Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Obligatory Post

Yes yes. Another year has come to an end. And it’s now time to pretend that you’re all nostalgic about the last 12 months and how much you’ve learnt from the experiences you’ve had. It’s also time to come up with fraud resolutions that are designed specifically to fool yourself and your pain-in-the-ass conscience.

Resolution #1: I shall try and wake up in time in the mornings so that the maid is not entertained by a half-asleep, messed up hair, terrible pyjamas me (please note the use of the word ‘try’. Indicates realism in expectations from self).

Resolution #2: I shall try and remember that bhujiya cannot be used as a substitute for vegetables and rice and otherwise so called healthy food (this is a tough one since the Marwari in me is already revolting at the very idea).

Resolution #3: I shall finish reading all the new books I bought in the last 2 months before going into a bookstore (unless something absolutely fabulous releases and I so have to have it).

Resolution #4: I will try and be polite to stupid people. I mean they can’t help it right? (I don’t have to be polite once they’re out of earshot do I?)

Resolution #5: I will go to my aunts’ houses for the pleasure of their company and not to demand I be fed all of my favourite foods (unless they call me specifically to eat. That’s a different thing).

Resolution #6: I shall try and learn the names of the flowers growing in my garden and stop referring to them as the purple ones and the red ones and the one with all the leaves (this is to stop getting weird looks from my gardener basically. Judgmental idiot that one is).

Resolution #7: When I take people shopping I shall refrain from spending more money than they do (I mean I live here so I can just go back and buy stuff by myself huh?).

Resolution #8: Attempts shall be made to get un-addicted to Facebook (except how will I have even the semblance of a social life if I did? Hmmm. This one has to be thought through).

Resolution #9: I will stop procrastinating (Hahahahahahahaha)

Resolution #10: I shall blog more regularly (or tweet. Wait. Are those Blog-gods attacking me?)


Friday, December 18, 2009

Curtains, Clothes, Grass and Guests

These last ten days have been quite busy and between family functions, falling ill and sorting out the household help, I’m going a leetle nuts.

My last update here was whilst I was recovering from a virus attack. Now it’s whilst I go into denial about all the work I need to get done, before friends arrive. Usually I wouldn’t be overly worried. I mean, these are old friends. They already know how messy my room usually is. Unfortunately right after the friends leave, the in-laws arrive. And so everything has to be presentable, and this means curtains (to begin with). It also means bed sheets and pillow cases on the spare bed (instead of piles of washed clothes waiting to be ironed). It could also mean a married people’s kitchen (with veggies and fruits and juice and spices and grown up stuff). However, since we (my friends and i) hardly qualify as grown up, its going to be junk food all the way.

This poses a problem you see, since I’ll have just one day, between the friends and the parents, to grow up, bring vegetables into the house again and clean up all the cola/maaza/beer/vodka bottles.

Then there is the garden. I’m a city girl, so my idea of a front lawn is velvety grass, gorgeous colours and landscaping. What I have instead, is a garden, half of which is green (the other half has no grass on it so its brown). There is also a tree bang in the middle of the yard, bamboo fencing which is in constant threat from the blue bulls around and ugly rose bushes which have only leaves and thorns. Oh, and there is also a gardener whom I’m going to have to yell at (again) tomorrow for work not done (again).

Why does this stress me out? Because the mother-in-law is an expert garden-person. She even knows the names of all the flowers and can make them grow to be the size of footballs. And when she comes visiting, she’ll have to be told that the brown half of the garden is a cricket pitch while the green is to play golf on.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I just realised that my previous post ended quite abruptly. I blame the medication.

How to Tell if I'm Really Really Sick

1. I readily drink tea - in fact ask for tea several times a day instead of complaining how vile a drink it is.

2. I dont sleep much (as opposed to sleeping a lot when i'm hale and hearty).

3. I stop eating (normal food i.e.) and prefer boiled rice and toast to anything else.

4. I lose interest in Facebook and the Blog (much to the shock of the Fellow).

5. I miss the Fellow even more than usual (no one to press my legs and back).

The last two days have gone by in a haze of high fever and painful cough attacks. I even managed my first fainting spell and have mainly survived on medicines and dry toast. Today, after 48 hours, i'm strong enough to get out of bed and not look like i'm dying (or contract swine flu as was the worry to begin with).
Also, the fact that i'm blogging is a sure shot sign that i'm feeling better - not fine - better. I mean, at least i'm now able to sit up straight long enough to type this out (and not wilt away like a creeper which cant stand up on its own).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Why I Havent Been Blogging

Travelling across north india.

Moving house.

Stressing about all the mess that had to be organised.

Figuring out maid politics and staying away from it.

Dealing with all the dust and super-sensitive immune system.

Preparing for a family function.

More travelling.

Three days of family, fun and food.

Missing the Fellow.

A whole day of walking around the bazaars of Jaipur, Hawa Mahal and City Palace.

Nodding and smiling at the titular Maharaja of Jaipur.

Gossiping late into the night with the sister and aunt.

Waking up to an aching body, heating up with fever.

Spending an entire day in pain and coughing like im dying.

Missing the Fellow even more - no one to press my aching legs.

Drinking hot water and eating hot halwa courtesy the grandmother.

Thanking the stars that the family is entirely made up of doctors.

Discussing the possibility of infection with Swine Flu.

Thanking the stars that the family is entirely made up of doctors.

Being handed a mask for the safety of everyone else around me.

The dog taking one look at a masked me and whimpering away under the table.

Cancelling travel plans.

Preparing for another 3 days (at least) in pain and away from the Fellow.

Sigh. Can you blame me for not writing?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tomorrow It Ends

Since June I’ve been living out of a suitcase, going from one city to the other all over the country. Tomorrow my nearly 6-month long vacation comes to an end. No more late mornings (ok, maybe those are still possible). But definitely no more tension-free days for me now. Come Monday and I have to begin the whole dealing with the maid (damn, I need to look for a new one!) thing, get the new house all cleaned and set up (at present it’s worse than a dump), try and see if I can make the garden resemble something green and living, get a hundred thousand things in order again, make social calls, smile at stupid people and mentally conjure images of shooting them, so on and so forth. Aaaaggghhh!!!

It’s no wonder I’m panicking (a little). In almost half a year I haven’t had to bother about anything really, except which city I’m going to next. And even before that, it had taken me 6 months to get used to the idea of keeping house and being all responsible and all that. I had just about set some kind of a routine when the Fellow took off for that course of his. Now, when we finally go back home, I’m going to have to relearn everything and get into the practice of doing it all over again. And since it wasn’t too much fun the first time (being grown up sucks you know), I don’t think it gets any better this time round. To top it all, just then when I’m all nicely settled in again, the Fellow is bound to get posted out to another god forsaken place and we’ll be back to square one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The Fellow and I decided to go to a second-hand bookstore today.

