Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Missing Music

What has happened to me? What have I become? I try to be good, I try to follow the handbook and live by the rules and regulations. But now I fear I may have committed the most unforgivable sin of my people. This goes beyond not having a six-pack or visiting the salon at least once a week. This is bigger than a missed botox appointment. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

While I have been living my life, trying to get from A to B while doing a bit of shopping in between, I completely neglected to pick up the new Madonna album. It was released two days ago. Two whole days! I am so far out of the groove. Where is the man I used to be? The one who would go to a record store when the pre-launch shipment arrived to bride a sales person for an advance copy? What happened to the guy that managed to get a CD of Erotica almost a week before everyone else? I was the guy that bought “Breathless” and dared to like it. I am the one that put hundreds of miles on my car just to get the video of “Justify my Love”. I have stood out in the wind and rain and made pilgrimages to far off cities to see HER onstage. I was there when she simulated masturbation in Los Angeles. When she told me to express myself, I did. And how! I even taught myself to Vogue. I was desperate to find Susan and decided that if anything should ever happen to me, I was keeping my baby. I was living in a material world and I was a material boy. It wasn’t always easy and it wasn’t always pretty, but I did it. And gladly. It was my destiny. The expectation placed upon all my people when our Moses called forth to us and commanded “everybody, come on, dance and sing!” Those were the days when I was not only like a virgin, I was a virgin. Unfortunately for me, I had no idea at the time that I would remain so for years and years to come. In a dog’s life, it would have equated to decades, but no need to get overly dramatic. That is so not my thing.

So today I have a mission. A goal. A destiny. A date with a diva followed by an iPod to sync.

Monday, April 28, 2008


I am trying out a little experiment. No Mom, this one will not set the kitchen curtains on fire - and besides, that was so long ago and those curtains deserved what they got, if I do say so myself. But more about that later...

I have installed Snap Shots... And now for the company pitch:

Snap Shots that enhances links with visual previews of the destination site, interactive excerpts of Wikipedia articles, IMDb profiles (Marco's fave), YouTube and more.

Sometimes Snap Shots bring you the information you need, without your having to leave the site, while other times it lets you "look ahead," before deciding if you want to follow a link or not.

Should you decide this is not for you, just click the Options icon in the upper right corner of the Snap Shot and opt-out.

See Mom, it's not so bad, and definitely curtain friendly.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


One of the great joys of moving around and living in different areas are the people we meet, people we may not have come into contact with back in our old surroundings, our lives played out in familiar routines and places.

It was just over a year ago that I met Stephen and Pierre. Stephen and I met through this very blog and started exchanging emails and then a week or two later made plans to meet up. It was that evening I first entered their newly decorated apartment that would become a source of envy for me, lingering even after all these months. That was also the evening they dragged me to TGI Fridays for margaritas. I had not been to a Fridays since I left New York so many years ago.

And now tonight, just over a year later we are returning to TGI Fridays for our last drinks before Stephen and Pierre head back to Scotland and wherever life takes them beyond that. They will be leaving quite a void in our lives here in Delhi. We have gone in cycles of seeing each other a lot, having the filet Mignon at Smokehouse Grill, Blueberry Mojitos at Sevilla or grooving to the Sunday afternoon beats of DJ Ahsish at Aqua while talking trash about the guys trying to play volleyball in the pool, more often than not sending the ball hurling toward our drinks that would then find themselves poured all over our linen shorts and designer swimwear. The drinks always got replaced by the bar, but for some reason they only seemed to get knocked over when they were completely full, so no free drinks for us, just sticky legs and sandals. And then sometimes not seeing each other so often due to their addiction to weekends in Sydney and other exotic locales, but sooner or later they would always return, just a 20 minute drive from Defence Colony, a phone call away from another adventure in cocktails.

I know we will stay in touch and I am confident we will be clinking glasses again somewhere on the globe, hopefully against a backdrop of clear blue water and sandy beaches littered with hunky, scantily clad guys in their Aussie Bum shorts. But I can’t say I am not sad. I will miss them very much. That is the downside to living abroad, most of us are here for a limited time and then we are off to start the process all over again.

But for Stephen, Pierre and I, we will always have TGI Fridays.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ode to Horton

In the heat of the day and nowhere near a pool,
In the middle of Delhi and quite far from Nool,
We took an old rickshaw to a mall that’s quite groovy,
With one goal in mind, the new “Horton” movie.

We sat in the rickshaw, just Manuel and me,
And looking around, oh the sights we did see!
Two painted elephants out on the street,
Stomping and stomping atop their flat feet,

They hobbled and wobbled and danced a small jig,
Led by the one in the front with a twig.
The driver said “hmmmpff” as he as quite grumpy,
And I have to concur that the road was quite bumpy.

