Monday, March 03, 2008

February Flavors

Sometimes, I get this feeling – that there’s so much to learn and absorb. Like all the parts of the brain are sitting around a canopied table by a waterfront and sipping from different glasses. It’s a lovely feeling.

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The security in my office is so annoying. I really miss the security in my Noida office – so polite and efficient. Not like these people here. They whine so much. I have to get a form signed by someone, and now, just out of spite, I haven’t got it signed. I’m not really ashamed of myself for this – although this isn’t the most mature way of ‘teaching a lesson’.

Every night that I have booked the cab, I have had to do numerous rounds of follow up. They don’t even bother to call and tell me that the cab has arrived. And now, I get all these ‘oh, but you haven’t signed…oh, but we are waiting…oh, but I’m so held up because of you…oh…’ type of calls. Well, too bad.

In any case, the boss isn’t at his seat. Glee.

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Some times, I wonder what I’ve become. With some amount of Seinfeld-type observation, I can safely say that I have become a surrogate boyfriend to all the post-30, single women in my company. They come up to me and ask me if they’re looking fat. (I never believed that stereotype until now – when I have been at the receiving end of it. I don’t do it ever. I know when I’m looking fat and I know when I’m not. What’s an outside opinion going to change?) They come up to me and tell me things that commitment is a good thing and I shouldn’t be scared of it. (I am married, they aren’t.) They tell me things that a woman doesn’t really need a man, but it’s nice to have one. (I completely endorse the idea as it would let me off the hook.) They tell me that some people aren’t serious about marriage; they have a low threshold for adjustment and compromise. (If it feels like a compromise, something’s not right. When it is right, it feels like a new, happy experience.) They tell me about their ‘feelings’ (which is, I suppose, the catch term for all types of megalomaniac secretions.)

They get upset if I don’t make plans for weekends with them. They get upset if I don’t call back. They feel I don’t introduce them to my other friends because I’m not ‘serious’ about them. They tell me that I’m really fun to be around and they would miss me if I left. (In time, people get over everything…and I do mean everything.)

They tell me to introduce them to guys. (My cupid license expired years ago.) They tell me to talk to the people they’re thinking of dating. (And frankly, everyone sounds good on the phone.)

I get fed up sometimes. And just for the record, when I say that you aren’t looking fat, it doesn’t mean that you are looking good. Stop assuming.

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I think it’s a nice world where people hold elevators for strangers. And then even smile at each other.

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I’ve probably touched up my lips with this juicy tube lip lacquer the fourth time in an hour. I love it. It smells nice and it looks so good. What I love best is the kind of finesse it lends to my face. My lips don’t look ultra-glued the way some glosses make them. As in, it’s not like an insect would come and get stick in the gook. That would make a funny, albeit gross sight. Albeit is a great name for a clothes store, I think. Something that stocks alternative garment, perhaps. Brocade fitted stockings, netted and lace slippers, khadi silk stretch denims, corduroy saris, etc.

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I’m really excited today. I think I’ll have a really engaging meeting in a few minutes – one where I will actually LEARN something. And also finish up a substantial bit of work, although I really don’t know how I can finish it all by tomorrow. Oh yes, stay up late tonight and finish.

I plan to go out for lunch tomorrow with a couple of friends, as well as dinner with some office colleagues. This weekend, I plan to spend some time with mom and probably take her for a film. That should be fun. Let’s see – my friend may come and stay over with me tomorrow night. She’s interviewing with a school tomorrow afternoon. If all of that goes well, we’ll probably go to Bandra and get something to eat.

Gosh! It’s been so long! A week almost!

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I think I need to start distancing myself from some people around me. This place is a tad strange. I have come to believe that you only meet and interact with those people with who you have a karmic debt. Sometimes you pay your dues, some times you collect them. There’s always an equation. So, it’s always good, although it’s tough to remember it in the middle of an exasperating conversation.

Anyway, this week is rather tough people-wise. It’ll get better…and if it doesn’t, it’ll just get over. Whatever works.

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I was at Bembos last night – the one in Bandra. I love that place. I tried an American veggie large burger (which wasn’t really very large), small fries, and coffee. I love the burger and black coffee combination. Doesn’t make me feel all that slothful.

