Thursday, February 09, 2017

Laila

Laila was just like any other vivacious 5 year old. Loud, naughty and the apple of her parents eyes. Born to Mr and Mrs Malhotra after 10 years of their marriage, she was very precious to them. So they spoilt her rotten. "Princess of Lakeview" was the title Laila gave herself. Lakeview, was the name of the sprawling mansion she and her parents lived in.

Spread across 10 acres of land, the house looked right out of a fairy tale. With pretty fountains and elaborate chandeliers strategically placed in various cozy nooks of the house, Lakeview was an architectural wonder. It also helped,that Mrs Malhotra was a keen lover of collecting artifacts, from all their international holidays and was a renowned interior designer.

Mr Malhotra owned a chain of resorts and motels globally and was called as "The Motel King" by competitors and business partners. He was a ruthless shark at work who left no stone unturned to get what he wanted. At home though, he was a loving father and caring husband. The needs of his family always took precedence and Laila had Mr Malhotra wrapped around her podgy little fingers.

Laila was a cute mixture of both parents. She had Mr Malhotra's thick curly hair, her mother's expressive eyes and a sweet chubbiness. No one could resist pulling Laila's cheeks if they met her. 

Today, was Laila's birthday, Mr and Mrs Malhotra surprised her at midnight with her favorite pink Barbie doll cake along with a promise to take her to Disney world. Her Mickey Mouse travel bags had been packed neatly by her mother.

"Laila baby, go brush your teeth and change out of your night clothes", said her mother.
"Okay mumma", replied an excited Laila.

Laila rushed to the bathroom, stood on her tiny stool under the wash basin to reach out for her tooth brush. As always, she ate some of the toothpaste first and then began brushing her teeth with her Chhota Bheem brush. Next, she opened her almirah and began to rummage for her favorite Winnie the Pooh jumpsuit, which she wore on all her travels with mummy and daddy.

After 5 unsuccessful minutes of trying to find the suit, the called out to her mother.
"Mummmaaaaaa", Laila called out to her mother. "Maaaaammaaaaaaa", she continued screaming.

She walked out of the room in a huff to search for her mother. She walked into her parents bedroom to find the lights off. She walked into the study room, lights were off there as well. She walked inside all the rooms inside the bungalow to find that the lights were strangely off in all the rooms.

Puzzled, she went into the drawing room and began turning the lights on and off. This was a habit of Laila's everytime she was distressed. "Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa", she cried once again.

Meanwhile, a small group of men and women had gathered outside the mansion's majestic gates.

"This plot of land is perfect to start an ayurvedic spa. Look at all those beautiful fountains in the midst of that greenery", said a young man who was part of the group.

"Arrey, saab! This mansion is haunted", said an old man who overheard the young man speaking.

"Hahaha! Who believes in all that nonsense in today's day and age uncle-ji", replied the young man.

"Legend has it saabji, that a very rich couple used to live here 15 years ago. They died in a tragic car accident somewhere near the airport road. Ever since then, the lights in one part of the house flicker on and off. On some days, you can even hear the muffled voices of a small child."

Inside the mansion, poor little Laila, continued calling out to her mother in the hope that she would help her find her favorite Winnie the Pooh jumpsuit.

(Image Source : http://www.clker.com/clipart-smiling-short-brown-hair-girl.html)

The Last Goodbye

It was a breezy morning in Ooty. Sunaina had finished reading her second newspaper for the day whilst sipping on a warm cup of tea from the expensive bone china cutlery which she and Varun had received on their wedding day. Mr Varun Sud was the love of Sunaina's life. The duo were high school sweet hearts. They didn't really need to convince their parents why they must get married. Both sets of families were happy watching their kids grow closer over the years. 

Sunaina was the only child of Mr and Mrs Parulekar, steel tycoons for generations. And Varun was the youngest son born to newly turned millionaire, Mr Yash Sud, CEO and owner of Sud Telecommunications. The cliched norm "money only marries into money" stood true in Sunaina and Varun's case.

