Sunday, December 31, 2006

Coming out (with) tops!

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

Friday, December 29, 2006

The psychotic washerman's cap

Someone gave Viv a cool Ferrari cap for Christmas.

Further examination led to the discovery of this label on the inside.

Wear the cap. Show your support towards people who suffer from OCD - Obsesssive Compulsive Dhobi-giri.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Are you game?

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.
And most importantly, there are people out there playing 13 different sports each. Don't stink at the only sport you play. :P

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dad-in-law, bahu outlaw?


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

Salaam Namaste... aur alwida...

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

Dear Management,

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 where 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.

Starting music
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.
Filler music
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.
Bangra music
Eight counts x4: Bangra moves which I can try to teach you guys later…
Salaam Namaste
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 reception 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

Gues(t) who?

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

About a boy

  • 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?" :/
But in spite of all this - he is the only guy who totally gets me.

And that's why he gets me. :)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Whose wedding is it anyway?

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

Q & A

She - Are you sure?
He - Yes, I am.
She - But you know me - I'm nuts. I'll drive you nuts too, you know!
He (smiles) - I know.

And that's why she said 'Yes'.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bar bar dekho

Hi bewdas,

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! :)



Sunday, December 03, 2006

Apun Pak gaya Singapore se!

For pictures and stories, bewdas are requested to hop over to Hopscotch - the Travel Bar.

Update - Wagah border stories are up!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Bewdon zara bar sambhaalo...

...apun bas gaya aur aaya.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Mentally unstaple

"Children's book publishing has two seasons - peak season... and super-peak season."

Thus spake a colleague and made history by being the most quoted guy in my company.

As the super-peak season draws near, lunch hours gradually disappear. People seem to work through lunch, and eat only if interrupted by a caring colleage's reminder. I'm lucky to have a few caring colleagues who pop by my cubicle with a "Lunch?" at 12.30 pm.

Yesterday, Belly Dancer dropped by with the magic word, and pulled me out of my stress-ridden daze. And suddenly I realised how very hungry I was. Still kinda dazed, I hurriedly grabbed the usual three things I take with me when I go for lunch - wallet, umbrella and mobile phone. We were waiting for Bananapen when I suddenly realised that something wasn't right. My mobile phone felt different in my hand. Gosh, had I picked up someone else's mobile phone?

So I looked down at the object in my hands.

Nope, it wasn't someone else's mobile phone.

It wasn't my mobile phone either.

It was a stapler. :|

I was gonna go for lunch with a stapler in my hands. :|

Gives a whole new meaning to the term 'staple food', doesn't it? :|

In unrelated news, the innocent citizens of Singapore were struck by panic due to reports of the jailbreak by the dangerous criminal Psychotic Stapler (or Stapling Psycho as the media 'fondly' refers to her), who has been spotted roaming the streets of Singapore, armed with a fully loaded stapler. It is to be noted that she is highly trained in using the weapon. Considering that she's been kinda pissed off with anything and everything in the last few days, any attempts to say things that could further annoy her may lead her to use the weapon. It is in the interest of the public to keep their mouths shut when in her company.

This message was issued in public interest by the Stapling Psycho.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I want...

I want to finish reading this chapter.
I want to be done with the exams.
I want to submit my dissertation to the university.
I want to graduate.
I want to hold my post-grad degree scroll.
I want to be a Master of Mass Communication.
I want to be done with studying for life.
I want to stop being so hard on myself.
I want to do away with discipline for a while.
I want to stop running.
I want to stop running out of inspiration.
I want to stop feeling tired, so tired.
I want to stop telling myself I'm not tired.
I want to run on food, water and rest, not adrenalin.
I want to wake up at noon on a saturday and not feel guilty.
I want to exercise.
I want to swim.
I want to ice-skate.
I want to sleep.
I want to go dancing.
I want to cook fancy dishes for my friends.
I want to walk home from office.
I want to go to the beach and blow soap bubbles.
I want to roller-blade and cycle at the beach.
I want to organise my photo-albums.
I want to spend a weekend doing nothing at all.
I want to have time to buy more clothes and shoes.
I want to rent movies and watch them sprawled on the mattress on the floor in my living room.
I want to go to Jade theatre and watch all the crappy Hindi movies.
I want to go to Chinatown and look at the random interesting things.
I want to subscribe to Hindi TV channels and watch meaningless soaps.
I want to spend time with my parents and my sis and baby Aish.
I want to see my three crazy cousins who live in the UK.
I want to catch up with my school friends.
I want to resume my Chinese lessons.
I want to learn Tamil and Malay too.
I want to email Dad regularly.
I want to invite people over and hold parties.
I want to volunteer.
I want to learn music.
I want to catch up with my blog buddies' blogs.
I want to update my blogroll.
I want to while away my time.
I want to write a few more books for kids.
I want to stop working for a while.
I want to go on a holiday.
I want to be able to take a day off when I am not feeling well.
I want to take leave.
I want more people in my team.
I want to clear my cubicle of random stuff accumulated over the last four years.
I want to stop travelling all the way to university after work.
I want to go home after work.
I want to go home. Home home. India home.
I want to take a break.

