Hello

Allo peoples,
I has done something stupid. I’ve quit my very rewarding and satisfying job to become a freelance travel (and otherwise) writer and closet consultant. I am terrified and excited at the same time. And grateful.
Making this choice was not easy. I worked at that newspaper for nearly seven years and this *dilemma of choosing between a fulfilling vocation in a place with enviably talented people who cast about fun; and an abyss that may hold secret treasures, is of the best kind. I wish it upon all of you.
But it was time for bigger things and to recognise what I want, which is simpler things. I am not terribly ambitious and want to distribute my attention among various interests — animals, clothes and exploration. I felt my world shrink and shape my work accordingly.
So now I’m on my own. And I need your help.
One of the things I want to change is that I don’t have intimate knowledge of any Indian city other than Bombay. I’ve had brief affairs with Pune and enjoyed them, but I’m a fair weather friend. Where do you live? Can I come over? I’m not weird at all and have an all-India Press Club membership. Press Clubs have cheap booze. We can go. I promise I won’t get you drunk and murder you. Here are my other Unique Selling Points:

1. I am a responsible houseguest.
2. I make my own meals and don’t need chaperoning or entertaining.
3. I may be able to correct your canine’s troublesome behaviour (some of it).
4. I can edit your wardrobe.

*The opposite of Horns of a Dilemma. Is there a term for this?

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Closet sweep: Day 10

I am feeling a little optimistic today and a lot more tolerant of thoughts of the ‘what should I wear today’ variety.

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Top: A pale silk tank with knot-back. It had this strange pouch in the front, that I undid so now it cowls rather nicely. I used to have a rose pink jersey tank which I wore every day till it divorced me because I was too needy. This silk tank fills that gap elegantly for just Rs 200. Whore.

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Jacket: The tank is not work safe because of the low back and neck. So I threw on this vintage Christian Dior blazer. I’m thinking of replacing the buttons with flat gold ones to give it a more military air.

Jeans: Gap skinnies from H2O.

Accessories: These glasses. I have three pairs of glasses not because I am vain, but because I need one to find the other. I am really blind. These are my most expensive pair and after I saved up and bought them, my husband pointed out they are Hugo Boss. SO THAT’S WHY THEY COST SO MUCH! I am short-sighted so can’t read things that are close by when I have my glasses on. Also, the Titan seduction watch.

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Shoes: Reliable Mary Janes by Mancini from Tel Aviv bought in 2007. Broad toe, flat, slip-off-able, cushioned.

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Tushar’s opinion: You look like a strange school-teacher. Like a yedi Julia Roberts from Mona Lisa Smile. You want to overthrow patriarchy and free these girls from the shackles of hegemony. But you are silly.

***

Jaison: You look homeless.

Me: Homeless teacher?

Jaison: Ya! I was just going to say teacher.

Me: Like Julia Roberts if Mona Lisa Smile bombed?

Jaison: Wouldn’t you be a prostitute then?

Me: That’s if Pretty Woman bombed.

Jaison: You caught her in the right moment of her career then.

I think this is a good look.

Closet sweep

I am embarking on a stupidly ambitious project: To wear everything in my closet and not repeat anything thing till I have exhausted every item. Every little pin, bauble, sock, scarf, lipstick has to be enlisted.

This promises to be humiliating because it might provide proof for something I have long suspected: I buy faster that I wear.

One rule is to wear things immediately after buying so that they don’t get sucked into the abyss of my closet. Second is to let go of clothes that don’t fit or feel good.

So here goes:

12.12.11

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Dress: Nightie from The Shop. The Shop bridges the gap between FabIndia prices and Anokhi aesthetics and this is from their nightwear section.

Navy blue tights

Black cap-sleeved cardigan from Colour Plus

Shoes: Ballet flat from Woodlands. Now Woodlands makes shit shoes. Serious runny feces quality, and of course I remember this only after I buy one more pair. I loved the pale pink shimmer of this one, the broader toe and the exposed seam. But two months later, the insole is out. Bad, bad woodlands.

Accessories: Silver hoops, Panerei Homage watch and a midnight blue hair claw which I have since 1999 and don’t use because it is so pretty and will get spoiled!

Projects that lasted a day

1. My dad was never big on imparting his “culture” to us, much to our handicap. When people ask why we’re matriarchal, he says marriage to a g***** is unconditional surrender. Now I speak to him in Gujrati and he answers in Marathi.
But that Thursday night in 1989, AS was staying over and my loving, malleable father thundered: “Fruit of my loin! Thou shall learn Gujarati! Tomorrow we commence your training at 9 am sharp! Okay, 10 am.”
My brother was harbouring adolescence in his room and learning Gujarati was not going to help him further his career as a GI Joe.
So me and AS gathered in the morning in front of my cupboard. The doors were painted black so that I could draw and play teacher-teacher on it.
My father wrote out the alphabet and the numbers one to ten. We copied them down studiously and repeated after him. Then we broke for lunch and he suspended lessons for a nap.
We went out to play hopscotch. He never mentioned the lessons again, even though I wrote about them in a composition on ‘How I Spend my Fridays’.

