Shopping woes

I don’t know why I do this to myself every now and then.

Be adventurous in shopping for clothes I mean.

Blame it on a drunken marathon of Sex and The City few nights ago- but suddenly I got inspired to shop for flimsy, sequined clothes. For my younger brother’s upcoming marriage reception. In which the groom will be wearing a retro-trouser-styles DENIM!! Doesn’t matter that it cost a bomb and looks like something hobo people wore in 1800s. DENIM. ON HIS OWN WEDDING. I LOVE MY BROTHER.

Sequins.. sequins… those glittery little darlings..I went to shop for something with sequins. Not too gaudy but not my usual monochrome either, flowy material but not too sticky, dressy enough for the evening but not too loud, little sexy but not slutty ( not that I have something against it, but I am not comfy in revealing clothes, that too AT a family function). In nutshell, something like a Gucci but on a budget of Linking Road.

Because I do not want to spend money on clothes that I will wear maybe once in my life. My wardrobe primarily consists of:

Comfortable casuals- oh yes!! Working as a creative in media in Mumbai means you spend 90% of your day in virtually ganjee-chaddi- khakis attire where the maximum dress code is to keep your crotch covered.
Chikankari Kurtas, dupattas, salwars- I am crazy about Chikankari and husband’s frequent trips to Lucknow in the last couple of years has brought home some really stunning pieces.
Smart formals- Requirement for media markets and conferences. And buying them in Europe is a delight- since they do make great formals for women whose boobs are not lemon sized.
Shoes:Oh yes, my inner Carrie Bradshaw!

But come wedding season and even my dredlocked and chaddi-ganji wearing colleagues would go all Masaba Gupta and Rohit Bal. What is it about Indian weddings that forces otherwise carefree people to go all humph humph?

My principle is to spend on things which you would use at least 10 times in the first year, then after at least 5 times a year.

Yes, the middle class desi frugal mentality of squeezing the maximum value for money you get.
Plus it is not the typical Indian wedding, with a groom wearing a DENIM!! I wore a simple silk kurta for my own marriage so why even bother shopping for glitter wear now?

But the sequins beckoned me. I was dragged to the fancy designer stores by friends and if it was not for the excellent iced mint teas offered everywhere ( in tiny lovely glasses, ah so elegant) , I would have fainted at the price. I mean hullo, how much time/effort/money/ ideas go into a flimsy slip adorned with a line of sequins for it to cost 30 thousand rs?

So I decided to hunt for cheap and cheerful alternatives by going indie designers in the backlanes of Bandra.

Needless to say, my shopping trip to find the cheap but elegant sequined wear was washed down by disappointment and severe body image issues, that I am not proud of.

Remember that scene of Tarts and Vicars party in Bridget Jones Diary? I made a similar faux pas with my friend, when I laughed off a netty-mirrory Anarkali suit that I was trying out ( on her recommendation) by saying I look like a poor man’s Rakhi Savant- only for her to retort icily that she bought the exact same model for her sister’s reception. I felt like a sexist prick or Mayank Gandhi at his worst.

I decided to be very fashioniasta and buy a western dress ( sequined!!) and pair it with some unconventional bottoms ( also sequined). Well, everything sequined was either made for figures like 12 year old boys or had me looking like a giant lit tent trying to attract customers for a tarot card reading.

The clothes were too pricy. I worried that the cloth would rip. I realised how high maintenance they were. The sheer number and variety staggered me in a bad way. With all that lush around, no way would I be able to make up my mind.

I realized, too late, that my love for my brother doesn’t extend to shopping for clothes in tiny Bandra boutiques, sweating in April Mumbai heat, accompanied by an ever enthusiastic shopoholic friend who was giving me a headache with her experimental attitude. She ended up buying stuff while I slowly realised how much work goes into wearing those seemingly innocent simple clothes.

Maybe it is my face, maybe it is not having the ‘right’ attitude, but anything which is outside my comfort zone looks awful on me. And by awful I mean I look so conscious and so uncomfortable that the clothes look silly. I have no patience to work hard to ‘put a look together’.

