Given that so many different friends are doing these, and have tagged me in their lists, I have buckled and am posting my version. So for all those people who wanted to know me better, or didn't, here goes.
1. I am a sucker for forwards, tags, and other random facebook-related pseudo chain-mail epidemics, as this particular post amply demonstrates. (A side note - don't you love the word "ample"? It just curls your tongue the right way. English doesn't have enough words that do that - which is why I find German so much satisfying since you can really get your tongue around it. I guess I'm actually all about the tongue....)
2. I refuse to worship at the altar of puritanical language use, choosing to meld it to my preference, and will therefore use words like "sucker" and "epidemics" in the same sentence with no sense of irony or apology. I will also throw in words from other languages, just for the fun of it.
3. I am a serial traveller - and cannot remember how many countries I visited in 2008. I think it was 12 different ones, but I cannot confirm that.
4. I have therefore decided to slow down a little in 2009, because I really should be able to keep track of myself. I guess I shouldn't worry about keeping track of myself though - I'm probably being monitored by terrorists, my boss, the CIA, space aliens, or all of the above so I'm doing my bit in fighting the global recession by providing employment opportunities (Side note - maybe my boss is a space alien terrorist who secretly works for the CIA? hmmm....)
5. As an aside - 2008 was an awesome year; the travelling was just the icing on the cake, though there were quite a few irritations along the way. (Side note - I am OBVIOUSLY unable to do this without side notes, subtle jokes, and generic ramblings. How very tedious and simultaneously amusing. I'm obviously not just all about the tongue, I'm also all about the tangent.)
6. I am officially in love with Berlin, and if I could find a job there, I would move tomorrow. (this is a polite nudge for people who can help me find jobs in Berlin) I absolutely detest Singapore, and would rather move to Timbuktu or Twyford before I moved there. I actually would enjoy going to Timbuktu, so that's probably not a fair statement.
7. I speak two languages perfectly (English and Hindi - though both come with the disclaimer in No. 2 above) and several others (French, Spanish, Bhojpuri, Punjabi and Urdu) badly. I also speak enough Spanish to buy a beer, find a bathroom after drinking the beer and have conversations with Chilean ballet dancers and Catalan clowns about life, the universe and everything, so I guess I speak more Spanish than I logically should.
8. I am perpetually sleep deprived, due to a combination of factors including work, movies, novels, the internet, the local stables, my friends, my friend's playstation, and not least of all alcohol. I am therefore probably walking around with terrible skin, though thankfully I don't get too many pimples.
9. I have never had a tattoo or a body piercing - the former because I still haven't found what I'm looking for, and the latter out of a healthy fear of my father, and his threat that he would rip out any piercing I had. If you know my father, you would have a healthy fear of him too.
10. I am currently toying with the idea of a body piercing, but realise that it is essentially a potentially juvenile way to demonstrate that I no longer live in fear of my father ripping it off. I will therefore probably never get a piercing, but hey, you never know.
11. I love dancing, and can dance saala (unlike pappu). I am also an energiser bunny when i'm dancing, and can dance all night (I can also drive all night, and not be Cyndi Lauper, but that's another story). I am generally in serious pain the next day since my feet are generally sore, but hey, what the hell.
12. I love a wide variety of music, though house / techno / european electronic / rap doesn't really cut it for me. Put on Bollywood, though, and you've got a winner. Which then leads me to the next point (which should really be No 13, but I'm enjoying this too much to hit enter) and that is that I am a Bollywood fanatic. I will draw the line at anything with Himesh Reshammiya in it or providing the music for it, and anything with Mithun Chakravarty also tends to be off limits (though he was very good in Agnipath).
13. I have now hit enter, and on reading number 12 am more than slightly disturbed that I have managed to include both Mithun Chakravarty and Himesh Reshammiya into a piece about me and my life.
14. In a possibly futile attempt to recover from the trauma identified in Number 13, I will move swiftly along onto another obsession - books. I only read fiction, and will tend to avoid anything on a bestseller list, (yes, yes, I know, I'm an intellectual snob, but frankly, given that I'm smarter than atleast 95% of the world, I don't see the issue with being realistic). Favourite writers include Haruki Murakami, Orhan Pamuk, Michael Ondaatje, and my sister, Sunny (and that is NOT being parochial. You wanna take this outside?!)
