Friday, February 25, 2011

Dear Mama

It’s going to be two months now and I have finally understood that I will carry your loss in my heart, my thoughts and my conversations...for the rest of my life.

Memories: Of the special way you said my name on the phone, the joy and pleasure coming through in your voice. Of how you would make my favorite dishes each time I visited Delhi the last few years, and how you excitedly brought home goodies every day. Of how you complained that I spent all my time reading rather than chatting with you over those precious few vacation days. Of your boundless energy. Of your beauty. Of your tales of bunking knitting classes and learning how to cook from Dad. Of the way you fooled a one-year-old me into believing you went to office in the evenings while you merrily watched movies with Mamaji. Of repeatedly making you recount the forgotten parts of my childhood, mostly for the joy you took in narrating them. Of the way you shunned the camera, and the pleasure we took in threatening you with it. Of ribbing you about your dates with Dad at Connaught Place after your engagement. Of your fondness for Pyaasa. Of your academic brilliance and your dreams of getting into the foreign service, cruelly shattered due to the failure of an elder sibling. Of your nagging. Of the sound advice you gave me that I seldom heeded. Of the pride you took in your subject and your job. Of the courage with which you took on life. Of the way you ended every phone conversation we had in the last two difficult years with ‘I love you’.

Regrets: Of not telling you enough how much you meant to me. Of not saying I love you as many times as I should have. Of saying too many “You did not” and too few “You did”. Of not being able to break into the inner shell you retreated into recently. Of the hug that I did not give in my hurry to leave on that cold January morning, little knowing I would never see you again.

Anger: At life, for dealing you a lousy pack of cards – you deserved better, Mama. You fought long, you fought hard, you played by the rules. But by leaving so quickly and unexpectedly, you hoodwinked us all.

To quote one of your your favorite songs - Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya ho. I hope you are in a happy place, Mama.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Wake up, Karan Johar!

Karan Johar must have had an impossibly happy childhood. So he refuses to grow up. And paint a contrived, over the top view of the world.

A cute 20 year old who wears t-shirts with cartoon characters. The first time, it's cute; the fifth time, Grow up!

A spoilt 20 year old who does not understand that money does not grow on trees watered by tequila & vodka? Grow up!

An unemployed, middle class 27 year old stumbles upon a vast apartment overlooking the sea in one of the most expensive cities in the world. So much for all the Bombayites who break their backs for decades, trying to own their tiny little piece of heaven!

A 26 year director who decides to make his first film based upon, guess what, his own trials and tribulations (spoilt kid belonging to a top film family who obviously grew up believing money is watered with beer and girlfriends).

A young 'serious cinema' actress who has taken her intellectual label so seriously that she carries a perpetual sulk in all her movies. It looks fresh the first time, but by the tenth time, you just feel like straightening out her mouth with both hands so she looks less like the Joker. WHY SO SERIOUS Konkana?

The redeeming moments - the tension between the hard-at-work girlfriend and stay-at-home younger boyfriend. The music - the beautifully worded Ektara and the breezy Kya Karoon. And Ranbir Kapoor a.k.a. Sid, who has surely inherited his dad's genes as he infuses the main character with a believable innocence.

It's finally sinking in!

After months of anticipation and excitement, the day is almost there - in another 4 days & 4 hours, I leave for Beijing on my onwards journey to Chengdu for my Corporate Service Corps assignment.

As I inform my project and department teams about the away-time, I can sense their excitement. I am flooded with follow-up emails & ST's - how do we apply; do you know what you will do; do we get to choose a country; who are the other team members; Wow, you'll be involved in some of the earthquake reconstruction work; etc. As friends from outside work who are aware of the assignment also email me, I realize what a unique opportunity IBM has presented us with!

For now, my life revolves around checklists – and the entries are increasing by the day!

- Passport & Visa: Green
- Complete background reading on Chengdu & China: Yellow – you can never read enough about this vast and fascinating land, can you?
- Collect previous team experiences on my assignment: Yellow – again, so much information, so many different places.
- Plan travel in other parts of China: Almost Green :-) I just need to choose between Lijiang and Wuyi Mountain for the last leg of the journey, and make bookings accordingly.
- Shopping: Red. Guess I’ll save this for when I get to China.
- Scream from the rooftops that I’m off to work with a global, cross functional team on social and economic issues: Green, font 100

It’s difficult to stay focused when I can barely contain my excitement - 7 weeks - hurrray!!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tokyo, Interrupted

My first impression of Tokyo is of a city straight out of a child’s toy box – block upon block of glass and concrete, packed together, competing with each other to touch the skies. After the charming houses and vibrant hues of Bangalore, the surfeit of identical skyscrapers and complete absence of greenery comes as a shock – the first stretch of trees I saw was in front of the Imperial Palace on my third day in the city!

