Seven Interesting Things … About Me?

I’ve been a little slow on the cooking and blogging front lately but I’m never short for words. So when three fellow bloggers– Ann, Jaya and Pavani— each one an amazing cook herself– nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger award which goes with a tag to write seven interesting things about myself, I jumped at the bait.

Not because I think I’m interesting, mind you– I quite honestly think I’m the most boring person I know. But I never am one to pass on a chance for some good old healthy introspection and retrospection. So now comes the time to shine the light on the inner me, and find out just how interesting– or not– I am. You decide.

1. As a child (I must’ve been five or six), I was chased up and down the street by what must have been the world’s biggest German Shepherd. The incident made me fairly– although not deathly– afraid of dogs for a while. But somehow, as I grew older and wiser, the fear vanished. Now dogs are my best friends– and I try to be theirs. I even have my very own Shepherd at home now. :)

2. This one would be interesting to my Indian readers. I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of Bollywood and the endless, meaningless movies it churns out. But in my early career as a reporter in Bombay, goaded by an arts editor with a deep nostalgia for old Hindi movies, I interviewed dozens of Indian movie stars. Of the celebrities I met, Shashi Kapoor was unassuming and friendly and utterly handsome although he was a much bigger and much older version of his ’60s filmi self. After that, whenever we spoke, he’d regale me with stories of his new granddaughter. Hema Malini was still beautiful years after her reign as the dreamgirl of Indian cinema but also still clueless and I’ve never seen anyone look as shocked as she did when I asked her how old she was (she didn’t tell me, in case you were wondering).
Shyam Benegal was as intelligent as the movies he made and Subhash Ghai was more intelligent than the movies he made. Saeed Jaffrey was intensely annoying and full of himself, but Danny Dengzongpa was articulate and extremely charming. Deepti Naval, one of my favorite interviewees, was polished and sensitive and the only Bollywood actor to ever call me after the interview appeared to thank me.
But my most memorable interview of the Bollywood kind would have to be Naushad. He was old and no longer making beautiful music, but he was an absolute gentleman and one of the nicest people I have ever met, professionally or personally. He did not even embarrass me when I confessed to him that Desi’s most favorite song of all time was Chalte Chalte (I found out only later that Naushad shared the credits for Pakeezah with Ghulam Mohammad, his disciple, who actually scored Chalte Chalte).

3. I interviewed Laura Bush in the White House when she was First Lady.

4. I am hooked on politics, although I don’t write about it (except when it’s animal related) on my blog. Mainly because I wouldn’t be able to stop myself, but also because I often cover political stories and it wouldn’t be ethical. I go to bed with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and my idea of a great Friday night is to curl up on the couch with Desi, my furry family and a glass of wine and watch Bill Maher dish it out on Real Time.

5. I tend to be friendly and agreeable most of the time, but any kind of injustice brings out the fighter in me. I hate it when I see someone trying to take advantage of the underdog, human or not. It perhaps explains why I became a champion of animal rights. I’ve screamed out my head at a neighbor in Pune whom I caught kicking a stray puppy that had wandered on his porch. I’ve lectured a boy in Guadalajara who was trying to take aim at a pigeon with a catapult (I don’t know if he understood what I was saying in English and a few broken words of Spanish, but he retreated which was good enough for me). And I never miss a chance to tell people who buy from breeders that they are contributing to the problem of pet overpopulation and the unnecessary killing of healthy animals in shelters. It may not make me everyone’s favorite person, but someone’s got to say it.

6. I was always the rebel in my extended family, and growing up I rejected a lot of the stuff girls are expected to do in Indian homes. My cousins were all fabulous cooks by the time they were in their teens but I just wasn’t interested in learning something so, well, girly. I only started cooking after I got married because Desi couldn’t cook either and we had to eat. Once I’d muddled through the learning process, I fell in love with the whole idea of creating delicious food.

