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It’s been so long

This blog has been so dead lately, I feel guilty. So many thoughts swim in my mind but nothing translates to words. Then I saw this on The Girl Next Door’s blog and this seemed the perfect way to awaken my blog from hibernation!

Here it goes..

  1. Tell me something about you that most people don’t know.
    I talk to myself. (Sheesh)
  2. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
    Eliminate rape.
  3. Do you like to dance?
    Oh yes! Have always loved garba and Bollywood. Lately I have taken a fancy to Zumba.
  4. Would you ever consider living abroad?
    Well, I do live abroad right now.
  5. Does your name make any interesting anagrams?
    Nope. It’s too small and common for that.
  6. Who made the last incoming call on your phone?
    At. Asking me to come and pick him up from work. We are sharing a car right now. So I play the driver most times.
  7. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer?
    I downloaded Tera Zikr from Guzaarish. It’s a lovely, mesmerizing song.
  8. Last time you swam in a pool?
    I played with water in my cousin’s pool 3 weeks back. I can’t swim!
  9. Type of music you like most?
    Anything that is melodious, peppy and/or soulful.
  10. Type of music you dislike most?
    Rock music.
  11. Are you listening to music right now?
    Yes! I am ALWAYS listening to music. Right now, its Shikayatien from Lootera. I love this album.
  12. What color is your bedroom carpet?
    The flooring of whole house is covered in brown carpet like all apartments in US.
  13. If you could change something about your home, without worry about expense or mess, what would you do?
    Make every room color themed. Get in co-ordinated furniture. Lot of colourful furnishings. Create a magical garden.
  14. What was the last thing you bought?
    Groceries from Indian store. A rush-rush affair after college.
  15. Have you ever ridden on a motorbike?
    No. Have attempted once. Was a total failure.
  16. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving?
    Never! I am too scared for those.
  17. Do you have a garden?
    Oh yes! A small balcony garden created very lovingly by me.
  18. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem?
    Err. Not really.
  19. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
    I wish I could sleep more!
  20. If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be?
    Salman Khan. Isn’t that obvious?
  21. Who sent the last text message you received?
    My cousin who lives in the same city. Yeah, the same one with the pool.
  22. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
    Macy’s! Clothes, shoes, kitchen and dining ware, home decor. Everything there is so pretty.
  23. What time is bed time?
    Between 11 pm and 12:30 am. I know. Ridiculous. I blame it on US-India time difference.
  24. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant?
    Ha! No way!
  25. How many tattoos do you have?
    None.
  26. If you don’t have any, have you ever thought of getting one?
    No way. It’s too painful.
  27. What did you do for your last birthday?
    Returned from a wonderful vacation to Mexico the night before. Attended classes at college on my birthday and took chocolates for classmates.
  28. Do you carry a donor card?
    No.
  29. What time do you get up?
    8:30 am… after a lot of self struggle. Don’t ask me about weekends.
  30. What inspires you?
    People who give and receive a lot of love. People who have a great healthy attitude. People who make their passions big.

Wow. It’s always fun talking about yourself, no?

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Sunday Special–The Nineties

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While the above will come across as out-dated and cheesy to most, I have lot of nostalgia attached to it. This represents the nineties era – the era I grew up in. And since I am so obsessed with movies and music, what reminds me of my childhood better than nineties Bollywood?!

I spent several lazy summers of Nineties crammed in the only air conditioned room of the house – living room – with my mother and baby sister, lying on the carpet watching Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander or 100 Days or the like; movies that the cable guy would play every afternoon. Movies that were full of gaudy maroon lipstick, puffy bold flower print skirts, voluminous coarse hair, shiny eye lids and rebellious love stories actually got me addicted and, worse, inspired. I wanted to be in the movie. I wanted to be like those actresses. I wanted my future life to be that movie.

I know. Childish fascinations.

I adored Madhuri dixit (still do) and after I stopped infatuating over Anil Kapoor, it was Salman Khan. I still adore him.

Nineties songs are peppy and melodious – very hummable and foot tapping. Every time I cannot decide what genre to listen to, I tune in to Nineties. If I start listing down my favourite music from that era, I would be writing for the next 3 months.

A slim Madhuri danced in heavy winds and dreamt of her Prince Charming in Humko aaj kal hai.

