Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Delayed updates

I just noticed that I've made no posts in a long time. Well, I'm not happy about it...that's all I have to say.

Have been feeling really down of late...totally swamped in work, checking all these annual exam answer scripts...the same answers, with all sorts of ridiculous variations in spelling, logic and creativity (not meant to be taken constructively)...pain in all my joints...dreaming of white sheets with blue and red writing on them instead of human subjects...meals and sleep becoming a painful but necessary interruption in my dreary routine...you get the drift.

On top of that, I've had to apply for permission to take my Spanish language exams at a later date because I was 1) not prepared for the exams, what with all these annual scripts and 2) the 4-7 pm time slot being inconvenient as my school timing is 11.30-5.30 pm. I wanted to sit for the exams on the first set of dates like most of the other students (although a sizeable number would be appearing at a later date, along with me, thanks to end-sems at college) and basically do the right thing at the right time. Plus, in the meanwhile, if I get out of practice, I'd have to struggle on my own, not having my Spanish teacher to guide me :-(

On a brighter note, people at the first floor staffroom (where I shifted after the puja vacation) have been very warm and welcoming. Of course, I have known some of them for a while now, being an alumnus as well as having taught there on a leave vacancy in mid-2006, but there were a lot of new faces this time, too. We went to a senior teacher's house for a scrumptious lunch one day and after that, it seems like we're one big family. Don't know about the future but right now, I look forward to going to work each day, thanks to my colleagues. Not everyone can boast of that, I'm sure.

We watched 'Tintin' and 'Breaking Dawn'. Well, yes, I did manage to make time for them. The counter attendants at Fame, Hiland Park, looked blank when I enquired about the Twilight sequel about a fortnight before it was actually released in India (a week later than the world premiere, as far as I can recollect). Well, maybe I was more enthusiastic than others might have been but that doesn't speak much of their ignorance either.They need to be updated in their knowledge database, methinks. Anyway, I personally think 'Tintin' (3D) was good but not great, The 3D experience is overhyped in most cases. Th edges of the screen seemed black both with and without the specs and the close-ups of the characters made them look strange. I think the 2D print might not have made much of a difference. in terms of viewing pleasure. But yes, I simply loved the animation that accompanied the opening credits, haven't watched anything like it in a long long time. The film was a spectacle of sorts. Shall later try watching it on my parents' huge Smart TV...hope the 3D does show up better over there at least. As for 'Breaking Dawn' , I do think it's the best of the four Twilight films we've watched so far. I don't claim to know much about direction but I do understand that the ability to translate a bestseller book into an equally compelling film would require genius. That touch is definitely there in this film. The vampire-wolf story is there but takes a back seat to the miracle of love, an inexhaustible theme. Bella's make up artist deserves to receive all the awards that 'Alice in Wonderland' won. And I had been curious to find out how part I of 'Breaking Dawn' would end. It was brilliantly done. I've tons to say on this film, but I think it merits a post by itself. Amen to that.

We bought a few DVDs at a decent discounted rate last weekend from Starmark. We watched 'Doubt' and 'The Reader', bleary-eyed, into late night, but they were totally worth it. More on them in another post. Shall just give you a list of the other titles :

  • A collection, which apart from 'The Reader' contains 'Milk', 'Michael Clayton' and 'Babel'

  • 'The English Patient'

  • 'Seven'

  • 'Requiem for a Dream'

  • 'Saat Paake Bnadha'

Well, that's about it, for now. Hope to resurface soon. I do have a lot to say about 'Breaking Dawn' and the films we've been watching...oh, and quite a few observations relating to people and events in my totally non-filmi life, as well :-D

Thursday, October 20, 2011


The Puja vacations...

Once I used to plan so much to do during vacations and then ended up doing very little. Except maybe catch up with friends, spend lazy mornings reading on the bed or sunning myself after a bath on an easy chair in the late afternoon sun in the verandah and watching TV in the evenings.

Now I don't plan. I take things as they come. Like when I spent an hour every evening last week in Salt Lake out in our local park with my school cum para friend Juieen. We ambled along at a leisurely pace, sometimes pacing up when we remembered we were actually supposed to be exercising. We caught up on old times, friends and foes, introspection and analysis about almost everything under the sun. It felt nice to relive old times, contemplate the ways in which we've changed over the past few years, how marriage has affected our lives and so on.

