The musings of a (not-so) single chick in the city. (Don't think that the term chick is derogoratory. We refer to boys by a number of terms). The travails in the life of an ex-miss-goody-two-shoes, ex-journalist, ex-small time model, ex-television actress, of being female in Chennai/ Pune/Bangalore, of ideas old and ideas new....

Friday, September 26, 2008

Forget the cake...eat bread

I finally made a perfect loaf of bread...it's a labour of love. Worked on and fermented for hours, just to yield one normal sized loaf. Baking a cake is 6th standard biology compared to bread making's understanding Grey's Anatomy. Cake batter is simple. You mix everything togther and bake it. Even if you did not do the sugar and butter creaming first, or added the eggs without separating the yellows and the whites, cake still tastes like cake.


Bread dough is so fickle.
The salt should not be directly added to the yeast+warm water mixture. the sugar should. too much flour, and your bread tastes like cardboards' cousin.
You have to knead and knead for ten solid minutes for proper gluten strands development.
Then it has to rise to double its size in the perfect temperature with good, living yeast of the exact right amount.
Then after the first time the dough rises,(it might not rise at all, if any one parameter is screwd up, old yeast, water not warm enough, water too hot that kills yeast,too much yeast it makes dough rise too fast and collapse, etc etc) you got to punch it down and shape it.
If you punch it down a little too much, your bread is flat and tastes a little of the alcohol that couldnt escape. If you dont punch enough, your dough will overrise and collapse.
After punching down and shaping it, it has to rise again.
Then you bake it in the oven at the exact right temparature, a small deviation could cause the crust to form too soon too thick that it cannot be broken through without a hammer.

So, after overcoming all the odds( many imperfect loafs later), yesterday I made the perfect loaf. Properly crusted outside, soft and spongy bread with good air-holes and slicing it was a peice of cake :)
Am thinking that now that I have troubleshooted and found out what I was doing wrong (it was the second rise, it just wouldnt rise, tuns out i was kneading again, when all i should have done was press the dough down softly a couple of times and carefully shaped it without pulling it too much) and perfected bread making, I should turn my attention to making croissants, which are much tougher, because of the many layers it has, that require folding and folding the dough over a rectangle of butter.

Did you know that money is called dough because of bread dough???? din't realise that before :) Too many conotations about bread being directly equalled to money in western idioms....bread and butter, which side bread is buttered on, put bread on the table bla bla....

To crossiants!!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

And the verdict is

I am not made for dating more than one guy at a time.....I feel like I am cheating on the other two...and thus ends my career as a Playa!!!!

I am going to date one guy ...and one guy only at a time...

In other news, the novel I am working on ( Oh yeah, 'she's trying to be a writer' - as one of my cynical writer friends, who has seen plenty of society men and women in Bombay say that they are writing a book, would say. It is the 'in' thing these days for jobless people to work on a novel in a desultory fashion, like writing a chapter a year and boast about it at parties. But this book has been in my head for almost five years now. ) is progressing quite well, am done with the first half of it. Have put it away for a few days in the hope that I will get some perspective as to the direction in which it is going to go.

I also need to get back to baking a few 'countless calorie' desserts and get indulging...all the dieting I have been sticking on to makes me bad tempered and mean before breakfast...am not Kareena Kapoor after all and do not need to get into a size zero dress.

AV

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Of dating three men at the same time

Technically, it is two boys and one man....and when I say dating, I am talking about exactly that. Pleasant conversation, food, and the occasional movie. I have not slept with any of the three of them and I do not plan to, at least not in the near future...

I have realised that the axe will fall shortly...and I will stick my head into the "mangalsutra' noose very soon...and am exercising my right to choose, before my parents do it for me.

So I am considering my options....and meeting men who ask me out...being set up at times, if you will...and all the boys/men I meet seem pleasant enough. But is this one the one? Is he worth spending time with? are the questions I am plagued with...

As the risk of thinking corny...I think of the 'So, when do you know its love?' tag line of jaane tu ya jaane na'...except I have no lofty ideals of love....but the line doesnt sound as effective when you substitute 'love' with 'true companionship' does it ?

Choices, choices!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

S.E.X

We, as in my friends (this particular group is made of girls, primarily) and I, make it a point to talk about sex loudly in public places. And when I say loud, I mean LOUD.

Why? Maybe because we have always been told not to talk about it loudly, and never in public places. Call it the typical teenage rebellion. But we are no longer teenagers. It did begin in our teens. When whoever overheard our whispered talks told us to be quieter about it; and we just talked louder. And the habit has kind of stuck. And now that we are older we talk details , nasty details too and laugh louder when the mallipoo( jasmine) clad maami (generic word for aunty) ( who probably cannot understand the specifics that her husband is glaring at, but has caught the one word she does, SEX) shoots us death darts for being so uncultured and in a public place too.

