This woman business

So I have been busy. And quiet. And not really the best mommy to this blog. Yes, there have been stray book reviews and reblogs and some guest posts, but you know what I mean.

Well, all I can say is I am sorry, but you – loyal reader of this blog have been on my mind. May be I was conserving. May be I felt depleted. May be I wanted to be one less version of me.

Here’s the good news. I have a book out!

I am quite sure the book will not tell you much about ‘How to be a woman’. I don’t know how to write that sort of thing, as I’m still figuring it out. What I do know is that being a woman is a serious amount of admin. I am sure being a human is too, but if you factor in hair management (everywhere, all the time), ovulation management (once a month for most of us), relationship management (all the time, for all of us), parent management (even if you produce half a dozen kids, your parents will still treat you like a child), pregnancy (at least once in a lifetime for some of us), and marriage (hopefully not more than once in a lifetime) – you know what I am talking about.

We are all born with a daughter tag; the rest get added along the way: sister, cousin, friend, girlfriend, wife, mother, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, ex-wife, boss, subordinate, grandmother, step-mother and whatnot. With every tag comes more admin and more ways of being.

But no matter what you do, the nagging feeling of something left undone is what constitutes being a woman for the most part. Some of us forget to marry, others forget to have kids, a few marry the wrong guy but forget to tell him that, a few walk away but forget to move on; meanwhile our mothers are still figuring out what we do for a living and asking us to comb our hair. And while filing taxes should be on autopilot by now, we still have trouble finding proof of all our investments.

And so there are always checklists crawling beneath our epidermis,  reminding us of things left undone. This obviously does nothing to assuage our inadequacies, and the stakes continue to be raised every single day, no matter what we do or don’t do.

How does one then get ahead?

Even if you may have wrapped your finger around money, savings, ovulation, fashion and a career you truly belong to, things like hair and love still remain beyond your control. Some of you may have figured out man, marriage, baby, career, home, and a botox and tummy tuck plan. This book is for the rest of you who don’t necessarily believe that marriage and babies are the happily ever after for a woman. For those who are still dealing with imperfections and happy to say “I am enough”.

We all yearn for just that right blend of purpose, independence, common sense and madness and even when we get there, we are never sure we are there really. Our sense of self, which is quite delicate, tends to get into an insidious loop of fragility with the slightest aberration in our plan. To make matters worse, your legs are never waxed the day you bump into an ex and perhaps that’s why you are clad in a tent and can’t appear breezy as you intended to.

One would imagine that with one set of parents, siblings, one marriage, one baby, few books and around a dozen jobs and cats behind me, I must be spiffingly together. Not. And this book will not end with how you can get it all together, because in the end, no matter what you do, you really can’t.

What it could probably do for you is remind you that it’s the same shit everywhere. That thousands, millions of women who you look up to, adore, role model on, have been there, done that and are still figuring it out. Same shit, different place.

(Excerpted from The Whole Shebang.To preorder: )



Confessions of a not-so-dangerous mind

I just found this on my Facebook notes, and thought, why not put it out there? So here are 25 things in no particular order about me. Tell me yours.

1. I am a first-born. Not just at home, but in the entire khandaan. It sucks. I am tired of setting precedents. I don’t know how to undo my position in the family hierarchy.

2. I always stood first in my class (except in the ninth standard when a buxom girl called Urmi beat me by two marks). My building buddies secretly hated me for it. So did all my classmates. So did my cousins. And my siblings. “Why can’t you be like Lalli?” was the bane of my existence.

3. All I ever wanted when I was a little girl was to grow tall and acquire boobs and sit on the last bench (I thought the view was really nice). I never managed to graduate from the first bench till my tenth standard. I am still 5 feet 1” (the 1” doesn’t seem important anymore). I did get boobs eventually, but it took bloody long.

