Sunday, October 16, 2016

Introvert Problems.

I am an unmistakable introvert- basically a creature that performs best inside my cocoon. This cocoon knows  tolerates the crazy me, and the self-attested laughter that can splatter the brains of people working and living with me. Outside the cocoon I am this confused, nail-biting, absent-minded, head-scratching, dumb-headed moron. I leave all my senses in the cocoon when I have to be outside it. Also brain.

Last week I went to an official presentation which required me to storm out of my comfortable space to a podium where I was supposed to say a few sentences that took no longer than two minutes. Headache and loss of appetite had started that very morning like a ritual, and this happens whenever I had to meet or speak with new people. Something had to go wrong and it did. My earring fell off when I was walking towards the board room. Of course my friends were super amused. Why did it have to fall off that day? Because Murphy’s Law.

This actually happened.
Image Courtesy: Here

You may argue that Murphy was a sadistic dissuaded person, but he was the only one from the pages of history that spoke the truth. I temporarily fixed the earring, but I had to keep a check on my head shakes to prevent it from falling again. Shaking head in agreement is the prime gesture in any seminar. I was forbidden from doing that. Before it all started, I started questioning my very existence. Of all the things that could go wrong at a presentation, this was one. It was right there. Disaster was basically hanging from my ears.

Cold hands is another phenomenon my body enjoys, to torture me in times of pressure. At the university exam, Viva, interview, appraisal meeting, you name it, I become Elza from Frozen. Forget all that, I was going to be seen by actual prominent people from the organization. I was supposed to be standing when they will be seated. To add to that I was seated at the corner of the room, where the AC was strategically located to weigh me down and freeze my nerves. 

Meanwhile, I mentally made a list of things that could go wrong.

  • My earring could fall off in full public view.
  • I could freeze the ipad. People may misinterpret it to be some kind of digital sorcery.
  • The communication of the brain with the rest of me could freeze.

Thankfully I was wearing two layers of clothing as part of my formal attire. I missed my gloves, monkey cap and thermals. As the time of presentation approached, I had blurred vision, shaky hands and sensitive bladder. I don’t remember what happened next, but people said everything went well. I gathered that the earring dint fall off.

I become more thankful for my job each time I go to such presentations. I write code, attend meetings with familiar people and chill with friends who again make my protective shell. New people I meet blend into the shell in time. Nobody barges in. Blend my friend, BLEND.

I came home and informed my parents that I am alive (after the presentation). They seemed to be relieved. I have stuck that earring in the least accessible corner of my jewel drawer and mentally tagged it as 'danger'. 

Probably only to forget and pick it up for the next presentation.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Keep Calm and Google It.

Image Courtesy: Here

Google turned eighteen yesterday. Let’s take a moment to close our eyes, take a deep breath, remember all those times it cleared our doubts without judging us, and pray for it to be immortal.

Google did not just find whatever I was looking for; it also brought me the best pages with the appropriate content that answered my stupid questions sensibly. I will forever be grateful to Google as it always found the easiest of ways to get things done from changing a diaper to making one-pot meals. It has been the lazy-girl guide to accomplish something in life without toiling too much or losing out on sleep. It has turned me from a person not knowing when the rice has cooked to one who can serve a decently home cooked two course meal (for friends who take the risk of eating my food).

The best asset of Google is its Artificial Intelligence, which uses the pattern of our search and suggests pages accordingly. So now, it does not give me any Sanjeev Kapoor recipes, but easy bachelor recipes with the most minimal ingredients. It tells me how to do winged eyeliner with just two eyes, and zero aesthetic sense. It has earlier taught me how to change a diaper without risking the baby fall off the bed. It has also taught me a million other things, exactly the way I wanted. Basically what I am today is because of Google (and my parents of course ;-) ).

Any software get updated with time and technology advances and so did Google. As of now the only shortcoming I can see, is that it can’t search for stuff inside the house. For example will there be a day my husband can go to Google and type ‘Where is my socks?’ and it says ‘one is still inside the shoes since last week and the other is in the washing machine’. He can then find another pair and move on with other activities like finding the shoes instead of annoying other humans. This would be an immensely popular feature with women and we will start to worship Google because let’s admit, we don’t care about socks. Even if we may pretend to search, we have no intention of finding them and we are being completely dishonest about our motives.

