Of Good Mornings and Nights

I am slowly, finally becoming a morning person. (and a night person)

So I always said that I like being the night owl that I am. However, I have also harboured a secret desire to be the up early and begin my day before everyone else types. Of course, it was too difficult to do this by myself. I took the opportunity of early-arriving maids to do this, even jet lags! But it never happened. Not for long anyway. Late nights always won.
Today I am back in my old (college) level sleep habits. Meaning, I sleep less. Now, I wake early and sleep late and get up in the middle of the night.
They say Motherhood changes you. For me, the discernible change in daily routine is my willingness to wake up early. Up by 6.30am to play with her before leaving for office and then put her to bed as soon as possible (9.30pm). The time after that is MINE.

My Movie Playlist

So, seeing an old post of mine, I played my music at Random and then assigned each successive song to the heading given.
I must say the songs are so apt. Especially the last one. To take it one step further I am adding notes on what the song is about in each line.

Share yours!

Waking up
Pear Jam - do the evolution
"Im ahead, Im a man"
(Grunge screaming to start the day)

First day at school
Linkin Park - burn it down
(yeah, just like Floyd did, right? right!)

Falling in love
Indian Ocean - Bhor
(mostly music, rather romantic if you see it that way)

Fight song
Hardwell & Showtek - How we do
(techno music - goes well with a kung fu kind of fight)

Breaking up
Atif Aslam - Pehli Nazar mein
(Rather contradictory - did you breakup cuz of another affair?)

Beethoven - 5th Symphony (first movement)
(Because high school students do the dramatic)

Life's OK
MIA - Paper Planes
(I fly like paper, get high like planes)

Mental breakdown
Coldplay- Everthings Not Lost

Coldplay - Yellow (live)
(I like this as a song to drive to)

The Doors - Freedom Exists
(Baritone of Jim speaking)

Getting back together
Ronan Keating - When you say nothing at all
(it works, but on a sidenote I didnt even know I had this song)

The Dewarists - Kya Khayaal Hai
(lets share our lives, kya khayal hai?)

Birth of child
Hey Dude - Kula Shaker

Final Battle
Tina Turner & Bryan Adams - Its only Love
(when your love has been shattered, and nothing else matters, its only love)

Death scene
For whom the Bells Toll - Metallica

Funeral song
Collective Soul - Run
(all these times can teach us...)

Theme Song - Super Mario
(need I say something here??)


The last post I see, is from 2013. That is three years ago. It is a long time in the life of some, and very short in others.
For me, it went before I realised what was happening, yet it brought about a sea of changes. I have changed, my talk has changed, and so has my writing. In fact, I have not written in a long time and I have no one to blame, really.
Of course, if I want to, I can blame everyone and everything. I can blame my work (too much!), my travels to work (driving does not allow for writing), my married life (husband is more interesting than writing) and a myriad of other things (tired! busy!). But the fact remains that I prioritised a number of other activities over writing.
When I found the time, I cooked/ baked. I even painted. I would rather vegetate than write.


Because I felt I had lost my spark. I felt I had nothing more important to say. I felt that all I wrote was pretentious and could not bear to read a word. If I couldnt read my own prose, why would another?

I lie. None of the above were the reasons. The reason was simply - Life Happened.

Today I sit here typing and almost apologising to the one medium that has brought solace and joy. Yet I think it is normal. Sometimes a break is what is needed to feel wanted again.

Today after a long time I felt like writing, and I made it happen. I have opened LJ to write, but in most cases I have forgotten what I wanted to pen down even before the site opened.

Today life is so different from when I had opened an LJ account for the first time. So different from when I had hopes of making this a proper journal and wrote almost daily.

Life has changed, yet it remains the same in so many manners. My identity has evolved, increased, and as a person I have grown. Only for the better. All change, I think, is for the better.
Yet, in my mind I am the same person. I am me.
And that, I think is the essence of being. The knowledge of yourself. The comfort in being what you are. But thats me personally.

If I have the time, the scope and more proactiveness, perhaps I will write more here. At the moment this remains a loving place of lovely memories, and hopefully a place to store many more to come.

