Saturday, April 30, 2005


Ok gals and guys, here's a tip about face packs. If you have one on, remind yourself every second that you have one on. I scared myself silly just now, when I walked into a room with a mirror facing me.

Freakin' scary, man! :O

Friday, April 29, 2005

Crappy jobs I've had

Yesterday I interviewed a lady twice my age.

It felt a bit odd, as I thought of what must be going through her mind, "This itsy-bitsy girl who graduated yesterday, is assessing whether I deserve a position in her team or not?!"

I know these things are normal in the corporate world... blah blah, and the usual 'seniority is by capability' blah blah... 'oh we should be professional' blah blah... but in spite of it all, it is sad as I think of these people senior to me by virtue of age, sitting there in front of me, politely listening to my questions, trying to please me with cover-letter-language answers, desperately trying to get the job.

Being out of a job is a horrid horrid feeling. And I speak from experience. I went through that phase in Oct 2002 when I quit my first crappy job.

This post is dedicated to crappy jobs Sayesha has held. And the weirdest thing is that all of these are MNCs.

Company #1
This company manufactures microcontamination prevention equipment. They are one of the market leaders in the field. This was my first job after I graduated. The pay was really good. But there were rude shocks in store for me.

The company structure was so flat that everyone from the top managers to the engineers to the toilet cleaners reported directly to the CEO!
The CEO was rude, racist and thoroughly unprofessional. His wife was the International Operations Manager. His 16-year-old son was the Vice-President. It was a total family thing. Quite Gang-like. He even made me operate the forklift! (You need a licence to operate the damn thing!)

On pay day, we had to queue up outside the CEO's office, and he would hand the cheque only if he felt like it. Once, he actually told me, "I don't think you worked hard enough this month. Come back next week and get your cheque." He insulted the employees' friends, siblings, parents, spouses, anyone! The man was mad! I heard that he recently got one of his bearded employees to sign a declaration that if hair fell from his beard inside the office, he would have to sweep it out himself! How moronic is that??

The turnover rate was so high that in the three months that I was there, 29 people came and left. Would you believe it that I carried my resignation letter in my pocket all the time for two months?! Every time I felt like throwing it at his face, I would tell myself to calm down and get my PR before I did that. Without my PR, I would be at risk of getting kicked out of Singapore.

I got my PR, handed him the resignation letter, and got out of the place. It was a difficult decision to make, considering I did not have another job yet. But it was really becoming a question of self-respect. I had to leave. He asked me to reconsider, but I told him I was not crazy. As I stepped out of the damn office, the feeling was so great, I felt like I was floating on air.

Company #2
After quitting the first crappy job, I realised how difficult it was to find another one. Finally I found a part-time thing with a big credit card company. I was in charge of design and distribution of freebies. My work also included going to malls and personally distributing the freebies. I encountered many rude people on this job. The most common words I heard were:

"Go away, lah. I don't want to buy anything from you. Wait, wait, did you say 'free stuff'??? Come back, you!"

It made me doubt the basic goodness of people. Needless to say, I did not stay long.

Company #3
This is one of the world's largest talent scouting companies. I was with them as a model scout for a trial period. My work involved going to places in Singapore where beautiful people were most likely to be seen. Scouting started off as quite fun, as I found out that a lot of model-like people do not know their potential at all. But then, it got kinda scary later on, as I realised that I was becoming a very shallow person, and hating places where I stood for hours and did not come across good-looking people. Finding hunks and babes became my only objective. Even when I was out with friends, I was always on the lookout. I was not listening to my friends, I was totally distracted. I did not like that feeling at all. I wanted to go back to enjoying my life. So inspite of the huge pay, I did not sign up for the job after the trial period.

Company #4
I was getting bored working on job applications the whole day. I thought I could be a waitress for a couple of hours each day and get some income. Besides, I was going broke.
So I applied to this popular pizza place. The interviewer did not ask me many questions. Possibly because as soon as he picked up my resume, he started laughing and continued to laugh for a full 10 minutes. I was kicked out. For being over-qualified.

