Do Visit my very own 'Food' Blog' for delicious meals

Sunday, 30 May 2010

What If?

What If

What if I unscrew that mystery box
To find your heart tied within
Could I pluck it
Keep it
Next to mine
And hear its soft upbeat rhythm

What if I touch your song of love
As it slips
Through my train of consciousness

Could I cuddle it closer
On cold winter nights
And find some moments of coziness

What if we heard them in chorus sing
Those bluebirds
Rhyming all the strings

Would we flutter our blinks
Like butterfly wings
Dancing in trance to melodious rings

A secret crush, no more you can be
Possible things
Don’t end in a dream

Your heart whispers closer
I for one
In love, I float in ecstasy

(c) Pushpee

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Revisiting Tenerife

Last year, I went to visit my family in Tenerife, Canary Islands. I have lived in this island for more than 10 years, but after setting up my home in Mumbai, I visit Tenerife now as a tourist. It gives me pleasure to revisit those places where I have had some good memories and since I know every nook and corner of the city, I just go off on my own, visiting places of interest. It’s fun travelling by bus or tram, or just by foot and exploring the place behind my lens. I took many photographs this time and here I am glad to share my pictures at the Blogadda Travel Photos Competition where I can post only five of my favorite travel photos.

Mickey meets the kids

Tenerife is known for its fiestas and siestas. During my visit, there was this dance and drama festival in the town's public park and people dressed in Disney characters took part in the event, they walked down from the stage and interacted with the audience. Even though the elders knew the people behind the costume, they played along and showed excitement that matched the expressions of children. What I particularly like about this picture is the expression of awe and excitement on children’s faces.

Pinolere Craft Fair

I visited 'Pinolere Craft fair' in the Orotava valley. People dressed in cultural outfits were promoting their heritage and the culture to the tourist. Things made by Spanish craftsmen were on display that included handicraft, pottery, food and souvenir articles. I like the costumes of Tenerife and different suburbs have different costume although it might look the same to an outsider. Spanish are very proud of their culture; in fact, they have some festivals where you cannot even take part unless you are dressed as one. You have to rent out a costume to be able to participate in their traditional events of dance and drink. What I like about this picture is the scene they had created, displaying a typical Spanish rural village with women sitting and chatting after their day chores are done.

Youngsters play at the beach

On the day I visited the San Andres Beach, at Santa Cruz, it was a sunny day. Tenerife has beaches everywhere around the island, some have black sand, some grey and this particular beach had silver white sand that is imported from neighboring island, Lanzarote. I did not swim that day, I just soaked my feet and then came back to rest under tree (yes, there are trees planted at the beach for people to sit under its shade). My nephew stretched out on the sand, sun-bathing while his sister sat next to him, covering him with sand. What I like about this picture is the force of sand as it slips down her fingers.

Day out at Pueblo Chicco

My family and I visited Pueblo Chicco which is closer to Puerto de la Cruz. This is a curious and interesting place. Pueblo Chico is the theme park in Orotava that has all the monuments and important places of interest of Canary Islands designed in miniatures. Attention has been paid to all the details of the actual monuments around the city to build its replicas in miniatures. To give the correct perception of the miniature town that looked so real with building and cars, I asked my family members to stand behind this miniature architecture. What I like about this picture is the intelligence I have used while clicking this picture to show the actual size of the miniature town.

Antique Car Show

One early morning, my brother asked me to come to the store to see the antique car show. I dressed up and went as soon as I could and was amazed to see the row of about 40 cars in the lane outside my store. The cars were in good condition and each car had it own unique features. I went crazy walking up and down the cobbled street, peeping into every car through glass window to see inside of the car and I was not the only one, everybody was doing the same. The otherwise sleepy town had residents walking down this street, some seating on the corner coffee shop and my brother was happy with business he made on that day. What I liked about this picture was this woman who couldn’t stop admiring the car and she went all around the car several times watching it from every angle

There are many more pictures that are equally interesting, but these five were my favorite. I wish to thank Blogada and Pringoo for giving me an opportunity to share my joy.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

A day out with children at Prithvis cafe bar

Children looked at me shyly when I smiled at them. I approached them with a mike in my hand asking them to speak to me. I could hear myself loud and clear. Four of them stood with their backs rested against the glass cover of a pastry stand, all facing me with a twinkle in their eyes. Pastry and cakes forgotten, hunger paused. It seemed like they wanted to say something but stage fright held them back, they looked at each other, rolling their eyes, pursing their lips, each of them waiting for their friend to speak.

