Thursday, October 22, 2009

A family miracle?!!

My dad writes to his baby sister
Hi sis,
Ayesha just showed me the Sai Baba picture from ma's puja room. What do you make of it? Do you think Pam played a prank --- or Lalit did it to freak out Nita and then pretended to believe in it as a way of accomplishing something soul-edifying for mummy? Or was it the work of one of the servants or the old panditji who goes to the pooja room every morning. This sounds too much like the milk drinking ganesha. Or the Virgin Mary weeping tears of blood that as exposed ultimately as a brilliant fraud. But if it makes mom happy, who am I to raise questions?! If word has gotten around, the place must already have become a shrine for Ujahni folks and Saii believers.

The baby sister responds brother the skeptic! Who is actually dying to believe that it really happened - or why the eff would you have written to me:)?

Nah, I don't think Lalit or Pam were behind it - not the servants either, they wouldn't have the intellect - the pandit??? Maybe - but the other thing that makes me want to believe this is the fact that I have actually seen honey and vibhuti drip from Sai Baba's photo in Swaran Bhabi's home as also in Satya and Omi's - long distance miracles of mind over matter perhaps - but still a miracle.

So maybe, just maybe... it's old Sai Baba's way of accomplishing something soul-edifying for mom. Remember how roundly she'd cursed him last year and promised she would never believe in him again or indeed, even pray to him again, for he had let her down by making her suffer the way she had - maybe God simply redeeming himself in the eyes of a woman who believed so implicitly and yet felt so let down - as you say - who are we to question if it makes mom happy and restores her faith!

Love you bro.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ohhhh boy(s)

This whole falling in love thing was supposed to be easy. I was supposed to lock eyes with someone sitting across from me in a train. A bar. A lecture about global warming. I'd feel a spark and my lips would part magically, revealing a slightly crooked smile and coffee stained teeth. Then candlelight dinner, a first kiss while trying to eat the same piece of spaghetti. He’d profess his undying love for me, get down on one knee, maybe both and ..sigggh.. propose.

Under my fairy tales are stupid exterior, I long for my prince charming and a happily ever after. I want be wooed, oooed and aaaad. Today, a first date is a drink at a noisy bar, after which we eagerly await a text message. And if it comes, we read it over a couple hundred times, interpreting the hundreds of different meanings. Friendly? Flirtatious? It's hard to decipher a tone over a text. Stupid technology.

But the absolute worst part about dating is the fear of "freaking him out." I have to chew on my lower lip every time I feel the gooey words about to escape. A simple" I like you" could be read as, "I want to have your babies right this instant!"

And after dating for a while, we let our guard down and think it's finally safe to use words like munchkin and muffinhead. And while some of us change our relationship status on facebook, they plan their escape.

I've analyzed and dissected them(boys.. men.. men who are still boys ) like an eager Biology student. But I just can’t figure them out.

Weren’t we supposed to be the complicated sex?

Monday, June 29, 2009

My New York

I still get lost in New York. But I now embrace my lack of or no direction sense.

Besides, walking that extra avenue is good for my sagging ass. Yup, A friend of mine recently pointed that out to me. I blame gravity and not the late night pizza binges with extra cheese and oil that will make King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud rub his hands in delight.

I love the subway. I entertain myself by concocting stories about the people riding with me.Yesterday I met Jo. Jo works on Wall Street but secretly wants to star on Broadway.His favorite movie is The Sound of Music. He is a bachelor but he is searching for his dream woman, Martha Stewart with a dash of Hilary Clinton.

I want to take a homeless person home and give him/ her a makeover. Imagining the 'before and after 'pictures give me serious goose bumps.

I spend a lot of time on Christopher street.I once went to a bar filled with beautiful men,knowing that we weren't going to get any attention by fluttering our eyelashes and adjusting our well padded bras, my best friend and I pretended to be gay. They welcomed us with arms wide open, I have never felt more accepted in my life. Everyone should be gay.

I don't know where all the single boys in New York are hiding. I was told that I'm looking in the wrong places. So I guess I do spend too much time on Christoper street.

I did attempt to fall in love. I succeeded but he decided to trample on my heart like an enraged circus elephant.My heart still aches and the butterflies that once made me feel giddy, have now turned evil.