Company #5
When I was down to my last 100 bucks, I got an interview call from this huge publishing company. I flunked the entrance test because I did not know the editing symbols, and the interviewers did not understand what on earth my engineering degree had to do with that job. I was kicked out.
I just wasn't convinced by the reasons they gave me for not wanting to hire me. Two weeks later, I re-applied. The interviewer had one look at me and said, "I've seen you somewhere!" I said, "Yes, in this very room. You interviewed me two weeks ago." Maybe she was amused by this thick-skinned crazy applicant. Maybe she was just in a good mood. She offered me a two-week contract, and told me that if I proved myself, she would consider giving me a permanent position. And oh, I was on a daily-wage basis!

The work I was given did not have any room for me to 'prove myself'. I was asked to transfer amendments from hard copies to soft copies. Microsoft Word. How on earth was I to prove myself doing that?? And so I was very confident of getting kicked out after my super-short contract expired.

They say good things happen to good people. Well, sometimes they happen to me too. On the very last day of my contract, I had finished my tasks and just to keep me occupied, I was given the task of designing some posters. I sketched, coloured and did full mock-ups of the posters. They loved it. I was immediately offered the position of Editor.

I am still in that company. I proved myself. I moved up the ladder. And the lady who gave me the job, is my big boss. And she's a big reason why I'm still here. Not only does she inspire me every time I have a discussion with her, a part of me will never forget that she literally pulled me out of a hole and gave me my first real job, the wonderful job, that makes me, well, me. :)

I've found myself. And I'm lovin' it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Things that make my life worth living

Inspired by a post by my friend the Sinnerman, I'd decided to come up with my list of things that make my life worth living. It took a while, but here it is!

- My independence
- My family and friends
- My music
- Blogging
- Looking at old photographs
- Discovering a real connection with someone
- The sight of the first printed copy of the new issue of my magazine
- The smell of soil after the first rain
- A genuine smile on a friend's face
- Letters from young fans of my magazine
- The night view of Singapore from an airplane
- An sms/email that contains just a smile
- Missing people I love, when they are away from me
- Finding that perfect pair of black shoes
- The look on a friend's face after he/she unwraps the perfect gift from me
- Rediscovering old friendships
- Silent moments with special people
- Sms messages that are too precious to be deleted

- One-word sentences
- Thinking about the exact same thing at the exact moment someone special thinks about it
- Sitting in the front seat of a car and going for long drives at high speeds when someone I trust is at the wheel
- Bollywood
- Pani puri in a leaf bowl at a roadside stall in India
- Chinese food cooked the Indian way

- Sea beaches
- Breezy days (when I am sporting a short haircut)
- The Internet

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The timeless Sayesha

Today was one of those days at work. When schedules go crazy and plans go haywire.

All my friends seem to be flying off to India this week! One's going to tear Antakshari apart. One's going to lose his bachelorhood. Four are going to watch him lose his bachelorhood. And I am stuck here in Singapore. And just when I want to meet them before they go off, all I have time for is sms conversations. And I'm not even used to smsing with the new phone yet! Aaarrghhhhh! :O

It's as if suddenly I have run out of time. There is no time to do the things I want to do. No time to swim. No time to play tennis. No time to play badminton. No time to go to the beach. No time to cook. No time to exercise. No time to write stories. No time to sketch. No time to play the keyboard. No time to sort my MP3s. No time to revise my Mandarin. No time to update my travelogue.

I would like to believe in a rule:
"If you really want to do something, the 'no time' excuse is not good enough."

Except that it's so hard to implement.

But here I am, spending time blogging about the fact that I have no time. Maybe the rule can be implemented after all, isn't it? :)

Monday, April 25, 2005

What if...

Kunal Ganjawala is an important man in my life.

There was a time when Sinnerman and I were so obsessed with his debut hit 'Bheege honth tere' that we would listen to it 40 times on loop, and when finally we stopped, we would be humming it! Those few weeks, the song played in my head ALL THE TIME! Till I had to force myself to obsess over another song just to get this one outta my system, 'cos it was driving me crazy!

