Monday, April 30, 2007

What Was I Thinking?

As I went through the particulars of yet another gentleman sent by the efficient matchmaking services of Parents’ Network & Co., I thought to myself why not? It’s been a while since I had allowed myself to get set up like this and I kept telling myself: “It was time to step out of my comfort zone, take chances, if not now, when, etc. etc.” Besides, how bad could he be? My friends were already excited about him.
Older? Check = mature, knows what he wants.
Gainfully self-employed? Check = sitting on shit loads of money.
Spouting Shakespeare, showing off French? Check = incurable romantic.
Extra bonuses? Check = enjoys cooking, speaks with a lilting British accent and (claims to have) read Lord of the Rings.
Hmm, all quite intriguing. However, for a change, my mum wasn’t enthusiastic. Are you sure about him? Sounds bit shady. Forget the money, forget the cooking and the faux accent – is he a nice person? Well, if I don’t meet him and try to find out, I’ll never know, right. Reverse psychology was at work here…. aaaaaaarrrrgh.
So on my trip to NY this weekend, I finally decided to see what the fuss was about. Get it over with. Oh! Wait, gotta stay positive right… he could be The One and all that jazz.
Sunday, 1:30 p.m. lunch at Bukhara on 49th and 3rd. It’s 70 degree weather and he’s wearing a black turtleneck. And a scarf. And a jacket. Anyway, we get seated inside and he recommends the lamb chops and the chicken tikkas. He orders up a Scotch and I need a masala chai. It’s 2 p.m. and it’s down to the nitty gritty. The nitty gritty is all about him, his vision and his post-retirement plans ie. next year when he turns 40 and wants to travel the world twice over. zzzzz… what time is it already? Where are the lamb chops? Oh, here they are. Ummm, wonderful. Now about me… I haven’t got a 401k yet and retiring is not on my agenda for a while. I love traveling too but I need something to return to ie. some form of work. Great lamb chops, by the way. The man is sweating profusely now, because duh! the black turtleneck. On top of that, he asks if I am feeling too hot in my jacket. It’s cotton, so I’m fine, thank you very much. Great lamb chops, by the way. I ask him about his other interests. Music? Movies? Star Trek conventions? The poor chap hasn’t had the time to take a vacation in the past 15 years, forget about cultivating a hobby. He has seen 3 cities in all of India and they were all terribly dirty and so, so crowded, you know. Ah well, moving on… did I mention the lamb chops were excellent? I did.
Finally the time has come. For goodbyes. It’s 3:15 p.m. at Penn Station and after a fairly not-interested-in-that-way kinda hug, I promise to email and say I reached DC in one piece. Which I have and I can’t stop raving about the lamb chops. They were great, did I even bother saying that here? Tchah, silly me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

WW II... Well, Not Really

I had to put this one up after a recent chat about good ol' DPS (RKP) days... Meeta and I were in the same section in class 11th and 12th. btw, when I talk about nationalities mixing i mean the kids who were learning the language. the "overflow" refers to the 20 kids learning German who couldn't fit into the original "G" section for the German kids. "F" had the French kids and clearly, there was no way they could accomodate the Germans.
Meeta: what section were you in before the 11th? H?
me: I don't remember.. think the one with some Germans and Russians mixed
Meeta: ahh..overflow :)
me: every day was like coming to the Polish front.. but not.. haw haw haw

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bizarro Week

As if coping with this week's tragedy was not bad enough for everyone, NBC decided to air all the images and the video of the madman's rant. I'm sure they must be gloating about how they nabbed the "exclusive" but networks seem to have a double standard about what they should or shouldn't air. If you want to air the manifestos of psychos, why just stop with this one. Why not air the suicidal video rants of bombers and every other terrorist act. The last time they decided it was "ethically fine" to air disturbing images in the name of educating the public were the pics from Abu Ghraib. You can argue the video would land up on YouTube anyway and if you're in the news business, you wouldn't blink an eye to question the news value. But if the major media outlets even pretended to be a little responsible about this instead of going ballistic about ratings, it would be a far more different, and even more compassionate, story. And speaking of compassion, I was surprised to see Paula Zahn's complete lack of it. She was practically forcing students to admit how screwed up the university admin response was... NYT has more on the TV coverage here.
On another note, Sanjaya Malekar was finally booted off Idol for singing "Let's Give Em Something to Talk About .. other than hair, yeah yeah." Watching that cheesy show will not be the same again. I think Simon said it best somewhere: "He was like a good horror movie." And a quick mention of the Big Fat Bollywood wedding production which has captured the hearts and and wrists and minds of people everywhere. It was interesting to see that both of Abhishek's exes were there.. in spirit.. Karishma's grandma and uncle as well as Rani's current beau, Adi Chopra. No appearances of Salmaan in court or Vivek holding a press conference.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mid-Week Stupor

Like going home again, up the flight of stairs
And met with the familiar banter of so-how-was-your-day and stuff.
There were the suits and ties and frazzled hair,
That spoke of a day’s work gone by in a fluff.

