Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mall Goody days

If Swami and his friends were to meet up these days, quite likely it would be in a mall. At least if they were in a city like Bombay. (sorry, I don’t like Mumbai that much). This city has come a long way from the time people actually had to queque up and cough some money to just enter a mall- Crossroads, to a time when you can probably sniff a mall in every neighbourhood. InOrbit remains my favourite among them. I don't care much for the shops as much for the food court. Every visit ends with a good gastronomic experience.

Recently I visited Hyper City along with my folks and relatives. It’s not exactly a mall, more like a massive super market and I was blown by the size and spread. Luckily we happened to be there at a decent time. There wasn’t too much jostling and pushing involved and I could actually swing my arms a bit without knocking down anybody’s teeth. Though we landed there solely with the intention of sight seeing, my mom promptly pulled out one of the shopping carts and wove her way around professionally. And when you have a cart, you ought to drop in some ‘essentials’ right. So I dutifully offered to assist in that task. As we ambled along the food section, I was eyeing all those exotic veggies like broccoli, red cabbage, colourful pepper, and the lot. Thought it would be a good idea to trade in our usual potato and baingan with some of that. Though I was toying with idea of picking up something for our cart I knew it would land right back on the racks thanks to my mom. She has a clear mandate for me: decide on a recipe that calls for these ingredients and make it yourself. And knowing very well that it would take a lot more than broccoli to get me into the kitchen, I gave it a miss, rather wistfully.

Not one to give up easily, I headed next to the bakery section. Now this is another favourite. Rows of freshly baked bread, neatly lined along the shelves beckoned to me. So I spent a good 4 minutes deciding on the type of bread and another good 4 minutes measuring the biggest one available for the same price. To the unsuspecting eye I must have looked quite the bread connoisseur. But greed is not always good and so I learnt later that day. Or rather all our jaws did. I had picked a type of bread that was not particularly meant to be soft. The combined chomping of five jaws, trying to push it down our throats would have put any local cow to shame.

Now any of my girl pals would validate the rules of a purposeful event like shopping. It entails that for all the time spent eyeing the goods, you need to spend some amount of time eying your co-shoppers. The stress here being on the female shopper’s attire and looks. And by the rules of the game, the eyer will also end up being the eye-ee. (Ipshi, no points for guessing where these terms came from). And though I don’t personally offer much eye-ee value considering my dressing style is oh-so-standard, I did apparently catch the fancy of a certain family. From the time I walked past an aisle, got on the escalator, and reached the top, I was being closely watched. Just as I thought that I had finally arrived on the Bombay scene, my hopes were dashed. My sister dutifully reported to me that their eyes were brimming with tears of joy on spotting someone taller than their tall daughter. Hmm, and in such ways I go about spreading happiness and cheer.

No shopping trip is complete without visiting the clothes section. While I hopped around checking stuff, my sister kept a wary distance. She’s been scarred for life after buying something off the rack from a mall and bumping into someone who was wearing the identical thing. Repeatedly traumatized by such experiences, she has the simple policy of keeping away from mass produced mall products (whew, quite a mouthful). But I just went ahead and bought a pair of capris. Besides, my aunt generously offered to sponsor it, so then there were no two ways about it.

So I shall be back to Hyper City- to eat and eye. Or maybe if I just wait some more, that empty plot in front of my apartment will turn into a mall soon.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Of dogs

We all know that the world is divided into dog people and cat people. And I definitely fall into the former category. That’s because my whole family except my mom has always favored dogs. And since she was outnumbered, we’ve managed to convert her into quite a dog person too (though she still likes cats). It’s a different story that I’ve never had a dog at home. My sister and I would have loved to have one, but my parents didn’t want us to have the liability of looking after one. So we were encouraged to try other means of getting close to a four-legged woofer. We only accompanied our parents for formal visits to people’s homes if it was a ‘dog-house’. We launched ourselves frequently at friend’s/neighbours’ places if there was a cute lil dog out there. Never mind if we had to endure boring owners. Our biggest aide was my aunt, a crazy dog lover. She knew more than half the town and definitely the ones that had dogs. The moment there was news of pups, we would be off with her to cuddle the balls of fur. And we continue to ambush friendly looking dogs being taken for a walk on the streets.

One of our doggie friends was Pepper, a hyper active black lab in my previous apartment. He used to love being in our house more than his own as we fussed over him a great deal. Besides, sitting all day long with only a servant at home must have been really boring for him. A maniac, he would run out of his house at the first opportune moment. And then the free spirit would loiter around the neighbourhood till his servant caught up with him after a good chase. That’s when we realized why his owners had a bell around his neck (my sister found this highly insulting for a respectable being like Pepper). But soon we trained our ears to the sound of the bell.

Bell=Pepper=Lets go meet him.

Many a times we would hear the bell run down the stairs and turn silent at our floor. And when we ran to check near our door, there he would be, happy and hopeful, waiting to be let in. He enjoyed chewing anything that fit in his jaws and would bolt like a gunshot if chased. I’ve yet to see a dog run faster than him. It used to terrify us that he would collide with something, running inside a cramped apartment. But he was equipped with a powerful set of air brakes and could halt from 100kph in a split second. It was funny and sad watching him throw a fit when he had to go back to his house each day. He would dig his paws in while his servant yanked and cajoled him out. He pretended as much as we did that he belonged to us at times.

And then, after some months his visits trickled down till he stopped coming completely. His folks were taking more interest in him now. We used to watch him go out for more rides and walks with the owners than servants. Our naughty little friend had gradually found true love at home. Or so we believed. At least they were keeping a better eye on him now. Besides, I bet they were a little embarrassed at us showing that much interest in him. We sulked initially and especially when we heard the sound of that tinkering bell. But we were glad for him. We didn’t have to feel that sorry for him anymore and knew the nut was having a jolly good life with his folks. Very soon we moved out of that apartment and that pretty much ended our association with him.

So hey Pepperi, hope you’re still as crazy as ever.

And here’s to all my canine friends from Robin to Rani whose mischievous eyes, warmth and wags have made life a lot of fun.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

HELLO World...


That’s all I can say about finally getting on the blogging radar. And it’s all thanks to my buddies who infected me with the blog bug. I was always intrigued by the concept of putting up your thoughts for all to see. Seemed like a voyeuristic idea to me initially. Especially when some people put up details of their daily life up there. But I guess, I’m just going to start with random thoughts and whatever makes me write (considering I’m extremely lazy …)

So this is for myself and whoever else chances upon my blog. Hastalavista baby.