I know New York is like the cosmopolitan capital of the world but I happily surround myself with my desi gang. I can be loud,make obnoxiously crude jokes and talk as fast as I want.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

giddily unemployed in new york city

When I grow up I want to be a dancer….. a veterinarian…. an actress…

I’ve grown up to be a 25 year-old copywriter who plays at words and weaves dreams bigger than the words. I live in Upper Manhattan. The city beats inside my heart. My pulse quickens, it races every time I walk out of my apartment and onto the street. Its power recharges my inventive soul. Even though I’m unemployed after recently finishing a grueling two-year diploma from the Miami Ad School, and there are nights where I lie awake with my eyes wider than a person on crack, and the stress makes my stomach churn, I wouldn’t want to be jobless or “financially challenged” anywhere else in the world.

Every day is a test. When I walk past a store, clothes smile at me. Welcome, Samira. I enter, select a couple of dresses and goose step into the dressing room. I try them on making ohh aaah sounds to myself and then bid them a bawling goodbye. I must be patient until Geithner’s recovery kicks in; until then I’ve got to save those pennies to buy recession-proof protein like canned spam.

But sometimes the sight of a girl with an armful of dresses mountained all the way to her to her nose shoots me full of shopping adrenaline. The adrenaline wears off and I’m left with the guilt and a slightly larger wardrobe. Besides shopping, my weekends are my second biggest battle. A night after taking cabs, ordering shots, and projectile puking, I wake up not only with a hangover but also my irksome conscience nagging me in a voice similar to George Costanza’s mother from Seinfield, “ Now did you really have order that apple Martini?.... Couldn’t you have just walked home...?”

I am successful in shutting her up during the week since my days are mostly spent job hunting and consuming insane amounts of coffee. My evenings are spent watching Millionaire Matchmaker, some downtime with my friends or with my sister and two-year-old nephew who has the ability to erase each and every one of my worry lines.

I sit on my roommate’s beige -brown- something couch writing this. I am distracted by a sound of a siren an unusually loud laugh and episodic honking, I can’t help but smile. The city can be so loud sometimes that I can’t hear my own thoughts, which to me is a good thing. I need a break from my own head and constant thoughts that cause me to worry and take me far, far away from the moment.

With my current financial situation, I don’t know how long I can revel in my city of joy. Eventually I will need to wake up, but for right now I’ll keep hitting the snooze button.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

24 hours to live

If I only had twenty four hours to live, I would probably cry for the first three. Then, I would sit down with my made-in-China, slightly oversized Sharpie and make a list of things I need to do. Almost certainly, I'd give up two minutes later. I always want to make lists but I can somehow never actually write them. The idea of jotting down things and the thought of ticking off my accomplishments with little tick marks gives me the shivers, but lists are like so many things I've always wanted to do, and have never quite gotten around to. With only twenty four hours (well, twenty one minus the three hour bout of tears) left to live my mental Post-it's will just have to do.

Anyway, I digress. So, if I had twenty four hours to live, I would simply spend it with the people I love. I don't think there's anything else in the world that I would rather do. Oh, and maybe I would call up an ex-boyfriend and tell them how I really didn't think his snoring was cute, and how it actually sounds like a disgruntled bear with a swollen larynx. And that his new girlfriend looks like a hyena with a bad nose job.

Once the malicious phone calls are out of the way, I'd focus on my favorite people and tell them exactly what I love about them. I wouldn't tell them that I'm dying because I would want the last hours with them to be filled with tears of the happy sort, the ones that are caused by extreme laughter followed by wheezing and tummy aches.

During my final hours I would want to be with my family, lying in the middle of my mom and my dad, with my lhasa apso and her cold wet nose, and breath that reeks of tooth decay and gum disease, cuddled next to me.


Five weeks in Brasil……..My observations, revelations and discoveries.

I am really tall.This one boy talked to my crotch all night and he wasn’t being crude, in fact he was a perfect gentleman. He slow danced with my crotch and even offered to buy it a drink.

Brazilian men are just boys with hairy chests. Our friend Vinni has a jungle under his shirt and if you put your head on his chest, you can hear the elephants.

Men drive small cars. But I hear they don’t have anything to compensate for. Unfortunately I am not speaking from experience.

