Bad haircuts and dance performances

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I was always into dance performances when I was in my teens. I would participate in local dancing competitions, school functions, Independence day parades and so on and so forth. There were two issues which presented themselves during these dance performances, which make me slightly discount the endorphin, adrenaline and serotonin high I got from those performances.

Firstly, the dances were of the nature which required a girl to have hair which could be tied into a bun. In those days, I used to get an embarrassing haircut called the ‘Mushroom cut’. Till date, I don’t know what possessed me to get those haircuts. I looked good in them, but it was not me. I would get those haircuts and then spend the next few months defending the haircut. There is an unsaid rule in my life that only I can make myself feel bad about my hair. No one else can.

Now most of these dances were of a traditional nature where we had to wear saris and artificial jewelry along with ‘alta’ which is a Bengali red dye applied on hands and feet(imagine Madhuri and Aishwariya’s look in Dole Re song). We wore big bindis and five kilos of makeup. I didn’t have an issue with makeup, but it clashed with my mushroom cut look. It presented me in a bad light, as if I was deeply confused about my identity in this world. Was I the spunky chick who sported a funky hairstyle, but had decided it is not sanskari for me to do so? Or was I the traditional young lady on a rebellious streak, who would just rebel in small ways and not do anything too drastic to upset the other traditional people? Still trying to figure out what that look meant.

I had to use false hair/artificial bun to make things easier for the audience. I now know from experience that it plopping a bun on top of your head, while the rest of your hair falls naturally into a mushroom cut look, makes you look slightly retarded. It looks like an ice-cream cone, with the scoop being too large for the rest of the cone, maybe because the scoop wanted to make a loud statement just like Rakhi Sawant. This ice cream cone look didn’t have any particular impact when it came to my dance performance.

Once I had used false hair for a performance. In the middle of the semi classical and eloquent dance steps, my false hair decided that it had had it. It just slipped effortlessly on the floor. I picked up the false hair, in a series of dance steps to make it look choreographed. and then slipped off the stage as if that too was planned. I then frantically clipped on the false hair, mumbling a few curse words(which were of an innocuous nature at that time and mostly included donkeys). I then slipped back onto the dance floor quite shamelessly, as if the last seconds of my life had never happened.

Secondly, I detested the fact that they made me Mahishasur(the obese devil with a big handlebar mustache whom Goddess Durga killed, which is why we got ten days school holiday every year). Yes, so in a way, I was responsible for those holidays. You can thank me and send me gifts if you want. But, I could never understand why I was picked as Mahishasur. Was I a natural for the part? I did have fairly bushy eyebrows till I started getting them threaded. The confusing part was that I was Mahishasur but I had the Dole Re look, with the ice cream cone bun and everything. For people, the question ‘Who am I?’ comes after a lot of spiritual and deep meaningful years of pondering. For me, I think the seeds of doubt started sprouting after these performances.

We were once performing on a huge ground on the occasion of Independence day. The sequence was such that I had to dance normally, then fall under the Goddess’s foot on a particular cue for her to kill me(it always felt like walking and then fainting under her feet for a few seconds). After she killed me, I had to get up and start dancing again(maybe this was the afterlife dance). I had rehearsed this fainting and afterlife dance sequence enough number of times, so much so that I stopped feeling humiliated about why they chose me for the part. But…..I don’t know what came over me that day. I decided to fall at the Goddess’s feet a few seconds earlier. Maybe this is what the inevitability of death means. You know it, so why fight it? She got confused and mentioned that I was before time. This was the only time in my life when being before time led to the air being distraught with panic and utter directionlessness . After a few awkward moments later of sheer inactivity between me and the Goddess, I was killed by her.

If you find me sobbing uncontrollably at a hair salon if my hair gets cut too short, you know why.

