Friday, August 26, 2016

Burning questions

So this was supposed to be a part of the last post, but that kinda took on a life of its own, pushing this into the next post. The friend who had organised the Bollywood-themed party had asked me for ideas for games so I did up a Bollywood quiz to conduct if there was time. However, the DJ was rather competent, so most people ended up on the dance floor for hours, and we didn't have time to do the quiz. I thought I'd post it here to see if any Bolly-hungry bewdas would like to have a go at it.

The first question is from a quiz that my friends had conducted as a challenge for me at my surprise birthday party many years ago. (By the way, they'd also asked me what Gabbar Singh's dad's name was, and I answered correctly muahahaha!) The second question is from my own blog post from 6 years ago. I'd casually mentioned it in a post about something else, but someone took it as a challenge in the comments space, instantly earning everyone's respect. Of course, now the answer is even longer, so I thought it was worth repeating the question here.

Here we go!

1. Name 10 movies from the last 10 years with Shah Rukh Khan in the lead, where his name is NOT Rahul or Raj. And state his name in these movies.

2. Name 13 actresses who have worked opposite all 3 Khans (SRK, Aamir and Salman). Name one film each.

3. What are the real names of these Bollywood stars? To save you the excessive googling that might result out of this, I've included the answers here but in white font. Simply use your mouse to highlight and read the correct answers. (Of course, this won't work if you read this blog on your feed reader, and in that case I will just advise you to be honest and not look at the right column until you have thought of your answer. Hehehe!)


Screen name
Real name
Sunny Leone
Karanjit Kaur Vohra
Salman Khan
Abdul Rashid Salim Salman Khan
Jackie Shroff
Jaikishen Kaku Bhai Shroff
Mallika Sherawat
Reema Lamba
Akshay Kumar
Rajiv Hariom Bhatia
Sridevi
Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan
Sunny Deol
Ajay Singh Deol
Bobby Deol
Vijay Singh Deol
Mithun Chakraborty
Gouranga Chakraborty
Rekha
Bhanurekha Ganesan
Sanjeev Kumar
Haribhai Jarivala
Preity Zinta
Preetham Singh Zinta
Rajnikanth
Sivaji Rao Gaekwad
Madhubala
Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehelvi
Guru Dutt
Vasanth Kumar Shivashankar Padukone 
Kishore Kumar
Abhas Kumar Ganguly



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

All dressed up and... somewhere to go!

A few weeks ago, we were invited by a neighbour to a Bollywood-themed party! You can only imagine my delight.

So I racked my brain on what Viv, Xena and I could wear to this party. Xena is at the stage where she wants to wear everything I wear. If I'm wearing a dress, she'll insist on wearing one. If I'm in a short skirt, she'll want to change to one too. So when I told her that I was considering going as 'Babita', she did not ask me who on earth Babita was. She simply said, "I wanna be Babita too." So I told her that we could do two Babita looks -- dress Babita and salwar-kameez Babita. To my surprise, she agreed.

So we had a dress rehearsal. I was dress Babita, in a black and white polka-dotted dress, gigantic white goggles, hoop earrings, plastered-on-forehead hair and a flower hairband that I borrowed from Xena's collection. I dressed her up in a sleeveless floral churidaar-kameez that we'd bought when we were in India and made a very Babita-hairstyle for her using her dupatta and a fake bun that I ordered online.

So here we were, having multiple dress rehearsals, while Viv was just chilling. "Dude, you'd better not turn up as yourself. Xena and I will look ridiculous if you look... err... normal!" I told him. That got him up and about, and after looking through his wardrobe, we realised that we could put the most colourful stuff together to make him Munna from Rangeela. So he wore a pink shirt over a blue cricket singlet, put on his dhinchak cricket glasses, and borrowed a bandana and a hat from me to complete the look. And oh, he folded up his pants a bit to make it look more 'tapori'. And gosh, he even said he wouldn't shave for a few days to be true to his character!

Seeing him all suddenly enthu like that, I briefly considered switching to Mili from Rangeela, for I have the tight pants and the knotted shirt, but I do not have that voluminous head of hair that Urmila is blessed with. Besides, Xena was already excited about going as babita and I didn't want to mess up the plan.

So there we were -- Munna, Babita senior and Babita junior, and all of us got rave reviews at the party. It was the most fun party we'd attended in a long, long time. My normally shy child had no problems even hitting the dance floor with me!


 

  


 

A few years ago, we had a Govinda-themed costume party, and would you believe it -- I didn't win the first prize in spite of my light blue pants, a fluorescent green spaghetti strap top, a red-green-blue-black checked shirt and bright pink slippers! You can only imagine what a ghastly sight the winner (my good friend Pizzadude) presented.

