A review-The Vague Woman’s Handbook and a contest

The Vague Woman’s Handbook
By Devapriya Roy

The book had me at its title, to paraphrase the ‘You had me at hello’ line from Jerry McGuire. The Vague Woman’s Handbook, it said. Am I vague? Do birds fly? Okay, now don’t bring in ostriches and emus and penguins and the lot of them avian classified creatures which don’t take to the air, but you have the gist of what I’m trying to get across, don’t you. Ergo, a vague woman who has been known to salt the tea and sugar the sabji, and who can never remember for the life of her when her bills are due, and when stuff runs out in the home. And yes, a woman who has learnt to drive thrice, holds a valid driving licence but never drives, because, god, how on earth am I expected to concentrate on so many different things- clutch, brake, accelerator and then damn traffic. Too much to ask of me.
Therefore I picked up this book with great expectations, and am delighted to state I was not let down. The story is about Sharmila Chatterjee and Indira Sen, thrown together by circumstance and a job. Sharmila is in her early 20s and Indira, her mid 50s. Sharmila or Mil as she is called through the book, is married to Abhimanyu Mishra, an academic with the promise of a brilliant future who gives it all up to concentrate on what he feels is morally right, and Sharmila takes a zero semester to set up home and get a job after their impetuous marriage which has both families disown them. Indira, on the other hand, is neck deep in credit card debt, lives with her mother, her uncle and her mother in law in a rambling house and is completely responsible for the day to day grocery shopping, maintenance in addition to her job at the Academy The two women meet and become the unlikeliest of friends, and over many coffees and burgers and sandwiches and tarts, they resolve life issues, provide each other sound advice and generally act as the emotional anchor each need, which they aren’t able to get at home.
Crisply written, every woman would be able to catch some glimpse of herself in either of the two main characters. The situations they find themselves in, eerily similar to what many of us have either been through or are experiencing right now. (Sigh. I so need a Mil to get me to cut up my credit cards. Any volunteers out there?). Interspersed liberally with humour, anxiety, female bonding and liberal references to books and authors, given that the two ladies work in the Academy of Literature, this book is a paeon to female friendship-strengthening, nurturing and cathartic. All in all, a fun, quick read, one that lifts your spirits and makes you want to run out and give your BFF a big hug.

And for all you women out there, who want to win an autographed copy of The Vague Woman’s Handbook, here’s a contest. Post a comment on your most memorable ‘Vague Woman’ moment. The author of the book, Devapriya Roy, will select the five most interesting comments and ta da, the books will be sent across for your reading pleasure. Remember, the judge’s decision is final and the author and I reserve the right to revoke any decision if we feel so. Post your comments in by the end of week.

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About Kiran Manral

Author of The Face At The Window, ( 2016), Karmic Kids, All Aboard (2015) , Once Upon A Crush (2014) and The Reluctant Detective (2011).
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104 Responses to A review-The Vague Woman’s Handbook and a contest

  1. aneela z says:

    Ah so many. But one I will never live down.
    Magazine cover circa-2001. Later half.
    Of babies born post sep 11 (to dads who had died that day) posing with their moms.
    And my ranting “But what about babies born post-9/11 to moms who had died that day hainjee? they always forget the women”.
    Yup thats me.Vague.

    Like

    • Kiran Manral says:

      Aneela darling, you’re such a hoot I tell you, you manage to get me to ROFLMAO even on days when Im growing fangs and shaggy hair thanks to PMS

      Like

      • Sue says:

        ‘Neela, it’s been a week and I’m still laughing. Even though my first reaction was to indignantly defend you saying, “Haan, but what about those who were having babies by surrogacy? They could have died!”

        Like

  2. Mona says:

    wow! this book sounds so perfect for me.
    the other day, i called the grocery store and when the guy answered at the other end, what i was calling for went flying out of my head and i was left stumbling.
    i started with, haan, woh order karna tha. and the guy at the grocery goes, kya who and i kid you not, it was beyond awkward explaining to him that i couldn’t remember why i’d called in the first place.
    i don’t call the grocery any more of course.
    i remembered another one! how many can we post per person?

