Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mumbai Madness

I watched the black smoke billowing from the topmost dome of the Old Taj Hotel in Mumbai beseiged by terrorists armed with AK47s and grenades, filled with heaven knows how many terrified people. And while watching that image on TV, I was assailed by memories of laughter and color, of wedding receptions attended in the ballrooms, a Rotaract dance where I fluttered my hands like a Hawaiian, Wimbledon soirees. The Golden Dragon Chinese restaurant, the destination of so many birthday celebrations and special events, sometimes a restaurant taken to as a special treat after much coaxing. My brother and I would order our food, then slip out, a 100-rupee note clutching our hands, to the Nalanda bookstore, where we would buy a book each after much browsing.
Now the restaurant was the temporary home of a family friend, hiding underneath the table, the lights off, the doors barricaded. He was one of the lucky ones to slip away through the kitchen.
Next the TV images moved to the Oberoi hotel surrounded by commandos, the hotel where I, a college-goer with too much time on my hands, would hang out with my friends at the shopping arcade, looking at shoes, eyebrows shooting up at the prices. The Oberoi, home to a restaurant where I celebrated my 21st birthday with my parents dressed in my first chiffon saree, a bright shade of red. I ate caviar for the first time and drank champagne and got utterly toasted to the amusement of my family. My dad tells me that a lawyer he knew was lined up against that restaurant wall and shot.
The Leopold Cafe, only next to Mondegar's in my affection, with its good food, beer and upstairs dance floor, was where at one time my college friends and I saw the model Ranjeev Mulchandani and giggled endlessly. The walls are riddled with bullets I hear, but Leopold's actually opened its doors again today.
And throughout the 24-hour CNN coverage, I hear the TV host say again and again, "Mumbai has been brought to its knees." And I shake my head angrily and think no. He doesn't know my Mumbai.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Now, if I had one of those vanity license plates that adorn almost every car in Southern California, it'd probably say something like above. If it wasn't taken already, i.e. All the fun ones usually are. So if one's going to go through the completely unnecessary expense of having one, it might be worthwhile to really rack the brain and get some creative juice flowing. It should have a point, right? If in these economic times, one decides that a vanity plate is a luxury one can't do without, surely it's worth some effort? Better yet, one can pay someone to come up with something zany, thereby creating jobs and providing that much needed boost the economy needs. Better than a taxpayer bailout. Must write to Obama.

Anyhoo, before I digress any further, the reason why I'm writing about this:

So I was dropping Raina off to preschool this morning and there's this car before me. Really nice black BMW SUV, if you like SUVs that is. Which I don't, but that's neither here nor there. And this really nice BMW had this Arizona vanity plate that read VERYHOT. Really? Now what exactly is really hot? Is it the car (which I may have already mentioned is really nice)? Or the driver? The occupants? Or is it just a reference to the Arizona weather? I've heard it's hot in Arizona. Very hot.

So dude, if you're reading this, a word of advice: If you're going to spend money on a vanity plate, surely you can talk about something more interesting than the weather. Right now, all your vanity plate says about you is that you're dull. Boring. A vanity plate is a good accessory, so make sure it's a clear style statement about you. Coz it's all about you and your vanity, don't you know?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


"What the heck?!" exclaimed Raina in disgust.
"Wha?" I looked at her shocked. "Little girls aren't supposed to say, 'What the heck'!"
"What can I say then?" my 4-year-old asked.
"Well, you already say, 'Oh my gosh!' That works fine," I explain.
"No, I like to say, 'Oh my god!' instead," she said. "Because I have 2 gods. One god is on my pillow and I have a god thing in my room."
(Note: She has a pillow on her bed that she hugs that has the picture of Ram. A statue of Krishna and Radha is on her nightstand.)
"But God is in my heart too," she continues.
"God is everywhere," I begin, a litany she's familiar with. God's everywhere, he's in you, you are God, etc.
"Yes!" she interrupts. "He's in my brain and in my eyes. The brain has lots of buttons in it, and I have 2 God buttons in it."
"Yeah," I say slowly. "OK then."
Glad we got that squared away.

We often argue about how many kids she should have when she grows up. She wants 10. I firmly shake my head. We bargain a bit, and now we're down to 2 kids. The reason I claim to have any say in the matter is because she vows to live with us forever. She's never getting married, she's decided. If she does, her husband will also stay with us. But she wants to be a mom for sure. "Being a mom is such fun," she told me this evening. "I can't wait to be a mom!"
"It's a lot of work," I correct. "It's fun but a lot of work."
"I want to do that when I grow up," she said. "I want to do what you do."
"Well, it's important to be more than a mom," I said, visions of teenage pregnancy flitting through my head. "It's important to study, so you can earn money, and when your kids are in school, maybe you would want to go back to work."
Is it any wonder I'm braindead by the end of the day?

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Catch-All Post

OK, a quick review of what's happened in the past month:

1. Obama's leading in all the battleground states, which tells me that he's going to be declared US president fairly early tomorrow evening. Here's keeping all my fingers and toes crossed for him.

2. My parents came. My parents left. Barring a few issues, a good time was had by all.

3. Rohan turned 1. Yes!!!! My little boy is officially one whole year old! And for all those folks who're going to say, oh time's just flown, let me tell you, that has not happened for me. It's been a heckuva long year. I enjoyed his babyhood as much as I could, but I'm glad to see it go. I know, weird me. I'll probably look back on these days with nostalgia, starting when he's a teenager and demanding more money, more clothes and the nice car to take out for a drive. (And the answer to all that is "NO!" Gotta start rehearsing now.)

Not that Rohan's not giving me many opportunities to say "NO!" to him already. He's into everything that he shouldn't be. Electric outlets beckon to him. Door stoppers make inviting twanging noises. Electric cords lure him to chew them. Floor fans are just begging to be poked at. I know he's going to start opening all the kitchen drawers next and dumping stuff out.

As a result, all the housework is half-finished, abandoned in yet another race to get to him before he seriously hurts himself. Of course, he gets hurt all the time. He has black and blue bruises on his forehead today from falling once again while attempting to cruise between his activity table and thin air. Dude, you can't walk by yourself yet. But you get points for trying. Again and again.

He still doesn't weigh much. He's in the 5th percentile for weight, in fact. But short of force-feeding him, there isn't much I can do about that. And yep, he's still nursing, so maybe that's not helping the weight gain any. He does drink some whole milk, though, so the weaning process has begun.

Today he began pointing at everything and saying "Da?" He wants to know the names for everything. I love this age when they're just starting to talk. I can't wait to see what his first word will be. Raina's was "light." Not Ma, not Dad. So let's see what her baby brother comes up with. You can be sure I'll blog about it!

In the meantime, here are some pix of Mr. I'm Now One Year Old! Woohoo!