Image Credits: http://www.picturequotes.com

 

 

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Popcorn with Sultan’s brother

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So, I go for ‘Sultan’ with a friend. We have the tickets at the rear end of the theatre. The seating arrangement for our row is such that there are two seats, a gap and then a solo seat. We settle down in our seats. As the lights go out, a lady accompanied by a man walks in and occupies the solo seat next to us. The man looks around and then plops on the floor (in the gap). I look at him and battle between gasping at the blatant rebellious (free?) behaviour of this man and pretending to be cool about his choice of seat for the movie. I do the latter. Who wants to be a stuck up person anyway?

As the lights flash on the screen, I look at the guy, albeit a little slyly. I don’t want to stare at this person whom I am suddenly feeling compelled to admire for his oblivion to society’s rights, wrongs and blah.

I tap on my friend’s shoulder and exclaim (although not too loudly, since I am still pretending to be cool) – ‘Is this Arbaaz Khan?’

My friend also stares at him and nods. Celebrities have to resort to such extreme measures to keep their lives private, I conclude. He must have wanted to watch his brother’s movie with no one staring at him; hence he chose to sit in the last row of the theatre. Plus sitting on the floor makes this a perfect place for him to hide from the public eye and watch the movie in peace.

The dilemma begins when the movie begins. I take the whole walking-in-other-people’s-shoes thing a bit too seriously. I am hypersensitive to what might offend Arbaaz, and of course all criticism of the film and Sallu bhai tops the chart in terms of what might offend him.

We appropriately laugh at the punch lines and my friend comments loudly as to how Salman doesn’t look 50 years old. I also nod along vigorously, adding in my expert comments on how much effort it must take for him to maintain a body like that. Of course, being on the wrong side of the Khan family is something that every Indian wants to avoid, unless one wants to increase the probability of being run over by their vehicle, while sitting on a guava tree branch.

Arbaaz seems lost in the film and has no time for our overenthusiastic-walking-in-other-people’s-shoes phenomenon. Of course, as a director, his job is to watch movies from a professional angle. We decide to take a selfie with him after the film. As soon as the movie finishes, he gets up and starts walking fast. At that moment, I discover that my friend is also a swift walker, in fact slightly swifter than him. She manages to overtake him and look at his face.

Then with an air of disappointment, she says-‘This is not Arbaaz’. I wonder if my perception of the film would have been different if this guy walking around, looking like Arbaaz Khan hadn’t biased my opinions. No more walking around in other people’s shoes. I also Whatsapp the half dozen people that I had already informed about Arbaaz walking around breathing the same theatre air as us, that it a false alarm.

Well, at least we got to stuff popcorn down our throats, while this side show was going on.

Image Credits- etsy.com

Thunder, Lightning and the Speed of Thighs

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Image Credits: Dumpaday.com

Do you ever have a crazy mental dialogue when you go shopping alone? Or always, for that matter?

Date: 28th March 2015

Venue: Shopping Mall

Before visiting the mall, I checked out a website which tells you what colours you should wear depending on the kind of energy you project. I realised that I had been wearing dark colours all my life whereas I should have been wearing bright colours. I agreed with the same for lack of a valid counterargument and went shopping.

Brain: In order for you to accomplish this, look at all the colours that you would have never worn normally, before your life changing ‘which colour should I wear’ discovery.

Me: Ok.

I stayed off the dark colours and went to look for the more chatak(loud) colours. 

I picked out a few clothes, with slightly shaky hands. Changing the core colours you wear almost changes your identity in some way.

Brain: You will look like a fruit salad wearing these colours.

Me: Snicker.

I picked out a few of those fruit salad clothes, determined to feel good looking like a fruit salad. After all, if it lifts my energy and makes me happier(like a yellow coloured minion), who cares? I also picked out a few pairs of jeans and went in.

Now, before I go into the juicy details of the trial room, I want to give let you in on a conversation which I had with a senior on Yahoo chat almost a decade back.

X(For lack of a better codeword): Do you know that guys in the hostel call you thunder thighs?

Me: Umm.

What the hell is one supposed to do with information like this? And why do people feel like passing on such information? It is like going to a dog and saying ‘You know that you bark, right?’ . Uh! Ok.

