Really good for chucking

Once upon a time in 2006, I needed the money -- and friends said they loved the food -- so I decided to cater for friends' parties. Except the first party I catered to, I ended up throwing this egg-sausage dish on the host's face....
Read the story / Try the easy recipe

I don't love you anymore.

It's a regular day. You two have been together for years, have built a house, a future, dreams together. You have your arguments and times you get irritated with each other, but overall, you'd say you are happy.

And then one fine day your partner -- husband, fiance, long-time girlfriend -- turns around says, "I don't love you anymore."
What will you do?
Pic = zazzy.com

UPDATE on 31/8/2009

Of the 10 early responses on this post, the common reactions to the questions above are:

1. Shock
2. Refusal to beg or self-pity
3. Hurt
4. Alimony, court, divorce
5. Be brave, move on

One response takes it as a sense of freedom; another is very cynical of the whole mushy-mushy thing says the declaration should not come as a shock. Waiting for more responses.


Of (book)slut and searching rape

Other than the date mix-up where I missed the Fables and Fantasy reading, I've attended two sessions at the Melbourne Writers Festival. One was a sham-of-a-discussion about marketing in the digital age and another was a really good workshop about independent publishers (small press publishing), Amazon's arm-wrestling tactics and integrating online-offline ventures.

The digital marketing talk/discussion was too short and involved the rep from publishing giant RandomHouse shamelessly selling his products/projects and blog-to-website case study, Jessa Crispin of Bookslut being so irritatingly laconic, it was a joke she was there at all. The only person who added some sort of value was Adam Noonan from Lonely Planet. Details about both events in another post.

One of the topics that came up in the digital marketing talk was Search Engine Optimisation (SEO); it got me looking into the statistics for this blog... Where are people coming from, what are they reading, how much are they reading etc. And the results worry me.

Yesterday, I put up that silly 'sex post'. It had nothing in it. The headline was "hot sex positions". The blog got 234 total readers and 437 page loads. Sex sells (shrug). Even on days this blog is not updated -- or the months it isn't! -- or has posts on books or other non-sex-things, there are still about 100-150 readers who come in.... It should make me happy. It does not.

According to my blog's stats, the three most popular posts -- that people search for and come here -- involve child abuse, rape and women's undergarments. And none of those people were/are looking to read a lecture.

1. Rape post: Rape and how to get away with it in India (click to read)
Written in Feb 2008 as a reaction to the increasing number of rape cases being reported in the media and the increasing number of rapes in New Delhi. However, my question is: Are those searching for "rape" or clicking on the Digg.com link to that post (thankyou whoever) coming in to read about why NOT to rape a woman or for some other reason?

2. Child abuse: I am busty teen writing about my first time
This was one of the earlier posts on the blog, written in 2006 after a particularly harrowing conversation with someone close, someone who had been abused. She still remains confused about it, was she abused? Or did she invite it?

What disturbs me now is that people/men/women come in to read that article expecting something salacious about teenage girls. Usual searches that point to that piece include keywords "busty", "15 year old busty teen" or "teen girl naked".

3. Morality and double standards: Bra, brazen and bolti bandh
Written in June 2008 in response to certain Indian right-wing political parties declaring that Indian women wearing jeans was "anti-Indian". The post questioned the Indian moral police and was one of the episodes in the Mishraji stories. However, people click on that link because it has "bra" in it; and some are searching for naked pictures of the actress Rambha.

I am not complaining about search engines pointing to my blog, some people perhaps stay on, read, perhaps come back. What scares me is that people are searching for rape and abuse. That.


To f**k or not to...

"Everything sounds funnier with the word F**K in it."

