Thursday, December 30, 2010

Paradigm shift

I was recently hanging out with one of my favourite twenty-somethings (yes I do have a few friends who were born in the eighties) at a birthday do. She is 24, hot (and mean cool-hot, not hot-hot, which I find uni-dimensional), great at her job, super-popular with the boys and quite an achiever. Unlike other girls her age whose chief preoccupation is what to wear this Friday, or what colour should they get their tints done or lenses changed to (yes, I know I am being mean, but there is a point to make), she gives the impression of not labouring too much about her look, yet rocking it. On most days.

I was more intrigued about her when I found out she was dating a fly on the wall till a friend told me the classic rule. Hot girl never dates hot guys. Anyway, she is not dating him any more, but from what I saw of the new guy from Facebook, he ain’t no Adonis either.

Anyway, this is not about him. Here was her dilemma: most of her peers were getting married or were on the verge and planning babies and all of that. So she wondered: if she didn’t take the whole relationship thing seriously, would she get left behind? Should she really stop serial dating and finding that one guy to marry and have babies with? She did say that she didn’t really need a guy to feel complete at this point, but what if she got left behind? She didn’t want to be single at 30!

This was new. In my days, 30 was when the alarm bells rang, the biological clock went ding dong, the parents went chop chop and the friends started dropping dead (read getting married and leaving you) like flies. So somewhere in the next few years, you eventually wound up getting married.

But 24? Seriously? I feel so out of touch.

Aren’t the young people supposed to raise the bar? Change the rules? Shift the paradigm?

In my time, 24 was about career angst and how to communicate with the parental units and how to find a way to make money doing something you borderline like. These days, young people don’t seem to be wasting time pursuing degrees that are so not them (I mastered in Pharmacy, but wanted to write, at 23). So career paths are clearer, less murky and at least you are not on the wrong road. But marriage? Babies? That was nowhere on the radar at 24 even in my time.

So are we regressing or what? Will the next generation actually have babies at 20 and be grandparents at 50?

That, to me, was the revelation of the decade.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

As Good(man) as it gets

This is an old post. But I am juggling too much this week, and you can never go wrong with Linda Goodman, can you? So this is hoping that Santa brings that special someone to your life, or if there is a special someone, keeps him/her, or if there is an unspecial someone, kicks him/her out of the chimney.

JAN 10, 2009

The husband recently pointed out that according to Linda Goodman, I was the bad guy and he was the good guy in our relationship. Hmmm.. Geminis have always been presented as bright, creative and communicative, but also fickle, breezy, too easily distracted and flighty, in the era when I used to read these books. Intrigued, I googled (yes, officially a verb) the Gemini woman-Cancer man compatibility and this what I found:

A Cancerian man needs lots of love, care and attention, which is definitely not her cup of tea. She has too many interests and distractions to do this.

Gemini will bring light-heartedness and banter in the life of the emotional Cancer. The Crab is much more emotional than the Gemini and tends to be more deeply attached. Gemini, on the other hand, likes to keep everything superficial and on the outer surface.

I was going to give up when I found something positive.

He is the most loving of the sun signs and she, the most driven by her mind. If it works, it’s the ideal heart-mind combination.

It's funny how one goes through an entire phase of dating well researched, well-documented men, and finally, when you meet ‘the one’, all theory goes out of the window. Prior to the husband, most men I dated were Linda Goodman-proofed. So much so, that one dismissed the lack of enterprise of someone by attributing it to ‘being more attuned to things that were spiritual and mind-driven’, another’s phone clinginess was discounted to ‘excellent communicative skills’, a third’s self-obsession was camouflaged as ‘confidence and zest’, someone’s lack of commitment was merely ‘the-boy-who-never-grows-up’, and so on.

Life was all about making boyfriends look good on paper. Interestingly, some of these men were, according to Ms Goodman, perfect soul mates for me. I think she recommended Librans, Sagittarians and Ariens for me and asked me to stay away from Cancerian, Virgo and Scorpio men.

But here I am, with my so-called ‘moody crab’, enjoying every bit of my marriage. Especially the fact that we are as different as chalk and cheese. He likes order, I like flinging stuff around. I look at a cow and think of the mechanics of rumination. He looks at a cow and thinks of dinner. I am spontaneous, he likes planning. I dig paperwork, he runs a mile from it. I am a backpacker, he is an armchair traveller. I like fruit at room temperature, he likes it chilled. I like the corner shop, he likes malls. I am a yes and no person, he finds it hard to say no. I am organic, he is processed.