Then, Kunal featured again in one of my earlier posts in the list of things that sound right in my head, when trying to guess his age, I made the very profound remark that had Sinnerman in splits. "He must be really young. Old men are not called Kunal!" Ah, well.

And now, this! I happened to find out today that I know someone who'd crossed paths (and voices) with Kunal in virtually every singing competition in his college days years ago. He's Mr. Stranger aka Mr. Talented aka CD guy aka Scwibbles from here. Both him and Kunal had had their shares of wins and losses in those high-profile competitions. I was so amazed! The two of them could have easily switched roles with one twist of fate. Today, Kunal could have been the artist and Mr. Stranger the singer. I could have been having chai and conversations with Kunal Ganjawala, while listening to Mr. Stranger croon "Bheege honth tere" 40 times on loop. How would that be like? One of the millions of the what-ifs of life...

Well, I am having chai and conversations with someone who beat someone who sang something I love.

And that's reason to celebrate! :)

Sunday, April 24, 2005

This one's for you, Anonymous

Why do I blog?

I blog to figure things out.
I blog to figure myself out.
I blog to figure life out.

Anonymous reads all my posts. I do not know who Anonymous is. In the beginning, I thought it was someone I knew, just playing around. But then blog ethics got the better of me, and I decided not to try and guess who it was. Actually, it is actually kinda cool not to know.

Anonymous is like me in many ways, and he/she, just like me, writes poetry. I feel compelled to copy-paste a poem here, that Anonymous wrote as a comment to one of my earlier posts 'The real Sayesha'.

Anonymous said...

I read blog after blog
And wonder if I would have said things differently
But the more I read you
The more I feel as though you're writing about me

Is it that you are in my head?
Or are you in other darknesses beyond the ME I always find?
For when the words on your blog spring out at me..
I feel as though someone's just spoken my mind!

Does it freak me out?
Yea - at times. But more in a happy happy sorta way
For Sayesha puts into words things
That I am sometimes too shy to say

We seem to have reached a similar crossroad in life..
'Should I be hard-hearted or should I just be ME?'
We share a similar love for the awesome innocence of our parents
And difficult-to-control levels of hyperactivity...

I have never met her and I know her not
So I would not say that she is a sister to me
But one thing's for sure - With the way Sayesha blogs
Sayesha is like a mirror of ME.
Thank you, Sayesha. For everything.

Sayesha says...

If my blog touched your life even in the smallest way, I consider it an honour. Thank you, Anonymous, for touching my life. Thank you for inspiring this post. And welcome to the club. The club of the different and the similar. We're all very different in many many ways. But there's one similarity.

We're all trying to figure life out.

The best part is that we can never figure it all out. Which is fine, because actually, we shouldn't be able to. That's the beauty of it all, isn't it?

Friday, April 22, 2005

Bringing up Mom and Dad

My Mom and Dad are incredibly funny. Except that they don't know they are. And almost all the time, they don't mean to be.

My Dad learned computers only a few years ago. When he had his email set up, he couldn't stop emailing! If I didn't get time to reply, he would email asking me if I had got his earlier email. If I still didn't have time to reply, he would email asking me if I had got his earlier email asking me if I had got the first one. It drove me nuts.

He came to visit me in 2003, and he would fiddle with my PC all the time. He stopped reading newspapers, and would only read online news. He would send my sister five emails a day just because he liked using the keyboard so much. It drove her nuts.

The funniest was when once he couldn't find the 'Q' key on the keyboard. He frantically exclaimed to me, "Oh my God! Your keyboard does not have the 'Q' key!!!"

"Every keyboard has the 'Q' key, Dad!" I pointed at the 'Q'. He was so thrilled and relieved to see it there, almost in a child-like way.

Mom was another case.

"I won't touch the computer. What if it explodes?" She demanded to know.
"It won't explode, Mom! Computers don't just explode because you touched them!" I tried to reason.
But she didn't believe me. "What if it does??"
I gave up.

I remember the time Dad emailed to tell me all about how he had figured out the 'Reply All' button on his email. He couldn't stop telling me how cool it was. I was so amazed at his amazement at things we take for granted.