Time and Sporadic Posts

Time flies, and you can do nothing about it.

Every moment the clock ticks forward, and till the time that scientists really do discover travel at the speed of sound, nothing can be done about it except to write, sing and talk of these facts.

Sometimes things happen so fast and so much in the flow of everyday actions that there is no time to savour them. You may have won an award, but where is the time to sit back and enjoy the award when you are inundated with work the very next moment? It is already in the past.

Some one new joins you for work and you have so many plans. And then it is time for that person to leave and you realise there is still so much to be done and nothing accomplished. Time has flown away faster than imagined.

It all comes down to passing a day at a time.
'Today is so busy, I will do this tomorrow.'

And like many authors have claimed, Tomorrow really never does come.
There are places to go, people to meet, people to call. And then there are priorities. You WANT to call X, but it is Important to call Y. You WANT to read a book, but all your body really wants is uninterrupted sleep, RIGHT NOW.

Snatching the most of the moment, we move ahead without a pause or a look behind.
The time when I could sit and write a blog post seems so long ago. The time between opening my browser and clicking on LJ site itself can be interrupted with so many colleagues, mails and phone calls that I have indeed forgotten why I have my datacard connected and why Im staring at an empty page. The same holds true at home.

Excuses. Sometimes excuses are true. And really, on my priority list, where does venting out what my mind churns in a good format really fall? Somewhere in the list after point 5 and Im still struggling at point 2. So, forgive me.

Or blame Twitter. The telegram of today that I can access while driving home. The limitation of 160 characters enabling me to quickly dash off an intermediate thought without having to resort to typing out words on my cumbersome touchscreen phone. Oh, give me a song, a steering wheel and 160 characters look heavenly.
So, just go ahead and blame twitter.

So while I try and find time to finally go to the hair appointment I have now rescheduled for over a month, and ensure that my office work and incessantly beeping blackberry are satisfied, and I have enough time to have a logical conversation with my better half, I will continue to find the time to squeeze in an irrational blog post like this one. if not only for the sake of keeping this site alive, but also to keep up my tradition of writing long winding posts about nothing.

After all, nothing makes one feel better than to be able to write without a care of who reads it, how it is reviewed and still be able to let the mind free. And that it why i will prefer a no-audience blog. It doesnt need editing.

The Age of War & Job Decription

The world moves in mysterious ways. We humans can never be accused of making lives simple for ourselves. It is contradictory to our very being, our essence.

The world seems filled with anguish, dispair, corruption and war.

Where does one look for solace? For every happy news story read, there are two sad ones waiting to be read. A murder case here, a psycopathic leader there. A story on abuse and another on money pilfering on scales unimaginable.

Thousands of crores of Rupees mean nothing anymore. Nothing is too much, even when it cant possibly be spent. Replace Rupees with people, and the statement above stands true for some of the world leaders. Murders here and there, all in the name of war, uprising, a better government. Friends and family turning against each other. Atrocities that a healthy human mind cant even imagine. It is all in the name of intangible mind-bending beliefs, faith and or religion, or even money.

If the era of Man were to be truly divided into "Yug", and this be the Kalyug, we are definitely in the worst of it all. It also leads me to wonder about the truth of a Satyug. Man does not seem to be the type of animal who will be happy or satisfied with things for too long.

There was a training program I attended, where I heard one very insightful sentence - Everyone tries to perform to their best abilities. No one turns up at work to underperform.

And you know what? Its true. Your worst performer is still a person who wants to do well - he is just unable to, because of lack of expertise.
The thief also sets out to do the task to the best of his abilities. As does the corrupt police officer, the corrupt leader, the despot and the beggar on the street corner.

Its just an unbelievable expanse of 'job description' that we cover.

I Saw Guns N Roses Live! Yes, Im excited.

