Tuesday, November 29

This and that ..


This baby loves sweets and grease. It also loves chocolates and cakes and everything that is making me put on weight. I have graduated from looking like a cow to a whale now. I often wonder what animal it is going to be next. Anyway, the baby has a special liking for Ferro Rocher chocolates and makes me feel blue and dull if some sugar is not injected into the bloodstream ASAP. Of course, I hate chocolates and am the most health conscious person on earth. It’s all because of the baby. See, I am not like other typical moms that will say, “No, Bunty. No chocolates. Eat your salad. Now!”. I earnestly believe in empowerment of kids and all that.

At the prenatal classes I’ve signed up for, I’ve been asked to produce evidence of the baby’s crab-loving-chocolate-loving-behavior and every day I have to come up with something creative to camouflage the damning evidence that this baby has a sweet tooth. Like I have had to replace the double chocolate fudge that the baby insisted on eating last week with green salad  because I didn’t want people to faint on seeing the chart. You see, I hate fibbing, but have no choice now. The things I am having to do for this baby already !

I had a glucose tolerance test (to test the blood sugar) a few days back and am supposedly a prime candidate for diabetes, thanks to my slightly abnormal blood glucose levels. More needle-poking will follow to confirm the fact that the baby can’t eat sweets for the next three months.. Of course, I don’t mind. I am just sad that the baby will not get to eat its favourite food any longer. Poor thing! The last time I had a glucose tolerance test, I was sick of the number of times they poked and prodded me with the needle (six times technically in a span of three hours for the curious minded people). But it wasn’t that simple. The lab attendant couldn’t find my vein, so she actually ended up prodding me 15-20 times till my arms were blue. And she kept chatting away with an attendant friend of hers about how her in-laws ill treated her as she twisted the needle inside me. I really wanted to tell her at one point to stop the Ekta-kapoor-serial-type story and get on with the job. But secretly I must confess that I really enjoyed eavesdropping on that story. Good time pass, it was. So all that pain was actually worth it.

The incessant rains and dull, grey skies in this part of the world are getting on my nerves. The first few showers were a welcome break from the heat and I wanted to sing some song extolling the virtues of the rain and dance in a white dress like a heroine from a Tamil movie. But after almost three months of rains, slush, horrible bumpy roads, water stagnation and stinky clothes that just refuse to dry, I am plain tired of it all. The image of me singing and dancing(waddling rather) in the rain is frankly not that appealing either. Give me some sunshine NOW! Before I crack up.

And then, there are the shifting blues. I’ve hoarded so much stuff over the last few years , that our cleaning activity has been going on and on like some five-year plan. I swear I’ll puke if I see another plastic bag containing old broken cell phones, assorted papers and junk whose origins I am not privy to. The chap’s idea of shifting, of course, is simple. Call the packers- shove everything into boxes- shift the godamn stuff to the new house. I wish I could think like that and not be so anal by insisting on doing a SWOT analysis of every single item we have. Every time I have to throw something away, my heart just bleeds. How does one reconcile with parting of stuff one has lovingly hoarded over the years? I’ll send you a bunch of cupcakes, if you come up with something brilliant that will ease my heartache.

While on the subject of cupcakes, looks like the cup-cake fever has finally hit Chennai. I bugged the chap to take me to a hip-looking shop called” The Cupcake factory” last week.The sign looked super cute and I had to check it out. Only when we went into the 50sqft space, did we realize that the sign was just meant to lure unsuspecting-middle-class-languishing-in-mid-life-crisis people like us.One look at the prices and I was about to faint.The chap wasn’t doing too good either. But then, there were other “young” things around,  buying cakes by the dozen, so we decided to buy a token cupcake each and bitch about the place later.There is only so much unhip-ness one can exhibit while in the company of young-uns , and leaving a shop after looking at the price list is just epitome of uncool-ness. Thank God, we are not completely uncle-aunty-fied yet. But can somebody please tell me why a medium-sized cupcake with some frosting spread on top and a chunk of what tasted like strawberry jam inside should cost 100 bucks? No… seriously I would love to know.

Oh, have a nice week everyone and somebody please make the rains go away.. More cupcakes for the one that manages that feat :-)

Tuesday, November 22

A little bit of fun..

....makes a whole load of difference. Watch this video -I am sure you'll be smiling at the end of it.




Fun theory is an initiative by Volkswagen.You can read about it and catch more such videos at www.funtheory.com.Have you seen the Coca Cola Fun machine and Happiness truck videos? No? Here you go ..






Smart of corporates to harp on the "happiness" and "fun" quotient and delight the customers. The world definitely could do with an extra dollop of fun. What say?

