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!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy Marwari

(Day 96 of 112)

In continuation with yesterday’s head banging saga, I have to report that there was no need for me to prepare speeches and practice my angry face. In fact there was no need to even think offensive. All I needed to be was honest. And that’s exactly what I did.

So I get to the phone office in the morning to meet someone the uncle said would sort out my billing issues. The first thing I told him, while sounding all hesitant and confused (it was more the result of trying to find the right words in Hindi actually) was “uncle, this is the bill and since I don’t understand Hindi very well, I’m thoroughly confused about it. Could you please check and let me know."

That was all I needed to do. ‘Uncle’ took all the bills, went through them, and as I suspected, confirmed that there had been some error in the billing and that in fact I owed the phone company nothing. After suppressing a whoop of joy (at the fact that my suspicions had been confirmed) I went on to the next task at hand – another bill!!

Now this bill had an additional charge included which didn’t make any sense to me. The Fellow had told me to stop being neurotic and just pay it (hmph). But as usual, I decided to ignore him and take things into my own hands. Good for me I say. Because after talking to about 4 people and asking them what this charge was about (in my most polite and confused sounding voice) they agreed that it was a mistake on their part. And so this other bill was also reduced by half.

One bill that had an outstanding amount of zero and another which was slashed by half. You can’t imagine how happy the Marwari in me is today. Thrilled and grinning I tell you.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bills and Banging My Head

(Day 95 of 112)

The post title says it all. I come back home after a month and all I’m faced with are stupid phone bills. Stupid, because they don’t make any sense. I mean I’m sure they make sense, but since it’s all in Hindi, and I don’t understand all the technical words they use (I’m honest enough to mention this very shameful fact), all I see are random numbers which differ vastly from the total printed at the bottom of the sheet (yes yes I know about taxes. It’s just that here the taxes seem to be more than the actual amount owed!)

So all day today I was trying to make sense of the bills and figure out what broadband plan we have (to know how much the bill should really be), talking to the uncle to check whether payments had been made in my absence and repeatedly calling the Fellow and getting things explained slowly, as befitting my slightly neurotic, thus, stubborn brain.

This last bit was really important, mainly for my pride. You see I plan on going and confronting the phone people on the morrow and I don’t want to sound ignorant with half baked knowledge. I like to be fully prepared when going in for the offense, especially when I’m doing it alone (yay for brave me).

Of course chances are that all my preparation and guaranteed to make you wither speeches all come to nothing. After all it’s a little difficult to make an impression when no one understands what you’re saying and you end up struggling to find words in the right language. The overall effect is a lot like banging your head against a wall.

I knew I should have spent more time watching Doordarshan. Damn cable television.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


(Day 94 of 112)

I’m done with complaining about the cold. It’s time to crib about the heat – or at least mention the unfortunate way in which my body is protesting against this dry heat oven I’ve put it in.

An hour or so after getting home, unpacking goodies, stuffing my face with rajma-chawal and calling various people and letting them know I’m back (wee-hoo), I stopped to collapse, down about a liter of water and pour another half on my head. The refreshing, cool water flowing down my face felt really good. But in about 30 seconds my face was totally dry. Like a sun-dried tomato. In fact apart from the wrinkles, that’s how I was looking – bright red.

This sudden shift from mountain chill to desert heat is making my face as red as a tomato/Rudolph’s nose and/or a monkey’s face. People standing next to me can literally feel the heat radiating from my face. I’m going about the house with a napkin soaked in cold water swathed around my head and neck, only to find the napkin heating up and my face seeming a fresher and brighter red!

Additionally my grandmother has been giving me weird looks all evening as I sat watching TV from behind my cold cloth cover. She also kept telling me to go switch on the aircon in the other room and stop groaning like I was dying.

Me thinks she was just trying to reign supreme on the remote control. Meanwhile the dying…uh…groaning continues. As does the heat. Sigh.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


(Day 93 of 112)

Have been travelling for a few days now. The body (and mind) has to now recover from
-the constant movement the body has been subjected to
-the lack of plug points into which to hook my computer
-the phone running out of battery and thus unfinished quota of talking with the Fellow
-the shock of finding myself in the middle of the desert after a month in the shade of the Himalayas.
Will see you on the other side of my nap. Cheers

Friday, September 11, 2009

Of Court Verdicts and Personal Guilt

(Day 92 of 112)

The Allahabad HC has acquitted Moninder Singh Pandher in the Nithari murder case while upholding Surinder Kohli’s death sentence. Needless to say, there is massive hue and cry about this verdict and nobody seems to be convinced that Pandher is innocent. However as it often goes in this country, this too shall be forgotten and since the media has the attention span of a toddler, something else will grab their (dubious) attention.

