Catching up with an old friend

Chat with old friend who found me using Facebook Friend Finder ….

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Old Friend : OMG, so you are a hot shot author now.

Me : (Trying to be modest and underplayed) Yeah, I have a couple of books published

O F : Well, you always wanted to be a doctor

Me : Yeah, didn’t everyone else?  It was a done thing those days ….

O F : What?

Me : Adults would ask, “Beta badhe hokar kya banogey?” and we would chant, Doctor, IAS, IPS, Engineer. 

O F : You always said Doctor

Me : The idea of cutting people open must have sounded like fun to me

O F : So how come you’re not one?

Me : (Trying to wriggle out of admitting that I dropped out in the second month of med school) You wanted to be in IAS, and now you’re in marketing.

O F : Well, it pays better and does not get me posted out of Calcutta.  You can’t take a Bong out of Calcutta

Me : So how’s Didi?

Nice try … but he did not take the bait.

O F : (Still persisting) Never thought you’d be working in corporates and writing novels.

Me : (Uncomfortably)  Erm I work in one corporate only.

O F : And your marriage broke

Me : (Wishing I could strangle him through the computer screen) Yes

O F : You are Ritu Jain from Imphal and from Hindu College aren’t you?

Me : (Scowling) Was.  Now I am Ritu Lalit

O F : (I could sense the avid need to learn more gossip) You have changed so much!  How could you?  He was your big romance, how come?

Taking deep breaths, reminding myself that I once actually liked this bloke, and preaching myself tolerance…

Me : That was then, this is now.  You’re right.  I changed a lot.

O F : Like how?

Me : I got infected by Black Spider venom.  So I have this uncontrollable urge to kill or destroy old loves and old friends.  It is a problem but I am learning how to control it, and to live with it.  

O F : You’re not serious?

Me : Try me

Facebook, I owe you big time.  Haven’t had so much fun in ages 😛

Livin da vida loca

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The Elusive One

Elusive One

The challenge stared at me in the face.

I scowled right back, inwardly intimidated, outwardly in my usual combative mode. I also cursed the person who flung that challenge at me. I am not the one to back down from a challenge. Rrrrrowwwl!

Nah I am not!

But then I am rather proud of my bad habits, I wear them like badges of honour, medals that I have won in my wars, rather like a boxer wears his scars and a soldier his medals.

But the High Priestess of Indiblogeshwaris, Vinita Bahl aka BlogwatiG had spoken.

Turn it or twist it the way you look at it. Take on a challenge. Adopt a good habit. Get rid of a bad one. Change something. Write one new chapter. Read a new book. Listen to a new song. Anything, almost anything singular that you’ve been putting off for too long. You have a month to do it. And then post about it on June 2, 2013 only.

I am bad with rules, ever badder with deadlines – so this is a day late.

First the task was to identify something I want to change …

Now came the big question, what was the elusive one I had to change

My older son spoke : Get rid of your “Main Bechari attitude.”

Of course he spoke it in a completely different context. Of course he did not mean me. Me? If this were ten years ago, I’d have boxed his ears for impertinence. But then I have only myself to blame, I put him into martial arts. And he is bigger, more agile, and kick boxes to pass time.

And the “Main bechari brigade”? I laugh at them, scoff at them, snap my fingers at their nose.

Am I not the person who says “Get rid of the concept that the world owes you. It owes you nothing, it was here first.” Eh?

“It’s crept into your way of thinking,” the second born said sagely nodding his head.

Ouch! That hurt!

So I started watching what I said, how I thought.

And sure enough, the elusive one surfaced when I saw paani pooris. I squashed it like a bug!

Me and my body have made a deal, I shall eat right, and it shall loose the flab and keep the sugar level down.

Wow! Look at my saintly halo!

Only to have it surface when that *&^%% flaunted her absolutely obscene diamond solitaire in my face. I stared at it and resolved never to even acknowledge her existence again, EVER! No ma’am, I will not. You are bad for my mental peace.

Besides I do not like diamonds.

Sniff!

It resurfaced again when I saw Deepika Padukone’s absolutely flat stomach, enlarged to a godawful number of pixels on the big screen! She never gave birth, did she? No wonder she has this absolutely unnaturally flat stomach, don’t you think?

If only … sigh!

Backtracked again. I am not giving in to self pity.

And then I read a chapter from Daphne Du Maurier’s Frenchman’s Creek. Taut, well written and absolutely engrossing.

This writer lived long before I was born!

She still lives – through time! She is immortal.

And I love her!

Will I ever be remembered like that?

Sob sob!

