Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year’s eve – it’s a numbers game

There are many New Years- depending on which calendar you follow. Most Hindus celebrate the next day of Diwali as the New Year. For Tamil’s there is Pongol, for Maloos there is Onam, for Maharashtrians there is Gudi Padwa, for Sindhis there is Chaiti Chand, for Parsis there is Navjot. And if you get out of the religious sphere, there are New Years based on the academic year- again varies which school/curriculum you follow. For many it tends to be June or Aug. And then there is financial New Year which again depending on where you work it could be Jan, or March, or I don’t know when.

So what’s this obsession about 31 Dec? I doubt many of us celebrate our religious New Years with half as much gusto as we do on 31 Dec. When in fact, 31 Dec is simply the calendar New Year (and the Roman calendar, the Hindu calendar follows a whole different set of dates). The date on the calendar changes. (And as when I was in school it felt that the only thing that changed was that number I wrote on top of my books). Nothing else really changes. It’s a numerical difference.

So again what’s the fuss about 31 Dec?

One of my sisters thinks it’s probably a legit excuse to get drunk. Some of my friends say it’s just another excuse to PAAARTTYYYY! Some others believe why over think- everyone is celebrating, just join the fun.

All of the above would be cool had there been no social pressure (or self-inflicted pressure) to make this night special. It’s one more marketing hype that we can do away with. (and let me remind you here, I work in advertising. People like me generate such hype. Am sure my karma bank is reeling under all this hype I am instrumental in creating. Ok digressing again...)

It’s a numerical difference. And therein per me, lies in the answer. As humans we need to quantify everything- the number of years one has lived, the price tag on the designer bag, the number of Michelin stars a restaurant has, there %/rank you scored in your exams, the number of rooms you have in your home and the list goes on.

Because we have a need to quantify everything, 31 Dec has significance. The next day, the number changes. From 2009 we are moving to 2010. The number has changed. It MUST denote something big. Let’s celebrate! Yoohoo!!

Celebrate, drink, have a party, have fun- but there is no need to wait for 31 Dec to do it. The build up is purely unnecessary. Celebrate life with people who you love and people who love you. It’s that simple. Celebrate whenever you have slightest excuse- and trust me, if you open your eyes to look, you shall find many.

So this New Year’s eve I am going out with my friends:

- To get drunk- YES
- To party- YES
- To flaunt my new LBD- YES
- To have a whale of a time- YES AGAIN

But it will only be special because it’s with these special friends. The number is completely immaterial.

Wish you all a very happy New Year. Live each day as if it were 31 Dec! (and no it does not mean you can get drunk everyday!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The perfect Christmas presents

Wish these were available off-the-rack as Christmas presents

1) Ready to wear spines for the ones who have no backbone

2) Thick skin coats for the overtly sensitive

3) A custom made smile (tailored to the face so it does not look fake) for the grumpy

4) A ‘change the channel’ button for the boring ones

5) A built in kind heart for the meannies

6) A laugh track for the humorless

7) A volume button for the loud ones

8) A mute button for the loud and stupid ones

9) A punch in the face for 7 and 8 above who continue being loud and/or stupid

10) And finally a doze of patience (not the prescribed variety) for me when I have to bear any or all of the above

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

L’ll Ms. Anonymous Me

In India I am someone. In Singapore I am no one. In India I am defined by the innumerable relationships that I own (and which own me). I am someone’s daughter, someone’s (ex) daughter-in-law, someone’s sister, someone’s maasi, someone’s bua, and list goes on. In Singapore I am no one but Seema. Simple. No-fuss. Straightforward. Just Seema. Accept me like I am. Don’t like me? Well, I really couldn’t give a damn.

Here in Singapore, I don’t bear the responsibility of any relationship. I am not judged by any standards. And I am neither put up on a pedestal or fall from grace for seemingly inconsequential matters. I am simply, L’ll Ms. Anonymous Me.

I can wear my ugly cut shorts and 13 year old Tees and walk to Leisure Park Mall, do my grocer shopping leisurely (no pun intended), stop for a cuppa at Starbucks and take the shuttle bus back- all without being recognized by a single soul (except perhaps the shuttle bus driver).

In India I wear my ugly cut shorts and 13 year old Tees too (like I am right at this moment), but here it’s a transgression. My dad takes objection (not at length- since my weight loss it’s acceptable to wear shorts), but by the fact that they look ugly. My mum does not particularly favor them as it gives the impression I can’t afford expensive, nice-looking clothes. My darling niece is not pleased as they make me look far less pretty (especially as I aspire to compete as her favorite maasi and fail miserably- the shorts so don’t help). And many others for whom the length would most probably be an issue- but know me to well to ever mention it.

In India you carry the cross of every relationship. Each one comes with its own set of expectations and I seem to fall short on all counts. Not living up to them makes me “too arrogant” and “too independent”- when the latter became a bad thing is simply beyond me.

But in India there is TREMENDOUS LOVE. Every time I come here its like I am showered incessantly with so much love that it helps me tide the year to my next visit. But the love does come at the price of expectations. And even though most of them are silent ones, you know they are lingering there. May be if I were my own person in India things would be different, but right now I am just someone.

In Singapore I am no one. I get defined by no relationships- except Sanil’s mum.That’s the ONLY aspect where Singapore rules over India- here I can be L’ll Ms. Anonymous Me.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The recently turned Desi Boy

The only times I think Sanil is unlike me are:

1) When he does things slowly (and not chop-chop-chop like his mama)
2) Refused to try bhel puri (why?????)
3) And has not taken to Hindi movies (how?????)- though his penchant for drama is heavily borrowed from the Hindi cine world

I am a die-hard Hindi movie buff as anyone who knows me knows. One of my old friends used to call me “filmy” and my niece has been trained by my sister to call me “Bolly maasi”. So when Sanil did not naturally gravitate towards Hindi movies I was a tad bit disappointed.

Well then naturally I was very surprised when he told me yesterday that he liked the song “Zoobie Doobie, Zoobie Doobie…..hoon paagal stupid main”. Errr its paagal stupid mann”. But Sanil refused to believe me until he heard the lyrics on my iPod. (Sanil is ALWAYS right until proven wrong by someone who is not his mother).

He actually wanted to perform a solo dance number on Rock On!! at his mamaa’s Sangeet. Rehearsed it even! He refused at the last minute much to my intense relief as he has inherited the legendary Punwani-men 2 left feet, even though he refuses to acknowledge it).

He even pointed to some random hoarding and recognized Hritik Roshan and admitted to kinda liking the Desi Girl song. WOKAY!

Guess Sanil just needed the Bombay ki hawa to convert him. May be if we stay longer, he will give bhel puri a try too :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sanil on Bombay and beyond

On a rare occasion I made my way to “town” (South Bombay from for the non-Mumaikars). I am a Juhu gal, and would gladly never leave Juhu, or venture max to Bandra on one side (shopping) and 7 Bungalows to the other (Chandrus mithaiwala). But on that day I had to go to Mahalaxmi to attend my cousin brother’s sangeet ceremony.

My dad opted for the Bandra-Worli Sea Link route (gorgeous bridge! My second time on it, and loved it even more). My parents proudly introduced the bridge to Sanil. “It goes over the water” (yeah mom, all bridges do). It’s so big and tall (once again, most bridges are like that). “Its one of its kind in Bombay” (Ok that I have to give it to the Sea Link). Sanil was suitably impressed.

We crossed the bridge the reached the other side of Bombay and Sanil quips “When we were on the bridge it was like we were in Singapore. Once we crossed the bridge….its India again."

