The year bygone..

When you are young – there are things you don’t believe you would do even when you are at a gravestone age of late thirties. Like I could have never imagined wearing wrap dresses regularly.

Reviewing the bygone year with satisfaction as a couple if one of these utterly uncool middle aged things.

But embracing my inner non-cool ness is one of the learnings ( sour grapes of middle age) from somewhat traumatic last year, which actually is very liberating in an odd, regular-like-daily-newspaper thingie.

Anyway, so we were sitting down with a beer this XMAS and ended up reviewing this year somewhat sentimentally. Husband as usual is mix of quite an extreme of materialistic tomcat and zen monk- although in essentials we agree to the bullet points, how we describe these is poles apart. That required a post in its own. Anyway, this is MY blog, so here are things this year from my point of view.

Overall, the year was really busy, lots of drama, lots of changes for us. So sounds clichéd, but I really can’t believe that the year is gone!! And the ageing process has made me happier for a year gone well rather than the usual hyper anxiety about things to come. It has also made me count the blessings ( aaargggghhhh… but true, embarrassingly excruciatingly true), not worry about the future too much.

After the dip in the second half of last year- this year my health was tops. And that really really was the best thing of all. My only wish for next year in all sincerity is to keep up with good health for me and the family.

I joined a new job and voila, didn’t have to compromise on money either. Worked like a Siberian Husky dog and that reminded me that given the right conditions ( read: absence of assholes to deal with on regular basis and at least one inspiring person) – I can be a inhumanly excellent , brilliant,workaholic who takes some really mind-blowing decisions- in nutshell I am truly total return on investment for the company. Pat on the back. ( Middle age middle age) Work from home for the first time for me and I loooooved it.. me in shorts, dog curled at my feet and I am on a call negotiating deals worth millions of dollars . How superb is that!!! In fact since I work UK timings pretty regularly- I wouldn’t have been so diligent had I had to sit in an office. My pearls of wisdom and experience of working from home in the next post!

I published my first book. And it became a bestseller, ahem, am I not the cat’s whiskers? The whole experience of publishers is material for another book though, or at least a post.

Next to none movies/ series as well. I mean I am yet to see Homeland season 5, so you can imagine how totally malnourished I am on my basics. The only movie which I loved this year was Bahubali.

This year I didn’t read many new books, was especially low on crime fiction, what with the job and all. But I got obsessed with several topics, highest amongst them was the terrorist organisation which literally seemed to spring from nowhere. So I watched the videos, read their own magazines, read books, articles, chat sessions and overall. I get glimpses of understanding of this somewhat bizarre youth culture phenomenon turned into medieval religious crackpottery- but I am still not satisfied with my own understanding of young people from relatively secular backgrounds embracing death for a totally outdated ideology of mass murder and self- denial.

I joined the gym for the first time in my life and kept up. Especially impressed with self that I kept up with strength training, which I associated with Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt ONLY. I actually like it and I plan to keep up for next year at least.

My brother’s nasty marriage finally broke for good and took away a load of collective tension, least of all, from his befuddled mind.

I had another what I can only call, unique experience, which is a matter of another series of posts in fact.. it needs to be put on paper with some thought.

So, there.

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Goa it is

So after months of disappearing from blogosphere- and receiving thousands of emails urging me to be back.. ok, a few dozen mails to be honest- ahem, I am back.

To self promote.

I will be speaking in Goa Arts and Literature Festival this Saturday , Dec.12th. Super proud of self I am !! I suspect I will be the sole writer of genre fiction there- so I am quite looking forward to my minority low-brow representation there.

It has been some seriously busy time all these months. It has been the first time I have worked from home and oh boy how I imagined those afternoon naps and relaxed atmosphere- which couldn’t be far from truth. I actually ended up working almost 50% more than I would have had I been working from office. Considering the fact that I do have to work for both UK and India markets- it is a boon though. Working in office at 11 pm is something that sounded cool when I was 25 and it was loooong time ago..

Screwed up my already non existing social life but ah well. I am not complaining about the fact that I can wear shorts while engaging on a high level commercial call and cuddle with the dog after lunch on the sofa.

I would be lying if I said I missed blogging all the time, but for a few weeks I do feel the need to vomit the highly important thoughts on the internets… so… those few dozen people… sweethearts that you are… rest assured I will be back more regularly to be one of the gazillion bloggers spouting world-class thoughts..

The three boys in my life…

The dog who thinks he is a lion. The dog whose eyes and touch melt me. The dog who treats me like a manager whose whole existence is to take care of him. The dog whose compassion and wisdom and eerie perception sometimes startles, sometimes soothes and sometimes worries me. The dog whose presence alone can bring me sense of being on the ground, firmly and happily.

Husband of the sexy eyes and good body and dry sense of humour and nagging disposition and infinite love that is of a classic Jane Austen variety and not the postmodern one. I always thought I will wrestle in sack with John Lennon alike when I was a teen. Now I am so glad that didn’t happen ( hehe) and I am spending my life with this guy who has domesticated me enough to ask him in irritation why he didn’t pour laundry freshener on the latest load?

Baby Brother who always had a relatively tough life and someone with whom things tend to be, well, not easy. tough. His bus always breaks down for e.g. And there are far serious things too. But he is the only one person who reminds me of VAN GOGH in Lust for Life. Not that he is that talented or anything, but in general the mood and the destiny part of it I think. I am as fond of him as I was when I would carry him in my cycle bucket, plump arms waving at passerby and me proud to have this fat cute baby ALL MY PROPERTY!!

