We want to live in Pune

Pune is in the middle of a real estate explosion and it’s really building aspiration. All manner of adjectives are being enrolled to sell us homes. No hyperbole is safe. Nothing is beyond belief.


For instance, you should live at Balmoral estate just for the pleasure of watching mythical humanoid- animals romp around the compound. Judging from the sign in the right-hand corner, UK has made some heavy investments in Pune.


In this complex, the surfaces are always dustless, home-makers make dinner wearing gowns and elevator music fills the air.


Unlike it’s crass neighbour, Pune hires wholesomeness. Milind Gunaji is their poster boy. Instead of leggy, pouty, east European models, narayan-peth and nath wearing homely beauties sell you cars and atta. Still, I can’t equate Sharman Joshi with sophistication and elegance, even if he does have a Greek column.


Are you cheerfully ready? Prompt and willing? Are liveliness and briskness your middle names? This is the address for you.


Wanna do something naughty on date night? Hook up with them.


Some places recommend fiscal imprudence.


Others hint disturbing intimacy.


And liveliness.


Here’s a building called Pride Purple.


There was even one that sold a 2BHK in the crotch of an armored angel, but I missed taking a picture of it.

Which brings us to the question, what would you name a housing complex?

Tushar: I’ve waited 9 years for you to ask me this question. Anthony wadi.

Change in profession

I may have mentioned before that I speak in my sleep when I am exhausted. Sometimes I sit up. So TB is watching something in bed and turns around to find me wide-eyed and grinning. He raises his brow questioningly.

Me: (smacking the pillow, and in an indignant voice) I’m not reporting. Why should I report. I’m not reporting.

TB: That’s right. You’re not a reporter.

Me: Ya! I’m not a reporter. I don’t report.

TB: You’re a model!

Me: Ya! I’m a model!

And I go off to sleep.

Pillow talk

Shall we switch on the fan tonight?

No! You can put it on if you want my legs to cramp all through the night…

No, it’s okay. I will sacrifice for you.

…and then in the morning we will have to amputate both my legs. And then you will have to carry me piggy-back to beg at signals. And I am 67 kilos. Though I think I’ll lose at least 10 kilos if both my legs go. Hai na?

Easily. And then you’ll die of gangrene and I will pull a handcart for a living.

You won’t go back to being a technology journalist after I die?


Did I miss the bus?

I read this on Broom’s blog and thought it was a great way to measure how far I’ve come. So…

2000: I was in the final year of college. There were six students of English Literature in the final year and were a close-knit bunch. We brought in the year at Romel’s new home and I was terrified that I didn’t know what to do with my life. Everyone else had their careers marked and if I wanted to study further, I’d have to finance it myself. I needed to start earning soon and I had a portfolio clicked. I did one assignment for Frazer and Haws, made twice the money I invested in the portfolio and never tried it again. I was in a long-distance, long-term relationship with a boy. I was content but unstimulated. We broke up by the end of the year because his parents refused to pay his med college fees if he continued to date a non-Sindhi. I started freelancing for a local newspaper by the middle of the year and by November got a job as a copy-editor with a computer gaming magazine. I also got my first column, met a bunch of geeks who opened my mind with a crowbar; and worked in what seemed then like a concentration camp, but in hindsight, was the best journalism school I could go to. I learned to use computers and the boys are among my favourite people today.

2001: I turned 21 at my first job and have celebrated every birthday at work since. Met merlin. Blown away by his talent. Magazine discontinued in August. Devastated. Fell irreversibly and irreparably in love with a drunk and drugged poet. Broke my heart in eight months. Hear of new snooty boy at work whose MSN nick is Scrotum. Start working at architectural magazine. Travel from Panvel to Bandra every day and cry at night for the poet.

2002: Decide to get a Masters. Move out of home with college-mate into our own row-house. Series of rebound mistakes follow. Roomie pines for Malabar Hill artist, I for poet. Ally McBeal soundtrack tape is worn down. Get a job with technology magazine in old office. Brother moves to America, I move back home. Almost marry Wrong Guy because I’m lonely and heartbroken. Seek counselling.
Learn Scrotum’s name. Offers money to see me in a skirt. Insult him at office Diwali party. Briefly date Married Man with Child while simultaneously dating Scrotum. Leave when I see turds in toilet bowl. He isn’t particular about flushing because he lives alone.

2003: Feel strangely young and mostly happy. Start blogging. Dissatisfied at work. Pine for poet. Go to Sikkim with best-friend from college.

2004: Scrotum asks me to marry him. Say no. Say yes. Say no. Say okay. Go back to poet. Come back to Scrotum. Get engaged. Quit tech magazine. Join Animal Rights organization. So happy about what I do, even if it means travelling from Panvel to Juhu every day. Go to Pondicherry with two girlfriends.

