The R-Word

What would you define as the language of the world? We tried so hard to think of another apt answer, but no, the most appropriate answer was money. And what does one do when the language of the world takes a beating? Do we forget the fact that we can try and be happy minus the money or do we mourn the lack of it?

You know the word we hate the most right now? ‘Recession’.
Gosh! Everything has something to do with it and every single person seems to use the word or some off shot of that word. The worst – words like recessionista! Argh!! Of course the economy is bad and we are all feeling the heat of the situation of the economy, but how I wish people stop using that word. So this is us not using the word recession. No more atleast. We are still taking money, fame and all its relatives this time, without using the R-word.

How desperate can one get in their quest to climb the social ladder in New York? Bella found out as she read Trading Up. What does it take to live your dream and is it worth it? Jo watched Oye Lucky Lucky Oye to see one boy’s such story. How to look smart without spending too much? Veronika shares her ideas on how to bag it smart. Read on for more such stories and thoughts.

Money and fame, I want them both
What can I do to get more of it?
I work hard, I work more
But why is it I ain’t happy still?

Jo
Bella
Veronika

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Oye Lucky Lucky Oye!

He is stylish. He is charming. He is flamboyant. But was he always so? Where does he get that perfectly tailored suit, that flashy car, that shiny watch? Oye Lucky Lucky Oye is based on the true story of Lucky Singh, a notorious thief from/in Delhi, who swindled millions with his charm.

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Lucky, played by Abhay Deol, aspires the comforts that the rich can afford. He resents his miserly father and knows that if he doesn’t help himself, his dreams of hobnobbing with the cool affluent will never come true. Consequently, he starts duping people till he becomes a known conman. During his journey he falls in love with a local Delhi girl, Sonal (Neetu Chandra), and decides to become a gentleman. But is it that easy now?

Abhay Deol fits the role to a T. He makes Lucky so adorable that I wanted him to succeed at every heist he pulls. Plus, that guy looks good in tux and I think that its nice that there is one guy whose biceps are still normal.

Paresh Rawal too floors you with his triple role stint. Neetu Chandra gets noticed too. And special mention for Manjot Singh (teenage Lucky) and Manu Rishi (Bangali). They keep you in splits with their quips in spiky Delhi accent.

The Director, Dibakar Banerjee brings Delhi on the golden screen once more, after “Khosla ka Ghosla.” He takes you to the by lanes of Defence colony, Lajpat Nagar, Rohini and Chandni Chowk. The Delhi Police he presents is probably the closest portrayal I have ever seen on screen. Bangali’s “dekh le, bhai nahi hai tu?” was so nostalgic!

On a personal note, I got reminded of the years I spent in Delhi. Made me turn around to the by lanes of memory. Golgappas, salwar suits, lassi, autowallas, Aalu chaat – I wonder how many times I did those. And I wonder how many times I got fleeced by the little “Luckys” of that incredible city.

-Jo

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For the Love of Money and Fame

Who’s to blame my love
You play a dangerous game
Who’s to blame my love
All you want is money and fame

I think this Scorpions’ 1990 song would have been the theme song for Candace Bushnell’s book “Trading Up” if it were a television series, like her previous two books – Lipstick Jungle or Sex and the City.

Trading Up

But unlike the other two books that are fun, light and women-empowering, Trading Up is not your typical chic-lit. Yes there is a drop dead gorgeous Victoria’s Secrets model, a sexy Argentine polo player, a rock star and his wife, a ruthless businessman, a rich socialite among others and the book does have the heroine falling into a gigantic mess and come out victorious in the end. But this book different, especially the way in which the issue of morality is handled by the leads. It is a story of the need and the means of climbing the New York status circle for today’s women; the extent of the things they are capable of doing and how!

Janey Wilcox is a 32 year old Victoria’s Secrets’ model, who has found fame only recently. From an outsider who was desperate to be part of New York’s elite circle she is now best friends with New York’s queen socialite and being courted by a top movie executive. But what makes Janey a strange heroine is she is so conceited. She is someone who has potential to be a smart, successful person who can achieve success. But she is not satisfied with this situation. Neither is she ready to do the basic hard work. She is obsessed with her good looks and tries to get what she wants by either lying or by being promiscuous. This gets her in to a lot of trouble and public humiliation. Can she change her ways and get out of trouble?

