Thursday, September 28, 2006

The price of friendship

If you wanna be my friend, there's a price you have to pay.


Sash Bhai se dushmani bhot mehengi hai, yeh sabko maloom hai. Lekin Sash Bhai se dosti usse bhi zyada mehengi hai, yeh bhot kam logon ko maloom hai. :D

My close friends know that there's an unwritten contract they signed the moment they undertook the risk of befriending me.

I'm a stickler for punctuality. Now if there's anything I hate, it's having to wait endlessly for a friend to turn up for a movie or dinner or whatever we'd planned.

So if my friends are late, I charge them.

And it's all according to the contract.
The contract that has only this one clause (hereafter known as The Clause):

"Thou shalt not be late for movie, dinner and other such appointments fixed with your friend the mighty Sayesha. If thou art late, methinks thou art dead. If thou still hath the courage to show up late, thou hereby undertakes to pay for every single item the mighty Sayesha ends up buying while she waits for you. The later thou art, the more significant the purchases will become, and the bigger dent in your wallet they will cause. Due consideration shall be given to last minute emergencies if brought to the notice of the might Sayesha resonably in advance. The mighty Sayesha will exercise her discretion for such cases. However, thou shalt not forget that thou art supposed to take The Clause seriously."

None of the following sms messages have the capability of melting my steely heart.

- Sorry, wasn't looking at watch. Taking cab now, will be slightly late.
- Will be late, dunno how late.
- Sorry sorry rushing rushing!

- Are you already there?
- Errr... Are you still there?
- Damnit no cabs! Will call one. Be there soon.
- All lines are busy damnit. Be there soon.
- I thought I'd finish this, but it's taking longer than I thought.
- Be there in ten min, promise!
- Hey... if I don't get there in half an hour, count me out. Will try my best tho.
- Am ALMOST there!
- I can see you!

Now don't get me wrong here. I'm not a shopaholic. It's just that if I am made to wait, I get restless. Then I start entering random shops. Waise toh irada is nek - only to window-shop. Lekin kuchh oonch neech ho jaaye toh they have to pay for whatever I end up buying. Reasonable, isn't it?

A friend used to be always late. Always always late. Late for everything. You name it and he'd be late. So the other day, I enforced the clause in the agreement.

He actually paid for two pairs of shoes which are currently sitting pretty in the shoerack outside my door. (Now don't give me those looks okay, he owed me a birthday gift anyway! )

Lesson learnt. These days, he's dot on time. Muahahaha.

So last night, in celebration of this being my term break, the closing of a deal with a best-selling author for a new series of books, I decided to reward myself. Holding on to free movies passes I had wrangled out of my flatmate, I decided to meet up with one of my beshtesht friends and watch a chick flick 'John Tucker must die'.

My friend got stuck at work and messaged me to say she would probably be late.There was still some time before the movie started and before I knew it, I had wandered into Noda. Some time later, I found myself at Series. Ummm... Let's just say things happened.

My friend turned up just in time for the movie. After the movie, I generously told her that I was waiving the $103 late fee because she had not been informed of The Clause.

So as we walked towards the bus stop
discussing The Clause, she brought up a very important point. So far, it had always been clothes or shoes or accessories.

"But what if you end up buying a laptop?" She asked.

Hmm... that thought had not crossed my mind. Interesting... very interesting... I see a solid business plan here.

*evil grin* :D

Toh... Mujhse dosti karoge? ;)

The thoughtless side of Sayesha

Recently I saw the thoughtless side of me.


Lately I've been so swamped with office work and school work that it feels like I have no thoughts left to blog about. Or perhaps no time to have the thoughts that make me blog.

I think I'm suffering from a variation of 'writer's block' - something I refer to as 'writer's blog'.

But even though I am out of words myself, I'm glad that there are words by others that give me strength. Words that are on a postcard pinned on my notice board at work for example. Words that have seen me through a lot in life.


"Tough times don't last, tough people do."

Saturday, September 23, 2006

It's a childhood thing

Today I apologised to my washing machine.

I think I am going nuts. I'd put my clothes for a wash. About an hour later, I went to pick them up from the machine to dry them. Without looking at the timer, I opened the top cover, and suddenly realised that the washload was still spinning.

"Oops! Sorry!" I put the cover back.

And it was then that I realised that I had just apologised to my washing machine.

I think this kind of interacting with non-living things dates way back to my childhood in India, where every non-living thing had an identity, a respect, an image.

When I was a toddler, and my finger got crushed by the door hinge, I ran to Mom bawling so loudly that even the neighbours could hear me. Mom tried to calm me down but I just got louder and louder. She put my finger in a bowl of ice, and I bawled even more. To make me stop and preserve her dignity in the locality, she said, "Achha? Us door ne meri beti ki ungli crush kar di? Abhi dekhti hoon!" And she "slapped" the door.

"Theek hai abhi?" She asked.

"Haan." I grinned. Suddenly the pain in my finger was gone. The wrong-doer had got what he deserved. Justice had been administered.

As far as I was concerned, the house was teeming with other non-living things that were the enemy too, out to get me, the innocent kid who had caused them no harm. But they were adequately punished. Nothing was spared. Tables and chairs that got in the way of the princess, moving blades of fans which the royal one decided to stick her finger into, sharp pencils that hurt her hands, knives that cut the princess' fingers as she deemed herself qualified to make a sandwich at that age, hammers that fell on the little one's thumb as she thought she could hang a picture by herself, drawer edges that knocked into her, slippery bathroom floors that gave way under her tiny feet. They all got whacked, while I looked on with silent pride at the might of my mother.

And then something not so happening happened.

I grew up.

Things in my house stopped getting whackings from my Mom. In time, I started to see the humour in the situation. And of course, wisdom kicked in. The house was not teeming with things that were out to get me. Non-living things were exactly that - non-living and nothing more.

I guess some things from our childhood just stay with us forever. Even though we don't know they do.

All it takes is an offended washing machine to make you realise that years later.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Going coup-coup

Some things get jinxed even if you don't blog about them. :|

Argh. There goes my weekend plan. Just when I needed that stress-busting vacation with my gal pals.


Some day, Greg Uttsada Panichkul, some day... I will visit your beautiful country.

Till then, stay hot! ;)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Good job!

My work life and study life has been bordering on stressful in the last few days. Usually stress doesn't get to me, so if I'm feeling this way, I guess I am really stressed. The new responsibilities at work, my term papers and presentations at university, plus my dissertation (which my supervisor remarked was written in too 'interesting' a style to be an academic paper, so I am now actually working on making it 'less interesting'), my exams which are a few weeks away, are really bogging me down.

