Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Follow by Example.

Back from a month long vacation in India, my monotonous workplace appeared bland and discolored. When homesickness gripped me, the resolution I made for the New Year flew out of the window. I usually never make resolutions, mostly because I am horrible at following instructions, even my own.

We have a rule of carefully using words while at home. As the little boy has an internal recording button always on, he keeps using the same words as me, even the tone of speech. I want him to be soft spoken and gentle, which is the exact opposite of me. Hence in order to show by example, I have decided to reduce the intensity of violence and decibel level. Going by neighborhood feedback, my voice can be heard two floors below mine; hence the last month was peaceful for them in terms of noise pollution. However, whenever we want to improve, there will be obstacles. Even Adam and Eve had, right? It is when we say no to the snake that we emerge successful. However snakes these days are not as straightforward as the snake from Eden Garden. Today’s snakes are evil backstabbers. Even if you say no to the apple, they will find ways to eradicate every other fruit so we have no choice.

Me, after two glasses of wine.
Image Courtesy: Here

Words like ‘stupid’ ‘idiot’ and ‘bloody fool’ have been frequent in my vocabulary since school days. However, when one becomes a parent, forgetting these are only one of the sacrifices one has to make. To add insult to injury, I met (still meet on a daily basis) more idiots and bloody fools at this stage than ever before. I am therefore left with the only choice of clenching teeth in frustration. Being human that I am, one day I said it and my little one said ‘What is ploody foo ?’. I pretended never to have known that word ever, and said ‘what? Whaaat? Whaatttt? There is no such word’. I know that it is not possible to unlearn any words. I am the bloody fool. I am the mother who taught her kid abusive language. Thank you very much.

In India, there is no way one can live to meet such resolutions. With demonetization in place, every retailer, auto driver, bus conductor will bring out the demon in you. Auto drivers are the worst. When I ask balance to these guys they look at me as if I asked them loan. Arrey, I gave you what your meter showed in red digital numerals, now please give me what is rightfully mine. My money did not fall down from the sky, it was hard-earned by saying yes sir, okay sir (without clenching teeth of course, never never) all year. One auto driver had the audacity to say, ‘Madam, people like you should not even ask for four rupees to a person like me’. From which angle did I look like Nita Ambani to him, I’ll never know. I replied ‘What is four rupees to you, so it is to me’. He laughed. I didn't. That infuriated him further. So now I have to laugh when he laughs? Get ready to have your patience tested my friends. Little boy was watching me speak argumentatively to a driver. This was not going to be an easy resolution. It needed and needs me to change as a person from the inside. This is impossible, as I am set in my ways, and I am not the Dalai Lama types. I am more like Kung Fu Panda. Inner Peace, here I come. Dishoom, dishoom.

Still I am going to try. Whenever I hold the door open for the person behind me, say ‘Thank You’ when I don’t have to, smile, be kind, I am shaping a human. I have to be aware every second, be conscious, and remember that the tiny human cctv is following me everywhere including trial room. What can be more frightening than this? God is watching too.

But God said not to fear humans.

Seriously. I need wine.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A very viral Christmas!

It has been a relatively long gap between posts, caused by projects, viruses, travel, packing and Christmas. I came across a person who asked me about my last post which now looks to me like I wrote it eons ago. Nobody blames their predicaments on Christmas, but I do because I am weird tired.

When Santa drops a virus in your stocking.
Image courtesy:  Here

Doctors may say that viruses are air or water borne, but I insist that atleast some are borne from sadism. One such virus launched a deadly attack on both the boys on the crucial penultimate days of November. Our itinerary for annual trip to India was supposed to start on the 8th of December. Year end tasks and handover, pack for 30 days for three people, feed them medicines and food and listen to their fussy complaints, it all felt very anti-Christmassy to me. The silver lining with the boys falling sick is that they’d have no sense of taste or appetite and whatever neutral uncomplicated food with salt is fine for them. However, silver lining comes on top of piles of crap. I had been a bad girl so probably it was Santa who dropped that virus in my stocking.

For the uninitiated, viral fevers are fevers accompanied by body pain and intense fatigue. It results in bad mood, blame games and worse, the spouse compared his trivial back pain to labor pain on one of those frustrating days. This was when I, very painstakingly sealed my mouth, else there could have been a chance for me to go to jail. I deserve a special jury award. This whole ordeal was like Bobby Deol and Poonam Pandey acting in a movie directed by Kamaal R Khan. It is a combination of disasters trying to numb the brain and test patience. End of day it was not like one could sleep in peace, because body temperatures of the boys soared high at night and monitoring them left me drained of my last drop of sanity  energy.

