Livinghigh: February 2005
Monday, February 28, 2005
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I'm sick, I'm BUSY

I suppose, convalescence is all about being able to read the books you'd like to, see the movies you'd like to, write the stories you'd like to - and so and so forth. It is certainly true, that I have been more or less hooked onto my computer here in Calcutta - though my mum would like me to be more social to visitors when they come calling to see me. I can't help it. I have written more stories more consecutively, than ever before, gone through some of my older works, read at least three books in a week (which is a LOT for me!) and even done research for my next novel.

And today, I saw the Tom Hank-starrer, Road to Perdition, something which I have been meaning to see for almost two years now, since a college-mate first told me it was a brilliant movie. I agree with him - it IS a brilliant movie. It has something director Sam Mendes incorporates perhaps in all his movies - a bitter-sweet ending. The death at the close of the film seems so unavoidable, as did the death at the end of American Beauty, and yet - there is so much beauty in the world. Road... is a chilling movie, but more than that, it is a beautiful movie. It touches you, and you can't help but feel the hope by the time the credits roll by. It is the same in ...Beauty: you get a feeling, after all the disasters have happened, that perhaps now the people involved will be able to find a sliver of the peace and beauty that has eluded them so far.

In case, anyone else has not seen the movie: Road to Perdition is set in 1931, and shows the events unfolding when a young boy discovers that his grim and distant father is actually a hatchet-man for the mob, played by Tom Hanks. In a mistake, Hanks' wife and younger son are killed, and he is on the run with his older son. It is a story of revenge, and even, to an extent, redemption. Hanks discovers both his son and himself. I love the way Perdition is portrayed as this lovely little place by the sea, white beaches, barking dog, far away from the big, bad city of Chicago. (Marve beach, perhaps…?)

And, like I said, the fiction-mill is also on overdrive. This is a new one, titled A Song. I suppose, I'm actually missing those horrendous Bombay locals, or I would not have written this one. I'm actually also taking a swipe at some people here, and letting some other sleeping dogs lie, as they are. It's complicated, but here's a tiny extract:

Ayesha had come on the line again, and explained to the RJ that her husband had surprised her this morning when she came out of the bathroom with a dozen long-stemmed red roses lying there on the bed, while he himself was no where to be found. The RJ laughed and asked her whether Arun knew she had called up to ask for a special song for him, and Ayesha said, she didn’t think so. That was when the RJ had his brilliant idea of getting Arun’s cell phone number from Ayesha and said, he would give the busy husband a call, so that they would play a little game with him. Ayesha, of course, was quite delighted at the turn of events. The RJ started playing Kiss Me, by Sixpence None The Richer.

It's a love-hate relationship I share with my RJs!

Mirror Mirror #12: My favourite show on air is Jaggu and Taraanaa's Good Morning Mumbai! Most of the women I speak to say that Jaggu is amazing, and I agree with this, but I think Taraanaa's pretty cool in her own way! I love the way they jibe with each other, in the typical Old Mumbai-versus-New Mumbai style! Every morning, before going in for my bath, I shut the door to my flattie's room so that he won't get disturbed (yes, I'm NICE!), switch the radio on LOUD, and jive to the beat. I carry my walkman with me in the cab to work, so I listen to the show till it ends at 11 am. My editor hates me for this, but she can't stop me, so THERE!

Another relic

There's another old story put up for consumption in Gabbles. And this one doesn't have much re-doing - actually, none at all. It's called The Fairy Bower, and my pick para is:

I open the door softly, and step in. The netting on the bed makes it look like some strangely ornate shrine. My room is bare, save the treasure that lies asleep within her fairy-bower, oblivious to this incessant dampness that torments me. My windows are bare too, and the dull milky shine of the night sky pours unabated into the room. I stoop to place the bottle of water on the floor, at the foot of the bed, and amble over to the tall windows. They look on over the neighbor's compound, dotted with tall palm fronds that I can't make out in the dark. As far as I can see, there's only rough tangled undergrowth looking equally forbidding before me - somehow, I get the feeling of being this savage witch-doctor of eons ago in some grim and mysterious part of the world. These are my secrets lying before me, shrouded in the deepest, blackest veils that not even the clearest beam can pierce through. Perhaps not even a stone's throw away, the forlorn night-lights of some other houses down the block shine in the gloom - in this atmosphere, I find it so easy to forget that I walked down there just this morning and picturize instead far-away watch-towers and their messages of ill-tidings come swiftly forth. An aboriginal atmosphere in a supernatural frame of mind.