There are some things in life that your dont expect to happen. Like getting a great job and boss and pay - all at once. Like listening to music, watching their videos, seeing stage antics for years and years and years. And then imagining the frenzy of it all in Los Angeles or in New York. Then knowing that that band had broken up. That they in fact went to China, but not closer home. That deciding that music videos would be the only source.
And then. One day you hear they will be in your country. In your city. On a day when you too, will be in the city. I did not expect Guns N Roses to ever perform for me, in India. I heard them in college, in school, at work. I saw them on TV, read about them in news. Heard about t heir breakup. But the possibility that I might see them in all their splendour, in life, in person - that was not imagined. Its what happens to 'other people' those that stay in the US and Europe, who get to see them perform live.
But, they did it for us, for me. I paid the fee, I prepared the evening. I spent 4pm to 11pm on the grounds watching. Three hours of uninterrupted Axl Rose and his crew. For it is his crew now. Slash is long gone. He too is coming in Feb. But I dont think I will want to go and watch Slash. It is to listen to Patience, Estranged, Welcome to the Jungle...that I would pay. Not to listen to their riffs alone. I leave that to the Slash fanboys.
And oh! what an evening it was yesterday. The best sight was the variety of ages trooping in. Teenagers to middle aged men and women. Top hatted to salwar kameez wearing. There was no norm. No discrimination. It was Rock music. And they were there to listen to one of Rock Music's most iconic.
The show was everything promised. And more.
Axl sang - and he sang so well that I at one time (shame on me!) thought he was lip syncing. Not a note away from the original recordings. Yes he has aged. Yes, he is not a lithe young man anymore. But the attitude is there. As is the snake dance. The running on the stage and the enjoyment. The ability to enjoy your own music, as you sing it for the Nth time for a crowd...that cannot be faked. The wide grins as they loved what they were doing made up for the years when they werent here.
32 songs. 32 musicals, including a rendition of November Rain on a special shiny Baldwin by Axl himself. Interrupted by him to take a swig of water and aspirin - he apologised 'to perform better for you' - and resume with a practiced smooth flourish and full energy the last unmistakable notes of November Rain. Oh, nothing could compare.

Watching Axl run up and down the stage, full of energy, singing high notes and low whispers - I still wonder if any younger band of today could do it. Could build up that energy in a crowd of 30,000 for 3 continuous hours. Axl and team spiced up every song with a tempo change, a clothes change and a style change.

The new lineup is well, new. But not for more than a moment did I miss Slash. YEs, he was the initiator, but there is talent a plenty today. DJ Ashby and Roger were spectacular. Ron was in a league of his own. And since I have a soft spot for Spanish Guitar...the intro before they started on Patience - was priceless!

I am delighted I went. It may have been a tick off my bucket list. But its an unparalleled experience, recommended to anyone who loves a good concert, and of course, GnR.

Of Kolkata, Vacations, Bengali and Mothertongues

I am back from being home for a short holiday. A glorious one where I attended Pujo, and went to Sikkim. Then why doesnt it feel like one?
Maybe its because of the terrible cold Ive caught, or maybe its because of the hectic activity filled days. Maybe its the pressure to still show the best of Calcutta to N and make him love it. Maybe its all combined.
I wish I could stay a few more days there, I wish it was Saturday tomorrow.
Im missing the filtered sun, and the cool tinged winter breeze. The sunlight on my face as I wake up in the bedroom of my childhood. The home made food made by Mom. The sound of Bengali everywhere.

