Thursday, June 24, 2010

The one in which I resurface mysteriously after an unexplained hiatus and blog about nothing remotely funny

As the title of this post suggests, I have been gone for a bit, and no, I'm not going to explain where I was, because sadly, there's no fascinating story in there.

Well, okay. While I was away, I was recuperating. I tore the ligaments in my ankle and it has taken surprisingly long for me to recover. In fact, I think I may have recovered from my operation a lot faster. Oh, and I bought a car (yay!), and I put on weight (yikes!) That, though, that is an undisclosed amount of weight, but it is not a scary amount. I decided to wallow in self-pity because of my leg, and therefore I didn't bother to diet, and was totally unable to exercise, and that's my official excuse, people!

I have also finally started to watch TV (M got me a DTH subscription, and getting that installed was a horror story in itself, but not what this post is about). He was all like, "What??? You haven't watched TV for 8 years? Are you even HUMAN???" and made it his mission to break my defences down. He succeeded, and I'm now trying to decide which TV shows are my favourites.

While everyone has jumped on the bandwagon to run 'Raavan' to go to the ground, I must put in my two cents worth to defend it, and I do hope that @SrBachchan will honour me with a retweet for doing that(right!) No, I don't know why a North Indian village called Lal Maati looks just like a village in South India, or why the movie is even called Raavan, when nowhere does the character of Abhishek display ten-headedness (yes, I know that's not a real word). He behaves, in fact, like a lion's cub trying to act all mean and menacing and going 'roooowrrrr', but instead of scaring you, it makes you want to pat him on the head and go 'Awwww!' I also don't understand why the regressive Ragini proudly proclaims that her husband is a 'bhagwan' while he has absolutely no qualms about using her as bait to lead her to Beera. I wanted to know whether Ragini goes back to her husband after he has accused her of infidelity and suggested that she should undergo a polygraph test (Dude, are you serious?), and where the hell did Sanjeevani go to, after their camp was blown up?

In our post-viewing dissection of the movie, M and I were discussing the parallels between the Ramayan and the movie (no, I wasn't paying attention to the TV series when I was younger-I have a short attention span that way). He told me that Ram banished Sita from the kingdom because his subjects suspected her 'purity' and therefore, that was a call he had to take. Ram lost quite a few brownie points with me at the precise moment that I heard that, because, Dude, God or not, you don't abandon your wife because of some nasty hearsay. You stand up like a man and defend her honour, and tell the general populace that you accept her. And if they have a problem with that, they can shove it!
So, getting back to the dissection. Apart from the stunning visuals and the cinematography (which is why I went to watch the movie in any case), yes, I agree, that all the bad acting and Aishwarya screeching her way through the movie (they have waterproof mascara and lip-stain in the jungles? Really?) and the incessant rain (what's with that anyway?) got to me after a while. Not to mention the perfectly choregraphed tribal dance with a picturesque backdrop to boot. A terrifying outlaw who dances and sings too? I'm now waiting with bated breath for the musical, 'Beera!' In a perfect world where my wishes came true, Aishwarya would have thrown herself off the cliff for real, and not even had a tree to break her fall.

But forgive me for not thinking that 'Raavan' was worse than 'Kites', because if the choice is between-

a) an outlaw and a rain-drenched classical dancer who wears Sabyasachi, makes doe-eyes at her captor and falls artistically off a cliff, and a buff husband who wears Ray-Bans and likes a good shoot-up and

b) a bilingual, cross-cultural romance, where the protagonists have the chemistry of two lumps of stale cheese,one of  which spews guttural Spanish, and the horror of looking up Kangana Ranaut's skirt,

I'm choosing a) anyday!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Addicted to the drama-Part Deux

So there I am on the weekend, scouring just about every store in the city to find a decent powder-blue dress (or 'frock', as my mother still calls it - a term, that I have tried to remind her many times, people stopped using circa 1963) that fits me well, and doesn't make me look like a cross between a mermaid and a crazy bird. I finally find one that looks rather nice, and I am praying, that if there is a God in heaven, I will find the perfect shoes to go with this dress. Nothing, nada.

This sounds like a job for B. B, I'll have you know, is the equivalent of Imelda Marcos in my life, because, honestly, I have never personally known anyone who owns so many pairs of shoes. And she kind of views me as the equivalent of a homeless person when it comes to shoes, since I own only about 30 pairs at last count. But I figure that since I am not Gabrielle Solis from Desperate Housewives, I can live with myself. I call her.

