Sunday, February 27, 2011

Article in "Mail Today" about my book

WHISPER WORDS
BY
NEHA TARA MEHTA

VIRGIN DEBUT
WHAT would you do if you are 30 and single, have read all the dating manuals that have ever been printed — but have not known what it is like to be between the sheets? National Awardwinning filmmaker Madhuri Banerjee’s debut novel Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas has the protagonist resolve to lose her virginity on her thirtieth birthday — whether she finds love or not. Banerjee’s book will be unveiled at Penguin’s Spring Fever, which is being organised in collaboration with Mail Today, at a session that is cheekily titled — what else? — ‘Losing My Virginity: Taking A Book To Bed’. Penguin’s newest find, Banerjee has a Master’s in Communications and Films from Jamia Millia Islamia, and she has worked as senior assistant director to Subhash Ghai, Kaizad Gustad and Rohan Sippy. She comes with an endorsement of no less than a certain Miss Sushmita Sen, who says: “Everything is a choice. Once the choice is made ... let go! More power to Madhuri for recognising both in this book!” Make way for the newest chick-lit writer.

Link: http://epaper.mailtoday.in/epaperhome.aspx?issue=2722011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Perfect Kiss

My first memory of you is in that car. Our first kiss. Your shocked expression. That moment was so unexpected. So sudden. So forbidden. And thus so sweet. It was in the middle of something. I don’t remember what anymore. It wasn’t the night the rain made the city go crazy…and our first taxi ride through the cold streets of our city together. It wasn’t even the time you got drunk and I had to drive you around to find food and shelter. This moment came from a different night. What we did then, I have no recollection of.
I remember  you chattering away. Something vague. Trying to sound knowledgeable, an attempt to impress. It didn’t work. I had only been concentrating on your lips that entire evening… hoping, wondering, thinking when would you stop all that jabbering and just kiss me. But you didn’t. Not even with a feeble attempt. You were the perfect gentleman.
And somewhere I started feeling dejected. As if, you didn’t want me. As if, I had read the signals wrong. And so I took the initiative. It was at that crossing. You remember where. You were talking about how the timing was all wrong, how we all had responsibilities and something about our paths never crossing.
That was when I told you to stop the car.
And you did. There were bright lights around us. And you looked at me, suddenly prudish. And I stared at you for a split second. I knew it then. The signal was not wrong. I closed my eyes, leaned across, and kissed you. Gently. Deeply.
Our lives were never the same after that. A roller coaster into madness. That’s what it was. Madness. I don’t know if it was worth it for you. But it was for me.
 I don’t know where we go from here.  All I know is that my first memory of you...will be etched in my heart forever.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Cup of Coffee