There is something about piles and mounds of books that make me happy. It doesn’t matter that there is an inch of dust over everything (never good for my insane allergies), or that I have to look through hundreds of books to find one or two worth buying. Just being there makes me more than a little happy. And when I come across a book or a comic that I had read as a child (and never seen ever since), there is no stopping me from jumping around all gleeful. And then I stick it under the Fellow’s nose, and insist he read it and get appropriately excited. Finally, after several hours of browsing, excited squeals, careful pondering and monosyllabic conversations, I stand before a huge pile of books which I’ve finalised, and look at the Fellow (with as innocent a look as possible) for his reaction to my low willpower.

At times like these I’m really glad the Fellow is also a book-worm. This way he is able to understand my lack of self-control and overall happiness when I’m around books.

For now, we have a carton full of books, and several more days of holiday left. Yay.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Weekend

Saturday Morning:

Waking up late. Lounging around in pyjamas. Maggi. Omelette. Tea. Old Sandwiches. Random fruit. An amused maid. Weekly laundry. Sheets drying over the exercise rod. Waiting for someone else to have a bath first.

Saturday Evening:

Bhel puri. Kala Khatta gola. Lebanese food. Coffee. Free chocolate pastries. The promise of free soup. Window shopping in some really quaint shops that smelled wonderfully woodsy and warm. Mall hopping. Stationery shopping. Video-gaming. Playing the keyboard and singing in the middle of the shop. Standing in queue at the food court for half an hour. Driving home with the cool air on your face.

Saturday Night:

Lots of noise. Even more attempts at cheating. Girls.Vs. Boys. Some major ass-whooping. A clear winner. Boys sulking at the result. Saturday night with Pictionary.

Sunday Morning:

Waking up even later than Saturday morning. Ordering in brunch. Facebooking on computers and phones. Finally getting out of the house post-afternoon.

Sunday Evening:

One mall. The Colour Factory. One cup. One elephant. One mask. Loads of creativity. Lots of paint. Even more fun.

Sunday Night:

Television. Facebook. Downloads. Blogs. Iphone games. PSP games. Everyone is doing their thing. Yet doing everything too.

It’s been a good weekend people. What did you do?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Of French Fries

Went to Nirula’s here in the gaon today, and was most amused by my reaction, and that of a couple of ladies at the next table. Why? Because we’d so obviously been conditioned by a certain junk food chain known as McDonalds.

What happened?

Well, when I flipped through the menu card, I saw the combos page. There were combinations of burgers and cokes to be found, and the only thing I was wondering was where the fries are? I mean, didn’t a combo mean a burger, a drink and fries?

A minute later, two ladies arrived at the next table with their toddlers in tow. They immediately decided on fries for the little ones and went on to tell the waiter the same. But as they were ordering, they asked the chap (who got more and more confused with each word) what sizes they have the fries in. Huh he looked. You know, small, medium, large fries? After about five minutes it dawned on the ladies that there was just one size.

And then I realised how conditioned we’d all become. Fries are now synonymous with McDonalds. Everywhere else we go, we assume it will be like Ronald’s place, and are mildly confused when it isn’t. Of course, there are also places where you order fries, expecting a quantity much like McD’s, and there arrives a large basketful! This is where you’re happy with variety and the unfamiliar right? I know I am.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Depressing at Best

After hearing so much about Gurgaon malls and the whole “mall culture”, I have to say I’m super-depressed right now.

The Fellow and I decided to go mall-hopping since we were in the vicinity and had the time (though not necessarily the inclination on my part). And my instinct proved right. As always. Not only are the malls quite lame in terms of the shops they hold, they’re terribly designed, and are a complete waste of space and all kinds of important resources. And to complete the sorry sight is the near absence of people and bored security guards. The only things that are moving in these malls are the escalators.

My analysis and judgment of the gaon malls is purely based on my extensive experience with those in Bombay. And even without my natural and all too justified bias towards my city, Bombay malls are so much swankier, shinier, happier and generally welcoming (most of them at least). And even when people are not actively shopping in them, they give a sense of activity and the food courts are always full. Here, the food courts were a sad sight, with maybe half a dozen people looking lost and wondering what they were doing there. And I don’t blame them. The food outlets were nothing to write home about. Quite the contrary actually.

And the worst bit is that most of the shops in the malls (and I mean all the malls here) are closed on Tuesdays. It’s a mall for crying out loud. You can’t have 10 malls in a 2 kilometre radius and then pull the shutters down one day a week! Who does that? What kind of a place is this? Sheesh!

I never really liked Delhi. And now my disdain extends towards its suburbs also. Tsk. Tsk.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Moving Day

And in other news, the Fellow (and by association I) tried to set a new record of sorts, at least in the circles we move in. We moved house, every last bit we owned, in less than 7 hours. 7 hours of going back and forth between the old and new place, of wondering how the hell we had so much stuff to move, and panicking (that would be me) about how in the world I was going to get all of it set up again. Oh and 7 hours of getting fully exhausted and layered in several inches of dust, grime and a few random spiders.

Of course, when I say that we’ve moved house it’s a slight exaggeration on my tired part. It was actually more like dumping all the stuff in the new space, over every surface available, and then spending the next day going through bags and bundles looking for random stuff (including a tiny bottle of nail polish remover and the bag that has the Fellow’s precious PS2 games). I also spent considerable time standing in the middle of the mess, looking around and sighing loudly. And since that got quite depressing and stressful (obviously), I tried to make myself feel good by imagining everything in its place and deciding where all the photographs and paintings would go. Not a good idea. Got more depressed thinking of all the work I still had to do. Sigh.

And then instead of being responsible and setting house and all that, the Fellow and I take off for another 10 days (enjoying the last of the Fellow’s leave this year), merrily leaving everything behind. I don’t know what we’re thinking. Well, actually the Fellow is thinking he gets to soup up his car some more. And I’m really hoping elves exist to help the desperate outside of fairy tales.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

About Food

Earlier today, as the Fellow and I dug into some absolutely yummy Chinese soup (his stuffed with chicken), I suddenly realised that our daily trips to the Mall are only about the food. Right from fresh from the oil french fries, piping hot tomato soup by the glass, subs, burgers, chicken/mutton momos, chocolate pastries and some of the best Chinese food I’ve had, it’s all about the food.

Right from the moment we step on to the mall, we start (in our own ways) thinking about what to eat/drink today. For obvious reasons of the shop being the closest on our path, we start with the french fries and tomato soup. Hot soup (with croutons) on a cold day is divine I tell you. And even better are fresh fries. I think the chappie behind the counter now recognises us. Much like the waiter at this small Chinese joint there.

I mean, if we visit a place 3 times in 5 days, eat like we’ve never been fed before, and take home an equal (and usually more) amount of food, the chances that we will be remembered are quite high right? But the food is so good!! Even the Fellow agrees (of course, that’s probably because the chicken portions are super-good and all that).