No actually, I want to quit.

So I can fall in love with my job all over again.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


"There are only 2 questions and they are worth 100 marks. There is a lot to write. Use your time well, and focus when you sit for the exam." The prof had warned about the exam.

So Sayesha was all focused as she entered the exam hall. She had no distractions. All she wanted to have in her head was stuff about the exam.

Only about the exam.

So Sayesha turns over the question paper, reads the two questions and start writing the first answer.

And then suddenly out of nowhere, random thoughts start fleeting in and out of her head. The harder she tries to shrug them off, the more persistently the cross-connections dart through.

So between spasms of furious writing, this is what was happening in that head.

Jab kabhiiiiiiiiiii..........

Sheesh, stop singing in your head, Sayesha! You're in the middle of an exam.

Yeh Aarti ki bachi... exam ke pehle achhe achhe gaane kaiku bhejti hai... jab kabhiiiiii........

Sheesh, you were the one who listened to it 30 times on loop at work all morning, and now you blame Aarti?

Hmmm... woh bhi sahi baat hai...

Lekin KK is God, nahin?

Gosh that girl's jacket is such a bright yellow. I should look at her if I get sleepy.

Waise Shaan bhi koi kam nahin hai...

I like this pen... I should buy one in red for office work...

I had two missed calls from my editor 5 minutes before the exam... didn't have time to call back... hope there was no crisis...

Hey, Louis' mineral water bottle is the same brand as mine!

Since I got the bottle in, I should drink some now.

Don't drink too much. You may want to pee!

Hope I don't have to pee. I hate having to get up in the middle of an exam to go pee.

Damn it's freezing in here... how could I forget my jacket in the office? Thank goodness I asked my friend to get an extra one...

My feet are cold... I should have worn covered shoes...

My sis said she liked these shoes of mine... I think she was hinting man... I should have just given them to her...

After the exams, I will buy a few pairs of shoes for her...

... and for myself too. Gotta reward myself for finishing the exams, yeah?

Actually do I really have to wait till after the exams? The next paper is open-book anyway...

And I'll catch up with all the new movies too... maybe the new Bond movie...

But the new Bond looks like a lizard! :/

I think you're just afraid that you'll end up liking him.

That's just weird... what's wrong in liking a lizard-like Bond? Not like Pierce is my bachpan ka dost who would start sulking...

Hmmm... can't believe I am in the MLT again... seven years ago I was standing there in the middle of the stage and performing 'Ishq bina'... what glorious days...

Arre wah, prof is wearing a colourful shirt today... classes mein toh bahut dull clothes pehente hain... exam mein so rangeela?

Hey, he's walking towards the mike... what's he gonna say?

"You have 15 minutes remaining."


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Embedded systems

"Come on! It's 9.30 am! Your exams are in half an hour, we're getting late!"

"Coming, Dad!"

Panicking, I picked up my bag and ran. Dad had already started the scooter, which was also making impatient noises. I quickly hopped on and soon we were on our way. We were halfway when I suddenly realised something shocking. "Dad, stop stop stop. We have to go back. I left my pencil case at home!"

So back we went, and soon I was home. I ran up the stairs huffing and puffing, and rummaged around on my desk for the pencil case. Ah, there it was. I picked it up.

And suddenly, I blacked out. Nothingness.

I only regained consciousness when I felt the sunlight streaming onto my face through the window in my room. I opened my eyes and looked at the clock at my desk. It said 7.30 am. I looked at the date. It was the 15th. 7.30 am on the 15th?

