Saturday, September 24, 2005

They need to invent the zero-carb, zero-cal birthday cake

Random quasi-celebrity sighting: Pooja Batra and Kashmira Shah giggling over random stuff in CostPlus as I tore down the aisles looking for birthday gifts for two uber-cool chicks. For those not in the know (and I think a lot of Indians don't know as well), they are Bollywood actresses, and the fact that I know of them proves beyond doubt my utter shallowness. Anyway, managed to snag a soup bowl set and pedicure set for the chicks who were celebrating their birthdays later that night.

Geek paradise, truly: The girls celebrating their birthdays were my ex-roommate Nell and the equally fun Naz. They decided to hold the celebrations in a party room in Caltech, because the room came free, and they had Caltech connections who could book it for them. Now if you've ever been around physicists and engineers (and I've been around countless), you'd know the sheer reverence and awe that is reserved for Caltech in those circles. Every Caltech student and alumnus is an object of wonder, however there is also plenty of speculation about their sex lives (actually the apparent lack of gettin' some for the Caltech-ies). A bit of the mystique wears off when you've been around too many of them (sometimes the academically brilliant but socially challenged stereotype is painfully true), or fairly mediocre students from your university easily snag post-docs there.

But oh, the campus! Quite possibily one of the most beautiful academic campuses I've ever seen. Languid tree-lined avenues, very handsome buildings, and situated right in the midst of one of the most picturesque parts of Pasadena. The place is just a 5 minute drive away from the Huntington Library and Gardens, home of the lovely cactus and Zen gardens and the Thursday high tea service. Would you like some rahs-berries dahling? Splendid, splendid!

So off we go to Caltech, where Soto reached before we did and wandered off to a frat boy party where everyone was dressed in togas. He obviously wasn't following the strains of Persian pop at full blast. We arrived to find the dance floor packed, and most of the liquor already consumed. Most of the guests were Iranian as the two birthday girls are Iranian. What I love about Iranian women is the fact that their faces are so radiant, they are intelligent, confident and self-assured, that they love having a good time, and seem to have fewer hang-ups than Indian women of the same age and education. Given the substantial number of Iranian women pursuing graduate studies at my university, the male-female ratio was not lopsided as at Indian student gatherings. As for the men, here's a glimpse of two fairly popular Iranian movie actors, here, and here, and suffice to say that there were a few men at the party who could match them fairly well in the looks department.

Just looking at these happy faces, dancing, chatting, flirting, it was hard to believe that such simple pleasures require extremes of subterfuge and public denial back in the homeland. That all revelry must be carried out behind the comfort of black paper glued to windows, to keep the prying eyes of the moral police out. Certainly not such extreme interventionism, but Indians battle their own public-private morality schizophrenia. And we don't really have a conservative, patriarchal government to blame either.

Soto tried very unsuccessfully to hook up, primarily because he was trying to throw his net very wide and didn't spend the evening cultivating the acquaintance of one or two women. With the result that he made half-hearted acquaintance with several and didn't get to know any of them well. Commitment phobia in the long run may be just distasteful to your partner, but in the short run it can jeopardise your chance of any sexual or romantic company.

We went on till 3:00 a.m., and were some of the last to leave.

Highlights: Watching a very drunk and slightly sleazy dude try to pull the classic trick of pretending to be interested in a girl's conversation while sliding his hand around her waist. She was smart enough to dodge the move.

Watching at least half-a-dozen girls in succession refuse a teeny-weeny piece of the birthday cake 'cause "Azizam, I just ate a big piece of the cake (yeah right!)", "XYZ joon, I feel so full (after skipping dinner too!)".


Blogger Adagio For Strings said...

Well since you were in the neighbourhood thought I would say Hi! :D. Also was going to post a comment but it was becoming too long so am going to link to this post and post my comment as a post on my blog! Let me know if you dislike this for any reason and I would be happy to pull it down.

11:30 PM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

@Adagio: Just missed running into you :)! Comment as a post is absolutely fine, and I hope I haven't offended you with some of the bits in my post. They are all for a lark, please don't take them seriously!

12:13 PM  
Blogger AB said...

Actually a zero cal birthday cake wouldn't be that bad;)

11:43 PM  
Blogger K said...

NO! A birthday cake is meant to be sinful - For gods sake a big bulging chocolate cake with cream dripping off its sides is what birthdays are all about! I should know, I just celebrated (somewhat) mine!
Hey, pretending to be interested in conversation while trying to slip arm around girl - I think thats lesson #4 in the 'How to get Girls' Manual (which like the British Constitution is not written buit based on previous 'judgements') - and something that one should give up after you turn 19! Because an old dog must learn new tricks (like actually listen)!
Talking about Windies cricketers - the stories about BL that I have heard are downright scary. I seriously wonder how a cricketer hasn't contracted a disease as yet (a la Magic Johnson).

1:43 AM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

@AB: AB, I've actually had lo-cal cakes and honestly, they taste awful. There are some things where you just can't cut corners. But then I heard the story of the up and coming Hollywood actress whose kitchen holds nothing but vitamin supplements (first person account), so perhaps she'll certainly appreciate a zero-cal birthday cake. Or celebrate her birthday by cutting up a supplement capsule.

@K: Happy birthday!! Hopefully you got sufficiently plastered, which is what our two chicks did, and what fun they had.

So if this is based on previous judgments, then the trick should work for the under-19 set?

As for BL, apparently he's a friend of the dude I mentioned. Of course he hinted that the source of a lot of his stories was Lordship BL himself.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Adagio For Strings said...

chill da no issues. no offence taken!

5:21 PM  
Blogger said...

Again, rings many bells. I learnt to party hard after my teens and I don't have very good grades to show for it either! Iranian women are so beautiful, once you have been there, you feel you know finally why paradise is supposed to be filled with beautiful women - and I would include men from the Med.

6:31 PM  
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