Friday, June 17, 2016

Why doesn't the toughest job in the world pay in currency?

At around 1 o’clock this afternoon I was crying. With my 9-month-old son on my lap, hugging him, I cried as I watched Rachel get off the plane to be with Ross. And then I cried some more hugging him even harder as the door to Monica’s apartment closed one last time. It was Friends’ series finale, which I possibly was watching for the, I’m not sure, 14th time? I was crying hard now and my son, for a moment looked at me, worried and possibly sad. He did. 

I am getting back to work this monday. A first monday in over 9 months.

He will be fine for those few hours that I will be away. With two extremely eager grandmothers taking turns to be with him, our house help who absolutely adores him and of course the father who is way more than just hands-on. He will be more than fine. I won’t. And I am not.

I worry if he will miss me. What if he doesn't? If he will be angry when I get back home. What if he stops doing those things that he only does with me. I am told 9 months is just about the right time. Old enough to need my constant attention but young enough to not understand my few hours' absence all that much. I am not too sure about that. I feel he gets it.

Monday is 48 hours away.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


one of my BFFs (gosh. did i just say that?) and i haven't been speaking much over the phone. we live thousands of miles apart. i blamed this on our busy lives, on our separate lives, on the distance, and on something as profound (only to me) as perhaps every relationship comes with an expiry date.

she called me up a couple of days back, excitedly, she had discovered a college mate, we had long forgotten, on a social media site. she had left college without a word,  or goodbyes. she was then the hottest girl in campus, so unsurprisingly the campus grapevine was abuzz with stories. some near foolish to some plausible ones. but oh lord. the stories.

she could barely speak. if facebook pictures were to be believed, the once hot girl (let's call her susie) was no longer so. i didn't lose much time, and looked her up. and indeed. we had aged better.

and thus began a series of calls. my friend suggested we add her on facebook. i was reluctant. neither of us were friends with her; seven hellos, 'this tastes like cardboard' exchanges during mealtimes in her month long stay, don't exactly make you friends. at best she was a distant memory. less than ten minutes later i sent her a friend request.

it's been over a week since the embarrassing add friend episode, we aren't friends yet.

however my friend and i have found our mojo back.

true friendship is sitting together for hours and gossiping about acquaintances and strangers and feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.   

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


via pinterest
In an episode of big bang theory, Raj comes to Sheldon asking for a hug, because he says he is feeling blue, not depressed blue but more like a lonely blue. But that can’t be it; blue is already taken, Sheldon reminds him; so the two decide on orange, and Sheldon goes on, ‘you look positively orange with loneliness’.

I have spent much of 2014 living in a state of perpetual medium-low-level-terror. A sort of fear that would refuse to go or shift even. Waiting for things to go wrong. And then when they did, I’d be dreading the worse.

By the way, how absurd is Facebook’s new feature - ‘it’s been a great year thanks for being a part of it’, which I believe is very popular. Unfathomable. 
It would be flippant to say that 2014 was the worst year of my life. I dare not say that. Let’s just say it was terribly hard.  

And I do get those… look at the glass half full, count your blessings, it’s the darkest before dawn, etcetera. I fought to find some good amid so much bad. Which I did. And thus survived. As I save this final draft, there’s news about the Air Asia debris being discovered.

My glass is half full. Being healthy, being loved and knowing people I love and care for are healthy and happy, and getting to watch walter white and jesse after a somewhat fulfilling day at work, make it more than half full I think. Touché.
2015 will have to be about living, about being easy and fun and about making things possible. Just surviving won’t cut it.

Huffington Post says, life is meant to be abundant and limitless, we create scarcity of hope and ambition by believing in it. Life is supposed to be easy and overflowing with good moments.
If life is a constant struggle, you're running on empty and you dread Mondays, it's time to take an honest look at your life -- in a loving way.
Trite. But right. Because it’s the new year’s eve, let’s go with it, shall we?

Three of my several plans/resolutions for the new year – mind my own business and have as much fun as I possibly can. Every. Single. Day.
Set weekly goals.
And people pleasing efforts be damned. Thank you. 

Two O One Five, I am ready whenever you are.