Sunaina steered clear of the family business and chose to be a happy home-maker, while Varun started up on his own and created his own niche in the telecommunications field. Father and son could not join hands in business, egos got in the way, which soon led to Varun walking out of Sud Telecommunications. The move proved fruitful to Varun because within a short span of 7 years, he was entitled "Exciting New CEO of the Decade" by Forbes, NDTV and Wall Street Journal. 

Coming back to Sunaina and her cup of tea, she was busy ticking of a mental 'to-do' list for Varun's surprise party. He was on his routine business tour and would return to their Ooty home within the week. Sunaina decided to invite some of hers and Varun's friends over for lunch to discuss about the theme, decor and food preferences for the party.

By 1pm, Sunaina's sprawling Ooty villa was buzzing with activity, laughter and the delicious aroma of Sunaina's signature croissants and brownies. 

"Sunaina, your brownies are to die for. Please make another batch for me to take home", said Natasha, her best friend from school.
"Sure, I'll just be a minute", said Sunaina as she walked into her airy kitchen.

The kitchen was Sunaina's favorite part of the house. It overlooked their beautiful garden and had state of the art cooking equipment used only by Michelin starred chefs. Sunaina quickly whisked up some brownie batter, poured it into a baking tray and placed it inside her oven. 

She poured herself a glass of red wine and stared out the window, while waiting patiently for her brownies to bake. Just as she heard the "Ping" of her oven informing her of the cooked brownies, she noticed her handsome husband, walking towards her from their garden. Puzzled and delighted to see him home 3 days early, she gestured to him to come inside the house. 

She quickly rushed out of the kitchen, informed all their friends that Varun was home and warned them not to mention anything about the surprise party she was planning for him. She eagerly rushed out the front door to greet him and found that he was missing.

"Varun!", Sunaina cried out.
"Varun, come inside, where are you?", she said.

She walked towards the garden where she had found him and still couldn't spot him. Confused, Sunaina went back inside.

"Where is he?", asked Natasha.
"I just saw him standing outside on the garden. Must have gone to pick up his bags or something. Let's wait for him to come back.", replied Sunaina.

She went back into the kitchen, pulled out the freshly baked brownie batch from her oven and began cutting them into perfect rectangular slices. Just as she was about to plate them, she noticed Varun standing outside her kitchen window again. She gestured that she would box his ears if he didn't walk inside their house that very instant.

Varun chuckled at her gesture and didn't make any attempt to move from his spot. Just as she was about to open her window to grab him, Natasha walked in.

"Sunaina, you need help with those brownies?", asked Natasha.
"Look at this Varun! He is behaving like a baby. He is just standing out there and refusing to come inside." said Sunaina.
"Varun? Where is he?", asked Natasha.
"Right here man", said Sunaina pointing outside the kitchen window.
"Babe, there is no one outside", said Natasha with concern on her face.

Just as Sunaina began to reply, Natasha's husband Dev walked into the room, with tears streaming down his face. 
"What is it Dev?", asked Natasha
"Its.. it's.. it's Varun, his flight...", said Dev, leaving the sentence hanging. 

Sunaina clenched her fists and turned her gaze back to Varun. She looked closely at the clothes he was wearing and recalled that he was wearing the same Dolce and Gabbana steel grey suit on the day he boarded his flight from Coimbatore. 

As the tears began to well up in her eyes, Varun's smiling face and body began to disappear like a magical fog into the misty mountains of Ooty. 

(Image Source : http://all-free-download.com/free-vector/couple-cartoon-images.html) 

Thursday, February 02, 2017

My Reality Check

Everyone has their own version of reality checks every now and then. Mine happened late last night, when I stepped into my Mumbai home, after a glorious 4 weeks of pampering by my parents in Chennai.

My colorful cushions were strewn all over the house, except on the sofa. There was a thick layer of fine dust on every piece of furniture. The bedsheets hadn't been changed ever since I left and the icing on the cake, my toiletries were chewed on vigorously by tiny teeth. On close inspection small blobs of poop were also discovered.

