What Santa meant to me

When i was about 8, our family moved in as tenants to this lovely cottage in a happy neighbourhood called Mawpun near Pynthorumkhrah, the bigger and easily identifiable landmark being the hallowed and historical Golf Links.Each home was unique.If our landlady was obsessed about rare roses in this world, our Garo neighbour grew corn and dahlias, while our Khasi neighbour had the loveliest orchids and perfect greens - i remember, Mom even bought many bunches of healthy mustard leaves ( all for 2 rupees) for lunch and dinner from the old dame. Her grandchildren visited her every Friday - Christabelle, Annabelle and Euphraim. We became weekend friends. The girls had absolutely rosy cheeks.Euphraim had curly locks.Their granny would try catching hold of them and apply coconut hair oil on their hair - she felt they never took care of their mane. 

I celebrated my first proper Christmas with them that winter. Otherwise Christmas was always part of my winter holidays when we visited Police Bazar and admired the aroma of cakes and bakes that wafted in the air. Some old men sold branches of pine and fir for last minute Christmas trees. The imported Chinese made foldable and re-usable ones had not invaded the market then. Christmas to me, was the cards (some which were hand-drawn) that classmates and friends gave.One would decorate those cards for a long time or   staple them into a nice arrangement. Christmas was singing carols in school the entire month of November and looking forward to that class-party of chips, cakes and juice. It was always great to count the number of beautiful stars outside the porches of my neighbours, the bigger and more colorful, my innocent mind thought, they must be rich! It never snows in Shillong which makes Christmas very different and warm.

Chris and Anna, and some other new friends asked me to join them in a Nativity play for the Christmas Eve celebrations at the local church. My folks gave me permission since i loved acting. I played an old lady who goes ecstatic at the news of the birth of Baby Jesus and i was taught to sing - "I've got the joy in my heart!" I went out for the neighbourhood carol singing, all layered and armoured with socks and mittens, jackets and mufflers.It was chattering cold but so much of fun and excitement. Every home treated us to lovely goodies.On Christmas eve, I remember taking my costume  and bunking at Chris's granny's place. The dinner was simple but very delicious. I remember Chris's youngest aunt coming and instructing us to keep our stockings ready (yeah, even i could keep one) because Santa was in town! We were like yay!But we also exchanged doubtful smiles. I dint have a stocking ready - or even a fancy pair of socks. In greeting cards, those stockings and socks looked so good and colorful. Felt relieved to know,Chris and Anna also dint have theirs. Their eldest aunt, who worked as a nurse told us not worry and that we could tie plastic bags, the bigger the better.We all managed bits and strands of strings of wool to tie our plastic bags on the Christmas tree which was in the drawing room, nicely lit and decorated.We got back to our rehearsals and totally forgot about the Santa goodies.

Midnight mass was over, we all wished Merry Christmas to one another. Neighbours who only existed became friends - those warm hugs, the winter chill was magical. We came home and Anna reminded us to collect our Santa gifts. Very endearingly, she hoped the gifts must have arrived. We were not disappointed. While the elders were getting ready to retire for the night we were busy tearing our gift-wrapped packets with shrieks not forgivable at that unearthly hour. But all is forgotten in Christmas.I received a pair of lovely dainty hair clips which i preserved for the longest time. Someone played Santa, so i thought coz i really dint have a wishlist. But like all polite girls, I said, thank you and smiled. 

The next day, i accompanied Chris and Anna and attended the morning mass, came home. My family joined them for lunch. Lots of cakes and biscuits, sweets and goodies. Post-Christmas was even more fun. There was a community feast. All the youngsters cooked for the whole neighbourhood.The love and warmth, the sharing of joy and happiness with everyone around - that is what Santa gave me actually. After that, i remember there were smiles for the rest of the year, everyone was a friend.

Suddenly, all of us grew up. The weekend visits were fewer. We moved out to the office quarters, away from the idyllic settings of Golf Link. We would meet Chris and Anna once in a while, while shopping. Our excited hellos were immediately restrained because we were big girls accompanied by elders.Many winters have passed by. Wherever Chris and Anna are in Shillong, have a blessed Christmas!Thank you for bringing Santa into my life!

Merry Christmas!

