Monday, February 28, 2011

7 Khoon Maaf: Seen It Yet?

I went in with mixed expectations. For one, it was Vishal Bharadwaj, whom I have long loved. For another, it was Ruskin Bond! But a woman who kills off her husbands? And we're told this before we go to see the movie, so all you do is sit and watch as she starts sharpening the knife? (There were no knives.) It didn't seem to be a compelling plot to me. (For me, murders have to be murder mysteries.) Plus, I hadn't been impressed with the last Bharadwaj-Bond movie.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Voices in My Head - 36

The Engagement

So I struggled into my muga mekhela-sador again and went to Raghav’s engagement party. I didn’t want to dishevel my clothes and my hair – carefully tied into a knot at the base of my neck – before I got there, so I hired a cab. I felt a little odd, dressing up like this to go to Raghav’s house. I had only been there a couple of times earlier, both times with our study group at b-school. Given the apprehension with which Raghav’s mom apparently treated me, he had never deemed it prudent to invite me home alone.
And here was I today, all dressed up, going to Raghav’s house to see him get engaged. It was a small party, just for family: I and a couple of Sonali’s friends (“She does have friends, then,” Mandakini had said spitefully) would be the only people there who were not related to either the bride or the groom. There would be no one whom I could whisper with, sotto voce, while a solemn ritual was in progress, no one whom I could talk comfortably to when it was over. I dreaded going, I was sure I would be bored and awkward: yet Raghav wanted me, and that was reason enough to go.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Five Years of Blogging

Yeah, as of today, February 24, I've been blogging for five whole years. This blog started out just as a way for me to update friends on my life. I had just moved to Pune then, and the Guy and I had only been together a little while, and I wrote about us and how it felt with a new job and a perfect relationship.

And then friends drifted away and the relationship grew older (and even more perfect!), but by then I had discovered blogging.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mid-Week Reads

If you're interested in writing, here's Some Advice for Young Writers: Above All, Do the Work.  I need to take that advice too. (Hattip: my favorite marketing blog)

More on writing, but business blogging/content writing this time: How to Write When You Have Nothing to Write About. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ninth (Set of) Pictures: Street Signs at Kaziranga

I didn't put up as many of these posts as I'd expected, so I'll continue them for a while. Tell me which you like and which aren't worth looking at.

At many roads, we found hilarious signs up, usually trying to caution drivers to be careful. Here are a few I got pictures of.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Voices in My Head - 35


I lay in bed the next morning, running over in my head for the twentieth time what Arunav had said to me last night. He had used phrases like “one of our best workers”, “consistently excellent performance” and “glowing feedback from project managers and team members”. He had ended with – and this part, I clearly remembered, because Miki had quietened down enough by then, “The company has great hopes from you, Miki. This is only the beginning. You have a wonderful future here.”
I dreamed of the wonderful future I had. I had become vice president and moved into Arunav’s office when Mandakini intervened.
“I have to buy something to wear to the wedding!”
“Wha…?” Miki was reluctant to leave the office.
“The wedding is next weekend and I don’t have anything to wear!”
I sighed aloud and got up.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Eighth Picture: the Vegetable Market

Near my mom's house in Guwahati is a twice-weekly haat. The Guy and I accompanied her last morning and I took a few pictures. I'm cheating and putting up more than one.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Seventh Picture: Food

This colorful and well-presented fried rice was at a little eatery in Nagaon. Most of the time, we were too hungry at meals to take pictures, but I felt this deserved to be photographed. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sixth Pic: Baby Rhino with Momma

So we drove down to Kaziranga on Monday, and on Tuesday we got up before dawn and went for an elephant ride within the forest. February is actually a great time to go: vegetation is drying up so the animals have less cover and you can see more of them. My mom had visited just in December, but was glad to have come with us again as she saw so much more this time. 

I couldn't decide which picture to put up, and the Guy suggested this one that he had taken. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fifth Picture: In A Boat, On A Lake

Just a very short walk from my uncle's house in the village is a lovely lake flanked by a hill. It's a very peaceful place, with barely the call of a bird breaking the silence. 

Last time four years ago, I had longed for a boat ride: this time around, my young cousin asked an acquaintance passing on a boat to oblige. 

Fourth Picture: Rice Fields

A woman drives two scrawny bulls into the water-drenched fields. I have always loved the green of rice fields making a lovely contrast with trees and water. No other green is somehow as green. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Third Photo: Road to the Village

Yes, yes, I know I'm late. I'll make up for it: I'll post a few pics over the next few days.

We've had some bad luck. The Guy and my little cousin both caught a bug; I sprained my ankle, not too badly. We went to a clinic this morning and the young doctor was very gentle and spoke politely in English with a marked Assamese accent (so that I had to explain later to the Guy what he had said). He (the doctor) also made me feel like a young girl instead of the portly matron I am by addressing me with the more informal pronoun tumi. 

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Voices in My Head - 34

Things Happen at Work

I was so excited after my ‘date’ with Suryakant that I had to talk to someone. I picked up my phone and stared at it, wondering whom to call. Raghav couldn’t talk coherently these days about anything other than the wedding. Ajay—but Ajay was in Hyderabad with his wife, visiting his parents. Kim had messaged on Friday night that her boyfriend had surprised her by meeting her in office and whisking her away to Kasauli for a romantic weekend—and despite her lavish plans of sleeping the weekend away, she hadn’t seemed in the least disappointed. I decided not to call her on Valentine’s Day. Divya wasn’t yet back from her honeymoon. Besides, I wasn’t sure if she’d understand.
I realised there was one person who would understand my excitement at being friends with a writer I admired. I called my mom.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Second Picture: Making Pitha

Okay, I'm cheating here. This picture wasn't taken today (or even yesterday), but a couple of weeks ago. But my mom did make us fresh pitha last night, and we ate them hot off the pan.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

First Picture: Himalayas from a Plane

That's Mount Everest, right there. It seemed weird that my first view of that giant of mountains was from above.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Announcement: Change in Programming Schedule

First, the good news. The Guy and I are off to Assam tomorrow, for a long two-week trip. We're planning a "perfect" holiday: spend lots of time with my mom; make friends with my niece again who is now a smart four-year-old from the adorable baby she was when we last visited; go to Kaziranga and ride on an elephant and see rhinos; visit my mom's ancestral village where an uncle still lives and which is the most peaceful place you can imagine while not being actually deserted. My mom's also promised to make us hot pitha, and we're going to take my niece around town on Saraswati Puja (which used to be a big deal when I was growing up: we all dressed up in traditional clothes and walked all over town and ate at a dozen mandaps).

Thursday, February 03, 2011

What's Interested Me Lately

Marketing and Ad Stuff

I liked this marketing initiative by Levi's. Many brands are taking up cause marketing: I think it's a move in the right direction. However, what do you do when a product you don't like has great marketing and one that you like doesn't? (I prefer Lee jeans.)

For another example, I loved Hippo's ads when I first saw them on TV. I love their message: the idea that hunger is the root of all ills is simplistic and naive but so optimistic. And they've done a great job with having a distinct, interesting voice. But I wouldn't eat their snacks unless I was really hungry and there was nothing else in sight.