And so, when we leave Shimla and go back to the land of dal-baati, the one thing we shall miss the most (apart from home and all the pampering) is the food trips we made to the Mall everyday.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Drawing Inspiration

I’m a regular follower of Full2Faltu’s blogs. And I have to say I simply love his photo blog. The colours, moods and moments captured by his lens range from the nostalgic to the brilliant and more often than not, make you stare in wonder (and in my case, awe at the sheer simplicity of the subject matter).

Going through his photos today, I suddenly had the inspiration of starting a photo blog of my own. Seeing as I’m getting increasingly interested in photography (according to the Fellow I’m fast becoming a Japanese tourist, no offense meant), it seems like a good way to practice huh?

And if nothing else, I’ll at least get to post my click-happy products up somewhere other than Facebook!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Of Tourists and Honeymooning Couples

The in-laws, like all native Shimla-ites, go to the Mall everyday. It doesn’t matter how cold it is or how late, this is one ritual they adhere to without fail. For them, it’s a way of meeting people and finding out what’s new in town. For me, on the other hand, this daily trip to the Mall is an interesting study in people.

Since Shimla is a much visited tourist location, there is never any dearth of ‘study material’. So there is the usual group of tourists (mostly Bengali) looking frozen to death and generally swathed in several layers of hastily bought shawls and caps. Of course, since most of these women are wearing sarees, thus allowing access to the cold air, no amount of shawls and caps is going to help really. This group can usually be found huddled in front of stores, wondering whether a discount is available (the word discount is easily understood amongst a battery of Bangla). They also only move as a group wherever they go.

Then there is family vacation kind of tourists - mummy, papa and 2 children, all in varying degrees of excitement/irritation. The dad is generally loud and leading the way. He can also be seen expressing exasperation as the children insist on buying one of the many colourful and cheap toys on display in the shops. There are also indulgent dads, who smile and allow their progeny to buy whatever their little hearts desire, while the mother tries to keep up with the disciplining (and her shopping). The children, well, do what children do best – run around a lot and generate noise.

Finally, there is the honeymooning couple – a species by itself I assure you. I mean, I know they’re in love (hopefully) and all that. But how does that translate into skimpy and tight clothes – for both, the husband and wife? I could assume they’re trying to show off their cold-bearing prowess to each other…but at what cost? Looking like a complete fool when you walk around in thin tee shirts and capris when everyone else is bundled up to their necks in woollen clothes? Oh and the shoes! You can differentiate a honeymooner from her shoes alone – strappy and/or shiny heels, completely inappropriate for the cold as well as walking! It’s quite a sight, watching these couples cling onto each other as they walk about the Mall. Of course, now I know the clinging is more for warmth and balance than any romantic notion!

And so, while the tourists and honeymooning couples look around them, and take in the sights of Shimla, I look at them. Now if only I could have gotten a picture of the aunty in a saree, monkey cap, 2 shawls and a bright blue pair of rubber chappals, this post would have been complete.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

And So it Begins Again...

(Countdown to 31st December. Why? Because everyone likes counting down to the year end. And I'm in the mood to conform.)

Yesterday I decided to pay more attention to my blog, and the only way I know of doing it, is by having a countdown to something. The last time I did this, I was counting the days to being with the Fellow again. Thankfully (for my readers) this time round, I wont be complaining and whining about missing the husband. My scope of topics is going to increase and I’m not going to be choosy about what I grumble about. There will also be liberal doses of super-excitement at random stuff, lots more photographs (my newest hobby) and of course, my opinionated gyan on everything I bother to think about, for more than a minute.

Today it’s super-excitement at random stuff.

I fired real, honest to god weapons today. Guns. Three different kinds. At a firing range. With real, live bullets. The kind that can kill. And I’m psyched about it!! I guess I’m not as non-violent as I thought I was. The thrill I got at pulling the trigger and feeling the bullet leave the gun (with a deafening sound) cannot be described. Just the weight of the gun in my hand was something else! I swear I felt what is dramatically described as the killer instinct!! *grin*

Anyhoo. After a long, dusty and noise filled day, the excitement has finally settled (I’m not jumping around anymore). Now all I have to do is wait for the ringing in my ears to stop and normal hearing to resume. Cheers!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Time for Another Countdown

I haven’t posted anything for 10 days now, and after writing everyday for 112 days, I feel a little guilty. But I have good reason (actually reasons) for being rude to the few readers I have and my blog – I’ve been making memories and soaking up experiences like never before (I’m also trying my hand at being a little more poetic).

To begin with, I’m revelling in the fact that I’m in Shimla with the Fellow. It just seems a nicer place with him. A lot of it has to do with the fact that wherever we go, he has a story to tell– where he bunked school and ate parathas (and then went to check out the local chicas), where he went to eat strawberries and stuff tiffins with them too, the route he took to school (when he went), where the best momos are available, where he played video games etc.

Then there is the cold – and my constant efforts to deal with it. Thankfully even the locals are feeling it, and so I can complain without hurting my pride (not that it mattered really). The only concession I’ve made is that I’m not adding gloves to my outfit of a sweater (and a heavy coat), muffler and ear guards. The gloves will make me a sissy you see. The rest of it is just cool winter fashion!

Oh, and there was a three day trip into the interiors of Himachal Pradesh. The trip can be summarised into a few words - a wooden house, apple orchards, pine forest covered mountains, snow covered peaks, brooks, winding roads, slate roofs, leaves changing colour, cool breezes and the warm sun. Sigh. Even my city girl soul was moved (something the Fellow had given up on). Of course, this trip needs a post of its own, but I guess that will be only photos (I obviously went click happy…how could I not right?)

For now, I’m planning on a countdown to the new year…or at least my first wedding anniversary. Anything to give me a purpose on this blog again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Winter is here. And no where is it more obvious than Shimla. Everywhere you go people are bundled up in various layers of clothing (I was in 4 layers today). In fact I haven’t seen as much variety in woollen wear as I have in the last 2 days walking about Mall road. There is everything from monkey caps (mostly Bengali tourists), mufflers and sweaters to cool leather jackets and fancy woollen ponchos.

And then there is me. My city-grown heart (according to the Fellow), doesn’t know that it has to pump blood to my extremities. Thus my hands and feet (and nose) remain close to freezing all the time. This is not only super-uncomfortable for me, but also for the Fellow. After all it’s him I turn to when I need my hands and feet warmed. In fact, people on the Mall often think we’re a honeymooning couple, seeing as we’re always holding hands. Little do they know that there is absolutely no romance involved in the act – only survival (and a lot of begging. The Fellow refuses to hold my freezing hands. Hmph).

Of course, since I’m not all pessimism, I do have a silver lining here. Winter fashions. I finally get to wear gorgeous coats and pullovers and mufflers and even ear muffs (the practical, non-gorgeous kind). After living in Bombay for ever and only ever knowing Monsoon fashions, it’s a delight (and quite exciting) to buy winter clothing and not feel guilty about it. Makes the girly me quite happy I tell you.

