Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine's Up!

It doesn't take much to excite people. Especially when everything has gotten boring - IPL (but we've discussed that already), Politics and Elections (The long weekend has taken precedence for most people. As for me, I voted in the last LS elections. Yawn.), terrorism (even the Bombay HC thinks the 26/11 case should just be transferred out of sight and more importantly, out of traffic). Now, we have a new source of entertainment, especially for the hypochondriacs amongst us - swine flu!

The name provokes an initial humorous reaction, which is understandable. In the words of my friend Gaugau: "All sentences ending with "...when pigs fly" should now be coming true - because swine flu!"  Anyway, am sure there are people stocking up on the medication which has been front paged in all major newspapers this morning. This just shows that the media can mess up everyone's happiness, be you a concerned-for-your-health citizen or a hostage safely (or so you think) hidden under a bed in the Taj. I'm pretty sure that by the time there is an outbreak (what are the chances of an epidemic not hitting India?) there will be a shortage of the antidote, having been hoarded by hypochondriacs and mommies concerned over their toddler's snifflings (because it couldn't have anything to do with the ice gola and the central air conditioning, can it?).

Poor piggies. Why are diseases which usually target animals suddenly mutating and wreaking havoc upon us homo sapiens? Do they get bored? ("I'm tired of pork tonight, honey. Let's go out for dinner.") 

I don't know how much pork is consumed in India, but quite a few communities enjoy the "other white meat" (yes!) - Coorgis (the Pork Curry has to be tasted to be believed), Malyalis, our friends in the north east (sorry for generalizing, there) and of course, my Goa.

Goa's catholic community sees a lot of variety in Pork Cooking. There's the famous Sorpotel which I have never had the guts to try - it contains pig's blood as a secret ingredient, in some recipe books. Recently I was at a wedding where it was on the buffet display, but I couldn't get myself to spoon it onto my plate. How brahmin of me.

The ET claims that more than a 100 pigs have died in piggeries across the State since the breakout of the Flu. My brahminical upbringing is astounded. Pigs are raised in piggeries? In Goa, pigs are on the road. You'll see fat sows with their little brood of piglets, all black as soot, marching about, eating unmentionables on the ground. Particularly rabid relatives would tell me as a child - "Catholics eat shit! You know why? Because they eat pigs! And what do pigs eat?". 

Take a wild guess.

So my parents, having been indoctrinated as such, would happily eat spare ribs in New York but when it came to indigenous produce, it was a different story altogether.

Mom and Dad do to visit a Roman Catholic friend and his wife in Brooklyn, who has prepared a scrumptious feast for their party. The piece de resistance was the sausage pulao, which everyone eyed greedily. 

After serving the guests and enjoying the praise, Aunty lets everyone know that secret of the pulao was in the sausage:
"I got them from Goa!"

Before my parent's eyes, visions of scavenger pigs floated by, followed by the familiar view of a chain of sausages, hung out to dry on the porch of an old Portuguese house, covered with flies.

My Dad put his fork down. My Mom, being the ultimate polite guest, finished her plate and later lost her dinner in the toilet bowl.

Anyway, Chorizo, or the Goan spiced sausages, are still in my good books. I admit to loving a fix of chorizo-pao whenever I get the chance. My mom gives me the dirts everytime I stow away a packet in my luggage. 
"You're such a kiristao" she says, and if you can figure out the pronunciation you can probably figure out what she means.

Of course now there are professionally manufactured, packed and marketed sausages which is probably where the piggeries come in. And it's good. And let's not forget Salami, Bacon, Pork Chops and Spare RIbs. 

But pigs have had it pretty bad even outside GSB households. The Bible has a story of the sins of a man which were absorbed from him and expelled into a pig. Hence, the Old Testament bans eating of Pork, and apparently that is why communities like Muslims and Orthodox Jews refrain from eating Pork. The New testament allows for eating anything "in the name of God". 

Hindus aren't so bothered with the Pig. Lots of people told me, as a Child, that eating Pork was not allowed. That was before we learnt to raise an eyebrow and ask "Oh yeah? By whom?". 

