Swasta Ani Masta Garage sale

The Swasta Ani Masta garage sale is back and I hope you’ll join us. This time, we’re holding it at Bonobo at Bandra (W) on 31 Oct. All you need to do is clean your closets and rooms, look for gently used clothes and things you want to get rid of (but are in good condition) and price them. Since this is a garage sale, we would request you to not price an item for more than Rs 999 (unless it is a flat in Mumbai. Then it’s a total steal at Rs 1199. I call dibs)
This time, we’re adding services, so if you know a friend who is good at caricatures or can strum a tune or gives mean backrubs, haul them them. They can set up a stall and offer their services. Who wouldn’t want a cartoon of themselves for 300 bucks or a pay as much for a 15 minute foot rub?
The timings are from 12 pm to 5 pm, so we should get there by 11 to set shop. Send confirmations to educatedtatya at gmail dot com.


They tried to talk me out of it, but I was a woman with a dream. High on the launch of the SaM store, I marched ahead. I had achieved a cherished dream and stepped into a magical decade. Nothing could stop me. After all, wasn’t I the one who had given this paper one of its most iconic headlines?
The story was about how to tone your gluteal muscles. The headline:

Kadak Bun Pa-o

I’ll bow to every small victory.
Once, I used to sneak in song titles and literary references. How lame was that?

And a special mention to Vycus for the exceptionally ghatiya picture.

About the Boo

For a retard, my dog sure knows the difference between his collars and belts. Putting on each involves a ceremony. Not a dignified one, agreed, but a ceremony just the same.
The yellow flea collar is a badge of honour. After the flurry of the bath (Boo loves baths. He’ll magnamiously lay down on the floor of the bathroom on hot days, and let you do all the labourious soaping and scrubbing), when we bring back the flea collar, he sits down promptly, hangs his head somberly and we award him the medal for Bravery in Bath.
Compare that with his reaction to the choke collar he wears to go down. The minute I reach for it, he jumps up and starts barking. At me. Our boy has missed a lot of memos, and the *significance of barking is one of them.
The barking is accompanied by jumping and general excitement. “DOWN? WE’RE GOING DOWN? OMG, I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! I GET TO GO DOWN? NOW?”
I wrestle him to put the collar on, try not to trip over 35 kilos of wriggling dog and tail and reach the door. The minute it’s open, he bolts down, flying down the stairs, three steps at a time, skidding and banging on the landings and a jubilant leap over the last few steps to greet the Downstairs. He can’t believe it’s still there, just where he left it.
And because I don’t have four legs or enthusiam, by the time I reach the landing before the last flight of stairs, he’s watered the plants and is heading right up to get me. The only way to reach down safely is to cower in the corner till he leaps up and heads back down again.
And the routine would replay if I took him down immediately after I brought him up.
Unless I carry the leash, which is attached to his mind. The leash means we’re going for long walkies. And only good puppies go for long walkies. So instead of hurtling down, he’ll run down a few steps, remember himself and come back, walking mostly by my side. All the while, he’ll look at me expectantly, tail set on Vibrate.
“Are we going to the outside? Huh? The outside of downstairs? Huh? The same outside we went to last time? Are we? I like that outside. Look! I’m the good boy. The good boy who should go outside!”
No barking is aimed the leash.
We usually put it on leash when we reach the compound. So he’ll keep circling me, running away a few steps, but always coming back to remind me who the Good Boy is who should be Going Out.
Sometimes, when I think about other handsome or beautiful dogs who’ve walked me, farted in my room, snapped up a finger and then eventually died, I remember that some day I’m going to say good-bye to this boy too. He’ll grow old, diseased and I might have to be the one to hold him and let him go.
But that day is not today. Today I have a fool who will bound down the stairs into the bushes. And when we come up, I’ll let him try to crawl into my womb.