I know most people are already sick of reading about Valentines day and the mush that surrounds it. But I met a friend a few days ago and was all ready to rant about what a stupid holiday it was and how it was made for all the marketing gimmicks and jewellery sellers as their national day when she showed me something. But I’ll get to that a little later. Let me tell you about this friend first. Her name is Chanda. She’s been married for 4 years and has been dating the man for at least a hundred. She’s had many admirers and plenty of opportunites. But when that Love struck her, she decided to go with the flow and be in love with the same man forever. Yes, it’s a corny story but it’s a true one. And unlike the rest of us jaded married couple community, she has never had one complaint about how she did not love her husband. She may have complained once or twice about not being able to eat some non veg at home but to her, even that didn’t really matter. That’s how trivial it was. It isn’t as if she’s a doormat. She’s a successful investment banker, a highly educated woman, an extemely independent soul who can live on her own and whip any man’s ass. She’s creative, beautiful and funny with a strong leaning towards many causes for the downtrodden. And she taught me a lesson in love.
It was a warm wintery day when we sat at Moshe’s and had many a coffee and rich chocolate cake when she showed me the gift she was giving her husband on Valentines Day. It was wrapped in newspaper.
“You’re going to give newspaper?” I asked stupidly.
“No silly, I’m going to wrap the present in hand made paper but let me show you what it is first.”
It was a big collage of all the memories the couple had together from the time they met with coasters from their favourite restaurants, to photos of their favourite destinations to brochures from their honeymoon and their wedding snaps. It was bright, colourful and a bit much for an anti-love person like me.
“Um..Aren’t you a bit old for this kinda thing?” I asked sceptically.
She smiled and said, “Old? Love can never be old.”
“Oh shut up,” I said rolling my eyes. “Now you’re talking philosophy crazy!”
She laughed and hit me lightly, “I’m serious! You know how we keep complaining that the romance has gone from our marriage? Well…why don’t WE do something about it?”
“But Valentine’s day? Honestly? Isn’t that a bit corny?” I asked reiterating the fact that most people felt it was just a gimmick anyway.
Chanda took a sip of her coffee and shrugged her shoulder and said, “Why not? Here’s a perfectly good day to be mushy, to fall in love, to express love, to show you care, and do what your heart feels.”
I was still unconvinced, “Why can’t it be on any other day? Like the rest of the 364 days in a year?”
She leaned across the table and said, “Well do you…do you show your expression of love every day?” She waited for a response and when I said nothing she continued, “Exactly! Neither do most of the `junta’. So why not seize an opportunity on one day? It’s just ONE day of the whole year.”
“Not really,” I came in with my logic, “There’s your birthday, your anniversary, Christmas, Diwali…”
She interrupted me and added, “Those days you spend with many more people to celebrate joy, happiness and a tradition. You don’t celebrate just love. Just LOVE!”
“Well what about the people who are single? What do they do on this love day” I asked sarcastically to this righteous woman who was giving me, (a married woman for twelve years) a lecture.
She shrugged her shoulders and said, “It’s no different for them. Don’t they have someone to love who might not be their spouse, fiance or boyfriend? They can show it to that person. Why does it need to be sexual or between partners? It’s a day about sharing loving memories and creating new ones.”
“What about men? How should they celebrate if they’re single?”
“Well darling,” she said with a twinkle in her eye, “Statistics show that the most number of mothers day cards are sold on valentines day!”
Well there you have it. My friend’s theory on love. And today, I’m not expecting a collage or flowers or that diamond ring. Because maybe it’s not about expecting and getting. It’s about loving and giving. And I… with all my independence and scepticism can at least do a nice gesture and take my special someone out for a memorable meal and make my Valentine happy. And all those single people who are wondering what to do? Do something nice for that one special person whom you love…maybe land up at their place with a nice bottle of wine for a memorable evening together.
Happy Valentines Day

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Art of (Not) Losing Graciously

Rated U/A

Alright maybe it’s all these award shows that I’m seeing or all the fights I’m hearing about but it’s got me thinking about how to lose graciously. I mean there’s always the “no comment” way to go and leave the country like some of our favourite Bollywood stars and then there’s always the “it doesn’t matter who won as long as I got nominated” spiel that most people give. But here’s the thing…let’s chuck all that. Let’s say it like it really is. We’ve all been losers at some time or another. We’ve lost our loves to someone else, we’ve lost that job to a `better’ candidate, we’ve even lost that rightfully deserved last piece of blueberry muffin to the fat lady when we’ve been waiting in line for it for the last seventeen minutes. It sucks. Life is not fair. And we all hate losing.  So next time we lose something how about we say it like it really is. Here are a few tips on how to be NOT so gracious.
Scenario 1 – Your lover breaks up with you. It’s not you, it’s them. It’s because they need “silence” “space”, “time to heal”. But you’ve heard the rumours. You’ve heard the tales. He’s cheating on you.  You know in your heart of hearts that it’s a bloody sham this break up. He wants to shag that new marketing executive and he wants you out of the way. You can’t make him love you. But here’s what you can do:
·         Go on Koffee with Karan (only if you have the power) and rat him out in the rapid fire round. You can deny it all later but for now it feels good to call him a scumbag on national television for everyone including the little hussy in marketing to hear it.
·         Follow her (I don’t want to be partial so I’m going to go with another gender since this can be both ways) on every site available so you know every single move and comment on everything she does. From orkut to facebook, twitter to myspace, let her keep blocking you, you just keep making anonymous names and befriend her. Hack into her privacy account and follow her on Google.
·         Make a voodoo doll. Collect all the memorabilia and make a shrine of the ex and slowly torture him by putting curses everyday or pricking the doll with some small pins and suddenly dropping hot coffee on his crotch! (It might not work on his life but it will definitely make you feel better thinking it is.)
·         Date his boss. Get him to make the rotten tomato’s life hell. To keep him late, give him extra responsibility and cut his bonus. Aha!

