Thursday, 9 December 2010

I like to move it...

Darlings, sorry, Blogger just fucked my layout and now I've lost interest. So I've moved it.
Please do visit me at and continue with your undivided support and encouragement. Sounds very formal and corny I know, but please do show the love.

And here's a favourite song from a favourite movie.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Ms, you just made a big mistake!

In happy news, French teacher whom I bitched about so much has turned over a new leaf and is actually quite fun. We are all (teacher included) playing Secret Santa in class. And after bunking around 13 classes, I finally went to class today to get an education. And I did. Such a one!

Today a girl in my class just casually said about another classmate, 'I'm sure he's gay.'
So I said, 'How do you know that?'
So she says, 'He's very weird.' And added, 'He's also thin, so you can make out.'

A couple of weeks back, another classmate had said just as casually, 'He's so gay. I don't like him.' Again I was aghast and partly amused. I said, 'How do you know that?' She said, 'I just get the feeling. He's so tall and huge. I'm sure he's gay.'

The thing is these girls didn't really mean anything by it. It's just learned behaviour.

Bangalore has been busy turning rainbow for the past ten thousand weeks. All sorts of creative, cultural events have been organized to show the world that 'We are here, we are queer; just deal with it.'

But only people who anyway believe sexuality to be an intensely personal choice get that and attend these events. And that's so self-defeating because they love their L or G or B or T friends anyway.

Interactions like the ones with my classmates have taught me very useful things about how a 'normal' man/woman can spot a gay.

A gay maan is tall and thin.
A gay maan is dumpy and wears sweaters and has a stubble.
A gay maan always acts weird.
A gay maan wears a Superman t-shirt but it sticks to his body.
A gay maan laughs.
A gay maan drinks his coffee and tea with his friends.
A gay maan always, always has a favourite colour.
A gay maan secretly likes women but is too scared to do anything about it so he starts to tell the world that he loves men instead.
A gay maan has clean nails.
A gay maan has no wrist bone.
A gay maan might have a boyfriend!
A gay maan needs to buy groceries.
A gay maan has blood that is a different colour. Yes, really.
A gay maan likes music.
A gay maan watches plays.
A gay maan might read or write a book.
A gay maan eats at Koshys (restaurant in Bangalore) on weekends.
A gay maan watches movies!
A gay maan dances!
A gay maan uses the internet!
A gay maan watches TV!
A gay maan is good-looking!

Now for the gay womans:

A gay womans has short hair.
A gay womans has stubby nails.
A gay womans is always sad because she couldn't find a man and now she has to love women.
A gay womans smokes.
A gay womans is tall and thin.
A gay womans is dumpy and wears sweaters and has facial hair.
A gay womans always acts weird.
A gay womans needs to buy groceries.
A gay womans has blood that is a different colour. Yes, really. 
A gay womans likes music.
A gay womans watches plays.
A gay womans might read or write a book.
A gay womans eats at Koshys (restaurant in Bangalore) on weekends.
A gay womans watches movies! 
A gay womans watches TV!
A gay womans dances!
A gay womans uses the internet!
A gay womans has tattoos and what not!

Now a bisexual man/woman does all the above - but twice.

As for the transexual or transgendered maans/womans:
They like saris.
They clap their hands.
They have moustaches.
They wear make-up.
They beg.
They steal.
They lie.
They sell their bodies and corrupt peoples.

Some commonalities:
They are all cursed.
They all like Cher, Scissor Sisters, burlesque art/movies, Lady Gaga.
They are all promiscuous.
They all cry.
They all bleed.
They all always have AIDS and other STDs.
And they all die. Only not fast enough for the 'normal' man/woman whose world they corrupt so irrevocably.

And now that we all know how not to be a gay, let's watch this.

Related gay posts:
How very dare you!
Queer as folk!

P. S. It is as MG says, A gay maan is always big.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Eye in the sky

I was in school when I first fell in love with a cocky Gujarati boy with whom it ended badly. But I managed to get the last word in. A year after we broke up when I called him to wish him on his birthday he was mean and small. And I said knowing it was his birthday and this I remember oh so well because it just came to me - inspired as it were, 'Some people never change; they remain just as bad as they always were.' And promptly hung up on him.

