Friday, March 23, 2007

The great divide

Ah, the pleasure of having a cup of hot adrak chai! Even when temperatures are frighteningly hot as they are today, a cup of chai is still a stimulant. However, the father disagrees. He belongs to that school of chai-drinkers who must have it brewed to perfection, for x number of minutes, at y temperature, and poured at such and such angle, and the cup held in a certain manner, etc. etc.
OK, so maybe some of that was an exaggeration. But still, sighting me slurping a cup of what he terms "lowbrow" tea is enough to start him lamenting the fact that I must have been exchanged at the hospital for another baby, because what baby with his genes would fancy lowbrow tea?
Imagine his chagrin when the older sister loudly proclaimed her love for the same revolting brew! That leaves him with only one child who still drinks the propah tea. However, unbeknownst to him, this very child has quietly defected to the other side and can be seen brewing lowbrow tea with gusto every morning.Shh, no one tell him.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The dog star

So today Tango and I went walking in the neighborhood adjoining ours. As soon as stepped out of the gate, the bunch of construction workers walking by scurried over to the other side. One of them adjusted his helmet, and another readjusted his belongings into a shield across his chest. Tango, however, had found something interesting on the ground, and owing to having his head buried in six inches of grass, didn’t respond to this group.
Then we came upon the evening cricket match, being played by a total of three players. The bowler was preparing to spit on the ball and no doubt, deliver a fearsome one to the tensed batsman. Then we hove into sight: Tango sniffing at the ground, I hanging onto his bright blue leash while he amiably pulled me along. The batsman fidgeted. The fielder edged into the wall bordering the New Friends Provision Store. The bowler, heroically nonchalant, asked his friends if this here dog was a Doberman. “Nahi” squeaked the fielder as we swept past, “THAT’S a German Shepherd.”
Next was a toddler in a pram who mewled pitifully to her mother as soon as she saw us. “Nahi beta” the mother cooed. “He’s on the other side of the road.” Waves of shock and awe were spreading fast. Folks peered over their walls and balconies. One young woman who looked like a bored new bride looked over rather hopefully as we walked past; maybe this was the most interesting point of her day.
The object of the attention, however, remained as blissfully heedless as ever. As soon as we got back in our yard, Tango nuzzled my knee and went back to his favorite pastime: looking for butterflies to chase.

Monday, March 19, 2007


I have been dreaming of beaches for three or four nights in a row now. In fact, even my afternoon nap today featured me on Baga beach, Goa. Two nights ago I was in Baga too, having lost my cell phone and loving it.
This could have something to do with reading Bougainvillea House, a brilliantly creepy and readable novel by a surgeon called Kalpana Swaminathan. (The book is set in Baga). A surgeon, I ask you! I wonder why the woman is not more well-known. I fairly careened through the last section of the book, my eyes hurting with sleep under my harsh fluorescent tubelight. I couldn't care less. The ending left me a little shaky and disturbed and I couldn't sleep very well. But that just shows you the power of a well-written book.
After this tome, I picked up not one, but two books by other Indian authors who shall not be named. Suffice it to say, the surgeon had raised the bar too high and I was disappointed by the other two. Their work seemed dull and dishwater-like. Their characters were hair-pullingly boring after the compellingly vicious Clarice Aranxa that lived in Bougainvillea House.
So I went back to Uncle Fred in the Springtime by PG Wodehouse. Uncle Fred is cracked and proud of it. He shall deliver me from dullness, and how. Next, I'm going to read The Clown by Heinrich Boll, about a fellow who was a professional clown during WWII, I think it was. The friend who lent me this book once said that he had thought about me while reading it because the clown apparently gets a lot of headaches too. So now I remind people of a morose, ageing, migraine-suffering clown. Gah!

Monday, March 12, 2007

What did you do at work today?

In a fit of inspiration, I decided to substitute the word “goal” with the word “goat.” Much hilarity ensued, including searching questions like how to decide if a particular goat had been successfully met. One response: “A fond nuzzle”. That sounds like a good title for a novel. A Fond Nuzzle. Ha.
In other news, Kurkure has a new flavor: tamarind. As though the others weren’t addictive enough. Although, by a cruel twist of geography, the cafeteria is located upstairs and every time I buy one of the packs and try to come back to my desk downstairs, I must face that dreadful scourge of the times: the Security Guard. It’s against policy and all you know, to have eatable stuff at your desk, you miserable cretin. But this is nimbly sidestepped by shoving the pack into the hands of our resident firangi colleague: naturally, no questions are asked, and the Kurkure make it to my desk in all their crackly splendor.
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