Daniel was his name and he made key lime martinis,
For the birthday boy’s drink of choice was a gin and tonic.
But the girls gushed over and some got the freebies,
Between talk of whether Gonzales and Wolfowitz were truly apologetic.

In the middle a furry creature was found sitting in calm composure
Amidst the din of who did what to whom when and where.
“I think I’m drunk” was a tossed around phrase of guilt and pleasure,
But the usual lovers of all things malted surprisingly stayed (mostly) sober there

Finally, the troops remembered the curfew – we all had jobs to keep after all,
Trudged down into the pouring rain and the sleek wet streets -
To munch on Julia’s hot empanadas and mull over other birthdays to recall,
Before our knights in yellow armor drove us home to be tucked under the sheets.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Culture Vulture

Recently I went to two DC institutions for very different reasons. No, I'm not talking about Ben's Chilli Bowl or the Soviet Safeway. The Kennedy Center showcased the Spinning Wheel Film Festival where I saw 3 documentaries based on the Sikh experience. “My Mother India” was about a mixed marriage – an Australian woman comes to Delhi after marrying a Sikh and through historical and personal events, becomes more Indian than her daughter thought she could be. Very Sonia Gandhi-type story. Gurinder Chadha’s “Acting Our Age” was about a group from an old folks home in London who film and talk about their generation’s struggles. Lots of entertaining humor, especially a folksy song on taking to Guinness. Finally, Ali Kazimi’s very powerful “Runaway Grooms” which chronicled the stories of two women from Delhi and Punjab who met and married their NRI husbands, only to be abandoned by them in a matter of weeks. According to the film, there are 10,000 brides who are abandoned by their husbands (mostly from Canada) because they fail to pay dowry.
The other place was the 9:30 Club, which has been around since the 80s and is known for supporting alternative bands. So my first time there and a bunch of us went to see a UK band called the Kaiser Chiefs. The experience was complete with the mandatory club brawl, spilt drinks and the random crowd surfer (who fell down but got back up again with a triumphant woohoo!). I could hear a lot of different accents around the place and it was just cool to be around people who really knew their stuff on music. The band finally came on and put on a super energetic performance. The lead singer had very Bryan Ferry kind of vocals and the audience lapped up the curtain call number and yelled out the chorus: "Oh My God I can’t believe it I’ve never been this far away from home." Someone said that song should’ve been on the soundtrack of The Namesake!
Speaking of which, how many times can you see that film? Definitely not more than twice. Someone bought me a ticket by mistake and I had to run out after 10 mins. and snuck in to see 300 instead… not sure how accurate it was historically (did Persians have African slaves at that point? and did the more liberal-minded Spartan women dress like the Roman women?) but it was a wise choice if only to check out Gerard Butler’s very fine abs. So worth the ticket price!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Cups of Joe

I rolled out of bed on Sat. morning with a familiar crisis from the past few weeks: no milk for my java. As I set off with the intent of picking up said dairy product, I found myself instead wandering in to a place called Jacob’s Coffeehouse between D and Maryland Ave. I couldn’t believe such a nice place existed so close to where I live! The menu is classic café with baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and soup, all freshly made instead of plastic wrapped. While outside they have a nice patio space, I loved the inside, too: the freshly painted walls (the place only opened last October) was decorated with very nice art work – not the usual paintings of scenes from a café – and some interesting black metal stuff. Also dotting the premises were some beautiful bonsai plants and a dark wooden bookcase with a pretty decent collection… think PD James jostling for shelf space with Margaret Atwood… however, at 1 pm what won me over was a nice cushy single seater next to a glass top table on which was spread the latest issues of Vanity Fair and US Weekly. Nothing better to kill an hour with.
The next best cup of joe this weekend came from Café Bonaparte. I had gone to see my pal K who recently got married and had come down for a visit with his wife. We had intended to go for Sunday brunch but the hour-long wait turned it into some sort of mid-afternoon starvation exercise. At the parking lot across the street, a few of us ended up singing to Tom Petty songs wafting from the Marvelous Market next door and taking goofy SLR pictures of each other. But the wait was worth it: the crepes were yumm and so was the mocha cappuccino. I just didn’t understand the pictures of Italy in a French bistro... or the Russian waitress, for that matter. But the food and company was excellent.
Later in the evening, we decided to cook dinner at A’s place in Foggy Bottom. First a pit stop for the groceries where it was shocking to see A picking up chicken curry paste as opposed to making the real deal from scratch. He promised it would turn out well and there wasn’t much time to protest as we were literally herded out by K… he wanted to catch “Planet Earth” on the Discovery Channel and there was no way a convoluted dinner menu would get in the way. But we managed to get back on time – not only to watch the sad polar bears swimming for survival in the Arctic but also to make that chicken curry, daal and aaloo gobi for the junta. And actually, that curry paste wasn’t too bad either!
Finally can I just recommend anyone reading this to see "Blades of Glory." Best Will Farrell movie ever. 'Nuff said.