Saturday, February 26, 2005
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Of one-hit wonders, routines, and lost temples

Together with the something tragic, there's something special about being a one-hit wonder. It's like a magic feeling, when you look back several years later, and wonder there was no follow-up to that one platinum album, or that one hit song, or that one sterling performance, or that one Nobel-winning idea. Or is that merely the hopeless idealist in me talking?

I'm listening to a collection called Country Roads now, a compilation of songs with many of these one-hit wonders matching melodies with the more established greats. And that, I suppose, explains this current frame of mind. One of my favourite songs of sll time is this one called 'An American Dream' by some people called the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and yet, this collection is the only place where I have come across this band and this song. of course, this may be more because of my ignorance in music matters, than anything else... but then there's also that other throaty wonder, Black velvet, by Allanah Myles, that I adore.


I've re-touched an older short story of mine, and put it up in Gabbles. It's called A Routine, and while the general framework and idea of the story remains the same from what I had imagined it, two years back, I have rewritten and added several paragraphs. I wonder what people will think about this restoration project of mine. My pick from the story, for livingHIGH is:

There had been others, since then. Five other strokes of their relationship had sounded, like deep, sonorous gongs of a bell, signifying each new beginning and each new climax before she found herself hungry enough for him. It was ridiculous to think of who had won and who had lost. She had extracted whatever he had to offer, and he had been paid in kind. Was there something mercenary about it, she paused to wonder, and her lips, exquisitely pink-and-peach with make-up, quivered slightly. It had been give-and-take. Even marriage was like that, she reassured herself, and finally smiled into the mirror. Her ten strokes were done.

And yes, this para was one of the face-lifts to the story.


We now switch to current affairs. According to The Telegraph, the tsunami has unearthed several stone blocks and platforms - a veritable complex, adorned with carvings - off the coast in Mahabalipuram (Mammalapuram), near the Shore Temple. This has got hope up in archaeologists' circles that they may finally be on the verge of discovering the Shore Temple's brethren, which were famed to constitute the Seven Pagodas in days long gone by. I had to post this entry here, because Mahabalipuram shares some special moments in my life, while I was in Chennai, and the Shore temple is one of my all-time favourite historic monuments.

The article (front-page, by the way) says:
Among the few strange acts of the killer tsunami was blowing the sand cover off seven boulders with various carved figures on the coast of this ancient town... The underwater discovery lies close to the Shore Temple, reviving the question asked by historians, archaeologists and seafarers from time to time if they are all part of a once-existing complex of seven temples.

Extending both ways, in the sea and towards the land, the discovery suggests a "bigger complex and more structures, besides rectangular cut blocks, of perfect shape lying in alignment, which generally imply they must have been worked upon by people..."

The findings will be presented in greater detail at an international conference in Delhi from March 17-19.

Unfortunately, this comes at a time, when, due to my jaundice, my Delhi trip is down the bogs! Anyone else in the capitol at that time?

Mirror Mirror #11: I am majorly interested in architecture styles. At one point of time, I used to draw designs for buildings - usually five-star hotels and corporate offices, and even debated about going in for architecture, after Class 12, but then decided to concentrate on Medicine, instead. And we all know where that path led me to....! ;-)

Friday, February 25, 2005
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Mina and the Count

This morning was spent watching the Francis Ford Coppola-directed Bram Stoker's Dracula. It's supposed to be the most true-to-the-book cinematic version of the story of Dracula, and well, perhaps it is. I haven't seen any other movie versions, so I can't comment, - but no, it's not a completely true-to-book version. For example, the movie has a lot of bunkum about Mina Murray being Dracula's wife eons ago, and it romanticizes Dracula's pact with the Devil as something because of (Princess?) Mina's untimely suicide. Romance, however, turns out to be the movie's strongest point. Romance and drama.