    Like

    • Kiran Manral says:

      Mons, Mons, Mons, post as many as you like, no limit on that. And yes, Ive been there done that! Now I write out a little list before I call the grocery store….

      Like

  3. Eveslungs says:

    OMG there are so so many . Mistaking Nerul station for Neral on the way to Matheran , running up a 20k bill and forgetting to pay the credit card instalment , liberally dousing veggies twice with salt , also leaving out salt totally because I wanted to go back to my book or farmville or mail or whatever , setting fire to the frying pan umpteen times because I had left the heat on high , always but always forgetting directions – I could write a book on my vagueness ….

    Like

    • Kiran Manral says:

      Evie, With you on the salt thing, every single time I decide to cook…in fact, Indira Sen in this book soooooo reminded me of you!

      Like

      • Eveslungs says:

        You will never believe how I met DP -!

        Like

      • Sue says:

        Evie, I’ve warned DP that you’re stalking her. She has (vaguely) indicated that she will consider taking precautions. I suspect that may be the reason why she’s fleeing into the heartland despite this mad heat.

        Like

  4. Jaya says:

    I’ve become such a homebody that the few times I’m out and about, I’m the queen of ‘vague’. Last week a new neighbor chatted me up in the park and when we were exchanging numbers, I saved her number into my phone and instead of just dialing that number to give her mine, I got all uncomfortable about forgetting my own number and mumbled something senseless. After a whole minute of fidgeting with my phone, I finally went into ‘settings’ and retrieved my own phone number.

    Like

    • Kiran Manral says:

      Jaya: Har har har, every single time! Now finally after eight years with the same number I finally remember my number! The BB pin, now, that’s another story.

      Like

  5. chandni says:

    most of my vague woman moments are around marriage. Its like there’s a sea full of people who know me, and are deeply interested in my life, and I don’t even know they exist.

    One “aunty” called, supposedly to invite me to my MIL’s party (don’t ask, its some tradition of retirement) where the colleagues invite the retiring person’s family over for lunch.

    Aunty chatted, asked me what time I’d come, and I kept trying to get the Boy in the picture, telling her I’ll figure out with him what time., when she said…”ignore the Boy, he’s not important. You are our daughter in law, you need to spend time with us”.
    I almost died, wondering how many MILS I Have, and finally when she complained that I had missed her son’s wedding, I said “You have a son? He got married? What’s his name?

    After a stony silence, she said “You don’t remember me, do you?
    And I mumbled an apology, only to be reminded that she’s the aunty who got us a nice dinner set on the wedding.
    Very ugly, if you ask me, but the icing on the cake was when the MIL called, telling me Aunty was most disappointed that I didn’t invite her to tea.
    Also, MIL asked me if I am pregnant, considering I sound so vague.

    Huh? Forget me, I think you should send Aunty the book.

    Like

  6. Mona says:

    so the one i’d remembered was when i locked my bag with house keys, car keys, phone, cards and everything else in my double parked car outside a restaurant at 8 am on a weekend morning. oh i made lots of people very unhappy that day.

    Like

    • Sue says:

      Mon, I like this the most. Don’t you admire how efficiently we slam the car doors shut, almost righteously, when the keys are still inside? I suppose that’s how our crestfallen mugs make more of an impact the next second. *sigh*

      Like

  7. Mona says:

    or the time i was baking a rainbow cake and added salty biryani yellow instead of the normal yellow food color. that was a really really horrid cake. we had to bin the whole thing!

    Like

  8. Mona says:

    more? can you tell i really want this book? like REALLY?

    Like

  9. Sue says:

    I don’t know where to start. How about the time I met a girl on the road and remembered meeting her somewhere before — as did she, seemingly, vaguely, so we chatted, her and me, standing on the median between roads and I ended with a cheery wave and said I’d see her around and to be sure to give my love to X who I thought was our mutual friend. She looked mighty puzzled at that but the lights had turned favorable so we went our separate ways.

