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. 


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.

SLURP!
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. 

That.

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.  


Sunday, July 3, 2016

The spies in our Whatsapp groups!

There are three types of people on our Whatsapp groups. One, people who are still in touch and are friends even outside the group, two, people whose names you still remember and are participants in the group, and lastly, people you don’t remember at all, making you question where you stand on the road to Amnesia.

The first category is the best. I have a whole group of them from school; we chat from different continents, are supportive, and have honest discussions without being judged. We discuss everything from stuff on our grocery list to men on our wish list to relatives on our hit list. We use everything from F word to B word to A word like it was our normal vocabulary. There is nothing more energizing than a girl group of like-minded super crazy individuals. The second category is people who are neither friends, nor enemies and are scattered across groups. They probably bothered to study during the time I was busy socializing, so they dint have anything to do with me then or now. The third category comes into picture when some conversation about that person happens in the group. This is the time I’d be reading messages without any clue about the existence of that person. 

How did I possibly forget the very existence of a person who sat in the same room with me for an extended period ? May be our brain chooses to forget irrelevant people, the ones who had nothing to do with us. May be it just moves people to the recycle bin when it is time to move on and then empty the recycle bin too. Oh I haven’t forgotten any of my enemies, mind you. I am still waiting for the right time to get back at them. ( Meanwhile, for them I am their third category of forgotten morons)

This irrelevant third category sent me a friend request on Facebook, and the profile picture is intelligently chosen. It is a picture of his/her child. Just the child. No parents anywhere in the album. I mean unless your kid is North West or Princess Charlotte, there is no way to know who you are. I make all kinds of efforts to visit their profile and try to place this person. I mean why on earth would you upload your baby’s picture on your profile? I mean it is not okay for you to upload your picture due to Sati Savitri reasons but your child’s picture can be posted everywhere?  Either you become a little bit social or don’t be on social media. At least, don’t remain anonymous and send friend requests.

Once I was pinged by this forgotten person I had mutual friends with. We exchanged a ‘hi’. She asked me where I am, what I do and the name of my child. I answered the above questions dutifully, and when I was about to ask something back, she said ‘Okay then bye’ and was offline in less than a second. This means that she pinged me to ask these three questions. She also left in a hurry and was never online again on messenger (or I was blocked immediately after). May be she dint like the name of my child.  My dear friend, if you are an introvert I completely understand. If you want to maintain your privacy I get that too.  Why would you want to know everything but not say anything about yourself? Why would you be in a group reading all messages but never say anything?

Most probably.
Image Courtesy: Here



My parents always tell me, that I should never suspect or blame anyone without proof or knowing them long enough.  
Going by that advice, my best guess is that she is a spy for the RAW, or works for the CBI. They can question you. Do you question them back?



Monday, June 6, 2016

A Midsummer Day's post.

Apart from the sweltering heat that is dry roasting us during the day, there has been no other hot news from my side over the month. Like fasting is followed in some religions so that the rich realizes the pain of hunger and poverty, summer is here to make us realize the pain of air-fried potato wedges.

In other news, appraisals are coming soon but from the work front, the only part of me that is working overtime is my sweat glands. Had Shakespeare been in the Middle East he wouldn’t dare think about venturing into the comedy genre and label it ‘A Midsummer night’s dream’. I mean you don’t get any dreams on midsummer nights, my friend. There is an AC and fan too, but the hard hitting reality strikes on such nights that nothing, NOTHING can cool you down. Oh and the incessant worry that the washing machine is about to breathe its last.

The last thing you want broken in this time of the year is the washing machine. You may have guessed air conditioner, but that is wrong. I can explain. Chances that four air conditioners will go on strike at the same time are very less. However washing machine is only one. If you have to clean, feed and change its diapers three times a day, even that is fine as long as it works. There are just three of us in this house and the number of clothes in the laundry bin is greater than or equal to the total number of clothes in the wardrobe. Despite all that, the males in the house have to wear socks, even when the reality is literally burning under their feet.

Image Courtesy: Here

In the Middle East there are two types of people. People who have air conditioners in their kitchen, and people who don’t.  This makes a hell of a difference because more cooking happens only in no-AC kitchens. For example on a typically hot day you walk into the kitchen and start the stove, there are two things that get cooked. One is the thing on the stove and the other is you. In case of red meat which takes more time, then you get cooked faster than it does. This does not benefit anyone though. Well, benefit is not a word one uses in Middle Eastern summer.

Another discovery I made in the recent times is that kids get hyper active during summers as if they got recharged from solar energy. Of course I happen to be one of those adults who supervise this downright mean activity of outdoor play every evening out of helplessness. This ritual is rightfully named as the ‘melt hour’. In addition to the misery, the sun just burns our skin and sanity; it has chosen not to burn any calories.