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Image Credits: www.boredpanda.com

As I thought about the thunder thighs label, which always brings up an image of Sridevi in a wet sari dancing with Anil Kapoor, who is her brother-in-law now (Bollywood, you scare me), I pulled out a pair of jeans and started trying it on.

Me: Ugh!

Brain(in an animated paan chewing driver’s tone as the jeans reached my thighs): Ab tak to Manali tak ka raasta tha, easy tha. Aage se Rohtang pass hai.

Me: Ssh!

I gave up on the jeans, as it probably gave up on me. I walked out of the store with my self respect intact. What goes on in the trial room, stays in the trial room.

I went home and did the weighing scale dance. The steps are as follows:

Step 1: Remove all coins from your pockets.

Step 2: Get on the weighing scale.

Step 3: Blink a couple of times in horror. Hope that the blinks scare the damn weighing scale to lower the weight.

Step 4: Give the weighing scale a second chance, by checking its zero error. Who knows – the scale might be pointing to 5 kg instead of the default 0 kg?

Step 5: Bring out curse words with as much venom as possible. Make the weighing scale feel bad by screaming ‘Once a traitor, always a traitor.’

Step 6: Take charge of the situation and create a zero error in the opposite direction.

Step 7: Congratulations! You are now 5 kgs lighter. You can be the poster boy or girl in one of those pretentious weight loss commercials, in which only the ‘After’ photo gets photoshopped.

I want to hear about your crazy shopping and weight reduction experiments. Don’t be lazy. Comment below. Typing makes one’s fingers thinner, so I hear. 😉

Proudly yours,

Thunder Thighs

P.S – I have sworn myself off the virus called ‘perfection’ in a ceremony that involved two frogs, one unicorn and five strands of hair of men who have now turned bald but were wise enough to preserve those strands of hair for my ceremony. Talk about foresight. This deadly virus leads you to squint and read through your text at least two dozen times. I am trying to return to normalcy and hence I read through the text only a couple of times, after it is done. Pardon me, if there is a typo, although you can let me know about it…in private, of course. Together we can fight this virus and save time.

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A magician’s rabbit on an Indian train

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‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ the magician with the carefully stuck on moustache announces.

‘Here is the rabb…..err….invisible rabbit,’ he proceeds to say, wiping off the drops of sweat that burst out of his pores in seconds. Where the hell was the damn Bunny Bugs?

The audience looked around in confusion, some clapping out of pity. Some refused to clap, shifting in their seats, mentally calculating how much they had spent to watch this phony magician who couldn’t even replicate the most commonly used trick in the book.

Meanwhile, at a railway station in India

Platform number 2 ki gaadi, ab platform number 4 pe aayegi(the train which is supposed to arrive on platform number 2, will now arrive on platform number 4),’ the harrowed announcer lady’s voice said.

Bunny Bugs stood at the platform, in his tweed jacket and a bunch of hats stuffed in his oversized bag. He would have to rush fast to the stage, into the magic hat. Luckily, the train directly routed him onto the stage. Some said he had political connections, others kept mum. But, time was ticking away. He was aware of the difference in time on the stage and the train – 1/100th of a second on the stage was equal to ten hours on the train. But, he was slightly late, since he missed the previous train, where a man in a red checked shirt had completely blocked the way, while this lady in a rusted golden elaborate piece of clothing ran to him, her arms outstretched, at a speed which people wearing such clothes do not normally try to run. There was a man with a large moustache who was standing on the platform, screeching ‘Ja Simran Ja. Jee ley apni zindagi(Go Simran Go. Live your life).’

The lady managed to get into the train, but Bunny Bugs who was running from the opposite side could not. The next train was in an hour. After pleading with the railway people to get him a seat, they offered him a side lower berth and asked him to keep his legs up, since people invariably liked bumping into people who got the seat(which actually belonged to the aisle walkers, the ticketing people claimed, laughing for no apparent reason). Bunny nodded and smiled feebly. He had to concentrate on the show. He was the life saver of the show, yet he had to make peace with only a few carrots. Damn carrots. Where did these humans gets these rabbits-love-carrots  notion anyway? There had to be better food in the world. Damn the carrot dude on television, munching away as if he enjoyed it. He got paid a lot for it, for sure. Bunny craved burgers and fries. Sometimes even noodles with burnt garlic.

