Thursday, September 29, 2005

A photographic memory

Sayesha is writing a thesis.

Wait, that makes me sound like a nerd.

Let me rephrase that.

Dissertation. Sayesha is writing a dissertation. On Bollywood.

"Sayesha is writing a dissertation on Bollywood."

Ah, that sounds much better.

So yesterday, I went for my second meeting with my supervisor, and he lent me this book 'To be or not to be: Amitabh Bachchan' to use as reference for my dissertation. It's a 4-kg book (yes, I weighed it when I got home retired hurt from lugging it back). And you can kill a man with it.

So during our meeting, he suddenly asked me, "I forgot to ask you this in the first meeting, but why did you pick me to be your supervisor?" And he asked me that very seriously. I knew why he was asking that. To make sure I was not a 'bouncee'. Since he does not teach me any subject, he was wondering if I was one of those whom every other professor in uni had rejected -- the 'bouncees' -- and if after bouncing around, I had resorted to asking random professors if they would agree to supervise me.

I had seen this question coming. But it was a long and weird story why I'd picked him.

"It's a long and weird story, Sir."

"Go on. I'm listening."

"I first met you about six years ago I think. For like five minutes. We met at the Canteen 2 bus stop and you asked me if I was from India. You gave me your card, and told me you had worked as a photojournalist for 'India Today'. You invited me to an Antakshari party you were having at your place. And then my bus came and I left.

And then I never met you after that. I graduated in 2002, and have been working for the last 3 years in the east, far far away from uni.

When I moved to the west 3 weeks ago, during packing and unpacking, I discovered a lot of stuff that I had lost. And found your card amongst it. And since I refuse to do my dissertation on anything but Bollywood, I figured you'd be the perfect supervisor. But I wasn't sure if you were still around as you could have been a visiting professor. After all, it had been so many years. But I looked you up on the uni website and found you. And that's how this came about."

"Stroke of luck, huh?"

"Yeah! To remember all this and find you again six years later at the right time!" I leaned back in the chair, beaming with pride at my fantastic memory.

"Five." He looked at me and smiled mysteriously.

"I'm sorry?"

"Five years, Sayesha. Not six."


"I met you at the Canteen 2 bus stop in 2000. It's been five years. You had longer hair and you were not as thin as you are now."

My jaw dropped. It literally dropped.

"You remember me? From that one brief meeting five years ago?? How???"

"I'm a photographer, Sayesha." He smiled.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Baby's day out. Sayesha freaks out.

I am freaking out.

Suddenly there are babies everywhere. First, Munnu posts that he wants a baby.
I discover that there are three pregnant women in my class. One of my designers just gave birth. One of my ex-colleagues announces she is pregnant. One of my groupmates for my school assignment is five months pregnant. The other has a five-month-old baby.

Every night, after class, as I travel with them in the bus and then in the train, all they talk about is babies. All the time. At first, I really freaked out with all the baby talk 'cos I could not understand or identify with what they were talking about. But soon I got used to it. I realised that the lives of these two women revolve around their babies, and that's all they can think of. All the time. And I told myself that I should try and understand that.

So I actually started making an effort to talk to them about their babies, in spite of my limited knowledge of babies, which pretty much translates to "So cute!" But that, as I learnt, is just 'Babies 101'. There's a lot more to it. And as I spoke to them about their babies, I realised I wasn't freaking out as much.

Today, I asked the pregnant one, "So are you gonna knit one of those tiny little pair of woollen socks for your baby?" Before she could answer, I went "But hey, Singapore's so hot! Your baby wouldn't need them! Maybe you should just buy the finger-less glove things!"

"Finger-less glove things! HAHAHAHA!" She laughed. (Gosh! Pregnant women laugh at everything, don't they? Must be the hormones.)

She told me she was taking the next semester off to look after the baby. So I said, "Wow. You're gonna be sittin' at home next sem?? Maybe you can help to type out my thesis. I'll pay you!"

"Haha! 5 bucks per word." She said.

"What??? Are you trying to get a lifetime supply of diapers for your baby or what? Why don't you get them embroidered with 'Proudly sponsored by Sayesha'?"

"HAHAHAHA!" Pregnant woman laughed again. I was beginning to get slightly embarrassed now.

"You know what, Sayesha?" She paused and looked at me seriously.

"What?" I paused and looked at her seriously.

"You'll make a hilarious mother!" She smiled.

And that's when I freaked out.

And I think I had this exact same expression.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Things will work out in the end

10 reasons why I laugh to myself as I work out in the gym

1. People do not frequent it too much on weekends. So on Saturday and Sunday mornings, it's like my personal kheti in the gym. I get the keys, I unlock the gym, switch on the lights and the AC, put on the TV/radio, work out, switch off the lights and the AC, lock the gym and return the keys to the security guard. I feel like I own the place. Muahaha!

2. The security guard David who always says, "Enjoy your workout, lady scholar!" as he hands me the keys. (Yeah, he interrogated and dug out my entire history on Day 1.)

3. The 2-year-old toddler in the baby care centre next door who insists on working out. So his Dad brings him and deposits him on the exercise cycle. The kid's legs don't even reach the pedals! So he kinda cycles in air, and that's such a comical sight I can't even begin to describe it.

4. The dude who comes to the gym, strips off his T-shirt, looks at himself in the mirror (from a few angles) and leaves.

5. The Takeshi Kaneshiro look-alike Japanese guy and his friend who always come to the gym together and do weights together, reminding me of some girls who always go to the ladies' in pairs.

6. The sign on one of the treadmills that says "Threadmill out of order". Now I am thinking broken-down-cotton-factory.

7. The dude who makes weird sounds when he lifts weights, "Aaahhh!!", "Ohhhh!!" inviting strange looks from people around him.

8. They usually put the TV on mute and the radio is always blasting, so the first time I went to the gym, for a minute I was really disoriented to see Channel News Asia newsreaders "lip-synching'" to 'It's getting hot in here so take off all your clothes.' (Maybe that's how 'Naked News' came about.)

9. The Indian dude who was watching me as I keyed in my age on the exercise cycle. Damn! I should have keyed in '56' and freaked him out.

10. And the one who makes me laugh the most. The Indian girl on the second "threadmill", trying to drown out the sounds of 'I will survive' from the radio by head-banging to 'Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam' blasting on the ipod.