He didn't teach me anything except to hate the word 'dumb' because when he started getting bitchy, he started calling me 'dumb'. When someone I don't like too much calls me dumb, to this day, I draw a little extra blood from them and feel vindicated.

The next time I fell in love with a man, it fucked me up. We fucked each other up as much as we could and even enjoyed it most times. From him I learnt a lot of nice things about myself - the gloriousness of my own body. And he is slowly learning even to this day that everything I expected and believed of him and his goodness was true. So we are still friends. And we still care a whole lot about each other in a quiet, non-interfering way. And we have decided never to meet because we are extremely scared that the fire-works that brought us together might explode in newer and destructive ways. So we don't.

From him, I got a story, my own novel in the making.

And then it was a man who started out as my best friend. I gave and gave and gave to him. He did too - purple perfume, purple pencil in burlesque, purple gem stones, purple candles and purple dreams. Then we loved and I resigned myself to comfort and love instead of fireworks and magic. And then he broke me. Or we broke me together because I let him. He said things I never refuted. I took it all in. I shattered and sickened.

And that's what he really gave me - too many auto-immune diseases to name. And every time, my RA flares up I think about him and wish that he suffers at least one per cent of what I go through every day in my hopelessly disabled life.

So I gave up on love-making and concentrated on loving instead.

Now I'm staring in disbelief that love - no matter in what form - can make you so vulnerable and can cause you so much pain. And make you feel so small. So infinitesimal that you might as well not live. But you have to. And so you do. And so this cycle of loving and knowing and hurting goes on.

Only now, there is no lesson to learn. Only now, I've heard the accusations before. Only now, I feel I can't take any more.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Come feed...

My body weight has always ranged from the pleasantly plump to the morbidly obese.
I, of course, always market it as buxom. It was my English teacher in school who first called me buxom and since I like the sound of that, I have continued to do so.

My weight hasn't really affected my life. Except during the dark days of my previous break-up.
That means I don't do crash diets, I don't swallow pills, and I don't care what I eat or don't eat. And when I could, I used to attempt exercising fairly often. And that was that.

Of course, there have been low-lives with their jokes and lewd comments, whom I always ignored or pasted on the wall depending on the whim and fancy of the day.

The worst was when I was studying in college and working part-time in my friend M's office. I'd joined her father's company, ironically enough, in a bid to earn money so I could join a high-end gym in Koramangala that charged a cool 6K back in those days. My friend M was also a member at that gym.

In her dad's office, they had this tradition of celebrating all the employee birthdays of the month on one particular day. As a 'documentation executive for the six sigma project' I had to interact with all sorts of people in the company and within a month I knew nearly everyone. And cared for very few.

So on this particular day of the birthday celebration, we were supposed to go to the ground-floor and watch people cut a huge birthday cake. For some reason, my friend declined to join us immediately. I remember finding it strange at the time but I don't normally react to strange behaviour. So I went alone.

As soon as I reached the floor, her dad, who was a perfect gentleman in most ways, suddenly hailed me and said something disparaging about my weight extremely loudly. It was such a complete shock I could only stand and stare with bug eyes. Now, I don't even remember what it was he said, which is rather unfortunate.

But you know how the story goes, when the owner of a company decides to take potshots at someone, everyone else and their brother feels duty-bound to do the same if not better the insult. And they went on to do that. I was still in shock and thoroughly humiliated. I do remember now that the 'cake' featured very heavily in it. One asshole pulled me aside and in a stage whisper said (and this I remember because that's what got me out of that mute shock), 'Why don't you join a gym instead of eating cake here?' And everyone laughed so uproariously as if it was the best joke on the planet. My friend had also come down by then.

Party over, I went up to the floor where the boss and my friend sat. In my friend's cabin, I stared at her and kept repeating with tears streaming down my face, 'I just don't believe that happened.' She's a beautiful person. Her eyes were drenched in compassion and empathy - she's a large-sized woman herself. She kept saying, 'I'm sorry, Bhumi, I'm so sorry.' But then she added, 'I had a feeling something like this would happen. That's why I didn't come down immediately.'

That was it. I decided enough was enough and I stormed into her dad's office while he was in the middle of a board meeting.

