I’m throwing a party, she says,
and you’re not invited.
Fine, he replies,
Then be sure not to send me the bill.
Tag Archives: Party
The city of malls was once a city of mills. Mumbai, home to Bollywood, financial capital of the country and one of the most populous cities in the world also lays claim to being a key vertex of the textile boom of the last century. The mill redevelopment was big news for a few years the start of this decade. In my own adult lifetime, I’ve seen the grey industrial belt of Parel-Curry Road-Cotton Green metamorphose into the glitzy gaudiness of malls, pubs and fancy retail outlets.
Walk into High Street Phoenix and the disposable income of this city is all around you. It’s grabbing a beer at one of the pubs or flashing a credit card at the latest ‘it’ designer’s collection or checking out the coolest entertainment that money can buy. Subway, MacDonald’s and Big Bazaar are only for those who’re slumming it.
But stop for a minute and let your eyes drift a few feet upwards. Over the neon hoardings, the new glass-and-metal construction and the mega-parking lot, you just might catch a glimpse of an old soot-stained chimney. The next time you’re at Hard Rock Cafe or Zenzi Mill or Blue Frog, let those same eyes catch the massive overhead pipes. They’re not a fashion statement by an eccentric interior designer. They’re the last remnants of a bygone era.
I’m not just being nostalgic. I worked in this belt for most of my career. My first job, an internship with a marketing agency required me to travel around in this area. My first memory of Lower Parel is a filthy place full of muddy lanes, zero rain shelter and depressing buildings. In the past ten years, I’ve seen each of those spaces get cordoned off and then re-emerge with fresh paint, a new construction or two and a fancy (very fancy) price tag attached to whatever is being sold there. It’s literally an Eliza Dolittle on this city.
I think spaces hold memories, of people who’ve lived in them and what they’ve felt and said and been. These glossy new addresses are the new avatars of what used to be the salt of the earth of this city. Standing in the middle of the hottest nightspot, sipping a fashionable cocktail, I’m suddenly struck by the contrast.
Who were the people who spent their lives in these places? Who called this home or a place that provided employment for them and sustenance for their families? The mill belt carries memories of places no one else remembers. Mumbai’s success story is an epitaph to the forgotten workers whose toil made this city.
Tread respectfully the next time you’re here. Mumbai’s history lies beneath you.
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Celebrations are things you don’t exactly notice until you have to make a conscious effort to make them happen. Christmas has been an integral part of my life for years and years now – one of the consequences of growing up in a Christian environment and having a devout Catholic for best friend. My many yuletide memories include midnight mass, home-made wine, marzipan rolling and jiving at 2a.m. This year she’s a new mama and will most likely want to have a family Christmas so I’m not about to intrude.
Last evening the office bunch decided to organize a ‘Secret Santa’. Each of us has picked a chit bearing the name of one person at office. We are to be Secret Santa to the person whose name we picked. I went shopping immediately after work to fill up my Santa bag. I came back with chocolates and a funky toy thing that I think he’ll like.
This morning I walked into an office that looked like red had exploded in here. The HR mail did say ‘casuals with some red or white’ so I figured my wine-red with grey tartan on light trousers would be good. Everyone is dressed in a blinding shade of red with a few Santa hats here and there. I dodged to my desk before any of them would pounce on me. Thank goodness for the reindeer antlers I picked up on a whim last evening, intending to wear them for the mandatory photographs at the end of the day! That’s been accepted as suitable Christmas Eve apparel.
So I’m jingling bells (sewn onto the red antlers affixed to a green headband) when I’m walking. Which reminds me of the friend who suggested I decorate my Secret Santa gift with red ribbon and green mistletoe. I refrained of course, realising that she didn’t know the significance of mistletoe. Now mistletoe on a headband might be a really nice idea, mightn’t it? Especially if the object of one’s affection happens to be standing close by…hmm, hmm, hmm, some Christmas gift that would be! 😉
A couple of years back, the very year J got married, in fact and I decided not to intrude on the private celebration she was sure to want with her new husband….I went to a houseparty with another dear friend. Our host greeted us at the door with a hot bod squeezed into a tight tee, a knock-you-down grin and a Santa hat. The funny thing was that no one at the party was a Christian, practising or otherwise. Oh well, I rationalized, you can celebrate a holiday simply because it makes you happy. My celebration is not religious, it’s sentimental but what difference, either way? I don’t really remember getting home that night but we did have a crazy blast.