The first word was difficult to extract and I invented different questions to break the spell. What is your name? What did you do today? Do you know to sing? Do you know any poem? What is your friend’s name and finally asking the child his friend’s name did the trick. One child introduced his friend telling me that his friend was very talented and knew lots of riddles. “Say na, say”, he cajoled his friend. And she spoke, hesitating at first, faltering at every word. When I handed her the mike, she was confident. She spoke with pride, relating the story she had read some days back, her friends listened carefully, nudging her when she erred and later filled in the missing lines. Their fear fizzled out in thin air, shyness wrapped and put away, their muse emerged and all started to talk at once, louder each time, hoping to be heard.

Soon every child wanted his moment of two minutes fame.

Monday, 24 May 2010

‘Bloggers Premier League’ contest

I signed up for contest at BPL ‘Bloggers Premier League’, just out of curiosity. Didn’t know what I was getting into. Earlier I had participated in Blog-a-ton and had submitted few posts there, so I assumed that this would be something similar with group of bloggers in one team writing on the same subject. What I didn’t speculate was that there would be inter-action and we would be planning the content before blogging together and this is what made this interesting

The BPL was divided into six different teams of 10 members each. The names and logo were assigned to each team and with tentative shuffling I fell into ‘Inscribe Tribe’. I didn’t know any member of my team therefore I started visiting the blogs of the team members to get the gist of their writing. Before the actual event we were asked to make a post which wouldn’t be rated as a form of introduction. It said:

“Why not start with some serious fun before settling seriously in to the contest groove. Well That, My dears, you are going to do it yourself! Yes! How about an intro sort of thing with a little bit of self promotion of you and your blogs and a pep talk? Sort of sales pitch? An ad?! Oh no! There will be no marks for these, just pure fun. Just for the purpose of getting to know each other and also sort of warm up, before the real contests. Pure imagination and mischief … but with a small precondition (or rather two), to test your imagination and make it more fun. And ya you get free back links too! It has to be in a skit form or script form, the characters being yourselves .The post will be a single post representing the team. Meaning all of you get to crack your brains over it as a team”
Single post representing the team?, hmmn!! That would mean that we needed to network and discuss amongst each other to write one post. A private group was created on Face Book whereby every member was the administrator and we could post messages and pictures without outsiders peeping into our folders. So much secrecy!! For live discussion, we chose Gtalk. The timing for meeting was scheduled and then would begin our live chat to discuss what we plan to write.

Now my Gtalk was acting funny and I could not connect with other members. I checked into FB private group and started introducing myself while other three members were already chatting amongst themselves. I didn’t know how to get in touch with the rest of the group and I kept writing messages on the FB wall and chatting away at FB as if in mid air, introducing myself with imaginary crowd listening to me…and these people were busy chatting amongst themselves and devising the way to contact me but didn’t know how and I started screaming,”Is anyone there? By Sunday u have to submit the script, but still we have not even stepped on first talk, okay ,loooks like we are all looooooooosers” and immediately, like rescue operators in helicopter, they came, asking my gmail and sending voices and posting messages on my FB wall and suddenly, the messages started popping up on my screen….and before I knew, I was inside the Gtalk, air lifted by these rescue operators and I could read their Live chat.

It was fun chatting with them. We were just four of us and we started planning the skit, wanting it to be a humor piece. We discussed different options and then decided that each of us would write a humorous skit and then select the best. We decided to meet the next day at 4pm. I wrote down the skit after checking out from live chat and working late till 3am. I finished and sent in my skit to the group.

