Archive | February, 2013

Guest Post: by The Mad Momma

8 Feb

The Mad Momma needs no introduction. But way back when, my Daddy did the honors, and I can’t thank him enough for it. This is a first-rate second-generation friendship. And here’s the story, in MM’s inimitable voice.

~~~

Jab We Met

It was my parents’ college alumni meet and they’d insisted I fly out to meet their old friends. It’s not the sort of thing most kids would happily do, but then you’ve not met my parents or their friends. The event was perhaps one of the best times of my life, and I have to admit, not in small part because it was where I met OJ.

Her dad was senior to my parents in college, and he and his camera were omnipresent. A joke a minute, a big smile and the most endearing way about him, it’s easy to see where OJ gets it from. Thrilled to see that other ‘kids’ (erm, all well past our teens, thank you very much!) had turned up, he immediately introduced us. Shiny, enviously magazine-cover-worthy hair was my first impression and I decided I was going to hate her for it. Except that she smiled, and she had Uncle’s smile and it was over before it began. I could see we were going to be friends. Angels didn’t play harps in the background, but it was pretty close.

We’d barely got around to introductions when we ‘kids’ were asked to put up a dance show and the look on OJ’s face was worth a thousand words. She had an excuse though – she had two sprained ankles; I unfortunately, had none. To this day, I’m convinced she came along with those and a cane to avoid being coerced into something like this. I maturely decided to make the most of a bad thing and began to train a bunch of girls I’d never met before to dance to “Chunari Chunari”. OJ played the most important part in this – rewind, play, rewind, play. Yes, that’s how long ago this was.

The dance performance was put on that night. And in between tripping over skirts, sarees, lehenga hems, bumping into each other, and getting our moves wrong, we got it done with. Of course, our beaming parents thought it was a brilliant show. Apparently, that doting blindness never ceases. And all this while OJ smiled encouragingly from the sidelines and turned a blind eye (also!) to our dismal show.

Like all disasters, that event brought us together and there was no looking back. We compared notes on planned elopements, unwilling parents, great love and other things that girls our age did. Hers are the only emails I don’t delete when I empty my inbox for the mix of humour, compassion, warmth and sheer practicality they burst with. And I have about 15 years of those now.

I’d like to say I knew her pretty well before she started blogging, and I think I would be right. But there’s nothing like a well-written post stating your stand to show you for the person you are. A peep into your life, a slice of your beliefs, a taste of what you believe in. Throw in some the power to weave magic with your words and you have OJ’s blog right there. So yes, I knew her well. And then I read the blog and knew her better. And to know her is to love her. I didn’t think I could love her more than I do, but I do.

Here’s to many, many more years of taking a stand, making it worthwhile, and living by your own rules. Big hugs.

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Guest Post: by Thinking Cramps

6 Feb

So remember I mentioned cramming gouda toasties in this post? Yeah, those were with her. She let me show off about my city, AND there was a background score of bread and cheese involved. How can I not love her?

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The OJ Redemption

It was an imprisonment of sorts in a desert country that led me to discover Orange Jammies, and to rediscover the blogger world.

I’d just begun to know Bombay – newly married, newly moved – when Anando and I moved to Dubai for a 3-month assignment. He worked in a glass-and-concrete office. I freelanced out of our monochrome serviced apartment. We had wonderful evenings and weekends – discovering new places and people. But during the day, it was 48 degrees outside, there was nothing to do and no one to meet, and only endless corridors in shining malls to walk around. So it was my room, my computer and me – heat outside, air-conditioning inside, and thick white walls cutting me off from the noise and colour that had always been my world. I was homesick, and I didn’t really know what I was missing. Was it Delhi – where my parents lived, where my life had been till 4 months ago? Was it Bombay – the city I’d chosen to move to, where I was a wide-eyed tourist and new resident? Or was it just the feeling of “home”? Where was home? I remember the smell of fresh curry leaves at the antiseptic supermarket making me nostalgic for the bustle of a kitchen filled with love and warmth.

