Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Goan Diary - I

Life’s been a roller coaster these past few weeks…..wood polish not withstanding!! I think my entire set of friends, acquaintances and anyone else that’s been in contact with me in the past few weeks have gotten a dose of this!!

Amma’s 70th was on the 23rd of sept…..instead of doing the thanksgiving prayer meeting followed by a meal with the multitude of people that we’re related to, we decided to go on a family holiday….. when I sounded the idea off my brother, he was maha excited……he would be anyways, because this means, he gets to drive the hundreds of kilometers to and from our chosen destination!! That gets him higher than any kind of intoxicant…..plans were made and off we went…..

Oh but pending the trip, we tried to hasten the work going on at home for the library……we needn’t have bothered anyways….since it didn’t get done…… we tried our damnest best though…staying up the morning of our 8 a.m flight to Bangalore…..all we ended up with, was a messy house, furniture covered with sheets and the strongest smell of wood polish…..making eyes water and the nose burn!!

After just a day in bangalore, the entire gumbal, with enough luggage to keep us well taken care of for the rest of the year, we set off to goa……

The drive….was beautiful….. we took the route that goes to goa via karwar…… the rains really wash the earth and the weeks that follow cover her with the most beautiful shades of green…..the foliage as you drive through, is all green….. different shades…..all of it so beautiful that you catch your breath and forget to breath at times…..whats more? It even makes you forget the bad patches of road……we drove past paddy fields, corn fields, sunflowers and jowar and bajra…..the lakes, ponds and puddles of water full of lilies….some in bloom, the others waiting to get to the party…..butterflies everywhere…any shade you can think of and of so many sizes……living in the city, I can’t remember the last time I saw so many butterflies….and from so close….but the way they flit from flower to flower, I couldn’t get any pictures…..ferns and tall grasses make an appearance as you drive climbing the western ghats……rivulets and tiny water falls from secret water sources……the fifteen hour journey didn’t seem long…..more so because all of us were excitedly looking forward to the holiday…. When we finally got to the arch that welcomed us to goa, we were so ecstatic…..

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Caught in an avalanche.....of saw dust and flooded with wood polish

Let me tell you something about woodwork…. Don’t even think of it, unless have the patience of an angel and an obscene inheritance….. I realized (rather late to control the damage) that what innocuously begins as the fulfillment of a fond dream ( a library in K’s case) snowballs into something that can bury you under and avalanche….unless of course you have a vice like grip over all your senses…..

Last month we began k’s dream project of building a library….we set to convert our third bedroom to cater to his many thousand books….what began simply as a one side of the room “wall to wall” bookcase project, soon engulfed the whole room…..k has a very impressive book collection…..i haven’t counted, but the movable bookcases that are staring at me in my bedroom right now tell me there are over 3000 to begin with….he’s very proud of them….. no one gets to touch them….and unless you want your head chopped off, don’t even bother asking him if you could perhaps borrow them sometime….i digress…yet again….anyways, after the first three days of work, we realized that the space allocated wouldn’t suffice…..so with a very reluctant heart, I decided, it was one of those sacrifices you make for your marriage, to give up 4 built in wardrobes (overflowing with stuff by the way) to accommodate the rest of the babies…and to make provision(might as well) for any future purchases…..which will be inevitable…..

if I thought that was the end of my woes….i had a fat chance in hell……apart from the fact that we’d need to double our budget(which has quadrupled now), it also meant that I had to find storage for all the stuff that those wardrobes housed….. if I told you that there was an obscene amount of home linen….it would be an understatement………lets just say, even if I don’t buy another curtain, bed sheet, bed spread, blanket, cushions (in several sizes), table cloth, mats, runners, napkins (including exquisitely hand embroidered cocktail napkins which I may never use), dhurries and foot mats for the next 10 years, I will still be able to pull off a new look for my home every month….yes…I have that much….and no, I haven’t bought all of it…..it mostly came in the form of gifts received, from people(amma being the chief culprit) who knew just how to tug at the heart strings of a home linen junkie……anyways…this is just two cupboards of the four….the other two housed my totally unused trousseau and chocolate and baking supplies ( err… not for personal use thankfully…I conduct classes for both)which include some gazillion supplies for packing……

ok now that I’ve given you the inventory, imagine how and where I found the space to reorganize all of this….. but I managed….with the help of an excited at the prospect of “my own library” K and my maid…..who was also the excited recipient of about 10% of my stuff….i had to do some immediate offloading to save the day….