I have realised through living in Bombay, the interchangeabe ironies of using some Bengali words here and there. Mostly inspired through over dramatic films like Devdas (the SRK-AR one), people here tend to overuse and misuse some words often, especially the moment they hear I am a Bengali.
To touch back upon the warmth of Kolkata, and to introduce you to the correct usage of some common terms, here is the meat of the post:
1. Chee chee! : This is similar to the Hindi term, and signifies distaste. As in, "Chee Chee, the floor is so dirty!", or, 'Chee Chee, still not done your homework?'
2. Uribaba! or Orebaba : This is a term to be used less frequently. A term used to show pleasant surprise, this is a very rarely used word. As in, "Uribaba, how big you have grown in the past 5 years!" or, "orebaba, thats a lot of gifts!"
3. Oreb-baba! : This is different from Uribaba. The stress here is on the "b" in the middle. This is simple astonishment. More frequently used than uribaba, and more pally. This word signifies anything larger than life. Well, almost. "Orebbaba - what a goal that was!" or "Orebbaba, that is a huge sweet, I simply cant eat it!"
4. E-baba! : This is calamity. No joy in this word, its sadness personified. Speak it out in an astonished baritone, stress on the initial "e" and final "a". Mostly, it is followed by the phrase 'ebar ki hobe", meaning 'now what'. The extent of calamity can be understood by the stress on the ebaba, and the more the baritone, and slower it is, the more sad it is. As in, "Ebaba! You missed the train?! Ebar ki hobe?" it can also be used for simple things like dropping tea - Ebaba, the tea spilled over my clothes.
5. Eeesh! : Yes, we've finally reached that famous word. For correct pronunciation, please refer to Utpal Dutta in Golmal, and not to Aishwarya Rai in Devdas. The word has to be said with your personality in it and differs person to person. Its a term of irritation. The importance is to strech out the 'eee' and almost forget the "sh" in the end. This is lighter than ebaba, and is used more often for scolding a child, or a minor misdemeanor, or when something doesnt go as per plan, but there is no doom or gloom. As in, "eesh, kya kar rahe ho?" or, 'Eesh, I stepped on dirt!'

Now for some phrases:
1. Eta Ki? : No, this does not mean 'this is a key'. (Har har hardy har!). This very simply means, "What is this?"
2. Ki Holo? : What happened? (key hole-o)
3. Ki Korchho? : What are you doing?
4. Ki hobe? : What will happen?
5. Kemon Achho? : Now, for the most used Bengali and most abused by non-Bengalis phrase - this is pronounced as kay-mon achho, and not achhi. It means, how are you. And the 'you' aspect is signified by the final "o". This is the most replaceable and oft used phrase, which can be a hello, a smile, a cheer, and a genuine question to health. Its a good conversation starter, but only if you can respond in "Bhalo!"

This list making has definitely made me feel better. I hope its added to your repertoire as well.
And to round things off, another word which you will even hear newsreaders use once in a while - Byapok.
It means - awesome. And its used for "a lot" as well. As in, New York saw Byapok amount of rain over the last two days thanks to Hurricane Sandy.
And of course,
Its been Byapok writing this post!
Join the Masses


Today is a holiday.
Not literally. Just in my mind. The morning decided itself for me, that today will be the kind of day that I will spend gazing at the cornflour blue sky dotted with heavy, laden clouds. Clouds that look grey underneath and shine silver on the top with reflected sunlight. And eagles as they leisurely catch on to the multitude of currents, circling away, in droves, making entertaining dots against those massive clouds.
The thought itself makes the day a reason to celebrate. To wear new shoes, and less-worn earrings. Of looking at ways by which to fill the time at work, except for work.
But its not to be, almost. The multitude of meetings yesterday have made my colleagues curious. What is it that we have been discussing behind closed doors? And then another comes up - why dont we initiate a new proposal regarding X? Afterall, only the sales team works. No one else does snything.
And I smile back patiently, and then not-so patiently. The top management are no fools. A suggestion from a worker drone only looks at one aspect. What about the other dimension of everything?
Then I look out at the rolling hills outside. Mumbai landscape can be quite inspiring, were it not the teeming masses of humanity and their filth all over. There are small hills, cliffs and the sea. It could still have been a beautiful city. But then we have the humans. And the buildings, and the filth everywhere. Makes it difficut to see past any of it to the pretty green hills and the waves on the sea.
I forgive my colleague. He only verbalises his thoughts. At least he has thoughts after having lived all his life in the filth, never having noticed the hills. The same hills that have been part of his life every single day since he was born. How then, could he see the larger picture at work?
I gently tease him away, towards other discussions, to other people. I ask the other one a question in the hope of keeping him busy for some time. It works.
I am alone again. With my laptop and my thoughts. I will relax, I think. And then I check mail.
Work is work only when it is imposed. It is labour when you think of it that way. The option to work is delicious. No particular deadline. No boss in office. Another round of closed door meetings keeps them busy today. And will keep me busy tomorrow.
I make my document. I feel even more liberated with music playing in my ear.
In time, I will open websites and read up on unnecessary information. With the Internet there is no dearth. With the time I have today, there is no haste.View from my Window with hills in Distance
Climb the Summit


