Friday, February 29, 2008


So lately I have been hanging out at the cricket ground every weekend. The main reason was of course the T20 championship that Viv was playing, and T20 is the only kind of cricket I seem to have the patience for nowadays. However, knowing how restless I can get when I'm jobless and how much I hate being useless, I have found myself a multitude of things to do.

I'm a one-person cheering squad.

Cricket is not a very popular sport in Singapore and not a lot of people turn up to watch the matches. Often, it's just the players and if they're lucky, a member or two of their families. I have often found myself to be the only supporter in the pavillion when Viv's team is fielding. But that doesn't deter me. I sit with the mushtandas of the other team and clap and cheer for mine ignoring their "How dare you?" looks.

I help the scorer.

By now, I know almost all the players in Viv's team, even the 12th man. So when the scorer yells out "Bowler's name, please!" I am usually able to help, together with confirmation from the 12th man.

I help out in the training.

I can bowl at the speed of 65 miles per hour. Erm, using the bowling machine I mean. Yup, I can operate the bowling machine and even adjust the speed and what not. Ha! (By the way, that machine is one dangerous piece of shit.) So I have helped Viv train at the nets. Viv and I have also been having a ball with this shapeless ball he ordered from some Australian cricket website. Check it out, the ball bounces in the most unexpected ways and is used by wicket-keepers for practice. I also prefer it as it hurts my hands less than helping in the training with a regular cricket ball.

I take care of Viv's team's valuables.

These valuables can include anything from kits to kids. There was this time one of his teammates got his fancy digital SLR camera and tripod to the ground. Before going in to field, he put me in charge of the camera. And oh, his five-year-old son too. I'm proud to say that although I had a real blast with the zoom feature of the camera, and got a beautiful shot of every wicket taken and every 'wicket almost taken', I did not - I repeat - I did not lose the kid. *proud grin*

Then there was the time some random team was going to flick one of our team's bats which was lying there. This bat is black on one side and has a really cool logo. I've never seen a cricket bat look so cool. In fact, if Batman was indeed "Bat"man, he'd be carrying this bat. So this bloke was examining it and then asking around if they knew whose bat it was. Then he asked his teammate if there was space in his kit for the bat. I glared at him so hard he quietly put the bat down and left.

I am the official eavesdropper.

When Viv's team is fielding, I listen out for all the things that the opposition says and tell him everything during the break, including strategies, comments, gossip (of course guys gossip!) and what not.

I build relationships.

I am the official behen/bhabhi of his team. Recently one of the guys came up to me ask me, "Didi, aap mera ring rakhoge?" The best part was how he sought Viv's permission before he approached me with the job. :)) Then there was the guy who went and complained to Viv that "Yaar, bhabhi ne mujhe pehchana nahin!" the day I was so busy with the camera I had no time to wave to any of my devars!


It was probably because of my presence at the ground the last few weekends that caused a sudden spur in my interest in cricket. And it also brought a cool piece of news my way. Viv told me that I had got an invitation to join the Singapore women's cricket team. The jaw-dropping factor was not that Singapore has a women's cricket team - of course they do! I've often seen them train when I go to the ground on saturday mornings. The jaw-dropping factor was that they invited me of all girls to join the team.

"Hahahahahaha!" I finished the laughter bit first, before continuing. "That would be awesome. Do they know that I have no idea what the difference between a bye and leg bye is?" I asked Viv.

But then Viv said something really simple but really cool. He said I could learn all the things I don't know. Suddenly I felt all geared up. I could train hard and become really good. It would also be a way to stay really fit. I could travel with the team to other countries and represent Singapore. Even Viv's cheeky warning "You'll of course have to cut those long fingernails if you want to play cricket." did not deter me. (I'm a seasonal bimbo, not a perennial one.)

But then, like all sudden good things, this one came with a catch. Training and matches would take up entire weekends, and I'm not ready to sacrifice my book-writing.

Ah well.

Looks like it's true - one lifetime is not enough to do all the things you want to do.

Next life mein Batwoman chhudaayegi sabke chhakke!


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kiddy concepts

They say that if your concepts are clear in your head when you're a child, you'll never forget them, and they will always make sense. Perhaps the biggest contradiction to this is the concept of Santa Claus. However, Santa is not very desi (unless you're talking about Santa of Santa aur Banta fame). Though I don't know what it is like now, but when I was growing up in India, Santa was insignificant. In fact, there was no Santa, only Fanta. Okay okay, bad joke. So I decided to make a list of desi concepts that seemed so sensible and logical back then, but seem like total nonsense now.