Imaginary failings

The little efforts at making peace
Seem so lost in a thirsty desert.
Life is not about deals always,
Even if the demons say so.

Letting go and letting in –
Makes one a hero and a coward.
How much and what you make of it -
Your choice to remain in the rat race.

Blaming fortunes and the villain –
Seems the easiest way out.
No family, no religion –
Seems sanctuary enough in bad times.

Weathering the storm with grace
Makes one a braveheart, so I am told.
Crying silently, consoling quietly –
Waiting for the darkness to fade away.

 ~ Yours truly

Mexican food tales and home-made tacos

I have never tried Mexican cuisine save for the affected upmarket nachos at PVR cinemas while in India - in the US, the urge is lower especially with limited vegetarian options.He finds them ok,especially the supermarket 'fresh' tortillas a good substitute for home-made rotis and phulkas and if the roti-maker that you have carried does not have matching voltage and the cooking appliance is not a gas burner but an induction one and a thousand other issues!

On the road trip during my birthday weekend, we had stopped by downtown Guerneville for a quick bite - he had some piping hot cheese quesadilla while i stuck to my safe nachos with salsa.

Back in our neighbourhood, we stopped by one of these Mexican food-on-wheels, quite like the mobile bundis we have back home.Trust me, they have great stuff most times!

I ordered a simple veg taco, the filling was tomatoes-onions-green chillies and some sauce sauteed with coriander garnishing on a hot iron pan. It was that simple but admittedly mouth-watering for a suddenly windy Californian evening.

Last Saturday, after a long day's hike and a movie evening out and my fastidious mind saying no to cooking at home or North/South Indian fare, we decided to go tacos!He is not very fond of Chinese or anything Asian, it will be acquired, he assures.But i must say i'm not very fond of the red beans taco for all its health benefits..I have a pet peeve or two with these beans. Also realised, the veg taco filling varies from wheel to wheel. 

At Santana Row, at this nice quaint Mexican place - open air under a giant oak tree, i went footloose singing and clapping, dancing in my seat to their live Mexican music - a very happy place.I totally loved their pan-fresh Mexican fries with a light sprinkle of paprika, McDonalds should admit defeat and shame.He ordered Nachos with guacamole sauce and a sizzling something in sesame. We were killing time before that movie premiere.

Day before yesterday, he brought home a pack of tortillas and told me he is going to snip a centimeter of my hair everyday if the tortillas .Guffaws. So my lunch today was Mexican  - veg tacos :)

For the filling
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 big onion, finely chopped
1 big green chilli, finely diced 
1 clove of garlic,finely diced
1/2 a capsicum, finely diced
Salt to tast
A pinch of garam masala
Garlic pepper powder
A pinch of black salt
Chopped coriander for garnishing 
A dash lime for garnishing
Half a tsp of any tomato based sauce (optional)
Any cooking oil

Heat pan over medium heat.Pour very little oil.Add some mustard seeds and cumin seeds and see them through till they crackle. Add the chopped onions and garlic, stir and fry until they give out that nice aroma.You may want to add a pinch of garam masala for effect. Add the chopped capsicum and tomatoes till all the juices blend well. Sprinkle salt and sprinkle garlic pepper generously per taste.And sauce,optional though. Garnish with coriander, a dash of lime and a sprinkle of black salt.

Now over to the tortillas - took out a couple of them. 

(You can choose to heat them or not.You may also refrigerate them and serve later for a salad effect in styled cuts and slices, almost resembling those Indo-Chinese veg rolls, served in our restaurants  back in India.  Ideally, you should heat tortillas on a flat iron pan but putting them in the microwave for 20secs or so is as good enough.

You could use anything imagined from peanut butter to flavoured cheese. I took my favourite sour cream cheese cube and smeared it all over the tortilla wrap and added my already prepared filling. Roll it, and its ready.  I also took out some of his favourite hummus paste from the fridge and that was as good.

Sorry, no pictures - i was really hungry but its a pretty much easy D-I-Y method.

I wanted to say Gracias to myself.

Dear Brother,

2 decades ago, that cold February day when Mama and Papa got you home, I was overjoyed. Kids were not allowed to visit hospitals so your sister and I were at home for all those 3 days without Mama. Papa was doing shifts at home and at the hospital, cooking for all of us and Mama. Our grandparents could not visit us since our many cousins were on the way around the same time and there were old age problems whenever people had to travel to the hills in winter.