As I sat in the plane on the 8th of December, I heaved a sigh of relief looking at my waist which had become thinner and sexier in the process. Even the super skinny jeans had become loose. The timing couldn't have been better, as I can eat more Xmas cake now at the cost of these boys who had gained weight eating my brain over the past week. Oh also, one of the days they were sick and sleeping, I went to watch the Shah Rukh Khan- Alia Bhatt starrer ‘Dear Zindagi’, as a treat to myself for holding up coherently during catastrophic times. When no one appreciates you, you treat yourself. Trust me, it feels really, really good because you know exactly what you want and you do it. Alone. Take time off, break out from the chains of responsibilities, soar high, let your hair down, breathe.

Thankfully, unlike the last movie I watched which was Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, 'Dear Zindagi' was good in terms of presentation, concept and relatability. Alia Bhatt did an excellent job, the bearded Shah Rukh Khan was immensely hot and sweat inducing, which was the whole point of paying at multiplex rates to watch him. This is a movie you should watch if you had tiffs with your parents at some point of growing up. We may disagree and argue with parents still, even when we have grown and have children who argue with us. The movie makes you understand it is normal and healthy to argue and there is no need to beat yourself up for it. The movie made me feel good because that is all I basically do, which is argue.

Back to Cochin, I also watched a Malayalam, Mohanlal starrer ‘Oppam’ which took away three hours of my life and hard earned money I am never getting back. Then I watched the best Bollywood movie that released in the recent past, ‘Dangal’. This is a gem of a movie, every man who feels that his mother, sister, wife or daughter were born to clean his plate and cook for him should watch it. I got goosebumps and tears during various stages of the story which is proof for how much penetrating the concept is. The movie ends on a very uplifting note and leaves a lasting impact.

Finally it is all Christmassy now, with family, cousins, nieces and nephews, cake and wine. I hope you all had a merry Christmas too. I am looking forward to write more frequently in 2017 and try my hand at movie reviews. Signing off for now J

Wish all my readers a happy New Year 2017 ! Eat, drink and be merry !

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Mushkil in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.

Lately, I'd been a lousy friend. My friends warned me against watching the movie Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, but I went anyway thinking what can be so mushkil and even checked in on Facebook only to be trolled by them eventually. The people who helped this movie collect 200 crores are the ones who were carried away by that scene in the trailer wherein Aishwarya licks whipped cream off Ranbir’s face. Let’s not forget the highly addictive ‘Bulleya’, title track and ‘Channa Mereya’, which has been playing on loop in the ipods of most people.

We planned to watch it on a weekday evening, one hour after regular office hours. However winter has started and evenings are so dark and murky, that my son  thinks that I am picking him late on purpose. Well, I am not in a position to talk to him about seasons or the earth’s orbit, because I haven’t been able to explain how he landed in my stomach before he was born in the first place. 

Night driving is not my favorite sport whatsoever, but Fawad Khan makes everything possible. I was just two minutes away from the mall and in some inexplicable puerile excitement I missed the turn. The next thing I knew, I was driving on a four lane road, with direction boards above me pointing to Neverland, Nowhere, South Pole and Eternity. My head was completely blank; I had no plan B and was driving aimlessly in alien territory. Middle Eastern roads are very charming and unforgiving at the same time. Once you miss a turn you get to see the entire country with no one to ask directions to. The night was not getting any younger. Fawad Khan, you idiot. How can you be so handsome that you literally derail women from focusing on real life? This is not cool. Stop being so hot. 

Image Courtesy: Here
Down the road somewhere I saw an exit with a familiar name, took it, and in another 40 minutes reached back to the mall. During those 40 minutes of adventure, my heart thumped like never before and blood circulation was so wild that once I reached back to the mall I was revitalized in every sense. Rejuvenated, and fresh as a Lily. Who needs a spa when one can get lost and get the same effect?  However my brain was shredded and strewn inside my head and it took me some time to pull myself together and start remembering details like my name and phone number.

