*NEW* Recent blog entries

July 31, 2008

Do you want to touch my monkey?

How many of you think/ agree with the idea that watching pornography together can be good for a couple? A growing number of relationship experts and counsellors suggest that if a couple are having trouble with sex (with each other!) or their relationship is getting lacklustre or they are bored of the same-old-thing vis-a-vis sex, watching pornography will a) bring them closer b) spice-up their sex lives and c) give their relationship a new life. Agree, disagree or think that's crap? I have some ideas/opinions on that but I really want to know what you think. If you know other people who might have a say on the issue or think/feel strongly about it, please pass on this question/link.

(published in) The Hindustan Times, 31 July, 2008
Posing poses, hiking haikus

While 'social porn'
is the latest fad, there

is a whole world
out there that swears
by the madness
-- and pithiness --
of onlike haikus

What do you think of the phrase 'social porn'? To give you a hint, it's one of the latest (well, a year-old) cyber development that has many up in arms. It is user-generated pornography – as against shot-in-the-studio porn – and is slowly, steadily becoming the next best thing after social networking. Why network based on hobbies when you can network based on your fishnet fetish?
Social porn is also the only development that has both feminist groups and the adult film industry people agreeing with each other: Both consider it bad news. If the feminists feel that 'social porn' will further encourage the portrayal of women as commodities (even if the women are happy posing for different angles?), the adult film industry is concerned that the commoditisation will not yield any moolah for them. For their respective reasons, both groups don't want 'social porn' to catch on. Fat chance given it's free and does not need downloads.
Other than social porn (sorry, family newspapers do not encourage porn-pandering so no links!) there's much else that's free on the Internet, particularly in the blogosphere. There is free advice on house-keeping. Or free music reviews, if you aren't already up to your ears with everyone and their grandpa dishing out what they think you should be listening to. Some people do it with style though. "It's not easy being a pretentious, posturing, egocentric, and elitist music snob. In part because there is so goddamn much popular music that it is hard to keep up," says Jason on Hipster Dork even as he takes a punch at Arctic Monkeys – and for those indie-lovers who gasped – at indie lovers.
If Jason's love for phrases like 'pleonastic pablum' put you off and if you are one of Those who insist blogging should have some meaning, some higher purpose, some greater good (etc, yawn, etc), check out Mad Haiku for a hard kick in the gut (or wherever else gives you the kicks). From a take on world peace, Pres Bush to erectile dysfunction, Mad Haiku has some, well, mad haiku on everything. It's best read under the influence of mind altering drugs, but of course you need a doctor's prescription for those. While the haiku's aren't recommended for sending to your girlfriend (unless she has a good sense of humour), you should try those on your boss (they never have a funny bone). Like the one on what the man in the moon really thinks: Full moon in the sky/ Beckons hauntingly/ Earth girls are easy!

July 30, 2008

Smack my bitch up. Please.

Or, Chaos, serendipity and reflection

Pondering: What’s the longest that pubic hair can grow to? Can’t Google-it in the library, dont want the admin to think I am surfing porn. Sad.

Learnt: Too much reflection will never get the work done. I reflect all the time. It’s inversely proportional to word count dished out.

Felt patriotic when: One, Shashi Tharoor was being interviewed on an Aussie news channel and despite never having any particular fondness for him, felt an immense sense of pleasure seeing him up there. However, he didn’t sound too convincing when explaining why India is not a willing party to cutting her carbon emission rates in ways that would make the US and Australian governments happy. And the world a better place. Presumably, since no one wants to guarantee that.

Two, on discovering a Karsh Kale track when uploading Windows Vista on new laptop. The tabla is divine! Three, when teaching how to say “up your mother’s” in Hindi to two Sri Lankan chicks. One of them should soon be saying “thik hai” too.