But walk the streets and you realize that there is more to Edo than simply the race to the top. The restaurants with their brightly colored signs, the pretty lamps, and the quaint door and window curtains are a complete delight. The famous Japanese efficiency and perfection leaves you spellbound when you encounter if firsthand. But like a mature woman resplendent in her red lipstick and bright rouge, Tokyo is best encountered in the evening - with its makeup of bright lights full on to dazzle and captivate the visitor.

So here are five things about Tokyo that I liked:

1. The food, definitely. The Japanese are known for their innovation in technology, but their food is equally, if not more, creative! Most of us know Japanese cuisine by our sushi & sashimi and teppanyaki, but there is so much more the country has to offer – I sampled Hitsumabushi, an eel meal with special eel from Nagoya ; Shabu-shabu, the Japanese hot-pot; Izakaya – casual Japanese dishes, which include hand made udon (thin, grey-brown noodles) and soba (thick wheat noodles) ; Kushiyaki – meat, fish or veggies on skewers; raw chicken sashimi (I was feeling adventurous, and it turned out to be quite nice! ), Okonomiyaki (pancake stuffed with cabbage, seafood and/or meat) and its variant Hiroshimayaki; Monja – veggies in soup cooked on a hotplate at the table; Yakitori – baked chicken; and finally, Ramen – Chinese style wheat noodles in a thick broth with veggies/seafood/meat. And of course, the crowning glory – the best sushi in the world at Tsukiji fish market.

2. The technology, obviously. Simple things that amaze you – like how the radio would magically turn on the moment I’d turn on my bathroom lights. The cute little mini-projector. The little hand-held devices on which the waiter takes the order which automatically gets transmitted to the kitchen – one of the restaurants we visited had a little machine on our table through which we could directly place our request! I was also told by my Japanese colleague that technology is intensively used in agriculture – which explains how the country continues to produce amazingly fresh fruits & vegetables. Is our agriculture minister listening?

3. The efficiency and abundant display of common sense. The best example is the cafeteria at office – a lady with her small battalion of helpers would so efficiently allot tables to a patiently waiting queue of 50-100 people at peak hunger hour! For a land prone to typhoons and storms, rains are common, but that doesn’t interrupt life in any way. Each office and restaurant has a little machine into which you stab your dripping umbrella – and voila, it emerges packed in plastic so you don’t bring the rains indoors. Such simple stuff that you wonder why no one’s thought of it before.

4. The quaint little customs. It is considered rude to leave the restaurant door open after you have entered. But please don’t be a stupid foreigner as you try to open or shut your taxi door – it is remote controlled, silly! The immaculately well turned out taxi drivers in their gray coats and white shirts. The extreme politeness in official and social interactions – the most commonly heard phrases in Japan are hai (Ok/I agree) and ‘arigato gozaymasu’ (Thank you for your support) – even business leaders will start their meetings with you with the latter phrase! And it’s still fairly common to see people in offices bowing deeply and not showing their backs to people considered more senior.

5. The different faces of the city by day and by night. Tokyo early morning is best witnessed at the Tsukiji fish market – as locals and tourists head to their favorite sushi place for breakfast, then stop by at a tea shop to sip their favorite brew in pretty little saucers, stopping by on the way to pick up some colorful plates and essential herbs for the house. During the day, the city is a hub of activity as suit-clad men and women go about their business And in the evening, the bright lights and skyscrapers of Ginza, Shibuya and Roppongi dazzle and beckon the onlooker into their embrace.

Talk to a local and you will notice many similarities with India – the craving for a son in the family, the tendency to continue living and caring for your parents, the glass ceiling for women in the workplace ... In many ways, the Japanese are much more rooted in custom than the average city-bred Indian is.