Similarly, I'm enjoying my quiet hours at home. Experimenting slightly with breakfast options, tidying up my wardrobe, curling up in the afternoon with one or the other of the Twilight Saga books, watching some random movie being aired at the very time that I've chosen to surf channels on the TV, exercising on our terrace in the evening, a leisurely reading of the newspaper that encompasses almost the whole day (!), clearing the backlog on my reading of other blogs, Facebooking, practising my Spanish grammar and well...it's a long list really.

I'm enjoying my me-time. And the fact that I don't have to meet any deadline or go through the daily routine at a breakneck pace so that I'm punctual for ... um, almost everything that needs you to be on time.

I now realise how stressed out our life has become. And how teaching in a school has its own little compensations. Like these holidays.

Monday, September 26, 2011


I just discovered something that's not going to be of any use whatsoever in my mundane life. Neither will the knowledge of it contribute anything to your perhaps equally humdrum lives.

Yet the thought filled me with a curious sense of gladness.

It's only that there are a couple of fireflies on our rooftop terrace :-)

Now, that reminds me of a curious thing we noticed during our Bangalore trip. On our way to the Bangalore airport, we had boarded one of those green taxis that are supplied by a a certain agency. Well, this was what caught our eye, just below the windshield, above the dashboard on the passenger's side of the car :-)

Impressive, huh ?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Homemade pizza

Well, we recently bought a tandoor oven that is supposed to be able to be able to toast, grill, bake, roast, defrost, reheat and so on and so forth. Versatile, huh ?

Anyway, I really wanted to share the photo of the first thing we tried out with it, home made pizza with capsicum, onions, tomatoes and cheese. It was really good !

What do you think ?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Love All

I've often wondered why people bother to hate when they can have an easier way out : love. I know Gandhiji isn't around any more and it's easier to preach than to practise in todays' world but I've tried in my own way to believe in the force of love. A positive emotion is always easier to act on than a negative one, I've found. And no one's asking you to forget after all, just to forgive and move on.

But I find it increasingly hard to nurture this streak of benevolence within me. When words become weapons and someone else's weakness your strength, then the very axis of your mental sphere collapses. The hurt, the bitterness, the resentment become so overwhelming a lump that there is a sense of agony that is almost physical. Your self-esteem takes a nosedive, your confidence suffers a blow and your darkest side comes to the fore. All that is repressed in the unconsciousness then returns with a vengeance.

How can I then love ? I have no love with which to defeat the hate in me.

But as James Baldwin says, "I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain."

So I shall love again. Come what may.

And yes, let us consider what Somerset Maugham says : "We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person. "

Makes sense, methinks.

What about you ?

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Along the Way

Sometimes it seems like there's no hope and life will never turn around.

For you and I have walked a long way together but we still forget our destination and stop at every crossroad, wondering which road to take.

I keep on cutting my feet on shards of glass mostly invisible to the eye, but glittering deceptively once in a while. They confuse me into believing that I may find a few stars strewn across my path, which will guide me to my home.

You throw away the flowers that I had once plucked for you, complaining that they are now withered and dead.

I wander about, looking for more, but the weather has changed. The season, actually.

We both get distracted and frequently lose our way, sometimes stopping to stare at the cactus along the bank or the dead dog on the roadside.

We meet, of course and continue walking together, but the horizon now seems distant and uncertain.

Unfamiliar faces begin to look familar, friends become strangers.

My feet hurt, but I continue walking.

And yes, I do look around for you, once in a while.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Functional Literacy

This Saturday weekend, we were on our way to visit a friend's father who had recently been hospitalised for a complicated lung condition. We were not sure what we should take for him by way of wishing him health, so we decided to play safe and buy a card (we finally ended up buying a stick of mauve orchid as well). We were on our way to the closest mall, where there is an Archies, but spotted an unassuming gift-shop on our way by the Unnayan Commercial Complex nearby. We walked in and were pleasantly surprised to find that it stocked quite a variety of greetings cards. We told the owner that we wanted a 'Get Well Soon' card. I soon gathered that he could not read, by the way he held the cards close to his eyes and peered at them and ran his fingers over the writing slowly, as children do when they have just picked up letters of the alphabet and are trying to put them together to make sense. I pointed out the relevant card but my heart was filled with an indescribable sense of sadness. Here was a man who ran a shop in a posh area but didn't have the skills to master his possessions and sell them. It reminded me of the concept of functional literacy we had learned in our Education classes.
Mere signing one's name didn't qualify one as literate. One needed to master the 3 R-s (Reading, Writing, Arithmetic) to be able to apply one's literacy productively in daily life.
I think I bought the flowers after that more out of a sense of collective guilt, somehow.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nazis, each of us

The Jew's Song

My eyes still sting in shame

I fear to utter my name

Lest I be branded

Unsung and unhanded

Unmanned and unlanded

Just for being a Jew.