Last week, I had a term paper meeting after class. The class ended at 9:30 pm. The meeting ended at 10:30 pm. By the time I got from NTU to Paya Lebar station from where I was to take a bus home, it was almost midnight. The realisation that it was almost the next day, and that I was closer to work than to my home, almost made me cry. I felt like I'd have crashed at the train station if I had a sleeping bag or a tent with me.

As I waited for the bus that would take me home, I felt really miserable.

Bus stop. Misery.

Suddenly, I had a feeling of deja vu.

And I thought to myself - what am I complaining about? This was any day better than that.

So what was that? That was the last time I'd been so miserable.

I had quit my first crappy job and was on a job-hunt that seemed endless and futile. When I'd got the first job, I'd been so proud - I was one of the first people in my batch to bag a job. I was gonna graduate in July, and I already had a job in April. A high paying one at that. I patted myself on my back.

But then, the things we celebrate the most come back and head-butt us. So did this job. (You can read details here if you want). So I quit. Because self-respect certainly seemed bigger than income to me.

After applying for various kinds of jobs, I started to get really frustrated. I was down to 100 bucks. It was the first time I felt so jealous of Singaporeans. If I'd been in India, I could have just chilled at home for a while without any worries about rent and bills. My ego wouldn't let me borrow from Dad so I did not tell him about my situation. I don't think people who congratulated my Dad with a "Arre wah your daughter lives in Singapore!" had any idea of the irony in their statement.

To make ends meet, I decided to waitress at Pizza Hut while my job hunt was on. After getting kicked out of Pizza Hut for being over-qualified (the guy who interviewed me kept laughing while he was looking at my resume), I realised I really was in the lowest of the low.

And then that happened.

I was on my way back from an interview with an insurance company. They had offered me a job on condition that I study for an exam, pay a few hundred bucks for it, and if I flunked it, they would retract their job offer. As I walked out, I asked myself what the hell I was doing applying to an insurance company? I did not even want to be an insurance agent anyway!

As I crossed the road, I thought to myself - either I could take up this offer and study like mad and bag a job I did not really care about, or I could turn them down and continue the futile job hunt. I did not know which was worse.

And then suddenly out of nowhere, it started raining like crazy. It was a long crossing and I had forgotten my umbrella. I tried to run, but my high heels slowed me down. I found a bus shelter and dashed for it. I was soaking wet. It was raining really heavily by then, and I decided to wait at the bus stop. That stop did not have buses that would take me home, so I had no choice but to stay and wait there. I was too broke to take a cab. After a while, I got really hungry. I dug into my bag and found a little packet of bite-sized choc chip cookies. So I sat at the bus stop - a hungry unemployed 'foreign talent' in a country of no family, few friends and many strangers, drenched to the bones, nibbling at the cookies and wondering where the rent money for the next month was gonna come from.

I don't think I'd ever felt more miserable in my life. Ever. I wanted to get out there in the rain and cry till my tears became one with the rain. And I will always always remember myself sitting at that bus shelter and the way the rain and the situation seemed to be draining the life out of my body and mind.

I sat there thinking - this can't get worse.

(The next day, I was to be involved in a kitchen explosion that would peel half the skin off my face, making me unpresentable for at least three job interviews I got calls for. But let's not get into any more details, lest I faint of 'traumatising-memoritis'.)

And then a few weeks later, things started looking up. After much reluctance, a publisher decided to 'give me a chance to prove myself' with a two-week contract and a salary of $60 a day (yes, that actually was my salary!) way less than half of what I was getting at my first job.

Today, I'm good. I have a job I'm in love with, a decent salary, a decent (albeit rented) home, a couple of credit cards, money to spend on clothes and shoes, and fewer things to worry about.

And that night, standing there at Paya Lebar station close to midnight, alone and hungry and miserable, I realised something. That our jobs mean more to us than we think they do. If our jobs could talk, they would give us a piece of their minds. They would remind us that they do not ask for a lifelong commitment from us, and yet they bring us a sense of achievement and challenge. All they ask of us is sincerity at whatever we do.

And of course, they pay the rent.

And perhaps at times, we forget to give them the respect they deserve.

We don't take them up when we should.

We don't quit them when we should.

So today's special at the bar is a toast to jobs everywhere. To jobs of every kind. To jobs that mean so much to us.

To jobs that make us who we are.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Questionable values

I just came back from a 6-hour meeting with my group for one of my term papers. The five of us are working on a project about controversial ads in Singapore and today we met to collate the data of the survey we had conducted.

We sat at Hans near the national library, armed with a laptop and our 111 completed survey forms. Each of my groupmates was calling the values out for each question from their stack of survey forms. I was keying in the values and generating the graphs for our presentation next week. The problem was - we had too many questions. Questions on ethics, values, creativity, censorship and what not. It was an exhausting process to go through question after question and key in the values.

At first, I would say each question out loud, and each one of them would give me the values (values as in the number of people who 'strongly agreed', 'agreed', 'disagreed', etc. to each statement). After abour four hours, exhaustion kicked in, and I started shortening the questions to mere phrases, and finally, to just the keywords such as 'ethical', 'creative', 'moral', etc. Some of the survey questions had blanks for answers so if I got no response, I'd ask to confirm that there were no values for that field.

It was in the middle of this that one of my groupmates T, exclaimed a loud "Excuse me?!"

I looked up from my excel spreadsheet.

She was giving me a very indignant look. I was really puzzled.

And that's when I realised what I had just asked her.

"T, you don't have any moral values, do you?"

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The fine lyin'

So we were in the class of The Prof when he made an announcement.

"I have a very interesting video I want to show you but I'm not sure if I should. Actually I feel guilty when I show my class videos, because while they're watching it, I just sit there and do nothing. I feel like I'm not doing my job. What do you think?"

"But sir, if we all want to watch the video, you have no reason to feel guilty." I gathered the courage to say it.

"Hmmm... I know you would all prefer watching a video to listening to me talk and bore you to death, isn't it?"

Our silence showed that we did not disagree.

So he decided to play the video. There was a slight murmur of celebration in the class. We love videos. Whenever our professors play videos, they dim all the lights and we can each do what we want, especially if the video is really boring. Half of the class takes a nap, while the other half engages in other forbidden behaviour in class such as eating, drinking and smsing their friends about how sleepy they are. I myself have finished half a sandwich and a can of iced lemon tea while a video was going on. All that, being the geeky girl that I am in class, while sitting in the first row.