Road Tripping

1 Car.

2 travellers.

3 days.

4 states.

The Fellow and I took our very first road trip together last week, and drove nearly a 1000 km across north India to make it home for Diwali. And we made it just in time, driving into the city as the first stars appeared in the skies and diyas and candles down below.

Over 3 days, the Fellow and I made it from the desert to the mountains. And though I was hesitant to begin with (what with being severely motion sick and all), I’m glad we didn’t take the train like we originally planned. For starters, I got to see more of small town India in one trip than I had ever before. Second I learnt that I can be drugged up to my ears with anti-motion sick medication and stay awake. And finally, I got to spend concentrated time with the Fellow after a really long time. Yay.

I can now finally appreciate road trips and all the hoopla surrounding them. I mean, just the bright and colourful truck art makes the effort worthwhile. And then there is always the possibility that you will come across an insight into India and its people which make for excellent photo opportunities.

And now, instead of going on and on about how we listened to one CD over and over again, all the junk food piled in the car, the chocolate I consumed, the book I read (aloud, in the manner of an audio-book), the songs we sung in a terribly off-key fashion, the morons who are aloud to drive and who are on a suicide mission, the idiots who put speed brakers on an otherwise excellent highway, the flat tires we had etc, I’m just going to put some pictures up from the road trip.

All photographs are copyrighted.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Traditions and Memories

Diwali means different things to different people. For a large majority, it is a religious festival, marking the Hindu New Year. For others it’s about new clothes. For yet more people it’s all about the firecrackers and candles.

For me, it’s about family and food. And this Diwali I missed both like crazy. It was my first time away from my folks and the extended family during this noisy and food filled festival. Every year, for as long as I can remember, Diwali meant going to the grandparents home, watching the aunts and mum make yummy treats in the kitchen, decorating the entire house with diyas and candles, stuffing ourselves silly with dry fruits and kaju katlis, and of course, catching up on all the family gossip. Then there is the traditional Diwali dinner, the menu for which has not changed ever – and I’m glad it hasn’t. Diwali is about traditions and no better tradition than food right?

But this year I was at the in-laws for Diwali. And as much as I enjoyed myself, and was surrounded by love, noise and candles, I couldn’t help getting wistful about what my parents and grandmother, and uncle, aunts and cousins must be up to, in another part of the country. And I missed the food. The Marwari in me woke up and started craving typical tastes and familiar flavours. So much so that I actually called dad and asked him what they were feasting on. Sigh.

I think it’s time to grow up and make some new traditions. Or at least acquire some new flavours and Diwali memories.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pinky and the Fellow

Maybe the Fellow was trying to make up for bumping his best friend’s little girl on the rear-view mirror, or maybe he finally realised that children aren’t all that bad. Or maybe he slipped and hit his head in the bathroom in the morning. Either way, yesterday was a definite first for him – he actually bonded with a 3 yr old girl (lets call her Pinky after the pink tee she was wearing), and enjoyed himself!
Here’s how it happened. Sunday morning saw us going to the zoo, primarily because Pinky wanted to see the animals. Little did any of us anticipate how the Fellow would react when faced with fake alligator slides and an enclosure full of really massive Sambar deer! Lets just say that the locals were quite amused with fake-I-got-caught-in-the-alligators-mouth posing for the camera and some really out-of-tune rendition of Rudolph the red nosed reindeer! And all through this, Pinky was looking on with an expression of “aren’t I the kid here?”
Anyhoo, once back in the car, and on our way to the fort (we were being all touristy you see), the Fellow surprised us all – he started talking to the little one. Well, actually he started entertaining her with random stories about how a massive paper clip in the glove compartment was actually a baby croc, and then he would pretend his finger got trapped in the croc’s mouth and end the whole charade with a range of noises and expressions! And Pinky loved it!! She went around with the paper clip catching his finger, his nose and even his ear, giggling the way children do at his fake shriek of pain.
And then bored with the croc, the Fellow decided to broaden Pinky’s horizons (much to the dismay of her mother). So he started with confusing the little child about mothers being crocodiles (or something like that). This wouldn’t have been hilarious if Pinky hadn’t turned around to look at her mum with a look of intense confusion and fear! Next Pinky was introduced to the car horn – more specifically, how to work it. And so the Fellow and Pinky took turns to honk the car horn (while we were parked to one side of the road) and then laugh insanely. Third was a bottle of water, lots of shaking, funny sounds and bubbles. This was quite cute since Pinky would end up shaking more than the bottle! Of course, the chances are that she will now try it on an uncapped bottle and then we shall have some fun!
All in all, Pinky and the Fellow ended up having quite a good time in the car, what with all the noise they generated! Then when we reached the fort, the tiny tot trotted (alliterative huh?) after the Fellow, wanting to be picked up. And to the surprise of everyone, the Fellow scooped her up, planted her on his shoulder and headed off, chattering about crocs all the while!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Baby Bumping

The Fellow is scared of children. Much like rabbits are scared of eagles and illegal hawkers are scared of the BMC van. His theories on what parents with children should do, and how children should be handled in general, are quite nightmarish at the worst and completely inhuman at other times. I for one am left with an open mouth and a ready punch whenever I hear one of his ‘You know what these parents should do…” lines.

Finally, yesterday, something occurred which had me shocked, tickled and amused, all at once. We were out on a drive, with the Fellow in the front passenger seat. The Fellow’s best friend was driving, and his daughter was in the back with her mum and me. All through the drive she kept jumping up and down, chattering away, wanting to climb into her dad’s lap while he drove. Suddenly, the Fellow turned around and picked her up, with the intention of taking her into his lap. I say intention because, never having swung a kid from the back seat to the front (ever), he didn’t realise the obstacles to be wary off – like the rear view mirror. And so while the kid was all happy to be going to the front seat, she also ended up bumping her head into the mirror!

Luckily for the Fellow the mirror was rounded and the girl not a cry baby. She only settled for an ‘uncle not nice’ about 10 mins after the bumping. The Fellow would probably have continued feeling all contrite and guilty if, after another 10 mins, she wouldn’t have asked to go sit with uncle again.

Apparently the head bumping led to some memory loss and damage to the judgment making cells of her brain.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Insightful Theory - I

At present I’m engaged in a battle with my immune system, which, I’m convinced, hates me and is constantly on the look out for ways to destroy me. This time around, my downfall was the rains – actually the sudden onset of the rains, bringing about a sudden change in the temperature and weather conditions – leading directly to an insane allergic cold. All of last night, yesterday and all day today, I’ve been leaking brain lubricant (if I may quote Calvin here) and setting a new personal record for the most sneezes. This is apart from the fever and the frog-in-throat voice. Oh, and there is the drug-induced sleep and body-cant-decide-whether-to-feel-cold-or-hot-problem too.

