Important note: So I spent a total of four hours in three malls and I did not buy a single pair of shoes. Ha!
Sorry, I needed to activate my GPS (Guilt Prevention Statement) before proceeding further with the post.
When I was young, I often heard Mom make a particular statement after she came back from shopping.
"Bahut paise kharch kar diye. Maza aa gaya!" ("Spent a lot of money! What fun!")
I'd be puzzled with the weird nature of the statement, and she'd say "You won't understand. Not earning, and yet spending money is just a different kind of high."
And now I think I finally understand what she meant.
So yesterday I'd gone to the malls to look for accessories for baby Aish. Two baby shops later, I found something I liked - little fox boots for babies. They were brown boots with fur (fake I hope!) lining, which probably wouldn't go with the 35 wedding lehengas that relatives seem to have got for her, but they were incredibly stylish. (Besides, what do you expect from someone who goes to buy gold jewellery and comes out with an ipod nano?) The problem was - the pair for 6-9 month-old babies had one boot missing. So I found the only sales assistant they had, and told him the problem.
"There's one boot missing."
"Err... okay let me go find it."
Before I could tell him that I didn't mean "one boot missing" in the sense that one would have to "go find it" but more in the "please show me another pair" sense, he'd disappeared into the jungles to go fox-hunting. Fifteen minutes later, there was still no sign of him. The counter staff were busy with the looooooong queue of parents - expecting and otherwise (and they say Singapore doesn't have enough babies!). So I had to give up.
You know how there are people who go shopping to buy something for themselves but end up buying stuff only for other people? Well, I'm not one of those people. I decided to vent off the "missing boot" steam by spending money elsewhere. So I entered this clothes store in Suntec City - one I'd often seen but never really explored. The salesgirl - dressed in what I'd call a Japanese doll costume - was a real darling. She patiently found the colour and size I was looking for, of four different tops, and waited outside the trial room while I tried them on.
You know how when you buy a book online, they send you recommendations on what else they think you'd like? In Singapore, they do that in the clothes stores. As you try on the clothes you have picked, you are startled by more clothes being flung over the top of the door with a sweet "Miss, you may want to try these too!" And this is not just a random process. They actually look at the kind of clothes you have picked, get an idea of your taste and so the clothes they fling over the door are the kind you would actually like. So I spent a good half an hour trying on the seven tops I'd been armed with.
So in the end, when I came out of the trial room and handed her the small hill of tops, she gave me a sad smile and said, "None?"
"All." I said.
The kind of high you get from seeing someone's eyes light up the way hers did can only be surpassed by the kind of psychotic high you get when you spend a lot of money (let me put it this way - they gave me a lifetime membership card) a week after you quit your job.
Maza aa gaya! :D
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Important note: So I spent a total of four hours in three malls and I did not buy a single pair of shoes. Ha!
Posted by Sayesha at 00:46
Friday, December 29, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
All right, the bar's getting a little too wedding-y. Hands in the air, everyone, and slowly step away from the mandap. :/
Eight years ago, a senior at university gave this freshie some good advice.
"Pick up a sport, Sayesha, and be serious about it."
I never really heeded his advice. Most of my university life was spent doing the following:
a) Writing silly poetry
b) Attending Shruthilaya (our music troup) rehearsals
c) Trying to get the damn engineering degree quickly so I could quickly start work as anything but an engineer.
Recently, his words have been coming back to me. I have started taking badminton (the only sport I ever played and enjoyed) more seriously. Though I am not as good at it as I would like to be, I think it's the greatest workout plan ever. The problem with gymming or swimming is that it gets a bit monotonous. With badminton, it's not just a great way to work up a sweat, it's also a lot of fun. Especially the ass-kicking that happens on the courts.
Last year, I used to play badminton with my colleagues at one of the community centres. There was this particular group of retirees who used to play regularly. They were so good that just watching them play would make you wanna yank out your racquet strings and hang yourself with them. And I thought to myself - when I am that old, would I be playing any sport? If yes, I guess it wouldn't be anything but badminton.
Perhaps it's high time I got serious about the game.
Perhaps it's high time I jot down all the things that have been going through my mind at the courts in the last two weekends.