Saturday, November 19

Ramsay brothers, you did this to me..



" Erica Marshall of muddyboots.org "

 When I was growing up, the Zee horror show was the ultimate in spooky entertainment. I waited every week (Friday nights, I think) with bated breath for badly costumed bhooths and anemic chudails with tomato sauce dripping from their chins (blood, blood!) to give me sleepless nights. Every episode had the same clippings and sound effects of thunder, cats mewing, evil laugh echoing and other cliché horror elements woven into a new story.  It scared me senseless, nevertheless. Thanks to the contributions of the Ramsay brothers (who made crappy amateur Hindi horror movies and serials), I have become a scaredy cat for life. 

Don’t you guys think that mirrors are spooky? I do! I do! Someone once told me that if one chanted “Bloody Mary” three times staring into a mirror without electricity/lights, one would be haunted for life. Well, ever since I’ve heard of this one, I can’t get into a bathroom “alone” without the words “Bloody Mary” flashing in my brain. I tell my monkey brain to stop saying those words, but it refuses to oblige. I always make a hasty retreat before I say the third Bloody Mary, so I still haven’t come face to face with a spirit yet.  

People fantasize about all kinds of things... My ultimate fantasy is to meet a spirit through an Oujja board.  Every time a cousin and I meet, we talk about getting a board and getting pally with some spirit, but again I don’t have the guts to really do it. I am all talk only.  

To top all this, the chap has devised several methods to terrorize me. Whenever he wants to pick on me , he’ll take me on a “Haunted houses tour”. Every single stop on this tour has some obscenely ghastly story associated with it. I really don’t know how he’s become a connoisseur of local haunted house stories, but he does a damn neat tour. Every time, he’ll make “Ooooohhh Ooooohhh” sounds when he tells me the story of the house (for the 100th time) , and every time I still pee in my pants. If you are in Chennai, give us a buzz, we’ll gladly sign you up for a free Haunted houses tour. 

I totally hate it when someone raps on the window and makes ghost-like noises at night - which is what the chap did a few months back. I was blissfully dozing off (after seeing some Final Destination type movie)and suddenly I hear a noise. 

 Knock Kock.Oooohhh..B?

Now , I don’t know which ghost calls out to their victims like that , but I freaked out and screamed. 

I wake my mom up and tell her that there was “Something…some creature” outside. She in turn wakes up the dad and tells him that there was “Some robber outside”. Armed with a stick, the dad opens the door to find a sheepishly grinning hubby. “I just wanted to say Hi,” he says. Abba, what man I got married to? Oh!did I mention that it was 1:00AM, when ghosts normally prowl the streets?

Have you noticed how scary it is to pretend to sleep when there are ghost-shaped clothes hanging all around you? Torture ! I hate long flowing apparel especially- they create the scariest shadows. You believe in ghosts? No? No? Seriously? Think again?

Anyway..what are your favorite horror/ spooky flicks? Mine are : The Omen(original), Nightmare on Elm street, a vague movie called "The ghost house", The Evil dead , Final Destination (all four parts) ,The Ring... Gosh,I have a whole load of favorites! You have any recommendations?

Wait a sec... Someone’s tapping me on my shoulder. Ooooohhhh…

Monday, November 14

Of sizes and random tantrums



This post is going to be about weight and size and  pregnancy hormones and all those vain things pregnant women are not supposed to crib about.It also contains mildly inflammatory feminist sentiments,which some men might find disturbing. Well, grab an extra buttery muffin ,you'll be just fine in a bit.

For someone who has  languished in  an "XS"  size for a substantial period of time, I've come a long way. I distinctly remember wanting to do nothing with the "XS" tag back when I was one and was truly ecstatic when I hit the "M" mark. Random aunties who had routinely bombarded me with " How will you ever get married if you are so skinny?" suddenly started seeing me in a new light. As if the sole purpose of my existence was to  strive to become an "M" for the sake of  getting married to some guy who I barely knew. Its a different thing that the guy could be "XS"  or even an "XXXXS" and still be considered a "catch". Because a man is a man and therefore above such trivial things.  

Anyway,the years just galloped by and one fine day I woke up being too small for my "M" clothes. Many Meena Kumari-acts followed , but I was refused re-entry back at the golden gates of "M". I drowned my sorrows in  barrels of long island ice tea, and having seen so much trauma in life so early, I was ready for anything.
"XL biatch , bring it on.." was my war cry. 

Of course , I had no intention of becoming an "XL" in my lifetime. XL" happened to other people , not to me. I had superior "XS" genes, didn't I ? Now that I fondly (not) reminisce about those days ,I  realize how delusional I've been ,because now "XL" is so much a part and parcel of my existence.
*Meena Kumari-act* and stop mosquito coil. Cut to the present.
  