I looked at the wall clock. 7.30 am. But wasn't yesterday the 15th? Yesterday, before I blacked out, it was 9.30 on the 15th, wasn't it? Technically, I should have missed my exam. But the clock was telling me I hadn't.

In a fit of panic, I went to look for my parents.
"Dad... Mom... what happened to me???? Why didn't you wake me up???? Did I miss the exam????"

"Huh? What exam?"

"The exam I had yesterday?"

"Beta, your exam is today."

"Today?? But what about yesterday? Remember... we had to come back? Because I had forgotten my pencil case? And then I blacked out?"


"Remember? I asked you turn the scooter around and we came home... and then..."


And then it struck me.

Dad doesn't ride a scooter, he drives.


"Yeah?" He looked puzzled.

"Oh. Hmmm... So... It was... a dream?"

"I'd think so." He laughed.

"So it's the 15th today? It's 7.30 am? I have not missed my exam?"

"No you haven't. Okay but make sure you're ready on time today. And don't forget to take your pencil case along."

I was so relieved. It was just a dream. I had not blacked out. I had not missed my exam. I breathed a sigh of relief. My parents were smiling at me.

In a strange sort of way.

Wait a minute...

Err... I don't live with my parents. They are in India.

What the hell was happening?

And then I woke up with a start. I looked at my phone. It was 15th November 2006. 6.30 in the morning.

This morning.


A dream in a dream?

Double WOW.

Or was it a dream in a dream in a dream?

I guess I will find out when I wake up.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I'm not kidding

So there I was, sitting at lunch and telling my colleagues about this hot new television show called Desire: Table for three which for the last few days has been causing quite a disruption in my studies, when out of nowhere, without our knowledge, we realised that the topic had switched from the two hot brothers in the show to parenting. Much as I try to link back, I am unable to figure out how it happened, but it happened. So we started talking about how difficult parenting is, and how annoying unruly kids are, and how sometimes you just wanna slap the spoilt brats, irrespective of whom they belong to.

My colleague told me about how annoying her little cousins had become compared to the days when "at least they were cute". So true. Often, we see the best side of other's kids and don't really see the pain of parenting that people have to go through. Beyond the cuteness, lies the sinister reality that strikes the parents first, and eventually others too. We started discussing about how we would bring up our kids, and whether 'Spare the rod and spoil the child' is actually a myth. Well, I guess it depends on many factors such as the genes, the upbringing and the company the kid keeps which determines how disciplined or unruly he/she is. Sometimes the kids are already well-behaved and do not need constant discipline. I think I did pretty okay when I was little. Sometimes I wonder how my parents coped with my sister and me. We were never caned but I do remember being whacked only once by Dad, when in a fit of fury, I tore up his favourite 'Illustrated weekly of India', a news magazine popular in the days when I was a kid. It was a brand new issue and he hadn't even read it. I still remember the sting of the slap. The good thing is - I realised it pretty soon that I deserved it. That one slap was enough to teach me that my unjustified fury was wrong and would get me nothing.

I guess I belong to the school of thought that advocates the use of the cane. Not the 'cane' literally (though I remember getting caned in school by my class teacher in a mass caning of the entire class session!) but that of discipline - punishment for wrongdoings. I don't believe that it is enough for one of the parents to be strict (it could leave the kid confused or make him favour one over the other). I believe that both parents must be equal in their strictness and consistent in their dealings over bad behaviour.

Very young kids learn in stages. In the early stages, they differentiate right from wrong by observing the behaviour of their parents. To them, something that "makes Mummy or Daddy angry" is wrong. They do not understand the morality of right or wrong behaviour, nor do they understand what is reasonable and what is not.
Gandhiri is perhaps not entire suitable considering their cognitive abilities at that age. As they grow up, it makes sense to sit down with them for more mature discussions, and explain to them why exactly Daddy and Mummy get angry at certain behaviours. They can process reason better at that age.

I truly feel that kids need to know that there are lines, which if they cross, can lead to serious consequences. At that age, sometimes it's not easy to deal with them in a mature way, and perhaps talking it over is not enough. Perhaps a slap is the best way to make them understand what they should and should not do, and let them grow up and find out why they got slapped. It's kinda like pocket money. I spent a large part of my childhood wondering why I did not get pocket money like my friends did, even though Mom and Dad bought me everything that I asked for and deserved. No amount of "But why can't I have the money and buy the things myself?" arguments were accepted. So I had to accept their "No" albeit grudgingly at first. But now I know and I understand and I think they were right.