Also in summers as the water from the taps are only a few degrees away from boiling point, the vessels and cutlery are sterilized when they are washed. As for us humans we don’t have to drive to the gym to get a steam bath. It is available right here in the ‘comfort’ (lol) of our homes. Mild cries have been overheard outside restrooms during midday, due to nature’s untimely call, if you know what I mean. Suryanamaskaar in this time of the year has a whole other meaning, which is begging the Sun to spare us from this horrific episode called summer. When it is not summer, we do not know what Suryanamaskaar is. This fiery catastrophe is expected to continue till September.

If you happen to have any enemies living in the Middle East, this is your time to party.




Sunday, May 22, 2016

Minutes of a Party!

It had been a month that was delightfully eventful. Some of my son’s friends had kid parties for their birthdays and he had been on a sugar high all month.  Aaron’s five year old friends, majority of which are girls, arrived floating at each of these parties like they just dropped down from heaven. Of course it doesn’t matter for the boys whose lives revolve around their tee shirts and denim.

This could be the official theme of every kids party!
 Image Courtesy: Here

So the other day at a party I caught him sporting a confused face amidst two arguing girls. The girls and my boy had a bunch of balloons each. My son was witnessing the argument and was highly amused. He offered to exchange his bunch with the girl who was not satisfied with hers, but the girl declined. Who wants boys stuff anyway? Eww. Meanwhile, one of their mothers arrived trying to console the girls that the balloons were exactly the same. The girls were convinced that they weren’t. I analyzed both bunches and realized there was a pink balloon in only one of them. My son could not decrypt the argument even after I pointed at the pink balloon and explained the matter to him. He tried, but still did not make anything out of it because for him it was nothing but a pointless debate. I don’t blame him. Guys don’t see anything. Like my husband who wouldn't know if I get a plastic surgery, forget haircut or eyebrows. It starts at a very young age, you see.

There was a slide in which all the children played at the party. I kept an eye on that, because it always starts with happy squeals and ends in a war. After gliding quickly down the slide, my son looked back to see an almost teenage looking girl coming slowly behind him. 

He quipped ‘Why are you so slow?’

Pissed off girl: ‘Yeah I AM a bit slow’

He: ‘Are you a baby’?

The girl, both hands on her hips looked down at him. ‘Do YOU think I am a baby?’

He ran back to the slide, without answering that. I almost died laughing. I caught him calling a crying girl a ‘baby’ and annoying her further, few minutes after this incident. I realized I have to talk to him a bit about pissing off girls (or maybe I should talk to his Dad first?). How do boys get this uncontrollable urge to annoy peer girls? How hard is it to not laugh when a girl cries? I realized that it was high time for a little pep talk or no-TV threats if the first doesn’t work. However I cannot hover around him all day and watch what he is doing. This is the reason even atheist and agnostic parents become religious once their kids are in school.

Soon after when he was in a good mood, I told him that it is not cool to laugh when someone cries, trying my best to be casual and non-preachy. It is also very bad boy thing to be the reason another person cries, I added.  This talk was made when they distributed ice creams. He looked straight into my eyes (this rarely occurs) and thoughtfully said ‘Okay’. There was a moment of temporary peace. When he gave me that eye contact, he probably may have been thinking about donating that ice-cream to me because I am the official leftover eater. I know for one that when a male looks into your eyes and pretends to listen they are NOT listening. When they pretend not to listen and go about doing their thing when you are talking, they are in fact NOT listening either.

The next day as I dropped him off at his art academy, there was a notice board outside.


“Parents are responsible for the safety AND BEHAVIOR of their children”.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bring home the glass show case!

Image courtesy: Here

Have you noticed, that the luxuries of today were just mundane things in our childhood ?  I envied sky scraper apartments when I was living in a villa of sorts with a porch and garden. I envied arcade games when there were grounds and wide open spaces to run. Stupidity has no bounds. Now even if we want our kids to play in wide open spaces, we have to drive to that place and pay for it.

Most of us grew up in independent homes, and even though we live in compact apartments now, deep inside we don’t see the difference. We live in the 12th floor of a sky rise building with a living room smaller than the porch we used to have at our parents’ house. Our parents did not throw away things like cardboard boxes, newspapers etc. because SOME DAY we are going to use it. We talked of this ‘day’ like it was Judgement Day, because we are not quite sure it will come, still we don’t want to take any chance. If we have space for it, why not, right? However the day we used that box seldom came. The box housed rodents, grew mold and did whatever it could because it was bored just sitting there. Finally when some festival came that called for some clearing out, the box received it’s salvation. They kept bills from the day our first diaper was bought, even clocks they received from housewarming that happened at least two decades ago. Our kitchens had steel and aluminum vessels handed down to our Moms from beyond generations. They were used to house smaller vessels and cobwebs. There were toolboxes, paint tubs, old paintbrushes and what not. Our childhood homes consisted of all these elements and it gave us that kick for that nostalgic memory.

