32

Saturday drinks: Unpause

I stopped drinking on Saturdays on 19th December 2009. I have maintained not having any alcohol on Saturdays from 12 am to 11.59 pm until 8th November 2014. Almost 5 years, wow! Do you have any idea how many people found it disturbing, revolting, downright insulting that I did not drink on Saturdays? They are beaten only by the number of people who feel all those things when they get to know that I do not eat meat. Imagine the situation when those people combine into same people. *Shudder*

Let me tell you why. This a looooong boring story and feel free to not read it. Ignore the mistakes, it is too long to proofread.

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It was July 2009 when I was a fresh graduate and had received my admit to Grad School in San Diego. Those days, school groups on Orkut were used to figure out everything. I responded to a post by a girl, N who was looking for roommates. She called me up, we spoke and we got along reasonably well. She informed me that a guy Y had contacted her on behalf of this girl Malika. I am mentioning her name cuz she is the central character in this whole story. And just M will not do justice to Her Highness. And then, N informed me about Kals, who was a Mumbai TamBrahm girl. A point to mention, Malika, N and Y were from Delhi/Faridabad. Y was Malika’s classmate and was already here since three semesters earlier. I am going to digress here, and tell about Y and Malika. Malika was a pretty Punjabi girl who knew she was beautiful and popular. You get the gist. I don’t think I need to explain anymore about her 😛 Now Y liked her since their college days. Malika knew what she wanted and inspite of getting better schools, she knew she would have it easy and would have a lap dog here to do her bidding. So she chose this school. So that’s how we all met and reached San Diego together. S joined us around a month later and we were 5 roommates in an apartment. Decent enough.

Meanwhile, Y rented a car, and took us grocery and household shopping, with a li’l bit of sightseeing thrown in. So, it was basically 4 girls and Y going everywhere together. At the cost of sounding immodest here, I am going to say, I am not a bad looker. And I am goofy(not intentionally). And I have been told I am very funny. So, unintentionally, I was making Y laugh a lot. Malika also bonded with me more than others initially. She was alright with N but wasn’t as much with Kals to the extent of making fun of Kals and her Tam Brahm habits. She would call me Bachcha, sweetie, babie, honey and those stereotypical things that no girl has called me ever, and what I shall not call a gal pal. Me and my group are the ‘b*tch, sl*t’ sort of people. I find the supersweet names very fake. But anyways, I went along with it.

After a few days, Malika said something to the effect of Y having a crush on me. She said it and gave a laugh. I downplayed it completely and told her how Y calls me his baby sis. After that, there were a couple of times that Y showered me with attention and there were instances where Malika said I was looking very nice and if I was getting ready for Y. I could smell some jealousy building up right there. Then, she started bonding with Kals more. This was all within a month of reaching SD and school starting. Kals, Y and Malika would hang out ALL THE TIME. They ignored N and I totally. After S joined us, it became even worse. But it wasn’t even the beginning of the real bullying drama.

There was some festival and I had cooked sooji ka halwa for everyone. I had saved some halwa in the kadhai and kept it for Malika and Kals. They came, but ignored it and went into their rooms. I trashed the hardened up halwa after a day and washed the pan. Then 3-4 days later, I got a call from Kals screaming on the phone to come home right away. Me and N walked back to school to see what was wrong. She was sitting inside with Malika and Y and clutching her foot. She started yelling at me that she fell down in the shower/tub because my hair were in the tub. I was stunned at her accusation because I knew it was completely untrue. Both Malika and Kals were simply screaming at me. I told them that I was sorry if I made a mistake, and I was learning cleaning and being tidy and all, since even I had never worked to keep a house clean ever before. They started cross questioning me on a lot of things. Then Malika went to the kitchen and got the pan out showing me tiny speck of the hardened halwa on the underrim. I went totally red in the face. Y piped in that he was the ‘Guarantor’ of the lease on the house and could get me thrown out. I kept repeating sorry, and eventually broke down because I am not made to take 3 people screaming at me and bullying me. A few more such incidents happened at home where for a couple of days Malika would be nice to me and then suddenly would return to her bullying avatar. Eventually we separated out our utensil use and duties and food, and started living like two groups. Kals and Malika together and N, S and I. I was living under the spotlight having been told by Y that one mistake, and he would throw me out. Point to note: He was not living with us.