A friend and I have been discussing about organising a Bollywood-themed party for Christmas or New Year's this year. We are even entertaining the thought of having it for Halloween instead, where you can only wear costumes from Hindi ghost movies! Any ideas (other than candle-holding white sari-clad singing ghost)?



Sunday, August 21, 2016

Free space


"Ours is an era of distraction. It's a punishing drumbeat of constant input. It follows us into our homes and into our beds. It seeps into our... into our souls, for want of a better word."

Viv and I have been binge-watching 'Elementary' on Netflix lately, and though initially I found this version of Sherlock quite OTT, almost grating on the nerves, I've come around to not entirely disliking him. And I believe it was this statement of his that caused the switch. He'd finally said something that showed his vulnerable side, something a regular person could instantly relate to.

I often think about this. The constant cacophony of noise, news and distractions in our lives, and our inability to escape them even though a part of us really, really wants to.

And it is for this reason I love the beach next to our place. It's a beach all right, but the part where we adda-maarofy is different. People do not come here to make noise. They come here to sit and watch and listen and contemplate. I've lived near this part of Singapore for nearly 12 years, and even now, I just love, love, love it.

It's amazing that in the busy, crazy, noisy, crowded, unforgiving, relentless, fast-paced, metropolitan city that is Singapore, there exists a space that tells me that my home is but a tiny little island and if I seek it, I can find both joy and serenity in the same place.






Photos taken during a family picnic last evening at the beach



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Glamp shots

Glamping.

It was a word I'd never heard of, until two weeks ago.

I came across the strange term while looking for ideas for a short vacation to take my Mom on. There is even a website called www.glamping.com. It defines 'glamping' as 'a way to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury'. The Wiki page on 'glamping' defines it as 'a portmanteau of glamour and camping'.

Though I'm all for fully outdoorsy camping, it didn't seem like a practical idea considering the 5-year-old and the senior we had in our group.

So glamp we did, and boy, was it awesome.

I'll take the next few days to update my travel blog Hopscotch about this trip. The first post is already up, and here's a preview!











Sunday, August 07, 2016

Cakewalk... not.

I have been reminiscing with Mom about my childhood days. I told her that only after attempting to do the same for Xena did I really really appreciate her efforts at making something new for my tiffin box every single day, even though she had to get up really really early for it (my school bus used to come at 5:45 am because my school was in another town, which was marginally bigger than the tiny town we lived in).

One of the things that came up in our conversations was cake. Mom had an extremely primitive oven, consisting of two aluminium hemispheres, a cord and a plug. And even with that, she used to make the most amazing cakes. My school friends still remember how she used to send cake for them, with their names iced on the slices.

My sister was the next in the family to get into cakes, and because she moved to the US, she got into it real deep. Sometimes I don't even understand the terms she uses when she describes the cakes she makes. She sends me recipes where I can't recognise half the ingredient names. Recently, she made a cake for her colleague and iced some complicated C++ joke on it. I didn't get the joke at all (even after she explained), but I did get how much effort she had put in, and I imagined how delighted the roomful of coders must have been to see a cake like that.

I was the last to get into baking, and I only started last year after we renovated our home and bought an oven. I started off slow and steady, but over the year, I have developed a real love for making and decorating cakes. I'm still using very basic ingredients for decorating, but I hope to get better.

Recently, I made a cake for a friend's kid's 6th birthday party. It was a real hit with the kids. Both Mom and my sister also said it was beautiful. Coming from them, that was high praise indeed.


As with all food, Xena is not a fan of cake, and is probably the only child I know who refuses to eat, or even taste, birthday cake at parties. I do hope that changes soon, because it would be real nice to have her ask me to make a specific cake and do it exactly to her liking. And have her eat it too.

Now that would be the icing on the cake. 



Thursday, August 04, 2016

A knack for a snack

So my mom's visiting, and that's a great thing because unlike my spouse, I'm not blessed with annual parental visits. There is no direct flight for my parents to get to Singapore, and it's a real pain to travel with stopovers, especially when my dad insists on staying back because apparently his kitchen garden only accepts water from his hands.

This time, however, we found a good workaround. First, Mom flew off to my in-laws' place, and after a couple of days gup-shupping with her samdhi-samdhan, she took a flight (a direct one, yeah!) here.

Every time she visits, our phone calls preceding the visits are rather dramatic. Sample the ones from this round. (I feel like I'm now having all the squabbles that as a teenager I never had with my parents.)