A snobbish Pooja Bhatt and sulky Aamir Khan fought over a watermelon and place to sleep while battling their inner desires in Dil hai ki maanta nahi.

A love struck Salman Khan tried to woo a haughty, purple sari-clad Madhuri in Didi tera dewar deewana.

A young SRK came as a knight in shining armour to save his damsel in distress in Tujhe dekha.

Battle of the sexes – Akshay Kumar and Deepak Tijori challenged Ayesha Jhulka and Sabeeha in Khud ko kya samajhti hai.

A goofy looking Ajay Devgan boldly announced (sang from rooftops, literally) his love for Madhoo, fearlessly, in Maine pyar tumhi se (a favourite Antakshari song).

Tu cheez badi hai mast mast was almost a National song for half a year.

There are endless Govinda-Raveena foot tapping numbers and Akshay-Raveena animated ones.

There are also touchy Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayi songs & lovable and memorable Dil Toh Pagal Hai ones.

Evergreen pairs: Salman Khan-Madhuri. Sridevi-Anil Kapoor. SRK-Kajol. Aamir Khan-Juhi Chawla. Govinda-Raveena. Akshay-Shilpa. It was never boring to watch them do the same antics again and again.

This era makes me smile. It is quite difficult to watch the movies today; cinema has surely moved on. Moreover, who can stand those gory outfits and make-up? Nevertheless, movies like DTPH, DHKMN, DDLJ and HAHK have the capability of warming our heart. They hold meaning. They are real, deep love stories – tragic or happy. There are real friendships, real family issues.

I am proud to say – I am a Nineties Gal!

Nineties

A tribute to my favourite era. Some images that are imprinted on our minds permanently.

The Mahabharata Bug

It all started with Palace of Illusions. Even without having any knowledge about Mahabharata or the inclination to gain it, I wanted to read this book since 6 months. I finally bought it, started reading it and am hooked on to it. Palace of Illusions in your mythological chick-lit. I am lost in Draupadi’s world. I feel myself beside her. I can see what she is going through at different stages of her life; I can feel it, empathize with her and sometimes, want to wring her neck for being silly or impulsive. When I’m not reading the book, I think about her and want to go back to her soon.

Her secret love for Karna – oh so painful, so full of longing! There is nothing more heart-rending than unfulfilled love. My heart sinks every time Karna’s name pops up in the book. I am shattered when Karna gives a cold shoulder to Draupadi, leaving her to handle her aching heart. And am shattered yet again when Draupadi is bound by her duties, unable to speak her heart out to him. My heart does a little somersault when he praises Draupadi quietly in front of Bhanumati. Draupadi’s anguish, her social shackles are upsetting to an emotional, involved reader like me.

Karna. Loyal, generous, principled, dependable, resilient. The tragic hero. The cursed warrior. Who would not fall in love with him? Isn’t he the kind every girl desires? Draupadi falling in love with him is no surprise. Ignored and unwanted by her father, having to sustain loyalty towards her insensitive, vain and cowardly husbands and ultimately being gambled away by them made her no less a tragedy queen. No wonder, she shared an invisible bond with Karna and was drawn to ‘those sad eyes’ again and again.

I read and re-read the portion where Karna reveals his love for Draupadi to Bheeshma while Draupadi secretly overhears the whole conversation. I can feel what she would have felt at that time – elated, relieved yet imprisoned and helpless.

Of course, there is no secret love between the 2 in the original story. This is just a brilliant imaginative piece by the author, Chitra Divakaruni.

But it was this book that got me intrigued about Mahabharata. I wanted to know more about the complex story. The infection spread to my colleagues too. And soon, we were watching B R Chopra’s Mahabharata Katha again, after 23 years of its first viewing, and discussingit. Lunch breaks and morning greetings revolve around this great epic that used to be a significant event of Sundays some 23 years back for all Indian households. Every day, we look forward to updating each other on last evening’s findings about the epic’s many curious elements.

This mythological classic is not only complex but also racy, what with its multiple wives, secret affairs, illegitimate children and scandalous boons. Looks like they had more fun in historic times than in today’s modern commercial time.

As a child, I believed in magic. I believed in gnomes, fairies, pixies, flying carpets and spells. Reading Mahabharata now, at this age, is equally fascinating for me. It is magical because of curses and boons, enchanted palaces, unbelievable history, Gods and Goddesses, mysterious creatures and charmed weapons.