I LOVE Sanil’s perspectives on things. They have their own unique flavor and a distinct touch that simply cannot be replicated.

He wants to only travel by rickshaws. Gets rather disappointed if Nana offers to chauffeur him anywhere. “Nana is also coming? Oh no! Now we can’t go by rickshaw, we will have to go by car!”

His narrative on rickshaws: “It’s like an open car. I can look out and see everything and feel the breeze in my hair”. WOW! I have never heard such a poetic description of even a convertible.

And not to mention his ad recall in India! OMG! “Buy the bubblegum, and we shall get free tattoo”. “Lux cleans 8 times better” (Seriously!). And “Horlicks makes you smarter”. Really!!

On that note, I don’t like the fact that kids channel in India sell media space. In Singapore, very few brands are allowed to advertise on channels like Cartoon Network. In India, kids are bombarded with ads from breakfast cereals to “gel” pens and innumerable types and varieties of confectioneries. Only in India a toffee and pen command a TVC. Wish I could work with budgets like that when I plan my campaigns and did not hear client say: “We can’t afford TV spots, do a DM instead”. Me: “Sure, do you have a clean database”. Client “Database? What’s that?” Ok I so-digress (but some of my readers will share my pain about this)

Will end it on a Sanil exclusive quote on India and food- “Chapatis are the most importantest Indian food. So mama you can’t make chapatis, that means you don’t know how to cook” (Spoken like true MCP Indian man!). Sigh……

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Indian aunty art to giving compliments

Have you ever noticed how Indian aunties give compliments? They mean well (or I sure hope they do), but it does not really sound like a compliment even though its intended as one.

Here are my few favorites:

Situation: Lift Lobby
Attire: Jeans and singlet

Aunty: "OMG! Kitni patli ho gayi hain (OMG! You have become so thin!)
Me: Thank you auntyji (in my politest tone- and yes I do have one)
Aunty: Really....bahut jyada patli ho gayi hai (Really you have become very thin)
My Dad: Don't say so much, she will start eating a lot again (Thanks dad!)
Aunty: Nahin pehlein bahut bahut bahut moti thi na (No, earlier she was really very very very fat)
Me: Thank you auntyji (this time feigning my politeness)

Situation: Wedding
Attire: Awesome lehenga with hairdo and make-up

Aunty (looking at me lovingly): Kitni sundar ho gayi hai (You have become so pretty now)
Me: Toh pehlein nahin thi? (You mean I was not pretty before?)
Aunty (too stunned to reply)

Situation: Wedding
Attire: Gorgeous sari

Aunty (to my cousin): You were looking so beautiful at the Sangeet ceremony yesterday…..(after looking closely)…actually that was not you, it was your sister.


Here is a tip aunties, say something nice and then stop. Don’t explain or elaborate. And yes, being little more tactful would go down well too.

A story a minute…..

Since the day I arrived in India I had blogposts in my head (OK that sounds a tad bit crazy) but that’s what India does to me. At any given time there are minimum of 5 things vying for your attention.

Mom: “You want Chila for breakfast?” (No! I only eat cereals YUCK! for breakfast to keep my weight in check). Dad “What time do you need the driver?” MTV- Trailer of ‘Pa’ (Vidya and Abhi are looking fabulous together!). Bombay Times- Some Kareena-Kurban-backless controversy, generated by the Sena of course. And the phone ringing with my best friend asking about the plans for the evening (which in Bombay context means 8 pm). And yes, all this at the exact same time!

So naturally there is so much fodder for writing. Potential topics: “How it is impossible to maintain a diet when holidaying in India”. “The 10,000th controversy raised by Sena which involves women and clothes (or the lack thereof)”. “IST: Morning = 12 noon, Afternoon = 5 pm, Evening = 8 pm, Night = 11 pm; Late night = 2 am). There you go….

In India there is inspiration everywhere. In Singapore we lead very one-dimensional lives. You generally do one thing at a time- or maximum of 2 if you are Ms. Multitasking like me. In India, it’s a whole different ball game (actually in India it’s not a ball game at all, its cricket, and that too in the new 20-20 format).

Sounds (what non-Indians would refer to as “noise”) are also unique here. Door bells (every 10 minutes- no exaggeration). Phone rings (mobile and landline- really, how popular are my parents?! And why has no one in India discovered that you can have a “silent” ring tone. Yes! It’s actually an option! Your phone does not have to sing ‘Chiggy Wiggy’ in Kylie Minogue’s voice)”. Car honks (there should be a day a month where drivers should not be allowed to blare their card horns- it would be a Guinness record for self-restraint). Mom talking to the kaam waali bai, bargaining with the bhaji wala at the door step and giving her recipe for paneer makhni to her niece (yes at the same time). And finally, the TV at a volume level that NEEDS to be that high so it can be heard above the rest of the din. (or that’s what my dad tells my mom).

But life still happens amongst all this chaos. Things miraculously get done in this madness and people carry on with their everyday lives with remarkable ease. There is so much happening that every minute there is a new story unfolding. As I said there is inspiration 24x7 in India.

I think that’s the reason there is never dearth of movie scripts- India is the world's largest producer of films, producing close to a 1000 films annually.vs. Hollywood which release approximately 650). That’s why there is a thriving advertising industry here where TVCs are still a form of entertainment. India is also the 3rd largest country publishing English books after USA and UK.

There are stories everywhere you look. I am only trying to capture a handful of them in my short time here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

An Indian First!

Bal Thackeray recently made a statement about Sachin Tendulkar "You became run out in the pitch of Marathi minds" as Sachin had said that he was "an India first and a Marathi after".

Cut to many years ago at a Diwali party in Singapore (my very early years in the country), a British man was talking to a group of Indians about the festival and its significance. He also mentioned that Diwali was probably the biggest Indian festival. It was a rhetoric question- not a question at all- but it got a varied range of responses. “Actually it’s a Hindu festival, we Parsis don’t celebrate it”. “In East India where I come from, Durga Puja is much bigger”. SERIOUSLY!!!

Foreigners have difficulty grasping the concept of India and we choose to complicate it further by referring to ourselves as Gujuratis, Sindhis, Parsis, Christians, Bengalis…Who outside India gives a flying F%^$!

And frankly why should people in India care too? Your motherland rules and everything else come after. We are Indians FIRST! Why is that so difficult to comprehend?!

Secondly your origins should be attributed to your city- the city you grew up in, where you studied, which gave you your childhood school memories (and best friends for life), your “first time” teen years and perhaps even your career and life partner. It does not matter which religion you are, which caste you belong to, the city you grew you up in makes up a big part of who you are. You could be a Kashmiri who has been bought up in Gujarat or a Gujrati who has lived all his life in Chennai.

Then in the scheme of things enters your religion- practicing or not practicing- your religion is a key aspect of your values and beliefs system. I may go to the temple or gurudwara once a month and on special occasions (Diwali, birthdays), but that does not make me an less religious than a Muslim who prays 5 times a day and a Christian who goes for Sunday mass every week.

And FINALLY, LAST, ALL THE WAY DOWN, RIGHT AT THE BOTTOM (you get the drift) is your caste- Maloo, Bengali, Tulu, Sindhi, Punju, etc etc etc. It’s the least important part of who you are and should be.

We keep falling in the trap laid by the British Raj that was conceived to rule over us- “Divide and Rule”. It kept them in power for very many years.

Let’s break from those shackles. Isn’t it time enough?

So I am an Indian first, a Bombayite (or Mumbaikar with due respect to Balasaheb) next, a Hindu after and Sindhi last. What about you?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Life imitates Art? Art imitates Life?