"No, Mom, I don't need any masala. We have Indian shops here. There is a minimart nearby. I get everything."

"Okay, I can't find Kashmiri mirch in the minimart, maybe get me a pack of that."

"No, no kurtis and salwar-kameezes for me. There are hardly any occasions to wear them. They will just sit and rot."

"No, no shirts for Viv either. We have just Kon-Marie-d and we don't... I'll explain what is KonMari when you get here."

"No, he will not at all 'bura maano' if you don't get anything. You know him."

"Nope. No dresses for Xena. She doesn't like dresses, and the dresses you get are all fancy and frilly and, err... scratchy."

"No, I don't need papad and achar. Just get your stuff and come."

"No, no mithai, please. No mithai at all. Okay? Okay wait, can you get 100 grams of kaju barfi?" (It's the only mithai I like.)

"Don't bring cash, okay? You'll lose in exchange."

But parents are parents. And moms are moms. One more level up.

So there was all the drama after she got here.

"What is this Patanjali nonsense? I didn't ask for Patanjali mirchi powder. I wanted Kashmiri mirch."

"No, I don't care if everyone in India is using Patanjali-everything. I wanted Kashmiri mirch."

"Two dresses for Xena?? I asked you not to! Good luck convincing her to wear them."

"Why so much papad? Oh my goodness, my freezer is bursting with mini papad packets because of Xena."

"This is not 100 grams of kaju barfi. This is more like 300 grams! Why????"

"I don't care if the mithaiwala will judge you for buying 100 grams of kaju barfi. I had specifically said I wanted 100 grams. I don't go to the gym every day to have a ton of kaju barfi sitting in my fridge!"

"Oh my goodness, why did you get so much cash??"

"What is this?? Oh my goodness, why did you get ribbon pakoda?? Where did you even get it??"

"You let mom-in-law send soooo many packets of ribbon pakoda?? Of course she will send it if you tell her you like it soooo much! Do you have any idea how addictive it is... all my gymming... yada yada yada..."

"What do you mean if I don't want them, you will take them back with you? You are the queen of binge-snacking. You're certainly NOT taking them."

Okay, so here's the truth. Whenever Viv and I watch stuff on Netflix, we snack a bit but we kind of (try to) control it. But there was this time that we finished an entire container of ribbon pakodas that mom-in-law had sent. (That stuff is the devil, I tell you, THE DEVIL!) After that, we swore that we shall not let any more ribbon pakoda or any other such addictive snacks from India cross into our threshold ever again.

Last night, Viv and I were watching 'Elementary' after Xena slept off. Suddenly he paused the show mid-way and walked off. I knew what that meant.

"Get the whole dabba then," I hollered after him.

"You're a girl after my own heart," he gleefully bounded back with the box of the kaju barfi in his hands.

We finished it. In less than 5 minutes I believe.

Sigh.

The boxes of ribbon pakodas are still sitting in the kitchen, unopened and under threat that Mom will take them back with her since we don't want them.

It's a real dilemma, I tell you.




Saturday, July 23, 2016

Poster girls

"Congratulations, Sayesha! You've become a celebrity. Just saw your poster!" my neighbour sent me a message.

"Poster?? What poster?"

"The poster on the main road. Of you and some baby."

OHHHHHH!

Then it struck me. Almost a month ago, I had entered some photos of Xena and me in a 'Joyous Smiles' photo contest organised by the community centre. The contest flyer asked for photos of smiling faces, and said that the selected photos would be part of a poster for the community centre's notice board as part of the National Day celebrations. Now the community centre isn't huge, and their notice board certainly isn't, and I could only imagine how small the poster would be, and how small my photo, if selected, would be on it, but I entered anyway. I have a HUGE collection of Xena's photos that Viv and I like to call our 'retirement plan' (in the sense that when we are retired, we will sit on our Joey chairs and pass our days looking at the photos on a giant screen).

So I'd selected some photos, one of a grinning me holding a grinning baby Xena, and a few more of just her as a very smiley baby, and sent them in. And then forgot about them till the message from my neighbour arrived. I asked her for details on where exactly the poster was because I was baffled as to why the poster was along the main road and not a tiny part of a tiny poster stuck on a tiny notice board in the tiny community centre.

She told me the details and also insisted that the baby I was holding was definitely not Xena. I laughed and told her that it was very much Xena and then sent her the photo to prove it. She seemed rather shocked at how much Xena has changed.