When we saw you for the first time, you were so tiny and fragile, almost like a doll. We thought you’d cry if we didn’t know how to cuddle you right. We often joked you’d fit in my schoolbag and could be wrapped in a big handkerchief of Papa’s. You were very fair, so fair; we would get our hands and faces close to your tiny hands and compare our fairness difference. Bunty always felt bad that she was considerably darker than you and that Mama would love you more. We all loved you so much. We still do. Do you know you are a tough guy? You never had Cerelac baby features. That summer when Granny saw you, she was so proud of you. Your second uncle, of course, placed you on the master bed and compared vital stats with your cousin and he was beaming ear to ear that his son was plumpier than you. But Granny said, you were the tiger, lean and strong – she was your nanny till you turned one. Also, all the elders who blessed you when they saw you for the first time said you are a blessing – Papa became an absolute teetotaller the moment you were born!

You always had more biscuits than all of us and of course, the TV remote. You were forgiven in all sibling fights but we never spared anyone who messed with you in the neighbourhood and in school. In winter, your cheeks went red like plums and you hated to be pinched since you had cucumber skin. Till you joined school, you had rock star long hair, unruly and wavy. You were fussy with food and clothes. I totally love the fact that you started nursery and kindergarten in a red school uniform - a red tie and red shorts with white shirts and  white socks. You came home crying that the senior girls pinched your thighs and kissed you on the cheeks in front of everyone – but you were such an adorable 3-year old. Do you remember smiling at every stranger on the road when Mama walked you to school? We used to be so worried that you are such a kidnapper-friendly child.

The growing-up years were fun! All those birthday cartoons you’d draw and the number of sketchpens and crayons your stories had. We also fought very badly at times. I remember how you broke your first G.I.Joe within hours and you made my study room stink of Dendrite in fixing it. I know you treasure all your toys till now and especially, the green Vintage Hot Wheels car I got you from my first salary.

You ran away from home two times, once for Batman comics and the second time, just like that – don’t ever do that again. I also know you saved up all your pocket money in your second year in college for a day-trip to the next nearest city and cooked up some cock and bull adventure story at home. And every time after that, Papa humored you to a family dinner at your favourite Abba/Kimfa restaurant.

I know you don’t like the Internet so much. You still watch Wrestling matches on TV, I am told.  When I began tying a rakhi on your wrist, I don’t remember. Papa always gave you two brand new crisp 5-rupee notes – one for me and one for Bunty. And I always loved getting you something on Rakhi. This Rakshabandhan, I am very happy for you, young man. You will be a graduate soon! You make me proud.


The Extra-ordinariness of being a North Eastern-er (in India)

I won't go on the clarion screaming how rich and diverse my background is.What is, is. No two ways about it.What happens with my brethren in the 'civilized' and powerful big cities of our country is unfortunate - we are paying for somebody else's insecurities.It's an abnormal hierarchy where negative energies are flowing in the reverse manner. I don't like the dung catching up.

Creating awareness is an archaic solution -  (at least in my opinion). The helpline is a relief though.

Is hitting back a solution then ? No,we belong to Gandhi's true blue Ahimsa culture, how ironic. So, a couple of my lady friends atop a rickshaw were leered at with "Chowmein-Momo" by a bunch of boys on bikes who were also trailing them - and this is in tehzeebi Lucknow.I mean, do you even know what Chowmein and Momo are?Anyway, those ignoramuses were not prepared for the outcome.My brave girl responded "Aloo Paratha". The exchange went on for a few minutes till the bikers decided to take to their heels.Now let me not compare the nutritional superiority of one over the other.The Problem got solved.So, today it was Chowmein-Momo, tomorrow it will be something else. Symptomatic, you see.The 'exotic' food that you accuse us of eating from Chowmein to Momo- methinks you splurge on  it and more  (sold out on labels like Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese) when you can afford a foreign holiday and it's a to-do in your sad checklist. 