As he took his side lower berth, the tea seller sporting a faded light green kurta and pajama with a cream turban walked past him. Bunny, as advised by the ticketing guys, kept his legs up, not that his legs were dangling too much anyway.

‘1 of those,’ Bunny said.

He was a newbie in this human world, having experienced it only during the magic shows, when he was required to travel. English, he had learnt by watching television shows.

He was handed a tiny plastic cup with a brown liquid floating in it. Was he supposed to drink it, he wondered?  Maybe he had to dip his arm in it and suck the arm. Ouch!

Suddenly, he saw the guy with the outstretched arm, who had blocked the entrance trying to get that woman’s hand (perhaps for an arm transplant), sitting opposite another woman and four giants. They were sitting diagonally opposite him. Must be his imagination, Bunny thought, reading the latest issue of ‘Who Said What to Whom?’

But this dude started singing. And the giants seemed to take notice.  They were the really big kinds, like the XXL variety of human beings. Bunny thanked his stars that those kinds didn’t exist in the rabbit world. What if, the magician expected an M sized rabbit and an XXL came through, ripping that damned boring black hat? No, Bunny thought shuddering a little, albeit not too much, because the brown liquid was still in his hands. Bunny silently clicked a picture of the dude who was all over the place, just in case someone came looking for him. The girl who sat opposite him started singing for no reason. The guy who was everywhere also started singing. Copycat. Bunnies have nothing against cats, but he could have danced or something, for God’s sake. Bunny returned to his magazine and sipped the sugar factory in his hand, after ensuring that no carrots had been mixed in the brown thing. The train went on its way and B.B dozed off.

His alarm rang the next morning. The sun was shining softly through the clouds. This was it. He had to make his move now. He packed up his stuff and started on his journey to the stage. He had to first climb the roof of the train by using a rope ladder which he had been presented with. Humans had overestimated his ability to hop and thought that reverse hop somersault could be done easily by a normal, non athletic rabbit like him. He asked them if they could do floating yoga and they started stammering. The budget for the rope ladder got approved. After jumping up the rope ladder, the train people would open a secret tunnel way and lead him to the magic show, where the fake moustache man with makeup, would just pull Bunny out holding him by his ears, and taking all the credit from the crowd….without having to hear ‘Platform number 2 ki gaadi, platform number 4 se jayegi‘ over and over again till his ears turned blue.

The rabbit started climbing the rope ladder, holding onto the flimsy rope tightly, hoping the poles which swished past the train would not be too close to the train. He had done this multiple times on the previous train which he missed due to the guy who was everywhere. As soon as he got on the roof of the train….guess what? The same guy was here also, dancing as if it was normal to dance on rooftops of wobbly trains. ‘Jiske sar ho ishq ki chao…..‘. Sigh! Perhaps, this guy should be hired to appear inside the hat….since he managed to appear everywhere without any effort.

P.S Years later, the bunny found this video on Youtube.

Image Credits: http://www.funnytimes.com

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Interviews, Zippers and Mistaken Identities

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Interviews. I think of zippers whenever I think of interviews. Strange neuro-association, isn’t it? I can hear you mumbling neuro….what? Neuro- association is the way in which the brain links up two things together which it considers logical. In my (over)analysis of my neuro associations, I have gasped multiple times at the ludicrous neuro-associations in my brain and then tapped on my face to remove those ‘logical’ neuro associations(read about EFT tapping before you judge me). Sigh, I secretly dream of a world where we all are as weird as I am. That doesn’t seem likely unless I create billions of weird-face-tapping clones of me.