So the new library, is not just costing us an obscene amount of money….it has also swallowed up a third of my storage…..to make up for which, I have had to embark on a carpentry project of my own…..storage boxes under the beds….six of them….(reads – more wood, more money, more carpenters going bang bang thru the day), extra shelving in all the cupboards that exist….which sounds perfectly innocent, but isn’t….it too means more supplies, extra number of workers etc etc….a wall unit in the dining room, night stands to use the drawers that we pulled out of the cupboards we tore down, some repair of the antique ancestral stuff I own and oh yeah…we’re remodeling bedroom number two as well….while we’re at it….which meant breaking down one wardrobe, laying that patch with matching flooring…..and …oh well….i am sure you’ve gotten the point……

Before we knew it…..one small project of two weeks, has snowballed into an almost complete rehauling of our home…. When k and I bought this flat four years ago, I remember coming just twice when the woodwork was being done…..we’d entrusted it to appa’s dear friend….so all I had to do, was tell him what I wanted….. and popped in just once to choose the shade of polish I wanted….. I was very particular that that we’d move in only after all the carpentry was completed…..they did such a marvelous job, for which I can hardly taken any credit, plus I didn’t have to live through it… I guessed it helped that I was working fulltime….and hadn’t the time or the energy to bother about anything else….and come on…I hadn’t the slightest idea of what kinds of things both k and I would hoard…..

Its not like I want to play party pooper…..its just that, its been rather difficult to live with a mess….try as I might, to shut doors, and sweep and mop soon after work ends for the day, the dust and debris is mind numbing…..i don’t have the courage to even think of what my carpet is dealing with….and these people have this insane habit of beginning work simultaneously, which means more mess multiplied by the number of areas they’re attacking…..uff….seriously….i just want this to end now….i keep telling myself that its just another week at best…..

So here’s my free advice to anyone who’s still reading this..............

 everyone tries to up sell….not just the girl who does looks disapprovingly at your face at the parlour and asks you to buy some age defying sun block…..

the carpenter will want to nail every wood board in sight…..

the marble laying guy will tell you at a few thousand more you can get the whole floor polished, not just the part you relaid…..

the polish guy will opine that its time you polished every door, window and any other wooden thing you own…..

which means, if you don’t watch out….and dream shiny new dreams, you will soon be engulfed in a project you agreed to when under complete loss of sense…..not only will it blow you into penury and leave everything you own covered in debris till god only knows when….

Decide what you want to get done and mostly stick to your plan…..consider what they’re recommending and tell them you will let them know later….consider the advise, based on your time, state of nerves and cash reserves…..plus of course the actual value it will add to your life…. And then reply…..

its absolutely ok to refuse…I’ve shot down thousand rupees worth of dreams in the last few weeks….. thank god!!

So hear ye all….unless you have loads of cash, the patience of an angel, the resistance of a brick wall and the ability to live in a noisy dust filled home, do not even attempt to renovate the space you’re living in….if on the other hand…..the work is important, for your mental health and the state of your marriage!! Turn a really deaf ear to the noise, blind eye to the mess…..and find a blog to rant….your better half sure doesn’t want to hear you crib!!



Friday, September 5, 2008

Movie review - Rock On! SEL - take a bow.....Farhan Akhtar - welcome!!

so there was farhan akhtar....who i think is the symbol of the new man.....the intelligent, talented, in touch with his feminine side type of man we women are suckers for...refreshingly intelligent as opposed to the filmi …….i was all ready to fall in love with him.... The buzz about the movie has been with us enough to intrigue and interest…..wondering what farhan akhtar had up his sleeve this time….i have a hard time believing gattu Kapoor had anything to do with the directing of this movie that has farhan akhtar written all over it….

the music released... I was blown away.....listening to the songs, made me want, this time for real to put himesh reshammiyya to death..... i had a feeling Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy had just given their best.....the guys are undoubtedly the most talented set of music makers, with a fabulouys good range of music that they've made for the movies over the last few years.... 

we finally made it to the movie a few days ago........first up, we had terrible seats.....right next to the entry point of the screen(adlabs) which meant all those who came in late (and there were loads of them) plus the usher flashing his torch to show them their seats and all other people who annoyingly wanted to answer their calls were all a bloody nuisance...... 

the story is about the four friends who dreamt of making music together.....their camaraderie....hopes and dreams for the future..... the movie goes back and forth in a brilliantly edited montage of flashbacks....it tells you where they wanted to take their band "magik" and where they landed up.....