That's the little badge my classmate gifted me a couple of days ago. Do you:

1. Agree, f**k yeah.
2. Disagree, what is happening to the purity of language.
3. WTF?!

Now some facts -- powered by Wikipedia of course:

1. F**k can be used as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, or interjection and can logically be used as virtually any word in a sentence.
2. Study of the attitudes of the British public found that f**k was considered the third most severe profanity and its derivative motherf**ker second. C**nt was considered the most severe.
3. Some have argued that the prolific usage of the word f**k has de-vulgarized it.
4. F**k... may be common in informal and domestic situations. (!)
5. The Canadian Press now considers f**k to be commonplace and has added usage advice to the Canadian Press Caps and Spelling guide.

And you can get more such nuggets here.
Pic courtesy: WebHamster, Wikimedia


Who wants to kiss the frog?


The following picture might not be suitable for everyone; viewer discretion is advised. Since you've been warned, heart attacks and spewing cannot be blamed on this website.

Also, copyrights exist. If this photograph is found on your website -- without a link to my website -- you're gonna be in trouble. :)

Will you eat that? That's just one of the things I tried and nearly tried on our trip to Laos- Vietnam-Cambodia. Click on album link to see more.

For the record, those frogs ie. once alive frogs, were headless and skinless but were STILL JUMPING in the bowl. They were alive... Does it enhance their taste?

Also if any of you -- especially the meat-eaters -- go "Oh how cruel" when you see/saw the frog picture, please remember that goat, sheep, fish, cows, pigs etc ALL must feel the pain.

For those who eat lamb/goat/beef but frown at others who eat dogs, cats and horses, I have a question: Do you think it's hypocritical that we choose to pet some animals while we eat the others? Or look down upon those who might eat everything?

Stuffing my face from Laos-Vietnam-Cambodia


Not quite...

I am constantly aware I am in a different land. It's not fair to either 'home', to compare it to the other.

Delhi doesn't look half as beautiful as Melbourne does at sunset.

And Melbourne does not smell as delicious as Delhi when it rains.

Like today. But shouldn't the earth smell the same?

I miss that earthiness. Sometimes.

Pic: Lemon drop, flickr



This is turning out to be an idiot week for me. I am SO furious and I'm more furious because there's no one else to be furious at but me. I am... gaaaaaaaaaaah.

So I have this stupid white board on which I supposedly write down important dates, things to do and such like. And so I marked, in bold, with a circle around it, 22nd August, ie, today to go to the Australian Centre for Moving Images (ACMI). The Melbourne Writers Festival kicked off yesterday and I was booked in for three events. Two are next week and this one I paid for and really wanted to attend.

Pics (l-r): Authors Tom Cho, Antoni Jach
and Cyril Wong (Courtesy MWF)

It was called 'Fable, Fantasy and the New Short Story' with authors Tom Cho and Cyril Wong, and chaired by author Antoni Jach. So I rush to ACMI today, reach on time am very excited. Only for the guard to look at the ticket and tell me it was yesterday. He was right. I was stumped.

I am SO stupid. For the last two days I have been discussing and reading up on author Alice Pung -- for other reasons and who's event was today -- and while thinking of Pung and wanting to for Fantasy managed to write the wrong f*****g date on the white board.

I am SO upset. :(


Day 6: Gay bar, still in Luang Prabang drunk.

Found this post hiding in the written-but-not-published section. Brought back (weird) memories so publishing it now... Written on 22nd May, 2009, Luang Prabang, Laos. Also, I'm not editing it to retain the flavour. ;)

Hello hello
the one thing i love about this blog is that i can be myself. phhhhrst to those who think that blogs are self-indulgent. Even if they are, so bloody what?

Today can be labelled as Rip Off Day...went to Tadse waterfall which had no water and no fall and we payed USD $ 3 for it. Yes, its meagre but someone is earning it and being ripped off is not a good feeling.

Back from a foot-leg and head-shoulder massage. OOOOOH they are bloody good. PArtner makes faces that i have never seen before. Bought a Terry Pratchet book. Itbasu should like it, though i wouldna said so if i weren't drunk. As i have mentioned before, it takes very little to get me drunk. Today --- after massage -- it was but one Long Island Ice tea. bloody good drink i say. its my first in 3 days. The Laos beer is called 'Beerlao' and i cannot have it because i just dont like beer. Pardon typos and weird English because right now i am thinking in English, Hindi and a smattering of Laos...