However, even through all my nose-itching and sneezing bouts, one thing managed to penetrate my foggy brain – the Fellow remained by my bedside, bringing me tea and medicines and even pressing aching limbs as and when demanded. He even managed to compliment me a couple of times on how nice i was looking (one of the many advantages of being married i tell you!) And then, after one head pressing session followed by a long nap, i had a sudden epiphany - the Fellow really, really, really loves me. Not the rainbows and unicorns and holding hands in the coffee shop kind of love. The real kind.

Of course I knew that already. But now I’m super-sure about it. Look at it from my view-point – if, after seeing me in this condition of absolute blah, unbathed, sounding like a dying Cher, cranky, whiny (more than usual), coughing like I’m dying of phlegm, surrounded by used up tissue papers, a nose like Rudolph, in a semi-comatose state thrashing around the bed covers like they’re strangling me, sneezing in the most unlady-like manner possible and then grunting and snorting to complete the picture, so on and so forth, the Fellow can still be by my side and be my primary TLC-giver, he’s here to stay. Right?

And so, my insight for today is that anyone looking for a serious life-long relationship should first do the sickbed test.

Fall seriously sick. Look your worst. Sound worse than that. Don’t try remember your manners and the fact that you were trained to be polite. You’re sick. The world should revolve around you. Demand attention and care. And then have a prospective partner take care of you. If he or she sticks by you and nurses you back to health, you have a match! If your unkempt, sick, smelly and very rude condition is not scaring them away, hold on tight and don’t let go. Such love is unconditional I tell you. I mean, if your snot doesn’t have him/her running for cover, then nothing will.

Profound na?

Of course, it will be important that once you find such a person, have them fall sick and see if you can bear looking at a sallow, unwashed, thermometer bearing face for 3-5 days. I mean, we can’t have you being in the pink of health and then dumping the poor chick (or guy) at the first sneeze, now can we?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Return of Happiness

This is what it feels like to be totally and undeniably happy.

Meeting the Fellow after 4 months away was a giddy experience. Took me back to our courtship days when we struggled with being in a long-distance relationship. The excitement and anticipation of meeting him after a long time was almost nostalgic. I'd forgotten how fast my heart would beat and how i couldn't stop smiling at the thought of seeing the Fellow again. I know that my travel companions were completely amused at how, after sleeping for most of the train journey, during the last 15 mins of the trip I suddenly became a grinning eager-beaver who could barely sit in her seat long enough!
Now that the initial excitement has passed, a sense of contentment and the feeling, that I am where I belong, has returned. Makes me feel all mellow and good. So good, in fact, that even when the Fellow has had to work almost all of today, I can't find it in myself to sulk or complain (at least not whole-heartedly or with any kind of conviction).
For now, it's all about happiness. The sulking can wait till tomorrow na?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

And Then There Were 112

(Day 112 of 112)

Can you believe that we’re done? I’ve lived through 112 days without the Fellow and am still relatively sane (well…at least I haven’t gotten worse!). In almost 12 hours from now, I will be grinning stupidly and with barely controlled excitement at the Fellow (who hopefully should be in time and waiting for me at the railway station).

I’m so thrilled at the idea of finally being with the Fellow again that it’s taking immense self control not to jump around and sing about it to anyone who cares (or not) to listen! Yay!!

And now comes the award-winning-acceptance-style-speech. No, I’m not going to thank the family here. I’ve done that in person, though they assured me it wasn’t needed. But it was. I mean, they had to live with a nomad – and an often sulky one at that. It can’t have been simple I’m sure.

What I am going to do is thank the 3 regular readers I have here (this, excluding the Fellow) and who have been really nice about commenting on all my complaints and whiny behaviour. Thank you, Jhayu, Vivek and PK. It can’t have been easy reading my daily dose of sulky writing. I mean, reading back to day 1 of 112, I realised that the amount I complained here is ridiculous! What was I thinking? Ok I know what I was thinking, but really!

Anyhoo. It’s all over. Tomorrow shall bring renewed happiness.

Ps: Give me a week or two and I’m sure the complaining me shall emerge once more. It’s inevitable.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Just One More

(Day 111 of 112)

I’m on my last stop before I head the Fellow’s way. Unfortunately, getting here meant taking a train at the supremely inhuman hour of 5.50am. Essentially this means, that I didn’t sleep all night (since I don’t trust myself to wake up before the birds do) and kept waiting for the alarm to ring, and the TV to show something interesting.

Of course, I did try sleeping in the train. But the really fat aunty in the seat in front of me kept switching the fan on and off, depending on her body temperature. And so I kept shivering and cursing all through the 6 hours I had the misfortune of being stuck behind a thermostatically challenged woman! Then when I got to the uncle’s house (my transit point for this leg of the journey) I decided on a nice, refreshing nap. Unfortunately, it only needed my declaration for the power company to run an unscheduled power cut for 3 hours. Hmph.

So here I am, at 11 in the night, yearning for a comfortable bed and a good night’s sleep. And all I can think of is how when I wake up tomorrow morning, it’ll be the last day I’ll be without the Fellow.

Just one more day. *stupid grin*

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The End is Near

(Day 110 of 112)

I can’t stop grinning as I type ‘Day 110 of 112’. It seems like just yesterday (ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration) when it was day 10 of 112 and I had months of waiting and complaining ahead of me. Now the waiting is coming to an end. Another 2 days and the same number of trains later, and I shall be chattering nineteen to a dozen to the Fellow – in person!

You can’t imagine how excited that has me!! Finally I shall be able to see his expression of utter and total amusement, exasperation, disbelief (at the speed and flow of my chatter), and of course love, all rolled into one! I have missed that look a lot these past months you know.

And then there is all the undivided attention I get once again. No more sharing the Fellow with his insane workload any more. I’m so glad I won’t have to listen to “I have to work now, can’t talk” anymore. Now it’s only going to be “I have no work, talk all you want”! Yay!! It does make me happy, you see, when I can talk as much as I want to.

Sigh. Grin. Happy face. 2 more days. Jigging away.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dry Roasted

(Day 109 of 112)

Important lessons learnt today –

  1. Never park your car where there is no shade from the sun.
  2. Never get into a car that has been standing where there is no shade from the sun.
  3. If you do have to get into aforementioned car, try not to get into contact with the leather seats (note: don’t have leather seats).
  4. If you do all the above three, be smart – don’t touch the steering wheel, gear stick and/or the handbrake. Just sit there willing the air conditioning to kick in before you reach your destination looking like you’ve just spent an hour in a sauna!
  5. And most importantly, and for this I blame the Fellow - never, ever, ever, have a black car if you’re going to be living in camel-land.

Obviously, I’ve been through this for me to be ranting about it here. In fact, I have to emphasise that the actual experience was about a hundred times worse than it seems. Kind of like going to the dentist – the actual experience is so much worse than what you imagine it to be!