* He does not bark at doorbells or cars. He barks at me when we are not magically teleported downstairs the minute I touch the collar or put on my shoes. He barks when we hug (he runs up like an enquiring pandu, “Kay chalyet he dhandhe? Laaz nahin ka tumhala?”). He barks when I dance or sing silly songs to him (Boozie-poozie tell me love what to do?/I’m half crazy all for the love of Boo!; Fat bottomed pup you make the rockin’ world go round). He barks at me when I hide his ball.

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.

One way hai yeh zindagi ki gaali, ek hi chance hai

If you could see me now, I’m at my desk facing the fogged window, through which I can see the shape of a hill and some pine trees. Leonard’s setting the mood; on my desk are chocolates from Mrs Udyawar, next to the moleskine from Faye. One my right is a small white closet with extremely appropriate birthday cards. And I’m trying to write. Instead, as always, I’m exchanging cheap witticisms with my self in Dilli.
I’ve been meaning to write. I WANT to write. But when can I write when I’m living life as if I were terminally ill?

Day 18: Edging towards shoe posts

But not just yet. I can’t decide what the best part of TB’s hospital stay was. The papad-sized chana jhor garam sprinkled with lime and masala? The Clarks store opposite that was holding a clearance sale? The doctor? Or the view?


The room had French windows that opened to the balcony that overlooked the sea. How I craved a cigarette and lemon tea while I waited for TB to be gutted and stitched back up. And worried, of course. I did a lot of that. That’s why I bought the purple shoes. For comfort. In case I was widowed. Look, sea!


Day 14: Winter

I really really miss winter, even 16 years later.
On a desert island the weather has the presence of a diva. Sand storms whirl while you wait for the school bus, whipping your plaits across your face and the skirt around your legs. The sun becomes a lone light bulb. They don’t last for more than an hour and leave gold dust on cars. You come out to find a branch of bougainvillaea stuck on the door, and yellow fluffs retreating from the sky.
Winter advances more hopeful. The first slightly cool breeze brings a pause in conversation and a wistful smile. By the weekend, we’d be dusting out old jackets and see if they still fit. Last picnics to the beach were planned before they shifted to waterfronts. Later, we’d sleep in blanket sandwiches.
In school, we waited to not be the first to wear the hateful navy blue Mothercare cardigans. The wind sharp on our shins, unprotected by rolled down socks, we hugged our books and ran from buildings into buses. When we could endure it no longer, we wore thermals underneath the shirt-and-pinafore, stockings instead of socks, but left the cardi around our waists. The swimming pools closed down and PT classes switched to indoor sports.
On the one cold day that Mumbai has, I step out of my office and a truck mocks a breeze in my face. I’m standing on large grey squares just outside the Primary-Secondary, before the gentle slope that leads to the watchman’s cabin begins. The eucalyptus tree has begun to turn gold.

Day Eight: On the subject of food

I was an extremely picky eater as a child up to my teens. I wouldn’t eat potatoes, tomatoes, onions or green vegetables. No butter, no eggs (too smelly), no prawns (they looked like worms), no mutton or lamb (I saw a goat being slaughtered on Bakri Eid when I was eight), no crabs (I found out how they were cooked when I was 11. The fisherwoman comes to the door, each vacationing child is given a crab on a string to walk around the building. At lunch time, say bye-bye to your friend whose pincers and tentacles are pulled out before he is dropped into boiling water, alive. WHY WON’T THIS CHILD EAT WHAT’S SERVED ON THE TABLE? ), no chicken on the bone (you could see the blood), no animal organs (my brother squeezed out the blood from liver. “This? This is a kidney. Look, there’s blood. You know what a kidney does, don’t you? It generates su-su”) and no Indian street food (too dirty). For years, there were only two dishes I could order in particular restaurants — pani puri or tomato omelet (only meetha chutney) in Sunshine Snack Bar and sada dosa in Central Cafe. I was on good terms with dals and fruits. My father is vegetarian and we mostly ate that fare at home. Meat was reserved for restaurants and Fridays.
But something magical happened in my late teens and early 20s. I discovered that I enjoyed eating. Food tasted good! My canteen companions were chana masala and pao, misal-pao, schezwan noodle or fried-rice and cheese kulchas. By my 20s, I was a foodie. I had expectations from each meal.
My courtship with the T was also about food. He left a trail of caramel custard crumbs to his heart and re-introduced me to meat. Oh the meat they eat in this house. The freezer’s a morgue. I still can’t eat it every day, but have been re-introduced to eggs and prawns and butter. And, I write about food at work and do not get sick easily. However, I’m still rather picky.

