Monday, July 30, 2012

A strange(r) encounter

So last Monday, Xena and I went to the airport to receive her papa who was coming back with the team after a cricket tournament in Papua New Guinea. Viv had no idea we were going to be there, and to make the surprise more fun, I dressed Xena up in similar clothes as mine - a long-sleeved pink top and a short denim skirt. 

We reached the airport a little early so we took a walk around the very beautiful (and my favourite amongst all airports) Changi airport. After we had done a few rounds and she had waved 'buh-bye!' to all the passengers, security staff and cleaners, we went up to see the kinetic rain display. Xena was totally fascinated.

And that's when this lady came up to talk to us.

 "Hey, that's a really nice bag!" She said. "Where did you get it?" It was a traditional handwoven bag given to me by Viv's aunt. "I got it as a gift. It's from India." I said. "Where in India?" Oh wow. "Umm.. Bangalore."

Xena soon got very bored of this conversation and started waving and saying "Buh-bye!" again. The girl (let's call her S) played with Xena for a while and then asked me if I was there to drop someone (I was on the departure level for a closer look at the kinetic rain). So I told her that I was there to receive my husband who was in the Singapore team etc. etc. We started talking about cricket and she told me that she too preferred T20.

Xena was craning her neck to look at the kinetic rain, so I took my phone out to take a picture of it. S offered to take a picture of Xena and me with the kinetic rain as the backdrop. My first thought? OMG this woman is gonna make a mad dash with my phone. I had just lost my phone at the airport a week before, so my anxiety regarding my new phone at the airport was somewhat understandable. So I told myself to not be silly, and gave her the phone to take the picture.

"Hey, you guys are dressed alike!" She said. I was sure the entire team, including the twelfth man, wouldn't notice that (men!) so it was nice to have someone notice it. I warmed up a little more to her.

After she took the picture, we talked a bit more and then parted ways. Before that, she said it was really nice to talk to me (and I felt the same about her too) and asked me if I had a contact number I could give her. Once again, alarms rang in my head but I suppressed them as unnecessary cynicism. We exchanged numbers and said goodbye.

I wondered if I'd ever see her again. I wondered if I had been a fool to give my number to a total stranger. But I also wondered if this was the start to a great friendship. My overactive imagination took me years down the lane when we, two very close friends, sat over tea and laughed about how they had first met. But then I also thought that maybe we would never contact each other. But then you never know, I told myself. It's true that because of Xena's antics, I do end up talking to complete strangers a lot more than before, but no one had asked me for my number before.

The next morning, S sent me a 'Good morning' SMS, telling me that it was nice to meet me. I was busy with Xena so I replied a few hours later. I didn't hear back from her. To be fair to her, my SMS didn't exactly have room to further the conversation. I just wished her good morning and told her it was nice to meet her too.

Last night, Viv, Xena and I were having dinner at Cafe Iguana when my phone rang. It was a friend.  During our conversation, I got a second call and it was S.  I decided to call her back later and continued the conversation with my friend. I called her back a few minutes later, pretty sure that she was going to ask me if I was at Cafe Iguana because she spotted someone who looked like me. Nope. She just said that she couldn't really hear me and she would call me the next day if it was ok. I told her it was ok and asked her what it was about, and she said she wanted to check something with me.

I hung up and started thinking. What could she want to check with me? If I could get that bag for her too? Wow, maybe she really liked the bag. Oh wait, what if she was an insurance agent looking for potential clients? Shut up, Sayesha, why so cynical? Maybe she wanted to catch up over coffee or something? Maybe we would become great friends in time and I would feel really stupid for doubting her intentions. But wait, maybe we would indeed become friends and then she would eventually ask me to lend her a large sum of money? Not necessarily, Sayesha. Not everyone has a hidden agenda. Some people are just genuinely friendly. Goodness, I was going mad. On one hand I felt incredibly stupid for giving her my number and on the other hand I felt that this could be one of those things that could take away our cynicism as humans and make us trust one another a little bit more than we do.

So today, as promised, she called. My phone was in the silent mode as Xena was sleeping, so I missed her call. I called her back as soon as I saw the missed call. She said she wanted to check something with me.

"I told you I have my own business, right?" She asked.

Warning bells. Ring ring ring!

"Err... No, you didn't."

"Oh. Ok. I am trying to have my own business and I'm looking for honest, good people as partners. I had a good feeling about you the other day, so I thought I'd check if you would be interested to invest and have some extra income?"

Silence. Many bells ringing in my head.

"Not at this point, sorry." I said, as firmly and politely as I could.

Thankfully, she didn't press at all. She just thanked me and hung up.

And me? I had this huge thought bubble. With everything and nothing inside.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A thing of the past

So every time I go back to India, I steal something from my 'bachpan box'. Dad has these boxes where he has stored all the memorabilia from our childhood. The last time I was there, I got back a bound collection of Amar Chitra Katha comics, which for some strange reason, he actually allowed me to bring back. Yes, sometimes he says no. He says I can open the boxes and look at the stuff, but I can't take them away with me. I strongly believe that he still thinks of me as a pigtailed tiny tot who can't keep her books properly. I should remind him that I now have a pigtailed (well, almost) tiny tot myself.

