Monday, March 29, 2010


So here we have, the finalists of the Bollywood 'Get creative with materials' contest: Mahima Chaudhary in aluminium foil, Ranbir in trash bag pants and Sanjay Dutt in what can only be described as a giant lobster shell. Pick your winner!

All photos courtesy Rediff.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Boy, interrogated II

"You know... this guy [name of guy]... he hit a car today." Viv said.

"OH MY GOD!!!" I was horrified. I knew the guy. He was in Viv's cricket team. "Is he all right? How did it happen? He was driving to the match???"

"Oh he wasn't driving." Viv said.

"Oh! So you meant to say that a car hit him?"

"Oh no no. He hit the car."


"He was going for a sixer."

"Oh! So he was batting!"


"So it was the ball that hit the car?"

"Yes. The ball went high up over the fence and hit the car."

"Oh my goodness, was there an accident???"

"Oh no, no accident."

"So the driver managed to avoid the ball?"

"Oh there was no driver in the car."

"Err... So it was a stationary car?"

"Yeah, it was just parked outside the cricket ground."

I took a deep breath and exercised a lot of self-restraint not to find the nearest wall and go thunk my head on it several times.

"Please tell me at least the ball smashed the windscreen?" I asked.

(Hey, don't give me that look. Yes, I was desperate to find anything, anything, to make this 'story' worth my while.)

"Oh no, it just hit the front of the car and bounced off."

Long pause.


Thursday, March 25, 2010


Oh dear. Not another one.

The latest to join this series:

"Reason why the candidate quit the last job: To have more time to concentrate on her Master."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Spotted on Facebook... boyfriends in the plural is still understandable, but husbands? :O

Monday, March 22, 2010

Boy, interrogated

"You know, Hayden got a mongoose?" Viv said to me.

Oh dear. Here we go again.

So I stared at him for about 5 seconds, but he had picked up a book and started reading as if he had just said the most obvious thing to me that needed no further elaboration. I took a deep breath and sighed. It was time for the usual. A long and painful interrogation session which I knew would end in me wondering why I even got involved in the first place.

"Who got a what?"

"Hayden got a mongoose."

"Hayden who?"

"Arre Hayydenn!" He said, as if adding an extra 'y' and 'n' and an exclamation mark made it very obvious which Hayden he was talking about. For all I knew, Diana Hayden had got a pet mongoose. (Why Viv would find it conversation-worthy was beyond me though.)


"Matthew Hayden!"

"Ah. Matthew Hayden. He got a mongoose?"

"Yes." He went back to reading.

"What the heck is a mongoose??" I asked. (Of course, I knew what the heck a mongoose was, I just didn't know if Matthew had got a pet mongoose or a mongoose tattoo, and once again, why I had chosen to participate in this strange conversation.)

"You don't know what's a mongoose??"

"Uh... the animal?"

"Noooo... the bat!"

"The bat?"


By now, I had seriously started wondering if I should ask him to clarify if he was talking about a cricket bat or the mammal bat. But bats are after all, animals too, and he had stressed that the mongoose he was referring to wasn't an animal.


Viv sensed my restlessness, closed his book and turned to look at me. He spotted a large thought bubble over my head with a large question mark inside.

"Oh! The Mongoose is this new cricket bat, where the handle takes up half the length."

"Oh... erm... okayyy..."

We concluded the conversation, he went back to his book, and I was left wondering why he would think that particular piece of news would interest me.

Length of conversation - 55 seconds


Now here's what it could have been:

Viv - "You know, there's this new cricket bat, where the handle takes up half the length? It's called the Mongoose. Matthew Hayden has got one."

Me - "Oh."

Length of conversation - 6 seconds

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Daddy cool

Yesterday, I finally got to meet Varsha, a purani bewdi of the bar, and her adorable family. She asked me what's happening with this, and that's when I realised I should post an update for other interested bewdas too.

There have been no more thefts (*touchwood*) since my Dad's gallant Gandhigiri, and just yesterday, he successfully harvested a 9.5-kg (!!) pumpkin.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hum Hindustani

I have discovered a new Indian eatery near my office that serves the most awesome chapatis ever. Now there are plenty of Indian places around my office, but this particular place feels very strangely... Indian. 'Indian' Indian. If you know what I mean.

I haven't been able to tell if it is because the owners and waiters speak perfect Hindi or that they play Lata Mangeshkar oldies or what. They have chairs outside where most people sit, but I usually sit inside because that's where the music is the clearest, and the owner sits there so I can chat with her if I am eating by myself. The problem for the waiters is that something they forget that I sit inside and can hear all that they talk about.

Today, as usual, I was sitting inside having my lunch, when the waiter walked in and passed some money to the owner. She asked, "Kaun sa table?" Before he had seen me, he had blurted out, "Woh baahar jo buddhi baithi hai..." and then suddenly spotting me, turned red and said, "Matlab woh baahar jo lady..."