So bloody waterfall was dry and got bitten by 14 mosquitoes...i know because I counted. Then we slept off because I awoke at 5 am to shoot monks. Shoot as in camera. :D The monks are given little handfuls of sticky rice. Most menus here write it as "Stricky rice", much like Indian menus that have "stop parantha", which means stuffed paranthas. Phonetics is a funny business.

So i shot monks and spoke to a 1-year-old Canadian journalist. As in she's been a reporter for a year. She's taking a break from her work and her boyfriend. They've broken off for the period she's travelling. I felt jaded. She called me jaded. Whatever.

BY the way, the massage girls said Indian girls are beautiful, while asking me if I wanted a pedicure. So i don't think it was for me. It was for the dollars. Blah, whatever, I am 52 kgs. :( I just shouted because a huge ugly moth went down my cleavage. Everyone else gave me a look. To check out Partner, we are in a gay bar. It's the only one that's open. And it's right on the street so. Thankgod Partner is a boobs-man and not a butts' man...


Ask, you idiot.

Oh well. So much for being smart and all that, some days just aren't meant for you.

(Phone ringing waiting for Partner to pick up)
Hello. (Partner sounding busy)
Hi, you've got a minute? Can I talk to you?

Yeah sure... (Partner's voice changing now, expecting Something Serious)
No, no, nothing serious. Just wanted to tell you to mark 12th September on your calendar. It's a Saturday and X friend's birthday. He's invited us...

Yeah sure. Where is it? (Partner sounding relieved and back to sounding busy now)
Oh it's some place called TBA. Y'know like Q'Bar? Do you know where it is?

(Partner v.e.r.y. silent)
Hello? You there? No worries if you don't know, I can always ask him later...

(Partner choking)
Hello? Are you all right? Are you choking? You don't have to worry about TBA right away you...

(Me, shocked) (Partner still laughing)
Baby... TBA is not a place. It's To Be Announced.
OH. (Scowl)
(Me, hang up the phone)

So that's the story and no matter how many of you would have known instantly what TBA was, I declare a war on abbreviations. I've had it with them. If RSVP wasn't enough -- and I still can't remember the damn thing -- now we've got a whole plethora of them.

There are the email ones, from cc, bcc, fyi, tc etc. To food-related, BYO, F&B etc. To the various gradings in movies, PG, UG, M, R... To the various emoticons. :P And of course, the one that I really cannot stand but am being forced to use... "xx" at the end of letters/mails/sms-es. It's not even an abbreviation, it's an alphabeticon (sic). Initially, and I dare you to laugh, I thought it meant 'over-and-out'... Till I received an email with 'xxxxx' and there was a sudden ping! in my brain and I realised an 'x' meant a kiss. (So 'xxxxx' means the other is slobbering over you?)

Sigh. I've learned HTML to a degree, can understand CSS and even RSS (not Rashtriya Seva Sangh)... but I really cannot keep up with all this anymore. I can't. I am 30. Please no. :(

PS: While looking for an appropriate picture to depict 'idiot' (should've used my own), came across Fyodor Doestoevsky's The Idiot and this quote from the book,
"...nothing offends a man of our day and our race more than to tell him he is not original, that he is weak-willed, has no particular talents and is an ordinary person." (Part One, Chapter Ten)
And to think that was first published in 1868. It holds true today as well, or so I think. No?


Useless Khan-troversy!

So 'superstar' Shah Rukh Khan is allegedly detained for two hours at the Newark airport. Allegedly because US customs officials say the delay/checks were only "a little more than hour" and the rest of the delay was because SRK's luggage was lost. The Indian media -- not surprisingly at all -- raised a furore about it. The Times of India cried that SRK had been detained for being a Khan. IBNLive.com quotes Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram saying, "US overdid it with SRK". (Et tu Chidu?)