Scenario 2 – You’ve dressed up to go to a wedding. You’ve bought the outfit that has cost you a whole month’s salary. You’ve spent the whole day in getting your hair done, your nails exactly right and matching the jewellery to the finery of that outfit. You know you look resplendent. Maybe even better than the bride. Hell yah! And then you saunter off to meet the relatives and there is someone who is wearing your outfit. She’s wearing it better and she’s getting all the compliments. Here’s what you do:
·         Quickly befriend that photographer. Even slip him some money if you have to and tell him to delete her from all the pics or make her look bad. And then go get some fabulous photos taken where no one will remember what she wore and they’ll always admire your outfit in the photos later. Get the photos done as soon as you enter since later you might need to get into an ugly fight that might smudge your makeup or ruin your dress.
·         Lure her into the bathroom and then `accidentally’ turn the tap on so she becomes completely wet and has to spend the rest of the night there under the dryer trying to salvage her night. Or better yet just push her into the pool and make a quick getaway.
·         Make her drunk. Slip a roofie into her drink so she goes and sleeps in one small corner of a sofa in some remote area of the hotel that no one will ever find her and you can be the centre of attention the whole night long. Better yet, get a driver to drop her home in her inebriated state and keep a watch outside in case she wakes up and decides to turn back up at the party.
Scenario 3 – You’re broke. You haven’t had a job in over 2 years.  You’re living with your relatives while all your belongings are in little suitcases in different people’s houses. And then it happens... the dream job comes to you. It pays a fat salary, enough for you to get your house back and buy a few new designer outfits and go to that nightclub that opened six months back that you couldn’t afford then.  Oh and wait for it, it even gets you into a higher position than your previous job and your ex boss will have to envy you. Then it happens. You tell that one person about the offer. You tell him because he has to know. And you wait till Monday to take that position. And Monday comes and he’s got it. He’s already in that position. Veni Vidi Vici. Here’s what you can do:
·         While it may seem logical to do a `Jerry Maguire’ and start your own thing, you know it’s not going to give you that kind of money or status for another two years. So quit fooling yourself and do not think of starting something on your own in this competitive market. If you had to, you would have done so for the last 2 years when you were being a loser at home.
·         While you may want to go out and get drunk and feel very sorry for yourself, it might not be a good idea since you still don’t have the money to blow away in a night of single malts. Go home and get drunk on your relatives liquor stock. They will be throwing you out soon anyway.
·         Now plot. Get all the dirt on this man who has taken over from you. Collect it and then send it anonymously to the tabloid you know will print it as the top story the next morning. Better yet, pay a reporter to dig the dirt and get it printed. Also get the news channels involved, they’re always hungry for some gossip in the corporate sector.
·         Get an insider in the firm and cut a deal with him to keep crashing the frenemy’s computer. Let him lose all his data on a regular basis so that he gets fed up and leaves and voila you can take the job.
·         Date his wife. Sweet dalliances lead to bitter sweet revenge!
Scenario 4 – You’re at an award function. Yes miraculously you have been nominated for one. It’s taken time and plenty of grey hair to get you to this juncture but it’s been worth it. But the “journey” is not enough. You need the accolade. You need to go down in history. You need the applause and the gratification that came with all this hard work. You need it. You want it. You deserve it. It’s time. The category is announced. The rumours say you’ve won it; there was no real competition anyway. The camera closes up on your face and the winner is announced. It’s not you!  Here’s what you do:
·         Scream. Scream bloody murder and say “TERI MA KI…chudiyan…bahut sundar hai….” Make a ruckus that no one really concentrates on the winner. But they’ll remember you for the rest of every night of this award function and you will definitely go down in history.
·         Get up to take the award. Go on stage. Collect it from that woman and make the acceptance speech you’ve prepared for the last one week.  Go on. Just do it. And then when the real winner lands up – you can turn around, look him in the eye and say, “You know in your heart of hearts it should be me!”
·         Get revenge post the award function. Have the bearer steal the award. While the man is flirting with some junior producer from a channel, snatch the award and have it kept in your room. You might not have got the limelight for the night, but you do get the trophy and you can put it up later when everyone forges about it and there’s a new scam in the papers, or just wait for 3 days.

Disclaimer: The writer takes no responsibility for any action taken from any of the above suggestions but would definitely like people to write and tell her about their situations!

Letter from a Hogwarts Teacher to Hermione

My daughter Ariaana is a big Harry Potter fan. For her summer holidays she's gone to spend time with her grandparents. So I thought I...