Then there was the day he sent me his first forward. I was highly amused by it. It was one of those 'your-boss-is-watching-you'd-better-pretend-to-work' kind of forwards. Strange that it should come from him, considering he is the boss at his workplace! But then suddenly, I had a strange feeling -- as if his sending me that forward had erased the generation gap and brought us to the same level -- two stressed out professionals sharing forwards to bring Friday closer.

My parents tell me that bringing me up was an amazing experience. I see what they mean. Bringing up parents is, too.

Congrats, Dad, on figuring out the Forward button.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The real Sayesha

Just as I finished writing my last post, I got an email from Dad. He's got another transfer and he sounded very excited about it. But it did not matter too much to me. It is not going to affect my life much. Instead of taking my annual flight home to City A, I'll be flying to City B.

However, there was a point when my life used to be completely governed by his transfers. 7 schools in 12 years. It had been very difficult, especially when the first one was at the age of 6, and I did not understand why I had to suddenly leave my school and friends and go to a strange place where I knew nobody. The word 'home' held no meaning anymore.

Being the emotional person that I was, I could not take the pain of leaving my close friends and moving every few years. This, in the midst of trying to settle down with new languages, new teachers, new classmates, new lifestyles. Everything was unfamiliar. I missed my old friends
. Life seemed meaningless without them. And the worst part was -- finally when I would settle down, and make new friends, it was time to pack and leave again. It was horrid.

As I grew up, over the years, I experimented a lot on how best to handle the situation. I changed my personality to not end up hurt. There have been so many Sayeshas in the past. I remember two of them very clearly. The sentimental Sayesha who loved her friends dearly, and cried during every transfer, transformed into the cold, tough Sayesha who did have friends, but they were shallow relationships that would not matter anymore when she left them.

Sayesha had figured out how to survive without getting hurt.

She was strong. She was tough. She was independent.

She was happy. But was

Deep inside, she knew. That this Sayesha was not the real Sayesha. And as Keshav remarked on one of my earlier posts, "It helps being emotionally unattached, but is it always possible??" Can you really detach yourself to that point? No, you can't. And I learnt that the most important thing is -- you don't have to.

So, I decided to come back.

This is me, the real Sayesha. The one who appreciates the simple joys of life. The one who lives every moment. The one who appreciates emotions. The one who is not going to stop loving people for fear of getting hurt. And that is how she has chosen to live her life. That's the only way to live.

Finally, Sayesha has figured out how to get hurt and survive.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Mom vs Hyderabadi shop owner

Watching Mom haggle with the Hyderabadi sari shop owner over my zardozi sari at Charminar was such an experience in itself. I had instantly fallen in love with the sari, and wanted to buy it to wear at the wedding.

Mom had never bought anything at its quoted price at Charminar, and so, buying the ridiculously expensive sari without a discount would be like taking a step back. So a helpless Dad and I watched the big drama production as Mom tried to convince the unwilling shop owner to give us a discount. It was apparent that both the shop owner and Mom knew the tricks of the trade very well.

Excerpts from the war of words:

Act I

Shop owner - You will never find a material like this anywhere.
Mom - That's what you think. I know all the sari shops in Charminar.
Shop owner - *Silence*
Sayesha's thought bubble - Errr... Mom, I think he's right...
Dad continues to read newspaper and pretend not to be related to us.

Act II

Shop owner - I'm like your younger brother! How can you ask me for a discount?
Mom - If you're like my brother, why don't you give me the sari for free?
Shop owner (thinks for a while) - Errr... younger brothers do not give gifts to elder sisters, isn't it? The sister should be the one giving gifts, right?
Mom - Wrong! Not if the brother is the one with the income. Ever heard of rakhi?
Shop owner - *Silence*
Sayesha's thought bubble - God, mom, not rakhi now!
Dad continues to read newspaper and pretend not to be related to us.


Mom - Do you realise that if my daughter does not buy this sari, no one ever will?
Shop owner (to me) - Oh my God! Your mother has cursed the sari!!
Sayesha's thought bubble - Gosh, why am I even here??
Dad continues to read newspaper and pretend not to be related to us.

