Sunday, May 28, 2006

While the Saqi is away

So our li'l princess and I were supposed to land on the same day, but she beat masi to it.

"Listen, I obviously can't come to the airport to pick you up," my sis had said over the phone. "I'll be in labour. Your jeeju will also be in the hospital. But his cousin will pick you up. Okay?"

"Of course, don't you worry about me. I won't get lost."

"Lost? YOU getting lost?? Hahaha! Who's worried about you getting lost? Even if you were left alone in the jungles of Africa, you'd make your way back without any problems." She said.

*Gulp* :O

I know why I have this reputation. It's because more than 20 years ago, li'l Sayesha got lost in a crowded market at night, and found her way back without help.

I think I was 2 or 3 years old. Mom, Dad, sis and I were in this noisy and crowded fish market, when I dunno how I let go of Mom's hand and wandered off to watch this huge fish being cut. I stood there in fascination for a while before I realised that I was lost. I looked around at all the knees around me, and realised that none of them belonged to Dad, Mom or my sis.

So I wandered all over the market looking for them, and then finally decided that I could not see them. It was about 9 pm or so, and really dark. But somehow, I didn't cry. Perhaps that's why no stranger came to my aid, because I did not look like I was lost.

Finally, I decided to give up the search for my family and make my way to where Dad had parked his motorbike. (Those were the days, when Dad rode a motorbike and ferried the three of us all over the city.) Waiting there seemed like a good idea. 'Cos no matter where he'd go to look for me, he had to get back to his bike, isn't it?

About half an hour later, they finally turned up. They'd spent an hour looking for me in the market, and then decided to go to the police. You can only imagine how delighted they were to see me standing near the bike. I'd stood there by myself in the dark for over an hour.

The story was, in typical fashion, proudly related to all friends and relatives who fawned over 'how smart li'l Sayesha was'. And before I knew it, I'd acquired the reputation of 'the one who can't get lost'.

And this is what had made my sister make the African jungle reference. Sigh. If only she knew of my Orchard Road adventures.

I'm gearing myself to live up this reputation I'd acquired years ago. So while I try and find my feet in New York, be good, guys. Saqi's taking a long break, but bar's as usual, open to all the bewdas and taporis that hang out here, as long as you sign a declaration at the entrance that you're gonna miss me terribly over the next few weeks. Muahaha! :D

And all those who keep complaining that my posts are too long and too frequent for you to keep up with, here's your chance to catch up with the old wine in the cellars at Sayeshaz.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Fan? Naah!

Warning - If you're one of 'em 'gonna watch Fanaa no matter what' types, I suggest you click the little cross on the top right of this page at once.


Means 'destroyed. 'Destroyed in love' to be precise.

Well, the movie did not seem to have much of the 'love' aspect, but the disastrous plot full of ridiculous coincidences truly destroyed the movie. After her review on Banaras, Sayesha Smitten the showbiz kitten is back to list how Fanaa methodically destroyed her senses last night.

  • Kajol, contrary to the hype, does NOT look good. Okay fine, her face looks good, but what's with the paunch-revealing costumes, especially in the second half? This movie actually justifies why hindi movie heroines (should?) stick to the household after they get married and have kids. After the first half, you actually start wishing Kajol's part was played by her very hot friend Bobo instead.

  • Rule of thumb - No heroine with a paunch, no matter how talented and popular, should ever be allowed to sing and get wet in the rain in front of the camera.

  • The so-called 'dependable' Aamir Khan proves once again after Mangal Pandey that it's high time he retires from mainstream cinema. His character is so utterly unbelievable that you rub your eyes in disbelief. Which Delhi tour guide would dare to freely touch and hug the girls he's taking site-seeing?

  • Kajol keeps spouting idealism about how "Dad says we should... blah blah.." and "Mom says we should... blah blah...". Wonder which of her parents taught her the "Blind girls with high morals should have sex with tour guides."

  • Dumb moves by the blind girl such as trying to cross the busy road, the reasoning being, "I wanted to impress you just like how girls and guys try to impress each other on the first date." Sheesh.

  • If Aamir looks 40 in the movie, his grandpa, shown hale and hearty, living in harsh conditions in the snow, must be at least a 100 eh?

  • The complete lack of chemistry between the lead actors. You just don't see any reason why they would fall in love with each other so madly.

  • Now and then, Rishi Kapoor and Kirron Kher nostagically recollect how they met. Dude, no one cares. Not even if you plonk a photoshopped picture of Rishi Kapoor and Kirron Kher from their ye olde days in the centre of the frame for a full ten minutes.

  • I have actually started disliking the songs I was in love with, after watching their picturisation.

  • Tabu, who I seriously think was better off in her red tights running on the roads after Ajay Devgan, singing 'Ruk ruk ruk' in her Vijaypath days than the moronic role she has in this movie. Two roles actually - one of the mother who's trying to convince her hapless kid into having 'kheer made by grandma' over the phone, and other of the 'psychological specialist' Tyagi who sporadically gasps "That is him! Oh my God!" throughout the movie.

  • What an utter waste of the gorgeous Lara Dutta who appears in a 15-second cameo. An 'aisa jadu' type item number by her would have been so welcome.

  • Shiney Ahuja. Poor Shiney Ahuja. One would think he would have offers pouring in after 'Hazaaron khwahishen aisi' and 'Gangster'. I wonder what made him accept the script that listed his part as follows: 'Play football. Answer call. Drink tea. Die.'

  • Rishi Kapoor's body makes an arduous journey through icy waters and floats under the ice right where Kajol is standing. Someone ask Kunal Kohli what he was thinking.

  • Just when I thought the 'refers to himself in the third person' Rehan junior was the saving grace of the movie with his adorable version of the national anthem (watch out for that - it was the only scene worth my ten-dollar ticket), he suddenly broke into very mature statements, which even adults won't make.

  • Even Rahul Dravid would wince when Aamir says as the kid implores him to stay, "Main Rahul Dravid ki tarah dependable nahin hoon, mujhpar bharosa nahin kiya ja sakta."

  • The highly cliched stupidity with which the whole 'Kajol regains her eyesight' was scripted and executed. Aamir using the rose petals dipped in the 'barkat wala pani' to touch her eyelids, the post-operative three giant white flashes before Kajol immediately starts seeing again, and not to mention the painful, "Ammi, main dekh sakti hoon! Abba, main dekh sakti hoon!"

  • How dare they flick the 'Yara yara' tune from Hum Tum and make a stupid tongue-twister song out of it? What were they thinking - we will continue to recycle this tune till it finally becomes a hit?

  • Stupid stupid stupid dialogues with annoying repeats of phrases ("Khuda haafiz beta, khuda haafiz" and "main tumse bahut pyaar karta hoon, bahut pyaar karta hoon." and "tum mujhe dubara chhodkar nahin ja sakte, nahin ja sakte") and sometimes entire dialogues too, that may have worked in the 70s, but are so off now, that at one point in time, I turned to my friend and said, "If the chap says 'Rehan aapse jitna pyaar karna hai, aap Rehan se utna pyaar nahin karti." one more time, I will throw my shoe at the screen.