The other day I was in some random snobby clothing store to pick up some stuff. The  snooty attendant looked at me bitchily for a second trying to ascertain whether I was just plain heavy or pregnant-heavy. I glared back at her and shoved my tummy at her nose ( If you are one of those visual people, please don't take this statement literally). As if people needed to apologize to her highness for being plain heavy.

A second later, the girl smiled and blurted "How many months ,mam?" 

I mumbled something inaudibly and dilly-dallied when she asked me my size. Finally, having had enough of the "sour-pregnant-pain-in-the-arse-woman", the woman left me alone to languish in the aisles.

A few minutes later, another young thing appeared and asked, "How many months, mam?"

But this one was was an "XL" herself and I warmed immediately to her. For the next 15 minutes or so , the girl tried to amuse me by pulling out shiny-bright clothes with the sole purpose of bankrupting me.

Nothing seemed interesting and I flipped my phone and stared disinterestedly  like some kitty-party-conducting-society-wife.

 Finally,  I spotted something promising and pointed it to her. 

"But mam, that is an XL.Maybe you should be looking at an XXL, with your... ahem.. si..pregnancy," she said.
She meant  my "SIZE".  XXL and me?!

The world stopped spinning for a minute.

She had been showing me XXL stuff all along. And I thought she was my friend. I had even proffered my life history, and offered to spam the chap's inbox with her brother's CV , all in a fit of giddy sister-hood bonding .

 No, I wouldn't give in.

“XL will be fine," I said firmly.

The girl sighed and pulled out the same thing in XL.

But wait ! It wasn't the same pattern.

" I want that yellow design with the red piping and orange flowers, not purple flowers," I whined.  

Which they didn't have. A few more "patterns" that I liked weren't available in the right colours too.Then it sunk in that the choices one has  gets appallingly lesser as on progresses up the size radar.It just wasn't fair. Aren't large people entitled to their orange flowers? Why should we be pretend to be happy with purple flowers ?

Suddenly, my whole existence seemed pointless.
I  probably looked like I was on the verge of shedding  a couple of tears.

By now the girl was exasperated with my hormone-fueled demands and looked like she would do a Meena Kumari-act herself. She let out a huge sigh of relief when I announced that I was leaving.

Poor thing.

I did feel a little bad later about giving her such a nasty time.If only they had stocked that orange flower kurta, everyone would have been happy.I am sure the girl will never forget the orange flower kurta in her lifetime..At least  I  know I won't.


Thursday, November 10

WTH ?


Umm...




Of course, it is Bubble gum...

I want my childhood back! NOW! So that I can pester my parents to buy me all these new things candy manufacturers are coming up with. My parents had it easy - there was just one  brand of bubble gum , Big Fun (hard , chewy mass that came with some stupid cricket freebie which boys collected) when I was growing up. I look at the variety that kids these days have and I feel all whiny.

Yes, I want to officially cry.

Sunday, November 6

Sambhar-ism 101


Creative commons image

I am a Tamilian. Even if I try be something else, at times. Yeah, I know this is not really an intelligent statement by someone whose blog is littered with “aiyoos” and “chee thoos”, but I have never claimed to have inherited more than a couple of brain cells from the grand ancestors , so please humour me a little longer. 

Ok, where were we? Yeah, so having been reared on a staple of rasam and sambhar and curd rice for very many years, I have mildly depressive symptoms if I am kept off rice.  My enthusiastic “Wow.. Paneer and roti?!” can only last for a few days, before I start whining about how I am ready to be admitted into a hospital for having low rice-count in my blood. I'll start behaving like anniyan-Vikram and exhibit extremely anti-social and aggressive behavior.  

“Please inject some rice into my blood,” I’ll scream at the duty doctors, forcing them and several other patients in the ward to look at me with pity and mutter “Poor thing, last stages of addiction!”

Also , it is my humble opinion that during evolution, I have simbly lost the capacity to digest “fatty-ghee-dripping- non-southie food “ and have to seek solace in a bottle of  Eno even if I eat something mildly un-South-Indian for a single meal. It is a different thing that I’ll happily jog to Grand Sweets and stuff my face with their gazillion-calorie poli. That I can digest. Because it is loaded with all the goodness of ghee and coconut and all the things that polis are made of (which I don’t know because I’ve nevah , nevah had the patience to make it before) .   