ME: When it comes to shoes, is there a HUGE difference between powder-blue and baby-blue?

B: D-uh!! (and knowing B as I do, I can picture the eye-roll that accompanies this)

ME: I need powder-blue shoes to match my dress and I can't find them anywhere!

B: Okay, send me a picture of your dress and I'll have them sent to you. You're about a size 7, right?

B has this amazing ability to take one look at a person's feet and guess what size they are, and retain this information for further use, quite like the guy at store from where I buy lingerie, who has the ability to look at a woman's chest and hand her the right size bra, which is a considerably more creepy skill, but you get the idea.

I wait till the package arrives, which is pretty quick, considering that she lives in another country. I don't know how she manages to get those shoes to me, and in record time too. I just know that I get a box with a note that said 'These will be perfect.' And they are. Trust her to swoop right in and save the day. She's my very own Lara Croft. I take a moment here to wish that God (or whoever's responsible for dishing out useful abilities ) had given me the ability to be clairvoyant, or read auras, or even read bloody tea-leaves, which would only be fair for having given B preternatural powers such as this.

So, feeling rather smug that I had managed to get my act together before the big day, with time to spare and all , and realising that she would be so envious that I was so perfectly and uniformly powder-blue, I wait for DQ to call me, which she does after a couple of days.

DQ: Well, I have good news!

ME: Yeah, me too. ("I am perfectly coordinated in powder-blue from head to toe, baby!!!" I want to yell, but decide to play it cool.)

DQ: Well, since it was impossible for me to get the correct shoes, I told Annie about it and she totally understood.

ME: So you're going to wear baby-blue shoes with a powder-blue dress? ( I have to bite my tongue and hold my breath to stop myself from snorting in contempt)

DQ: Are you nuts? No way! Annie was a doll about the whole thing, and she has decided to change the theme of the whole wedding to cherry-blossom pink, just for me. So now you can shop for pink instead. Gotta go now! See you at the rehearsal! Byyyyeeeeeee!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Addicted to the drama - Part I

I'm in the middle of a Friday-morning meeting, and I can see my cellphone vibrating madly, non-stop. It's a person who we shall refer to here only as Drama Queen Extraordinaire, or just DQ. The reason I cannot name her is because identifying her here would unleash a dramatic episode of such epic proportions, the likes of which have never been seen since Moses parted the Red Sea, and also because I am still trying trying to atone for the sin of having been born first, therefore usurping all our mother's love and affection. Ooops. Nuff said.

So I answer the phone.

DQ: Ohmigod! You will not believe this! The worst thing has happened!

ME: What do you mean? Like Chernobyl?

DQ: Huh?

References to Chernobyl, or man's landing on the moon, or even independence, are inconsequential and unnecessary to her since-

a) they happened to someone else, somewhere else, and do not impact her life directly in any way.
b) they have nothing to do with clothes, shoes, men, bags, food, shopping or flirting.

ME: Nothing. So why don't you tell me what happened?

DQ: I told this friend of mine to buy me powder-blue shoes and she has gone and bought me baby-blue ones! Can you believe it?

ME: No, of course not! I believe everything that the people on the Home Shopping Network say about everything they sell, and I also believe the astrologer who told me that I was a murderer in a past life. But this, no way! Unbelievable!

DQ: (sighing) Can we never have just one normal conversation?

ME: Ok, fine. Why is this important anyway?

DQ: Because! Please tell me that you haven't forgotten that it's Annie's wedding in a month's time and the theme is powder-blue? Please! Come on! You're part of the wedding entourage!

ME: Er...yeah, kind of.

DQ: Are you serious? Really? Wow! Annie's going to have a shit fit about this.

This was not good. Annie is a mutual friend, and is much closer to She Who Must Not Be Named than she is to me, and dealing with the drama generated by both these women together was like witnessing, all at the same time, Moses parting the Red Sea + swarm of locusts + Jesus' ascension into heaven + Lady Gaga in her most OTT outfit splattered with fake blood and performing on stage, hanging upside down suspended by cables, while all coked-up. I think you get the picture.

DQ: Ohmigod! What am I going to do? My clothes and shoes don't match!

ME: What is the big deal? The ushers are going to turn us away if our clothes are not perfectly colour-coordinated when they examine us from head to toe with their magnifying glasses?

DQ: You know, I thought you would understand.

ME: Of course I do. In fact, the only reason Mom ever gave birth to me was because she had the foresight to know that 30 years later, when your clothes and shoes didn't match and you needed someone to run to, there'd always be me.