Whereas if I ask ‘Where is my watch?’ it should ideally say ‘under the pillow, sweetheart’. As days go by, I may get fonder of my digital companion. I mean when we have a digital mate who answers like that unlike the human mate who says ‘It went for a walk’ why don’t we make the digital relationship legal?  Google is always there, trustworthy, rigid, sweet and never lets us down. It would be the perfect soulmate.

The hubby has been searching for a pair of pants since a week which apparently for him feels like a decade. He had been requesting me to find it, and there was a noticeable tone change with each passing day. I chose to royally ignore. I don’t do search services anymore, you see, I have retired from that role. In an apartment with four rooms and two bathrooms if we start losing everyday stuff what would happen had we lived in those palatial houses like in Karan Johar movies? Even humans could get lost in those. So today he was totally pissed about missing pants and for once I decided to investigate. You would not believe it was right there, where he was seemingly searching for a week. In such situations when he asks Google 'Where are my pants?' while standing right beside it, Google should detect the shocking lack of sensibility of the user and say ‘You are kidding me, right?’  

Image Courtesy: Here

There are people actually getting married to pizzas and iphones. Google is 18. Just reminding. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How to deal with Argh-sidfoy-asshole-o-maniacs.

We’ve all had good, bad, worse, horrible, shocking, devastating, normal, abnormal, tired and deadly days. Some days, the mind may be running a bit slow from the unending checklist of to-do things, traffic, sickness, responsibilities. Catching up with a fast paced life is not a race in which a winner emerges at the end. Most of us fall short, and people like me just want to go home and wind up on the sofa. However amidst all that, when I see familiar faces on the road, be it a neighbor, a person I knew from a decade ago, plumber, flat maintenance guy, an ex-enemy, or an office backstabber I smile.  I never turn my face away from someone who is smiling at me or if I run into someone I know.

But surprise! Not all people adhere to social etiquette as simple as smiling at a familiar face. It is interestingly noteworthy that people sometimes need to be in a good mood and all pieces of their lives fallen at the right places to be able to smile. Now the unsuspecting person, who walks opposite them, should telepathically comprehend whether it has been a good day for the said person before smiling. If you smile just because you know this person you will be met with a stone face that pretends not to know you at all. Then you end up being a total idiot with a wasted smile, cursing yourself and deciding never to smile again. How many times has this happened to you?

Image courtesy: Here

Once I was telling my Mom about a certain someone who sometimes smiles and talks cheerfully, and acts like a complete stranger on other days. Mom was exhilarated when she animatedly narrated the same incident that happened to her as well on multiple occasions by various people. So basically when the said person turns away and pretends not to know me, I have checked myself in the mirror inside the elevator-to double check whether I overdid the makeup that people are not able to recognize me. But no, I was just doing fine and everything was in place even my eyeliner. Secondly, I am not sure if there is a psychological condition wherein the victim does not identify familiar people on selected days. I cross checked with a friend who studied Human Psychology  and she confirmed that this is a yet-to-be-studied common condition called Argh-sidfoy-asshole-o-mania which in Layman terms, means being a psychotic a****le.

Well. I am sure Human Psychology is an interesting stream of study. Most psychological behaviors which are normally called a****le-ism by us actually have not been discovered yet.   Like for instance, she wishes me a happy Republic Day but on Independence Day she acts like she lost control over her facial muscles. I smile the same on both days like an idiot, thanks to inability to reciprocate in the same way as the Argh-sidfoy-asshole-o-maniac. There is only one way to deal with these people – ignore them at all times. Do not make eye contact. Pretend they don’t exist.

I have been practicing this beautiful, self-confidence boosting, sanctified ritual of ignoring people whose smiles are outcomes of their fluctuating moods. I would highly recommend this technique, which is non-violent, peaceful and not classified as sinful in any of the Holy Scriptures. It is also an enriching experience, and does not harm the environment or cause pollution of any kind.

You are welcome.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

For the love of Milkmaid.

As a child, I was enrolled in an all girls' Convent school, where we chanted Catholic prayers which basically were pleas to the Almighty to save us all evil like boys and nail polishes. This was a time before gadgets so the intimacy among friends was raw, unpretentious and one that assuredly grew stronger with time. We co-exist in harmony in a hyper-active Whatsapp group, the only group which is our support system, from which we don’t find reasons to exit. This is also the place we rant and pour our hearts out of our 18 year old hearts and a tad bit older bodies.