Yup, distinctively Indian.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hostelite's aloo

Remember when you were a hostelite and you were SO sick of the canteen food you actually turned to maggi? You had one pathetic little pan in your tiny hostel room, in which you made the maggi and you chomped on it as you watched sitcoms off the shared computers on the network? And then you discovered frozen parathas and wished there was something else to go with them other than yoghurt or the achar you got from home before you started hitting Mustafa?


Okay, if you're one of those hostelites who started making biryani in the first year itself, get out of my bar. Now. NOW.

This post is for people like me. People who never stepped into the kitchen when they were at home, and had to leave the country and go live by themselves and slowly start learning the fine art of cooking. By starting from scratch.

And Hostelite's Aloo (HA) is one of the critical steps to help you get there. It is incredibly easy to make, it needs very simple ingredients, it's very tasty, and it's such a great accompaniment that it helps pave the way for you to start making chapatis and parathas yourself. And most of the time, it is a success so it gives you the most critical ingredient in your culinary journey -- confidence.

This recipe for HA is dedicated to all you freshies out there, who would like to graduate from maggi.

Potatoes - 2 medium, cut into thin strips
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Onion (optional) - 1 small, thinly sliced
Turmeric power - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Dried red chillies (optional) - 5

1. Heat the oil, and add the dried red chillies and mustard seeds. Wait till the mustard seeds have finished sputtering.
2. Add the onion and sauté till they become translucent.
3. Add the potatoes, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well.
4. Reduce the flame to very low, and cover the container. (This dish can be successfully made even in a non non-stick pan, provided you really keep the flame low.)
5. After 5 minutes, use a spatula to toss the potato strips well to make sure they are getting evenly cooked, and are not sticking to the bottom. Cover again.
6. Once the potato strips can be easily cut with the spatula, turn off the flame.
7. Serve with rice, chapatis or parathas.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Stage fright

I knew it the moment I saw that frantic comment on a totally unrelated post:

"Bhai aap ka email addy bataao - nahi to piliss mail karo"

There can be only one meaning to a bewda who lives in the US leaving this comment -- transit in Singapore!

I don't know why, I get really excited when people have a transit in Singapore. It's like a cool project. To design and customise a sight-seeing tour for them depending on how long the transit it. And when the traveller is a bewda who has been at the bar for the last 5 years, but whom the bartender had never met, it's special indeed. So Sudipta and I exchanged emails, and on the morning of 27 Feb, Viv and I were at the airport, trying to recognise him. He'd said he'd be wearing black jeans with a red and white striped T-shirt, and all of us thought that should be good enough for us to easily spot him.

Imagine our shock when we found at least six people wearing that outfit!

Viv yelled "That's him!" the moment he spotted the first red and white striped T-shirt, and I waved wildly at the guy, only to find out that he had blue jeans on. Sheesh. Luckily, he didn't spot me, or worse, wave back! Next, we saw another guy who was in the same outfit, but he was with an elderly lady. I knew Sudipta was travelling alone so we ruled him out. The third guy was holding a baby so we ruled him out too. The fourth guy had shorts on, and the fifth was a girl. Frankly speaking, I didn't rule her out. For a moment, I did wonder if Sudipta was a girl -- after all, he has talked about being mistaken for a girl on his blog many times. The sixth was Chinese. And then there were none.

So I speculated:

1. Sudipta had played a horrible prank on me, and would have to suffer the Bhai's horrible revenge. (something worse than the ghastly garland!)
2. The air hostess had spilled his drink on him so he had to change into something else, and we would never find him.

Fortunately, we had exchanged phone numbers. I took out my phone to call him and to my horror, saw a missed call. Someone had tried to call me from one of the airport phones. I could only imagine Sudipta's thoughts when I didn't pick up.

1. I had played a horrible prank on him.
2. I had played a horrible prank on him.

Anyway, he called again, and we finally did meet him (yup, it was a he). After exchanging pleasantries (it's weird to meet someone for the first time when you know all about them!), we went for a nice chilli crab lunch at the beach. We were trying to teach him how to crack open the crab using a crab cracker, and he turned out to be quite a pro at that.

Viv had to rush off for cricket as usual, but Sudipta had a good 3 hours before he was due back at the airport. So we headed home for a short break and then I decided to take him on a little sight-seeing tour. We took the 36, the perfect bus if you want to see some of Singapore's highlights on the way, and went to City Hall, and then to the Esplanade.

And then the strangest thing happened. As I showed him the Westin Stamford and the Suntec Fountain and my office building, and the Merlion and the Singapore river and the Fullerton and the Singapore Flyer and the IR, and all the amazing greenery, I had the oddest feeling. No, I wasn't mistaken. I heard it in my own voice. There it was.

Pride. Undeniable unmistakable pride.


That. Was. Scary. That. Had never happened before. I'd shown Singapore to plenty of folks, but never had this, "Man, this is one rocking place!" feeling. And the feeling stayed long after Sudipta had gone back.

And that's when it struck me. Your relationship with a place is complete when you have been through these stages.

1. You love the place. You miss it when you're elsewhere.
2. You hate the place. You bitch about it all the time.
3. You can't decide whether you love or hate the place. So you just say 'Argh!' and give up.
4. Deep down, you feel a weird sense of pride about the place, that you can't quite explain to someone who's not exactly in the same position as you. It confuses you, and even makes you panic a bit.