A couple of months later in November, Kals started warming up to S and me. She started talking to us again since Malika would spend all her time with Y in college or library or at his place. I guess she was feeling left out. Then she confided in us, how Y would come and stay in the room till late night till 3-4 am and she would feel uncomfortable with him being there. We all gathered in her room and Kals told Malika the same thing. Malika responded to all this by saying that Y said, he is not going to step into the house anymore and called us ungrateful explicit names. Plus, Malika said that she would rather not have boys stepping into the home anymore. This was said also because a couple of my friends had come over once or twice in the evening. This all sounds very weird, I know, but well. We all agreed. But it turned into huge dramas a couple of times, where I was targeted for the stupidest things and eventually, it was Kals, me, S being separate with N being the only one who would still talk to Malika. Kals apologized to me for all the accusations in the beginning of the semester and thanked me for supporting her when she had a problem. Now we are good friends.

We finished our finals in December. My last exam was on 19th December. N was home with Kals and S. They generally were homebodies and I would be out the whole time with this group of boys who had become very good friends with me. We decided to drink by the pool in their apartment complex. It was bang opposite my complex and the guys were very trustworthy. We started celebrating the end of the finals with a lot of drinking. By the end of it, at around 3 am I was on the verge of passing out. So I wanted to go back home. They came with me to drop me at my place. I opened the door somehow and stumbled inside. The restroom was directly at the door and I told them to wait while I went in to pee. I am not sure why I told them to wait. 😀 I got back and said bye to them, and closed the door. N was watching some movie and was awake. Kals and S were asleep and Malika was in her room. While lying down, I hit my head against the wall. I am quite prone to do it, drunk or not. Yes, I am that stupid. She got all alarmed(she did not drink and was into a lot of God and meditation kind of stuff. Also, I need to mention, in my opinion, she wasn’t the smartest creature and not entirely all there. I just plainly want to call her an idiot). There was absolutely no need for her to react because I had already dozed off. But she did, and woke up Malika of all the people. OF ALL THE PEOPLE.

Next morning, I was shaken awake by Kals and S and N and they told me that Y and Malika are threatening to call cops because I came home drunk. I was stunned! I told them, if cops responded to that, half of the American population would be arrested! Charged for what? Drinking legally?? Ugghhh. Y and Malika created this huge scene where he called me on the phone, threatened to get me arrested, thrown out, being deported, calling my parents and telling them about my character, etc etc. Because I came home drunk. This all got too much to handle and Kals, S and I went to the apartment manager to find out about this whole ‘Guarantor’ of the lease business. She said there was no ‘guarantor’ and it did not work like that. That was a huge relief. He came over at noon to yell at me again and there we told him, that if he wants to, he can go ahead and take away his guarantee and we told him to come to the manager right away. He stomped off with Malika hissing instructions in his ear. In all this process, that girl did not talk to me directly.

At night, Y gave me a call and I was sitting in my friends’ house. He told me to come down and he wanted to talk to me. He was shouting into the phones and abusing me left, right and center. My three guy friends came down with me, and saw that Y got this guy with him. Y just came over and was about to hit me, when my friends all came right in front of him. The guy held Y back and said Malika is his cousin and he is concerned and he has police cases against him, blah blah. I spoke with a dead calm to him and reasoned things with him. I think that made him feel very stupid about the entire issue and he told Y to leave the girls alone. It is another story that that Gunda tried asking me out eventually. *Rolling eyes*

Anyways, things went really downhill from there. My dad studies astrology as a hobby and I knew that my Saturn phase(SaadeSaati) had begun in September. He had told my mom that I was going to have trouble and he was worried. This whole issue began in the first week of September. I was so fed up of this whole Malika and Y business that I just decided that I won’t drink on Saturdays anymore. Things simmered down eventually and after our lease ended in July, we went on separate ways. As time went by, Malika got all her assignments done from Y and then dropped him like a hot potato after the classes were done. He moved to the Bay area, later on. Blahh.

