Monday, January 23, 2017

177

There is someone who has passed away and I am not handling this person's demise too well. In case any one can suggest a book that will help me get through that, it will really help. The book can be about anything. I want to get distracted.

178

Finished reading 'The Bronte Project' by Jennifer Vandever.

Will start reading 'The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared' by Jonas Jonasson.

This wasn't part of my reading list that I had put up earlier but I had bought this book and forgotten about it. So will read it now. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

179: First Impressions: An Unsuitable Boy by Karan Johar

I read this one really quickly. Actually bought this for mum and started flipping through it. Liked what I read, continued, and before I knew it, the book was over.

What struck me was that the most coherent, moving pieces of the book is when Johar is talking about his work. In fact, I think, wherever he has used his work as the prism and explained his world, he is really solid. Where he is simply talking about a person or a certain episode - like the tension with Shah Rukh or the rift with Kajol - it tends to get boring. (Okay, so you had a great friend and she let you down and now you're not friends with her. Or your very best friend got upset because you made new pals and didn't have time for him but you're back stronger now. It's not all that devastating or dramatic, really.) What is fascinating is Johar's description of the Bombay of the 80s and the cinemascape of when he became a director. 

I particularly liked the portions where he first finds his groove as the star of elocution competitions after giving his mother panic attacks. Or when he describes how close he was to his father. But the portions where he talks about how he found his calling, how Dilwale got made, and how he took over Dharma - that is really fine writing. He is straightfoward and articulate. You will always be closer to people who will set up your first work experience for you. Whether it was Adi who told him to stay back (Karan was about to leave for Paris at the time) and assist in his debut film or Shah Rukh who gave him a deadline to complete his first script and start shooting - one can imagine why the fondness is stronger there. I mean, yes, we all seek and perhaps get emotional support from our pals - but those friends who can show you what you are capable of - you just see them differently. 

I grew up in Bandra and have seen lives of film people, if not very closely, then in rather close quarters. At the time, what those people did, who they hung out with, what skills they had - you never really knew. But I knew men and women who would struggle to explain that what they did was also work - and hard work, at that. 

I think, in some ways, this book is a nod to that. That films, as an industry, has seen shifts that have caused the collapse of several mighty players. Not because the business itself is capricious and some hotbed of debauchery, etc. It got the patronage of the underworld at one point, it's facing competition from stronger international arenas - and in all that, people wake up and go to work. For me, the book scored the highest there.

He does talk about his mother's ill health, his worry of growing old alone, his dream of adopting a child, etc. Regular things. But you get the sense that he'll be okay because he's figured out what to do with his life. And that simple thing is a special blessing.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

180

A book, tiny cup of water, some sunshine and a glimpse of the day.

181

1. I am reading Karan Johar's 'An Unsuitable Boy' and really liking it.

2. Am going to take a couple of days off in the first week of February and think about my career and work.

3. Meditation becomes a part of my life from tomorrow for sure.

Friday, January 20, 2017

182

Some night there is waterfall. I behaved badly today. I spoke very rudely to someone today and shunned the food she brought me. Then I worked. Anyway, I will watch a couple of videos and sleep. Will tackle things tomorrow.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

185, 184

Death. Bad dreams. Waking up crying. Going to Mom and hugging her. She making it all okay. 

But Death.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

187, 186

Today I went out with someone.

It was sweet and tender. We walked along Worli seaface and he made me laugh. He knew that I loved the Haji Ali fruit and cream dish. So he took me there and shared a bowl of strawberries and cream. On the way, he stopped by another of his favorite dessert places and got me doodhi halwa. He dropped me off at the bus stop, stayed back to see if I got a seat, peered in to check if I was okay, and then left.

It was so innocent. And it felt good.

There were lots of things that happened yesterday but I choose to write about this because there are so many instances of so much violence against women. It affects me so deeply that sometimes, I can't even talk to a man on the phone without thinking how he might get violent with a lady if he had the chance. It is very odd but there it is. But that attitude is not serving me. So I thought I would catalog, at least, all the times I have been with a kind man late into the night and I was safe and happy.




