Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mahabaleshwar May 2007

I just spent a weekend with my best friends in Mahabaleshwar and Satara.
Although every bit of it was like living a real life Sitcom, I would like to introduce all “my readers” ;) to my BEST FRIENDS and the highlights of the trip. The select few people who make me laugh and take me for whoever I am! (Yes, even though I refuse to stay up till 3 AM to play Teen Patti without real money)
Here’s a description of the characters and the roles of my funny show.

1.Amit ( The [handsome!?] guy in the black T-shirt with a sinister 10 sign on it)
He was in charge of booking the car (which showed up an hour and a half late and then got a flat tube on the very first toll point in our journey). Obsessed with making people pose for photographs using innovative ideas, he made Nikhil sprint 100 meters with him to get an “athletic picture” of himself. Oh and we were supposed to anticipate and click in between the sprint which obviously we couldn’t. He made us climb a tree or look in different directions for a group photo! He finds it weird that the three girls spent so much time in shoe shops and bag shops in Mahabaleshwar but we are supposed to react very calmly to the fact that he made the driver pull a Raikonen on our way back because he had a football match! He is also the one who said, “I am hungry” just fifteen minutes after every gigantic meal. And he is the guy who made sure that all the girls got compliments on their hair, their kurtas, their sense of humor and their attitudes. :)

2.Neha ( Tall, skinny and infinitely long legs ;))
The dainty princess of the group. In charge of all the fussing. She fussed about everything from her position in the car to the lights in her room. She had Ameya to oppose some of her “requests” creating something close to a meowing catfight at 3 AM. The two cats were completely silenced by a tigress and no points for guessing who she was! She suffers from a perpetual motion sickness and used to pop a pill the moment she got into the car. She would be out as a light bulb in five minutes and then would collapse on the people sitting next to her with every turn!
We dutifully woke up our Olive Oyl look-alike or just made her sleep-shift from the window to the center when someone needed to grab the window seat. She opened up a bit when she won all the teen patti games at night although she was running on a battery back up! And she also managed to take some great pictures because of her artistic frame of reference! :)

3.Mangoose (Tanned ;), athletic with an egg shaped face and OMNIPRESENT)
His real name is Mangesh, but we prefer calling him Mangoose.He was in charge of breaking into a Himesh Reshammiya song every thirty seconds, one of his latest minus even the teeny tiny amount of melody in Himesh Reshammiya’s voice. When we didn’t have it coming out of his mouth, he used to insist on playing it on the CD player. He also won the award for the “ Worst-Car-DJ” ever! We had to beg him to change the song. All during the trip he was in LOVE with all the cameras on board. He took a picture of himself on each and every rock in Mahabaleshwar and every time anyone of us posed for a picture, he used to pop up from behind and come into the frame. If you asked him to click your picture; you had to return the “favor” by clicking one of his on the same spot! He was also the one who overfed himself and had to have a cup of antacid before his scrumptious breakfast. What makes this guy truly a winner however is that in spite of getting almost sick from overeating, he scored winning goals in the match he was supposed to play in the evening and got his name published in newspapers the next day!

4.Ameya ( Cute Cute Cute :D)
Madame Ameya was in charge of the accounts and used to land herself in a big confusion with an extra hundred or a missing hundred every two hours and then we all had to remember everything we bought during that time! She nearly broke my ribs taking sharp turns at 80 KMPH on a go-carting track because only the drivers got a seat belt. Our car witnessed a mind-boggling victory over the others because all through the five laps not once did Ameya try to find out how the brakes work. She has a weak point of taking pictures of people when they are sleeping or when they have rose syrup on their face that they are not aware of. She insisted on going to sunset point at 3.30 in the afternoon! She made me go in a Giant Wheel and we got hoarse voices from so much screaming! The most endearing thing however was the way her eyes well up from laughing every time she has a good laugh. People made her laugh just to see her cry!

5.Nikhil (Somewhat cute, found in black and blue)
He played the gracious host, who provided us with free five star accommodations at his super-cool place in Satara! I guess we enjoyed being with him and his parents more than we did in Mahabaleshwar. He comes next in the category of breaking into a song. And he was the runner up for the “Worst-Car-DJ-Ever” award. Refreshingly hilarious, he was in charge of asking funny questions after every other statement you made. He is the only one who can beat me in cracking jokes that no one laughs at. Dr.Ameya and Nikhil used to break into these technical fitness talks and get all of us yawning away to glory. He took us around with an uncertain authority on the roads leading to waterfalls until we found a quite, pristine lake. But all of us freaked out when we saw a live snake in the water and about two meters of abandoned snakeskin just behind the rock we were sitting on!