As little girls we had plenty of time at our disposal and ate whatever we wanted, thanks to non-existence of fat shaming and anorexic models. Chubby cheeks and love handles were considered signs of health rather than a subject of ridicule. Unlike 12 year olds today who are dieting and crying over breakups, we were a carefree lot who went around eating whatever we wanted (and it continues to this day). Oh the joy of licking our fingers after dunking them in a tin of Milkmaid! Milkmaid has been our strongest collective food obsession. As it was a vital ingredient for payasams and homemade sweets, our Moms made it a staple in the fridge rack. Dunking our fingers in the milkmaid tin when Mom was not looking became a sinful fascination for our naive selves, but soon we became seasoned culprits, uncaught in the mysterious case of the disappearing Milkmaid.

Image Courtesy: Here

Later when I was a teenager, during my study leaves I used to stay at home all day doing nothing. Whenever my sister and I crossed the fridge area, we treated ourselves with a few scoops from the milkmaid bottle. Those were magical times when calories dint count and ingredients were tastier than the end result. Initially Mom used to transfer the Milkmaid to a wide mouthed glass bottle which enabled us to use even the biggest curry spoons in it to extract larger quantities, but she knew that Milkmaid dint last long in the fridge and dint bother to make this effort. Milkmaid tin once opened reveals sharp edges and thus the challenges and trials we overcame to get our fingers into the Milkmaid tin made it a sinfully tempting indulgence. If you are now thinking why we don’t use a spoon instead, well 1. Lethargy has no logic 2. Who will clean the spoon?

My aunt used to stock Milkmaid in her fridge to make her payasams richer; however this was an enriching experience to all of us children visiting her house. The fridge shelves were incomplete without a milkmaid tin in it. Mom, realizing that this is an addiction, tried to replace butter from our bread with Milkmaid but alas, it was an effort that received a lot of flak from us. Milkmaid should be eaten as it is. Not on bread, payasam or pudding! I mean, how hard is it to understand?

Well, we have come a long way from teenage years but the love of Milkmaid stays. We are now mothers of brats, who fight with us for their share of the prized possession- the Milkmaid tin. When my son was almost three months old, one sleepless cranky night I sneaked into the fridge, dunked my finger into a bottle of milkmaid and shared with him as well. He seemed to enjoy it. This could be a revelation to everyone in my family; but how do you expect a baby with taste buds inherited from us survive with just bland milk all the time? Babies have cravings we shouldn’t take advantage of just because they can’t verbally abuse us.

The other day, in the said Whatsapp group of school buddies, there was an incident in which one of us got hurt trying to wipe out the last drop of milkmaid from the tin with her finger. The Milkmaid, which comes in a can, is very unforgiving once opened. She got hurt and had to get a suture and TT as well. Well, all of us girls were highly supportive, because it was for a noble cause and it is totally worth getting hurt for Milkmaid. Such incidents do not deter us from satisfying our impenitent gluttony for Milkmaid, but we would love to get the can revamped to suit our greediness. Milkmaid packing could be a bit friendlier, because most of the eating happens at night with just the fridge light on. For us, it is indulgence for the soul and the therapy that awakens our 15 year old selves.

Nestle, won’t you?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Aunty, please !

It has been an eventful week with Rio Olympics filling our news feeds with updates on exciting events. If anyone of us has ever tried to be in a sport team at least on a school level you would know the failures and rejection one goes through to make it there. How much more determination, insult defying will-power, strength and perseverance would it take to be on the Olympic nomination list?  Most sports-persons do not have sport background, money or opportunity to get trained professionally. You may have read about the ones who can’t afford to buy shoes that are made to play their sport. We’d never even know these stories had Farhan Akhtar or Priyanka Chopra not showcased a Milkha Singh or Mary Kom.

How many tunnels, rains, and mountains of hurdles would gymnast Dipa Karmakar have overcome to be recognized in gymnastics, which is not even a popular sport in the Indian scene? Well, criticizing sports-persons is a sport anyone can play in India. Even when it comes to cricket the competition is so cut-throat as every family we know has a kid that is getting trained in it. But when Virat Kohli does not score a century and the team eventually loses the game, everyone gets pissed and starts talking like they sponsored him for that match. Then they start flashing pics from his endorsements, personal life and derive possible reasons that could have deterred him from achieving the target each one of us set for him. This is the exact opposite of the word ‘sport’.

