Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Vacation alert - Do nothing for once...

Have you noticed how annoying the ads on the desktop version of websites have become? You'll be happily reading about the latest scandal to hit the movie industry and suddenly a huge ad will be plastered on the screen with a minuscule 'cross' hidden in the corner somewhere. Do they really think I'm reading the ad while I'm trying to find that pesky little cross?

No sir, I'm not. I'm just annoyed as hell as you didn't let me read the intricate juicy gossip of why Chitrangada Singh is single again and what she looks for in a man.

Anyway, with that out of my system, I wanted to tell you about a trip we're planning to go to next weekend. Have you seen that out of the sea of nonsense passing off as 'taglines', 'Unique Selling Propositions' and 'customer promises', sometimes, someone gets it just right. And that's what this company has done - Linger.

It promises a holiday where you do nothing. That's right, the USP of this holiday is to do nothing at all. No sunrise-viewing places, no adventure sports, no water puppet shows, no cruise ship to catch, no artisan villages to visit, no movie filming sites to go to, no cathedrals to inspect, no cycling groups to peddle along with. Instead, what Linger says is that you can come to our estate, sleep in, curl up with a book, or just lie down looking out at the wonders of nature.

I know that for some people this is the exact opposite of what they would want.
"But what did you DO?"
"Did you see any interesting places? Do you have selfies?"
"Did you experience something 'new'?"
...would be the questions they would throw out. I hear them, but I need to provide you with some context.

AV and I may not agree on many things, but we do agree that the two best vacations we've been to have been to Goa and Bali. Now the innocent reader may deduce from these beach locations that we are both water-babies who like nothing more than to spend hours and hours frolicking in the ocean. The other not-so-innocent reader may deduce that we are both party animals always on the lookout for the next hotspot where we can enthrall the crowd with our fancy dance moves and copious appetite for shots. Both the readers would be wrong. We can't swim, and let's not even talk about dancing and shots.

The highlight of both the vacations for us was the ability to turn on the Do Not Disturb sign and sleep till 11 or 12 every morning. This was followed by two people in their pyjamas walking groggily to the dining table and getting served with copious amounts of food, followed by another nap, before finally gently walking to the beach and staying at the shacks till the wee hours before trudging back to bed.

We were told, by many well wishers, about all the places we did not visit during these vacations. We gently smiled.

So it seems to me that the 'do nothing' vacation would be right up our alley. And I'm looking forward to it so much!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Staring into space, with a beatific smile ...

I've lost count of the number of articles that begin with the phrase - "In today's connected world..." and admonish the new age for its multitude of distractions which prevent truly thoughtful work.

...and then they proceed to write an article with completely incoherent paragraphs which seem like they were written in the gaps between updating facebook, watching youtube videos and vigorously managing multiple conversations on Whatsapp. 

Even though this is now a cliche, as with all cliches there is an element of truth. The constant pinging of the phone with news apps, instant messenger updates (from random groups which you joined with enthusiasm, but are now a little embarrassed to leave - the name shows up as having left the group afterall.), the urge to google everything on the go, work emails, personal emails, myriad SMSes selling you property in states you've never even visited, facebook updates of other people's exotic vacations. Whew, the list just keeps going on.

In this maelstrom of data, the only island of peace that I see is the old, friendly neighborhood barber shop. I had this epiphany when I finally shook out the locks of hair from my eye (left eye) this morning and decided that even though God gave me bountiful handsomeness, I have not been taking care of it, both from girth and grooming perspectives. So I googled "Barber shop" (see, it just doesn't end), and off I went. Now Sunday morning is probably not the best time to go to a barber shop if you are one of those get-up-and-go, zippy, excited types. There are usually a number of people in the shop before you. A variety of humanity, from elderly gentlemen perusing the Kannada newspapers whispering gentle admonishments about the state of the country to no one in particular, to hardworking men who want a shave to keep them going for the week, to old time customers of the barber who have long conversations about their nieces and nephews with him. This is a time when you lower yourself in the waiting area chair and start breathing slowly and deeply for the first time in weeks while looking through the who-kissed-who-in-Bollywood and how-the-last-extra-marital-affair-of-the-prominent-industrialist-was-caught articles in those wonderful, wonderful filmi magazines with articles from such luminaries as Ms. Kitty, and a little bird. 

Fortunately, my phone battery died around this time and there were no alluring magazines at this new place I went to. So I found myself just gazing out, no thoughts in my mind, a blank gaze just flitting casually over the hustle and bustle of the street without registering anything. I started imagining things and building stories the way we used to in childhood. Imagining swinging from one pole to the other, landing on the terraces and racing along them untethered...

Wonderful things. This blank state has become increasingly difficult to achieve and I really enjoyed sitting and gazing out without any compunctions. To the point that when the barber shook me out of my reverie as my turn had come, I felt a bit let down...

PS: If there is ever a reason why I would get Lasik treatment done for my eyes, it would be the nervous suspense that awaits you when you put on your spectacles to examine the work that the barber has done. People without spectacles cannot understand the nervous tension that precedes the moment of truth. So I will not even try to explain it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The furtive allure of a single slip...

Will she get to know? How would she? She's not around. I can do whatever I want - she has no way of finding out who comes to my bedroom and what happens after that...

Come on, you're better than this. Just because she's not here doesn't mean you go behind her back and do this...this despicable thing.

Its only this once...maybe twice. If she doesn't know, it can't harm her. It's so enticing. It's been over two weeks since I did it. It feels like a decade ago...