Women like to bare their midriffs. They believe in the “if you’ve got it flaunt thing.” Even the ones who don’t got it.

Everyone has tattoos. So you have to have real scars like 300 stitches to be considered a bad ass.

I am the only Indian in Sao Paulo. But they still expect me to speak Portuguese.

Futbol is a religion. I am slowly being converted.

The graffiti beats any museum I have been to. Plus you don’t have to pay 20 something to appreciate art you just look outside your window.

Toga parties aren’t a good idea. Yup people were a no show but luckily we have enough alcohol left over to drown our “ no one likes us” sorrows. I have been drunk for fifteen days.

Breaking into an apartment building is easy. I may not need another loan.

The uglier the clothes, the more expensive. Like seriously, fluorescent polka dots doing the polka, R$ 5000.

You can’t buy a bikini bottom that covers your ass. So you must have a nice ass, high self-esteem or a man that loves you "just the way you are."

Brazilian men ARE hot. It is not a myth.

You can do the samba during work.

You can also tie someone to their chair but not naked or anything.

Tug of war may cause extreme rope burn. So while you guys gather around the water fountain, we play tug-o-war! Ha!


El Topo radio spot

Radio Spot: 60 Seconds
Client : El Topo
Man 1: So you finally watched El Topo. What did you think?
Man2: You know how it is when you pass a car wreck and you can’t look away?
Man1: Uhuh..
Man2: And when you have a scab that you can’t wait to peel even though you know it’s just going to make it worse and it’s bleeping painful but you peel it anyway?
Man 1: Uhhuh..
Man2 : Or when you find yourself laughing out loud when you think about how sweet Mrs. Anderson tumbled down the stairs?
Man 2: And have you ever watched snow white and thought that it would be so much more fun if she gang banged the seven dwarfs?
Man1: (Sounding shocked) What the hell are you talking about?
Man2: El Topo.

El Topo- Disturbingly good.

Proactiv radio spot

Client- Proactiv
Radio Spot- 60 Seconds

GIRL: Good morning, mom.

WOMAN: Good morning puss face.
How was that?

GIRL: Not too bad.


MAN: Good morning, honey.

Good morning zit face.

GIRL : Dad, you can do better than that.


MAN: Is that your face or did aliens kidnap you and lay eggs in your pores?

GIRL: Much better.

WOMAN: Honey, do you think this is going to help?

GIRL: Uhuh… This is the only way I am going to get used to all the name calling at school. OK, gotta go, I’ll miss my bus.


WOMAN: Bye puss pores!

VO: If aliens have indeed laid eggs in your pores, Proactiv is the answer. For only $19.99 you can get rid of them and the name- calling. The only thing you will need to get used to is the flawless skin that stares back at you in the mirror.
For more information visit


I am still waiting for my prince charming. He can look like a frog as long as he is charming and can make me laugh. It’s true, after a while, looks fail to impress me. I met this really hot guy recently and he was very, very attractive. Attractive is a strange way to describe a boy, isn’t it? An attractive man sounds as absurd as a handsome woman. I would hate to be called a handsome woman. Anyway, so this guy was like 6’3” and the darkest eyes (I don’t meant scary dark) I had ever seen and they were framed by long, thick, eyelashes much thicker than my heavily mascarad ones. But he was far from charming. He kept saying, “ I am a good cook. I make killer breakfast. You should spend the night with me so you can taste my fried eggs.” He said this like three times. It wasn’t even a cute pick up line.
So after a few drinks, the guy just became uglier and uglier. I guess beer goggles have an opposite affect if the guy is good looking. And after a few more brutal attempts he gave up and staggered up to his new victim, a blonde with a huge ass and small boobs in a white dress with no bra. I liked her shoes, they were white and gold and the heel was at least 5 inches high.
So after staring at dark eyes whisper drunken sweet nothings into the ear of the girl with the pretty shoes, I walked away only to bump into my frog. Boy, was he ugly. He had big, yellow teeth and his skin looked old and blotchy. I knew he wasn’t old because his hands gave him away and his eyes were bright. He apologized to me in a heavy Brit accent and offered to buy me a drink because he had caused me to spill some of mine. Wow! He was charming. I ended up spending the entire evening with him.
My frog’s dress sense was impeccable and he smelled divine. I could close my eyes and make sweet love to him all night long. “ ……….and the men are so fit!( the British version of hot)” That brought me back to reality. He was gay. How could I have been so stupid? No straight man smell like fresh laundry, cologne and some fruity, lemony something. So I kissed my frog goodbye(and no he didn’t turn into my prince) and walked home, all by myself.
So I am still waiting for my frog but in the mean time, I can make do with all the Jackasses I meet along the way.