We now have a new member in our household, Jerry. Oh no, not the cute brown thing Tom chases around like a maniac on the telly, a big fat ugly Gujju-Marathi rat (I live in Kandivali, hence the rat-community/caste deduction).

I didn't know whom to be more upset with - the Gujju/Marathi Jerry or the Tom cat husband I am married to.

(Image Source : http://www.clipartguide.com/_pages/0511-1008-0522-4309.html)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Magical World Of Hamleys

The earliest and best memories of childhood have always been associated with toys. Each doll brings with it a happy flash back. Apart from parents, dolls were the only people whom I have cuddled, kissed and shared secrets with. My bed and my arms, always had a couple dozen dolls at any given point in time.

I have fifteen dolls in total. Seven barbie dolls, five kelly dolls, one mid-sized baby doll, one rag doll, one standing doll (which was taller than me until i was five). And then there are the stuffed toys, two teddy bears, one mickey mouse, one tortoise, one pink bunny, one Nemo, one electric white mouse, one barking and tail-wagging doggie and a few dozen others which I can't remember.

Why am I rambling on and on about toys you ask. Well, the husband and I had nothing sensible to do last night so we mall-hopped. While we debated about whether to eat or watch a movie, I saw happy water bubbles coming out of a colourful "Alice-in-Wonderlandish" place aka Hamleys.

We looked at each other, smiled and walked in wordlessly. Before we knew it, I was hugging stuffed toys and drooling at the never-ending rows of Barbie dolls, rag dolls and baby dolls. A single tear drop rolled off my eye because I realized I could never buy one or play with one ever again. My heart broke accepting the reality of adulthood. 

How I wish I could be a child again. What I would'nt give to sniff the top of my baby-doll's golden yellow head and put her to sleep. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My Culinary Adventures


Thus begins a new chapter in my life - cooking. I had made meticulous cooking notes 3 years ago, just before getting married by spending hours in the kitchen with my ayyah back home in Chennai, only to use it for exactly one week post marriage. 

Work kept me far far away from the kitchen and my local Maharashtrian bai made some tasty vegetarian fare. Each time the husband suggested a dish of his choice, I got worried and shied away from it, partly due to the lack of time and partly because I was just not confident enough.

Each time I heard an oil splutter caused by an onion or a mustard seed, I ran away. I stood 1 km away from the kadai every time I was forced to enter the kitchen. In the past week though, things have changed. Post my morning walk each day, I rush to the kitchen and look forward to creating 1-2 exciting dishes.  

On the first day, I referred to my cooking notes. From the second day, I started relying on my instincts and the results were not too bad. The husband lapped up each dish in a matter of seconds, and even told me to participate in Masterchef Australia because I have a "natural flair for cooking". That was enough motivation to keep at it.

I love my mornings in the kitchen and look forward to each day of whipping up one exotic dish. My days are now consumed with what to eat for lunch the next day. Tomorrow I will make Butter Garlic Prawns and day after I shall attempt a Red Thai Curry Chicken.  

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Six Pieces of My Heart

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I walked into Adfactors PR for the sole purpose of having the brand stamped over my resume. It was my 3rd agency in 4 years and my 5th year as a working woman. I was focused, I wanted to be the best employee Adfactors had ever seen and I snuck very tightly back into my shell, to achieve this goal.

But fate had other plans for me. I met six individuals who would forever change my life. When I first met them, I was indifferent and did'nt want to make any personal bonds, I had always made the clear divide in my head that work friends are merely professional colleagues and best friends are strictly from schools and colleges.

This gang of six though brought magic into my life. I was opening up to them as much as I would to my mother. I found my brothers, genuine friends and soul mates in them. I am not going to joke around about all of you anymore by writing a funny poem.