This year seems to have flown past at an extra-high speed. Which still doesn't mean that some months never ended...it still feels like May to me.
A new job, and a still-new family life have taken their toll on my time, and blogging is just one of the many things that have become minimal. And yet other parts of my life are as fulfilling as can be desired, if not more. It has been a shuffle of activities, with some taking higher weightage than others...as compared to before. And Twitter has won over LJ in this time-committed lifestyle. Not that I am complaining, everything has its own place and pace. And LJ will never really die for me, its a faithful friend waiting for when I will come back to it, waiting for the once-in-a-while steaming cup of coffee, cake and conversation.
The thought of a nice cup of coffee right now feels just about right. Perhaps with a book and an open window. Though I dont have one of either right now, I still have LJ. Then again, it is one of those days that look better through the closed glass of a window when the aircon is on inside.
Summers have come and are almost gone. Yesterday was a sneak peak into what the monsoons can hold for us here in the city. But it was just too transient. Of course, the thought of monsoons and driving conjure up painful thoughts of endless traffic on my 18km one-way commute. Thoughts of taking more than two hours to reach home in the evening. Of reaching after 8pm, only to finish off the day with dinner and a quick chat. No time to waste. But then monsoons are the only time the city feels fine. Better than some hill stations, like the once I visited only a week ago. A week ago seems so long ago. Even last Sunday seems so long ago - come and gone so fast.
Last week has been quite an eventful one. My mom visited after eons, her first visit since my marriage, and it has been fun. Today she comes back from her two day stay in Deolali with B&Maddy. I get another couple of nights with her till she goes back to Calcutta, and till Durga Puja, when N and I plan to visit the city. We hope.
But I want a holiday now. A proper holiday at home. Not a vacation. Just a day off. A day when I can wake up at a time I want, not take a bath till I want, and sit down by the window-light, reading a book, with a nice hot cup of home-made cappuccino next to me. The aircon can stay on, and N can be by my side with his comforting presence. And some soothing music.
The concept of work from home doesn't exist in this company. They have no idea how much they are missing out on. I wish I could explain it to them. I therefore wait for monsoons to bring on their onslaught. And Mumbai to be unable to host them, as always. Clogged rain roads and impossibility of coming to office sound sweet to me.
But then work nags, and I need to return from staring out of the window at the cloudy skies to me laptop screen and some spreadsheets. I can look ahead towards the soon-coming weekend, and materialise my dream.
Light Play

The Elevator

The strong steel doors closed with a satisfactory ‘ping’ in front of her face. Sheetal had managed to enter the elevator in the last moment, even as she saw Rahul waving to hold it from a distance. Before she could react, the man on the right had hit the close button, and now they were on their onward journey. She looked at the man with mock irritation. He was tall, well built and dressed in a suit. ‘Oops’ he said with a shrug of his shoulders and a slight smile. He had a strong jaw and a nice smile. Sheetal forgave him. She smiled back.

As is the norm, she then proceeded to ignore the rest of the packed lift and began to fumble for her phone. Twenty floors was a long way to go. It had been a hectic morning and the work schedule for the day seemed cruel. She had worn her new red top and black heels to combat Monday morning blues. Now she didn’t even have Rahul for company in the lift.

As she looked down to her phone and the empty gmail inbox, she could not help but peep into the glowing LCD on her neighbour’s screen - ‘you look hot’. She just had to look up. The man was very obviously chatting to that girl next to him, all demure in a salwar suit, replete with sindur. The girl giggled and gave him a slight punch, oblivious to the remaining 7 rather interested individuals. The lift pinged 3, and the couple walked out.

‘Ah! Interesting anecdote to tell Rahul’

Getting some more room, Sheetal swept her eyes around the lift, checking out its inhabitants. She found herself staring at a near-teenage boy with headphones plugged in. She could almost hear the noise emanating from them as he stared dazedly at the lit up display.  He couldn’t possibly be working! She thought. He looked way too young. Probably an intern, she concluded.