He started playing the video, and then paused it.

"I suppose you want me to keep the lights on, in case you want to take notes?" He asked.

There was a silent collective gasp of horror.

"Notes??" One of my classmates exclaimed.

"You will not take notes??" He sounded offended.

"No sir, we don't need to. We'll watch it with full concentration." Another cheeky classmate chirped. (I swear it wasn't me. I wouldn't have thought we could have gotten away with that.)

He agreed.

So out went the lights and the video started. It was about political campaigns in the US, and soon half the class went to sleep. I did not have any food or drinks on me, so I actually sat and watched the video.

An hour later, the video came to a sudden end and he switched on the lights rather abruptly, while some of my classmates were still rubbing their eyes.

And that's when his eyes caught something.

"You...!" He said to a girl sitting in the back row.

We all turned to see whom he was talking to. It was a girl, and she'd been caught pressing the keys of her mobile phone.

Another silent collective gasp of horror.

"You... you know you have violated my classroom rules?" He continued to look at her sternly.

Yet another silent collective gasp of horror.

Our hearts went out to the girl, as we waited for the big telling-off.

Without batting an eyelid, the girl said, "Oh, I was recording the video on my phone for my reference, sir. Now I'm just saving it in my folder."

"Oh! Then it's okay." He said, delighted that someone found the video so interesting to actually record it.

I bow to thy presence of mind, missy.

Either mobile phones can really record 1-hour videos or we were in the company of the world's most skilful liar.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What a girl wants

So my company organised a Fun Day at Macritchie Reservoir Park yesterday. Events included a 3.2-km walk-a-jog and random games between various departments, which resulted in a lot of commotion as four male designers from my department ended up stripping to their basics (can't blame 'em, the game was so make the longest chain using things on you, and our team soon ran outta shoe laces, bandanas, sunglasses and watches). It was kinda unsightly, but it was cool to see the guys being so rough and so sporty and generally so... err... 'guy'.

When your colleagues get out of their formals and into skimpier attire that is more suitable for long hours of walking in the sun, there's a lot of checking out that goes on. The men were checking the women out. Hell, even the women were checking the women out. Hmmm... I wonder who was checking the men out then.

Funny girly conversation overheard by Sayesha during the walk-a-jog:

Maths editor who thinks she's fat (pointing to new editor whose short shorts are nicely showing off her shapely legs) - "Goodness, would you look at her legs! So slim!"

New editor with shapely legs turns back upon hearing her name.

Maths editor who thinks she's fat - "Your legs, man! Wow... Each leg is like two of mine!"

New editor with shapely legs - ???!!!

Sayesha - :D

It's only at events like this that you see a different side of the people you've been working with. For example, I bumped into a guy I used to have a crush on three years ago. (People who know me from work and are reading this, NO, I won't disclose who it is! :D )

My first interactions with him were really weird. I'd only been working in the company for a few weeks, and I'd been put in charge of 24 books. These were adaptations for the US market, and had very tight deadlines because shipping the books over was going to take up a major chunk of the timeline. In those days, I used to reach my office at 7 am so I could talk to the US office before they wrapped up for the day. I'd have to fax every page after any amendment to them and get their approval before proceeding. Sometimes I just found it easier to drag my chair over and station myself near the fax machine.

And as luck would have it, whenever this dude would go to the photocopier to photocopy something, he'd find me sitting near the fax machine. He'd have this amused look on his face, but he'd say nothing. It really bugged the hell out of me.

These are the first three of our conversations:

10:30 am - He walks over to the photocopier and spots me by the fax machine.
He - I always see you here. *amused smile*
Me - Yeah... *polite smile*

2:30 pm - He walks over to the photocopier and spots me by the fax machine.
He - You're still here... *amused smile*
Me - Yeah... *polite smile*

5:30 pm - He walks over to the photocopier and spots me by the fax machine.
He - You're always at the fax machine, aren't you? *amused smile*
Me (a really exasperated one at that) - Yeah, I came with the fax machine. They had an offer. Buy one fax machine, get one editor free. *straight face*

He never spoke to me after that.

I finally had a chance to work with him when I was put in charge of the kids' magazine. Most of our interaction was via email but we did have meetings now and then. I was starting to get really impressed by him because (a) he was really really intelligent, (b) he was passionate about his job, and (c) he was damn good at what he did. I found all three traits very very cool. Of course I was still annoyed about the fax machine incident, and so I continued to give him attitude so that he would never ever find out about my crush.

In time, I got over my crush, but I still found him kinda cool. I still maintain that there's something incredibly sexy about a guy who takes his job seriously.

Then I didn't see him around for like a year or so because his entire department moved to another floor in our office building. I forgot all about him.

And yesterday, I saw him again.

Not participating in any of the sporting activities.

And suddenly I didn't find him so cool anymore. :|

How will you guys ever understand us? When we don't understand ourselves?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A different kinda foe-cuss

What makes you feel worse - when someone you're nice to is nasty to you, or when someone you're nasty to is nice to you?

Moral of the story -- be nice to your enemies.

Make them feel like crap.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Making a statement

They say I watch way too many hindi movies and get heavily influenced by them.

I agree with 'em morons. :/

Some time ago, I watched the movie 'Corporate' on Youtube. I kinda liked the movie. It's not every movie that can actually make you like Bipasha Basu.

But I had another reason to like it.

One scene, in particular.

There is a scene in which Harsh Chhaya finds out about some unethical dealing at his workplace and says with a kinda sexy authority, "I will not approve this." Gosh, that scene actually gave me goosebumps. He was so sexy as he made that statement (ok I admit I have a weakness for guys who're principled and authoritative, and even a bit arrogant) that it was unbelievable.

"I will not approve this."

"I will not approve this."

"I will not approve this."

That statement of his played in my mind the whole day, and I wondered when the day would come when I would be at such a high post in an organisation that I could get away with a "I will not approve this!" statement of my own.

They also say if you dil se wish for something, it comes true.

Last week, I was really surprised to find myself in a weird kinda situation. It's surprising that many people who are writing MBA essays can't find any ethical dilemmas in their lives to describe, while people like me who have no plans to do an MBA get more ethical dilemmas than they can handle (this was my second this year). Any MBA aspirants willing to buy my ethical dilemma stories for their essays? Okay, I just realised that the very act of buying my stories for your essays will put you in an ethical dilemma yourself! :P

Anyway, back to what happened at work. So I stared at what I had been staring at for a few hours. Then I finally picked up the whole thing and went to my boss.

