Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Assortments

I don’t like the way people check you out at office parties. As if simply being out of office and sludging liquor gives one a license to freely ogle and comment on what one is wearing, what one is drinking, how one is dancing, etc.

It is dismal that vegetarian fare in buffets is reduced to a staple of 4-5 dishes of black dal, some korma-type agglomeration of orange and red vegetables, palak paneer, rice, and chewy naan. Just because a person doesn’t eat meat anymore doesn’t mean that she has lost all taste for food. I think more vegetarians must be drawn to high fat and sugary foods than non-vegetarians, because one desperately looks for compensation to tickle the palate.

One of my New Year resolutions is to lose around 8-10 kilos by the end of the year. It will be more difficult to do this now than before because the motivation is slightly tepid. Although, in my mind, I have a very clear image of how I want to be - sharp, lean, angular without any of those womanly ‘curves’, I don’t think I can summon up all that drive that will help me get into that shape. At least, not immediately.


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I don’t think I should buy any clothes at all this year. It’s easier said than done, because I buy a lot of clothes. Not that I particularly like them – I mean, of course, I do, but I usually never end up with what I really like. They are either too expensive, small, or incongruent with my lifestyle. The thing is I hate repeating clothes. Ever since I was young, I hated repeating clothes. Even when I was in school, I had five sets of uniforms for the week. Of course, I would repeat them over the month (much to my chagrin), but I would absolutely not repeat a uniform in the same week.

I know this sounds snobbish, but my dislike doesn’t stem from snobbery. I just think that once something is worn, it’s worn out. Time for something new. Of course, I can’t afford to do this now, what with the same pair of jeans being worn again and again and again. But, yes, someday when I can afford it, I will wear pretty likeable stuff one time and move it along.

Nowadays, I don’t even like reading the same book again, or watching a film I’ve seen before. I even want a fresh, squeaky new set of people to interact with. It’s strange. I intend to figure all this out when I go for my Vipassana course. One year of being vegetarian and shedding at least 4 kilos and I’ll go for the course.

A sharp metabolism helps meditation, I think. You acquire focus faster.

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I am a little confused – as to whether I am looking forward to the rains or not. *Smiles* I am, I think. I remember my very first walk up Pali Hill in early evening during the rains.

Bandra, dearest Bandra, come to me.

Although I am happy now to have you as my everlasting desire and not home. Still, baby…come to me.

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I am so phenomenally distracted. Why? What’s on my mind? Well, lots, yes…but they don’t need to be there. I wish there was some locker in which you could dump pieces of your mind and go to work. I really need to work with a lighter mind.

I think I am trying very hard to get peace of mind. It shouldn’t be so hard. Maybe I need to approach it in a different way.

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Today is my cousin’s engagement and I am wearing a pink cotton sari. With tulip-pink nails (I’m not wearing the nails, I got them ‘lacquered’), and delicate pearl ear-rings and a pearl necklace. I love pearls. Pink and pearls, in fact, is my very favorite combination. Along with white with silver, red with platinum, and black with nothing.

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I am just trying to clear up the dregs in my mind before I get down to work. But I am extending all this time like crazy. I procrastinate way too much. I really think I should work on mustering up sufficient drive to get something done – or simply, to get something – like a Skoda Fabia. It’s a really good looking car. Reminds me of a piece of jalapeno perfectly roasted in butter and coated with an even layer of crisps. Imagine driving around in something so tasty.

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I wonder if I’ve written about it before, but it bears repeating – what is it with the MTV roadies? What kind of shitty slop is that? And why is Nikhil Chinappa trying to act so harsh and unpleasant? He’s such a charming chap. Who IS that other egg-headed man anyway? The one with a repertoire of carps limited to ‘F**** wannabe!’, ‘F****** fake wannabe’, ‘F**** predictable fake’, ‘F***** Bani’. Who is Bani? Or is this what ‘Bunny’ sounds like in blasé drawl?

Sheesh! Roadies. And why Chandigarh ALL THE TIME?