- You're shaky now but contrary to what you may like to believe, you are not new to the game. You two have met before, so don't feign unfamiliarity.
- Practise hard. You can beat him. Her. Everyone.
- You can't serve for nuts. Notice how you get smashed on your serves? Learn how to serve.
- No excuses. Yes, you have a bad knee. Don't think about it. Till it starts hurting.
- You don't even know the rules. Learn 'em.
- Learn from your opponent's game too.
- Start having fun after you have gotten reasonably good at the game.
- He uses his height as an advantage, you gotta counter it with agility.
- Don't be too easy on yourself. Push yourself.
- Know your weaknesses. Work on them.
- Know your opponent's weaknesses. Work them.
- Don't play 'civil'. Not unless the opponent is new to the game.
- Don't get carried away by how good a workout it is. You must get better with each game.
- If none of your skills were sharpened, the game was a waste even if you won.
- Even if you're not the best, at least be good.
- Never lose your 'shuttle sense' (term courtesy my baddie buddy Nick).
- Yes, your stamina is low. Don't use that as an excuse. Build it up.
- Less style, more substance.
- You can only kick a few asses after you've got your ass royally kicked.
- Make unpredictability your greatest strength.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Some time ago, I made a discovery.
I'm wondering if I should freak out that ________.
(A) my dad-in-law-to-be knows my blog when even my parents don't
(B) my dad-in-law-to-be has been reading my blog for quite some time now
(C) my dad-in-law-to-be reads my blog every day and yet I'm not freaking out
(D) my dad-in-law-to-be is reading this post about him reading my blog and yet I'm not freaking out
I've not done this officially, so here goes.
Welcome to my blog, dad-in-law-to-be. :)
Monday, December 25, 2006
All right that's it - Sayesha kicks Viv (and his fans) out and regains normal control of her bar!
I'm a woman of my words (well, most of the time anyway). I said it, and I did it. It has not been easy since. To leave a job you love, one that defines most of what you are, is not easy. However, it was the right thing to do. It was the right time to do it. A job is like a relationship - when things get jaded, you need a little time, a little distance. I decided that since I'm going to take a long break from work for the wedding, let it be a clean break - no strings attached.
And I quit.
It led to mixed reactions at work. Some were happy for me. It has been four long years after all, and the average shelf life of an editor in this industry is only a year.
Then there were some who were angry because I quit. People who did not understand my reasons, people who could not find it in themselves to be happy for me and what I had decided.
And finally there were those who almost jumped off the building rooftop for me.
It was one of those dreary days when I was trying to wrap up four years of working here - preparing handover files, generally feeling depressed and what not. I'd also been sad because my usual lunch group had been too busy to have lunch with me the last few days - they were "working through lunch". Even though random people were approaching me and taking me out to lunch, it just isn't the same when your friends don't have time to have lunch with you in your last few days at the office.
So here I was, brooding over things when my colleague (henceforth known as 'The Captain') approached me with a letter in his hands. This is what the letter said:
15 December 2006
Subject: Letter of mass resignation
Please accept this letter as formal notification that the undersigned Editors are leaving their positions with effect from 22 December 2002.
Sayesha is leaving soon and all of us have completely lost our motivation and drive to continue working here. Sayesha is kind, understanding and appreciative. She has been the light at the end of our tunnels, the lone flower in the field of mud, a diamond among zircons, the reason for us being the super editors we all are, and the one boss to rule all bosses. Without her, we cannot carry on. No amount of salary increments or staff benefits will change our minds. The only way for us to retract this letter is for her to retract hers.
Thank you for the opportunities you have provided us during our time with the company. If we can be off any assistance during this transition, please let us know.
[Signatures of 17 of my colleagues]
There was also a footnote, in really really tiny font, with the words:
If Management is reading this letter, then it is just a joke.
If Sayesha is reading it, then it is for real.
After I'd finished reading the letter, and getting all choked up - both with laughter and with emotion - the Captain asked me to follow him. I did so, and soon I found myself outside the gates of the building. Hot on my heels was another colleague - fondly known as the official paparazzi of our company - mainly because he uses his camera phone more than he uses his keyboard.