Quick flashback here: On 21st April 2009, former Indian president APJ Kalam was frisked at the Indira Gandhi International airport prior to boarding a Continental Airlines flight. The airlines was subsequently pulled up and made to apologise. Interestingly though, the frisking happened despite the Indian government having a list of VIPs who do not require security checks. This list was ignored by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the US governing body responsible for security of US transportation systems.

Given that certain Indian VIPs have some dubious -- if yet unproven -- distinctions on their resumes, why should there be a list at all? Some examples: Narenda Modi was allegedly involved in the Godhra burnings (cleared of charges in 2008). Former home minister LK Advani was the alleged mastermind of the Babri mosque demolition. and Bollywood filmstar Sanjay Dutt was allegedly involved in the 1993 Mumbai blasts (since cleared of terrorism charges but to serve six years in prison for possession of illegal arms, ie, an AK-47 gun). Stepping outside Indian borders, US President Richard Nixon was involved in the Watergate scandal and Bill Clinton was impeached (and acquitted a year later). WHY should VIPs -- anywhere in the world -- be exempt from any rules and regulations?

If former president APJ Abdul Kalam was frisked at New Delhi airport, why not Khan in the US? As for SRK's detention, it's apparently because 'Khan' is a most-common name in the US names database. Why should that shock anyone? For instance, according to Wikipedia, if you check in the United Kingdom, Khan is the surname of "over 80,000 Britons and is of only a handful of non-British or Irish originating surnames to be in the 100 most common surnames list." (Full list here)

So the US is stopping and questioning all Khans. Racism? Minority profiling? Preventing another terrorist attack? Maybe all, maybe not. What I'd like to know is whether we are crying out because a Muslim was detained for too long or because it is a Bollywood star who was stopped?

I have a feeling it's the latter. Midday quotes actors Irrfan Khan and Zayed Khan as being "humiliated" because they were detained for questioning. Were they abused? Were they called names? If regular, non-VIP people are being stopped and need to follow procedures, why should there be a furore when filmstars are involved?!

If a Rashid Khan or Bashir Khan or some other Khan is stopped, it is okay because they could be terrorists? Actor Irrfan Khan -- who I interviewed in 2000 and seemed quite intelligent back then at least -- has been quoted saying, "...Surely they can tell the difference between a terrorist and an innocent traveler." Arre miyan, terrorism is not coded in the DNA you know.

To cut a long story short, why are we getting our underwear in knots over SRK's detention? If it is human rights violation, sure take it up but NOT because it's some VIP-rights violation. If we find the US security checks too stringent, perhaps we should stop whining and do something with our security issues as well. Lest we forget that in the recent Mumbai attacks of 2008, Kasab and others simply got off a bloody boat...

PS: As for SRK insisting the US needs to offer warmth, please shutup.
Pic courtesy: Beyondasiaphilia


"Unacceptable Size 6..."

According to Devil Wears Prada, size 6 is the new size 8. But I don't care.

While shopping for a new pair of jeans -- to go with the new pair of boots -- I fit into a size 6 jeans! And that when size 8 has been getting tighter! And my bum bigger, or I think it looks it! But I fit into a size 6 jeans. Yippee yea! I will always buy Country Road.

And the joys of discovering you fit into a size 6 jeans?
A can of Coca Cola
A packet of extra fried, extra salty potato chips... with gravy
Chocolate icecream
2 Oreole cookies...and a whole lot of guilt-free staring at Timtams and Snickers bars.

PS... and ignoring the muffin top.
Pic courtesy: G Images


Things Mom did NOT tell me...

