Kermit Flipflops make me happy!

29 01 2009

The minute I get home from work, I tear my shoes and socks off and race to the closet where I rummage about in the clutter for a couple of minutes (it takes that long since I really have to struggle to see and fish things out of the way and it really isn’t easy when you have clothes, shopping bags, belts, hats, gloves, socks, shoes, heels, sneakers, deflated soccerballs, poky old hairbrushes, and a million other things threatening to tumble out while you stick your hands in one way then the other).   And finally, I have what I came for —-my Kermit the Frog flipflops!!

I slam the closet door shut and pull them on.  Take a deeeeeeeeeeeeeep breath. Sigh.

Heaven, thy name is flipflop.


The Journey to Lansdowne

28 01 2009

The probability of hearing ghost stories invariably increases as you climb higher up the mountains.  Everyone knows that.  Even the people who mistake emus for kiwis since they both can’t fly…I mean, everyone knows that.  So I know I shouldn’t have felt surprised when my husband mentioned that there was a ghost who walked about the grounds of the Garhwal Rifles Officers’Mess at Lansdowne. 

Our reasons for visiting were typical – get out of Delhi, leave the crowd of people we knew behind, pack the car with clothes and food and get going.

The scene changed slowly as the car rolled higher up into the mountains.   Colours became lush, bright and clear.  Despite the crunch of the tires on gravel and stones on the road, we could hear the sound of water clearly.  It gurgled, swooshed and rushed over pebbles and stones collected in the basin over years of travelling down from the peaks. 

I remember sticking my head out of the window.  I looked down.  The river curved lazily, echoing the movement of the road.  The water seemed to be dark green wherever the sunlight didn’t reach.  We fell in love with the beauty of the land around us.  We wanted to stop and get out of the car at every turn. 

Sitting inside a car when it is steadily and very quickly climbing higher and higher, is not pleasant.  So every chance we would get, we yelled and screamed and cribbed and whined till my husband would heave a long suffering sigh and park by the side of the road.  I leapt out waving my camera around like a wild woman and started clicking away.  There was nothing that wasn’t important enough to miss.

Trees, flowers, the bend in the road, the river, pebbles, creeping plants, the side of the mountain, shabby old signs, women carrying children (who gave me huge cheery grins for my trouble), blades of grass bent at interesting angles (for me at least), kites, goats, cows, monkeys, fat piageons, unidentifiable songbirds, fat doves, eagle wings (I never managed to get the whole eagle in one frame; they keep fidgeting about so), trucks, terrace farms, rice fields, guava trees, railroad tracks, bridges – you name it and I clicked away. 

It was evening by the time we finally reached Lansdowne.  Lansdowne is a very neat and spiffy little town.  They have a market and a Mall, and you can get almost all necessities of regular life easily.  What they don’t have in any great quantity is water, which they try and conserve responsibly.  (Give thema  big hand please!)

I mentioned that the town was clean and very pretty.  Not surprising because its run by a cantonment board and is also the base of the Garhwal Rifles regiment of the Indian Army.  We were lucky enough to get rooms at the Officers’ Mess during some connections. 

As we made our way towards our cottage, the sun slipped belowthe horizon and the orange-ish glow that lit the whole place up dimmed somewhat.  I looked up and noticed the year that the cottage was made was painted onto a plaster plaque near the crown of the cottage roof – 1908. 

“Well, what do you think?”  My husband asked.  I looked around in silence.  He’d been telling me about a ghost who walks about the Mess grounds at night and all sorts of things.  It didn’t help that the cottage we were assigned to looked like something straight out of Jane Eyre, and simply screamed “Look at me! I’m creepy!”  The stairs creaked and our voices echoed in the room.   Setting us up for some very non-subtle, and in-your-face forms of Old-colonial-house-formerly-occupied-by haunted-members-of-British-origin tendencies. 

but I wasn’t one to be put out by something so ridiculous.  I asked the Lance Naik who had accompanied us to our room.   “I hear you have a ghost on the grounds.”

He was silent, but only for a moment.  “He won’t bother you Ma’am.”

I stared at him quite deliberately.  “You do have a ghost then?”