Back to zippers….and interviews. Interviews bring up images of folders with a resume in them, complete with a passport size photo in my mind(apart from zippers, of course). It feels insensitive to call it a resume, it should be called the ‘Shining Glory of My Life Spent on This Planet’ or something like that. Aah. Anyway, I had carried my ‘Shining Glory…blah…blah…’ to the interview room few years back, after having fixed my hair and lip gloss a few dozen times, aiming to give a perfect impression of my sincere-shining self. People walked in, asked me questions, nodded a lot and then informed me that few other people wanted to interview me. I smiled unnaturally, as is natural to do so in the interview. Perhaps, people finish their quota of smiles(and lip-gloss) in the interview room and then frown for the next few years they work in that place.

I first stared at the walls of the interview room, which I feel obliged to do in such situations, where nothing else seems to fill that time between the going out and coming in of people. I then stared at my skirt. It looked nice…black…formal…and dull. Good. But then, I noticed that my skirt zip(on the side of the skirt) was undone and spoilt. So now, one could see the holy white tucked in shirt, through the black skirt. Eeks!

I didn’t know how any of this was my fault, but I was convinced it was. In some way it was…as it always was. My hand immediately covered up the gap…the gap which would put gaps between cliffs which people dream of jumping to shame. I felt handicapped at that moment, with only one hand of mine operational, since one hand had to do its job of saving my izzat(respect). The other hand  would have to be used to shake hands and wave animatedly in the air in order to declare my passion for the job. The second set of people came in and asked their stuff. I replied, one hand stuck to the side of the skirt. I sensed that they sensed that there was something wrong with my arm. But, I was determined to not let ‘the gap’ spoil my interview. Finally my interview ended and I walked out with a sense of confidence that I could single handedly(sense the pun?) sail through an interview.

My neuro-association is prompting me to write about yet another embarrassing situation where I was asked to wait in a coffee shop for an interview. I had checked the Facebook profile of my interviewer the previous night, as part of my research. Amazing how one can do anything under the pretext of research. So, I was looking for this lady of a particular nationality to come and interview me. A lady breezily came up to me and said ‘Hieee. I’ll be back in a moment.’ I smiled politely and rummaged through my brain for the Facebook photo I had seen of the interviewer the previous day.  Mismatch! She was not the one.

Perhaps, she had decided that she wanted her face to match another nationality’s and had then gone through a series of painful plastic surgeries to make that happen. I settled(sank) into my chair and waited for the lady-who-had-changed-her-nationality. To my horror, I saw a person with a face that matched the Facebook photo I had seen earlier walk towards me. She sat next to me and started asking relevant questions. I started spurting out my replies in an organised and rehearsed manner. The breezy-lady-who-I-thought-had-changed-her-nationality popped up again and stared at me and the interviewer-whose-photo-matched-the-Facebook-profile.  I just pointed at the interviewer’s head and nodded as part of some secret code that the breezy lady seemed to get. She nodded apologetically and walked off. The interviewer stared at me and I blabbered something like ‘She must have assumed I am someone else’ and continued jabbering my answers…..as if nothing happened.

Over to you. What weird(funny) interview experiences have you had? What pops into your mind whenever you think of interviews?

P.S – I have sworn myself off the virus called ‘perfection’ in a ceremony that involved two frogs, one unicorn and five strands of hair of men who have now turned bald but were wise enough to preserve those strands of hair for my ceremony. Talk about foresight. This deadly virus leads you to squint and read through your text at least two dozen times. I am trying to return to normalcy and hence I read through the text only a couple of times, after it is done. Pardon me, puhleeeez, if there is a typo, although you can let me know about it…in private, of course. Together we can fight this virus and save time.

Image Credits – Unknown(but brilliant).

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Mom, the cake is salty!

It was a bright morning. My friends were about to come home for a giggly girl gossip session. Going by my choice of words, I am sure you would have figured out that this incident dates back to my teenage years, back to a time when having giggly girl gossip sessions were considered ok. Of course, now we call them venting sessions for lack of better words, or plain old anger. I had gotten up early on that day and was feeling particularly open to hard work. It was a new feeling, especially during the summer holidays where the days used to be laced in a blur of endless eating, drinking and sleeping.

I had decided to make chocolate cake that day. My friends were(and still are) special and I was in a mood to soak in some compliments from them on my baking début.

