Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday Faze - Special edition

Last year, one of my colleagues asked me if I would model for a photograph that was to go into a textbook she was editing. The photo was one of the racial harmony kinds, and I was to be the 'Indian girl' in it.

"So? Would you do it? Pleeease?" She asked.

"Over my dead body." I said.

Now don't get me wrong here. I am totally for racial harmony, and I love the fact that Singapore is a multi-racial country, and I do get the rationale of such photographs in textbooks to subconsciously instil the concept of racial harmony in the minds of kids. But to pose in an Indian costume with two girls in a sappy photo that screams, "Oh look at us, we're best friends, and we conveniently belong to different races. And oh, did you notice how happy we are?" I wouldn't be caught dead in that kinda photo.

Racial harmony comes from mutual respect, tolerance, acceptance and love. And I'm doing my part without having to pose for such photos. Take today's Friday Faze, for example.

Friday Faze is a recreational event in my company, organised on the last Friday of each month by a team of editors. The name 'Friday Faze' was coined by yours truly, as the event seemed to literally do that -- faze editors who'd rather finish their work and not have to take it home over the weekend, than attend a 'useless fun' event. That coupled with the peak season for textbook publishers, we had not had any Friday Faze in the last coupla months.

A few days ago, a couple of us were discussing how Deepavali and Hari Raya (Diwali and Eid respectively) were just one day apart this year, and we decided that we should do something fun to celebrate it at work. I managed to convince both my managing editor and my publisher to allow us to host Friday Faze again, albeit on a grander scale. We even got sponsorship, and my Marketing Manager agreed to throw in free goodie bags too. (So all that lending of SRK movies to her did bring something back!)

And that's how the planning of the Friday Faze - DeepRaya edition started. We put together a committee ensuring sufficient representation from both the Indian and the Malay (Muslim) communities. The plan was to have fun, freebies and food and bring the different overworked departments together for a chilling session.

We coaxed and cajoled people into agreeing to dress up in the best of their ethnic finery. We even told them that they would increase their chances of winning the best ethnic costume award if they "cross-dressed". Ahem, by cross-dressing, I meant dressing up in the ethnic costume of a race different from yours.

I had to decide what I was gonna wear. Now generally I don't wear a lot of Indian clothes. Only three days in the year see me in my Indian finery -- Diwali, Independence Day and Republic Day. Unless of course, I go nuts some time in the year and decide to observe a self-conceptualised India week.

Actually, I badly wanted to wear a saree for this event, but considering that when I wear a saree, I walk like a penguin in a kimono, I could not see myself going through the first half of the day at work. Also, I believe that wearing a saree is a full-time job in itself, and as the organiser, I did not see myself being able to do any organising if I wore such a hazardous costume.

Besides, I wanted to "cross-dress"!
I would have liked to wear a Chinese cheongsam, complete with the sexy slits, but apparently, you need to get it stitched to get the perfect fit. So I decided to wear a Chinese cheongsam top with jeans instead. I went to Chinatown to buy one, and I got myself a real beauty. And I actually bargained! (I bargained in Singapore! Yeay!) Managed to pull the price down from 49 bucks to 35. (After all, I've been trained by the expert!)

My colleague convinced my publisher (she's Chinese) to wear a saree! And not only did she look gorgeous, but she pulled it off better than any Indian wearing the saree for a first time could! We even made her catwalk in the saree, and she was so graceful I was totally stumped! Even my managing editor, and many other male editors were sporting borrowed kurtas. And almost all the girls agreed to us putting on a bindi for them at the entrance. And since we had loadsa colours to choose from, we picked the ones that matched their clothes.

We had two competitions, rangoli making and ketupat making. To make things less messy, we got them to make the rangoli with coloured rice and the ketupat with ribbons. The guys' group actually co-won the rangoli making competition because of their incredible creativity. You'll see later what I'm talking about.

To end the evening, my managing editor did a screening of a Russel Peters video. That guy is hilarious! I must remember to borrow the DVD and watch it again.

Am posting some of the photos here. Can't post everything. To your dismay, guys, I really should not post photos where faces are visible, especially of my hot half-Caucasian, half-Malay intern, looking even hotter in a traditional flowing Malay costume. And oh did I mention she won the 'best costume' award? Oh how mean am I, huh? ;)

We decorated the entrance with ethnic stuff.

The guys' table during the rangoli making competition. I had given them a reference design, which they had to reproduce using the coloured rice. But their design did not look anything like the reference design. What in heaven's name were they doing??

Ahhh!! No wonder! Guys will be guys, eh?? :)

The Malay goodies. I suggested that we have labels for all the ethnic food items to provide a bit of info about them.

And the Indian goodies.

We even had a henna stall with this very 'friendly greeting' I wrote.

One of my illustrators got so excited when he saw the henna cones, he asked me if he could have one. And would you look at that?

Oh wow! That dragon looks cool!

And that's me, putting henna for one of my designers.

And that's all. Oh, what a fun day!


Sahil said...

Designing on the designers.

Now that's something you don't get to do everyday.

But looks like you had an awesome time. Remind me to call you the next time I have a party so that you can organise. Cos seems like you do an awesome job!