That's me.

Blessed is she who can laugh at herself. For she'll never run out of material.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sayesha's in love

Sayesha lost her heart last night.

And her voice too.

At the A. R. Rahman concert.

Have you ever been so overwhelmed by a person's talent that you feel privileged to just be in the same room as that person? Today I felt like that. Unlike many people I know, I will not refer to Rahman as God because I still haven't figured out my stand on the concept of God yet. But for now, to me, he is talent personified.

So there I was, dressed in my salwar kameez, complete with bindi (I jump at such occasions when I can wear Indian and not feel over-dressed), not only in the same 'room' as Rahman, but also close enough to see him and the others very clearly, thanks to my friend A who got us some really amazing seats. Best 82 bucks I have spent this entire year. Add to it the delightful company of friends -- Max on my left and Starbreez on my right -- and hey, life rocks. The evening could not get better. Max with his funny quips now and then (he almost threw a shoe at the annoying MCs whom I'll describe later!). And Starbreez with her insatiable appetite for Indian movies and music. (We all need someone to talk about whom or what we love. And sometimes I feel so thankful for having her in my life.)

Now, about the two really annoying MCs. If their nonsensical blabbering (about how the black-eyed-peas had almost caused the roof to crash down, and how we were not cheering as hard) was not enough, they invited the finalists of some superstar contest to sing on stage before Rahman could be put on stage. Twelve of them. One by one. Aaarghhh! It was so annoying. We were there to listen to Rahman, dammit! I think the audience made quite a statement when huge numbers (including us) just walked out. To get drinks because we were getting so impatient, and the twelve seemed to be taking their own sweet time. Bumped into a lot of people from uni outside who had also stepped out to get away from the trauma.

Finally, the ordeal was over, we went in and Rahman made his entry. And wow. No, actually I mean WOW. No, I mean WOW!!!!

When I think back, the total amount of talent on the stage last night was enough to bring the entire stadium crashing down. Rahman, Hariharan, Chitra, Sadhna Sargam, Madhushree, Udit Narayan, Kailash Kher, Karthik, and of course, the incredibly talented musicians, including the unbelievable drummer Sivamani.

As the Indoor Stadium filled with the beautiful sounds of Rahman's music, you could see that every song they sang was from the heart. And many of these songs have a very special place in my heart.

When they sang 'Ishq bina' I was reminded of uni days. My friend A and I had sung it during one of the performances of our uni's Indian band. It was been a huge success. So it was a very special feeling that we were both sitting in the same row, listening to the live and original version of the song we had sung in uni years ago.

Hariharan, Sadhna Sargam and Chitra did a piece called 'Unplugged' where they sang songs with their own little modifications. It was sheer magic. The control that Hariharan has over his voice is enough to make one go dizzy. And Chitra's voice... there was something divine about it. Something you cannot describe, yet something you cannot ignore. And Sadhna Sargam. Her voice is like the sound of water flowing. So incredibly pure that it leaves you craving for more.

I sang along with every song they sang. As for the ones in tamil I did not know, I sang the hindi version. Till the incessant singing caused me to lose my voice. And now I sound like a talking frog. But I have no regrets.

I was just waiting for Sadhna Sargam to sing 'Snehidane'. She did. And I sang along. (Yes, I love the song so much I mugged up the full lyrics, even though I don't understand a single word of it!! I need to get someone to help me with the pronunciation before I can sing it for people.)

I believe that some of the songs originally done in tamil just don't sound right when sung in hindi. I can never equate 'Snehidane' to 'Chupke se' or 'Vaseegara' to 'Zara zara'. Yes, both versions sound good, but there is something in the original one that cannot be found in the second version. You can tell something is not right.

The audience was equally divided into tamil and hindi speaking people. So every time the singers would perform a hindi song, there would be shouts from the audience, "Tamil song!" and when they'd do a tamil song, the others would shout, "Hindi song!" But irrespective of the language they performed in, I enjoyed myself immensely. It really is true -- music is the language of languages.

Udit and Madhushree sang 'Hum hain is pal yahan' from 'Kisna', totally taking me by surprise. You see, I love that song, but I have never heard anyone giving it great reviews. So this was like a personal surprise for me. And I thought of the lines at the beginning of the song (the real meaning of which I've lately begun to understand):

Kabhi kabhi hum ek doosre ko khokar bhi toh
pyaar ko ooncha darza dete hain...
Juda rehkar pyaar ki oonchainyon ko praapt karte hain...
Har pyaar milan toh nahin
Judaai bhi toh ek pyaar hai...

("Sometimes, we honour love by losing each other. By being apart, we attain the highest levels of love. Being together is not the only kind of love. Being away from each other is also a kind of love.")

Speaking of love, is it me or is the Karthik guy incredibly sexy?? I did not even know of his existence before the concert, but there was something about him that made me look only at him whenever he was on stage. Yes yes, he was wearing a black shirt and all that, and I know that does something to me, but I think this was more than that. It was probably the attitude he had when he was singing. His expressions, his body language. "Starbreez, I think I have a huge crush on him!" I whispered my confession. As he sang on, and they showed close-ups of his face on the three screens behind, I shivered and shrunk back into my seat to stop myself from gushing like a 13-year-old in love.

Kailash Kher. I had no idea he was so short. But the little man, dressed in a very strange costume (white dhoti with pink motifs, a sleeveless satin blue top, and a red shawl) sure packed a punch. The rustic and earthy quality of his voice adds a certain character to his songs that no one else can.

There are some moments in life when you are so happy that you are sad.
And in that moment, I missed certain people in my life very badly. People who are special. People whom I love. People who are not around me. People who should have been with me. Sitting next to me, losing themselves in the divine music I was losing myself in.

I was privileged to be part of that wonder. I got goosebumps. I hugged myself in delight.

I think I have fallen in love.

With music.

All over again.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Manaofying 101 lessons by Dad

I think my earliest 'How to manaofy a furious loved one' lessons came from Dad.

When I was a kid, many of my friends in school were Dad's bank clients' children. So I would often accompany him to hang out with my friends whenever he went to meet the clients. They would often serve us mithai and pepsi, neither of which Dad was allowed to take, because of strict orders from his doctor. Sometimes he would refuse the sweets, but he wouldn't say 'no' to the pepsi.