Basically I took so much effort and was even willing to get lost in the wilderness to watch this movie for the below reasons.
  • The melodious songs. I know that’s not a reason to watch a movie but for me it is. 
  • Shah Rukh Khan - He had a guest appearance for hardly five minutes. He did not look good, his role was horribly constructed and the dialogues during those five minutes were abysmal. 
  • Fawad Khan. His screen time may have been ten minutes, but anything for Fawad, any day. 
As a die-hard fan, I am highly disappointed with SRK for agreeing to say those dreadful dialogues in this otherwise below average movie. Secondly, lead characters making jokes about a terminal illness is dreadfully insensitive and callous to say the least. This Karan dude is funny on his talk shows. He does not seem to see the thin line that separates humor from absurdity.

The movie in general is a lame try to redefine love and friendship which Karan does in his every other movie. Dude, even my five year old understands the difference between the two. Friendship is a subset of Love, but Love cannot be equated with friendship. Karan tries hard to prove that LHS equal to, but not equal to RHS, and in the process, failed a movie, talented actors and scores of audience. To be honest, the movie up to twenty minutes after the intermission was tolerable. Beyond that, people continue to sit inside the theater either because there is some nachos left to be finished, or because they are watching the movie inside a mall on astronomical ticket prices. In my case, both. Sigh the movie was colder than my popcorn towards the end.

I now understand the value of my friends who advised me against watching it at a theater and wait for the dvd instead. What would I do without you guys? You know, what we have is not just friendship. I think it is love. Or is it?  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The hues of patience.

Image Courtesy: Google Images
There comes a time in everybody’s lives when their sanity, patience, and endurance threshold are tested for quality standards. This can be achieved by subjecting our homes to maintenance, otherwise known as painting. I begged, pleaded and threatened our building caretaker in that order for the past six months  for painting the house and stalked him until he started running at the sight of my shadow. Finally he messaged me on whatsapp “Madam shall we come tomorrow? Sure? Confident?”

So these are the same guys who frequently come to change the lights, pipes, and unclog blocks in the kitchen sink. Their proficiency to paint a wall is comparable to the kiddo using water color. The paint they brought saying ‘yeh bahut mehenga paint hai madam’ was as good as water. This is how painting is done when the quarterly goals of the maintenance department include ‘Paint the fourth floor apartments’ and all you have is two hours to finish it. Meanwhile some of our friends invited us to their homes to spend the night until the paint smell was gone. Well what do they know about the smell of water?

So the highly deceptive, pretend painting went on in full swing, with the furniture positions maintained intact as the wall behind them is clean anyway. Logic, people. Who is going to look behind the cupboard, c’mon! Whatever the kiddo wrote on the bedroom walls was also preserved, because they apparently assumed that the picture he drew was incomplete. ‘Picture abhi baaki hai mere dosth’ types. I have never come across such thoughtful and logical painters all my life. Coming to think of the whole ordeal, they were even concerned about our health, hence brought odorless (colorless) paint. I feel pity for my friends whose homes stank of paint odor. We should not just acknowledge these guys with regular wages; they need standing ovation for going out of the way to make sure nothing changes in the house. Literally, nothing. Meanwhile I couldn’t help noticing the man of the house walking up and down displeased and highly irritated. The last target, the living room is where his first family is lodged; the home theatre systems. His priority, concern and last but not the least, his love.

The living room escaped the highly professional water coloring because the man of the house did not want his first family to exist within the confines of cheap paint.  When you have a tiger for a pet, you also need the Gold Hummer for it to travel. So there was texture paint, surfaces meant to reflect and contain the sound, and a lot of technicality involved in what we, cheap humans consider as mere ‘painting’. Meanwhile some of our neighbors started wondering whether we have additional secret rooms as it was taking longer than it did for them. 

The dining table and chairs were moved around to keep more relevant stuff, which of course did not include food or humans that he shares the apartment with. Dismantled home theater speakers sat comfortably on the chairs while I had my meals standing and kiddo had his on the kitchen slab. Stuff from the living room was moved to other rooms. My time on those two days was effectively spent finding misplaced toys and arranging food for the professional painter. When the husband is gadget savvy, be prepared to be treated like a third wheel.

Finally the walls are done, and things kept back at their rightful places after a night of toil and backbone strength test. It looks like a brand new apartment. Finally it smells of paint in the living room.

And I guess we are back to being his first family ;-)

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.