It's amazing how much I hated the movie considering that I am the first to jump to the defence of Bollywood when someone says, "That never happens in real life!" I guess it's because there is such a thing as the ability to pull off scenes and dialogues that seem too unreal and incredible to happen in real life.

DDLJ pulled it off. Fanaa did not.

Luckily for me, yesterday's movie watching experience had one saving grace, that made it worth it.

The alu paratha stall at level 1 of Jade theatre.

The apprentice

Last night, I slept with my fingers crossed.


I actually locked myself into a position which made it difficult to uncross my fingers in my sleep.

She was on her way, you see.

Yippppeeeee!!!!! As of 7:30 am Singapore time, I'm a masi I'm a masi I'm a masi. (No, my sis did not have triplets. That's just a very excited me.)

Another round of free drinks to everyone at Sayeshaz bar! Another dhaakki tiki moment, eh?

I finally have someone to impart all my Bhai-giri skills to. Apun ke jaisa bana daalegi usko same-to-same! :D

The proud parents have a nickname for her.
My Dad has a nickname for her.
My Mom has a nickname for her.

"So what are you going to call her?" Mom asked over the phone this morning.

"Me... uhh... I will come up with a nice nick, don't worry! After all, she's my protege! Muahaha!"

So all day I was trying to think of a nick when all of a sudden, a beautiful oldie by Lataji started playing in my head.

With my own modifications, of course.

Mere ghar aayi ek nanhi tapori... :)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Train of thought

Realising that blogging could never be as fun as it has been over the last few days with all the taporigiri in the comments space, I had made fultu plans of retiring from blogsphere in the Bhai-type glory of that post, lekin kismat aur Ipanema Girl ko yeh manzoor nahin tha. :|

So there's this guy I see every morning at the train station on my way to work.

This dude:

- boards the train at the same station as me
- takes the same train as me
- gets off at the same station (which is all the way in the east) as me
- crosses the same overhead bridge as me
- goes to the same bus stop as me
- and even takes the same bus as me to go to work!

(No, he's not a colleague of mine. I am not that crazy. Actually I am, but that's a different story.)

We're past the phase of first conversation or even a 'We take the same train and bus' acknowledgement smile. Which is why it's kinda weird to be around each other every single morning for more than an hour and not say a word. I'm sure he shares my sentiments.

Of course, I could take an earlier train or a later train and end the whole drama. But I can't. There's more to it, you see.

He and I both know the secret to the 7:15 train.

Every morning, at exactly 7:15 am, an unannounced train pulls into Clementi station, without a single person inside!!!!!! :O :O :O

Why is that so strange, you ask? Well, because empty trains don't just happen to Clementi like that. Clementi is probably one of the most crowded stations ever and they can make a full 'Survivor' episode just about getting on a train at Clementi.

I still remember how I discovered this train. Once, just as I reached the station, I saw a train whose doors were just closing, but surprisingly, not everyone on the platform was rushing to get in. There were a few folks, including this dude, who were just standing there, staring at the train. The train pulled away, and yet all these people calmly stood there. I was really surprised. Usually people would dash for the train the minute the doors open, irrespective of whether it's going in the direction they want to go or not.

I looked at the train arrival board and it said 'Next train 5 minutes'. I was all set to wait 5 minutes when I did a double take. A train was pulling into the station. Weird. The board now said 'Next train 4 minutes.' Maybe it was one of those 'unboardables' whose doors don't open, and it moves on without taking in any people.

But I was wrong. The doors opened. People dashed. I dashed. The doors closed. The train moved.

This train was completely unannounced!

Maybe it's a mistake, I thought. A glitch in the otherwise very orderly matrix known as Singapore. But I noted that it happened every single day. It
was indeed a regular phenomenon that few people knew about.

I told a friend about it and even dragged him to the station one morning to show him 'the phenomenon' as I called it.

He said with a straight face, "Achha. Must be a train from the shed."

"From the what??"

"Shed. Must be a train from the Clementi shed. It begins its journey at Clementi. That's why it's empty."

Huh? Shed?? That's it? A train from the shed? Every morning, at the same time?! Completely unannounced, completely empty?!

A train from the shed??!!

That's all you can come up with? How boring. Damn you computer engineers. Not an ounce of creativity! Wait, I'll give you the true explanation in a minute.

Remember Andaz Apna Apna where one of the most memorable characters Gogo ji says, "Mogambo ka bhateeja hoon, aaya hoon toh kuchh lekar hi jaunga."?

Well, Sayesha says, "
Bollywood ki rani hoon, aayi hoon toh kuchh drama toh hona hi chahiye."

How about this?

The train that pulls in every morning at 7:15 am into Clementi station is not actually empty.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sayesha Bhai B.Engg

OMG I have lost it.

I have completely lost the ability to pull off a civilised conversation for ten minutes.

My mamaji called yesterday. Now this is the mamaji who was the only one to protest against me taking up the scholarship to come and study in Singapore. I think he thought I would lose my culture and tradition and values and become one of those "bigdi hui NRI chicks" that no one wants as their bahu. I'm actually a bit scared of him, and would like him to believe that I may have changed in certain ways, but I'm still the sweet little girl he knew. Sometimes, I am so eager to make a good impression, it backfires. Take this for example.

His first question, as usual, was "So what's the time there now?"

Only I know how I resisted the urge to say, "Subah ho gayi, mamu!"

Anyway, he told me that his friend's son has received an interview call for a scholarship to study computer engineering here. Mamaji had given his friend my phone number and email address and told them that they could call me with queries.

"Not again!" I was horrified.

Now don't get me wrong here. I don't have a problem with helping people. I only have a problem when I get one of those emails or phone calls asking me how the engineering course here is. I can't tell the truth and I can't lie.

I feel like I am not qualified to answer the question. I have no idea what I learnt in my engineering course. I was never really interested in what I was doing in the course (don't tell my folks, okay?). I made a lot of friends, including seniors and juniors, did tons of ECAs, watched lots of movies and sitcoms. But other than that, if you ask me what I learnt in uni, my mind is a complete blank. My heart was never in engineering. It was always in writing. So after getting my degree, I worked as an engineer for exactly three months, just enough for me to get my Singapore IC. As soon as I got the card, I jumped into children's book publishing, and have stayed there since. My Dad still harbours hopes that maybe some day I will return to engineering.

This afternoon, when Mamaji's friend called, I was in deep deep trouble. Remember the episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S in which Ross got really nervous before a lecture and when he started speaking, this weird fake accent came out and he couldn't get rid of it? The exact same thing happened to me when I got the call. It's been so long since I spoke formally with anyone in my own language, that suddenly outta nowhere, all I could think of as I answered his questions was tapori lingo, which caught my tongue and would not let go.

