Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Don't look out of the window. Stay confined within the boundaries of your meager bedchamber. Let the setting sun move along unhindered. You may glance momentarily at the golden stripes of light filtering through your plain white blinds onto your plain beige wall. Don't however, take a step to raise those blinds. Once you see the expanse of universe outside, you will find yourself no longer able to abide the mediocre little world you have chosen for your own. So patience, and wait for dusk and darkness. Your gray habitat will appear cheery when its contrast is with a black unknown. 

Monday, January 06, 2014

Its mine. I can write on it when and if I like.

Happy new year everybody. First, a few things to be thankful for:
  1. I'm alive. (This one only I'm thankful for. You all don't have to be.)
  2. I don't know if this is a one off or if I will post regularly.
  3. Nothing goes the way you expect it to. Nothing at all.
Here's a random story to stretch the imaginative (imaginary?) muscles, and for auld lang syne.

Story title: Coincidence or Supernatural, call it what you will.

Okay, so once I was a fresher in medical school. I was also a city-bred nerd dropped suddenly into a socio-cultural ecosystem more suited to the seventeenth century than the twentieth. (Yes, I know I'm old.) People were big on hierarchy. And keeping women in line. But no more of that here. This is not a rant-fest. It's a story about a story I wrote.

Three months into my first year, they had a college festival. The usual contests, competition, drunken revels. The last bit was male-only. Girls had to be goody-twoshoes who went to bed at seven pm. Lucky for me therefore, that the creative writing events were held in the afternoon, well before seven, or even six-thirty. So I went to participate. My logic went thus: The contest is for students of this college. I am a student of this college. Therefore I am eligible for the contest. I stood in line to register. When my turn came up, the lofty fourth-year taking entries gave me a frown and a curt "What do you want?" (I would like a loaf of bread and two dozen eggs, please.) I said, "I want to register for the competition." No way she could legally dodge that. My logic is impeccable. 
I do not exactly recollect the theme we were given to work with. It had something to do with love, I suppose. So I wrote this first-person account of a conservative librarian sort of girl. She got mixed up, very much against her will, initially, with this scruffy, seedy homeless character. But then she fell head over heels in love with him to the extent that she had him move in to live with her, much to the disgust of her family and friends. Together they had a brief rosy interlude before he died in a freak accident; as happens in all tales of doomed desire. Mediocre, ordinary apparent ending: our love was strong, our love is forever, I will forever carry him in my heart. Zinger actual ending (at-least to my eighteen year old deeply satisfied right brain): She was blind, he was a mangy old stray dog.

Fast forward six years. I'm out of prison, back in Mumbai, and have managed to finagle a copy of Jeffrey Archer's "A twist in the tale" from my neighbour aunty. (Kids I know call me "aunty" now, ew.) I'm blissfully riding the roller-coaster, when bang: I get an eyeful of "Just good friends". 


Okay, I've done my duty. If you insist on reading ahead and then feel stiffed or betrayed in some way, well, bite me.

Same female first person perspective, a love that cannot be, of two characters who meet under random circumstances and end up living together. Different minutiae, of course, but same zinger (though opposite to mine) ending. He's a nice guy, she's a stray cat.

Coincidence or Supernatural, call it what you will. But absolutely do not call it plagiarism. That story was mine. My idea, my words, my intellectual property. I had not even heard of Jeffrey Archer when I joined medical school (Hello, pre-internet era! A deficiency I have adequately compensated for since. Baron Archer, you rock.) To be frank, most of the famous authors I had encountered until that point in time were of the ilk of Resnick and Halliday, S L Loney and the unsung heroes at Brilliant Tutorials. Geekistan zindabad!


p.s. I won third place.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Sh*t happens; life goes on

Align Center

Sh*t ke side effects: you lose a lot of ballast.

No use whatsoever putting your life s little pleasures on hold. In the end those will be your only good memories. Not the Nobel you won nor your promotion to CEO nor the million dollars in your Swiss account. Nor the bereavements, the divorces, the sicknesses. Nothing will remain save a couple of inane family insider jokes, fading echoes of seventy year old songs and some very rare mental snapshots of real friends.

Yes, life sucks.

Yes, it happens.

Yes, when it happens, you don t want to do anything.

But there never really will be that perfect moment to do things, unmarred by tragedies and/or inconveniences and/or deficiency of time.