And before I knew it, the words tumbled out.

"I will not approve this."

I was as surprised at myself as my boss was at me. Must be 'em hindi movies. I had never tried to over-ride an instruction from above. But this time I just had to. My boss looked at me helplessly. I returned his helpless looks.

"Sigh... Sayesha... have you thought this through? Give me your best recommendation."

Now I was knee-deep in the situation. I could not get out of it. So I continued.

"This is my best recommendation. I cannot approve this."

More helpless looks from him.

Now my boss is relatively new. Though his inexperience with kids' books can be frustrating at times, I must admit he is a good man. He could have easily over-ruled my disapproval. But I know he trusts my judgement. I guess he understood that I was doing the right thing.

I got my way.

As I made my way back to my cubicle cursing Harsh Chhaya and all of 'em damn hindi movies, a thought struck me.

I hope when my promotion papers land at my boss' desk, he does not display a devilish grin and make the very same dramatic statement.

"I will not approve this. Muahahaha!"


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Cooking up a storm

Sometimes I feel like throwing my flatmate out.

At other times, I feel like throwing him a party.

So it was my flatmate's birthday yesterday and I decided to have a cooking extravaganza for all the people he is close to.

On Friday night, we went to shop for stuff at Mustafa, which is this place where you get everything. Yes I mean everything. From frozen fish to gold jewellery. From jaggery to carpets. From make-up to DVD players. You name it, they have it. They even fly in mangoes and other fresh food from India. I buy most of my Indian spices there because I know for sure they would be there.

The tough part of course is to make the sales assistants understand what on earth you want. The place is too big for you to wander around looking for what you want, so inevitably you end up asking the staff otherwise you'd be there forever. And by forever, I really mean forever, since it's a 24-hour place. Now the problem is that there is some Indian stuff that does not have an English equivalent, and since most of the staff at Mustafa are local Indians as opposed to Indians from India, they don't know the typical Indian terms we use. So most of the time, you either get blank stares or head-shaking.

Friday night is a bad time to go there because it's crazily crowded - half of the Indian population in Singapore seems to be at Mustafa from Friday night till the wee hours of Monday morning. The crowd is a mixed one, as Singapore now has a growing population of people from not just Tamil Nadu but from many others states as well, and it's interesting as you end up hearing bits of their conversation as you walk through the alleys.

Here are some snippets I heard.

Husband picks up packed of Basmati rice.
Wife - Nahin nahin yeh wala rice nahin!
Husband - Arre ispar 'Daawat' likha hai na... aur kya chahiye?
Wife - *SIGH*

Kid with empty trolley - "Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"
**Trolley crash**
Kid - "Sorry sorry!"
Man - *string of tamil words to his wife* ("Yeh aaj kal ke bache..."?)

Me - Excuse me, I am looking for Lakme kajal.
Sales assistant - All Lakme Nuri.
Me - Huh??
Sales assistant (to colleague) - Nuri! Nuri!
Nuri - WHAT??
Sales assistant - Lakme Lakme!
Nuri - Oh.
(motions me to follow her)
Me - ??

**More trolley crashes**

"Excuse me..."

**string of gujrati words**

Me - Excuse me, I am looking for papdi...
Sales assistant - What?
Me - Papdi?
Sales assistant - Uhhh... papad??
Me - No no, papdi...
Sales assistant - Uhhh...

**string of punjabi words**

Me - Excuse me, I am looking for a kitchen towel holder...
Sales assistant - Kitchen towels? Over there.
Me - No no, kitchen towel HOLDER...
Sales assistant - Holder? I dunno... *string of tamil words to her colleague who then points me in the right direction*

**More trolley crashes**

**String of tamil words**

Me - Excuse me, I am looking for disposable cutlery.
Sales assistant - Eh?
Me - Disposable cutlery... err... plastic cutlery? You know... forks and spoons...
Sales assistant - Oh, plastic forks and spoons? Third level, ma'am.

**More trolley crashes**

Guy who looks like a university student - Abbe woh honeydew hai, honeydew! Kya samajh ke utha laya?
His friend (looks at the large round object in his hands) - Achha? Yeh honeydew hai??

She - Itna saara dhaniya??? Lekin do din mein khatam ho jayega na?
He - Kar denge baba!
(Newlyweds off on honeymoon in two days?)

Girl (crazily loading her trolley) - Arre tum kuchh toh help karo!
Guy - Main kya karoon?? (Confused look)

Boy in batata puri section - But I want the kind nani makes.
Mom (exasperated) - Yahan nahin milega. Chalo. Late ho raha hai!
Boy - **Grumble grumble**

**More trolley crashes**
"Excuse me.."
"Sorry sorry!"

Me - Do you have pani puri?
(Prepares to say all paryaywachi shabds for pani puri - golgappa, gupchup, pani patasha, etc.)
Sales assistant - Over there, near the cashier.
Me - Whoa. He understood!

Finally I was done. Here are the after-effects of all the Mustafa-shopping. I'm gonna send all this pictures to Mom who thinks that I have forgotten to cook ever since my post-grad study activities put a stop to my culinary activities.

Jaljeera in the making. I like to keep the mint leaves large rather than shredded, so those who not like leaves floating about in their drinks have the option to leave them out.

Jaljeera's ready!

The making of the hottest release of the year - Mirchi ke pakode

Pani puris are ready for consumption. Lemme warn ya, the pani is super-hot -- just the way I like it! :P

Bhaji in the making

Pavs waiting to be buttered up

Bhaji is ready!

My very special home-made low-calorie gulabjamuns, affectionately known as low-cal gulabos (I know what you're thinking, American Pi, they missed you too!)

The guys who came for the party seemed to be fascinated by Frodo and Fat Chick. It was the first time I'd seen guys not wanting to let go of soft toys.

One of the guests wanted to give Frodo's hair a new look. Presenting Frodo with spiked hair!

Fat Chick perches on the knee of another guest.

My pink gerberas sit pretty in their vase.

Setting up the birthday cake - That's me on the left and Clueless on the right.

'Durgati' of the cake in a matter of seconds - bole toh, waat lag gayi!

Happy birthday, flatmate! Hope you had fun. And oh, another thing. If you dare to forget my birthday, I'll really throw you out. :)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Face off

So I was going through the fresh stack of resumes that had landed on my desk today when I came across a familiar name. It was a girl who had done her internship in my company. I had worked with her too and had a good impression of her. Always eager to hire people who are familiar with the workflow and procedures in my company, I picked up her resume to find out what she'd been upto after her internship.