    It was only a couple of days later that I remembered that I knew here from an altogether different circle, through wholly different people for entirely different reasons. *sigh*

    BTW Am still LMAO at Mon and of course ‘Neela.

    Like

  10. Vidya says:

    Where do I begin?
    This happened Before Children (BC)
    After taking a class on Covy’s How to Be Highly Effective,a bunch of us at work were going to this buffet place for lunch and I was driving.Since carrying a fat purse would only get in the way of my gluttony,I decided to leave it in the trunk.So,I locked the car,put the keys in my purse and left the purse in the trunk of the car and as soon as the trunk door banged shut,I realized that I could not drive back to work without my key which were efficiently left in the purse:( Luckily,I knew me only too well,and I had a spare key in my office. We got someone from work drive over with it and rescue us.
    And After Delivery… (AD)
    At 3AM one day while trying to make milk for my baby,I measured the right quantity of water and poured it into the feeding bottle,and instead of adding a scoop of formula powder to it,I poured the water into the tin of formula. Needless to say,my hungry baby was not too pleased with his mom’s folly,and expressed his anger rather loudly.
    Oh,one more in this category – One day,my husband called,we had some conversation and I hung up. I called him back a few minutes later because I vaguely remembered talking to him,but did not remember a single word of what we spoke!

    Like

  11. Kiran Manral says:

    Vidya, poor poor baby…this one you could put down to hormones though, not to general vagueness. I remember a sleep deprived me feeding newborn Krish and falling asleep, jumping up with a start because I couldnt remember whether I’d put him back in the crib. (For the record I had)

    Like

    • Mona says:

      haha, lady K. i’ve done that too. woken up because i couldn’t remember where the baby was.
      :/

      and yes, Ms. Devapriya, i really, really want the book. pretty please?

      i’m really vague, i promise 😉

      Like

  12. chandni says:

    Mona, I like ur strategy 😀

    I am trying hard to come up with all my vague moments, without making them up. If more comments get me the book, I will try with everything in me 😀

    Like

  13. R's Mom says:

    I go to my friend’s house for breakfast and her dad makes me fresh bread, butter and jam toast. Eating like a hog, I am truely done when uncle askes me something and I say ‘no not at all, not even one bit’ and the entire family looks at me stunned.

    I look at my friend perplexed and she tells me ‘RM, dad is asking if you liked the toast?’

    God why didnt the earth just open up and eat me!

    Like

  14. Great Review Kiran! Makes me want this book… (Yes, we men are a very curious bunch about this vagueness)

    The review, and some comments, make me feel there could be a vagueness that is womanish inside me. But, that acceptance may label me absentminded like most men? I will settle for vagueness for the want of this book! Is this contest open for men?!

    Cheers!

    Like

  15. This happened in my early 20’s. I was home and my mother asked me to run to the shop to get some green chillies. So there I went, all hop, skip and jump, made the needful purchase, and stood by the side reading the magazines on the shelf. The shopkeeper hands me the newspaper wrapped chillies. I hand in the money, take a look at the paper and gasp!! Ganguly!!! I quickly unfurl the paper, dust the sand off it and hurried back to add it to my paper collage on Ganguly. Needless to say, I forgot both the chillies and change and have never been sent to shop along since.

    Like

  16. Writerzblock says:

    Lovely review. Can’t wait to get my hands on the book.
    Still ROFL-ing after reading the comments section. I don’t stand a chance at winning a copy of the book 😦

    Like

  17. Panu says:

    While trying to explain something very Lit. Theory to someone, I go… “So you see… the basic idea behind lit theory is not to foist things on people, but have people foist things on you. If you are a book, that is.” Of course, blank stares from the opposite end.