The 15 mins that I spent in my car today was as close to hot, burning hell as I’ll ever be, before popping it for good (I really don’t have any delusions about not going to hell. Too many friends will be there!). The very act of sitting in the drivers seat made me shudder and go ‘ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch’ (the word most used in the next few minutes. Well, actually, second most used. The first is too inappropriate for here). And then there was the super-heated steering wheel and gear stick!! I quite literally had to use my fingertips to steer and change gears because the rest of my hand felt like it was blistering!

And don’t even get me started on the airconditioning! It was non-existent. By the time the car cooled down enough for me to stop cursing, I had reached my destination (I miss Bombay at times like these really). And even then, the first thing I did was to mop my face up and get the sweat out of my eyes. The next, to shake my fist at the black car and the universe.

But I’m guessing, that 15 mins in that sauna of a car must have resulted in at least a kilo of weight loss. Bring on the ice cream I say. And a can of white car paint.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Is it Indifference or is it Me?

(Day 108 of 112)

Warning: Long Post

Being from Bombay, I’m not as used to being eve-teased as, say a girl from Delhi. However, I have had my share of road-side romeos, jerks, and pervs. The first time I was teased, I was in school, and too mortified to tell anyone about it. By the time I got to college, I had become immune (at a certain level at least), like most women do. And then came the awareness that I could do something about it. I could fight back and make sure the guy paid, at least in humiliation if not jail time. And I’m proud to say that my friends and I did do something about it. We did try and bring to task guys who thought they could get away with whispered comments and distressingly wel placed gropes. I think a friend even broke a finger. At another time she even threw a glass of water in a chap’s face at a restaurant.

Today, I did my share for Women’s rights. Asking a chap to move his car from the middle of the lane, where he was parked so that he could chat with someone, resulted in him following me for about a kilometre. The fact that the whole time, his hand was on the horn and his bumper almost touching mine, did nothing to lower my stress levels. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been this scared in a long, long time. There was so much going on in my head that I’m surprised (and proud) that I managed to keep my cool and stay on the road. I’m also proud that I didn’t succumb to the madness in me and get out of the car with the Fellow’s baseball bat!

Anywhoo. With the Fellow encouraging me, I went to the nearest police station and filed an FIR. At first even the policemen there were incredulous at registering a complaint about eve-teasing/harassment/rash driving. I finally had to tell them I was a fauji-wife and drop some names for them to take me seriously. That done, I finally told the uncles and aunts what happened.

And their reaction? Why are you picking fights for no reason? You will go away and then he’ll come after your aunt (who was in the car with me). Why are you making such a big deal about this? There is no point in taking on such men. So on and so forth. Note that all this was accompanied by expressions that clearly said I was crazy and had all these new fangled notions which were stupid.

I don’t know what to think anymore. I’ve grown up thinking that there is no way in hell any woman should stand abuse (of any kind, and at the hands of anyone). And here there are people telling me I should have let the guy get away with what he did. It may not seem much as compared to a lot of other eve-teasing incidents. But for the couple of minutes his car was following us, I know that I was shit-scared, with my heart threatening to explode with stress. As for my aunt, she was so petrified that she didn’t even think of taking the number of the car down (which I did, even while trying to drive calmly) or even say anything beyond “is he following us?” over and over again.

Like the Fellow said (when I was in some kind of minor PTS and was having doubts about my actions), we have the benefit of education, awareness and fortunately, the right contacts. If we don’t take any action, who will? If we let fellows like these get away, we are simply encouraging them. If we don’t make them take responsibility for their behaviour, they’re just getting reinforced and will do this to some other girl tomorrow. The Indian Penal Code has provisions for eve-teasing. Yet no one really bothers. Yes, I know, our judicial system isn’t the best there is, especially about such cases. But as a responsible citizen, isn’t it our duty to at least report it to the police? How can you complain that the authorities don’t take any action to ensure safety for women, if you yourself are complacent about it and don’t step up?

How can you, as a woman, forget what you owe to yourself? How can you continue living with the panic, the increased heart rate, the dread of what might be coming next, the fear? How can you forget that you’re a human being too and don’t deserve to be followed like an animal and harassed in broad daylight?

How can you be so indifferent?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Super-Annoyed I Am

(Day 107 of 112)

I hate it when things go wrong. Especially just when they seem to be going right. I’m in my happy place and then I have to wrench myself away from the bubbles and chocolate and crawl into despair and a grumpy mood. Hate it I tell you.

Right now I’m all worked up and hyperventilating. The Fellow tried to tell me that by Monday everything should be sorted out. But Monday is a whole day away and I don’t think I can take the not knowing for certain for so long. The Fellow of course is used to my neurotic upstarts. But today even he was all confused (and I think too sleepy to really make sense of my ramblings). What I really think is that all this time away from me, and getting tortured by those bosses of his has made him forget how neurotic I can get.

So that’s another thing added on the things-to-do list – help the Fellow get used to my weirdness again. And convince him it’s endearing- what he loves most about me.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Analysis of Persons on Two-Wheelers

(Day 106 of 112)

It’s simple. They should all be consigned to hell. Hot fires, pitchforks and run by the devil kind of hell. Torturing them might be a possibility too. I’m thinking Chinese torture methods. Maybe having them listen to George Bush talk politics. Anything that makes them want to jump into one of hell’s fires and atone for the sins committed on the roads of small town India.

I mean, driving here is like asking for trouble and begging for three more sets of eyes. It’s impossible to be a good driver here and follow all the rules of traffic because there aren’t any – good drivers or rules of traffic. I know this because I’m very sure that I’m one of 3 people in this entire place who actually uses the indicator in the car. I’m also the only one who likes to stay in the lane I’m in, and not weave around like I’m have a seizure or something. And when I stop to let pedestrians cross the road, they look at me like I’m the crazy lady from Timbuktu and am luring them into a trap!

Why do men on two-wheelers think, that by virtue of being on two wheels (and this includes everything from a cycle to a motorbike), they are suddenly endowed with immortality and skin that’s like armour? That could be the only reason for a) not wearing helmets, (b) weaving in and out of traffic like they’re in a video-game arcade, (c) piling on people on the two wheeler like it’s the roof of a State bus, (d) looking for my car to try their stunts with. Morons each and every one of them I tell you. And suicidal to boot.

And you know what scares me more than hitting one of these fools? The Fellow. I mean it’s his beloved car that will bear the brunt of immense stupidity let loose on the roads right? And I really don’t want to be the one behind the wheel when stupidity collides with the car. And I refuse to be the one to tell the Fellow about it. I have a feeling love will take a back seat then. At least for me.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This Feeling I Have

(Day 105 of 112)

As the days pass by, and the countdown (or countup) gets closer to the end, there are a multitude of feelings in me, that are making my head a very annoying place to be in right now. I don’t know which way to think and this is leaving me standing all confused and lost in the middle of my own head.

To begin with, there is the excitement. Obviously. I am super-thrilled to finally be with the Fellow again and can barely stop grinning whenever someone mentions the name of the town he is in right now.