What made it worse was that I had never heard a guy more polite than him. He was referring to me as 'aap'. Sheesh. So I was actually having two parallel conversations at the same time. Tapori Sayesha was speaking in my head, while dignified Sayesha was answering his questions out loud. One miss and I'd be in trouble. With Mamaji, that too! :O

In other words, waat lag gayi apun ki.

(I won't translate the tapori bits... cos that'd be like dubbing Munnabhai MBBS in English. Utterly bleah.)

Uncle - Hello, is this Sayesha?

Tapori Sayesha - Arre yaar! Apun ka number ghumaya toh apun hi uthayega na? Kya re Uncle, aap bhi...

Dignified Sayesha - Yes, this is Sayesha.

Uncle - I'm Mr XYZ. Your mamaji gave me your number and told me that you would be able to help my son with his questions.

Tapori Sayesha - Ab Mamaji bhi na... aise hi sabko apun ka number shumber de dete hain... police ka koi locha hua na... apun toh jayega na saal do saal ke liye andar? Khair laga hi diya hai toh batao... kisko tapkane ka hai?

Dignified Sayesha - Yes, yes, mamaji told me you'd be calling.

Uncle - Actually my son wants to study engineering in Singapore... and I thought you could help out...

Tapori Sayesha - Kya yaar Uncle, chhokre ko zabardasti engineer banakar hi dum loge? Dharti ka bojh halka karo... akha duniya mein kitna hindustani engineers hain, maloom hain? Truck bhar bhar ke aate hain... Pehle poocho chhokre ko, usko banna hai engineer?? Ya aiseich bol raha hai, aapka dhamki se darke... ya wohi sare friends engineer ban rahe hain... toh tum bhi kood pado... poochha hai usko? Usko cirketer banna mangta hoga, F1 racer banna mangta hoga, Indian idol banna mangta hoga... poochha hai kabhi?

Dignified Sayesha - Sure, no problem.

Uncle - He has received the scholarship interview letter... you know... the same scholarship that you went to Singapore on...

Tapori Sayesha - Apun ko apun ki hi Ramayan mat sunao Uncle, junior ko phone do.

Dignified Sayesha - Yes...

Uncle - So I wanted to ask you... is it a good course?

Tapori Sayesha - Poochh diya na wohi tedha sawaal? Riks (sic) nahin lega apun! Ab kya bolega apun... aaj toh apun ka bad luck hi kharaab hai lagta hai...

Dignified Sayesha - Which course has he got the scholarship for?

Uncle - Computer engineering.

Tapori Sayesha - Apun ka field nahin re... apun ko kuchh maloom nai course kaisa hai... achha hi hoenga... sab nerdy nerdy logon ko dekha hai niklate hue... peti-peti kama rahe hain saare! Toh jhakkaas hi hoenga! Apun ko mat poochho. Apun toh thaan liya... bhookha marega lekin engineering mein waapas nahin jayega.

Dignified Sayesha - Ohh... computer engineering? Well, I don't know much about it... cos I'm from Electronics... the two courses are very different from each other...

Uncle - Hmmm.... but what is your general impression?

Tapori Sayesha - Impression? Aap ka sawaal sunke apun ko depression ho raha hai. Ab kya boley apun... Aap bhi na Uncle... chhokre ko yeh bada computer-shomputer kaiku khareedke diya? Maaloom bhi hai raat ko kya kya karta hai yeh computer par? Junior ko bolo ki computer ka kuchh shareefon wala use karey... university ke website par jaane ka... apun dega url... boley toh link hai... course ke baare mein padhne ka... achha laga toh plane mein baithne ka... warna apun ka desh mein options kam hain kya? Jaake baithe IIT mein... kyun, sahi bola na?

Dignified Sayesha - Uncle, I can give you the url of the university, he can check up more details about the course...

Uncle - They say it's a full scholarship... does it mean that I do not have to pay anything? Is the scholarship enough?

Tapori Sayesha - Apun toh araam se heroine ka mafik raha uni mein chaar saal, fokat ka kamai ka khana khaya, har saal India jaake pani puri khane ka paisa bhi usi mein se aaya... lekin aapka chhokra kaisa hai yeh toh aap hi jaano na... Woh toh aapka chhokra par depend karta hai na... daru bazi karenga toh ghar kaisa jayenga... waise agar usko pura nahin padenga, toh tension nahin lene ka... apun dega na achhe se usko... kharcha pani!

Dignified Sayesha - Uncle, the scholarship will cover his university tuition fees and his hostel fees. Plus, there's a monthly stipend. It will comfortably cover everything, including two trips home every year.

Uncle - Can you talk to him for a while?

Tapori Sayesha - Sab interrogation toh aap kar hi liya... ab third degree bhi kar hi lo... chalo de do bache ko phone...

Dignified Sayesha - Sure, no problem.

Kid - Hi... What will they ask in the interview?

Tapori Sayesha - Osama kahan chhupela hai, yeh poochenge. Arre dhakkan, apun ko kya maloom kya poochenge? Apun ka interview toh aath saal paile tha na... ab wohi cheez thode poochhenge same-to-same... market badal gaya hai, duniya badal gayi hai... supari ka rate kitna badh gaya hai bhidu... aath saal purana baat toh yaad bhi nahin rehta... kya?

Dignified Sayesha - They may ask blah blah... and I think you could read up on blah too... and oh, they lay a lot of stress on blah as well...

Kid - Okay. Thanks.

Tapori Sayesha - Oye shyaane! Thanks baad mein. Char peti pahuncha dena aaj shaam saat baje tak. Abhi tu patli gali se nikal le aur babuji ko phone de.

Dignfied Sayesha - No problems.

Kid passes phone back to Uncle.

Uncle - Sayesha, thanks for your help. I will let you know what happens.. if he gets through, you will take care of him na?

Tapori Sayesha - Aap toh apun ko ekdum hila ke rakh diya re! Chain se apun kholi mein baithela tha aath saal... koi rishtedaar nahin akkha Singapore mein... jo chaha kiya, jo chaha pehna... kabhi koi nahin tha reporting karne ko... khali-peeli apun se yeh big-sister type kaam karwayega?

Aur yeh aapka chikna kis type ka khajoor hai, yeh bhi maloom nahin... danga ya panga karega toh bail ka paisa kaun bharega? Yeh Singaapurr hai Uncle... akhi Mumbai nahin hai ki table ke neeche se note pakdaya aur chhokra baahar... idhar aisa hai na... ki ek baar jo andar gaya, woh bhot time ke liye baahar nahin nikalta... apun kaise guarantee lega batao... apun ko bhi rehna hai ki nahin is shaher mein...

Upar se aapka beta edjusting type hai ki nahin pata nahin... fail-wail nahin hoga na? Aur yahan ka keeda makoda kha payega kya? Ghar par zyada laad pyaar kiya kya, ya kabhi ghumaake do haath gaal par bhi jamaya? Yahan uski waat lagi toh? Chhe saal ka bond hai, bond khatam kiye bina do din mein kalti maarega toh apun kya karega batao?

