Monday, July 31, 2006

The stay order

A long long time ago, Ptolemy concluded that the earth was the centre of the solar system and the sun revolved around it.

A long long time ago, Sayesha also concluded something. That India was the centre of the world, and everything else revolved around it.

When I was a kid, the world was a sphere full of places that you read about in a subject called geography. But there was only one place for me and others like me, to live in, and that was India. I lived in the centre of the world, the best place in the world. I had no reason to live elsewhere. The people who lived in the other places were a different kind, and I would never have anything to do with them ever in my life.

And then I heard about about someone I knew moving to this weird place called America. So I adjusted my theory and said, okay, maybe people like me go and stay in difference places in the world, but they always come back to live in their home, no matter how many years it takes them.

According to me, the earth was round in shape instead of stretching on endlessly, so that such people could go around it, see what they had to see, stay where they wanted to see, and come back home - to live in India - the centre of the world.

Two weeks ago, on 18th July 2006, I completed 8 years in Singapore. That's longer than my stay in any city in India. Two more years to go before I complete my bond. And after that, I'll have to decide. I'll have to decide which is home. I have to figure out what home really is.

All this while, my life had been pre-set. I had to live in Singpore till 2008. That was my fate, and not a bad one at that. The country has been good to me. But I could never see myself settling down here. I always thought I'd be going back to India. But now, as I near the magic number of 2008, I have to decide where I want to spend the rest of my life.

Is it Singapore where my job and friends are? Is it India where my family is? Or is it somewhere else?

A friend was discussing this with me and she asked, "Perhaps you should start thinking -- what's the most important factor that will determine which country you want to settle down in?"

"Umm... I dunno... availability of good pani puris?" I said.

(No, I wasn't joking.)

So I decided to make a list. A Singapore vs India list.

If I live in Singapore, I would be close to India.
But if I live in India, I'd be even closer to India.

Singapore has mee goreng and prata.
But India has the awesomest thing in the world - roadside panipuri.

India has my roots.
But Singapore has my job.

In India, you can be mugged and robbed anytime of your belongings.
But in Singapore, they say you've already been robbed of your freedom.

India has many crazy seasons that often go out of control.
Singapore has control over its one crazy season.

In India, I can walk around like I own the place.
But in Singapore, I can walk around without getting eve-teased.

In Singapore, I'm squashed by the stress.
In India, I'd be squashed by the crowds.

In Singapore, they speak four languages.
But in India they speak my language.

Singapore is clean.
But India's real neat too.

So I discussed my dilemma with my sister. She said she had the perfect solution for me.

"Come to the US."

"But why?"

"I'm here, that's why."

She had a good point. But I do not know yet where I will live. Things have changed. The way I feel and think has changed. I do not have that 'Of-course-I'll-go-back-to-India-where-else?' feeling anymore. Suddenly there are too many choices. Too many factors that come to play. Practicality, logic, numbers, ambition, desires, convenience. Emotions.

They say that the difference between 'staying at a place' and 'living in a place' is that while the former refers to a temporary arrangement, the latter indicates permanence.

Perhaps things have changed. Perhaps I don't need to pick a place to live in, anymore. I can stay where I am, and a few years later, I can stay somewhere else. Perhaps we don't live in a world where have to live in a place anymore. We just go around the world and stay at places we like, till we're ready to move on to the next place.

And perhaps that's the real reason why the earth is round. So that you can go around it, see all of it, and one fine day, if you wake up and you feel that you're ready to live in a place, you know exactly where to go.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Two guys and a girl

Update on my Krrish survey - 195 responses so far. I'm so thrilled about my dissertation now. I think that about 150 of the responses came from my blog buddies and their friends. Just wanna thank you guys and gals for helping out someone you've never met. :)


I am moving again.

And cliched as it may sound, it does feel like yesterday when I moved into this house.

When I started my master's last year, I was going for classes after work. My classes were in the west and I was living in the east. By the time I got home, it was so late that it was almost time to get up to go to work the next day. The lease for my last house had expired. And to avoid the crazy lifestyle I was leading, I had finally decided that it would be better for me to move to the west.

And move I did. But now it's that time of the year again. And I am so glad I am moving back to the east. Yeay! Though I still have one more semester of travelling to the west for classes, I am going back to my beach and everything else that I missed about the east.

And as I think of the million things that I must throw before I move into my new apartment, I wonder if there's anything about the west I will miss. Not much.

Maybe the two blokes I live with. Just a little bit.

When you're fresh out of university, everyone someone manages to find someone or the other of the same gender, to be flatmates with. It's easy. But a few years down the lane? Not so easy anymore.

Okay, what do you do when all the girls you know are either getting married or leaving Singapore for an MBA?

It was official - I'd run out of single girls to live with.

Days of frustration and desperation led to the only solution I had. Answer an online ad. I found the ad and the flatmates. Everything was fine. Except for one little thing.

The flatmates were both guys.

So I called up my parents and asked them if they'd be okay with me living with two random guys. (Actually, they were not that random, they were my juniors from uni. And although I'd never really spoken to them, I'd seen them in uni a couple of times.)

Dad freaked out a bit at first.

"Live with guys?? Why?? What happened to the girls??"

"I'm out of them, Dad!"

"Out of them?"

"Yeah, most are going abroad for their MBAs and a few are getting married."

(Truth was - most were getting married, and a few were going abroad for their MBAs. But I could not tell him that otherwise I'd put myself in a "If your batchmates are getting married, why aren't you??" situation. And other than "Errr... uhhh... ummm...." I had no answer to that question.)

"Achha... hmmm... guess you have no choice then... you will be careful, yes?" He asked.

"Don't worry Dad, I'll keep three knives in my room and a water pistol under my pillow." I tried to joke my way out of it.

(Come to think of it - I do have three knives in my room - one for sharpening my writing pencils, one for sharpening my eyebrow pencil, and one for cutting fruits and stuff -- general bhaigiri-practice.)

Anyway, my parents agreed and I went ahead and signed up for the flat. Contrary to my hopes, neither of them turned out to be gay. It's now been almost a year since I have lived with these guys, and I must say it has been a strangely interesting experience.

I believe that after having seen both sides, now I am in a position to collate the differences between living with gals and living with guys.