Act IV

Shop owner - Are you Christians?
Mom - No, why?
Shop owner (trying to be cheeky) - Today is Good Friday. I'd have given you the discount if you were Christians!
Mom - God is the same as Allah is the same as Jesus. Give me the discount.
Shop owner - *Silence*
Sayesha's thought bubble - I wish I could disappear...
Dad continues to read newspaper and pretend not to be related to us.

Act V

Shop owner - You are bankers. (He knew Dad.) You have so much money. You don't need a discount.
Mom - The money we "have" is not our own. It's yours. We're just safeguarding it for you. You have so much money that it needs safeguarding. Give me the discount.
Shop owner - *Silence*
Sayesha's thought bubble - Wow. Way to go, Mom.
Dad realises that this is more interesting than the newspaper.
Dad's thought bubble - Wow. She'd make a better banker than me!

Yupp, eventually she got the discount! ;)

Moms rule, don't they?

Monday, April 18, 2005


How I love the look of henna.

This is how my hands looked after the mehendi ceremony at my cousin's wedding in India.

A song comes to mind...

Main hoon khushrang henna...

Zindgaani mein nahin koi rang mere bina...

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Things I say a lot

Try this self-discovery game. Make a list of things that you say a lot. As I've come to realise, it's a great way of finding out what kinda person you are.

Here's my list.

- Yeay!
- Double yeay!
- This rocks like nothing has rocked before!

- I'm just gonna have to kill you.
- Ok, what just happened here??
- That was so cool!!
- What?????
- Really????
- Oh my goodness!
- You wish.
- I wish.
- You think?
- Gee, thanks!

- Wow, amazing. (complete with a deadpan face)
- Why why why??
- That is so funny!
- What is the point??
- And I wondered, "How???"
- What the hell!

- Of course, lah!
- So how??
- Oh noooooooooooooooooooooo!
- You guys lah!
- That's disgusting!

Well, looks like I am a 'jumpy' sort of a person. If a symbol were to be used to represent me, it would probably be an exclamation mark or a question mark.

How does your list look like?

Saturday, April 16, 2005

One of its kind

Today I traded in my Nokia 3310. My first mobile phone. My favourite phone. Millions of sms messages and calls later, several accidental dropping-on-the-floor incidents later, it still survived. And each time, it emerged sturdier and better than ever.

New models hit the market every other day, but I clutched on to my 3310 for years in spite of people asking me why I had such a 'dinosaur' and 'ancient' and 'old-fashioned' phone. One of my friends even refers to it as "the blue brick". But I loved the phone.

But I guess it was time for me to move on. My new Samsung phone is pretty. Flips open. Is light in weight. Looks stylish. Probably works. I have not yet figured out its workings. I suppose that's gonna take me a while.

You can add all the cameras and MP3 players and radios to the mobile phones of today, but you can never make another Nokia 3310.

Parting shot with my companion of the last 4 years

Friday, April 15, 2005

Things that sound right in my head

Things that sound right in my head, but get me weird looks from people when said out loud.

- I have a vegetarian's face.

- When I grow up, I am gonna do this.

- She's really nice. I hate her. (after meeting my namesake)

- I was so happy I was sad.

- I don't have anything against her. If you date her, I'll just have to kill you. (when a friend says he likes random girl X)

- He must be really young. Old men are not called 'Kunal'. (trying to guess singer Kunal Ganjawala's age)

- I like him so much I hate him.

- He's so egoistic. I love him. (SRK's "Main yahan hoon" song in 'Veer Zaara')

- He's cute but not in the 'cute' way.

- The US is very fattening.

- I really like Afridi. He needs only one bit of improvement. He should not bat so phenomenally well against India.

- His face looks bald. (When I see a guy who has just shaved)

- He had such a handsome voice. (about my eye doctor during my retina check-up -- I could not see him but I could hear him)

- Babies are so cute. And then they grow up. There should be baby bonsais.

- I love babies. As long as they are other people's.

- Indian Singaporean food is very 'loud'.

- What's wrong with forgetting my own telephone number? I don't call myself that often.