Why women like men who cry

“My boyfriend cries when he climaxes which, in turn, causes me to have the most intense orgasms,” says Sara, 24, “ the feeling of making a grown man cry makes me feel like I am the sexiest woman alive!” According to a recent study involving 200 women (aged 20 to 26), a man who can cry is every girl’s dream, come true! Men reading this article may scratch their heads and privates in bewilderment. After all, wasn’t the “Sensitive Male” of the 70’s and 80’s (the Erich Segal Love Story kind), a rebound aberration of the 1960’s euphemism for the stereotype, pussy-whipped Jewish husband of a generation ago? Isn’t macho in again?
Not quite. Since women are no longer dependent existentially on the opposite sex, they have become, well, not manly but more like men. Not imitative, but assertively so.
They enjoy sex and don’t care if there is cuddling involved. They visit their favorite taverns after work, smokes cigars, burp, get obnoxiously loud and sometimes even spit. So if a woman can be in touch with her manly side, she can also, as Bob Dylan sang, be “Jes’ Like A Woman” when her lover -- comfortable in his tighty whities, floral shirts, leather pants – cries “I’m gonna hold you till I die … or we’ll both break down and cry …until the fear in me subsides…” Now that’s what makes a woman feel powerful, mighty powerful – as a woman.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Your suds are magical

My inspiration comes from deep within the core my own being but not without catalysts from the outer world. I can best expand on this seemingly mundane statement from a seminal experience that dates to my childhood. I was born in Rockville, Maryland, but when I was three years old -- in 1986-- my parents migrated to India. I spoke and understood only English, not having been exposed to any Indian languages. My new world was strange to me. It was a jumble of visuals and sounds but without language – and this at a time when a child is growing into the world of complex speech. My learning curve in the US had been nursery rhymes and fairy tales and, of course, Sesame Street.

In India, there were no Cookie Monsters or Oscars. But there was TV. Apart from my parents, TV was my only real communication with the outside world. Yet, I was a stranger even to this medium because it was mostly in the Hindi language. What was in English – news, current affairs – held no interest, leave alone comprehension, for me. What fascinated me, however, were the ads. They were in Hindi and yet, they connected with the mind and personality of an alien three-year-old.

What still stands out powerfully in my memory and mind’s eye was an ad for Nirma detergent powder. It was a no-nonsense, no-frills, I-am-what-you-see commercial with had a lively Hindi jingle that went: “Your suds are magical,” with a flourish and special lilt on the Hindi word for suds –“jhaag.” Without any effort I understood not only the message but also, perhaps viscerally, the words. Visuals, music, simplicity, quick takes, color, led me faster into the world of a new language than any formal classroom. I suppose that the uncluttered mind of this child rapidly absorbed the reality that advertising had illumined what was only recently a dark new world she had entered. I watched ads all the time. To me -- because I likened the Nirma ad to a friend who had led me out of my cultural banishment -- other ads became a charmed circle of friends.

The message was not of primary importance. In fact, any ad whose composition, cadence and rhythm did not support the message, or vice versa, drew my scorn and derision. If they appeared disingenuous or deceptive, they were not my “friends.” What endeared me to an ad the most was the color, design, shape, script, brevity – and above all if it could arouse emotion in me. The ones that made me laugh were my best friends.

When I look back, I see that my first efforts in self-discovery – and my own scripting of my creative self – consisted of writing jingles and making up story lines and scripts for imaginary products. I was barely 5 years old, and still attending nursery school (by now I was learning formal Hindi along with English) when I actually began dubbing and adding music to ads using a simple tape recorder and inviting my friends to do voices. This remained a hobby and recreation for a long time to come. Today this inspiration has become a passion for me. It is almost as if I now want instinctively to share the “friends” I create with others, to translate the world of my inner reality into the externalities of the world of professional advertising.