Phir bhi... tension nahin lene ka... apun hai na... aap apun ka mamaji ka friend hai.. madad karna toh apun ka farz banta hai... hafta bhi aapko pura nahin dena hoga... apun dega na discount... bas Mamaji ko bolna ki unki bhaanji bahut susheel aur sanskari type ki hai... kya? Lekin ek baat warn karta hai apun - yeda logon ki tarah over-acting nahin karne ka... woh kya hai na ki zaroorat se zyada susheel aur sanskari bolega toh woh chhokra logon ka line lagega... boley toh... shaadi ke waaste... pan abhi apun ko settle nahin hone ka... kya?

Dignified Sayesha - Sure, Uncle. Not to worry. And oh, you can call me again if you have anything else to ask.

Tapori Sayesha to dignified Sayesha - Aye item, tere ko woh last wala line bolna bhot zaroori tha kya?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Wake me up before you go Goa

"Wow. You look very beautiful!" He said.

"Errr... dude, that's 'cos you're the security guard of my gym. You've never seen me in anything other than a sweaty T-shirt and shorts. Even if I was wearing a torn gunny sack right now, you'd find me beautiful." said cynical Sayesha. In her head.

That's when non-cynical Sayesha realised something.

What is wrong with us? Why can't we take a compliment as what it is - just a compliment? Why do we have to read so much into it?

"Thank you." I said to him.

So where was I headed, dressed to the nines? I was on my way to Goa Nite, when I had bumped into the security guard.

This year, I finally managed to get tickets for Goa Nite - an annual party organised for Goans living in Singapore and their friends. It's supposed to be really happening, with lots of food, fun and fenny, and Goan music. I'd missed it last year and the year before that, and so I was thrilled when my friend Max told me he could get me in this year.

"The dress code is strictly formal, okay?" He said.

"Really?? But why?? It's Goa night, the dress code should be beachwear, isn't it?"

"Well, I don't know why, but last year it was pretty formal too. Suits, evening gowns and stuff."

Darn. So I dug through my wardrobe to see if I had anything suitable. I discovered three evening gowns, two from my seniors' farewell nights, and one from my own. But I felt I would not be able to freely dance in them. Especially to Goan music. Anyway, 'formals' for men and women can be defined so differently. There's a lot of stuff that we gals can pull off as formal, unlike guys.

And that's when my little red halter-neck dress caught my eye. I'd bought it in Manila with my airport tax money but never really had the chance to wear it. But it looked perfect for this occasion.

Every dress has its destiny, and this one's was Goa Nite.

So just before the party, I spoke to Max again on yahoo.

"What are you wearing?" I asked him. In retrospect, a question like that, asked on chat, sounds really seedy! :/

"A suit. You?" He asked.

"A little red dress. Should be formal enough I think."

"Little red dress? How is it like?"

"Uhh... it's little... and it's red."

"It's not a bikini, is it?"

Sheesh. It was not that little. But I did take a black embroidered shawl - which I fondly refer to as 'the hole-y shawl' along for protection against the cold. (Boy, was I glad I did.)

It's not every day that you get to dress up for a party. I usually don't get a chance to really dress up for anything, so I was really excited. I felt like a kid who could not wait to put on her 'party dress'. Four hairdos later, I decided on straight hair. After spending a good fifteen minutes straightening my hair, I spent about five more hoping that it wouldn't rain, 'cos nothing kills straightened hair like humidity in the air. Hey that rhymed! :D

When we reached the venue, I was suprised to see the crowd. There were hundreds of people, their ages ranging from 3 to 60, half of them all over the dance floor, and the other half seated on the tables on the two sides. There were six of us in our group - four guys and two girls. We were each given a mask, and to my utter delight, mine was red, a perfect match with my dress.

They had got a band from Bombay. When I first saw the band of two, I was really disappointed, but boy, did they a pack a punch. Every song they sang drove us nuts on the dance floor, especially the Goan songs. The band was urging the people to sing along, and everyone obliged. Everyone except the six of us. None of us knew the freakin' lyrics to any of the songs! The emcee got off the stage and choreographed this silly dance where we formed a big circle (can you imagine the diameter??!!) and basically went round and round holding the shoulders of the person in front of us. Was super duper fun.

Regardless of their age, Goans are amazingly chilled-out people. Even though my friends and I had brought down the average age of that party by a little, some of the people there effortlessly outdid us in terms of energy and dancing skills. When I looked at this 40-something couple dancing, I could see that it was not just the band's music that kept them going, it was the music in their spirit which made them so lively. And I'd seen that music in the spirit in every Goan I'd encountered during my Goa trip in 2004.

I'd gone to Goa two years ago with five of my cousins. Four guys and a girl from different parts of the world. I was to fly from Singapore to Hyderabad (Dad was posted there then) for a week, and then set off for Goa. I still remember how shocked my parents were at the idea of me taking a domestic flight alone. Three of my cousins were flying down from the UK, one was coming from Delhi, and the other from Calcutta. Luckily, our landing times were within the hour. I was waiting at the airport for their flights to land when I spotted Pooja Bedi. She never really made it big in Bollywood but I must admit she still had a fantastic body. She looked kinda disappointed 'cos no one was giving her bhaav. I would have obliged but my luggage was too heavy.

Our tour guide was this really cute and funny guy called Savio (okay, is everyone in Goa named Savio or what?) and he kept cracking jokes in the bus. "In Goa, fenny is the biggest source of income... and hangovers." He said with a straight face during our tour of Panjim. I laughed my lungs out. My cousins rolled their eyes and said, "That was not funny." I rolled my eyes back at them and said, "Jealous buggers." I got teased like hell after that. "Oooh, looks like our little sister has a crush on our cool tour guide, eh?" Savio took us to the place where Dil Chahta Hai was shot, and the five of us sat at the same spot where the three friends had sat and stared at the ship.

We stayed in the Taj Holiday Village. We had two huge villas connected by one door. I set down the ground rules. One of the rooms was called 'the smoking room' where the guys had to migrate if they wanted to smoke, and the other was the 'non-smoking room' which was inhabited by me most of the time. "You can't pollute both rooms, okay?" was my logic.

I found a card on the dressing table that said 'Complimentary yoga at 6 am for all guests'. I have no idea how, but I manged to read it as 'compulsory yoga at 6 am for all guests'. Suddenly I was freaked out by visions of the room service guys dragging the guests out at 6 am and making them forcibly sit and do yoga! Then one of the guys pointed it out to me. (And I call myself an editor. Sheesh.)

That afternoon, as we frolicked in the beautiful pool, we saw Kapil Dev, complete with family walking towards the pool. My cousin Sid dashed back to our villa to fetch his camera, but by the time he had put on his shades, adjusted his hair, checked his biceps and returned with the camera, the Devs were gone. But the rest of us had had a chance to speak to him and shake his hand.

