Saturday, December 31, 2005

OneHundredOne AND One

All in the same go. 101 posts round up year 1 on this mighty machine humbly known as the blogosphere. I'm glad I made it this far. I admit it has not been as easy I thought it would be. I think I began by thinking this would turn out to be an opportunity to see if I had any 'creative writing' genes, a book in me and a vent for the endless rubbish floating around in my head. It's turned out to be an tree-huggers diary, the online-ness offering up the opportunity to replace/save the numerous notebooks I scribbled in. It's my space, where I've jotted in stuff that I find amusing interesting, not so trivial, very trivial; reviewed books and restaurants that have caught my attention or not so much; but mostly its where I marked the start of my 30th year.
In 101 posts:
  • I have never received more than 6 comments per post - and even then the author had stumbled and deleted 3 of their comments - I still like to think my highest ever comments was 6
  • I have never been tagged
  • I feature on fewer blogrolls than every other blog I read - and being jobless I read a lot.
  • I have had 9037 visitors to my blog - of which half are probably me checking to see if I have any non-existant comments and to check how many bloggers looked me up.
  • I had had my profile viewed 586 times - again that's probably me one third of the time.
  • I can confirm that I am doggedly going to continue - this blog is for my pleasure, not a book deal, money or awards
I am resolute in what this blog is for me. My 30th year marches into 2006, happy healthy and my mind is still full of ideas on what I want to say. Whether anyone but me ever reads it or not. Happy 101/1 to me.

Talking of resolutions. As the earth finished yet another chakkar around the sun, we're mostly making silent resolutions on how we'll change our own worlds next year (silent mainly for fear of people thinking us sissies who need time to define their being; "you can and SHOULD begin resolutions when you think of them, not wait till the 1st" crap). Some of us will keep resolutions till the middle of January or just be-fore/yond, others will strive for the middle of the year or obscene goals such as losing 200lbs. Either way many of the hours without will feel like a sci-fi movie where time forgot about us. But make no mistake, resolutions are being made every minute of this past week, even in the heads of the cynics, the uber-cool, the grouchy. I wish you luck all. It's not always about the result but instead the race.

I made some pretty big resolutions despite being stared at (as if I had just landed from Mars) and told how it was unrealistic, childish, extreme (think up the remainder similar adjectives) and how I would never manage to honour them by almost everyone I told them to (except by V who is my hero). Well I really don't care who says what; I still have a list all pinned up and so far being stuck to (It's only the 3rd but I'm an eternal optimist).

I like the idea of New Year and resolutions walking hand in hand. As for begining them anytime during the year, yes you could do that but then you could just as easily discount New Years and pretend that the calender does not exist. Let Jan 1st be any other day, don't party, stay home and sulk some more. Be an optimist. Imagine that the same way your birthday marks the start of another year in your life, the New Year is just a common birthday for people to celebrate together. A handle on what went by and a clean slate on which you can write your next year. Resolutions whether kept or not will boost your spirits: give up something, take up something new, plan a holiday, smile more. Something will last. Or atleast you'll have the rest of the year to plan next years resolutions.

Meanwhile I hope you usehered in the New Year with gusto whether at home (as 20 new-baby-families probably did) or watching fireworks or at a party. More importantly I hope you brought in 2006 with a smile on your face and with friends by your side. We certainly did. With friends, champagne, music, merriment and laughter. And are all the better for it. Although we needed to sleep off the exhaustion all day on the 1st after rolling home at 6.30am! What a year this promises to be...

May 2006 glow!

Babe name game

This post is not about new years resolutions for 2006. It's about resolutions made by adults to take on new responsibilities further confirming their adult status. It's about tiny creatures who take over small worlds and rule with soft iron fists. Whose tiny tops of heads smell of the nectar of life.

Babies. Born by the million each year. Each one the centre of someones universe. Bringing pride and joy to many a clan.

On the naming of many babies I have heard The Grouchy One argue that often the minimum criteria for producing a baby is body parts and a complete lack of undestanding on how to use them (in short body parts and stupidity). As the world fancies itself more modern with each passing year these little creatures are lovingly bestowed with names that are probably the prime reason they are yelling so much. TGO reckons that prospective parents should have to give an exam to check their suitability and name choosing abilities. Luckily TGO has no say in the matter.

