Happily Unmarried

Friday, December 09, 2005

Birthday alarm!

Ping just happened! H turns 27 in two days time. Which means that I turn 27 in precisely 3 weeks' time! Damn, where have 7 years flown? I remember getting out of college at 20, joining Asian Age on a vague whim and then moving to current job on a vaguer whim. That was way back in the previous century, 1999. And now suddenly, they tell me it's 2006 and I will be turning 27!

Unlike many people I know, I am not panicking about getting closer to the big 30s. My problem is that I don't feel 26 yet, forget 27. Infact, I haven't felt 25, 24, 23 or 22 yet. I remember turning 21 on my then new job and feeling all old and responsible and all. That was on Jan 2, 2000. I seem to have gone into a time warp on Jan 3, 2000 and woken up just today.

What has happened in the last 6 years? Other than Hema, Chinu and Tariq among the people I know, almost everyone else is married. Some with babies on the way, some with one kid and a couple of them are in a different dimension with two kids. Umsy has gotten married, shifted to Delhi, quit the corpo life and is now preparing to move back to Bangalore. H has finally fallen out of love and into post-love lethargy with Bangalore and moved to Bombay. She even makes pongal now!

As for me, I got into and went in and out of one relationship for 3 years before finally letting go. I have discovered the mountains in a strangely intimate way, which only comes from living there. I am even contemplating moving to B'bay now, something I would have hated to consider even 3 months ago.

Only... I feel like all that happened over a couple of months rather than 6 years! I still have 3 weeks to prepare myself for my 28th year. I will start hacking nice and hard on the time warp that I am in and hope to be out by the time my b'day arrives.

- I

Birthday wishlist

Call it a wishlist or a wishlful list, but here it is, two days before my 27th birthday. When I first got writing it, I couldn’t get past Cash and A house in Bandra. But it slowly grew. And grew. And grew some more. And I had to stop somewhere, so I picked 20, a number I left behind 7 years ago. Also, a twisted reminder that I am now in the last leg of 20s... Ok these statistics are largely pointless, but then, I see it as the sublime manifestation of some hitherto unknown age related panic.

Obviously, my Buddhist side is pretty latent if I have put together this shameless consumerist laundry-list of things that I want to own this year. Which also goes out to say that I plan to acquire some of these things through my own sweat, blood, tears and credit card while the rest are Big Hints For Certain People. Happy Birthday to me!

Note: List in alphabetical order; not in order of priority.

1. 65 litre Lowe Alpine/ North Face rucksack (Sigh… not available in India)
2. A House in Bandra (I hope my mom reads this)
3. A Swift (Even a Zen will do)
4. Bean bag (Leather or cotton. So that I don’t cook myself in it.)
5. Black sunglasses from CK (Uh… can’t describe it.)
6. Cash (Any amount is welcome)
7. Clothes from Anokhi, Cotton World, Omo, Fabindia or other places I like (Size: L or XL)
8. Compaq Laptop (Configuration on request)
9. DK’s Creative Zen Micro (Ok, this, I have to buy myself)
10. Free air tickets to exotic destinations (Europe, Far East, South Africa…) and a long trek in the Himalaya
11. Gift vouchers to big shopping malls
12. Gym membership (Annual. In Bandra)
13. Hair, skin and bath products from Lush (Not soaps and solid shampoos. They melt.)
14. Home linen and small furniture from Fabindia (for my house. Not me.)
15. Nice, interesting, assorted things (Go figure!)
16. Sexy lingerie (Errr… size… on request)
17. Silver or other interesting jewelry
18. Sony Cybershot DSC T3
19. Sporty/ bohemian big Hidesign bag
20. Victorinox 18 feature Swiss army knife (Mountaineer)

- H

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Next mood swing in 53 seconds

Disclaimer: People who might have a problem with words like 'uterus', 'ovaries', 'fallopian tubes' etc, do NOT read further.

Umsy and I have always had a closet wish - atleast I have had, which Umsy has endorsed from time to time - which for the first time I am betraying in an almost public forum. Every once in a while, I have wanted to sell or donate my uterus with its side fittings. It's just too much effort to maintain it. I am a fair person: like how I don't need a high-maintenance relationship, I don't need a high-maintenance uterus.

When my ex-man used to run a monthly newspaper, I have asked him almost before every edition if I could include my well-maintained, rarely used, run-only-for-a-few-years uterus with side fittings thrown in for free in the Classified section. My generous offer has been turned down every single time.