A few years ago, two Indian girls (incidentally, they were from Manipur) were molested in broad daylight near Mumbai's Gateway of India. You and I know how many girls/women are assaulted in broad daylight and otherwise by so many who possess a d***, some by their male protectors at home, at work, in life - those kind of news get covered too, while many get brushed under the carpet even if the husband is raping the daughter. But trust the yellow journalists to sensationalize the molestation news because 'we' look different.WTH. Oh, by the way a friend called me up from Mumbai saying his heart reached out to me when he heard the news and therefore, called to check if i was safe. I was in safe Shillong then. I asked him what's wrong with him. 

A sexual assault is a sexual assault. Don't try to infuse greater ramifications by branding 'us' different and the clothes we wear and the "free" culture as you ignorantly put it.I think the closest 'free' culture you have seen is the Osho cult, with due apologies. What kind of culture do you want to talk about - about keeping women gagged in the house like sex toys and child (sons preferably,if not, more dowry) producing machines, illiterate and subservient? Is that your idea of an ideal woman? Possibly your mother was not raised so well to teach you how to respect a woman. I blame your mother. 

Clothes again, a matter of choice and keeping up with the times. Stop the double standards. In your wildest fantasy, you want to see god knows whom - your wife/girlfriend/sister/mother/cousin/aunt is forbidden to dress in anything Western since it is parampara ki khilaaf. So chance pe dance with anyone with different and otherwise looks who does not resemble your wife or sister ? You don't even spare your maid. You don't spare anyone in sari, leave alone western clothes.And when you get your ticket to videsh- you live a western life that you so loathed in India. You probably have some more to-dos in your sad checklist but the fear of the firang law keeps your tongue from too much wagging. Then, you cry foul - racism and blah!How ungrateful, after picking up that accent!Your parents did not teach you where to draw the line - tch tch, must have been poor in Geometry (Geography, we are not even discussing - we know you are a goner).

Go to the North East of India once ( I know, you won't). Because you think you will be skinned alive or shredded by a bomb. You think there are elephants walking all over, fantastic Shikari Shambhu imagination i must say! For the record, our men and women get educated, go to work and also, take care of the elderly and the aged. The old age homes are few and far between. And, the inmates are sadly from your part of the country.We are also cleanliness freaks, an example for all of you. We have regular community cleaning drives. You might want to adopt that as a best practice. We are very eco-conscious and stubborn when it comes to preservation and conservation. We are, in plain terms, more confident than your father.We are friendly not easily available, helpful but not dumb,self-sufficient but not junglee, and respectful and not of loose character as you dismiss in your crude and limited understanding. We don't go raid someone else's larder. 

This fad of fasting,with due respect and apologies, is most annoying. Most "concerned people" have become caricatures setting down conditions for just about everything  and everyone - from Telangana to Lokpal. And, look at Irom Sharmila.Non-violent and still persevering following her heart and doing her duty as a daughter of the soil.I'm afraid how revolutionary it can get. A certain Hazare and a lousy Baba are playing the KBC of media attention.

A few days before i flew out of Hyderabad, i was in the University waiting to meet the librarian, a familiar lady clerk remarked - Oh, you look so Indian.I was in salwars with basic bridal jewellery and a bindi. I said, thanks for certifying but no thanks, I am a fairer Indian than her. She was ??? I told her she looked Sri Lankan. She was flabbergasted. I patted her on the back. You get the drift.

Now, this happened in downtown Sunnyvale a week ago. We stopped by to grab samosas at Tikka Masala. While the owner handed the parcel to us, he warmly  asked us where we were from.My husband remarked India. Then the man turned to me and asked me -what about you, ma'am?I was in kurta  and jeans with my mangalsutra popping out..ah let me recollect, i also had some vermilion and a small bindi on my forehead. I smiled. He tried to be helpful by saying Singapore. I became wide-eyed. Perhaps, east India, Kolkata? Ok, you look East Indian, Kolkattan.I wanted to end his agony, i told him i'm a pseudo Bong. Ah, he confidently confirmed i won't understand if he spoke Bengali since he can speak Bengali and that he is from Nepal. My husband was petrified at what an explosion it was going to be. He preferred to play Buddha. Longer smiles. The owner did the dreadful thing of asking me Kemon acchho (How are you? - in Bengali). He got a huge helping in Bengali. I liked the result - a red-faced lobster look.Now, that's exotic! I asked him to do his homework and find out where east India and Kolkata are and how far is Singapore from there? I'll check on him in my next visit - his samosas are the closest to any Indian samosa here. Sigh!