Living with guys - the cons

  • You can't just wear whatever you want when at home.
  • To avoid embarrassing them, you gotta dry your clothes in two lots - the mentionables in the main drying area and the unmentionables inside your room.
  • There is always a pile of clothes in the washing machine that someone forgot to pick up.
  • The couches always have a pile of clothes taken off the drying rack by someone who wanted to dry his own clothes.
  • When your flatmate wants to ask you something, he will not knock on your door for fear of disturbing you. He will sms you or worse, call your mobile from the house phone.
  • You can't decorate the house for fear of making it too girly. I have not had my favourite pink gerberas in my house for almost a year now. :'(
  • "But we must have one hindi channel yaar!" is not a good enough reason to get Zee/Sony tv connection, especially since you have no time to watch TV. (In the last year, I have watched TV only thrice. I don't even know my way around the remote control.)
  • You feel like a worthless failure when a yummy smell creeps out of the kitchen as your male flatmate whips up a fancy meal.
  • You can't walk around with a multani mitti mask on your face - you may cause a heart-attack in the house.
  • You can't play Shania Twain too loud.
  • You can't have an inhouse pedicure/manicure session.
  • You can't experiment with your flatmates' hair.
  • You can't get opinions from your flatmates on silly things such as whether your ankles look fat in those shoes, before you go out partying.

Living with guys - the pros

  • They will agree to let you have the big room with the attached bathroom without any rona-dhona and nautanki. (Of course, I pay 75 dollars extra per month for it, but it was still nice of them.)
  • You will never have a situation where all the inhabitants of the flat are PMS-ing at the same time.
  • It's no big deal if you see your housemates only in the weekend. (When I leave for office, it's dark and they're still asleep. When I come back from class, it's dark and they're asleep.)
  • Your room can be as messy as you like - no one's gonna drop by at a weird time to talk about boyfriend problems.
  • You work out for longer durations, especially if you bump into your flatmates at the gym.
  • You can all be sitting in the same living room, and you don't necessarily have to talk.
  • The kitchen belongs to only one person, without interference from the others. (In my case, it happens to belong to my housemate, since I stopped cooking a year ago.)
  • Your flatmates will never borrow your precious hair straightener.
  • Of the two shoeracks in the apartment, you can have one and a half to yourself. Sometimes more.
But my top favourite one is this.

  • You enjoy hearing the shock in the voice of the person on the phone to whom you just coolly said, "I'm sorry, ____ is not at home. I'm his flatmate, can I take a message?"

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Henna bolo bolo

"WHAT? Go to Little India? On a Friday night? On my own?? Yeah, right! Over my dead body!" This would have been my typical reaction.

But last Friday night, I was forced to eat my words and my hat, skip over my own dead body and make my way to the only area in Singapore I am scared to go to by myself -- Little India.

So why did I go?

Sigh... a song comes to mind... with a little modification...

Charity ke liye sala kuchh bhi karega.

Just before midnight, I had received a message from SVC - Student Volunteer Corps - for whom I had done some fund-raising work last year (I had blogged about it here.) They wanted to ask me if I was available to do the same this year.

I'd love to, I told them, except that I did not have any materials on me. And the only place in Singapore that I knew would have henna cones was Little India. So I braced myself and made the arduous journey to Little India, got lost, called a friend who guided me, wandered the streets of Little India until I finally found a shop that sold henna cones. Phew.

I was up very early on saturday morning and reported to Singapore Polytechnic - the venue of the fund-raising event. I was to be a part of a carnival where I would do henna for people all day. The volunteer who had approached me showed me my table.

And the table-mat... errrr... I mean table-mate who came with it.

Now I had never done joint-venture fund-raising before. In the last 6-7 years of doing this, I'd always had a table to myself.

"This is the face-painting lady, and you'll be sharing the table with her." She told me.

I looked at the FPL just as suspiciously as she looked at me. We exchanged polite hellos.

It was still quite early, and after setting up the stall, I found myself quite jobless. Ditto for her. So we started talking.

"So where's your henna shop?" She asked.

"Err... I don't have a henna shop. I only this one in a while for charity."

"Oh okie..."

"Where's your face-painting shop?" I had to ask.

"I don't have a face painting shop. I only do this as a part-time business at birthday parties and other events."

"So what do you do?"

"I'm a senior editor in a book publishing company."

"Oh okie..."

"What about you?"

"I'm a freelance graphic designer."

Whoa, the things we had in common.

"What's your name?" She asked.

I told her. "And yours?" I asked.


"Hazel... hmmm..."

Looooong pause.

"So did you get teased
a lot in school?" Suddenly I found myself blurting out.

"As in?"

"As in... You know... "Hazel, you're a nut!" type of teasing?"

The moment I said it, I regretted it. I barely knew her, what the hell was I doing cracking bad jokes about her name?!

Thankfully, she started laughing. "Yes, I got teased a lot. I hated my name all through school."

"I like the name 'Hazel'." I said.

"Yeah, me too. Now." She smiled. "Hey, you want to make a poster for our table??"


And suddenly we were friends. I guess sometimes a bad joke is all it takes to break the ice and become friends with someone.

So I made our table poster, careful to use exactly half of the sheet of paper to advertise my henna and half to advertise her face painting.

"So when's it gonna start?" I asked.

"Not sure... the chief guest is not here yet... Hey, you wanna make me a henna design meanwhile??"

"Sure!" I was too happy to do it.

After I semi-handicapped her due to the wet henna on her hand, I took over making the pokemon models. She'd been making them to sell at the carnival.

We made shitloads of them but ended up giving away all for free to the children with Down's syndrome who visited our stall.

There was a balloon sculpture stall next to ours. When I saw the balloon sculptor, I did a double take.

I walked over to him and said, "Hi, are you Victor?"

"Yes, I am! How do you know me?"

"You were featured in my magazine last year, remember?"

"Ohhh! Yes yes, you are the editor! Small world, huh? Are you still with them or doing henna fulltime?"

"Haha! No, I'm still with them."

"Give me your number, I will call you when I get calls to do balloon sculpturing at birthday parties, we can set up shop together!"

"Errr... uhhh... I don't really... why don't you ask Hazel? She's the face-painting lady!"