The notorious quirkiness and loneliness of the average Japanese is not hard to miss as you walk the streets. Most people walk alone, with their heads bowed or buried in a newspaper – the younger set is lost in their PSP’s or music players. 15-20 hour days are common at work, which undoubtedly would take a toll on family life, especially over an extended period of stay. While I was in Tokyo, the Democratic Party ended the historic 50 year old rule of the Liberal Democrats – but my colleagues did not expect any real change and said the results just showed that the people were fed up and wanted some change – which in itself is extremely uncharacteristic of the stoic and patient Japanese. The IHT proclaimed that no government could bring about a real change till the Japanese opened their doors to foreign immigrants and allowed major reforms in their all-power bureaucracy.

Japan to my mind is at a unique crossroad– the stagnation in the economy has also raised questions about the adequacy of the traditional Japanese values of consensus, hard work, quality and team work. The political change is the first indication that their legendary patience is running out, but are they ready for the big change?

Friday, September 11, 2009


Last Saturday

Wake up at 8 after eight full hours of sleep, thank you Hypnos!
Scrambled eggs, ham and toast for breakfast. Satisfied burp.
Train to Kamakura.
Hot, hot, hot …daintily wave my Japanese fan and slurp on iced tea.
Say hello to the resident deity at the Shinto shrine.
Hike to the beach and catch a view of the Pacific Ocean.
Go to german café, ignore surly owner and chill on German beer, sausages and potato wedges.
Hop to Italian café next door. Stretch out at the ocean-facing bay windows. Nibble on dainty little starters and pizza.
Greet the bronze Budha.
Back to the hotel – run 5 km on treadmill. Attagirl!
Okonomiyaki and Monja dinner at Shibuya. Yummmmmy. Chatter and laughter as we make the pancakes. Enough time for me to finish a bottle of sake
Delicious sleep at hotel – Monday is still a night away!

This Saturday

Three hours of sleep, constant snoozing of alarm, panicked waking up – I’m sure my flight has taken off already!
Throw up airport sushi breakfast in the flight. Feverish sleep for 5 hours. Horrible to fall ill on a flight.
Another 5 hours of flying from Singapore to home. Dinner is fish again – hope it doesn’t mean another trip to the loo :-(
Looong wait for suitcase at the carousel. Obviously.
Crazy cab driver with F1 aspirations on Bangalore’s roads. Tick him off.
Our man takes revenge by refusing to carry my suitcase up the stairs despite my offer of generous tip. Bluhdy. Pant, heave, yikes
Midnight. My bed beckons. What a terrible, terrible way to spend a Saturday!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

No free lunch if you're a woman

Afghani women who refuse to have sex with their husbands will not be given any food. And they can go out to earn their food only if the darling husband provides permission.

And who do they have to thank for this benevolence? Not the Taliban, but the moderate Prime Minister Hamid Karzai. You see, Mr Karzai needs to win over minority hardliners in order to secure another term in power. And if this grand mission requires sacrificing a few more rights of women, so be it - they are used to suffering anyway.

Again, I count my blessings. And again I wonder how it comes to this - how governments that are meant to represent our best interests rub our noses into the dust. And we wait for it to pass, without a whimper or a whisper of protest.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Book Review: Half of a Yellow Sun

2 Oct 2007

I enjoyed reading Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Set against the backdrop of the Nigerian-Biafra Civil War of 1967-70, the book follows the lives of Ugwu, a bright African house boy employed by Odenigbo, the brilliant socialist reformer; the dissimilar twins Olanna and Kainene - the former stunningly beautiful and compassionate, the latter ugly and brilliant; and finally Richard, Kainene's British born fiance who feels more at home in Biafra than in his native land.

The book chronicles the impact of war on the lives of the protagonists- the loyal and innocent Ugwu rapes a bar girl when he is forced into army service (only to learn a year later that his favorite sister Anulika was raped by five Nigerian soldiers); the changing dynamics in the relationship between Odenigbo and Olanna as the latter emerges from needing Odenigbo to providing strength to the family as they witness the deaths of their relatives; how Olanna and Kainene overcome their differences and rediscover the sisterly warmth that they missed out on during their youth; and finally, the softening of Kainene in the presence of the mild, besotted Richard.
One of the reasons I enjoyed the book was that, as an Indian, I could relate with the context - the British colonization and divide-and-rule policy that deepens the suspicions between the Yoruba's and Igbo's (the North and the South) is reminiscent of the Hindu-Muslim divide. Adichie treats her characters with realism and empathy - gently portraying their warts and blemishes without passing judgement. Her choice of characters is also interesting - the poor Ugwu who is educated by his masters and goes on to write a book; the stunningly beautiful but surprisingly insecure Olannna who comes into her own during the war as she displays a Melanie-like courage; the handsome and reformist Odenigbo, so good with words but utterly helpless when faced with adversity; the brilliant and acerbic Kainene, evidently resentful of her twin's beauty and yet unable to ignore her enigmatic presence; and handsome but meek Richard who aspires to be a writer and ends up 'belonging' to Biafra.

