Thursday, December 27, 2007


Hello bewdas,

Bhai has bid goodbye to the really cool desert with the tallest tower in the world.

Stories and pics will be up on Hopscotch soon, hopefully by the end of the coming weekend.

Merry belated Christmas, everyone! :D

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Du-b(h)ai - the mother ship beckons

I am very very busy at work these days. End-of-year assessment period is never easy. I have to do appraisals, look at mergers and acquisitions, organise the annual symposium, sort out performance bonuses to give out, assess my global network and come up with creative ways to increase it, and what not. Uffff! After all, being a Bhai is not an easy job.

Waise tension nahin lene ka - apun ka global employee network toh akha duniya mein chaadar ki tarah phailela hai. India mein Satish mast kaam kar rela hai - akha country akela sambhaalta hai chhokra. Bahut tarakki karega. US mein baby Aish toh bachpan se hi apun ka naam roshan kar reli hai. (Uska size aur US ka size compare karo toh ricard is impressive - big fat bonus to her. Gives new meaning to the term 'baby bonus' eh?) UK mein bhi apun ne teen char gunda-type cousins bichha diya hai (family ka khayaal toh rakhna padta hai na). Apun ko bachpan mein bahut maarta tha yeh log, abhi laga diya doosron ko maarne mein - better utilisation of energy and resources.

December is also the time for 'SAsh Bhai's Annual Symposium for Bhaigiri, Englis-spikking, Wasooli, Dadagiri and Assorted Skills' - also known as 'SABAS, BEWDAS'. Every year, the symposium is held in different parts of the world at undisclosed locations to give sabasi to bewdas who, with their exemplary work have been an inspiration to many a new chhokra in the business. The symposium also serves to facilitate knowledge- and skill-sharing between international bewdas. The location of the symposium is so secretive that sometimes even Bhai ka khud ka chhokra log don't make it there because they can't locate the errr.. location. In the symposium, strategies are discussed, money is handed over to the Bhai, and bonuses given out (to those who manage to find the location of the symposium and get their asses there - it's a test I have designed for them).

Location kabhi repeat nahin karne ka - pulis ka khatra hai. Ekich motto hai Bhai ka - akha duniya cover karne ka. US, UK, New Zealand, India, Singapore, Malaysia, The Philippines, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Pakistan - Bhai's done 'em all.

And now it's time to... Du-bai.

Ah, the mother ship beckons.

Is baar bar meich khullam khulla location bol dala - apun ka ilaka hai na. Toh ja rela hai apun - bar par nazar aur bheje par control rakhne ka, rada nahin mangta apun ko, samjha?

See you at the symposium, bewdas! Those who make it, I mean. I'll see the rest of you when I get back to Singapore.

Bole toh - dekh lega apun tum sab ko. :D


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Spreading the Christmas chair

It was one of those office Christmas parties where all I wanted to do was wear my new boots with my glittery dress. Though the Christmas committee had been publicising the lucky draw prizes for weeks now and there was a general buzz about them, I wasn't too bothered. I have been generally lucky with lucky draw stuff since I was a kid, so I thought I should win something at least.

The committee had also been publicising the theme of the party for weeks, which for some weird reason was 'glitter'. I thought it was an extremely discriminatory theme. Firstly, how the heck are guys supposed to glitter up? Secondly, who the heck wants to look at glittered-up guys? One of my colleagues in a desperate attempt to find some ideas on how guys can glitter up, googled for a phrase involving "guys" and "glitter", and let's just say the results were such that I can't disclose them here - after all, this is a family bar.

Anyway, as we settled down in the Esplanade Room in the Carlton hotel amidst the glitterati (quite literally), there were speeches and wine and food at the party, but no one was really interested. Everyone was just waiting for the lucky draw. They started announcing the lucky draw prizes with the lowest value first, and threw in a game once in a while. I was totally rooting for our table to win the 'Identify the carol and sing it' game, because it seemed to be intellectually the most stimulating one. They were showing the clues on the screen and the table that could crack the most codes and sing the most carols would win. However, I completely forgot that though I am good at cracking clues, I am hopeless at carol lyrics. Bollywood lyrics I know, but carol lyrics? Ahem. So the high point for me was when I cracked the most difficult clue, and my colleague seated next to me actually knew the lyrics. (The clue was 'ABCDEFGHIJKMNOPQRST' and the answer was Noelle. No 'ell', geddit??).