But jeans under a cheong-sam? Come on la... you shoulda gone all the way man...

Sayesha said...

Yeah, I do love to organise and host theme parties! :P
ps: Arre I'd have loved to wear the full cheongsam thing, but I had no time to get one stitched! :(
pps: When you hire me as your party planner, give me ample notice and sponsorship to get myself a proper theme costume, ok? :)

Prakriti said...

Hey, I was listening to Kal ho na ho title song and couldn't help commenting on your blog. Don't you love that song?

Lovely dragon by the way!

Sayesha said...

Yeah, I love that song. Amazing lyrics too.

Har ghadi badal rahi hai roop zindagi
Chhaaon hai kahin, kahin hai dhoop zindagi
Har pal yahan, jee bhar jiyo
Jo hai sama, kal na ho...

Chahe jo tumhe poore dil se
Milta hai woh mushkil se
Aisa jo koi kahin hain
Bas wohi sabse haseen hai
Us haath ko tum thaam lo
Woh meherbaan kal ho na ho...

ps: Yeah, the dragon's really cool na? And so was the way my illustrator who'd never touched a henna cone in his life, took to it!

Ravi said...

Wow you really seemed to have a nice time. Good organisation I must say - Lots of events & complete involvement of junta. I've seen one Russel Peters video. He really did poke a lot of fun at desi's in USA.

Rays Of Sun said...

Hey Gurlie!
Havent read the post yet, just saw the pics..Henna rocks! Yeah.Tumhare haath bade sundar hain:)

Nandya said...

all those photographs and all i could see were those

ooooh lovely hands....

artistic, graceful and a certain je ne sais quoi

PuNeEt said...

Wow yaar awesome pics...
good going...

awesome stuffs yaar...
that henna... dragon looks is so damn cool...
(prety hand too;-)

hey guyz are not bad with rangoli... i'll post the ones of rangoli competition of my office...
infact the all guyz gang won the first prize ;-)

good post...

take care

Sayesha said...

Thanks! :)
ps: Yeah, Russel Peters really sabos the hell outta NRIs! :O

Whoa, thanks! Tu ladki hai bach gayi, warna Virdi tujhe pakadke maarta! :P

Hahahahaha! Gosh, you're gonna get it from our sardaar! :D
ps: Thanks! :P

Thanks! :) Looking forward to that post of yours! :)

Keshav said...

Theme parties and all :)...sounds fun fun fun. cheongsam ?? hmm sounds interesting..wonder how one looks in a cheongsam ;).

u go girl !! u go !!

Harshi said...

That was very interesting to read Sayesha!
Learned some new terms too :-)

It's quite interesting to attend and organize such events that bring cultures together in a very realistic, engaging and informational way. I very much appreciate the eye-for-detail and organization, that you have :-)

P.S: Hahaa...@walk like a penguin in a sari. I so identify with that! It IS a full-time job to be draped in one. How do people manage? :-) Practice makes perfect I guess. But some are such naturals.

A chinese cheongsam top--Does it have those mandarin collars? I love those collars. Looks very prim n classy.

Rays Of Sun said...


Hum kisike haath nahi ate, BTW:)
Nice post..Ohhh, I love malay mithai..mujhe parcel kar na:(

Thanu said...

Great post. Henna comes so naturally for few people. I love henna, but I can never use a cone. The henna coming out of the cone is never even. I have gujju friends who do it for me all the time. So was really surprised (little jealous) by the first time illustrator.

Ashish said...


*clap* *clap*
*clap* *clap*



Vikram said...

WOW, lotsa pretty hands :D

Ro said...

u got conned. bargain % is higher in singapore chinatown than what u got.

Anil said...

Oye, virdi is going to be in hand heaven today. He will sleep with a stupid smile on his face with his tongue half peeping out.

Great henna work! w00k w00k!

Parth Anand said...

seems you did a darn good job organizing the friday faze....
cool pics...
were are the "Chinese cheongsam" pics :P

Sayesha said...

Yeah it was great fun!

//wonder how one looks in a cheongsam
Hahaha!You should try one on! ;)

Yep, I definitely prefer being a part of something like this to promote racial harmony, than pose for that silly photo! :P

I love sarees, man. I think they're the sexiest of all costumes! And I'm so gonna get a hyderabadi zardozi for my wedding! But I gotta start practising man, don't wannna trip and fall at the mandap itself, sending the pundit into fits of laughter! Oh God I can so imagine that already! :O

Yeah, my cheongsam top has a mandarin collar, mine's red and black (two colours I LOVE to wear) and I love it to death! :P

Haha! Dekhenge dekhenge! ;)
If I parcel you some malay kuehs, by the time it reaches you, it would have transformed into indian halwa! :O

Yeah, I think I was a bit jealous of him too. :P
Luckily, he did not know the traditional Indian designs, so we were targetting different markets! ;)

So I get one smiley, four claps, one bhangra-hug and one weird expression? Dude, you gotta help me decode this one! :)

//WOW, lotsa pretty hands
Hey, two of them better be mine, okay! :P

Awwww come on! Don't be a killjoy, I think I did good considering that it was my first time bargaining in Singapore and that I bargained in mandarin! san shi wu! :P

Weird hair Anil? Is that really you?? Arre dekho dekho Weird hair Anil waapas aa gaya Sayesha ki blog par! Aao, thakur! :)

Thanks! :)
Errr... can't post the cheongsam pics yaar... I generally don't post pics with visible faces on this blog. Interesting thought though... Maybe it's time to bend some rules...