A few weeks ago, I was looking for some light reading and found it in my bookshelf. A burst of memories flooded me, as I flipped through the yellowed pages, and examined the tattered front and back covers. Bound in newspaper from the early 80s. Check. Eyes of the 'cover girl' neatly coloured with red ink by the brat that was me. Check. Off-centre bindi. Check. Label with the world's worst handwriting on it. Check. (It is better now. I think.) 'Ghar na naam' on the label (since it was not a school book). Check. (Yes, yes, one of my nicknames is Kuku, given by my dad. Beats me why and when I overwrote 'Cuckoo' on it. Perhaps I felt that it suited me more.)

After I had finished devouring the stories from Indian mythology and history, I turned to the advertisements. I found some absolute gems from the early 80s. Enjoy! And if you have never seen these ads before, get outta my bar now, you're too young to be here! :/

OMG they actually printed the prices of their competitors' products in their ad!

Check out the poor resolution of the graphics.

Camel! My sister and I painted with Camel paints all the time! I think the brand is still around? They may not be calling their paints "bright and gay" anymore though. 

Poppins! Why did they have a strange number like 13 in each pack?

The moment I saw this ad, I thought of Nandini and how she would shake her fist at it. Actually I, too, would shake my fist, but my fist is nothing compared to hers. Click on the picture to read the text, especially the second paragraph.

Gems! M&Ms just don't do it for me.
I hate gum. Chewing gum. Bubblegum. All kinds of gum. But I do remember the craze of the NP 007 gum. 

OMG Amar Chitra Katha records!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Catch-up #3

Ah, yet another catch-up post. But I need it to bounce back into the bar. Ooh, alliteration. :P

Mom went back to India last week. She stayed with us for a month this time. Though she's stayed longer before, this time I miss her more than I have ever missed her. The house feels empty, and Xena looks for her every day, almost making me cry. The three generations (or 3G) had a great time. This time, there was an overlap between mom's and mom-in-law's trips, and so we decided to have a short getaway in Batam, Indonesia. It was great fun, especially for Xena, who was utterly spoilt by two grandmas at once.

I lost my phone on the day my mom flew off. First time ever. To the valley of lost phones, cabville. Never again will I laugh at people who lose their phones in cabs. At first, I panicked because I thought I'd have to get a new number (hey, don't laugh at me, I'd never lost a phone before!). I was extremely upset because Viv and I got our first mobile lines together when we were not even dating, and our phone numbers are just one digit apart, something that obviously means a lot to us. Luckily, I got a new phone and replacement sim card and my number stays the same, except that I have to add back all my contacts. But that's good in a way, isn't it? Automatic phonebook housekeeping. Clean slate.

Viv and I managed to catch two movies. IN THE THEATRE! (Only those who have babies would know what a big deal this is.) Mom babysat while we watched 'The Dictator' and mom-in-law babysat while we watched 'The Amazing Spider-man'. We chose late-night shows so we'd be out while Xena was sleeping. By the way, did you notice that 'Spider-man' is a hyphenated word? I always thought it was 'Spiderman', until I studied the poster closely. Ooo. Anyway, I found 'The Dictator' hilarious (except for the very appalling mockery they made of childbirth) but I didn't like Spider-man. In the cab back, I counted the number of genres in Hollywood that I cannot watch any more - war movies, horror movies, romantic movies (Titanic and Notting Hill made me gag), animation movies (yeah ok, except for Nemo and Monsters), superhero movies, loud thrillers, teenage flicks, chick flicks, and so on. Yeah, I realise there is nothing much left for me to watch, except some comedies. It's hard to explain why I'm so forgiving of Bollywood movies, but am very reluctant to go watch a Hollywood movie in spite of favourable reviews.

I got the most brutal haircut of my life yesterday. I was trying to explain to the hairdresser that I want it really short, so short that it can't be tied, and he was having a tough time understanding me. Finally, I resorted to Singlish, "So short until cannot tie." and he understood at once. Or so I thought. Actually, I think his interpretation was "So short until cannot see." And he cut and cut and cut, so fast and so brutally, I had no time to react. Well, at least now I look like Xena, what with the same hair length and all. So if you are tired of people saying that your baby looks like your husband, you be the Mohammed and you go to the mountain and you get a haircut that makes YOU look like your baby, and then see what people say. (A lady in the playground said to me today, "Your baby looks exactly like you." I thanked her politely without letting her catch the inner muahahaha-ing.)

Viv is off to Papua New Guinea tomorrow for a cricket tournament. I'm nervous about managing Xena all by myself, and I hope she behaves. As long as she doesn't wake up at 4 am like she has been doing lately, I'll be generally fine.

Before I sign off, I have a threatening message for a blog bewdi. Anshu, I hope you don't think that Bhai does not reply to emails from bewdas and bewdis. I replied to your email the same day with itinerary suggestions for Singapore, but I have not heard back in three weeks. So I am using the bar as a platform to ask you -- Whyyy you no reply me? Bhai will now put supari on your head when you visit. :/

So that's all that has been happening. Coming up in the next post, shots of my first Amar Chitra Katha comic compilation circa 1984.

PS: Any bewdas/bewdis living in KL?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Walking the talk

Xena has started walking by herself!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Emoticonal Quotient part 4

I know. I know! I'm going to pretend that I didn't just abandon the bar for three weeks. But I know. Trust me. I know. I will be back with a longer post soon. Meanwhile, here's the next emoticonal pictionary post. Have fun guessing, bewdas!

[In case you're wondering why the rising sun keeps appearing throughout, it indicates 'ray'. I just couldn't find a suitable emoticon for 're', which appears a LOT in Hindi songs. :P]