Inspired: By Aussie lad-mag called Vice, had a picture of a 35-something mother, holding a rifle with a 6-year-old boy suckling on her right nipple. Also some pictures of bums, the photographer felt that since everyone shoots face-pictures, he needed to do something about it. Poorly executed idea, nice bums though. Guess no one minds the execution then. I am going to shoot bums too.
Realised: Relationships can be a pain in the arse. You are forever doing something wrong. Or forever looking for something wrong. Perhaps some of us like some pain in the arse. Or are plain stupid. Have you ever had the feeling that if there is nothing wrong (or nothing going wrong) in your life, it could mean there’s something really sinister happening somewhere? And that it will hit you in the face when you least expect it to?
Confession: I am really angtsy today, have been so all day. I could be missing the Delhi chaos. Maybe. The daily fights with autorickshaw drivers for one. Here everything is mechanical. Punch preference, put money in, get on with it. No humans. Most things are very efficient, so much so they can be boring. Like all my glassware is intact. No maid to rush through washing dishes who would break them. Funny that the song playing on the laptop right now – of the five songs I could download before the Internet died at home – is Ironic (Alanis Morisette).
There are fond memories associated with the song.
First year of college, N and me going to participate in the intracollege annual festival at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. The fest is called Rendezvous. She participating in the western music competition and me in the on-the-spot story writing one. She sang an acoustic version of Ironic. I wrote “I am a bitch but I didn’t want it to end this way”. It won the first prize. Shrug. College did not publish it in the college mag, they wanted stories on feminism, not psychopathic killers. N never made it to the western music society and I pulled out of the creative writing one.
That was also the time both of us would while away time at the bus stop outside college concocting imaginary stories about what-would-life-be-when-we-grow-up. I was only 19 then, ten bloody years AGO. Where? When? How? What the fuck happened? She was the only one who said that of the 22 girls in class, I would be the first to get married but it would end in a divorce. I had scoffed at being the first to marry. (Smiles) She is married today, I am not. Fortunately or not so, I’ve always been quick at undoing mistakes. Or running from them.
Right now, thanks to all the author names that people throw around, sitting amongst other “writers” seems like a BIG mistake. “Have you read Umberto Eco?” Er, yes, but put down Focault’s Pendulum after page-four because it made no sense to me. My best friend though has read most of his work... but she is into management now. Ironic?
I also want to fight, kick, scream, lunge, lash, hit out. Writing requires sitting in one place. And reflecting. I can do that, perhaps. But what about action? There’s no chaos here. I miss chaos.
I miss home.
PS: Dont think Golu would like it here, he wouldn’t be able to run around freely.
PS2: I think I saw Tinkuji in the market today...

July 24, 2008

Hex appeal anyone?

The Hindustan Times, July 24, 2008
"I get beaten up regularly, you will learn to adjust too," her to-be mother-in-law told her. Luckily she didn't take that parental advice and walked out a week before her marriage. She was 23. Another was not as lucky and grew to be very scared of the night, that's when her husband came back from work. She was 18. He never beat her, technically, but he raped her every night, every possible way. She took three years to get out of the marriage. Both women are 'comfortable' sharing their stories over a cup of coffee but neither of them is a blogger nor wants to be one either. One wonders if there would be any takers for their blogs or would they be labelled 'feminists' and cast aside?

It's ironic that while both 'feminine' and 'feminist' come from 'female', one conjures images of Marilyn Monroe's mystery, Sophia Loren's sensuousness and Bo Derek's twins; the other neither invokes such visual richness nor summons any pleasing reactions. 'Hard-nosed', bitch, needs-a-lay are just some of the polite words. Currently the blog world is divided over feminine and feminist too. Feminine will write about sex, or rather who she 'shags' (and how); feminist will write about who shagged her -- and then beat her.

If on one hand there's cleavage-baring (nice cleavage though) Zoe Margolis aka Abbey Lee aka Girl With A One Track Mind who gives insight on men-women-relationships with a generous dose of her generous , there's Fay Weldon who also gives insight on men and women but sans the cleavage or her sex life. She does write on sex though, more on the lines of "It's OK to fake an orgasm" or "Rejecting a lover can give you more gratification". Those are excerpts from an article she wrote on keeping men happy on Femail daily. If Abbey Lee talks about massaging a man's gonads, Weldon talks about squeezing the same to prove your point.