This year V & my wide world of friends and relatives have produced a record breaking number of babies: 20. 9 girls and 11 boys. That may not seem like a lot when compared with the millions born each year but it's the largest number born in any year of our adult lives yet. Maybe it has to do with our age, this need to procreate. The bug is ever far from us thankfully. But as these babies grow into 2006 and begin to take their first tiny steps I can only wish their parents a lifetime of happy memories.

I don't know what TGO would make of any of these names but here they are:

The little ladies:
Hannah, Tara, Rhea, Jia, Karma, Radhika, Anya, Naarayani-Gayatri, Naina

The naughty boys:
Neel, Ishaan, Arjun, Vir, Jiyon, Kavi, Akshat, Arnav, Charlie, Zain, Thomas

I don't know if I like or dislike any of the names - thankfully they aren't mine to decide on. I do know that their parents chose carefully, with thought, numerology, astrology, ancesterology and mostly with love. I am also a self-certified expert on know how much every baby gift ever made costs, whats cool in babydom and what is most definitely so last year, what little girls look cute in and little boys will smile at, what parents will approve of and what colours are sooo this season in little people world.

I also know that (no matter what TGO says) as we coo over other people's babies and tell them what wonderful names they have chosen, their expectations for their babe will have been reinforced and their sensitivities respected.

Good luck babies (and the rest of the world).

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Books & Art 2005 - V

I know. You are looking at the time the past four posts have been posted at and wondering at my super typing speed. I began by typing up what I wanted to write in blogger and found it took simply ages and that I was going off on different tangents ever so often. Decided in the interest of the (very very few) readers of 30in2005 and my own sanity that I would write the posts in a word document and copy paste them. I know its cheating but the blog police is in office at this time so I’ll take my chances!

As I write this (in an actual blogger window) I am quite taken by my own decisiveness in choosing my favourite 3 books. It was a difficult choice but as I sat on the tube yesterday afternoon I quickly made a mental list of 6. This morning I wrote that list down and as soon as I saw it written down I decided which my top 3 were. The The Tiger Claw, Serving Crazy with Curry and Jigs & Reels come in a close 4th, 5th and 6th.

So that's the books.

As for the Art I cannot say more strongly what I feel about the Turner prize as I did here. Boatsheds are not art and I would not keep it in my house if you paid me the $40,000 the artist won for it. He must be thrilled with what he's gotten away with!

Next week I plan to go and see 3 galleries and 3 exhibits to renew my interest in different art forms and confirm that good art can be found outside the confines of the crazy prizes. Art for its own sake. Art that is exciting, refreshing, pleasing to the eye, a view of the world through anothers eyes, an expression that is of intriguing beauty. God help any contrived nonsense masqerading as art that comes in my path!

I hope 2006 is a good year for books and art, particularly. I hope you read something good in 2005. And saw something inspiring. Bet it wasn't the Turner prize longlist though.

Books & Art 2005 - IV

Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre (Book 15): This was borrowed off someone’s bookshelf after a sparkling dinner last weekend and I finished it in less than 24 hours. I had to call the owner just to tell them that this is possibly the best book I’ve read all year. It’s a book I didn’t buy or borrow before because I was convinced that the hype surrounding it was the precursor to a gentle let-down. And the authors' name gave me no confidence whatsoever (I know I know, whats in a name and all that - shame on me)

I was sooo wrong. Since it won the Man Booker Prize in 2003 and I’m years behind in catching up with it, there are a zillion reviews of the book, so choose one from here, here or here.

All I will say is this: It’s a book set in modern day America with a plot based on the rampant availability of guns, juvenile problems, materialism, dyfunctional families, media focus, small town biases and a multitude of scary everyday issues. Vernon Gregory Little narrates the story begining from when his life is irrevocably changed by the Columbine-style slaughter of a group of students at his high school by his best friend Jesus Navarro. The plot finds Vernon charged with the killing despite his innocence and soon he is in the media spotlight, surrounded by his ridiculaous mother and her conman boyfriend Eulalio Ledesma. Vernon is caught up in a chain of events that leads to Mexico, a scary assignation with college girl Taylor Figueros, dying minutes on death row and beyond.

It’s a brilliant book, readable over and over. The plot moves quickly, the language is very teen and the mind is boggled by the attractive simplicity of it. If you haven’t read it, do. Now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Books & Art 2005 - III

31 Songs by Nick Hornby (Book 14 ): This I bought in Borders, Oxford Street, while waiting to meet a friend. I resisted the lights and bought just the one book!

