Monday, January 27, 2020

The curious case of Arachnophobia.

Last weekend when my spouse was not in town, I missed him terribly. Who else will open jars for me?  I have a runner’s backpack which holds water too, but whatever I do, I just can’t seem to open it on my own. Every time I walk to him to open a sealed jar, he responds with his typical ‘Are you even an Engineer?’ As if four years at engineering college they teach you to open jars. 
Dude. Do you know how hard is Digital System Processing? Artificial Intelligence? Microprocessors? C? C++? Fact is that I say all this in my head only. I am too tired to start an argument which will eventually end in his favor. That’s what marriage does to you. You learn to let go because arguments can be exhausting. You can very well spend that energy watching Netflix and chill your brain.

Then there was another question which he asked. ‘What do single women do to open sealed jars?’. ‘They call other people’s husbands!!’ I promptly answered. Then he opened the jar faster than usual.

The primary task of the spouse is to take out the trash, open jars, and scare away bugs because I am scared of reptiles and rodents, irrespective of size and color. Thankfully there aren't any of those here. When I was younger, my Dad did the bug elimination dutifully, without counter questioning. We used to live in an independent house in Trivandrum adjacent to an empty plot squirming with rodents and reptiles of all sorts. These pests had no boundaries and used to visit us whenever they got bored of their half acre land. Of all these creatures the one that terrified me most was the flying cockroach. You spot it once, and the next microsecond it is not there. It keeps us on our toes guessing where it could have flown off to, only to realize that it is on your shoulder, wondering why you look so pale and petrified for no reason. I just can’t handle the suspense and horror it brings with its existence and continues until I am convinced that it is ‘taken care of’. Poor Papa had to get rid of it and show it to me as proof for me to calm down. I think that was when my anxiety would have started.

Image Courtesy: Here
Spiders bring with it a different type of horror altogether. Right after I have stepped into the bathroom and shed my worldly obligations, the spider comes into sight. The pervert would be sitting comfortably in a corner near the ceiling almost saying ‘ I am the Adam to your Eve’. When we have crossed a certain age, screaming and running outside like Archimedes is frowned at by the society. So we have to literally scream inside and continue the bath, constantly looking at the spider without batting an eyelid. I wouldn’t have made extended eye contact as such with any human ever. The liquid dripping down my face could have been water or tears. The torture continues until the towel hits the face and for a moment I missed the spider and in a flash of a second it is not in the same place anymore. ‘Mummyyyyyyyyy….!!!!!!’

This is when my Mom got royally pissed and reminded me that I was not a baby anymore and that when I get married people may think I am possessed and send me back home (which also seemed like a good idea!)

To my loving family, I would like to enlighten you that fear of spiders is known as Arachnophobia. It is real. It is incurable.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Just Do It !

I may have wasted a lot of creative space on blogosphere bragging about my skills on…err...procrastinating. I am also a chronic over thinker who overthinks about overthinking. I had the innate need to be accepted and validated by everyone, much like Monica from Friends.

So one day as I was climbing a flight of stairs to my office, I started gasping for breath. I realized that my health was at its lowest point in my entire existence. It had already started the countdown to doomsday. I never really moved or bothered about what I ate. I was stressed, and lost a lot of hair, everything for matters that never added any value to my well-being or peace.

So this flight of stairs got me to overthink about my overall health. I was lost in thoughts and sank into an ocean of fear for impending issues like premature balding and anxiety.
One evening after work, instead of sinking into the couch to watch TV, I picked up my headphones, went to the beach, set my phone on airplane mode and started walking.  I read no article, nor did I listen to Sadhguru. I just pushed myself to the beach and after a long time, I felt my existence. The sound of waves, the wind in my hair and plenty of different faces was like swimming in the ocean after spending a lifetime in the fish tank. Once I was done, I sat near the beach side under the street lights and read until I was dry to drive home. I walked daily, most days landing home exhausted and hungry. A month later, I started running.

Running is not for the weak-hearted, I tell you. Initially when I ran, I was convinced that I was breathing my last. I said my last prayers. I worried for my son. I ran hardly five minutes and stopped as though my legs were falling apart. There were several runners in that area, all running as effortlessly as eating cake or giving free advice. There I was among them, literally battling for life, after running two minutes.This was a beach which was frequented by a health conscious crowd and no one stared or judged. I kept going.