Feminine or feminist, all women seem to talk about bodies, babies, boobs and beatings. There's Samantha Brett on Ask Sam who answers dating and relationship queries. While Sam's writing is neither witty enough to compare with Abbey Lee nor scathing enough to match up to Weldon's, for some quick easy (at times, can-find-anywhere) advice on what's the right thing to do, she suffices.

For those who'd rather read fiction than facts, there's – hold your breath – Witchy Chicks who write fictional, sex-filled, lustful, orgasmic (etc, etc) stories on wicca, sex, women, sex, wizards, sex… Don't read for much quality – 'Hex Appeal' anyone? – but it's worth a laugh.

PS: Current status: No internet yet, course going fine, met awesome Sri Lankan girl, wore green socks yesterday that were called woolly mammoth and moss among other polite things. Cooked Indian dinner. Gave CV to chef saying I was a baker, he was Greek and said he will call back. So that I can bake for him. Like the idea, it should pay. Let's see. Gotta go, this is the library!!!

July 21, 2008

The Pope, politics and potty!

In another hour or so I'll be heading for my first class. Let's see how that goes, kind of nervous. Even before classes, I found myself signing up for two campaigns. One supporting a change in abortion laws in Victoria (the state Melbourne is in) and another supporting the cause of giving transport (train/tram) concessions to international students and postgraduate students. Hmm. No, I hadn't planned to join in campaigns but I did. Hopefully there will be a workload from uni and hopefully it should not be boring. I am BLOODY bored and itching to get on with things.

While on one hand the media is/was abuzz with Pope Benedict's visit on the World Youth Day (misnomer though, should have been World Catholic Youth Day, since it seems the rest of the world's youth will really have no hand in world peace or such similar nice things), the other three big news are about Indian-origin doctor Jayant Patel being extradited from the US on charges of negligence and manslaughter while he was working at te Bundaberg hospital in Queensland, a senior foreign correspondent for commercial Aussie TV channel ABC being arrested in Singapore for trafficking 'ice' and Aussie PM Kevin Rudd being torn apart in the media because he said the C word. No, NOT 'clit' (bwahaha) but CARBON, rather carbon emissions. It's funny how earlier the media here loved to bash their PM-for-12-years John Howard and now has a gala time trying to make Rudd trip and fall. Funny how the media here is EXACTLY the same as the media back home. They even say wrong English on TV, "Dr Patel FLIED out of US this morning." Pray, what the eff is FLIED? That on national TV on a show called Sunrise. Perhaps the anchor needed some waking up.

However, unlike the Indian media, media criticism here is much rampant and much more scathing. While our NDTV does a good show in the form on 'Gustakhi Maaf' (lierally means 'pardon me', the puppet-based show anyone?) that critiques (more often ridicules) the politicians, we don't have ANYTHING that looks at the media as such. There's a show here called 'Media Watch' that does a darned good job of looking at what the media - print, online and TV -- is upto. From which journo was heard flirting on air, to putting his/her foot in the mouth, to what report was plagiarised, lacked facts or was botched and even taking down magazines for stupid captions -- they did on lag mag FHM, which had a caption for a camera saying something on the lines of 'Gave all paedophiles/pervs a hard-on when passing by the school.' IMAGINE having a show or even a column like that in India. What do you think will happen? 1. journalist will lose his/her job for suggesting such a column 2. Times of India will most probably start suing everyone involved. Anyone remember what happened to the Mediah blog?

While our desi papers and channels have a fair share of Australia-related news, the three news items I've read here that concerned India were 1. About Dhoni "saving himself" for the 20/20s or one-dayers and not playing in the Test. Someone tell Dhoni his hymen isn't involved. (2.) another about the nuclear deal going bust and India looking at imminent elections and how three politicians with criminal records will be released from jail to participate in the same and how India is one of the world's MOST corrupt nations (think we are number 7, have to check) and (3) Indian-origin doctor Patel news. I logged-in to ibnlive.com this morning and the first interesting news that was flashing was how Indians beat the world in defecating in open places.