‘Good morning!’ Ah! Her white haired ex-colleague.  ‘Morning! How was traffic?’ she added. ‘Usual...usual’ He replied and smiled while nodding his head slightly. He was at a loss to say anything more and she hurriedly looked back at her blank screen.

‘Se-venth floor. Ping!’

The headphone-boy stepped out. Sheetal gratefully moved into the empty space next to the lift wall left by him. She now felt secure with the lift behind her, and people in front of her. A couple of noisy men walked in, hitching up their pants.

Haan, and then he walked out of the meeting!’ to which both of them laughed loudly, shook their heads, and chuckled.  They were identically pot-bellied, in white shirts, engrossed in their conversation of office politics. One seemed to be the boss – the other was laughing too loudly at the joke.


Accha, you co-ordinate with Suman and send me...’ they got off on the next floor, talking, busy with each other, deep into the fresh Monday morning. She found them obnoxious.

Sheetal followed them out with her eyes. She noticed the tall man near the buttons looking at her. Immediately she looked away. Had she met him earlier? Was he a business acquaintance? She couldn’t decide. She let her eyes continue moving right.

She noted the familiar face next to his. ‘Hi’ they both said. She had no idea who he was, but they almost always caught the same lift every morning. He went to a floor above hers. They were lift-buddies.

A chiffon dupatta grazed her arm. ‘Ugh!’ she pushed it aside. She hated the feel of someone unknown’s clothes on her, especially chiffon dupattas. The lady on her right looked at her, smiled perfunctorily, said ‘Sori’ and went back to her important gossip to the lady next to her. The other lady was matronly, in a skirt with untucked shirt, curly hair, and dark, red lipsticked lips. She was nodding understandingly. It seemed the matter was very important. Their voices were hushed and their hands were moving fast. Sheetal eavesdropped.

Arrey, Mr. Mehta was called to the cabin, but he looked horrible when he came out...’

‘I am telling you, no, there is something about salary cuts in the office’

 ‘Twel-vth Floor. Ping!’

‘You never know now. It might be his...’ The two rushed out, still talking, clutching their jute lunch bags and bulging handbags. Sheetal mused about the poor Mr. Mehta and wondered about a salary or worse, a job cut.

‘Thirteen-th Floor! Ping!’ Apologetically nudging past, her white haired colleague went ahead. ‘Bye’ he smiled and shuffled out. ‘Bye’ she replied belatedly, smiling back.

‘Your friend?’ She heard a deep baritone voice say – it was the man next to the lift buttons.

Sheetal politely smiled and nodded slightly. Was he in her office? Not knowing she concentrated on distraction. She clicked some buttons on her phone. No one was online on chat. Darn.

‘Traffic is horrible today’ that awesome voice wanted to continue the conversation

‘Hmm.’ She acted busy. Why didn’t anyone call her? She opened her calendar application in desperation – did she have a meeting lined up? Was he a client?

‘Are you, by any chance, Sheetal Mehra?’

Oh shit! He is a client!’ Alarmed, she looked up at him. ‘Yes, yes’ she replied stupidly with a hesitant smile.

‘I read the name tag on your laptop bag’ and he gave her the most dazzling smile she had ever seen.

‘Oh’ He was hitting on her. He was not a client. He was good looking. This is her office lift.

‘Twenty-th floor. Ping!’

Sheetal slowly started walking out of the lift. ‘I’m Sunil. Will you be free for coffee sometime?’ He handed her his card, as he held the door open. Her lift-buddy was smiling. ‘You can call me. Or mail me.’ He pointed to his number on the card. The lift-buddy was grinning now.

‘Um...‘ She turned the card in her hand and walked out of the lift, savouring the situation. She was conscious of his height as she passed him, even with her heels. She turned back. And looked at his smile. That clinched it. ‘I’ll call you.’ She turned on her heel and walked into the crisp, new, delightful Monday morning, dreaming of cappuccinos.