Without preamble, I said, 'You have humiliated me beyond relief and I don't care that you own this company, I need you to come down to the ground floor now and give me a public apology. I demand a public apology.'

Everyone sat in stunned silence. Some sleaze-bags tried to talk to me about cultivating a sense of humour. 'Look at XYZ, he's fat and he's the first one who makes fun of how fat he is!'

It enraged me even more. I told them that it was XYZ's call if he wanted to humiliate himself, but I wouldn't do that and I wouldn't forgive anyone who did that to me, either. So how about that damn apology? I also added for equal measure that not one person sitting in that room was even remotely in shape, forget good-looking, so how dare they make disparaging comments about my appearance.

Boss-man apologised profusely. But not on the ground-floor in front of everyone. His board members, however, did see him apologise and I had to be content with that. His explanation was that there were many in the office making fun of M behind her back and he wanted to bring it out in the open. To which I scathingly replied that he ought to have used M for that purpose then. He apologised and said that he'd seen the error of his ways. It didn't calm me. I was writhing in indignation and humiliation. But as it tends to in offices, the grapevine carried the story and no one in the office ever troubled me or even met my eyes or tried to pull any stunts with me ever again.

Later that day he sent me a message on my mobile saying that in all his life he had never met a more brave or bold girl than me and that I was to keep it up.
I don't think 'woteva' was part of my vocabulary in those days, but I remember reading it and saying something very similar.

After about two weeks of this incident, I was told I was no longer required to continue. Which was perfectly fine by me, because I'd decided to quit that bloody gym anyway. But for a long time, I never got over the trauma. I spoke to the HOD of English who was also my gender studies teacher in college about the incident and she assured me that in time I'd have enough maturity to deal with such things more calmly. I told her that I was like Draupadi in the court cussing and crying and raging impotently at everyone. She laughed. And she told me that with maturity, I'd have pulled him aside and then told him off rather than ticking him off in front of his Board as I did in tears and anger and indignation. But she was the only one, besides my best friend Anu, who was supportive of what I did. Even my parents thought I'd gone too far this time. And that I ought to apologise to him. Especially because he was my friend M's father. Which, of course, I never did.

I didn't meet him ever after that. He passed away a year ago. I felt sorry for my friend M, but that's about all I felt.

Which is why I'm very proud of the way I handle disparaging comments about my weight these days. Thanks to the illness, constant hormonal imbalances, and medication which I won't bore you about, my weight fluctuates like crazy. I can never plan what outfit to wear on any given day, because who knows what my body shape and weight will be then!

And of course, a lot of people find it their bounded duty to talk to me about my weight and how to get it in control. I always ask them (irrespective of age, gender, orientation, relationship to self) if they plan to sleep with me. Since there is no right answer to that, they tend to stay mute. And then I calmly continue that unless they want to sleep with me, my weight does not concern them in the least. Which, as anyone with even a modicum of sense will tell you, is true.

And yes, I even know what to say in case they say they do want to sleep with me. And that's not pretty either, so be warned.

Last evening was wonderful. My best man from Germany and I met up with a new friend from London in Hard Rock Cafe. All three of us hit it off immediately and we were really having the time of our lives. Or something pretty darn close.

We had a charming waiter who was very helpful and attentive. He brought us the merchandise catalogue and asked us if we would like to buy anything. I pointed to the outfit Steven Tyler from Aerosmith wore that was displayed in the showcase and said that I wanted that.
He smiled and said, 'No Ma'am, that you cannot wear.'
I replied, 'Don't worry about that. I have an excellent tailor.'
And he said, 'Ma'am, when you become real slim and come here next year, I'll let you buy it.' And he walked away.
I didn't knock him down because I was in a kick-ass mood.
But I did notice that my German and our new London friend were sitting still and in absolute shock. The London chap could stand it no longer and he said, 'How can Indian men be so disgusting and get so personal with perfect strangers?' My German who has been in India for longer had recovered by then and shrugged. I told Mr. London how I usually deal with this sort of thing. And we laughed.