ME: Hello? Hellooooo???!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Killing Cupid

Ah, February! That time of the year again when a majority of the human population gets all soppy and brain-dead, because their pituitary gland somehow detects which month it is and decides that it's time to release dangerous levels of oxytocin, which gives them an excuse to turn into complete and utter idiots. Having just emerged from the bomb shelter where I hide every 14th of February to escape the assault of pink and red heart-shaped candies, cakes, balloons, cards, gift-boxes, flowers, and a millions other what-nots, I just want to say-Pardon me, but I am really not in the mood for Chicken Soup for the Lover's Frickin' Soul. I do, however, want to share with you a lovely Valentine's Day story, verbatim, in the words of my dear friend, (let's just call her Sara)--

' So there was this guy I met a couple of times at the grocery store, right, who I used to chat with sometimes, just generally, you know? Can you take a look at the price of those strawberries? The brown bread's not too fresh today, that kind of thing. So anyway, he asks me out, and I say yeah, sure, why not? It's only when I go home and check the date that I realise that we would be going out on Valentine's Day, but then I think, what the hell, it's no biggie. It's definitely better than sitting at home and watching a re-run of Serendipity, isn't it? He asks me to meet him at this fancy-ish restaurant that's pretty expensive, and I'm thinking that he could have come pick me up, right? But I think, what the hell! It's not as if he's my boyfriend or anything. When I get there, I have to wait, because he's half an hour late, and you know how I hate waiting, don't you? I mean, it's okay if a guy has to wait there for a while, right? But a girl waiting for a guy tends to look a little desperate, know what I'm saying? So anyway, he shows up and says "Am I late?", knowing very well that he is, and not seeming the least bit aplogetic about it.

He's been to this place before and all, so he orders for both of us. Don't you hate when that happens? I mean, I appreciate the fact that he's been there before and all would like to order something tried and tested, but still...but it's probably best that he ordered, 'cause there was this time that I went to a Chinese restaurant once and ordered something called 'Jade-something-or-the-other' and it ended up looking like green snot with chicken in it, and probably tasted like it too. I wouldn't know, 'cause one look at it, and I wouldn't have eaten it if you'd paid me a million bucks, I swear!

So anyway, he ordered this stuff that looked like tiny little pieces of toast with some toppings on it, and the next thing that came to the table was this tiny little piece of chicken looking lost in a sea of orange sauce, and a few veggies on the side. I mean, give me a frickin' break! That stuff probably didn't even make it down to my stomach and got lost somewhere along the way. And all the while he kept talking about himself, like he was the best thing to have ever happened to mankind since Post-Its, or the bloody iPhone, you know? I ask him what w'ere ordering next, and he looks at me, all surprised and all, and asks, "Are you still hungry?" in an accusatory tone that you would employ with a greedy witch who has just devoured five plump children for breakfast, and still wants more, but not too accusatory, in case the witch was so hungry that she might decide to eat him next. But I can tell you this, that if I were a witch, I'd rather starve than eat his sorry ass.

"Er, yeah. Aren't you?' I say to him, and he says, "Well, I'm quite full, actually" and rubs his belly to emphasise the point. I'm telling you, seriously, D, that this guy's a really cheap SOB, or then he has the smallest appetite of any living creature. Smaller than a baby bird, which would be just about right, 'cause that would match his brain, wouldn't it? I'm wondering whether now would be a good time to have a PMS-induced bitch-fit right then and there, but I decide against it. So not worth it!

I've had more of him than I can take at this point, and so I excuse myself, saying that I need to go to the restroom, and while I slip out, I say to the captain "Today's a very special day," flashing a diamond ring that I bought myself last year "so why don't you serve everyone here your best wine, compliments of my fiance?" I also flash him a jaw-achingly sweet smile and make my exit, never to return again. Needless to say, the grocery-store guy never called me back.'

That story certainly warmed the cockles of my heart, and made me do a little dance on behalf of all the women who have had to endure jerks, cheap b******s or boors as dates. All I know is that the next time my date turns out to be a doozy, I'm doing a Sara on him.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Dog poo: the secret to literary success.

So, here's the thing. I've always wanted to be a writer, right? So what would I write about? Well, Plan A was that I would write a marvellous novel, full of drama, intrigue, unrequited love, suspense and what have you. Since that sounded like a lot of hard work, I came up with Plan B, which was writing about my dog, Winfrey. Well, I figured, if John Grogan can do it, so can I.

