Sunshine Too Brief


All Contents copyright of
Tazzy at

I'm a self-absorbed Bengali-Torontonian;
Fish comes to me raw, wrappend in seaweed, not cooked in curry;
I love watching thunderstorms and rain;
Sad endings make more sense to me than happy ones;
I hate empty walls.

In the News

Craving of the week-
Dark Chocolate
Reading List-
Midnight's Children
Movie review(out of 5)-
127 hours- *****
Buried- ****
That Girl in Yellow Boots- **
Love of the week-
Seeing James Franco
Aim for the weekend-
Watch 'Going Postal' The Movie

My Novella: Samosa for the Arranged Souls

Introduction & Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapters 3, 4 & 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 6 continues

Chapter 7 & Epilogue

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  • Friends & Daily Reads

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    The Kiss

    Lips' language to lips' ears.
    Two drinking each other's heart, it seems.
    Two roving loves who have left home,
    pilgrims to the confluence of lips.
    Two waves rise by the law of love
    to break and die on two sets of lips.
    Two wild desires craving each other
    meet at last at the body's limits.
    Love's writing a song in dainty letters,
    layers of kiss-calligraphy on lips.
    Plucking flowers from two sets of lips
    perhaps to thread them into a chain later.
    This sweet union of lips
    is the playground of a pair of smiles.

    ~Rabindranath Tagore


    Fringe Reviews again (part 1)

    Late but here's my brief review of the last three Fringe Toronto 2010 play I've seen so far.

    Dating in a Disposable World:

    "Set in the throwaway and pleasure- seeking culture of the “now”, Dating in a Disposable World is a modern translation of the Inuit myth- Skeleton Woman. It is a show that looks at the hopes for permanence in relationship through theatre and song."
    So Fringing started rocky when H and I randomly decided to pick this play that was playing within walking distance and a good timeslot. I know Fringe is all about  experimenting and seeing something different but this one fell well below the not-so-great-plays I''ve seen in the past 6 years or so at the Fringe. And I have seen some weird stuff- from a one woman act who barely spoke (and she was awesome) to life size home made puppets looking at oil crisis to the story of a suitcase left at a train station. This one was BAD.  As one woman acts go, many are a hit or a total miss and this had to be worse than a miss. The writer/performer Zalia Jo might think she was showing us the perils of modern dating, but  from the moment she referred to the 'internet' as 'information highway' she lost her audience. No one has called the internet that in 15 years! he character Tiffany was  so far off the radar of annoying that I was close to throttling her on stage.  Who is that screechy and dumb?  Nor does her interleaved story lines give us any insight into the 'so called hedonistic disposable society' or 'love' for that matter. Yes the woman can sing but maybe she should have hired someone else to do the actual writing and had only shown up for the songs. 
    Steer clear.

    Cactus: The Seduction

    "Cactus: The Seduction is about searching for love in a desert. Phil's reality is a peripatetic journey with companions. He traipses through life heading towards a mysterious figure in the distance with Uri, a doubtful liar and Eric, a tender Englishman. Along the way Phil periodically falls into a fantasy world where he's a performer in front of an audience. Cactus mixes stand-up, story-telling, characters and dance in an explosion-of-imagination."
    Since experimenting left me so deflated (not just because of the heat) I had to go back to my tried the true Fringe tactic. Draw up a list and cross reference with what the reviews are saying. Luckily this one matched up perfectly. If there was a play that showed the true nature of love this one was it. Bonus was that it was wrapped up so much funny that included randomness like scorpions in love and even crowd surfing. You might be too busy laughing to notice, but it was quite smart how Jonno Katz drafted his play which ultimately does seduce the audience into not just joining him along for a crazy ride of physical comedy  but also share his earnest efforts at deciphering the nature of love, sex and reality.
    A MUST see! Don't worry if the advance tickets are sold out. Go an hour before tho show and you'll get tickets.

    Lucky 9

    "by TJ Dawe"- thats all we needed to know
    I've been duly following Dawe's performances in every Fringe since the 'One Man's LOTR' and its been fascinating observing his evolution from creative plays, to hilarious autobiographical monologues to the philosophical musings undercut with more family anecdotes that he brings with Luky 9 which is a monologue about life. He talked about his childhood, his sister’s knitting and crafting, his mother, his father’s enthusiasm about The Wire, Dr. Gabor Mate’s books and the Enneagram of personality, addictions and chasing dopamine, and his own personal development.    Clearly his work is highly anticipated among Fringe circles with good reason. Yes its not his funniest work but it is a lot more memorable this time. At the same time I'm not sure if I'd recommend the play to someone who's never been to a Fringe play. He is still the best at monologues but those expected side splitting laughs might not enjoy it as much.

    The Carnegie Hall Show

    "Its improv" (thats all the Program said)
    The moment I saw the names and faces of Second City alumni Matt Baram and Naomi Snieckus on the cast list of this show, I was hooked and giddy with anticipation. The play doesn't fail at all. As improv shows at the Fringe goes you can't probably find a better one. They took  suggestion from the audience(our night was about Miracles) and make a history of the greatest improvised scenes of that event or item. Of course there is no history.  They just make it up. The second part of the show is a live 1940s radio drama, complete with commercials. The cast has the best thing that is elementary to great improv- chemistry and restraint. They were great at picking up cues to the the story as they went along  and killed  lazy ones quickly before everyone caught on. It was magic. To go back to a comparison with 'Dating',  there was two entire songs that were performed on the Carnegie Hall Show which were amazing!
    Another must see!

    Next on the list is 'Double Double' 'Pick of the Fringe' and 'Factcheck'. I'll try and review them as I see them.


    10 'Awesome' things

    In light of this book coming out soon, I wanted to come up with my list of 10 awesome things that cheer up a bad day instantly. For me, in no particular order, would be it.

    10. Getting caught in the rain: Not the chilly showers or light drizzles..but the summer downpour that floods the sidewalks, letting you wade in  wearing your flip-flops. You come home all drenched but not chilled to the bone. Bonus if the rain continues and you are now sitting inside all warm listening to sound of rain.  Love!