So, well yeah. Since, unfortunately, most events and parties are on Saturdays, it felt weird. I could not tell the reason to anyone. I would simply say that it is a religious reason and move on. But now I decided that I want to drink again. My last phase of Saade Saati is remaining and began on 3rd November and I consulted my dad if it is okay to drink on Saturdays again. He told me how he enjoys his scotch only on Saturdays and there was no reason for me to stop in the first place. He called me overly-superstitious. Geesh.

PS : This whole girl drama is how my first year went in the USA.

ETA: I need to add this here. I hate confrontations. Due to previous experiences being bullied, I am extremely timid. Now I have developed a strength and I use sarcasm as a weapon. But that time was harrowing for me. Harsh memories full of tears and worries.

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18

Stalkerazzi

How many of you have spent a good amount of time stalking someone on Facebook and jumping through their friend’s sister’s cousin’s dog’s neighbor’s profile? *Raising my hand ashamed*

I wrote the following frivolous poem dedicated to the xBF’s social media profiles. This is a joke. Or maybe not. Haha, got you. It is a joke. I promise!

What I have written here, is more like lyrics. While writing this, I was sort of singing/rapping it to myself. But since I am not really a songwriter or a musician, I cant explain it well. Just read it out in Iggy Azalea’s style.

*——————————————–*

I am gonna check,
Who you become friends with.
Is it something real?
Or in my head, a myth.

I am going to ask around,
What you are upto.
I will hover around you invisibly,
Find out who you speak to.

Friending you on Facebook,
Who’s that new girl?
Liking your picture,
Who’s that new girl?

‘Unfollow’ me on Instagram,
Don’t talk anymore to me,
Don’t ping when I’m online,
But that wont stop me.

I will still see your pictures,
Follow every comment,
Stalk your every move,
With nothing to repent.

Writing that comment,
Who’s that new girl?
Wishing you on your birthday,
Who’s that new girl?

Being your stalkerazzi,
Makes me look so small.
But I would rather do this,
Than not know you at all!

Stop cribbing about it,
Just deal with this crazy.
I will tell you how to,
Trust me, its easy.

Don’t say anything,
To that new girl,
We don’t quite like her,
Oh that new girl.

16

Of Sangrias, games and small joys.

Aah, what a satisfying weekend that was!

I went to San Diego this weekend. Instead of staying with Abhi-Nish, I decided to stay with my girls K and S. K and I were throwing Abhi-Nish a combined Bachelor, Bachelorette, pre-wedding party all in one. We had to do arrangements for that and basically just wanted to hang out together. We went to Party City and picked out the mandatory hat, tiara, veil, and these huge shiny bride and groom badges. We had some sumptuous Indian chaat food after and appropriate booze was bought for the night. We reached home and went through 2 bottles of some good old Sangria. It is a sign that you are indeed turning old, when after drinking, instead of being rambunctious, you end up being drowsy and turning in for the night. Yep. I would like to blame my early office hours, thank you very much.

S said she will sleep in her guy roomies’ room and K and I could have her bed. Her boy is away on an India trip. But we insisted for her to stay and ended up sleeping horizontally on her queen bed. It was like sleeping with cousins. You don’t care how you sleep, but just want to be together.

Saturday dawned bright and early. As early as it can be at 10 am. We made some eggs and tea and had a long chat about the issues that the girls were having at home. Listening to what kind of relation they have with their parents, makes me want to go and give my parents a tight hug. I hope they eventually have the same comfort level with their parents like what I have with mine. I cant imagine it any other way.