It might have been cultured not to talk about it, when you get married at 16, even before you begin thinking about this thing that has been denied to us. But, no one gets married at 16 any more. (At least not the educated middle -class, where I belong). When social and financial pressure has increased the age where marriage become appropriate, but the age of attaining sexual maturity decreased, it is kind of sadistic to tell people, “not only must you not do it, but you shouldn't be heard talking about it as well.”

Plus, it is not that young men and women are not indulging in premarital sex, it is just that it is hidden and done secretly. Even telling friends is considered dangerous, coz who knows who will spill the info to whom as the years go by, and how drastic if one's saintly mother has to hear that her angelic daughter was not a virgin when she got married!!!!!

So, talking to a prominent city gynaecologist about the occurrence of pre-marital sex in our virtuous Chennai ( I was researching for an article in my journo days ) was I glad to hear that more than 50% (which was her conservative estimate). of middle and higher income group youngsters indulging in pre-marital Doing IT. Oh yes, I was. (Based on those who come to her and her colleagues for prescription contraceptives and for D&Cs, the latter is a whole other sad story) ….

Now, that I have meandered on and on randomly about one of my pet subjects,
Till next time.

Monday, May 19, 2008

To act or not to Act

A fellow blogger wrote sometime ago that in India, everyone has an opinion about what another should do. What is right and what is wrong. And if their advice is not followed, they take it as a personal injury to their ego and sulk for ages, till you are forced to apologise for not listening to them. And if your plan of action did not work, you have to contend with gloating expressions and actual - 'I told you so's .

To act or not to act

Women actors are sluts. There are no two sides to this equation in Tamil Nadu apparently, as I am learning from my mother. So vehement is this opinion that we have now been fighting two days non- stop. As a model (sounds weird referring to me thus, since I dont really feel like a model. Models are leggy lasses who look like a million bucks at all time and come on TV wearing flashy clothes. Me, I have only done a couple of ads and I dont have the mandatory washboard stomach.) I was warned that I would be offered movies all the time. What I did not anticipate was that the onslaught would begin even before I become prominent or before a few dozen ads. I have been offered three films to date. One as a second heroine and two as a primary female lead. And yesterday, I was asked to appear in a couple of scenes in a movie. And it led to fighting again. Forget the fact that there would be no skin exposure involved or any romance with any male actors. (great banner and awesome actor by the way. ) Apparently actresses are considred sluts here. And however decent your behavior is, or the fact that you dont sleep around for either roles or for money doesnt matter. Hugging and romancing men on screen makes you a slut. For what Nalla Tamizh Ponnu (good tamil girl) will willingly involve herself in a profession where she would have to be physically close to different men and hug and kiss multiple men ? How will a "slut" like that find a "good" boy for marriage???

And no compromise can be reached. I am not aspiring to be a Vrisha or a Navanthara or a Gammana. I cant bear to even watch Commercial masala crap that is churned out in Chennai. And I abslutely would not agree to dance around trees with Jayam Tavi or a Vimbhu or a Jhanush. Or be fake abducted by a Bhasish Vidyarthi or a Payaji Phinde and cry for the hero to come and save me. Nope. Cant do such puke inducing stuff.

But I have great respect for a certain filmmakers. Mani Ratnam, his asst. Priya, Rajiv and Gautham menon, in the off chance that I might get noticed by them and asked to act in their movies . But even they are a no-no for my mother. No movies. Period.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Limit-less lies

You know what pains me most? The way women lie to get the men they want. Not just any lie. I believe mostly that the end justifies the means (plus a few white lies are un-avoidable in any relationship in this day and age). But never that particular pregnancy lie.
Because, it is the ultimate lie to get a decent guy, however squeamish he is about commitment, to commit. Even the decent guy with a thick 'jerk' coating, will fall at the pregnancy lie.

But, what is the point of having the guy, if the thing that made him commit to, is not you, but as much as you love it, the baby? Maybe some women can live that kind of a lie. But every time I see one of those scenes or read this same cliche'd plot in a 'self-pity-mode-mills-and-boon-reading-phase', I just want to puke. The sensation is actually physical, the need to puke, I mean.