Then there is the worry – about all the packing and travelling I have to do. Not that I’m afraid of either. It’s just that I’m a little (and I make an understatement here) fed up of living out of a suitcase and dread the idea of packing. Then there is the travelling. Both trains I have to take are at 6 in the morning and my worry is about waking up in time to catch them. And even if I do wake up, I just hope I’m lucid enough to carry my bags and walk without support! 6am. Godforsaken hour I tell you.

Add to all of this, increasing panic, about all the work I have to finish, before I can go waltzing off to the Fellow and at least a fortnight of no productivity. I complained about this yesterday and nothing has changed today. Except that I’ve slept a little lesser. And I get cranky when I do that – sleep less that is.

This crankiness is made worse with the damn furnace that I’m living in right now. The universe seriously doesn’t like me and global warming has done the rest. And so instead of experiencing a cool pre-winter, it’s back to the summer and seriously torturous temperatures of 45 deg C! How is one to achieve any work in this kind of weather I ask you?

And so, this feeling I have, is of extreme conflict. The excitement in me is fighting to stay afloat amidst the worry, panic, crankiness and of course the heat. But I have a sinking feeling that it’s a lost cause. All I can do now, is wait it out and hope that the Fellow can sort it all for me!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No Time To Sulk

(Day 104 of 112)

I believe that birthdays are incomplete without at least half a day of feeling deflated, after all the hoopla and cake is over. It’s just such a reality check na. I mean, for one whole day the phone rings only for you, and everything in the kitchen is made only for you. You are allowed to get away with anything with the use of 4 magic words – It’s my birthday today. And then, it’s all over. Suddenly you’re back to eating karela and baingan and not even allowed to make a fuss about it. And when you answer the phone, you’re asked why you’re playing telephone operator!

Anywhoo, all this is from last year. This time around, I haven’t had the time to wallow in post-birthday blues and I feel so incomplete. It’s like the universe decided to give me work (and the associated panic) as a birthday gift. Till yesterday I was relaxed and had the luxury of spreading my work over several days. Today, I’m rushing against time (and the risk of severe eye strain). And it just keeps increasing – the eye strain that is. Along with the panic bubble inside me. I mean, I didn’t even sulk about all the cake being over!! It doesn’t get busier than that people!

Ok. Procrastination time over. Have to head back. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Then and Now

(Day 103 of 112)

It’s been a whole year since I wrote this.

I don’t want to sound clichéd, but time does fly. Really fast. Like it’s on a jet plane or something. With the passage of time, life changes too (another cliché, I know. But it’s my birthday and I’m allowed anything today). I know mine has taken a complete 360 degrees turn.

From being single, I’m now married. From being unsure and uncertain of the future, I’ve learned how to enjoy my present and make my own future. From being a Bombay-ite, I’m now a ‘Fauji-wife’. From being in my early-twenties, I’ve now crossed over to the other side of this young-enough-to-mention-age-group. Soon i shall be in that age group that no one wants to be in and where you need hair dye and early nights.

I think I shall listen to what the sister said a couple of years back – and continue celebrating the anniversary of my 24th birthday for years to come.

PS: I’m a little drowsy after all the birthday cake. Will continue tomorrow and once the birthday cheer (or blues) subside, I’ll be back to my whiny, complaining self.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Grandma's Tales

(Day 102 of 112)

Q: If you meet me on the road (or anywhere else for that matter), how will you know I’m married?

A: By the fact that my grandmother will be with me, telling anyone who cares to listen.

Of course, if you stop to listen to her, you will probably end up listening to some serious Avantika-bashing (she seems to be doing a lot of that lately isn’t she?). This time the bone of contention is not my questions, but rather my defiance.

I refuse (vociferously) to walk around like a billboard advertising the fact that I’m a married woman now. I believe that I’m an independent person in my own right, who does not need to define herself in terms of anyone. Just like I don’t see the need to change who I am or how I dress just because I’m married. And luckily for me, the Fellow thinks the same way. And so you won’t find me ‘looking married’ the way that has, unfortunately, been made popular through the media. The Fellow even refused to let me wear those red and white bangles for more than a week after marriage. As soon as I got back into my jeans after several days of sarees and salwar kameezes, the bangles came off too. I mean, seriously, I don’t think there is anything more ridiculous looking than that horrible clash of ‘western’ clothes worn with bangles, bindis and all that paraphernalia. It’s like the person is confused about which way she wants to go, and ends up looking like a..a…monkey in a circus maybe?

And now, here is my grandmother cribbing about the exact same thing. Only she wants me to look married. She would love it if I walked around with bangles and a bindi everyday (the mangalsutra and sindoor would be a bonus she never even dreamed of really). So what if I wear jeans and tee shirts everday? So what if I looked like I’ve grown up in Hicksville, India with a negative fashion sense? And so what if I end up being the kind of person I laugh at and pity?! At least my grandmother would be happy right?

Hell no. It would be salwar kameezes and sarees next. Shudder.

I Don't Believe This!

(Day 102 of 112)

I’m back to making travel plans. I fail to understand how I keep getting caught in the trap that is planning. Of course, since I’m neurotic about such stuff one would imagine it would be a fun activity. But it’s not. It’s driving me crazy (yes, more than usual). Not only do I have to coordinate with everyone (and I mean literally everyone) around me, I also have to listen to the exact same number of personal opinions, and travel gyan, whether I asked for them or not. Then there is the grandmother who randomly keeps mumbling about how I’m shamelessly super-excited about going to the Fellow and I should show some decency and sharam (but I excuse her since she also keeps teasing me about the Fellow which is quite cute really!). And so, I have to take into consideration some half dozen (at least) variations on when to go, how to go, what to take, what to do (and for the grandmother, why to go) etc.

Thankfully the one thing everyone is decided on is where I have to go. Godforsaken place which thankfully has a Dominoes, here i come! :D

Sunday, September 20, 2009

You Know What I Miss?

(Day 101 of 112)

Going for ice-cream with the Fellow in the middle of the night and having to listen to him grumble about how I’m a glutton.

Ordering in food just because I didn’t feel like eating my own cooking.

Getting the Fellow to cook because I didn’t feel like eating my own cooking.

Filling in the Fellow on all the latest gossip on the way back home from a party.

Having the Fellow drive me around town while I read whatever book I was reading at the time.

Listening to the music CD I made in the car while the Fellow complained about his car being traumatised by ‘girl music’.

Ordering in pizza and eating it in bed while watching some random movie on TV.

Beating the Fellow in Scrabble and then listening to his excuses about how he’s out of practice yada yada yada.

Watching the Fellow’s face when he figures out the solution to a problem.

Getting the Fellow to solve my problems.

Having the Fellow pamper me when I fall even mildly sick and mollycoddle me till I never want to get better.

Listening to the Fellow tell me how girly and not me at all I’m being when I put up posts such as these.