His smile didn’t waver.  “We have a presence. ”  And he stepped out, shutting the door behind him. 

“What did you say the name of that ghost was?”  I asked my husband.  He grinned and replied, “Roberts.”

Cottages in the Garhwal Rifles Officers Mess are named for former decorated regimental officers.  Our cottage was named ‘Roberts’.

Go figure.

Figo the Adventurous Squirrel

17 01 2009

I want to introduce you all to Figo ,a very brave and downright crazy squirrel who lives in the tree outside my bedroom window.  Now Figo is no ordinary squirre.  This is not to say that other squirrels are ordinary.  Oh no, far be it from me to commit such a travesty.  I know any number of upstanding, patriotic and fine squirrels who would make their country and neighbours proud if their exploits ever reach the outside world. 

Squirrels understand the role of the media in propagating and projecting an aura of reason, rationality and sensibility upon a species and they are working on it, of course making time for such extraneous activities, however important for the cause of Great Squirreldom, is a very big challenge for the squirrel community at present. 

However I digress.

Back to Figo. 



Now Figo is quite the acrobat.  He’s always ready to jump around and switch the chivalry on to impress the ladies.  Now I appreciate a fellow like that.  Shows class, real class.  It’s not uncommon to see Figo racing to the topmost branches of the trees around the park in pursuit of pigeons (ugly, overweight nincompoops).  This presents its own difficulties in time, as watching the branch bend over to form a circle will find him hanging precariously.  But he never screams for help, even though a battalion of his comrades can be seen ready in position (formation 24 – 3 – 4 – 3-2-2) to save him.  No…Figo decides to take matters into his own hands by running, yes running the length of the branch (what remains of it..) and jumps (*gasp*) to land…cool as a cucumber….on the ground.  He’s not moving…probably broken his spine…but that’s the spirit. 

You can watch him limping off into the sunset.  Incorrigible.

I saw them practicing for the parade….

7 01 2009

Yes, Republic Day is just around the corner, which is why you feel the difference in the air the minute turn into the wide radial roads surrounding India Gate.  The whole area seems spruced up….it isn’t really but its the parade build up that does things to your head, so everything seems greener, cleaner and the roads invariably wider.  They aren’t really…it’s all in your mind.

So there I am, all scarfed and buttoned up, ready to take on the chill. Die chill die!……yes, so I was saying, there I am sitting in the auto, listening to the faint reverbations of  Tito’s guitar when the traffic stopped.  I stuck my head out the auto.

The parade was on!   Actually it was a regiment of Delhi Police practicing march past for the parade.  I asked the auto-wallah to move a bit closer.  He looked at me as though I’d gone insane, then very slowly intoned, that he wasn’t going anywhere near a whole battalion of policemen.  Lord knows he got enough of them on his tail all day long without asking for the trouble.

I resigned to being stuck at the back of traffic while the contingent marched and drummed its way past.  But I did manage to get a picture.  You can catch a minuscule glimpse of mustachioed, uniformed Delhi belly-coppers between a row of cars.  I’ll try to get a better shot next time I’m stuck at India Gate.

In other news, I’m updating A Game of Chess in a few minutes, and Ramalinga Raju is a balance sheet chef, and he spoilt his broth rotten.

Misty Mornings

6 01 2009

I think it was around 6 in the morning when the first rumblings of consciousness began to stir around in my head.  There was a faint whirring noise and a niggling chill creeping into my toes.  I pulled my foot back into the quilt and curled up, desperately trying to the snuggle deeper into the bedclothes.  It didn’t work.  It was cold.  It was freezing and I felt it.  It wasn’t letting me sleep so I thought I’d do the sensible thing and drag myself out of bed. 

I pushed the covers aside and swung my feet off the bed.  The cold floor stung my feet and I winced as a thousand needles of biting cold dug into my feet.  I jumped and hopped about till I spotted my slippers half hidden under the scarf I’d discarded the night before.   Slippers slipped on. Mission accomplished. 

I stepped out into the hall and looked about.  I was the first one up, the rest of the apartment was dark.  I pushed the door of the corner room open.  The parklights were on.  The park and the dirt field where kids played cricket was flooded with light.  They glowed softly beyond the windows.  A thick screen of mist covered all the windows and the lights shining behind the glass seemed like giant candles suspended in the air.  The whole field held a very eeire look.  There was nobody about, and everything was quiet.  The silence felt heavy.