However, the swine flu shall now unite all communities, against the Rind. Just like Mad Cow made everyone Hindu and Bird Flu made everyone... umm... chicken friendly (no it didn't - the KFC Bucket was at the concessional rate of 150 bucks, and we were all on grass.)

Or maybe this is some ploy to make us all veggie? 

God Forbid!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stared out

I knew it was all too good to be true.

I have a gym starer. Ugh!

Now as much as men continuously astound and shock me, this guy takes it up a notch.

Staring is in itself a terrible thing and it makes women feel uncomfortable and it's a violation of space and all, which is true - however gym staring is the worst of them all, I think, though I don't have a very expansive being-stared at experience.

Why gym staring especially sucks:

1. For the woman, you are covered with sweat and wearing gym clothes, which in themselves are figure emphasizing. Lots of women wear loose t shirts and track pants to the gym. I don't believe in that school of thought. Think about it - how will you encourage yourself to work out if you can't see what the problem is? And there's lots to see, thanks to the second issue here -

2. The mirrors. Gyms are wall to wall mirrors, presumably so that exercisers can watch themselves and check posture etc. It is also helpful when your trainer is forced to work a simultaneous double shift thanks to someone being on leave, so he can watch you do your jumbo squats while he's helping someone pump iron on the other side of the room. Unfortunately, your starer can see you too, wherever you are.

3. Workouts often involve strange postures and movements which perhaps can be construed to be sensual, if you're sick in the head and need professional help. Then again, that's probably why you're staring at women with no regard to public decency, 'innit?.

Even so, why you'd want to choose to stalk someone and so obviously stare at them in the gym is beyond me. You see me run 3 kilometers, do 200 ab crunches, pump iron, and you still want to piss me off?

So this hasn't reached the stage where you can complain to the authorities (or even my trainer). He hasn't said anything offensive, or anything at all (till today, that is), or made a pass at me, or feel me up - he just stares. I know plenty of men (and the numbers are rising by the day - isn't that scary?) who'd think that I'm just making a big deal out of nothing and that he probably isn't even staring. Well to all of you - fuck off. Never argue with the chick sense. When a creep stares the stare at you, you can feel his eyes upon you like a red ant. However the sad reality of the Gujju gym is that it isn't quite the right time to get my trainer to dump a 30 kg weight on him.

The stares aren't the lechy kinds, but more like (and you must understand that I've been observing him discreetly, the last thing I want is for him to catch me looking at him in one of the mirrors) soulful looks, which are just as pissing off.

Doesn't take much to guess this guy's athletic capabilities since he has enough time to stare. He uses a small room at the side of the cardio workout area where he does some pansy stretches and yoga (You call that a surya namaskar? Ha!). One day I was reaching for a bottle of water and he made a grab for it as well, our fingers brushed against each other and he turned away in embarrassment.

Seriously. Is this where we're at now?

Today (again at the watering hole, it seems like that's his hunting ground) he waited till I was finished talking to another fellow gymmer about how I stumbled on the treadmill because I was thinking about a case today and NOT because I was dizzy or anorexic or anything (Jesus!). When I turned to drink a sip of water, there he was, in full open mouthed glory. I saw him do his thing through 45 minutes of cardio and I slowly lowered my bottle and looked him straight in the eye.

Not so comfy anymore, are you, buddy?

"You are having very good stamina", he mumbled.

"I know." I muttered, in a "Guess what. Dumbbells can fly." tone of voice.

He looked away as if one was flying right at him.

This guy is not "cute", he's not "sweet", he's an ass. I'm just waiting for him to slip up badly, preferably under a thigh cruncher.

I don't get this new breed of obnoxious men. First there's the serial SMS-er and his assholic friend, and now this - men who are educated, earning well, are exposed to society but enter some random woman and BOOM! They become social spastics.

Someone set up a society for them, please! Or at least classify them as a special class and make them walk around with identity cards which they need to produce when involved in social events, like dating, gymming, pubbing and breathing.