Wonder though if we should really feel bad about that since the British top the list when it comes to potty-bums -- defecating and not "washing" themselves. What's worse: Getting it out of the system in the open or letting some loving remains stick to you? Take your pick, leave a comment or mail me. We're talking shit again. ;)

Below is the column I wrote for HT last Thursday, which of course I forgot to put up. Mea culpa.

The Hindustan Times, 17th July 2008
The blogger’s world is
abuzz with stay-at-home
single dads (and

beleagured moms)
who are sharing more
than just pictures of
their kids in the buff

Some parents have a strange habit of clicking pictures of their babies in the buff. With the Internet and blogging, some parents are also putting up those pictures for all and sundry to see. Either there should be legislation against allowing parents to click naked pictures of their kids or some sort of age of consent where kids have a say if they want the world to see those pictures. Parents need to be told that 2-year-old Ratan's picture showing his little wee-wee is really not funny when said Ratan, now 32, brings home the girl he wants to marry.

If on one hand Angelina Jolie's newly popped-out twins are sending the paparazzi in a tizzy to get that first shot (pray why, aren't all newborns red and wrinkled?), elsewhere dad and Australian newspaper The Age's art critic Robert Nelson, is in the midst of a media blitzkrieg for publishing naked pictures of his six-year-old daughter Olympia in the magazine's (Art Monthly) latest issue. While first he denied the pictures are sexual, an essay written on his wife Polixeni Papapetrou's blog seemed to say otherwise.

Perhaps Nelson needs to learn about parenting from mommy-daddy bloggers – parents who blog – who despite sharing regular insights on everything from baby poo, nappy rashes and when-to-wean-the-baby, don't put out naked pictures of their infants. While mommy bloggers come in all ages – from the to-be mommies, newly-mommies to wish-I-wasn't-mommy-because-the-tots-turned-to-teens – the daddy bloggers seem to be singularly of the same 'type'. Most are new dads, most are stay-at-home and most try to be funny. Some succeed.

Some of the daddies rue the time they were single, some of the dads are single and trying to juggle babies and booties and some dads are plain preachy. Writer, blogger, and divorced single dad David Mott invites voyeurs to his blog and offers stories, tips, and expert advice "in an age of online dating, friends with benefits, hookups and booty calls" on Dad's House. If he recommends a beach vacation as the best family outing, he also supports tantrix sex. "Cooking is sexy. Reading is sexy. Tantric sex is sexy. It's the fast-food guzzling, sports blathering, selfish lover sorts of men who are unmanly," says David supporting the cause of men-who-like-gourmet.

Reading through some daddy blogs breaks the myth that it's only women who 'think' babies all the time, men do too! However, unlike most mommy blogs, the daddy bloggers use more humour. Consider the issue of baby names for instance. Greg on Daddy Types suggests using drug names for baby names for originality. "Aren't Paxil, Ambien, and Cialis kind of cute names? Tramadol, Klonopin and Zyrtec, not so much."

July 17, 2008

Have strong legs, make man happy!

OR Queer, Womyn and Cash!

If you see, those three words in the 'headline' aren't really related. Or they are if you see from another perspective. Once again, apologies for rather sporadic posting, particularly since I'm still not sure about the frequency of my writing here. Am I writing elsewhere? Nah, nowhere other than some scribbles in the notebook that are meant to become blog posts, but don't. Why don't they? Hmmm. Perhaps because as information flows in from all quarters, I'm trying to segregate what I see, sense, learn, un-learn; trying to slot into understandable sub-heads that can then make for (perhaps) readable posts. Sometimes, I'm plain tired. My thighs and calves HURT and occassionally the balls (of the feet!) as well. There's a WHOLE lot of walking one has to do in Melbourne and I've never had strong legs.