I love Nick Hornby’s writing. I’ve read every book of fiction he’s written. I’ve seen the movies made out of them and re-read the books again, enjoying each one anew. He has a very connected way of writing, including his reader in the world he creates and encouraging ‘the little people to find the light’ kind of themes in his stories. A modern day feel good above all else magician. The kind of writer I think I’d like to be.

31 songs is not fiction. I bought it much after it came out, postponing the purchase, letting linger the thought that maybe we’d like the same kind of music but knowing deep down that we wouldn’t and that if (or honestly, when) that happened I wouldn’t enjoy his books as much anymore. I was right. Well atleast about us not liking the same kind of music. The only thing we have in common is Bruce Springsteen (hey, no sniggering out there). But the book is evocative and so well written that I feel like I was listening to the wrong stuff in my teens. Nick Hornby draws a brilliant melody with his words, describing how music often makes us feel, articulating what most of us can only do in our heads or when no one else is around.
Even if his music is not your music you should read this book. I promise you will hear things you never read before.

Books & Art 2005 - II

Anthem by Tim Binding (Book 13): Bought in a bargain store in Greenwich because how can I resist a solid hardback!?

This is the story of four neighbouring families living in Anglefield Road, small town England, in the times of the Falkland war and before. The before is the separation of a young boy Henry Armstrong being separated from his mother during a day trip to London in the last great fog of 1952. Henry grows up and as a bandsman in the Royal Marines bound for the Falklands, finds his life is still overshadowed by the fact that he has still not found his mum.

Thirty years later, in the year of the Falkland war, shoe salesman Richard Roach (coinicidently Henry's childhood friend), finds he is being ousted out of his company by a younger man who is also having an affair with his wife. He is at war with his teenage son, is haunted by his childhood mistakes and things get truly miserable before he deicides to make any changes. His neighbour Freddie Millen is eternally obliged to his brighter, richer brother and remains obsessed with lawns, both causing a huge strain in his marriage. Their neighbours Matty and Suzanne Plimsoll are crew members on the liner Canberra which is requisitioned for the war. While Matty jumps ship at the last minute Suzanne escapes her marriage and stepdaughter by volunteering to accompany the liner as it transports troops to the Falklands. The Plimsolls are next door to the Armstrongs who are missing a son (you know who) and still struggling with their loss all these years later by buying notebooks like the one he had on him when he was lost.

The story is beautifully told and Tim Binding weaves hope well into the intertwining lives of ordinary people in the face of loss, war, ambition and struggles.

Definitely a bookshelf keeper.

Books & Art 2005 - I

Ever so often I pick up a newly authored book (or books; on a deadly whim; in a chain bookstore where the lights are designed to hypnotise you till you hand over the £’s on what seems like a great 3 for 2 offer; HAH!) fully expecting that it will not nearly live up to all the hype surrounding it. Mostly this premise turns out to be true and my hopes of ‘a brilliant read’ are well & truly dashed. Publicists and strategic marketing have won again, given the book a place that it does not truly deserve and e entrapped me into parting with my hard earned cash. I usually put the book down thinking “what was I thinking!?” or “what were they thinking?!”, vowing to listen to my instincts till the next gimmick sucks you in.

In similar strain I have followed the acclaimed Turner prize for art since I got to England in 2002, watching to see how appallingly bad it can get and what it does for the artist who wins it. I went to see the exhibits in the first year but was so shocked by what was on offer (Bubble chamber by Keith Tyson, multi-coloured Perspex ceiling by Liam Gillick, Two films: Flight & Descent by Catherine Yass and wordscapes by Fiona Banner) that I decided to save my money (and buy aforementioned gimmicky books instead). I now follow the Turner addicts (waiting to see when they will STOP this nonsensical prize or shoot the artists) TV option by watching endless programmes alternately loving (nobody does, I’m just being politically correct for that someone out there who loves it/them all) and criticising the artists (for good reason – they’re rubbish), the prize (for good reason – it’s poor show if this is Britains best) and the whole art world. Art wise 2005 did not fare any better than the preceding years. The Turner shortlist continued to look like an effort gone too far down the wrong road and this winning entry is yet another example of why the Turner should be shot in the leg. It’s a reconstituted boatshed for heavens sake. I’m now convinced that beautiful art should not be what other people tell you it is but what you see and enjoy. Good art cannot be contrived.