    9. First sip of coffee of the day: Its now a ritual for me and pretty much makes the day.  I find that even if its take out coffee, I have to find a quiet spot to sit down, take a moment, breathe in that wonderful aroma, imagining the semi sweet taste of it before I take a small cautious sip. Bliss.

    8. Hanging your hand out of the window of a car and doing the wave thing: Letting the air lift and push your hands and pretend  you are flying.  So much better when you are at the back seat of the car with windows that go down all the way!

    7. Dangling your feet in water:  Clearly I'm attached to water. I love the soothing feeling when you drop your bare, aching feet into some cool, waiting water from edge of the dock, side of the boat, pool or a sandy beach.

    6. Walking around enjoying an ice-cream cone on a summer day:  A cup will not do. It has to be on a waffle cone :)
    5. When babies get all comfy and rest their head on your shoulder, ready for a nap: And just like that you know that you've made it. You've made this tiny person trust you to take care of them. Not to mention its prime spot to take in all the wonderful baby smell.

    4: Hearing an old favourite song on the radio: Like an old Madonna song, Ace of Base or George Micheal. Did I just age myself there?  Never mind. Basically songs that you loved as a pre-teen/teen and know all the words to. Probably danced to in your room with the door locked, pretending you were in that music video. No one? Fine. Keep denying ;)

    3. Just out of the dryer sheets: They smell so soft and warm to touch. Perfect to roll around in. Clearly my cat thinks the same too.

    2. Funny Gchat conversations with friends when we could have easily picked up the phone: You know the kind. Where you have your Gchat open at work or when you are clearly running late for something at home and should close the chat, just then your friends decide to share something hilarious and you are far too caught up in the impromptu conversation+ trying not to giggle out loud(that would be a work).

    1. Signing  your name on a foggy window: Its like a compulsion. No fogged up windows are safe from my hands. I have to sign my name and then draw a smiley face for added benefit.  There doesn't seem to be any support group for this. Oh well. I guess you'll have to drive away with my name on your car!


    My writing..

        - Jerome D'Costa

    I want to write.
    I will write.
    I will definitely write.

    But I can't write.
    I just cannot write.
    I cannot write at all.

    Credit : 3rd World View


    Yes: March 1st-7th

    First week down.
    Things I have said yes to so far-

    - Going to a Bob McFarrin concert without any idea who that is. Ever heard..
    Don't Worry Be Happy
    Google says thats his song. How cool!
    Result: His March 27th show turned out to be sold out. But atleast now I know one more singer than I did before. Everybody with me now.."Don't worry (nod head) Be Happy"

    -Thursday was West Queen West Art + Design Walk, a free tour organized by this group and the agenda was...
    "Discover art, architecture, and the secret spots and neighbourhood gems only a knowledgeable local could show you."
    Result: It was really cool, surprisingly. Thanks H for the invite! We saw some 'interesting' contemporary 'art'. I've put art in quotations because gluing the pages of old paperbacks and lining them up on a shelf is hardly art in my books. But then, thats contemporary art for you- you never get it until someone explains it to you. Apparently in this case it represented the struggle that the artist, a Korean import, faced while moving to Canada with not being able to read books in English. Together now- "um right'. Still, there were many cute stores that we surfed through, got a bit of history lesson+complimentary beer from Green Shag (who make quirky cuff lings) Some stores that I'm definitely coming back to, like 'Type bookstore'   and 'Magic Pony', ...many more that we walked by. Unfortunately I forgot to bring the camera along. So, had to wait till I got home.
    Are you ready for it?
    I went to WestQueenWest and all I bought  back(for my brother) is
    Yep! a mobile Sumo Wrestler. 
    creeepyy...and totally something my brother will find hilarious.Hopefully.
    I forget sometimes that he's 20yrs old ! 

    Thankfully we missed a contemporary dance performance at one of the galleries and ended the night with some complimentary Argentinian Yerba Mate tea , courtesy of the friendly people at El Almacen Yerba Mate Cafe. The (lightly caffeinated, vitamin enriched) tea is drunk from a gourd pot  like this- 
    Cute eh?

    - Lastly, a YES for 'Avatar' not winning best picture or director at the Oscars last night. I know it was a question or suggestion....but thats what I blurted out while watching the show at Drake. I havn't seen 'Hurt Locker' but the fact that  'Avatar' (which I've seen) didn't win best picture, made the best moment in the otherwise  'dull-unfunny' Oscars that we had this year. 


    In light of the semi-success of my february project, I have decided that for 2010 I will have monthly resolutions instead of the yearly. Meaning, I have another self-awareness project for March. I took a page out of my friend H's 2010 resolution for this.
    Are you ready?

    For the month of March, I will say Yes.

    To anything and everything.*

    This include suggestions, questions, propositions, invitations, actions, name it....and I'll say 'yes' to it.  There will be weekly reports on here about the varied things I have said "yes" to and if/what effect it had on me.

    So friends, family members, blog followers- hit me with your best and weirdest suggestions.
    Sky is the not the limit. 

    *Exceptions are things that could be physically or emotionally harmful to others or to me, situations that could lead to a reconciliation between my sister and I, and actions that are beyond me financially.


    Who's your daddy, USA?

    Canada! Thats who :)
    We had been saving seats at JackAstors on front since an hour before the game started. It was sheer madness inside with hockey fans and everyone dressed in patriotic reds. It got intense when US scored a second time in the last 20 seconds of the third round, tying the score. I think got even more nauseous with anxiety. Unusual for a non-sport fan like me. But 7 minutes into over-time Crosby scored a win!
    And just like that Canada won Hockey gold for the first time on home-soil for Winter Olympics. We also won the most number of gold medals for any host country in the history of Winter Olympics. How cool is that? This must be how USA feels all the time!

    As we poured onto front street, we were faced with hundreds of fans like these.

    Then we walked up along Yonge, hi-fiving other fans on the sidewalks, pouring onto the streets with EVERY car honking along to cheer us on and random renderations of the national anthem.

    R and I posing with the flag and some random hockey fan!