Anyone who has read Stoker's work will recall that it is a highly dramatic tale. There are smaller sub-plots that trickle everywhere and all coalesce in the end to form an evocative ending. Coppola's movie sustains Stoker's drama, and perhaps, even encourages it. There are so many little instruments, angles, ways and means to make you shudder at the pure drama involved on screen - it's a very rich, luxurious setting.

Coppola also redeems the Count, which is something Stoker never does. Stoker's Dracula is a great and fearless persona while he was alive, but in his undead form he is a creature of the Devil - to be loathed, feared, hunted, killed, vanquished. The necessity of vanquishing Dracula is there in Coppola's narrative as well, but the romance introduced between Mina's alter-(Princess)-ego and the love-struck Prince Vlad is something that makes you feel. Dracule hesitates at the last instant, when he is to make Mina drink of his blood and seal her fate, and it is she who declares her love for him at the last moment and drinks - that hesitation on his part, that desire on her part, never happens in Stoker.

Stoker was always very careful and differential in his treatment of the two women in his story - Mina Murray and Lucy Westenra. Lucy is the coquetish one, as far as Stoker is concerned, she is the one who flirts with men, who sighs and groans and moans with lust and rapture at Dracula - while Mina is the kindly, homely, sensible woman who loves her husband Jonathan Harker and hates herself for having betrayed him by accepting Dracula's bite. When I read Stoker, I thought him a complete Victorian in terms of old-fashioned ideas about what women are supposed to be like - chaste women, at least. Coppola's Mina is a much more vibrant creature, and much more passionate. She kisses Dracula when the stake is finally driven through him, and she spirits him away from her husband Jonathan, so that he may die in her arms. It is on account of the new romance that Coppola introduced, but what of it? - it only makes a sappy old romantic like me love the story more! Mina Murray is a torn women, with two loves, and she makes a choice for both of them.

Did I mention that it is a highly erotic story, as well? Something which was a bit discomfiting, with my grandmum sitting next to me while I was watching it. (I passed through the experience mentally unscarred, though: amen!) Something which is completely consistent with the way Stoker imagined it. Stoker's Dracula is meant to be a highly erotic creature, the perpetuation of his blood-line is meant to evoke fantasy, the Three Wives are meant to be a sado-masochist's dream-come-true, the seduction of Lucy Westenra is meant to be the deflowering of virginity, etcetera etcetera. Coppola adds to this, the passionate erotica between Mina and the Count, while Stoker had kept the Mina-Jonathan bond in his novel at a largely non-erotic angle, - which reminded me at the time of reading it, of "No sex for us, please. We're British!" Well, Coppola is not British in the least, and the chemistry between Mina and Dracula is quite sexy, to say the least.

The verdict: An eminently watchable movie; it can get chilling at times, is grand at all times, and is advised for a romantic screening for two the next time V-day comes rolling, if you feel like something 'different'.

PS: I seem to recall a cartoon sometime back, called Mina and the Count, on Cartoon Network. Mina was this bratty six-year-old who would always foil the green-faced Count's advances. Damn!...

Mirror Mirror #10: I have still not read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and while I loved Dracula, the damn book took me ages to read - it's sooooo frikkin' descriptive at times! My all-time favourite thriller poem is The Listeners by Tennyson, I think.

Thursday, February 24, 2005
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Almost there

I have almost stopped bitching about my life. I have almost stopped wishing for vodka shots to dull the pain of boredom. I have almost become a better man. The operative word here is 'almost'.

But there's a new story on the block. It's called An Important Night, and it's posted on Gabbles. The customary excerpt is as follows:

Abhi sipped on his double vodka and smiled at Irfaan's busy back. He's pretty cute, and maybe he was coming on to me. Was he...? He laughed then, and took another drink. I'm so frikkin' strange I keep on imagining men are coming onto me, when they'd probably want to keep me at arms' length first thing, if they find out I'm gay, he laughed - pathetic! He turned to see that Chandni was apparently having a whale of a time, and Deb was making bull-faces at her with his index fingers, while she pretended to be some virtuous (?) Italian Madonna-cum-matador. On a wildly vindictive level, he wished with all his might that Mr and Mrs Chatterjee would suddenly appear out of thin air to see their daughter in the act - maybe the old fart would get a heart attack, he grinned - and was disappointed to see that God had denied him special powers. Or maybe, he had given him those special powers after all: Abhi grinned to himself, as a smiling Irfaan came back to him, after delivering the martini.