‘Did you go to college only to have fun or what?’ is one of the common and the most decent interrogations by parents when the University results are published. We are entitled to listen to these because our parents spent their hard earned money for our education and thus earned themselves the right to question us. What gives us the right to insult hard working sports-persons striving to give their best shot in a spotlight when the whole world is watching? Is it not pride worthy that talented Indian sportsmen and women are participating at Olympic events and representing the country?

Image:Twitter screenshot

This is Shobhaa De. Renowned writer, socialist and opinion shaper of the elderly elite. Specializes in erotic novels. Born with a silver spoon in her mouth.  Have Ambanis, Kapoors, Mittals, Khans and Bachchans on her whatsapp chat list. Do you think freedom of speech has actually gone bit too far? I am curious to know whether she pitched in to pay for the Rio trip.

Image courtesy: Here

Sports are meant to be played, winning and losing is a part of that. Of course we want our country to win and that is patriotism. If we don’t, it is nobody’s fault. Somebody put their sweat and blood into it. When our children participate in a competition and don’t win, do we say ‘what a waste of money and opportunity’ and stop sending him to school? Twitter has roasted this lady enough that she will remember it a long time, but I cannot even believe that there are people half her age more mature than her.

Some celebrities do not know what it is to mince words, and such people should be banned from inflicting their atrocious thoughts to the world. How about a temporary twitter ban? 

Even Serena Williams crashed out of Rio Olympics let's all wait for Ms.De's  comment on that. Perhaps she too was focused on selfies?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ringing out the old!

Days are going by so fast that it is only realized by how soon the laundry bin overflows. My parents were here for a month and left just a week ago, and that is one reason time ticked away sooner than desired. Whenever Mom comes, the inevitable happens. Moms have this unique way of making us conveniently handicapped. She takes charge and goes about cleaning and rearranging parts of the house neither I (nor the maid) ever noticed before. She plans the meals, and makes the house spotless. When she leaves after a month I would have fallen down to the phase wherein I have to Google ‘signs that the water has started boiling’. I may have over the months trained my two hands to multitask like there were six, and by the time Mom leaves I would have just one functioning hand, and the function it does is eating.

ME, After Mom left.
So when she left, I got so bored that I went through my to-do list. There was one in there, which was always on the list but ignored, because the list of things-to-do are not cleared by a Last in First Out or First in Last Out or First in First out or a Last in Last out basis. When something on it is ignored long enough it actually becomes a chore that is bold, underlined with a red background . This point which was really close to becoming a project was decluttering our master bedroom. To be honest, we bought the bedroom furniture six years ago, aligning it with the size of the room we were living in that time. It was a spacious 1BHK. Later we were endowed with the honor of shifting to a 2BHK. Now the problem with 2BHK is that it is a 1BHK whose rooms have been split into two. Basically what you get with a higher grade is a wall that makes rooms smaller.

So the big cot and its side tables and dresser were shifted to a house which was originally meant to accommodate the Chipmunks. The King bed became a burden, dresser was a pain and side tables became the curry leaves in my curry. Every time my parents or some guests stayed, and they had to walk around this room like there was hot water on the floor, we pledged to put up an ad, and forgot about it later. So few days back as I was running through my Instagram feed, I had this brilliant idea. I walked to the bedroom, straightened the bed cover, and pushed back some stuff from the dresser to make it look neat.  I clicked some pictures and posted it on OLX.
The next morning I am at my desk at office, completely oblivious of the ad and my phone rang. It was the hubby.

He: ‘Hey, what ad did you upload yesterday?’

Me: *Thinking*

He: ‘Someone just called me and asked to see the bedroom!’

Me: ‘What a b***h !’

He: ‘Did you upload bed and dresser ad on OLX or not?’

Then it clicked. Oh Yeah. 


A buyer arrived, made a deal and gave a token advance too. The next evening the King size cot with the gigantic headboard, colossal pain of a dresser and two side tables were gone, and we were spellbound to see our master bedroom actually looking like a well-lit dance studio. The room finally got a long pending makeover in a sunny theme and we could actually feel some positivity playing around.

As I basked in the success of my achievements (as this was all my idea) my little one ran into the mattress where I was just lying down soaking in self appreciation of the mastermind that I am, and said :

“ Amma, you know we should sell some more things from this house and get new ones”

“Like what?” I enquired.

“I will show you” he dragged me to his toy basket.