Next day, when we met again, only Diman and I were at Gtalk at 4pm and we started discussing my skit. Soon others joined in, one by one, they all came, as and when they could and gradually everybody started adding flesh to the skit, each one contributing his/her part and the live chat was on till 10pm. The graphic was organized by one team member while writing and putting together by another member, dialogues by another member and content by another. Everybody contributed to the skit. The live conversation was saved and sent to all the members who had missed the conversations and the final draft was written by one of the members at night. It was a great team effort and everybody contributed willingly and finally when the final skit was posted it displayed the creditability of team effort.

The polished post finally appeared on time HERE

Now that is what I would call a true team spirit. It’s a great team where everybody makes enough space for others to express their opinion before taking the final decisions.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

At a book Launch

When I had recieved the invitation from Annie Zaidi for her book launch I had decided not to attend if it was not in the suburbs. I have a book store in Bandra and I could always buy a book for me and get it autographed by her. To go all the way to Palledium mall, twenty-five minutes away by Taxi, back and forth would cut a hole into my pocket, doubling the price of the book. Moreover, I have decided some time back that I will not go to south Mumbai too often. There is too much traffic on the road and with the cocktail of heat and dust, it really wears me out.

Few weeks before the book launch of ‘Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales' I had spend some time with Annie and she had visually tranported me  to the hardship and courage she endured during reportage of dangerous events and how she had taken the effort to actually go out to those rural areas and report the stories of humble folk, who were tortured by hunger, social discriminations of caste and sex, therefore knowing Annie’s launch might be interesting, I decided to attend this one and I was glad I did.

Normally, I see ten to fifteen people for book launch, but this one had more than hundred attendees, some of them standing for two full hours, all listening with rapt attention about her writing style, her sensitivity and courage and in general , responsible writing on rural issues. It was one of the most informative book launches that I had attended. I was inspired to write one of my own and my mind drifted to various issues that I could write too. Maybe, I need to meet up with Annie once again and ask for her guidance.

After the discussion, I rushed over to the book-shelf to pick up my copy. The books were selling by dozens and had to be re-stocked. Everybody was impressed like I was. I saw many friends and acquaintance, writers whom I know closely, writers whom I have met briefly, but what do I speak to them during such brief moments? After getting my copy autographed I didn’t know what else to do? I am surprised at my own strange behavior, because on net, I chat and comment freely and am very friendly to every person on my friends’ list at Facebook, I have an opinion on almost every subject, I may even joke or tease my friends online but when I meet them offline in larger groups, I am switched off into my silent mode. Its not like those of my family and close friends groups where I have so much fun and our converstions never run dry. Here, in these groups, I just don’t know what to say. Seems like I have split personality, haha!!

Me thinking, what do people talk during such occasions? Do they Brag? Gossip? Complain? Ridicule? Or do they discuss books? Many of the people are normally there to look for publishers at these informal meetings and some may even be smart enough to strike a deal. That is, if the are lucky. These meetings are not like those social parties where we pass our time admiring the clothes and jewelry of other people, nor are there any drinks or snacks served that we can nibble on to pass the time and nor is there any music to soothe our nerves. I saw people stand in groups in smaller circles everywhere but I had no courage to include myself in any of those groups to make a bigger circle. Didn't see any warmth anywhere, or maybe I was cold. While I waited for my companion to get her copy autographed, I ventured out to study the magazine rack and wow! We have so many different magazines in India. There were magazines on every subject. Do people have time to read? There is so much information around us, magazines, books, movies, TV, computers, blogs, and social networks. Yet people are so ignorant. The basic understanding and compassion is missing and people are misguided. It pains me to see too much of ego floating around. Phew! I just surfed through the rack and came back looking for my friend.

Whether my friend wanted to hang around or not, I needed to get out as soon as I could so that I could start reading right away. Hello Annie…Me enjoying your book la!! If you are reading my blog, do accept my good wishes too.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


Maybe they get thrills on Mumbai streets with continuous honking, vehicle flying, creeping through the smaller tunnel of traffic, going zigzag, but thud, my butt is three inches above the seat....that’s auto ride, phew!!!

Why do these auto drivers insist on giving roller coaster rides? Do I look the type who cannot afford to go to Disney world?