 A number of practical difficulties present themselves to me as I mull over this idea, such as-what has Winfrey done in his miserable, crummy little life so far that I can write about? I decide to make a quick checklist of Winfrey's and Marley's traits/behaviour, to assess whether Winfrey has it in him to be a star in the league of Marley.

  • A cute, huggable Labrador
  • Chewed, broke and totally destroyed things
  • Had ADHD-like symptoms
  • Was unhinged to a spectacular degree
  • Had a blink-and-you'll-miss-it starring part in a Hollywood production
  • Despite the fact that he behaved like he was demonically possessed, his owners adored him till his dying day.

  • A furball of undetermined lineage.
  • Lies around all day, barks a couple of times, and then crashes out because of all the effort that it involves.
  • Has no apparent disorder except a maniacal need to bark at car tyres.
  • Is a totally crazy little turd of a dog who can produce the smelliest farts ever. I mean, ever!
  • Doesn't even look good in pictures. As evidence, I present to you Exhibit A (and don't be fooled by his blond glowiness. Photoshop can make anyone look half-decent, even Donatella Versace. Well, okay, almost anyone.)
  • Occasionally tries to suckle puppies, not ever realising that he doesn't have the necessary equipment, i.e., dog-boobies.
  • Was once caught trying to make out with a stuffed rabbit (we left them alone, to spare him the shame of having us witness him being rejected by a stuffed toy, for Chrissake!)
  • Makes us want to slap him silly just because he's there-some people just make you want to do that, you know, like Vince Vaughn?
So having weighed the pros and cons of having to follow Winfrey everywhere he goes in a bid to collect material for my book, filming him while he walks around emptying his bowels, eating poisonous leaves, and spewing gross, green upchuck, and the absolute horror of being assaulted by his silent, lethal farts, I think I'll pass on this one. Sigh! Back to Plan A.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Whoa! Er...excuse me, Sir, but you might want to keep your feet on the floor...

When I step onto the crosstrainer at the gym, I notice that the guy who was on it before me has sweated all over the thing and left a little pool of his sweat for me to deal with. This is a very large man with hairy shoulders, wearing a singlet and shorts, and arm bands and a head band. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against large hairy men. I also have nothing against sports gear that makes a person look like Richard Simmons gone off the deep end. I have a problem with sweat puddles and guys who consider using a towel an affront to their manly principles.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mom-ness Part I (and I imagine there are many more parts to come...)

I wake to the sound of a brass band playing inside my very own bedroom, and, in fact, very close to my ear, and I wonder how and why they got inside the house to play for me at 3 a.m.

Wait a minute! 3 a.m.? Then I realise that it's only my phone, and peer at the screen and see that it's my Mom calling. Mom? Mom?? Ohmigod! Has she fallen down the stairs? Is she ill? Is she hurt? Did my grandmother (with whom she lives) die in the middle of the night? Ohmigod, Ohmigod, Ohmigod!

"Mom," I say breathlessly into the phone, only moments away from a panic attack, "what's wrong?"

"Hi!" she trills, "you're awake?" She doesn't sound at all like she's lying in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the stairs.

"Er...yeah," I say, "because you just woke me up!"

"Listen," she continues conspiratorially, disregarding me and my apparent miffed-ness, "I just received this message that reads 'CONGRATS!!! YOUR MOBILE NUMBER HAS WON YOU $1 MILLION DOLLARS IN THE SHELL MOBILE DRAW 2009/2010.TO CLAIM, CONTACT MR. BROWN AT' "

"Mom, that's a scam. I get messages like that almost everyday."

"But what if I really won? Me! Imagine!"


"I want you to mail Mr. Brown tomorrow telling him that I got this message and I would like to claim my prize money and see what he says, okay?"

He'll say send him some money to claim your prize, and the next thing we know, we'll be arrested and thrown in jail for aiding and abetting something nefarious, and there we will spend the rest of our natural lives weaving baskets.

"Okay, Mom," I sigh.

"I wonder what I'll do with the prize money? I know! I'll buy a new car, and I'll get the house painted and I'll buy that garden set that I've been wanting, and a gazebo!" I can imagine her almost salivating at the mere thought.

Sedatives. What about sedatives? Would you like to buy some of those?

"Mom, I'll tell you in the morning, okay? I mean, when I wake up again. After I reach work and have a chance to mail him.Okay?"

9.00 a.m.