Nothing much new on the horizon. I have been devouring TOI from cover to cover, and ET too for that matter, and have come to the insane conclusion that I actually like TOI better than either The Statesman or The Telegraph, the two institutional newspapers here in Calcutta. I'm a newfound convert. I wonder if that means the Jains will give me a hyper-paying job with a lot of glamour and a lot of fame and an instant book contract with Penguin or Picador. I'm not holding in my breath in hope, though. A little birdie twitters in my ears, that my time will definitely come soon enough... hehehehe.

Adios, nonexistant adoring public.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005
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Blogging and Tweaking in the Land of Oz

Mirror Mirror is on hold for now, simply because the version of internet explorer in my home computer seems to be too primitive to contain the necessary html codes for Blogger's block quotes, and this damn dial-up connection is far too slow to download a newer version of IE. I'd like to curse now, if I may. $#%&@*!

There, I got it out of my system for the moment.

I have been busy, sitting at home, tweaking things like old stories, and going through old novellas. Writing new stories. I have one, to which I must put finishing touches, and then it goes on Gabbles. (Old version also means no hyperlink, where once I would have linked to from here - $#%&@*!) So that's what I have been doing with most of my time here, other than eating boiled veggies and fish stew and mausambi juice every two hours.

That, and reading Pawan Varma's "The Great Indian Middle Class", a book that came highly recommended, but which is arguably one of the most boring books I have ever read. I'm counting it as competition to Camus' "The Outsider" (or was it "The Insider"? I can never be sure!) - but I finished Camus, and I have every intention of rising up to Varma's challenge as well, and finishing "The ... Middle Class" - in due course of time.

I am also making plenty of STD calls to long-lost Calcutta friends who are in different parts of the country now. Have nothing really of significance to exchange with them, merely your customary school-boy back-pats, and musings why these people haven't grown up as yet. Look at me: I've grown up into a healthy (well, not so healthy), wealthy (well, not so wealthy) and sarcastic individual, have I not?

I must go and tweak something now. Perhaps, my liver?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005
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Yellow face

My mum keeps on examining my nails to see whether she can spot anything the least yellow about them, my grandmum is insistent about noticing the colour of my urine. As disgusting as all of this may sound, I have jaundice. Dare I call it the yellow fever, in my need for hyper-exaggeration? However, this is one time when exaggeration will go against my best interests: I want to go back to Bombay!!!

To think that a week ago, a holiday would have been the best sort of thing I could have looked forward to! But, no, not this kind of a holiday - consisting of lying in bed and counting leaves on the tree outside, and wondering what sort of boiled goop I will be served for lunch, and waiting for that glass of powdered Glucon-D that I must have, every hour on the hour! On second thoughts, counting the leaves on the tree isn't really all that bad a past time, but the truth is, I'm bored! B-O-R-E-D! There's only so much you can do at home, and there's only so much of boiled veggies I can take! It's just been a couple of days, and I'm already dead beat! Looks like the jaundice is doing it's job well!


I was driven home today, from my grandmum's place. Silent for the greater part of the journey, I was focusing on old roads, old buildings, old potholes that I've grown up with. A shop missing here, a shop still the same there. Nostalgia is a wicked old hag. Crumbling pavements, vast expanse of green maidaan glinting through the sidewalk, iron grills grinning past as I whiz by. This is the city I grew up in.

Sigh. I miss the sea. I was thinking about the Gateway this morning, and wished I could have been sitting by the ocean. I think I would feel much better, had I been there. I'm not really in a state of melancholia, more likely a state of pause - and a lot of things have been going through my head all day, both past and present, and thoughts about what I could possibly store away for a future. This too shall pass, someone said, and I shall be back in the grime and dust and sea-smells of another city - but for how long, and what then?