But hell, it's me. I decided that I should not let the waiter get away with that just because I was in a good mood. So I hailed him. It was a low seat and I signalled him to kneel next to me.
'Sweetie,' I said, 'I'm actually terribly pissed with you. And did you know that today is your lucky day and that's why you are walking still?'
He looked visibly shaken. He stammered, 'Ma'am...'
I interrupted, 'Sweetie, you simply cannot speak to any woman the way you just did. My weight or lack of it is no concern of yours, darling. Have I made that clear now?'
He stuttered, 'Yyyes Ma'am.'
'Good. Now I want you to remember that you can never ever speak to a lady like that. Because it's possible ladies won't always be in a good mood and you might come to great harm, darling, and I don't want that happening. Is that understood?'
'Ma'am, I'm terribly sorry, I will never do that again. I promise.'
I positively beamed at him, 'That's excellent, darling, now please get me another beer. That will be all. Thank you.'

The men just shook their heads at me and we continued to have fun.

So, yes, looks like, I have come a stout way. My teacher would be proud of me.

And now, please enjoy this song that gave my German and me goosebumps yesterday. Because.

Friday, 12 November 2010

The day of the frown and the loss of the crown

It will be cruel if I don't document my morning. It will be absolutely wicked if I do. It should be evident by now to the readers which one I would pick.

So soon after blogging about teaching as I did, I'm going to blog about teaching again. And before you click that X on your screen let me tell you that this is hot stuff.

My classes A1 Part 2 level in French started this Wednesday. I walked in late to class to find that introductions (if any) were over and we were already working on Future Proche and Participe Passe. Just like that. That's heavy duty grammar for the uninitiated.

And it was so depressing to see that we had unfriendly, geeky, scaredly cats as new classmates. And there was a beautiful young lady called Supriya teaching us. Right off, I noted that she wrote very neatly, was methodical in her manner, and spoke beautiful French. But although beautiful she had the most severe of frowns I'd ever seen. And since my ex-boyfriend has a repertoire of frowns, I am very familiar with the concept, and trust me she looked scary. So this Indian beauty with the French accent was teaching us. Or rather not teaching us. But just frowning at all of us like we were worms and low-lives.

Then she asked 'me' to conjugate the 'etre'/be verb. I did. With ample help from my gorgeous friends in class. So she figured I didn't know much.

Then it got more boring.

I was incredibly indignant. This is the next 90 classes? With this c'est ne pas Priya (One who is not loved)? For this I will have to wake up at ungodly hours and ride in the cold winters/rains of Blondon? For this?

That's when she'd just finished asking a guy to conjugate some other verb.

She (S from now on) turned to me and said, 'Can you repeat that?'
I (B from now on) said, 'No, I can't.'
S: Why not?
B: I haven't woken up yet.
S: What?
B: Yes, I'm still sort of sleeping.
S: Why?
B (debating whether to lie or tell the truth that she's bloody boring; she can't teach): I don't know.
S: But you look fresh.
B: Yes, I tend to do that.
S: Tend to do what?
B: I tend to look fresh when I'm actually not feeling fresh.
S: Then go get some coffee. Go, get up.
B: Sorry, cafe isn't open yet.
S: Of course, it is.
B: Well, it's open but no coffee. I checked before coming in.
S: Okay then go for a short, brisk walk.
B: Pardon, Madame, I don't walk. I don't do things like that.
S: Go wash your face.
B: I won't.
S: Then repeat what he just said.
B: Only if he repeats it again.

So she made that poor sod repeat again and I recited the whole damn conjugation and that was class 1.
Day 1 of class had all of us shiny, happy people turning deeply dismayed, terrified, and horror-struck.

I bunked class 2 owing to the fact that I have more wisdom teeth than I know what to do with. But my friends told me what happened. She sent a 31 year old man out of class because he was chewing gum. So he had to return to class only after spitting out the gum.

Today was class 3. Little, hardly any improvement from class 1. She made us play Chinese Whispers with sentences (French and long) taken from some obscure song. And she didn't even play the song! Fortunately, I was the one who had to start it. I swear, ours was the longest sentence. Then every one in my row fucked up. And she made me read. And I read, though I say it myself, beautifully (I do love that language). So she said, yes, she read okay.

Then a more rambling, difficult grammar exercise followed. I checked with the girls sitting next to me. They were also grumbling about how she really doesn't teach and just expects us to know answers. I asked them if they were sure they were finding her classes difficult. They said yes.

