Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sunny side up

I have what you call a cosmopolitan affliction. No, it’s nothing to do with Carrie Bradshaw’s favourite drink in the Sex and the City. It’s my legs that seem to be letting me down, and the on-her-feet dancing queen in me just wants to sit down all the time, as standing has become a bit of a torture.

A few weeks ago, I reported to my doctor about the weakness in my legs, and she looked perturbed. I was too young for osteoporosis, and moreover, there isn’t a drop of Parsi blood in my lineage (or so I think). So it couldn’t have been a legacy. It must be a B12 or D3 deficiency, declared my doc. “Get your blood tested and come back to me..”

I always get a bit depressed while going for a blood test, as I am somehow afraid that it will declare me diabetic, as that is a likely inheritance from my mother’s side of the family. So I decided to cheer myself up the previous night by meeting my buddy who always guarantees me a laugh.

He did. The laugh was on me. The carnivore in him began to get a cheap thrill out of my predicament. “You poor vegetarian. Drink beef soup. Attack those steaks. All the aches and pains will be gone…”
“But you do get vitamins from vegetarian food..” I mumbled, plaintively…
“Yes, if you drink a drum of daal every day,” he sniggered.
“But what about pulses and tofu and broccoli?” I was clinging to my vegetarianism like an ideology.
“The cows can eat the pulses. You should eat the cow,” he declared.

Thankfully, my doctor didn’t shudder at my report. No diabetes again, so I was happy. But there were other red marks. With much trepidation, I asked her, “You really think I should have beef soup?”

“No, what you need is sunshine…plenty of it…!!”

Turns out, I have a D3 situation, which can only be addressed by the sun god. Now, I love this part, as it allows me to go back to my science roots (a very crisp, Masters in Pharmacy degree is lying somewhere in my chest of drawers).
So the verdict is, I am ok on Calcium (ah, no osteoporesis!) and I am okay on B12 too (meat can take a walk). But what’s happening is, there is all this Calcium in my body, but it has no D3 to chelate with (scientific term for hanging out), so it’s all going to waste— the poor D3 needs sunshine for coupledom with my Calcium, and I am denying their love affair!
And since I work in an insulated office, where I don’t even see a window, let alone sunshine, and since my ride to office is about ten minutes (and insulated), I am not flirting enough with the sun god. So my body is crying in agony, “It’s payback time. Give us this day our daily sunshine

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cat out of the bag

“Tell me all about Wriggly,” ordered Pooja as she hugged me. “Where did you meet, how does he look, how long have you been together, tell me all….now!”

I was a little taken aback. I was meeting her after three years, so I assumed all questions would be about me. “Okay, I’ll show you his picture,” I resigned, and beamed her the display on my mobile…

Stunned silence…. “A cat…..!!!!”

“Yes, what did you think?”

“I thought Wriggly was your boyfriend…, “ she said, despondent.

“You think I would date a guy named Wriggly?” I was chuckling by now, about my cat being out of the bag.

‘So what? You have a name like Lalli…that’s silly enough…”

It all came together. Pooja had been following my Facebook status updates, where Wriggly featured as the latest love of my life. He incidentally is a rambunctious kitten, recently adopted by my best friend and has turned our collective lives upside down. Yes, I am guilty of status messages like “Lalita is wondering what to wear to her date with Wriggly tonite” or “Lalita is unable to stop thinking about Wriggly” or “Lalita is distraced by Wriggly” or “Lalita is wondering when she can squeeze Wriggly again…

Surely, she couldn’t be thinking I was writing about my beau! I mean, what kind of person would put their love lives on Facebook?

Turns out, it is not as implausible it seems to be. Because, weirder things happen on this superficially effervescent networking site. A friend’s boyfriend who has never made any conversation with me in real life, inundates my wall, my super wall, my funwall and god knows what else, with random messages all the time. Some randoms want me to take the ‘sex appeal quiz’ and the stalker quiz and ‘how alike we are’ quiz and the ‘likeness unrated’ (find your inner criminal) quiz. Others want me to answer their questions and share movie tastes or share their garden or hatch their eggs or something equally absurd. I have been guilty of succumbing to a few of these advances, before I realised how silly and distracting it all was.