This is where the book is different. Bushnell’s heroine is desperate. She is a liar and a cheat. She is cheap and she cannot be trusted. All she cares for is money and fame. And she gets it in the end… by being herself.

Makes you think if this is the changing face of the society we are living in – being honest and truthful is hardly a requirement to succeed today. Personally it is a thought that is hard to digest. Is it worth living a vain life? Don’t think so! At least Bushnell does not glorify her heroine. She comes across as a moral police without pointing fingers and judging. Or was that me?!

-Bella

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Bags Galore!

What is common between the classy woman from work, the social activist friend, the girl-next-door and your grand mom? Yes you got that right! Bags!

What more important accessory for a woman than her bag? Why, even my 5-year old niece keeps wistfully looking at all my bags and was thrilled to bits when I got her this cute pink purse to go with her favourite party dress. Shoulder bags, hand bags or jholas; bags are utilitarian, so every woman needs them and at the same time they add to your style statement.

I for sure know that red Tommy Hilfiger bag is going to make me look so good, but I also know that it is going to leave a hole in my not-so-full purse. Wouldn’t it be just great if I had just the right bag at just the right price? I decided to scout a bit and get em’ bags cheap, yet chic. I needed company while I went bag-hunting. Someone who’ll help me stick to my definition of cheap. Rupees six hundred or lower. I wanted Jo, I got Bella. With Bella around, I had to keep tabs on the purse, but I got a fellow shopper who gives great fashion advice. Not bad at all!

We set off towards MG Road and figured we would find something there. Our first stop was at an exposition in one of the innumerable school grounds. I must confess we were distracted by the swishy silk fabrics on sale, but we regained focus and we were saved. Saved by a stall selling Shantiniketan bags from West Bengal. Colourful reds, blues and purples mingled with earthy browns. I was fixated on this green bag with a boy and girl stick figure on it. So very cool, stylish and so me! All of this at 150Rs. I have carried this bag with a short white kurti and fitted jeans look (I’d call it the aspiring dramatist look) and with a casual coffee shop look. And it was a hit both times!

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I was in dire need of a big bag and in one of the by lanes off Brigade road I found my next treasure. A dark brown glossy must-have bag that allows me to carry so many things! This bag is extremely chic, smart and can be carried with so many looks. It looks good at work as well as after work, is great for a weekend outing and even complements my “Delhi-6” salwar-kameez look! My versatile big bag was well worth the 500Rs that I shelled out.

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All this bag shopping reminded Bella of the inexpensive bags that she owns. We found so many beautiful bags hiding in her closet. We pulled out a black jhola with mirror work and a pink bag with blue embroidery and mirror work. These desi-looking bags go real well with a simple jeans and top combo and a short kurti and patiala salwar also.

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We next found this maroon coloured bag with purse strings and some gold coloured metal embellishments. An inexpensive bag that looks pretty and posh! Just the thing to grab when in doubt!

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We were lost in Bella’s wardrobe, rummaging through zillion bags, when this funky cream coloured round bag caught my fancy. The embroidery on the bag is simple and pretty. Something I imagine my aunt would make for me. I remember Bella carrying this bag with a long top and a pair of knee-length leggings. Such a statement she made!

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So, what are you waiting for? With so many inexpensive options, go get yourself some bags and jazz up your outfits. Just remember to pair em with the right look and you for sure have bagged lotsa attention!

-Veronika

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You know what I can’t stand?

Not having any rich friends. (Hey! No offence guys!) Its just so inconvenient to have friends who are as broke as I am. I mean I have great friends. They are friends indeed when I am in need. But won’t it be great if I had a friend who would help me out and then forget about that small token of a five hundred note that he/she lent me? The only way I would like that rich friend to remember that note, is as a book mark she was using.

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Yeah, its official. Recession is here and better off people are scarce. In the movies, it happens all the time okay. Why can’t it happen to me? Simple college group, but one person breezes in driving a swanky sports car. And the whole gang joins in.