Then they started calling out the top ten lucky draw prizes. I knew that my name had been evading the hand of the 'picker' because I was meant for greater things that 200-dollar vouchers. But by the time they got to the top three prizes and hadn't called my name, I started to worry a bit. They called out the top three prizes by extension number. So when it was time for the first prize, and they called out "Extension number 8...2...5..." I turned to my colleague and said, "Dammit."

"What's yours?" She asked.

"Umm... 8242." I answered.

Before disclosing the last digit, they asked all the people whose extension numbers started with 825 to stand up so that there would be some suspense in the room, and also each candidate could look at the competitors. The rest of all just looked at all the standing parties and said "Damn you, people."

And then they called out the last digit.

"It's 2!!"

Suddenly everyone looked confused. None of the people standing were doing the victory dance. The announcer then went on to announce the name.

"And tonight's grand prize winner is... SAYESHA!"


I looked around. Everyone was either giving me confused or dirty or murderous looks.

"My extension is 8252?" I wondered.

"Sayesha, could you come up here and collect your grand prize?"

Still in a state of daze, I said, "Uhhh... okay!" Obviously at that point in time, it was pointless to do the Miss World "Oooh I won I won" hands on the cheeks and round eyes expression.

(I really got a big round of scolding from everyone later. You win the grand prize and all we get is a "Uhhh... okay!"??)

So I went to the stage, collected my grand prize, and sensing that people were still wondering why I hadn't stood up when they announced the first three digits, decided to come clean.

I took the microphone and addressed the room.

"I'm sorry. I never call myself. That's why I didn't know my extension number."

At least some of the hurts looks changed to forgiving ones, while others still couldn't believe I had just won a OTO Master Relax music-sync massage chair worth $1880. Well, I couldn't either. But I had I had! Yeay! People play musical chairs at parties, I had won myself a musical chair!

The reactions of the people were quite varied and interesting.

"Sayesha, e-bay it! You can get at least two thousand dollars for it!"

"Sayesha, no don't sell it! Keep it! It's a great prize!"

"Ship it to your parents in India!" (Not a bad idea, just that the shipping charges may marginally exceed the cost of the chair which I never paid for.)

"Sayesha, bring it to office and substitute your regular chair with it!"

"Sayesha, my office has a lot of extra space... ahem." That was my boss. So I told her, "This is unbelievable! Everyone is eyeing your chair, and you are eyeing my chair??"

But the best one came from my friend BH who suggested that I take it to the office and keep it in the pantry, install a coin system, and let people use it when they want. At the end of every week, I collect my earnings. Sounds fab to me.

Now that's what I call 'spreading the Christmas chair"! ;)


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A boot-ylicious story

So Clueless came home for the weekend before flying off to India. Two of her friends came along with her, and one of them Soleil (an adorable Malaysian Chinese girl who refers to our place as “my Indian home”) stayed for the whole weekend. Viv and I slept early on Saturday night as we had badminton the next morning, but the two girls chattered on till very late. They were still asleep when we left for the game on Sunday morning.

On our way back from badminton, I asked Viv, "Do you think the girls would have woken up when we get home?" Viv said, "Soleil maybe, but not Clueless." Like most adoring older brothers, he trusts his sister's friends more than his sister.

"I bet Clueless is up too." I said.

"Naah... I don’t think so. I'm sure she's still sleeping." He said.

"Wanna bet? Okay, it's a bet. If she's up, you will give me 79 dollars. Okay?"

Viv didn't even raise an eyebrow at that statement.

He knows by now that if I want to buy something rather badly, I use such weird bets. They are just tactics to get out of the guilt. The guilt that arises out of being a girl and hence spending money on so many random things, while as a guy, he doesn’t have much to buy. So I have this weirdass bets with him which I win and then hop away to buy whatever I was eyeing, while he looks on amused. We don’t even have a my-money-your-money system. It was not like he was gonna open his wallet and give me 79 dollars to spend, I use my credit card for everything I buy. So to an outsider, this may not make sense at all. After all, when you’re a working gal, you can buy anything you want with the money you earn, and no one can question it. But sometimes, you just need that assurance that you’re not just blowing your money off on silly things (especially when it's an amount like $79, you feel better if you have 'the license to spend it'), you’re merely “spending money you won on a bet”. Tee hee!