I have been through all of these stages when it came to India, and now, after 12 years of stages 1-3, I guess it had happened with Singapore too. While showing my place to a traveller, I had, without my own knowledge, whether I liked it or not, reached a new place myself.

Stage 4.

Friday, March 05, 2010

A close call

So last night, Viv, Pizzadude and I watched ‘Karthik Calling Karthik’. Initially, I had shown absolutely no interest in the movie in spite of my love for Farhan Akhtar (as a director mostly) because I really really can’t stand Deepika (especially when she opens her mouth to speak) and when I saw her say, “I toh can’t even imagine...” in the KCK trailer, I just wanted to throw my shoe at her.

However, Viv and I were both going to be working late and decided to go for a late show. Pizzadude had earlier asked me if I wanted to go and I’d declined, so I thought I’d do a quick check if he wanted to catch a late show too. Turns out he was in the gym (Shabash puttar, naam roshan kar ditta!) and could join us. I’d already bought tickets, but he managed to book a seat next to us (yes, that’s how empty the theatre was. Sad.)

Random thoughts after watching the movie (spoilers ahead)...

  • In spite of the reviews I had read and heard, I must say I really liked the movie. Though it was not a thriller in the true sense; I always knew the 'who', but it was the 'how' that kept me glued. Hadn't figured that the phone instrument would be so, er, instrumental in the plot. (Viv claims he knew everything from the start. Hmph!)

  • The rediff review asks, "Why does he hint out the suspense so early in the film?" I kind of agree, but I don't see another way in which it could have been handled as delicately without making the audience go, "Humko bewakoof samjha hai? Naalaayak!" or "This was suspense? Nonsense!" I guess they went for the more straightforward, no-pretence approach.

  • The first half was rather tame, though Karthik's transformation was somewhat fun to watch. But towards the second half, the movie got really chilling.

  • The length of the movie was just right. The intermission was at a perfect point too, making me go, "WHAT?! NOW?! NOOOOO! COME BACK!!"

  • Okay, Deepika wasn't THAT irritating, which was a relief.

  • Loved Deepika's office outfits.

  • Good music. I especially like the title song where the girl says rather eerily, 'Karthik... Karthik calling Karthik'.

  • The background score was even better. Especially the scenes with the phone calls where the music imitated his (and sometimes the audience's) rapidly escalating heartbeat.

  • Thank goodness Farhan decided not to sing in this one. After 'Croak On', I really don't want to listen to him ruining perfectly good songs.

  • When I first read about the movie, I looked at how they had spelt ‘Karthik’ (with an 'h') and kept wondering why they would make Farhan play a South Indian, and how much he could and would screw it up. (I think I can safely say that the only non-South-Indian actor in the history of cinema who has successfully played a South Indian is Konkona Sen Sharma in ‘Mr. and Mrs. Iyer’.) Luckily his being Karthik instead of Kartik had no significance in the movie. (Viv is still arguing with me about how I can assume he was a South Indian just because of how his name was spelt. Sheesh. Karthik Narayan. Come on, dude!)

  • Totally loved the part where he's trying to escape from himself by going 'blind'.

  • I thought his landlord was the Ghajini fella and I was like, "Dude, how much weight have you lost?" Turns out this is a different guy (the dad in Taare Zameen Par). And I'm not the only one who got confused.

  • Farhan is an exact copy of his dad. There's a scene of him sleeping where he looks EXACTLY like Javed Akhtar.

  • I thought 'the other dude has a wife' was such a lame and convenient excuse for Karthik to get the girl, but figured later why it had to be that way.

  • Looks like apna Kamesh Mahadevan will never grow old. He stills looks the same as he did in Munnabhai MBBS and Shanti. Pity he changed his name from 'Yatin' to 'Yateen Karyekar', sounding dangerously close to 'Yateem'. Bet his parents weren't too happy about that.

  • Speaking of changing spelling, 'Shifaali Chhaya'? Why? Why? Why?

  • Karthik buying the second phone in the same brand made me wonder why on earth he did that, but it sure added to the creepy darkness of the movie.

  • Farhan does all right in most scenes, and excelling in some. Rock On had been a poor copy of Dil Chahta Hai, but he has redeemed himself with this one, both in terms of the uniqueness of the movie and his acting. I just hope this movie is not a copy, please please?

  • The movie was quite scary in parts. I actually had tears of fear (yes, there IS such a thing!) in my eyes when the phone kept ringing even after he had unhooked it, when the doorbell rang, and when Dr. Kapadia picked up the phone. Brrrr....

  • The movie will keep you thinking the next day, and every now and then you'll go, "Ohhhh that's why!!"

  • Whatever said and done, Farhan's role could have been done by anyone. Would have been nice to see Ranbir in this. Then Deepika would have refused to be in the movie and we'd have had someone better. Muahaha!

  • Good work, Farhan. But seriously, we really need you to get back to directing. That is what you do best.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Young blood

Check out this hilarious video. It's in the same genre as Benny Lava, but the kid makes it way funnier!