B: Pardon, Madame, but all of us have a problem with your classes.
S: (Shocked) What do you mean?
B: To put it simply, we were told when we were doing A1 Part 1 that we were still in Kindergarten and we'll make gradual progress. But suddenly it's like we are in the fifth standard after KG.
S: Do all of you feel like that?
Class shifts uncomfortably. Some teacher-pleasers shuddered and shook their heads. And you know all about Indians and head shaking. It didn't make sense. And there I was thinking bollocks everone's lost their non-existent balls, oh dear, now what; when one brave child called Madhu piped up. 
M: Yes, ma'am, we have many doubts when you teach, but we simply can't ask you because it's so difficult and you go so fast.
S: I have to finish my portions.
B: Yes, we get that, of course, but possibly just for the first week you can go a little easy and may be be a bit kind.
S: Kind? Have you all felt this way?
And then another girl called Josephine spoke. Trust me, it's only the women who have real balls; men are just chicken shit. Literally.
J: Yes, Ma'am. This example you gave us is very difficult.
S: Then why didn't any of you tell me in the first class? I'm not a mind-reader.
B: None of us said anything because you are scary and frightening.
S: (Laughing uncomfortably but quickly getting smug): I am inti-inti-...
B: Intimidating? Yes.
S: But that's how it is. I can only teach 20 per cent, the rest 80 per cent you have to study on your own.
B: (Mentally reeling and going, Wha Wha What?) We aren't saying, we won't study; but may be you can go a bit slower and ensure we understand what's happening in class.
S: I don't know how I can possibly change. If you have an intimidating, arrogant teacher, you have to deal with that. You have to learn to put up with that.
B: We know that. That's why we are here still, don't you think?
S: Then, that's all. I'll do some revision, but don't expect me to teach any differently. You have to deal with it.
B: (Wondering whether to launch into speech on attitude but postponing it for the future): Thank you, Ma'am, just your promise that you will try to do better will be good for us. Thank you for trying.
S: (And this the classmates later told me because I didn't hear it; I was too busy getting into a fine rage with the guys of the class by then.): You don't need to thank me. It's what I'm paid to do.

And that's it, readers, I felt unbearably sad somehow.

Teaching is a great thing, possibly the greatest thing after sex. When you are a good teacher and you understand your students and you know your subject - there is something magical that happens. When you suddenly see a student's face light up in knowledge and comprehension and when you know you put it there - that sort of high is inexplicable. And in teaching there is no 'you 70 - I 20' equation. You are involved for ever. And there's so much happiness when you say something funny and your entire class laughs out loud. And that's when they get creative and are interested and motivated. And yes, while you do teach because you get paid, the true reward of teaching is definitely not money.

But apparently young, intimidating Supriya from Alliance Francaise de Bangalore doesn't know that and will probably never learn that. And ain't that a bloody buggering shame, now?  

And in other news, even though I did right today (everyone, particularly the guys, thanked me after class for speaking up) karma came and bit me in the arse a little too hard. I think my fate said to itself  'Oh hang on, that Bhumika has been happy for too long now, let's fuck her over.' So after crying myself a sea, I'm now laughing. Because clearly I ought to have known. When something is too good to be true, it verily, is too good to be true. And really, I should have known better. I should have. I so should have. And really, sometimes love just ain't enough.

Sunday, 7 November 2010


Obviously not all journeys are the same. Not even when they are to the same place. You take something from every place you go to. And you also leave behind something of yourself there.

I almost hate saying this considering it's the catchphrase on any dating/matrimonial portal but I do love going on long drives. Especially if someone else is driving. And it's safe to say that my best friend from school, V, introduced me to the pleasure of being driven aimlessly and long and fun and musical just to get a cup of coffee or down a cool beer even in the middle of the night. Some of the cleanest fun I ever had in my life has been on these long drives when I was young, when we both were young and unfettered by the burdens of today - family, responsibility, work. Journeys that showed us we were the world and everything young and beautiful in it.

Then there was Anbz at work who bought a car and learnt to drive and drove me back home from work explaining the poetry in Tamil songs. Then we gathered a few lonely strays on Valentine's Day and left half-way to Mysore to have a coffee, sing a song, and eat a cake. A journey that brought poetry and solace and that sense of adventure back into my life and made us turn into friends for life who never really leave even after a fight.