This is a book about not forgetting, even though "how quick leaving had been and how slow returning was". The descrpition of the war, of how politicians use people's passions to their own ends, is moving without being melodramatic -"He (Biafran leader) would come back with justice and salt" - Olanna's belief when she hears that His Excellency is going abroad to look for peace is a poignant commentary on the common man's feelings about war.

The relationship between the twins is also well explored - when Kainene comes to meet Olanna after a long estrangement, the sisters are taking tentative steps towards a reconciliation. As they talk, Kainene leans against Olanna, and then suddenly, as if remembering something, straightens up. Olanna then feels the "slow sadness of missing a person who was still there".

The element of surprise, that essential spice of life, remains intact in Adichie's writing. Some of the chapters end with a short extract from a book titled The World Was Silent When We Died. We read about Richard working on a book by this name, but the true author is revealed in the end, dedicated "For Master, my good man" - 'my good man' being the reformist Odenigbo's name for Ugwu. Kainene's disappearance and the author's refusal to divulge her whereabouts - is she dead or alive? - keeps the reader hooked.

There is no happy ending, but there is hope - of renewal, of survival and of life carrying on, despite all odds.

London bus rides, National Gallery and British Library

13 Aug 2007, London

A visit to London is incomplete without a ride in the red double decker buses (made more famous in India thanks to Rahul serenading Simran in one of those!). I thought it would be a good idea to see a bit of London through these buses - after all, a good traveller has no plans and is not intent on arriving!

So I boarded the Number 15 at Bond Street, went down Oxford Street, past Hyde Park Corner and onto Edgware Road, which seems to have a strong Muslim presence - there are numerous places selling Lebanese food, and there is the the Islamic Bank of Britain, Al-Mustafa, and surprisingly, Ladbrokes!

We took a left onto leafy Sussex Gardens, with shaded trees, hotels, inns and lodges. Then onto St Mary’s Hospital, to the left of which is Sir Alexander Fleming’s house, and to its right the Imperial College, London.

We went further down to reach Paddington Underground, with the Hilton Paddington next door, and further down to Eastbourne Terrace, with the old Paddington station on one side, and a dull brown, Russian looking building (London seems to have several of those!) on the other. In contrast, Westbourne Terrace further down is prettier, with pale yellow old buildings and pubs with the trademark basket of many hued geraniums hanging on the front door.

The bus ended at Old Paddington Station, which, contrary to my expectations, appears on the outside to be dingy and unprepossessing – more like a warehouse than a train station. No wonder so many of Dame Agatha’s murders were committed on trains out of Paddington!

While I was poring over the bus map to decide where to head next, No 205, which goes by the British Library, arrived. I had been debating whether I should visit the Library, and the arrival of the bus made up my mind. We rode up Liverpool Street, past the trademark London red colored houses with white windows and white arches, onto Hyde Park and then the Edgware Road Underground Station, further onto Marylebone Road.

The Marylebone Underground Station is an old building in reddish brown and skin-brown bricks with white doors and windows. Further down is the extremely old Westminster Council House, next to which are the fortress-like red and white mansions.

Further on is Baker Street, peppered with several old buildings and mansions in red brick and white trimmings. Madam Tussauds is also situated on Baker Street, close to the old building that houses the UG Station, as also is the old St. Marylebone Church.

Baker Street leads onto Harley Street, famous for its doctors and physicians. The Regent’s Park UG Station is situated here, and further north is the Portland Street – Euston Square crossing which has several modern glass and chrome structures, an aberration in London’s ancient skyline.

Euston Road is peppered with several historical structures, but the contemporary red bricked British Library, set against the backdrop of the St. Pancras Parish Church which is currently being converted into a five star hotel, is striking.

Europe, here I come!