First of all they are so arrogant. They will go only where they want to go as if they are riding a private jet. I wait at the junction pleading them to take me to my destination, I even wait on the side of the road, in the direction where they are going so that they dont have to take any u-turn, but no, after the refusal from N number of drivers one finally agrees and if I am lucky, I might find one, who is a quiet one, who is just happy to steal innocent glances at me from his rear view mirror. But most of the time they are real badmash. Very, very meany. First of all, they sit cross-legged, riding with only one foot, as if they are sitting on a park bench and then their non-stop rant dotted with their agrressive spits at regular intervals, whole of my Mumbai city they have painted it with dark orange patches, some art galleries on the road there!!! If I complain then he may ask me to get off. I suffer silently. On quiet days, when I need to ruminate, and stitch my thoughts together, their chats are unnecessary diversions and I wish I could have walked instead.

At the end of the journey, I realize their motives of distracting me. They want to charge extra and think I won’t notice. Its funny they never seem to have a rupee coin. They always have two-rupee coin and are willing to give back my one-rupee coin only if I have a rupee to give them back. Most of the times I say ‘keep the change’ but then I feel cheated. Not that one-rupee coin will help buy me a future chalet, but he is cheating many more like me. Imagine if he is doing this trick all day long and on an average he has about fifty such passengers, so at the end of the month he has swallowed Rs1500 without a burp. Aisa thodi na hota hai. Whatever happened to the honest living? Jaane do, what is it for me? Living is expensive and they have to survive.

But, on a second thought, me thinking that would you feel cheated if he refuses to give back the change or am I being unreasonable and sweating over a small stuff??

Monday, 17 May 2010

Joggers' Park at Bandra

Most of the evening I am lazy, I normally sit with a cup of tea in my balcony, watching the sunset, nibbling away on some snack, listening to radio and dreaming of something that I wouldn’t discuss with anyone, not even with my best friend.

But on those days, when I happen to look in the mirror and see my protruding tummy groan at me, I shy away from my image and walk downstairs and circle around my building several times. Many a times I meet my friends who will then get adventurous and suggest a walk by the seashore or at the beach. The Juhu beach, or the promenades of Carter Road and Bandstand are all just auto-ride away and it always turns out a better option and I always return home refreshed and in good humor.

Of all the places, I like Joggers park at Bandra the best. We spend about twenty minutes walking on the sandy path, then go to the birdy area to meditate on birds, and finally settle on the seats facing the sea and watch the sunset. On our way home, we have a warm soup sold from a mobile shop and return in time to watch the late night TV shows.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Birthday Cake

I have never ever cut a cake for my birthday in my life. It’s the thing that I would hate to do, actually it is quite embarrassing for me to do, I have always asked a child standing next to me to cut it for me. But I love baking and decorating cakes. I have decorated cakes with creams, fruits, chocolates and they have always been traditional round or square in shape. Sometimes I have tried few innovative kinds like 2-tier or 3- tier and sometime chopped them into different shapes before icing. But I have always baked them for kids,

But now the kids have grown up and they are no more amused by simple shapes. I was surprised today when I saw this cake

Wow! A cake in the shape of boobs, covered with Bra and tits visible !!! hahaha!, and mind you, it is a vegetarian truffle chocolate cake, specially made for two taureans who are celebrating today. Oh why wasn’t I there to see their expressions, this is something I wouldn’t like to miss., I am sure that these boys who are going to cut these boobs will get naughty and for all we know, they might even enjoy a facial with this one.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Yes, I love cooking!!!

Cooking is quite easy; the only difficult part is preparing oneself to cook. It is unwillingness to walk up to kitchen, wean away from whatever you are doing, (for me to wean away from computer) and get down to serious work of chopping and mixing and rest of the work is done by gas or oven, nothing tiring at all if it doesn’t indulge in back-breaking job of preparing unhealthy fried snacks to go with the meals.