Other writers I tend to enjoy include Ahdaf Soueif, Amin Maalouf, Alan Hollinghurst, Emile Zola, Amitav Ghosh, F. Scott Fitzgerald (I cry like a baby everytime I read Tender is the Night, which isi far too often, and which means that I cry like a baby quite often) Tolstoy (though I think War and Peace was in dire need of an editor, whereas Anna Karenina rocked) and E.L. Doctorow. Ariel Dorfmann is awesome too, and unlike Isabel Allende (who I think is a bit of a sell-out now and has never been able to match the dizzying heights of excellence that was Eva Luna) and Mario Vargas Llosa (who is good, but can be tedious - maybe its the translations and I should try reading him in the original Spanish - cross ref to No. 7 above) I like the fact that Dorfmann doesn't write with the ghost of Marquez on his back. Speaking of whom, 100 years of solitude is another all-time favourite - I think part of the attraction is that sometimes I think that the Buendias could have been inspired by my family....
15. I love cinema, though the troubling thought is that everyday there are more movies made and released and are added to my pile of things that I have to watch and don't have enough time to watch. It often feels like I'm trying to empty a bucket with a teaspoon while someone else is filling it up with a jug - very biblical, don't you think?
16. I am a serial post-colonial post-modernist, and will argue till the cows come home, bed down for the night and go out again in the morning after being milked about how both are incredibly valid criticisms and frameworkds for analysis even today. I therefore have massive issues with books like Shantaram and movies like Slumdog Millionaire, in which the authenticity of the narrative is established by virtue of the filmmaker or writer being Western. Apparently us poor non-Westerners aren't good enough to tell our own stories, and our attempts are somehow not good enough. Obviously people who're born and bred in Mumbai can't make movies about Mumbai as well as some random Scottish bloke can. And you didn't see Johnny Depp running to buy the film rights to Sacred Games, now did you?
17. Ella Shohat rocks. Alan Dershowitz does not. 'nuff said. (Reader, there's a pun there. Try to find it. It does not have anything to do with Jane Austen).
18. I have few obsessions, many hobby horses, and a collapsible soapbox that I whip out whenever needed. I also tend to win arguments. In fact - I tend to win. Period.
19. I love riding horses. I do not love riding motorbikes or other twowheeled motorised contraptions.
20. I am tiring of the need to get to 25, which helps demonstrate one of my vices, which is my severe lack of patience. A lasting family joke is how as an Americanised 7 year old stuck in a traffic jam on the Washington Bridge in the Big Apple, I stuck my head out of a silver sedan with a diplomatic licence plate (no, i wasn't the one driving - even the evil diplomats don't let their 7 year olds drive), and yelled to the six-foot plus driver of the 4x4 in front, "move, buddy, MOVE!". Everytime that this story is told, generally with great hilarity ensuing, I have to calmly remind everyone that buddy duly moved, and we were on our way. Funny - you would think they would care to remember that.
21. I do not like seafood, but I also do not dislike it. That may sound ambivalent, which is exactly what my relationship to seafood is like. I do like a spicy prawn curry, and a mean meen moili hits the spot (but not everytime i eat it - hence the ambivalence). I do not like sashimi. ever.
22. I would rather die than stop eating meat. I do not need to eat it all the time, everytime, and in arterty-clogging quantities and preparations, but more than two days without meat and I start feeling faint. Nothing can quite match a solid biryani, or a well-cooked steak. I don't like raw meat though, and things like tartares and rare portions don't really rock my boat.
23. I can, and often, drink like a fish (funny that, given my ambivalence to seafood - see number 21 above. Side note - I am big on cross-referencing, which is possibly the consequence of having too many PhD's in my personal sphere of influence and interaction. Blame the academics, I always say) I am usually able to outdrink most friends, make it home at 4 am and then get up at 7:30 to go horse riding (generally without a hangover). I agree with most spirits (and they tend to agree with me too, which is why we get along so well). I do not, however, react well to either Guinness, or anything that is from the fennel / aniseed world (so no raki, ouzo, or sambuca, thank you). You risk having me throw up all over you if you get me onto tequila.
24. I have a blog, which I update less frequently than I would like. I am also shameless at self-promoting, but my logic is that if I don't tell people how wonderful I am, who will? Besides, its not as I'm misleading them when I tell them that. I am also not a modest person, but then, that's just me being a brutal realist.
25. I am relieved at having made it to No 25, and cannot think of anything to add to this section, other than to say that things like this particular post are really dangerous because they give self-loving soapbox carrying erudite maniacs like me an opportunity to hold forth for far longer than we should. Don't you just love the internet?! :)