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Hill Road is fabulastic when it comes to bargains! I mean, the selection of tees or pants you get there is remarkable. And you don’t even have to worry about size. Of course, one does come across certain horrendous pieces that look like a pile of FisherPrice toys melted and clumped to form huge florid symbols. But what the heck- some bad taste is acceptable in the face of such bargain!

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The first month is practically speeding past. And I’m not really very gung-ho-ish about the kind of pace I am packing in at work. I am such a slug. In any case, I think the problem is that I tend to be too ambitious and try to work on too many things at the same time.

What I should be doing is take one thing and let that occupy the central part in my mental shelf. I’ll move it around, just to see how it looks here and there, but there should be only one thing on the shelf. When I have finally figured out what to do with that one thing, I will move on to another. Eventually, I may have a crowded shelf, but at least I will know how they all got there.

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I have been feeling sort of stuck, so I thought I’d just scribble something down to engage my hand and head. I just doodled: ‘There are so many scrunchy excerpts!’ Wow!

Also, on another note, if we aren’t careful, we become what we don’t want to become.

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With regard to anything, I think the trick is to take it slow. Although bulldozing and destroying ‘constructs’ is great, it is best to let something settle down and then incinerate it completely with single-minded focus.

For example, let’s say you are trying to get over someone. We put so much importance on moving on that we immerse ourselves in a hundred little details. We kick up a storm because we’re moving. But one day, all this escapism is bound to catch up. So, I think it is best to let things stand for some time. I mean, one just has to go through troubled times. They can’t be avoided. But it can either be done simply and with grace, or it can be done in a choppy, harsh fashion. So, you grieve for a while, make sense of it all, and then when the pain has numbed (as in it feels dull and throbbing, and not like a thousand fiery pin-pricks), you apply your strength, root out the grief and throw it away for good.

Not giving oneself enough time is the same as not giving oneself enough credit. It can only lead to dissatisfaction.

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Yesterday, a colleague mentioned that it is so much better to not know one’s purpose in life. Life becomes boring once you do. I disagreed. I told her that life veritably becomes much more liberating when you know what you need to be doing. That rids you of second guesses, etc. “So, why is knowing what to do a bad thing?”, I asked her.

“Because then you have to do it.”

Yes. There is that.

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It’s lunch time and I am trying to maneuver a huge tray through a crowd in the cafeteria. My colleagues are sitting and one of them is discussing her brother-in-law. She calls him a ‘cocky dick’. Everyone hollers and two people snort out daal and almost make me lose my balance. I think I should eat alone.

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I don’t understand this whole business of…understanding. If everything is supposed to be interpreted subjectively, then what is misinterpretation? Then everybody is right. So, how can anyone be far off the mark? Surely, there must be one common peg to everything. You can use that peg to hang anything you want, but it needs to be on that one peg. You can’t hang something on another wall, because if you do, then maybe that is misinterpretation.

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It would be nice to have an art gallery with a bed. Lie down and look around at canvasses. Lovely thought.

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I came across something on the net about women clicking photographs of men who eve-tease them. These photos are put up on a website. I don’t feel too comfortable about this. It seems like taking the law into your own hands. It’s not like slapping someone, which would be self-defense.

How do you judge the credibility of the source? How does one know that a woman, in fact, is sending across the photo? It could be the alleged perpetrator’s jealous brother-in-law.

But extending this further, maybe one should also take photographs of the by-standers as well…the ones who stand around and do nothing. Or, for that matter, authority figures who need to be ‘requested’ to step in and who do nothing of their own accord.

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My distraction is getting chronic now. I can’t seem to tackle any task at one go. I need hundreds of breaks and stops to get back to something. I must do something about it…besides giving in, that is. I tried that and it has only spoiled me further.

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Every time I work in a project full-throttle, I am surprised at how frequently one has to go back to check one’s fundamentals. A good project, though, allows you to do that instead of making you feel guilty about it.

And it’s astonishing how much I get done when my phone is out of charge.