4. I have twin siblings. Boy-girl. I thought that made me cool. I don’t know any other boy-girl twin in the world. Except Angelina Jolie..(?!) But then, she doesn’t count, does she? Though, till I was six years old, they were at my grandma’s and I pretended my siblings didn’t exist.

5. I have one and a half dimples and a cleft on my chin. Funnily enough, that’s normally not the first thing people notice about me. May be it has to do with the fact that my siblings and my mother have better ones. Or that my hair is too distracting.

6. I used to eat slate pencils. Those white, slim ones with a dash of pastel colours? I tried chalk too, but it didn’t give me a kick.

7. I am a non smoker and a vegetarian, though I am still trying to go off leather. I tried smoking my dad’s ciggies when I was a kid and hated it. Years later, after a trek in Nepal and some rice wine, I tried smoking a local Nepalese cigarette. It gave me an immense urge to disengage my bowels and I felt all hollow inside. I never tried again.

8. I think I have a karmic connection with cats. I mean, I never felt they were pets, just that they are some superior beings you live with so that your fuckwitticisms stay in check, coz they are so bloody cool. I have lived with many… chinki, pushpi, kimi, kallu, simba, kuttu, tipu, chinka, lupooh, millie.. I now live with nadia and bravo and am still learning about cats.

9. I was a control freak. I still am. I always took charge of anything dad got home and insisted I allot stuff, as I knew best. I used to hoard scented erasers, pencils, stationery boxes, books, ribbons, comics. My brother hated me for this.

10. In class 4, I poked a boy named Nikhil in the eye to show him my pencil was sharper. My mother changed my school and put me in a girl’s convent as punishment. I never forgave her for that.

11. I bumped into Nikhil 13 years later, during my post-grad. He messed me up. I guess what goes around, comes around.

12. I never got the lead part in any school play, as I was too puny, and had no boobs. I actually played a south Indian boy wearing a mundu and no shirt in a play on national integration where my lines were, “idli-dosa”. I was the only girl who could take my shirt off at age 12 and still look like a boy, so I got the part, I guess. I was an extra in the volley-ball and kho-kho team and was terrified that I might have to play. I was grateful at least I stood first in class, else people would never know me.

13. I love dancing. Anytime. Anywhere. And my boy loves it too, coz he is always happy when he (or we) dance.

14. I often hang up on my mother when she can’t get to the point. I have an extremely low attention span. I hate talking on the phone. Even to those I love. My mother now makes notes before she calls me. Strangely, other people aren’t as insightful as her.

15. I wanted to be a vet, but they told me I would be buried in cows’ intestines. I wish I hadn’t listened to them.

16. Actually I could have done very well with anything predictive. Futurology stuff? I see things before they happen. I sense things about people. And I am usually right.

17. I think that the worst thing that could have happened to me has already happened to me. So I am fearless to a point that it scares me, and the people I love.

18. I grew up on radio. I woke up with ‘Sangeet Sarita’ and went to bed with ‘Bela ke phool’. Doesn’t ring a bell? Wrong generation.

19. My dad and I had a haircut at the same saloon till I was twelve.

20. I always thought my dad was cool because he smoked and was tall and thin.

21. I think politeness and courtesy are wasted on most people. When you don’t have anything to say to people, why bother? And I hate making small talk.

22. My threshold for a book is ten pages. For a movie or play, 20 minutes. For a human being, thirty seconds. For an animal, usually forever (unless it’s a pedigreed dog). For a job or relationship, six months. If it doesn’t work for me in this timeframe, I just let it go.

23. I am a foodie. I eat like a man and also swear like one. I also feel that this whole thing about ‘cooking for one person is so boring’ is all bollocks. I totally enjoy cooking for myself, and eating it all.

24. I can sing. Wonder what happened to that? I was somewhat of a crooner in school and college. The pictures are embarrassing, but yes, I can.

25. I love being alone. I actually lie to people to make ‘me time’. I can live in a mansion with no one around and still not feel lonely or afraid.