Stuck indoors during the day, with the internet my only link to the outer world, I longed for human interaction. I befriended Albert, the young Goan who came to clean our room each day. And I started writing limericks on Yahoo 360. My page had all the colours Dubai lacked – a rainbow background and Vincent’s Starry Night for my profile photo. Back then, that’s where OJ blogged too, as did Aunty G and many others. And before I knew it, we were virtual friends – united by a love for words (and in OJ’s case, also a sweet tooth). OJ wrote tenderly, fiercely, truly and funnily about Bombay – a city I longed to return to and belong to. She wrote about Bombay the way I felt about Delhi but had never really put into words. She made me even more impatient to return.

Enthused by daily comments and appreciation, I eventually revived my Blogger page as well. I’m sad to say the Yahoo 360 account died soon after – due to my neglect and Yahoo’s decision to shut it down. So I’ve lost those prize-winning limericks. Sorry, those prize limericks.

Nearly 6 years ago, then, I discovered an ever-expanding circle of bloggers – limerick-writers, foodies, kindred spirits, angels and wise-asses. I love them all. I don’t blog as often now, but the www was there for me when I needed to shout out to the wider world to drown out the silence all around me. The world shouted back, and still does – pushing me to think, to feel, to fight, to debate, to joke and to write. And OJ, you’ve been an absolutely vital part of this force-field. Cheers to your blog-life, may the 7-year-itch be one that makes you write more, more, more.

Guest Post: by Anindita

4 Feb

When an award-winning poetess writes lines for you, it’s a really good idea to zip it and let her do the talking. Like I’m going to do now. Watch. Almost…..see? Getting there….7….6….5.5….. Fine! I’m gone!

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I first met OJ almost two decades ago, when we were giddy with the thrill of junior college. She was exceptionally warm, funny and generous. Yes, even back then. Seven years and two cities later, we reconnected through our blogs and discovered so much in common—the love of a city, the love of cities in general, the love of grammar, gender, books.

I also discovered that her writing is like her–vivid, often startling, bright, strong and humorous.  I asked OJ to get involved with Ultra Violet, a feminist website I started in 2007.  She has been its most prolific writer, most committed support and now, a brilliant and dedicated editor.

There is the sort of friendship based on slumber parties. There is also the sort based on building something together, slowly, with infinite patience and generosity. I am happy to have known both with this wonderful girl. (And yes, she will always be a girl.)  Here’s to you, OJ, and to many more years of writing, blogging and being your wonderful self!
(and here’s a bit of wordplay because i couldn’t resist)

What I think of when I think of you
We inhabit this parade of words, intimate
as the press of a stranger’s hands at a wedding.

We are more than the faces we hold up,
these books of glitter and jade. Even the coincidences

of nation, culture, cities may fade.
(Though we have known the love of that lost one

like a common lover.) But beyond that, and above,
there is something else–a sense, perhaps,

of what is possible in another human being.
If this sounds sentimental, consider:

when I type no, the computer spells hope.
In its language, the two must be similar.

Like solar and plexus, like distance
and resistance, like write and entire.

Guest Post: by Shail

2 Feb

When I grow up, I want to be Shail. Feisty, plain-speaking and sensible, she shows us exactly how to raise sons to face a changing world.

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I don’t know how exactly I landed on OJ’s page. Addicted that I was (and still am) to blog-hopping, one day I found myself on a page titled Wisdom Wears Neon Pyjamas. I was intrigued. The blogger’s moniker said ‘Orange Jammies’. But the page itself had been a pale green with no hint of orange anywhere in it. That did not deter me. I stopped right there to read the little nuggets of wisdom, clad in neon pyjamas I am sure, doled out with such panache and wit that I was hooked.

Such economy in the usage of words— and yet those that conveyed ever more. That’s something I struggle with in my writing. So OJ soon became someone I truly appreciated. This was way back in good old Yahoo! 360 days. Seven years down the line, she is still at it and I remain a fan of her incisive writing as much as ever.
Congratulations on completing seven years of blogging and here’s to more, in multiples of seven!