And I would go home and tell on him. Maybe on some levels, I believed that grown-ups were not supposed to make "mistakes" and I was thrilled to have "caught one".

"Mom, pata hai kya? Dad had one full bottle of pepsi at Agarwal Uncle's house today!"

"What??" She charged at him. "After all my efforts to keep your blood sugar in control, you have to go out and have pepsi??"

Dad smiled sheepishly at first. But oh boy, was Mom furious.

"I did not ask for it. They offered it to me..." He tried a meek argument.

"And you accepted it? A full bottle??" She was still fuming.

And then it happened.

He broke into song.

"Sabko maloom hai main sharaabi nahin
Phir bhi koi pilaaye toh main kya karoon?"

("Everyone knows I'm not an alcoholic.
But if they offer me alcohol, what can I do?")

Now there's three reasons why seeing him break into that particular Pankaj Udhas number was so hilarious.

1. My Dad sings like... well, how do I put this diplomatically? Well, let's just say he sings the way I drive. There is not a single musical bone in his body. Really. Really.

2. My Dad's Hindi is like... well, ummm... let's just say it's like... my Hebrew.

3. My Dad is a teetotaller.

Guess that was too much for Mom.

Phir kya hona tha? Kudi hansi toh phansi. :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Mera kuchh saamaan...

Dad used to say, "The things you lose during one transfer -- you find during the next." So true.

Dad also used to say, "And the boxes you don't open after one transfer, you will never open after the next. It probably means you don't need that stuff. Throw it."

I found such a box when I was packing to move from the east to the west. I was amazed to discover it. It had stayed unopened for three whole years in my old place. What could it contain?

I remembered Dad's words. Then I opened it so I could decide whether it was safe to throw it.
And at once, my childhood, teenage and university life hit me.

There they were. Smiling at me. Making me smile.

Cards from guys in school who had a crush on me.

Cards I'd bought but given to no one.

Cutesy stickers.

Love letters belonging to friends who had placed them in my safe hands lest someone in their family discovered it.

Poems I had written.

Yellowed books.

Little gifts from people I love and people who love me.

Looks like Sayesha had found her 'memories box'.

And nope, I wasn't gonna throw it.
No way.

Here are some of the things that I found in the box:

A gift from my dear friend Jeff. This was years ago. Now he's happily married. And I'm so thankful that we're still as close as we used to be. Jeff, if you're reading, remember this? :)

My first keyboard. I think I was ten or so. Check out how tiny it is. It's practically four times smaller than my current one.

Another gift from a friend who used to say that I am a lot like Phoebe Buffay from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. (Ok Tarzan, you can stop grinning now.)

A farewell gift given to me by a very close friend when I was leaving India seven years ago. It says, "When you meet a stranger, make friends. Do remember, your friends were strangers when you first met them." (I'd blogged about this earlier.)

My engineering calculator from my first year at uni. Gosh the things they make. 'Engineering calculator' it seems.

My first (and last) walkman. Haven't seen one of these in years!

An audio cassette. Oh man! An audio cassette!!! Ghulam Ali and Asha Bhosle at their classic best!

What masterpieces...

Dard jab teri ataa hai toh gila kisse karein
Hijr jab tuney diya hai toh mila kisse karein

Karoon na yaad magar, kis tarah bhulaaun usey
Ghazal bahana karoon aur gungunaaun usey

Phir saawan rut ki pawan chali
Tum yaad aaye, tum yaad aaye

A gift my 7-year-old tuition kid gave me on Teacher's Day. It says, "Teacher, you're a precious work of art." (I think I'm gonna cry.)

I'd gone to meet the Indian cricketers when they came to Singapore in 1998 (or was it 1999?). Rahul Dravid signed an autograph for me. Oh man. What a man.

And Nikhil Chopra. And this was more special than the Dravid thing. Why? I bumped into Nikhil Chopra on the streets a day after I got his autograph. And to my absolute delight, he called out my name and said, "Hi, remember me? We met yesterday?" Whoa. Celebrity ho toh aisa!

A diary of quotes that my sis and I had compiled.
Typical ones she wrote:

"Be a girl with a great big smile
Try and be jolly all the while

If things go wrong, never look blue

Smile and say, "Oh, I'll get through."

Typical ones I wrote:

"Britain produces cashewnuts

Spain produces them too

But India took a long time

to produce a nut like you!"

A diary of hindi/urdu poems I wrote. Promise not to laugh and I will actually reproduce a few lines below (before you judge me or laugh at me, just remember that I was 15 when I wrote this!)

Ajnabi, tum ajnabi hi rehna...
Raahein tumhari jud jaayein humaari raahon se

Par tum na humse judna

Gar ho yeh pata peechhe hain khade hum

Toh bhi na kabhi tum mudna

Dil ki baat kabhi na kehna

Ajnabi tum ajnabi hi rehna

Aankhon mein dekhkar, na aankhon se kabhi bolna

Bas yun hi baat karna

Na muskurakar dekhna, na hi jaankar kabhi

Tum mulaqaat karna

Dard-e-dil ko yun hi sehna

Anjabi tum ajnabi hi rehna....

Books from my Enid Blyton collection. I grew up reading about the ham and bacon and sausages in the yummy meals the characters had. (They were always eating, weren't they?) When I finally had the chance to taste these things, I went "Yuck!" But the books will always be amongst the best of my childhood memories. (My Dad confiscated my entire 'The naughtiest girl in the school' series and put it in my 'bachpan box'. He has one 'bachpan box' each for my sis and me. My first toy, my first drawing, my first milk bottle, my first comic book, they're all in there. And he's so possessive about the stuff! I had to literally beg to get these three from him!)

A painting I made when I was a kid. I made it so I could show it to my sister and she could say that she liked it. Back then, that's all I wanted to paint. Whatever sis would like. To me, praise from her was real praise.

My autograph book. Gosh, do kids still do this?? Look how tattered it is!


Duniya mein hum saare...

yaadon ke hain maare...
kuch khushiyan thode gham...
yeh humse, inse hum...


Monday, September 19, 2005

The unbalanced equation

When I was in school, I loved to balance chemical equations. But I wasn't always good at it. In fact, in the beginning, I was pretty bad.

My chemistry teacher adored me and would not settle for anything less than making me master everything he knew. And that included balancing chemical reactions.