When we flew away from that comfortable nest that lodged stuff majority of which falls under the ‘will-be-used’ category, we took with us that tendency. Compact houses we live today have no room for anything. We look longingly at glass show cases and bigger wardrobes but we can’t own them.  Our homes are cluttered with the cardboard box in which the TV came, the books our kids used in nursery, and old toothbrushes. If you survive a year in an apartment just by routinely cleaning your stuff but not clearing them, the junk that accumulates is mind blowing.

We don’t need the boxes. If we have an equipment to sell, we need its bill, not the box. We know how to use the mixer grinder we are not going to refer the user manual anymore. We can save the books of our children and some of their clothes too, but not all of it. There are broken crayons under our sofa seats. There are newspapers we don’t need anymore. There are huge piles of plastic covers we saved to throw garbage, but we can never have that much garbage ever. There are spoons in our kitchen drawers which will never be used and we know it. There are medicines in the cupboard we haven’t checked the expiry dates of in a long time. There are bed covers and towels that have served its time. There are bills of stuff which were sold off long ago. There are chargers and cables whose purpose we don’t know. There are toys that are waiting to be disposed.

Remember, we are not living in our parents’ ancestral home where everything has got a room of its own with attached bathroom. We are flat dwellers so we better act like it. Last week I gave away one huge bundle of toys and another bag of old clothes. You wouldn’t believe the space that has started to see the light of the day. When the space is smaller it shows when you declutter it, whereas in bigger homes it does not make much of a difference.

Let us take charge and clear our homes first, and clean them later.

 Who knows, maybe we will accommodate the glass showcase!


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Politeness Pays.In Installments.

These days we come across a lot of people who got more than they could handle and spectacularly messed it up. The King of Good Times apparently couldn’t handle 9000 crores. Hrithik Roshan moves like a dream but a breakup was evidently beyond his grip. Fame and position are difficult to handle as they have a blinding effect. Thank God I don’t have to handle either :D

It is indeed a highly competitive world, and there is no place for politeness. People are stressed out all the time. You hear ‘Excuse Me please’, once in a while but you get ‘Hey! Move it!’ every now and then. When did we become so egoistic, rude and ill mannered? Are basic manners slowly becoming a luxury?

I grew up in a household where the majority of shouting was aimed at me (which was well deserved) but everyone else was treated with respect. Mom used to call rickshaw drivers ‘aniya’ which means younger brother, and sometimes she even went over the top when the said person was old enough to be her Dad. Still, end of day, all-Indians-are-my-brothers-and-sisters totally applied. 

Image Courtesy: Here
Nowadays, cuss words have become trendy, so is rude behavior. People who are superfluously loud are encouraged by the ones who are victims to them and don’t speak up. Sometimes a mere ‘WHAT?' that is loud enough can change them. One cannot survive with a Gandhian principle in this world, because silence and forgiveness are often used as stepping stones by 'smarter' people.

Recently I was at a dance event rehearsal for which my son was participating. As I waited outside the gates, a volunteer appeared. It was just a rehearsal, there were only a few parents waiting with me, and the volunteer was acting like she was handling the crowd of Filmfare Awards. Volunteers are supposed to handle crowds when they get uncontrollable. They are otherwise expected to be human. I repeat, they are expected to be human, nothing more. This lady started yelling at the top of her voice ‘once you have left your children with us, they are our responsibility, please leave the place’ and repeated that sentence on my face two times on top decibel. I found few kids playing outside the gates – probably those kids were not part of her responsibility. The way she said that – my eardrums partially damaged from her voice. It wasn't necessary. Why do volunteers and security people verbally manhandle people?

I have a voice and the choicest vocabulary to shut her up for good. I most honestly do. Unfortunately I do not unleash the demon in me for the most undeserving people like these. I am not programmed to lose my temper and yell at random people for no reason. I simply can’t. This does not mean I don’t want to. Honestly.

There are many people around, like me. We get angry, we are emotional, but we have evolved into a state in which the threshold that prevents us from getting bothered is high. We are the ones that stopped bothering about the ants under our feet. We are the ones who do not get provoked to say ‘you m*****f*****’ when a person overtakes us on the road. We are the ones who do not get into an argument when a person squeezes himself in front of us in a queue. We are the ones that say ‘It’s Okay’ if a person apologizes after crushing our feet with CAT shoes. We are the ones that forgive another child even if he hurt our own for some reason.

We speak up when it is necessary, not when there is an opportunity. We are the ones who know what dignified silence means. 

All the loud and short tempered people out there, do not take silence for granted from anyone, because if you do, some day you will meet the demon. It is not pretty.