So I turned around and asked the Captain and the paparazzi what the hell was going on. The Captain explained that all the editors, unable to accept the fact that I had resigned, had decided to tender their resignations and jump from the building rooftop. In his own words, "Their ghosts will forever roam the grounds of the building, and haunt those who have resigned by stealing their pens and stet-ing their mark-ups in their manuscripts." [Only an editor would get why the mental image of this is so hilarious!]
He motioned me to look towards the rooftop, and I did. There was errr.... no one. So I looked around, confused.
This picture of a clueless me was taken from the rooftop by one of the suicidal editors.
"So where are they?" I asked the Captain. He looked just as clueless as me. Had the editors taken one look at the distance they had to jump and changed their minds? Was this part of an elaborate joke whereby I was being made to look skyward like a fool?
There was a lady posting a letter at the post-box who was giving me strange looks. "So are they going to jump or not??" I asked the Captain.
Suddenly the suicidal editors materialised on the rooftop - waving their arms and generally behaving loony. The letter-posting lady looked at me, looked at them, looked at me and quickly scurried off (to call the police, I suspect).
My suicidal editors
The "we're gonna jump" actions they were making were so comical I burst out laughing. The Captain's dramatised "Sayesha, if you don't retract your resignation, they will really jump!" did not help. The "show" lasted a few more minutes, after which I was escorted to the rooftop.
A metallic chair had been strategically placed on the rooftop and I was asked to take a seat. The suicidal editors were standing in a row by the side in costume - the girls in white and the guys in black. After they had reassured me that they were not going to electrocute me, I sat down.
Suddenly familiar music started playing from a CD player placed near the chair. What happened next is something I wouldn't even have imagined in my dreams. The suicidal editors broke into a wonderfully-choreographed dance, to the song 'Salaam Namaste'! In spite of being an editor, I have no words to describe how hilarious it is to be surrounded by a bunch of Singaporeans dancing to Bollywood music. And the best part was - they were singing along, and instead of 'Namaste', they were singing 'Please stay!'
I learnt later that they had been rehearsing the dance for days now, burning the errr... lunchtime oil. No wonder, none of them had been available for lunch all these days! This was their "working through lunch"! I also learnt that all the lunch invitations from random people was also a part of the plan - to take me away from the building during lunch so I don't wander into the company canteen and walk into them rehearsing! Sheesh!
The dance had been choreographed by the talented Belly Dancer. She even emailed me the very hilariously described steps that she'd sent to the others to memorise.
Eight counts: Walk in for the first 2 eights. Stylishly.
Eight counts: Do four poses or freestyling.
Guy starts singing
Eight counts: Move from side to side for next eight counts.
Eight counts: Then wriggle left and right for next eight counts.
Some easy retroish steps
Eight counts: Right index points to the air, twice.
Eight counts: V over right and then left eye.
Eight counts: Ali Baba steps. Basically moving your head side to side, with palms facing up.
Girl starts singing
Repeat retro steps and Ali Baba steps.
Eight counts: Roll hands right and then left.
Salaam Namaste music
Eight counts x2: Guys go in with shoulder shrug and bangra hands.
Salaam Namaste music
Eight counts x2: Girls go in with shoulder shrug and bangra hands.
Eight counts x4: Bangra moves which I can try to teach you guys later…
Eight counts x2: Macarena step. Hope you remember them…
This was not all. They'd set up my office crush (of course I have an office crush! Everyone has an office crush! You mean you don't?????? Get out of the bar now!!) to give me a bouquet of pink gerberas - my favourite flowers and make a final attempt to make me stay.
Ah well, crush or no crush, I wasn't staying for sure. But I was really really touched at what my colleagues had done. They even got me to pop the cork of a 'champagne' bottle - except that the champagne in this case was fruit juice (we may be a crazy bunch, but drinking during office hours is not something we do. Errr... usually.) Snacks and drinks were followed by a photoshoot. We were lucky because another department in the company was having a photoshoot for one of the new cookbooks, and we used the (free) services of the professional photographer conducting the photoshoot.
There had also been a mix-up because the flowers had been delivered to the recption and since they had my name on them, the receptionist called me to tell me "Sayesha, there is something for you, please pick it up." Before I could make my way out to pick up what I thought was my author's manuscript, one of my editors had made a lunge for my waist, saying it was actually something for her, not me. I was really suspicious but I let her go and pick it up. Now it all made sense!