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I have just finished plugging in difficult portions of a lengthy document. That done, I went to the canteen for some snack. I had a plate of saabu daana khichdi with tasty, sweet curd, one dhabeli, and a cup of tea. I am so full and sated that I’m feeling drowsy. And today promises to be a long, long night. Looking forward to it though. Yay for client calls!

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A cousin recently got engaged and it was such fun. He got engaged to a Punjabi and their ceremony is called ‘Roka’. I like the name. It’s so sweet and innocent. ‘Stopped’, ‘Halted’, ‘Desisted’.

In any case, I love Punjabis - they have such an incomparable amount of ‘joie the vivre’. My prospective sis-in-law’s family was thunderously represented on the dance floor. Her 90 year old grandfather was swinging away to glory. When people told him to slow down because he’d recently hurt his back, he scowled and lifted his walking stick in the air to shoo the naysayers off.

That’s what I love – the total gusto with which these people dance. While my family shuffled around self-consciously, all the while keeping one eye on the buffet (we’re Oriyas – that should explain it), the other group just took to the floor and sang along and swiveled and jumped. It was such a joy to watch them! Even when the DJ played some Spanish numbers (I mean…'Spanish!’), they would just embrace the music even if they couldn’t sing along, even if they didn’t understand the song…I love that spirit! Have feet, will dance. For that reason alone, I think I should everyone marry a Punjabi. And from what I see around me, I think everyone is.

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Usually, when I’m late for office in the morning, I take the 533 bus from Vashi depot. This bus goes to Oshiwara and stops very close to office (which is not in Oshiwara, but en route). Now, the thing with Vashi buses is that they are severely crowded throughout the day. Not only this, but if you don’t find a seat when you get in, it’s likely that you won’t find one until you get out. Everyone seems to get off only at the last stop.

Today, the bus was more crowded than usual. I suppose everyone, like me, had overslept on a Friday morning thinking it to be Saturday. So I pressed my way in and the bus careened off. I am so horrible with balancing myself that I was most thankful to the crowd for wedging me in securely. I was carrying a big, unwieldy lunch-box that was hitting the people around me. Then, I had to dig into my purse for change and I practically fell on top of the man in front of me. He was dozing and woke up with comic alarm. On top of all that, I had moisturized before I left my house, so my hands were greasy. I couldn’t get a grip on the railings and again I did a mini-pirouette before stamping someone and hitting someone else with my tiffin-box.

Blarmy tiffin! That’s why offices have canteens – so employees don’t become nuisances when they travel in BEST.

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Had gone to Pune this weekend. It was a lovely trip – especially the ‘to’ and ‘fro’ parts. I went in one of those tin cases that are non-A/Cs and have twisted railings and teal-colored rubber seats. It was great fun. I had a window seat in a practically empty bus, and I saw enough sights to remember all the happy holidays in my life. Some road trips are like that, you know – you see trinkets of clouds and puddles or huts and grazing cows, and they probably remind you of some field you had spotted when you drove through your village in your childhood.

These non-AC buses make a trip feel so much more picnick-y than the A/C Volvos with Dhoom and Dus playing again and again and again.

This bus took a slightly longer, but a much prettier, woodsy route. I had two gulps of very refreshing sugarcane juice in Khopoli, and I nibbled through a box of chikkis while we lobbed over Lonavala. There was a stretch where I could see swatches of very different kinds of grass and hay. Some squares looked like luscious emerald felt. Some stacks of hay looked like silken flax. And there was an exquisite type of entwinement that lay across the farmlands. They were like huge weaves of a humungous bird. So fine and intricate were its meshes that you could see the fractured prettiness of the world through it. Under the regular Deccan sunshine, these stacks glowed luminescent like an angel’s eyes.

I could only imagine what they’d look like in moonlight.

I had almost finished my chikki by the time we crossed the stretch. Sometimes, even with Nature, we’re only left with crumbs and yet, we’re happy.

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When, in the not-so-distant past, we would applaud the Bombay spirit, and talk about the soft heart in the hard cage phenomenon, there was no mention of ‘outsiders’ then. When we spoke of robust large heartedness of the feet on the street, we never spoke of outsiders then.