Or else we women will have to take matters into our own (well toned) hands.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


My mom told me this story once, about how she was, as a young girl, laughing at her mother for some archaic practice she was following.

Her mother smiled at her and said “When you grow up, you will understand.”

I’ve never been a very fan of the “when you grow up, you will understand” school of thought. I have been getting it a hell of a lot, and while all of the instances involve the use of this term are devoid of any sense, the most bizarre instance was when as a 11th standard hostelite, I was discussing this new movie, Dil Kya Kare, with my Seniors.

Now, for those of you out of touch with early 21st century cinema, DKK’s main plot is about how the happiness of a family (Mahima Choudhary and Ajay Devgan) is shattered when they meet the mother of their adopted child (Kajol) and find out that the child has been fathered by none other than Ajay Devgan himself.

How this comes about is the crux of this movie. Kajol is being dragged by goons who have decided to loot the entire compartment of a train. Ajay steps in, beats up and throws goons off, Kajol weeps and next thing you know, they are at it on the 1st class coupe. To my mind, this didn’t make any sense.

“You’ll understand when you get older”, said our Hostel in Charge, a post graduate student. 

I’m 26. I still don’t understand that movie. Like I understand that after a near death experience, it’s easy to crave some physical comfort. But forgetting that you are married and to use a condom? Naah.

I figured out very early in life (i.e. about 2 years after I started getting this ‘when you will grow up” nonsense) that I would never understand (or perhaps never grow up) and so my endeavour always was to train my parents to understand things the way they should be. At the risk of cringing my teeth out, I would address important issues with my parents and even other family members, but particularly my mother, to understand how things should be understood (at least to my generation) and to make peace with the bizarreness of human nature.

And till now I thought I had succeeded. 

That is, until I decided to get married. 

All pretenses I had of my family being cool and “above all that” have literally been flushed down the toilet. Apparently the approaching light that I saw was the headlight of an oncoming train. Before my very eyes, my parents are turning into the very antithesis of what I painstakingly worked on for the last 10 years, at least. I watch them with the desperation that one feels when you’ve been playing expert level minesweeper for the last 45 minutes and your mouse slips up when you have 2 mines to go, reducing all of your hard work to a dead smiley on the computer screen.

Yes, ladies (and a few gentlemen), welcome to the Bridezilla blog. Watch this space. Or get out of the way.

PS: Inspired my M I spent a valuable part of this Sunday checking out my stats on To my horror, I found that my blog has an incredible number of hits from all over the world which have been linked to a post I put up on India’s first graphic porn star (I shall not repeat her name here for obvious reasons. Do the math.) Jesus H. Christ! 

Moral of the story: Now all of you know how to increase traffic to your blog. 


Friday, April 24, 2009

Happy Feat

Last night I went for "Monsters vs. Aliens" at PVR, Lower Parel. We paid a bomb for the tickets (haven't these guys heard of recession?) and were anyway about 10 minutes late (thanks to a messed up order at noodle bar) and as much as I had nothing else to do I didn't think watching an animated movie was the best way to pass time. When we went into the (nearly empty, see, told you so) theatre, however, the screen was slightly blurry and I fumbled in my bag for my glasses, when I realized that I already had them on.

A breathless theatre attendant who chased us in handed us both a pair of what seemed to be sunglasses. Then it hit me.

3D! Yahoo!

I hadn't seen anything in 3D in years, decades, even. Faint memories of my childhood in New York reminded me of the few movies that I had seen (which were totally the rage among -10 year olds) and even a few TV programmes (the glasses would be available at Taco Bell, which was the only acceptable eat out joint for my parents, I suppose because it was spicy food. You can't take the mirchi out of the Goan, apparently) I watched the movie open mouthedly - the movie was no great shakes, but who cares! It was in 3D!

That's the great thing about being a kid. All you need to make you happy is things jumping out at you from a screen. But I'm glad to say that it still does.