In five minutes or so, numbers had been exchanged and we were ready to become the trio that terrorised kids at birthday parties.

Speaking of kids, some had soon materialised at our stall out of nowhere. Hazel got busy painting the most adorable spiderman on this kid's arm.

The kid came back later to get a spider's web painted on his face. Then he asked Hazel for a mirror so he could look at it. He then proceeded to use the mirror to examine the spiderman on his arm. Hazel, the kid's mother and I burst into laughter.

"You can look at it directly, you know. You don't need a mirror." Hazel said.

The kid gave all three of us a disgusted 'What-do-you-grown-ups-know' look and continued with his inspection.

Meanwhile, I had a queue of teenagers waiting to get henna done. I soon got to work, and both Hazel and I stayed busy till it was lunchtime.

A kid was observing me as I was making this design. He remarked, "Is that a waffle in the centre?" I laughed so hard, I almost lost control of the cone.

This girl asked me if I had any design samples to show her. "Oops, all the designs are in my head. I just follow the shape of the hand... if you can trust that." I'm glad she did. This was one of my favourites that day.

As I encountered some strange requests, I remembered a few funny incidents from last year's carnival. When the children with Down's syndrome came down to the stall, (Actually it's difficult to guess the age of someone who has Down's syndrome, so we'd been told to refer to all of them as children) there was a very shy boy amongst them. So this shy boy - I call him Bashful Benny - was looking at the henna and smiling.

"Do you want it done?" I asked him.

He pointed to his arm.

"Okay, let's do a design on your arm. What do you want?"

"My name."

"Your name? Great! What's your name?"


"Okay, Benny, here you go!" I wrote 'Benny' on his arm.

Soon, there were two more of them at my stall asking for the same thing.

"Same thing? Okay, so what's your name?" I asked the first one, while the second one waited.

"No, I want you to write 'Benny'."

"You want me to write 'Benny'??" I glanced at his name tag. His name was something else.


"Err... Okay." So I wrote 'Benny' on his arm.

The second one also wanted me to write 'Benny' on his arm!

The real Benny was standing there, enjoying the spectacle.

"You see, Benny? You're a celebrity! Everyone wants me to write your name!" I told him. He blushed again. They stuck around for a while, and soon Bashful Benny and the other two 'Bennys' were escorted away by the volunteers.

This year, I was slightly more prepared. Girls are never a problem, but usually, I have to think of what to draw for guys. The most popular guy-designs are barbed wire, lizard, spider and its web (see picture), etc.

Once I even had someone asking me to draw a dragon. I had no idea how to draw a dragon with henna, and I told him so. He insisted. I drew what I thought looked considerably like a dragon, till his girlfriend came along, took one look and exclaimed, "Wow! Dolphin! Cool!"

Gee, thanks a lot. :|

Coming back to this year's carnival, the performances by the disabled had started, and people settled down in chairs. I saw some of the most amazing performances ever. A secondary school boy wowed us with a song in Chinese. I seriously believe he was better than some of the finalists in Singapore Idol!

Next, a troup of speech and hearing impaired musicians played some very beautiful pieces. I still can't get over how someone who can't hear music can make music. Amazing.

The SVC volunteers were next, and they put up a very unique performance. They played songs by boybands, and used sign language to translate them to the audience. It looked like a very well-choreographed dance, especially because they were all in sync. Brilliant idea, I must say. And I wondered how come the actual singers in the boybands -- even though they do almost the same actions -- look like such dhakkans in their videos.

Hazel then asked me if I wanted her to paint something for me. I jumped at the chance.

"Yes yes, I want!"

"What do you want?"

"What is your favourite?"

"Powerpuff girls."


"All three of them?"

"Three?? Whoa! No, one maybe?"

"Which one?"

"What do you mean?"

"Blossom, Bubbles or Buttercup?"


"I dunno! I'm not really a fan." I said. "The pink one maybe?"

"Oh great! She's Blossom, she's the most popular one."

So she painted this really cool tattoo-like Blossom on my hand.

(By the way, the colour she had used for the hair was a tad stronger than the rest, so after my bath the next morning, everything else had been washed off, but an eerie orange wig was around on my hand for one whole day.)

At the end of the day, I was so dead tired that I felt like going home and collapsing into it, dead to the world until sunday afternoon. But I was supposed to meet my friends for dinner and I turned up, proudly showing off my Powerpuff Girl.

I was tired but I felt really good on the inside. I guess that's the thing about volunteer work -- it's a win-win situation. Someone benefits and you feel really great.

It is probably the only place where the time=money equation is so obvious. Time or money -- give whatever you have more of.

Though sometimes I do wonder if one is really supposed to have so much fun doing volunteer work.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The BYOB (bring your own blog) party

Now I've witnessed a bachelor party before, but on Sunday night, I was invited to the first bachelorette party of my life.

An e-bachelorette party at that.

So what happens when eight crazy bloggers in various parts of the world decide to hold a BYOB bachelorette party online?

A lot, most of which cannot be disclosed here since this is a family blog, and also because the sistahs of the ya-ya sistah-hood would not spare my life if I disclosed the dirty details.

So I decided to blog about PG-rated parts of the party instead. The planning, that is. With the kind permission of the attendees, of course.

*For all the times that you gals ran away with the gold at my bar, Sayesha grabs first bragging...errr... blogging rights to this party and runs away muahahaha*


The invitees

Smiling Girl
The girl from Ipanema
The girl who sold the world
Jane aka The chosen one

The scheduling

Ipanema Gal - hey girls!!! following up on s.g's wonderful idea. QSG is also game for an "e"-girls-night out. we can get together on gtalk and chat. fun will come. we need to fix a time, preferably over weekend..

Sayesha - Wow you guys were serious! This is super exciting!! :D But gtalk??? Gtalk?? No font colour, we'll go crazy trying to figure out who wrote what! Do they even have conferencing?? How about yahoo instead??

Aarti - Btw.. just a passing thought.. NIGHT-OUT??? Night for whom & day time for whom?? :P:P

Ipanema Gal - people throw in times and dates and ideas and let's make this happen! :)

Sayesha - SG sunday night waapas aa jayegi... that would be sunday night for me too... and Amrikans ke liye sunday morning...

