil/butter
1 teaspn vanilla essence

Mix all the above well,preferably in a mixer. Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 35-40 minutes.Remove from oven .Cool.
Next,make the fudge icing. For the icing:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespn butter
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
Put in a pan and stir on low flame till it thickens to medium consistency. Remove from heat and add:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence.
Mix well. Now cut the cake horizontally in half. Spread half the icing on one half of the cake .Put the other half back on top.Spread the remaining icing.

It is done!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Death at twilight

What can you say for an eighteen year old who died? that he was handsome and brilliant? that he loved basketball and swimming and music?  and life ?  Death came unannounced to Adhivraj on the terrace of a mall. It folded him up and took him away -from his mother who was landing just a few hours away, from his elder brother to whom he was a son, from his dad, from us-  leaving  us with  only memories of another day.Oh yes ! certainly nothing to complain about that. Enough memories to last a lifetime -and beyond.

Memories of him as a child, darting in and out of our house ; the house resonating with the laughter of the children ;Adhivraj going to Mayo; Adhivraj coming home for holidays; the agonizing decision of-will it be commerce or science . And in all these memories , always the image of his mother. Laughing, proud of his accomplishments, worried about his maths -the eternal mother.

She is sitting quietly,looking down into nothingness, her fingers fold a tissue and then unfold it and then again,ever so gently, fold it again. My dearest friend , I am sitting next to you and I have nothing to say. Just like I had nothing to say yesterday . I will come and sit with you again tomorrow, silently.The little one has left us.

I will always remember the day ( Sunday, the day of rest) and the time. I finish my class and leave .I call up home to say hi and that I will be reaching soon.My daughter's voice gives everything away. What's happened ,I almost scream. Ma, Adhivraj is dead.

 Earth to earth, ashes to ashes,  dust to dust.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

lunch at spaghetti kitchen

I love winter afternoons-in Emily Dickinson's words 'there's a certain slant of light' which teases you and invites you .On just such a seductive january afternoon i step into Spaghetti Kitchen with my lunch companion. The restaurant is on the first floor of the main Sundar Nagar market. It is early afternoon and we are the first customers .The first impression is of polished wood, white linen ,sunlight streaming through big glass windows-definitely pleasant .We are shown to a table near the windows and we settle down.

 My companion is on the phone and so I manage a quick look over. Again , definitely pleasant. The effect is of casual elegance ( always the most difficult to get right).The phone call is over and we get down to placing our order.A spaghetti (but ofcourse ) and pizza ordered we get down to the serious business of catching up (euphism for gossiping). My companion says something and it makes me laugh. The tone is set .The food comes.The pizza is amazingly well made .The crust is thin and the toppings marvellously well put together.The spaghetti (my first reaction is; omg, is that all) is al dente. We dissect our lives,and some other interconnected lives too. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirrors (yes, mirrored walls) . I look as if I am thoroughly enjoying myself. I look affectionately across the table. Some sixteen odd years separate us but nothing else comes in between .There are no pretences, or pretensions ,or cloying closeness or affectations. She is wise beyond her years ,very humane, incredibly well spoken, an architect who has 'arrived'.I ask her advise on a small matter ( my non existent career).It is readily (and with great candour) given . We signal for the cheque .By this time the restaurant has filled up .

The service was great (unobtrusive) and we are thanked thrice on our way out. We step out into an afternoon that is still sunny. The farewells are quick . She turns left . I go right.Why can't everything in life be just as uncomplicated?

Monday, January 17, 2011

a letter to manmohanji,India's prime minister

Dear Manmohanji
Sasriya kal ji.I hope i am not disturbing you ji,by writing this letter.After all ,you are getting so many letters- and that too from prominent citizens asking you to 'govern'. Huh ! I like their cheek ji. What do they think you have been doing till now? I am fully on your side .People bhi-they expect too much ji. And after all ,what is wrong ? just a few minor issues :CWG ghotala( what ghotala? the games were a spectacular success.It is very churlish to want accountability of a few hundred crores) ;the 2 G scam ( i think it was worth it because of the tapes- so much gossip it provided us-total paisa vasool ;and also to, in any which way, involve you in the 2G thingy when we all know that the only 2 Gs in your orbit are Sonia G and Rahul G- very uncalled for ji ); inflation (i like that other economist you have on your team-Montek-he is so brilliant ,how he linked inflation to prosperity! he obviously believes in the KISS philosophy.Nahi,nahi, manmohanji,don't blush so .It only means-keep it simple stupid ; onions (so much being made of a silly vegetable.)And what do 'they 'mean by expensive? after all now that Montek has certified our prosperity  the junta should just go ahead and buy and buy and by the by' they' will stop finding them expensive.As Shahrukh Khan said in a memorable film" bade bade shehro mein aisi choti choti baatein hoti rehtein hain,senorita".Oh.!senorita brings me to the Italian connection in your life.How is Madam? she is such a considerate  employer.Always tells the media-' everything happening ,and everything not happening, is mamohanji's baby.The party has nothing to do with it'.Purrfect. And talk of the GOP brings me to the party spokesperson,Manish Tiwari. How i like that fellow!his media briefings are such a delight to watch( and hear). He speaks in such a clipped accent( Eton, i bet).The more he has to brief about the scams the more clipped his accent gets.