My history lies in ruins

My children sing no tunes

Lest I be taken away

Torn and turned astray

Battered into a block of clay

Just for being a Jew.

My breath chokes out of a chamber

A nightmare none shall dismember

Lest I be applauded

Mourned, mined and lauded

Divined and defrauded

Just for being a Jew.



Saturday, June 04, 2011

Beauty and Reality

Beauty is highly overrated, I think.

No, I wasn't always so progressive in my thoughts. In fact, I shed copious amount of tears when in class X because of the dubious power of this strange myth of beauty. I was very much in love with a classmate and he didn't reciprocate. A close common friend consoled me by what now seems like a most unappropriate piece of wisdom. That I should get used early to the fact that only beautiful people are always going to be in demand. Moral of the story : I wasn't beautiful.

I was silly enough to believe in what she said and withdraw into a shell. It took me many years, a very dear friend (whom I might almost have married, he was so kind to me), several marriage photographs and a lot of adoring youngsters to convince me that I was actually beautiful.

Mind you, that beauty has not been conventional, nor merely physical. I often wondered why so many people have called me beautiful when I myself saw nothing in the mirror to allow me to agree with them. I realised that much later when I wondered why so many people either loved me or hated me, but certainly couldn't overlook me. They saw in me what I failed to see myself : confidence, sincerity, charisma, dignity, goodwill, optimism, hope, contentment, potential, happiness. In short, it was what I felt inside that lent that radiant glow to my face. In other words, I had then looked as if life suited me. And that made me beautiful to them.

It makes sense, I've realised since. Don't we all consider our mothers the most beautiful women in the world ? In most cases, their features are neither the most symmetrical, nor the most regular in the world nor their smiles as dazzling as those of Madhuri Dixit or Julia Roberts. And yet, we insist on considering them beautiful enough to light up our lives and hearts. What is it, then, that makes us feel that way ?

And what about our partners ? My husband doesn't know whether to laugh or cry when I tell him he's the most handsome man in my life. He insists that he's tall and dark, but that the last adjective is something my enormously fertile imagination has conjured up out of my lingering adolescent attachment to Mills and Boons-esque heroes. I persist and believe me, I still think that way after three years of marriage.

That accounts for a lot, I would say. I have often called beautiful a lot of people in whom acquaintances saw nothing worth eulogising. Naturally, that has often perplexed me. Later I reasoned that it was probably because I had seen a side of these people that the pessimists around me hadn't. A flash of kindness, a streak of sunshine, a tang of truthfulness that had eluded the kaleidoscopic attention of impatient passers-by. Some little iridescence that had branded them as beautiful to me forever.

Labels have always evoked negative emotions in me. Even when they have not affected me on a personal basis. However, if a label brings a smile to someone's face, it's worth it. So go on, call the people in your life beautiful. But please don't do it because of the wrong reasons. Do it because you believe that it's true. Your soul should show through.

This post is an entry for the Yahoo! India and Dove 'I Believe in Real Beauty' contest. So do drop by at

Dove Real Beauty on Yahoo! India

If you also blog and like what I've written, then do Facebook 'Like' or vote for me on Indivine

Friday, June 03, 2011


Sometimes we forget to wonder about the little pleasures of life that while we were growing up, once made our parents so happy. For instance, it is the tendonitis (de Quervain's Disease)I'm suffering from (I'm still undergoing treatment for it) that reminded me how a basic action like being able to write or type or feed myself or wear my own clothes myself or being able to soap myself in the shower is actually a blessing. Yes, it is.

There are many unfortunate human beings who are denied this blessing, you know.

Thank you, God, whoever and wherever you are, for reminding me of this little fact.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bad News

Just as I was begin to hope I'd be more regular in my posts, I end up with a dislocated wrist joint. And the final exams are less than a month away ! :-(

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Back to Blogging

Well, yes, the BEd practical exams are over and now I have more than a month to prepare for the 600 marks' theory exams. So I'm back !

There's so much I should have been blogging about that I hardly know where to start.