"Shucks man... can't believe Kapil Dev is in the same hotel as us!" Said one of the guys.

"You know what this proves?" I asked.

"What?" They asked.

"Kapil Dev and we have the same budget! Muahahaha!" I said.

They gave me strange what-have-you-been-drinking looks.

I still remember the discussion the five of us had at midnight on the beach about careers and money and ambition. I sipped my orange juice and watched my brothers get high and senti. Is it me or do guys everywhere turn senti when they are high? It's hilarious to hear them talk. All the blackmailable stories start coming out.

The mention of alcohol brings me back to Goa Nite. At the dinner table, there was an elderly couple sitting next to me. When they started serving fenny, the old man turned to talk to me.

"Fenny is the best, isn't it?" He asked.

"Well, I don't know... I haven't tried it before, but now I will."

"Oh! You're not a Goan??" He asked.

"Nope." I smiled.

"Well, you should try fenny... but be careful." He warned.

I had barely sipped about 2 mm of the feni, when I realised why the old man had warned me. It was incredibly strong. I could not drink it by itself. It was only when I'd poured the whole thing into my glass of Coke that I could take a few more sips. Halfway through dinner, most of the people were back on the dance floor. Poor band. Then started another crazy round of dancing when the band played some hindi songs. I had never thought I'd enjoy myself so much dancing to the remix version of 'Woh lamhe'. Suddenly, I missed my old gang, especially Sinnerman and American Pi.

Sigh, why do good friends go away from you?

Later on, they had a few contests, the first of which was so hilarious. The emcee announced, "The prize will go to the person who can show me a one-rupee coin!" One-rupee coin?? Who the hell would have a one-rupee coin?? And yet, there was a mad rush, but no one could produce the coin. So the contest was changed it to "Who has a 100-dollar note?" A few such contests followed, such as 'longest earrings' (I almost won this one!), 'greatest number of buttons', 'shortest skirt', etc.

The millions of kids running all over the dance floor were quite a hazard, yet we danced like crazy. I had not danced like that in a very long time. I don't frequent clubs anymore, mainly because I don't like to come back with my hair and clothes smelling of cigarette smoke. So Goa Nite was the ultimate party for me - a smoke-free dancefloor! Yippeeeeeeeee!

I feel like visiting Goa all over again. Recently, I watched Socha Na Tha for the 7th time, and the Goa scenes stayed in my head, particularly the Abhi abhi song.

Goa teri har adaa ke, hum toh deewane ho gaye...
Zindagi jeene ke yahan pe, kitne bahaane ho gaye...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Kal yaad aayenge yeh pal

First encounter - Video of his first album 'Pal' on TV

First impression - Who's this dude? Nice unique voice... never heard of him though... and what's with the weird name man?

Second encounter - The song 'Tadap tadap' from 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam'

Second impression - WHOALA!! Who's the singer who's the singer who's the singer???

Recent encounter - The song 'Tu hi meri shab hai' from 'Gangster'.

Recent impression - The dude really puts
his heart into the song. And it stays in your heart for a very very long time.

Sunidhi Chauhan
First encounter - Meri Aawaz Suno contest on TV

First impression - Whoa, doesn't this contest have a minimum age for entry?
(Does anyone remember her as that kid in the little dress, the lacy socks, the very short hair and the thick hairband, singing 'Chhod de sari duniya kisi ke liye' and waat-lagaoing the grown-up contestants week after week till she finally emerged the winner?)

Second encounter - The song 'Ruki ruki si zindagi' from 'Mast'

Second impression - Wow, this chick has a powerful voice man. What's her name? WHAT?? She's that KID from Meri Aawaz Suno????

Recent encounter - 'Jaane kyun' from 'Chameli', 'Le chale' from 'My Brother Nikhil' and 'Mere haath mein' from 'Fanaa'.

Recent impression - She sounds brilliant in non-item number songs. She should sing more of 'em.

Last encounter with both - In the Sunidhi-KK live
concert last night

KK opened the show with 'Yaaron'. Here, he's urging the crowd to sing along with him. Errr... yeah, we did. And he said, "Arre wah, aap log itna saare hain yahan... phir bhi sur mein gaa rahe hain?" ("Wow, there are so many of you here... and yet you guys are singing in tune?") You know how I have a soft corner for hindi-speaking guys from non-hindi speaking states. Mallu guy (and boy, can he sing!) cracks a joke in fluent hindi. Is it any wonder why I like him so much? :P

That's Sunidhi singing Whitney Houston's "I will always love you". She surprised us with the fantastic job she did with the song.

Sunidhi sang almost all her famous item-numbers. The Uncle and Aunty sitting in front of me were doing ballistic bhangra.

The back-up dancers had really weird costumes.-Check out the guys in their silly peacock costume. Sheesh. :/

Where there are birds, there are bees. So here come the bumblebees! Wait, it gets better! :/

Bees? Did you say bees? Ah, thank goodness the bee-catchers are here!

Bad: KK and Sunidhi lacked chemistry.

Worse: They only sang two songs together.

Worst: They did not sing 'Le chale', the only song that each has sung a version of!!!!!! :O

There was pin drop silence in the crowd when he sang 'Tadap tadap' with only one accompaniment. That song itself was worth the 80-dollar ticket. Wish Salman's expressions in the movie had done justice to the song...

KK put his heart and soul into every song he sang. Last night, his humility and talent created magic together. Dus bahaane karke le gaya dil :)

Lasting impression: Sunidhi may have brought the crowd to its feet, but KK brought me to my heart.

rahein ya na rahein kal
Kal... yaad aayenge yeh pal
yeh hai pyaar ke pal
aa mere sang chal
Chal... soche kya, chhoti si hai zindagi
Kal... mil jaayein toh hogi... khushnasibi...
rahein ya na rahein... yaad aayenge yeh pal...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

So long!

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine was talking to me about my blog.

"When I open your blog page, you know what I do first?"

"Scroll to see how long the post is?" I replied.

"Wow!! How do you know???"

"Ah, well. I know. A lot of people do it."

"I actually skip some posts, you know. 'Cos they're too long..."

"I know. A lot of people do it."

"Some of your posts are just way too long yaar!"

"I know. A lot of people say so."

"Saare posts chhote likha kar na!" ("Why don't you write only short posts?")

"I can't."

"Why not?"

"Because I can't end the post on my blog before it ends in my head. Waise bhi, jisko padhna hoga woh padhega. Jisko nahin padhna hoga, woh nahin padhega." ("Anyway, those who wanna read it will read it. Those who don't, will not.")

"But sometimes I don't even finish reading the post."

"I know. A lot of people don't."

In the conversation, I said "I know" like a million times. But what I thought I knew, was brought forth with a never-before clarity only now.

Here's my very cool Excel chart that shows some data about my last post.