I made it to two kilometers. Every day, I ran a little more than my previous run. On some days I shared it on social media, which garnered a lot of criticism. There were people who thought I was too thin to run and laughed at my achievements. There are still many who think I am showing off. I was motivated by my hubby and friends who are all marathon runners and they shared their achievements in social media which inspired me to step up and care for myself. In turn I shared my achievements with them who believed in me, gave me tips and pushed me to do better. If my update on social media inspires anyone to push themselves to workout, then I won. It is a matter of lifting each other up. This is not a competition or a race. Even a marathon is about finishing, it is never about who came first.

Me at a friend's house after I borrowed her book on
how to sleep better and posing in her indoor garden.
Today, I can run above 7 kilometers without wanting to call an ambulance. In fact I do it comfortably and enjoy it. As a result, I get uninterrupted sleep. I have spent years with little or no sleep and had turned into a night owl by habit. I borrowed a book from a friend on how to sleep better and stayed awake reading it.

I remain in good spirit during the day, and rarely have meltdowns. I am steady and not dramatic anymore. I stand tall and speak. There have been a lot of positive changes which I noticed in myself after I started working out and I love it. It is true that exercise can make physical and mental changes for the better.

Coming to anger management... I have massively changed from being angry to… okay don’t get me started on that.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Luxury in the Vicinity.

Image Courtesy: Here

Recently we moved to a new apartment at a different location in the same city. This shift has given me everything I ever wanted, as all I ever wanted was space. However, for all the excellent neighbors, spacious rooms, and proximity to the beach, we did sacrifice some of the basic facilities we had taken for granted over the years.

My new premises is not favorable to anyone who is even remotely absent minded. In my earlier apartment, if I remembered that I dint have curry leaves after I had started sautéing the onions, I could have got them in less than five minutes. The grocery was nearby and this was a huge blessing for a person like me who is not an advocate of the seven habits of highly effective people. Now things are different. Like the other day I was explaining to a friend on phone.

“Listen ..this place could actually force me to be more systematic”

Friend: (Laughs) “As far as I know NOTHING will make you systematic! By the way what makes you say that?”

“Mannnnn there are no grocery shops in the vicinity. I feel jealous of my Mom who has a grocery in her campus and my sister who lives 10 centimeters away from Nilgiris”

Friend: “Then which part of the earth do you live? What did you consider while you zeroed in on this apartment?”

“Bigger wardrobes”

Friend : “You have your priorities straightened out so early in life”

“You are not helping”

Friend: “Then what is there next to your apartment?”

“BMW showroom”

Friend: (Laughs again, now louder and meaner than before). “Well that’s not too bad!”

“Okay you laugh at my misery. Once you finish laughing I would have taken you off my favorite contacts. They wouldn’t even approve my loan for a BMW ”

Friend: (Laughs harder and almost breathless).

I disconnected the call and remembered that there is no milk, eggs or lentils in the house. I am stuck on the sofa like the dosa sticks on the cast iron tawa. One cannot make me move once I am set there, you see. I would have had a long day at office, I work out in the evenings, but after I have freshened up, finished dinner and hit the sofa, I call it a day. Nothing on earth can make me get up and do anything, unless there is fire under the sofa I am sitting on. I do not plan what to wear next day, or what should be for breakfast, nor do I iron the school uniform or sharpen the pencils. No. That’s not how I function.  The next day is practically next day. If I wake up alive I will do everything in my time. Any advice or tips on how to be more productive is strictly prohibited within my boundaries.

Few minutes later the friend called back. Finally! I sighed. I smiled seeing the name on display.

 “Hello?” I grinned.

Friend: “Hi I am calling to ask the price in Oman for the new BMW 8 Coupe. This is the showroom right?”

“Get Lost”.


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The Unconditional One.

Sometimes, my 8 year old starts his sentences with ‘Amma when YOU become big…”-

“Oh DUDE I am already BIG ! How else do you think I gave birth to you?”

“Amma not like that…when you become bigger…”

“I can’t get any bigger!”

“Amma ! I mean when you have grey hair and all !!”

“Oh you meant older? Yeah that seems possible..”

“Oh MAA now I don’t remember what I was going to say…the FLOW is lost. You ruined it!!!!!”
FLOW it seems. FLOW! I also lost the FLOW when I gave birth to him I wanted to say, but Anita, CONTROL.
‘Good!’ I snapped at him.

Well, I am honestly grateful he did not finish that sentence. I don’t want him to give me things to do when I have grey hair. I am pretty clear that I am not accepting any KPIs from anyone.