    Like

  18. Aatreyee Ghosh says:

    well as i see all of us seem to have very similar vague moments…:)…have had my share of embarrassing vague moments too. but the most idiotic one was…well i had just got out of the car at a mall and near the entrance i see this old friend whom i knew was not in the city. he was happily chatting up two girls. feeling bad that he didnt bother to let me know he had come back, i went up to him and said , ‘hey man…when did u come back?? and you never told me u were back! this is so pathetic. when u needed stuff and all u always call and now nothing?’ i was actually very pissed. well he started to say something but i just didnt wanna give him a chance. i was like ‘leave the bullshit reason to urself’. the two girls had started slinking away frm the scene thinking it to be some ex-gf tiff. and then a sudden realisation dawned on me. this guy wasnt my friend at all…he looked remotely and vaguely like my friend thats all.. embarrassed to the core, i apologised to the guy who still was reeling in shock at being screamed at in a mall…and that also in front of two girls he was trying very hard to impress… i quickly made my escape…VOWING NEVER TO MAKE THE FIRST MOVE AND TALK TO PEOPLE IN MALLS. interesting fact: the friend i thought tht guy was is actually devapriyadi’s cousin brother…this is called cycle of life:)

    Like

  19. Jyoti says:

    The moment when I am busy reading/catching up on news-feed on the laptop and Mil is regaling me with the latest household hints she caught, on One of her religous channels -Disha/ Jagran or some similar sorts, something to do with taking out stench from burnt food -look up from my laptop and vaguely tell her the weather is not right to hang out the clothes and she looks at me as if the I am a total zombie.

    Like

  20. himadridimri says:

    Hmmm my Vogue moment…Being a content writer I had always loved writing but to my dismay I got a project in which I had to write content for an extramarital affair website. Oh I so wanted to refuse that particular project, but doing so would mean a black star on my career and lots of angry faces. So i decided to go ahead, well I did it! the client loved it and got praise from everyone. Two things I learnt from this: Firstly, I learned to be professional, and open. When I opened my mind and my free self I could imagine what people may be looking for and so could present it according to them and Secondly, at the end of every content I told people why not try something but get back to your lives, who knows you may fall in love with that ‘destined-for-you’ person again! I don’t know if this is a great moment for anyone or not but this made me grow on a personal and professional front. May be someone will read that and get back to their better halves.. 🙂 what say Kiran…? ❤

    Like

  21. Anita Menon says:

    Lovely review. I was in splits the whole time I read the comments. This is my first time on your blog and I am kicking myself,not subscribing it before.

    Like

  22. asking your hubby’s bua when u bump into her on road that she seems familiar vague enough? sigh I really did that, 2 yrs post marriage, I had met her just once and mil still reminds me of it 😉

    Like

  23. So which vague moment do you want? I’m always salting instead of sugaring, I don’t drive because as you rightly said it is too many things to focus on at the same time. I have walked to the market only to forget what I walked there for in the first place.

    The one where I walked out in my lingerie (newly wed so clearly the outfit left nothing to the imagination) to collect the milk left at the door. Wind slammed the door shut and I got locked out. Had to call the husband from the neighbour’s home (the entire family walked past me as I sat huddled in a corner wondering which body part it was most important to cover) and wait till he came back and let me in.

    Or the time I was nursing the baby and opened the door to the courier guy with one of the nursing flaps open. I did wonder why he looked so zapped the entire time.

    Or the time I went to the railway station one month later than the day my ticket was booked for and argued with the guy sitting on my seat number and threated to call the railway police. yes, that ended with egg on my face.

    but I think the one that takes the cake is the evening I walked up to the car, saw someone bent into the boot taking out stuff, thought it was my brother and whacked him on the butt screaming “never spare a bender” only to have the scarlet-faced driver turn around in shock and my brother’s voice say from behind me – Smacking the driver’s butt is a new low, even for you.