Hmmm. Perhaps I shouldn't be accepting I have weak legs... In the movie Mongol, Timugin's (we know him as Genghis/Chengiz Khan) father tells him he should be marrying a woman with strong legs as "they make a man happy". If anyone has any doubts about HOW a woman's legs are supposed to make a man happy -- in Melbourne they might mean she can walk fast and do more work, like in rural parts of India it could mean she is a strong worker! -- just think Xenia Onatopp ('on a top' anyone?!) in Golden Eye and remember how she merrily held on to the men with her legs and then even more merrily squeezed the life out of them. Erm, I mean she killed them, no double entendres. Anyway, thankfully, despite my weak-legs-status, Partner says he is very happy with me.

Ah but perhaps I should not be talking about Partner being happy with me, it could piss off the womyn. 'Womyn' -- not woMEN, it's anti-feministic -- is the only-for-girls group that's there at RMIT, the university I start from Monday. I love their common room and the pamphlets on cervical cancer, anti-womyn's abuse and softer abortion laws (huge number of Catholics love, why do you think the revered Pope is visiting?) that are up on the walls. HOWEVER, the promotion of Guerilla Girls stickers bothers me. Not because I have anything against the Girls or their ideologies, but if I, as a WOMAN can get rights, opportunities, a say, a pay and your balls WITHOUT having to leave the man I love, or hate the man who sired me, or the man who hired me, without ever spreading my legs, fluttering my lashes, or wearing pant-suits or pantyhose to LOOK a certain part, I really don't want to be a guerilla. I really want to sign up for the programme and do things like write or perhaps bake some cookies and cakes once in a while, speak to girls/women/womyn who might need an ear or both... BUT...let's see. I was very excited about being part of a 'feminist' college -- Lady Shri Ram -- but unfortunately, other than much slogan-calling and other stuff, I personally don't think they ever promoted free thought. And well, there's no love lost either way. So while am VERY excited (and bloody nervous) about going back to 'college', let's see. Also, thankfully, I am not going to be the oldest. Yay! I'm still to meet anyone from my course, but read the feedback from a 44-year-old lady and made friends
(perhaps) with a 33-year-old Irani fellow.

Currently, am waiting for classes to start and get a move on things. I am also looking/hoping to get a job. No, I haven't applied yet. While I'd LOVE to do different things -- shoe sales girl, chef assistant, waitress --- it is AWESOME experience and hands-on research... perhaps it will be more prudent to try and find something in my own 'line'. Journalism. Media. Hmmm. It's NOT skilled labour you know -- apparently any idiot can write -- so I don't know or am not too sure about the opportunities, but let's see.

Last weekend I went for my first 'footy' game at the Telstra Dome. That's Australian football, a mix of rugby, soccer and Quidditch (refer Harry Potter you ignorami you, the four goal posts remind me it but no broomsticks, sorry). Somehow the cheering/jeering in Aussie culture goes well with my temperament. I love whistling, hooting and generally being boisterous. I didn't feel like an un-lady-like idiot booing the other team or shouting for mine.

Yes, yes, given that the kids here have footy in their bloods and I have been hearing about it for all but 9 months, I DO love the game. It goes fast, takes a lot of skill and fitness, the boys wear cute shorts and have hot legs and the spirit around is just so bloody infectious. My team -- "my" because Partner's promised to be put me in the next container and ship me off if I support another team -- is called Essendon. The Bombers. Red and black are their colours. Hah. Bongshell for Bombers and I love red and black. Now if only I'd enjoy beer.

Between beer and caffeine and despite the many varieties of tea available in the many Chinese supermarkets, haven't seen Aussie's drinking much else. Since am not earning in AUD yet, am paying 120 bucks for a cappucchino, friggin' 484 bucks for a packet of cigarettes (that should make me quit soon and you DON'T have to remind me of me trying to quit, I remember, I wrote it!) ... And it's hurting. I spent ONLY 300 something dollars yesterday, on ESSENTIALS and that translates into 12,000 Rupees. I am poor. :( After 9 years of working, flashing press cards and beginning 2008, being interviewed on bloody television, I am UN-fuckin-EMPLOYED! :(

Sigh. There's SO much to write... SO much... but slowly.