Frankly speaking, I'd never been really 'pally' with my parents. I never really considered them my 'friends' when I grew up. My interaction with them was based on respect, love, trust and to a certain extent, fear too. But I have no regrets. Today, even though I'm 26 and do not agree on everything with my parents, I do know that they know what's best for me. They trust me just as I trust them. Years ago, when I'd told Mom and Dad "I'll pick the guy I want to marry. But if you have any objection at all, I will not even ask you why. I will follow your wishes." I really meant it. And perhaps that is why they trust me. I think it took a lot of courage and trust on their part to send me off to a foreign country for ten years, and I can never forget that.

In modern times, where it is 'cool' to be of the same mental age as your kids, sometimes I feel that kids cross the line and behave too mature for their age because of the liberties given to them by the parents. The worst is when they forget to respect their parents because of these very liberties. I've seen kids talk back rudely at their parents and even use words like 'stupid' and 'shut up!' It shocks me because I remember getting a real bad scolding for being rude to my nanny.

Maybe it works differently for different people. Some kids are just naturally well-behaved while others are not. It's true that some kids respond better to conversation, and can be talked into being disciplined, but what if they can't be? Haven't we all seen kids who seem to be out of control - even of their own parents?

"I think I will whack my kid(s) if they don't behave." I declared to my colleagues.

That's when we realised that it was 1.35 pm and lunchtime was over. As we laughed over how four people who have no kids had been talking about parenting for over twenty minutes, and dispersed, I suddenly realised something else.

What a day to be talking about whacking kids, Sayesha! :/

Nehru chacha, maaf karna... but I still think I'll whack my kid(s). I'm just hoping that I won't have to.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ab tera kya hoga, Ramu?

Beta Ramu, tujhe yaad hai? Sholay mein kitne aadmi they?

Kisko laayega? Kahan se laayega?

Abhi bhi waqt hai. Abhi bhi kuchh nahin bigda.

Bin the production.


Friday, November 10, 2006

The help-less helpline

Ah, now I've got it all figured out.

A few weeks ago, on a tip-off from my blog buddy Rohit, The Times of India featured my interview on their 'Education Times' page. In the beginning, I bobbed up and down in my newfound 'Sala main toh sahab ban gaya' glory, but then I noticed something sinister happening on my Orkut account. Strange people (who are a different breed from strangers I must say) had started leaving me scraps and sending me messages with random queries. These people were also a different breed from the hot sexy guys wanting to do frand ships I'd blogged about some time ago. Those 'frand ship' messages had stopped appearing once I changed my Orkut profile message to read "I'm not on Orkut to "make new friends". I'm here to get in touch with old ones. Pls add me only if we know each other." (I know it doesn't sound cool and even borders on rudeness, but I got the message across. The 'frand ship' messages stopped.)

So when there was a sudden spike of messages and scraps from these strange people on Orkut, I started wondering what could have happened. And now I know! I'd mentioned in the interview that it's good to obtain information before joining an overseas university.

So now, suddenly I had become that source of information. :|

Now don't get me wrong. I'm all for helping people, including random strangers. To me, the concept of 'Pay it forward' is right up there amongst the highest of the high, along with Lage Raho Munnabhai's Gandhigiri concept. It's something we desperately need to keep us sane, to keep us human, in a world that seems to be repeatedly teaching us the same lesson - "stranger = danger".

So I try to do my part. I try to help people who ask me for advice about Singapore - universities, courses, places to see, house rents, taxes, living expenses, etc. I don't really mind it. I guess a faceless stranger asking you for information over the net is probably safer than a dubious-looking one standing at your door asking for a glass of water. Getting the info they need only takes a little bit of my time, and I feel good to be able to help. I feel privileged to be in a position where I can actually help someone. Information should be shared and all that blah. Sometimes I go out of the way to do research that would help someone. I have asked around about house rentals in random places in Singapore, procedures to apply for visit passes, and what not. I do what I can, in whatever way I can, sometimes to the extent of errr... making them suspicious. And thankfully, most of the time, I don't expect anything in return.

And that's exactly where my dilemma begins. Most of the time, people ask for help nicely. But sometimes they don't. Sometimes they're rude. Sometimes they assert a right over you. Sometimes they 'demand' things. And some of the requests for help are just plain damn exasperating.