He was my man in a way no one else can ever be. And yet when we first drove together he already belonged to someone else. Why did we meet? What did we get? No fireworks on Diwali. You want to burst them; you love the smell, even the noise (especially when it's yours), the way they sparkle and burn and change colours. You want them. Oh how badly you want them! But you don't buy them, you don't do anything. Because it's like your ex who is married to someone else. You want very badly to have sex with your ex; you know it will be good, hell, it will be orgasmic, but you don't because it is not right. And it will simply complicate things. Just what fireworks do to the environment and animals on Diwali. And that drive? A journey that rights a relationship before it can ever go wrong.

Journeys was his show. And better because it was mine just like I thought he was. Koramangala was his place. And I believed it would be mine. We drove around or simply walked and I believed in love. I thought it would kill me to not have that place again. Smoke rose from the ashes of my grief. Love burnt as did all the goodness. I let an anklet drop and walked wounded, soundlessly - a journey in pain - to waiting arms and kind eyes coloured brown and coloured blue. The arms steadied me and the eyes made me see. Without trying, I found love. I was taken and I was given to. I began to own the world. What then was an area when the entire world lay at my feet? What was a show when I was theatre? A journey that opened up unexpected views.

I set out on another one today - travelling, talking, sharing and sifting through all the old, trying to make something new. At 29, it is possible to feel 18 again. It was strange yet familiar. An exclamation and a question mark. A mingling of past beliefs and future hopes - yes, just like my tattoo. A solitary contentedness and crowded togetherness. I spoke about moonlight when I was thinking about the sun. It was all about distinct memories and indistinct desires. But it's already a memory too. And who knows what the dawn will bring?

Do you remember me from that day?
I woke up a child and you crowned me a Queen 
Your wife or your girl-friend, 
Your annoying sister, or that nagging mother. 
Even a prostitute posing her wares.
I was everything. I was beautiful then. 

Do you remember that rusty old thing?
It is still there on that road. 
A coated old relic of times gone by
A matador who refuses to die.
I'll get corny and say - just like my love for you.
It was my carriage, your car - our moments in magic.  

Do you remember that broken-down house?
I nearly lost sight of it today. 
Surely it wasn't so close
Nor the journey so long.
What was I doing then in the car while you drove?
Laughing and singing all those favourite old songs.

Do you remember how we ate with our hands that day?
Like starved children on newspaper covered rocks.
Today the water ran dry
There was no beer nor crows 
And there was no gentle rain
To soothe the ache, and all that sudden pain.

Do you remember how we played Uno?
I smirked when I won.
The old man and woman laughed at us.
There was love in your eyes 
Even when you trounced us all.
And we each left a bit of us there. 

I found us again today
Months after we had all left.
It was there - a piece of us 
All along the way.
And just like that I knew what happiness is
Let the memory live again! 

How, really, can I even think of improving on Trevor Nunn and T. S Eliot? I'll just let it be.

Friday, 5 November 2010

It's all right

It gets lonely at the different. And I'm not even gay! But I've had that 'different' word hurled at me so often today that I feel like an outcast and terribly, achingly alone.

It gets lonely at the different.

It gets so lonely sometimes that your only solace is re-watching Coupling series after series and laughing your head off and telling yourself it's all okay.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Coming Back To Life

I started my career quite accidentally as a teacher. It was a good way to spend time and earn some money while I was in college. What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with teaching.

I know I can be quite overbearing and overly dramatic. And these are good things if you are a teacher or an MC! And as a teacher if you work even a little hard at understanding your subject and your student, you end up being someone your students love and respect and want more of.

Which is a rare thing for me because people (particularly those who know me well) normally do not react to me that way. When I talk, people usually tend not to listen. Some of them look visibly pissed off or irritated or bored depending on what I’m saying.

My best friend and constant critic, Anu, manages to do all of it almost at the same time irrespective of what I’m saying. She’s very good for my ego. She cuts it to size. She’s the only one who says, ‘Queen’ as if it’s something derogatory and not deserving of attention or respect.

And when I quit teaching over five years ago, it was like a part of me went missing. For the next three years I was really busy being an MC, organizing events, and generally being a pain in most people’s ass. But at the end of it, except for some applause, there was little fulfilment.