    Until we hit Dundas square...and saw more.

    The party is still going on as I type.



    A few weeks ago at a gathering at my place, someone pointed to my collection of books in Bengali and asked:  "Can you really read them?"

    For a second, I was tempted to mess with her and say. "No, I keep them for decorative purposes!"

    I didn't, but I'm always surprised at why people find it weird that I am fluent enough in another language to read entire novels written in a script so entirely different from English. Clearly, I have a non-Canadian accent when I speak English, meaning English is NOT my first language. So why should I not be bilingual? And why should I not display my first language, that which my mother spoke to me, with pride? We all should.

    I was reminded of this incident very recently since the 21st of February, which just passed, was celebrated as UNESCO's "InternationalMother Language Day" across the world. It has been observed yearly since 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism across the world. It is of particular significance to me because the proposal to declare the particulars of this day was sent by Bangladesh - the country of my birth and the country that fought for the right of its people to speak the language of their parents, Bengali.

    For Bangladesh, formally East Pakistan, the fight for the Mother Language was a fight for identity as well as against oppression. With the creation of state of Pakistan in 1945, it was decreed that "Urdu, and only Urdu" would remain as the official state language of Pakistan.  This decision was faced with immediate criticism from the Bengali-speaking majority living in East Pakistan because with one state language, the educated society of East Pakistan who spoke Bengali, would become "illiterate" and "ineligible" for government positions. Furthermore, the protesters against one official language were labeled as "Enemies of the State" for choosing to preserve their language and culture over the integrity and sovereignty of their nation. The government invoked a limited curfew against the provincial strike of university students across East Pakistan who called for Bengali to be recognized as the second official language of Pakistan. Protests were tamed down so as to not break the curfew. However, on February 21, 1952, the police fired on a group of young university students despite their peaceful protests and a number were killed. It started a wave of dissent and widespread protests across the province, until  Bengali was officially accepted as a second official language of Pakistan in 1954.  This is the monument built in the honor of the young souls do died during the movement.

    This Language Movement had a major cultural impact on the Bengali speaking population of Pakistan. Some historians have put it down as the beginnings of the internal conflict that ended with a civil war between the two sections of Pakistan and ultimately, the creation of the nation of Bangladesh in 1971. Throughout the entire time of the conflict until the present time, the 21st of February has been  celebrated as Language Movement Day or Shohid Dibosh(Martyrs' Day) in Bangladesh and has inspired the development and celebration of the Bengali language, literature and culture. A month-long event called the Ekushey Book Fair is held every year to commemorate the movement, the likes of which I'm yet to see anywhere. To take the message about the importance of preserving languages to a more global level, Bangladesh officially sent a proposal to UNESCO to declare February 21st "International Mother Language Day"; it was supported unanimously at the 30th General Conference of UNESCO held on November 17, 1999.

    So why is it important to preserve our mother language? Well, languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All movements to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.

    I have not noticed much celebration of "International Mother Language Day" in Canada, which quite surprises me. In Canada, the historic struggle between French and English colonizers to possess the "New World" resulted in the establishment of two "official" languages - English and French. Although they compete for use with many other languages, they still remain the two dominant languages of the country and that says a great deal about Canada's history, culture and heritage. The importance of preserving a mother language can only become more essential as Canada as a country becomes more and more multicultural. Unfortunately, the opposite happens. New immigrants arrive in Canada with their own mother languages and they are quite often made fun of because the way they speak English or French sounds "weird/different", when their multilingualism should be applauded. First generation immigrants, feeling the pressure to sound more "Canadian", also end up not doing enough to preserve the rich heritage of their languages and don't always pass it on to their next generations. I place myself among those people when I chat up my nephews in English more and more frequently.

    Being bi or multilingual should not make you "less Canadian"; it should make you more so because it truly represents the sprit of openeness that's supposed to exist in Canada. There are other benefits of being bi or multilingual as well. Recently, there has been a study by a scientist at the Baycrest Centre in Toronto which showed that being bilingual can delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease by a few years!
    I, for one, would like to see "International Mother Language Day"  celebrated with great gusto in Canada to truly appreaciate the rich heritage of our people, freshly arrived or not.


    The Photojournal project

    Okay people, since I like the layout of wordperss better for pictures, I've set up separate blog for the February Photo Journal project.
    Check it out starting Feb 1st.
    Go on. Be ruthless in your comments.
    Tell me I suck.
    You know you want to.


    Defibrillation (part 2)

    Defibrillation (part 2):- Where a 26 year old me drops by the apartment, finds me laying around on the sofa watching an episode of Big Bang Theory for the third time and decides to act like my mother and get me off it.
    Essentially annoy the hell out of me.