"Sorry Sir, I can't seem to balance this one." I would cry out in despair.

"Sayesha, you're not trying hard enough!"

"But I can't balance this one, Sir!"

"Yes, you can!"

"Sir, look, it is almost balanced."

"There's no 'almost balanced' in a chemical reaction." He would glare. "It should balance exactly."

"Maybe there's something wrong, Sir. This one can't be balanced."

"It can always be balanced. Always. Understand?"

"But Sir, this one's way off!"

"Don't give me excuses. And don't be afraid of experimenting. Don't limit the number of moles you think can be added to balance it."

"I've done the best I could. Can't I just do the best I can, Sir?"

"There's no 'best I can do'. It's always exact, Sayesha. Always exact."

With time and his incredible patience and reprimands, one fine day I became the champ of balancing equations. I had figured out that there was always a trick to doing it. And it was always possible.

In chemistry, yes.

In life, no.

No matter how much you try, sometimes it just doesn't balance.

The person you miss may not miss you as much.

The person you love may not love you as much.

You may not mean as much to the person as he does to you.

And there's no way you can balance the equation. No matter how many moles you add to your side, no matter how hard you try, the equation does not balance.

Because you cannot add or subtract moles on the other side.

You can only try and do the best you can with your side of the equation.

Because this is real life. And in real life, equations do not always balance. Because they don't have to. We just do the best we can.

And that's okay.

Isn't it, Sir?

Do aur do ka jod hamesha chaar kahan hota hai...
Soch samajh waalon ko thodi nadaani de maula...

("Two and two don't always add up to four...
Lord, give the wise ones some naivety...")

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I got at-tagged!

Virdi praji has tagged me, and one should always amuse kids. Anyway, he'll start crying if I don't respond, so here are my lists:

Seven things I plan to do before I die

1. Learn seven languages.
2. See India. Like, really see India.
Meet all the people who frequent my blog.
4. Write a book (I have written a few for kids, I wanna write one for grown-ups).
5. Pull off a sexy chiffon saree.
6. Take my parents around the world.
7. Live each day fully.

Seven things I can do
1. Multi-task
2. Work out in the gym while listening to real oldies like 'Mausam hai aashiqana' from 'Pakeezah'
3. Remember full lyrics of songs I like (the current database in my head is HUGE)
4. Write instant poetry on demand
6. Do rangoli and henna
Channel negativity around me into positive energy

Seven things I can't do
1. Survive a day without hindi music
2. Drive well... err... correction -- drive
3. Figure out Orchard Road
4. Not buy any new shoes for six months
5. Survive without the Internet
6. Donate blood ('cos of my disorder)
7. Talk on the mobile phone for a long time (I feel something heating up inside my head)

Seven things I say the most
1. All right, man!
2. What the...?!
3. Oh noooooooooooooooooo!
4. No problem.
5. Oh my God!

6. OK lah!
Hahahaha! :D

(Of course there are certain things I say a lot to certain people only. Which I refuse to disclose here.)

Seven things I say the most on my blog
1. You wish!
2. Dream on, dude!

3. But I get all comments in my gmail!
4. Thanks, man! :)
5. Yeay!
6. Oye Virdi ke bache ke baap!
7. Hahahaha! :D

Seven things that attract me to the opposite sex
1. Has wit (hence implying intelligence and a sense of humour)
2. Is tall
3. Totally gets me
4. A li'l bit of arrogance
5. Reads my mind with one look
6. Looks irresistible in a black shirt
7. Can play the guitar

Seven celebrity crushes (including characters in movies)
1. Shah Rukh Khan in the 'Aur pass' and the 'Tumhe kuch nahin hota?' scenes from DTPH (brrr... goosebumps again...!)
Chow Yun Fatt in 'Anna and the King' (the way he looks at Jodie Foster, knowing fully well he can't be with her... whoa!)
3. John Abraham in Jism
4. Himesh Reshammiya (the way he sings the four words 'Gum hua hosh hai' in the song 'Aapki kashish', gosh, he sounds incredibly sexy)
5. Jude Law
6. Sonu Nigam
7. Hugh Jackman in 'Kate and Leopold'

Seven people I want to tag
No way, man! Am not taggin' anyone. It's a lot of pressure on the 'tag-ee' as I discovered. Those who wanna make their lists, kindly self-tag yourself.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Gimme a single reason!

My ideal relationship status?

Attached yet single.

Sounds like an impossible concept? Well, hear me out first.

The world is full of people looking yearningly at the other side.
Single people yearn to be attached. Attached people think singlehood rocks. But is there a middle path? Sounds too good to be true? But I believe there is.

There is a certain way I live my life. I like to live it that way, and a guy is not a good enough reason for me to change it. If the guy thinks I'm worth it, he's got to understand that.

And that to me, is singlehood.

I know this girl who's a lot like me. Guards her independence with absolute ferocity. She thought she depended on no one. Till the day she suddenly found that she did. She needed help with some big stuff. And when her boyfriend could not help (no fault of his though, long story) she suddenly realised that maybe she wasn't so independent after all. First she got angry with him, and then at herself for being unfair to him. And for being so helpless. And she hated that feeling. Well, she did not break up with him, but 'broke away' instead.

Now she's happy as hell. Lives her own life. Meets him once in a while. Loves him a lot. But she's as 'single' as can be. And deliriously happy.

And that's my kinda singlehood.

To be known as me and not someone's somebody. To not have to answer to anyone or to ask for permission for anything. Or to explain what I'm doing with my life or whom I'm meeting and where I'm going. That makes me feel like a million bucks.

And that to me, is singlehood.

I had a list of things in my head that define what I expect from this state of 'attached singlehood'. And finally, the list is ready for public viewing.