Once the mind is set up, it’s really no big deal to cook. Like today, actually yesterday, I decided that I will have roast chicken for lunch. So, the first part of planning the menu is taken care of. Sometimes, making decision about what to cook is the most difficult part. During planning the menu, we go crazy, asking the family members what they would like to eat and they too are unsure themselves and will quiz us back asking us what we have decided, and it goes like – ‘you tell, no you tell, no you tell’ and when you tell, they might exclaim ‘oh no, not that again’. It is frustrating especially if every member has a different taste. One of my friend cooks different meals for every member of the family, everyday, I marvel at her energy. Just as well, she has a cook to help her with the cooking. But for common person like me, it is difficult just planning the menu. Many times I will walk up to kitchen, open fridge several times, open, close, open, close, hoping that by doing so, suddenly one cooked dish might come alive. But it never does. I know some families who have fixed menus during the week. Mondays-dhal, Tuesday- bhindi, Wednesday-gavar, Thursday- chana, and so on.. There is no gap for creativity, for thinking of something new to make during week-days, creativity is saved for weekends when mind is free to think.

Since I had thought last night that I would make roast chicken today, I had washed and marinated the chicken last night with crushed garlic, ginger, chilies and chicken cubes.

Today afternoon, just one hour before cooking, I went to the kitchen, cut vegetables like cauliflower, tomatoes, bean sprouts, carrots and boiled potatoes and added to the marinated chicken, then added some assorted sauces like black bean sauce, soya sauce, chili sauce and fish sauce. Mixed it added little oil and baked it for an hour. The dish was delicious and nutritious and not a big deal cooking it. Eh?

Cooking is easy, and therefore we see variety of dishes at the table. When the woman is in the kitchen she realizes how little time it really takes to cook and that is why she gets so creative. While she waits for milk to boil, she will be chopping veggies. While the veggies are cooking, she will make few snacks: bajiyas or samosas, or something spicy. And once she gets into the mood, she will make pickles, papads, sweets and other delicacies. And you would think she is tired, but a woman who is thinking of those smiles which she might receive at the end of her labor from her family, will even go to an extend of making deserts and ice creams.

No, women are not lazy at all. The ready-made stuff that is easily available in the market nowadays has made her lethargic, but yes, I love cooking!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Mother's Day

Everybody was screaming on all social networks the wishes, the quotes, some digging into thier archives to find wishes for this day, many of them sendng wishes on the net to their mom who is sitting in the next room. Virtually mothers enjoyed gifts, cakes and even virtual hugs. The flowers were sent, gift bought for mothers who were not net-savvy, who were then treated for a lunch and movie.

Umarried, I have never biologically mothered any child but, I have seen many children grow, who have played in my lap, I have mothered them all, my sisters' brothers' cousins' kids  my eyes still look for those babies who are not there....lost into the adulthood

And I was surprised when I too recieve wishes from some of them and it was a good feeling.

Many years ago, when Mom and I were staying with my brother's family, my brother's kids were very attached to me. On mothers' day they bought gifts for their mother and my brother and I bought gifts for my mother. Since I was mother to none, I didn't recieve any gifts. My four-year-old nephew, was very upset that his dadima  and his mom recieved gifts and his aunt didn't recieve any, so he comes up to me and asks me, "When is the aunts' day coming? I want to buy a gift for you too."

Well aunt's day is still not celebrated anywhere, though they will still remain all time favorites. I used to love all my aunts and I still miss them long after they are not here anymore.

Aunt's love is the extention of mother's love but it needs a special day too. haha!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Mexican Delight

Last night I went to this Mexican restaurant that is recently opened in Bandra, just few minutes away from my house. The d├ęcor was good with wooden tables and chairs that reminded me of the restaurants in Tenerife. On one of the walls there was a big wooden shelf with hundreds of sauce bottles, not sure whether they were new bottles or used ones, but it made an impressive collage.

Before our order, they served us a basket of tortillas with two sauces, a bland pink and chilly green. Since it was a new restaurant, the hostess would come to our table to check our satisfaction meter. “Is it good? Yeah?” Now even if it is not good, we would not be too rude to say so, our Indian culture does not allow us to speak the truth to the person who asks so sweetly expecting a compliment. Anyway, we order chicken wings and fajitas. I like it and enjoyed it too. But the friends with whom I went had continuous negative commentary to make.