Gemini - I am absolutely game for the little chat - Sunday, is it? So this really is a bachelorette party??? When is the shaadi? And whose? I am planning to get drunk and chat with you girls - am even planning to wear a funky outfit, play loud music, and laugh a lot, to get in the groove! ;)

Ipanema Gal - Lets try this again. Sunday 8 30 pm IST = Sunday 11 am EST (U.S time) = Sunday 11 PM Shingapur time. i think that works for most, except it might be too late for sash, and smiling girl can be fashionably late. sash, what do you think??

Jane - So is the grand plan on or not, gals??? Sash hasn't confirmed if 11pm is ok with her...altho' I doubt will the poor gal wake up for MoAnday morning? She will be blue anyway!!

Sayesha - Ati sundar naariyon ka bhandaar, namaskaar. (Hey that rhymed!) 11pm works for me... but I can stay up only till 12... cos 6 baje uthna hai :'(

World Gal - Okay, summary of the latest decisions: time to meet is 8:30 pm IST which is 11 am EST anf 11 pm Singapore time.

The food

Gemini - Hand raised for daaru...i just got back from shopping and i hv my baatlis ready to go!

Sayesha - Baatlis?? Arre baatlis se kya hoga, yahan toh BAALTIS chahiye! HAhahahaha! :D I am buying nachos and I will make my own low fat dip.

Nirwa - Now now.. for drinks, I suggest orange juice! :P And food mein, please make it vegetarian! :P whatever it is.. :P

Sayesha - Nirwa babes... don't worry... tujhe kuchh na kuchh toh mil hi jayega.. and gharwali-'bar'wali a.k.a Sayesha has generously donated fifteen tankis of orange juice for the party. :D

I dunno if this is weird but I actually went and bought nachos and I made my low-fat dip too, the divine secret recipe of which, if sufficiently high on girl-talk, I shall gladly share with the ya-ya-sisterhood at the party tonight.

Nirwa - I say we have pizzas and popcorns and even watch "Naagin" or "Haatimtai" for that matter.. that will make the party ROCK! :P

World Gal - And please, Sayesha...nachos megatons mein banana and bigger share should be mine. Muhahahahahahaha *is very happy that tgfi bhukhad is asleep and won't be able to protest*.

Jane - Hey bhagwan....Sash jaldi se market ja aur extra 20 packets aur le aao! I'll be the popcorn maker (that way I can eat more standing next to the machine :P)

The music

Ipanema Gal - and myuzzik.. how bout good old 80's?? of course, World Gal will have no idea. she can bring nursery rhyme cassettes.

Sayesha - Music... hmmm... I was thinking sharara sharara but that was for a bachelor's party... heheheh... sorry sorry... I don't lissan to much engris muzic... main gaaon ki bholi bhali chhori... sirf brajbhasha ke geet hi sunti hoon. :D

World Gal - Hindi music bhi chalega but Sayesha will have to leave out Himesh Nasalammiya. She said once that she likes his songs. :|

Sayesha - World Gal ki bachi, I did not say I liked Reshammiya - I only like 'Aapki kashish' okhayy??? Hmmph! :|

Underage drinking issues

Gemini - we can have one bachelorette party every month! :p We might become alcoholics, but hey, anything for friends! :))

Aarti - But hey, what alchoholics??? Its not necessary that you need to get drunk every time we chat!!!

Ipanema Gal - eh! what's a party without some daaru?? hum bhi piyenge, tujhe bhi pilayenge. nahi to smiling girl ki tarah apne liye bournvita ya horlicks leke aana.

Aarti - Sayesha ke bar mein jaate jaate aap full bewdi ho gaye ho lagta hai.. You won't get drunk.. no one will..

Smiling Gal - Tune sach hi kaha tha Ipanema Girl... World Girl thoda underage hain is party keliye... :) *Successfully invited a fight*

Ipanema Gal =- HULLLOOOOOO! is bacchi ko kisne laaya party mein?

Gemini - Seriously, 18 yr olds cannot drink - can we make sure we have some OJ and some Soda? Cant be held responsible for serving drinks to bachchas...! :)

World Gal - :O :O :O
Why can't 18 year olds drink??? Why, why, WHY???!!! X-(
*stamps her foot on the ground, throws a tantrum and wails* :P

Sayesha - I had my first drink when I was 24. :O

World Gal - 24??? :O :O :O ITNA LATE??? :O 24 tak toh main curiosity se hee mar jaoongi. :P

Gemini - shiva shiva!!!! aaj kal ki are not allowed to drink until you are 21!~!!!!

World Gal - 21??? :O But maine toh suna tha ki it's 18!!! It's 18 in my city! And Delhi mein bhi limit 18 hai!!! Pffft....oppressive people. :|

Gemini - Ahem....delhi is 25... India overall is 25... oppressive, it seems - ek to aaj kal ke bachchon ko sahi raasta dikhao..tch tch... no gratitude only!

World Gal - Delhi is 25? :O But maine toh padha tha ki they're only THINKING of raising the age from 18 to 21.......ab 25 kahan se ho gayi? :O
There's NO justice left in this world.
*grumbles under breath*

Sayesha - Hahahah bachi ko talli hone do behnon.. shaayad usi se sober rahegi...

World Gal - Bachi kisko bola? :O *puts her face into a pillow and sobs*
WHY this ban on drinking? Just when I have finally turned 18. Hmph. This is a gross violation of human rights and I shall appeal to the Amnesty International. X-(

Aarti - about the drinks.. Hmmm.. sochna padega!! Lets take a vote.. girls in favour of drinks kindly sign the petition (I think am gonna see all the names here :P)

World Gal - *Raises one hand in favour of drinks*
After it gets counted, *raises the other hand too for increasing the count*. :P
This is way better than signing a petition. :D

The technical glitches

Gemini - Not to be paranoid or anything - I don't seem to be able to log in to Yahoo - something is not quite right with the servers here - so if I don't show up in the am - its not because I am not up for partying, just thta the Internet stars are not aligning!

Ipanema Gal - yahoo down over here too.\

Sayesha - Come in Charlie 1 2 3... Come in Charlie 1 2 3... Charlie ke bache kahan hai tu... Singapore reporting Yahoo's downfall :'(

Gemini - Charlie ka bachcha North America mein bhi nahin hai...kisi aur ne usse dekha hai kya???