So we went home, and both girls had woken up. Yipeee! I had just won myself 79 dollars. Viv was shaking his head at me and smiling. He knew that half the time, I don’t even buy anything after the stupid bets. But I get a real kick out of ‘winning the money’.

But this time, I was so gonna spend it. 'Cos it was time to reboot!

I may not be the greatest authority on computers, but I do know that when your computer crashes and nothing works, you gotta reboot. Rebooting - a concept that is just as relevant to life as it is to a CPU. When life seems like it's coming crashing down and nothing works, I 're-boot', i.e. I buy yet another pair of new shoes, and life's good again.

And I knew exactly what to do with the 79 dollars I had just won. They had been speaking to me, you see. The black boots on display at BHG, which would go fabulously with the muted purple dress with black sequins I had saved for my office Christmas party. (By the way, the dress was sponsored by one of my price-of-friendship thingies, I still have to recover the money though. Girl, if you're reading this, we have some accounts to settle, muahaha!).

So where were we? Yes, so the boots, they spoke. They put forth their case – like two lawyers in black coats. “People are so cynical these days. There are very few things they actually like. So if you're lucky enough to find something you really like, shouldn’t you grab it? Don't look at the price tag, woman, look at us!” Tell me - how can you counter such a beautiful argument? I bought the argument and the boots.

On the way back home, I decided to pick up some groceries and make my special pasta for dinner before Clueless flew off. The special pasta actually has very little pasta (carbs and all) and truckloads of vegetables. So I bought pasta sauce, broccoli, capsicum, cans of mushroom and babycorn, and also picked up two cartons of milk and a big loaf of bread for the next morning’s breakfast. Heavy stuff. By the time, I was done, it was raining as if it had never rained on earth before.

As I opened my umbrella, I noticed a man standing outside the supermarket. He smiled at me politely but what he meant was “Are you out of your mind, lady?”. So I smiled back at him politely, but what I really meant was "Wuss!" He was holding one of those large Laloo Prasad family-size umbrellas, and yet looking up at the sky and hesitating to step out. My blue umbrella is so tiny it can fit in my purse. And yet, the supermarket superwoman figured that her place was a just a short walk from here, she could just walk it.

Though I was carrying about six bags, I knew I just needed to protect the new boots from the rain. So held the paper bag with the shoebox close to my body, balanced the rest of the bags on various parts of my arms, and trodded on.

I was about 100 steps from home, when I heard it.



Oh my goodness, did someone get hit by a recklessly driven car? Shocked, I turned around. There was nothing.

And that’s when it struck me. Holy cow, the base of the paper bag with the boots had dissolved and collapsed, and the shoe box had fallen through the gaping hole! The other two THUD sounds were the milk cartons that had also decided to join the boots and play kaagaz ki kashti. Sheesh.

Next was the bag with the broccoli, followed by the capsicum. Holy cow.

It was at that point in time when I realised I did not have enough hands. I had bags on every part of my arms, and the umbrella between my chin and right shoulder. Not to mention that I was drenched to the marrow. How was I to pick up the shoes and how was I to carry them? So I thought – to hell with dignity and squatted down on the roadside in a manner that is only used in Indian toilets. To add to my embarrassment, a car actually stopped and the guy inside was almost going to get out and “take the poor woman who had collapsed by the roadside to the nearest hospital” but supermarket superwoman gestured him to get on with his life. I can only imagine his shock if the pasta sauce bottle had also fallen and broken, with the red sauce seemingly streaming from my body, mixing with the rainwater. That might have been fun.

Anyway, by some magical force, I found a hand to pick up the shoebox and clutched it to my chest like a baby, picked up the rest of my dignity along with the groceries and headed home. Finally, I made it, soaking wet.

The 20-odd pairs of shoes in the shoerack at my doorstep seemed to be mocking me. I'm used to it by now. I love all of them equally, but every time I reboot, I get a little resistance from them. I reckon this time they were also jealous because I had never clutched any of them the way I was clutching the new ones. I could sense the buggers rolling their eyes because I had decided to put the new shoes under my bed instead of out there in the open with them, braving the sun and the wind and the rain.