Kids can give us brutal reality checks especially when we need it the least. Like the other day I was wearing a skirt and he said ‘Amma your leg looks FAT”

‘I thought you were watching TV” I sarcastically retorted.

“Yes I am, but I saw your dress” said he, assertively, eyes still fixed firmly on the TV screen.

I was flabbergasted to say the least. He did not have eyes at the back or sides when I gave birth to him. Boys, I tell you!
Image Courtesy: Here

To be honest, none of my family members or friends would put that comment on my face. However for me, unsolicited comments are free. He was watching TV and thought that my leg is fat! And, he was not even watching Motu Patlu. This little guy taps my head occasionally to bring me back to reality from the wonderland I usually live in.

The one little guy who is at times extremely clingy, like “Amma this green peas is slipping away! Can you put in my spoon?” and expects me to come from another room to do that. At other times, he says, “This pink dress is so nice, I wanna hug you” and squeezes the life out of me or ‘Ma one popcorn fell inside my pant, what do you think I should do with it?” .

This eagle-eyed dude also remembers what I said two weeks back, at noon precisely at 2:37p.m. I wonder how we can be poles apart on that one. The other day he was referring to something which his teacher said at the PTA meeting, and me being the Queen of absent mindedness, failed to respond positively and he yelled “Just two days ago, Maaa…how can you forget SO SOON? The Central Government will be so pissed with you!
(Social Studies Reference: “The Central Government takes care of the needs and welfare of the people of the country”).
Well he feels that by being so absent minded I am not doing justice to the Central Government. Little does he know that his Mom gets stuck outside her car with keys inside – in a car which boasts of having intelligent key and anti-lock-in features.  He also does not know that this morning I came to office without my laptop as though I came here to plant trees?
End of day, the most critical one is also the coolest one and is also the one that loves me unconditionally. Whatever I do, say, react, mess up, yell, laugh embarrassingly, add too much salt; he still loves me and my tomato chutney.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

To Laughter, and to Friendship!

It is every parent’s dream to be someone their children look up to, to be their source of inspiration, and a pillar of strength. Well, we failed.
I can explain. One day, his teacher informed that all the students were supposed to submit their most recent passport size photograph for school identity card. Unfortunately for us, all photographs were used for various purposes and digital copies saved in pen drives were missing too. There is this weird thing about pen drives in our house. When we want it, it vanishes into oblivion. However, when we are travelling and our hand baggage goes through the airport scanners, all the pen drives we ever bought in our lifetime miraculously appears out of thin air and places themselves into various little dark corners of the bags. We launched a “pen drive search” operation and pulled out every single thing out of every wardrobe, drawer and shelf like how the Income Tax officials raid wealthy homes in movies. Finally we lost our time and energy trying to find the needle in the haystack and drove to the studio with our home looking like it had been hit by a violent tornado.

At the studio, my son wearing his school uniform looked crisp and cute. Fortunately he dint have to wear his earlier identity card for the photo, as that was also missing. Basically all things are missing except the three of us. He sat on a chair they asked him to, with a white screen behind him. He looked quite smart and gave a very decent smile at the camera. Not a laugh, or a sarcastic grin, just a small decent smile. Meanwhile, we were standing near the camera admiring him and the spouse broke into a wild laughter for no reason. Usually if I crack the most hilarious joke and laugh uncontrollably, he doesn’t budge and stares back at me stone faced. This man couldn’t control his laughter for no apparent reason and as contagious as laughter usually gets, he passed on that crazy laugh to me also. The photographer had other clients waiting and impatiently gestured my son not to smile and look straight at the camera. The poor thing couldn’t put up the serious face he was asked to, however hard he tried, as both his lunatic parents were holding their stomachs and laughing their heads off. 

The photographer had now reached his limits and told us ‘Will you both please leave?”.

We both slowly walked out, laughing louder than we could when we were inside. I actually saw the photographer looking at my son pitifully and he was embarrassed. After the clicks were taken he came outside and asked us: “What was so funny?” Well he got satisfactory answers.