Message from Mom :Did you mail him yet?

Me: Mom, I haven't even reached work as yet.

9.45 a.m.

Mom : Did you mail?

Me: Mom, I'm in a meeting. I'll mail him later.

10.30 a.m.

Mom : Just wanted to remind you to mail, in case you'd forgotten...

Why? Because the trauma of being woken up by you at 3 a.m. has caused me to develop short-term memory loss?

Me: I'm doing it right now.

So I promptly mail the honourable 'Mr.Brown', expecting someone to send me a reply containing numerous typos and a demand to send money. I can imagine him sitting at his ramshackle computer, in a dingy room, all gaunt and bald, an evil grin on his face, thinking to himself - Sucker! There's one born every minute!

To my surprise, the mail returns to my mail inbox undelivered, and I'm overjoyed, ecstatic, that there is now no apparent way to contact the mysterious Mr.Brown, and that this harassment will finally end.

I call her. "Mom, I sent the mail, and it came back undelivered, because no such ID exists. See? I told you it was a scam.I looked it up on the internet, and there are tons of people who've had the same thing happen to them. Can we just forget about it now, Ma?"

I expect a sad and philosophical sigh, and an end to this madness. Instead, I get "Are you sure? Did you type the name correctly? It's Ronald Brown. R-O-N-A-L..." at which point, I hang up, because she has just gotten on my last nerve.

Not one to give up easily (a trait I have inherited from her-I call it sticktoitivity, and everyone else who knows me calls it manic stubbornness-but hey, you know, potayto-potahto) she calls back.

Mom: "Hello? I think the line got disconnected. So as I was saying, I think there's been some mistake..."

Me: (trying to sound like someone else-anyone else but me) "I'm sorry Ma'am, but I believe you've dialed the wrong number. Perhaps you meant to call someone else?"

Mom: "No, I'm quite sure I dialed my daughter's number."

Me: "I'm sorry, Ma'am. But this is the eBay customer service helpline."

Mom: "Oh,wonderful! In that case, I'd like to place an order for a gazebo with you please."

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Why I was just happier before facebook

I've decided not to access my facebook account anymore. Okay, let me rephrase that. I have decided not to access my facebook account AS OFTEN AS I DO NOW. Because, really, which neurotic, obsessive-compulsive-type person can really live in the real world without having facebook to run to when it all gets too much to handle? Glad I'm not one of those people!

It's just annoying, to get ****ing updates about what your friends did on ****ing Farmville. These are the same people who probably couldn't care for a goldfish in the real world. My friend G even killed a virtual fish screensaver that was her pet on her laptop, and on Farmville, she's won ribbons and awards and what-have-you. Yes, I am aware that I am probably amongst the 2% of the facebook population who hasn't succumbed to Farmville, but hey, shoot me!

And really,when you read a status update that says 'Really rocked the house with my speech at the Commonwealth Education Forum.Yeah!' aren't you just tempted to reply with 'Really?? I'm so excited for you that I almost peed in my pants!' Disappear, and come back only when you win an Oscar, okay?

Another thing - albums containing pictures of kids from ever since they were pushed out at birth to like, five minutes ago.Yeah, yeah, we know you think that your baby's the cutest little thing on two legs, but other people have had babies too, you know? The earth's population didn't get to be 6,692,030,277 by magic. Most kids might look like angels, but ask their parents, who're living with them 24x7, and are just about ready to give them up for adoption, or even give them away for free.

I saw this picture of my friend's son, Rohan, posing with his pet dog, and they just look just so....awwwwww! Except that, when he's not posing for the camera, the narcissistic little tyke, his mother spends every waking moment yelling things like "Rohan, how many times have I told you not to pick Zumba up by his tail? Put him down right now!"

Yes, that's the dog's name, and no, I don't know why they call him that, and no, I have never wanted to find out.

There's also this couple I know, who look(in pictures) like they're made for each other, except that the husband's really a prime jerk and is currently having an affair with his assistant. His wife's pregnant and he's feeling really neglected, because all she cares about is the size and shape of her belly, and eating the equivalent of her body weight in food "for the baby", and exchanging notes about prospective motherhood with other moms-to-be. So which self-absorbed, selfish, randy, a****** who forgot to grow up wouldn't have an affair under the circumstances, right? The part where she threw up every morning and cried every time a pin dropped because her hormones were shot to hell, or felt as bloated as a leech were especially hard on him, because, hey, he said for better or for worse, but this?? But there they are, right there, posing in front of the Sydney Opera House on their perfect little holiday,in their matching 'we're-so-happy-together-we-could-burst-at-the-seams-right-now' facial expressions. Puke.