- Cricket matches are too long. They should only play highlights.

- I am not angry. I am just pissed off.

Will add on to the list as and when more things brew in my head :)

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Guys I saw in India during my recent vacation:

Guy #1

Noticed him during the wedding. Easily the best looking guy I've ever seen. In real life, that is. My blog ethics disallow me to post the sneak pic I took of him during the wedding. Too cute to be single and/or straight. Darn.

Guy #2
Known him since childhood. Used to be super cute 15 years ago. Had a slight crush on him until the day he sent me a love letter. I was in the seventh standard (secondary 1) then. Geez! Saw him again at the wedding this time. Looks like a gangster now. Darn.

Guy #3
Saw him on a hoarding poster on the streets of Hyderabad. Made me wanna pick up the phone, dial 123 and say, "Rahul". There should be a law banning cricketers from being so super cute. Darn.

At least I can post his pic on my blog!

Guy #4
Been seeing him on and off for almost two years now. Hottest guy in the world. At the same time, coolest guy in the world. Darn.

Happy Birthday to me

I turned 25 yesterday.

I was apprehensive about turning 25. Would it bring back the extremely painful and disillusioning quarter life crisis I had succesfully fought a couple of months ago? Yes, I was very very scared.

But it turned out to be the best birthday ever. A midnight surprise party by friends. A great 'welcome back' from everyone in the office. Boss walks in and says, "I can't tell you how glad I am to see you back." Another surprise party at work by colleagues. Flood of phonecalls and sms messages. Dinner and dessert with friends. Bar None. Being surrounded by people I love. Being loved by people I care about.

I am 25. And happy.

And nothing else matters.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

All grown up

Priceless moments from my India trip...

- I stand at the Puri beach with my cousins and gaze at the sea. We had stood at the exact same spot and gazed at the sea exactly 15 years ago.

- My cousin brother takes me for a long drive. I had carried him in my arms when he was a baby.

- I am carrying my 1-year old nephew when he falls asleep with his head on my shoulder.

- My 6-month old niece grabs my little finger. Her entire palm is as big as my little finger.

I swear I could have cried.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Home for dinner

Going home for dinner cost me over nine hundred dollars. But these came free.

- The servants greet me with a respectful 'namaste' even though some of them have seen me from my diaper days

- Big doll in the living room (who also serves as Mom's stand-in granddaughter till my sis takes the hint) has a new dress

- I wake up to the sound of 'Beta, uthna hai?" ("Do you want to get up?") instead of an annoying alarm that implies, "If you dun get up now, you'll never make it to work on time!"

- There's always food in the fridge

- The house is always clean

- Breakfast is at the dining table

- I drink water in a glass instead of straight from the bottle

- Mom asks me thrice a day, "Do you eat properly in Singapore?"

- Mom thinks that it's a complete joke that I'm working on a book on nutrition

- Dad asks me if I know what I'm doing with my life

- Mom asks Dad to stop asking me silly questions

- Relatives ask me when and whom I'm marrying

- Little people run all over the house and refer to me as 'Aunt'

- I get a very amused "But it's almost summer, my dear!" when I switch on the water heater

- Contrary to what I believed, I don't die when I bathe with cold water

- There are no back seat belts in cars

- Dad laughs when I put on the front seat belt

- My cousins think I am insulting their driving skills when I put on the front seat belt

- People create their own zebra crossings by holding up one hand to stop traffic as they cross the road

- Taxi drivers open their mouths only twice, once to ask "Where to?" and once to tell you the fare

- The stars are visible every night

- Thums up and Maaza (and they come in a glass bottle!)

- My hair actually stays straight when I use my hair straightener (very low humidity)

- Shopkeepers give me funny looks when I say, "Thank you"

- There are ceiling fans in every room, in spite of the air-conditioners

- There are separate taps for hard and soft water

- External walls of buildings are full of movie and election posters

- Restaurants have a 'Singapore fried rice' on the menu

- Chilli sauce is green in colour

- TV ads are more interesting than the programmes they interrupt

- I want Fanta now and there's always someone to get it to me in under three minutes

Yup, looks like I'm home.