It happens many times in life that you feel “This is straight out of a movie”. And while you are watching a movie you think to yourself (or mention to the person next to you if you are the “talkative” movie goer) “This would never happen in real life”.

Agree some scenarios from films are extremely unlikely to take place in real life (especially if the movie in question is a commercial Hindi blockbuster or an OTT Hollywood action movie). But we underestimate life. There are so many instances in our lives and lives of people around us that defy all conventions. They are never-before heard stories or never-before seen dramas. But they are true and real and they exist.

You meet a random stranger in a bus queue, ask an innocuous question like “What time’s the next bus” or make a random remark like “Boy, its hot today”, and before you know it you are having a chat with this stranger, start discovering common friends, shared hobbies or mutual dislikes and just like that, you make a connection. With someone who was a complete stranger only few minutes ago. You just hit it off, as simple as that.

You were never supposed to go out that night. It was movie night at home snuggled up on the couch in your PJs. A friend drags you out of the house, you go clubbing against your will, meet a cute guy, fall in love, marry and have his babies (stop being cynical, it happens!).

A one second spilt decision can change the course of your whole life. You can play “What if” scenarios in your head as much as you like. But no one can tell you what would have happened if you would have taken a different decision than the one you took. Is it destiny? Is it fate? Was it bound to happen?

I don’t know. But what I do know is bizarre, strange, unbelievable things happen in life all the time. We just need acknowledge and embrace them.

A little more faith, a little less sarcasm. A little more smile, a little less rolling of eyes. A little more trust, a little less scepticism. A little more encouraging nods, a little less nonchalant shoulder shrugs. A little more belief, a little less doubt. A little more dreamy, a little less real.

Be open to experiences that defy norm. Take decisions that raise eyebrows. Do things that make people a little uncomfortable. Let your life inspire Art. So when a movie is made on your life, it’s not a boring and dull one. But a movie that people watch and say “Hey, that does not happen in real life”.

A game I love playing, try it! Which actor would best portray you on screen? I am torn...Konkana Sen Sharma or Kajol? Meg Ryan or Michelle Pfeiffer?

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Great Indian Sacrifice

Elder brother, younger brother both fall in love with the same girl- but they both don’t know that about each other. Elder brother finds out that the love of his life is also the woman of his brother’s dreams. So what does the elder brother do? Step aside of course! Without telling anything to his younger brother. And pretending to the girl he loves, that he actually despises her. The girl then finds solace in the younger brother’s arms.

But hey, the story does not end there. The younger brother finds out about his elder brother’s feelings and the great sacrifice (usually through an overhead conversation between elder brother and mum/dad/best friend/sister). And what does younger brother do? Step aside of course!
And it need not be 2 brothers i.e. “Saajan”; it could be 2 best friends i.e. “Muqaddar ka Sikandar”, “Saagar”, “Naseeb” (the list can go on and on).

SERIOUSLY! Did anyone consider asking the girl who she wants to be with? May be it was neither of the 2 self-sacrificing dimwits!

What is with Indians and their penchant for sacrifice? Mothers are another guilty party. Forever sacrificing for their sons and daughters. And brothers for their sisters and vice-versa.

Sometimes I feel we are stuck in a 70s-80s social drama film wherein sacrifices reigned supreme. Remember the struggling Nirupa Roy of Deewar? The handsome and pained face of Vinod Khanna in Qurbani? (As he sings for “Hum tumhe chahatein hain aise” to Zeenat on the beach).

And the greatest sacrifice of all- Jai (Amitabh) giving up his life for his best buddy Veeru (Dharamendar) in Sholay. Sigh! And a lesser known one by Naseer in Karma. And Jackie in 1942- A love story. And the list is long...

Our female protagonists also are not left behind. Juhi Chawla in Aaina. A change of pattern here, with the younger sibling being the “sacrificing Sita”.

I believe this is because we all Indians suffer from a Ramayan and Mahabharat hangover. Brother’s sacrifice for bother- Bharat-Ram, Laxman-Ram in Ramayan; the Pandav brothers in various permutations and combinations in Mahabharat. Sita’s trial by fire coaxed by Ram and ignited by a dhobi (why a dhobi* I always wondered?). We are kinda ODed on mythology stories and almost every story has its roots seeped in sacrifice.

I think sacrifices are noble and some even pure (like the ones made by mothers). But I do think many times we give ourselves too much importance and the other person too little credit. May be they don’t need our sacrifices? May be they simply need a helping hand or a friendly chat? Or may be they don’t really need us at all?

Now that’s a thought! May be selflessness is just overrated? Who am I kidding?! I could not survive a day being selfish. The guilt would simply kill me. But I will aim for some emotional detachment and see where I net out. On that positive (ish) note, I sign off. Good Night!

* It is said that because of what the dhobi did to Sita, there is a curse on dhobis worldwide (OK, India-wide)- that as a community they will never really prosper and their strata in society will never rise. Probably true…have never really met an affluent dhobi. But may darzis (tailors) have transformed into fashion designers. Food for thought....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Diwali Memories

One of my earliest most vivid childhood Diwali memories is my mum asking me (actually more like pleading me) to sleep in the afternoon so I would not be sleepy early at night and could enjoy Diwali celebrations. And I refused, as any self respecting 7 year old should. And rest assured while doing the puja at 8 pm (I was, still am, an early sleeper), I would be dozing off and telling my mom “I am sleepy”. This was even before the festivities had started. Nothing pissed my mum off more. And I could not understand her frustration. Here I am, a poor little kid, feeling sleepy and all I want is to curl up in bed, why should that annoy her?

It never occurred to me that my sleep pattern completely screws up her festive plans (a sleepy kid = an irritable kid = a bothered mum). And now when Sanil refuses to nap in the afternoon, when we have plans for the evening, I find myself in the same predicament as my mum did, all those years ago.
When this exact situation happened last Saturday with Sanil, I recollected this memory, and it got me thinking of my other childhood Diwali memories. Here are some key ones- in no particular order- except what comes to mind first. So here it is on “first come first serve basis”:

1) Pista-Badam biscuits (Almond-Cashew biscuits):
Ok, who came up with the idea that these actually make good Diwali presents? I don’t know anyone who really likes them, but yet every Diwali when I was growing up, they were distributed with gusto. They are way too sweet, hard enough to break your teeth and come in jazzy aluminium boxes. I am still convinced that there was only one box produced every year and was never consumed. As each person just passed it along to the next one, without ever opening it. (Ok well a few initial ones were probably consumed, and once people realised just how awful they were, they were passed along at the next house visit).

2) Ladis
This is a long string of crackers which is lit from one end and it explodes every few seconds until the spark reaches the end of the string. The noise level is close to a minor bomb blast and the effects on the environment- not worth even getting into that. It also served an indication of one’s status in life- the longer the ladi = the richer you are perceived to be (as you can afford to literally burn money). And every year the Desais and Singhs used to have a competition on the longest ladi. (My old Dakshina Park cronies will know exactly what I am talking about).

3) Silk saris
Diwali was the time when mums adorned in their finest silks. Red, maroon, bottle green, turquoise, fuchsia pink, magenta, navy blue- every possible bright color- and sometimes more than a few in the same sari. The lovely silk saris were accessorized with the most awesome jewellery pieces- gold with stones, kundan, meenakari work, jhumkas, chokers,’s no wonder that my favourite saris till date are kanjivarams and patolas. The new-agey “evening cocktail” saris can never have the same charm. (They do look incredible sexy though, especially when teamed up with a halter neck blouse, but well, as always, I digress.)