We had movie plans before the party. The three of us went to see Interstellar. It was a brilliant movie, but the last 30-40 minutes went on a tangent. I got so confused by the end that I had to read up the story on Wikipedia. Although I already knew the story because of this jerk who posted the entire story on his FB status under the guise of a review. It was the damn whole story and not a dot of review! And I ended up reading the whole thing. I am also a total tool.

Anyhoo, I loved the movie. The graphics, were so insanely real. Nolan’s movies are magical that ways. We came out of the theater and we felt so woozy. It was like the world seemed different. I call that an impact, which I haven’t experienced since quite some time with movies.

After that we reached Dave & Buster’s where we had all gathered for the bride and groom to arrive. I had mentioned the time on the e-vite a gazillion times, and most people made it on time more or less. A few people were sorta busy but they did drop in even if it was for a short while which was pretty amazing. Some food was had, drinks were downed and we proceeded to enjoy some game time. At the cost of sounding immodest, you are looking at the champ of dropping coins in the coin-pushing-ticket-winning-game-thingy. Like this picture I googled, below.

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We collected our tickets and Abhi-Nish got us all shot glasses to remember the fun night we had. We dropped by into the photobooth for some awkward and confused picture taking. 😀 But the end result was quite good! Although it picked out a ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ template for our pictures. Well, pretending to be in Vegas is as good as being there.

Since they both will be in India till the day I leave for India, and we will not meet each other till Feb, we met up for lunch again on Sunday. I had Dosa after such a long time! It was so yummy. If you are in San Diego, do go to Chennai Tiffins some time. Their filter coffee is very good and so are their chutneys.

I really really hope they have an amazing wedding and everything goes by smoothly(#kalatikka). Such happiness is hard to come by and I wish they have every bit of it and are buried in sugar coated pink marshmallows of happiness.

I left for home after that. On a total whim, I decided to stop by at an outlet mall just a li’l north of SD and ended up beginning my holiday shopping. For me. Yay for that. I was supposed to look for stuff for parents for my upcoming India trip. The only thing I have bought is a jacket for Dad. Mom’s shopping is trickier. The woman is as fickle minded as-well, me. So, I walked into Banana Republic and saw that they had 50% off on tops, pants and some dresses were on a 70% off. I don’t usually glance there because even with that discount the dresses are $100 upwards. But somehow I snagged one at a decent price. Plus, I got sucked into signing up for their credit card which gave me another 10 bucks off. Such joy.

So, all in all, it was a great weekend. The holiday season is coming up, and hoping to have many more similar ones. 😀

P.S. I shall be in India from 26th Dec to 23rd Jan. I will be unavailable on a few days in between, but do give a shout out if in Pune around that time.

21

Dollars for a cause or for profits?

I was at the Grocery store last night. A big chain. So, I was at the counter, quietly watching the cashier total my bill up. She handed it to me while I was just about to swipe my credit card, and then it happened. “Would you like to donate for our Children *insert generic disease* awareness program?” I looked down at my fingernails and mumbled a ‘No’ and swiped my card. The Cashier’s smile faltered a bit when she wished me good night. I face this guilt all the time. If I start donating a $ every time I go into a store that has such charities, I am going to be out of literally a 100 bucks a month because almost every store has something or the other.

These stores are very profitable businesses. They play up their being involved in charities with huge marketing strategies and aplomb. What is the point in taking money from customers and donating? If you want to do it, pay from your profits! I do not understand how and when did they turn their involvement with charities into such a big marketing and business ploy. I have read plenty of reports saying how they are earning big profits in the name of donations. This is not OK! Mind you, I do charities. But I prefer putting money directly into research centers where diseases are involved, or blind schools or animal shelters. Somewhere, where the money directly reaches where it should, and not through the big capitalist organizations. I do not want to give them their non-profit tax cuts and extra profits.