Sayesha - Newsflash - Yahoo is working. YAHOOOOO!!!!!!!! :D

The stripper

Sayesha - All right gals, I'm bringing a male stripper.
*pauses for effect*

World Gal - Male stripper? *fake scandalised look on her face*
Just ONE??? :P

Gemini - can we get abhishek b???? ;)

Sayesha - Hahahaha! Abhi Bachha I mean Abhishek Bachchan is too likeable for me to see him strip. :D People look sooooo much better with clothes on, na? :D

Gemini - Yea, some ppl look good with clothes - like Gulshan Grover - not Aby Baby...! ;)

Sayesha - So you have seen Gulshan Grover without, eh? :D

Gemini - So who do you have for the strip show???? George Clooney? Brad Pitt?

Sayesha - I'm getting a sumo wrestler... that way the contrast between clothes on and clothes off is not a lot.

Gemini - I am sorry but I wont be able to make it...! Not if you hv a sumo wrestler for the stripper...!

Ipanema Gal - Hahahahahhahahahha i just went thru the string of emails and found out about the sumo wrestler. aa raha hai kya woh? i need to be dressed up accordingly. IMHO, a sumo wrestler is better than abhishekh hunchback bacchan.

World Gal - the stripper's still not decided....make it John Abraham please...although a sumo wrestler might tell us what NOT to eat and that way, some of us can lose weight. :P

Sayesha - John Abraham naked???? Nahiiinnnnnnnnnn aisa durachar mat karna behno!!!


Sayesha - Hahahahaha! I actually read it as Arjun SINGH! And I was like - yeh ladki paagal hai kya??

Gemini - I don't want to hurt feelings but that is NOT an option! ;)

Aarti - In any ways, NO SUMO WRESTLER Sayesha.. pleeeeeaase.. itna atyachaar mat karo.. Nahiiiiiiiin :P:P

Jane - EH???? Oye Aarti behena, aise conditions lagaogi na toh party ka satyanash ho jayega!! No drinks, no strippers, oye yeh party hai ya kindergarten ka class?? Tauba tauba, kya zamaana aa gaya hai

Aarti - I changed my idea for drinks yaar.. ap sab to raashan paani lekar mujhpar chad gaye! Bichari bachi ki jaan loge kya?!?! And who said no stirpper??? :O:O:O
Oye.. this is a bacherotte party.. and no bachelorette party is complete w/o a stripper okay! Who's the stripper.. that has to be decided :P

World Gal - Why can't WE decide the stripper? :| Why? Why? WHY??? *stamps foot on the ground and throws a tantrum*. make it John Abraham, please.....or wait, can it be Francesco Totti? :D Or if someone has a problem with Italian football team *looks sourly at dukhi Lajjo*, then, make it Orlando Bloom. :P
JOHHHHHHHHHHNNNNNN!!!!!!!! :D :D :D *super duper excited*

Aarti - And one vote in favour of John.. Sorry Sash, get someone on your side quick :P:P

Sayesha - I just called and cancelled the Sumo... bechara ro raha tha... kaha ki pehli baar kisine usko bachelorette party mein bulaya aur phir cancel kar diya... abhi woh solid diet-exercise regime par hai. Says he'll make it to my bachelorette party.

Gemini - Kya daddy-cation hai!!!! ;) Let us know when your bacherlorette party is - and with that, pl to send dimesions of this sumo dude too, okay?

Sayesha - Ok let me make it clear... I LOVE John... he's da best... which is why I DON'T WANT HIM TO STRIP!! Mera sacha pavitra pyaar hai woh... uski izzat ko sareaam neelam hote nahin dekh sakti main.. nahiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn :O

Gemini - Kya pyaar hai - ab bipasha kya karegi???

Aarti - So Sayesha doesn't want John.. then give us some strong recommendations Sash else ye sab ladkiyaan John ko hi laakar rahengi!!!

Nirwa - Stripper Options :
1. Satish Shah
2. A K Hangal
3. Alok Nath
4. Mithun Chakraborty / Mimoh Chakraborty
5. Karan Johar :P :P :P

Sayesha - Nahiinnnn Karan Johar nahinnn I LOVE him!!!!!! Meri aakhon ke saamne uska wastra-haran??? Nahiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!
Who da hell is Mimoh? Mithunda ka puttar hai kya??
A K Hangal? Bechara Nangal?? Hehehehee!

Nirwa - I think Karan Johar is gay...

Sayesha - And Karan Johar gay hai toh kya hua, mera pyaar phir bhi sacha hai! SATC fans, gay friends are the loophole of monogamy, remember? ;)

Nirwa - And yeah, Mimoh is Mithunda da puttar! :P Coming soon to a cinema near you.. (psst.. try google image search to see this dude - eewwww)

Sayesha - I want Arjun Rampal!!!! Lekin with clothes on! :|

Aarti - Nirwa, if you wanna see Mimoh or Mithunda strip.. Govinda kya bura hai yaar??? :P:P
Hey Sash.. what is this?? KJ is your pyar, JA is your pavitra pyar.. Kisiko chodoge ke nahi????? Now kindly come up with some real nice suggestions for the stripper, girls.. kya kar rahe ho?? Less than 7 hours for the party and the stripper hasn't been decided yet !!! Btw.. hehehahaha.. A piece of news.. I guess its our great "Himesh" ka happy budday today LOL but am sure none of ul would like to see him strip.. anyone interested in nightmares?? :P:P

Nirwa - Happy Happy Happyyyyyeeeinnn beerrrrththhhhdeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnn
The day I blog about the Gujaratis who changed the world, Himesh Reshammiya is a must on the list..
I vote for himesh as the stripper.. 'mere mere mere.. kapdeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn'

World Gal - Hey Bhagwaan!
Did someone dare mention KARAN JOHAR as the stripper??? Eeeeeeeewww....he's SO gay! No, me no homophobic but please, don't do satyanaash of our party.