Here and there…

So things happened in last one month to make us all go gaga.

Rape of nun in West Bengal. And no it had nothing to do with religion but because she was provoking her rapists by her titiliating attire.

Deepika Padukone Vogue Video. Was so creepy and unbelievably pretentious that all my good feelings about Deepika ( she- sister in depression) flew away. And the fact that it was made by Vogue- phew. ‘It is my choice to be size zero.’ Right.

How Anushka Sharma lost us a world cup and other bamboozled strings of ideas spouting from mouths of sub-human creatures.

The Mumbai Urban Planning Commission came up with yet another plan with zero regard for women citizens. Yup. Public toilets, open parks, lumination was not given importance at all. It was all statues and water fountains and ‘get these fucking homeless people out’ chest-thumping all over. I was reading a report on it and was surprised to find that women walk more than men in metro cities. I don’t know why I was surprised, but I was.

AAP tamasha and it has made me so sad. I am firmly on the side of Kejriwal, but the overall dream has had a few ( expected) shades of grey. Sigh.

I have been reading a lot but mostly re-reads. Stephen King mostly. And while the man can use a editor to cut maybe 60% of his page-count, the fat juicy dripping with sweet old fashioned horror is just right for me right now.

My job is extremely hectic and if I was not working from home – I would be growling by now. But all’s well on that front for now.

Hmm. Not that anybody is interested in the above. But what the fuck.

Ban Ban Ban..

Since so many things are randomly getting banned in our democratic country, why not fantasize about banning even tiny little annoying things that irk you?

Because larger things like poverty, gender discrimination, child malnutrition, education for all, employment rate, environment protection etc. are not important enough to excite our dear government, so might as well indulge in this harmless time pass.

1. Goatee beard on round-faced men: it. just. annoys. me.
2. Net sarees and dupattas: same as above
3. People who make faces at animals: actually why ban when we can maybe BANish them?
4. Bermudas on round assed men: it looks so hideous that I can’t stop staring. Especially if they are wearing sunglasses and floaters.
5. Men in 40s calling each other ‘BRO’ and ‘DUDE’: It just is.. forget it, just ban it.
6. French manicure: It looks so bizarre- since I don’t understand whats so special about it, let us ban it.
7. Random dick and Harry pretending to be Andaz Apna Apna fan just because its cult value has become mainstream: I am fierce about AAA. And will not allow people with bad sense of humour to claim fandom.
8. Gelled hair on kids: shudder..
9. All buildings with that bluish glass exterior: No, it doesn’t look futuristic unless your idea of future is derives from the Divergent series. It just looks hideous.
10. Gentlemen and ladies who have nothing better to do but twiddle their thumbs as they come up with innovation ban solutions.

There. Today’s list. With more to come as and when fancy strikes me ( read: when I am bored)

Smilla’s Sense of Snow

I finally read Smilla’s Sense of Snow. I had seen the film and had felt no particular urge to read the novel it is based on.

The novel is credited to have started the Scandinavian hurricane in literary thriller genre.

Smilla Jaspersen is half Innuit- Half Danish genius scientist. Issaih, a young Greenlander boy she is extremely close to- son of her alcoholic neighbour, dies after a fall from the terrace. Cops think that he fell while playing. But Smilla knows of his fear for heights. She is also one of the premier Glaciologists in the world and knows snow like no other. She reads the snow on the terrace and realizes that Issaih was murdered. She sets on investigating the cause. She discovers a gigantic corporate scheme which is hiding a secret that could very well be the biggest scientific discovery of 20th century.

The novel began as a classic Scandinavian thriller. An intelligent and socially inept female protagonist. Precise and cold prose. Unusual characters. Distrust of authority and government. Hypnotic atmosphere and landscape.

And then it dissolved into pretentious prose very unlike Scandinavians and more like Indian writers writing in English – long words and flowery metaphors drowning any possibility of genuine storytelling.

Unbelievable twists that want you to applaud for the sheer scientific cleverness of it all, but are actually so cliched that you want to warn the evil scientist to look for a man with a gun rather than strutting through hundreds of pages of meticulous nobel prizeworthy scientific villainy.

An increasingly annoying narrator/ protagonist. Smilla begins to grate on us halfway through and then on she is simply too snobbish and unsympathetic a character to carry the book on her shoulders. Her holier than thou attitude, her lapses in the holy aboriginal mysticism, her overtly pretentious theories of life make her a preacher rather that someone who is looking to transcend, to belong, to learn- all these things she whines about.

Critique of western culture bordering on paranoia. The most annoying this was the ‘noble savage’ treatment of the aboriginal Innuit culture. Mystical, wise, gentle, serene, soulful and completely stereotypical. Classic misguided westerners who think all aboriginal cultures somehow represent a heavenly purity that will somehow wash away their grievances with western colonialism. It is one thing to critique the colonial culture and one thing to elevate the colonised side to extreme otherness bordering on glorified patronizing and homogenizing.

I have noticed that unlike the ‘smiling negro’ stereotype of warmer colonies, Arctic colonies are full of ‘ brooding warrior saints’ cliché. Be it Asa Larsson or Henning Mankell or Agnette Friss- every northerner feels it his/ her duty to eulogize Innuit culture and quell their collective conscience.

I am not sure if I would ever re-read it again.