2005 turned out to be a quite a bit different book-wise (though not for art as the Turner showed - it continues to be a prize for artworks that can most disappoint the public appetite for new, energising and exciting art). For one I ventured into chain bookstores with increasing rarity and always with my darkglasses on. I stayed away from the offers and bought authors who appealed rather than the ones I was told I had to. I increasingly relied on whatever was available in bargain/ basement bookstores and friends bookshelves & tips for things to read. The unpredictability of what was available as a bargain and the tastes of friends made for interesting reading for the most part.

I’ve chosen three of these books, all from different sources, as my top picks in 2005. These weren’t written in 2005, so you may have already read them. For me they were new and excellent. I want to review them post by post. So read on.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


V thinks he is the blog police. Anytime I start to write something even vaguely negative (as I was before this post - backspace key zindabad!) and he's glanced over my shoulder to take a peek he begins a sermon on 'think about it', 'it could have a negative consequence', ' what will our friends who read it think', 'blah', 'blah', 'blah'. Even in my own house there seems to be the missing element of freedom of speech - it's apparently cool to rant at V (which is all I seem to do these days) but it is not cool to rant to the world lest someone we know thinks the post is about them and gets deeply offended.....oh the injustice!

The point of the anonymous blog was for me to write what I thought, felt, experienced. It's mainly my own mistake for telling most of my friends I was now a blogger and that they could look me up on

Maybe I'll start annother blog and not tell anyone (including Mr. Blog Police). In the meanwhile you'll have to just guess what I was going to rant about.

Lesson to self: Don't blog when V is around!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

This is for 39in2005

... who was 38 till yesterday. She is not a blogger. She's my fave cousin who extrapolated from my blog name and uses the name to leave comments on my blog. Happy 39th birthday!

Turning 30 was a huge deal for me but I always felt safe knowing that she turned 30 before me and in her 30's continued to be one of the coolest people on the planet. She is THE Jill of all trades, who manages her home, multi-tasks her work, deftly brings up my two adorable nieces, deals with endless streams of visiting family & friends, plans epic holdiays to India and manages to stay in touch with our large family with what seems like little effort. She is the leader of our band of 6 cousins, the queen-pin that holds us all in perpetual smiles. It's a mammoth task being the eldest of us cousins and I think sub-consciously she probably takes it very seriously. Not that you would ever guess it.

This year when we were all in India for her mum's birthday and another cousins reception we had a brilliant time. Stayed up most of the nights, yacking, catching up on gossip and letting all our spouses bond. She is always on for a laugh or a spur of the minute dash to the shops. She is the favourite grandchild, the favourite niece, the memory holder of many of our childhood summer holiday stories.

She will be 40in2006 and worries that this might be her midlife crisis time. I think not. She will probably sleep the worry off in no time and make her 40's sparkle more than the 30's. Then we'll all want to follow suit because the 40's will look like fun. And before we know it time will be on our side and we'll be right there! In the meanwhile she thinks she could deal with the crisis by cooking up a storm...but worries the storm might bring too many calories!

So loads of love and birthday wishes from this continent! Sieze the day. Make that list of things you always wanted to do before you hit the big 4-0 and do them....

Happy Birthday!!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Still sudoku-ing

I don't even know if sudoku-ing is a real word but it best describes what we've been doing. Ever since I began doing it a few months ago I've known that with me it's not a passing fad. And everywhere Sudoku madness is evdient. It's in the Metro and the City AM so I can keep myself occupied in the tube. Bookshelves stock paperbacks from every publisher, with celebrity endorsements and to suit every level of difficulty. There are competitions in local clubs.

As if that were not enough there are newer crazes: killer sudoku, kakuro, other odd sounding games.

I'm still hooked on sudoku though. It's my crossword puzzle. I've consistantly been racing against the clock and finishing the daily puzzle on Fingertime. I'm getting better and better at it. My best ever time is 4:33 although my average is still 6 mins.

Hey ho!

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I'm getting impatient as hell for a job now. I don't know how much longer I will be 'discerning' about my applications before I stoop to applying to McDonald's for a burger flipping job. Where are all the people willing to take a leap of faith etc....

Anyway, that was not the point of the post - it was just the release of writing down what is most frustrating at the moment that I could not resist! This is the story I heard and the point:

Worrywart goes home to his beautiful wife after an evening out socialising in a bar with his colleagues. Enters his home complaining that he dropped his travelcard with a value of about £16 on it. The Mrs tells him not to worry and to look again once he's eaten. He deigns to eat a lukewarm dinner with a furrowed forehead and no conversation. Jumps up after his meal, checks his jacket pocket, threatens to go back to the bar on a freezing night. Mrs. convinces him not to so he locates the number of the bar, calls and gets the guy on that end of the phone to go check if anyone has turned it in. No one has but bar guy takes down Ww's name and number and promises to call if anyone does. Ww tries calling Transport for London but hits some complicated menu and gives up. Mrs says to be patient and that maybe someone in the bar will turn it in overnight. Worry and impatience don't mix well. Ww ignores all pleas and instead goes online to find some way to cancel the travelcard & retrieve its balance. "Eureka!" he cries. TfL will mail him a new card, cancel the old one and his £16 balance is safe. Worry turns into a smile and finally he has more than 3 words and a real conversation to have with the Mrs. She has no time for this nonsense and walks away.

His travelcard was lying on his bedside table.

His patience is somewhere on the otherside of the world digging a hole through someone's garden, trying to get back to him. Maybe it'll be back by the time his new travelcard arrives in the post!

Monday, December 05, 2005


Over the past few years our idea of a good evening changed from dancing the night into morn. It became a relaxed meal with a few friends, sipping wine with candles around us to set the mood, listening to sublime music and talking endlessly. Before we decided to go to clubbing this weekend I was sure that in my 30's my dancing feet had slipped into an amnesiac state and would have not a clue what to do.

Since we were going with friends we decided to go out for dinner (read: line the stomach) before hitting the dance floor. Chose a cuisine that would adequately accomodate vegetarians and a place that was relatively close to where we were going dancing. So we booked and ate at TAS in London Bridge. It's a Turkish eatery, part of a chain. Excellant mezze and lamb casserole. Topped up with coffee we headed to the party.

Worries about losing all semblance of co-ordination when on the dancefloor subsequent to turning 30 are gone. No question about it. Dispersed with the music. Kicked away with the Bhangra. Sweated into vapour. WooHoo!! Saturday night was proof that I had nothing to worry about in the first place. Age IS all in the mind. The evening was grand; we danced our feet off till 1 am and then came home with four of our friends to watch the dialogues & sing along the songs from a number of great old hindi films. Thought I'd blog before falling asleep but I was way too excited to be coherent. Went to bed at 5.30am and woke in time for us to all go to Tayyabs to eat lunch.

Sunday afternoon and evening sailed by stuck in a sea of people on Oxford Street, refreshed with energising juice from 'Juiced!', tea with friends at a tiny cafe on James Street, drinks at Ask in Piccadilly before a much needed early night.

The dancing was super even though the music was not great either in quality of songs the DJ chose or the sound system. It was fun because we were all together and I for one really enjoyed myself. I had forgotten what fun V & I have on the dancefloor. I think our cosy evenings with friends, food & wine are great but interspersed with evenings out like this would be even more special. I resolve to plan more WooHoo moments!

TAS: 72 Borough High Street, London SE1 1XF. Tel: 020 7403 7200/ 7277

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Dancing shoes

I'm just getting over a bad cold that has kept me indoors with a box of Kleenex since Thursday.

Started off the weekend with a lovely dinner at Royal China (West Ferry Circus) last evening. Just V and me. After ages it was just us, makes a change from our endlessly busy social lives. I was still sniffling but the hot & sour soup really helped the cause. We had some calamari and dumplings to start, sizzling chicken in blackbean sauce and hot & spice veal with soft noodles and egg fried rice. Far too much food so we ended up packing most of it and bringing it home. Made for a great brunch today! Royal China is a highly successful family owned chain with restaurants in St.Johns Wood, Baker Street, Queenstown and West Ferry Circus. They are known for their dim sum and excellent chinese food. Their food is wholesome, hot and tsaty and they don't douse everything in MSG which is good. We had a lovely evening just catching up with each other, me just glad to be yacking without blowing my nose every 3 seconds and V just unwinding from his hectic week. An evening alone with your partner is highly recommended....

Nice long swim this afternoon to finish off the cold. I'm off to put on my dancing shoes as we plan to go dancing tonight after eons. I think I may have forgotten how to dance, its been that long. So the un-coordinated one on the dance floor, that'll be me. I can't wait!

Have a good weekend all!

Royal China: 30 Westferry Circus, London E14 8RR. Tel: 020 7719 0888