4) Saroj aunty’s cake
No Diwali was complete without Saroj aunty’s special chocolate cake (decorated with colored chocolate shavings). It still is the best chocolate cake ever. And even though aunty was kind enough to teach me to bake it and gave me the recipe- it never turns out like hers.

5) OD on cold drinks and ice-creams
Unlike for kids today, for us, “cold drinks” i.e. sodas were a treat for special occasions. As were ice-creams. Diwali was a time to gorge on both especially when parents take you visiting to boring old relatives houses. It also worked as a bribe to stop bothering parents when they entertained their friends.

6) House parties
My mum used to host Diwali lunches for many years. All my aunts used to make their specialities and there used to be 40+ people in my house. I loved every minute of it! Maya chachi’s batada wada, my mom’s dahi wadas, Mita chachis veg Manchurian, Priya chachi’s kheema, Kavita mami’s prawns...yumm! And lots of fun, laughter, jokes and pranks.
The most amazing thing in all this was- no matter how many people were in the house, no matter how noisy it was, no matter the chaos, no matter the mayhem, my badi mama (grandmom), found a place (and the peace) to take her afternoon nap. Nothing, nothing, ever stopped her from that. And the evening ended with Mita chachi making tea for everyone.

From all of these above, what I remember most is the excitement pre-Diwali, the anticipation, and joy that was experienced that was never a letdown. I cherish the togetherness, the love and the affection that bought the immediate families, extended families and friends altogether to bring rays of happiness in each other’s lives on this festival of lights.
And what is even heartening to know is that after all these years, that excitement, that anticipation and that love has not diminished a single bit.

Wish you all a very happy Diwali. May wealth, health and happiness never leave your side.

Diwali of 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Jingles that live on....

What’s with Indian jingles from the 80’s that make them so memorable?

Is it the lovely tune that stays in your head? “Jab ghar ki raunak badani ho...deewaron ko jab sajana ho....Nerolac, Nerolac”. Or is it the heart-tugging lyrics of “Yeh zameen, yeh asamaan, yeh zameen, yeh asamaan, humara kal, humara aaj, humara kal, humara aaj, buland Bharat ki buland tasveer...humara Bajaj, humara Bajaj”.

Over 2 decades later, these jingles are still fresh in mind (and heart) and they come back to me at the most obscure and unusual times. And sometimes at the most appropriate ones. Like this morning when I was contemplating painting a wall in my living room in a different colour and almost instantly I found myself humming “Jab ghar ki raunak badani ho.” Now that’s a powerful association between a consumer need and product advertising. Though I do need to admit until I sang the full jingle I remembered it as an Asians Paint ad! That depicts another key association- seasonality and product advertising. Asian Paints like all other paint companies in India, have their peak advertising period pre-Diwali which is now.

Another of my favourite jingle from that era is “Jab mein chota bachcha tha, badi shararat karta tha, meri chori pakdi jaati...toh roshan hota Bajaj”. The story line of that ad as was so adorable and the images are still vivid in my mind.

And then there was the all famous “Happy days are here again with Thums Up” and “Fresh and Juicy, Mango Fruity”. The extension of the Fruity jingle in today’s day and age with its new commercial is pretty cool too.

Of course there were the tremendously annoying jingles as well (but I still remember them!) like, “Tata ka OK, dhulayi ka saboon, OK OK ha Tata ka OK” or “Antiseptic, nahin cosmetic, Vicco Vajadanti Aryuvedic cream”- which incidentally, I saw recently on TV- non-expiring usage rights?

And the ever-so-irritating “Bhool na jana, ECE bulb lana” with the cliché use Bengali, Punjabi and Parsi talents. And who can forget (at least I can’t for obvious reasons) “Cema bulbs aur tubes” with Sridevi in an electric blue dress and thunder thighs. (Gawd I was incessantly teased in school about that one. And it did not help that Sridevi’s character in Mr. India was called Seema*).

The 90’s decade also saw some hummable jingles. The most notable amongst them was “Kya swaad hai zindagi ka” from Cadburys. And fantastic the use of Mozart’s 25th Symphony in Titan commercials. Not really a jingle of course, but the use of that music piece over various Titan commercials created very memorable ads.

A salute to all these ad makers (for their sheer brilliance), the media buyers (for the endless 60 second buys so we saw the commercials more than the Doordarshan programmes), the lyricists (for the beautiful words) and the musicians (for the lingering music).

Thank you! Thank you for creating commercials that I can still remember from my childhood. Now if that’s not compelling advertising, I don’t know what is?

*Nearly 75% of my brain is filled with needless and little known Hindi movie and song trivia. One example related to advertising- Aamir and Aishwarya have shared screen space only once (they have never starred in a movie together). They came together for the 90’s Pepsi “Hi, I am Sanjana. Got another Pepsi?” commercial. Pepsi was then called Lehar Pepsi. The other girl in the commercial was actress Mahima "Pardes" Choudhary, then a lesser known model called Ritu. Yehi hai right choice Baby a-ha!

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Dream Man

The other day in office “Breaking Dawn” was kept on my desk, and a younger colleague of mine looks at me and says “And... how old are you?!” As I do like her, I just smiled and explained how I felt the urge to read teenage vampire romance fiction (Who would have thought such a genre would ever exist? Credit goes to J K Rowling for her imagination which created Harry Potter and the world of magic and myths opened up to the literary world).

My colleague then asked me “Weren’t you telling us yesterday how we should read Fountainhead and now you are reading Breaking Dawn!?” And my response was that I read Fountainhead when I was 16, and am reading Breaking Dawn at 30+. May be to walk down memory lane? Though if memory serves correct, there was no one could hold a candle to Edward Cullen even when I viewed the world through my gawky teenage glasses.
So that got me thinking...which fictional character fits the profile of the “dream man”?


1. Edward Cullen (of “Twilight” fame)

2. Howard Roark (of “Fountainhead” fame)

3. Severus Snape (of “Harry Potter fame) And though Harry Potter should be a strong contender, the fact that he came into my life when he was 13, he does not qualify)
4. Mr. Darcy (of “Pride and Prejudice” fame)- sigh! I am already biased...

5. Oliver Barrett IV (of “Love Story” fame)

6. Theodore "Laurie" Laurence (of “Little Women” fame)

While I am typing this list (and its ever growing...even considered adding Joe Hardy of “Hardy Boys” fame, but I could never pick between him and his elder brother Frank, so decided to skip them both), I could not help but wonder (and so sounding like Carrie Bradshaw, oohh should I add Big to the list?)...I digress...while I am typing this list, I could not help but wonder how can any real man compare to these legends?! It’s no surprise that finding a dream man is so difficult!

So let’s proceed...

Edward: Not only is he perfect looking with his chiselled face and fabulous body; he is a gentleman and a true lover. His waited for his true love Bella for generations and when he found her, he went to all lengths to love and protect her. It does make your heart melt.
But being the sensible, level-headed person that I am (and yes I know that does not seem like it when I am attempting to find my dream man by analysing fictional characters- but hey! don’t judge me, you are reading this :), I can’t have a vampire as my dream man. As unlike Bella, I love my human form and have no intention of transforming.

Howard Roark: I think architect is the sexiest profession. Creative yet earthly. They dream and they build. And I discovered this ever since I “met” Howard. His passion towards his work, and his scruples which he always stood by, it all made him so attractive. So he is in the running.