As shown clearly in the chart above, if they made a movie out of that post of mine, the audience would go to pee during the interval and never return to the theatre. It would be such a whopping flop, I'd be on the streets. :D

No statcounter data has ever revealed it the way that post did - that not everyone makes it to the end.

So am I going to start writing shorter posts from now on?



Because I can't end the post on my blog before it ends in my head.

I never thought I'd ever have to explain a post, but I don't think I can take any more sympathy, love-life advice, and words of consolation/encouragement to help me cope with the apparent heart-break that I never had in the first place. I know people mean well, but I really cannot take it any more. :)

So I guess an official press statement is in order.

1. William is not my boyfriend.
2. He never was and never will be.
3. Ditto for Thomas.
4. William is my 40-something optician.
5. Thomas is his 50-something colleague.
6. I feel silly as I write this.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

For your eyes only

So William dumped me last week.

(This post was partly for him, and partly for some others who had decided to delete me from their lives and whom I had decided to delete from mine.)

He said he's getting very busy at work, and can't spare dedicated time for me.

"Sometimes when you call, I can't take your call... and then even if I tell you I'll be in, when you drop by, I'm not around. I don't want you to depend on me so much. You should have other options."

Depend on him so much?? Other options?? What the..??!!

"I want to introduce you to someone," He continued.

Introduce me to someone??!! What did he think it was - passing the parcel? The audacity!

"Sayesha, this is Thomas, my colleague."

Random guy Thomas acknowledged with a nod.

I was speechless. As usual, in my head I was saying a lot of things. "Dude, you and I are not done yet, who the hell is this Thomas chap? I need an explanation before you decide to conveniently dump me on this Thomas guy! What makes you think I'd be interested in your Thomas dude??"

Perhaps I should have said something. But my words had left me. I did not know why I did not say anything. Perhaps it was the shock of this happening after four years of being with him. I tried to catch his eye and show him how utterly angry I was. But he did not look at me directly. Within a moment, he'd disappeared, leaving me stranded with the Thomas chap.

"Come, sit." said Thomas.

Still seething with disillusionment and anger, I turned my attention to Thomas. I should have stormed off, but I stayed. Perhaps I did not want to boost his ego by show how upset I was. Perhaps I wanted to show that if William was cool, so was I. If he didn't care, neither did I. Whatever it was, I actually sat down to talk to Thomas.

Thomas was older than William, but had a kind face. He was gentle and understanding, and spoke to me with respect. He was smart and witty, and knew the right things to say to a girl who was in the situation that I was in.

"You're 26?? Really?? But you look 22, you know. I'd think you were a student." He said.

"Actually, I am a student too. Part-time." I said, my anger beginning to slowly cool off.

We got to talking about my studies and my job and stuff. It was so refreshing to see a guy who actually listened to what I was saying and processed it before giving his opinion. He was the first guy who gave me an objective analysis on why I should quit my job, something I had been considering for a while. No one else had dared to suggest that to me.

I realised I had started to like Thomas. In one meeting.

I was getting late, and soon we exchanged goodbyes. William was nowhere to be seen. I was still seething inside about the whole thing, but I was happy to have met Thomas. As I took his leave, William suddenly reappeared. Thomas had just said something - I think it was something about my eyes - and we were both laughing. William stared at us as we laughed. I ignored him and walked out.

I've been recovering well.

Recently, I dropped by to see Thomas. He wasn't there but William was. Which was surprising considering it was his off-day. I ignored him and approached another guy to ask where Thomas was. But before I had opened my mouth, William had deposited himself on the seat in front of me.

"Hi..." He said with a smile.

"Hi..." I said with a smile. Damn.

He initiated the conversation and kept me engaged for twenty minutes or so, not letting anyone else near me. I noticed that he was extra attentive. In fact, he was pretending that last week's conversation had never happened between us, and that things were exactly how they'd been over the last four years.


Why is it that only when a guy sees you happy with another guy, he wants you back?

I could almost feel the dilemma faced by Simran in 'Gangster'.

On one hand, is a guy who is unpredictable, has no time for me, disappears now and then, and makes decisions about me without involving my opinions. But he is familiar, he knows me, and I have a history with him.

On the other hand is this nice, dependable guy who is understanding, respectful, carries no baggage, and offers me a clean slate. But he is unfamiliar, and doesn't know my history.

So which optician should I pick?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sash makes passes at guy with glasses

I am fully aware that this is a post that can help me set up a fultu sabzi mandi of rotten eggs and tomatoes, but I will say what I have to say.

'Cos I have to get it out of my system.

There's something I've been wanting to admit for a few days now. And it needs real guts to admit it.

When you like someone, you like someone. He/she can be the most dhakkan guy/gal on the planet, but you like him/her. Trying to find reasons why you like that someone will lead to nothing but a headache. Which is why, I refuse to analyse the un-me characteristic I noticed recently.

Last week, I watched Gangster. Because Rediff gave it a good review and I always go by Rediff.

I really liked the movie.

But more than the movie, I really really liked Emraan Hashmi.

No, that's not all.

Here's the clincher - I actually thought he looked sexy with glasses.

*ducks for cover*

During his debut days, when I'd first heard about the serial-kisser, smooch-machine, envy-of-guys, vacuum-cleaner, I swore to myself that I would never watch a movie in the theatre that had him in it.

But I did. And I'm proud to admit it.

I think I got a little goose-bumpy when I saw him in the song 'Tu hi meri shab hai'. I know it will pass. In about a month, I'll be thwacking myself on the head with a rolled-up newspaper and asking, "What the hell were you thinking, girl??" But as of now, I think there's something about him.

And I really like him. Strictly with glasses.

There. I've said it. Now is that so bad? :/

Monday, May 15, 2006

Bait and watch

So I was having dinner with a bunch of friends, when one of the guys said, "Sayesha, let's go to Ministry of Sound after this!"

"I can't... It's almost 10... I have work tomorrow, gotta get up at 6 man.." I sighed. Typical weeknight story of my life.

"Oh, come on!!" He insisted.

"Seriously yaar... I can't... you guys go ahead na..."

"But you have to come with us yaar... you're the bait." He said with a straight face.

"I'm the... what???!!!!"

"The bait, yaar!"

"The bait??? The bait for???????"

"Bait for the hot chicks yaar."


"Yeah, if you come with us, we'll be able to pick up some hot chicks at MoS."

"What are you talking about man?" I was stumped.

"Arre yaar, if there's a chick with a bunch of guys, the other chicks will approach the guys and dance with them."

"Huh?? Why??? Shouldn't my being with you hamper your chances of picking up the hot chicks? Wouldn't they think I was your girlfriend or something?"

'Nahin yaar... it doesn't work that day. If there's a girl among us, the hot chicks will know that we're decent guys."

Guys and their theories.

"Uhhh... okay...." I said, not amused and not convinced.

"So you're coming?"

"No way, man. You think I'll sacrifice my sleep to be 'bait' for you guys?"