    Yeah okay, I’ll send you my postal address 😀

    Like

  24. oh yes… then there was the time vanity prompted me to leave my glasses home and I was waiting at the gate for the husband to pick me up for dinner. I saw our red car drive up to the gate and I cheekily stuck my thumb out for a lift, only to realise that it was some random stranger looking very bewildered at being thumbed down seductively. And yes, I always wear my glasses now.

    Like

    • Mona says:

      Haha! We’ve done this too. In twelfth grade, we went out to watch a movie – a group of five giggly girls. We were on a high after the movie and my friend’s dad was supposed to pick us up. We saw the car, got in and continued chatting and giggling until my friend in the passenger seat said, hey guys, this isn’t my dad, or my dad’s car. and the poor dude, a youngish guy was just sitting there with his mouth hanging open. We mumbled sorry and jumped out!
      Another time, when I had my own car, in the heat of summer, after I was done shopping, my mom and I headed to the car, and the car wouldn’t unlock. I tried the passenger door, and even called my dad / husband / brother and then this dude comes out of nowhere, and says, excuse me what are you doing to MY car? Uh, my own car was parked tow spots down.

      Like

      • Sue says:

        Mona, this reminds me — once Esha and I were driving somewhere on her Scooty and we were completely engrossed in whatever we were discussing. We passed through one of Vizag’s main junctions and as we reached the other side of the crossing the silence and stares struck us. Turned out all lights had been red and we’d neatly driven through dodging traffic from the one lane that had been open, gabbing away all the while. People were so flabbergasted that we didn’t even scolded. As far as I remember the lone cop merely spluttered at us and told us to go away.

        Ah, the good old days. I made sure to tell Vicky this story when he was teaching me to drive!

        Like

      • ha ha! so once I was leaving the party with some friends. It was drizzling so this guy says to wait in the hotel portico while he brings the car around.
        his white esteem comes around and i rush out and open the door and sit down – on someone’s lap!

        a woman thankfully.

        she turns and glares at her husband who looks blankly at me and goes – i swear i have no idea who she is.

        i’m of course horrified and i jump out only to see my friend parked right behind them, laughing till the tears were running down his face.

        Like

      • Kiran Manral says:

        MM: ROFLMAO! You you you!

        Like

    • Mona says:

      haha susie. no wayyyyy you got away with that! no ticket?

      Like

  25. Sue says:

    I love the stories on the comment thread. One of the vaguest things I’ve ever done (and still regularly do) is forget Soubhik Niyogy’s birthday. After all, I’ve only known him ten years and dated him for two of those and been married to him for five more. If you suddenly ask me his birthday I tend to give the wrong date 9.75 times out of 10. Last week while filling out my son’s school application form I wrote my birthday for his date of birth — after carefully reading the question and spending a moment considering it. *sigh*

    Sinnamon, LOL at your hubby’s bua! My favourites though remain ‘Neela and R’s Mom’s.

    Like

    • Kiran Manral says:

      Sue: I’m with you there all the way, what is a mere birthday after all?

      Like

    • Mona says:

      wow, sue that IS vague. but you know what’s really messed up? z’s birthday and our wedding anniversary are only two days apart. one is on the 18th and the other on the 20th. i never remember which is which.

      Like

      • Sue says:

        The problem is, Vicky’s birthday is a few days before his friend’s birthday. I always remember this friend’s birth date but confuse Vicky’s. He does not find that amusing or endearing or even mildly cute. After all these years though he’s resigned to it. 😉

        Like

      • Mona says:

        okay sue. ouch. that is terrible! poor V!
        😉

        Like

  26. Iya says:

    The comment section is howlarious!!

    During the early stages of my career when i was still quite a kiddo, i had a altercation with the boss. It was a bad one. And i decided to quit right then. So i call the boss in a meeting room and tell him that i am resigning. He almost fell of the chair at the suddenness of it.
    Feeling all kicked up i type a message to send to Aman – “Told X that i am leaving this fuck all job, you should have seen the bastards face, bloody pervert!! See ya in a while Aman” and instead of sending it to Aman i sent it to the boss!! yes and he was standing right in front of me. it was silly, but secretly i did enjoy it too.