I shivered.  It reminded me a bit of the witching hour.  True appreciation of Sophie’s plight as she stood at her window can only be understood by somebody who has been through a similar exprience.  At that moment, every shadow on the ground seemed sinister and every tree seemed to hide a murderous giant in its leaves.  A murderous giant who would hide by day and pick children off as tasty morsels….

What am I talking about…this is what happens when you let your mind run away with you.  I meant to tell you about the fog and mist that descended upon Delhi today.  It was beautiful.  Eerie yet beautiful.  You could hardly see anything.   Everything seemed covered with miniscule drops of water.

I groaned at the thought of trudging halfway across the city to get to work.  It’s too cold and too inhuman to make somebody work on a dreary, gloomy day like this.  It’s depressing, not to mention mindnumbingly boring.  I wouldn’t make my worst enemy work on a day like this…..and this, dear readers is the reason why I am 25 and without a team of my own to boss around.

Because there won’t be much bossing around happening.  I’d rather just let everyone be happy and enjoy their work, even if it meant I would have to chew them out later fot not finishing their work on time and making me miss a deadline due to which the project goes to some other company…oh heavens the list goes on.

Jokes apart, I think I would make a pretty effective boss. I’m diplomatic, I know what I want and how to get others to work without letting them know I’m getting them to do something for me. 

So…never fear.  One of these days… eureka moment will arrive and finally a team of my own!

Blissful dreams……

Marquez on Monday

5 01 2009

The sight of the sun breaking through the cloud of mist hanging in the air cheered me up and strangely reminded me of the day Jose Arcadio Buendia took Aureliano to see ice.

Easily one of the greatest books ever written in the 20th century, One Hundred years of Solitude, is a magical tale that weaves the effects of political, historical and social turmoil throught the lives of one incredible family – the Buendias. Gabriel Garcia Marquez won a Noble Prize for this novel, but this is not the reason why I am writing this review. The novel is written in a fashion that is all his own, devotees of Rushdie often claim that he writes in the same manner, but that’s hogwash. Marquez’s words naturally flow in an insane, boisterous ride of passion, feeling, and mad adventure while Rushdie’s often feel like a stuck record. The novel starts with the scene of an execution and a memory that plunges the reader into the past, and the beginning of Macondo, the town where the novel is played out. From a child’s first vision of ice in a tropical land, to a community in exile due to a duel gone horribly wrong, to a Spanish galleon stuck in the middle of desert, One Hundred Years of Solitude binds the mundane with the fantastical. The book winds through four generations of Buendias, who are the ounders of Macondo. Every generation brings a different set of values and all these values clash against each other even as the country plunges into civil war. The novel also holds a mirror to real events that happened in Columbia during the 1970’s. A workers strike and the subsequent massacre that took place and then was wiped clean off public memory. Memory and remembrance play a huge role in the novel as characterswho have died are remembered through memory and suffer a second death when those that remember them have also died. The novel is a thrilling adventure, from the first page till the last. It’s a mystery, a thriller, a epic romance, and a political critique.

Let them have anime…

2 01 2009

There are a couple of things in the world that never fail to put a smile on my face.  Things like

  • Seeing my husband’s car in the parking lot when I get home <for those of you that don’t get this —> it means I’m happy he’s home>.
  • Having a holiday
  • Chocolate!
  • Having chocolate on a holiday. Heh.
  • The smell of new books.  Bury your nose into the spine of a new book and you’ll see what I mean.  It’s an undescribable smell.  If I had to put it in words, I’d say that it is reminiscent of the smell of wet earth. 
  • Being in a bookstore. Yay!
  • Watching the trees rush past as we drive by.
  • Sunshine on my face.
  • Getting OUT of Delhi 🙂
  • watching anime
  • Making other people watch anime and keep asking them how they liked it until they are forced to agree that yes, anime is indeed a gift to the human race and Kenshin Himura is the greatest swordsman that ever lived.
  • hahahahahahaaha….that’s laughter and it makes me very happy too.