And I thought I was done with my share of helping out my guy friends, when I was in school. You know the usual bakwaas you have to do to help the lovesick romeos? - "Don't worry, aunty, it's an all girls' picnic. I'll be with Shreya all the time." and "Uncle, could you drop Anu at my place? Exams are almost here and we wanna do joint studies..." and "Hello, Shikha hai?" and then pass the phone to the bf, etc. Yes, I have done nonsense like that in school. But never before had I been considered as 'bait'!


Fast forward couple of days. A dear friend was in town, and a bunch of us were digging into chilli crabs at Boat Quay when someone suggested a party, complete with a stripper.

"Count me out, guys..." I said.

"No, you have to come!" One of them insisted.


"We got the discount last time because of you!"


Yes yes, I remember. Sigh.

It was Christmas night. We decided to combine it with our friend's bachelor party. I'm still reeling from the antics of the stripper we'd called. And on some levels, I shall never recover from being the only girl there. Apart from her, of course.

I remember the whole damn conversation my friend had over the phone with the escort agency.

"8 guys... yeah... and oh, there's a girl too... so how much? Latina stripper? Okay... Yeah yeah... 8 guys... but there's a girl too, you see... no no, not another stripper... she's another friend... "

Sheesh. Thanks for the clarification, dude.

Of course she thought I was a lesbian.

More so when my dear friend told her, "Perhaps you should give the lady here a lap dance."

The stripper had deposited her ass on my beautiful black dress even before I could say, "The lady here would very much like the lady there to stay as far away from her as possible."

Oh man. She sat on my Christmas cap - the one that had blinking lights! I had to leave it behind.

And you know how stupid songs start playing in your head when stupid things are happening to you?

Last Christmas I gave you my cap...
But the very next minute, you were sittin' on it...

I managed a straight face through most of my ordeal, but later, as she casually sauntered over to the balcony in her birthday suit to get some fresh air as if it was the most normal thing to do, I was a little more than shocked. I'm sure she must have had at least ten binoculars from neighbouring buildings on her.

Luckily, time heals all wounds. I've managed to shake off most of the not-so-pleasant memories. But to this day, I can never listen to the song 'Lady in red' the same way again.

So yes, apparently they'd got a big discount because of my presence.

But I was so not going for another one.

"Man, a stripper gave you a lap dance. Darn, I so wish I'd seen your expression when that happened. You have to come for this one!" Insisted another friend.

"Sorry guys, I've had enough three-dimensional female nudity for a lifetime. I'm done. "

"But the discount..?"

To hell with the discount. Chal chal hawa aane de.

Watch out, gals. Are your guy friends using you as bait/discount-cards? :/

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Time and talk

"Dude, you'd better not anger me. I just need to make one wish and it will start raining!"

I often use this to threaten a friend of mine.

Works like a charm every time.

He plays cricket, you see. His matches are on sundays, and so every saturday night, he looks at the sky and does an anti-rain-dance in his head. In Singapore, the number of matches that get washed out outnumber those that are actually played.

In Singapore, everybody follows the rules. Including the rains. Firstly, I believe that Singapore is the only country where it faithfully rains every weekend. And it rains whenever I wear my white three-quarters or my favourite pair of jeans (it has an awesome butterfly embroidered in muted gold on the left thigh). I am seriously considering carrying a hair-dryer in my purse wherever I go. I remember this particular day when slant-rain caught me on my way to work on a Friday morning. My jeans were completely soaked in water by the time I reached office. Ever had the unpleasant experience of your wet clothes drying on your body? I felt so cold that I could not take it anymore. I had to stand under the hand-dryer in the toilet, bend my knees and lift one leg at a time under the stream of hot air.

Yes, I was vaguely aware that I looked like a peeing dog.

So today was a double-whammy. It is a saturday and I was wearing the same butterfly jeans. I walked into it myself, didn't I? I was getting late for a lunch meeting with a fellow blogger (she was gonna take me to this yummy aloo paratha place, which in all my 8 years here, I had not discovered) but the rain just wouldn't give up. It was the slanting kind of rain again, the kind that renders umbrellas absolutely useless.

As I hung around in the lobby of my block, waiting for the rain to tone down a bit, enough for me to get to the train station, I got really bored. So I started rolling up my jeans and making three-quarters out of them.

The cleaner of my block was standing there too. I recognised her because she's the only other person who's awake at the ungodly hour at which I leave for work. Once in a while, I'd also see her sitting on the steps, just staring into space.

I smiled at her. She smiled back.

"You live on level 6 ah?" She asked.

"Yeah." I said.

"With husband ah?"

"Uhhh.. no. With friends."

"Okay okay... you going out now?"

"Yeah... but the rain is too heavy."

"Yes yes this kind of rain... must wait."

"You waiting to go home?" I asked.

"No. I work here 8 years." She smiled.

I was a bit stumped at this sudden sharing of information. It took me a while to respond.

"8 years? That's a long time."

"Yes, very long time. For 8 years, I mop block 6 and block 14. I have to stay here until 4 o clock. Saturday and public holiday is half day. Sunday I don't work." She said.

I digested the information slowly.

"Hmmm... okay."

The rain was getting lighter, and I realised this was my chance. So I said bye to her, opened up my umbrella and started walking.

And as I always say, walking in the rain makes you think.

I was still wondering why she told me all that. Why would a complete stranger be interested in her work schedule and stuff?

And that's when I realised how bored she must be all these 8 years. She could only go home at 4, so after she had finished her work and before the clock struck 4, she had a lot to say, but no one to say it to.

Isn't it strange?

Some people have you, but they have no time to talk to you.

Others have time to talk to you, but they don't have you.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Page not found

History deleted.

Memory cleared.

Cache emptied.

Removed from 'Favourites' too.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Exam fright-mare

Last night, I had a freaky exam nightmare.

I dreamt that I was going for my Media Law exam. As soon as I reached the exam hall I realised that I had forgotten to bring my Law book along. It was an open book 'no smoking' exam. By 'no smoking exam', I mean that you can't smoke your way out by bullshitting in the exam, cos you need to cite actual cases and reproduce actual laws in your answers. So having the book with me was crucial. I had about 50 minutes before the exam began (why the heck was I there so early?!) but I was not able to get a cab to get home, grab the book and rush back in time for the exam. I stood on the highway which incidentally was right next to the exam hall (which weird exam hall was this?!) trying to hail a cab. As the minutes ticked by, I was freaking out so bad I was gonna have a nervous breakdown. Finally, the dreamweaver software-maker took pity on me.

Never before in my entire life had I been so happy about being woken up at 6 am by my alarm.

This led me to remember other exam-related nightmares I have suffered from. Here they are, with all the oddities that all dreams inevitably contain, which seem perfectly normal during the actual dreaming process but get translated into a 'What the..?!' once you wake up.

1. The typical everyone-has-this-once-in-their-life nightmare - Volume I
When I see the question paper, I realise that I'd studied for the wrong subject.