Parth Anand said...

aint it fun to bend and break rules at times...
ya unless you are scared that the faces will depict the true nature of the event...j/k...

hopefully the faces here were smiling and with happy expressions not like that of the fatigued and tired horse who couldnt handle the "bhaari bharkam"

maarna mat...

Sayesha said...

That's it, Parth! Now you've entered my list of people for whom I sing 'Agar tum mil jao, tera sar phod denge hum'!

Bhole said...

Nice pics.....looks like you're having fun. Good for you :)

viv said...

Sounds like the event went really well... That's awesome!

I'm amazed by the guy doing the henna... he looks totally at home with the cone... maybe he's used to putting the icing on the cake, eh?! :)

WV: vlrmti
sounds like valarmati, some apsara who seduced some saint in penance :P

ritzkini said...

wah ! wikipedia ka bharpoor istemaal huh ?
looks like you had fun..cheers

i can think of some word in swahili which comes close to this..
surd..u mite be rite after all..

Ashish said...

// Dude, you gotta help me decode this one!

D'oh. my bad. Thought you'd be smart enough but. . . nevermind the over-estimation, those were:
happiness, praise, affection, and farewell!

and heres love :-*

Sayesha said...

Yeah, I had loadsa fun! :)

Yeah man, that guy really impressed me!
ps: What's with you and WV man??

Yeah man, where else would I find descriptive definitions of words like 'cheongsam' and 'ketupat'? :P
ps: Good to see you're still around! :)
pps: Et tu, Tarzanus??

Duh! That's the obvious meaning! I thought you had something deeper in mind. My bad. Thought you'd be smart enough but. . . Never mind the over-estimation.


Leon said...

I totally agree with you on the 'racial harmony photograph'.. I mean if someone clicks a pic while I'm chatting with someone it's ok.. but pose for one.. nah..

'Friday Faze' appears to have been a real fun evening.. We've got something along those lines planned with a few dances thrown in for our university Diwali celebrations which is scheduled for November 20th..

PS: I know that's a little late.. but then we were late in reserving the main auditorium.. :D

abhi said...

Man , you make awe-ffice look awesome.most of working bloggers are either planning to feed rat poison to their bosses or eating rat poison themselves.looks like u got one fun office and one fun job man.24.Male.Computer Engineer.Completes MBA in march 2006.can wash cars as well.vacancy ?

Sayesha said...

Yeah, that's late yaar! Still, hope you have a great time! Enjoy yourself! :)

Hired on the spot. No editing test or interview required. Candidate will not be required to use his MBA or car-washing skills in the job.

Arre you'd be perfect in my team! You're smart and witty and funny and you like kids, I think you'll do a fabulous job with my magazine!

ps: Lekin Sayesha as the boss chalegi na? ;)

virdi said...

pretty hand putting henna on some bleached hand...



Sahil said...

>When you hire me as your party planner, give me ample notice and sponsorship to get myself a proper theme costume, ok? :)

So Sayesha will be working for me. And Abhi will be working for Sayesha.

So Sahil as the boss of you both, chaleyga?

Humjoli said...

sash, the fun loving girl, keep up the good work!

You increased my knowledge on ladies costumes, 'cheongsam' never heard of this earlier. Thanks, it might help me very soon ;-)

by the way agree with virdi, your hands are really pretty. (flattering? ........Nah!)

Sayesha said...

Ah, there you are! Kitthe kho gaye si, praji??

You wish, dude! I know I know -- shuru se toh aapki nazar Abhi par hi hai! Don't even think that you can head-hunt my employee from right under my very nose! Abhi's all mine, muahahaha! :D

And the party planning is something I'll do as a part-time/freelance thing, am not gonna outsource it to my editors! You get only me, no Abhi. Chalega?

Thanks! :) Knowledge of cheongsam might help you very soon? Planning to get one yourself, eh? Are you having an actual 'cross-dressing' party or something? Hahahaha! :D
ps: Thanks! :P

Starbreez said...

Brava, actually made me wish I was back at the office -- good to see noses and elbows of familiar figures too. Lemme see the photos next time I come by your place!

Sayesha said...

The familiar elbows, noses and knuckles missed you too. Man, it would have been so much more of a blast if you'd been there, we'd have dressed you up in a saree too! :D

Humjoli said...

wow, really admire your wisdom! you got me SO right!

//Planning to get one yourself, eh? Are you having an actual cross-dressing' party or something?

I am planning a cross-dressing party for all my blog friends. Wanna join?

ps. I know you were trying to pull my leg here

Sayesha said...

Party?? Oooh! You're ON!
ps: Girls will not mind a cross-dressing party, my dear! It's the guys who'll have a problem! ;)

Bhavya said...

Brilliant way of celebrating. And that was a coool dragon!