Here it is, my intense suffocating love for all of you tightly packed into mutltiple tumbling paragraphs :

Briteny, the girl who I had heard plenty of stories about and didn't trust with a barge pole. We got into an ugly cat fight in my first week of work. Once the screaming subsided, the guilt began to set in that I had ripped apart a complete stranger without giving her a chance. She soon became my agony aunt, my support system and an extension of my body. The conversations we had were bizarre to the people who heard us talk, but we understood each other like the waves knew it had to go back and forth on a seashore. She understood my unpredictable nature, my impulsiveness, my terrible short temper and my strange mood swings. She brought a calmness to my storm and tamed me into becoming a more care-free and bindaas person.

Abhishek Ji, I have always been fascinated by your views on the world. It is so vastly different from the thinking of my generation and yet we have everything in common with you. I call you "Ji", because of my utmost love and respect for you. You are a complete teddy bear inside and out. Your heart is pure gold and you would never bring malice to anyone's lives.

Bahaar, my protective instincts are always up around you. I will kill anyone who ever hurts you. I hate to see you being taken advantage of by anyone. You are a very brave girl and I am so proud of you for always speaking your mind so fearlessly. I have learnt the maximum Marathi-Hindi gaalis from you. Never change, not one cell in your body. You are perfect, like a flawless diamond that glitters fiercely in the dark.

Gaurav, yet another person of whom I had heard horror stories of. I was petrified of you and thought of you to be a complete monster. But you turned out to be the most logical, kind and mature older brother a girl could ever have. The praises you have showered on me and the incredible career opportunities you throw my way is mind-boggling. No one does that for anyone in today's cut throat world of business. You have become the voice of reason in my head each time I stumble upon a road-block.

Tasneem, I am sorry to have slapped and pinched you so hard that day in the canteen, but it was only because I love you so much that I can't ever hear you teasing me. I know, I'm a spoilt sport. Your kindness and ever enthusiastic spirit to be an active part of every conversation and activity we indulge in is heart-warming. Your Buddha-like exterior and neutral thought process is a refreshing change and very unlike any girl I know. There is the average girl who is always fighting an internal war in her head and then there's you - composed, cool and relaxed all day, everyday.

Shaveer, your moohfat jibes and complete honesty is an absolute entertainment for everyone around you. No one can win a war of words with you, you will always have a hilarious comeback for every sticky situation. You have the ability to stop wars and bloodshed with a simple pun! You bring undiluted joy into people's lives, like a huge jar of Nutella. 

I have left 6 equal pieces of my heart with all of you. There will always be a hole in my heart which can only be filled by you. I really hope and pray from the bottom of my heart that our friendship remains as strong as it is today. I want us to be in each other's lives forever. I want to grow old with you and maybe even get our children married to each other just so that we are forced to be in each other's lives. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

My Extended Madhouse Family

Briteny, the havoc mistress with her big head of curls,
Bahaar, the bold and beautiful one with her heart of pearls,

Abhishek Ji, our entertaining Narad-muni with a burgeoning bag of jibes and jokes,
And how can I forget Mr Shaveer, our polite penguin who is ever-ready to burst Abhishek Ji’s bag with a prompt poke!

Gaurav, the wise one whose knowledge we all wished we had,

Tasneem, you are not too bad

Monday, November 14, 2016

My Obsession with Beauty and the Beast


Woke up this morning and the first thing I did was watch this new trailer of the Beauty and the Beast movie. Of course, my heart began to race faster than the fastest race horse and my mind began to wander.

What is this craze I've had for this story ever since I was 3? 27 years later nothing has changed. I still feel the same way about the movie and all the characters, especially the Beast.

Then it hit me. It's probably the fact that the Beast is a really twisted bad boy. And of course, thanks to the 10,000 gazillion rom-coms that us girls have been subject to growing up, our minds have been drilled into believing that we will all fall in love with bad boys. Bad boys, who change because of us. Bad boys, who suddenly reform their entire lives just to be with us.

Someone once told me (read : evil relative) that life is not a movie. Real life is not reel life. To that person I continue to show my middle finger. Life IS a movie. We write our scripts, we pen our action, drama and romance.

I love you Beast, always have, always will.