PS: The 'Queer' in secondary header was because RMIT also has a society for queer students -- gays, lesbians, bis, tranvestites, curious... More on that when I get to know beyond just reading their pamphlets.

July 10, 2008

Gimme more, more often

Thursday, July 10, 2008, The Hindustan Times
Blogosphere is what it is
because there are hardly
any rules; but one
would hope that there
was some way to ensure
that good bloggers post
more regularly

Good content can be like cocaine, addictive after trying it a couple of times. While unlike cocaine, good content does not burn your nasal septum, not getting your regular dose of blog stuff can be quite irritating.

Professional bloggers – those who get paid for blogging (yes it happens!) – insist a blog's not a blog till it's not updated daily. However there are others who subscribe to the I-post-at-will theory. A rule against daily updates sounds positively divine when you consider the can-cause-brain-damage blogs that are out there. A special mention goes to the umpteen broken heart blogs and boring travel blogs.

While the heartbreak blogs constantly whine about dating serial jerks (just dump the man!), there are more than enough travel bores who put up everything from their first Spanish omelet to the star-shaped rabbit poo they encountered on a guided trek.

Conversely there should be a rule that makes good bloggers post more regularly. Like Kamakaze who writes on Kakisi's World. From writing on how the Indian Home Minister's cranial powers puts US pres George Bush to shame, to calling the bluff on Shiv Sena's Maharashtra-for-Marathis campaign – "So dear Thackerays, become Thakres or sod off" – Kamakaze's posts are mostly-India-centric, caustic, incisive and make for quick, sharp reading. However, his updates are few and far between.

It's the same with Phil on The Rut. The tagline on his blog header ('masthead' atop a blog, usually displays blog name) reads, "No, I don't draw my cartoons with my feet... why does everyone keep asking that?" With a fresh, sketched perspective on things, Phil's toons are irreverent to the core. From making fun of the media's macabre love for death and disaster – corresponding cartoon is of a man reading a newspaper with blood splatters with the headline, "Man falls into newspaper printing machine" – to taking pot shots at lifestyle trends like speed dating – the toon is titled 'Speed Mating', has rabbits and the rest you can check out – Phil has a quirky, often delightfully twisted sense of humour.

Indie, the 'American living in Europe since the late 1980's' on The Synchronicity of Indeterminacy tells unusual stories, rather makes his readers tell the stories. He clicks a picture, encourages readers to share perspectives based on that picture and then puts out the real story behind the picture a few days later. He also links and posts about other cool things to do in the blog-zone. If only he'd do it somewhat oftener.

July 8, 2008

Somalia, Sholay and Islam ...

or, let's go to MelBUN!

Clich├ęs have an irritating habit of being bloody true. Beyond laughing at other accents – including the Indian non-accent – and enjoying Peter Russel who disdainfully rips apart almost all tongues, I really had not realized the true import of the phrase “lost in translation”. Till last afternoon when due to my own stupidity, I roamed around for 15 minutes in a cab when I was just a block from our house in Melbourne (we are in an area called Flemington).

I am NEVER going to ridicule people who go abroad and give up their native accents. Hours have I spent laughing at people who go the US or another Western country and develop a nasal twang. Or for that matter at Partner who was rapidly losing his Australian accent and would sound Indian, almost. I have an awesomely pronounced Indian accent and though I speak good English – and Aussies speak ‘Australian’ NOT English – my interactions and conversations with people have been bloody interesting. For one, despite knowing English I can convey MORE through sign language than I can through words!!!

I am being forced to attach an ‘i’ to my vowels and though I think I am doing a horrible job at saying words the Aussie way, people here seem to understand almost anything better than desi accents. Hrmph. Since I cannot keep up with this longer and even the last four days have been enough to make me forget HOW a word is pronounced, think I will have to change the accents of the people around. Let’s see. People don’t understand when I say I’m living in MelBOURNE… unless I say it’s ‘MelBUN’. Why not spell like that as well?