This year has been….well, much, much better than the heartbreaking hell that 2007 was. But it leaves us on a sad note, trailing behind a terror-struck debris in place of the unstoppable city I used to call home. Less than a month ago, I also lost a colleague, a work-buddy, my right arm at office. I feel the loss of this mild-mannered, always smiling 25-year-old every single day. Sid, I never told you just how much I relied on you, did I?
This year, I don’t know yet what I’m going to be doing. I don’t want to – like every other holiday this year – spend this one working off my sleep debt or doing something incredibly fashionable (and expensive). For the last holiday of the year I think I’ll celebrate it true Ideasmith-style – with loads of sentiment and nostalgia and warm practicality.
I’m meeting a longtime comfortable-as-a-cuddy-pillow friend and I think I’ll go to midnight mass with him. It would be nice to attend mass at my school church which is where I stood next to J for all these years. I guess I’ll bump into her there which should be good. It isn’t really Christmas without J.
Merry Christmas everyone!!
My body really is a wonderland. It celebrates 29 years of existance this week. And I’m still discovering new things I can do with it.
I don’t feel old. Or older. Or wiser.
All I am is happy, very happy. I’ve felt very loved and cherished this month. Thank you, world.
Almost every single present I received this year was a book! 🙂 Yes, my world finally understands me. And Landmark ought to make me honorary platinum-studded-with-diamonds something and give me books free for all the publicity and extra sales I’ve single-handedly generated for them!!
I’m happier and more grateful. I’m also thinking that it is worth learning to be a bit of a brat. Since people don’t always take you seriously or consider that you have feelings…unless you let them know it – I’m going to!!
So those of you who did not make it to my party or turned up and left in 20 minutes (yes, you know I’m talking to you…I hope you are cringing)…I’m very, very, very upset! Yes, I did have a number of wonderful people who did turn up and stay to celebrate with me. But people aren’t like oranges where if you lose one, you can pick up another. Each of you is special to me and irreplaceable. My party (and my life) is incomplete without your presence in it. And you reminded me of that on my birthday. Are you feeling guilty enough about it? Good, because I want you to. I would if I had done that, too.
My parents think of the most amazing gifts! One year they organised a treasure hunt with each clue attached to a gift! Some of the things I received were a book, new sandals, a handbag, a gold chain, a diamond pendant and a stuffed toy. This year I received a book, a new blouse (the kind mum is always raising disapproving eyebrows at my wearing), a silk tie/sash and among other things…a set of towels! 😆 So cute, no? But I needed them anyway.
When I think back to the best gifts I’ve received from them…
Yes, I’m aware that this is extremely Hallmark-greeting card. So I’m sentimental, so I’m cliched, so sue me. 🙂
A late realisation that made me feel good – while battling allegations that I..
– am anorexic
– suffer bulimia
But my body is that way!!! I haven’t lost an inch since I was sixteen. I’ve worn exactly the same size of jeans for all these years!!!
My friend observed that most people in their late (very late!) twenties couldn’t say that. Yes, errm.
And the Evil A.E. remarked on b-day,
You’re eating chips and cheese dip?! Now that you’re older you know you can’t be doing things like that..!
Phooey to him, I’ll eat what I like. And stay happy with that, I hope.
I also had some flash revelations right during my party.
1. I don’t fall in love easily. It’s like the second-most difficult thing on my planet, right after getting me to stop talking.
2. I am a wanter. When I want, I want want WANT want. Nothing stands in my way. Not emotions, not fairness, not relationships, not social approval. That’s quite different from caring, love or committment.
3. I find myself in possession of an ego. A SuperEgo. I don’t forgive easily (but of course I told you that). I can be annoyed, irritated, upset, angered, enraged, wrathful and furious. I know the difference between each of these. And the object of my ire will know…eventually.
4. There is too much ‘I’ in this list so I’m stopping right here. I’m bored easily, even by talk about myself.
I even managed to spend an hour at my favorite bookstore, reading. If my ‘imaginary date’ had come looking for me, he would have found me in the very boy-aisle of comics/graphic novels reading the very girl “Spiderman loves Mary Jane“. I’m a just a girl in the boys’ section. 😉
So I had a party. The first one in this new house. The second one in my twenties, the last one being 5 years back. Only two guests from that party were at this one. One of them was my chaddi-buddy whom I’ve known since I was three. I gave him a rundown on the guests, adding “She’s a really good friend” to which he raised an eyebrow and said, “Tell me who isn’t?”. Well, I’m just lucky. In a way, sort of. I know some wonderful, lovely people. Only there are loads of them and they don’t all stay lovely for that long, simultaneously (especially if I date them, wherein they turn into Neanderthal man-meets-Psychopathic Creep). So there’s a new set of wonderful, lovely people now. But I really, truly adore them all to bits.