I never knew one day I would be so interested in mythology. I had always related mythology to religion. How was I to know mythology can be magical and often, spicy??

Books (My Loves: I)

I’d always prefer reading to watching a movie. There are so many good movies adapted from bestselling novels but I am not interested in watching them. I like reading. Even if I do watch the movie (like the HP series, Bridget Jones Diary, Confessions of a shopaholic), I do that after I’ve relished the book. And when people discuss the movie and say ‘It was fantastic’, I go all ‘Oh, they’ve changed the entire original story. The book is much better’, thus snubbing poor, harmless movie lovers.

I have 2 very good friends who are movie buffs. No, they do not just watch all the latest movies that come in theatres. They watch classics. Award winning movies. Really well made movies. That kind of a thing. But no, I haven’t developed any interest whatsoever and feel visibly bored when discussion on movies is happening around me. For some reason, I am averse to Hollywood movies, however novel they may be (unless they are animated). It could be that I don’t relate to them and relate more to colourful Bollywood movies because of my love for Saris or dance numbers like Munni Badnaam and Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mastor Indian kitsch or the silliness of funny Indian movies.

No. My passion remains reading. Why I came up with this out of the blue is because I have been on a reading marathon since the last 3 days. 3 books (e-books) finished in 3 days straight. I will also commit irreverence and say that I read 2 books at work. And once I started reading books of my favourite genres (ie, chick lit and detective), I had no control over myself and read till the end. And I am craving for more. I read into the silence of the night and the muffled howl of cold wind and melodious sound of wind chimes gave me company. Felt like time had stopped. I was in no hurry. I had all the time in the world. I felt totally at ease. And I didn’t want the night to end.

This reminded me of my school days – the golden era sans internet, Gtalk, Blackberry, pending bills and marriage issues. My sister and I have been avid readers since childhood because of presence of grandparents, who were always found with a book in their hands, at home. Good influence, I must say. We stayed in a small town in Gujarat where our school and its library were like a diamond in a coal mine. I remember flocking into the library in breaks between classes. We had the advantage of borrowing books during vacations too on our Mother’s name who is still a teacher there. How delighted we used to be when we came back from school armed with books, usually detective. We carried the books to Bombay during vacations to our Nana’splace. Crossword store was like heaven and we usually came back with 10 books per visit.

We started with Enid Blyton. Her ‘Magic Of The Faraway Tree’ and ‘4’o Clock Tales’ made us believe in magic. We spent summer vacations lurking in Nana’sgarden hoping to find a scared pixie or a lost fairy crying because a wicked goblin stole her tiara. We moved on to Famous Five. We loved their adventures on the secret island, their night sneak outs and ability to expose scandalous men. Next came Nancy Drew – the best teen detective in the world! She became my idol – what with driving a car, having a handsome boyfriend, getting run over by cars with mud-patted number plates, opening locks with her lock-picking kit & still managing to look good. I wanted to be like her!

The world then opened to a more adult crime scene – Perry Mason murder cases. No handsome boys or pretty girls. Plain blood, murders and cruel intentions. We became addicted to this series written by Erle Stanley Gardner. Day and night, we had our faces buried in these books much to Mother’s irritation. But how could we put down novels so full of thrill, suspense and the clever tactics of the smart Perry Mason?

John Grisham. Ken Follet and Jeffery Archer found their place too, on my bedside table.

After a lull of a couple of years, when I totally stopped reading, I was introduced to a more sassy, witty and colourful world of chick-lits. There has been no looking back hence. I’ve stuck to it. Sophie Kinsella is undoubtedly my favourite author, followed by Meg Cabot, Emily Giffin and Jane Green. The fact that I was around 26 that time was a major reason why I became addicted to chick-lit. The stories could possibly be my own stories (except that there is no Luke Brandon or Cal Langdon in my life even today – at 29). But you get the picture.

I still try to move my eyes away from chick lit to look at other bestsellers but the books that get me stuck to my seat for hours or get me forget the rest of the world belong to the chick lit genre.

Goodreadshas got me hooked on to it. I browse through the ocean of books – BOOKS! – out there and want to read all. My To-Read list is increasing every day. Those who read will know what kind of a dream world it is. What it feels like to feel the characters coming true. Why it feels that you have become friends with the characters.

Nona Merah writes a blog post about what it’s like to date a girl who reads.

So true. I can relate to it so well.