Severus Snape: I know, everyone would think he is the most unlikely candidate. But his love for Lily still brings tears to my eyes. How do you love someone so much that you change who you are and what you desire, to just protect that person’s love, even after her death? Snape’s sacrifice is the most heart wrenching one ever. He loved Lily so much that he chose to protect Harry for Lily’s sake after her death. He turned against Voldemort, he killed Dumbledore and he gave up his own life to protect Harry’s- all forsake of Lily. (My vision is blurring with tears now :(

But because Snape was once on the dark side and propagated evil, am not sure he can make it to my dream man final selection. I still admire his dedication deeply though.

Mr. Darcy: Ok I have to admit I have been biased from the onset. Who can resist Mr. Darcy? A true gentleman, kind, respectful, loving, rich...need I go on? And Colin Firth playing his character only added to his charm. Mr. Darcy rules! I have been in love with him since I was 13. But sometimes a nagging doubt does bother me- would that cool, aloof exterior lose its lustre after awhile? Having said that, he comes very close to being my dream man.

Oliver Barrett IV: Love Story by Erich Segal is THE best love story ever. But I always felt that it was Jenny who was put forth as the story’s key protagonist, while Oliver was somehow side-lined. Even though he was the one who got the sequel (well guess as she was dead, that was the only option), he never really got his worth.

He fulfills the dream man criteria because- he is kind, funny, smart (Ivy League and all that), aristocratic, good looking and so loving. His love for Jenny and how even after her death he could not move on is so beautiful and poignant. I loved how his character developed in “Oliver’s Story” which showed his principled and kind side. A man of true character. Ummmm can’t find any flaws, except, would he ever be over Jenny?

Theodore "Laurie" Laurence: Or Teddy as Jo called him. I have read “Little Women” over 50 times. It’s one of my favorite books. And though the sisters are the crux of the book, Laurie does get his place in the book and in my heart. Playful, funny, touching, rich (why does rich keep coming up?), good looking, kind, loving. My gripe against him is that he did not fight for Jo. He gave up too easily and settled for the vain, pain in the ass, Amy. He lost a lot of credibility there.

And the Top Three are: Howard Roark (drum roll!), Mr. Darcy (drum roll!) and finally Oliver Barrett (drum roll x 10). Shoot! This is tougher than I thought!

If we go by the assumption that all 3 of them chose their perfect woman, then who am I closest to? Dominique Francon who marries Roark’s greatest rival, Keating, to save Roark’s passion and work? Or Elizabeth Bennet “Lizzie”? Undoubtedly one of the best female characters in the history of literature- strong willed, pretty, hard working, smart, independent, individualistic but stubborn and boy she had a temper! (sounds like someone I know!). Or Jenny- loveable, calm, kind, cool (in a hippie sort of way) and so adorable.

I don’t know if I could make the sacrifices that Dominique made and don’ think I am as loveable kind a soul as Jenny. Am definitely an Elizabeth Bennet! But for my dream man, am leaning towards Howard Roark.

Well who says Howard would not have chosen Elizabeth over Dominique had he met her? So I could be an Elizabeth Bennet and still find my dream man in Howard Roark!

Now I just need someone to write a “Fountainhead” meets “Pride and Prejudice” book, where Roark and Lizzie meet... and then just watch the sparks fly!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Little Ms. Bossy and Little Ms. Flirty

Ok here is the deal. No one, like NO ONE, tells me to do stuff. (Except Sanil, who is an exception to every rule I have ever had in my life). No one ever tells me what to do is because I am way too responsible and do more than my own share in any case. Even my parents have never had to tell me to do things.

Hence I find myself rather ill prepared to deal with the Little Ms. Bossys of the world. Women who order others around- “Honey, please pass me the TV remote” (my delicate arms can’t stretch 2 cm to pick it up). “Make copies” (Because I would not touch a copier with my hands lest my French manicure is ruined). “Hold my hand bag please” (and yes, I know it’s pink and girly and glittery and you are already carrying your laptop bag and the groceries, but my arms would ache if I had to carry my teeny-weeny handbag).

Seriously! Girls who boss people around just simply annoy me. May be it’s because that’s a trait I have never learnt (I should trained in that instead of the silly MBA degree I opted for). Or maybe because I think everyone should shoulder their own share of responsibilities.

My theory is that people who boss others around are insecure, don’t know how to do their jobs, are inept and inefficient. They can’t survive in this world without their “back up choir”. Learn to sing solo girl! And if you can’t...take classes!

The other extreme is Little Ms. Flirty. Now I still have not decided who I can’t stand more- Little Ms. Bossy or Little Ms. Flirty.

Little Ms. Flirty has some fine traits- Chest out, smile big is the key one. Tossing hair and leaning forward also works well. And how the voice undergoes transformation when speaking to the opposite sex is a force to reckon with in its own right. There is a lilt that’s almost musical, a tease that’s almost taunting and when coupled with fluttering eyelashes- well, you have the full effect- something that no guy can resist. And Little Ms. Flirty is on her way to getting her work done, without lifting a finger.

Now you can say “sour grapes” and you would be right, because I can’t do what Little Ms. Flirty does. I wish I could though- wouldn’t life be easier if you have a man to do it all for you?

But instead of fluttering eyelashes, I make eye contact and maintain it. Instead of leaning forward, I lean back and challenge. Instead of smiling coyly, I laugh openly. Because pretence is only a glorified form of lying.

And the worst case scenario is when Little Ms. Bossy and Little Ms. Flirty gang up. What chance does me- Little Ms. Know it All- have then?

Is it too late to learn to order people around in a teasing sing-song voice?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

New name, same-old ME

Books and movies make up my existence, when I am not at work or being a kid with Sanil.

I prefer beaches over mountains. Archie Comics over Asterix. Classic novels over modern populist writing. Copy over Art. Coffee over any other beverage. And chocolate based desserts over everything else in the world.

Have an affinity for prison based shows and movies- Shawshank Redemption is one of the best movies ever. And yes, Prison Break was pretty cool too (and no, it was not only for Michael Scofield and his tatooed body).

If Jane Austen were alive, I would give the world to spend some time with her. And John ‘Die Hard’ McLane is far cooler than James ‘007’ Bond. (Profound apologies to Bond Fans). Closer to home, Aamir Khan rules, while Shahrukh Khan annoys. (No apologies to SRK fans).

My family is my life and my friends are what make life worthwhile. Food is a passion- cooking it, sharing it and eating it. I harbour dreams of becoming a bartender or running a beach-side book store cum cafe.

Kids are awesome! And their perspective towards life is “awesomer”. (As is their ability to make up words. “Liser” is a person who tells many lies as opposed to “liar” who only tells one lie).

I am a victim of advertising and I know there are many like me (that’s why I am still in the business). New flavours of beverages have to be tried. And anything that screams “sale” is actually an investment.

The sky turns orangy-pink when the sun sets because fairies wear pretty orangy-pink tutus and flitter around in the sky. These and many such stories are products of my imagination.

Coz I believe there is no power greater than the power of imagination. We think we make our dreams, but it’s our dreams that make us.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Waiting for an artwork
till late in the night,
Then checking the copy
to see if its right.

And while you’re checking
you just discover,
That your weekend is screwed
as the copy has an error.

Creative makes an ad,
and think it’s a HIT!
The client sees it
and says its SHIT!

Creative is furious
as his line is rejected,
The deadline is not met
and the client is dejected

Between these two,
you will always be lost
And amongst all this
your ego has gone for a toss.

And between everything else
are the endless studio trips,
You can survive all this
only with a thousand coffee sips.

is all you can say,
servicing is a lousy job
and it does not even pay!!!

But at the end of it all,
when a campaign is done,
you can look back and say

Nov 1997

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Kismet Connection

The title is to distinguish from the Shahid-Vidya starrer. And I hate the Ekta Kapoor and KJ fixation of force fitting “K” into everything. But hey...I usual...
The point I am trying to make is Connections and how our Destiny or Kismet makes us come in contact with them.