The Fellow.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Black Sheep

(Day 100 of 112)

Warning: Long Post

That’s me. Thank you very much. About an hour back, the uncle, aunt and grandmother would willingly have traded me for a more obedient, docile and annoyingly white sheep, whom they could have herded as they wanted. Unfortunately for them, they’re stuck with me – the kind who refuses to go where they want and insists on straying outside the boundaries.

So what I have I done that makes me black?

I asked…ask questions. Have been doing it since I was not more than 4 feet tall actually. But what else can I do huh? Nobody gives me satisfactory answers to my questions and I absolutely refuse to accept “don’t ask questions and do what we say” as suitable.

That my questions are most often to do with the ritualistic practices and blind acceptance of what the holy man says, is what troubles the family most. Even as a child I couldn’t do something unless I understood the logic and reason behind it. And so I questioned everything I was asked to do, right from the prayer (and if anybody understood the pandit mumbling away at full speed) to why I had to take the prasad in the right hand and even why, when someone passed away, did the women not go to the cremation grounds (this was generally met with a lot of shushes and frowns). And these are the milder questions I asked. I’m not even getting into the whole position of women in religion issue!

Today the blackness in me came to the surface because of the issue of death. Someone we know passed away (after a long illness and at least 80 years on the planet). Today was the 12th day and the grandmother and aunt went to pay their respects etc. When they came back, they were carrying steel boxes (the kitchen-use kind) –one for each of them, and one for me (apparently getting married entitles me to all these kinds of things)! Additionally, I was also given an envelope with cash in it – in place of the usual saree that all the other women were given. Needless to say, I was thoroughly confused and more than a little embarrassed. I mean, someone had died. And there we were getting gifts and cash/sarees? Why? This was question one.

Next, the grown ups spent quite a bit of time (today and in the last week that I’ve been here) discussing how the deceased woman’s older son did not shave his hair off and how the younger one was doing it everyday, thus making it more of a fashion statement. I asked the question in my head (obviously) – What’s the big deal? Why the fuss about such a small thing? How does it matter? What’s the logic behind it anyway? The answers I got? (a) it’s what society expects (b) it’s been happening in our community forever (c) that’s what marwaris do (d) you talk too much (e) what’s the logic behind using a rolling pin to make rotis? (f) something about people not making fun of them by seeing a shorn head and knowing they are in mourning (this I refused outright because hair grows back and no one is as insensitive as to make fun as soon as someone dies).

Sigh. So yes. Dinner today was accompanied by a cynical and understandably bemused (and slightly frustrated) me. I mean, none of these people question what they do for even a moment. They just continue with what people have been doing for generations, irrespective of whether it makes sense in the 21st century or not. All in the name of religion. From a doctrine and a philosophy, the religion is being turned into a ritualistic circus which no one understands. And worse, no one wants to understand. They just find it easier to follow the practices blindly without sparing a single thought to the why of it.

Anywhoo. I can go on and on about it, especially since I’ve just encountered several mumblings and grumblings from the grandmother about how studying psychology has ruined me, and how this was probably why girls weren’t educated too much.

I think my grandfather just had another heart attack in heaven.

PS: This rant seems appropriate for a momentous event like writing 100 posts in a row na?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Contented Sigh

(Day 99 of 112)

I’m feeling quite content today.

I finally managed to focus enough to get some work done today, and after several days of procrastination, it sure feels good to have been productive.

I also ticked several items off my to-do list and since I’m neurotic about organisation and love making lists, I now get to make a new one. Yay.

Additionally, I actually moved ahead with my whole sending Diwali cards to people I like plan, and so now it’s not just an idea in my head any more (Note to self: blog about Diwali card sending plans for this year).

Next, I spent the whole evening with friends and caught up on a whole lot of local gossip. Not only did this make me feel all happy (in the way spending time with friends makes you), it also made me glad that I’ve been travelling for almost three and a half months now and thus escaped the things being described to me by some very fed up people.

Finally, the Fellow is in a good mood today and hasn’t once complained about the torture he’s under. Reason enough to feel contented isn’t it?

Ps: This is a post PK. And under 11 minutes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

So Much Food. So Much Noise

(Day 98 of 112)

All day today my ears have been assaulted with noise. And my stomach with food.

The aunts have been busy cooking all day today. So I woke up to the smell of frying potato and whatever anyone might thing, on an empty stomach early in the morning, it’s quite a difficult smell to handle. Then there was the fact that I was expected to taste and critique. Groan. In the afternoon the grandmother’s house was full of relatives who kept coming and going and of course, eating. And I would have been content watching them come and go, and of course, eat, except that I was the one who had to serve the food. Let’s just say that the path from the kitchen to the dining table is now marked with my sweat and deep grooves from the constant to and fro (and it has nothing to do with my weight so no smart ass comments PK). So what with tasting the food, serving the food and then eating it, I’m so saturated that I would be quite content existing on a liquid diet for the next couple of days.

And then there was the noise. Never have I heard so many people talk at such high decibel levels and at the same time and obviously not on the same topic. So there was the random uncle prosing on and on about the melanin on his face and how he would have to start using creams at his advanced age, an aunt who was hell bent on discussing her aching knees and rapid hair fall, a bratty kid who thought it would help his digestion if he banged the spoon and yelled no no no no before and after every bite, aunts who wanted to share notes across the house about how they made XYZ dish, mobile phones ringing on top volumes with truly terrible ring tones, taxis honking outside, wandering sadhus yelling in the doorway for alms (cash only, no food) and the grandmother yelling back, etc.

Add to this circus the aforementioned grandmother’s determination to get her daily dose of television drama, and the noise levels were such that even the squirrels in the garden scampered away with fright.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hair Dye

(Day 97 of 112)

I know maybe 2 women who don’t resort to that little bottle of hair colouring which helps them conceal the all dangerous fact of their true age from the rest of the world. For the remaining population of my beauty-lies-in-the-makeup-section-of-the-mall believing sex, nothing is as vitally important in their middle age, as stocking up on that essential bit of the modern ‘solah shringar’ – the hair dye.

I know I’m still young enough to not worry about grey hair and all the attached stress, but I still can’t help being amused at the women who do worry. I mean considering the amount they worry about their greying hair, it’s no wonder the hair is turning white!

And then there is all the lack of privacy. If it was just the one person involved, nobody would know about it right? But since it’s near impossible (apparently) to self apply hair dye, it necessitates calling upon another person to get his/her hands dirty. It’s not called hiding if you can’t do it alone I say.

Why hair dye? For the obvious reason – I’m the one who had to get her hands dirty to allow for the vanity of those around me. And the funny thing is that these people whose hair I’ve been camouflaging today aren’t exactly in the first blush of youth (or even the second, third or fourth). So it’s not like anyone is going to believe that their hair is magical and is washed with water from the fountain of youth.

Isn’t it better to accept the fact that you’re getting older and that grey hair can be extremely dignified? I mean at least it will show that you’re definitely as (if not more) mature than your hair!