    Like

  27. Writerzblock says:

    Just called to book an appointment with the doctor and the guy on the other end of the line was really polite, but absolutely useless. I got wild. I had a damn boil in the EYE, and the fellow was being a prick and telling me outright that he would not help!
    Slammed the phone down, only to realise, I had infact called my swimming class instead of the doctor’s clinic 😦

    Like

  28. dipali says:

    After reading all these incidents, my vagueness is incredibly tame!
    I seem remarkably sane in comparison. I already have the book, and I’m pleased and proud to know the author too.
    * Strolls off smugly*

    Like

    • Kiran Manral says:

      Dipali: You show off you!

      Like

      • Devapriya says:

        Ah well, on a day when I was at my very vaguest, Dipali’s couch and cooking and beautiful house has literally saved my soul. What can I say? Thank god for some of us vague women that slightly less vague ones take us into their circles 🙂

        Like

    • Eveslungs says:

      yeah Dipali – I thought I was vague but you have to admit most of the others take the cake .:Brushes her hands to shake off the last vestiges of vagueness and walks away looking superior

      Like

    • Panu says:

      @ dipali – can I say it out loud that I know the girl personally, have always argued with and contradicted her and have studied with her for three years? Which means, tolerated her rants and often wanted to do away with her when her comments held up the class? Devipriya Roy, are you listening??? XD

      Like

  29. this place is becoming my daily dose of morning laughter 😀

    Like

  30. Asavari says:

    Well Well….. I could not agree more. My first reason to read was because my sister wrote it. And when I started I only kept it down when I finished. One Sunday and the book was done and then i read it gain cause for me it finished too fast… The book is written in complete fluidity…and I felt more like and observer and less like a reader. Which is amazing for a first time book… Indira is someone every woman will relate to at some level or the other and her way out of trouble is heart warming…..

    Now Waiting for the Sequel..

    Like

  31. Phoenixritu says:

    I have done fairly vague things in my life. Geography is a bit of a pain for me, since I never know which is left and which is right. Yeah, to make things difficult I am ambidextrous. I keep getting confused whether I have to turn to this right or the other right …

    I had to go to my aunt’s place for lunch. She lives in Dwarka. I put my kids in the car and drove off from Faridabad, crossed Palam about an hour later … and kept driving until I saw the sign “Apno Ghar”. Which means I went from Haryana to Delhi to U.P. The kids woke up in the back seat and insisted on spending the day there. I apologized to my aunt, but she hasn’t yet forgiven me.

    Like

  32. Phoenixritu says:

    This one happened recently. I went to Ghaziabad to meet fellow blogger Shail Mohan. We got busy talking and forgot to order lunch. And then we complained to the manager why lunch was taking so much time.

    BTW I did not get lost this time. GPS was invented for women like me

    Like

  33. Phoenixritu says:

    Okay, this one is really embarrassing, but I want the book so here goes …

    Early winter morning, I breast feed my elder one, dress up and rush to Delhi to attend my classes at YWCA. It is 6 a.m. and pitch dark. I look around for a rickshaw to take me to the railway station. Rickshaw wala tells me, “Kapde theekh kar lo” and I check myself and stare at him blankly. Every thing is okay as per me. I reach the station and join my class mates. One of them unhooks a bra dangling from my shawl. It must have got hooked on to my shawl which was lying on the bed and I had wrapped it around me and travelled 3 km. The visual of me brandishing a bra thru town on my back still makes me squirm

    Like

  34. Vanshika-Neelam Amarnani says:

    My vague moments r far too many I’m 1 vaayri person as dey say in sindi 1 I clearly remember is I ws newly married n 1 day my mil ws out n I ws jst chillin n watchng tv facebookin etc.wen my mil called n said sum guests wr gonna join us for lunch n dey wanted to eat lite so to make dal rice n fry pakodas I told her dnt wury I will do it n den gt engrossed in d tv again suddenly I saw d time n realized d guests wud be cumin soon I quickly made d dal n fried d pakoadas n ws quiet pleased wid myself for being so quick it ws only wen we were serving lunch I realized dat I had forgotten the rice god my mil ws pissed n d way she hs yelled at me I can jst nt forget all I cud say ws oops I forgot