Here it is, boy:

  • I think the whole Valentine's Day concept kinda sucks. I may not buy you anything or expect you to buy me anything. So don't panic.
  • If I point at a girl on the road and say, "Hey, that's one hot babe!" don't assume that I'm testing you and look away. Check her out for heaven's sake. And no, you don't have to say "But you're hotter!" to me. Duh, if I'm pointing her out, she's obviously hotter than me. Otherwise I'd be pointing at myself.
  • I'll point out hot guys on the road too. You have the option of not looking.
  • If you wanna hang out with the boys on Friday night, do so. Don't come and "ask me for permission". It's okay, really. (As long as you keep that beer belly under control.)
  • If we have a fight and I get angry, don't manaofy me just because I am the girl. If I think over it, and figure that it was my fault, I'll come manaofy you.
  • I will spend 50% of my income on stuff that you will not ask me about. Although you may see most of it in the shoe racks, but once in a while I may be saving up to buy you something big. So rule of thumb -- don't ask.
  • I want a beach holiday every year. I'd like you to come with me, but if you can't for some reason, don't stop me from going.
  • Give you my email password?? Are you freakin' crazy? Have I ever asked you for yours?
  • You don't have to pay every time we eat out. I prefer to go dutch. (But feel free to pamper me with a little kit kat now and then.)

  • Don’t give me bouquets when we’re out. I think it's extremely silly to walk around with a guy, holding a bouquet.
  • Do not buy me freakin’ expensive gifts. I’d be more than happy to just have a 2-dollar pair of earrings.
  • I am a big girl and I can take care of myself. Don’t baby me all the time. (Once in a while wouldn’t hurt though.)
  • I refuse to wear a pendant with a photo of us together. Don’t even think about it.
  • I will not open letters addressed to you. And you won't open mine.

  • I will not take you shoe-shopping. You will not take me to a gaming shop. We will only shop together if we’re buying stuff for each other, and want the other person to pick the stuff himself/herself.
  • I will do crazy things like not open an umbrella in torrential rain, play with a stranger’s baby in the train, buy a bottle of 100plus at twice the price from the old man’s shop downstairs just because he looks really bored, go to a 24-hour coffee shop at 4 in the morning and eat street food, wake up one fine day and go get a tattoo. If you disapprove, stay away.
  • I don’t watch war movies. If you want to go for one, just go by yourself. I know you really want to watch it. Don’t cancel just because I don’t want to go.
  • I’ll be happy if you open doors for me, but I won’t be angry if you don’t.
  • I will open doors for you.
  • When we're eating out, do not dig into my food as soon as it arrives. I don't like others taking the first bite of my food. And that holds for you too. You can have a sip of my drink, but that's it. One sip. If you like it so much, get your own!
  • It's okay if you forget our anniversary. But you dare forget my birthday.
  • I will continue to buy pink gerberas for myself. Please don't take it as a hint or an insult.

  • If you wanna shave your head to support the cancer society, go ahead and do it by all means. Don't ask me if you should. It's your head, man. (Jus don't be seen in public with me till your hair grows back.)
  • I will tell you which of your shirts I hate, and I will threaten to burn them. But I won't actually do it. They are your shirts. You burn them yourself.

  • On some days, I am gonna be all girl. I'm gonna get a manicure and pedicure, and probably even put on a hideous facial mask and walk around. If you can't take it, just leave. I won't mind. Really.
  • You can tell me if I get fat. It's okay, I won't shut myself in and cry. (I need someone to tell me such things so I can work out like mad.)
  • I don't want romantic candlelight dinner dates all the time. Sometimes I want to go on roller-blading, hiking, ice-skating, canoing, cycling dates. If you have no time or inclination, it's okay. I'll go with my other friends. Or on my own.

  • I have a wild side. Don't curb it. (I promise to behave when your parents are around.)
  • Understand that you're not the only person I love. I love a lot of people. I just love you in a different way.
  • I will never change my surname. Ever.
  • Ask me to marry you if and only if you're very very sure that you can handle my 'singlehood'.
Because I intend to stay single all my life.

And a boyfriend/husband will never get in the way of my singlehood.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Hopelessly addicted to you

Sayesha is shocked at herself.

No, she's horrified.

No, shocked.

Ok, whatever is more extreme.

In order to cope with drooping eyelids at work (which were a result of the crazy lifestyle I'd been having over the last two months) I'd started drinking tea. Every day.

Now I'm the fiercely independent kind. The one who strongly believes that you should never be dependent on anything -- living or non-living -- to the point that you can't do without him/her/it. And though I knew that people do get addicted to tea, for some weird reason, I was sure it wouldn't work in the same way for me. Overconfidence, I suppose. I thought I could just consciously tell myself not to get addicted and it would work. And if it didn't, I would convince myself that I wasn't addicted, and that it's only a passing phase. And that would work.

So today, when I finally woke up after a good night's sleep, I decided not to have tea.

And I freaked out.

The uneasy feeling I harboured the entire day is indescribable. And it wasn't just a physical thing. It was nagging me in the head. At first, I tried to speculate what it was. Was I ill? Was I homesick? Was I missing someone? There definitely was something goin' on. Something was amiss, something was not right. There was a crushing feeling in my heart, and a shiver in my spine. I was feeling cold. COLD. I made a mug of horlicks for myself, but that just felt like a

And suddenly it struck me -- perhaps I was addicted to tea!
I was quite horrified at the thought that a tiny cup of dull brown liquid had seeped into the spaces of my new lifestyle and made such a place for itself. That too, without my knowledge!

Sometimes, someone or something becomes an integral part of our day, our life, without us even realising it. And because we don't realise it, we think we will be able to easily handle the absence of the person or the thing once it's gone. But we only realise the seriousness of the thing when withdrawal symptoms kick in.

Gosh, am I addicted? That's a scary thought. I don't want to be addicted to anything or anybody.

So today I decided that I'm gonna back off. And I did good. Even though I had access to the tea trolley three times in the day, I did not have tea.

Tea is not something I intend to have a long term relationship with, and so this has to stop now before anyone gets hurt. I am strong enough to stop. I will stop having it because I refuse to let any person or thing control my life. And addiction of any kind, is never good.

And while all these thoughts flew around in my head, I couldn't help but wonder about something kinda related.

What's worse? To be addicted to a thing or a person?

Heaven save you if it's a person you're addicted to.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Damn 'that girl'

Last week at work, trainers from our printer came down to our office to give us a briefing on Computer-To-Plate (a book printing technology) and DeskTop Publishing. The title of the briefing was ‘CTP and DTP’. (When I first heard it, it sounded like a really bad movie to me. 'CTP and DTP'. ‘Dumb and Dumber’.)

The briefing was supposed to be only for the designers, but for no reason, the editors were also asked to attend it. So we editors went to the briefing room armed with our notepads and slunk into the chairs at the back, away from the eyes of the trainers. I plonked myself on a chair and hid behind my tall shaggy-haired illustrator.