For instance, India won the World Cup. I should have been studying but it was an impossible task, considering that the cheers or boos of the neighbourhood could hardly escape normal audibility. So I gave up the idea (I'm practical enough to know when something is impossible) and tuned in, with a packet of Lays. K went off midway through the match to join his friends at the Hazra Road Silver Oak (now renamed a bizarre 'Tandoori Nights', I hear). We kept on exchanging notes throughout the match and K went off to celebrate at Park Street after that win later that night, losing his voice in the extremes of celebration (it was an anticlimax that the endless traffic jams cut their celebrations short !).

Park Street after the World Cup victory

K and his friend Rajiv

MIL and I celebrated on a more quiet note, calling up friends and family to congratulate. Rashi was ecstatic on discovering that she had been born in the year India last won the World Cup and that her baby was to be born that year. The Telegraph made the most of the moment, even going so far as to interview parents whose children were delivered on the day of the momentous victory !

Recently we attended a birthday celebration of a friends' son. It was in the form of a river cruise. K bought me an amazing jewellery set that morning to impress the gravity of the occasion upon me (he's always terrified that I'll end up wearing pearls with every saree, however respectable). The cruise was mostly a monotonous event except that 2 and a half year old Nemo did complete justice to his age by wetting his shorts even after two consecutive trips to the toilet and two of the hostess's colleagues contributed to the climactic event of the evening by throwing up all over the place (and a nattily dressed elderly gentleman's attire) after a biriyani dinner. Later, we discovered that they had smuggled in vodka through their handbags and had it neat before they vitalised the upper deck by poledancing in a group (I'm sorry, but it just wouldn't have been polite to take snaps, however great the temptation). All that movement combined with the bracing evening air must have accelerated the undesirable barfing. Unfortunately, I only caught the end of the episode, having spent almost 20 mins after dinner on the outer deck, attempting to photograph the intermittent flashes of lightning at lightning speed (quite a futile endeavour with a point-and-shoot camera, I soon discovered). Nevertheless, I always enjoy water-trips and this one was no exception. My only regret was that my solitude was short-lived since other people discovered the place and it beauties too soon.

Baby Riju with K

Lower deck

On the upper deck (that's little Nemo)

Vidyasagar Setu

We participated in the Chatterjees' Rabindra jayanti celebrations last Sunday at AA block community hall in Salt lake.

Rabindra Jayanti at home

Ready to attend the function :-)

Abir's cousin Maman (her real name is Monalisa) once again impressed with her singing and dancing skills. What most shows through is her passion for self-expression and her spontaneity in the creative media."Bodo bedonar moto" came to spiritual life when she sang it.

Monalisa dancing to a Rabindra sangeet

We were forced to abbreviate the function however since FIL had planned a takeaway dinner at home that night. Titai, Abir and K collectively downed a whole bottle of Australian white wine while I played safe with a Cranberry breezer. Abir however insisted on declaring me drunk especially when I (i) could not find my slippers anywhere and (ii) insisted that the number of glasses in our current possession simply would not total 4.

The 4 wine glasses ;-)

The high point of the evening was K passing off a lime breezer as a 'cold drink' to MIL and her totally falling for it. Titai almost aroused her suspicions though by periodically calling her over to our bedroom and accounting for it by saying that she had been missing her (every 15 mins ? !). The Sanjha Chulha kebabs were so awesome that Abir insisted he'd skip dinner if only to retain their taste. Dinner was tandoori roti and mutton biriyani with zafrani chicken, shahi paneer, salad and alur dom. MIL was naturally not very pleased when the cold drink secret was let out the next day and declared that she'd never trust her children again. However, she did concede that she had been feeling very languorous and sleepy but had failed to trace that back to her beverage. So game, set, match !

Enough of updates for today. But I'll be back soon !

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Perfect Poach

Hey guys ! Sorry I've done the vanishing act of late...this BEd course is so damn tasking, what with its endless lesson plans before and now all the pedagogical analyses and simulated lessons that we have to pen for the practical papers (English and Bengali)...and more charts and models ahead...a computer project (my topic is 'Terrorism : Role of Media')...class tests...oooooooooof !

I'm all the more bugged because I have so much to share with you all and no time...it's so unfair ! :-(

Any way, I'm on top of the world this morning...because I made a perfect poach at last ! I've made decent poaches before , but this time I was able to transfer it intact from the frying pan to the plate, which I've never been able to manage before. My FIL says the secret is to get the amount of oil just right while my MIL insists that it's the letting it 'rest' in the pan for a couple of mins that makes the removal easy. Whatever. At this moment, all that matters is that I just have to share the photo with you guys. Cheers !

I'll try to be back with more news soon...take care, everyone !


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