“Bite me!” I said and ignored their jealous looks.

(Holy cow, I just hope they don’t take my words literally.)

Home had never felt cosier as I got out of the soaking clothes and changed into warm, dry ones. As I checked the boots (they were surprisingly dry) before keeping them under the bed, I suddenly forgot all about the miserable situation I had been in a few minutes ago. I was happy again.

I had rebooted, you see.


Viv still has no idea about the boots. And I just realised that this post is a great way to find out whether he really reads my blog like he claims he does. Viv, if I do not get a reaction from you on this in the next 48 hours, you will err… owe me $49.90. Thank you.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Lost Christmas

Christmas is in the air!

'Tis the season to be jolly!

In the true spirit of giving, I wanna give too. Give some gaalis to the people who make the playlists for the malls. Now I'm not anti Christmas carols, but I'm not a big fan either. The only one I have liked so far is my friend's remix rendition of Rudolph. It goes something like "Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, had a very shiny Ahuja!" Any doubts as to why it's my favourite Christmas carol ever? :D

Of course there was another one I recently encountered. Now that the cricket season is over, Viv still finds himself waking up early and having nothing to do, composes Christmas carols. Just yesterday, I found myself waking up to him crooning about how he was making a snack for Santa. Huh? He not only sang the entire carol to me as an anti-lullaby three times, he even made me sing it when my eyes opened. Sheesh. I'd like to share the torture with all bewdas here. May this 'carol' get stuck in your head. Amen.

(Viv to Santa)
Riding through the snow
On a one-horse open sleigh
Where are you gonna go?
(Santa to Viv)
Far far away!

(Viv to Santa)
When will you come back?
I've made a tasty snack
(Santa to Viv)
I'll come back very soon
I'm just going to the moon.

I'm not surprised Santa ran off to the moon to get away from Viv's snack, and worse, his song. It made me quite loony too. But not as loony as the Christmas carols played in the malls make me.

Carols in the malls are fine, sometimes they do bring more cheer than some of the top ten songs with the awful lyrics that we otherwise have to listen to all year. But I feel the veins in my temple popping out when they start playing 'Last Christmas I gave you my heart'. I just don't get it. Why do they play that song every single year? Hell, it's not a Christmas song! It's just a heartbreak song sung by a road romeo, the kind who stands in the streets and rings his bicycle bell when you walk past, and sings the nicest of romantic songs in the most awful manner? Of all the things I don't miss about living in India, this tops the list. But looks like the road romeos are expanding and are quite an international organisation now. Check out the lyrics:

"Last Christmas I gave you my heart
But the very next day, you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I'll give it to someone special"

So every year this guy just picks someone to give his heart to, sheds some tears and then picks his next 'victim' the following year? Lucha lafunga road romeo is all I have to say! Just because the song has the word "Christmas" in it, it has become a carol now. Sheesh.

(This reminds me of Sting saying in an interview that he often wonders why people play his "Every breath you take" during their weddings. "It's not a love song," he said, "It's a stalker song.")

The jolly spirit of Christmas is lost if depressing songs like this keep playing everywhere, every year. As far as I am concerned, Christmas is all about Christmas sales, about buying fabulous things at great prices, but the song is ruining it all. The other day, I was looking at a pair of fabulous Christmas sale boots going at $79. I was wondering what expensive gift I could get Viv so I wouldn't feel bad if he got me the boots, when Last Christmas started playing. I was out of there in a flash.

Kailash Kher once said of the success behind Himesh Reshammiya's songs, "His songs always have words repeated several times (think "junoon junoon junoon junoon, aashiq banaya aashiq banaya aashiq banaya, naam tera tera naam tera tera"). If you listen to them enough number of times, they will embed themselves in your head and you start liking them."

Going by that theory, maybe a few Christmases down the line, I'll actually start enjoying the song.

Oh boy, just the thought of that is depressing me more.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The ultimate couple(t)

Most couples make me sick with their couply ways, especially when they act all coochie-coo romantic and what not. But thankfully, there are some couples that just give you a very good feeling each time you see them together. I think Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi are one such couple and I was lucky to catch them on an episode of 'Koffee with Karan' (one more time - Youtube ki jai ho!). Whether it was him teasing her about all her activist stuff, or her teasing him about his bad memory with appointments, it was a pleasure to watch them interact. I have written about them in the past, but here's another post dedicated to not just the most talented couple in Bollywood, but one of the most ideal as well. It's amazing how both being incredibly serious people, are also incredibly funny people at the same time.

