Monday, December 15, 2008

Rising costs and real fun

Brookside Gardens has decided to introduce separate heat inflow and water outflow meters in each of our apartments. This means that they have very considerately decided to not increase the monthly rent for the following year but burden us with excess expenses instead, depending on how hot/cold a climate we'd rather live in and how wisely we'd be utilising one of the world's most precious natural resources. They cite increasing utility costs on their front as justification. Rubbish. All they want to make is more money out of their tenants. But they do reserve the right to introduce new and alter old clauses in our 13-month apartment lease (why on earth did we agree on such a long one !) and so all we can do is grumble and sulk. And of course shell out more money at the end of each month. Damn.

Anyway, thanks to the notice we received from them informing us of little or no water availability from 8am to 6pm from the 10th to the 16th, we had to reschedule our daily routine, getting up at a painfully early 7 am and going to bed with babies at 10 pm. Hummmmph. It also meant doing bizarre things like taking a bath at 7.10 am, going back to bed at 8.30 am (after K left for office) and filling all available juice bottles and the bath to the brim with storage water for emergencies. No wonder I wasn't in the creative mood for quite a few days. The most annoying bit was that the plumbing lot (doing the water meter set-up) decided to turn up on the very last of the allotted days. Naturally, just my luck. The good part was that K had come home around lunch, feeling feverish. So I could take a nap while he supervised the maintenance guys. Not that they seemed to be waiting to take orders, trampling all over our freshly vacuumed floors and carpet in the very shoes they must have traversed numerous restrooms in. Eww. Gross. I think I'll do another round of vacuuming before we return the apparatus to the Shindes.

Returning to the former weekend. Friday evening was spent at Walmart, where we bought new beige-grey floor mats for the car besides a small pack of 200 buttons (in every shade you can think of) and a set of 24 spools of thread (rainbow hues) and three needles, each of the two costing just 88 cents. Also did some gift shopping, consisting of a beautiful set of bath toiletries in lavender (my favourite fragrance) for Moumita's b'day (long overdue, as it had been on 27th Nov) and a make up accessories set for Mitu. K had developed a crick at the waist (God knows how he managed so much activity at office) and was groaning and moaning in pain, but was extremely generous and waited for me on a seat in the ladies' shoes section while I tried on some of the cuts that appealed to me. My sincere efforts to discourage him, saying that it wasn't an emergency purchase, gave way before he insistence. I suppose he too (like me) is tired of seeing me wear everything (trousers and jeans at the moment) with a single pair of white sneakers. I was so glad that there are so many beautiful designs in my own size. It is tough to find any decent design in my own size in any good shoe shop in India. I always end up frustrated, hurling expletives at the genetic map that has endowed me with my big feet. After trying on three new cuts in my favourite neutrals (grey, beige grey and navy), we decided to look in the boots section. I love boots but don't want to buy something that won't be of much practical utility in the tropical climate when we return (oh, don't worry, my shoes do take a long time to wear out) and so, K and I hunted for something that would fall somewhere between an ankle boot and a pump. We found the perfect pair in a beautiful dark tan. The name of the model is 'Shani' (bizarre, to say the least) and it's a (gasp) size 11. Well, 10 was a wee bit tight and so I decided to not take chances. Here it is :

I helped K with dinner preparations after we finally arrived home. K did an excellent chicken curry (attested to by the currently much commented on photo of K in my orkut album) and we had rice instead of ruti while watching 'Major Saab'. Aaaah, nothing as good as our traditional mangsho bhaat.

Spent the entire Sat morning helping K to vacuum the place with the help of the Shindes' vacuum cleaner, which is weirdly different from the Eureka Forbes vacuum cleaner I've been used to all my life. The latter was a compact horizontal apparatus in a dirty chrome yellow and beige and I was glad that it was Baba who did the vacuuming most of the time, since I have a colour fetish and can't function when objects and accessories around me aren't my colour. Mamoni has got the hang of it by now but the rest of the world probably hasn't. It's a skeleton in my cupboard, if you will. But let's not meander. The Shindes' machine is vertically structured and an understated red and black (photo below). No wonder I was disappointed that I wasn' t the person allowed to do the vacuuming (to be honest, I was talking nineteen to the dozen with Titai and didn't even notice that K had begun !). But I did at least prove useful with moving things around and re-placing them after K was done with the whishing and whooshing. We both felt rejuvenated after the whole process, believe me, for some obscure reason, it actually felt cathartic.