So, cheers to the Extra-ordinariness of  being a North Eastern-er everywhere!

Flight to SF and how i met my husband

No major travel is complete without that famous checklist of what to carry and what not to,since it is a 'system'-driven over-exalted country -yes,the USA.Some things here are good, some average, most below average and you have the below below-averages too. I tried to be  practical by not getting all that i wanted  but it has driven my husband nuts why i didn't. For the record, i didn't carry some of my nice shoes,perfumes, bags and any of my junk jewellery( what they sell here is @$$%$$%^) especially if one has had the experience of having haggled with Afghani and Burmese peddlers and Indian karigars from semi-precious stones to terracotta to wound-metal and beads to bamboo to carved wood, of course not forgetting old forgettable trinket shops from across the country. I carried everything else, at least i think so - memories, love and wishes. 

My flight was smooth with sleep. I slept, ate, drank lots of water and watched 6.5 movies - Unknown, Just go with it, Tron Legacy, Switched, The Tourist and The Apartment and bits of Tangled.I had an extra seat next to me and no celebrity on board .

At SF, immigration was smooth though the officer remarked i didn't look Indian as much as i wanted to reciprocate he didn't look American AT ALL. In 20mins, i was out at the lounge.

So, Friday afternoon US time, there is no one waiting for me at the lounge with flowers and music. No familiar smiling face. I had Mohini for company who was waiting for her brother and her dad. 

Then, i dial him. Baap re, Airtel ISD roaming, that too, outgoing.
Where are you? 
Ah, you have reached? 
Yes, i cant see you!
Look around, you will see me - with a balloon and flowers :O)
Gosh! - Mohini found it so cute and romantic, i wanted to run away. Sweet gal!
Then, a sunflower balloon sailed in with a bunch of pink tiger lilies.And believe me, if it was an Indian airport it would not have looked any different. Just that, i didn't see any CCD or Baskin Robbins around. Here, it stood out. And, there was the familiar smiling face. I remember Mohini egging me to run and hug him amidst 'oh-my-god!' I was like no way - this is so hilarious and, embarrassing, of course.

I smiled and wondered at how i travelled round the globe to be with him.The first words were - where is the restroom?

Said a quick bye to Mohini and we were on the road. My seat had 2 lovely Dutch roses and I was Cupid-struck again. Flowers from him are very special. So, i have to tell you this. He is not the kind to buy flowers for me regularly.For the record, I have sent him flowers. He got me a Minnie Mouse balloon the first time we went out for coffee. He got me a toolkit in one of my housewarming parties and a travel adapter on one occasion. Flowers are few and far between. So you get the drift.

I got myself a nice pair of pink Adidas running shoes, not to show off ( but, of course) but to protect my feet.Pink does me in. Had lahori aloo naan and aloo palak for 16 dollars - he kept asking me not to do the dollar-rupee conversion like i could avoid. I wanted to start cooking from that Saturday - so we went shopping - again the conversion syndrome hit me.Prepared suji ka halwa for puja and poha for breakfast. Lunch was dal,roti, chawal and baingan ka bhaja. Watched Kungfu Panda 2, kinda disappointed at its Bollywood trail.

Sunday weather prediction was not so encouraging but i needed to get over my jetlag.Besides vegetable shopping at a Sunday organic farmers' market Hubby dear drove us to Brentwood for U-pick cherry-berry farm experience. Shop shut thanks to the sad weather, we bought a couple pounds of apricots and cherries for a dear price - lesson, manual labour is costly.On our way back, he took me to Milpitas thinking i'd want to shop.I was not particularly thrilled looking around. Each American resembles the other in style, size and appetite. A very consumerist society who does not know what to do in the weekend - except come shop, eat and go party like mad - and of course, egos massive as your neighbour's elephant. Got  my socks and jeans, and 3 perfumes,ate a croissant and drove home. Jetlagged still.

Missing my hallu-hallu Hyderabad.

Madam, can i speak to Shweta Sharma?