Other kiddish things that have made me happy recently:

1. Hopscotch

2. Traveling in an open air bus

3. Trying to watch aeroplanes land and take off (without the influence of Marijuna)

Besides that, I find that the things that amuse me most are things that involve people getting screwed over. I love watching Seinfeld, and I love the fake Steve Jobs blog primarily I suppose because he's being mean to people because he can.

Am I turning into the Wicked Witch of the Western Line? I don't know. And to be honest, I don't care. All that much.

But I like the moments of childlike bliss which shows that I'm still a human being capable of enjoying simple and pure pleasures. Phew!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Justice delayed?

It's been said a thousand times before and I'm saying it again:
Someone shoot Arnab Goswami.
Though I've always had a death wish for him (remember how he declared war on India on behalf of Pakistan during the November terrorist attacks?) I completely lost my mind a few days ago while I was flipping channels during (another) rained out IPL game.
Apparently cashing in on the public outrage (?) that had erupted as soon as it became known that Qasab's new lawyer, Abbas Kazmi, made two applications before the special court - one, that he be given a period of four weeks to read the charge sheet and two, that Qasab be subjected to a medical test to determine his age - Times Now quickly assembled a cast of characters to voice their strong opinion against such "tactics" being adopted by the lawyer.
Arnab angrily pointed out how Qasab was now being given an ultra expensive lawyer from tax payer's money to a patient Majeed Memon.
"But surely there was no need to give him a extraordinary lawyer!" gasped Arnab, obviously referring to the fees (because it's OK for the State to pay extraordinary fees for a Special Public Prosecutor but not to a Defence Counsel)
"He's not extraordinary, just...ordinary" mumbled Memon, obviously not referring to just the fees.
Anyway, the other panelists included a screechy Doctor who saved a life during the Taj siege by conducting a makeshift operation on a security personnel who was shot in the stomach, which was an incredible feat for which she has received many laurels. How this makes her capable of commenting on legal processes I fail to understand. She seemed very disturbed that some factions of the media were referring to Qasab as a "cutie" and referred to Facebook to point out that the sentiment of the public, in particular, young Indians (10 and 13 year olds, she clarified) wanted to tie a time bomb to Qasab's genitals and put him back on the boat where he came from.
I know that Times Now is full of other such ridiculous nonsense (if any news channel wants to pay me to blog on each and every episode of Arnab's panel questioning, I will gladly do so) and that no one besides Goswami takes it seriously, as a legal practitioner who deals with the pressures of conducting criminal trials on a regular basis, I would like to offer my humble opinion.
The other day, I accompanied a new Client who was being served with a copy of the charge sheet for allegedly committing an offence under the Maharashtra Protection of Trees (Urban Areas) Act. The Judge asked me how long I would need before he would explain the charge and record the plea.
I asked for a month. And I'll tell you why. This is what I needed before I decided my strategy in the case:
1. Clear instructions from my Client as to what exactly happened
2. An inspection of the site of the alleged offence
3. Studying the act, which was a new one
4. A good reading of the chargesheet and the witness statements to determine if any offence was made out from a bare reading of the chargesheet, and if so, what offence(s)
And of course as I handle so many other matters I need time to study those matters in as much detail, and hence, I asked for a month, and the Judge gave me two. (Blame it on the backlog)
And I'm not a spastic lawyer. I consider myself to be thorough and I do my homework. Quality is the least I can offer my Clients, right?
My point is this: we're talking about a 10,000 page chargesheet and some 300 different charges (mostly capital crimes) under at least 10 statutes that I can think of. Mr. Kazmi has not spent his entire life waiting for this one case and I'm sure he has other matters to deal with. As I recall he was Amicus Curaie in the 1993 blasts as well. Of course he would apply for adjournments in other cases (and most judges would willingly allow this) but my point is why should his Clients languish in jail because their lawyer was appointed to represent Qasab?
Look, I work here. Don't make a farce out of my profession. If you want this to be a "fair trial" to set an example to the world and what not, then let the law takes its own course and give the lawyer a fair chance to at least flip through a 10,000 page chargesheet. If you want vigilante justice then you should have just accidentally let his prison cell open and let the mob claw him to a gory end.
The screechy Doctor asked why we couldn't just have a trial like Saddam Hussein's? What a great idea!
One month isn't going to kill anyone. Except Qasab, ultimately.
Or are we all just worried that our laws and judicial system are so screwed up that this Lawyer might just get Qasab off the hook?