    Tazzy from 2005: Wake up wake up! Its Twenty Ten! Start of a new decade!
    Tazzy now: Who gives a F*** ?
    Tazzy from 2005- My God! Sulky much?
    Tazzy now: No. Bored, uninspired, sad, angry, fatalist maybe. But not sulky.
    Tazzy from 2005: Is that why you haven't put up any 'New Years Resolution' post on this blog like you do every year? Remember when you did it the first time?
    Tazzy now: I didn't do it every year. Wait, I did.
    Tazzy from 2005: Yes, You've been doing that for half a decade. You can't stop now.
    Tazzy now: Seriously? Half a decade? Gawd I'm lamer than I thought.
    Tazzy from 2005: Its not lame. It gets you doing stuff and keeps you sane. And lamer is not a word. I thought your writing would improve by now.
    Tazzy now: Why would you think that? I have no talent. You knew that.
    Tazzy from 2005: Oh stop being such a whiny baby. Think of some resolutions and put it up.
    Tazzy now: I don't want to.
    Tazzy from 2005: Yes you do. Now quick, before it hits February.
    Tazzy now: Why? Who cares if its February?
    Tazzy from 2005: I do. You always get more down in Jan and Feb. Moping around the place, staying in, avoiding people, acting all depressed when you know its all SAD.
    Tazzy now:*muttering under her breath* Do you have a point? Or are you here just to yell at me.
    Tazzy from 2005: Oh I know what your resolution can be. You can find a way to make the rest of winter more bearable. Get a project for that time. It'll keep you busy and you'll learn something. Like when you took up French, then salsa dancing or the gym.
    Tazzy now: I don't want to do any of them. And I do have a project already. I am making a wall hanging using the first Saree my dad bought me.
    Tazzy from 2005: Yeah? How is that going? Done yet?
    Tazzy now: Well I have the pieces and the bamboo stick its supposed to go on. I just have to cut out the loops and stitch it.
    Tazzy from 2005: So you have done nothing. Why are you even doing it? You hate stitching. Find something else. Look at this blog - She's so creative and fun. Making her own sunshine.
    Tazzy now: I am not crafty like her!
    Tazzy from 2005: Well true. But remember a week ago? When you couldn't find any of your bookmarks or any nice ones in the store and you made a bunch of your own bookmarks using old greeting cards, construction paper and string?
    Tazzy now: Thats hardly a project, Ms Wise ass. Plus I don't need anymore bookmarks.
    Tazzy from 2005: But didn't it make you feel better? Doing something? Instead of watching TV/movie on the computer until your eyes hurt or you fell asleep?
    Tazzy now: Yes. It did.
    Tazzy from 2005: There you go. You could do something that's a bit more ongoing. Something you could do every day. Something you'd actually like. And, to be honest. Those bookmarks are not half bad. Have you shown them to anyone?
    Tazzy now: Why would I do that? What is this? Facebook? Take a picture of every lame thing and post it so people can say 'cute' ? What am I? 26?
    Tazzy from 2005: Pictures! OMG you could take pictures!
    Tazzy now: What are you talkinga about?
    Tazzy from 2005: Take pictures. One every day for the month of February and post it on here. Like a photo journal of things that you like about February.
    Tazzy now: You might be onto something there. I love my new camera and I like photo editing. Plus I barely take pictures anymore ever since I've gotten all fat and ugly. Oh gawd. Maybe I should make 'being thinner' my resolution.
    Tazzy from 2005: Please. Thats so cliche.
    Tazzy now: And a photo journal isn't? Its 2010, loser. Everyone has one.
    Tazzy from 2005: Touche. But you don't. Come on, it'll be fun. Try and make it creative. Don't go taking pictures of your morning coffee everyday.
    Tazzy now: Hey! I like my morning coffee routine, sitting by my big windows,Tusch curled up near my feet, looking out to the city that I love.
    Tazzy from 2005: City? They are building a freaking condo across the street. You can't make those construction cranes look interesting in pictures.
    Tazzy now: You wanna bet? Feb 1st- first creative picture from my window of the construction cranes.
    Tazzy from 2005: You are ON!

    *Tazzy from 2005 walking away grinning to herself, "I'm so gullible"*


    Avatar Fail

    I had no intention of seeing this movie in the first place in the theatre. The special effects can't match a highly predictable storyline that was pretty much all revealed in the trailer. I mean at least '2012' wasn't taking itself seriously, while Avatar thinks its being revolutionary by exploring the 'white man's guilt'. Clearly its not.

    And now I'm definitely not watching it for free online after reading this! I'm still sure it'll break some box office records by the sheer force of people who want to be in the 'loop'. I mean sure it might have ground breaking special effects, but wouldn't you rather see it play out in a movie that has a watchable story?



    Is it weird that seeing this makes me feel like Gretel? Best use of gingerbread theme EVER!

    -Toronto Fire Station at Front and Sherbourne (Image from Daily Dose of Imagery)

    Whats up with the banana in the window though? Even Our work Christmas tea-thingi for hospital staff had this bowl of fruits out along with trays and trays of cookies and decadent desserts! Is it some underground movement by health fanatics to infiltrate our yearly tradition of indulgence? Can we have not one time in our year when we eat guilt-free? Sheesh people. I can have banana anytime..but I don't get to enjoy icing and candycanes everyday. I know what I'm putting in my mouth. Either join me or shut the Eff up and eat your apple.

    *Humming Jingle Bell rocks*


    Defibrillation continues.

    Goal: Writing a story in 10 minutes without editing for content.
    Instruction: It should start with- "Now you are an accomplice", he said.


    "Now you are an accomplice", he said as he put on his socks. "This stays between just the two of us".
    She nodded and wished for the second time that she had never walked into his room.
    "I really should have known better that this would happen", she thought to herself.
    "Its cold out. Do you have your socks on?" he asked.
    She knew that is not why he wanted her to wear them but she lifted up her right foot and showed him anyway. They had done this before, she knew the drill.

    As she followed him down the stairs, she was briefly thankful that she wasn't going in first this time. She could only hope that maybe they will believe that it was his idea if they got caught. But deep down in her gut she knew that they will still blame her. She was older after all.

    She tried to catch his sleeves when they reached the bottom of the stairs but he moved too fast. There was nothing to more to do than follow the light instead. As they stopped in front of the jar, she put her hand on his shoulder and said, "I think Mommy put chocolate chunks in this time".


    Defibrillation of this space

    Someone explain to me what is up with the Twitter craze!

    Unless you are Obama or George Clooney...(insert gratuitous picture of Clooney snapped at the TIFF this year...

    .....not by someone who lives right across the theatre his movie premiered in- ME.
    By someone who wasn't, at that moment, in a lineup to see another movie that she had free tickets to.
    Not Bitter. At All.)

    uumm...what was I saying?

    Oh yeah. What makes you think that anyone wants to know the status updates to your life constantly in 140 characters or less?!
    *dramatic pause*
    In other news, today's post will be a Twitter.
    Here goes capturing my rants in 140 characters or less.

    *cracks knuckles*
    *ouch*(forget it, can't crack knuckles)
    *stretching fingers to prevent cramping*


    When did it become okay to wear tights as pants? With boots and a jacket
    so short that I can see you sashaying in front of me. Did I mention she was a Hijabi Muslim woman?
    5:24pm Nov 2 From TazzyTweets

    Take that, people who think Twitter is replacing blogs! That was 139 characters minus spaces.
    You know what? I'll add one more.