Most of the messages and scraps I get tend to be about engineering courses in Singapore. Now I do not work as an engineer, even though I have a degree in engineering. So I really don't know what the market for engineers is like out there. But of course, I suppose these people don't know that I switched to publishing, so it's still okay. What is not okay is the kind of things they ask me, and the way some of them phrase their emails, and the way they demand answers as if I'm their local helpline. Now these are not people who're from my blog, and who know me reasonably well. If they were, I'd be more than willing to help, just as I'd be more than willing to ask them for help.

But these are random people I don't know. Random people with their random queries.

"Hi Sayesha I want to do master's in digital signal processing in NTU. Please give me the details about the course."

What the...! If I knew the details about the master's course in digital signal processing in NTU, I...err... wouldn't be able to live with myself. :|

"Hi is the engineering course in NTU good?"

"Hi Sayesha I am Rajesh from Raigarh. I got 92% in boards. I got into IIT and also NTU. What should I pick?"

"Will I get a job immediately after I graduate?"

"Hi I need more info on engineering courses in Singapore. Can I add you as a friend?"
*Notification - Random person X has added you as a friend.*

"HI....This is Muthu doing my final yr ECE in Hyderabad...Planning to apply for MSc Embedded Systems r Computer Control & Automation at NTU for August'07......can u plz gimme some info abt the conditions,standards n future prospects after doing MSc out ther so that I cld start my application process.....Thanx in advance...."

Some dudes even send me part of their resumes as if I'm in the selection panel.

"My profile: GRE 1020(730+290)(AWA -3) Toefl-243(4.5) 1)B.E upto 3-2 : 77%(ECE) 2)Inter/12th : 96.8% 3)10th/ssc : 90% 4) Presented 5 National level technical papers including ones at IIT,Mumbai n BITS pilani..(won 2 prizes- one at jntu,hyderabad and other at bits,pilani). 5)Participated in Robotics workshops conducted at IIT chennai n IIIT,hyderabad. 6) I've got merit certificate of participation in Regional Maths Olympiad(Andhra Pradesh) in 1999(class IX). 7)My partner n I were placed in 5th position in HINDU young world quiz in regional finals held in hyderabad in 2002."

Then there are those who have freshly landed in Singapore and need help. The annoying part is them thinking that they can immediately become your friend just because they landed in Singapore and emailed you.

"Hi I am new in Singapore. I need a friend to show me around. Can I befriend you?"
*Notification - Random person X has added you as a friend.*

"Hey I work in software came to Singapore three months back currently living in Bukit Batok. Which part of Singapore you live in?"
*Notification - Random person X has added you as a friend.*

Then there was this guy who wrote me a very polite email through Orkut, asking me for information about Singapore as he had just landed here on his job assignment. It was a very sincere email asking for help, and I'd have gladly gone out of the way to get all his questions answered, if not for that one small thing that ruined every one of his sincere words. The subject line. It read (and I copy word for word; sic) - YOU LOKK LIKE A ANGEL.

Needless to say, I instantly deleted that mail.

The worst thing is - when I ignore these emails, messages and scraps or delete them, I actually feel guilty. I feel like I'm acting pricey. One of my friends said, "Arre delete maar, tuney theka leke rakha hai kya saari duniya ko Singapore ke baare mein bataane ka?" ("Just delete them. It's not your responsibility to answer everyone's questions about Singapore.") She was right. It's not my responsibility. But why do I feel guilty?

A friend of mine recently said that he wanted to donate Rs 1 lakh to charity. The strangest thing is - he's not even that rich. But I got thinking. Deep inside every one of us, there's a person who desires to do good. To be selfless, to help people. Some donate their money to charity, some donate their time volunteering (at least I do, cos I work in kids' publishing, and money's not something I have a lot of). It's reassuring to know that we still think about helping others, even if it's because we're scared of burning in hell otherwise.

But I guess we have to draw the line somewhere. In our desire to "be a good person", we must not overlook our own dignity. We must judge for ourselves. We must understand that it is not possible for us to help everyone.

And most importantly, we must stop feeling guilty.

I don't have to feel guilty about these emails and scraps I delete without replying to.

I don't I don't I don't.

If I tell myself this sufficient number of times, I'll begin to believe it myself.

I'm not a bad person just because I can't help everyone who asks me for help.