I guess what works is that we both love what we become when we are with each other. And we both love a good scrabble game. And we are still learning how to be good losers.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Talking that face away

I am still trying to make sense of three random incidents that occurred in the last two weeks

1. Went for a stand-up comedy gig where three men and a woman did their thing. I couldn’t see the woman from where I was. She was as vertically challenged as me, and I still haven’t graduated to comedy on audio mode. So will only talk about the men.

Of the three men, one was cute and the other two were.. well, ugly. If I were to be politically correct I would say their face was not their fortune, but I am not, so there, I have said it. Ugly.

There were all equally competent and funny, although one had a mike control issue, but I will discount that to men and their limited success at multitasking. But while I found myself choking with laughter at the first two, I was harder on the cute guy. It was as though he had to work twice as hard to convince me he was funny. He had to talk his face away. Eventually, I gave in. I laughed just as hard.

2. Sunday. Just back from Goa and wondering what to do with my hair that had turned to this strange thing between straw, rope, and dreadlocks. So I do the old mommy thing and slather it with oil and tie it into a plait. Bell rings. Maid mentions the name of the husband’s BFF and I am like WTF?? How can anyone come unannounced like this? That too, on my bad hair and sloppy skirt day?

Turns out he is a namesake of the said BFF. He starts off in his suave, “Is this a good time to talk to you?” and within ten seconds I know I have to sign a cheque or part with whatever money is left from the vacation (which is not much anyway). I am poised to be my usual rude self and say, “No, it is not!” when I notice he is cute. Aaaarrrgh! This is going to be tough. I find myself awkward and fumbling, and just in time, the boy walks into my arms, and I get my exit route. “I have to give the baby a bath,” I mumble. Cutie is resilient and gets into secondary suave mode, starts pulling out papers, a brochure...and asking me for an appointment.

Thankfully, the husband walks in to my rescue, notices cute boy, says, “We don’t want to be disturbed on a Sunday" and slams the door.

3. Aaron, my hot fix in Masterchef Australia is eliminated. I am devastated. Husband is nonplussed. “Ha, just because he wears a beret!”. I am like, no, he is so flamboyant, really takes chances, has great flair, and hair, a crooked smile and oooh, those glasses are so becoming.

Am I a sucker or what?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Catty with Karan

Okay, quick confession. I am hooked to Koffee with Karan. and I love the way he makes people talk about their exes (when convenient, of course. I did notice he didn’t cross the line with icy Ash)

It’s just that I find it totally reassuring when divas and celebrities display their insecurities about their exes. It makes one feel not-so-sheepish having made references to one’s own. Although it is a tad embarrassing to find that my gender is not too poised about it, whether she is Kareena Kapoor or Aishwarya Rai. Unlike print, where people get away with saying that they have been ‘misquoted,’ it’s hard to camouflage the tightening of the shoulders, the pasty-faced expression (Ash, on mention of Sallu) or the bewilderment on Bebo’s face when not-so-flattering things were aired about her from previous seasons, and the only retort she had was, “Everyone is looking so fat and flabby.”

(I did notice that Ms Size Zero (?) has hugely flabby underarms and was so not toned for her black bustier. But I am no size or fashion expert, so will let that go.)

Coming to Saifeena (yuck!), let’s face it. They are no Brangelina, yet they make each other look good. She has the looks, flamboyance, success, but lacks refinement, cerebral power, sense of humour. He has wit, pedigree, is erudite, but lacks larger than life stardom, masculinity and bravado.

So depending on which way you look at it, they are good for each other. He has given her a vocabulary (by their own admission, Bebo thought quintessential was ‘quintestinal’) she has given him the aplomb of stardom and the equivalent of size zero in a man (if there is something like that).

I guess talking about your ex on national television is one thing. It becomes harder talking about your ex’s current when she is clearly hot (I cannot imagine what Jennifer Aniston must have gone through). So Kareena chose to pick on the banal while talking about her ex and his current (like “Where does Priyanka Chopra get her accent?”). Or Deepika’s curiosity about Kat’s age/place of origin/lineage was more than evident in her desire to see her passport.

(p.s: I don’t know if it’s a conspiracy that all the stars on the show so far have rated PC lowest on sex appeal when it is in fact, the biggest thing in her favour.)

I can’t wait to see what PC’s retort to Bebo’s barbs will be. They will be clever, for sure, and unlike Bebo, PC has wit and vocabulary, even though she may not have the Heroine Number One tag (whatever that means). Her comeback to her accent bit has already been aired on promos. I like!


Now that most of this post has been filmi, let me outdo myself by adding my two bits on the whole Sheila vs Munni thing. Now, it might be a good  thing that that Kat is finally out of the (Khan) family bag, else, it might be awkward being pitted with prospective sister-in-law in this manner. But in my mind, the whole debate is like asking what do you prefer, cute or sexy?