Meanwhile, families of the victims will continue seeking answers and maybe one day, justice. The one whose death sentence has been upheld will try looking for mercy, and the acquitted will try and remain free – in more ways than one.

For even though he may have escaped (so far) incarceration and capital punishment, where is he to run from the truth? And while I can’t pass judgement on Pandher and his alleged innocence, I can have an opinion.

And I believe that no matter what any court says, human guilt is punishment enough. Yes I know that sociopaths and psychopaths are not overly burdened with a conscience and the accompanying guilt. But I also believe that no matter where you hide, you can’t hide from yourself. Where are you to run from the memories, the voices, the faces, the dreams? You may convince yourself of an alternative truth and even repress memories. But it’s not as easy as Freud made it sound. Reality traps you and never really allows you to be free.

So whether Pandher took a life himself or stood by and watched, he knows what really happened. And he has to live with this knowledge, no matter what a court of law decides.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Why I'll Never Tweet

(Day 91 of 112)

I signed up on Twitter after coming across it on someone’s blog and before Hollywood made it big. But since I couldn’t figure out what to do with it, I didn’t go back even once and then I forgot my username and password.

Now the whole world is tweeting and it’s what all the cool kids are doing. It just convinces me that I’m the uncoolest kid on the playground. Of course I did give it about 5 minutes of thought and even framed an answer to “What are you doing now?” But then several things stopped me from becoming a twit .

To begin with, I don’t understand why I would even want to be followed. I mean do I really want to tell the world what I’m doing all the time? And then have them comment on it? I don’t think so.

Secondly I don’t think I do enough with my life to be making it public (this blog is a different medium of communication and not the focus of discussion here). And I’m definitely not deluded enough to think everything I do, think, want to say should be discussed.

Thirdly, if I have something to say, I want to be able to say it properly. I mean I worked hard at acquiring a vocab and learning how to spell the right way. Might as well make use of it right?

Fourthly, I have avoided using my phone to access the internet. And if I tweeted, I would have to use my phone (I mean how else can I be sitting in a theatre and tweet about how bad the movie is right?). But since I’m addicted enough to my laptop and the world wide web (read: Facebook and my blog) not tweeting is the only way not to cross over to the dark side.

Finally, and most importantly, I’m not self involved enough to believe that anyone would want to follow me. And I’d rather not get validation of this belief by starting to tweet and then having no followers. I don’t think anything would be more depressing and damaging to self esteem.

I mean I’ve had enough trouble getting readers for this blog (now numbering 5, one of whom is the Fellow) without worrying about how many people are following me!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

90 Not Out

(Day 90 of 112)

It’s been 90 days today and I’m still mentally all here! Yay. Of course I’ve had my moments of doubt and extreme frustration, coupled with random insane ramblings. But since these have been shared only with the Fellow (and some of it with readers of this blog), I’m quite happy. After all, even I’m allowed a moment (or two) of less than total self-control right?

So now there are only 22 days left. It’s been a long haul and the finish line is in view. Like I keep telling the Fellow (every time he complains of the tortures he’s going through), that this bit is going to be the toughest – just like that last stretch in a marathon when the runner is exhausted, deprived of oxygen and who’s legs refuse to move another step.

I just wish that I could explain this to myself as well as I do it the Fellow. It would make these last few weeks so much easier to get through. And then again, I have my blog so that’s a good thing right?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Of Being Horrified

(Day 89 of 112)
Recently I had one of those wtf moments that just need to be written about. Of course considering the cause of my shock, the use of wtf is highly inappropriate and not all the done thing. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
The story begins about 4 years back when I was a young, carefree and slightly geeky student, more interested in my next sandwich than anything else. And while I was concentrating on higher education (and junk food), friends were getting married right left and centre (not that I was complaining. After all I got free food and the chance to party). Anyhoo, not content with getting married, the same friends started families soon after, and before I had completed my Masters, most of them had babies (And here I was complaining about homework)!
One of those babies I happened to meet when she was about a month (or less) old. A tiny being, bundled up in layers and absolutely gorgeous she was. And as these things happen, that was the only time I met her. Recently I got in touch with my friend again and asked about how the baby was doing; conveniently forgetting that she wasn’t likely to remain the tiny infant forever. And so, I wasn’t prepared for what came next – a grown up baby. I simply couldn’t place this young, confident looking girl with the bundle that smelled like Johnson’s baby soap. All I could come up with when looking at the photo was "are you serious?” “are you really serious?Where did the time go? It was just yesterday that I was bent over cootchy-cooing a month old baby and today she’s a miniature adult who talks the ears off her mother (or so she complains).
Here I was feeling all good about being in the youth of life and all that jazz and then I was shocked into silence (rare for me). People my age are parents to children who do more than eat, sleep and poop. While I’m pining away (drama adds spice to my life so please bear with me) for the Fellow here, and spending my time doodling and napping, classmates are taking their children to school, attending parent-teacher meetings and generally being all responsible and adult-like.
Just thinking about it is sending shivers down my spine. Oh the horror.