“Ask your Dad”

“Ask your Mom”

Well laughter like such is rare and far between now, but there were times I used to laugh like crazy every day. Those were my school days. That’s where I got this non-stop laughter from. 
I remember a similar incident that happened when I was in the tenth grade, when my friend cracked some stupid joke during class and we started laughing. Then we looked at each other and laughed more. Soon enough we could not control our laughter. Actually the joke is not relevant and surely was not so funny that the laughter which started could not be stopped. Initially the teacher was writing something on the board so we tried to stop it before she turned around, but when she did, tears started coming out of our eyes and it just wouldn’t stop. Inevitably, we landed outside the classroom for the rest of her session, holding our breaths and stomachs with both hands in laughter. Before she sent us outside, she interrogated us with questions like ‘Can you both please explain what is so amusing in this lesson?’ and it was physically impossible for us to form words between our peals of laughter and my friend somehow managed to blurt out ‘ Just… you know… jokes..”.


Punishments are harmless as long as the Principal was not doing the rounds exactly at that time on that floor. And she wasn’t, so we were saved. I couldn’t begin to think of the consequences if the Principal walked in on us and then we would have to bring our parents all the way to school for the simple mistake of laughing. Explaining to my Mom, who unfortunately is also a teacher, about why we laughed is more horrific than explaining to the Principal. If at all our parents came to school, this laughter episode wouldn’t be the only thing discussed with them so it was a very dangerous situation which had ripple effects. It was indeed a big-time save and a priceless memory.

On Friendship Day, here's to all my school friends and the innumerable memories we created at Holy Angels' Convent. Each and every little incident was a lot of fun, and I cant go down the memory lane of school days without a smile on my lips!
To all the amazing girls who defined what friendship is and trust me, till date, I compare anyone I meet, with you guys and there is absolutely no comparison!  "We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun" dint we !
Thank you girls for being there even today, recreating the magic from different continents. Don’t know what I’d do without all of you !
Happy Friendship Day!

Holy Angels' Convent ISC Batch of 2001

Sunday, June 30, 2019


Image Courtesy: Here
It’s been a mind blowing month with myriad surprises. Suddenly a lightning of change flashed across my mundane life like the Sunlight ad, and Tadaaaa !!everything is colorful again! My address has changed. My parents are here, there have been guests, birthdays in the family…and so on and so forth. Packing and moving has squeezed out the last drop of life in me. There was a point when I felt that two hands and  two feet are too less, so I promptly developed a neck sprain and was bedridden.

Sitting aback comfortably on my couch with my little man, a pillow to rest my aching arms and a hot water bottle firmly supporting my neck, a day-off gave me a much-needed break from the stifling pain of shifting.
I was also granted a sick leave(yay!), which in our organization, we get only if we are:
1. Sick.
2. We look reasonably sick.
3. Our stars are aligned. 
4. Prove that we will not request sick leave for the same reason again.
So the stars aligned themselves on the day of The India Pakistan World Cup match. My little man knew most of the players from both teams, and is surprisingly good at the technicalities of the game. He even taught me several aspects of the cricket I never knew before (it is hard to concentrate in the game when one is ogling at Kohli you see ;-) ). As he was religiously explaining I corrected his grammar and he gave me a ‘you thankless creature’ look, but otherwise it was a lovely evening. I was amazed at the mathematical calculations he was effortlessly doing while counting runs in overs and making comparisons and predictions. We had a minor setback when popcorn was served, because he is yet to understand that I am not that Mom who happily distributes the Lions share to the child and starves, being the categorical beacon of sacrifice that motherhood is. I will fight for popcorn with my child and I am not sorry.

It is amazing how much a child can teach us. Now that my son is on his summer vacation, I spend more time with him and I am bowled over by how much he knows about the world around us, and how he always keeps cool as a cucumber! Children are not selfish, and they are not completely selfless either. The toughest thing to do in life is to maintain a delicate balance between these. Children are busy with their own lives and have zero expectations. When I get bothered or unhappy, I reach to my little guy, who not only keeps me on my toes but also keeps me sane. He is bewildered by the very concept that I am pissed because of something that doesn’t really matter. He just doesn’t get it. ‘Stop thinking and deal the cards!’ he says. He is my free therapy.

The Universe has a way to help us deal with difficult situations so that we appreciate the new place, people and everything new that happens to us. We just have to accept change and change accepts us wholeheartedly. Sometimes there are bumpy rides , but rejoice! there is always change, waiting to be embraced.

What can be timelier than celebrating birthday with parents two years in a row? What can be greater than moving to a new and awesome location to stay? What can be more satisfying than finding a hidden talent? What can be better than having friends from school days who never grew up? What can be more amazing than an extra ordinary birthday ?

Blessed is the word. Life is too short to be gloomy.