7. I once won a tiny whisky-making contest organized by the Scotch Whisky Association in Glasgow. We were asked to create a Scotch from a few colorless liquids placed before us. I confess I had no idea what I was doing and they definitely didn’t clasp their hearts and offer me a job on the spot. But apparently I can mix up a pretty good brew when I set my mind to it. :) I even have a silver quaiche to show for it!

I know awards are plentiful in the blogging world and not every recipient cheers when they get one because, well, they’ve gotten one or a dozen before. But I do appreciate the sentiment and love behind them, and I would like to return it by passing on the tag and award to seven bloggers I admire. Ann, Jaya and Pavani would be on the list, but since they’ve already been there and done that I am going to pick out seven others who are also really creative with everything they do. Remember, dear awardees, you have to tell us seven interesting things about yourself and name seven of your favorite bloggers to pass the award on to.

Here are my picks:

Mihl of Seitan Is My Motor

Mints of Vadanikavalgheta

Nithya of Hungry Desi

Priya of Akshayapaatram

Sharmila of Kichu Khon

Taymer of Vegan in the Sun

Usha of Veg Inspirations

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  1. says

    Great insight into your life an personality Vaishali ! You definitely lead a very interesting life…
    How did you find Laura Bush in person ? Have you read this book based on her , a fictional account of her life ?

  2. says


    Dips, I found her sincere about the cause she was pursuing which I was interviewing her about, but she doesn’t come across as a warm person. She was pleasant enough and courteous enough.
    I haven’t read the book on her. Never thought she was a very interesting person, and even less so after meeting her :)

    Sireesha, Thanks.

  3. says

    Hmm…thought so…the only thing that warms me about her is that she started this annual book festival in DC..
    btw…that book’s name is ‘American Wife’ in case you were curious :)

  4. says

    Oh my God Vaishali, just reading these 7 things about you, I consider you my ‘hero’ sorts. I find them very fascinating. With all these you consider yourself boring, ah you are very humble and modest.

    If I had your credientials I would be jumping up and down, screaming rooftops.

    Good read about the Bollywood stars you interviewed. With whatever interviews I have seen of Hema Malini, even I have the impression that she is very shallow. But did not know that about Sayeed Jaffery.

    Very interesting that you interviewed Laura Bush. What did you think about her?

    Loved loved knowing about you Vaishali. I think I will pass on the award to you again, so that we get 7 more things from you :-))

  5. says

    It was real fun reading you Vaishali,jus the way I expected..

    Well,the one common factor we share is about the German Shepherd..Oh My God..even today am fearful and couldnt evolve a rappo till date

    Hemamalini,am not at all surprised met her once and been through a situation I found her being hesitent to admit her socalled “age”

    On Politics,same here.terribly interested and my hubby asks me often to there too

    Injustice and fighting nature,well,I still have the ‘internal voilence ” factor in responding .

    Lol on the scotch too vaishali..
    Thanks for writing so nice about you..

  6. says

    Dips, thanks for the name of the book.

    RedChillies, Thanks for your kind words. I found Laura Bush pleasant but not warm. She was sort of aloof, although she did seem to understand and care about the cause she was championing– preventing adolescent boys from dropping out of school. Two of her press secretaries were breathing down my neck all the time during the interview :)

    Ann, good to know we share so many things :)

    Parita, Curry, Priya, Sunshinemom, Thanks!

  7. says

    Congrats on your well deserved awards Vaishali. It was fascinating to read and learn more about you…you seem to have led a very interesting life and done quite a variety of things. Thanks so much for thinking of me and sharing this award with me !

  8. says

    oh my! it was good to read so many interesting facts about you. And with all these qualities, you call yourself boring i would just say you are too polite :)

    Thank you for sharing it with me and will get to it soon.

  9. says

    Vaishali, such a lovely post & read. Loved reading about you.. You are indeed very very talented & an all rounder:-) Now I am fascinated Vaishali, & would love to meet you in person.loved it! & i envy you that u met shashi kapoor:-)

  10. says

    I’m just catching up on the posts that I missed during my vacation. Its really nice reading & learning more about you and you truly truly deserve the award.

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