The briefing began. And slide after slide, the trainer rattled off jargon. All I heard was what sounded like “During preflight packaging of the files, you can use Pitstop software to generate the OPI information and link it to QXC using a LDX-enabled IIF.” making all editors (and I’m sure some designers too!) go “Huh???”

The only preflight packaging I know is the little bag of peanuts that the grumpy Air India hostess hands me before my annual flight home. And the only pitstop I know is the one in F1 races, and the more informal one -- ‘toilet break’. As for the other terms he mentioned, I lost them all.

So I decided that the best option was to switch off. When I looked around, all the others (including many of the designers!) had switched off too. I noticed that everybody had the same thing jotted down on our notepads. ‘CTP and DTP’. And that’s it. Nothing more after that.

“Any questions?” concluded the trainer, after what seemed like eternity.

“Phew! Now we can go back to our desks!” I thought.

Not so fast, Sayesha!

There she was. That girl in the first row, raising her hand.

“Yes?” Said the trainer.

“Well, I have a question.” She said.

I forget her exact question, but I think it was on the lines of “When I use a OMX to save a RFW, I face a TGY error, possibly because of a PKI defect. How can I address the problem?”

The trainer looked thrilled with the question, while the rest of us gaped at each other. And we had to sit through the torture as the conversation between the delighted trainer and that girl lasted a full 15 minutes! How annoying.

And suddenly I was reminded of that girl in school. That girl. The one who used to always sit in the front row, and do her homework every single day (and even help others with their homework. Geez!), and know the answers to all the questions the teacher asked. The ultra-enthusiastic teacher’s pet kind of girl, whose answer papers were circulated in the class for everyone to see how ‘an ideal answer paper should look like’, the one who took part in every ECA the school had to offer, who would always raise her hand in every class of every subject to ask the right questions and give the right answers, and often the teacher would say, “Hold on, my dear. I know you know the answer, but I will come back to you if no one can answer, okay?” annoying the hell out of everyone else. Didn’t we all have one of those in school? Oh, how we disliked ‘that girl’, didn't we?

Ok, did I just say all that??

Hey, I was 'that girl' in my school!

Monday, September 12, 2005

MACs - I'm lovin' it

So a friend tells me they have put me up on

I visit it and and whoa! There's some serious Sayesha-bashing goin' on there as well. Just as it does here at times.

Coupla months ago, this would have upset me. I would have probably stopped blogging. But now it doesn't bother me anymore. Possibly because I have realised that one's blog is exactly like one's life. You live it your way. You come across many people. Some who love you. Some who can't be bothered. And others who can't stand you. Those who can't stand you will give you shit, but they are not worth ruining your day over. And that's how your blog is too.

When I first started blogging, for the first four months, my posts had no comments. At most one or two stray comments would surface. I posted whatever was in my head, and did not have anyone saying, "What a crappy post!" It was easy. Then slowly, comments started trickling in, and suddenly I had a surge of mean anonymous commentators (or MACs as I call them) telling me they hated what I wrote and trying to dictate what I write on MY blog. It was unnerving at first, because at that point in time, I was trying to figure out why I blog, and I do admit that reading such comments did upset me.

I even considered blocking out anonymous commentators. But the ostrich approach just did not seem like the right thing to do. Just because I did not let them in did not mean they were not there. Besides, some of my really good friends on my blog were anonymous to me once. Also, just as I have the right to blog about anything I wish, and put it up on the Internet, I suppose anonymous commentators have a right to stay anonymous. I just did not get why they have to be so mean. I mean, my blog posts are my thoughts. How can you even try and dictate what and how I think??

With time, I figured out why I blog. And things became clear in my head. With it, my stand on anonymous commentators became clear too. I respect their anonymity and their thoughts. But I won't take illogical nonsense. I blog for myself. And I will keep blogging in spite of the MACs. And so I trashed the idea of blocking off anonymous commentators.

Strangely though, on some levels, I am grateful to the MACs. Sometimes, they have made me realise the value of people who care. People like Sahil. Someone who is just a name to me -- as anonymous to me as the next person. Someone whom I don't know and have never seen (and whom I often insult to no end!), but who rises to defend me against the MACs as if I'm an old friend.

I still remember how he told off the anonymous guy who kept posting "
How much crap can a person write?" on my blog.

Sahil said to him, "If you don't agree with Sayesha, that's fine. You can comment and say something a little more thought-provoking than "how much crap can a person write?" If you have a point of view, explain it. But if you don't, then hold ur peace. And try and sort out what's going on with yourself first."

I thought that was kind of amazing. And it showed the kind of connection that one can have with one kind of anonymous commentators.

In spite of the telling off, I know there are many more MACs on my blog who smirk at every post and say, "What utter crap!" I have something to say to them. "What are you still doing here? Stop reading the 'crap' and move on. You have no right to dictate what I think and write. This is not a paid site that you're not getting 'value for money' from. You have the option of not visiting. Use it."

MACs, you may hate me, but strangely I don't find myself hating you. Sahil's right. You obviously have something goin' on up there that makes you post these mean comments. And I genuinely hope that you sort it out soon.

I am just glad I'm not wasting my time hating you.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Sayesha kind of love

A couple of days ago, I got an sms from this guy I know, with the words "I love you." Just like that. Out of the blue. I was quite taken aback, so I asked him why he said that. He told me that he had just found out that one of his close friends from years ago had passed away. He was missing that friend and he just felt that he should tell all the people whom he loved, that he loved them. Before it was too late.

It was strange but interesting to see a guy (that too, someone like him) behave like that. Like me.

Often, I wonder -- Why are we so afraid of telling people we love them? We have no problems saying, "I like you" and "I miss you" and "I wish you were here" but we think twice before saying "I love you" or even signing off an email with "love".

Why do we hold back the "I love you", except for perhaps our parents, spouses, and boyfriends/girlfriends? When in fact, there are so many people in our lives whom we love? Whom we feel for. And sometimes phrases such as "I like you" and "I miss you" just don't do justice to that feeling you have.

You have to say "I love you." There's no other way.

Do we hold back because we are too afraid of trivialising the significance of "I love you" by saying it to too many people?? But how can we love 'too many people'? How many people is 'too many people'? Who decides that? Isn't life too short to put a cap on the maximum number of people we are capable of loving? Are we running out of love that we're running away from love?