When I started attending French class, I saw how one instructor added so much polish to the class, and another made the class come alive. As students, we were desperate to wake up at 5.30 or 6 in the morning in Bangalore’s Blondony weather, ride/drive all the way to the Institute because we enjoyed our classes and learning a new language so much. And it was a whole world opening up in front of us.

It reminded me so much of my students, particularly those who had studied in vernacular mediums or foreign students, whose only exposure to English was the television. After studying for a month or two, they would walk out of the institute with such confidence. For them too, being able to communicate in English with ease, flair, and polish opened up newer worlds. They began to understand the puns in sitcoms, make new friends, ask girls out, and make presentations that made (or so they said) their bosses sit up and take notice.

As a teacher it was gratifying. My favourite success story is of Laleh, an Iranian student who’d moved to India to study Pharmacy in one of the colleges in Bangalore. When she joined us, she didn’t know a word of English. Merely living in Bangalore was traumatic for her. All through the first month she cried in class. But by the fourth month, we used to argue about fashion, religion and men. The most fulfilled I ever felt was when she fought with me over something trivial – in impeccable English – and refused to come to class for three days. And then when she was calmer, she came back to my class, cried again, and hugged me tight. Those were some really good days.

So when I started French class, the urge to teach was irresistible. And sure enough (It was like that theory – If-you-want-something-bad-enough-the-universe-conspires-to-give-it-to-you) my first ever boss woman called me and asked me if I could help out the owner of our school for a few months. She was getting on in years and losing teachers. Students who wanted to study English were desperate to learn and she couldn’t help all of them. Since the place wasn’t too far from where I stayed, would I consider teaching again for just two hours on a weekend?

I readily agreed.

Last Saturday was the first class. First classes are easy – that’s when you assess how much your students know and what you need to teach them and all that sort of thing. So that was plain sailing.

And today was the second class. To be honest, I hadn’t had time to prepare. What with working on Friday (and strangely enough Fridays are my busiest days at work) Facebooking and endlessly watching Bob Dylan sing Jokerman on YouTube and more Facebooking and reading and finishing two novels, I could hardly go through my old class files.

But I went to class. Half an hour late. Being punctual is one lesson my students don’t ever learn from me! But the students smiled at me. They were happy to see me again. And I stood at the board. And suddenly, it all came charging back – sentence structure in English, even the mad/outrageous examples I used to give to make grammar more fun. My students willingly laughed and learnt. Correcting their pronunciation, I could happily indulge in ‘No, sweetie, listen to me.’ ‘Darling, you aren’t paying attention.’ Sentences that you can never utter in polite society no matter how royal your status unless you want to get the kind of reactions I get from people.

And standing there at the board with a chalk in my hand, watching knowledge sink in, I felt fulfilled after a really long time. I smiled and while I was mindlessly helping someone get better in English, it just happened.

I got my mojo back.

Not even spending the rest of the day endlessly shopping and getting constantly criticised by Anu for everything from my face to the way I speak (she says it’s for my own good), ebbed the optimism or the sheer smugness of teaching.

I had a good day; it was really like heading straight into the shinning sun!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Instant Happy Makers

This one is again for Harini who started it on Facebook
Here's what she says, "Was thinking, today, of all those little things that make such a big difference to our routine every day....those things that make us almost 'instantly happy'. O I don't mean all those complicated 'happy makers' like great career moves, fantastic relationships, the great bod, beautifully planned vacations, sons and lovers...but little things...simple and so accessible...quite easy to come by...yet such powerful day-enhancers. Really, our lives would be so blah without em. I was wondering what all your happy-makers would be....actually was looking to try some...steal  a couple perhaps :)))."

And these are mine. 