Just a quick mistake and you'll regret it all your life. You'll be looking behind your back all the time wondering if you cleared off all evidence or not. Being careful all the time to make sure you don't let something slip. Something that'll make her suspect what you did when she was not here.

Flowers. Yes, flowers usually work when she's mad. I'll preempt it by giving her flowers everyday. And cheese cake and ice cream...that works, doesn't it?

And she will not notice your sudden romantic overtures? If anything, that'll make her more suspicious. Don't do it, i'm telling you its not worth it. A moment of madness and a lifetime of regret. Do you think its worth it? Don't you think you can resist the dangerous allure?

But I'm human, aren't I? And the desire to do it is so intense. Aren't you curious how it will go? Will it be as good as the glimpses I got? And the sultry invitation was there in those furtive glances. I could sense it. How can I resist? It's just this once. Just to see how it feels like. Why should I go against human nature and resist? Why shouldn't I go with the flow? It would feel so good.

And then? What happens afterwards? Would you be able to look into her eyes ever again? Won't you feel like a cur every time she does something nice for you? Do you really want to risk everything you've created with her?

But, ....

Before you go running off the rails, AV is in Bangalore while I'm in Delhi. She has proclaimed that I don't watch Game of Thrones episodes without her.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Flashing the mob, or something like that

Sometimes you find guinea pigs who are willing to try anything. For me this is the couple of AG and RH. These two poor souls are typically in my crosshairs whenever I visit my parents across three states. Once I complete the arduous journey to reach this part of town, all my friends in Delhi seem like they are across the Radcliffe line. I know they're just a metro ride away, but somehow I cannot bring myself to make any plans.
Which brings us back to my guinea pigs, er, friends in Noida. So the poor souls have been subjected to watching a magic show by OP Sharma, no less. Now most of that show was fun, but parts of it were quite cringeworthy, to the point of being sleazy. Fortunately RH has a sense of humour else that show may have ended up costing me an old friendship with AG. After the show I had promised myself that I would not impose these foolhardy schemes on them anymore.
But alas, once I cross the Radcliffe line, I am rather short of friends. And these schemes come to my small brain. And as you may have noticed I don't have too much self control.
So I got them to go out again today to the golf driving range nearby. I think the range was not too bad an experience as we spent a fair amount of time there and then followed it up with a movie (Deadpool).
And now we came out of the mall we were faced by a flash mob dancing along to some popular songs. This was to promote a Indian Cultural program that is coming up in March. Very interesting. Around twenty odd people dancing for the joy of it. Not dancing well or with great coordination, but with an absolutely brilliant smile plastered on everyone's face. It was great, it was infectious, and it was just so wonderful to see.
Now I don't know if I'll visit the cultural thing ( it's across the Radcliffe line), but this is a great way of promotion, so much fun.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Confidence in the dress shop

I don't usually write about marriage/relationship and how it impacts the way individuals behave. There are more than enough research papers, news paper stories, magazine articles, self -help books, and most importantly, Whatsapp jokes around this. But I really need to relate this. Also, I'm sitting at an airport with a long waiting period for my flights boarding to be announced, and I've just discovered a blogger app that lets me post from my mobile phone, so you're stuck with reading this.

One of the ways that you can clearly discern the duration of the marriage/relationship is by seeing the guys behaviour when out clothes shopping. For the girl.
For the first six months there is a swoon. The guy doesn't care if he needs to carry her handbag, doling out "you look wonderfuls" as the girl changes through hundreds of dresses in the cramped trial rooms. For the next one year or so there is the beginning of an awareness that this is not his natural habitat. Hanging on to her handbags (or are they called totes now? Or are they called something else now? Frankly, I can't keep up). This is the period where you can see men cringing when their partner nonchalantly thrust their handbags at them and rush into the trial rooms. Various devices are, well, devised by the guys to prevent the ignominious position of roaming around with a pink handbag on their shoulders as various hues of women excitedly go through the racks of clothes. This is also the period when men try to avoid the eyes of other men in similar predicaments. A whole anthropological study can be conducted around the behaviour patterns of men in women's dress shops in this time period of their relationship. But more on that, and the associated funding request, later.

The next year is when men slowly get attuned to their place in the universe. There are more wry smiles than scowls when they receive the yellow oh-so-cute handbag from their ladies. This is also the period when they exchange commiserating nods with other men wearing other oh-so-cute bags. An anthropologist would probably call this period the "acceptance phase".

And then you come to my stage. I have christened it the "confident consultant" phase. I cannot describe it as this phase is more a state of mind than a set of characteristics. What I can do though, is to give you an example of why I started thinking on these lines. Imagine a rakishly handsome man enters a dress shop (this is not a multi-brand shop with both men an women's clothing. This is just women's clothing), looks around and identifies an empty chair, makes a beeline for it and before any woman could even look at it. He then settles in for the long haul - takes out a book and starts reading. The trial room is 10 yards from his vantage point and he looks up occasionally as his wife emerges once in a while for his comments about the dresses being tried. He bellows out his comments with nary a care in the world. To put it in perspective, the same person, a year ago, would have diffidently murmured his very politically correct comments while shuffling his feet, mortified if any of the other women in the store heard them. But now, not just "oh it looks wonderful" type comments, but harsh comments about the hideousness of the dress, the antecedents of the designer of the dress and what alternative career would suit him/her better are strewn around nonchalantly at the top of his voice.

When you reach that zen state where you feel at home in a women's store, that's when you know you're approaching year four!

I'll keep you updated on what happens next year.