Surely it should take less than a death for us to realise how much we loved that someone?

Or is it that we are afraid of being misunderstood? Especially when we want to say it to a member of the opposite sex? Perhaps. I have freaked many a guy out by telling him I love him. I wish they'd understood me.

That it's not the "I'm-crazy-about-you-I-wanna-spend-my-life-with-you" kinda love.

It's the Sayesha kind of love.

Which just says, "I love you for being you."

Life's indeed too short.

I love you. And I am not afraid to use the word 'love'.

You see, it's the Sayesha kind of love. Very few people understand it.

Can you handle it?

Friday, September 09, 2005

I'm walkin' on air

There's a spring in my step. There's music all around. My soul does a little dance. There's joy in my heart.

What strange feeling is this?

Something has changed about me. Something is different.

Perhaps it is because I'm finally free?

The shoes were just an add-on.

Fine, I bought shoes today. Yes, I know I was not supposed to buy a new pair for another month at least, but fate had other plans. Plans which I swear I was not aware of!

I was rushing for a birthday dinner when one of my shoestraps broke. The first word I said in my head was not "Damn!" Or "Shux!" It was "Yeay!" The broken shoe meant that I could buy another one without feeling guilty!

So I kinda limped my way to OG and picked up a pair of shimmering grey beauties. I told the shop assistant not to pack the new shoes because I wanted to wear them. She packed my old shoes in the new box and passed them up to the counter. After paying, I wanted to ask the cashier if she could dispose off my old shoes for me. But she looked too grumpy to be accomodating, and I was in no mood to let anyone ruin my happiness today.

So I took the OG bag with the torn shoes inside, and made my way out of the shop to look for a trash bin. And right there, near the exit was one. With a deft flick of my left hand, I tossed the OG bag into the bin, shocking the hell outta some guys who were standing there, probably waiting for their girlfriends/wives to finish their shoe-shopping. (Diversion, but why on earth do girls take guys shoe-shopping??? I just don't get it!)

Anyway, back to the gaping guys. They gave me really odd stares. I could see that they thought I was either quite barmy, or was perhaps the daughter of one of those eccentric millionaires who buys a pair of shoes, and is barely outta the shop when she gets sick of them and hence disposes them.

But barmy Sayesha catwalked her way out, smiling to herself, and feeling quite on top of the world. She had bought new shoes, and no one could bring her down. Not a broken shoe. Not a grumpy cashier. Not a bunch of staring guys who thought she was nuts.

And especially not the dude at dinner tonight who kept emphasising the word 'Sayesha' in a strange manner every time he spoke to me, and I could see that annoying smirk on his face that said, "I know your blog. Ha!"

Dude, if you're reading this, here's something for you: I am not ashamed of my blog, nor am I stupid enough to think that people like you can never get to my blog.

If you think it's good, cool.

If you think it's trash, cool.

But don't think even for a moment that you can just sit there with that smirk on your face and make me nervous about you reading my blog.

Because frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

Answers - 25 more things

I am SO proud of myself! I managed to set up my computer and Internet on my own without any guy-help! Yeay! (And I also discovered how damn heavy a monitor is! Had never picked one up before! Got a head rush!)

Anyway, this means that I can blog tonight! Yeay!

Sayesha high-fives herself! (Hey, how does that work? Is it like a clap??)

And here are the answers to the sequel:


Green = The truth and nothing but the truth
Red = Blatant lie
Purple = Explanation

1. Ideally, I would like to turn vegetarian.
You think? Just because I have a vegetarian's face?! No one can take me away from my general love for chicken. Not to even mention the
spicy MOS cheeseburger.
Got it right: Sahil, Ro, Abhi

2. I don't like Amitabh Bachchan.
True. I mean, he's got a strong personality and all that, and when I saw him in person, I went, "Whoa, this guy has a presence!" but I am not too fond of him or his movies.
Got it wrong: Oxy, Banana, Angel, Anil, Arnav, Avyakt

3. Three years ago, I had a freak kitchen accident when the entire skin peeled off my face, and I had to undergo plastic surgery to get the face I have today.
Everything except the plastic surgery part is true. Which pretty much makes the statement false I suppose. Yes, something exploded in my face (don't even ask for details, my kitchen ceiling still had the remnants of the explosion when I moved out), and my skin peeled off. I had to quit my job because the clients would have freaked out if they saw me. I got job interviews but I could not attend them. Was down to my last 100 bucks. I refused to see people, did not even let a friend into the house, who had travelled halfway across the country to see me. No plastic surgery was needed, but strong medication finally gave me a new layer of skin. Now I am okay. But I think it was the most traumatic period of my life.
Got it right: Sahil, Angel, Anil, Arnav, Justme, Dinesh, Virdi, Splitpersonality, Jasmine, Avyakt, Ashy, Ravi, Puneet

4. I can analyse your handwriting and tell you your characteristics.
Yes, I can. But it's better if I don't know you, otherwise what I say will be influenced by what I already know about you.
Got it wrong: Justme

5. I am not into F1 racing at all.
I'm not I'm not I'm not! I just don't get it. You go round and round and round (sometimes without any competitors!) and back to the same spot and then someone's car explodes into microparticles, and someone else crashes into a wall made of rubber tyres, and then someone wins, and some guys in a room wearing weird clothes look at the TV and start jumping, someone wins and opens a gigantic champage bottle, doesn't even drink it, but bathes himself and others in it. (Ok, I am gonna get shot down by F1 freaks for this!)
Got it wrong: Jasmine

6. A few years ago, I was on a diet and lost 8 kgs in 6 months.
The numbers are right, but it was purely by exercise. I do not diet and I do not believe in diets. Food rocks, man! (I had a horribly unhealthy lifestyle in first year uni, because of which I put on all that weight. I turned into an exercise freak after I lost those kgs.)
Got it right: Arnav, Justme, Avyakt, Ashy

7. I want to die at the age of 50.
Yep, 50 is just nice. I don't want to be too old and frail and dependent on others when I die.
Got it wrong: Angel, Dinesh, Ashy

8. I think Anu Malik is very talented.
He is! I totally agree with Arnav. Some of his OSTs are amazing! Ok his voice sucks and all that, and he really shouldn't be singing but that man's got talent! (And yes, I LOVE his "Dhuan dhuan ho raha hai sama"! Hey if you want the song, let me know.)
Got it wrong: Oxy, Sahil, Anil, Justme, Abhi, Dinesh, Virdi, Avyakt, UN Human