But now, when there is attack and shame, we speak of outsiders. Why?

And if the message is that our local homegrown cops cannot deal with the ‘outsiders’, then maybe we need to bring in more capable officials from ‘outside’.

The ones who don’t think that only bomb blasts merit prevention and protection.

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I love reading NY Times, especially their theatre and movie reviews and their food and fashion sections. They are imbued with such intellect and, sometimes, wit. Sharp, sharp, sharp!

I was just reading a review on a couple of Shakespeare’s plays running in Broadway. The review is quite cleverly titled: ‘Howls and Wonder: Shakespeare on Love’ and it talks about ‘Much ado about Nothing’ and ‘Othello’ (this one has Ewan McG as Iago).

The writer talks about the portrayal of Beatrice and Benedick thus: ‘…..Beatrice and Benedick are tricked into believing they are the objects of each other’s confessed love. Both are literally baptized into the new faith.’

It’s true…Love is a new faith. What a wonderful way of putting it!

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Sometimes I wonder if there would be anything in this world if it weren’t for expectations. All thought, theories, institutions, consecrated action groups – what have you… arise out of a sense of disappointment or discord…out of a sense that things are not as they should be. What “should” they be like? Where would we be without this invisible benchmark? This strange, difficult yardstick?

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There are so many scraps of paper between my books and diaries with the openings of stories for the book that I want to write. It would be nice if these scraps were like litmus papers. They’d turn blue if you jotted down ideas that would actually lead to something big – like a published book; and they’d turn red if they were only going to remain tired itties of articulation.

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I had a really substantial tea-time snack now. A huge plate of ‘spring dosa’ which had shredded cabbage and thin, brown onions and lots of green spring onion stalks. That and a large mug of apple juice. My stomach and my soul feel so sated now. I have that happy drowsiness that one feels all day during vacations. Mucho nice!

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I caught a trivia show on radio this morning. Apparently, Bandra station is a 100 years old. Well, it certainly looks it.

Oh, that reminds me…I haven’t booked a train ticket at Bandra station since years now. I usually get a return ticket from Vashi or I travel without a ticket. Just kidding…I take the bus to Vashi from the depot nearby.

I love taking bus numbers 211 and 214 from opposite the station though. I used to live on Ambedkar Road before, and these buses were just the perfect way to reach there. Even today, I love the sweet folksy atmosphere of these buses. They are clean and manned by really courteous conductors and bus drivers. They drive around colorful, bright breakfast places like ‘Just Around the Corner’ and a bustling vegetable market. Then they ride up a narrow cobblestone path and you see such homey sights from the windows that they warm your heart and make you feel cheery. Finally, they stop just outside my building.

I love Bandra. There are seven heavens in one plane of existence and then there is my continent of childhood with the pin code: 400 050.

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I think my current workplace has loads of people who just need to grow up. It is choked with people who are too full of themselves and can’t see beyond their own noses. When I’m in the company of such people, I feel I’m in the midst of squalor. It’s a very surreal kind of feeling. I think that all communication means inviting people to or getting invited to step into a person’s internal crevice, an inside room. So, each one of us are these carriers of hollow spaces. People who are full of themselves seem to have these spaces strewn with rubbish. Garbage cans are full and you have to tiptoe around them carefully so as not to sully yourself. There is no place for you to sit and barely enough for you to move. It’s best to get out of there.

Then, there are cynical people whose inner spaces feel like coffins. There is so much darkness and dampness. Blinds are drawn tight and there’s no fresh air or sunshine.

On the other hand, some other people have such open hearts that they are a delight to be around. Their inner spaces are sunny and airy. There’s no clutter and everything in it feels roomy and comfortable. You don’t have to walk on egg-shells.

Their inner spaces feel like home.

I would like to depict this idea in a painting.