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I learnt a new word today – ‘prepended’. It’s the opposite of ‘appended’. Sometimes, e-mails have their disclaimers upfront, instead of after the email. In that case, it’s a ‘prepended’ disclaimer.

I’m working on a really tiny bit of legal writing today. Strangely, I just seem to have taken to it pretty smoothly. I have always thought I’d be great at drafting contracts, etc. if I spent a solid couple of years working with a great lawyer. I think I should keep that in mind and probably work towards it. I’ve always found law and lawyers to be too cool for comfort…in a good, sexy way.

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Cold wars are strange. It’s much tougher to handle than a ,umm..what do you call it…a ‘hot’ war? It’s quite effective when you want to freeze someone out, I suppose…but it takes away the spontaneity of sharing ebullience. That’s a little sad.

We mess up so many things some times.

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Today was a good sort of day. I have been working in a really scattered fashion for much of the 7 hours that I’ve been in office, but a lot has been accomplished. Of course, there’s a whole lot more to get through as well. I don’t know how I’m going to finish it by tomorrow.

I have started a review now and it should take me the better part of tonight to get it done. I’ll take the office cab and amuse myself by looking at the moon over the bridge. That sounds like the right thing to do.

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I wonder about the aloofness of people. It irritates me. But I’m hardly one to bring this up since I have practically been labeled an aloof ice-queen here. I like it when I’m called aloof. Everything worth having is aloof – like a rainbow or clouds or even the first spritz of monsoon. Yes, aloof is good.

But I’m still irritated.

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Okay, it’s a Wednesday morning and I haven’t seen Michael Clayton yet. I was planning to go for the film today but I don’t think I’ll be able to leave that early. I am really feeling bad for my project manager. I have kept promising him a document since the last few days now, but I just haven’t been able to finish it. It’s not for lack of trying, though. It is just so long.

But I should have estimated better. It’s a lesson I need to learn really quick.

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I really have to take some time out, maybe over the weekend, and think hard about my career. I need to consecrate my energies now. I am truly thankful for being in a job that I enjoy and for being part of a group that is so strongly geared to pushing my limits in terms of learning. I want to absorb whatever benefits I can, now. I wish I were better with people though. My instinct is to retreat when I meet opinionated people. I have a cousin like that. She just has to have the last word. If we’re out and we’re ordering soup, she’ll make some remark like, “Tomato soup is the tastiest.” Let’s say I respond, “I like mushroom.” She’ll come back with, “But tomato soup is healthier.” Whatever she does or whatever she eats, drinks, wears, buys- always has an edge over what everyone else does.

Sometimes, just to spite her I argue on and on. But then, I don’t like getting petty. I mean, one just has to take stock and understand that debating over soup is not like warring over oil. Eww! I just had a horrible thought in my head right now. Dark, thick, greasy liquid in a bowl. Oh wait! That is the soup my canteen serves. He he! But the spinach soup is good.

In any case, I should figure out a way to deal with such people effectively. They are bright people, they are smart and funny and great to be around. But they are intensely irritating.

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So, I’m on a hunt to discover new tasty Chinese places in Bombay. And considering where I work and where I live, my Bombay, for now, is Bandra. (Even though Bandra is not where I work, and it’s not where I live. It’s still a handy midway.)

Thus far, my favorite Chinese restaurant in Bandra is Golden Orchid. But it’s always good to have an alternative, so I decided to try out Royal China at Turner Road.

I liked the ambience. It’s very pretty in dark wood and winking tea lights and there’s none of the obvious red paper lanterns and pictures of a solitary Oriental woman pouring tea under a peach blossom. That much is fine, but come on….all the eateries in Bandra have got the ‘urbane chic’ style down pat.

So, we get on to food. And unfortunately, that doesn’t pass muster. I had a sweet corn and asparagus broth that was quite okay. It wasn’t a creamed soup, and I have never really had asparagus stalks cut up into little pieces and boiled. But it was interesting. The potage suffered from less salt, though. Then I had a plate of corn curd and it was fried perfectly – not too greasy at all. A teeny bit more salt would have helped enormously. We also had a portion of some sort of vegetable medley with grilled brinjals and tomato sauce. Interesting, but a little low on sodium. And so it went on for the rest of the evening - dish after promising dish – but without that one humble contributor to great taste. Salt.

I think that should be it for this month. It’s a good idea to finish a post on ‘Flavours’ with food.

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