9. My tomboyish nature is because I grew up bashing up and getting bashed up by my two elder brothers.
Nope, no brothers. Only an elder sis. Who was too nice to bash me up or for me to bash her up.
Got it right: Sahil, Angel, Ro, Arnav, Abhi, Split personality, Puneet

10. When I was ten, I could beat the crap out of any guy in the neighbourhood at spinning tops.
Yes yes, I did! And not the upside down kinda spinning (which is easier). I used to do the proper spinning. You had to see the guys' tops to see how bullet-riddled my super top had made them!
Got it wrong: Splitpersonality, UN Human, Ravi

11. I love wearing stilettos.
No way, man! This is probably the only place where I apply my engineering skills, but I am very particular about the minimum surface area of the heels I wear. If I wore stilettos, I would be toppling over now and then. (Sahil, hey I don't wear spagetti straps either. Unless I am on a beach holiday.)
Got it right: Sahil, Arnav, Virdi, Jasmine

12. Some day I would like to bungee jump.
You must be freakin' outta your mind! Why would I wanna jump to my death? You know they test roller coasters just for weak-hearted people like me? :P
Got it right: Oxymoron, Banana, Splitpersonality, Puneet

13. I hate banana split ice-cream.
True. Hate bananas. Dislike ice-cream. I only like the milk-less orange-flavoured candy stick we used to buy outside school for 50 paise. That was yum! I miss that. The Magnolia orange bar is kinda close.
Got it wrong: Banana, Ro

14. I can knock lizards down using ice cubes.
Yeah, I can. I believe that if the impact doesn't work, the temperature will. To keep those damn creatures outta Sayesha's house.
Got it wrong: Oxymoron, Angelsera, Puneet, Ro, Arnav, Justme, Dinesh, Virdi, Jasmine, Avyakt, UN Human, Ravi

15. I hate chewing gum.
I hate it. Because it's like all nice and sweet and chewy at first, and suddenly it's not-so-nice and tasteless and yucky.
Got it wrong: Oxymoron, Banana, Virdi, Ashu, UN Human, Puneet

16. Once I stalked a guy on the streets.
I stalked Nikhil Advani for almost half an hour at Orchard Road
cos I wanted his autograph but could not remember his name. I'd mentioned this in an earlier post.
Got it wrong: Oxymoron, Banana, Sahil, Angel, Anil, Dinesh, Virdi, UN Human, Puneet

17. I like to buy and collect postcards with sappy phrases such as “I think of you from time to time – from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep.”
Gotcha! Yes, I do. Yes, it's sappy, but it's also clever and witty, and I like the word play in "
I think of you from time to time – from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep.” and I really dig anything that's clever and witty. (Besides, doesn't the postcard hold true when we have a huge crush or when we fall in love? We're thinking about that person pretty much the entire time we're awake.)

And here's proof that I did buy it. Anyone who has doubts about whether these are my hands, please proceed to counter 1. Bhavdeep Singh Virdi will be glad to be of assistance.

Got it wrong: Banana, Sahil, Anil, Arnav, Dinesh, Splitpersonality, Jasmine, Avyakt, Ashy, Ravi

18. I once told a guy I’d show him a picture of my crush, and brazenly showed him a mirror.
Haha! This is funny. This guy in school told me he liked me. I liked him, but
just to see whether he was the kind who would give up without a fight just because "there was another guy", I told him I had a crush on someone. He demanded to know who it was so I told him I'd show him a picture of my crush. Next day, I put a button mirror in an envelope and gave it to him. What a priceless expression.
Got it wrong: Oxymoron, Angelsera, Justme, Dinesh, Splitpersonality, Avyakt, Puneet

19. A guy once slapped me in a pub, and I waited for him to get sober before I slapped him back.
True again! I was sitting outside on the steps of the pub, sipping my orange juice and generally trying to get away from the cigarette smoke, when this friend came and sat next to me. He had had some 12 tequila shots. He sat beside me and said, 'Hey, look at my palm!" I did and smack! The moron had just slapped me! I realised there was no point in slapping him back right then 'cos he was too drunk to be able to remember. So I waited till the next day for him to get sober, saw him in uni outside the computer room, went up to him, slapped him and said, "This is for yesterday. Just so you will remember."
Got it wrong: Angelsera, Ro, Anil, Arnav, Justme, Dinesh, Splitpersonality, Avyakt, Jasmine, Ashy, Ravi

20. I can’t keep a secret from my close friends.
I so can. If I have a secret, I can guard it from anyone.
Got it right: Oxymoron, Sahil, Ro, Jasmine, Puneet

21. I can’t swim to save my own life.
True. I use swimming purely as a means of exercise and refuse to put my head under water. In fact, I believe I swim like a dog. Definitely can't save myself if I'm drowning.
Got it wrong: Banana, Sahil, Anil, Ravi, Puneet

22. I think some guys look really cool smoking.
No way. NO ONE -- I repeat -- NO ONE looks cool smoking.
Got it right: Oxymoron, Banana, Sahil, Angel, Ro, Arnav, Ashy

23. I don’t say the ‘F’ word aloud. I only say it in my head.
Tricky one, eh? I don't even say it in my head. I like to stop after "What the..?!" It has more impact.
Got it right: Arnav, Anil, Virdi, Splitpersonality, Jasmine, Avyakt, Ashy, Puneet

24. I can roller-blade and ice-skate.
Yep. Can.
Got it wrong: Virdi, Ashy

25. When I go to India, I refuse to have pani puri unless it’s made with mineral water.
Last year, when I went to Delhi, my cousin got damn excited. "Oh, I'll take you to this pani puri place. It's the best! You'll love it!" Apparently they use mineral water to make the dough. And they serve it in plates! It was the yuckiest pani puri I had ever tasted! I prefer my roadside pani puri any day, served in the leaf-bowls. Dirty as hell.
Got it right: Oxymoron, Banana, Sahil, Angelsera, Ro, Anil, Dinesh, Virdi, Splitpersonality, Jasmine, Avyakt, Ashy, Ravi, Puneet

Sahil and Arnav win, tied at 6 each.