Faking It

What niceness. My friends are so happy with my resurrection (it's alive!!!) that I feel like a Celeb. They've even dedicted blog posts on their own respective blogs to celebrate my return. So cute - thank you! And Mem, stop making me sound like a slapford wife!

Right so to the blog of the moment. It's entertaining even if you don't give a rat's ass about IPL (and with the incessant rains in South Africa, it's hard to do otherwise). IPL is the luscious combination of Cinema and Cricket, and this blog throws in gossip and sex. The latest update is about one particularly bubbly team owner who's doing Brett Lee! Personally, I would like dope on Lalit Modi (pun not originally intended but am finding it amusing now) and to find out exactly how many plastic surgeons it took for Nita Ambani to look like she does right now. I can understand the pressure to look good when being seen with the likes of Preiti and Shilpa, but she looks just plastic. I saw an interview of hers with Mandira during last night's match on an LCD screen and I wondered about Botox Overdoses and whether they were potentially fatal. It seems to be a thing with the Ambani brothers, one brother is as fit as a maniac while his wife is much unlike the svelte heroine of her time, and in the other household it seems to be the opposite. Whatever.

My boyfriend as usual made me a little more aware of the (geek) world around us by pointing out that this was a clear take off from the fake Steve Jobs Blog. I was stuck in the High Court all of today and so i settled myself in a chair with decent network coverage and began to read the real fake blog. And I was in major danger of getting debarred. Here's a particularly funny post.

Now that's what I call a fun blog.

I also wonder which celeb I would spoof if I could write a fake blog. Then again, maybe it's a bad idea. Maybe not, but it's definitely a time consuming one.

Well, the Courts are off in May, so maybe... :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Of Snakes and Jeems.