Javed really stole the show when Karan asked him to recite a couplet for Shabana and he said:

ush-shakal bhi hai woh
Yeh alag baat hai magar
Humko zaheen log hamesha aziz they.

("She is beautiful but that is besides the point...
The fact is that I have always loved intelligent people.")

Man, I was totally bowled over. Now this is the kind of couplet a girl would like to hear. Heh heh!

Darn, if only Viv wasn't so Urdu-challenged! :P


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Loopy Room

So a friend of ours from ye olde university days was in Singapore and decided to catch up with us on a few years' worth of data.

Of all places in the world, he chose The Rupee Room. Now it may sound like a place where beggars would gather to count the earnings of the day, but Singapore has no beggars - so it's just a place that plays Bollywood music and serves drinks. A place where apparently the ladies gotta be 20 and the men 22. (Why oh why the funny numbers?)

Now I haven't been to an Indian club since I was in the second-year. In those days, we'd go to Mohammad Sultan road for the annual Bhangra night, which was actually the alternative of for many a bachelor looking to net a hot punjabi kudi. After a while, I started getting sick of it - not to mention how much I hate remixes, especially the kind where you can barely hear the words above the dhik-chik anymore.

So I thought - okay let's check out what The Rupee Room is like. I wasn't particularly pleased with the venue. But then I guess I wasn't in the mood for it that Friday night. It had been a crazy week at work (every time a new editor is hired for my team, weird-hour teleconferences are held with the Boston office) and I was sleepy and tired and in no mood to drink or dance. So we entered The Rupee Room around 11-ish and looked around. The curtained sections had empty seats with the 'Reserved' tag on them. We were told later that no one really reserves the seats, it's probably just a ploy by the management to make the place seem 'happening'. So basically everyone is standing and but the seats are empty. We grabbed one of the small tables with the tall stools and instantly snooty waiter popped over.

"I'm sorry, how many of you?" He asked.

"Right now three, but we have more coming." I said.

"I'm sorry, ma'am. You can't occupy the table unless there are four of you."


I can't bat my eyelashes coyly and get myself a seat in a situation like this, but I can errr... bat... that's it. If only Viv had carried his cricket kit like he does to everywhere else we go, snooty waiter would have gone flying out the window, I'd have raised my bat and the very high people around me would have raised their bottles and glasses and paused to yell "Chhakka!"

(I'm forgiving of waiters and waitresses but I do have high expectations of them too - after all, I'm one myself.)

"So where do I sit?" I glared at the waiter.

"You could hang out at the bar..."

I looked at the bar. There were many many many people 'hanging out' at the bar, possibly waiting for the fourth person to turn up and complete their lives, including a bachelorette party of three which was soon joined by *surprise surprise* the groom himself. Sheesh. Either the guy was really insecure or the girls called him at the last minute to use him as a 'filler' and get a table of four.

Anyway, our filler guys soon arrived and we deposited ourselves back at the same table we had been outed from.

Reminiscing in a crowded and loud place like that is nothing but a nightmare. After the hugs and the "Man, it's been years!", when we decided to try our hand at conversation, this is what resulted.

"Hey, do you remember the time when..."


"I said - remember the..."





After a while when you realise that your ears are getting an earful of saliva every time someone leans over to yell something to you, and covering your ear with your hair doesn't help (you don't want that kinda 'conditioner', do you?), you just shut up and learn that this is not the best place to sit down and talk with an old friend about the 'good old' days.

So our reminiscing session consisted of sporadic dancing, generally shaking, looking at the people on the dance floor (which had suddenly been occupied by the entire Indian population of Singapore), and looking at the TV screens which were playing songs from the 90s on mute. It was actually quite hilarious to see a video of Manisha Koirala doing her signature "O yara dil lagana" move and the audio going "Kaindi ponnn ponnn ponnn!" Though I must admit that the remixes were well done with audible lyrics, and were extremely danceable to.

My executive summary of the Rupee Room - very good music, but limited playlist, snooty waiters and ho-hum drinks.

Go only if all you want to do is dance, cos there literally is no room for conversation.