Friday, October 17, 2014

I suppose we'd better discuss this. Relationship 101 or not.

goa it is
So, the man and I celebrated ten years together [of having first met each other and deciding on being together]. And a ten-year anniversary calls for an epic something, and that’s what we attempted to do in a not so original way, by flying off to the beachside, reminiscing times good and bad over things Russian, Brazilian and a year’s supply of omega3 fatty acids. Five lovely days. I also, unbeknownst to the man, spent plenty time thinking about us [BUT OF COURSE], about happier and sadder couples [BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT YOU DO ON AN ANNIVERSARY, NON?], about things that could have turned out differently; I was taking stock, with many, many notes-to-self, which I will now blog and record it for posterity. This is my 9th edit. So here goes my RELATIONSHIP 101 or not. 
Nothing prepares you for this. Not Rachel McAdams. Not Shonda Rhimes.
Leap of faith. Whole lot of it.
Niceness is important and sometimes the lack there of. [Don’t ask]
Not taking the business of couple-dom seriously. [Yes seriously]
Being generous, being giving, etcetera. If not, tweak, tweak and tweak.    
Being 100 per cent honest and expecting 100 per cent honesty. Else, end-of-story right? And if it ain’t the end, make it the greatest beginning. One. Last. Beginning.
Indifference. Know when to be indifferent. [A game changer]
I will mind my own business. Repeat after me. I will mind my own business.
Love was born in a bright and shiny Hallmark store.
And ‘loving, caring and sharing’ was birthed at Miss Universe Inc.
You are the center of your universe. Quite like he is in his.
Yet you and him are a team. This is whole team business is incredibly hard, but totally worth it.
Everything is better with a little bit of air. So spending plenty time outdoors, together and solo.

Finally, a happy woman in love once said… nothing. [i wish it did, but this isn't going to work, not now, not ever].
And, and, and, if you seek drama, you will find drama.TM  
We don’t want drama, non? 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Kilimanjaro Girl

 We learnt to cycle around the same time. She, a few weeks earlier. And by the time I managed to comfortably get to the seat and pedal, she could double carry her sister. I remember the evening I met her, at her neighbour’s. The first thing she told me was, “oh I have the same skirt; maybe we should wear it on the same day someday.” It was yellow polka dotted skirt with a matching top that had a little bow.

We went to school together, she was my best friend through grades 3, 4 and 5. We got our barbies married and then graduated to paper dolls. Those three years were pretty packed. Under a shaky mulberry tree, we would discuss menus for the aforementioned weddings and what we wanted to be when we grew up. While I would settle for anything ranging from an airhostess to a forensic expert; she was set on being an army doctor, because she would say, her father was in the army and mother a doctor, and hence, wouldn’t like either of them feeling shortchanged. At age 9, it totally made sense.

Endless hours of house-house later we would be mostly quiet. Pretend accents and impromptu adult dialogues can be very exhausting. The town we lived in hadn’t seen a coke or its variant yet. Newspapers were a weekly feature. Every Sunday, we would get the last 7 days newspapers. [If you are curious about the town, it’s Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh, though I doubt its googlability. During the rainy months [9 months a year], it would be cut off from rest of the state and the world.] Yeah so we made do with chilled glasses of kissan orange squash. Deep orange in colour and deeply satisfying. 

She was my first introduction to the cool. Cool in the form of luncheon meat. It was lunchtime. We decided to not go too far into the playground with our lunchboxes. We sat on the edge, where we could discuss grades, the importance of good handwriting and how unimportant boys were; and then she opened her lunch box. I am yet to taste a better sausage. That with some sticky rice, and salad. The perfect lunchbox that I often think about.

We were hardly adventurers but there's this absolutely random thing we did once. On a Diwali night, we overdozed on a certain sweet made with cashews, pistachios and sugar. We just couldn’t stop. Finally, after we could no longer move from our chairs, she looked at me all wide eyed and asked me to stay still, said she was sure the sweets had drugs and our parents would soon find out what we had done and it would all be over for us. The tale of two girls who had ODed on suspicious diwali sweets, disowned by families and friends roamed cities in search of the very sweets that took them down. Noooo, we shook our heads that can’t be our story. I am happy to report, it wasn’t.
I remember that moment when we started whispering our borrowed knowledge of periods, breasts and boys. She had an older sister who made us paper dolls and would sometimes would offer sage advice. Wide-eyed, hushed voices, followed by nervous giggle; that was our first real adult conversation. Nine seemed the right age to have that kind of a conversation, especially when done wearing faux-sarees and sitting crossed leg.

And then we moved to different cities. And because it was way before Facebook, we wrote letters. We spent a few birthdays together, eating too much cake, talking too much, listening too little and watching Steffi Graf play Monica Seles. She was a Steffi fan. I was not.