2005: Become Mrs Scrotum. Boo comes home. Get fired from Animal Rights Organization by insecure boss AFTER she calls my husband for tech advice. Spend three months at home, swimming free-style in anger.

2006: Join newspaper. Resentful. Directionless. Worked to the bone. Start three blogs to kill time. Start investing in tools of trade. Buy Macbook, nice camera and tripod.

2007: Swasta Ani Masta becomes a newspaper column. Consider switching to writing from editing. News to features. Join dance classes.

2008: Apply to volunteer on a kibbutz. Put Cassie to down. Lose grandmother. Start writing more, editing less. Put Boo in car and go around Kokan.

2009: Lose Cookie, Rusty and Dumpy. Tushar taken to ICU. Loses gall stone two weeks later. Tushar’s grandmother hospitalized for one-and-a-half months. Comes home, leaves earthly abode two weeks later. Spend first NYE in seven years away from Tushar.

ps: I didn’t know the Married Man was married. Neither did anyone else. His family was in his hometown and he’d been pretending to be a bachelor in Mumbai for 6-7 years.

Day 15: Mush

Tushar is lying on the bed while I clean up the room. He hisses at me and pats the mattress. I act wary then go lie next to him, my head on his chest. He slips an arm around my neck.

T: Happy fifth anniversary. Seventh actually.
Me: I thought we weren’t celebrating that.
T: We aren’t. *Tightens arm around my neck.* I’m going to kill you now

Day Four: About that doctor I was telling you about

Scene: We’ve checked into the hospital. I forgot to tip the guy who shaved TB from neck to knee. If ever a man deserved a tip, it was him. TB wouldn’t let me see and kept flashing bits like a pervert on a bus-stop. I had to pin him down to see. The doc came in for a round and we settled into our assigned positions — me at the computer, he on the bed in front of the TV.

Me: I don’t know how his wife lets him out. I’d be jumping him all the time; wouldn’t let him go out.
TB: More than you jump me?
Me: Lot more. I’d be constantly attached to him.
TB acts out a little skit about the doc going on rounds, visiting patients while I’m humping his leg.
Me: Yah, it would be very hard to hide our affair.

Day Three: But the good part is

1. This is not an unhappy place. Busy, but not sad.
2. I’m really excited about the hospital stay. TB has promised me a nice room and I look forward to reading by French windows that open to the sea while he fights off people with needles.
3. People will be obligated to visit us, so I get to meet friends without getting out.
4. Someone is bound to bring us chocolate or a Zoë.
5. There’s great shopping and eating in the area. I’m sure my husband doesn’t expect me to be by his side ALL the time. May be the anaesthetist could put him out for longer.
6. We have jobs and medical insurance. This would have been a dismal scenario without either. So thank you Prudence.
7. I’m distracted from the unbearable impatience I feel about KK’s visit.
8. I get to drive a friend’s cute car without fighting TB for it. SUCK IT!
9. I got new tops and a cute doctor to wear them around. What? He’s practically family!
10. I has Boo.


Day One: A quick run-through

1. The garage sale went swimmingly well. So well that several establishments have offered to host it and want us to make it a monthly event.

2. I made a five-figure amount and still have two drums of stuff left, lending credence to the popular theory that I have too many things.

3. Over the Diwali weekend, my only two-day weekend this year, Tushar had to be admitted to the ICU. He suffered from complications caused by a gall bladder stone, nosocomephobia and Dr Google. Before you all go aww for him, let me remind you it was the only Two (one, two) Day (24 hours) Weekend (which is only one day for me, every week of the year) I had this year. Admittedly he may have been slightly more inconvinienced owing to an IV and the tube down his nose, but I had plans for the weekend. I suspect he has the power to time calamities to inconvinience and anger me.

4. While he was in the hospital he 1. Scared the other patients by sleeping with his face covered with a white sheet 2. Got to play with remote-controlled reclining bed 3. Was fitted with a wonderful personal ablutions apparatus.


5. He goes into surgery on Thursday and since his doctor is so good looking, I’ve decided to be with the doctor every step of the way.

6. As he was wheeled out of the ICU, he asked me to capture the lachaar pose. I hope he attaches it to his CV. (If you or any of your family/friends are wheelchair bound, please don’t be offended. We’re juvenile. Also, it was his idea).


7. Last Sunday, the day of the garage sale, Tushar’s grandmother had to be admitted to the hospital for complications from malaria. She is one of the only two direct grandparents we have left and the only one from her gender. She has been the object of my unwarranted attention after my own grandma moved into Swarglog Apts. At 88, and being partially deaf and immobile, she can’t fight off displays of affection from a Burmese Milatee.

8. It’s November and I’m tempted to post every day.


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?”
“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.