    There, now its 140.

    Comment back in 7 characters or less!


    Two out of four isn't bad, right?

    Remember back in January when I made four resolutions for 2009?
    Yeah me neither.
    (Hint for lazy ones-Look at #2)

    Then over summer they came back to me-
    -Become a size 8
    -Get involved in more volunteer work
    -Start a second blog on a totally different topic
    -Acquire and keep three house plants alive in the new apartment

    Well I'm pleased as a nectarine (coz I'm not crazy about peaches) to announce that by sheer coincidence I was able to cross out two of them at once!
    Yep, I started volunteering for METRAC (The Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children) and guess what I'm helping them with? Starting up and contributing to their Blog!

    Check it out here!
    Do give it as much love as you've given this space.
    It is not your average organizational blog on sad feminist issues. The hope is to share 'stories and opinion on current issues, inform about METRAC’s innovative work and initiatives in Toronto and across Canada, and ultimately inspire involvement and action to make our world safer for women, youth, and children, safer for everyone.'
    Don't forget to leave comments there and spread the word :)

    On with mission #1 to become size 8, I have joined a boot camp(thanks to Isheeta for inspiration) for a month.
    First class:
    Time- Yesterday evening
    Location: At a school compound in pouring rain and 8degrees Celsius!
    Verdict: I was wheezing after one lap around the school and crying for my arms that were pathetically trying to do pushups. Not a pretty sight. Thank god for the lack of mirrors.
    Still it was kinda fun doing it outdoors among a group of encouraging women, even the size 2 ones who were complaining about getting on the weight machine! Bitches.

    Two out of four and it only took me 10 months!

    PS: Sadly, mission #4 has been on hold since summer when I realized I don't like touching dirt. Even with gloves.

    ME Meals challenge

    You remember how bad my cooking skills were four years ago right? Well its gotten better and infact I had been meaning to write (ahem boast) about what I learnt in the last four years about cooking. Then I came across 'Special K''s post about the challenges of 'cooking for one'. Apparently chefs "cite measuring obstacles, portion doubts, paring problems and presentation apathy". I have been 'cooking for one' for about 5 years now and comparing to making meals for a family when I was living with the parents, I couldn't agree more. Not only is cooking for one hard, but so is grocery shopping. I have lost count of how many times I have had to throw out veggies I bought in a bout of inspiration, until a friend suggested makign veggie stock to freeze and use it for soups later. That didn't work out so well but now I just know how much to buy for a week and also stock up the pantry with things that are quick to prepare but also healthy. Being near so many fresh fruit/veggie vendors help of course. I also had to learn how to plan most of the meals (lunch and diner) for the week so I only have to cook all of it once and still account for dinner out with friends.

    As a part of K's challenge to write about 'what you eat or crave eat when you eat alone', here's a ME meal that I make often as its easy to prepare and a comfort dish for me.
    It is a Bangladeshi dish called 'Khichuri' which means 'hodge podge of things'. It is commonly prepared during rainy days when no one feels like spending hours in the kitchen or going out to buy fresh grocery. It can be made with stuff at home and reminds me a lot of my childhood when rainy days meant quality time with the parents and siblings- playing board games and enjoying quiet times.


    2 cups of Basmati Rice
    1 cup of split orange lentils
    1 cup onions chopped
    2 green chillies (split in half)
    1 tsp cumin powder
    1/3 tsp turmeric powder
    1/3 tsp red chili powder
    1 tsp chopped garlic
    Salt (little more than just to taste)

    Mix everything together in a rice cooker pot and add 6 cups of water. Cook until the rice is more on the 'mushy' side. Serve hot with a side of an omelet prepared with sliced onions and green chillies. Some people like it with a dash of clarified butter on the rice, I don't. I make a quick tomatoes-onion-crushed red chili flakes-olive oil salad to go with it. The sweetness of the tomato really goes well with the spiciness of the dish, even though spicy food is probably my biggest weakness. Its easy and can be made within 20 minutes for a healthy and hearty meal for one. You can even add veggies to the rice and cook it all in the same pot if you want to make it a even filling meal.

    (I had some left over beef curry to go with the Khichuri this time :)

    The post where Tazzy obsesses about a TV show (again)

    Didn't think it was possible to catch up on 5 seasons of a TV show in the course of two months, but yep, I did it. All 103 episodes of it. Online streaming.

    "Lost" was THAT good.

    It is not just an incredibly scripted storyline that is easy to get obsessed about. It also epitomises popular archetypes and real-world issues that are more tangible than a 'love triangle. Yes, I do realise that all this makes me sound like all the millions of sci fi Battlestar Gallactica fans who say nutty things like "its just not about space travel", but I don't care. Its smart, action packed, mysterious, angst filled, scary, puzzling, sad and ofcourse has all the 'romance stuff'...packed packed in just the right amount. The storyline does get madcap right around the fifths season with ancient gods travelling through time, just to buy a 8 year old a 'New Kids On the Block' lunchbox so she doesn't steal it. But the thing that keeps it all afloat that the creators are very aware of how madcap it all sounds and and are having so much fun doing it because they are as equally obsessed with the show as its viewers.

    I don't think the creators of Lost intend it to be this way, but one of my favourite 'lesson' of the show has to be
    - just how many times we can be wrong about a gut feeling of 'This was meant to be!'.
    I seriously never noticed how often we think (or may be just me) like that.

    Locke thinking that "crashing on the Island, finding the hatch, pushing the button , the Island choosing him to lead the Others ...all of it were meant to be" and repeatedly being knocked over the head with "No! you dolt, you were wrong" signs might be fantastic fiction but none of us have to crash a plane on a time travelling island to do that. Seeing the same person around the city twice in the same month could have us scratching our heads and thinking we are fated to be married under the stars when the person might be the Mad Hatter!
    The incredible part is that just like the rest of us, Locke and all the Oceanic people just pick them selves up and forge ahead with the next harebrained plan, no matter how many times their 'gut feeling' just kicks them in the shin.
    How can you resist watching it?

    January 2010 could not come sooner!