· Why does it happen that even if you barely know someone, you feel you have known them all your life?

· Why does it happen that your paths cross with people who have had such similar life experiences as you, that it gives you solace knowing you are not alone?

· Why does it happen that you can meet someone after a decade plus, you can start off just where you had left off?

· Why does it happen that at every twist and turn of life there is a person waiting with a surprise for you?

· Why does it then happen that that person does not stay and be a part of your life?

· Why does it happen that people, who have been a part of your life forever, drift apart?

· Why does it happen that things said and done by random strangers can bring tears to your eyes?

· Why does it happen that certain people have the power to make you smile every time?

· Why does it happen that something that is so wrong, feels oh-so right?

· Why does it happen that something that should so obviously be right, feels so wrong?

· Why does it happen that one chance encounter transforms into a lifelong friendship?

· Why do certain people make us feel that there is a connection beyond the obvious?

Sigh...I can only ask the questions and don’t think anyone has any of the answers. So my conclusion is that there is a higher power than all of us. A power I call Krishna and you could call Jesus or Allah or Guru Nanak.

But it’s that mighty power that decides at what step of life, what kind of person we shall need. And He* transplants that person in our lives to give us the push we need, the sympathetic ear we were craving for, the sense of humour we had lost along the way or simply to be there for us to reach out whenever we need or desire to.

What we make out of these connections is up to us. Sometimes we make the wrong connection with the right person or a right connection with a wrong person. Sometimes it’s a cross-connection** and its takes time to figure it out and get out of the entangled web.
But at all times, there is the connection. That’s what makes us human- the ability and power to connect with others around us and influence their lives while they touch ours.

Let’s open our hearts and minds to these connections and embrace them. You never know which one connection might change your life forever!

* Who decided God was a man? With intense fear of my feminist friends, I do think He is. God cannot be a woman. A woman’s heart would never be equipped to see all the pain in the world and still manage to run it.

** Cross connection- a concept that’s probably known in India and to Indians alone. When your phone line “crosses” with someone else’s and you can hear the other party’s private conversations, while trying to hold your own. You never know who and what you might overhear. Life’s little surprises, which since the advancement of technology have probably ceased to exist.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


For the ones alien to this term- it is the Indian equivalent of cutting classes. "Let’s bunk this lecture”. Ummmm brings back such sweet memories.

You bunk a lecture and the possibilities are endless….

- Matinee (morning show of a movie for the uniformed)
- Chatting over “cutting” (or Nescafe for moi) at college canteen coupled with inane conversations
- Popping by to nearest fast food joint for a not-really-needed meal
- Whiling away hours at Prithvi Café
- Standing at the bus stop and watching cute guys go by (shoot! I still do that!)

So this morning when I was walking back from my client meeting, I decided to stop over at the Starbucks for a coffee with a colleague. We sat outside as it was a pleasant morning. And when I looked up, I could see the horizon past the tall buildings, beautiful green trees and feel the lovely soft breeze blowing.

At that instant I knew if this was 10 years ago (give or take a few years :) I would have definately bunked the next lecture and made my friend do the same, and just stayed outdoors.

Sigh! I so wish I could do that this morning as well. It took all the will power in the world to drag myself into work. The price one pays for being a grown-up right?

But all day I could not shake the feeling. So when I stepped out for my usual quick-salad lunch, I took a detour back to office and stopped at the same Starbucks. Indulged in another coffee and added a chocolate hazelnut muffin for good measure.

I sat outside with my book- Chicken soup for the coffee lover’s soul (so apt!), and simply idled the next 30 mins away. Then it started to rain and the trees looked greener, the weather turned cooler and the desire to just stay there even stronger. But once again, made my way back to work.

However felt rather rejuvenated after those small stolen moments.

Now if only those moments could have been in the college canteen with my dearest friends…life would be so much sweeter…

Friday, August 14, 2009

British Raj Indians

…are the ones who believe that the British Raj was probably one of the best things to happen to India. They have a white fixation, prefer fish and chips to “kanda bajiyas” and speak with a put-on American accent which they get after one visit to the passport office.

They find Bombay dirty, Chennai hot, Bangalore noisy and Delhi polluted- does not matter that they lived there all their lives and have been living outside India for last few years only.

They snub their noses at local trains, look down on rickshaws and always have at least 3 “horror stories” about traffic jams on Indian roads.

They celebrate Singapore’s NDP and the 4th of July with gusto that makes you wonder about their origins. Their Indian-ness seeps out only when celebrating festivals which made a resurgence post Karan Johar movies and Ekta Kapoor serials like karvachaut and navratri.

They discuss Indian politics (in a know-it-all tone) - but never vote.
Watch every Hindi movie (on pirated DVD that too) - but insist of speaking in English only when in India.
Dance to desi tunes at night clubs (really bad dance moves too)- but want to make their daughters learn ballet over kathak.
Ok don’t get me wrong- Bombay is dirty, Delhi is polluted, ballet for little girls is lovely and I have plenty traffic jam stories too. But is that all what India and Indians are about? Do we define ourselves with Bollywood (HATE that term) movies and corrupt politicians?

I don’t want to get all sentimental via clichés but a country that gave Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Narayan Murthy to the world, has a lot more to be proud of.

We are today because of what our nation made us. None of us could have done it on our own. And if we belonged to any other country, we would not be the kind of people we are. Never forget that. Just the way we owe our upbringing to our mothers, we also owe the same to our Motherland.

So this Independence Day, remember your humble beginnings first and be proud of where you and India has reached today. Refrain from criticizing and find at least one good to say about India. And yes, wherever in the world you are, make your way to the Flag Hoisting Ceremony at the local consulate. It’s only once a year- find the time.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


This was a message painted on an ugly board in yellow letters outside the elevator of my Bombay building at least thrice a week when I was growing up.

People sighed when they saw it and proceeded to scream at the ‘liftman’ (person employed to press the elevator buttons, be yelled at on such occasions and run errands for Kapoor aunty on the 5th floor).
Alternatively they climbed up the stairs.

I used to always imagine the elevator smirking at all of us huffing and puffing up the stairs and thinking “Now you know how it feels riding up and down all the time”.

Wish I could get my hands on that ugly painted board in yellow letters and add the word “mind” before “out of order” and then strategically place the board next to my desk.
Having the message acts as a deterrent for anyone coming to me with inane requests and expecting sensible replies. My mind is out of order, remember?

So when you see me ploughing through 500+ emails and ask me at 10.50 am “Did you see my latest email asking you to attend the 11 am meeting”, I can say “Of course I did sweetie. And I chose to ignore it”.

Or when it’s known that I am handling 10 over projects at a single time, when am asked “Can you take this new brief on”? I can say “Oh yes! Just give it to my clone who sits on my right. I am the prettier one by the way”.

And my favorite, “The timeline is very tight”, and I can say with a very innocent smile “Tighter than that blouse you wearing?”

I know, I know, am being bitchy. But it’s so much fun than being nicey-nice all the time.

There is a land out there….where I can speak my mind, tell idiots off and stomp my feet and spin around when annoyed. As Tina Fey would say “I want to go to there!”

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Welcome Myrah

Dearest Myrah,

Welcome to the world! You will bring lots of happiness, love and laughter to all our lives- I just know it. You will be the turning point, the point where joys find their way back to all of us.

You will smile like an angel and melt out worries and your laughter will be finer than the sound of the ocean waves.