1) Weather in Bangalore just before it rains
2) A smile from a stranger and stimulating conversation with anyone
3) Luscious, ripe, sweet fruits
4) Smell of the sea, freshly baked cookies, bread, earth after it rains
5) Laughter - hearing it, participating in it
6) Being surprised by a favourite song anywhere
7) Reading a book whose ending, whether happy or sad, makes you cry because it is so brilliantly written
8) Feel of wind in my hair, feel of the grass at night when barefoot, feel of warm clothes on a cold day, feel of chocolate on my tongue, the feel of the bed after a tiring day
9) Good old-fashioned flirting with a woman or a man who knows how to do it in style
10) Friends who know you so well that they know exactly what you want and when
11) Being pampered by someone just because 
12) The taste of water when thirsty, taste of white wine/good quality bubbly on a good night
13) A pain-free day or at least a spasmoed day
14) Hot massages followed by steamier baths (and no innuendos intended)
15) Seeing beautiful things coloured purple or red
16) Mom's cooking - anything at all
17) Spending days/nights, talking, sharing, holding hands/hugging/kissing my men
18) Writing that perfect piece
19) Giving and receiving gifts and seeing faces split in that smile
20) A drink that actually makes me slightly tipsy and gives that happy high

And here's a song that's been on my mind all this week and that always, always makes me smile and sing along. Although I really prefer this version better because of the fight - 

Now for yours.....what makes you tickle-happy? :)

Thursday, 14 October 2010

And the reason is you!

When I was around five, I had this vision of me as a 29 year old. The age I am now. I had this notion that I would be a doctor who helped birth babies and I saw myself as a tall, fair woman, slender, in a bottle green saree and a big bindi. 

The dream aged with time. I added a loving family - a husband, children, a very happy mother-in-law and a very content father-in-law and loads of relatives. A single child, growing up with borrowed cousins (kids who weren't really of your blood) made you dream all sorts of (what today seems like asinine) things.

Only the big bindi and love for sarees have turned true. So yes, I used to have boringly conventional dreams and ambitions. Be a surgeon, marry, make your own babies, grapple with family and a career - though because it was a dream it would all be remarkably easy and there would be no grappling. 

Reality, we all know, is nothing like that. 

And I am no longer a naive five or a twenty-seven year old. Because I naively thought that I could make the woman, whom I considered prospective mom-in-law happy even when I was the ripe old age of twenty-seven! I'll never forget how I apologised to her for no fault of mine and how I invited her out for lunch not once, but twice. Shudder. Shudder. 

I've heard from sources like mom and other assorted conventional thinkers lately that they are worried about my life - its conspicuous lack of a husband, my irreverence towards the world. My loud booming laughter when even a short smile would most likely be inappropriate. My cleavage.

Apparently there are people who are concerned about my future and there are those who are waiting for me to take the fall so they can gloat and laugh and feel good about how their boring conventionality eventually won. 

And while this is not an explanation or a competition, it is a reassurance. I want to tell everyone the way it is simply because I feel like it. And do remember that you have done nothing to deserve it. 

I have a responsibility I enjoy - looking after my parents. It is very rewarding and spiritually satisfying. This also means I never have to join any bloody religion. 

I have a family (again not related by any ties of blood, thank God) that will always be by my side

I have friends and acquaintances whom I can hang out, enjoy a few drinks and laughter with. Oh and the most scandalous of all - the occasional cigarette. 

My health might just get better in a couple of months or at least in a year.

I have great emotional fulfillment and stability thanks to a constant relationship with two men who mean the world to me. And to whom I shall forever be indebted to for the way they first held a mirror to my life, and then held me when I crumbled at the vision it presented. And they are really the reason I am the person I am today.

These men are better than any husband any woman could have because they really treat me as if I were indeed a queen. And they don't mind at all that I nag them, bully them, blackmail them emotionally, show them transparently and shamelessly how needy I am. 

It's incredible but true - they love me in spite of all this. And I have never had to play hard to get. Or play any other sort of game that a woman typically needs to, to get men to fall in love with her. 

And I'd do anything for them. Even change to a conventional woman were they to ask that of me. But the beauty is that they never will because they think I'm super cool any which way I am. 

And I am hoping someday they will love me and my baby the same amount and we can really be a family, because I never knew I could love someone, let alone two people, as much as I love them both.

So, yes, I will have a child without waiting for a man to appear on the horizon and making it all about joint-accounts and a disgruntled mother-in-law. 

So in other words, 'Guess what, I am happy. I do live a colourful life. This was not my dream either but I am so bloody glad that it is my life now. And no, nothing you imagine will ever get you close to the truth that my life is. And I don't regret a single thing. And I am bloody perfect as I am. And now please take a flying fuck!'