2. The typical everyone-has-this-once-in-their-life nightmare - Volume II
I reach the exam hall and the door is locked. Apparently the exam was yesterday.

3. The typical everyone-has-this-once-in-their-life nightmare - Volume III
I dunno how to answer a single question.

4. The inkpot nightmare
I am using an inkpot and a quill (What was I - Shakespeare?!) to write the exam, and I knock the inkpot over my answer booklet.

5. The amazing floating eraser nightmare
I am writing my exam using a pencil, and miraculously, a floating eraser (Sheesh! How creative!) is rubbing out each word I write. I finish the whole paper and when I look at it, it's all blank. The examiner snatches the paper from my hands. I wake up in cold sweat.

6. Through a jungle on a motor cycle nightmare
My exam is in another city. I miss the school bus and my Dad takes me on a motor cycle (Why on earth was he on a motor cycle?!) through a wild forest (Looks I went to jungle school and studied Jungle Book, eh?!) fighting hanging vines and wild spider webs. We chase the bus but we can't catch up. Suddenly the bus disappears. I look at my watch and realise that the exam is over. I wake up in cold sweat.

7. Lost in a hotel nightmare
I am halfway through this exam when the invigilator says it's time for the one-hour lunch break (?!). We all coolly get up as if it's perfectly normal to have a lunch break in the middle of an exam. The invigilator tells us that lunch is served for us in this five star hotel. We have all been allocated a room in case we want to take a nap (?!) before we return to finish the exam. I eat a yummy lunch, and then head for my room. I take a nap. When I wake up, it's kinda dark outside. I realise that I have overslept. I call up the phone in the exam hall (Sophisticated exam hall, huh?!) and the invigilator picks up. I tell him I'm gonna be late and he says it's okay as long as I reach before 5 pm (?!). I then proceed to get lost in the winding corridors of the huge hotel. I use the hotel's cordless (which I'm carrying with me for some weird reason!) and call up the exam hall again. No one picks up. Suddenly the huge hotel clock chimes - dong dong dong dong dong. Five times. I wake up in cold sweat.

What's your weirdest fright-mare?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What a catch!

What's your type?

Err... my type?

My type changes.

I had a phase where I was completely smitten by guys who were into music, and could play the guitar.

Then there was the phase where I used to find guys from non-hindi speaking states, speaking hindi fluently, extremely sexy.

Then came the phase where I was totally gone for geeks who could fix my computer.

Lately, I have been particularly obsessed with the academic kind... you know, the nerd type.

These phases can range from mild respect to slight crush to a more severe form of worship.

However, when I was told I had to go and meet this author Dr Chang (name changed to avoid libel suits), I wasn't particularly interested. His name just did not sound interesting enough. Anyway, to confirm the appointment, I googled him to find his phone number. I found the details on his institute's website - complete with a photo of him. And when I saw that photo, I stopped in my tracks. Sheesh! Realising that I needed a second opinion, I sent it to a colleague. "Would you expect a Dr Chang to look like this???" I asked. She was very amused.

But then, perhaps it was some ye olde pic from his early twenties, I told myself.

On the morning of the meeting, as I sat in the cafe and waited for him, I had no idea what I was in for. Suddenly I spotted this chap in jeans and a casual shirt walking towards me. He waved to me from a distance, and I sat there in shock.

It took me a while to remember my manners.


Luckily I managed to withhold the part in capital letters. Phew.

How can someone called Dr Chang be not only so young, but so cute as well? How how how?? Where was the catch? What was the catch?

But the most shocking part came when he started speaking. What clarity of thought, what intelligence. Every word of his made perfect sense. I was floored. How many of those do they make these days???

As we talked, he bought me coffee. Darn. As the publisher's representative, I was supposed to buy him coffee. But I let him buy the coffee. Because I felt like a little girl who had just bumped into a famous movie star. Would you say NO if John Abraham offers to buy you coffee???

Diversion alert.

Some time ago, I watched a crappy movie called Bowfinger. It was really crappy. (Wait, I've already said that.) Yeah, so the crappy movie had only one good thing about it. It taught me the concept of "it". "It" is a quality that very few people have. If someone has "it", everyone stops what they are doing and look at the person with "it". you're interested in every word they say, every move they make. Dr Chang surely had "it". I was interested in every little thing he had to say. I was observing every little move he made, from the way he stirred his coffee to the way he was flipping my business card between his fingers as he spoke.

Thankfully, I did not minute all that down.

He spoke at length about the education system in Singapore, about how parents and teachers are partly to blame for kids' careless mistakes, by always providing a checkpoint, which reduces accountability and responsibility on the kids' part. He spoke about what teachers really need. He spoke about publishers' dilemmas when deciding to publish books.

He understood every aspect of what he was talking about. He made you understand every aspect of what he was talking about. I was really impressed.

So I came back to the office, and immediately started gushing to the colleague. The same one who had earlier been subjected to the torture of playing the extremely immature 'let's guess his age' game with me.

"You know, this guy I had the meeting with.. is such a dude! He not only looks younger than the pic I showed you yesterday, he's cute too! And he was dressed as if he was all set out to go out after work, you know, typical friday night guy type. And guess what? He can talk! He's brilliant! I mean, he doesn't even need to be intelligent man... he's that cute! And a phD on top of that! This guy is so freakin brainy... blah blah blah... " I went on and on and on.

My colleague was smiling by now. "Ah... mild crush, I see." She said.

I stopped in my tracks.


Crush?? Mild crush?? What if she was right?? A crush???? I can't have a crush on my author! Now don't get me wrong here. Just like any other human being, I love having crushes. I believe that they make the world so rosy, they make you wake up with a smile on your face. Even though it's all only temporary. But I don't like the idea of having a crush on someone you're gonna encounter now and then, thus having the risk of saying something stupid in front of them. Crushes must be a certain kind. Recently, a very cute dutch guy joined my company, but he's so damn nice and approachable that one can't possibly have a crush on him. Like I always say, your crushes should be completely unapproachable. Or they should have an attitude problem. So you can dismiss them as being arrogant and move on.

I couldn't afford to have a crush on Dr Chang. I gotta work with him. Darn. I knew I had to find something to kill the crush. There must be a catch, a flaw, somewhere. There had to be.

So I sent out my spies in all directions to dig out all the info on him, and to trace the catch that I knew was definitely there.

"I refuse to have a crush on him." I told myself.

Soon, one of the spies called back.

"Sayesha, I have some bad news for you."

"Hmmm.. he's married and has four kids?"

"Ummm... actually worse than that..."

What could be worse? That he was actually 60 and was wearing a wig and a paunch-concealer?

"Tell me. I can take it."

"He's... errr... gay..."

"YIPPEE!!! That's awesome!" I said.

"Huh?" She was shocked. "You're happy about that??"

"Yeay!!! He's gay!!! Thanks for the great news!" I said, and hung up on the very puzzled spy of mine.

He's gay. Now I don't have to worry. Now I can work with him in peace.