My 1st mobile connection in Hyderabad was an Idea pre-paid. My second was a Hutch postpaid in my friend's name - i incidentally became his sister for all verification purposes.Then, Hutch became Vodafone and I wanted a connection in my name. Quit Vodafone, dint think it was necessary to clear the last payment since they had a huge deposit.They sent me two dummy legal notices and stopped spamming my inbox.Lazy rascals, they won't settle accounts first. My Airtel post paid corporate connection came through with my name and address proof.This is like some 3 years ago. 

Every few months, I get a call from the Airtel call center asking for a certain Ms Shweta Sharma. Obviously,the first few times, I was polite enough to say wrong number. The following year, again these calls started increasing from different sources and numbers. I suspected this girl must be absconding with pending payment and must have destroyed the SIM card so that nobody tracks her down. Dumbass Airtel has this policy of cycled numbers and yours truly's was perhaps used and destroyed by Shweta.These calls got frequent and intense to the point of warning me to disconnect my connection if i dint tell where Shweta Sharma is. WTH. I said, "theek hai bhai, woh bhi karlo. Fir dekhlo, Consumer Court mein we will sing - You and I in this beautiful world...(former Hutch signature jingle)"

I walk in to an Airtel booth and flagged this problem and this menace kind of stopped for about 10 months or so. Yesterday, in the middle of a spate of meetings at work, i get bombarded by calls. I picked up one and someone rattled off in Telugu. So annoying, why do call centers think everyone will speak/respond in Telugu? There are two acceptable languages of communication - Hindi and English. Of course, I uttered - "Telugu raduu, Hindi mein baat karo( meaining- I don't know Telugu, speak in Hindi)."  Then the conversation went from "Wait, wait.." to someone asking me - "Where is Shweta Sharma?" So, she is still missing.

I had so little patience with such nonsense. From "I don't know." to "Why should I tell you?", the final one was "WTH are you bugging me?". Salesgirl, such a stubborn one.I told her ask Airtel, or else go to a Police Station or better still, Google her. She dint find it funny and I seconded the same. She said she is calling from Airtel. I dared her to suspend my services if that is what she is aiming at. Smart girl got the point. "No madam, hum bill payment ke baad thodi kar rahe hai. Aap ko itna gussa kyun aata hai ji?" Wow! She insisted on knowing my name - I told her it is not Shweta Sharma and she can check with Airtel what my name is and where i live. I asked her to come home and see that no Shweta Sharma lives with me or I am not Shweta Sharma.Again, she asked my name. I told her to go take a dip in Hussain Sagar then open the Airtel records.
She told me Shweta Sharma gave my number as reference, just in case. God only knows, what has become of her and what prompted her to give my number?

Read in TOI just the other day,a woman's docs were misused and there are 30 connections in her name and not a single connection is used by her. She was not aware so many connections were (mis)used in her name. Only after the telecom parties were on their verification drive, this was 'discovered' and thought of as a TOI item.Mine may not be TOI worthy but dear Airtel, this is annoying.

So yeah, in plainspeak i blasted this Airtel girl not to get me into an identity crisis of their making and get her facts checked. 

So who is this Shweta Sharma? Oh by the way, in this part of the world, Shewta could be Swetha or Shwetha or maybe Sweta. Don't know which one is missing.

Women's day, truly

It was raining SMSes and FB updates on how glorified we are as a species, how special we ought to feel and the warm pro-woman (not feminist) gestures were everywhere. My otherwise gruff boss wished each one of his lady lecturers - "Happy Women's Day, Madam!". Well, we felt very "special" needless to say, more zing at work, must i say! As much as i said thank god, one day nearly the whole race is out with roses and all, but how ironic! After sundown, pack up?

A gentleman at work comes and wishes me, then indulges in an intellectual argument - "madam, chalo aaj ka din toh khair.." That says it all. I nodded in agreement and sighed. He says women's problems are not always because of men alone and, most are due to women themselves. Didn't know whether to agree and be enlightened or whatever. Sometimes wilful ignorance is bliss. I remembered a play i studied in my masters - Thomas Middleton's Women, Beware Women.

There is hardly any dignity left even with the celebrations around. Amidst nation wide celebrations, one DU girl got shot, Aruna Shanbaug awaits life and death and closer home, an old widow struggles with the harsh truth of a runaway daughter who has left her family and kid.