Although a Saturday night, there were very few clients, which is quite abnormal in the suburbs where people are seen crowding outside the restaurants, waiting for their turns. They were quite disappointed that they didn’t have to wait for the table and got one immediately on entering. They compared this restaurant to the ‘Hard Rock’ which is also a well known Mexican restaurant that has everything comparatively better, the servings, the taste, and the ambiences. While they ate, they talked about things that were wrong with this restaurant and not up to its standards. They debated that the restaurant would do well if it served liquor. The soft drinks were not good and had sprite added to the juice. But still, whenever the hostess came around for a feedback, their comment was always ‘very nice’ with thumbs up.

Well, since I have ever been to ‘Hard Rock’ I was quite content with this one, nevertheless I gulped meekly when they told me that it was very improper and unethical to serve Mexican sauces in steel utensils.

“It kills the taste, you know?” they said

Saturday, 8 May 2010

My building going for redevelopment

I have been waiting for this day since last five years. Waiting for the day when all the members in my building will agree to redevelopment and I will get a lift to go up my house. My building is more than fifty years old and it needs regular repairs to keep in shape, also it is quite dirty and I am embarrassed when I get visitors. Whenever I saw new building crop up, I would wish the same for my building. But we had some stubborn neighbours who did not agree to redevelopment, and were always airing negative views, could see only problems associated with it but never the rewards. For five years I have tried to put forth my point that we need to live in a good and clean society.

Finally the day has arrived. All the members have finally agreed to go for redevelopment, we went for democratic voting to maintian transparency and the builder is also chosen, the Satguru builder, whose building I checked out and they are quite good. This means that we will get a bigger house about 33% more space, corpus money and two years rent. It does not mean that I will get richer with extra cash on rent and corpus money that I will recieve. Nah! thats not the case. With newer building, we will have more maintainance tax which will cover the extra help of more watchmen, cleaners and other taxes. The corpus money, if invested wisely, will help me cover those extra costs. While presently, I am paying only Rs20,000 anually, with new construction, I will be paying five folds. The rent that I will recieve, I hope to save, because when I come back, I will need to use that money for interior decoration. So the only benefit I get is one extra room, two lifts and a brand new building with gym, garden and party room.
Now I am in turmoil. Lot of things need to be done before I move out to a temporary accommodation. Packing is the biggest headache. Then I would like to sell off the old furniture because moving to a new house would mean new furniture, what to sell and what to keep is my biggest worry and where to store??. There are too many things in the house: furniture, doors, windows, grills, clothes, dishes, show pieces, books. My routine is about to get disrupted. Should I rent a house or should I travel for two years? Lead a gipsy life?

Even after I am back to a new house, I will have to renovate it to my taste. I will only have modular kitchen and bathrooms in the new house. But will need to make new furniture, paint the house and organize everything all over.

I am confused.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Sorry for using a word .....

....that you don’t understand, but Lexulous does and so does the scrabble. Try it.

Scrabble and Lexulous are the games that are played online, mainly on Facebook. I play it regularly usually as a detour from my regular task of reading and blogging. With strangers I don’t enjoy the game but I like playing with friends, with whom I can chitchat and keep in touch. I have made many good friends on scrabble board and on Lexulous and have been regularly in touch with them. Actually, these games allow many weird words that we will never find in our text books, the trick is to place your letters, sometimes guessing a word, hoping that lexulous or scrabble will understand and voila, sometimes it does. But if it is at the expense of annoying my friends, then that gets me really stressed out because I really hate losing friends. I have very few friends and all very precious, wouldn’t like them to go off at a tangent over a game, which is just a game.

For me winning/losing is not the criteria, I just like to make the best word that I can. I have been playing this game for many years, precisely for more than twenty-five years. The first time I saw this game was during my trip abroad and I was fascinated by tiny wooden tiles. I played that game immediately and lost miserably but fell in love with it. I bought my first scrabble board, a tiny travel board with tiny tiles and holes on the board to fix the tiles ( this board and tiles, neatly saved and restored, are still lying at my home in Tenerife, Spain, hibernating and they come alive only when I visit my family)

During my college years, I taught this game to all my friends and we would play this game non-stop for days and sometimes all night. We allowed dictionary so that we could learn new words and we always played for fun; snacking and fooling in-between games. Over the years, I learnt some tricks on how to confuse the opponent and win the game. I taught those tricks to my friends too who would use it against me and make me lose. In Mumbai, I joined scrabble club, where we would play it regularly and even participated in many scrabble tournaments, much of which I lost. But I was never offended if I lost and always came out stronger each time.