For those wondering why the excessive importance given to my uterine wishes, let's just say that I am trying to set some records straight. Sure, women are not as hung up over their reproductive organs as men, but every once in a while, whether we like it or not, we are reminded that they exist. And quite vehemently at that, for some of us.

Do not assume that uteruses are innocuous little things that just lie there, doing almost nothing till a baby comes along. Nope, they are single-handedly responsible for making us feel fat-black-and-ugly, swing between euphoric to totally-shitty every 3 minutes and yell / snap / bite at anyone within 5 feet of us... every single month.

So, well... for those who have stayed this long on the post, here's the offer. I have finally found a place to put up my uterus for sale / donation. Bidders / takers, please contact me. Just make sure you do it in the 53 seconds when I am feeling euphoric.

- I

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tales from two cities

Blog lethargy has crept in, I think. But here’s an update on my life post the Bangalore trip. Bangalore was… well, nice in a way home is. Family, friends, home food. And the weather was lovely; with a nip in the air and some rain. But what’s with the roads, rather what’s left of them? And the traffic? And the auto drivers who want to charge you a “one and half” fare at 9.30 in the morning? And M G Road where it takes you half hour to find a ric to Infantry Road, which is 10 minutes away. Like I keep saying, there seems to be some sort of method in the Bombay madness, at least. But Bangalore seems like a city that has just gone mad and doesn’t know what to do with itself after the IT hurricane swept in. But then, what can I say? Its home and Bangalore I grew up together. And then, may be grew apart.

Not very long ago, I was fervently in love with the city. I still love it; but in an unromantic, asexual way, if I may say that. A lot of people, including my mother, DK and my friends back in Blore think I am just a small town girl smitten by the big city lights of Bombay. And that the novelty will fade sooner than later and then I will see Bombay for what it really is – dirty, cramped, harsh and unfit for a quality life. May be I will, may be I won’t.

It’s not as though I have shifted loyalties; but after having lived Bangalore at a time when Delhi and Bombayites were just about beginning to jealously eye it, I refuse to get used to what’s become of it now. I was so passionate about Bangalore once that I used to sound almost parochial and swear that I wouldn’t move away for anything in the world. But for now, I’d rather live in the sqalour of Bombay and visit Blore only when homesickness strikes. I don’t think I’ll be making peace with my hometown anytime soon.

The highlight of last week was my infamous fall outside office and the ensuing hand-in-a-sling, which drew more jabs and less sympathy from pretty much everyone. “Oh she slipped over that tiny slope outside work and now there’s a crater there.” “And just who were you gawking at?” “Now that the right hand is in a sling, are you adept at using your left index finger?” Suchlike. With friends like this, who needs therapists? And like she always does, I has provided adequate details about my injury, where I got treated et al. So no more about this.

And the next big thing was I’s long-pending visit. She’s right in a way; it’s just another city. But I guess, others don’t fall in love with Bombay as dramatically as I did. But then, that’s just me. With a special talent for falling in love hard and fast with the places, people and things that people saner will keep at double arm distance. Anyway, on her first night here, I left her alone with DK and disappeared to Leopold to be with Mr. Big after some seven weeks. When I left to see him, I was furious and disgusted that I was still hung up on him. And when I got back, all I could remember is his tired, tired face. He looked old, exhausted and past caring.

And for all my righteous anger, at that point, I couldn’t up muster anything more than sympathy, the last thing I would want to feel. So when I told Mads that, she said I must be getting over him at last; sympathy being a good indicator. I think so too, at times. But then, like Vinati says, some people are like viruses and bacteria. Some go away with time and some stay under your skin for life. All you can do is take necessary precautions to keep them at bay. And again, as Vinati brilliantly put it, think of him as a cold sore. There, but latent. And even people with herpes have a near normal life while the virus stays dormant. So, then.