Maybe it isn’t that I’m not meant for love. Maybe I’m meant exclusively for short-term love.
They say Cancerians are loyal. They say we’re changeable too. I’ll quote something I read a long time ago…
Here’s to me and here’s to you
And here’s to love and laughter
I’ll be true as long as you
Not a single moment after
And that is my birthday toast to my body, my relationships and to this world. Cheers!
Jack’s eyes lazily scanned the room, taking in all, accommodating none.
Gillian paused mid-speech, in spite of herself and her breath stuck in her throat. Then she caught herself and smoothly moved on, ramming her words into each other to create an artful slip of tongue. The ripple of amusement that passed through her listeners washed away the traces of anyone noticing her real mistake.
From her peripheral vision, Gillian knew that he had moved into focus and was weaving his way slowly but definitely towards her group. She never did the ‘corner of the eye’ thing…it was too obvious and blatant, a real pathetic ‘I can’t help looking but I don’t want to be seen looking’ gesture. No sirree, she was never pathetic. No sidelong glances, no downcast gazes, no secret looks, she didn’t do those.
What Gillian did do was yoga. It kept her eyesight as flexible as her fingers, her mind as nimble as her feet while dancing. Yoga allowed conversations to become like dances. Where you could move, navigate and control without actually thinking or making an effort to. Doing without trying. And what Gillian was doing without trying was turning herself and her little knot of people into a Jack-magnet…by sheer non-magnetism.
The man on her right turned slightly to accommodate the newcomer. Jack was smiling as he looked at the guilelessness in the eyes that seemed to be focusing and finally noticing him. Interesting, he thought.
And then, inspite of herself, Gillian smiled. Graceleness was her art and artlessness was where she was most graceful.
* Yes, the title is an unabashed rip-off of “I am Jack’s cold sweat” from the movie Fight Club.
I’m convinced that it must be my karmic destiny to live a reverse-life. To enjoy things that most people find boring or bizarre. And to agonize over things that ought to be fun. I’ve been racking and shelving and cupboarding (okay, I’ll stop!!) my brain to come up with something to write that is ‘different’ from my usual style.
What is ‘IdeaSmith’s style’ , incidentally? Weepy, sappy? Poetic and eloquent? Biting and sarcastic? Verbose? Narcissistic? Intelligent? Pretentious? Easy? Identify-with-able? And what is that supposed to mean?
*Sigh* And I thought this would be fun! Not a philosophical exercise!! Gah.
Poetry, how-tos, rants, fiction, cityscapes, causes, journaling…I’ve done these. What next? Oh okay…how about….a recipe? So here my ‘food’s-just-fuel’ gastrophobe self takes on a culinary recount…is that different enough? Here goes…
How to make a Bradtini (followed by an Ideatini)
60ml Bacardi Reserva rum
Half a glass of pineapple juice
2 ice cubes
A bottle of Tabasco sauce
A taste for spice
Pour the pineapple juice into the Reserva till it turns opaque but not quite as yellow as the pure juice.
Stir. Lick stirrer. (Yes, this is necessary).
Drop ice cubes in. Stir again. Lick stirrer clean. Keep aside.
Splash 2 drops of Tabasco sauce. Do NOT stir.
Taste. If you’ve licked the stirrer clean, the surface-lying pineapple juice would have left an aftertaste which is a great prelude to this drink.
If you can taste pineapple, add more Tabasco sauce.
Stop when you feel the sting on the tongue. Tabasco has a sneaky way of tasting really nice and then abruptly setting your tongue on fire. You want to be taken just to one second before combustion and then doused just in time by cold pineapple.
How to follow it up with an Ideatini
Substitute the pineapple juice in the Bradtini for gauva juice.
And add about 2 teaspoons less than the quantity of pineapple juice added to the previous drink. This results in a more full-bodied but lighter-flavoured drink.
If dragons roar within you too, you could use chili powder on the rim of the glass as well. SLUUURRRRRPPP!
If you want to experiment, try other fruit juices but only those that are thick-bodied and/or have a sharp tang like citruses. Watermelon doesn’t fit either description and makes a gawdawful concoction that I wouldn’t name after my worst enemy.
Alternately you could also try white rum; it doesn’t mate quite as soulfully with fruit juice as golden rum but its a workable combination. Steer clear of dark rum though, it doesn’t go well with the sunny nature of this drink.
And if you’re wondering, the A.E. introduced my uncultured palate to the first drink, whereupon I christened it after him. The second is my version of it and hence I pronounce that it goes by my name. Bottoms up!