Most of the time it is pure luck that we may get good combination to be able to make seven-letter word which gives an impressive score. It is not the deciding factor for showing off the intelligence or word power, nor are there any laurels to be won. The opponents who play with me regularly are equally good, and they do have impressive scores and rankings, so there is nothing to feel egoist about winning. But most of the time I am lucky. (maybe because I am unlucky in love. Huh?) I have some friends who continue to play with me and before one game ends they have already started a new one. They tell me that it is challenging playing with me and I get aggressive too.

But lately I have been offending my friends by winning. Now I can’t play badly and let my friends win, can I? That will not be fair. I don’t understand why they get so discouraged by my winnings? Why can’t they get aggressive and fight back? Why do they have give up on me? Must they always win and play with only those whom they can beat easily? Don’t they like challenges any more?

And why do I get stressed out if they give up on me? Now that is the question I need to introspect.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Diamonds are not forever

Finally I gave up my fetishism on diamonds.

It was difficult at first, what with me belonging to the culture (I am Sindhi) where diamonds play an important deciding factor for placing you at certain strata of society and earning that false respect. The bigger diamond meant a respectable position in Sindhi community, a front door entry to any important religious meetings, an admiring friend’s circle hovering around you, even though you might not part with a centimeter of your carat with them. Ah well.

But diamonds were my best friends, even though I could not compete with my rich cousins. Every time, my cousins flashed their real diamond jewelry I would secretly wish to buy me a better stuff. But my limited budget allowed me to live within my means (as my mom would often say, not to destroy my shack by building castles in air). Nevertheless, by the time, I reached middle age, I had enough of everything. Enough I say because I was satisfied with what I had, and I had everything in diamonds: ear-rings, rings, bracelets, watches, bangles, necklace, pendants, though not those big, huge carats, nah, they were not as impressive as my rich cousin’s booties, but was decent enough, some gifted by my mom, aunts, sisters, some inherited and some, I know not how they arrived at my tijori. I had planned to buy me some more really big ones, those fancy ones that you see in the shopping window, hoping some day in future (when I became truly Richie rich) I would own that too, until one day, suddenly my taste took a U-turn from gaudy to subtle, and it was thinking whether it was really so important to carry such heavy stuff on my neck and on my ear lobes that was dangling so much with its weight that I need doctor’s help to prevent it from becoming a torn chappati. I decided that I don’t really need it. Specially since it was also giving me unnecessary stress.

Now let me explain. What use is wearing all those real diamond-sets that cover your every possible skin so much, that people cannot see you beyond those glittering stones? And you are so busy flashing them, that your topic of conversation is limited to fashion and shopping, while your subconscious mind is eagerly waiting for the compliment that may not arrive from your envious friends. And then you are always living in fear of losing your possessions so much so that you become too obsessive in guarding them. You become vigilant about your cupboard keys and are always hiding the keys in such odd places that you cannot find them yourself. And when you have misplaced it somewhere, you start suspecting everybody: Your maid, your guest, your friend. Okay, you will tell me that I can keep them in bank locker. Then what the bloody hell is the use of freezing them if I cannot wear them? You advice me that it is important to save it for the bad times. So should I wait for those bad times when I can happily cash out diamonds and release them from lockers?

Instead of spending money on diamonds and freezing them in lockers, I have discovered a better value for money. Investing the money in proper way in funds and bonds and see it grow, yielding regular dividends gives special kind of pleasure. It is fun to travel with that extra cash in style. Buy some luxury items to enhance the atmosphere: nice bed spread, good curtains, jacuzzi. And sharing the excess cash with less fortunate and winning their million dollar smile is an heavenly experience.

Also, I am enjoying shopping for artificial costume jewelry, nothing flashy but classic, yes. I like that. No worries about guarding it, hiding it, storing. If it gets lost, I don’t care, I get one more reason to buy another one. I can now concentrate on reading and on other things that I can truly enjoy.

And to enjoy the company of people who can see and hear, just me.

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