I'm listening to Classical music today after ages. Edward Elgar on the Nimrod from the 'Enigma' Variations, Op 26, (or so it says on the CD case), a wonderfully haunting melody that they've used on so many Hollywood movies. Something permanent about it. Something linked to destiny about it. There's a part of me that pretends to be a tarot card reader today. There's a part of me today that pretends to be a seer, sitting in front of my computer, listening to the wilds of music, searching for an answer to an unasked question.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005
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Shoot the doctor

This is a monologue of whine. Should that be in capitals? The Monologue of Whine (I wonder if that sounds better). I'm sick, and sitting at home alone. Rather, darling bro's home. Came over last night, after venturing out in the cold to get dinner proved too much for me. So I grabbed a jacket and an overnight bag and hustled in a cab all the way to Prabhadevi. Fought with the cabbie as well, would have cut his balls off if given half a chance, but settled to throw ten-rupee notes disdainfully at his face after informing him that he had robbed me blind! Then I croaked out "brother!" in the best old-Hindi-film-ishtyle I could manage when I reached his door, and was promptly taken in.

Waaaa!!!! I miss home and I miss mum!

Either that was a significantly selfish thing to say or a completely pansy thing to say - sigh, probably both!

So I have fever, a cold and my tummy feels like it's going to burst. I'm a walking, talking hypochondriac whose worst fears have come true - he's actually got all the maladies that ever lurked in Pandora's box and he simply can't come up with a diagnosis! If I beat my heart one more time, they'll cast me in Broadway as Hecuba! (read up on Troy) That will add insult to injury. Damn.

Mirror Mirror #9: Obsessing over and having nightmares about illnesses comes naturally to my family. My father gave an amazing performance when he got malaria. My mum sees every little bump in the head as a precursor to cancer and every little sniffle as a harbinger of TB. My bro seems to be the only one who escaped the family epidemic!

Saturday, February 12, 2005
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Climb every mountain? Perhaps not.

I feel like an old man of the mountain sitting where I am, high, high, high up in Prabhadevi - or rather, I would feel like an old man of the mountain, if I were (a) old, (b) on a mountain. Despite my balding pate (courtesy, bad genes) I am still young. Young. YOUNG! Hear that, snarly little cretins? Y-O-U-N-G!!! The Siddhivinayak temple is a teeny building from up here, the city yawns far on each side of me, all glittery with faery-lights, and the drums from the temple go thum-thum-thum beating in my brain, something like the soundtrack of an old Arnie movie.

I would plan a reprisal of some tired and weary traveller hopping on the lift (steel doors on one side, brilliant sea-view on the other) up to my abode, to ask me the mysteries of the universe. Hem and haw. Because that's what old men of the pseudo-mountains do. And think. Perhaps scratch at my pate and curse genetics for the umpteenth time. And then say with a bass rumble - "My son -----"

Is the rest really important? What about all thos soppy books which talk about the climb being more important than the summit. Yes, say it with me - HOGWASH! Strange, I would think, that for someone as keenly competitive as I, I'm not richer, famous-er (indulge me!), glitzier.

Mirror Mirror #8: In my opinion, MARS is the coolest chocolate ever!

Friday, February 11, 2005
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Cracking some nuts

Alarming trend here. My blogging frequency has come down to unheard-of levels - once a week. Sigh. I hate my job, I hate my job, I hate my job... not even free internet compensates for it anymore! What's the use of free internet if I can't use it in appropriately wasteful avenues?! But no, I'm supposed to use the net to find out stuff about rupee movements and crude oil prices and backgrounds of crappy companies in the Indian hinterland whose crappy shares seem to be jumping on the stock market because of the herd mentality of some crappy mob! Sigh - I could start a whole bitchfest here.

Am in the mood of for something irreverent, I think. Something silly, something I don't have to labour over silly statistics for. Suddenly, Page 3 doesn't seem like a joke anymore! Whatever happened to the strong idealistic journalism classes drilled into me for 10 months? Well, I may just have a hole somewhere at the back of my head from where things filter out... And besides, I doubt journalistic ideals (whatever they are!) have much to do with tracking the markets!