8 Aug 2006, 5:45 am, Blore HAL Airport

So here I am – ready to board British Airways flight no BA 118 to London. Though it still hasn’t completely sunk in that I am on my way to London, France & Netherlands – I guess that will happen only after I reach Heathrow. John Steinbeck says in Travels with Charly that in long range planning for trip, there is a private conviction that it won’t happen. In my case, for some inexplicable reason, I have been almost wanting it not to happen.

Not surprising, considering that this trip was decided on an impulse, and that my travel plans have changed at least five times a day over the last ten days! Thanks to which, I am now well versed with the geography of France, Germany & Belgium – no mean accomplishment given my intense dislike for the subject.

So to begin at the beginning. Flashback to three weeks ago, sitting in P’s car, listening to her block tickets for London. She’d told me about V’s plan of picking up a BMW in Munich and driving around Europe, and while it had sounded exciting, I really hadn’t thought I would take up the offer. Now, however, the prospect of Europe on top-class BMW wheels appeared to be just the break I needed.

So tickets were booked; A, my school friend in London informed, who also decided to take a week off and join us. The question now was – should we follow V’s itinerary or plan our own? After all, I had already seen Munich, Berlin and a few other places in Germany, so it didn’t make sense to spend more time there. Anuja mentioned she had a friend in Belgium, and since it appeared to be relatively easy to get a Schengen for Belgium, we decided in two minutes to travel to Belgium. And thus began the game of musical chairs.

For I had to get to Netherlands ultimately, since I was booked on a return flight from there. The original concept of ‘BMW driving in Europe’ now put in the parking lot (I still harbored dreams of having a spin in the car), I came up with new itineraries very day, each enthusiastically embraced by A, and equally enthusiastically discarded upon presentation of the next dream route. So one day it was the Belgian village route, another day a discovery of Rhineland, a third following the German cuckoo route through the Black Forest, and so on.

Finally, we settled on a driving holiday in France. Since we were limited by geography (I had to enter from Belgium and exit into Netherlands), it wasn't too difficult to narrow our dream destination to the Normandy regions of France. So while A arranged the car, I now concentrated my energies on identiying a suitable chambre d'hote (bed & breakfast) in Normandy, with the intention of driving along the English channel for a while and then venturing further inland.

A concurred (as she had been doing to all my mad cap plans over the last week!) and volunteered to arrange the car - so now, I will be driving in Europe - DDLJ, main aa rahi hoon!


What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the Sun?
Or fester like a sore -
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load

Or does it explode?

Countee Cullen

Frankfurt Diary

2 Oct 2004, 12:30 PM

So here I am. After telling Dad to take me along on an impulse, not really believing I'd make it after he said Yes, later hoping that the trip wouldn't work out (mind over impulse?), and finally getting my visa at literally the last moment (while I was boarding my flight to Delhi, with planned departure the very next day!) - I am finallydisembarking Air India's flight at the Rheine International Airport, Frankfurt. Someone please pinch me.

Of course I have butterflies in my stomach - after all, this is no client visit where I'll be escorted around, can hop, skip & jump into and out of cabs to my heart's content and have the luxury of splurging on the exotic locla delicacies (thankfully, exotic food in Germany probably means dry, dry meat, so I'm happy to pass). I am on a personal visit to earth's most expensive continent, with zilch planning or background research (I was busy winding up work you see!). It's not something I'm very comfy with, but that's what makes the trip exciting too! Achtung baby.

The airport's typically German - no frills and supra efficient. I personally believe that airports reveal the character of a country (you only need to look at IGI for verification) - here, I completed my customs clearance in a mere 60 secs - ohmigosh!

So all signs in German when we step outta the airport! Hunting for a cab (too much luggage, and Dad is paying :-)) - ah, there's a cute driver - kinda intellectual looking. The weather's nice and bright - what am I going to do with all the heavy wollens I lugged along! OHMIGOSH - the cab driver has a PALM installed next to his steering wheel. No not a tree you duh, but a palmtop - ohmigawd, ohmigawd, ohmigawd - can I swap places with you please? Ok, lets' concentrate on the view outside (envious glance back every minute at the Palm - sigh)

Hotel Intercontinental, Room 1614

Our room overlooks the Maine River and the view is breathtaking. I can see a jogging trail running parallel to the bank (of course I will plan to go jogging at 6 am, and OF COURSE I will never do it), a scating ring teaming with kids, a few cruisers and a pictursque bridge begging to be walked on. The waters are placid and clear (or is it just the '360 feet view') and the banks beyond are a lush green, but right now my soft bed beckons!


