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Wedding Bells Part - 4

Weddings can be many things, no? A nerve-wracking exercise to those planning it. A draining couple of days, weeks or even months for the bride and groom. A legit occasion to run into old friends or hope elder relatives will forget you're no longer in school and slip you some cash anyway. A chance to compare X's catering arrangements with Y's, with the lunchtime payasam or masala bonda served as part of evening snacks by the latter invariably being hailed as the pinnacle of matrimonial gastronomy. And, heck, sometimes it can even be a valuable teaching tool.

For instance, I learned that no one remotely associated with the jamboree will remember the vaadiyar missing a shloka here or a "swaaha" there. But, lord help you if the food is a tad late in getting to the hall. This minuscule transgression will receive a postmortem so detailed, it's a wonder more of these people haven't joined the medico-legal profession (graduating only from CMC Vellore, or if you&…
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Wedding Bells Part - 3

Years ago, the pater's idea of inspiring me to pick up car driving skills was to draw up a ghastly scenario where a loved one would fall ill, need to be rushed to the hospital, but alas, be failed by my inability to differentiate between 1st and 3rd gear. Shaken to the core, I joined a motor learning school and got my license in 1 month flat.

What a gullible babe in the woods I turned out to be.

In the days leading up to the cousin's wedding, I scanned the guest list and discovered that a lot of relatives had been excavated from under god alone knows what pile of rubble and extended invitations, which they'd accepted. Like I'd mentioned in the last post, family sentiments do not usually stretch themselves to cover the warm, heartfelt "come to my arms" sort of emotions. Family gatherings are stare-down contests involving gimlet eyes, cutting observations and short, furious brouhahas in various corners and rooms.

Not that we're short of the 'jolly uncl…

Wedding Bells Part - 2

Dear Reader,

Was it mere chance that brought Baba Budan and the coffee bean, not to east, west or north but south India? Only if you don't have even a dollop of romance in your soul. I'd like to think it was destiny; an inexplicable, subsonic thrum, a collective call with the resonance of "Om" that bubbled and brewed for centuries, needing just a handful of dark, bitter beans to bring it to boil. Lord in heaven, the southern states love filter coffee. And why not? Walk into any (and I mean ANY) south-themed store in India and the smell that envelopes you in a warm embrace is that of ground coffee. Who amongst us doesn't hanker for a warm embrace? One that tastes delicious to boot.

Earthy, metallic, heady, with a promise of sourness, filter coffee is the only "no-bullshit" drink I know. Significant literary paeans have been sung about this lovely brew so I won't add to them. Suffice to say, I still think it's magical how you can add boiling wat…

Wedding Bells (not mine) - Part 1

Dear Reader,

Before we proceed on the narratives of November, let's get a delightful little factoid out of the way - this is the first time since 2011 that I've written more than 24 posts in a year! Sure, life was different back then; more incidents, jocular moments and energy to pen them all down. Perhaps the most critical factors were that many friends weren't shanghaied by matrimony and our existential timetable was less regulated. But, I ask: surely the mark of a good writer is being able to conjure something out of nothing when the inkwell of anecdotes runs dry. By that yardstick, I'm no good because I have struggled to average 2 posts a month. On the other hand, life is filled with enough tension as it is, so why add blogging to it?

There was a wedding in the family recently. A close cousin decided to take the plunge and propose that the rent be shared on a more permanent basis. Happily, she acquiesced, mayhaps anxious to share the joyous moment with certain mem…

Waisa Bhi Hota Hai

Dear Reader,

This has been a weekend of discovery. Most of which would not make my pleasant Colgate Top 10, but then again, things rarely do. Still, like Sisyphus, I persevere so let's get to it.

Getting drunk no longer has an upside

I said "getting drunk" not drinking so don't chuck a frustrated "pshaw!" in my direction just yet. If my life experiences have taught anything, it's to keep a bottle handy when the twists & turns take on a fully hyper-bola level curve. And, if you've been reading this blog long enough, life most certainly does throw me a beautiful curveball ever so often. So, as I was saying, getting drunk. Being in the advertising racket, I do have friends on the wrong side of 30 (in my opinion) and whose idea of a good time is to hang out at bar-estaurants a lot fancier than ones I gave my custom to in my 20s. It so happened to be one of these friends' birthdays on Friday and the celebration was at one of these numerous wateri…

Only a Hobo

Part 2

Even as there was no let-up from the smartphone poltergeist, the food & drink sellers began making their rounds. The first one to come by was a chap who clearly could have learned a few tricks about volume and verve from the screech & preach enthusiast on the phone. For all intents and purposes, the Railways had given the job to a caffeine whisperer who would nurse traumatised cups of coffee and tea to health and strength. Or was modelling himself after the Ghost who Walks. Nothing else explained the reluctance to call out his wares, leaving most passengers to engage in an impromptu game of dumb charades. The mime was followed by a man hawking piping hot samosas and mirchi bajjis. They smelled delightfully salty and spicy but were coated in a veneer of oil so generous, my heart was ready to leap out of my throat and take an extended vacation. This penchant for healthy living is a bitch but then again, so are angioplasties and open-heart, triple bypass surgeries. Though …

Country Comforts

Part 1

With timing that was far more impeccable than their usual service, the MSRTC went on strike 2 days before Diwali over a pay dispute. I've traveled on their buses for close to 9 years and know full well just how popular they can be just before a major holiday. The chaotic crowd at Dadar is so dense, one would only need to introduce a few Naga sadhus into the mix and hey presto! we've got ourselves a brand new Kumbh Mela. Albeit one where getting out of Bombay ASAP is the only kind of salvation devotees seek. 

News and newspapers being what they are at present, I was unaware of the jolly bus crisis until Wednesday morning when a well-wisher asked how I proposed to go home for the holidays, flourishing the paper in my face with the reluctant panache of a small-town magician. Realising the gravity of the situation, I looked up train schedules and was stunned to find General category seats available on an outstation train departing later that afternoon. As far as I could see, …