We took a bunch of random pictures on the rooftop in various weird poses, till we were forced to admit that it was high time we got back to our cubicles on the first floor! Sheesh! But what a day it had been! I'll admit that all this crazy stuff by the adorable crazy people did make me reconsider my resignation for a fraction of a second. However, I gotta do what I gotta do.
In the words of the Captain again, "Alas, despite the valiant efforts of everyone, Sayesha still chooses to leave. Where else in the world can she find a bunch of people who would mass-resign, commit mass suicide and perform a Bollywood number for her? That is a question only she can answer."
Nowhere, guys, nowhere. :')
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Note from Sayesha: Ok you guys can stop bugging me now - here's your guest post! And it's not in C++. Phew! :D
Today I'm the postman. Rather, the "one-post man". She said her blog friends wanted a guest post. How could I let such a chance slip? The big question was - what do I write about? There are reasons why I don't blog, and chief among them is the fact that although I have a lot of ideas and thoughts in my head, when I put pen to paper, what results is a blank sheet. I'm just not that good when it comes to writing. Anyway, since some folks have asked for it, here's a post about my best friend.
Sayesha and I studied at the same university. And that's about all we had in common. We are from opposite ends of the personality spectrum. She's the extrovert, loves to sing and dance, creative genius, and so on. I on the other hand, am the self-confessed introvert. She's a fantastic cook and loves to play host. I remember all the times she used to invite her friends over to her hostel room for cake and strawberry jelly that looked so beautiful, it seemed straight out of a cookbook. Frankly, I am a real food-lover and so we're a perfect match in that regard. She needs a bakra to try out new recipes on... and I can totally live with that! :)
She is a very emotional person. One who really radiates joy when she is happy and one who can be depressingly depressed (if that makes sense) when she is sad. The way she feels for her friends and loved ones is very "dil-se". She's also got a very strong sense of intuition that is freaky at times.
I totally adore her creativity, her energy, her skills (culinary, literary, artistic) and all the things that make her who she is. And perhaps therein lies a clue to what makes us tick. Despite not having the same interests or similar personalities, we do have something in common... admiration and adoration for each other.
We've come a long way since we first got to know each other. Now, a new beginning awaits, and it's sure to be an interesting journey. Even though noone knows what the future holds, I do know that whatever happens, we will always be what we started off as... best friends.
By the way, she wore a pair of pearl ear-rings today and I think they suit her too!
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
- He and I are worlds apart. He's patient, I'm jumpy. He's quiet, I'm chatty. As Raam Pyari would say - he's the sensible types, I'm the crackpot types. :/
- He's a geeky nerd. And a nerdy geek. :/
- He's smarter than me. :/
- He's into programming languages. :/
- He still laughs at the funny red sports shoes I used to have in university years ago, and gleefully describes them to everyone. :/
- In the last 8 years that I have been friends with him, I have told him about all of my 3 million crushes, but he has only told me of 3 (of which I am one). :/
- He's way fitter than me. :/
- He spends his entire weekend playing cricket. :/
- He gets a new injury at cricket every weekend. :/
- He always forgets to put on sunscreen during his cricket matches and turns up for dinner looking like a bhoot. :/
- He works very late hours. :/
- He is too tall, even for my highest heels. :/
- He keeps insisting that SRK and Karan Johar are a couple, just to bug me. :/
- He wants the computer whenever I am blogging. :/
- He doesn't get haircuts on time. :/
- He begins sentences and doesn't end them. :/
- He comes up with weird nicknames for my colleagues. :/
- He claims to be a cook but he can make only one dish. :/
- He insists that the only earrings that look good on me are the little silver studs because he gave me those millions of years ago. :/
- He chides me for being careless with money. :/
- His PJs are worse than mine (I know it's hard to believe). :/
- He woos my cousins over with ten-minute phone conversations, and then they tell me that they like him more than they like me. :/
- He sings the wrong lyrics of Hindi songs and actually makes them sound correct. :/
- He never turns up anywhere on time. :/
- He makes me miss Hindi movie trailers. :/
- He sleeps in Hindi movies, and then suddenly wakes up and says "Kya hua? Kya hua??" :/
- He irritates me, grins and then says "I irritate you so much na?" :/
And that's why he gets me. :)
Monday, December 18, 2006
There is one secret technique that 20-somethings all over the world use when parents pressure them about marriage.