One swift move and the apron was on. I opened a cook book which had pages that looked so delectable that I wanted to start licking the pages.Thanks to the concept of 2D and 3D , no such calamity befell the recipe book, which lay glistening with all the glory of the beautiful dishes which people often got tempted to lick off from.

As all recipes go, this one also had a (rather long) list of ingredients. I started collecting all of them, scurrying into the storage room next to the kitchen ever so often.

Do you recall the last baking show that you watched? Does it resemble anything that you do in the kitchen in real life?

The answer for me is no.

Baking shows make it look effortless and beautiful, with transparent bowls and everything neatly arranged before the camera starts. They don’t show a teenager darting off to different corners of the kitchen and store room using curse words that she has recently learned if she is unable to find the ingredients. No, those women are the power ladies(or teens).

After gathering all the ingredients and instructing everyone to stay out of the kitchen, I started preparing the dough and mixing the ingredients. Portions were carefully measured and the flour was washed off from the hands ever so often. Everything was perfect. My friends would be home in around an hour and the cake would be ready by then, shining in all its glory. After using all my muscular power to mix the dough properly, I carefully emptied out the contents into a baking tray brushed with butter so that the cake would not stick to the tray.

Note: I did not taste the batter.

As I often do, as soon as the batter was popped inside the oven, I started staring at the dough, almost pressurising it to rise. It did ultimately rise, flaunting its spongy golden brown fluffy texture. I was mighty pleased and was mentally preparing for an acceptance speech. My heart started beating faster as the time to take out the cake from the oven approached. I was gleeful, to say the least.

After what seemed like an eternity, the oven went ‘ting’. ‘Ting’ is always a sign of completion, a sound of achievement. But it is often accompanied by goofititis( coined by me- fear of goofing up). I picked up a fork and smoothened out the cake, leaving behind some crumbs for me to taste.

The cake crumbs went into the mouth. Even today, I recall everything from picking up the crumbs to putting it into my mouth in slow motion. That was where the illusion of having baked a perfect cake was shattered, and that tiny moment determined whether I was a good teenage baker or not.

“Aargh.” I shouted, blinking my eyes quickly as if to make sure that I had tasted the cake properly.

My mom who was just outside the kitchen came rushing in, realising that the earlier rule of no one inhibiting the kitchen but me could be broken.

“What happened?” she said.

“The cake.” I said.

“What about it?” she said.

“It is salty.” I said.

“Are you sure?” she said.

“Yes.” I said, now snorting like a pig.

She could not taste the cake because there were eggs in it and she is a vegetarian. But this was an acute baker goof up. How did the tv shows get it so right, I thought, my face turning a little green due to jealousy and due to the contents of the cake.

My logical brain ( which I think I possessed back then) came into action, trying to make sense of the situation. I looked at the recipe again. Did they intend us to make salty cake? You never know what trends pick up and suddenly you are the uncool one not knowing that salty cakes are being eaten all over the world. The ingredients however did not reflect anything of that manner. It was meant to be a boring old sweet cake.

What in there could I have goofed up?

Of course, I had put in salt. But what had I not put in? The only two contents that were white were flour, rice flour and sugar. I knew what sugar looked like – grainy. I was specifically given the jar for the all purpose flour from the storage room by our cook. The only thing that I hadn’t seen before was rice flour. I remember having opened the cabinet in front and picking out the first white thing I saw thinking it to be rice flour.

“Mom. Where is the rice flour?” I asked.

She went to another cabinet and showed me a jar. My worst fears that had culminated in that 10 minutes had come true. Instead of a cup of rice flour, I had used a cup of salt. My friends were to arrive in half an hour. I tearfully threw this cake into the dustbin, with a sense of valour rising up in me.

At least I know what rice flour looks like, I thought, my head held up high.  (If you wish, you can imagine some motivational song playing in the background to blend in with the sense of valour that had risen in me.)

I took in a deep breath and some tea and started again. My friends thankfully(and predictably) arrived late. I had a cake ready for them by the time they came. Needless to say, the cake’s name was fancier than the actual cake. But at least it was not salty.

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