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.