    PS: Lost also has the most kickass Time Travel theory that I've ever seen in fiction!
    PPS: Did I mention the insanely hot, shirtless testosterone loaded bodies in the show that are running in and out of the water, dashing throug the jungle, contemplating getting rescued and growing a scuffy but kinda hot beard? Consider yourself warned. The women are just as equally hot..but not shirtless ofcourse...just the right amount of tanktop/bikini tops over jeans combo to keep the guys interested.
    PPPS: AAh "Jack, how misunderstood and beautiful you are"


    Things I wish I knew at 21

    As of today, I'm exactly 31 years and 1 month old.
    You'd think I'd be 'essentially freaking out' by now.
    You would be right.
    A decade ago I'm not sure, if even I, had planned to be 31, single and still without a 'goal in life' to speak of. But here I am, exactly that but somehow not 'freaking out'. Is that an appropriate response?
    Its not that I'm calm or content. Definitely not that. I am more 'accepting of difficult situations and people as natural process of life' and less 'God hates me and thats why he's putting me through this.' Its not maturity as such. I am just less naive and a little more gutsy now than when I was at 21 and opefully a little more capable of handling chaos. Is that how most women feel in their 30s? or are they supposed to wish they were 20, which I definitely don't?

    Sure, I look back to my 20s with fondness and little nostalgia. At the same time, I just wish when I was, say 21, someone had told me these 7 things to save myself some precious time and wasted energy.

    1. You are at least ten times prettier and thinner than you think you are.
    I say this , not to sing my own praise but, out of a very objective analysis of these pics of me with my friends. Even with unfortunate fashion sense, we look beautiful and radiant with a glow that only a 21 can have without makeup or done up hair. I vividly recall how obsessed I was about my weight and thinking it to be the ONLY reason guys were not falling over themselves to ask me out. Clearly it was not so. I wasn't skinny but you know I wasn't as fat as I thought I was either!

    2. If you don't have it all yet, pretend like you do.
    I'm talking about faking confidence. All those jobs that I didn't apply for or dates I didn't go on because I thought I wasn't knowledgeable enough or interesting enough, all I had to do is pretend that I was and not be nervous or afraid. Believe that I am capable. A few times of pretending and you know what? It disappears!

    3. Take care of your skin and hair every single day.
    "Make sure you remove the day's makeup every night, get facials and use oil treatments for hair at least once a month",my mother used to say. She might have been wrong about the benefits of toner (none) but she was right about the rest!

    4. Wish you could learn to dance or ride a bike? Start now! Its NEVER too late.
    This one holds true for all ages. At 21, you are quite self-conscious and worried that your friends will think you are lame. So you pass out on so many opportunities to learn things outside your school curriculum, some of it even offered for free! I have lost count on the number of times I hesitated in front of postings on dance classes by the athletic centre or camera club meetings at the Hart House. I should have just gone in!

    5. Pay attention to your body. If you feel ill and you know you don't have a physical reason to be, you are probably in a situation that you shouldn't be.
    We underestimate the importance of emotional health in this society. You might be able to ignore what your mind and/or your friends and family are saying about a bad situation for a while. But if its making you unhappy for a long time, eventually your body will start to show it and you will not be able to ignore it.

    6. Feeling impatient and not being very nice to people ? You just need a snack.
    This one is just like #5 only on a smaller scale. It could be just me but I'm beginning to think its a woman thing. Irritability not because of PMS but low blood sugar. It doesn't have to be a meal, just some sugar for your brain cells cause they are tired. Now I keep a cereal bar or gum with me at all times.

    7. Your parents were wrong. Friends ARE as important as family.
    Like many other opinions of theirs about career goals (What can you do with a Biology degree!) this one was very wrong as well. Great friendships are something to treasure and who says you can't be friends with your family as well?!

    Notable mentions
    - Being all girly/woman is not as sign of weakness.
    - You can't be good at everything
    - Dating is not for finding 'The One' but to find out 'if you are The One for someone'

    Pearls of wisdom ? Hardly.
    But you know, it would have helped!


    Success stories from Bangladesh

    The folks from BRAC informed me about an inspiring, tell-all book about their evolution of that is coming out this April. The book is called ' Freedom from Want' , available to pre-order through Amazon and looks quite interesting.
    BRAC is an anti-poverty organizations Bangladeshi organization and well known most Bangaldeshis. They do some amazing work on the grassroots level in Bangladesh in their efforts to eradicate poverty and encourage traditional craftsmanship as a means of income for women living below poverty line. Unlike the Nobel Prize winning Grameen Bank, the microcredit giant, its cousin BRAC is barely known outside the country. Even in Bangladesh the extent of BRAC's work is most commonly noted through its shop AARONG that sells traditional Bangladeshi ware through sponsorship of craftsmen/women. Their products are available here though the Ten Thousand Villages.

    Author Ian Smillie of Freedom From Want predicts the spread of BRAC's work dwarfs any other private, government or non-profit enterprise in its impact on development, on women, on children and on thousands of communities in Asia and Africa. I had only heard of BRAC's work in Bangladesh, so I would be quite interested to know how its spread to Africa!

    Excerpt from Amazon:
    Freedom From Want traces BRAC’s evolution from a small relief operation indistinguishable from hundreds of others, into what is undoubtedly the largest and most variegated social experiment in the developing world. BRAC’s story shows how social enterprise can trump corruption and how purpose, innovation and clear thinking can overcome the most entrenched injustices that society can offer. It is a story that ranges from distant villages in Bangladesh to New York’s financial district on 9/11, from war-torn Afghanistan to the vast plains of East Africa and the ruins of Southern Sudan. Partly an adventure story, partly a lesson in development economics, partly an examination of excellence in management, the book describes one of the world’s most remarkable success stories, one that has transformed disaster into development and despair into hope.

    In the words of its author Ian Smillie, “The book is about social enterprise – not neat ideas that can never be replicated. It is about inspired innovations in health, education, agriculture and income generation that contribute to lasting change for tens and hundreds of thousands of people. It is about individuals who see challenge where others see only hopelessness, people who see opportunity where others see peril.”