Okay, I've finally decided the stripper. Remember that Pardesiya guy? Yeah, yeah, the female sucked but please, did anyone notice her hot boss? And that hot 'Ali Baba' in some recent remix too? The one who also modelled for Pulsar? 'These boots are made for walkin' all black! Ooooh......I remember a blogger telling me his's Muzamil Ibrahim. :D Really really stripper material...errrr....I mean, super hot. :P

And it's Himesh Nasalammiya's birthday?, this proves it. I suck at everything, including mimicking Himesh.

Nirwa - hark hark hark.. yes yes.. i liked that dude.. one vote for him! :P
let's change himesh's name to nakesh gawaiya :P :P :P

Jane - Goodness gracious me! 84 mail threads in this one continuing thread, not counting hte side mails for yahoo ids et yahin ho rahi hai kya sisterlog????

Kuch toh bachke rakho evening ke liye! I eyed all the choices for strippers and now my eyes hurt. I think I need to lie down. The Muzzamil kid is definitely a sight for sore eyes though, pls have pity on my poor heart and leave the Mimohs and Miyyans and Nangals it is, Parekhombie is scary enuff! :P

Sayesha - Yes yes Pardesiya's hot boss is fine with me... yeay! :D

World Gal - Okay, all the chalu sistahs, I'll have extra popcorn too, please. :D And *edges her way past Jane to reach Sayesha* Sayesha, agar uske liye 20 packets aayenge, toh mujhe 40 chahiye! :P

- Oye Nacho World Gal! :P

Are ye gonna be edging your way up to Muzzamil as well??
I don't think so, young lady!
Go and do your homework, NOW!

World Gal - Yes, I am! YES, I AM!!! He's miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine!!! Stay away from him, chalu sistah Jane :P *gives a menacing and cold stare*. X-(
You take Karan Johar! Muhahahahahahahahaha
*runs off as fast as her little legs can carry her*. :P

Nirwa - LOL - yeah, Jane, take Karan Johar.. aka Kooo :P (inspired from Poo of k3g)

Jane - Okay-o! *Jane cheerfully picks up Karan Johar, mixes him in the popcorn, listens to the crackling, and when just right, makes a paper cone and hands the popcorn to sweet, innocent li'l Nacho World Gal, who's li'l big mouth is anyways open and ogling at model Muzzammil.*

World Gal - *Munches on the popcorn, suddenly realises that the taste sucks*
Euuuuuuuuughhhhh....kya milaya isme? :O Oh no!!! I'm poisoned!!! :(

Jane - Koo.....bwahahahhahahahahhahhahahhahaha!! I'm loving' it!
So, Nacho 100th Scrappie didja like my KOO POPCORN?

World Gal - *Nacho 100th scrappie Navs can't reply because she's busy thinking of her epitaph one-liner*
thought of it..."excuse my dust" :P
Now, please bury me deep. :|

Jane - Ooopps!! Muzzammil dahling, would you pls revive poor baby here with some CP...err...i mean some crisp popcorn?

World Gal - *Hopes that Muzamil ignores Jane's faltoo ka full form of CP and gives some ACTUAL CP*

Sayesha - Muzi sirf mera hai!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

Well I can't disclose the details of the party, but the most important thing is that Sayesha had to leave early, and so Muzi offered to drop her home, while the other girls turned a horrible shade of green.

Muahahaha! :D

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I called. I spoke. I conquered.

Yes, they rock.

Now I just gotta get the visa before they wake up and change their minds. :O

And may I add -- dhaaki tiki dhaaki tiki dhaaki tiki!!!! :D

Note: Errr... Details of the 3-day convincing strategy and flawless execution cannot and shall not be disclosed for fear of misuse by the crazy youngsters of today.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Weather forecast - Sunny and sneezy today, storm expected tomorrow

Namaskar. Aaj ke mukhya samachar.

My Marketing Manager popped by my cubicle to ask me what my parents think about the Pakistan trip. I didn't have an answer for him. I haven't called them yet, I'm still rehearsing what to say and how. I will call them tomorrow and tell them even though I am really nervous. But I was sitting in Komalas today, having sev puri, when songs from Veer-Zaara started playing and I think that's a good sign.

In local news, if you live in Singapore... no no no this is not another survey! So where was I?... Yeah, if you live in Singapore and have some time to spare tomorrow, drop by Singapore Polytechnic to support the Student Volunteer Corps Olympic Dream - a campaign for athletes with disabilities. (I'm helping them raise money by setting up an all-day henna stall at their carnival, and I promised them I'd do a lil publicity for them on my blog.) Swim a lap or two and help them raise money. You have nothing to lose.

Errr... Except for the $5 registration fee and some flab around the waist.

Samachar samaapt hue.

So this kid sends a letter addressed to my science magazine. They often send really cute questions to a section called 'Ask the experts', and my science writers answer their questions.

His question was, "Why do I sneeze when I step out in the sun?"

If I could, I'd have hugged him!

Reason -- I suffer from the same 'sneeze in sun' syndrome. Once I stepped out of an airconditioned room into the sun, and sneezed 32 times. Not fun. :|

So I googled to find out more and this is what I got.

Close association between the eye’s optic nerve and nerves causing the sneeze reflex may explain why an estimated 5-25% of people sneeze with sudden exposure to bright sunlight or other light sources. Sudden bright stimulation of the eye that occurs after a person has become adapted to darker surroundings is thought to bring on the condition, known as photic sneeze reflex.

5-25% of the people? I think not. My colleagues seemed pretty surprised when I told them about it. I don't think it's that common. I think it's just three ultra cool people who have this ability. The cool kid, the cool Sayesha... and before Mithunda can jump in and ask "Teesra kaun?", it's the very cool Scott Adams. Yes yes, the Dilbert wala.

And here's the really funny part.

The reflex is also known as Autosomal dominant Compelling Helio Ophthalmic Outburst syndrome.

Also known by the acronym ACHOO.

I have ACHOO. Do you have ACHOO? :D

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Just in the neighbourhood

Life is full of amazing coincidences.

So this morning, I'm still thinking about how cool is.
And then my blog gets its first comment from Pakistan.

And then my Marketing Manager pops by my cubicle to tell me he wants me to go to Pakistan on work.

"Pakistan?" My eyes almost pop out.

"You mean Pakistan? Pakistan Pakistan?" I'm so excited I can't say anything after that.

"Umm... Yeah. Pakistan. Seven days. Three cities. Three presentations."