"Pehle meri padhai toh khatam hone do!" ("Let me finish my studies first!")
What these unsuspecting 20-somethings don't know is that their parents are smarter than them (In the words of Amitabh Bachchan “Oye chak de phatte, main tera baap hoon!”). They pretend to buy that excuse just to make you feel smarter, but what you don't know is that they are really taking it literally. So the moment you finish that Master's/MBA/random-course-you-take-up-to-escape-marriage, they'll pin you down on your own words.
Sayesha is no exception.
My friends always said I would make an unconventional bride. And it seems they were right.
I got in touch with a school friend after years. She lives in the same city as my parents.
Friend - So what's the latest in your life?
Me - Oh, I finished my exams! My dissertation's just got first approval.
She - Achha? And...?
Me - Oh I just got a promotion. And hey I am going to Pakistan!
She - Bas? Anything else?
Me - Errr... let me think... hmmm...
She - *string of gaalis* I just spoke to your mom! How could you not tell me THE NEWS first? *longer string of gaalis*
Me – Um... yeah, am kinda getting married.
She - Kinda? Sheesh, tu nahin badli! So are you excited? What does the guy do? How does he look? What are you going to wear at the wedding - sari or lehenga? What style wedding is it going to be? How many days of ceremonies?
Whoa! Slow down. Don't ask questions. I don't have answers. Yet.
After I got back from Pakistan and attempted to put my work life back in order, I told my colleagues about the news.
Colleague - Wow, congratulations! So when's the wedding?
Me - Oh it's a long way off.
Colleague - When is it???
Me - It's next year.
Colleague - Oh ok. Phew. Then you have time to plan. Next year when?
Me - January.
Colleague - January?? January 2007???
Me - Err.. yeah.
Colleague - And you call that a long way off????
Me - Err.. yeah.
Colleague - That's only like one month away! Don't you need like a year to plan??
Me - Ummm... not really.
It seems that if you pick the guy, the parents pick everything else. So I am pretty chilled out, while they're going nuts in India doing the planning.
Once in a while they call me to ask funny questions.
Mom - Should we buy the gold? Or do you want to buy your own?
Me - Gold? Do I really have to wear gold?
Now I am the kind of person who hates gold with a vengeance. I'd rather wear the fake earrings worth twelve rupees that I bought on the streets of Delhi two years ago than 35 kg of gold wedding jewellery, which incidentally is competing with the wedding sari to see which one's heavier.
But it seems a bride wearing fake jewellery worth twelve rupees is not really an option, as my Mom's glare pointed out. When you can feel a glare over the telephone, you know she's on the verge of getting really pissed off.
Me - Ok ok I will buy my own!
Mom - No no, don't buy! You don't know the first thing about gold! Just look around and report to me.
So one early morning I went to the Tanishq gold section at Mustafa to 'look around'. I'd say it was quite a productive trip.
That evening, my sister called me.
She - So Mom said you went to Mustafa.
Me - Yeah, I did.
She - Did you buy anything?
Me - Yeah, I did.
She - You did??? What did you buy???
Me - Err... ipod nano.
She - *heavy silence*
Me - Hello?
She - You bought an ipod nano when you went gold-shopping?
Me - Err.. yeah. I didn't like anything else I saw.
My sister burst into laughter. In the background, I think Aish was chuckling too.
She - I should have guessed you'd do something like that! I am trying to imagine you sitting at the mandap in your wedding sari wearing an ipod nano instead of gold jewellery. *bursts into laughter again*
Phew. Thank heavens some family members still have a sense of humour, while others only send menacing glares over the phone.
"So are you excited?" Everyone's asking me. The truth is - I'm not. Not yet. I guess I'm still trying to wrap up a lot of things - my job, my studies, my bank balance - and haven't had time to feel all...errr... bride-y. Perhaps I've too many other things to take care of first. Perhaps mentally I am still in Pakistan. The truth is - I haven't even been thinking about it. Friends are getting pissed off because they're hearing the news "too late".