Sunday, January 15, 2017

188: First Impressions: The Alienist by Caleb Carr

Finished reading 'The Alienist' by Caleb Carr. Disturbing, wholesome, solid. After a L-O-O-N-G time, noticed that I was holding my breath every few chapters. Noteworthy are a few things: the description of New York in the 1890s before it became Greater New York and Theodore Roosevelt as the mayor of the city before he became President, the rise of fine dining with Delmonicos, the ghettos, the impact of the man with the money who bailed out an entire nation - JP Morgan. Then, a killer who, against all of this setting, seemed like a normal guy. And a doctor who, against all of this setting, was anything but.

If you're looking for a thriller, this, really, is it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

189

I am thoroughly enjoying 'The Alienist' by Caleb Carr. New York City in the 1870s is so spectacularly described that just the description of what some areas will become later fills you with a sense of foreboding. It's an exciting read and I wish I could park all of my work for a couple of days and simply gobble that book.

A friend, N, is here and it was really nice to meet her near her place. We had coffee at McDonald's and chatted and it was a nice finish to the day.

My cook has stitched up a bunch of stuff at home, by hand. Last night, I'd worn one of those 'creations', so to speak. It was a strappy number in a brown paisley print fabric (which we cut off a palazzo that had ripped) and wore it on top of a black turtleneck. I liked it. :-)

Anyway, I will sign off now and head back to reading the book. Will do some work after that.




Sunday, January 08, 2017

Some sketching also happened

Rendition of The Little Mermaid and a contemporary twist on the same picture if I had to do it. (The second one is inspired from Sophie Kinsella's 'The Twenties Girl'.)

194, 193, 192, 191, 190

In no particular order, stuff that has happened over the last few days:

1. Made two trips to Urban Foundry over the last couple of days. Had excellent conversations. One with an ex-colleague who was into Fine Arts earlier and is now in the UX/ UI domain. The other with a dear pal of mine I used to go for walks with. Had cosmopolitans there and I would recommend it. It is served so prettily! There's that famous pink-orange-red swirl of the cocktail in a martini-glass but the glass doesn't have a stem. That vessel is placed inside a glass bowl filled with some funky swirly white smoke - the kind you get from dry ice. It comes to your table and everyone's eyes are on you! That's part of the fun. Today, I had the soya chaap there - a favorite of mine from visits to Delhi. Succulent and flavorful.

2. We made rose water at home. It's bottled and stays pretty on a nightstand. Now I don't know what to do with it.

3. A friend from Bombay had come over and stayed. Chatted through the night, of course. It was fun.

4. Liked a particular doodle session.

5. Got a teensy bit frustrated over the format of an invoice I had shared earlier. So troublesome. Anyway, nothing much to do but get it sorted out.  

6. My cook turns out to be pretty nifty with stitching. So, I gave her some old dupattas and some fabric I was gifted. She made me a cute bustier-type tie-up blouse with a black and gold border. Then, a beautiful chilli-red fabric from Assam is a loose-ish kurta.

Will work hard from tomorrow. Tonight some coffee and reading.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Thursday, December 29, 2016

197: 150 books on my shelf

For 2017, I have decided to plough through the 150 books on my shelf. Read some, re-read some others, maybe be stoic about getting through the titles I picked up because I desperately wanted to improve myself, etc. Anyway, here's the list and I have decided that, from this list, I will mainly read fiction and an interesting book on history:

1.       ‘The Alienist’ by Caleb Carr
2.       Gather together in my name by Maya Angelou
3.       Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
4.       Seducing the demon, Writing for y life by Erica Jong
5.       Mumbai Noir – edited by Altaf Tyrewaala
6.       Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
7.       The Fifth Horseman by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre
8.       The Kept Woman and other stories by Kamala Das
9.       Bombay, meri jaan edited by Jerry Pinto and Naresh Fernandes
10.   One Thousand Gifts by Voskamp
11.   Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie
12.   On Beauty by Zadie Smith
13.   Two Years, Eight Months, and Twenty Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie
14.   Queen by Alex Haley and David Stevens
15.   Business Sutra by Devdutt Pattnaik
16.   Switch by Chip and Dan Heath
17.   The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse
18.   Jennifer Government by Max Barry
19.   The Fault in our Stars by John Green
20.   Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
21.   Girl Reading by Katie Ward
22.   The Female of the Species by Lionel Shriver
23.   Pastpresent by Amruta Dongray
24.   The Secret Lives of Sisters by Linda Kelsey
25.   Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
26.   A Course in Miracles
27.   Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
28.   Ageless Body, Timeless Mind by Deepak Chopra
29.   Women and the weight loss tamasha by Rujuta Diwekar
30.   The Late Child by Larry McMurtry
31.   My Sister’s Keeper by Bernardine Kennedy
32.   Sophie’s World by Jostein Gardner
33.   Love in the time of cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
34.   The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle Laporte
35.   The Greatness Guide by Robin Sharma
36.   Insights into Vedanta
37.   Salsa and Chips by Daniel Reeves
38.   Einstein’s God by Krista Tippett
39.   Running from Safety by Richard Bach
40.   The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho
41.   The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
42.   The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
43.   Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
44.   Women who run with the wolves by Clarissa Pinkola
45.   The coming war between Russia and China by Harrisson E. Salisbury
46.   To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
47.   Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie
48.   The King’s Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi
49.   American Buffalo by David Mamet
50.   Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuik
51.   The Post Birthday World by Lionel Shriver
52.   Writing to Heal the Soul by Susan Zimmerman
53.   Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
54.   India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra, Mridula Mukherjee, Aditya Mukherjee, Sucheta Mahajan, K.N. Panikar
55.   Going to the movies by SyD Field
56.   The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
57.   Tender is the night by Scott Fitzgerald
58.   Art and Lies by Jeanette Winterson
59.   Godman by Kirpal Singh
60.   The Birth House by Ami McKay
61.   Two Lives by Vikram Seth
62.   Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
63.   Anderson’s Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
64.   Book Lover by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack
65.   On Late Style by Edward W. Said
66.   Chanakya’s 7 Secrets of Leadership by Radhakrishnan Pillai and D. Sivanandhan
67.   Jung: Selected writings (Introduced by Anthony Storr)
68.   The Bronte Project by Jennifer Vandever
69.   Shobhaa at Sixty by Shobhaa De
70.   Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra
71.   Complete works of Shakespeare
72.   Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
73.   From a Buick 8 by Stephen King
74.   Complete stories by Dorothy Parker
75.   Alchemy edited by Sheba Karim
76.   The Human Stain by Philip Roth
77.   The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
78.   Celebrations: Rules of Peace and Prayer by Maya Angelou
79.   A Case of exploding mangoes by Mohammed Hanif
80.   Selected poems by Christina Rossetti
81.   Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco
82.   Size 12 is not Fat, Size 14 is not fat either – the Meg Cabot omnibus
83.   Selected poems by William Blake
84.   No Full Stops in India by Mark Tully
85.   The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte
86.   Marketing Management by Kotler, Keller, Koshy, Jha
87.   Arion and the Dolphin by Vikram Seth
88.   Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
89.   Persuasion by Jane Austen
90.   Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer
91.   Poems by Sylvia Plath
92.   Specimen Days by Michale Cunningham
93.   What would apple do? By Dirk Beckmann
94.   Stuffed by Patricia Volk
95.   The Last Temptation of Christ by Kazantzakis
96.   Lust for life by Irving Stone
97.   Tilak and Gokhale by Irving Stone
98.   The Temple of my familiars by Alice Walker
99.   August is a wicked month by Edna O’Brien
100.                        Snow by Orhan Pamuk
101.                        Citizen’s Rising by David Hoffman
102.                        The Alchemy of Desire by Tarun Tejpal
103.                        The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
104.                        Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
105.                        Open by Andre Agassi
106.                        Deep Work by Cal Newport
107.                        The Magic by Rhonda Bryne
108.                        Love and Longing in Bombay by Vikram Chandra
109.                        Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
110.                        The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
111.                        The Poorhouse Fair by John Updike
112.                        Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse
113.                        Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
114.                        Secrets of Mind Power by Harry Lorayne
115.                        Modern Sociological Theory byM. Francis Abraham
116.                        The teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge by Carlos Castaneda
117.                        Genome by Matt Ridley
118.                        Yuganta by Irawati Karve
119.                        E-cubed by Pam Grout
120.                        On writing by Stephen King
121.                        Act like a success, think like a success by steve Harvey
122.                        Bombay stories by Manto
123.                        The miracle of water by Masaru Emoto
124.                        Akbar by G.B. Malleson
125.                        Anywhere but here by Mona Simpson
126.                        Naked by David Sedaris
127.                        Maximum City by Suketu Mehta
128.                        The devotion of suspect x by keigo higashimo
129.                        Gal by Ruthie Bolton
130.                        Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton
131.                        A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
132.                        Change your thoughts, change your life by Dr. Wayne Dyer
133.                        Greatest works of Kahlil Gibran
134.                        Story by Robert McKee
135.                        Zen in the art of writing by Ray Bradbury
136.                        Art and Science of meditation by Dr. Newton Kondaveti
137.                        The Diary of a Young girl by Anne Frank
138.                        Interpret your dreams by Elizabeth Scott
139.                        Black Coffee by Agatha Christie
140.                        Under the banyan tree by Thich Nhat Hanh
141.                        Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay
142.                        Empowering your soul through meditation by Rajinder singh
143.                        Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
144.                        Twilight in Delhi by Ahmed Ali
145.                        What everyone should know about Islam and Muslims by Suzanne Haneef
146.                        Rework: Change the way you work forever by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
147.                        The Wallcreeper by Nell Zink
148.                        Behind the beautiful forevers by Katherine Boo