So what I'm trying to say is - weren't we all just better off the way we were before, when we didn't know where people went after school or college, and we met them just once or twice after that in our entire lifetimes at reunions,where everybody dressed up really nicely, and lied through their teeth about how well they were doing and what perfect lives and relationships they had? Really. I mean, really. Wasn't that just better?

I have now decided to form a group on facebook called 'Let's not log into facebook every frickin' time someone leaves a comment or changes their status or does any other damn thing, or just because we have nothing better to do and our lives on facebook are infinitely more interesting than our real lives.' Okay, so I think the facebook guys may have a character limit on that which I'll have to adhere to, and I'll have to work that out. But you'll join my group, right? Anybody...? Anyone...?


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The sucky birthday party of Jesus Christ or How I made it through Christmas

On Christmas day, I am sitting in the living room surrounded by my mother's relatives - an annual event that I endure only because I love my mother dearly, but which is worse than having my soul sucked out by Dementors, I swear. Everyone is talking at the same time, but above this Babel, I can hear a piercing, shrieking sound that is emanating from the centre of the room, but which, surprisingly, nobody else seems to notice.

It's only my cousin's son who is throwing a tantrum of epic proportions for undetermined reasons.That's all. His mother is only a few feet away from him, but amazingly enough, she can hear nothing, even though I feel like my eardrums will split any second. Nobody else seems to be able to hear anything else either. I, on the other hand, seem to have developed, like a dog, the ability to hear this child's screeching above everything else.Probably a frequency-related thing.

Afraid that I might lose my sanity, I decide to go and 'discuss' with him what was wrong. I go and sit directly in front of him and ask him in a cheerful manner "What's the matter? Is there something you want?"

He stops for a split-second, and then resumes his tear-less wailing with renewed gusto. I try again.

"Are you hungry? Or thirsty? Do you want to go to the bathroom?" That usually covers all bases.

"I want balloons! When are we going to cut the birthday cake?" he squeals.

I blink, not quite sure of how to answer. Balloons? Birthday cake? Huh??

So I ask him, " Er...whose birthday is it? Whose cake were we supposed to cut?"

"Jesus H. Christ!"

OMG! This little tyke is just about 5 years old and is swearing already?

"Who taught you to say that?" I asked him, incredulous.

"Daddy!" he shrieks.


"Yes! I heard Daddy saying to Mummy- Jesus H. Christ, Annie! We're already an hour late! "

Aware that I am ill-equipped to deal with almost-five year olds spewing cuss words, I try again.

"Could you please tell me why you're crying?" I ask in the most polite tone I can muster.

"BECAUSE THIS PARTY IS BORING! When I go for other birthday parties, it's fun. We go to McDonald's, and we have Happy Meals, and we get free toys, and return gifts, and there are balloons. And at Trisha's party, there was a magical clown!And Mr. Bean! And Pocahontas!" he rattles off.

"A magical clown?" I ask meekly, because, quite frankly, by now I'm feeling aplogetic about this Christmas party that I didn't even organise.

"Yes! A clown who did magic tricks for us. He took an empty party hat and pulled out Ben Ten watches for everyone!"

Really? When did magical clowns learn to do that? When I was little, all magicians did was turn a handkerchief into a bunch of paper flowers. And technically, this kid was right on the button. This was a day celebrating the birthday of a man widely considered to be the saviour of the human race, and all we were doing right now was sitting around gossiping with fake smiles plastered on our faces. My pervy Uncle Teddy was even looking down my mom's best friend's blouse, while she tugged at the hem of her skirt that was way too short. This, compared to spoilt little Trisha who celebrated her birthday party with magical clowns and free Ben Ten watches.

"OK, so here's the deal" I tell him, with a glint in my eye. "I know this party sucks, so why don't you and I go and flush all the guava cheese down the toilet and go and ring all the neighbours' doorbells and run away, because that seems right up your alley."

He considers this for a moment, and then says "Okay!" Phew!

So he and I did all that, and even locked the cat in the bathroom so that it jumped out and scratched Uncle Teddy on the face when he opened the door, and that's my story of how I made it through Christmas this year. Aren't you glad it wasn't you? Next year, I plan to break an arm or a leg, or fake my own death, if need be to wangle my way out. Just please don't tell my Mommy, okay?