I feel like saying, dudes and dudelets, I don’t know how you made it here, but I don’t really ‘know’ you, so I have no reason to know how like or unlike we are, or to evaluate which one of us has more sex appeal. I am very confident in that department, thank you!
Yes, but I am guilty of adopting a pet, playing scrabble and learning my chess moves, because I think, might as well use the services of people who can teach you some skills. And why not?

As for the rest who are oh-so-random or just oh-so-inactive, I just want to know, if I delete them quietly, will they receive a notification that they have been deleted? Because that might be a tad rude, even for a superficial medium like Facebook. Someone please let me know. I am clearing the clutter, and yes, that is my current status update.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The things we think and do not say

Consider this:
Man hits on woman. Man scores. Man is a player.
Man hits on woman. Man doesn’t score. Man is a loser.
Man hits on woman. Man doesn’t know if he scored. Woman is a bitch.
Woman hits on man. Woman scores. Woman is a man-eater.
Woman hits on man. Woman doesn’t score. Woman is desperate.
Woman hits on man. Woman doesn’t know if she scored. Man is a player.
Man gets wasted at a party. Man is wasted.
Woman gets wasted at a party. Woman is embarrassing.

I didn’t make these rules. Neither have I heard anyone articulate it. But it’s all out there, under the thin veil of sexual politics, where nothing is said and everything is understood.

I find it amusing that most of these rules are made by women, but the men aren’t complaining. May be, because as a race, they are more forgiving, have lower benchmarks for behaviour, and will largely give the benefit of doubt to the woman (whether or not they are interested in her). Because, in a man’s mind, a woman can do no wrong. So there are no rules for them. With their own kind, there are plenty. “Don’t get in my space. Don’t make eye contact more than necessary. Don’t interrupt me when I am talking to my woman. Don’t tell me what to do unless I ask you. And don’t deprive me of a good fight.”

Women on the other hand are governed by rules — whether it is for our own sex or the opposite. We are also constantly asking for rules to be defined whenever we are in a situation we haven’t been in before. And are forever articulating and modifying them depending on our state of mind and the company we keep. For men, it’s all very simple. “Mess with me and I’ll mess with you. Mess with my woman (wife, girlfriend, sister, friend) and I’ll mess with you. Apart from that, I don’t really care if you are a serial killer or a nudist.”

Which is why men let women get away with a lot more, while they are not forgiving of their own race. At a recent party, a woman mixed a drink too many and spent the rest of the evening pole dancing and lap dancing. Except that the poles and laps were real people. The men wanted to help her, but didn’t know how. The women, for the most part were embarrassed and stayed away.

Had it been a man, the menfolk would have discreetly huddled, bundled him into a cab, and disposed off his remains for the day. To them, a man is a collective. He stands for them. So any man who behaves badly is a collective responsibility, something that they will all get together to set right. And I love men for this.

Women on the other hand are ruthless. They believe that pretending it didn’t happen is the best punishment. I am sad to report that yours truly is sometimes guilty of the aforementioned.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Bring on the moms

I have a feeling that at some level, men don’t really know what to do with their mothers post the age of eight. For a very long time, they are in denial about this, as they are with most things, till one fine day, they meet a woman who can “do mothers”. This is the point at which they are at first in shock and awe, and then eventually heave a jubiliant sigh of relief, as if exclaiming, “Take her…and do what you want with her. Amuse her, talk to her, listen (most important), call, write, bitch, gossip, whatever. But leave me out of it…please..”

It’s almost as though handing the mother over to the woman of their lives gives him the sense of freedom to do more important things. Like playing more pool. Drinking more beer. Watching more television. Hanging out with more miscellanous and utterly random people.