6.Me (Look under the big white hat or the gypsy scarf! )
Well if you ask me, I was the epitome of perfection all through the trip. I was also the “Good Manners” representative of the group when we were around Nikhil’s parents. I am sure if any of these people were as creative as I am; they would have said that I was in charge of passing sarcastic comments and getting everybody’s optimism down. I was the one who slept at 11 PM and “disciplined” people when they tried to wake me up. I was the one who took three bags for a two day long journey; complete with shower gel, three extra pairs of all kinds of clothes, ear cleaning swabs and yeah a BOOK! (Which I DID read for about fifteen minutes when people were getting ready). Oh and if I am allowed to really praise myself, I got the “Best-car-DJ-ever” award for spinning out the most amazing songs from a bundle of hopelessly mixed up CDs.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Road beyond the Yellow Tree

The Road beyond the Yellow Tree
Is full of an Unknown Joy
Even as the one before
Lets out a tired sigh
It makes me forget what has been
And what still around the corner lurks
Suddenly my mind turns blind
And my timid eyes begin to work

The Road beyond the Yellow Tree
Grows out of the Yellow Tree
With a Mind laden with yellow flowers
Deeply rooted, cheerful and free!
It doesn’t teach us Dreams
Or overwhelm with serenity
It urges us to walk along
And enjoy the walk in its Reality

The Road beyond the Yellow Tree
Bends like a ballerina here and there
As the wind wipes away my tears
And blossoms tangle in my hair
I can smell it sweating under its bark
Its maddening perfume in the air
The Road Beyond the Yellow Tree
Makes me want to go Nowhere!

Photograph by Dr. Ameya Kulkarni. =)
Thank you!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fitness Gyan.

Ms. Keskar’s Top Ten Fitness Tips

1.There is no substitute for cardiovascular exercise. =) And cardio is not just about the treadmill. It also includes taking the stairs whenever possible, not using your car for places that are two minutes walk away and long contemplative evening walks

2.The ideal and safe heart rate you should reach during cardio is (200-your age in years). It is counted as Beats Per Minute so when I am on the treadmill I try and reach around 177 BPM.

3.Good skin, great stamina and weight loss can all be achieved at the same time by drinking lots of water through out the day

4.A good workout should be supplemented by healthy food. The total intake of food that you take during a day works best if you take it in descending order of quantity starting with breakfast through dinner.

5.The reason why nature produces certain fruits in certain seasons is because we need them at that time! =) And it is mildly disappointing to know that most of the people I know do not include fruits in their diets at all!

6.Tomatoes contain lycopene, a long chained carotenoid that has outstanding anti-cancer properties. Also, tomatoes have a lot of potassium, which is good for people who work out everyday. Ironically the “Americans” choose to extract lycopene from tomatoes all over the world and turn in into capsules so that people can just have one capsule instead of a glass of fresh tomato juice or salad!

7.A great way to reduce your sugar intake is by buying tiny spoons. =P

8.Salads are one of the most creative ways of cooking and losing weight. You can assemble your salad using olive oil, mustard, mayonnaise or yogurt. You can slice the ingredients into dainty strips or thin circles. You can add citrus fruits instead of lemon. Pepper, Oregano or just red hot chilly. Or, if you are low on seratonin, you could make an egg or pasta salad! =)

9.Nuts are essential too, but not the ones that come with a bar of chocolate around them. =P
10.It is a good idea for all the women to include a glass of milk in their every day diet to avoid emotional discussions on osteoporosis when they turn 45.

Oh! And I almost forgot the cliché, A Positive Attitude along with all the above. Of course if you end up doing all of that you don’t have to work on the positive attitude at all!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Getting over Mathophobia. :)

Alrite people..for a change this is NOT about ME. =)
One of my mathematician friends wanted me to go through this..
Funny and informative, I guess all of you should read it too!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

We need to talk!!

I like that line very much when it comes out of characters in my favorite sitcom.
“We need to talk!” is such a beautiful line. It comes with the premonition of change. Not just any change, but the kinds that come with an inherent seed of groundbreaking revolution. I love the tension and the drama that goes with it.
Not so much when I am at the receiving end though. This happens pretty frequently in my household. It comes out of my MOM and more often than not it has a lot to do with me getting married.

