Sunday, October 24, 2010

Facebooked, line and sinker.

I'm falling hook, line and sinker into the depths of social networking sites. A bit late, you'd say? Since the train to social evolution started a couple of years ago and I seem to be boarding it on Indian Standard Time.

But what can I say? I just log in, snoop around my own homepage, log out and find other things to do. However, the past couple of months has made me intensely facebook savvy. And what have I learned from all of it?

FaceHOOK -- I've been taking those silly 10-questions-that-have-nothing-to-do-with-the-result-I'll-give-you quizzes and I'm hooked to the new aspects to my personality. (What my birthday means, Which Harry Potter Character I am, When I will meet my Prince Charming - incidentally, this Prince Charming application never even opened. *oops we cannot open this application* was the only message he sent me. Hmph.)

FaceBOND -- New aspects to other peoples' personalities. (Did you know my classmate from school was actually a seahorse in his previous life? Oh, and my friend's Italian name ought to have been Bona - which have meanings good -- and I'm using the exact grammar and spelling that was published.)

FaceSTALK -- Ok. So I have a problem with stalking/stalkers/stalkees/basically anything to do with a stalk. (including banana and lotus stalk...they make curry out of it and it tastes vile, I tell you. Absolutely vile.) And if you know me well, you know why I have a problem with stalking. But FB gives you a free license to stalk all you like anonymously. I'll admit I've used this license faaaar to many times to stalk that third cousin living it up in his 'abroad' university, or that friend of a friend of a friend who's friend was in my language class. Do I care about these people? Not really. But their completely lame privacy settings allows me a voyeuristic peek into their colourful lives. Of course, I know people might be doing the same to my profile (haha. Because I'm so fun on Facebook. I don't even know where I need to enter the 'Tell us something about yourself'). But if my profile was interesting, why would I be snooping around others' anyway?

(Oh, and a couple of months ago, this application was circulated that could tell you who exactly visited your profile and how many times. It scared me totally. I mean, I practically realized my friends list would be halved after they added the application. But it apparently was only a faux attempt at scaring fellow snoopers. Right? RIGHT?)

FaceLOOK! Pictures! It's all about the pictures. Who wore what and went where with whom is answered in all these pictures. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. For me, certain people's albums (again, bad privacy settings) is worth a couple of books - horror, comedy, drama - you name it. I can alphabetically stalk...ooops, I mean stock...them in a library for further entertainment.

FaceCROOK -- A major reason of my being an avid facebooker (dude, that makes me feel all shady and illegal like fixing profiles and betting on MafiaWars games or Emran Haashmi will whip out his cellphone and fix...uh...cast me for that Bookie movie-part II) So yes, back to the topic.....why Crook? Because all kinds of people exist in the big bad web. Phony people are the BEST. I mean, recently, a RAP artist became popular because he-DA-Man. Everyone added him/linked him/messaged others about him etc. While he was fantastic (and I don't mean his looks or sense of humor here), I realized, that it is an ideal platform to create a fake world, a fake identity and fool everyone into believing how awesome you could be. But then again, are you honest in your OWN profile?

FaceFEED -- While I'd love to associate this word with gooey chocolate cake, sadly, it reminds me of the millions of notifications that pop up on my homepage everytime I log in. So a long-lost classmate has updated his relationship status as single. Am I supposed to whoop or offer my condolences on the comments part? Another old friend has become friends with 25 more people. Am I supposed to be insecure, now that she has 25 more people to keep in touch with apart from me? I mean, I know I've added you as my friend. But if I really care about your life, Don't worry. I WILL STALK YOU. Can FB stop telling me what you're upto everysinglesecondminuteandhour of your life? (It's not your fault you have such a happening life. I just wish it was happening offline)

and finally, the crux of the matter FaceSTATUS -- The one-liner that inspired a whole new social networking forum. The one-liner that tells us all what you're upto, what you're thinking/eating/wearing/doing/laughing about/crying over/seeing/drawing....oh get the status.
For those who write really fun status updates...great! But my goldfish memory lets me down and I'm NEVER able to re-quote it. And for those who write all cryptic, I will not comment/like or try to decode it. I met you some 10 years back. I don't know what you even look like now (Ohwait, I do. refer FaceLOOK) so I'm not likely to understand what you mean anyway.

And yes. I tried and tried to write funny/experiential/catchy/tear-jerky/hilarious/intelligent/witty status messages...but they got interpreted all wrong. So I've just given up trying to tell the world about myself. If you care so much, just FaceSTALK (only if you're my friend. Muahaha...the one thing I DO know about Facebook is privacy settings)

So a bit late in realization (don't blame me. I was on two earlier Social sites and got off both with a bitter taste in the mouth for no fault of I've been wary this time around, ok?) but Facebook sure is addictive. But for fellow facebookers (haha...jump into the Haashmi-movie wagon), here's a FaceTIP -

DO NOT experiment with 'Relationship status'. If you were bored and you clicked on 'It's Complicated'. Facebook announces it to the WHOLEWIDEWEB that
'Vaishnavi is in a relationship and it's complicated.'(broken heart)

And then you realize what a social gaffe that could cause (since your mother and all her best friends are on your list), you frantically undo the damage and go back to having no relationship status. The result?

Vaishnavi is no longer in a complicated relationship (heart)


Aunty, if you're reading this and are a Facebook friend of mine, I'm single. Really.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


10 things I can't WAIT to get through.

(Okay, so that was supposed to be a take on 10 things I hate about you...but clearly, since I've had to explain it, either I've killed the punch, or you're re-reading the title to get the point.)

The tenth thing I have to get through is work
Even the Chocolate Muffins there aren't a perk
A couple of more months, and things will be fine
But that'll bring me to number nine

The ninth thing that I have to clear
And preferably by the end of the year
is My cupboard - which has room for but a splinter
Or else the woolens remain in the attic for winter.

And then comes my hurdle at number eight
The one thing that could probably seal my fate
My two years finding their way to culmination
The essence of my sanity - my Dissertation

Maybe if I managed to get through number seven
I'd really be in a 'curious tourist' heaven
To visit Jaipur, Manali and Shillong
and break out into a Maria-type song!

(Maria being the Sound-of Music-tra-la-la-in-high-octave-Maria)

And that would bring me to number six
To be able to cook without ready-to-eat mix
Edible enough for me to survive
So I can accomplish number five

Five places I absolutely need to see
in this CWGed spruced up New Delhi
To photograph and capture the city I adore
and work towards finishing number four

Eating would come at number four
where I'd like to eat, eat, and then some more
For this season brings with it Aloo Chaat
And immunity to experiment outside of Dilli Haat

The next one up should hopefully induce some Glee
as I set about learning to play number three
A muscial instrument to keep my mind off tune
From all the worries piling up to become a huge dune

I increase the music, go beyond gear number two
and explore the city on my car, that's what I'll do
before I decide to pay public transport a favour
and use my own road-rage as a life-saver.

But that will drive me to number one
which is a secret, won't tell ya till it's done
The jinx'll get broken, it won't come true
Then I won't have 10 things I have gotten through!

SO there you go. THIS is what happens when you put me in a room full of internet and think I will probably be angelically looking through information that would help me in my current/future life. I end up making mundane, narcissistic poetry that will probably not help me in accomplishing ANYTHING I've written about. But it's a date well spent. :-)

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Holiday in the Heart

I mean the Heart of the country, a clarification I need to make before your imagination swings into overdrive and you imagine romantic possibilities. Once again, the adventure bug bit the Glovelies and we set off to the heart of the country, Madhya Pradesh. Of course, the number was almost halved this time, thanks to Dengue and Dance Classes, but four of us set off to explore an underrated but breathtakingly serene city - Jabalpur.

When I say breathtakingly serene, those of you who have been to Jabalpur will probably not find it descriptive (but I'm guessing most of you haven't, so just take my word for it.)...but where we stayed was the epitome of serenity.....even the sparrow would think twice before chirping and breaking the hauntingly beautiful silence lurking around.

The glovelies are very patriotic. Thanks to the Psycho-mommy (who shall henceforth be referred to as Chotu....a rather endearing nickname we learnt during the course of our trip), we always end up getting the Army red carpet treatment wherever we go. And this time was no less. From black ambassadors with sirens to a beautiful bungalow and even more fantastic perks (which I'm not entirely sure can be revealed on the internet, so let's just call it the Border-Movie-styled-tour), our trip was nothing short of a royal journey through the heart of the country.

The Royal Journey began on wheels, as we elegantly stepped into the AC compartments of Jabalpur Express well within time (Generally, we follow the GMT - Glovely Mean Time, which runs 45 minutes behind schedule) and scouted for junk food in station stalls. Maybe the train guys had seen the amount of junk food we had piled on the seats....or maybe they just assumed we were on a 'diet', they conveniently forgot to ask us if we needed to order dinner. After high pitched squeals from four insanely hungry girls, the attendants ran helter skelter and produced dinner from nowhere. Before we knew it, we were chugging along the Chambal Ravines, thus dismissing my two most arbitrary but dangerous presumptions:
1) Phoolan Devi's cousins or other daakoos do not enter random compartments while in the Chambal Valley with lanterns and loot you.
2) Your luggage can be kept below the seat without the possibility of it getting stolen at some station followed by a high speed ( running speed, that is) chase sequence across tracks.

Our destination was reached in no time (partly due to the deep slumber we all fell into after having overdosed on Matthew McCaughney movies.) and two shiny black ambassadors with gleaming red sirens awaited us at the station! Clamping upon the urge to burst into an impromptu salute at the driver bhaiyas, we made our way in a somewhat civilized manner to the house. The first day was spent in admiring the house, the gardens, the flowers, the vegetable patches, the swing, the front porch - all while slowly devouring the months' rations in Chotu's house. (Really, there's something about going home and being hungry all the time!)

The evening was heralded with our splendid idea of having an impromptu girls night out. This constituted LBDs, lots of prancing around (I'd like to call it walking elegantly, but we did look like deer on beer) and a gazillion pictures of us, the world and us with the world. After a rather exciting day that stretched about as far as 1km from the house, we fell back into the deep slumber in anticipation of a long picnic the next day.

Sure enough, the next day was let's explore Jabalpur! day. We set off early, with a nice desi Enid Blyton style picnic hamper to Barghi Dam and Bhedaghat. Barghi Dam is surrounded by the Narmada River catchment. Of course, from no angle does it look like a river. To me, it was like an endless sea.....separated here and there by little isles. A ride on the river confirmed that it did have another bank...some 45 minutes away. Slightly off-colour but very deep and tranquil, the Narmada river is something else altogether. I could just settle on one of those isles forever and write a book or something (someone please keep sending food, though.).

An awestruck boatride later, we tucked into our childish Enid Blyton picnic hamper fantasies and ate in a field surrounded by tall ferns and grassy lawns......with a cow here and there. I'm not kidding...I almost felt like going 'Gosh! Isn't this the most spiffy place ever!' in typical Julian-George-Dick-Anne style. A nice meal later, we set off to Bhedaghat.

Now ordinarily, Bhedaghat is like a marble mini-replica of the Grand Canyon (it really is, just undiscovered and clandestine), but this year, thanks to the surplus rainfalls, it looked as if the Grand Canyon was overflowing a little bit, and hence boating around the area was strictly banned. While that meant we wouldn't be able to have a personal rendezvous with the river, we nonetheless climbed over the barricade a few feet away from the torrential waterfall and became all tra la la with our ankles in the gushing Narmada. Clearly, not the wisest thing to have done (as I see the pictures and realize how close we were to danger), but oh well, we're Glovelies. We never do the wisest thing anyway - it's simply not our style!

Another highlight of Bhedaghat was the Gondola Ride! Now, like you, I expected a cruise along a quiet rivulet with a boatsman singing melodiously and a Venice-like experience. However, it turns out that a Gondola in India (and perhaps elsewhere too) is a cable car. So cruise we did, about 100 feet above the angry river, sliding dangerously at junctions and providing a panoramic view of the entire waterfalls. Through the ride, I alternated between oh-my-god-the-cables-will-snap-and-we'll-go-hug-Narmada and Oh-my-god-I-should-stop-thinking-and-just-enjoy-the-spellbinding-view.

I chose the latter option and did take in the spectacular view. Words or Pictures can never do justice to the real thing. The waterfall splashed angrily across delicately carved marble rocks as thousands of little droplets replicated the similar fury and splashed across our awestruck faces. Multiple rainbows sprung like welcoming arches, stretching across the marble banks.

The drive back was rather subdued, as the tired lot trooped in, ate dinner and just fell on the beds like logs of wood. The next day consisted entirely of our Border-Styled-Tour (Classified information!) Let me just say that I had the opportunity to do something uber-cool and macho. (If we've met in the past couple of weeks, you'll know what!) After a dash back home to pack up the mess we'd created in Chotu's room, we rushed off to the station and bid adieu to the heart of the country, a silent haven of beauty, serenity and an old-world charm.

Few things that will always act as cues to open a cupboard full of memories ---> Aunty's yummy homemade frothy cappuccino, ALL the khaana (a special call out to the Kadi Chawal - you rock!), our train ride back - The going forward-going backward-going forward-going backward journey of the Gondwana express (seriously, if I knew it was going to have so many engine changes, I'd have chosen to just sit on a rocking chair.), the fun cycle ride across the Cantt area, the late night stroll in the pet snake's territory, the girls' night out!, Maiyya's brilliant photography, I-M's husband-wife banter (Chotu, if you're reading this ----you know what we're thinking!!) and the reluctance in letting go of the journey as the train chugged into Hazrat Nizammudin one early morning.

All in all, another Glovely Adventure that has been printed on this blog and will be earmarked for years to come. Oh! What did we bring back from Jabalpur? Lots and lots of sunshine! It hasn't rained in Delhi since!