I finally passed one window only to see a lovely thing- only to realise that costed my non-existing month’s salary. Desi calculation- am I going to wear the sequined beauty 10 times a year? Nope. So why spend on it when I can buy a lovely Chanel jacket that I can wear every day for work. Well, not every day, but for important meetings and stuff.

I even entertained a wild idea to go off sequins and get into some nice saree. I imagined myself all Rekha ethnic. But Remembered my mother politely pointing out that I have a history of tripping on the pleats and generally making a fool of myself- so maybe I want to get into something more comfy since there will be a lot of running around required?

It was hot. Hours of shopping with chatty chatty friend in refined environment had fried my nerves. I would have bombed Bandra if one more aspiring designer enthused about how this piece will look great with right amount of make-up and done up hair and accessories. I had three beers. SANS CHITTY CHATTY FRIEND.

I am so not cut out for this. Why haven’t I realised this before?

So I played safe, again, and bought a long silk kurta in Beige which I am sure looks more like a mid-level political party worker celebrating her party’s win, than wedding attire. But I had had enough of fashion torture and it was a relief to slip into something familiar and comfortable.

Familiar and comfortable- ah. These are my watchwords. I have decided not to get into these experimental attacks which never end well.

Although it will sure give me a pang next time I dig in SATC..

A dog is NOT a substitute baby!!

Every now and then trend spotting stories like this article appears in American media trying to stir controversy and generate heated comments.

According to this article published last week, more and more young, educated women in New York are choosing dogs over kids.

Aarrrrrgggghhhh. Or rather, BHOOOWWWW WOWWWW…

As a young ( ahem!) couple who chose not to have kids and love our dog to bits, we routinely clarify that our dog is not a replacement for a child.

The article quotes supporting data ( of course!!).

‘Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that a big drop in the number of babies born to women ages 15 to 29 corresponds with a huge increase in the number of tiny pooches owned by young US women, reports the business-news site Quartz. ‘

A comment on the article succinctly sums up our ( and I suspect many others’) sentiments :

“There’s definitely some replacement happening there.” UGH! Replacement? How about DIFFERENT choice. Everything a woman does – run a business, take care of her parents, travel, get a cute pooch, ANYTHING – it is considered replacement. Cuz you know, a woman ONLY wants to have kids so she’ll replace that need/want/yearning/desire/biological pull with something else.”

We have come across, from well meaning to smug to totally clueless comments on how we might ‘think’ that our dog is a replacement for a child, but he is not, and we are deluded and we will realise it when it is too late and what is wrong with people who think a dog can replace a child, blehh blehh blehh..

My polite answer is always as follows.

“It is VERY simple. We love dogs, since we both were kids. We wanted dog forever and got him when we could. We will have more when we move out of the city. Our dream for future features multiple dogs and cats – it is super high priority. We never wanted kids and thus never had one. These two have nothing, repeat, NOTHING to do with each other. We are knowledgeable enough to understand the difference between two totally different species with totally different life-cycles. Sorry to bust your ignorant presumptions.”

I wonder where this logic of ‘replacement’ comes from. After all,people with kids routinely have dogs. My parents had two kids and dozens of cats and couple of dogs since I remember. So did most of our family friends. Majority of pet videos feature kids. And virtually every ad about a canine product features the lush golden retriever playing with a kid as the loving parents look on. What replacement are they looking for? Some hypothetical kid who died in the condom???

I think the confusion comes from what people see- the affection, the attachment, the innocence, the dependence that pets and their humans have for each other. It ‘sounds’ like a baby-parent relationship.

Why don’t we safely assume that adults know the difference between a homo-sepien and a Canis lupus: two totally different species altogether. Hell, that is an easy difference to spot. It is not like toad and frog, who require you to get in-depth of their characteristics to identify them correctly. A dog has a tail, and walks on four legs after all- HUUUUGE difference from a tiny human with two legs and no tail, no??