1. I don’t drink tea or coffee. At my mom’s house, my breakfast drink changed with the season — lassi, chickoo milkshake, rose-milk or juice in summer. Masala milk, hot chocolate or thandaai in winter. These days, I rely on soya milk or packaged juice.

2. A fish’s natural habitat is not in gravy; it’s in a pan coated with oil cuddled in a paste of coastal spices. Sometimes, the fish likes to holiday in thick red Mangalorean gravy and then it should be approached with a neer dosa.

3. I have debated the virtues of hot and cold paani-puri and am now on the gol-gappa (cold) side. The perefct ones are filled with boiled moong and kala chana, and not namkeen bundi. In chaat, I prefer to go the Jain way (no potatoes or onions).

4. I have a promiscuous relationship with all kinds of chaat — Jain dahi puri is a preferred working lunch, as is Jain paani puri; lately, I’ve been introduced to chana-jor-garam bhel and I’m ashamed to say things progressed rather quickly to heartburn. One of the only two times I have experienced this.

4b. If I get hospitalized and am put on IV, a friend would slip some paani-puri water into it. I truly believe the water cures all ailments — blocked sinus, constipation, numb taste-buds after fever, cold/cough, broken bones…

5. I like chocolate without nuts and on the darker side.

6. Not that into chocolate cake or ice-cream. I like subtle and surprise combinations of flavours and would rather have a cheesecake or a fruit based dessert.

7. I love fruit sorbets and Amore makes some of the most subtle and refreshing ones — pear, strawberry, jamun, musk-melon. In ice-cream, I’d rather have kulfi or hand-churned all milk ice-cream with fresh fruits.

8. Potatoes are fit for consumption only after deep frying. I liked mashed potatoes for about 3 minutes of my life. I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR STAND ON THIS.

9. I don’t think I’ll like European food much.

10. I’m mostly likely to order the dish with crunch and contradicting flavours. And what’s berry/banana flavoured and blue.

11. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. Thepla, thaleepeeth, pudla or paratha with loni (white butter) and chaas is ideal.

12. I love ladyfingers, small brinjals and arbi made the spicy way.

13. Every time I mention that my mother-in-law is Parsi, people gush about the patrani machchi. Sorry, but it SUCKS. YES IT DOES. NO NO, I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT. WHERE IS THE FUCKING SPICE? NO, YOU SUCK. YOU AND YOUR INFANT TASTEBUDS.

14. I’m not so crazy about dhansak, unless its with kababs. But kolminu patya reconciled me with prawns and salli-par-edu with eggs.

15. Don’t get me started on onions. How can you taste anything after they erupt in your mouth.

16. I don’t cook. Of course, I can cook but it’s like blogging. First I need to call in a meeting with my tongue, my heart and my stomach, shop for ingredients, find recipe (though I should probably do that first), get everyone out of the kitchen, set up a playlist and then find the utensils. Luckily, nobody at home cares for my cooking. And if I’m not going to get an applause, I’m not going to do it.

17. I make up songs for my favourite foods.

18. Samosa pao with cheese is an excellent invention, as is the Nutella sandwich, masala Maggi with cheese spread, coke with lemon juice, tomato jam, mawa samosa, mawa jalebi, guava kulfi, green chilli ice-cream and kolambi pao.

19. I used to be addicted to Coke.

20. Garlic is excellent in everything, including papad.