So now, I am now communicating with two mothers — his is definitely more tech savvy than mine, so in a sense is easier to do. As for mine — I have to either talk or listen. Fumbling with either of the two will immediately get her antennae up, as will a slight inflection in my voice, which will set her thinking, “I wonder what’s wrong and how I can fix it..” She believes in a strict two-way communication, so no getting away with an sms or an email. And there is no way you can avoid a confrontation. May be that’s why I have become quite good in that department.

The fact of the matter is, moms are clever, and men cannot match up to their astuteness. So it’s never possible to have an open-ended, “wassup” kind of conversation with your mother, and avoid the sticky areas. Ask me. I am a veteran with moms. At a recent birthday do of a friend’s baby, she couldn’t help observing how well I was “doing the mother-in-law”. I tried explaining to her that I am basically a friendly person, which she banished instantly as rubbish. “Lalli, don’t give me that… you don’t get along with seven out of ten people. Just admit, you are good at the stuff..”

May be I have become good at the stuff, having largely the mediator (and foster mother) for my twin siblings for the most part. They both have issues. My sister is of the opinion that my mother suffers from selective hearing (read: she hears only what I have to say). My brother is largely exasperated that she doesn’t get the concept of time lag between his speaking and the words being delivered to her (he lives in California). So, more often than not, they are talking at the same time, and no one is listening. At some point, out of the extreme need to be heard, he calls me and downloads for the next one hour. And then she calls me and downloads for half hour after that. Such is my life!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Scrabbling me softly

I have come to realise that there is no such thing as an innocent sport. Just as there is no such thing as a good loser. When you get down there, you have to play to win. And when you don’t, it’s a miserable feeling. So whether it’s scrabble or cricket, it’s pretty much the same thing.

Recently, I was beaten hollow at card-scrabble (a meaner variant of board scrabble) by the beau — we had just graduated from regular card games and aborted attempts at double player PS2. So, instead of killing and shooting strange looking figures on screen with his controllers, he was doing it to me with words this time. Sigh!

I actually thought that since the forum was words, I wouldn’t have to try too hard. But nothing could be further from the truth. I was doddering along like someone who had just learnt the alphabet, while the beau was making words in every direction and scoring doubles and triples with patterned √©lan. Not just that, he also went on deducting from my already poor score by playing something called the category card, which allows you to punish your opponent for using an S, or an E or something equally inane. Welcome to card scrabble!

It all felt a bit gloomy. At some point, I got so desperate, I even made up words and was suitably caught. Had I totally lost it? So much for thinking I had an equity in words..

Which is when I realised that the one thing scrabble is not about, is vocabulary. It’s about strategy. It’s all about optimizing your consonants, manipulating your vowels, and minding your Qs and Zs.
An extremely erudite poetess friend of mine and I had a chat about it and she said she had the same problem. While she waxed eloquent on the fecundity of spirit and the peripherality of belief, the husband beat her hollow with his judicious scoring.

Because, in any case, seven letters is all you have, as the beau reminded me. So it hardly matters if you can weave in serendipity into a phrase or know exactly what an onomatopoeia is. Or how intelligently can you use the word obliterate (my favourite word, incidentally) in a sentence.

The beau played by the book (as usual) and every time I contested something, he would show me the rules …so what appeared to me as slang words or prefixes or suffixes, were rendered completely legitimate according to the dictionary (much to my annoyance). So there I was, struggling with a vowel too many, wondering how to get rid of so many Is and plotting on the ‘right time’ to use my Z. And just when I did, he piggybacked on it, totaling up to a ridiculous score, laughing all the way to my defeat. The gall!

A few years ago, I joined a scrabble club thinking I’ll have fun with fellow wordsmiths, but was cleaned out in five moves by fellow players who one couldn’t exactly classify as great conversationalists, but who had copious lists of two to seven letter words and knew them by heart. As an act of charity, I was given a list of two and three letter words on my third meet. And before they invited me for their tournament (I am sure they needed me just to get a headcount— I wasn’t going to be a star player anyway), I fled. And never turned back.

But now, I am going to get back like a woman on a mission, and when I do, you’ll read about it on this very page. Until then, QUIZ on to triple word glory.