Just because people are called pet-parents( definitely a better term than owners, but I prefer just ‘ XYZ’s humans’ ) and cuddle with their pets to death, and love to take care of them, and some even go to ridiculous heights of pampering , doesn’t mean that they are some second-rate substitute for a baby one never wanted in the first place!!

We and many others like us- with or without kids, have made and are ready to make adjustments to our lives to accommodate pets because we love these animals and we enjoy spending time with them and feel fulfilment with them.

It is not rocket science to realise that people for thousands of years have loved their pets and vice versa, because, NEWSFLASH- every goddamn thing on this earth is not only about human beings . We are capable of loving non-humans without comparing them to ourselves. It is a beautiful and liberating expereience to love pet animals and care for them like a member of the family and be loved and cared for by them. One doesn’t have to be an animal activist living with Gorillas for a decade or a sobbing non-parent burying her face in the dog’s fur while dreaming about a cute baby to do that!!

Ask my dog who will promptly tell you that he loves his humans NOT as a replacement-canines, but for what we are. It is quite telling that the smug human beings don’t have that clarity and wisdom!!

Another nonsensical lip service a.k.a MOTHERHOOD IS THE TOUGHEST JOB EVER…

Another ‘pat on your back plus hollow lip service‘ message for mothers.

From President Obama to your neighbourhood Facebook banshees, everyone screams hoarse on how motherhood is the world’s toughest job, like EVER EVER EVER…

Yes ladies, bring forth that Gajar Ka Halwa or its modern childcare equivalent, be garlanded for your holy martyrdom and shut-up about your postpartum depression. You might be a commissioner of the police or a prime-minister, it is NOTHING as compared to the celestial and 24 hr. job of being a mamma. Do not dare to ask for privileges, or equality, because hey, we all know it is also THE MOST REWARDING WORK YOU WOULD EVER DO EVER..

Forget the coal miners or women labourers who break their backs doing construction work for 18 hrs. or finance minister working on annual budget of the country or a social worker working tirelessly with child prostitutes… well, you get the drift.

I really wonder if mothers buy this kind of nonsense? Going by media coverage, a significant number of them do. And other mothers, thank god, call out the hypocrisy and the saccharine sweet gender stereotyping such messages re-enforce. This is a sophisticated version of the Nirupa Roy syndrome Mothers. No hunky Vijay is going to save you from baddies or take revenge or raise you from poverty kyunki mere paas maaa hai!!

It is one thing to recognise the tremendously valuable work of child raring that (largely) women do, for no money, meaningless titles of CEO of the HOUSEHOLD notwithstanding. And it is another to give this dumbified messages which would raise the hackles of any self-respecting woman or man, mother/parent or not.

Dog Day Mornings..

I am fast asleep when something bumps on my face. The dog is awake. He leans on me. He puts his entire weight in his spine flung across my shoulders, and tumbles down as he scratches himself with great abandon. I push him but he settles down, half on me and half on my quilt, and continues scratching himself.

It is 5 am and I pull my quilt over my head without opening my eyes. Because if he sees them open, he will paw my face gently to tell me that it is late in the morning and I should wake up. And open the curtains. And let the light in. And go out for walk. For there has been an entire night of smells that he has missed out on.

I fling my arms across the husband to form a barrier of some sort, so that the dog can’t walk into his face to lick it and try to wake him up as well. One person woken up at this ungodly hour is enough. I peer at the dog who is lovingly pawing husband’s quilt and trying to play with it.

He continues scratching himself and turns up on his belly. I know he is playfully cycling in air and slowly turning his paws on me now. I have to be firm if I don’t want a full blast of playtime. I pull him closer, feel his strong little body snuggle next to mine and then I pat and scratch his ears into delirium till he settles down to a forced sleep. He even starts snoring, his rhythm slowly matching that of husband’s more loud snores. Great. Now there is no way I can go to sleep. I squeeze my eyes hard and try to count numbers so that I can snatch at that delicious early morning sleep, a luxury denied to me ever since the dog stepped in.

I doze off for a few minutes and wake up again to bright eastern light streaming in the room. The dog has managed to open the curtains. He does that by walking on the ledge with his forehead meticulously pushing the curtains to the sides. He then jumps up and sits next to my face.