Before i end, just a question i have been wanting to ask you,and now that we are on letter writing terms i will take the liberty ji of asking.Who kept your name ? and such a lovely name too-Manmohan. I googled out ( google-hindi) the meaning.  It translates to -a person who binds others in his spell. Literally,man ko mohne wala.What a well thought of name!And you have done full justice to it. You have actually cast a spell on us!We are spell bound by your thoughts(seemingly non-existent);deeds(absent); words( meaningless)academic credentials-read as an economist-yet to be unleashed ! Manmohanji, please dont think these are my views(such middle class views at that). Nahi ,yeh toh aam junta ke views hain. Thank God you are comfortably ensconsed in your ivory tower and above such lowly things as the common man's views. Where i am concerned, will forever be grateful to you. Why? because of my slim,trim( some jealous souls are calling it anorexic) look.What all the slimming centres couldn't do, your food inflation has done. I have lost all the flab!Now, every morning i slink to the nearest forest( read park) and forage for edible leaves, flowers and grass and come back and brew my very own herbal tea. I sip this throughout the day and voila! no worry about double chins ( or even single ),no worry about onion/tomato/cauliflower/pulses/sugar,et al prices. Shukriya,shukriya ji.

Please do come to our house.I may not be able to give you coffee ( milk prices have gone up) but will definitely make herbal tea for you.

Warmest regards ji
Anju Gupta

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My recipe for green tea

This is what I do  to make my very own green tea - and have received rave reviews for it from visitors, friends and family.
The recipe is for 4 cups .

  • Put a pan on the stove with 4 cups of water and add :

                                                       1 tspn freshly grated ginger

Tulsi leaves
                                                       1/2 tspn green cardamom powder
1 stick of cinnamon
5-6 blades of lemon grass( may be omitted if not available)
1 tablespoon honey
7-8 leaves of 'tulsi'
a pinch of saffron

  • Let this concoction boil for 2 minutes. Close the burner and then add the juice of 1 lemon.  Cover the pan. Serve hot /cold .

Lemon grass

Cheers to healthy 'drinking'!

Friday, January 14, 2011

shaping up

I visited my regular beauty saloon yesterday. Nothing remarkable about the fact. What set the visit aside is that i came out with a host of resolutions made- all leading in one direction-i HAVE to shape up.Let me share with you what transpired between me and my regular attendant( lets give her a name and call her Sweety ).
Me: good morning.I will go in for the works.
Sweety: good morning maam. Seeing you after ages.
Me: ( blithely) well,you know, its been just too cold...
Sweety:-  we have a new range of facials- slightly high end -but very popular.
Me: how are they priced
sweety: x amount( mentions an astronomical figure)
me: i think i will skip it for now and settle for my regular
sweety: (smiling ever so sweetly) well i just mentioned it because i thought you need it- with your skin showing signs of aging ....
me: (reeling under the shock of the above cut but trying to put up a brave front)well thats news to me .Nobody has ever said so before.
sweety:oh, maam.Just yesterday your best friend was here and we happened to get talking and your name cropped up and she said EXACTLY the same thing.

I tottered out some couple of hours later- all shaken up and emotionally mauled. But one resolution made- I have to make sweety AND my best friend eat their words!!!

A 'Happy' New Year

I spent all of 30th and 31st december 2010 before the television,transfixed by the sight of benign,and not so benign,looking men( that reminds me-why no women?) intoning the forecast for 2011. I was mesmerised by the deft manner in which they were forecasting for each zodiac sign.The optimist in me rejoiced at all the good things being spoken about my sign(virgo). 2011 was promising to be 'The Year' for me. Health would be robust; wealth :bountiful; partner: loving(here i looked doubtfully at my spouse of 22 years)career: upwards trajectory ;enemies: trounced. Went to bed on 31st with a smile on my lips and a song in my heart.Woke up to a beautiful morning. The sun was out, the maid had woken up on time, husband was smiling ,God was in heaven and all was well. This(and all the benign men and their benign prophesies)called for some thanksgiving. A temple visit was definitely on .Stepped out of the house. Walked a few steps .Greeted some neighbours. Saw some dogs. Kept the smile on my face.They were only playing. Saw the dogs bounding up to a neighbour. Smile still on my face.Saw them bounding away. Saw them come back again. This time they were barking. Next minute they were all over me(or i was under them).Was i still smiling? No. I had two dog bites to take away the smile from my face.If anybody out there ,in the big blog world, can find those benign men for me maybe i will get the smile back on my face. Till then i have plenty to keep me occupied .The vaccination visits for starters.