Why the sudden move to talking about 'I am pregnant with your child' so you-cant-escape-me-now-expression? (carefully expressed, with a mixture of the sad-guilty and the doe-eyed
"Im so sorry I got pregnant, but you love me so you will be with me" look, that is gaurenteed to work a 100 %? ) Urgh....vomit-territory.
Anyway, I am a serious Grey's Anatomy fan, (watch every episode, follow all the actors' live carefully on US WEEKLY) and the plot line has the Rebecca Pope character cheating Alex Karev into believeing that she is pregnant, so that he finally give a s*** about her. And I got carried away ranting about it :)

Later.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The great look-alike mystery: Javier and Jeffrey



Jeffrey Dean Morgan is the hottie from Grey's Anatomy. I have been (and so have other Grey's fans) lusting after this dude ever since he began appearing as the doomed poor-heart character in the series. Awesome eye-candy. And when I saw the same face in the promos of No Country for Old Men, I assumed it was him till someone told me that the actor in the movie was a Spanish actor named Javier Bardem. And seeing Jeff Dean Morgan in PS I Love You, reinforced my strong opinion that these two dudes are somehow related, if they are not twins seperated at birth ( like in a cheesy predictable flick plot line). Some ancestor somewhere has given them the same jaw and the same delectabe, dimple-showing smile. If Jeff was made to wear dark contacts, there would be no telling them apart, I think.

And you know another thing, where they are related are not, God - Well done! for producing not one, but two such fine specimens for us poor women to drool at :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The lure of the mike

I was the Mc for a recent Rotary club event in the city last Saturday. (For the un-initiated, MC stands for master of ceremonies, the guy/girl who conducts the event...blabs on the mike...welcome...yada yada yada...next we gonna...yada yada yada...hope you had fun... yada yada and thanks for not throwing eggs on our faces...yada yada :)

And it is fun, when all the talking you normally do can pay you quite some bit of money. And there are poeple who do this professionally, and charge about 5K for an evening. And the even more famous ones that charge even more.... tune of 15K per evening. All for the gift of the gab and the non-objection to gab in a public forum, where about hundereds of people judge you for every word you utter. But, again, being a beginner, other than having dabbed in compereing events in school and college, the money is not as good as even 5k. But it will get there in a year's time. A friend of mine is going on a 10 city tour where he has to MC for the product launch events. He can't come back home for about a month and a half. But is being paid for all his troubles in lakhs :) 5 to be exact .

And in the domestic arena, I mastered the art of the roast red bell pepper and tomato soup. Highly flavourful and non- calorific...which most dishes can't boast of, except for soup and low-fat chocolate cereal. Am planning to try my hand at the roast pumpkin and garlic soup :)
I also made some super moist, super sweet brownies, which I made other ppl eat :)

More later.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My first ad-film experience

I have always been interested in getting into modelling ever since I saw Aishwarya and Sush, when I was around 10-11 years old. I guess most girls in India old enough to recognise that beauty well endowed and maintained lead to world-wide good- quality popularity, and not the sleazy popularity we were encouraged as children to associate with female actresses, especially in the south. And as any girl would have preened in front of a mirror, so did I. But adolescent puppy-fat put a block to that for quite a few years :)
When I found myself back in shape after hitting 16, I found out that I was a geek. And geeks were never encouraged in these kind of things in Chennai, coz geeks were created ( I think parents start praying for brilliant children even before the embryo is created) to enter medical college or engineering college and make their families proud.
Anyway, all this history leads to why I, a 23 year old am doing my first ad- film ....
Studying always took priority, till I decided it doesnt have to. So instead of being an independant, earning 75K USD a year career woman at some big bio-tech company in some part of the USA, I am trying to get a foot hold, in hot sweltering Chennai, in the modelling industry.....
The ad film was for a new product- a packet of nuts :) Ah, it doesnt really matter, for beggers can't be choosers. And it is a 3k payment for half a day's work...no complaints for now....And being an older entrant, while it is disadvantgeous, because everyone else is barely 18-19, is also good, because I see the competition and get reminded of myself at 18. Not very confident and a little unsure of my own identity. Could never handle pressure situations like I could do now.
There's a lot to be said for maturity.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cinnamon Craze