149.                        Worlds together, worlds apart: a history of the world

198

Worked solidly today but there was some unanticipated work. So there is unfinished business to take care of tomorrow. Lots of it but that's okay. I think I will just sit down and make a schedule. It will be good.

I'm having a really great feeling about how this year will end and how 2017 will pan out.

Got my car for a spin today and it was gorgeous. (My car was in Bombay all this while. I got it now and it's scrumptious.) Mom is here so we went to Peter Donuts for an after-dinner coffee.

Wore my chocolate brown, cotton off-shoulder top from H&M in Pune. Looked pretty nice.

There are lots of books to read. Tons of nice clothes that I suddenly unearthed from my cupboard. Have planned an excellent New Year's eve with pasta and mushrooms and some kind of a wild salad. And maybe a nice, healthy dessert - I'm thinking something involving jaggery.

Life's good!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

199

And every day I will create something that I love. Nothing else is as important as this.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

200

It was so much fun waking up with a couple of friends in the house. We had coffee and chatted and then they both left. It's good to have friendship and companionship I think. Intend to make time for more of this in life. But for the next few years, it ill be work over everything else.

December is ending and there are still a few days left. Wonder what kind of magic unfolds. I do think, though, that something sparkly will happen.




Monday, December 26, 2016

201

A Christmas party was had. Two of my friends are sleeping in the home while I sip some coffee and type this out before I begin working on an assignment.

It was a quietish party. Got in touch with a couple of pals from my earlier workplace. A pal from Bombay came over. My really sweet neighbor loaned me her fir tree and we snazzed it up with all sorts of tinsel.  A handsome, golden reindeer was stuck at the bottom of the tree, there were tiny snowmen in top hats, pretty angels suspended from branches., and a swirl of the glittering, green streamer around the tree and its branches. People came in. It was a last minute do so there were people who came in and there were those who couldn't make it. There were some more who declined. So, for a moment when I was pouring out the wine and warming slices of plum cake, I wondered if this too was destiny. Who comes, who stays away. As I write all this now - a cold draft coming in through the windows, a hot cup of coffee, the home silent and full with sleeping friends - I get the sense of what I saw in the film 'Collateral Beauty' today - it doesn't matter...who comes, who stays - because nothing remains. Except a vague sense that whatever it was, it was good.

Hope you all had a gorgeous Christmas!