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I think I’m going to Seasons today – to buy a salwar kameez piece for my cousin. Although it will be a pain to get there, what with all this traffic, it will be nice to go shopping with my mom. I think it’s a great boon to have an interesting mother. I mean, even if I don’t agree with anything she says, at least our disagreements are entertaining. I’d like to have dinner with her though – just the two of us. I hope it works out. It will be great fun!

The problem with buying a salwar kameez piece, though, is that I can’t find a nice enough one for my budget – which is 1500 bucks. Maybe I can up it to two thousand rupees. I suppose I’ll just get a couple of kurtis, I think. A red one and a white one. Maybe if I throw in a green one, I’ll make it a Christmas trio ensemble.

Or should I get some nice, luxurious, scented stuff from Body Shop? Choices, choices…

For now, though, an evening with mother sounds great!

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There’s a man in my office who has very beautiful eyes. His lashes are thick, and brown, and they cover his brownish-grey eyes so gently. Looking at his eyes, you get the effect of looking at the moon through the branches of a fir tree. I think he must have spent many hours by a lake.

His screen has a picture of a little girl. I think it’s his daughter. She has the exact same eyes. So beautiful.

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I’m going to make some important changes at work now. I am definitely going to be on time every day. And I have to work in some time to read more about my professional ‘frontiers’ so to speak. Just so I know what’s going on. If one’s not careful, though, it’s easy to limit one’s awareness of professional development to finding out which company is recruiting.

On that note, I think my field is full of clueless people. Most people are in this field because it’s a rather cushy job and pays quite well. Compared to the jobs they were dissatisfied with on account of work or pay. But what I find irritating is that no-one takes the time to read up about the field or spend any free time learning more about it. How is one supposed to feel any engagement with a profession one knows nothing about?

I think that’s why theories are important. They give credence to a discipline. They validate the notion that this field was important enough to dedicate organized thought to.

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I’d gone to a tarot card reader the other day. He has a small shop that sells feng-shui type stuff, and he had a shelf displaying the cutest, littlest, portliest ganpatis. They looked so plump and rotund and chubby, with their tummies thrust out and smiling so beatifically.

Anyway, he told me that I eat too much and that’s why my creativity is blocked. Due to gluttony. I have tremendous potential that I must be mindful of, but it’s just swishing around in some celestial cup because I’m a great gobbler. I told him that I was a vegetarian now, and I have given up meat. “That doesn’t mean you are eating any less,” he said.

Oh well. If my stars, along with my waistline, are giving out that message, there must be something to it.

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Yesterday, I checked out the Crossword sale and found a couple of things I liked – a coffee table book on Desperate Housewives for 249 bucks, I think, and a really neat looking collection of fashion illustration. But I’ve decided not to buy anymore books now. I got a couple of DVDs though – ‘Capote’ and ‘Friends with Money’. I wonder when I’ll watch these flicks.

I was quite tempted to get the DVD for ‘Ratatouille’ though. Next time, perhaps.

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Now, FabIndia is getting frightfully expensive. Why should those faded, curtain-print kurtas cost 650 bucks? Sheesh! I think now cotton is taking the place of silk as a fabric for the rich and elegant. I approve, of course, because cotton is such a smart fabric.

And I also like the ‘cotton-silk fabric’.

I was thinking of getting a smart pair of paints made in this cotton-silk fabric – in some sort of a vibrant print – maybe yellow and pink with silver and turquoise threadwork,. And I’d team it with fitted black tee and chappals.

I quite like the vision in my head.

Where is Nalli’s in Bombay? I think I’ll never find good salwar-kameez pieces in Mumbai.

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Went to Seasons in Santa Cruz yesterday. They had some good stuff and some pretty avoidable stuff. So, it’s basically like any other store. I still didn’t find any salwaar-kameez material I liked, so I just bought something for myself. It’s quite pretty – a churidaar-kameez in ivory colored crinkled cotton with small, dull gold mango print. It looks quite classy – something I could wear to a music recital in town.

Anyway, the trip to Santa Cruz was interesting – I went in one of those squeaky clean, shiny new trains that have gleaming rails and all. Very good. People were, I think, better behaved there. I think we are impacted by our environment more than we give credit for.