Main Bechari

If music be the food of love

“If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.”
 William ShakespeareTwelfth Night

 

The old bard nailed it.  There was a time in life when I could hold a tune, passably well.  Well there was a time in life when I could stand on my head and my waist was 20 inches, but those times are long since gone.  So has love … when I do encounter that creature, I am tempted to get out my ancient dissection set and cut it open – just for the heck of it.

 

No wonder I can’t sing any more.

 

This coming from a woman whose name featured largely on the DU campus radio.  I had songs dedicated to me, yes sirreee!  I had SONGS dedicated to me.  John Denver’s Annie’s Song was dedicated to me by ex.

 

Kind of prophetic, considering his marriage to Annie Martel Denver was rocky and did not last.  The guy saw the future I tell ya.  And John Denver… well, wasn’t he who predicted that he’d be leaving on a jet plane?

 

So music to me meant, until now, listening to old country and classic rock on the drive to work and back home.  That hasn’t lasted.  Junior has a job in the same area as my work place.  That means that he travels with me  …. rather he drives, dumps me at my office, takes the car away and picks me up on the way back.  Yayy for mother and son bonding!  But the generation gap shows.  My choice of music is not his cup of tea, and his choice of music is my cup of poison.

 

Compromise has been achieved.  We listen to this new-fangled stuff called Podcasts.  Bill Mahr and other wonderful guys entertain us and educate us.  Over the month of so we’ve listened to why religion is totally redundant,  and how stupid the Boston bombers were and now the son has graduated to history lessons.   I know more of the history of Anabaptists and Ghenghis Khan than I ever did.  And guess what?  I don’t even have to write an exam on them!

 

But then music, I miss the music …

 

I listen to 9XM and stuff like that when I work out.  It never disappoints.  The beats are so much exercise and pump up the adrenaline kind of stuff.

 

Until now …

 

Now we have Babaji Ki Booti and another one called

 

Raat hai ik whore

Ye maange more

To lut ja slowly slowly

 

I am willing to experiment … ya think stretches can be done to these tunes?

Poetry in book titles

A Delhi Mumbai Love Story

A feeling beyond words

It wasn’t love at first sight

Just like in the movies

 

She was dancing with Maharaja

And then it rained

He desperately wanted to belong

Swore I will love once again

 

A half baked story it was

It had Everything you desire

Saga of Corporate Attyachar

From cubicles 2 Cabins

 

He thought if God had a desk job

If God went to B School

He would know of heartbreaks and dreams

Of a Crazy Bloody thing LOV

 

It happened that night

He had a dream

Love happens like that

When you love life and beer can

 

God said Careful what you wish for

He woke up happy

you’ll have Everything you Desire

Was what he recalled it as

 

So he went to her and said

I am Broke! … Love Me

She replied

Beep you!  You Beep Hole

 

There was more

A Few things Left Unsaid

A Roller Coaster Ride

With a lot of Beeps

 

Cant cook up a love story

Boundless saga of love

Of Heartbreaks and Dreams

And hence can’t write a best seller

 

Shrishti

To She Who Must Not be Named

A poetic challenge to someone who is trying time and again to make me feel uncomfortable … I affectionately call her “She Who Must Not Be Named”

Feel free to guess who :

 

images

 

Let us not beat around the bush

I did you wrong when I did you a favour

Instead of help I should’ve given you a push

Into the widest and deepest river

 

 

Some people do not like gratitude,

They think it is a canine emotion

Envy is more suited to their attitude

And now I’ve become your obsession

 

 

Oh you’re itching to pull me down

Somehow I make you feel inferior

But then, I am so important to you

On my defeat you’d build your career

 

 

I’m on to you, you silly clown

I’m on to every low down trick

Fighting you would slow me down

So I’d rather use my wit

 

 

Bring it on, girl, give it all you have

A fight has to be fought to the finish

Embarrassing photos, pointless bitching

Too pathetic, not worthy of the skirmish

 

Yes I am a fighter, combat is in my nature

And confrontation is my game

I hereby call you out for an open war

Sneaky tricks are boring, too tame

Ode to my once slim waist

Ode to my Once Slim Waist

Where are you my long lost friend?

My true partner through many bends

My slim fit jeans miss you dearly

So do many of my lovely kurtis

I should not have taken you for granted

Please know that I have since repented

Chocolate, fries, butter broke our marriage

You left me and I expanded, it’s tragic

I am a changed girl now, I swear my friend

Fatty food does not charm, I’ve made amends

Must our love be so shallow and transient?