Do i feel special as a woman? Totally. Special has such 'other' connotations.I feel totally special because i was raised very well by my parents that i dont have patience for nonsense - yeah yeah, I hear the groans. My conviction is not lost one bit just because my father thinks I cant take my own decisions. Grow up, Papa.

I dont know if i was (my grandparents are long dead and in the clouds) a good grand-daughter. My maternal ones always disagreed with me over everything from calling a transistor as radio and a half sweater as jacket.My paternal grandpa was gone much before my folks got married and grandma was some mad Amazon. My extended family thinks i am disobedient because i love doing things my way.Maybe, I am disobedient.I am convinced actually.

Mother - confusing. Your mother is never wrong, she is always sweet and sacrificing. Your friend's mother is also nice and as good as yours and mine.We never get into such disputes, do we? Especially if she is a male friend's mother who has no romantic allusions - she is always adorable. And you have the special friend's mother who is otherwise universally misunderstood as the Tamer of all young and nicely believed to be Shrews who come into their son's lives as their loves. Ask any girl who has visited her special friend's place and that she was not probed. Not all special friend's mothers are this universal kinds though. There are some outstanding ones too, who are beyond your comprehension and the universal category in terms of degree. Ma, you are beautiful.

I have an amazing sister who disapproves the fact that i am a plain Jane and don't wear make-up. Like any younger sister, she is vanity personified. I like her raiding my dressing table and wardrobe. My kid brother is my kid brother. He is known as my brother and that's a truth universally acknowledged and unchallenged, and I totally feel special as his sister.

My sisterhood of girlfriends - what would i be without you? From sleepless nights of sharing joys to disappointments and holding  me in my vulnerable moments, you and i are meant to be.

An impromptu celebration of womanhood at work. Humble party, the only and most extravagant was a bottle of Sprite under a creaking fan. 3 of us from different regions and states of life, each of us spinning a yarn. What must a young bride be feeling 2 months before her marriage when her father passed away and her kid brother giving his 3rd year engineering exams? How about your mom away at her mother's and you and your childlike dad managing the wedding run-up and you have no brothers? And how about your entire family with extensions doing a no-show at your wedding and you are totally excited? Smiles.

I never ever wanted to be a girlfriend or have a boyfriend.Kept it convenient to avoid embarrassment,saves a lot of announcement and insecurity issues.And, i think, i quite succeeded for the longest time.

You have all kinds - mad, cribbing, ranting, vicious, funny, heroic, accommodating -Thank you for making life interesting. Such a hijacked day,from unstoppable tears and mirthful time with my lovely kids to a planned Women's Day surprise biriyani lunch with a future relative to be, my dinner was a bowl of Maggi. That explains it all.

Not a bitter harvest as someone puts it.

Jab We Met - trailer

It was the year 2007.I never fancied much about Kareena and her talent pool till I 'just felt like' watching Jab We Met(JWM). I always found her a ridiculous Kapoor, like all the filmi Kapoors are.I also thought she did not have much to act and emote in that movie.In hindsight, did she? I feel,it is Shahid's movie. Anyway, posterity will want to remember it as Geet's movie - bubbly, vivacious and infectious- do what the heart says.

My roomie christened me Geet for my non-stop chatter-ability and of course my sunny demeanour. It was difficult to resist but I fell in love with Geet (not Kareena) and also, realised she is not unfamiliar.Until that point of time, my somewhat real and ultimate girl was a mix of Elizabeth Bennet and Catherine Earnshaw. Don't ask me who Scarlett O'Hara is and I am yet to say hello to Rhett Butler.Of course,my potion of going weak in the knees is, again, a mix of Darcy and Heathcliff. Trust English Literature Majors to moon like this.

Geet is a choice in life.We all have a Geet in us.I remember watching the movie like it were staple breakfast.What is it about the movie that stood out? Frankly, I don't want to intellectualise. Also, I made pronounced disclaimers that I would not run away from home to elope with a dabbu like Anshuman and ignore a DDLJ kind of a companion like Aditya who reforms from depressing to dashing dependable.

You know what, subconsciously I was looking for my Aditya.