My blog, irregular, imperfect, is still my blog. It s real. It s on my list of little pleasures that are not little. And it continues.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Big day preps - how do YOU do it?

Heyy, Beautifuls!!
Do you sometimes get this song going round and round in your head and you just can't stop humming it, or playing it again and again on Youtube? I've got a serious case of Umbrellitis Rihannosus :) ella.. ella.. ay.. ay..

So while she struts her stuff in that almost illegal outfit, I type away in air conditioned comfort waiting for my face mask to dry off. It is such a comfort to not have an alarm screaming in my ears at the crack of dawn, force down some calories (I'm not a morning person, as you might have guessed), slap on all that gooey gunky sunscreen and dash for the office.

I have a big day coming up tomorrow. A major function, a lot of social and professional acquaintances to confront, and I want to look as good as I possibly can. Now some of you would just pick up the phone and dial up an appointment with the nearest VLCC. Not me. Congenital cheapskate that I am, I do all my spa-ing at home. I did my own wedding makeup, for goodness sake! Wherever there's a buck to be saved, I'm right there in the forefront doing my bit. I have some cautionary tales too, all personal experience, of parlor jobs gone bad. The day I post those photos, you'll all swear off going to the parlor for life.

Coming back to the point (I always do, eventually :P) The first step is to douse your hair in oil. No hot mask, no cream, no mousse, just oil, preferably coconut. It's proven to be absorbed right into the hair shafts, making your hair soft and strong. The Beauty Brains blog has some pretty informative posts on coconut oil for hair. I couldn't find my Vatika bottle. We've moved recently, and haven't unpacked fully yet. So I had to compromise with this Bajaj Almond drops hair oil. To tell the truth, its 300% more vitamin E claims sound a bit far fetched, because they never did tell me 300% of how much, for example, if other oils used for comparison had no vitamin E, then just a little bit of elementary Mathematics will do full Bhaanda Phod of this oil too!! :)

Next step, wash the face. I do this after applying my hair oil, because whatever grease has leaked down onto my forehead will get washed off leaving a clean slate for my mask. I like to use Garnier skin naturals gentle face wash with fruit AHAs, because it really is very gentle, and won't cause that feeling of tightness after use. My face is anyway bound for quite an ordeal, and I don't want something harsh right at the first step.

For the face mask, I have quite a few options currently in circulation in my stash of products. For today, I took up with Hesh Natur-Riche skin tone up powder. Mixed with Dabur Gulabari rose water and dabbed on thickly (especially on the nose), it dries up within 15 minutes and should be washed off soon after because you don't want something that tight to be clinging on to your skin for too long.

Now the deviation from the norm: I don't use a facial scrub. Most scrubs based on walnut or apricot, have particles too large and too rough for delicate facial skin. A mud pack on the other hand, is effective enough to remove dead skin and dirt without hurting the skin precisely because its particles are so fine and tiny. Multani Mitti, which you'll find in most face masks, is particularly suited to the job. Those of us who've used it are familiar with its smooth, almost slippery texture; no roughness at all. However, it is grainy on a microscopic level, and it will exfoliate like a charm. The Hesh pack is inclined to be somewhat gritty because of the other ingredients (Masoor dal most likely), so once it dries, I splash on some water to wash off the larger pieces and scrub very gently for a minute or so with what's left. The resultant rosiness amazes me every time.

(Dunno why I look so grumpy!)

Next in the list is a rather dicey thing, which I guess I used today simply for its gimmick value :) The product in question (questionable product :P) is Everyuth's golden glow peel off home facial. It's a gluey, gummy mess with little specks of mica glitter which you apply thickly on the face, and pull off when it's dry. Probably works on the same principle as those blackhead nose strips, but all said and done, I'd rather NOT use it again. Applying and drying and admiring the glitter is all okay, but it hurts too much to pull it off, and I'm not sure that something so painful could be good for my skin. Besides, I don't like worthless additions and doubtful claims. The gold glitter is just mica, it won't remain on your skin or do anything in the way of providing a glow, and I have my face highlighters to do that job anyway.

The end approacheth, thankfully. I soothe, moisturize and de-oil (is that even a word?) all at once with - what else - the almighty Lacto Calamine, and we're done! The face, that is.