The resume stated that last year she had worked as the Chief Editor of the very popular XYZ magazine.

Wow. I was impressed. Very impressed.

Mainly because the Chief Editor of XYZ magazine in the last two years happens to be me. :|

Apun ka father, aur nation ka father

The most amazing thing about the Munnabhai series of movies is that after you have ROFLed your heart out (the ROFLing actually lasts a few days after you have watched it as the scenes run over and over in your head) you start thinking of the serious stuff. In the first movie, I started to think about doctors and how they treat people. I'm sure many doctors watched it and thought about whether they considered their patients mere 'sick bodies' or as people who needed love and care. I'm sure there is no one who did not have an increase in respect level for cleaners after watching the movie. Jaadu ki jhappi showed us the power of a hug when you need it most.

The second Munnabhai movie dealt with Gandhian principles, albeit in a non-preachy way. And at the end of all the ROFLing I did after watching the movie, the serious scenes started coming back to me. Gandhiji's words come to mind, "Remove my statues from public places, take off my pictures from your walls, burn the books that talk about me. If you wanna preserve me, preserve me in your heart."

It is true, isn't it? Though there are two schools of thoughts on Gandhian principles, even supporters seem to have made Gandhiji a mere posterboy and forgotten all about what he stood for.

The last time I myself used Gandhian principles was to win a school debate.

In one of the seven schools I studied in, there was one that had a debating competition on Gandhi Jayanti every year. And the topic too was the same every year - Are Gandhian principles relevant and applicable in modern times?

My teachers picked two students to represent our school in the competition. A draw of lots was done to decide who would argue for and who against. I ended up with the 'for' chit of paper.

Oh man. I was screwed.

So I rushed home breathless. To the man who had the solution to every problem of my life.


Me - "Dad, I'm taking part in the inter-school debating competition, and the topic is "Are Gandhian principles relevant and applicable in modern times?"

Dad - Hmmm... and?

Me - I need help. There was a draw of lots and I am supposed to defend the topic. And I don't know what to say.

Dad - Why not??

Me - Because I don't quite believe in it?

Dad - So you don't actually believe in Gandhian principles but you're supposed to talk about them in a positive light?

Me - Exactly.

Dad - So tell me, why don't you believe in Gandhian principles?

Me - Hmmm... I guess it's kinda uncool to be Gandhian these days. In fact, when someone is too goody-goody, we call him Gandhiji. It's not a compliment. I mean, now we gotta be more assertive and all that. If someone slaps you, you can't really offer the other cheek. You gotta kick his ass.

Dad - Hmmm... this is a real problem. How on earth are you going to prepare for the debate then?

Me - I dunno! That's why I need your help.

So Dad helped me come up with some very good points on what to say and how to counter my opponent's points.

Soon it was 2nd October - the day of the debate. My opponent - this guy called Abhi from the local boys' school -
went on stage first. He used loads of jokes in his arguments to make fun of Gandhian principles. He paced the stage floor and did some monkey-like antics too. Even I had to admit he was very very entertaining. The crowd loved him.

He got off the stage amidst insane applause, and I went on stage, quite nervous. Even my friends, who were still laughing at his anti-Gandhi jokes, were giving me the "Sayesha, you have no chance in hell!" look. Of course, the dhakkans all nursed secret crushes on him. :/

And then I started my speech. I said everything that Dad had asked me to say.

My favourite part was this:

"Fire was meant to cook food, not burn houses. A knife was meant to cut vegetables, not throats. It all depends on how we use them. If fire is being used to burn houses and knives to cut throats, do we abolish fire and knife saying they are not relevant and applicable in today's world?"

The applause was so thunderous that I actually had to pause for it to subside. I used the time to mentally thank Dad and wondered when I would grow up and make wise statements like he did.

By then, I was more confident and every now and then I confidently deviated from my script to rebutt his points. I even used words dripping with sarcasm, like "Mere kaabil dost ne abhi abhi kaha..." and all. Fultu filmi.

Finally I ended with Dad's exact words - "Though their interpretations may change, Gandhian principles will always be relevant and applicable in any age. It all depends on how one uses them."

I won the debate. They said it was no contest. The richest man in town - who was the chief guest - handed me my trophy. As my principal and teachers beamed proudly, Abhi came up to congratulate me.

This is how our conversation went.

Abhi's speech bubble - Great job, Sayesha. *fake smile*
Sayesha's speech bubble - You too, Abhi. *faker smile*
Abhi's thought bubble - Kill you next year then.
Sayesha's thought bubble - Not before I kill you first.

So I went home to give the good news to Dad.

"Dad, I killed him. I destroyed him! Maar dala!" I bellowed.

"Interesting choice of words... from someone who just won a pro-Gandhi debate." Dad smiled.

And that was that. I forgot the whole thing and went on with my life. But for some reason, I preserved the script that Dad had helped me with.

The next year, I found out the reason.

What was unbelievable was that next year, the whole thing replayed itself. I could not believe it and neither could he. The topic was the same of course. He was arguing against the topic, and I, for it. Because I had saved my super-script, and I did not need Dad's help this time. Abhi used the same arguments and so did I. It was a mockery, but both of us played along.

And I won again.

The customary conversation happened again too.

Sayesha's speech bubble - Great job, Abhi. *fake smile*
Abhi's speech bubble - You too, Sayesha. *faker smile*
Sayesha's thought bubble - Kill you next year then.
Abhi's thought bubble - Uhh... May you leave this city forever.

We stared at each other with utter hatred, and parted ways.

If this was a Bollywood movie, we'd fall in love and live happily ever after. But it wasn't. It was life, and in life, some evil wishes come true.

I left the city.

In fact, I left the country.

And I left Abhi behind to win all the Gandhi debates in subsequent years.

For two years, I had spoken words that were not mine, but Dad's. But the most amazing realisation I had had was that as I said those words, I really wanted to believe in them. I wanted to think about them, I wanted to analyse them, I wanted to stop dismissing them just because everyone around me said they were 'uncool'. I admired Dad for being able to make and pull off such statements. I admired him for having the guts to believe in them, even though they were not considered 'cool' anymore.

But that was the last encounter I had with Gandhiji in my life. Perhaps I'd forgotten all about him.

But after watching Munnabhai, somehow this incident came back. I have started to think again. Not the whole debate on whether it was Gandhiji who got us freedom from the British or not (I agree that is highly debatable) but his way of thinking, some of which (not all) sound really appealing to me. One of the things Gandhi said in the movie has stayed in my head "To slap someone is very easy. But to ask for forgiveness needs courage." Apun ke dimaag mein bhi chemical locha ho rela hai. Even though there's a lot of thinking I need to do before I really figure out what I believe in, but it's a start.