So we took a walk along the road that evening to check out the poster. Turns out it was not one poster containing all the winning photos. Instead, it was a giant banner with each winning photo arranged like a poster on its own! To my utter surprise, I saw not one, but five of the photos I had sent! Of course, there was the one with Xena and me, but they had also selected four of Xena's smiling baby pictures, which of course, had gone unidentified by my neighbour. So we took photos with each of the posters. Here are two of them.



I'd have thought that being on the humongous banner itself would be the contest prize, but as it turns out, they gave us 50 dollars of shopping vouchers too. Wow.

This one's for you, dad-in-law, who, whenever I get sceptical about entering contests, says, "Only if you enter a contest can you win it, no?"



Friday, July 08, 2016

One for the books

"Whatchu reading?" My neighbour asked me as he walked by. He's a friendly, middle-aged guy I often see around the pool or the gym, and he always stops to chit-chat.

I was sitting by the pool with my book. Xena was in the middle of her swim lesson.

"You're not going to believe it." I said.

He stopped, looking really curious now. I showed him the cover of my book.

"HO!" He said. It sounded like something between surprise and delight. Exactly what I expected.

I was reading 'The Naughtiest Girl in the School'.

Yes, that book written in 1940 By Enid Blyton.

That book that I happened to chance upon because of a crazy craving Viv and I had for Coffee Club's muddy mudpie the other day. It is one of our favourite desserts, and when we crave that mudpie, we are willing to travel across the island for it. Both the branches we were aiming for had shut down (no, not closed for the day, but shut down omg), but it was not a wasted evening. We found an open-cart book sale, and it wasn't just any book sale. A book sale that pretty much felt like someone had filled up a sack with my childhood and emptied it into the carts. Famous Five. Secret Seven. Nancy Drew. Hardy Boys. St. Clare's. Malory Towers. You name it, they had it.

And... The Naughtiest Girl in the School.

My dad had bought me the book when I was maybe six or seven. He even wrote on the first page, "To the naughtiest girl in the world". (Gosh that was SO NOT TRUE -- I was always the teacher's pet and the nerd of the highest order in each of the seven schools I attended.)

Over the years, I read the book so many times that by the time it was time for me to come to Singapore, the book was in no state to accompany me. It lay in a box with other tattered and yellowed books from my childhood that my dad refused (and still refuses) to part with.

But now, not only had I found that book, I'd also found the next two in the series. And it had brought back some amazing memories. Of how wonderful boarding school used to sound, with the lacrosse and the horse-riding and the tuck boxes and the nature walks and the school meetings and the midnight feasts. Oh, how appealing the strange foods that I'd never had before sounded -- scones and sizzling bacon and potted meat and treacle and cream cheese and marmalade and golden syrup and ginger beer. Heck, she even made boiled eggs at a picnic sound mouthwatering. In later years, I had a chance to taste many of these items and to my utter dismay, most of them elicited nothing more than a 'yuck' from my taste buds. (Except ginger beer, of course. Nobody say anything bad about ginger beer, okay? Okay. Especially my all-time favourite - Bundaberg ginger beer.)

Viv hadn't been sure about me filling up our recently-Konmari'ed bookshelf with these books, but I knew I had to. He had no clue about the joy they sparked in me.

I had two big reasons to buy them.

One, I want Xena to read them some day.

Two, I want them for myself. Right now, later and forever. 



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Chairman of the bored

Last night, Viv had some work to do after dinner, so I brushed Xena's teeth and tried to put her to bed with a story and a song.

Xena - Nooo... Where is Daddy?

Me - Daddy has some work today, so I'll put you to sleep.

Xena - Nooooo... Only Daddyyyy....

Me - But whyyyy?

Xena - Because he's the PUTTER-TO-SLEEPER.

Me - Why? Why is he the PUTTER-TO-SLEEPER??

Xena - Because he puts everyone to sleep!



Friday, June 24, 2016

Food for thought

So my sister-in-law asked a very deep, philosophical question at dinner last night.

"If you could choose ONLY ONE food item which you would have to eat for every meal for an entire month, what would it be?"

My knee jerk reaction was pani puri (of course), but then I love it too much to put it in my 'I can't stand it anymore' list at the end of that month, so that's out. Besides, I'm not sure my tummy can take pani puri three times a day for 30 days without revolting.

Other options I thought of included dosa (she said condiments are allowed, but they have to be the same all the way), stuffed parathas, chow mein, chaat and Calcutta egg rolls, but something doesn't feel right, especially if you think about the nutrition quotient. I'm still pondering over what that food item would be for me. Something that would be tasty and filling (and non-boring!), and won't screw up my health over that month.

What would you choose?