Vidya kasam (Literal meaning: I swear by vidya = knowledge)
So if you wanted to convince someone that you were speaking the truth, you prefixed it with vidya kasam. The repercussions were severe - if you were lying, vidya would leave you, i.e. you would flunk in your exams. So strong was the belief that even though I was the class topper, I would never ever khao vidya kasam if there was even an iota of doubt in my head about the truth in the statement I was about to make.

Doodh-bhaat (Literal meaning: Milk-rice)
After the many many sessions of getting out for a duck, followed by severe bawling, the tall lanky bhaiyas of my colony decided to declare. Not declare the innings, but declare doodh-bhaat for me. This basically meant that no matter what happened, I could not be declared out. Of course, there was a cap of five times, which meant I could last just under one over before I'd be officially 'out'. Of course, as I grew older, the cap reduced in number, and one fine day, there was no doodh-bhaat for me anymore! Surprise surprise though! The concept has now made its way into grown people's cricket, and has been given a more mature sounding name than doodh-bhaat. It is called a free hit. :|

Gudiya ki shaadi (Literal meaning: Doll's wedding)
What I don't get is how someone could come up with the cruel idea of a wedding after which the bride and groom go back to their respective homes and never see each other ever again. There are new clothes, jewellery, a grand feast, sometimes even a pundit, but right after the wedding, Munni takes off with her bride-doll and heads home to do homework, and Bubbly goes off with her groom-doll. Shaadi khatam, sab log ghar jao! I was totally against it even as a kid. My only memory was that of my friend (I forget her name. Obviously.) having the audacity to suggest that one of my bimbotic Barbie dolls (I had 6 or 7 I think) get married to her ugly gudda (male doll) who incidentally was not only NOT Ken, but was also twice my Barbie's height and width. Ugh! Kahan kahan se chale aate hain muh uthaake...

Katti and mitthi (Literal meaning: Err... uhhh... let me think... hmmm... uhh... )
Well, if you wanted to stop speaking to your best friend, all you had to do was cross the index finger of your left hand with that of your right hand, and hey presto, you weren't friends anymore! No hard feelings either! And retraction of the gesture was just as simple, you just had to carry out the same action, only this time with both thumbs instead of fingers (there are other variations too), and things went back to normal like you'd never had a fight. Wish grown-up life was as simple, don't you?

Got any such 'concepts' to share?


Thursday, February 14, 2008

The kingly affair

So Sayesha Smitten Showbiz Kitten reads about the protests against the release of Jodhaa Akbar. She decides to investigate further and goes over straight to director Ashutosh Gowarikar's house. A large number of protesters are standing outside his house. The two in front are burning cut-outs of Gowarikar and Hrithik Roshan, while the rest are shouting slogans asking for the movie to be canned or banned.

Fortunately for her, there is a tree just outside the house. She makes herself comfortable on one of the low-hanging branches right next to the window of his living room, takes out her notebook and starts jotting down the proceedings.

Gowarikar steps out his house and is immediately pelted with eggs. Strangely, the eggs are not rotten, but are hard-boiled. One of the protesters - a teenager - starts collecting the thrown eggs and putting them in a basket.

Gowarikar - Please stop. Rukiye, please!

Protesters - Jodhaa Akbar band karo! Jodhaa Akbar band karo!

Gowarikar - Please listen...

Protesters - We will go to court. We will go to high court! We will go to supreme court! We will get this movie canned!

Gowarikar - Dekhiye... please suniye... Can we talk it out in peace?

Lead protester - Bhai log, ruko! He's ready to talk.

The protesters stamp on the burning cut-outs to extinguish the flames, while Gowarikar winces at the sight. Everyone goes inside. There aren't enough chairs in his living room, so the crowd sits down on the carpet, while the three leaders (rather creatively christened 'Protester 1', 'Protester 2' and 'Protester 3'), sit on the couch with Gowarikar.

There is an awkward silence for a while. Gowarikar decides to try small talk.

Gowarikar (to Protester 1 who is still holding the half-burnt cut-outs) - Toh bhaisaab, what do you do?

Protester 1 (glares) - What do you mean what do I do?

Gowarikar - I mean what do you do for a living?

Protester 1 (beams) - Oh! I make cardboard cut-outs of Bollywood stars in my basement. Some even call it the desi Madam Tussaud's.

Gowarikar - Oh... and what about you?

Portester 2 - I work in a matchbox factory.

Teeanger (clutching on to his basket with eggs) - I work at the bus stop. I sell boiled eggs for breakfast to office-goers.

Gowarikar - And you?

Protester 3 (yells out proudly) - I am a protestant!

Gowarikar - I beg your pardon? You're a what?

Protester 3 - I am a fulltime protestant!

Protester 1 (smacks Protester 3 on the head) - Protester, you moron! Protester!