I peer from half-shut lids at his face above mine. His velvety mouth flaps quiver in anticipation and he gently whimpers. He knows from my breathing that I am 100% awake. No point in pretending. It is 6 am.

He unleashes his scratchy tongue and cleans the entirety of my ears in one long strong lick. He nuzzles his silken face in my neck and burrows himself till I am forced to let go of the quilt and any comfortable position. Let us go now, I have waited enough. He says, quite forcefully. I try to pull him in the quilt but he puts all the resistance a 15 kg animal can. He pretty much is sitting on my neck now, his tail thumping loudly on the bed.

My eyes feel like lead. The dog has no empathy. He continues to lick and paw and snuggle till my eyes open fully. It is as if they have made a huge noise while opening. Because the dog has now jumped on my face and is now wagging his tail till the entire bed shakes and licking my neck and performing a complex dance move of throwing his entire body in every available space.

I sit up. He climbs in my lap and turns up on his belly and paws my arms and bumps his rather large bony skull on my chin as he slurps at my face all at the same time.

I stumble out of the bed, trying to ignore the dog next to the pot as I pee. The tail has increased its wagging to impossible speed. His eyes are glittering like large black stones. The entire body is shaking in anticipation as if he is going to Mount Everest.

Simple acts like pulling up pants (as he tugs on their legs playfully), putting on a bra, picking up the keys and the poop bag, putting them in pockets elicit profound responses till it is one big whirl of brown hair, long ears, swish of tail and something that looks like legs.

Putting on leash unleashes happy growls and attempts to catch hold of it and jumping and going round the circles at the same time. It is the first walk of his six daily walks, but it feels like the dog hasn’t been let out for over a year going by the exuberance.

Opening the door, walking up to the lift and finally getting out of the building is no effort, being dragged by one enthusiastic morning dog. My eyes have opened by now and I am slowly waking up. The dog is crawling below the cars and walking at the same time, lest any smell escapes him. His long ears sweep the floor and his leg rises again and again as he pees two drops each on every car tyre and lamppost and tree and sidewalk corner. He walks with his nose on the ground and ass high in the air, tail wagging at the delicious smells. He sometimes bumps his head on the car because his eyes are constantly on the ground or looking for his friends. He spots one after another, they greet him and there is the good morning ritual of sniffing each others crotch and asshole with elaborate mannerisms. An occasional threatening bark is uttered if he spots outsider dogs who carefully show their subservience to this obvious galli ka kutta bhi sher.

Potty done, picked up and deposited in the bin. The dog kicks up a storm of dust and debris on the poop-spot with his hind legs. This is definitely a very macho thing to do, going by the expression on his face. The walk back now is revisiting the fragrances, more patiently this time. He takes his time separating several subtle tones in the bouquet of streaks of canine urine. When he licks it, I try not to think of him licking my face just a few minutes ago. He struts on the roads with confidence of a Great Dane. He refuses to believe that he is an English Cocker Spaniel, he will settle for nothing but at least a St. Bernard. School kids walking to their torture pet him, which he tolerates patiently. He greets some of his acquaintances with profuse jumping and licking. When they praise him, he looks extremely modest and sits like an ideal dog who wouldn’t dream of barking at large dogs and licking sidewalks.

The long walk completed, he now wants to go back in RIGHT NOW. He is impatient in the lift and rushes inside the flat and as soon as the leash is removed, he drinks enough water to give the famished kidneys some sustenance. He greets husband by profuse licking and belly turning and furious scratching. In five minutes, he crawls below the diwan and is fast asleep.

Death Penalty for the 3 guilty Shakti Mills rape perpetrators

The three perpetrators found guilty in Shakti Mills Rape case were sentenced to death yesterday, April 4th 2014.

Opinions are divided on the verdict, the Facebook pundits growling in joy while most of the feminist organisations are opposing the death penalty.

Flavia Agnes’s excellent article on the regressiveness of the penalty here.