Walked to the Haupbahnof (central station) - what a pretty building teeming with life and yummilicous smells - I wander around and see all kinds of cuisines - Chinese, French, Sushi, Lebanese, Italian - yummmmy.

Walking back to the streets actoss the Haupbahnof in search of dinner, Dad recalls a good Turkish restaurant that he frequented on previous visits (every second eatery in Germany is probably Turkish).

Let's go beyond the crossing, says Dad.
H: Look there Abs, that part seems to be full of life! I'm sure your restaurant is there
D: (squirming in discomfort) No, that's where the live bands are
H: Oh really, WOW, Let's go there then!
D: (half turning away) You can go, Not me
H: (Since when did dad become such a frump?) But WHY?
D: Coz they are live bands
H: Even better, I love live music!
D: (half shouting) don't you understand - its nude shows, striptease..
H: Ohmigosh, I thought you meant people jamming away
D: (Do-you-really-belong-to-this-world look) Can we turn back NOW?

Sigh. But now I'm tempted to explore the 'live bands' (Big evil grin). We turn into a side street, and my eyes light upon an Eros Center - rooms aglow with a warm red light, the sign of a heart outside. Looks nice and cosy - not the dingy and dirty hovels we seem to have back home for these services. We continue to walk down the street, which is lined with discrete places advertising peep shows (entry free - wah, wah). But you can't see a thing or hear a sound outside - this is definitely not Patpong! There are also numerous sex shops advertising toys, aids, the works. My curiosity is piqued - I'm dying to see what's inside! Gotta come back here sometime. Sigh, wish I wasn't alone.

3rd October

Decided to take up the advice of the Tourist Info lady and walk around the city center. The streets are deserted, most shops are closed, but everything's working to Germanic precision. Ogled at the Merc showroom - took a pic of the sexy Black Beauty inside (C Class - only Euro 90K). Frankfurt has some mouthwatering cars - sexy convertibles (BMW, Merc, Jaguar), cute Opels and Audi's, sleek VW's - you name it. sigh. Wish I could marry a German. Sigh. Miss A terribly.

Walk, walk, walk...after several diversions, finally stumbled upon the Old Opera House - Alde Oper. And it's worth the 30 minute walk - a beauty that commands attention! The statues of a demonic man & woman, the beautifully carved lamp posts, the entire facade - I catch my breath. There is a fountain close by, and an open air restaurant with red seats (fitting for an opera cafe I must say!). I walk around the building, admiring the facade and the engravings. Time to capture this for posterity - ouch, my roll's reached its end, and the backup rolls are in the hotel. Bloody careless. Trudge back home.

Finally going for my walk down the bridge on the river Maine. As I wait for the lights to turn, my eyes rest upon a couple across the road - arms entwined around each other, kissing and hugging, even as the lights turn green. As we pass each other, I can't help notice the girl glowing with happiness.
Shit. I wanna go back home. Miss A sooo much. Sigh sigh sigh.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A typical weekend

For the single and fancy free, the frenetic planning starts mid week (and often on the previous Sunday itself). So here are some options that we discuss, debate, embrace and discard:

Louis Banks is playing jazz at Alliance....we MUST go and listen to him

There is a play at Rangashankara, or at Chowdiah…or a festival of movies at MMB or AFI or….

Bangalore School of Music is organizing a Mozart tribute, a piano recital or a symphony orchestra

Hey, how about the Odissi performance tonight…or the Karnatic Music concert (never tried that before)

Let’s wake up early on Sunday, go to Cubbon Park to listen to the morning ragas, jog around for a while (15 minutes) and top it up with breakfast at Koshy's or yummy omelettes at Lakeview (we've switched loyalties to Ants now)

Where should we go for dinner tonight? I’ve tried virtually every dish in Herbs & Spices already…Mainland China – nah, just had the buffet the other day….

I will just oil my hair, plonk myself on the balcony and attack my unread pile of books.

Hey, I haven't seen a movie in years (read, 5 days)....lets catch the last show at Lido today

Let's watch War of the Roses or the latest movie we downloaded on the laptop

.....Sooo many choices, so many decisions. And unsaid, just beneath the surface, a wish to not have so many choices, to have something more concrete to fill up the void…whatever that might be.

Curious about what the happily married DINKs and the hum-do-humaare-do talk about!