... on how to make a relationship work. Over the years, Ma has told me a number of things on how to have a lasting, successful and happy relationship - in that order - with special emphasis on the 'lasting'. Most of those things have involved me -- always -- doing those things. However, and I say this with a heavy heart, an aching back and at the absolute end of my short-lived, rarely seen patience... I think Ma either missed out a whole lot of stuff or intentionally didn't tell me.

Like having to watch sport all the time. Like ALL the time. I could perhaps understand footy (Australian League Football), I can even understand tennis. If it's the Ashes, I can even understand cricket. What I DON'T understand is sudden interest in rugby, followed by golf (so s-l-o-w), the Tour de France because there's-nothing-else-on-TV and worse, "watching" stupid blokes in weird clothes playing poker. Poker!?

Or that a lasting relationship means having to put the lid back on everything. Like EVERYTHING. Bathroom, toothpaste lid is missing. Breakfast table, from the milk, jam, butter, vegemite; nothing has the lid back on. Re-warmed something, the microwave door is wide open. Cutlery drawer, of course it's too much to push it back. I've heard women have to pick up strewn clothes... but shutting doors and putting the lids back on everything?!

Or wet towels off the floor. It's been used, it will need to be used again and it is not pleasant using it when it's wet. So why not put it out? Nope, doesn't work that way. And strangely, it is always followed by a surprised, "How come there are no towels in the bathroom?" Because maybe they are all on the bed?

Or man sickness. LORD how I can't understand man sickness. I used to think it was only my Dad who was, well, weird. Whenever Dad was ill -- includes cough and cold -- he had/has this habit of groaning loudly. Like lying in bed, sniffling and groaning. Not because it was hurting him but because Dad truly believed -- even argued about it -- that groaning loudly made him feel better.

So period pain is something that can be fixed with a tablet and comes with a "But you should be used to it, it's monthly, right?" But common cold, muscle ache due to sudden over-zealous exercise, cough, post-all-night-drinking-headache. are all matters of urgency. They need to be dealt with chicken soup, constant fussing, a massage in appropriate places, favourite food being cooked and of course, total control of the TV remote control.

And of course, total control of the TV remote control. What's so wrong with watching a soap opera or some reality TV show? One is make-believe and the other is watching other people make an ass of themselves. At least unlike poker, it does not involve some loser competing with other losers on who loses the most money. I don't understand "watching" poker at all.

Ma did mention compromise though. And honestly, it's never been a favourite word. Hrmph. Gotta go, there's a wet towel to be picked up.

PS: All hints, tips and arguments are welcome.
Pic courtesy: 4tnz

PS: Wearing the shoe on the other foot, the Partner's list would perhaps read something like:
1. Constant praising of everything cooked; re-warmed dishes previously praised included.
2. Too much money spent on buying plants; I've heard of women buying clothes and jewellery but $ 200 on saplings?
3. A sudden interest in sickening soap operas just because there's a very important poker tournament on.
4. Absolutely imperative things to discuss just when the third English wicket has fallen...
5. Constant debates on anything remotely related to India, women, liberation, porn...
6. Intense discussions on Harry Potter... everytime she re-watches the movies 1-5...
7. (I'm sure there are more) ;)


Now and then....

Found this picture -- a forward -- lurking in the archives of my inbox.

Did they know their lives would change so drastically?

Richard Bach writes in Illusions, "Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them. You're always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past." Really? Can we choose a different past?

PS: That's the former Prime Minister of India, the late Rajiv Gandhi (assassinated) and wife Sonia Gandhi, who's now the president of theNational Congress Party in India. She is also the chairperson of the currently ruling coalition government. A pretty girl, a pretty dress, a still-clean city. Today, the most powerful woman in India. Can she change her past...or her future?


Happy Rakhi.

So well, Rakhi is happy. And happy Rakhi as well everyone. It's been ages since I've been with my brother on the festival. Most times I've forgotten to send him a rakhi, most times he has been upset; and yet this year, I miss him the most.