The lack of activity on this blog is but one indication of how fucking lazy I've become. As if I decided to take a "vacation from myself" (in the spirit of the Seinfeld Butter Shave episode) the sluggish and cynical writer of this blog has decided to become "fit".
Which is funny, because I honestly never considered myself to be unfit. Sure, I would think twice about buying most clothes I've ever laid my hands on, but I had the stamina for a physically demanding job and I wasn't fat enough to repulse the opposite sex (to be that fat takes some doing, look at the excitement to watch Susan Boyle lose her virginity on camera). I have lots of girlfriends whose waist size is <30>
Like most women, I decided the way to go was to diet. Many people find diets to be a lazy person's idea of fitness, which in my case is certainly true. And I've worked hard (or as hard as a lazy person can work) at my diets. I tried the Atkins, which worked wonders even though it had me sobbing at bread baskets. Unfortunately I missed the part about slowly incorporating carbs into the diet, and that's when things went, well, back to normal. With interest. A friend suggested I do the South Beach, and I didn't quite see the point, almost everything I ate seemed to be permissible under this strange eating regime. It wasn't totalitarian enough for me. 
I then decided to do the professional thing. Think about it - you buy a book for 30 bucks from Flora Fountain or read some website on the internet and expect it to work, just like that? People spend years studying nutrition and these books seem to indicate that they are complete idiots who would be better off working at some Burger King Drive In Counter. Luckily, a friend of a friend (I love how significant new entrants in my life make their entrance dramatically and ridiculously on cue, like a slapstick Gujarati Play) who had just turned into an overnight celebrity nutritionist introduced me to the small meals plan. 
And how I love the small meals. I don't care if they don't work (yes I do - I paid a lot for this) but I plan for them and look forward to them with such eagerness that I scare myself at what an obsessive mother I will turn into. I eat, eat and eat, and if I don't get to eat I get goddamn cranky. Luckily, the plans do work. It helps that I get hardly any career satisfaction so I divert my creativity into planning my snacklets. Now do you get why I stopped blogging? :)
Suddenly this all looked promising. I liked the shape of myself in the mirror. Maybe this fit thing wasn't such a bad idea after all - of course there are always limits (size zero - hahahahaha) and I got to eat everything I wanted to. Voila!
It was then that my celebrity nutritionist friend pointed out that celebrities have much more than nutritionists at their side:
"Why don't you start some weight training?"
Ah ha.
The Gym (or as my first not-boyfriend and countless other Puneri boys put it, "the jeem") and I share a chequered history. My first experience with the gym was post my 10th Boards when unlike most of my friends my parents were not taking me anywhere on a holiday and I had nothing to do but sloth around and wait for my results. My dad suggested I join a gym. Come to think of it, the gym has been suggested to me for almost every conceivable reason - "You're bored! Join a gym." "You're fat! Join a gym." "You're depressed! Join a gym." "You're single! Join a gym." "You're getting married! Join a gym." "You need to network! Join a gym." "It's cheap! Join a gym."
FIne, whatever. So he enrolled me in a gym, and I was to report there every morning. I had paid a princely sum of Rs. 600 to enroll for the month. 
The instructor was built like a bull on steroids who also ODed on Prozac. 
Throughout my life, I have noticed that it is difficult to cultivate meaningful and lasting relationships with people who poke me in the tummy on our first meeting.
He was no exception.
I lasted about 2 days and 6 sit ups.
Various other experiments included College Gyms, another private gym and finally I made my peace with the help of 1) A fitness freak friend, Daze 2) Aerobics and 3) An instructor with a butt like a work of art, no matter that he from the front he looked like just another Digga Superstar.
In Mumbai, it was back to the sloth. I had a partner in crime, my roommate, (though she managed to rise above the Sunday Morning Spazz Outs and run the Half Marathon, wow) who bought a stepper after a hasty tryout session at the Hypercity Mall. The roommate's off to conquer the world (bank) but her loyal Stepper still sits in the living room, drying clothes, and scaring my sister who spends sleepless nights in Mumbai imagining the shadows cast from its handles to be the horns of a crazed antelope.
Anyway. I digress.
I joined a gym about a month ago. And I am ashamed to say that I enjoy it thoroughly and it gives my life new meaning and I think people who think that they are above physical exercise are lowly human beings even if they think my life must really suck if going to the gym is what I look forward to the most.
I started by paying extra for the personal trainer, K, which was the best decision I've taken in about 4 months. K initially shyly suggested that I come into the gym later in the morning to avail of the services of the lady trainer. I didn't, but I met her while being measured (more on that later). Waking up at 545 every morning was worth it. My trainer rocks because he is so damn fit. However, he also has a baby face and is so nice that I actually guilt myself into going to the gym at times. K always comes up with some new method of trying to kill me so I never get bored. It must be all those endorphins. And it's true. Early morning physical exertion makes you disgustingly energetic through the day. K gives me heavy weights and assures me that spot reduction is for losers and I smile through sweat blurred eyes.
The gym is partly airconditioned and fully Gujarati (this is Vile Parle, what did you expect?) and wonderfully entertaining. Today I was cornered by the staff and K who insisted I come to get myself "measured" in the morning. They did this when I joined as well - they didn't seem too concerned about when and if I was going to pay the fees as long as I get myself measured. 
So there it was, loss quantified in terms of inches. I was like one of those chicks on TV commercials holding oversized pants over their new and petite frame, except I just had half an inch (and at one place, one and a half inches!) of measuring tape to show for my efforts. But I was grinning like an idiot. Especially when I found out that my weight on the measuring scale was absolutely the same it was a month ago.
The lady trainer who was sizing me up wasn't, but she obviously hadn't been doing as much internet research as I was.    
And apparently I make a valuable contribution to the gym as well! I went home for a few days and when I came back, K looked more pleased than I expected him to be.
"You see, when you were out, the guys weren't working out as hard as they used to."
Cheesy, I know.
Ooh. That reminds me. Snack time!