What Gandhiji said in the last frame of the movie echoed exactly what Dad had written as the final statement of my debate.

"Though their interpretations may change, Gandhian principles will always be relevant and applicable in any age. It all depends on how one uses them."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Science, Maths and History

Added by popular demand - ze cartoon. :P

My company publishes books for kids in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. Now a book for a specific subject is edited in a certain way. For each subject, you liaise with a different curriculum specialist in the Ministry. There are syllabuses, strict rules that you have to learn and follow, and certain styles you have to familiarise yourself with. Even author idiosyncrasies can be vastly different. Even though we studied the same subjects in school, when it comes to conceptualising, writing and editing a book on it, it's not easy. It takes time to get used to editing books on a particular subject. Which is why for an editor, the switch from one subject to another is often not an easy one.

I'd been working on science books and a science magazine in my company for almost four years now. Recently, I took on the lead of a new department that is supposed to publish books for all subjects. When my publishing manager presented the proposal to me, I accepted it immediately. It was a great challenge for me and a timely career move too. I was very excited. However, when I realised that the first batch of the books under me include 40 maths titles, I tried not to freak out but to take it as a challenge.

So over the last few weeks, I have been studying the syllabus, the history and other details about each project. But somehow, I felt inadequate. Worse, I have two brand new editors under me whom I have to train from scratch. I have trained tons of editors for science, but maths just didn't seem to be my cup of tea. I felt like I needed some training myself before I trained the editors under me.

Then I heard that one of my colleagues R was holding a maths content editing training session for the newbies this week. I jumped at the chance and signed up. Now R is the ultimate guru of primary maths in my company with years and years of experience. The two of us are amongst the 'company dinosaurs' - people who stay on beyond the average 2-year shelf life of an editor working with curriculum publishing.

When R saw my name in the list, she gave me a call, "Sayesha, Why on EARTH have YOU signed up for this?" So I told her why I really needed it.

The session was going great, and she had some really funny slides with editing boo-boos, that were a source of much laughter in the training room. Suddenly something familiar popped up on her slide. It was a rough sketch of some silly cartoon, drawn just below a question. I was trying to figure out where I had seen it before when R announced, "Oh by the way, the copyright of this cartoon belongs to Sayesha."


Of course!

I'd drawn that cartoon! At least three years ago!

And suddenly it all came back to me.

Flashback - 2003

R - "Sayesha, I need a second opinion on this maths question my author wrote. Read this and tell me what your interpretation is."

We often show each other our work to avoid ambiguity and get a fresh pair of eyes to look at the questions to see if they make sense. Since our target audience comprises mainly kids, the questions can't afford to be confusing in any way. They have to be crystal clear to the point of sometimes being moronically obvious.

So I read the question and burst out laughing.

I forgot the exact words but the question went something like this:

Rafael has a fish tank that measures 40 cm x 20 cm x 20 cm. Through evaporation he loses 1 cm in height each week. How much water each week does he need to add to refill the tank?

R (watches me laugh) - "Aha! I knew it."

Me - "Well, let me sketch out what my interpretation is."

So I drew a cartoon of a boy standing under the sun. His hands and legs (and even his hair) were evaporating. The sun was over his head, laughing devilishly.

We had a good laugh over it, the question was rephrased and the incident forgotten. We have a lot of such incidents happening in the office for us to remember them. Some time ago, I had two instances that I still remember. In the first, which I refer to as the 'bald moon' incident, one of my editors received proofs with the words 'The moon has no hair.' instead of 'The moon has no air.' In the second incident, also known as the 'roast beef' incident, the sentence 'Methane is also produced when cows burp.' had magically transformed into 'Methane is also produced when cows burn'.

We can't do without such fun things happening every now and then. In fact, these incidents keep us editors alive and laughing. But then we have too many of these happening for us to remember all of them.

Back to the present.

So when R announced to the trainees that I had drawn that cartoon, I was totally taken aback. I could not believe that she had preserved the silly cartoon from years ago and had been using it in her training sessions all this years. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face for the rest of the session.

In fact, I was so touched, I was thinking about it in the bus and smiling. I know it's a very silly thing to be so happy over, but I can't help it.

Sometimes, someone brings back a little piece of your own past that you yourself had forgotten, and totally makes your day.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Waat lagaate raho Munnabhai!

So it looks like I have already whacked the hell outta my brand new flatmate.

I said - it looks like.

Actually, the chap had dental surgery done last week, and his right cheek was swollen. As if bhai ne ghumaake diya ho do-chaar.

Aur khelo kitchen mein cricket. :|

Because of the stitches, he was having difficulty eating and drinking. Hell, he couldn't even laugh properly. "Please don't crack any more jokes," he requested to me day before yesterday, before forming a circular shape with his lips and letting out a controlled Santa-like ho-ho-ho. (By the way, all those traumatised by my PJs should meet this guy. He can give my PJs a run for their money any day.)

So when he said he wanted to go watch Munnabhai II, my first reaction was "Are you sure????"


"But you can't even laugh properly, it will be a waste man."

But he insisted. So I asked him to rehearse his Santa-like laughter several times, because there are few movies in the world that guarantee laughs, and this was one of them.


So we watched the movie.

Oh man.


And oh, I loved it!

Vidhu Vinod Chopra ki jai ho! Rajkumar Hirani ki jai ho! Abbas Tyrewala ki jai ho! Munnabhai ki jai ho! Circuit ki jai ho! Sab ki jai ho! Koi bach gaya? Uski bhi jai ho!

I don't remember laughing this hard at a movie in ages. AGES!

Now and then I'd look at my flatmate as he tried to manage his manufactured laugh. Boy, he so needs a second watch.

And if his wisdom tooth fairy is listening, I want a wish (since I doubt he's gonna ask for one).

"I want THIRTEEN Munnabhai movies, and I want every character in the movie to come back in every movie, just like they did in this one. Please don't let anyone associated with the movie die before all THIRTEEN are released."

It's not every movie that you love every miniscule bit o f.

It's not every movie where you can't make up your mind if the first one was better or this one.

It's not every movie that makes you adore a leading guy you never liked in any of his other movies.

It's not every movie that has scenes that can make you laugh and cry at the same time.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Stuff about stuff

A year ago, I moved from the Eastern part of Singapore to the West, because my university is in the extreme west and living in the west enabled me to come back home after my night classes at a less unearthly hour.