By now the hair oil has been here long enough to have done its job and next up is a nice, luxurious shower with your wash-time favorites followed by my body spa cum lawnmowing process. The shave comes after the shower because it's easier to get rid of fur that's all waterlogged and softened up, and you don't want to wash off the moisturizer.

This is my routine prep for big days, works well enough for me. I'm always willing to tweak it this way or that, though, so if you have your own pet tricks for looking great before a special occasion, do tell me in the comments!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

If wishes were horses

Hello, my long-suffering friends. This is a broadcast coming to you straight from Mumbai, the best (and currently sweatiest) city in the world. I'm here enjoying my earned leave, and earning every moment of it being the laziest bum in creation. I thought I'd post something new, but I happened to glance through my unpublished drafts and found this diamond in the rough dating back to my ranting doctor days. This blog, believe it or not, is four years old, which in blogging parlance is as ancient as Methuselah. Still, I won't really claim any laurels, knowing that quite a chunk of that was spent hibernating. Anyway, for old time's sake, here goes:

I am very angry. I had no plan at all of writing this one now or anytime in the near future. I've a thesis to complete, for heaven's sake! However, since Blogger beta is determined not to let me republish my settings changes and has thus vanished the status button from my window, I'm forced to use this means. Hopefully when I republish to get this posting online, my settings will get republished too....

Now no one get the wrong idea, I have the extremely privileged position of Resident Doctor at a top-class medical school in the best city in the world. Still as the song goes -

"Shikayat hai Shikayat hai Shikayat hai
Mujhko dil se yehi shikayat hai
Jo usko mil nahin sakta
Kyon uski chaahat hai
Shikaayat hai... "

I hanker after precisely what I can't attain :)

Fine for philosophical posturing, but some wishes are best left unfulfilled...

I walk through my lush green colony's roads on my way home everyday, exhausted, sweaty, cursing my fate and my salary. I see these street dogs luxuriously stretched out in the exact center of the road... sheer indifference to traffic embodied in every grubby hair.

I also see them sprawled all over my hospital campus. There's one who's earless, and seems to have made a permanent resting (and peeing) place out of the recess under the ground floor staircase. Come to think of it, I haven't seen him around in a while. Then there's the uncrowned king of the canteen entrance, a great favorite of the gynaec crowd. Saw what looked like the newest of the breed a couple of days ago. He'd have been quite cute if he wasn't the embodiment of canine Kwashiorkor. Come to think of it, since they all sport the inverted V tattoo of BMC sterilisation, this regular arrival of young blood makes me wonder what those vets are really doing. Population explosion aside, they're really quite amiable little fellows, much nicer anyway than certain humans of my acquaintance. I'll miss 'em. Look at me, getting sentimental about stray dogs! Where's a shrink when you need him?

So, the point I was trying to make, and I was sure I'd meander more or less to it some time in this century, is, there are two kinds of Residents in my hospital. Resident docs, and Resident dogs. Actually, I'm rather convinced that we should do away entirely with the first nomenclature and stick uniformly to the second, seeing as we both enjoy pretty much the same status.

There are three kinds of freedom that my doggy friends enjoy, and I don't, that have specifically caught my attention.

  1. They sleep in the corridors, on the benches, and on top of cars in the car park. I'd be grateful if I could just get some sleep, never mind where.
  2. They enjoy unrestricted lavatorial rights over each and every passageway in the building. A bright yellow pool of piddle is quite a refreshing sight first thing in the morning, but you know me, I like a change of scenery once in a while. I just wish I was bold enough to make do with an open space (especially that time in the rural Primary Health Center when I had diarrhoea and the only available toilet had no water and no door).
  3. They... em, you know, socialize... quite freely, with their lady friends, preferably with at least 27 doctors, patients, ward boys and nurses in attendance. What I'd do with such freedom - err... lets change the subject, shall we?
And that's why I said, that some wishes are best left unfulfilled :D

p.s.- Before making pawns out of doctors and banishing them to rural health centers, our bosses might consider building a couple of working order toilets in said centers.

p.p.s- In keeping with the spirit of nostalgia permeating this post, here's a pic from my resident days, it was taken at a municipal school in Dharavi. Educating. This is work I love.

p.p.p.s- My hand's in a cast. Radial styloiditis. I'll give you a chocolate bar if you can pronounce that. I'll give you two if you can teach me to pronounce it.

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