PS: I wanted to put pictures up but my ethical soul wouldn't agree to it without getting permission from my friend. But as that would take at least a day and i absolutely had to express my horror i'm going to have to do some editing later.

Monday, September 7, 2009

N-A-P Time

(Day 88 of 112)
As a rule I avoid napping in the afternoon. No it’s not because I won’t be able to sleep at night and all that jazz. It’s just that my body doesn’t have the concept of napping. I mean the idea of sleeping for half an hour or even an hour is so totally alien that it’s unthinkable and sacrilege almost.
And so my naps are a minimum of 2 hours (and can extend into several more as demonstrated today). As a result I avoid sleeping in the afternoons because then it’s just like getting up for dinner and going back to bed, not to mention the names I get called by everyone around me!
But then there are days like today when the sleep is so overpowering that you can’t escape it. Add to that the MIL saying “beta sleep for sometime, you’ll feel refreshed” and I’m doomed. And so against all instincts (except for the sleep), I took a ‘nap’ today. Needless to say I was knocked out for a good 4 hours. Apparently the MIL came to check on me a couple of times (probably to see if I was still alive). But I was (or so she says) so cosy and curled up in the blankets that she didn’t have the heart to wake me up (and when she did try, I didn’t even twitch an eyelash).
When I did finally wake up, the stars were out and dinner was bubbling on the stove. A very guilty me walked out to find the MIL waiting with a huge smile and a snack for me (I know I know. I am being pampered). I tried explaining the whole body not in sync with naps logic to her, but she just waved it off saying that if anyone understands the need to sleep like the dead it’s her. And, well, she’s right. Her naps do resemble mine, except that the FIL wakes her up regardless of how comfy she looks!
Thank god the Fellow doesn’t get that from his dad or we would have had some serious issues I tell you!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

One of Those Days

(Day 87 of 112)

I woke up to a phone call by the Fellow. What better way to start a Sunday right? I thought so too. Till the mood swing came. And then all the laziness and warm feelings disappeared only to be replaced by a dark brooding cloud spreading sulk through my veins.

All day today I was feeling miserable for no apparent reason. I was like a surly bear ready to strike out at anyone within arms length. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really do that with the in-laws (I am after all a nice person), and this did not help improve my mood. Also the Fellow was at work and wasn’t available to fulfil his role as my punching bag either. Sulk.

That left me with only two options – sleep it off or fight it out. I did neither. Instead I waited for the Fellow to call me and then tried to pick a fight. Unfortunately the Fellow knows these moods of mine and refused to rise to the bait. Hmph.

So there I was, sulky and wallowing in a little self pity (which I think is a healthy practice in moderation). All I wanted to do was crawl into a corner and be left alone, devoid of any social contact and the necessity of making small talk. This would not only allow me to sulk in peace, but also give me time to have a long conversation with myself, something I haven’t had the opportunity to do in ages.

Now the day is coming to an end and I’m feeling mildly less sulky. I think that entire bar of chocolate (recommended by the Fellow and a friend) I had might have done the trick. Or it could just be the mood swing in motion again. Whatever it is, I know for sure that the Fellow is mighty relieved he doesn’t have to ‘manage’ me any longer.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Of Road Trips and Semi-Comatose States

(Day 86 of 112)

So, readers of this blog will know that most times I use this medium of communication for venting pent up emotions (read: complaining and whining). I can’t help it really. Most things that happen to me demand that they be complained about.

Like today. The in-laws and I went to a relative’s home about 40 kms from Shimla. Now while this doesn’t seem like a lot, in the mountains, the curving, winding roads makes it seem just so much longer and definitely more painful.

Why painful? Because I’m extremely motion sick. And mountain roads don’t help one bit. In fact so little do they help that the last time some cousins decided to go for coffee (a 20 minute drive through super twisty roads), I ended up in the hotel bathroom throwing up.

And so the only way to travel longish distances on these roads is to be medicated and in a semi-comatose state. This effectively means that I make a terrible travel companion as all I do is sleep my head off (generally on the shoulder of the person sitting to me). It doesn’t matter how long the journey is. I can sleep right through it, if only to avoid throwing up (not that it helps all the time).

But today it did help. All through the 80 odd kilometres that we travelled today, I was drugged and asleep in the backseat of the car, happily oblivious to anything around me. Only once did I get up, and that because my feet felt cold. But since the MIL gave me the FIL’s sweater to keep warm, it wasn’t long before I was stretched out in a contented semi-comatose state again, warm feet and all.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Nose Always Knows

(Day 85 of 112)

A few days back I vented here about my hyper-allergic immune system. I also complained about how, when the immune system decides to kick into high gear and react to itself quite literally, it gets very difficult to have a nose.