Deep breath. Pause.

Happy cloud on the horizon: My trip plans are very much on. I'm going back to Delhi, to roam in Connaught Place, laze in Gurgaon, chill at Saket, eat pancakes with blueberry sauce at the Habitat Centre, and VEGETATE.

And I guess that's why I wrote another short story. It's called Goodbye, and here's the customary excerpt:

"She's not the one I saw you talking with, outside your building? The cute, high-brow one?"

I laugh in a cackle. I wonder what my 'high-brow' friend would say, on hearing she's been noticed by him. She's the most darling creature you ever saw, the most unpossessing creature, who finds it so utterly ridiculous to think that there are men in the world who would find her attractive, the kind of women who usually have the most admirers. "No, she's not the one. This one's different. This one is the Big Flirt. Love her, hate her, bitch with her, bitch about her. Like Delhi."

Mirror Mirror #7: I jhugged both Medicals and CAT, so I may be doomed to remain an 'idealistic journalist' for the rest of my life! Scary thought!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005
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Oh! Me!

Sunday mornings are heavenly. They're laced with that extra-special tinge of honey you get in hell, when it's time for a Sunday treat. And mine was good ole Bong food. I had suppressed the need for far too long. It was time to let the Bong genes surface.

So we trooped, brothers in arms, over to Oh! Calcutta in Tardeo for some well-missed "return to the roots", as Mum would have put it. I was dying to speak to the waiters in Bong too, but my bro is a stick-in-the-mud-rich-banker who pays for me whenever we go out, so I kept mum (ooooo, bad pun!) when he ordered me to. The place is excellent, great decor and all, but I expected all the waiters to be dressed up in Bong dhotis and all. There's this place called Aaheli in Calcutta where they actually have all this rigmarole, all dressed up zamindars serving you, and you feel so darned thrilled at it! (yes, I'm a snob - yay!)

And of course, a whole host of Bong expats or Bongs on holiday filled the restaurant. It was great fun pointing at people and saying - Awmigawd, that guy is SUCH a classic Bong! or Ooooo shit, she looks soooo South Calcutta Rich Bitch with the Indira Gandhi salt-n-pepper or Holy shit! What is that guy carrying in his belt-pouch? The Howrah Bridge? Yes, yes, yes - I'll repeat it all again - I should never have got into business journalism - I'm so made for Page 3! I'd give Konkona a run for her money, and would skip all that whiny social good-goodiness at the end, too!

So, yay - we come back to the food! For starters, we ordered this yummy Calcutta-style dry Chilli fish, which you will get in nowhere else in the world... diced fish, cooked with lots of soya sauce, chillies and capsicums, not really chilly, not really sweet, but so frikkin' sexy to any Calcuttan! The main course was the Chingri (prawn) Malai Curry, which is like the by-word of any Bong lunch party. Suitably rich and yummy, tasting divine with the steamed rice. And for the third course of the meal, there was one of my all-time favourites of Bong cuisine - Bhetki paturi, which is basically fillet of bhetki fish, cooked with mustard and steamed in a banana leaf package for you. You're supposed to unwrap the banana leaf, take a whiff of the sultry mustard, and dig in to the tender fillet with your hands - that one whiff cleared my blocked nose for good!

Cause for some disappointment: I had set my heart on malpua and rabri for dessert, but they had none on the menu! (Malpuas are something like pancakes, made utterly sinful with jaggery, and they taste yummier if you have them hot with some chilled rabri!) I refused to compromise with mishti doi, and settled for ice cream at Baskin Robin instead. Not very Bong, I know, but I'm a snoot, so what?!

Cause for heartrush: I had my first paan after lunch. I have steadfastly refused the stuff earlier, because I always found the idea of eating a leaf whole quite abhorring, but I decided to try it this once in the spirit of my Bong rediscovery. I'm back to abhorring the idea now.

Cause for major heartrush to darling bro: I actually paid the bill.