    'In the future all books will be Blank'

    E-books into PDAs, iPhones and Ebook Readers.
    You've heard the buzz and no doubt even checked it out.
    When you first think about it- its kinda cool!! Having watched the movie recently, I was able to 'legally' read the entire short story of 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' online (which is infinitely better than the movie, check it out) and happy to have discovered it. At the same time, there's something vaguely off putting about the whole thing, that I hadn't felt with online music which I had welcomed with open arms.

    Sure we have the technology for e-books and it might be convenient in ways vending machines are; but does it automatically make it a good idea? Vending machines are for snacks, not for a meal (unless you are starving college student) and even those snacks are not something that is good for you all the time. It was weird to think that this this e-book hype might actually take off and publishers would consider it as a serious alternative for readers like me who happen to spend an inordinate amount of time in front of a computer screen! I mean sure, I see it's appeal for anyone who has complained of carrying around even a paperback copy of 'A Suitable Boy' or the entire edition 'Lord of the Rings'. I get it! They are heavy! I might just LOVE curling in with a big book over a weekend but not everyone does. At the same time, surely not everyone wants to carry their really expensive PDAs to the beach or the pool on a vacation, do they?! (if you do, I'm sorry but you are a sad sad person).

    Maybe its not such a big deal, I thought. They are just options for people to consider. I didn't properly get the 'bigger implications' of this technology, until I came across someone who put it most 'effectively and eloquently'.

    Toronto novelist Shaun Smith writes in his blog :

    "The grand mystical puzzle tormenting every MBA suit in the publishing industry is how to capitalize on e-books without fucking themselves the way the music industry did.......the suits don't care about books they just want to find a portable interface that people will buy en masse. Then, just as is now the case with music, rather than buying an object—a book—you will buy participation in an agreement. Rather than having something on your shelf in your den that you can pick up and materially call your own, you will have a license to interact with a digitized version of someone else’s intellectual property. You won’t own books, you will own contracts."

    "With the enthusiastic help of the profit hungry, the internet and computers are muscling their way between those two, slowly prying the printed word away from the page. From this one can imagine a bizarre Borgesian future in which all books are blank."

    What a frightening prospect!! Please someone stop it! Not all technology needs our money!


    A Katharine

    You Are a Katharine!

    You are a Katharine -- "I am happy and open to new things"

    Katharines are energetic, lively, and optimistic. They want to contribute to the world.

    How to Get Along with Me
    • * Give me companionship, affection, and freedom.
    • * Engage with me in stimulating conversation and laughter.
    • * Appreciate my grand visions and listen to my stories.
    • * Don't try to change my style. Accept me the way I am.
    • * Be responsible for youself. I dislike clingy or needy people.
    • * Don't tell me what to do.

    What I Like About Being a Katharine
    • * being optimistic and not letting life's troubles get me down
    • * being spontaneous and free-spirited
    • * being outspoken and outrageous. It's part of the fun.
    • * being generous and trying to make the world a better place
    • * having the guts to take risks and to try exciting adventures
    • * having such varied interests and abilities

    What's Hard About Being a Katharine
    • * not having enough time to do all the things I want
    • * not completing things I start
    • * not being able to profit from the benefits that come from specializing; not making a commitment to a career
    • * having a tendency to be ungrounded; getting lost in plans or fantasies
    • * feeling confined when I'm in a one-to-one relationship

    Katharines as Children Often
    • * are action oriented and adventuresome
    • * drum up excitement
    • * prefer being with other children to being alone
    • * finesse their way around adults
    • * dream of the freedom they'll have when they grow up

    Katharines as Parents
    • * are often enthusiastic and generous
    • * want their children to be exposed to many adventures in life
    • * may be too busy with their own activities to be attentive

    New year's resolution (part 2)

    For 2009, I have the usual resolutions to lose weight, do something productive like volunteering and writing etc, but couldn't think of anything new until now. But I need all your good vibes for this one.




    "I want to adopt three house plants and make sure they live to see January 2010"

    Why the drama? Well, you might not know this but I have the blackest of thumbs. Meaning- not only do I kill off any plants that I'm held responsible for, but even plants that I offer as gifts to others! My problem is that I just never remember to water plants - if only they could make sounds and drag me to the watering jug like Tusch does when his bowl is empty. I've had a strict rule for avoiding nursaries and telling my parents to never leave me in charge of their plants.

    Now my apartment has these beautiful windows and corners that will be perfect for plants which is making me rethink. A new year means doing something new for me. So I will attempt to raise three plans and not kill them. I'm thinking of naming them -
    - Blinky (coz its cute),
    - Pinky (coz my parents might have given me that nickname to match my sister's, so that's me in an alternate universe) and
    - Paulo (named by Sim for 'Paulo the midget')
    I figure if I can remember to water one, I can do three at once.

    If anyone has any suggestion for plants that are easy to take care of and not poisonous to cats (in fact not attractive to cats period)- please please please leave me a comment!
    Thanks and pray for my three future plant babies!

    9 random things about going into 2009

    Best thing about 2009 so far has been my move into a cute downtown apartment with a fantastic view! This time I actually have some matching furniture (thanks Soph) and I'm still reeling from the shock. But it comes with a price, coz I'm really missing my mother (I know, total loser).. hoping she's doing alright with a totally empty nest.

    I have also given up on making sense of what all the awful BS of 2008 meant and just hoping 2009 is even marginally better. So here's the transition in nines-

    1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
    Watched 9 naked boys, singing and dancing on stage (no not that kind of a show, it was a Broadway musical!)

    2. Did you make any new year’s resolutions that you actually intend to keep in 2009?
    I'm hoping to be a size 8 for my birthday. To achieve it I've put both myself and my cat on a diet! I can't bear to find out just how much I've gained, but poor Tusch had quite the difficulty fitting in his carrier for the move. I'm also once again resolving to get involved in more volunteer work. Lastly, I want to start a second blog on a totally different topic.