Took a short nap after watching half of 'Dhonyi Meye' on the laptop while blowdrying our hair (did it for K too, who was amazed at all the extra hair he seemed to have developed at the end of the session, provoking much mirth in me). Had to go to Walgreens around 6.30 pm to replace a large plastic container that used to do double duty as the flour bowl and the marinade tray. Found one slightly smaller but almost a replica of the former. Then did a tour of the locality, taking photos of Christmas decorations for the folks at home. Almost froze to death at Adamsville, where my passion for photography took precedence over my sense of numb fingers and a bare head. An early dinner with shorshe begun followed by the online form submission for my EAD did wonders in warming up the body and cheering the spirit.

Sunday morning, following breakfast, was a mad scramble to complete preparations for the cooking of lunch (K did all the cooking eventually, helped by my cutting and washing and getting the ingredients ready) amidst Skype-chatting with Ma-Baba-Mitu, giving them a virtual tour of the entire apartment via webcam and feeding instructions to the GPS for our afternoon destination, the Regal Commerce Center 18 in North Brunswick. We managed to turn up late for the 2.20pm show, thanks to my misreading GPS instructions and consequently missing turns at two consecutive points (it was my first day after all) but luckily made it with enough time in hand for the 2.55 pm (which thank goodness, also offered low ticket prices at $8 each).

'Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi' being a Hindi film, one can make a good guess at the nature of the audience that day. They turned up in true desi style, late, the fat people armed with more fat (disguised as popcorn and colas) treading on exposed toes at the last moment and sharing the most eventful details of their rock-star lives into the opening credits for a good 5-7 mins. Until King Khan appeared. Then there was pindrop silence. As if someone had just silently ordered everyone to stand at attention.

It was a totally-feel-good knockout slick commercial package that clicked. Quality acting, excellent Salim-Suleiman music, a fresh female face with a figure-to-die-for and that surpassed by her being a miracle of a model who could act and act well too, at that. Kajol (a classic, gasp, wow, with still that figure !)-Bipasha (understated and charming)-Lara (sultry seductress)- Preity (pretty-as-a-picture)-Rani (disco diva) guest appearances, witty dialogues, a strong sidekick in the form of Vinay Pathak (capitalising on the critical appreciation of 'Dasvidaniyan') bringing the house down with a paisa vasool Bobby-the-faithful-hairdresser-friend-with-outrageous-hair-and-role, colourful cinematography and a simple plot with excellent handling did wonders for us all. Down to the toddler who insisted on changing his seat at the climax and forcing his poor harassed father to sit on the stairs between the aisles and watch the last few minutes there with him. The four of us (esp Moumita and I) laughed helplessly throughout and I cried twice, which means that it was a hit for me, at least. That included crying at the sight of the Golden Temple and the beautiful natural landscapes of Punjab, which all of a sudden aroused an intense sense of nostalgia within me. If it wasn't due to Moumita's wonderful collection of snacks (including a deliciously fluffy homemade cake and scrumptious kima patties), I might have been a soggy heap of tissues at the end of the day. However I cheered up enough to negotiate GPS directions more successfully this time, reach home by 8pm and turn in by 11 pm after watching the rest of 'Dhonyi Meye', which proved great fun. K had enjoyed it enough to voluntarily call up Sushmit and give him his impression of the entire experience. We are already making plans for a Christmas excursion with the Maitis. The only unpleasant part was K's persistent complaints of feverishness, which did actually result in his feeling queasy enough to work from home half of Mon and the entire Tue.

P.S : This is for the dance-challenged, who like me, just can't get enough of the song 'Dance Pe Chance'. With lyrics like these (and a dance instructor like Anoushka for the guys), we too might possibly have the chance to achieve stardom !

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