Please forgive me, let’s once more be friends

Together we made quite an impression on men

Drinks spilled, temperatures rose, all eyes froze when

You and I swayed into a room, we did not have to try

To use wit, work hard for impact, Oh now I could cry

I know I did not treat you with love and care

So you left me for more youthful figures

But they are self absorbed and shallow

Come back my love, I’ve since mellowed

Together we shall flirt, we’ll do it with flair

Dance, exercise and I’ll treat you with care

You are the love of my life, you are my muse

See, I wrote you an ode, so do not refuse


Confessions

Haters

Alright, I have to admit that this post is heavily inspired.

No, not the Anu Malik kind of “inspired” but nevertheless …

I recently joined a Facebook page called Confessions.  The premise is interesting.  You post whatever your gripe is anonymously and get it out of your system.  It raised a lot of red flags in my brain.

Red Flag 1 : Confessions

Red Flag 2 : Anonymous

 Sleaze Alert!  Whine Alert!  Backbiting and Slander galore!

ROFL!

Don’t ask me why I did that.  I guess I need a life, clingy eight year old kids, troublesome boyfriend, husband whatever …

A life time of bouncing from crisis to crisis does that to you.  You aren’t complete until your arse is on fire, your credit card maxed out and collection goons are laying a trap to repossess your car or home.  When you’ve lived a life like that, a life where your biggest problem is power outages in your colony is kind of humdrum isn’t it?

So this blog post is heavily inspired from Confessions.

No, I am not going to talk about the men in my life or any such thing.  Being mysterious is much more happening than a tell-all journal, which may be such a climb down from the lurid fantasies one invariably creates in the mind.

I am going to talk about what happens when bloggers turn authors.  Here are some confessions or observations based on personal experience and that of other blogger-authors.

Now we bloggers have a closed community.  We are expressive, opinionated and closet ledger keepers.  We keep a close watch on the number of hits our blog has got, how many people have commented on our post, and then we reciprocate by visiting their blogs and commenting.  Such reciprocity, such democracy. 

THOU SHALT ALL BE EQUAL

And then one blogger breaks ranks and writes a novel!

Gawarshhhh!

It infects the blogosphere!  Everyone has a novel inside him or her which is desperate to break out.  For me it was Preeti Shenoy’s 34 Bubblegums and Candies and Varsha Dixit’s Right Foot Wrong Shoe.

So I wrote the book that was desperate to break out from within me, A Bowlful of Butterflies.  It had a middling kind of response but that’s alright.  Everyone knows that one does not make money from novels, not unless one is Chetan Bhagat or Amish Tripathy.

I am sure there are others who got motivated by me.  Now we moved into another world.  From humble and equal bloggers we entered the highly competitive world of novelists.  By the way, the world of novel writers is replete with examples of cut throat competition, betrayal and intrigue.  No, not in the pages of the novels but in the real world.

You have this nice blogger friend, you visit his/her blog and comment.  He/She visits yours and comments.  It’s chugging along nicely.  Then suddenly she/he announces that he or she has a book deal by one of the biggies, Harper Collins or Penguin!  Now what do you do?

Feel outclassed?  Naah!

Send a shot and succinct “Congrats”

On an afterthought add a smiley  🙂

Bad mouth the publisher (not in print though).  Remember the novel that is desperate to break out from within you?  No, definitely not in print.

Turn up nose and say you do not read Indian authors in English.  Munshi Prem Chand was the last stalwart in desi literature.  Feel free to substitute Premchand with Tagore or any one else …

Resist urge to delete the blog link from your reader … we need to keep abreast with competition.

Once the book is out demand autographed free copies for your Bua, Naani and 30 assorted relatives.  (This is fellow author Nandita Bose’s solution.)

Tell everyone loudly and emphatically that you have a real job/business.  It’s easy to write a book, you just have too many responsibilities and can’t write one, yet.

Write a nice review of the book in your blog, say that it is nice, the story is wonderful, the premise original … but …

Munshi Prem Chand was better

OR

Dan Brown does better action

OR

Description is lacking/excessive/heavy

OR

Characters are unreal

Remember to just put one of these things.  You do not want to make an enemy.

Oh and then as a final twist to the knife

Mention the book’s price and ask whether it isn’t too much

Meanwhile – happy blogging 😀

Doctors, Hospitals and My New Year Eve

And yes this post is simply to cater to my Drama Queen soul, since I spent my new year eve in hospital.

Yeah, I need serious sympathy here.  You all are allowed to have any of these responses.

1. Gasp, OMG Ritu, hope you are well

2. You poor thing

3. You are such a brave person.

And if you join my two sons and DIL in scolding me, blaming me for taking my health for granted and any such response, we will have issues.  I may even go to the extent of not speaking to you any more.

I kid you not, I have been scolded, I have been threatened with dire consequences ad nauseum.  My diet is being monitored.  Entirely unnecessary I assure you.  I am shocked, chastened and entirely scared.

