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Showing posts from August, 2011

Oai Shillong

In class four at the Maria Montessori School in Fire Brigade, Mustafa and Razia were newly enrolled. They had just come from Canada. It was my only co-ed school before I moved to a convent. The teacher asked us if anyone knew what a cow shed was. Mustafa promptly replied “Indira’s house has a cow shed.” He probably thought I looked like a milkman’s daughter (nothing wrong with that in retrospect). But I pounced on Mustafa the moment the teacher went out of the class.  I am guessing I enjoyed this fight as my sister recollects me sitting on top of Mustafa and giving him some sound punches. Of course it ended with the teacher’s “shhhhh” entering the room. The year was probably 1978. For a few days on end, I have been wondering about Mustafa and his sister Razia and that it would be so good to find them. And more than that, I am constantly wavering between the past and the present, to the point where I am pre-occupied and feel like an anti social. I have not read Anjum Hassan’s book, but

Finding Food, The Right One

Kate at the gym must be feeling like a dinosaur every time she meets me. I chew her brain. “So, which exercise is good for reducing the fat around the stomach?” “I think you must do a lot of cardio.” “What is cardio?” “Well, you work on the Bosu, boxing, core, cardio step, spin bike...” “So cardio is good...?” “Oh yes, speeds up metabolism.” “So how much calories will I lose in 40 mins of practice?” “About 300-400.” “Really?” “Yeah but it doesn’t mean you will go and snack in a 600-calorie meal.” “But I have sweet cravings.” “Well, eat these artificial chocolates.” ( They taste shit ). “I feel like a Vanila Slice or a Tiramisu most days.” “No, not good. Cut down your carbohydrates, and eat more proteins.” “I do... but I don’t know where I am going wrong, I am putting on weight.” “Start with rye bread and peanut butter, have some nuts too and snack on celery and carrot sticks dipped in hommus.” “HUMUS?” “No Hommus, it is full of proteins. Good for you.” “Use only oli

An Indian Obsession

What is it with Indians and their intrusive obsession about marriage? My sister recently paid her girlfriend a visit. The girlfriend lives in another city with her parents and her in-laws too live in close vicinity. My sister stayed the weekend but could not wait to get back home. She said, “I can’t relate to my friend anymore, she has reached the mental age of 50.” Later, in the course of the conversation, I found out that while my sister was looking forward to some fun time with her friend, she found herself amid a bunch of people who wanted to know why she had not married and why she had become so fat. Next, they kept giving her food, food and more food. You know the hospitality law in India, if you refuse to eat, that is unpardonable! I was talking to a close friend of mine in India, same age as my sister, and someone going through relationship woes. After being with this person for more than five years, marriage seemed the inevitable path, so a date was fixed and plans made when t

Understanding English

Every Thursday, a motley group of 15 of us sit down at the CAE (Centre for Adult Education) in the city and discuss English threadbare. The trouble with English is, the more I study, the more confused it makes me. Why do I have to choose between a passive and an active voice, or why is active voice important than passive and vice versa? Meaning, would you say, ‘the angry dog barks all day ‘or would you choose a pithy ‘dog barks’.   In school we were taught to learn by heart certain things: that a noun is a name of a person, place or thing; a verb is an action word; and an adverb adds to the verb. Our adult life goes into working out what in a sentence is a verb or an adverbial phrase. Example: The hungry dogs bark loudly all day long and make me crazy. Is crazy a verb or is it an adverbial phrase? And what makes the class even more interesting is that our teacher Margaret Geddes, writer and journalist, herself says, “Well, we will figure out as we go along.” I like the class for its