Last year, I got very involved with one of the 5k runs that supports Bre*st Cancer awareness. I organized a company fundraiser where we grilled burgers in the premises and raised about a $1000. Yet, I wasn’t particularly happy with what I was doing. The xBF’s cousin works with Elle magazine where she is the Bre*st Cancer month’s program manager. They organize shopping events and such things in October and advertise wearing pink to work. The more I looked at it, the more I wonder. How is wearing pink and shopping going to raise awareness for bre*st cancer. This is strictly my opinion, but funds are needed for research at college level for cancer. But actual funds reaching after all this hoopla is very very less. Most of it ends up going into campaigns, flyers, promotions, and into the manpower. Last year I asked some of the people involved with the Elle pink campaign or who bought exclusively pink products in October or wore the color on the designated date about how they have translated these campaigns to benefit their lives. 1 out of 8 girls has ever gotten a gynaec exam, and none of them have gotten a mammogram done. That 1 girl was 34 and had a baby. Just saying.

What sins have lungs, thyroid, prostrate(insanely common) committed that their cancers are not marketed as well? Skin Cancer is a huge, big deal! Tell me honestly, how many of you wear sunscreens religiously? Also, tell me how many of you have never scoffed at a person rubbing sunscreen on themselves, saying something like, “please, tanning is not that bad…”? Tell honestly! Why don’t we see yellow(skin colored?) ribbons popping up everywhere? Skin Cancer is highly preventable! Yet, we are lacking major awareness and seriousness here. It is as serious as breast cancer by the way, and I have seen my neighbor’s ageing father die from it. He was a farmer in his younger days, and his end was very painful. It was unbearable to even see him in his last few days. My grandfather passed away because of prostate cancer. He was slipping in and out of coma in his last three days, was in extreme pain and getting amnesia. It was extremely sad. I read that they used to market bre*st cancer awareness as making it a ‘preventable disease’. Now they have changed it to ‘early detection’.

Is this because bre*sts are more attractive? Is this because it gives a feminist side to marketing? Does the whole pink vibe give it a chic edge and gets elites and corporates to look good? I have done some research on the whole pink-ness of big corporations and here is what I have come up with. Many cosmetic giants sell special pink products, which are known to have hormone altering products and known carcinogens. They say it is ‘just a little bit’. But, seriously?

A company sells pink paper clips to raise awareness. But does not donate. How are paper clips involved with b**bies? Please enlighten me. An alcohol company decided to sell pink margherita for awareness. Alcohol. Cancer. Liver can go eat shit. A fast food chain is serving a 2000 calorie appetizer in a pink bucket. How cute. Ooh, buy a $125 compact powder in a pink case and the company will donate 20% of it to a 100,000 dollar cap. Even if it sells pink products worth a million dollar profit. You guys do the math.

Do you rememebr the ALS bucket challenge? It had reached a crazy level where shrieking people were dunking buckets on themselves. California is going through a huge 3 year drought. I have not seen rains in a looooong time. The water situation in India, well, is at a point that the more we save, the lesser it will be. How much sense does it make to waste buckets of water over that? People were putting videos up without donations. I would rather take my daily shower with the tap turned to the coldest level and donate some bucks.

I feel sort of pessimistic and a party pooper here. My beef is not with charities and donations. My problem is that the money is going into campaigns and marketings and flyers and pretty pink stuff instead of going to schools, labs, research institutes. Another area that the money must go is to support the low income groups with diseases. Please do your research well. It is extremely important to raise funds for health research, but it is equally important to understand as consumers and donors to draw a line between clever marketing and genuine campaigns. Don’t just go on a pink product buying spree. Think and act. But well, do act. Earlier this year I did a cycling session in a very famous gym event and raised a couple of 1000s. We had some good sponsors as well. The money went to the hospital’s ‘rare children’s disease’ research program directly and also to help kids admitted there. I will like to participate in that again. All the girls who have heard, read or in anyways come across pink campaigns, please do get yourself checked once in a year with a routine mammogram and pelvic exam. Let us use the awareness campaigns to our fullest extent. Guys, make sure you take care as well.

Janhit mein jaari! 😀 (Issued in public interest)

P.S. I succumbed to pressure this morning because of an overly smiling cashier. I am such a hypocrite.