I had some kind of a heart problem.  And I thought it was gas.  I never knew that gas and acidity are signs of an impending heart attack.  Well one lives and learns …

And I got some awesome free ka gyan – on new year eve

1. Heart problem???? Women don’t get it

(Oh yeah? tell my ticker that!  Hello heart, you are female, please realize it and stop acting up.  By the way, isn’t this such a sexist comment?)

2. Doctors lie you know.  How do you know its your ECG report in your file?

(Errr do you love watching conspiracy theory movies?  I love the thought that someone else’s ECG will have a place of honour in my medical files.)

And then my visits to hospitals come with their own highs and lows …

I tell you they are EVENTS!

On 29th  night I had rajmah rice and had a spell of acidity.  I dismissed it because well – if you have beans in the night you deserve it.

The next day I went to work after popping a lot of antacid.  It worsened to the extent that on 31st Kid#2 pronounced that I looked like shit and I needed a doctor.

People who know me will not need to read any more.

I have this perfectly firm belief that I am invincible and I never need a doctor.

EVER

So I was bullied, scolded, cajoled and convinced that we were going to the G.P. in the neighbourhood.   Him I can handle.  So I got into the car – and got driven to the hospital.  Kid#2 and I got into a fight.  Especially when we were told the OPD did not function on Sundays and I was to be taken to the emergency.

I cheered up somewhat when I saw the Costa Coffee outlet.  I thought that once we met the doctor, we would get a coffee at Costa and then drive back.  It was new year eve and I looked forward to wearing my cute new dress.

Bas itna sa khwaab …

Of course it did not work out like I planned …

Doctor said ECG

I said no, I want something for acidity

Doctor pulled rank

I dug heels

Suddenly we had two nurses and 3 doctors around me.

Outnumbered, I shut up and submitted for the ECG

Result … I had an impending heart attack and needed an angiogram.

Pouf!  Rebellion vanished.  The son heaved a sigh of relief and signed a bunch of papers for my angiogram.  I looked at him reproachfully, saw the concern in his eyes and suffered pangs of conscience.  He is a good man!  And I am a brat.

So I got wheeled into the angio theatre.

Ever seen Sci Fi movies?  Swear that room was out of one of those sets.  We had this huge machine with humongous pipes branching out of it.  Some of those pipes ended up in monitors that actually wore surgical masks.  And someone gave a command at the machine.

Them monitors dipped, turned and approached me from various different angles.

Surreal …

My ticker quailed.

That was not enough.  They shaved me and then stuck a needle right erm in that neighbourhood.  Not pleasant.  Then some ink was stuck into me through the needle.  The doctor – a chatty pleasant person – set up a running commentary as she explained what she could see.

She and I were watching the same monitor … but she saw a heart

I saw an octopus

She told me my main arteries were clear.

So I did not tell her that what we were looking at was an octopus, not a heart. Why spoil a good thing?

She told me that some stupid capillary in some distant branch was acting up.  It was completely blocked and they would try to clear it with blood thinners.

I perked up.  I was going to get that Costa Coffee …

NOT!

I must place on record here that I never got it!

What I got was 24 hours in CCU, 24 more hours in a hospital bed and then was sent home

Cest La Vie …

I spent new year eve in CCU 😦

By ten in the night I told kiddo “You go and get drunk or whatever!  I’m going to sleep.”

I mean I was rigged up with drips and monitors that beeped and pinged and such like.  I wasn’t going any where, so someone needed to have fun.  I mean it was new year eve for heaven’s sake!  So why deprive him?

He resisted the urge ( I love him for that ) but eventually gave in, after leaving his number with every nurse in the ward and even scribbling it on a post it and putting it on my bed.

I slept.

The next day I got shifted to a room.  Ahhh bliss (or so I thought!)

Minor hiccup no. 1 : No Times Now.  Such a huge hospital and they dont subscribe to Times Now !!!!! Blasphemy

Minor hiccup no. 2 : Hospital Food

Minor hiccup no. 3 was discovered in the night

I was on a drip and it did unpleasant things to my bladder.  And the nurse would not remove the drip.

I had to get my pajamas changed since I could not control it.

I begged and pleaded but nurses are nurses.  They listen to doctors and not patients.  So it was either live with a leaky bladder or take matters in my own hands

I had a bottle of Aquafina on my bedside.  Every ten minutes I spilled water on the bed and the pajamas and called her.

I kid you not, I kept a close watch on the wall clock.  After every ten minutes I spilled some water and called her.

Finally she removed the drip.  Phew

I had a good night’s sleep.