aditya shroff (farhan) is now an investment banker living the dream life with a lovely but bored wife Sakshi (Prachi Desai) who feels she's living with a zombie she can never know completely.... kedar zaveri (purab kohli) gets into the family business of jewellery..... Rob Nancy( luke Kenny) who still makes music ..... Albeit for Anu malik (in a cameo) because in his words he "does'nt know anything else"..... and Joe Mascarenhas (arjun rampal - fabulous job) the lead guitarist who walks with the weight of a dream gone bust and a life gone awry on his shoulders......his wife Debbie (shahana goswami) becomes the one who has to hold their dismal life together by giving up her dream of being a fashion stylist for the more practical one of handling a failing fish business.....

how they get to be where they are, you know that they enter and wins a music contest where they win the chance to make a video and album.....but the pressures of the real world (read remix additions onto their album) and differences of opinion, ego and insecurity and the sheer magnitude of hurt that comes with young dreams shattering tear them apart and they part…only to carry the burden of that parting through the next part of their lives, which seem empty without their music, but they seem to scared to pick up where they left off….......

they finally get back together to battle the demons of the past and finally put them behind them….. they have to face all the things they ran away from and shed all the bitterness they harbor for one another and a dream gone sour…..

the soul of the movie is the music which makes it possible to believe that this motley crew could be a rock band.......and takes you through some funky yet meaningful lyrics set to great songs.....my favourite is Sindbad the sailor..... and the ballad "ye, tumhari meri baatein" sung beautifully by dominique cerejo (whoever she is) has a lilting voice..... 

the movie sees some superlative acting from an ensemble cast..... the camera clearly loves farhan akhtar(and he loves it back as passionately)..... despite everyone saying he needs to work on his voice, i think it lends credibility to his character.... he emotes effortlessly and with such sincerity that its difficult to think this is his first outing as an actor...... the angst that makes him want to build a tower around himself to protect himself from the past he is running away from is played to perfection.....

Arjun rampal as joe in this movie is a revelation....... in the best performance of the film and his modest outing as an actor…he endears himself to the audience and his body language is perfect….the hunched shoulders....the brooding, disinterest in life, the passiveness to the nagging of an equally frustrated wife.... a man so defeated in life he cannot lift a finger..... he is also the most credible guitar playing actors in indian movies!! to his credit i read somewhere that he learnt chord positions for this role....and kudos to the director to film it in such angles that you aren’t desperate to see his fingers pluck the strings to be convinced that he is the lead guitarist..... 

purab kohli as kedar, the boy who still has a twinkle in his eyes at the sound of something exciting after all these years is endearing. Luke Kenny in the role of rob nancy ….. the keyboardist who still makes music, but leads a lonely sad life…..does an adequate job  with his role…..

Prachi desai as the demure bored wife of a man who seems to exist but not quite…..brings a quiet dignity to the way she really wants her husband’s happiness even though she may not find a place for herself there…..

Shahana goswami as joe’s wife (Debbie – take a bow girl) does such a job of losing her sheen as the frustrated wife trying to hold on to straws to make her miserable life better is so believeable, you want to sit her down and offer her a cup of tea…..

Tho the movie in the second half seems like it wants to quick fix all the problems so that we can have a picture perfect ending, seems to rush through and suddenly everything falls into place…..isnt as good as the first half….Rock on will be remembered as a movie that is slick, yet all heart, and possibly the best we have had till date on music.

Camerawork is topnotch and so is the styling of the movie and the attention to detail makes you want to shout and dance with joy…..

While this movie wont exactly make you want to dust your dreams and charge after them….it does make you look at them fondly…..this movie also is just what it is….a very well made, hindi film that will stand testimony to the talent of the people who made it possible……...its a must watch….so Rock On!!



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Carpenter rant…………

What is it with men taking instructions from a woman?? It makes me mad enough to spin on my head……the carpenters who're working to make our library/study are doing a good job…I am hopeful of posting pictures of it when its done……but I find myself getting increasingly pissed off when I give them instructions…..firstly, they'll always tell me whatever I ask them to do isn't a good idea…..when questioned, they'll always lamely say that "hum toh hamesha aisa hi banaatey hai" (we always make it like this) which is no explanation at all….finally when they do agree to make the changes I want, they will do it so grudgingly that I wonder if I would have been better off just agreeing to get it done they way they wanted……

Take for instance the height of the work table ….. I stand tall and proud at 5ft 2 inches….i need the worktable to be 30 inches high so that I don't kill myself with spondylosis as I sit for the remainder of the time that I will use this as a home office…..they've been told a hundred times, measured and marked also as many times…..yet they make it 3-4 inches higher……. Now I want to really take that electric saw to their necks……we go in….take the measurements again….make the markings….only to be told by them that it is too low!! For whom?? You?? You butthead…just make it for me to be able to sit there without wincing in pain!! Why cant you get it….. I have had them redo it three times already….smiling and explaining patiently even though I want to slice their heads off……then they say, it will be too low when the chair comes and hits my knees……I want to scream that I have exactly the kind of chair I want in mind….and no I will make sure it doesn't hit my knees….