However today I was proud. Proud of my nose and all that it does.

What does it do? Apart from making me want to rub it off my face in an attempt to stop the itching, my nose responds brilliantly (albeit a little too aggressively for me) to changes in the weather. And so, be it changes in the cold, heat or rain, I’m off on a sneezing bout accompanied by crazy itching.

So why was I proud of this organ which, if it had been the medieval ages, would have sent me straight to the burning stake? Because for the last three days my nose has been working overtime (and usually I would whine about it, but I have a point to make here). And while everyone around me was sure that I’m too weak and city-bred to handle the cold, I kept explaining that it was due to changes in the weather blah blah blah. Obviously no one believed me. Thought the cold had frozen my brain cells or something.

Then today brought validation for my hyper-allergic soul and my unfortunately afflicted nose. Apparently it snowed in the higher altitudes yesterday. Obviously the weather had been getting colder and changing for a few days right? In fact even the locals agreed that there was a chill in the air today and brought out the warm clothes.

And all I could do (while everyone discussed the snow and change in weather) was look exceedingly smug and pat my nose on its back.

As I pointed out to the MIL, the nose, always knows.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Yellow and Orange

(Day 84 of 112)

These are the new colours on this page. Anyone not comfortable with them, suck it up and live with it. I like these bright and happy colours and they remain put. And if I wasn’t afraid of being hounded for the rest of my living days, the whole page would be a cheerful yellow. Instead, certain very annoying and badgering city eyes have become too sensitive to colour and joy. Yes you know who you are.

So why did I succumb to pressure and not make the changes I wanted to?

Because I love my peace of mind too much. Also the owner of the weak eyes is not the kind to give up and go away. He’s here to stay. Damn him. But so are the colours. So yay me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ringing Up a Sale

(Day 83 of 112)

The MIL is a compulsive shopper. In this she is able assisted by the FIL who, if possible, is fonder of shopping than her. Of course, I would have had no problem if they restricted the shopping to themselves. I would have gladly carried all the bags and waited outside the trial rooms. Unfortunately, they do not. Instead they are very generous with their time, money and love and it leaves a very guilty and embarrassed me, standing in the middle of the shop, trying to dissuade Ma from buying the same tee shirt in three different colours! And to make it worse, I’m a need based shopper and go into any shop with a list of things to buy. So this kind of impulsive (compulsive) buying is way out of my neurotic zone of comfort.

And today my list making soul was tried and tested to its limit. For not only did we go on a spontaneous shopping trip, we did it at the jewellery store. You see, the MIL just can’t resist a Sale sign on the front door of a shop. And her favourite jewellery store had one of those hanging up.

So there we were, with the MIL all excited and happy, and me all nervous and uneasy. I mean who just goes into a jewellery store to randomly buy something? Ok I know several people who do that…but no one who qualifies as…well…normal?

Anyhoo. After half an hour of “No Ma, I don’t want anything” and “Ma I think the Fellow will want to have an opinion here”, we finally settled on a diamond ring. And then, sensing that I was getting increasingly uncomfortable about our impulsive purchase, Ma whispered to me “It’s an early birthday gift for you”.

The MIL sure knows how to make me feel all comfortable I tell you. Brilliant!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


(Day 82 of 112)

…is only one of the many things I’m feeling right now. Other emotions involve irritation, frustration, annoyance, rage, anger and also the random wtf moment. And what make this gamut of emotions more interesting is that they are all directed towards my immune system – or rather the hypersensitivity of it. I’m quite literally the human thermometer, the way my nose starts itching and my eyes start watering at the slightest change in weather conditions. And this before it becomes apparent to everyone else. It wasn’t surprising then, that when the temperature dipped in Shimla, I was the first to know – and suffer.

And suffer I did…am. Since yesterday I’ve been walking around like Rudolph, with a nose that could guide Santa’s sleigh. The FIL is quite alarmed at my sneeze fests and the MIL is concerned about my feet not being warm enough. All I’m bothered about though, is getting the infernal itching in my nose to stop, so much so that squashing it under a heavy book often seems like a good idea. Damn the immune system for being hyper-allergic. Vacuum conditions and bubbles were designed for people like me. Hmph.

Add to this circus a fever and the verdict is out – such a delicate girl, give her vitamin C, take her to the Ayurveda doctor, it’s all in the head beta, do yoga, Bombay people just cant handle the cold, shut the door, wear socks to keep your feet warm, sleep with a hot water bottle, so on and so forth.

Not surprising then, is it, that disgust is only one of the many things I’m feeling right now.