I'm not I'm not I'm not.

I may 'LOKK LIKE A ANGEL', but I've gotta show my devilish side at times. :|

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Please take note

There are little things that happen to us every day. Things that I refer to as "Pata hai kya hua?" ("Guess what happened?") events. Things that I come back and tell the flatmate.

"Pata hai kya hua? One of my Maths author wrote a question featuring a watermelon that apparently weighs 14 grams."

"Pata hai kya hua? One of my editors sent an email to an image library with the words 'I love your picture of the underside of Natasha. We would like to feature it in our magazine. It will be for educational puposes only.' without mentioning explicitly that Natasha is a spider. I almost fell off my chair laughing imagining the expression of the guy who read it. He must have thought Playboy sent him an email!"

"Pata hai kya hua? XYZ has tendered her resignation! I really like her, she's one of my lunch buddies!"

"Pata hai kya hua? Dad sent me a forward! Sheesh! A forward!"

"Pata hai kya hua? The new issue of the magazine came out and my copy went missing even before it reached me!"

"Pata hai kya hua? The editor I hired last month is leaving for the US to pursue a business degree."

"Pata hai kya hua? I discovered a paper-thin dead lizard in the old reference books cupboard in the office!"

"Pata hai kya hua? I accidentally drank hot milo using a straw and lost a layer from the roof of my mouth."

"Pata hai kya hua? They gave me a raise and a promotion!"

"Pata hai kya hua? The crazy author who's been calling me every day for the last two weeks called AGAIN!"

"Pata hai kya hua? An author referred to me in an email as 'the sweet, young and pleasant emcee at the Book Launch'."

"Pata hai kya hua? This morning the bus driver loudly abused a cab driver in mandarin for a full five minutes!"

In other words, every single day has a "Pata hai aaj kya hua?" event.

So it was really strange that it was 6:25 pm, I had gone through a full day of work, and was now at university for my class and no "Pata hai kya hua?" event had occurred. It was really odd because something or the other is bound to happen.

So as I sat there waiting for the class to start, looking at the people and the things. Half my classmates were already in, the rest were probably on the way, rushing from work. My project mate Patricia and I were sitting there wondering where our other project mate Cindy was. She was supposed to bring the printout of the report that we'd been slogging on for weeks, to submit to the professor. Some of my classmates were gobbling down their dinner in the class. Some were looking through their powerpoint slides, preparing for their presentation later. Some were discussing clothes and movies. Some were wondering if the professor would give out exam tips. Others were planning on how to escape from the class during the break.

Soon it was 6.30 pm and the class started. Patricia scurried over to one of the chairs at the back as usual, while like any good nerdy girl, I seated myself in my usual place, the first row, right under the professor's nose. Suddenly, in the middle of the class, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around, muttering under my breath, and this guy sitting behind me passed me a note.

A NOTE??!!!

I could not believe my eyes. I am freakin' 26. 26-year-olds don't get notes in the classroom. 16-year-olds too. At least that's how old I was when I last got a note. A note to make fun of what the teacher was wearing. A note to point out the guy dozing on the last bench. A note to request the class nerd (okay fine, that would be be!) not to remind the teacher about the homework that was due. A note to tell you that someone in the class liked you. Yeah, those were the days. Of random notes being passed around in the class.

But there it was, right in the middle of a Master's class, a note folded in half, with my name scribbled on top. I gave the guy who'd passed the note to me a questioning glance, and he gestured to say that the girl behind him had passed it to him. I looked at her and she motioned towards another girl, who pointed at another guy. Soon I lost track of the origin of the note but I did realise that it had travelled quite a bit before reaching me.

Who the hell had sent me a note?? And why?? There aren't even any cute guys in my class. But like it mattered. Who cared about who it was? The important thing was - someone in my class had passed me a note. Awww... I was 16 all over again! Awwww!! :D

So I deftly dropped the note into my lap, and making sure that the professor was not looking at me, excitedly opened it, thinking of what a great "Pata hai kya hua?" event it was to tell the flatmate.

I do not have words to describe the expression I had on my face when I read what I read.

This is what the note said:

Cindy has already passed the report to the professor.
If you wanna take a look, ask for it back for a minute just before the break.

Sheesh. So much for my 'note'.

Not exactly the "Pata hai kya hua?" event I had in mind, but I guess this would do. :|