    Like

  35. dipali says:

    Now, despite my showing off about my general non-vagueness yesterday, I think that Devapriya’s book itself generates huge amounts of vagueness. When I went for the launch at Mani Square Mall, I’m hunting high and low for Crossword, (which has no branch at that particular mall) instead of going to Starmark, where the launch is. And I had several messages about the launch on my cell phone, so there was absolutely no excuse. I insist that it was the book’s fault. I actually called her number, I think her husband answered, and finally got there, feeling even more moronic than usual:(

    Like

    • Devapriya says:

      Hello, hello, perfect place to confess my latest vague drama. My grandmum had left me a gift cheque which the bank (SBI) took forever to pass on to me, and finally through my mum’s activism, it was got. Now,a v.bad move on my part: she offered to deposit it for me. I said, no thank you, I’ll go to Delhi and do it myself – as mine is a Delhi account (though now I live in Calcutta). I brought it with me; the last I remember is that I placed it carefully inside “The Vague Woman’s Handbook” which was in my bag. The spouse apparently saw and smirked, but, note, did not stop me. The next day that very copy of the book was taken to the launch for my reading, and subsequently, the book, true to its nature, was lost. I remembered the case of the cheque only three days after, however. The worst is that I had to involve my Mum, and narrate the whole affair. You can imagine the lecture. Anyway, FIR has been filed and shall now be couriered to Calcutta.

      Thank you all for writing in. I am thrilled and moved and glowing at the expansion of my circle of vague women 🙂 🙂 Will have a tough time choosing though!

      Like

  36. Shrabonti says:

    Been reading these avidly but was too lazy to post. Something pushes me to reveal myself in all my vagueness now, though. A few moments (by far not the most stellar; my memory’s not my strongest point. But of course.)

    1. Walking out of many, many Cafe Coffee Days and Baristas busy talking (to the person accompanying me or on the phone) while forgetting to pay the bill. Usually a hapless employee runs after us with the bill and we try to look like we are not the types who do this deliberately.

    2. Leaving notepad behind with painstakingly written notes after interviewing someone. People have had to call me up later to let me know, some sounding miffed that their interview evidently held so little value. Little did they know. Once I made author Shrabani Basu climb down four flights of stairs running after me to return my notepad. When I started apologising, she shushed me with ‘I did the same when I interviewed Salman Rushdie’.

    3. Losing ATM card and realising only 10 days later. Someone had swiped it for Rs 16 K meanwhile. It still hurts somewhere. (Devapriya’s cheque story reminded me of this :))

    Like

    • Kiran Manral says:

      Shrabonti: God! Have done that bill not paying thingie too! Damn embarassing it is…

      Like

    • oh I have done that too bill paying thing and also so many times credit cards I have lost because I would keep it for paying and walk off without bothering to collect it, sometimes a hasseled employee will come after me returning the CC and other times I will end up paying 250 bucks for the duplicate one

      Like

  37. Cee Kay says:

    I loved Aneela’s response 😀

    As for me – heh! Where do I begin?

    Put a saucepan on the counter by the side of the sink, turned the faucet out over the saucepan and walked off. A WHOLE lot of water overflowed over the counter, down the counter, under the stove… you get the pic… before I remembered.

    Left a subzi simmering over the stove and walked out with J and S for S’ birthday shopping. Came back to a house full of smoke, blaring fire alarms and concerned neighbors.

    Living with me can’t be easy – J’s grey hair is a testimony to that 😀

    Like

    • Kiran Manral says:

      Cee: LOL! Cmon, you’re a domestic goddess…J’s grey hair is from overeating all that you whip up….