Almost a year ago, I wrote a post about how sad I was to leave the east. And I thought to myself, I'm gonna feel exactly the same when I move back to the east. (Oh yeah, I had already decided last year that I would be moving back to the east this year.) But surprisingly, I did not feel anything this morning as I finished the last bits of packing before my transport guy turned up with his van. To me, the west was not home. It was never home. It was like temporary hostel accomodation.

I wanted to minimise the stuff I had to make moving easier. So I gave away almost half of my clothes and shoes. And I thought to myself - so I'll have at most two suitcases of clothes, a carton of kitchen stuff, a carton of books, my computer, the computer table and chair, my musical keyboard (no I don't play well, I just play by ear), a carton of sentimental stuff, a carton of toiletries and I'm done.


I had tons of cartons. And the weirdest thing is that I have no clue why I had so many. I guess they contained "stuff". Now here's some stuff about stuff. "Stuff" is what you dunno you have. So I decided not to rack my brains anymore and just accept the fact that a girl has "stuff" and the "stuff" just has to stay with the girl, it cannot be thrown away.

But I am so glad that my new flatmate (anyone remember my dehydrated pictionary temp flatmate? I have elevated his status.) did not complain even once as we loaded our stuff into the van. Any other guy would have just started to sort thru my stuff and would have even had the audacity to offer his advice on what I should throw. Shocking. I'm so glad that there are some people who let you carry your memories with you, no matter how heavy they are.

My transport guy's eyebrows shot up higher and higher as we loaded up his van with my stuff. I was surprised at his being surprised because he is the same guy who had transported my stuff when I was moving to the west exactly a year ago. This guy is ubercool. He advertises about his transportation services now and then and this year, the title of his ad cracked me up.

"Supervan returns!" it said. :D

The guy is very good-natured and flexible. I decided to try my luck, and said "You should give me a discount, I'm your old customer." And he actually did! So this afternoon, he drove us and the megatons of stuff to the new house. He had rolled down the windows of his van and it was so amazing to feel the wind in my hair. I hadn't experienced that in a loooooong loooooong time. Makes you realise how sickening air-conditioning can be.

With the help of two life-saving friends, we managed to unload the stuff in the van pretty soon. "You'd better stay in the east, cos I am moving back as soon as I can." I'd threatened these friends long time ago when I was moving to the west. And my threat worked. They're gonna be here till May at least.

The new house looked bigger than it did when we had seen it first. It could be because the earlier tenants had a toddler, and you know how much space toddlers occupy with the insane amounts of running around they are capable of.

Right now, the living room is full of "stuff" that needs to be moved into our respective rooms. Then there's "stuff" that needs to be bought for the house, for the kitchen (I plan to start cooking again.). Speaking of the kitchen, my crazy flatmate's first reaction was "Itnaaa bada kitchen?? Yahan par cricket khelenge, okay??" (He's in the Singapore cricket team.) The look I gave him cannot be described in mere words.

This flatmate is a bit crazier than all others I have had till date. I think I gotta be a little Monica-like to avoid the possibility of cricket matches in the kitchen and F1 races in the living room. He has the F1 video game, complete with the racing wheel which he replaces my computer keyboard with and races for hours. The other day I was playing my favourite music and he insisted he wanted to play his favourite music. He closed my winamp window, played a video and said with a blissful look on his face, "Now that's my kind of music." What he had played was a video of some F1 race and the "music" he was referring to was the roar of the car engines.

But I like him. I think it's going to be fun living with him. He's not dirty and messy like most guys I know. He allows me bully him. He can cook only one dish so I have monopoly in the kitchen. (My last flatmate spent so much time in the kitchen, he almost gave me a complex.) And I got the big room without having to use waterworks or brute force. He's the most patient guy I have ever met in my life. And the best part is - he's a techno geek who can fix all my computer problems. (And no, that's NOT the reason why I chose him to be my flatmate. Ok, it's not the ONLY reason.) :P

So here I am, writing my first post from my new place. I had to play hopscotch with myself to jump over all that stuff and get to the computer. The sight of all that stuff is freaking me out. I gotta submit two chapters of my dissertation, I gotta watch Munnabhai, I gotta work on my term papers, and I gotta unpack and sort the stuff in the living room. Not to mention the psychotic cleaning of the house that's gonna happen first.

Looks like this weekend's stuffed with stuff. But
it's not all bad.

Good stuff's happening too - I'm finally home. :)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Karan, alvida na kehna

Hey Karan,

Look what I found!

It’s a picture of you that I took when you were here in Singapore for the IIFA awards 2004.

Look at you. Good-looking, suave, sophisticated, humorous, not fat, not bald, rich, famous, successful.

Is it really any wonder then that when your name comes up, most guys throw their hands up in the air and scream "Gay!!!!" as if it’s a bad thing?

I guess guys are more freaked out at the thought of two gay guys together than girls are about two gay girls. Or is it that gay people make guys uncomfortable? Insecure? That they may become ‘one of those’ if they hang out in gay company?

All this talk about you and Shah Rukh annoys me. Maybe you guys are a couple, maybe you aren’t, who cares? What’s that got to do with anything, really? And in any case, whatever happened to strong friendships within the same gender? Do they not exist anymore? Now you can’t be nice to your friends who are of the same gender as you without being labelled ‘gay’?

But I don't care what they say about you. I like you. I really like you, Karan. To me, you’re the perfect celebrity. And like I always say, celebrities are not married or old or gay. They’re just celebrities and they belong to everyone.

In other words:

Tu haan kar, ya naa kar, tu hai meraaaaaaaaaa Karan! :D

You know, Karan, you’re like Shaan to me. I like Shaan so much that even though I know he must have sung at least some crappy songs, when I try to think, nothing comes to mind. It’s almost like blogging. If you like a blogger, anything they write is awesome. If you don’t like them, even a great post by them will make you go "Oh puh-leez!"

So maybe that’s what it is then. I like your movies because I like you.

In spite of the fact that I don’t like all your movies or all parts of each movie. They say “Ah, a typical Karan Johar movie!” like it’s a bad thing. Maybe that’s how they define it. But to me, a Karan Johar movie is a movie that has moments that pierce right through your heart. Even if some of your movies don’t quite make sense as a whole, there are scenes that will always stay in my heart. I enjoy your movies by dissecting them into scenes.