Somehow, it struck me last night that suddenly, that the lives of nearly all my friends, all the people I keep in my prayers, are changing. Dramatically in some cases. Aravind got his divorce after five distressing years and has now moved abroad. Aman has signed a book deal and found a new love after some six years in an unpleasant marriage. Mads has found her peace and her freedom after an eight-year-long marriage that never really took off and soul-breaking relationships that had become a vicious circle. Dseq is going away to China, a vision that he has held on to every single day for the past five years. Shweta and Harish had a child after two plus years of marriage. Oinks found a lovely house that she so badly wanted after living in a 200 sq ft studio apartment for three years. G’s IT business seems to be getting off the ground after years and he’s seriously beginning to consider marriage. I is seriously contemplating moving to Bombay after living in Blore for 26 years. JJ went back to and proposed to Nawaz after three years. Mahesh made official his three year long relationship with Sanju…

And for my part, I’ve found the best job I’ve ever held, made mom proud and am actually beginning to crawl out of my financial mess of the past one year. And on the brink of my 27th birthday, it almost feels like the beginning of the end of the three-year-long obsession with Big. Someone up there is finally processing my applications and that of my friends too. Amen to that.

Ps. Like I has written, one is the proud owner of a very neat cupboard that one acquired in Oshiwara last Saturday. And it occurred to me, in all horror, that besides my clothes, accessories and books, it’s my only sizeable material possession in the whole while world while I owns a f***ing apartment with a view in Blore.

- H


4 days - from Friday, Dec 2 to Tuesday, Dec 6

My first view of the city by the sea - an ocean of lights, could be Delhi, could be Bangalore or any other city really

My first thoughts after stepping out - Hot! People! Bad combination. (Coming from Bangalore which was freezing that day, B'bay felt like I had taken to season travelling)

My first evening - Peninsula, "Trainee journalism thingie" at Asian Age that I foot-mouthed with Neville, Sportsbar, loads of catching up PC with DK till H turned up, getting drunk more than I had in a long time, H's attempt to show me the sea at 1 in the morning, "Yahoo gulab jamoon" that H will rag me with for the next 5 centuries I fear, passing out.

My first Saturday - Felt like the guest of honour. Ravi played the perfect host, Hams ganged up with Hema and made a list of places and things I must do (eerrr, H, I don't think we did ANY of that), a relaxed lunch at Potpourri, crappy-but-funny-in-places movie Home Delivery, Toto's, late evening drive to town, down Marine Drive, drinking at Starlit Cafe and catching up on office gossip. Oops! Almost missed out mentioning the only time H attempted to show me that she could cook. She made Pongal, but that was the last time her stove saw a match for the rest of the time I was there. Still waiting for the promised anna-saru, H.

My first furniture shopping trip - Picture this... I am lazing around watching no-brainer music channels in the hopes of catching one of the Bluffmaster songs (I am totally, orgasmically in lust with Abhishek Bachchan), H walks in and declares we are off to some place or the other to pick up a cupboard for her. We piled on Oinks and Reuben and headed to Oshiwara and Jogeshwari. The rest of the morning went in checking out antique furniture, drooling over Sarat-Chandraish writing desks, cribbing about the heat, but finally picking up H's possession of pride. After a late lunch at Aaram, all I could do was get back home and pass out. The evening was spent over a sinful mug of Cafe Mocha and a late dinner at Oinks' new place that seemed like the outdoors after H's Wilmar Palace.

My first day at "work" - The only thing worth talking about for the day is that we passed Leelavati Hospital on the way to office, but I didn't see Abhishek Bachchan. "Work" for the day mostly involved associating faces to names, email IDs and voices that I have known for 3 years. The evening was the funnest though. I fell in love with Land's End. The dinner of pizza and beer over endless bitching about TV serials and office gossip, DK, H, Hams, DSeq, Anthony, Yogi... Purrfect Monday evening. Of course, how could I be in B'bay and not experience the trains? So, it was a crowded train ride back to Bandra and saying bye to DK, Yogi and Hams.

My last day in the city by the sea - Bad day at work, badder day on phone with my new boss. Was early at the airport, but the Kingfisher guys decided I need to stick around in the city by the sea a while longer. Was nostalgic about my time there already. Finally boarded the flight an hour late.

My last view of B'bay - The twinkling curve of Marine Drive from the air is something to fall in love with. Remembered how Hams puts it: "B'bay looks like the stretch from the airport to Peninsula. But it really is like Marine Drive or Land's End. The first is heart of B'bay but the latter is the soul."

My last thoughts as we flew away - B'bay wasn't half as bad as I feared it would be. I am not in love with it like how H is, but hope to see those places and people again soon enough - Land's End, Marine Drive, Sherley, Carter Road, DK, H, Hams, Yogi, Ravi, Anthony, Oinks... And maybe even live there.

- I