So I got into this cab yesterday and asked the dude to take me to ‘Sturt’ street. He took me to Stop street or something like that and we were both lost. Since I was VERY nervous, I chattered a mile-a-minute and despite pronouncing everything in a way he couldn’t understand, we got talking. He was from Somalia, works 10 hours and has four children. The oldest is 8 and the youngest is a year-and-a-half. “We are creating an African village here,” he said laughing. If his candidness at that was refreshing – couldn't help but think of Narender Modi’s, “Hum paanch, hamare pachchis?” (We five, our 25, alluding to Islam allowing four fives and five kids off each wife) – what was to follow knocked my socks off. When I told him I was from India, he beamed in the rear view mirror and said, “I used to watch a lot of Indian movies in Somalia. I love the one where they toss a coin to decide everything. Sholaiye it was called. Jugnu was a good movie too.” So what if Melbournians don’t understand my accent, Bollywood is conquering the world!

Laughing at yourself is an art, it shows humility and shows you are neither scared nor ashamed to be yourself. It’s something I can do only when I am very comfortable with the people around. Hmm. There are some who just can’t see the lighter side of life and take everything too seriously. Like the Pakistani boy who sat next to me on the Bangkok-to-Melbourne leg of my flight. “Do you know Quaid-e-Azam?” he asked. I didn't and he mocked me saying he knew Gandhi and was shocked that I didn’t know “Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.” Well I ‘knew’ Jinnah but my general knowledge being sucky, didn’t know he was called Quaid-e-Azam (great leader). My history books (sadly) didn't teach me to look at him that way. THEN the kid asked if I liked poetry. I refused again since I really don’t understand poetry and was playing sudoku and didn’t want to be disturbed. THEN he asked if I knew Prophet Muhammad. I said yes I did and the dude launched into some Urdu shaayeri. By now I had had enough conversation and asked him why he was insisting on TEACHING me about Muhammad. “As a Muslim it’s my duty to spread the message of Islam.” To those who might not be interested? Why?

That incident apart, it’s been an interesting four days. It’s amusing at times, at times worrying, the way India is perceived. At times, there’s nothing to do but accept that we are ‘like this only’. As we argued over Partner wearing the seat belt, Partner’s 16-year-old piped in, “Do you have seat belts in India?” To my ‘of course yes’, he was rather surprised and said, “But why? People sit on top of trains there!” Well, I told him that India is trying to patent seat-belts for on-top-of-the-train rides and he nearly believed it. *grin* But then maybe we should, seat belts and double decker trains. India 2050. What say?

PS: It’s like old days right now, notes in diary and then typing them out later; will be more regular once I have my own computer. How’s everyone?

July 3, 2008

Ok tata, bye bye!

Oi people,

As of tonight, am flying out to join Partner in Melbourne. It's a year and a half of studying and writing and missing Delhi and those I met here... and learning a new way of life. DAMN. I won't lie, I am excited, nervous, terrified and cannot eat anything right now. Bile tastes real yucky I tell you.

Hopefully Melbourne and me will adapt to each other and no one will feed me to the crocodiles. Given my size and lack of meat, don't think the crocs will enjoy me either. Have no idea about jelly fish though and prefer to see them from this side of a glass wall under artificial life. I SUCK at sport and need to learn swimming. I can only doggy paddle now and the lack of a tail makes that difficult as well. As for 'net ball', playing it with specs on is kinda tough and without the glasses I am blind.

Then again, people have told me they enjoy my food BUT I don't think Aussie dishes use haldi (turmeric) or garam masala. So tad nervous about how does one know when a steak is rare and when its medium-rare when cooking at home. And the moment I think of how happily a kangaroo hops BEFORE it lands on the dinner table reduces me to tears. But then, if i am quite happy watching a chicken die and eating it, i hope i can harden my heart about the roos as well. HRMPH. Shall learn.

Recently when packing, my dad called my clothes 'chindhi', which means 'rags' in Hindi. Now that has made me nervous too since well, I wear small things and well, if I dont like the size I tend to run scissors through it. So well, a lot of my clothes have irregular hemlines because I have chopped them off. And some of my favourites are stuff that have Golu -teeth marks on them... And chicks in Melbourne dress real well... Man!