Your critics say that you pull at the pursestrings under the guise of pulling heartstrings. I say – what’s wrong with that? If a guy can reassure me that in this cynical world, I still have some sentiments left in my heart, I will be so grateful I won’t even mind him making money out of my tears.

I admire your ability to make me cry. I admire Bollywood for its ability to make me cry.

Because I believe that it is easy to make people laugh, but it is not easy to make people cry.

When the train pulled away with a teary-eyed Anjali waving to an equally teary-eyed Rahul with Tina looking on helplessly, when Aman told Anjali to go ahead and marry the one she loved, when Rohit introduced himself as Yash to Rahul, when Krish sang the Indian national anthem in London and made his mother cry, when DJ saw right through Rohit’s useless attempts at tying his shoelaces, when Naina cried in the rain for lost love, when Jenny told Lajo who Jiya really was, I have turned on the Ganga-Jamuna waterworks at all your movies.

All except KANK.

Now here’s the thing – there are many reasons why we like a particular hindi movie. It could be that the story is our own and we identify with a character. Or we experience such a strong emotion for the character – whether it be love, hatred, anger or others – that we wanna see what happens to him/her. We are rooting for them to get what he/she deserves.

Here’s why I did not like KANK. I couldn’t care less about any of the characters in the movie. I did not identify with any of the characters, nor did I sympathise with them. Before the movie started, my friend and I were assessing our tissue situation in order to be prepared, but disappointingly, not once did a single tear roll down my cheek, even though Rani was crying buckets. I just sat there, emotionless, waiting for your movie to end.

Why not?

Simply put - I did not 'feel' anything for any of the characters.

I did not care why SRK was tearing as he declared his marriage to be a failure. I did not care why Abhishek was breaking vases and plates and asking Rani why she didn't wanna sleep with him. I just didn't care.

And I was surprised that you made a movie in which I did not care about anyone.

In K3G, I loved Hrithik's character. I rooted for him to unite the family. And in spite of disliking almost every character in that movie (Kajol and Kareena especially, who I thought were bordering on annoying at times and Jaya Bachchan who I thought belittled herself, literally and otherwise, by standing on a stool and allowing Amitabh Bachchan to make a statement like “Ab aap lag rahi hain Yashwardhan Raichand ki dharampatni.”), I liked the movie for Hrithik. And the fact that it showed me that I was still capable of crying for a completely fictional character. My heart was still functional.

In KKHH, I cried more than in K3G. Because unlike K3G where I'd disliked some characters, here I liked everyone. I wanted everyone to be alive, loved and happy. Even the otherwise silly Sallu! My heart went out to him when Kajol went to SRK.

KHNH was different. Yes, SRK hammed like he hams in every other movie, and this movie was nowhere close to Anand, but it was a movie that spoke to me. Perhaps I needed it at that point in my life. The underlying message of ‘Jiyo, khush raho, muskurao, kya pata kal ho na no’ (“Live, be happy, smile, for all you know there may be no tomorrow”) is something that pierced deep into my heart and has stayed there since.

KANK had its funny moments and emotional moments. But as I do with all your movies, I selectively filtered out the humour and entertained myself, but I took nothing back from the movie. I did not think about it for days after watching it, the way I do with many hindi movies.

And in the end, I asked myself - so what was it that I did not like?

Perhaps what I didn’t like was the way you stuck to the conventional definition of an extra-marital affair. Did you really need to culminate the ‘extra-marital affair’ with the love-making between Shah Rukh and Rani? And the way in which that whole scene was picturised - I wondered where the love was. SRK and Rani were supposed to be in love, weren't they? On a more general level, what really is an extra-marital affair? Is it wholly defined by you sleeping with someone else outside your marriage? So if you’re totally in love with someone else but you only have sex with your spouse, you’re not cheating on him/her? Is that not an extra-marital affair?

Of course, I applaud you for taking up a subject that's still kinda taboo in India. And they say Karan Johar sticks to ‘formula’. The last movie in which anyone picked this subject was perhaps 'Murder', but they chose a heroine who's not exactly portrayed in a positive light, and conveniently finished off the guy who caused the infidelity. I applaud you for not showing convenient solutions such as the ‘strayers’ realising that what they were doing was ‘wrong’ and going back to their marriages. I applaud you for not conveniently killing off someone at the end. I applaud you for not making the ‘strayers’ suffer and die lonely and painful deaths because ‘they had sinned’. And yet, you managed to add in a convenient end. I couldn't buy the fact that SRK and Rani were happy ever after because they did not seem to 'belong together' in the first place, something that you always take care of in your other movies - the chemistry between the lead pair.

So in spite of the bad reviews almost everywhere, KANK made a huge profit. Critics who had dismissed the movie shook their heads at the ‘stupid audience that eats out of your hand’. Speaking of bad reviews, I actually saw one that hinted at your being gay (what’s that got to do with your movies anyway??) and said something to the effect of "Karan Johar will probably never get married and so he's not qualified to make a movie on extra-marital affairs." HUH? So someone who wants to make a movie about a suicide bomber has to blow himself up and then come back in his next life to make the movie?

In the same vein, someone said "Karan Johan always sticks to movies about North Indian affluent families. For once, we'd like to see a movie on a South Indian, a Bengali, etc." HUH again! He makes movies about North Indian affluent families because... DUH! Sheesh. Make up your mind people, do you want him to make movies with settings he's familiar with, or not?

So maybe you're the kind who appeals to the masses. Who are the critics anyway? People who just disagree with the masses? Most of the time, if the movie is a hit, critics don't like it. If the movie makes a loss, critics say they loved it. Agreed that there are some movies you should make that you can look back proudly at, but what will a commercial movie-maker do with bouquets from the so-called critics? And just how long should he keep doing it - till he's bankrupt?

I'm not saying that there are no movies that are liked by both the masses and the critics, but how many of those do we actually have in a year? Think about it. So why is it considered so wrong if you make commercial movies for the masses?

They say Karan Johar sticks to the same storyline. But when he experiments, they diss him. It's not easy to please everyone anyway. So Karan, you do whatever you want! Experiment all you can – you surely have the money for it! You're one of the young directors who's maintained the link between the old style of Bollywood movie-making and the new trends. Aditya Chopra was another, but of course after the fabulous DDLJ, he went on to produce Fanaa. Enough said.

I guess I really like you. When you like someone so much, you don’t mind it too much if they disappoint you once in a while.

And that’s why even if I don’t like some of your movies, I will root for you all the way.

I'll love you unconditionally.

On one condition. :D

Just please don’t ever come up with a movie like Banaras. :|

Love always,