    3. What countries did you visit last year?
    United States (twice)

    4. In 2008, what was the best book you read?
    Its hard to say which one I liked better, but I loved Miriam Toews's "A Complicated Kindness" and Rabindranath's "Home and the World"

    5. What was your favorite film of 2008?
    "Amal" *update: and"Wall-E"

    6. Do you hate anyone now that you did not hate this time last year?
    Yes and I'm still trying to forgive.

    7. Compared to this time last year, are you:
    a) happier or sadder?
    b) thinner or fatter?
    c) richer or poorer?

    Sadder, fatter but richer thanks to living at home and saving.

    8. What did you get really, really, really excited about last year?
    Obama winning the US elections

    9. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
    A positive perspective

    What would be your answer to#9?


    Three reviews

    Rachel Getting Married

    If I was still the type of girl to take things personally, I would like to slap the pretentious TIFF reviewers who are recommending this movie and sprouting lines like how it was Anne Hathaway's potentially Oscar-worthy performance.

    To me this was a movie that was made for the sake of making a movie.
    It was shot like a home video which I'm guessing is suppose to make us delve into the movie and become part of it. Here's what I got out of it.
    "oo look at us - we are a dysfunctional family.
    Oooo pity our 'impossibly-affluent-suburban-problems'
    Look we are 'progressive' WASPs, we like world music, have interracial marriages and wear sarees for the wedding for no apparent reason at all.

    Btw again did you notice all the different types of music and famous musicians we brought it at the 'rehearsal dinner' here is it again , extended edition, at the wedding."

    Waching the movie was like attending an incredibly boring wedding where you are not allowed to leave early with an excuse of work. There is no alcohol to make it more enjoyable into and you can't even dance as you are glued to the chair and forced to watch others dancing.

    As for Hathaway's performance, it was basically your run off the mill I-didn't-look-pretty-I-squinted-to-show-how-tormented-I-am-did-you-notice-how-unlikable-my-character-was-so-would-you-hurry-up-with-the golden-statue? Or maybe because I don't think she's all that of an actress.

    **/***** for the shock effects of raw displays of emotions within a family.


    Amal must be sleeper hit of TIFF cause I definitely did not come across much publicity reviews for this Canadian first feature. At first I read the outline for it, I wasn't terribly interested seeing it at theaters. Then by chance I heard about a free screening recently at the AMC Dundas SQ from Volunteer Toronto, who were also bringing in the director for a Q&A after the movie. Curiosity made me drag a friend and we were equally surprised by how much we loved this movie and how impressed we were by the director, Richie Mehta, a 28 year old Indo-Canadian director from Sheridon College who gives Deepa Mehta(no connection) a serious run for her fame...err movies. It was hard to believe that Amal was his first feature film.

    I think Amal is a testament to why movies are still considered a creative art.
    The movie didn't try to bank its success by pandering to Bollywood style visuals of Slumdog Millionaire (which was great but too Dickensonian for my liking) and it also didn't portray Oriental India in the 'oh look at those poor people! I'm so glad I'm not living there' way particularized in 'Water' and 'Born in Brothels.' There were a lot of questions and comments from the audience after the movie but lets just say it didn't evoke a typical "Oh the movie was so colourful" type of responses from your average western(*cough* white) section audience.
    It just told a story in its simplest form, almost like a fable. Without going into details, Amal is a story about a rich man leaving all his wealth to a poor man- a story you could easily run into in 'Arabian Nights'. If you want to delve deeper than that, I would say it a movie that questions what it means to have a successful life in the 21st century.

    As the director pointed out, fables are powerful because they are universal it their message and it especially works this movie because it is filled with the kind of details that takes a simple story to something larger and makes India represent any other country in the world.
    Acting was excellent and the characters were well drawn out without falling into stereotypes.
    Richie Mehta is definitely an up and coming Indo-Canadian director to watch out for.

    *****/***** for successfully pulling off a heartfelt story with perfect casting.


    Its a mocumentary at its best. In typical documentary fashion but a bit extreme as it is selective of its 'real life subjects' and it is very carefully edited to clarify a message.
    The Message- have doubts. i.e. be agnostic.
    I found the movie 'sinfully' hilarious!

    Bill Maher deliberately picks the side of every major religion that is supremely ridiculous-
    -the Evangelical preachers wearing $2000 suits,
    - the builders of 'holy land' complete with plastic 'Jesus killing Jews' sword souvenirs for the kids,
    - Jewish scientists who try to construct elaborate mechanical deviced to make daily life possible at pushing a button to make a phone call,
    - the fanatical Muslims calling for death to infidels,
    - the Mormons and
    - even a narcotic-spiritualist.

    One may call them stereotypes but they are vital to Maher's argument which is -
    ' if these ridiculous believers originate out of the same religion that moderate believers do, then there's something wrong with the religion. You cannot take things in parts or interpret things in parts using circular logic'.
    He might be preaching to the choir as the core audience of Religulous is agnostics and atheists.
    Should even a moderately religious person decide to see the movie , I dont think it will not change his mind. Believers will only disregard this movie as being ridiculous for playing into stereotypes. I think Maher knows it.
    Which makes me think this movies is is not meant to be message- this is a product that Maher is marketing. Agnostics like me will buy the DVD because its perfect for our satirical minds. Maher will get a comeback.
    So basically, if you are not religious- you'll like the movie

    ****/***** for originality of effort


    Spilling over

    There comes a time in one's life when a flap jaw like me is rendered speechless. It happened a few days ago when I received a surprise delivery from Purolator. The gift is currently gracing my bookshelf and I still can't quite believe it-

    Yes- that's my poor attempt at a novella "Samosa for the Arranged Souls" in print!
    Inside are the most beautiful introductory sentences written by the editor, who incidentally is my oldest best friend Sakina.

    She (plus her hubby Mustafa, a fantastic man) got it published without my knowledge right in Kuwait and what can I say except that I'm humbled. That she thinks me worthy of such a thoughtful labour of love, is a true testament of her exceedingly generous spirit.
    Thank you for wrapping up your love and sending me strength when I truly needed it.
    All I can do from here is send up a prayer into the world for more Sakinas- my own Obama of hope. The world needs more of you!