I love baking. I love when the dough rises and the sweet cakey and the fruity smell fills the house. I love experimenting with different ingredients, mix different flavours like pecan and banana or chocolate and pineapple and love it when the combination works beyond what I had imagined. I love giving ppl the food I have created and watch them enjoy it.
Of course I have had oven mishaps. It was the very first time I tried making chocolate-chip cookies. The dough was too soft and started running in the heat, and I got a huge, flat and rectangular cookie the size of the tray that I had put the (what I had thought small )dollops of dough on :)
Anyway, I was without the outlet that baking provided for almost a year and a half before I treated myself a month ago and bought a small 15 litre capacity oven from Spencers. Now the entire family is complaning that I am making them fat. Somehow, as much as I love baking, I never eat more than a couple of pieces of whatever I have made. Maybe that is because the cook ( or I am ) with the product right from when its still flour, butter, sugar, milk, fruit, vegetable and eggs, that by the time the cake or cookie or pizza or pie comes out of the oven, steaming hot, you have lost your appetite for the product.
Anyway, now I have started to make the neighbours fat too :) Made a heavy banana cake today, which doesnt really need eggs. (mom and grandma are strict veggies)
I always used to wonder at the western taste, where almost all desserts have cinnamon in them. My Indian sensibility was revolted when the apple pie I was served at a 4th of July celebrations came with a heavy cinnamon dusting. Cinnamon was a hot, spicy food condiment, usually gracing biriyanis and pulavs in a fried state, and seeing it in desserts never became normal for me in my 2 years in the States.
But, I realise it now. It lessens the sweetness, when the sweetness is too much and can lead to what we call - thegating in Tamil. When too much sugar can lead to a cloying sensation and you can eat no more of the dish. I realised this when I tasted the small sticky pieces of cake that came out with the fork, when I was testing done-ness. Some recipes call for extra sugar to give size and shape to particular cakes. So I ground up some sticks of cinnamon and dusted the top of the cake along with some white sugar. Cake tasted great and the sweetness was tempered well too :D

Sunday, April 20, 2008

New moves....new life

Sometimes, I want to strangle my parents. Of course, they want to strangle me all the time too. That is primarily because I live in their house. It is never a good idea to go back and live with parents, who still want to set the rules, after one has lived by oneself / with roomies for a relatively considerable amount of time.



Recent case in example : My deputy editor, a very independant 28 year old served host to his mother, who had come visiting her beloved son for a few weeks. And, my soon-to-leave-the-country, partying, night-owl deputy had to endure calls every half-hour from 8 pm till he surrendered and went home at 12 pm, which is when the night usually wakes up for him. He is still complining. So, a guy who, in my eyes, seemed to have it all together, is pestered by his mom to this extent, I see no relief for me in the near future :(



And with drinking being a huge No-No to my ultra tee-totalling mother, whose face hardens to rock everytime alcohol is even spoken about, I have had to refrain from even occasional drinking ( I sip at a breezer and call it drinking :-) My friends who actually drink scoff at my idea of what drinking is ). Anyway, I know why I put up with all this. Financial and emotional security. And even if i get my financial independance back again soon, moving out seems to be a distant dream. Because of quaint old notions running through my father's thick head that a girl ought not leave her father's house, unless she has to move to another city for the cause of employment or education, till she is married. Because of what society might think, about the father's evilness or about the girl's wicked life-style which necessitated the moving out. Not that the 'need for independance' will be bought by society as a reason. Apparently, something must be wrong with the family or the child to choose to live in another house while the parents live in the same city!

Sometimes i post just to crib about the sad aspects of my life. And since I quit my job recently, I miss writing my dating/single in the city column. It was fun while it lasted. But, no worries, lots to do in the meantime, going about setting up a whole new different career, while trying to finish my post-graduatation.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Issues

What is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare....W.H.Davies was a genius....I have no time to stand and breathe in even the polluted air of my beautiful city.....all my time, I spend on the run.

Of course, some of the running, I bring upon myself. Running away from prospective beaus, is something I dont particularly enjoy, yet am forced to do it, because I dont want to hurt anybody or let anyone down, but yet, I have to refuse dates if I accidentally bump into them or pick up their calls, because actually going on the date will give them ideas, which I obviously am uncomfortable giving.

How does all of this start anyway? I am friendly, even flirtatious, but the moment I sense more than casual interest, I run. Why? Because all the guys I just want to flirt with, end up wanting more. And all I guys I do want more with, end up running away. Ironic, isnt it? Amidst all the running and the chasing, I wonder if at all I will meet someone who wants me, who I want too....Am not talking the sex thing here, theres plenty of two way desire happening in my life. I am talking about wanting a relationship with a guy who wants a relationship with me.

Somehow in my 23 year old liberated life, even though the last ten years have been around 'heightened awareness ' members of the opposite sex, I have not managed to find that elusive thing called a relationship. Oh, the issues.

Who doesnt have them? All the world has are issues. With other countries, with neighbouring states, with the teacher, the boss, colleagues, friends, co-actors, siblings, parents........with the crackle bar sitting on my table and the last of the whiskey in the Johnny Walker bottle.....issues.

More later.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Why oh why GOD!