Protester 3 - Yes yes... protester. That's what I meant.

Gowarikar - But what do you mean - you're a fulltime protester?

Protester 3 - Well, I protest.

Gowarikar - For a living??

Protester 3 - Yup.

Gowarikar - Uhhh... And what do you protest against?

Protester 3 - Bollywood mostly. I protest against movies that are harmful for the impressionable junta of our nation.

Gowarikar (jumps in fury) So where the heck were you when they made Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag???? Huh huh huh???

Protester 3 - Uhhh...

Protester 1 - Gowarikar saab, us aag ko maaro goli, is aag ki baat karo! (points to half-burnt cut-out)

Gowarikar - Well, I just can't believe that of all movies, there would be protests against Jodhaa Akbar! Surely there is something deeper to it. I think it's a conspiracy. But I can't imagine who is conspiring against me and what reason he or she has to stop the movie.

Protester 2 - There is no conspiracy. There is no one person conspiring against you. It's the verdict of the junta to ban the movie.

Gowarikar - But why?? Tell me, what is the problem?

Protester 1 - The problem?? The problem is your movie!

Gowarikar - What did my movie do to you?

Protester 2 - Your movie distorts history.

Gowarikar - How??

Protester 1 - Jodhabai was not Akbar's wife. She was Salim's wife. So she was Akbar's daughter-in-law. (more here)

Gowarikar - Hainn?? And what about Anarkali?

Protester 2 - Well, there was no Anarkali.

Gowarikar - That's not what they showed in the movie Mughal-e-azam! And I think they showed Jodhabai as Akbar's wife in that movie too!

Protester 1 - Yeah, that movie distorted history too.

Gowarikar - Then why were no protests against it?

Teenager (takes an egg out and starts peeling it) - I wasn't born then na.... ha ha ha!

Gowarikar (glares at the teenager and then at the eggshell pieces on his carpet) - But you were born when Asoka released. Did you watch Asoka??

Teenager - Of course! I watch all Shah Rukh movies!

Gowarikar - Do you know that in history there was no scantily-clad princess Kaurwaki he was frolicking in the water with??

Teenager - Of course!

Gowarikar - Then why didn't you protest against Asoka??

Teenager (grin) - Well, Kareena looked hot...

Gowarikar - And Aishwarya doesn't?

Teenager - Nope. I've seen the promos. She's all covered up. Even the necklace she's wearing starts at her neck and ends at her waist. She could just wear only that jewellery and still look all covered up!

Protester 1 (smacks teenager on the head, the egg pops out of his hand and goes rolling under the couch) - Chup be! Bakwaas band kar! Gowarikar saab, aap matlab ki baat karo.

Gowarikar - You tell me na what the real problem is... I don't think it's just the distortion of history you're worried about. Is it a Hindu-Muslim thing?

Protester (looks horrified) - NO!

Gowarikar - Then??

Protester 2 - Well....

Protester 3 - Bol de bol de...

Protester 2 - Actually, you can continue with the movie as long as...

Gowarikar - As long as what???

Protester 3 - As long as that Roshan boy doesn't kiss Aishwarya in this movie like he did in Dhoom 2.

Gowarikar - Huh?? That's it?

Protester - Ermm... Yes. That's it. Do you know the Roshan boy wasn't invited to her wedding because of the kiss?

Gowarikar - Well, he didn't kiss himself. She was there too. Didn't she read the script before signing the movie?

Teenager - Haha! I used to be a spot boy. There is no script in hindi movies. The script is printed after the movie releases. Sometimes.

Protester 1 - Mark my words - that Roshan boy is trouble. I don't even know why you cast him as Akbar. He doesn't look like Akbar from any angle! From what I saw in my history books, Akbar was short and fat.

Gowarikar - So who do you think would have made a better Akbar?

Teenager - Someone like Emraan Hashmi maybe?

Gowarikar (sarcastically) - And according to you, Emraan Hashmi would have agreed to do a movie without a kissing scence?

Protester - Oh my! Never thought of that.

Gowarikar - Anyway, you'll be happy to know that they don't kiss in this movie!

Protester 1 - They don't??

Gowarikar - Nope.

Teenager - Damn! Why not??

Protester 2 - Because, you dhakkan, in the mughal era, they didn't kiss. Did you see any kisses in Mughal-e-Azam?

Teenager - No...

Protester 2 - There you go!

Teenager - But that could be because I didn't see Mughal-e-Azam...

Protester 1 smacks the boy on the head again.

Protestor 3 - So that Roshan boy doesn't kiss her?

Gowarikar - Nope.

Protester 2 - Okay then... we will take your leave now.

Gowarikar - Really? That's it? So I can release my movie? It was all about a kiss?