Lazy evening. Nothing to do. Rich friend throws quick, lavish party. Long weekend coming. Nothing to do. Rich friend invites for a vacation in their beach condo. All that the other friends do to repay such generosity is sympathize with the lonely childhood their wealthy friend had.

I just want a Veronica Lodge minus the airs. Is that too much?

You know, there are so many things I covet, but can only stare at like a hungry wolf (full cartoon style with tongue lolling out obnoxiously). And I know what my friends covet too (their tongues are equally obnoxious and cartoon-like). Imagine if I had that one friend who could gift me that Touch-screen I-pod, without feeling the dent in his wallet. And the best part? I don’t feel guilty accepting it. Even though I gush, “You really shouldn’t have.” And imagine being able to give Veronika that Chanel perfume she keeps talking about. She would hit the roof with happiness, and we still smile genuinely, coz we didn’t shed the entire amount! The only person who got poorer would be our rich friend. And dang the conscience my Mom instilled into me. Why is that creeping up now!

-Jo

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Break-Fast Ride

If there’s one thing that makes me happy, it is riding along an empty long stretch of the road, the endless skies and catching glimpses of the world fleeting by. Ah the joys of riding! Just when all the traffic, incessant honking and umpteen traffic signals were beginning to adulterate my love for riding, help came in the form of friends planning a weekend ride. Friends, riders, grease monkeys, immensely passionate and proud Yamaha RD 350 owners.

Breakfast Ride

Would I pass up a chance to ride pillion on the RD 350? No way! I would’ve loved to be presented an opportunity to get on the front seat, but these boys ain’t passing a chance to ride their beloved bikes! It’s better to not get greedy, coz its either the pillion or no seat at all.

We made plans for a Sunday morning breakfast ride; a ride on Mysore road and breakfast at the Kamat Lokaruchi. The easiest, fastest and also the most popular route to take for a short adrenaline pumping ride!

We set off at 3 AM from the heart of the city and met up at a designated fuel station. All four bikes were filled up, the owners had exchanged praise on all the major and minor improvements on all bikes and everyone was set to go. Four kicks and the successive roar of the bikes resounded and the bikes picked pace. Real fast!

The roads were empty, save for the occasional truck or car, and my rider opened throttle and soon we were doing good speeds. Here is where being a good pillion rider comes into the picture and squirming, twisting, bending or being plain stupid is definitely not something you attempt at speeds of 120+ kmph. The world was an inky black canvas that we were shooting past and the roads were lined with twinkling star-like partially functional streetlights.

I have always felt that the way a biker navigates curves on a road is a thing of sheer beauty. It is like watching a beautifully choreographed piece. It is like poetry in motion. Watching a bunch of good riders accustomed to each other’s riding habits is even better. Each rider looks out for his fellow riders and is aware, alert and ready to stop to help in case of any glitch or snag in any of the bikes.

A quick re-group along the road and we decided to meet up at the 24-hr Coffee Day for a hot cuppa in the chilly morning. Everyone soon reached the coffee shop and spent a good one hour talking inane stuff, profound stuff and watching the sun wake up. Refreshed by the coffee and troubled by grumbling stomachs we set off to get some breakfast.

We covered the short distance in no time on these fast machines and parked them within our sight. You dare not ask these boys to budge far away from the bikes! We had a sumptuous breakfast, were in the best of cheery spirits and could not wait to get back on the bikes.

The road back to Bangalore seemed pretty empty, save for the occasional superbikes which obviously caught our attention. Straight roads, a fast bike, noises of towns beginning to bustle and a slight drizzle accompanied us on our return journey. The journey out of the city was far more peaceful and enjoyable.

Soon the sun was shining brighter, the roads kept getting narrower, the crowds and vehicles increased in number. But I was happy, lost in the speed and the haze of blue smoke.

-Veronika

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Captured

Unwind

Unwind

Holidaying in a small cozy homestay in Balehanoor,Karnataka. I took this pic at 6 AM. Sipping on some hot tea, not a care in the world. Life, in it’s purest form!

-Wolfy

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