PS: As an aside, when I googled for links on Oh! Calcutta, the very first site I found is of a restaurant in Auckland City, Australia, called the same. Of course, when you go through the menu they have online, you'll discover that the food is not at all Bong in flavour, but what I suppose the foodies there consider to be 'authentic' Indian cuisine. Ha! Poor little mongrels!

Mirror Mirror #6: As this post proves, I can be as shallow, as demented, as bitchy, as any page 3 socialite! Yay! (pompoms exploding in cue)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005
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I would love to gabble on chocolate

There's a new story, titled Chocolate/ Chocolat on Gabbles. It's a tale in five acts. I think we know all of the acts by heart, by now. There's -

Ring a bell? (catlike smile on face). My favourite passage from the story is:

Tall, lovely, shining, glittering crystal, fluted with all the most pleasing proportions man can ask for. It seems to be able to promise something, but maybe deliverance depends on you. It's like some horribly shriveled apple that rolled down from Eden - it has a promise, it whispers a dream to you, and you feel yourself charged up, ready for action. The curse is in that it promises the same to all and sundry, so you think you're equal to a task even when you're not. So you try and try and you fail and fail, and you curse the fates for ever conceiving a feature such as you, but in the haste of your vanity, you tend to forget that little piece of apple that promised you so much and haunted you so much.

And yes, I have changed the look of Gabbles, into something that is more utilitarian. Slight pity, since I was in love with the picture of the ocean the earlier look flaunted.

Mirror Mirror#5: I don't really like crab that much. Find the stuff quite fibrous. Give me chicken, any day. But yes, prawns are made in God's heavenly tank, and mussels are yummy too. Calamari tastes like rubber. I've never eaten shark. I could never think of eating dolphins. Or snakes. I abhor snakes.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005
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Spamming me softly

I was bored today, and after playing 'delete the bugger' with the pending messages in my inbox, I decided to see what Spam had in store for me. I'm glad I did so.

The first spam mail was the most ordinary one. Some kind soul called Dean Seymour wants to offer me software: Special Offer #1 has Windows XP Professional and Microsoft Office XP Professional (for the utter computer non-entity like me, I thought it was the same thing!) for only $80; Special Offer #2 hands out Photoshop 7, Premiere 7, and (something called) Illustrator 10 for only $120 (I'm pretending I run a TVS Sky Shop here, with the onlys); while Special Offer #3 throws in a Dreamweaver MX 2004 and a Flash MX 2004 at (I will not say only) $100. Ho hum. Trashed.

The second mail informs me that I've won something called the El Gordo lottery (bull, anyone?) Turns out, I have a ticket which won the prize in the 6th category, which basically translates to EURO 310,706 and 45 cents. (why, why, why, WHY 45?!) The mail goes on to say, all participants were selected through a computer ballot system (am impressed!) drawn from 6000 names from Asia, Australia, NZ, Europe, North America, Canada and Africa, and the money is now deposited with a security company insured with my name. It will be there till January 21, after which it will be refunded, unless I contact some gracious beauty queen by the name of Ramona Olivares. Mmmm.... does anyone fancy a trip to the Mediterranean with me...?

Number three! A dude called Kabbah in a country, where there happens to be a "Raging War" (his capitals, not mine), has $ 12,000 in "a Finance and Security Company" that he wants to invest - surprise, surprise, he wants my help in investing it! In return, I'm assured 10% of the gains he makes. Wow - I guess I can do my bit as a CNBC guy and get my own piece of FII in for the stock markets, though $12,000 is probably way too miniscule! ;-)

Sellou Malee sent me the fourth mail. Picture a sleazy Arab from some old Hollywood movie, complete with weather-stained robe and headgear, offering you gold, and that (in a nutshell) is what my fourth mail is. My good friend Sellou wants to sell me gold dust at "very accessible prices" (I can even picture the wink now!) and in case I help him find a buyer, I get an assured 2%: "2% is assured, ok don't worry about that. thanks in advance of your collaboration" goes the deal. He promises not to leave me for the vultures on the desert, afterwards.

Yes, and the world keeps on spinning around.

Mirror Mirror #4: I'm the younger son, so yes, I've been adequately pampered. My parents regret that now, I think.