However, everyone in my family has been making up for my not thinking about it. For quite some time as I recently found out.
Some time in November, I'd called up my sister after my first exam.
Me - Hey I finished the first exam. It went well. The next one's in a few days. Wish me luck.
Sister - So which side are you going to part your hair?
Me - Huh?? Part my hair? For the exam???
Sister - Not the exam. Offo! The wedding!
Me - The wedding? Sheesh, can we please focus on my exam first?
Sister - Hmmm... okay okay. But grow your hair ok? Don't cut it till the wedding.
Hmmm... the problem with my hair is that it is exactly like me - wild, has a mind of its own and refuses to grow up. The longer I grow it, the curlier it gets, so any increase in length is lost in the curls.
Me - Sigh. I will try.
And everyone's thinking of what to wear. Everyone except me.
The other day, my sister called again.
She - Hey, listen, I want you to buy something for Aish in Singapore.
Me - Yeah sure. What do you want?
She - I want some accessories. To match what she's gonna wear at the wedding and the reception.
Me - You want accessories for Aish?
She - Yeah.
Me – Accessories for Aish??
She – Haan baba!
Me - Apa, baby Aish is 6 months old!!!!!
She - Yeah. I know. That's why I can't find anything suitable here. Apparently, there's a kind of hairband, made of the same material that stockings are made of, the kind that won't hurt her scalp. And there's velcro clips for the hair. I can't find them in New Jersey. So you gotta look for them in Singapore. Light pink, pale yellow and white. Okay?
So here I am, clueless about my own accessories but faced with this rather strange task of buying baby hairbands and clips. If anyone knows of a place that sells velcro clips and nylon hairbands for a 6-month-old baby, please contact me immediately.
Now that my exams are over, I've started on my exercise regime again. Many people think that it's for the wedding. Sheesh. Gotta open the sarcasm bottle.
Friend - Shaping up for your wedding, huh?
Me - Yeah, gotta fit into my wedding dress, you see.
*Friend gives me a strange look*
Friend - Errrm... Sayesha, your wedding dress is a sari.
Me - Yeah, I know.
Friend - Errr... You don't ‘fit into a sari’. A sari wraps around you.
Me - Yeah. But in my head, it's already wrapped, you see. I just need to fill up the hollow within it.
Friend - ??
People are asking me for the cards. I don't have them yet. Apparently, the cards went to the printer last week, and they should reach me soon. No one asked for my approval on the design. This would never happen at work - none of my editors would dare to send something to the printer without getting my signature of approval on it. Hmmph!
Dad asked me not to worry as he would take care of the card. He doesn't know that that itself is the cause of my worry. There has never been any common factor in my parents' taste and mine. I just hope that unlike my blog posts, the card has no typos. (Occupational hazard, yes.)
Right now, I see the wedding as an event that kinda requires my attendance. An event where two thousand grinning people I have never met in my life will surround me and ask “Recognise me?” while I disguise my ignorance about the answer to their question with choreographed ‘bridal blushing’.
From what I have seen so far, a wedding is an event designed around the bride, and nothing but the bride. The guy is the optional feature in a wedding. No one really cares about his whereabouts after the customary "Dulha aa gaya, dulha aa gaya!" I mean - look at this post. It's 35 kilometres long and yet, there is no mention of the dulha in it. Poor guy.
So I'm supposed to gear up for the most important event of my life. I'm supposed to be excited, nervous and what not. But the truth is - no, I’m not nervous. I’m not excited. But it doesn't worry me.
Maybe it will all happen in time. After all, the transition from underworld bhai to blushing bride is not an easy one.
Or maybe it won't. Maybe I'm just not that kinda bride.
Now if you please excuse me, I’ve got to go now. It's time for me to add fertilizer to my scalp.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
I've finally managed to finish writing the posts and uploading all photos and videos of the Pakistan series on the other bar. Thanks to everyone who encouraged (read 'threatened at gunpoint') me into completing it. Apologies to all you guys for not being able to reply to your comments the way I used to. Too many things are happening (many of which will be revealed over the subsequent posts)and lately I feel like I've not been able to catch up on or keep track of my own life.
However, starting this week, this bar's back in action! Hop back on to Sayeshaz! :)