"Pakistan??" Ok, I'm beginning to sound dumb now.

"Well, of course I'll understand if you don't want to go... because of the...errr.. you know...."

"No no! I wanna go, I wanna go!"

I was stumped. I'd never even dreamt in my entire life that I would even think of going to Pakistan. Ever.

And here was a guy willing to put me on a plane which will take me from Singapore to the land of Ghulam Ali, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Shahid Afridi, Junoon, Strings and Jal!

I could not believe my luck.

No one in my family was a freedom fighter. Neither my parents nor I was around during partition. And yet, for some reason I am very emotional about Pakistan. And though I had recently blogged about how I wish India and Pakistan merged to form a single cricket team that whacks everyone's ass, the hunky cricketers are not the only reason.

To me, Pakistan has always been the forbidden land, the mysterious place. A country full of people who are exactly like me. And yet different.

And now I was so close to getting a chance to see it all with my own eyes.

"So? Can I confirm that you will be going?" The Marketing Manager shook me out of my dazed state.

"Yeah, definitely!"

"Great, I'll arrange for the paperwork then."

But suddenly I had a thought. That before even thinking about doing the three presentations to people in Pakistan, there was a telephonic presentation I would have to do to certain people in India.

"No, wait. I think I need to get my parents' permission first... because of the... errr... you know..." I said.

"Of course, of course. I understand. Let me know if they agree."

"Okie, sure."

Hmmm... now what?

I'm sure Mom and Dad will freak out. They're not anti-Pakistan, but I know they will fear for my safety, what with the bomb blasts in both countries, and all the finger-pointing. Sigh. When do I call them? Now or after they're back from the US? What do I tell them? How do I tell them? Do I just 'inform' them or do I 'ask' them? But whatever I do, I know what they will say. "What?? Go to Pakistan?? Have you gone crazy??"

How do I convince them to let me go?

Hmmm... Will getting someone to stop their newspaper supply, and disrupt their TV connection help?

I really really wanna go. Should I? Or should I just pretend that I am five, and listen to Mom and Dad? I may be 26, but on some levels I still believe that our parents always know what's best for us. Should I even try to convince them against what I'm sure they'll say?

I feel so lost.

Inshallah it will all work out fine.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

And yes I call myslef a ediotr

Update 1 - Blogs blocked
All the blocked blogspot sites can still be accessed by people in India via The new blog url will be if the original url was
For example, the bar can be accessed at if is blocked. Alternatively, you can use

So if you're getting distress messages from blog-readers in India who can't access your blog, spread the message, tell your buddies about and, or leave a comment on their blogs (which I presume will go to their email even if they can't access their own blogs).

Update 2 - Dissertation survey
172 down, hoping to get 28 more before my subscription expires. So if you live outside Singapore, and have watched Krrish, then please please take my survey by clicking here. :)

Samachar samaapt hue. Now I can get back to my new post.

A colleague mentioned something very interesting today.

When you're an editor, you tend to look at everything around you with an editor's eye. Especially that of a copy-editor.

When I joined my company as an assistant editor, my jobscope involved a lot of copy-editing -- language, grammar, tenses, style, consistency, punctuation, etc. etc. And that kinda spilled over into everything else. I would be horrified to see things in my daily life which I wouldn't have noticed (or cared about) earlier. I spotted 'errors' in newspaper articles, emails, posters, outdoor advertisements, everything!

"Gosh! Double space between the two words!"

"Why is there a space before the full stop?"

"Oh look, they spelt out the number 10 in the first paragraph and wrote it as a number in the last paragraph. How inconsistent!"

"Drink milk 'everyday'?? Sheesh, there should be a space between 'every' and 'day'!"

"Hey there are opening quotes but no closing quotes!"

"There should be a comma here! The meaning is different without the comma!"

"This should not be a hyphen! This should be an 'em-dash'!"

Thankfully, I no longer have this annoying habit. It could be because my jobscope is no longer what it used to be. As a senior editor, my job involves more of conceptualisation, strategising, talking to users, market research, identifying new book ideas, training, drafting frameworks and content editing than copy-editing. I leave the copy-editing nitty-gritties to my project editors.

But there is one copy-editing tip that I learnt years ago, but follow even now.

When I was undergoing copy-editing training, the trainer gave a tip that I found exceptionally useful. She suggested that while copy-editing a manuscript, we place a ruler under each line as we read it. That helps us concentrate better because we're not distracted by what comes after that line, and so it helps us look at that particular line with a sharper eye.

It was an excellent tip, and I always follow it, even now, especially when I am checking the final proofs of my editors' work.

But I also find the tip to be useful for another very important reason.

It gives me the ability to differentiate between simply reading something and reading as an editor.

I know that when I put a ruler under a line, I'm sub-consciously preparing myself to read it in a different way. I am not gonna read it like I read a newspaper or a magazine or a blog, I am gonna read it to ensure that it is clear, concise and error-free. It is very important for editors to do this differentiation because the nature of our job is so similar to what we do outside of work, all the time. We're always reading something or the other. If I started reading everything with an imaginary ruler under it, I would go bonkers. I would have to quit my job and seek counselling. And I'd probably be copy-editing my counseller's namecard as I wait for my session.

So I made a rule -- when the ruler is off, I don't see the typos, I don't see the grammar errors, I just read the stuff like everyone else.

Once in a while, I get comments on my blog that go somewhat like "And you call yourself an editor?" or start off with a sarcastic "Miss editor, why don't you... blah blah..." But it doesn't affect me. Because this is a blog, not an editorial in a daily. And I am proud of it, complete with all its typos, grammar boo-boos, all its little imperfections.

My blog contains my thoughts, which often come tumbling out in one big mess and that's how I will put them up. I will not look out for grammar and punctuation and spacing and spelling and sense when I blog. Of course, before hitting 'Publish', I read it once just to make sure it represents in a fair manner what I wanted to write. But I refuse to put a ruler against my monitor.

Because this is not an editor's blog.

This is just the blog of someone who does editorial work from 8:15 am to 6:03 pm five days a week.

And this doesn't hold for editors only. I have always followed the policy of "Do not let your personal life interfere with your professional life. And oh, do not let your professional life interfere with your personal life either."