      Like

  38. and I remembered one thanks to the bill payments being talked abt here… I had come back from a long roaming trip and had a cellphone bill of about 1900 odd, I was paying it online and I thought let me round it off to 2000 and guess what I paid 20K instead of 2K and realised only the cc bill hit me, only +ve thing that came out was didnt have to bother about the bill for the next yr or so 😉

    yeah I know in comparision to MM its nothing but still a lady can attempt to win a copy atleast

    Like

  39. Devapriya says:

    Okay, this has been the very hardest thing I’ve done in a long long time. Wish I had copies for everyone – and wish more, we could all sit down together, gorge on coffee and cake and exchange stories of vagueness all night! Alas, geography impedes – but anyway – I’m imagining we’re doing this, over coffee and cake (oreo cheese cake, if I’m allowed to choose) in a virtual corner somewhere.

    I’ll have you know, the shortlist included every single anecdote – each was so original. R’s Mom: I’ve done that myself – see, that’s exactly why the old rule that people were required to be silent while eating was golden. Vidya, I love the way how the key episode happens just as you’re returning from a class on ‘How to be Highly Effective’! CeeKay, have lost count of the number of times I’ve flooded the house! Writerzblock – one question: did you go back to the swimming class after that? Iya: that can’t have been pretty. I remember similar bloopers in the era when gmail forwards sometimes went to original sender too! Aatreyee, don’t blame you – the brother in concern is perfectly likely to be chatting to two beauties at a mall 😉 Chandni, we should really get Aunty to read the book, no? Jaya, long story shotened, recently, I left my laptop at the security check area of the Kolkata airport. When I rushed to retirieve it, the uniforms asked me if I could prove it was mine. I hemmed and hawed and panicked wildly. Finally, brainwave: told him, would it do, if I showed a photograph of the two of us? Took me ages and ages and ages to find a photo though though there are hundreds on the machine! Panu, I do love that answer – and shall quote you on matter if ever asked the same question on lit theory. Preethi – I can absolutely see you whooping Ganguly and rushing off to add the cutting to your precious collage; I’m sure the shopkeeper even called you back – but you were in a royal hurry, weren’t you? Jyoti, I have often subjected my f-i-l to that vague-glazed-eyes glance!

    Shrabonti, Evie/Indira Sen, Dipali and Sue have all contributed hall of fame comments but am selfishly keeping them out of the list as they have all indicated they own copies of said book. After all, in this day and age of limited storage why should I take on the bad karma of adding to clutter in their book shelves 😉

    Himadridimri deserves a special badge of honour as the one who quickly demonstrated the true essence of a vague women. Single action being more eloquent than a thousand words.

    Now, here goes. Mad Momma. For the entire lot of comments – I cannot quite pick out anyone 🙂

    Mona. Lovely comments but here’s the one which swings it ;-). “i really, really want the book. pretty please? I’m really vague, i promise.” Vague Woman ought to say that, happily, proudly, often.

    Monikamanchanda. 20K for 2K? That’s classic!

    PhoenixRitu. The Haryana to Delhi to U.P. is definitely up there with the best!

    Aneela Z. What can I say? Vagueness is the new feminism. No?

    Now, of all the m-i-l stories, Vanshika’s is brilliant – and I love the matter of fact way she tells it. So a bonus prize for her!

    Phew.

    Now ladies, please mail me or Kiran your addresses – and the book shall reach you soon ;-)My email id is: roydevapriya@gmail.com.

    Thank you Kiran for hosting this fabulous ten-day long party. Thank you all for joining the circle of vagueness. May it expand forever!

    xo

    Like

  40. Sue says:

    Just raising a hand to tell you I don’t have a copy. Yet. *cough*

    Like

  41. Phoenixritu says:

    I won too! Wow, my vagueness actually won me a book! Dancing a jig!

    Like

  42. aneela z says:

    yeahhh will someone be coming across the river? or should I start monitoring the post?

    Like

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