In any case, I overheard an interesting conversation between two ladies. One of them was complaining about how crowded the trains are on Sundays. “More than weekdays, it would seem,” she observed.

Her friend explained that frequent travelers use the trains during weekdays. They are the regulars. So, they are adept at the kind of maneuvering and strategy required to get in, make place for oneself in the crowd, and get out as painlessly as possible. On the other hand, on weekends, especially Sundays, the crowd consists of housewives or women who don’t travel too often. So, they just apply brute force to get in and shove around a whole lot to make place, etc. This creates panic and commotion. So, it’s not as if there are more people; there are more clueless, disorganized people. Which is why the volume of travelers seems overwhelming.

Great insight, I think. It’s the same with driving - it takes lesser time if you know the route and the roads – every slump and every bump.

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I’ve had some really good eats lately.

Now, Bembos seems to be a really nice place to eat. I was there the other day (in Mulund) and I tried an Argentinian veggie burger. I really liked their patty. It was crumby and crispy and it had a really nice prickly, herb-like relish on it. Also, I love the fact that they have black coffee. I love black coffee with my burgers – more than Coke.

And last night, after a really really l-o-o-o-n-g time, I had a thali. It was so unbelievably satisfying.

This was at a place called ‘Navratna’ in Vashi. We used to eat there a long time ago when our house in Vashi was being constructed. But since we’ve moved there, we’ve hardly eaten there again.

I love the wholesomeness of thalis. All the little katoris with different tastes and textures. I particularly liked the thick methi daal and really soft, melt-in-the-mouth tandoori rotis. There was also an interesting dish with karela cooked in milk and grated coconut. And the kheer wasn’t too sweet or thick. It was made with vermicelli and saabu daana – both good ingredients for interesting body.

I am feeling so full now, 24 hours later.

I think it’s time to stop.

Thali is a good sign-off to a post titled Assortments.

11 comments:

SilentOne said...

Nallis in Bombay is in Breach Candy.. on warden road - almost opposite mahalaxmi temple..

Mukta said...

Thanks silent! I'll check it out this weekend.

Chugs said...

regarding roadies... :)
the egg-headed man be raghu ram, who created the show. thinks he is sigmund f****** freud. the both of them try to lay bare the personality/phobias/perversions/etc of the contestants on the basis of a questionnaire and a "grilling" session. hah! or maybe they are just looking for a contestant who can improve the shows trp's by a coupla points.
bani - last yrs much disliked contestant. went on to be in the final 2 even though everybody tried to 'eliminate' her.
chandigarh - many of last yrs contestants were from the city.

does your world make a lil more sense now? :p
i watch way too much tv. i like the 'assortments".

Mukta said...

hey chugs!

Thanks so much! Yes...my world does make a whole lot more sense now. And yes...do go on watching more T.V. It's the only way to live! :-D

d said...

Ack the weight thing again. Why?

Anonymous said...

"A colleague, the other day, mentioned that I am too self-absorbed. I was so surprised. Not because it is untrue, but because I didn't think anyone else would notice. What can I say? I truly find myself fascinating. I could talk with myself for hours. I mean, if it weren't for my volatile temparament, I would have loved to move in with myself and plan holidays together. I'm self absorbed, sure, but can you blame me? I'm such a treat to be around. He he!"
"I think my current workplace has loads of people who just need to grow up. It is choked with people who are too full of themselves and can’t see beyond their own noses. When I’m in the company of such people, I feel I’m in the midst of squalor."
????????????????

Mukta said...

hi d,

oof..the foto on orkut is outdated re...

And anon,

You ARE one of those colleagues, aren't you? :-D

d said...

Oh- outdated! But is that look what you call 'angular' and 'sharp'?

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

omg. clearly you were procrastinating like crazy when you wrote this post. :)
i can recognize all the signs.

enjoy your writing, rarely ever come out to comment. i want to shop at hill road too. :(

Anonymous said...

"And anon,

You ARE one of those colleagues, aren't you? :-D"
???? You have a very imaginative mind.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.