I have been shying away from this topic for a long time because I constantly live under the invisible gaze of the Bin Laden in our house. My mom knows like one million and one ways to ruin her daughter’s Saturday morning and I must say this is one of the most effective one of them. She doesn’t even need the other million!
Well, it all started when I was in the pre-final semester of my engineering course. She was suddenly struck by the fact that on her own 21st birthday, she already knew my dad and things were going pretty well between them. While on my 21st birthday, I was sitting around in my favorite track pants reading a comic with my feet thrown up on my easy chair. Since then it has never stopped. It is her favorite way to torment me by painting thick black clouds all over my future.

So it begins somewhat like this. On the solitary Saturday morning, when I don’t actually wake up in the gym but the bed she is impalpably making tea in the kitchen. As I wake up and come out rubbing my eyes, she is sitting at the table looking all regal and grand. She motions her tiny palm to indicate that I should sit down in front of her, which I have to do. Then she goes “ We need to talk” and I know all the sentences that follow this one by heart. “ All your friends are engaged!!” , “Look at you! Who do you think you are! Aishwarya Rai??!!” and when I say “ Oh common aai, don’t compare me to Aishwarya Rai after what she’s done to Salman and Vivek!” she bangs her fist on the table till the crockery rattles and narrows her eyes in that specific manner that only angry moms can do. She stalls like an inch away from my nose and says in a really unwomanly hoarse voice, “I want a clear answer. Right Now! Do you or do you not want to get married??”
How can you have a clear answer to a totally simulated situation?
I mean, if getting married were like organizing your socks I would have done it when I was 12! I try to cooperate too! Like when she writes my resume (which has sections like “skin tone” and the answer to that is “wheatish” which is not even like a REAL word!!) I carefully correct the spelling mistakes and even the attitude mistakes in there. I mean what kind of mom tells people her daughter looks like wheat!!

Then she suddenly goes into that mawkish mode! Which is harder to take than the Bin Laden mode. She asks me totally stupefying questions like, “ Are you not worried about your own future?!!”, “ What if you never get married!!” , “ Who will take over the company after you!!?” , “ I will never get a break from work if you never get married!”
(Yeah some of these sentences are completely illogical and out of context but then 50-year-old moms have a lot of other issues too)

Then I tell her all that I plan to do if I don’t get married at all.
I will write a book! I will work for UNICEF. Write stories for kids!
I will streamline the entire business and make an obscene amount of money and I will also donate chunks of it to cancer research. I will take up a French language course and also teach creative writing to schoolchildren! Since I wont be having kids of my own, I would be the cool “Aunt Saee” to my friends’ kids. Who will teach them a hundred different ways to use Soap. Who will have dogs they could play with and who will also teach them the value of workouts! There are so many things to do!! Wake up mom! People are dying in Sudan. To which she curtly replies, “ No one is dying there, I just came back and I had a land cruiser all to myself all the while I was in Sudan!”
I guess one of the principal drawbacks of having a globetrotting mom is that you get to know that the BBC chooses to highlight Africa in a very sad way.
She is not a philistine but when organizations like the UNICEF and the WHO start getting in the way to her daughter’s wedding she tends to get a little edgy. I can understand.
But then I quickly put her at ease by saying, “ Oh! And I will do all of that even if I do get married you know. I mean I will have a little less time, but I will definitely do all of that” and she sighs in relief.
Sometimes her paranoia makes her imagine that I might be secretly going around with a mystery guy and keeping it all under cover. So she inquires with my super-best friend and both of them cross their hearts to keep it a secret. Well needless to say that the next call my friend makes is to me and even mom blurts it out in one of her sentimental fits of worry. I find that incredibly cute. More importantly because at least my mom thinks that I could go around with someone and that I am capable of all the womanly feelings of love and companionship! =)

I guess one day her worry will end. Or at least I hope that she will overcome worry! =)
Till then I will devise more creative ways to return her “ We need to talk” ace service.
She is even better than Federer!!
Oh and it would be a good idea not to tell my mom that I wrote this. If you know what I mean! ;)

Friday, May 04, 2007


Worry can be a dot
Sometimes it turns into a Line
And then the crinkle between my eyebrows
Painful although really fine
Sometimes it turns into a whole page
With supplements written for Tomorrow
And then later into a Movie
Unedited and full of Sorrow
If I am to praise her at all; she is faithful
I always find her to my Right
Reminding me of what’s due and what’s not
Waking me up in the middle of the Night
She is unreasonable at times
At times she is a just consequence
Comically irrational at times
Sometimes just a consequence
When people don’t come home
We sit together on a bench outside
Imagining the terrorists who might have taken them
A torpedo, perhaps an unfortunate Landslide
But all of them always come Home
And then Worry leaves me
But I don’t hate her so vehemently
For sometimes, She is good company!