Take another instance of putting on the veneer…..this is a thin sheet of wood, with natural grains (that I have chosen) which will give out a feeling that we've used decent wood (instead of the ply its actually made of) ….. to line the insides of the book cases, instead of all the wood being laid so that the grains remain in one direction, they lay them vertically and horizontally on the insides of the bookshelves….when I asked them what twisted logic made them do that, they looked at me like I was some deranged woman obsessed with the direction of the sheets of wood being laid……aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh chain saw somebody one day soon……so I explained…that it would look very bad, to not have everything in one direction….to which one cheeky mr carpenter replies…. "par yahan toh kitaben aayengi….cover ho jaayega" (there will be books here to cover this)….i throw him a murderous look that makes him put his tail between his legs and ask him to rip it off and do it again….adding "oh I won't be paying for the stuff you just wasted"

Every evening, when k manages to come while they are still working, or the following morning before he leaves for work and they've already arrived to pound my brains for the day…he inspects their work and tells them the same thing I have said….. The response he gets "theek hai, kar dengey sahib" (ok we will do it sir)…. I cant believe it.….. and all this after I have turned over a new leaf, not once screamed or sworn at them….and generally been of extreme sunny disposition in all my interactions with them….

Bah!! I just want them out of my house….I want them to do my bidding ….. and I want to throw that party to inaugurate k's favourite place on earth. Amen.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Come September

i cant believe it is september already.....9th month of the year....enough to make a baby(ok this isnt on my mind as much as some others i know)....beginning of the last quarter of the year....and what have i to show for it??

before i get crappy and cribby (seems to be my new name)..... i am happy today is the first of sept....which means i get to make a fresh start.....channel my energies into something more positive, manage time (and money) better...and i have all these groovy ideas for what i want to accomplish by the end of the year..... better late than never...and hey, tho i do know you need to make one small change at a time rather than a clean sweep...i am more of a clean sweep type of person....so am going to go the whole hog....

the month that just exited wasn't my best...the best laid plans remained just that - laid......most of the things i set out to do didnt get done....and i increasingly became something i dont want to acknowledge.....its funny how you can "pretend" to everyone but cant fool yourself.....abysmal stuff.....

three things of significance happened this month

i catered food for a birthday party ..... italian (ok with an indi touch) for 25...... while i oscillated between agony and extacy....a few major lessons were learnt.....
  • i need to have more faith in myself....and not feel shy (this is so annoying) to take credit where it is due
  • i have the temperament to do this....i thought i would turn into this insane person, but am proud of the way i handled the whole operation and had my blood pressure under control
  • i need to delegate more work
  • i can make this work for me!! Totally!!
  • i loved doing this......at the end of the day...i was happy beyond words, at what i had accomplished....
we have begun the work on our dream library. we've waited four long years to do this....it has meant sacrificing one bedroom and a lot of storage....but i would do it in the whole house if just to see the look on k's face!! he cant wait to put his precious books into their new home.....and i must confess i cant wait for the carpentry to be over and get my life back to normal...

i was down with a lousy flu which took almost 10 days to leave me...... mostly because i tried not to take medication and willed myself to get better with herbal teas and tiger balm, warm water and salt gargles and the likes..... but i did pop some paracetamol....and got high for two days on cough syrup.....god!! i was so miserable....i dont know how k put up with me..... possibly guilt because he gave it to me in the first place.....the thing with flu is, it isnt a serious ailment....but it makes you feel worse than something the cat dragged in on a rainy night......i still cannot smell a thing and everything tastes like wet saw dust (not that i know what it tastes like)....but am glad i can put it behind me now.....am glad i dont have to sit corpse like on the bean bag in front of the tv for hours and hours just to keep awake (we have carpenters working in the house people....)

in other notes..... i finally met my namesake....we had a wonderful time....we talked non stop....and got along like a house on fire...not just us...but our spouses as well...which is such a relief....this days after she sent me food.....which was such a bright spot in my day!!

there were many random points of "i wish i had"....especially when things went very awry.....and my bank accounts went into limbo....i even had the embarrassment of a bounced cheque....does it become better if it happens with a friend??

so that's the cap on august...... i hope sept is going to be good....i have this feeling it will be a lovely month....