Saturday, August 07, 2021


After the assault on the ears with the new 'Chura ke dil mera', I was SO thankful to randomly discover this song by Amit Trivedi and Neeti Mohan. Been playing it on loop for days now. Xena is going to disown me if I don't change the song. So I figured the only way to get this song out of my head is to pour it into yours. 

You're welcome.

PS: Here is the original if you prefer it in Amit Trivedi's voice. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

Chura ke song mera...


That was my first thought when I found out that there is a Chura ke dil mera 20. 

And my next thought was: No.

And then I watched the song. 



It doesn't matter that the music director is the same. 

It doesn't matter that Shilpa Shetty is still in the song.

It doesn't matter that she looks a million times hotter (in spite of that bizarre sari-thingie-whatever-it-is) than in the original. 

It doesn't matter that they steered clear of Neha Kakkar. 

No means no. 

If you had a childhood steeped in Bollywood oldies like mine, full of Kishore and Lata and Rafi melodies, you wouldn't dare to use the word "classic" loosely. You definitely wouldn't use it for songs from the 90s. 


There are some songs that are a part of our childhood, a part of us. Chura ke dil mera was one of them. The other was Pehla nasha. And the fact that I cannot think of any more already tells you how few we had of what I can only call 'hum bechaare gareebon ke classics'. 

And you simply don't touch them. You don't twist them and squash them and add random words and ruin them and stomp on our childhood like that. You simply don't.

(Of course, in later years, we discovered that many, many of our bachpan ke classics were actually not really original but that's a story for another day.)

In case you have not seen/heard this abomination, yeh lo. Hum kyun akele bhugtein?

Ok, now let's talk about the cure. After subjecting my senses and my soul to this, I did what anyone in my shoes would have done. I went for chaar-dhaam ki yatra and ganga snaan by immediately watching the original. Oho aatma ko tab jaakar shanti mili. 

And the most heartwarming part? The comments section was full of people like me who had also immediately gone to the original to seek solace. 

Yeh lo dawaai. Original par bharosa rakho, sab theek ho jaayega. 

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Annual report - 2020

I know, I know.

It's damn weird. 

Half of 2021 has passed and I am doing my annual report post 6 months late. BUT, given that I have not posted anything in a WHOLE YEAR, I think this is okay. I gotta catch up, in the immortal words of Guru Randhawa ft. Pitbull, "slowly slowly slowly slowly". 

I'd be lying if I said I just woke up and decided to start blogging again. I was administered a gentle but firm kick in the ass by some old-time bewdas of the bar (thank you, guys... and girl!). 

So 2020 had actually started with a bang. A friend of ours was getting married in Bali in January! Never in my weirdest dreams would I have imagined that that would be the first and last flight I'd be taking that year (and perhaps the following year). To think that I was having second thoughts about whether or not to make Xena miss two days of school to go attend the wedding. Sheesh. It was a beautiful wedding and lots of fun was had by all. When we returned to Singapore, things were still fine.  

And then BOOM. Covid-19. As we all know, pretty much the entire 2020 was wasted on Covid. In fact, I was very tempted to write just 'Covid-19' as my annual report post. But then, things did happen, you know. Life did go on. 

We learnt to work from home effectively and efficiently. We got used to Teams and Zoom and not seeing our friends and colleagues. Viv and I had designated 'office spaces'. Initially we sat next to each other at our desks, and in the beginning it was quite fun to have a "co-worker" who did something so very different from you. We would take chai and lunch breaks together. But within the first few days, we realised that with the incessant calls that both of us have, sitting next to each other was not an option. I moved my workspace to the dining room, and we would only see each other for lunch and chai (if we were lucky). But soon, the breaks dissolved into the work and the calls and I realised that even with the commute we save when working from home, we end up working so much more because there is simply no 'end time'. There is no 'pack up and go home'. I am still struggling to have a life 'outside of work', which is infinitely harder because there is not much of a literal 'outside' to go to. 

Home-based learning was also very challenging in the beginning because not only did we have to arrange for Xena to have a screen for her classes, we also had to be available as tech support all the time. Homework had to be scanned and uploaded, Zoom details had to be received and entered, and assistance rendered in other aspects such as tying her hair up before her PE classes (also on Zoom) and giving her screen-free productive things to do after school hours. Trying to get all that done with 3874289 work calls in a day was tough. 

In the evenings, we still tried to do something fun together. On good days, we would take her out to the field to play cricket once in a while, but when things would get scary again, we would switch to indoor cricket, using a yoga mat as a pitch. Our workouts had also moved to indoor ones, and sometimes Xena would join us. 

Online grocery shopping, which I had never been a fan of, became the norm. On the flip side, I found some very interesting items thanks to the search function of the grocery shopping apps. The most prominent discovery has been Ruffles jalapeƱo ranch chips. Seriously, where was it all my life? I was doing a harmless search for jalapeƱos to make pizza (it's a Friday night staple in our house, and before you scream "SO UNHEALTHY!", let me tell you that I make the pizza base with 50% atta and 50% bread flour so that I can feel 1% better about it), when I came across this magical food item.  

Have you tried it? If not, WHY NOT?

This became such an integral part of my grocery orders that my app would actually prompt me that I "might be running low" on it. 

I kid you not. This actually happened. 

So now I am trying to control the consumption but it's been very very hard. You will know when you taste it. So I have upped my exercise so I can feel 2% better about it. 

So the year pretty much went by like this. Towards the end of the year, it had really sunk in what they meant by "we just have to learn to live with the virus". Before that, it felt like something that would go away, you know, like SARS did. It came, it disrupted, it went. But this was different. Even with the promise of the vaccine on the horizon, everyone could feel that something had shifted. We would never "go back to normal". Everyone was talking about "the new normal" and the new normal didn't sound like fun at all. We couldn't travel, we couldn't meet family. And there was no end date to it. There still isn't. 

And then the guilt would hit. How dare we whine and complain when there were so many in unbelievably worse situations? People dying, not getting oxygen cylinders or hospital beds. People losing their loved ones, their livelihoods. Many of my favourite restaurants didn't survive the pandemic and had to shut down. It was heartbreaking to think of the employees of such places. 

Things were so depressing around December that it didn't seem even worth it to get the Christmas tree out, which we do every year. It was only when she asked me, "Mama, why don't we have the Christmas tree out this year?" that I asked myself, "Why not, huh?" So for the sake of the kid, I dragged the tree out of storage and set it up. Viv, Xena and I made origami animals and decorated it. I have to say it did bring a bit of cheer to our house. 

Our origami Christmas tree

As and when restrictions lifted, we started going out a little more, learning to live with the masks and the regulations. The beach, which is literally 10 minutes away from us, called out to us. And we answered. 

It had been ages since I had put on my skates. It was exhilarating. Viv would run, Xena would bike and I would skate. I called it 'the family triathlon'. 

So that was how our 2020 went. Dominated by a tiny invisible thing, and forcing us to rethink how and why we do what we do. Forcing us to introspect and not take anything for granted. Nudging us to be grateful for so many things — for having jobs that survived the virus, for all the travel that we had done all over the world before the pandemic hit, for having a competent government, and for being in one of the safest places one could be in at the moment. 

Never had the realisation of our own privilege hit us squarely across our faces like this.