Protester 3 - Yes yes, we were very concerned about its effect on our moral values.

Gowarikar - So are you happy now?

Protester 2 - Wait... Do you promise not to introduce any last-minute kiss?

Gowarikar - I promise.

Protester 2 - Hmmm... Lagaan aur Swades ki kasam khao?

Gowarikar - Lagaan aur Swades ki kasam. I promise there will be no kiss. Are you happy now?

Protester 1 - Of course! Go ahead and release the movie. We will all watch it. What say, bhai log?

The crowd murmurs in agreement.

Everyone leaves. Gowarikar shuts the door with a puzzled expression on his face.

Protester 1 (to protestor 2) - Chal Bachchan saab ko phone laga aur bol kaam ho gaya.


Monday, February 11, 2008


  • There is nothing quite as exciting as going to watch Viv play a T20 match in the new season.

  • There is nothing quite as surprising as finding 3 more mini-supporters (two aged 5 and one aged 10) whose dads were in Viv's team (also known as 'the good team' in a gesture of absolute immaturity on the part of the writer).

  • There is nothing quite as pleasing as children speaking in perfect English minus the annoying Singlish accent.

  • There is nothing quite as touching as a 5-year-old offering you the last piece of candy in his bag.

  • There is nothing quite as scary as finding yourself sitting next to an aunty who says, "Oh you're supporting good team? I'm supporting evil team. My two boys are in it. So let's see who wins yeah?"

  • There is nothing quite as annoying as not being able to clap for the good team because said aunty is sitting next to you.

  • There is nothing quite as liberating as telling aunty, "I think I'll sit with the members of the good team (good team was batting first) and get some running commentary." and running off.

  • There is nothing quite as random as a 5-year-old suddenly reappearing next to you and saying, "Oh no! My dad made zero again?!" (random because his father hadn't even gone in to bat yet!)

  • There is nothing quite as fantastic as the good team making more runs in 20 overs than Australia made in 50 overs in the match against India.

  • There is nothing quite as shocking as suddenly finding yourself surrounded by members of the evil team who are now sitting and watching their team bat and wondering who the heck you are. The kids, as most kids of that age are wont to do, had disappeared.

  • There is nothing quite as weird as being looked at strangely by the evil team's members when you suddenly clap or yell out your support for the good team.

  • There is nothing quite as cheeky as eavesdropping on the discussions of the evil team.

  • There is nothing quite as awesome as hearing them praise the good team's wicket-keeper. :D

  • There is nothing quite as cute as the other 5-year-old running off towards the boundary where his father was fielding, yelling "I am going to talk to my father!" during a particularly un-happening over.

  • There is nothing quite as funny as how you only have either of two reactions in your head with each ball played, no matter which team is playing - it's either "SHOT!" or "SHIT!"

  • There is nothing quite as intense as the look on the face of each player as he walks back after getting out. No matter how much applause there was, the look stayed the same - the 'cut-it-out-guys!' look. Goes on to prove that no matter what others say, the only goals that matter are the ones you set for yourself.

  • There is nothing quite as mean as waving at above-mentioned aunty with a big smile after the good team wins.

  • There is nothing quite as gross as going home in a car with 7 other people, 4 of whom are stinking cricketers who have decided to have a bath at home instead.

  • There is nothing quite as fabulous as coming home and discovering that India kicked Aussie ass too.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Making cents

I'd wanted to blog about this little incident that happened a couple of days ago with a dear friend of mine, but the last few days have been absolutely insane at work.

However, last night said dear friend sent me an sms asking me whether I ever intended to update my blog or not. So I thought - okay, here goes, and blogged it down before leaving for work. Uh oh, too late babe! You asked for it! :P


She - So what else is happening?

Me - Hey, did I tell you the first run of my book sold out? I'm so happy!

She - Congrats! So what kind of royalty will you get?

Me - I get 10% of book sales. The book is priced at $7.80, so I get 78 cents for each book sold.

She - That's great! I'll buy a copy.

I looked at her with absolute adoration. Her statement had warmed the core of my heart.

You see, this book is not a cutesy fancy storybook that anyone would buy. It's hard core curriculum stuff. It's a book on challenging questions based on the Singapore primary science syllabus. It's the kind of stuff that excruciating classwork and homework are made of. In fact, it's a book that would make my target audience - 9-year-old kids - throw their (empty) lunchboxes at me in disgust if they found out I wrote it.

No wonder I looked at her with a fond "Awwww! You will buy my book?" expression.

She - Of course.

Me - Wow, thanks!

She - Or... I could just give you 78 cents. That would work out cheaper for me.

Me - :/

Sayesha thunks her head against hypothetical brick wall in slow, repeated motions.