Sitting here, sipping my latte and savoring my scones, I wonder whether I will be getting you here anytime soon? Would you be a coffee addict like me? Or love desserts and sweets as much as your dad and I do? Would you have your mom's easy going temperament? Or my independent streak? Would you be kind hearted and patient like your Nani? Or a friendly gregarious soul like your dadi?

Would Sanil and you grow up to be best friends? Would he be an over-protective big brother? (I would lay my bets on that).Would you both enjoy the same movies, love the same books? Would you be a big Hindi movie buff like me? Or an art-lover like your mom? Or perhaps, a bit of both?

I don't know...and frankly I don't care.

All I know is that you will bring lots of happiness, love and laughter to all our lives. You will love me and I will love you back a hundred times over. I can't wait to hold you in my arms, to watch you take your first step, to buy you loads of birthday presents and to be your friend always.

Can't imagine feeling so much love for someone I have never met. But I do.

Love you always

Seema Bua
(written on 28 June 2009 at 3.15 pm SGT at P.S. Cafe, Singapore)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rings or Blings

Not having grown up with the concept of wedding rings for men, I fail to notice the obvious i.e. is someone wearing a ring on their left hand ring finger or not? Simple enough, but I simply forget.

Having learnt my lesson the harsh way, now I have made it a practice to observe. And what I have seen is that its either Rings or Blings. Rings say "happily married (well married at least)" and blings say "happily gay".

Blings have potential to become fashion advisors, shopping companions, secret confidantes and great friends (speaking from personal experience). Rings on the other hand, ring alarm bells ansd warning signs "keep safe distance".

This is all for the newcomers in life of course.

For the old ones, they have been beautifully catergorized and fit perfectly in various aspects of my life.

Hope to find categories besides Rings and Blings for the newcomers.

Till then, a toast to old friends- without whom I would never reach where I have today. Love you all! :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Keep Walking

My game, My rules, My terms.

If you can’t play within that, then don’t play at all. Walk away.

No actually, you know what, I will walk away. Because its not cowardice but intelligence to walk away from a situation that can only be described as #$%$^#@ volatile and way-too-intense!

Starting now, I walk. I just hope I remember to keep walking without looking back.

Because I know, if I look back even once, I will forget the rules I set. It would help walking towards something though…

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

In-Out-In Again-Out Again-In Again

What gives people the right to drop in and out of our lives as they deem fit is completely beyond me? And why I let them do so is something that will take years of therapy to dwell into.

People should make a declaration before entering your life:

1) “I will be with you forever and ever whether you like it or not”
2) “I am here for you now and will be around as long as you need/want me”
3) “I will be with you for ‘enter definite period of time’. After that I am gone”
4) “I am here for this minute. The next minute I have no clue”
5) “I don’t exist in your life”

And they should not be allowed to move categories without getting prior written permission. In that way the control is in my hand.

On the other hand, I can just refuse people entry in my life and heart. Play the game on my terms. If only I had learnt that!

But isn’t it said that it’s too late to teach an old dog, new tricks?

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Finally! I have broken from the shackles of taxi rides to work! I take the Shuttle Bus and it’s fabulous.

Shuttle Bus trumps over taxis because:

a) Evil people can’t steal it (like the B%^%& who stays in my condo and stole mycab last week)
b) You don’t have to listen to the driver’s choice of radio station, even after you have told him to switch the radio off…politely…
c) You don’t pay ERP J
d) You can overhear interesting conversations, and it’s not considered eavesdropping ;)
e) There is a possibility of catching the eye of a cute fellow passenger (but sadly they all wear ties and work in CBD which potentially means they work in a bank/financial institution, which definitely means they are, well, I will be polite and say ‘not my style’)

Sitting on a window seat of a bus is a very calming experience. As you see the world pass by, your thoughts fly from the mundane (to-do lists) to the exotic (what if I could just sail away in that boat I see). And it takes me back to school days when I took the 255 from Santa Cruz to Juhu.

A bus ride allows you to catch a snooze, read a chapter of your book or just reflect before the events of the day come flying at you.

And on the way back, its 96.3 FM hindi songs all way long. Cannot be a sweeter end to the day.

Friday, April 17, 2009

My centre not Me in the centre

A friend of mine, let’s call him Mr. Profound, advised me to find my centre within myself. Not to get influenced by people around me- friends and foes alike. To meditate and connect with my inner self. To reflect.

I am torn. I know what is right and what I should do. I know my strengths and am more than aware of my weaknesses. I know where I need to go in life and I am confident about my priorities. Anyone who knows me, will tell you what a straight-forward and sensible person I am.

But there is another me- the not-so-sensible me, the rather impulsive me, the self-pitying me, the shy and closed me.

How do I find my centre if I can’t reconcile these two distinct parts of myself? Where does one end and other begin? When does one surface and the other hides?

I can’t find answers to all these questions so quickly. I still need to reflect...a lot....But what I do know is that once I cease to think of myself in the centre of it all, I will be closer to finding my centre.

The core of my existence towards others is compassion. I need to now start being compassionate to myself. To treat myself kindly. This is different from indulging myself (which I do way too often!). Instead, to take care of my mind, just the way I take care of my body (eating healthy and exercising) and my soul (good karma and prayers).

Another friend of mine, Ms. Chocolate, explained the concept of “mirroring” to me. Others mirror our own feelings towards ourselves. If I look after myself, others will look after me. If I radiate positivity towards myself, others will mirror it back to me.

So starting today I will aim to find my centre- that spark in me which I thought was dead, but is flickering slightly, awaiting the fuel of compassion so it can shine bright again and show me the way forward.


Wouldn’t it be great if we could delete people from our memory as easily as we delete files from our laptops? We simply click ‘yes’ for the prompt that says ‘Are you sure?’ and then that’s it. The person is gone from our memories…forever!
Every pain they ever caused us is forgotten. Evert hurt they ever gave us is gone. Every tear we shed because of them is dry. They have disappeared from our life like they never existed.

If I could that, I could move on. Else I get stuck with the “What-if” syndrome. The scenarios range from the bleak to the blissful. The latter much scarier than the former. As my imagination runs wild creating these false illusions of ever lasting happiness. When the reality is far far far from it.

Why do we expect people to feel about us the same way we feel about them? And when they don’t, we despair. Broken hearts for the extreme-minded like yours truly come to play. In such situations the DELETE FROM MEMORY function would be a boon.

Flight of fantasy again…we can’t delete people our memories. Not going to happen. But we do have the power to choose the memories. Choose the cheerful ones, the ones that fill your heart with delight. Just remember what gives you peace and happiness. For the unpleasant ones, well, they will make an appearance….acknowledge their existence and then hit the imaginary DELETE button in your mind. POOF! It’s gone.

Now if I can only convince myself to act in this manner….

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Have a heart

Do they have a term for foolish acts done in an aware state of mind? It’s not a mistake- as I knew what I was doing. It’s not impulsive- as I have been thinking about it. And it’s certainly not smart.

So why did I do it? My heart desired. It begged me to indulge it. To make it flutter once again. To make it hope. To make it love.

And I abided. Knowing full well that my heart will break...sooner or later. For its sake, I hope it’s later.

But I had to take the chance. I needed that leap of faith. Will I land on feet or on my face and break my nose, I don’t know. My brain tells me it will be the latter and is warning me of the consequences.

My heart however, is dreaming again. Hoping again. Desiring to love again. A teeny part of it knows, the dreams will be shattered, the hopes will be unfulfilled, the desires will need to be tamed. But right now my heart awaits...with bated breath...for its destiny to come for it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Hiding Heart

My heart is hiding. It does not want to face this world. Going through motions today, I felt an out-of-body experience. Like the person was not me, but a bleak part of me. While the real me, with the heart, just watched silently.