Over the years, the ethos of rakhsha bandhan (literally, the tie that protects) has been changing. And that Rakhi's not the only one. From a festival that celebrates the brother-sister relationship, it's morphed into something bizarre.

Rakhi is celebrated by a sister tying a holy thread around her brother's(s) wrist and the latter vowing to 'protect' her. If the sister is older, it is she who 'protects' the brother. Personally, I think it's one of the few Indian festivals that actually treats women as empowered beings. In what other festival/celebration/ritual in India do you have the man looking for protection from the woman? (For the origins of the festival, click here)

When we were children, the festival meant a really gaudy, the biggest possible, the most showy rakhi -- I don't mean Sawant -- for him and my favourite cassette for me. To avoid any fights on who got the better gift, Ma would buy us both a Cadbury Dairy Milk; it was a great equaliser. As I grew older -- I'm five years older to him -- I wanted cash instead of the 'gifts'. Ma wouldn't have any of it since that would have meant giving my bro cash as well, he was too young for it.

In school -- around 11-12 years-old-- boys used to dread this festival. No one wanted his crush to tie a rakhi on his wrist and over a single woven thread, change his status from possible suitor to adopted brother. While I've witnessed boys running away when a rather pretty girl approached them with a rakhi; I unfortunately, seemed to be everyone's favourite choice for an adopted 'sister'. Perhaps it was because I was good at academics, perhaps the wanting-to-be-adopted brothers thought I'd do their homework. Hah.

Yet, I didn't have as many 'rakhi brothers' in school as the other girls did. The reason was my dad. Pa firmly believed and firmly forbade me from adopting any new brothers because, "I know how these boys think; they try to get closer by 'becoming' brothers. You don't need anymore brothers." As I grew older I realised Pa was bloody right.

became a convenient way of getting closer to the girl you liked. So boys and the object(s) of their desire would 'become' brother-sister, tied by a flimsy thread; she would expect a 'gift' from him and he would have wet dreams at night. Despite Pa's dire warnings, nothing much changed for me though. Boys still wanted to be my 'brother' -- now at 17 -- though this time it wasn't for academics alone. My chest size had changed.

I moved out of home at 19 and since then, Bhai and me have been together on rakhi only once or twice. I'm not too sure. While my cousin sister remembered to post him a rakhi, I forgot. Always. I stopped believing in rakhi...along with a lot of things. It all came down to either "It's all mythology" or "Hah, I know what s/he is thinking."

I've just sent a rakhi e-card to Bhai. Perhaps distance makes the heart grow fonder towards 'Indian culture' and ties that bind. It was a shocking experience. While I was expecting rakhi designs... I was definitely not expecting 'smileys' wearing rakhis...and even a chimpanzee on one card. As I said, rakhi has changed. (Please see this picture--->!)

I sent a rakhi to my brother as I wanted him to know I remembered. (Also because he emailed me two days back saying "Mom says rakhi is on 5th, don't forget). More than that, after a huge amount of struggle, my little brother is finally, slowly, on the path to a happier life. I just wanted him to know I love him and miss him; no matter how much the festival itself has been bastardised and commercialised. Or maybe they are both the same thing. Much like Rakhi Sawant's televised 'engagement' and forthcoming marriage.

PS: For the few fortunates who might not know, the chick in the pic (hah!) is a Bollywood dancer called Rakhi Sawant. Some in the media call her a "sex symbol"; they never specify for whom. Rakhi's been on an Indian reality TV show where she "selects" her husband from a number of aspirants. Apparently there was no cash involved and Rakhi was/is the prize. She got "engaged" on the show a couple of days back and apparently will get married on TV. In Australia, you have Farmer Wants A Wife, where 5-6 Aussie farmers are the catch -- and a million-dollar, all-expenses paid wedding -- and girls compete for their attention, and perhaps their hand. Without being judgemental about either Rakhi or the girls on Farmer, I just wonder... Are we all that lonely and desperate that we're willing to go on air with our courtship(s)?
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