We bounced up and bounced down,
We bounced here and bounced there,
And I am sure more than once,
We flew through right through the air,

But we finally arrived and we sat in our seats,
With Pepsi and popcorn and sugary treats,
Ankit had joined us looking quite floral,
In a colorful kurta of purple and coral.

And then there on the screen was our hero from Nool
In the heat of the day, in the cool of the pool,
He was splashing… enjoying the jungle’s great joys…
When Horton the elephant heard a small noise.

I was glued to my seat, I stayed put in my chair,
As that small speck of dust blew about through the air,
Whatever will happen? Will the speck come to harm?
Those are the questions I asked in alarm.

What would happen to Who-ville and every last Who?
I wondered and wondered what Horton would do,
But he saved all the folks, he’s a very fine friend,
He saved all the folks on the dust speck no end.

He saved all the houses, the ceilings and floors,
He saved all the churches and groceries stores.
Horton never gave up, he believed in them all,
For a person’s a person, no matter how small.

He meant what he said and he said what he meant,
An elephant's faithful one hundred percent.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

AC Drama

How many Indian’s does it take to change a light bulb?

I have no idea, but I can say from recent and personal experience that it takes five to install an air-conditioner. I wish it were a joke. It all started about twenty-seven hours ago when I got a frantic call from Manuel about the state of the to-be-installed AC units. He said something about an Iraqi war zone and I started to make calls. One thing about India is that one is never really in control and can rarely, if ever, go directly to the source. I had to go to the admin guy at the office who then phones the installation guys at the house, who then phone their boss who instructs them to have the admin guy from my office phone him so they can discuss the situation. The admin guy from my office then phones me to relay a message I then pass on to Manuel who then attempts to instruct the installation guys who speak no English who then sit and wait while Manuel phones me back so I can contact the admin guy and ask him to phone the installation guys. The office admin guy then assures me everything is sorted while at the same time I get a call from Manuel describing a disaster. I have been in India long enough to know when to drop everything and run to the scene of a potential disaster. This was one of those times. I drove home to find two split AC units sitting in the driveway. They we covered in dust, smudges, full of chips and cracks and honest-to-God, held together in places by yellowing bits of what used to be transparent tape. As the Queen once supposedly said “We are not amused” – and we weren’t. I quickly dialed the admin guy from the office and was assured that new inside units were on their way. And new units they were, still wrapped in their cardboard and shrink-wrapped plastic… But four hours later. Yes, four hours that had been spent with us evicted from the living and bedrooms to the terrace. They hammered and chiseled fist sized holes through the 40 year old 6-inch solid brick walls to the outside. A cloud of dust filled the house and we watched it settle on everything as we waited for the inside units to arrive.

That was just the beginning of the fun. By nine in the evening, they had partially installed one of the units and had yet begin on the second. They asked the time and when I told them how late it was, they were packed up and out of here faster than you can say “Is it a little hot in here?” By packing up I mean they took all the tools and assorted air-conditioning bits and bobs and spread them around the terrace and piled them up in the corner of the living room. They then informed us the one in the bedroom was almost installed, but would be finished the next day.

That next day is today. I decided to work from home in the afternoon so I could also supervise the circus taking place. First, the electrician shows. He moved some wires around for us a few weeks ago and suddenly wants to move something else. He doesn’t speak English and we don’t speak Hindi. The downstairs landlady was not home so we had nobody to translate. He mumbled a few things about the AC and went out. No sooner was he out than the installation crew showed up. Yesterday there were three (two to do the work and one to sit and do nothing) and today only two showed up. An hour later two more showed. The maid had just finished scrubbing the floors and suddenly there were footprints everywhere. So here we are, twenty-seven hours later and the last unit is still in the process of being installed and Manuel and I are once again waiting it out on the terrace. The house is filled with dust and the wind outside had just picked up which means more dust. Add to that a very warm house and a four man installation crew with not a speck of deodorant between them. Manuel and I walked into the bedroom after they had finished and almost collapsed. As soon as they leave, whenever that may be, we will light up every available piece of incense in the house in an attempt to exorcise the smell. But something tells me we will be reminded of these guys for several days to come.


The AC units are installed and team has finally left the building, leaving a nice layer of dust all over everything. Manuel and I immediately set to cleaning and suddenly we heard the sound of rain. Inside the living room. Water was pouring out of the AC, down the curtains and creating a puddle on the floor. I phoned the office admin guy who then phoned the AC guy to sort it out. I was then phoned back and told that the AC could be fixed tomorrow.

So I guess the question now is: "How many Indians does it take to fix an air-conditioner?" I am hoping the answer is "just one", but something tells me he will have some company.