The real me knew that the other me was doing, what was required to be done, and doing it well. But there was no heart in any of it. Because, as I said, my heart is hiding.

It’s hiding from pain. It’s hiding from the unknown. It’s hiding its tears. It’s hiding its desires. It fears.

My heart is hiding. It does not show itself. When I smile, the smile does not reach my eyes. When I laugh, my laughter seems hollow. But only to me. No one else guesses why my eyes seem lifeless and the laughter soulless. How can anyone know, when I don’t understand it myself.

But what I do know is that I want to tempt my heart to come out of its hiding place. To experience new feelings, to feel new experiences. But it does not listen to me.

I wonder what will tempt my heart to come out and live once again. Till then, my heart is hiding

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Why all this writing?

How come everyone writes nowadays? I mean, I am writing a blog! My friend – let’s call him ‘White Boy’- says I am the most technology unsavvy person! And even I have a blog.

So what is this new found obsession to write or should I say “express”? Someone (who I don’t particularly like) once said, that people write blogs because they want attention and want to be “sexy. Really? Since when did writing become sexy? It’s one of the most mundane and ancient activities.

I think people write to share things they can’t always talk about. So that brings me to, why the need to share? It’s because only when it’s shared, it becomes real.

If something happens to me- good, bad, funny, silly, sad, touching- it only appears real when I tell someone about it. At least one person. If I can’t do that, then that experience does not seem real. Like it never happened. Weird? Probably, but that is my reasoning on at least why I am writing.

Other people probably write for other reasons- they actually have something meaningful to say (or think they do), are professionals e.g. authors, poets (I so admire authors! Sexiest profession per me, second only to architects- involves building: so masculine, and creativity: so inspirational- what could be sexier? But hey, I digress).

Other people who write probably prefer it to talking, so they write as a way to communicate. While some others write to simply brag.

I do wish however more people would read- not my blog- just in general...people should read more than they write and not the other way round. I don’t think myself as a judgemental person (but then who does, right?). But I REALLY am not one. Except for people who don’t read books. I judge them. I find them boring, shallow and dull.

So if you want to be (or at least appear to be) interesting and thus sexy, go pick up a book. Ideally something from the classics. And no, Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code is not a classic.

P.S. read my other posts below before judging my writing ;)

World of Excesses

I arrived at the Taj resort in Rebak Island in Langkawi yesterday. When the buggy cart took me around the island resort and proudly showed me the lovely pool, my first question was “Is this the only pool?” And when the staff answered yes, I was slightly disappointed.

Later when I reflected, I felt very ashamed of myself. Growing up, staying in a hotel which had a pool was not the norm. It was a privilege. And now many years later, I can afford to come on an impulsive holiday, stay at a 5 star resort, drink cocktails before every meal, and I question why the resort has only one pool?

Jacuzzi pool, splash, pool, wave pool, Olympic size swim pool, lazy-river styled pool- been there, done that. Did they make my holiday better? Marginally perhaps, but not exponentially. What make a holiday is the people you take the holiday with and the experiences and memories you garner.

This got me wondering....we are living in a world of excesses. You have to have more than one pool in a hotel, there’s got to be a private beach at the resort you are staying, a couple with one kid need a 3-bedroom apt- one more room than necessary, the TV...oh my...the TV.. anything less than 52 inches is probably not just worth it. We need our laptops, Blackberry’s, iPhones- and these are just devices to stay connected. When it comes to music, there is the iPod, music system with surround sound (or whatever the latest is in audio technology these days), phone with a radio connection, laptop with all latest music downloads.

Growing up my sister and I used to listen to the radio every night after 9.00 pm. That’s when the new movie promos and songs were aired on Vividh Bharti (I am showing my age here!). The days before cable TV hit India. I remember lying in bed with the radio between us, listening to the upcoming movies and making mental lists of the ones we want to go for (and wondering if our parents would take us for them all). Simple times, simple pleasure.

From there, how did I to here? Where nothing is ever enough. Where Starbucks coffee completes my afternoons and if I can’t take a holiday every 2 months, I feel I am working way too hard. And yes, when I do take that holiday, I get stuck by the only-one-pool syndrome.

From here on...I am going to try and go back to the basics. Aim to take the bus instead up jumping the cab every time, refrain from spending 6$ on a cup of coffee everyday and stop buying stuff I will never use (like my new sun hat) because “it looked so pretty on the mannequin.”

The server is now getting my cocktail, but hey! it does not have the cute l’ll umbrella. But you know what, there is enough tequila in it, so I will be happy with the basics! Who needs excesses, right?

Table for ONE

Ever asked that aloud at a restaurant? Or waited for the server to come to you and ask you “For how many mam?” and you reply in an almost-whisper..... “One”.

Why are we afraid of our own company? Why do we need people around us all the time? Don’t get me wrong, I WANT people I love and like around me. But do I NEED them? And do I want them EVERYTIME? No. Not really. I doubt many of us do. But we are afraid to exhibit that in public.

It’s customary to be by yourself in confines of your home or in ‘acceptable’ places like a spa or a library. But sitting by yourself in a cafe or the movies tantamount to blasphemy!

Man is a social creature. But aren’t there times we when have had enough of society? When all you want is to curl up and read a book on a comfy sofa but you want it to be outside your home, perhaps at your favourite cafe?

When you want to see and hear the rain fall on the grass and be refreshed by the green all around you, without having to say a word about it to anyone? Just feel it...without expressing it? When you want to experience the peace of solitude without the aid of your iPod, your book or your laptop?

I will be honest...I have not reached that stage as yet myself. If I am by myself, I NEED my book with me, or at least my iPod or laptop. Like right now I am typing my random thoughts on my laptop from a small island-resort in Langkawi while sitting on the veranda lobby. (And there is a couple making out right in front of me- rather distracting. Wish they would get a room, we are in a resort after all!)

But hey! Who am I to judge? Aren’t I the one holidaying on my own, sitting on a very comfy armchair typing away to glory without exchanging a word with anyone?

Let’s just live and let live. Don’t judge people by their choices whether it is to be by themselves, or with others.

On a farewell note, I read this quote many years ago and it stayed with me- Solitude is a nice place to visit but not a good place to stay. So I am off to meet other people on this gorgeous island. And look here, the rain has stopped and the sun is shining down. Time to head to the beach (with my book of course, in case I need to be alone again, I need my prop ;)

First Times

Are first times over-rated? They are memorable for sure...but only for the reason of being a first?

We romanticize our firsts- first kiss, first dance, first boyfriend, first day at school, first day at work, first marriage anniversary...was there anything special about them besides that fact they just happen to be the first of many?

For me what is more important is that something will be the first of many, rather than the first itself. First of many kisses, first of many dances, first of many anniversaries...the possibility of the upcoming ones is more romantic and real than merely this first.

I once read that there are ‘Past people’ and ‘Future people’. ‘Past people’ are the nostalgic lot who believe the past can never match up to the future. And the ‘Future people’ are the forward looking ones who believe that the future’s got to be better than the past.

I am not so sure that these can be the only two categories. Walking down the memory lane is one of my favourite past times and dreaming about the future is also what I enjoy doing. So where do I fit in? People claim that we should learn from past mistakes so we don’t repeat them in the future.

I say do that, but don’t ignore the beautiful experiences from the past and get inspired by them. Draw on them as your muse for a promising future.

Cherished memories from the past are the core for creating new beautiful ones in the future.
So look back at all your first times but don’t dwell on them. They are just the first of many more to come.