We had this discussion last April in context of Nirbhaya rape and murder case. Even if you don’t read the post do read Kavita Krishnan’s comments. They succinctly summarise why death penalty doesn’t achieve any concrete results in reducing sexual crimes.

And here on the Nirbhaya case verdict which also sentenced perpetrators to death.

Sequels, Season 2s, Marathons

Christopher Nolan has surely been a trendsetter for long faces spouting deeeeeep dialogues uttered by self-important characters looking away from camera, all the while hiding the terribly silly shallowness of the entire premise of the story. I propose Nolan ‘reinterprets’ Tom and Jerry. Make Tom repent his horrible bullying ways, which turns him into vegetarian, and gives his clinical depression. The question Nolan/ this movie asks is, what is Jerry running from? Which internal conflict makes his steal the cheese and does he suffer any pangs of conscience? Is Jerry existential confused? The 220 minute movie spends a large amount of time in Lhasa where both Tom and Jerry battle the issues of mortality, violence and essential nature of cat-rat conflict in modern society.

Yes, I am so so over the overratedness of overrated thingies..

I was reminded of long-face-aesthetic when I finally saw Death Comes to Pemberley, which is sort of reimagined sequel to Pride and Prejudice, penned by P.D.James. And now made into a mini-series.

Dull as Mr. Collins’ sermons. Dull. Dull. Dull.

pemb

I know there were extremely large shoes to fill here, but Darcy and Elizabeth couldn’t have been more boring and lacklustre.

None of the vitality, the simmering sensuality, the wit, the biting critique of social manners that we love P & P for.

Instead we have faux-serious long faces whispering inspirational tidbits to each other set on boring violin score and a good bit of post modern marriage counselling thrown in.

The mystery is laughably silly. Direction is weak. Editing loose to say the least. Cinematography is the only saving grace.

I am seeing this faux-americanized-gravity in the guise of ‘reinterpretation’ becoming a mainstream trend now. There are two reasons for this and the similar malaise.

1. Christopher Nolan with his overrated, laughably serious and trying-too-hard-to-find-meaning-of-life-while dressed-in-a-bat cape style of cinema. Seriously, he is going to overtake Tarantino very soon for ‘the most overrated by wannabe film buffs’ status.
2. Scandinavians with their naturally morose and gritty style. Maybe it is all that snow and bad food, but nordics sure have a monopoly over long faces. And they do it with aplomb, unlike their pale imitations in the Anglo world.

There. I wish the English leave the style slick productions with shallow gravitas to Nolan and company, and get back to telling good stories with great acting, fantastic scripts and genuine honesty.

And talking of Scandinavians, I finally saw Borgen Season 2.
borgen
It is better than season 1. Really, what is it about Scandies? They seem to mix naive formula, morality and depth in such a delicious treat.

A political saga with Denmark’s first female prime minister as the protagonist is about ethical conflicts and moral choices one makes.

The only peeve I had was that as usual, when there is a powerful female character in power, the makers have to drag the precious ‘work-family’ balance in. What is the prime-minister’s husband doing when the daughter gets ill? There was a suggestion that only mother can help the ailing child, even if it means risk of political suicide, which I found ridiculous for such a progressive show and such a dynamic character.

And I tried watching Girls season 2, hoping I might have not liked Season 1 for some vague reason like common cold or inertia or something. But honestly, this show has not struck a single cord with me. Not one. Nada. So I am not going to try any more.

girls

My latest crush BTW is on Matthew Goode – the only saving grace in his rather small role in Death Comes to Pemberly. The delicious, slurpicious Matthew Goode, who now monopolises the ‘not blinking his beautiful and rather large green eyes EVER’ to a rather sexy effect. I suspect he hides his mediocrity behind the stock ‘look at my hauntingly stunning face that is hiding something’ expression. But it worked for me in Stoker and it works here. There are not enough beautiful men with large green eyes around and I am going to nurse a serious crush on this piece of Goode. Horrible pun, I know!

And since no post featuring P & P can be complete without the scintillating Colin Firth, here is him being smooched by Matthew Goode. Twooo much….

kiss