Soon after we got busy with our new lives, newer friends, entrance exams and then jobs. Then I found her on Facebook, spoke a little at first, almost shy, without any idea what to say to each other. And then we spoke about lives, paper dolls, jobs, men and that mulberry tree. She grew up to be a beautiful elegant woman living a very wholesome full life that we often see on pinterest. An experience-rich life. We never got around discussing pinterest. We should have.

She supported Amnesty, baked strawberry sour cream cake, traveled far and wide and climbed the Kilimanjaro, living a very full life. And then she left.

Soon after her climb, which she did as a part of amnesty challenge, I remember telling her how while she was busy doing something as life changing as this, I was busy living a very pedestrian life, chasing the unremarkable and being bothered by things that are trivial. She said we should be more. I told her I want to work towards my very own Mt. Kilimanjaro.

She lived. And she lived it really well.  

I often think of her, picture her in my mind. Not like how she looked on her Facebook albums or atop Mt. Kilimanjaro. I try to think of her in that yellow polka dotted skirt, smiling with her eyes.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

bangalore: weather very fine, rains all the time, trees very green, pollen very mean, people very good, traffic very rude, maids very lazy, only English everybody

i bought gumboots, not yellow ones though, just after having spent a week in bangalore. we moved here in august. and it rained every evening. sometimes all day long. but on most days right when you check your outlook for one last time, shutdown, drink some water and reach for your bag to leave office for the day. and it pours particularly bad on the days you have washed your heaviest bedspread. or on the days when you forgot to get the almost-dry pair of jeans inside before you left for work. september was equally wet. i can't make pickles. but those who do, would find it exceedingly difficult to make any here. i dream of sunny mornings and hot afternoons, a little heat wave even.

but surprisingly it's never humid. not at all. which brings me to the weather of bangalore. it's splendid. making it very difficult to get out of the bed. or move from whatever position you are in right now. it's the closest one can get to the hill-station holiday weather while making a living. and the trees have a huge role to play in the whole hill-station feeling. 

oh. the. trees. they are big. they are green. they are dense. and they are everywhere. like everywhere. having spent my first 17 years in the north-east and andamans, i am not new to trees. but trees of bangalore like people of new york[from what i read] are truly something. extraordinary. it's impossible to imagine the streets here bereft of them.

but trees have flowers and flowers have pollen. i haven't had a problem yet [knock on the wood]. but i have heard pollen horror stories. from what i hear, the coming winter months will be bad. but so far nothing to report. perhaps upping the vitamin c in my diet would be a wise thing to do. people have advised several such home precautions.

people here are nice. they are just there. they are not on your face, which is very nice and which also means i have no opinion on them. they are polite when you talk to them, else they will just go about their business. they don't try to be your friend on the first meeting, or on the third or fifth. which isn't saying they are indifferent. they let you be, and you should let them be.

and people come in cars. busses. and autos. and on bikes.

the city stops breathing between 9am and 10.30am and again from 6pm to 9pm 10 pm. the calm, smiling polite people of bangalore turn into some sort of soldiers. angry, bitter soldiers who have lost their everything. but they rarely scream. they keep moving ahead with hope and not much else at 20kmph. it's jammed 7 days a week. the 5 day traffic rule doesn't apply here.

but there's something else that's very unruly - the world of domestic help. they are spoilt. and they don't care. and they are awfully lazy. while having a maid is a luxury, and very often i am left wondering if i would be better off doing it all myself. i laugh at this preposterous idea and continue to have her come 1.5hrs late on most mornings, listen to her tales of absence -  a runaway sister [she is 19 and ran away because her mother wouldn't let her play :-O], an alcoholic husband who beats her up if she turns up for work, and a daughter who insists her plaits be tied in a certain way hence leading to a 1.5hrs delay. go figure.

also, what i took time to comprehend and what i am still getting used to is the fact that everyone here speaks english. everyone. when speaking to shopkeepers, waiters in restaurants, flower vendors, newspaper boys etcetera, i usually break into polite hindi, and i have always had this notion that speaking in english would be considered rude even. not here. while people do understand hindi, english is the language they prefer. i know it's horrible and doesn't say much about us, but we do tend to associate the knowledge of english with they way people dress up or look. and i have been guilty of that. but i have learnt my lesson on many more occasions than one. so stereotypes be gone.