The next day I got the news that the blood thinners worked and I could go home.

So now I can proudly say that this hospital visit is almost as eventful as the last one, you can read about that one here 

 

 

 

 

Love Shove and All That Jazz

And yes I am really envious of the number of books authors who write about love sell – hence the title of this post.

I wrote a post long time ago about Monkeys and their abysmally low or absent sense of humour.  It was a short story which was taken by CBSE to publish in their 12th Class English text book.  That was a long time ago, in 2008.

Imagine my utter surprise when today morning I logged on and found this gem of a comment on that blog post  :-

Hey This is hard for me because I have never done anything like this.. but I have a huge crush on you. I have never been able to tell you for reasons which you would quickly identify as obvious if you knew who this was. I’m really attracted to you

I am flattered and I am chuffed up.  Thank you sweetheart for making my day!

But I am a bit hurt too

Just “Hey”?  No darling or sweetheart?  No hugs and kisses?  No link that I can go back to?

What rey?

One does need to go and find out more about someone who has made you so happy.  Its natural.

You say its hard for you, because you’ve never done such a thing.  May be that is the reason you forgot or omitted such vital things.  I forgive you.

The next line has me wanting to be Sherlock Holmes.

Who are you?

The email id you’ve given is fake.  Yes I tried finding out, the IP address is NCR. Are you someone who I know?

This throws up interesting options

1.  You are that man who rings me up after 10 p.m. and assures me, (in that sexy low baritone) that your wife is upstairs asleep.  Sweetheart, you are years younger to me, go dial another number.  I am not interested in the neighbourhood gossip. And if you are expecting me to take our relationship to the next level, you are mistaken.  I won’t.

2.  You are the colleague who talks to my boobs.  They don’t have eyes and ears.  Ahhhh maybe that is why the darlings etc were missing in your romantic missive.  I just asked my boobs and they are miffed too.  Love letter hai to darling etc banta hai.

3. You can not be the sabzi wala who tries to peer down my neckline when I am selecting tomatoes – I don’t think he knows English.

4. You can’t be the petrol pump attendant either – same reason as above

5. The nerdy boy in the computer deptt?  May be … but not so sure.

See what you made me do – all the fervour of a romance being initiated has just gone off like a damp squib.  You really need lessons in how to do the thing properly.

Or are you none of the above?  Just a boy with way too much time on your hands?  Go lock your room watch porn, it will be more productive for you – you can have a nice self-love session.  Just saying 😛

I know our elders used to say “Neki Kar Dariya Mein Daal” (Do a good deed and cast your expectations of a return into the ocean) and internet is a huge dariya (ocean) but this is all about love isnt it?

One does expect a return.

Learn how to do the thing properly.

Signing off now

 

 

The Princess of Nonsense

“Oh but she was a tiresome child, I did not mind that at all, but let’s face it dearie, she was huge!”

Sir Mouse cleaned his spectacles and peered at the princess who was fanning herself with a bunch of forget-me-nots.

“And she kept disappearing and leaving only a grin. D’ye know how creepy it is to just have a grin staring at you?” The princess shuddered delicately.

“Erm, I think you are mixing up Alice and the Cheshire Cat.”

She looked apologetically at her long suffering courtier and said, “Sorry Sir Mouse. I am a bit mixed up today. Ever since you told me about a man who leaped out of a bath tub and ran naked in the town yelling something, my nerves are shot.”

“That was Archemedis and he was yelling Eureka. He discovered some formula.”

“Humph, he shouldn’t have lost them in the first place. Careless bloke. He possibly lost his towel too. If you ever take a bath, please check if the water is right. The only reason to leap out of a bath is if the water is hot. Then, in my opinion, you should yell “watersshot watersshot” and not Eureka Eureka.”

Sir Mouse kept his opinion to himself and said “Yes your Majesty”

“Now Sir Mouse, you may go. I am bored with you and the school work. Send me my waiting ladies.”

Sir Mouse gathered his papers and left barely concealing his relief. The wizard had to be given a scold. Those forget-me-nots were not helping. The princess was getting more nonsensical by the minute!

The princess flung the bunch of flowers into the waste paper basket and stomped a petulant foot as she scolded her waiting ladies, “The satin dress is way to tight. I hate scarlet, it makes me look so pale. Go and call all cloth merchants. I need a dress done up in linen and gauze, yes it should be rose colored. I hate these dresses. Go, now!”

The poor women rushed out. She threw the offending dresses after them and slammed the door shut.

A man laughed as he came out from behind the curtains, “Excellently done my love.”

She sighed, smiled naughtily and said, “The things I have to do to just spend some time with you.”

The path of royal love is always devious