2. During the 1991 Gulf war, we (mother, brother and I) were sent back to India for a few months, like many other Indians. That was a tragically wrong move because those were the best days to be in Bahrain.
Destruction was imminent so life was tuned to Full Swing — there were random days off from school, US troops brought excitement, shops went on sale and when we came back, everyone had these really cool Gulf War tee-shirts.
We landed mid-term in Navi Mumbai and my parents were keen on us continuing our CBSE education. The only school was in Nerul, three towns away from Vashi, where we lived. It only had classes up to Eighth grade and my brother was in Ninth. My parents didn’t want to separate us as I couldn’t travel alone.
So they enrolled us and we got brand new uniforms. A tie and belt would seal our admission. I was really excited about them because 1. I had never worn a tie before and it looked very official 2. My skirt kept falling off.
But by the end of the day, my parents decided that it would not do for my brother to lose a year, nor for us to be separated.
That’s how I was in ApeeJay school for one day.

3. 1994-1995 was a bad year for concentration. Over every class, ever conversation gathered dark clouds booming the importance of Board exams. They thundered stress and guilt. Everyone was fine-tuning their approach to distinction. I found I could “study better” if I went to the terrace in the evening. Between reading chapters and drifting off, I caught sight of birds flying right to left.
I would study their patterns, I declared to my rapt inner audience. Present a paper on them after my board exams were done. Look, they only fly out in pairs! No they don’t! They head only in one direction! I could count them and see if they number tallied over days! They might be a rare, undiscovered species! My life had a purpose! Up yours, Board Exams! The inner audience stood up to applaud.
I forget to go up next evening.

Baby, you just got to release me

Sometimes, I feel really sad that farting isn’t socially acceptable. Is there anything more satisfying than the hydraulic- release of the gases from your intestine? The curiosity and amazement of how long and rumbling it can be and the satisfaction of a caved in stomach? The relief of letting out a small, irksome bubble with a pop? And the glee of releasing a silent but noxious soldier? And above all, the laughter! Is there anything funnier than the sound of a fart?
Why can’t we treat it like a sneeze or cough, and just say “bless you” and continue the conversation? Let’s sympathize with, “Cabbage huh? You should have smelled the ones I let out last week. Ruined the paint.”
Raise a thigh if you agree.

iSpeak

I talk in my sleep. Did you know that? Of course you didn’t. That’s because we don’t sleep together. Should we try?
I used to speak, say once or twice a year, but lately the frequency has gone up to once every few weeks and in the last week, every alternate day.
Needless to say, TB is enjoying himself. When there’s nothing on TV, he perches on the headboard and stares at me with his beady eyes. And when I say something, he sqawks and flies away to the kitchen.
Now you’re thinking: “That’s nothing special. My sleeping partner is a bit of a cock himself. That’s doesn’t mean I mumble in my sleep.”
But I don’t mumble. I talk! I sit up, open my eyes and say full sentences that have no reference. Here are a few examples:

1. I bolt upright, stare straight ahead and say, “What the fuck am I doing here?”

2. Wave out and say, “Why didn’t you remind me about Namrata’s magazine?

3. “Is this when I take off my clothes?”
“Huh?”
“Is it time to take off my clothes?”
“Yes! Yes!”
Snuggle back to sleep.

4. “Are you sure you want to get into acting?”

5. Sit up, stroke TB’s head and ask him in a loving voice: Why did you decide not to sign up?

I’m going to add a widget to the side and update every time I say something. Because our relationship is on trust, I made Tushar swear on Boo that he wasn’t making this up. You’ll know if anything happens.

What if my stream of consciousness is really a gutter?

Stimulus: What does Yad VaShem mean?

1. “Everlasting place, or literally, I think it means a name and a place. It comes from a biblical phrase. It’s symbolic and literal because Nazis tried to reduce Jews to numbers and there were obviously no graves or markers for the those murdered in the Holocaust. So it’s a symbol of resurrection and resistance.”

2. Google shows that the phrase comes from Isiah 56:5: And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name (Yad VaShem) that shall not be cut off.

3. The mind goes back to the Wikipedia page about Adolf Eichmann and how after his execution, his ashes were scattered over the Mediterranean so that no future memorial could exist.

4. Names are important. Civilisation is our weapon against the anonymity of death. Which is why death rites are so ceremonious. Deviate from even the smallest ritual and you slap the face of a community/clan.

5. So when Rakhee refuses to surrender the ashes of her murdered husband to the Ganges, she’s refusing to let him pass away peacefully from the community’s conscience. She keeps them in a trunk and completes the last rite only when Bhishamber and Bhanu Nath are killed.

6. That shot where Lakhan shoves wads of bribe money in the trunk, not realising his father’s ashes lay there is a symbol of how she may fail…

Result: Urge to immediately download Ram Lakhan.

Vote!

My nose piercing closed again. My sister got married last month and it was specifically for the ceremony that I had my nose attacked. I wore my grandmother’s nath.
I had bought a diamond stud to wear for the reception, but didn’t have the time to change into the diamond.
The universe is unyielding on a contract.
“We remember you specifically saying nath. You didn’t say life-long adornment. We’ll have to close now. Tissue, begin regeneration. Vessels, counter-attack metal with blood. Call pus for back-up.”

My body is trying to tell me something, but I’d rather listen to you: