It's another tequila sunrise, this old world/ Still looks the same,/ Another frame, mm...

Well, this old world -- a hot, sweltering one -- looked a bit different today. It rained in the morning and I woke up to this beautiful breezy morning. And I felt as happy as can be, except that there was that thing of going to office and filing stories. Of late, I have been thinking of entrepreneurial ventures. This time though I am serious. SoI am thinking of working towards it and am feeling pretty excited. At least I can do something for six months and if I don't like it, I can move on and do something different again. Am I being deliberately obtuse? It's just that till I don't do anything I don't want to blabber about it. Also because I have a partner who would be very sad if it didn't work out.

Also I have been meeting people. Like there was blogger Nish who turned out to be quite funny and cool. As in how many people actually have the guts to go and do something they want to. Right after meeting him, I had to go for an event where I met this chick. She was nice, pretty and chirpy and three years younger to me. We gelled well and we went for coffee when she slowly started pouring out her story. I should say stories, rather. And what she had to say freaked me out.

First of all, she told me she had wanted to kill herself and she had popped some 70 pills along with crushed glass. "I really wanted to die then," she said. More came out about her former psycho boyfriend and her broken home. The whole evening I was in a kind of a daze. Even till next day I had a hard time getting over what she told me. Was she lying or making up stuff for sympathy? For a moment, I entertained that thought. But whatever, she clearly was disturbed. These are things that seem to be straight out of a book or a film, but then meeting people like her, make you realise that such things happen in real life too. It's so painful. Even as I was listening to her, I felt so grateful for my parents, for the normal upbringing I have had, for all the happy times they have given me, in short a world where there has been no violence, incestuous stuff or anything of the sort.


“If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?”

That happens to be a quote by Yankee actor Stephen Wright. Funny no? Talking of heat waves, Delhi could do with some respite.

It's hot. So hot that I think it would not be unsual to melt like the Belgian seashell chocolates I have been nibbling on of late.Which is why I am not very keen on going out on assignments anywhere. The other night I happened to be at the Bali Beach Festival at Hotel Nikko. It was in the lawns, an open air affair. There were giant standing fans that sprinkled water around. As I strolled in, I felt droplets of water sprayed on me. It felt heavenly. There were cool cocktails and glasses of wine with all kind of Balinese starters being circulated around.

After a glass of wine and a chat with a photographer, I was bored. So bored that I started walking aimlessly and checking out the drinks being served at the bar. The drinks were beautiful and so made me feel like I was on a beach. Plus there was a lovely breeze blowing. I think it was the effect of so many fans at work. It's amazing how you can make a steaming place like Delhi turn into a breezy beachy kind of an affair with just the precise touches. I tried out a minty drink. Gah! It tasted awful. I settled down for the staid old orange juice. Yes, that was how bored I was. I called up VK and told her about a photographer she had a crush on. I used to hear about him constantly during our IIMC days. Naturally I was taken aback to meet him there of all places. He was quite a rude one in his own way. He told a fellow photographer, "Sir, please don't shave your hair off any more. You look like a coconut."

But VK was excited. I suspect he is the reason she came over to meet me. But I was glad. We tried out Nikko Sling, a cocktail with coconut water, gin, vodka, generous doses of cream and mango juice (it is one of the best drinks I've ever had) while we watched the Wendell Rodricks fashion show that was going on. I tried to introduce VK to her former crush but she kept acting coy and pulling me back. It quite took me back to my schoolgirl days.

Then I met Brett Lee. His guy-next-door attitude was quite refreshing. At one point we were moving to a quieter place when he made sure I picked up my mobile from the table. It was a touching gesture. None of the hangups that our so glorified dandy Indian cricketers have. He was pretty excited about getting married next month to his sweetheart. But then during the interview, I had to go ahead and goof up. He was speaking about his fears -- sharks. Now the way he said it, it sounded like shocks. So I asked, "Well, what kind of shocks? Do you mean electric shocks or being shocked by people?" He was quiet for a second. He looked stumped. Then he burst out laughing. As did his manager. "I said sharks. Those in the water," said Brett. One of those moments when you want to just disappear.