In fact, I vote for a livelier world -- a world where a doctor faints at the sight of blood when he cuts himself shaving, where an electrical engineer can't figure out why his radio set is not working, where an artist helps his son with his art homework and the son flunks, where a carpenter has a wobbly dining table in his house, where a mathematician can't divide a 140-dollar dinner bill among his three friends and himself, where a dietician is found munching on a packet of potato chips every night while watching her favourite soap, where a lawyer is rendered speechless by his wife, where a banker can't manage her home expenses, where a negotiator can't peel his son off the X-box and get him to finish his homework,
where a sharpshooter can't aim with a water pistol, where a cricketer can't catch a saucepan that his wife throws at him in anger.

A world where no one (including myself) cares whether each of my posts is 'well-edited' or not.

I blog at home, you see.

And I don't like to bring work home.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Every blog has its day

Some time ago, someone I knew suddenly closed down her blog. There was no explanation - just a note thanking her blog readers and requesting them not to ask her to change her mind.

It brought back memories of the day when this bar almost closed down.

I believe that every blogger, at one point in time or the other, considers shutting shop. A blog, just like a relationship, can end anytime. For no reason. But then sometimes, there is a reason. It could be anything. It could be a desire to retire at the peak, just like many football coaches do, rather than to see the blog going downhill and then giving up. Or it could be due to other factors - burnout, boredom, blogger's block, mean anonymous comments, readers you don't want on your blog, anything at all. That's when you just feel like it's not worth it anymore, that it's becoming more of a burden than a joy. When you know that merely taking a break will not help. When you know that it's time to end it all.

However, I'm fortunate that it only happened to me once. I have often experienced frustration because of this blog, but I always woke up the next day, feeling happy and wanting to blog again. But this particular incident was different. I knew I did not want to continue anymore. It was getting too difficult to maintain the bar. I was paying a very high price. And I knew I could not afford to anymore. I'd even written a final post, because I felt that it would be a dishonour to Sayeshaz and the bewda readers if there was no closing post.

So I wrote a post titled 'The rent is too high' and saved it as a draft first, to post the next day, when I was slightly calmer. The next day, for some strange reason, I did not want to post it. Maybe I did not really want to shut down. Maybe I convinced myself when I said, "No one should be able to emotionally hurt me without my explicit permission." Maybe there's something about blogosphere, something that doesn't let you quit, that doesn't let you die. Instead, it pulls you up, dusts the hurt away, and makes you stand up on your feet again, and you feel ready to write again.

But the draft was still there. And every time I'd see the draft, I'd think, "Hmmm.. I wonder when..."

That draft was driving me nuts. I wanted to delete it but I knew that if I deleted it, it would stay in my head forever. I could see me pointing an angry accusing finger at myself, saying "You destroyed a post? How could you do that? You put effort into writing it and you destroyed it? You are a dhakkan!"

And if it stayed on as a draft, I saw me again, saying, "You just wanna keep it so that one day when you're frustrated again, you'd have an easy solution and a convenient last post, isn't it? Coward!"
I knew it was highly possible that I would just post the saved draft one day and that would be the end of this blog. Just like that.

As the purane bewdas would know, running the bar over the last 1.5 years hasn't exactly been a bed of roses for me. But I refused to give up because I am in love with this place. I love to hang out here with my blog buddies. It's my place of relaxation. My end of the day chillout place. I can't shut it down just like that.

I'm not saying that I will never stop blogging. But if this blog has to end, it should not and will not end just like that.

If there's an end, it will be a happy one.

So I decided to post the saved draft today and get it over with, done with, so that it's out there, and out of my system. And I wouldn't think about it anymore. (Have you noticed that once you blog about something, it stops bothering you?) So here, it is, the post that I'm publishing today as a mark of how stupid I was - to actually allow myself to get so hurt that I almost stopped doing what I love to do.


So here's the saved draft:

It was one of those days that we label as 'bad'
I was angry, I was shocked, I was hurt, I was sad
I was walking alone on a grey, foggy day
When I bumped into myself on the way.

She smiled a knowing smile and said "Hi!"
"Ah, so you finally decided to drop by!"
You had to come here, it's been long due."
I said, "You look like me, but who are you?"

"I'm you", she said, "but you wouldn't know.
You're the same as me, but from a long time ago.
Come along with me, let me show you, my dear
The ugly truths of the blogosphere."

"On every single post that you pen down
There will be some faces that will frown
You will be judged you on whatever you write
You'll come across malice and plenty of spite."

"The same thing if posted by a friend
Is cute and funny and adorable to no end
But if it's posted by someone they dislike
The spiteful comments will suddenly spike."

"You'll make on your blog many a good friend,
But not all will stay with you till the end.
Just when you think that you know them through
They'll choose that moment to tell you what they really think of you."

"And once in a while, you'll feel the stress
And you'll shed a few tears and wonder in distress
Your heart will ache, and depression will strike
You'll ask - is this what blogging's supposed to be like?"

"Spite, malice, cynicism... Is happiness the new sin?
But shouldn't being happy be perennially in?
If grumbling and complaining is not your cup of tea
Does that make you an 'uncool blogger' for eternity?"

"If you start the miss the good old days
If you feel that you're trapped in a wordy maze
If you feel unhappy, if you feel out of place
Maybe it's better to drop out of the mad race?"

I listened to her with patience, but I had something to say
"But why are there more bloggers today than yesterday?
If it's all so ugly, why do people still blog?" I asked.
"We do it of our own will, it's not like we're tasked."

"Why do you blog, Sash? You need to ask yourself."
And I replied "Isn't it a joy - blogging in itself?"
"Well, it is, but only till the day it brings you pain
Perhaps then it's time to start thinking again."

"What is a blog? It's the words in your heart.
It doesn't need skill, neither is it an art.
You can express whatever you have to say.
It doesn't always have to be the same old way."

"Don't brood over the joys of the old blogging days
Do you know you can blog in a million other ways?"
I looked up at her, amazed, and she whispered to me
"Your blog is your heart, and only you have the key."

I had one more thing to ask her, "Do you still blog?"
And all I could see was her smile through the fog.
Before walking away, she stopped and looked back at me
"Blog?" She laughed. "I just did, didn't you see?"