Though I claim to be the citizen of the world and what not, I get a panic attack if I don’t hear “chee thoo” or “aiyoo” for more than three days. Yes, I’ve counted and hence the confidence. I am not really a “Raghu thaatha”* person, can at most times manage to say “Rahatha tha” without mildly embarrassing myself .I  can even conduct a decent conversation in Hindi (applause..), but I don’t think I can keep up the charade for more than five minutes. I just will blabber something that will brand me as the South-Indian that I am. At least, references to a Matunga maami or T-Nagar Ranganathan street will pop up once in the conversation, leaving no room for speculation about my origins. Also, during November-December, my feet itch so horribly, that I have to make my presence felt at the music sabhas.  Not to listen to  the extremely “Kanchivaram-ed”, “temple jewellery-ied” , “mallipoo-ed” damsels or the overly-nodding-the-head maamas singing Hamsadvani ragam , but to sample the awesome Sabha-fare. What, you haven’t been in Chennai during December? What a shame!

Let’s talk weather. What, blah? I won’t make inane conversation. God promise. Though I have ample insulation, thanks to the ducting I’ve collected around myself for several decades following “best practices in food ingesting”, I say “Wow.. its winter!” if the temperature drops below thirty degree Celsius. Thanks for asking, but according to me, “It is winter currently in Chennai”. When things reach horrifying proportions (read in December and January, when the temperature often reaches mid-twenties  ... SHUDDER!), I will bring out my moth-ball-smelling windcheater, pink sweater that  has a picture of some cartoon character ( a priceless possession that I’ve had  from the age twelve) , gloves (hideous purple colour with twenty holes), woolen socks (complementary grey Lufthansa fare) and monkey cap (brown on one side , depressing grey on the other) from the loft along with several kilos of cockroaches. I will happily wear them 24X7 till someone threatens to complain to the police that I am being a public nuisance by dressing up like a mummy(a stinking mummy at that) and scaring toddlers. My defense will be that one needs an occasion to wear fall-winter clothing, no? All you mommies in Chennai-you have another month to take precautionary measures, educate and warn your lov-hley kids about “The mummy-aunty”.

Yesh, I yam total Tamilian like that. 

So, even though I have many more million Tam quirks, I will stop because..

 a) I think I’ve already made my point with all my rambling. 

 b) You lov-hley peepals must have other work to do – blogs to stalk, meetings to sleep at, spouses to fight with, polis to make and so forth. 

 c) It’s really cool to list reasons as a-b-c (even if you have only one legitimate reason).I miss doing this a-b-c thing because I don’t prepare sub-standard credit reports for a living anymore. And this practice always makes one seem sophisticated and erudite and rational .Of course, one isn’t any of that.

*For people who are not aware of the legend of “Raghu Thatha”, I will currently elucidate. Raghu thatha  is  an extremely popular Tamil movie joke where a guy who is trying to woo a girl admits himself  into the Hindi class that the girl’s father teaches. Despite several scoldings and “ear-twistings”, the boy can never get himself to “Rahatha tha..” and keeps saying “Raghu thatha” (meaning Raghu’s  grandfather).  The girl’s father is exasperated and tears his hair in frustration at the appalling pronunciation of the boy. So, there it is- the legend of Raghu thatha for FREEE… 

** I have to deeply apologize to non-Indian readers who read this blog.You’ll probably  not understand the stuff I write here, because most of the references are extremely Indian. Sorry, I will hopefully write like a citizen of the world soon. 

Ok, then .Tata. Bye-bye. Alvida (Gasp!).

Friday, November 4

FREE,FREE,FREE...

There are just things one doesn't tell /show their parents, even if one is on the verge of becoming a model for some hair dye company , or worse still for a dental clinic that is advertising their leak-proof dentures.I have some more time until the dentures become a necessity, though, but am still eligible for the hair dye commercial auditions (My tresses are perfect for the before-after ads). After several decades of carefully withholding classified information from my folks and perfecting the art, I am sharing all the know-how(FREE FREE FREE) to  all the lov-hley peepals who read this blog . Yes,I am nice like that vonly. 

Rule no1 :  NEVER ever disclose the price of anything you shop for. Even if you earn  your own manicure-pedicure money. As a thumb rule, always tell them only 1/4 th of the price of the thing. Most parents don't get the idea of inflation.Actually this rule works extremely well husbands also.  Extra points if you hide/tear the bill in question,because you can then fib to your heart's content . My dad still thinks that a plate of idly costs 3 bucks. Everytime I tell him it doesn't, he almost convinces me that the restaurant fellows are capitalist pigs and that I over paid . No, actually most restaurant fellows are capitalist pigs, considering how they sell a fifteen-rupee MRP mineral water for forty bucks. Twenty bucks for letting the water experience the privilege of  sitting in their expensive fridge,huh? 