And what a contrast it was to the conference I attended where Rahul Dravid was there. The guy had so much attitude, I wonder how he lives with it. There is this thing that they have about blaming the media for everything that raises my hackles. "The media puts a spin on things. So I am not going to say anything to the BCCI through them," he kept on saying. He sounded so vindictive that the man whom I once was very attracted to sounded petty and repulsive. So much so that I didn't feel like running after him to talk to him. I wish our people could give these cricketers a wide berth. They need it.

Another thing I don't understand is when these guys come to a press conference, why do they act as if they are doing journalists a big favour by opening their mouth even once? The only time they look near to cordial is when they see a TV mike hovering nearby. There was the opening of a luxury pret store recently for which actresses Urmila and Raveena Tandon arrived in designer dresses. While Urmila was at her bitchy best, just pouting and posing for the shutterbugs and speaking only to NDTV, Raveena was the surprise package. Well, she was genuinely nice. I was talking to her along with a friend from another paper when this Total TV woman started nudging me and asked me to stop. Raveena turned to her and said, "You know these guys will ban you!" After a few seconds Total TV again started acting up. This time Ravs turned to her and shot out: "You have time na? Go have some food."

And on a totally different track, I bought a new mobile phone. A cheap Nokia. While buying which I was near tears. I was reminded of my former flip phone. The one which died in soap water.


The weekend that was...

Depression set in early on Saturday night as I started reading Gabriela Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. What if I die an old maid like Amaranta or Remedios the Beauty? What if I end up an old woman as heartless as Colonel Aureliano Buendia? On Sunday morning I again ploughed through the novel. It was tedious even though it did provide a picture of Spanish life, its customs, its supersitions and its fears.

By the time I managed to get over with Marquez, I was exhausted. I slept and slept to feel better. It did help but the fact that I was horribly broke didn't. It spelt going out nowhere. The only hope was a cheque I had deposited to be encashed. I checked it. Zilch. Then I happened to check my other account. And my day was made. There was the lumpsome allowance from office in it which I had expected a day later. So there I was at Sarojini Nagar market which has to be the best flea market, at least in Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta.

Unbelievable cheap stuff lay for the taking. Of course I had to bargain and use my nagging powers. But when I got a flouncy polka dotted skirt for just Rs 35, my eyes nearly popped out. Something that brought a smile to the person who was standing at the stall chatting with the seller. And I shopped and I shopped. Even though it was hot and I really didn't need much. Compulsive shopping I guess. But it didn't hurt the pocket much. Just within Rs 1,000 I had as much as 10 small bags stuffed with lots of pretty skirts and tops.

The first time I had been to Sarojini was with a friend of my dad's. R uncle took us around the city when I came for admission to IIMC. When we went to Sarojini it was already evening and I could not make out much. Except for rows of shops with clothes popping out of every nook and cranny, the owners calling out and R uncle insisting that you could get anything for a steal here. But the actual time I remember falling in love with the market was when we used to go from IIMC in a huge gang. Times when we used to wander there for hours and times when we used to return to the hostel piled up in an autorickshaw that would refuse to go uphill with all us.

And as I walked alone through the alleys there, I felt so at home. Now I can boast that I know it like I know my slab of Lindt's dark chocolate. Once upon a time though I wondered at how you could find your way through the maze there. Funny that it's been four years almost and I am still here.

Back at home trying on the clothes made me feel even better. Finally a round of rearranging the wardrobe to hold everything that I bought and I could feel all the depression of Marquez evaporating like it was never there. The other high point was munching on my favourite Mc Donald's burger and demolishing a mud pie while watching Desperate Housewives.

The start might not have been great but the end was.