Now some girls are cute, and some are just sexy. And moving from one category to another (even if one loses eight kilos, works on one’s hip bone and the toning thereabouts) is a tough one. Malaika is sexy from the word MR Coffee and Kat has always been the Barbie doll – good arm candy, but dubious on sex appeal (I know men like them dumb and preferably fair and lovely, but give them some credit). Of course, a lot has to do with styling and Farah Khan knows her angles as much as she knows her jhatkas. But in my mind, Sheila’s glitziness cannot compete with Munni’s raunchiness, so the whole polling is a non-issue.

I rest my case.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Of suitcases and toothbrushes

I hate the day before you go on a holiday. It's when the impending work looms large, as it seems as though the holiday has to be earned all over again by doing all the menial tasks that precede it. Now, I am a list-maker and am also very diligent about things I tick off the list. Why is that a problem, you might ask? The problem is, when you are efficient, you get a raw deal. You do the work. So whether it is a rice-cooker for the boy (for quick meals at the resort) or his paddle pools and beach toys or his air-pump which inflates the paddle pool or his swimsuit (checking if it still fits) or the camera and charger and roaming activation and resort confirmation and cab-booking, guess who's going to do the work? Bloody efficient me!

I wish vacations are just about showing up some place where everything that you need is already there. I am not talking gourmet meals and wine and stuff, but the mundane stuff that you have to pack and are doomed otherwise. Like toothbrushes. Or swimsuits. Or moisturiser. Or hair product (now don't tell me anything will do, you have to see my hair to believe it).  Since I am not a which-dress-goes-with-which-footwear kind of girl, so it is kind of easier for me on the clothes front. Because by the time you do all that you have to do, you suddenly think life is better where you are, so damn the vacation. But it is kind of reassuring that even Megan Fox has to pack her toothbrush. Or hair product. Or whatever. So it can't be such a bad thing.

Look at the husband. His only contribution to the vacation (apart from the fact that he is paying for it) is the following:
a) getting his leave sanctioned
b) changing his mind about dates, and getting it re-sanctioned
c) reminding me at least three times in the past two weeks that his leave might be in jeopardy
d) reassuring me 24 hours before departure that even if he might have to go for a meeting on the day we have to travel, the vacation is still 'safe'
e) offering to pack the electronics (?)
f) ignoring above offer and only packing his PSP (and charger)
g) asking me (and this takes the cake) if we have the tickets!

To top it all, nowadays there is the additional fear of your-baggage-may-go-to-Nasik-while-you-go-to Goa. Or some honeymooning couple who can't wait to get to their resort might walk off with it (it happened to us last time). So to add to my woes, I have to pack everything in triplicate.

I have started chanting.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Must do lunch

You know a scam when you hear one. In my book, “Must do lunch” makes it quite high on the list. Coming close are “Must meet up”, “Have to catch up”, “We must chat,” or “Let’s have coffee sometime”.

I have a quick detection program for such scammers. I set a date. “How about Tuesday?,” I ask. It is enough to sift the ones who want to do the work from the ones who don’t. For the doers, I’d do anything. Cook up a storm, negotiate downpours, ignore cats, travel great distances, drive on second gear, anything. And they would return the gesture in ample measure.

Which brings me to wonder why people say things they do not mean. I am not talking about the dating game or work politics or filmi interviews. But food? And eating! Why mess around with that?

Unlike, “Must meet for a drink,” “Must do lunch” is three words not to be used shabbily and without sincerity. It is certainly not like clicking “like” on Facebook which essentially comes with no set of deliverables, no call for action, nothing.

To me, food dates are sacrosanct. I find it easier to cancel on someone going clubbing than having lunch with them. And I would never suggest food and not mean it. It’s just not on. It doesn’t take much. Not a great table or silverware or French wine, just a desire to bond over food, which I find a great leveller. Unlike alcohol for instance, which sort of blurs the real issues and makes you micro focus on the idiotic ones.

I know we live in Bombay and there’s all that traffic and work sucks and no one’s getting laid, so more is the misery, but none of this is reason enough to not “do lunch” if you have proposed it. So what if you had a nervous breakdown and are busy recuperating. You still have to eat, right? Or if your dog died. Or your cat gave birth, and you didn’t know she was pregnant. Or if you have graduated from having bad hair days to having a bad hair life. Now, I mean I am not dating you or wishing to date you or anything. Just that you proposed an idea and I am suggesting how we take it further. When I want to do lunch with someone, I do something really simple. I fix a place or invite myself or the other person over for lunch, and it’s done.

So. If you really want to "do lunch" with someone, well, you just have lunch with someone. So whether or not you pray or love, eat!

Now that I’m in possession of a child, it’s graduated to “Must do play-date.” But more about whiny moms later.