It is a different issue that when someone told me that their Diwali "new" dress cost 2000 bucks, I almost fainted. "Back in my days...",I started. Yes...definite signs of aunty-hood. Guilty as charged.


Rule no2: NEVER NEVER ever tell your mother about your haircut, especially if you've shed more than 1 inch .

My mother can smell the shortening of my hair  even in her sleep. She'll then go non-stop how I let my hair go to the dogs by abusing it as much as I can.She'll shed a few tears and call up my grandma and complain about how "Children these days don't listen to their mothers" perfectly ignoring the fact that I am an almost a senior citizen myself . Grandma will then ask me pointed questions about whether I use shikakai anymore and curse all the shampoo manufacturers in the world for corrupting her "little" grand-daughter. Oh, please hide the conditioner bottle while you are at it. The main cause of all horrible things happening in the world( like poverty, lack of world peace, global warming etc) is shampoo conditioner. Oh,you didn't know?

And any salon-related activity necessitating me spending more than ten bucks (eyebrow threading is ok, because that is within the budget) makes my mother hyperventilate. NEVER NEVER NEVER ever mention tattoos, pedicures,manicures,facials,spa treatmenst, belly-piercings etc because they are all EVIL(also causing poverty, lack of world peace, global warming etc). The only time mom really didn't have an issue with me doing something "unnatural" to my body was for my "getting-hitched" occasion. Too bad I can't get married every month because I want her to shed tears of happiness when I come home from the salon slightly presentable. Actually, that's an interesting thought , which if packaged well has immense potential :-)

Rule no3 : NEVER NEVER NEVER tell your mother (or woman above the age of fifty) that the dal  that you are serving her for lunch when she visits you is three days old.

Always bring out the dal container from the fridge before she comes home and place it on the gas stove (yeah , like you've just made it and  let it scream FRESH FRESH FRESH at her from all the new coriander leaves you've added just now). Because when you get married , you become a superwoman overnight (just like her) and are expected to  make fresh dal everyday and be of ultimate service to the husband and the man of the house.

Rule no 4: NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER let your mom inspect your clothes cupboard , pantry and contents of the fridge. 

Though I persevere and try to be as organized as possible , I never really am totally in the clear. If the bedroom cupboards are clean, the kitchen cupboards invariably are in a state of disarray that will make most people mildly giddy. And do hide those vodka bottles before she ferrets them out and looks at you like you are some raving alcoholic. It doesn't matter if you try to mumble something about the husband being the drunkard ,because to most mothers their son-in-laws are incorruptible , perfect and always correct. Yeah, life's like that only.

Rule no 5: NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER give your parents an indication that you do grown-up things. Like see naughty movies (mainly) where some amount of intimacy between the hero and heroine is warranted. Hand-holding is acceptable, smooching is Aiyoo, Chee thoo.

Because parents are used to seeing only flowers bumping into each other on screen when there is  development of any remotely objectionable form of affection between the pair (thanks to tamil movies- especially starring the pink-lipsticked Ramarajan). Always change the channel or say "Chee thoo.. the movies these days.What rubbish they show!" and you'll see them visibly relaxing. They'll also shed a few tears of joy that their child has not been corrupted by the vagaries of life. Please also hide any Silk Smitha/Lady Shakila cds that you have managed to hoard (even if it is for the sake of your overall education/development).

Okay, so hope you'll use my FREE FREE FREE tips and live happily ever after.

Tata .Bye-bye. Have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, November 2

Anna Centenary library to move..


My blood boiled when I read this. Yeah, The Anna Centenary Library(ACL) in Chennai, which is one of the best libraries in the country is being shifted to another site because the current local Government wants to convert the place into a  hospital. Though I am thrilled that the Government is trying to improve health-care in the city, I really can't fathom why the library has to move, when so much effort has already been put into making it perfect .I don't care whether this library is near the other two libraries mentioned in the news report. Connemara, the other large library in the city is a colossal apology to the the word library. The books are badly maintained ,with half of them sitting on the shelves with torn pages. I am not even going to talk about the seating facilities and the collection of books they have.

First , it  was the Secretariat's turn to get in the line of fire and get converted to a hospital , now this..

I've visited ACL a few times and loved it to bits..It's by far the best libraries I've ever had the privilege of visiting. Totally state of the art ,the book collection here is amazing. Every single important book that you can think of is there .. and everything is brand new ! It truly is a book-lover's paradise.Of course, the new library(wherever ACL  gets relocated) will have all the books too , but God alone knows when it will be operational .

Wonder how many more initiatives will get shelved/ changed and how much more of the tax-payer money will go down the drain in such unnecessary shuttling that is just aimed at satisfying political agendas.