My father told me this morning, the following dialogue.

"Rani Meyyammai hall cost 4 lakhs for two days rental, exclusive of water and electricity charges. And catering arrangements cost about a lakh if you want to give your guests good food for the two days."

After my non commital, "hmmm" he goes on, "And Hindhi Prachar Shaba hall costs only a lakh for two days...but its not in the same range as Rani M. hall."

Two of his close friends' daughters are getting married shortly. Both of them are exactly my age, one even with a degree more than me.

After being bugged about the marraige issue by my mother for almost a year now ( am only twenty frigging three now) , my dad too has taken up the mantle to fight for the cause of the establishment - namely - get a reasonably nice boy, preferably from the same community and get hitched.

OOhhh, the fact that I dont want to get married is something they think if they ignore, somehow slowly my though process will become like their's. It is like - their ignoring the elephant in the room will promtly make the elephant go "poof" and vanish.....and the fact that a ceremony to unite two beings in matirmony should cost atrocious sums that some people struggle to save in a decade is abhorable.

Ok, its not like im going to marry some inappropriate guy or elope with a hooligan or something.....I dont have a boyfriend..... only younger men seem to be attracted to me for now...dont know if that is good or bad in some ways....but i definitely cannot bring home a boy, who still has years of independance left to enjoy and make him marry me to satisfy my parents...

So, now that i have vented enough, i will go away.....

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Actor and love/hate blues

I am going to interview an actor in a couple of weeks. I have interviewed actors before, it goes with the job. And in my job, you can't be in awe of celebrities, because interacting with them is your livelihood. And, if, in spite of knowing job specifications, you are in awe of actors, apprehensive or gobsmacked, once you see them in the flesh, sweating, bumbling, making gaffes and faux pas, you fall quickly down from the haze high up there.

So, why is this actor special? Well, he is not very popular, atleast not as popular as some of the other stars I have interviewed. But, I have kind of had a thing for him ever since he came over from a neighbouring state. Why? My friend from work asked.....and I am well past the age where girls fantasize seriously about actors......so I started wondering.....He has the typical looks of the type I am naturally attracted to ......of course I veered from my 'Type' once in a while(One has to, especially coz there aren't many to go around in the aforesaid type), but he fits the Type to a 'T'...but it is not just that....
His voice is wonderful, deep and gravelly, kind of like Yesudas, whose voice I love, and whose voice kind of resembles one of my first and few love-hate thingies. So I started thinking about all the people I have had Love and hate with.....There aren't that many in that list.....infact...it had just the one guy I mentioned.....the other two are females, but I am digressing here.

So anyway, I am going to interview him pretty soon. And I hope I can do a good job of it, because I kind of clam up if I am attracted to someone. Clammed up interviewers don't generate good interviews, do they? :(

My sister depressed me a whole lot, when I came home from work, today talking about a Taboo subject, which in my dictionary include "groom", "family", "relative" and everything that goes with that. She was in a strange mood and told me not to give in to the pressure, coz if I gave in , she might be tempted to...not that I plan on giving in to the pressure in the near future....not for another three years at least....In case you haven't guessed, yup am talking about the dreaded 'Arranged Marriage" thing.

Lots more to say, but when queen somna( what else can you call her?) becons, one has got to hit the bed,

so with that faithful narrative, I take leave.....
More later,
AV

Monday, January 14, 2008

Who writes blogs?

First post.

Hmmm.

What wordly wise words does one put on the internet when one finally overcomes their reluctance and starts to blog ? I cannot find those words, the ones that leave the reader flabbergasted, shocked or atleast amused.

Usually, people have to stop me from shooting out of my mouth. I talk too much. My foot should have been partially digested by now, with the amount of time it spends in my mouth.

I always thought that blogs were for people who dont get to write professionally. Superior writing skills dont belong in a blog, I once thought. (Not that my prose skills are superior, but they are decent) They belong where people pay to read them, in papers, mags or books. But I see the error of my ways now. See, I actually got a writing job, where I get paid to write. But, it comes with a catch. ( What doesn't, these days?) One cannot always write what one wants when one actually gets paid to write what the boss wants....but more about the boss later, when the ethanol levels tell me to chuck - what if my boss happens upon my blog?- caution.

But here, one can write what they want. Curse the world, the president, the congress, umpires who should be sacked, the BJP, DMK, AIADMK or whoever else that needs cursing. One can declare love, hate, friendship, resolutions and whatever emotion that one needs to take off one's chest.....So, now I have embraced Blogion(Blog+religion, get it?)

So, adios, till I decide what I want to actually write here,
AM