My best friend called - and she's studied and lived overseas a lot -- and told me to take it easy. So well, no more frantic typing for lack of anything better to do. Shall keep repeating the following to self:

1. What I don't know I can learn.
2. What I cant wear, I shall carry off like the latest fashion statement.
3. NEVER to embarrass my Partner. (will need practice)
4. Learn to keep my mouth shut or speak softly if at all I get the itch to say it as-is.
5. TRUST people. HMMM.

OH... PLEASE mail me your phone numbers and email ids as my current Delhi phone will be out and I am most likely to lose the SIM to retract numbers from it. Eve Emancipation the blog, will continue...let's see if it changes or how. And perhaps Mishraji will visit Melbourne...

To all I have met along the way -- sorry if I said and did things you didn't deserve and if you DID deserve those, let's hope we can start afresh some other time. If you're not interested, let me know, will save me trouble. (Woman, you just said 'learn to keep my mouth shut!)

Aaaaaaaaaa, am blabbering. Am off for second cup of coffee and DO something about this drasted RAT that's running around my friend's house and has jumped OVER my legs twice. Shit rodent.

Ok tata bye bye!!!

Spinning a web of virtual vanity

The Hindustan Times, 3rd July, 2008
Spinning a web for virtual vanity Jhoomur Bose

Fashionistas take to the web, sharing tips on everything that's haute (or not!), and reveal how the hottest fashion fads can help transform your life for the better

Do the dolled-up-in-Dolce & Gabbana darlings we see pouting for pictures on Page 3 and celebrity columns have a better life? Yes according to Dame Vivienne Westwood who famously said, "You have a better life if you wear fashionable clothes." Yes too, if you follow the umpteen blogs on clothes, shoes and face-gunk on the Internet that insist a 'concealer' is a must-carry item if marooned on a deserted island. For the uninitiated, Dame Westwood is the British designer who brought the punk style into mainstream fashion and made it acceptable to wear handcuffs for your child's graduation.

From wondering if curl-enhancing mascara really adds any depth to your eyes on the Beauty Beat, trashing Halle Berry's latest red carpet appearance on the Killer Heel and wondering why women who run beauty salons are (usually) 'non-beautiful', the variety on beauty and fashion blogs matches the number of tubes and bottles on store shelves.

If Sex and the City added Manolo Blahnik to our lexicon, Fashion Tribes (FT) tells you there's more to Japanese exports than Shiseido. There's Junko Shimada too. With polls on dressing-dilemmas – are floral frocks fashion dos or faux pas? – and pointing to bargains, FT gives a more buyer-friendly version of what's haute. While the blog needs to work on the pictures they use – bigger, more variety please – its weekly Web Snob section with links to sales, bargains, blogs and dressmakers is super cool.

While most fashion addict blogs speak of chic designer labels, Erin at A Dress A Day goes back to classic styles, takes designs from old magazines and makes dresses on demand. If Harrods Girl on I Am Fashion gives you a lowdown on what's the latest design off the ramps, Mai on Fashioni.st takes a lens-eye view at street fashion, stops people and clicks what they are wearing, why and where they bought it from.

From dressmakers to models, everyone has a blog. Miggy on Miggy's Model Life talks about her shenanigans as a model and part time casting agent. With some sneak previews of magazine covers and inside juice on photo shoots, Miggy makes for interesting reading. Of course you will need patience for the constant saccharine as Miggy uses "fabulous", "very sweet" and "talented" for every other designer, photographer and model she meets.

For these bloggers, fashion is holy and even the Pope isn't spared. Manolo's Shoe Blog does a what-lies-beneath and declares the Pope does not wear Prada. If only we had such extensive information on the cotton saris Sonia Gandhi and Sheila Dikshit wear.

From the blog cabin appears every Thursday in The Hindustan Times, India
Got a blog suggestion? Mail me the link with a line or two on WHY you like the blog: foxytanya@gmail.com