5

Tax-exempted dreams

So the budget is out, and the good and the bad is being discussed and shredded by newspapers. There is the usual cacophony of screaming Arnub Goswami “You will not talk about income tax deductions when I am talking about Bharat Mata ki Jai!!!!!!!” and the Congress brouhaha where RG wants Suit-Boot ki sarkaar to reduce costs of dhoti, punctuated with Kejriwal’s whimpers for tax relief on cough medicines and naturopathy Resorts. Modiji will smile and announce that “Govt cares, we pinky-promise”, and our lives will go like always with literally zero changes.

I am upset with a lot of things. Like always. Yes, I want the farmers to progress and yes, I want food available readily and for that we need some sort of security. But I still really, really want some things to be done properly. I don’t currently live in India but I can’t help thinking of how it would be if I was or ow it should be if I were to move back.

Now if I could be all ditzy(like always) and  if I could ask for 5 sops, what would I want??
 

1. Tax free income :
I work really, really hard to make money. I have to pretend to sit at my desk while I pore over Pinterest and Stumbleupon and ahem, WordPress. I have to endure endless Starbucks Grandes just so that I can look like a normally functioning adult when these oldies have their endless meetings over something as mundane as how to save the company from folding over. And what do I get for that? A paycheck literally cut in half. Like, I don’t even…
 

2. Cheap drinks :
I am all about priorities. I am not happy with the costs of booze rising and the exorbitant taxes in pubs or nightclubs. I am not for harming my liver AND my wallet at the same time. One thing at a time. The more accessible booze is, the better my mood will be and better for the society it will be. I am less sarcastic, less angry and generally happy when drunk. Same goes for soda served in restaurants. What’s with a gazillion taxes? The kid in a non-descript village has not sacrificed his drinking water just to make me say no to soda because of the damn price. Do the kid a favor, and me too.
 

3. Cheap food :
A happy tummy is a happy life. My Michael Kors purse feels more and more stretched when I go to eat out. Why is the Finance ministry making eating out more expensive? Dal-Chawal at home is for losers. I just want to have my usual fare of Paneer Tikka, and Pasta Arabiatta and Margherita Italiana pizza without paying for sweeping the Indian streets. I mean, if I am not doing it, why should I pay to do it, that’s what that’s for, right?
 

4. Tax deduction for makeup and retail :
Our country needs to catch up with the rest of the world, globally and be a global giant on this globe. I totally support FDI and I am absolutely think it will help India reach places. I want Sephora to set up more shops. I want a Clinique counter in EVERY Big Bazar. I want Kat Von D and Too Faced and Nars easily accessible when I run out of my coral blush. I want to be able to run over to Victoria’s Secret when I am not in the mood for laundry. And trust me, we ALL need LuluLemon yoga pants in our lives. And what’s with having to fly abroad every time I need a new Coach handbag?
 

5. All wheel drive SUVs :
Have you seen the potholes on the roads??In USA, they call it offroading for adventure, in India we call it onroading. Another reason I refuse to pay for sweeping those potholed silly streets. I need a Jeep Cherokee in my life with an all-wheel drive, just to be able to safely go over to my office where I work so hard, without having to spend more money to soothe aching shoulders. Also, road trips! Wheee!

  
  
Siggghh, such hard life the Sonam Kapoors and Gwyneth Paltrows around us have…

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16

The 4th!

I think my blog would have been able to register for school safely had it been a human child and I would have been the overbearing, obsessed mother, calculating every percentile, including the rate of it’s bowel movement as compared to peers. 

Or if this blog were a boyfriend, this would have been the longest relationship I have had, unless you count the one with Johnny Depp in my head.

Or if this was a bottle of cough syrup in my medicine cabinet, it would have some very questionable effects by now. 

Or if it were…. Err, you catch the drift.

 

Thank you for helping me splash this riot of colors! Big hug to all of you for simply being there! And some sympathy for tolerating all of my semi-important posts.

Much love!! 

46

The dishwasher stage of life

I am scared of getting married, having kids and raising a family. It just stems from the fear of having added responsibility of keeping people alive and thriving. It terrifies me to think of the chaos my life will have in the next few years. Now why must I have it, because somewhere inside, I want to have it as well. I want to have a loving, caring support system that of course includes a couple of dogs too. The other thing that scares me is having to change a lot of my habits. It is a part of the chaos that unnerves me, where I will have to change my sleeping-waking up timings, shower schedule, food habits, even the way I do the dishes.

When I moved to USA, I saw the dishwasher for the first time in my life. We were not sure what to do with it. My roommate tried to use it and we ended up with a kitchen floor with soapy suds upto the ankles. Thankfully, I escaped the cleaning activities by being in the school library at that time. Anyways, she did not follow the instructions, and so it was her mess to clean, so I felt only a little bit guilty. Having never used or even seen it before in India, it still remained very mysterious and cumbersome to me.

I always found the dishwasher to be a strange piece of appliance. You were supposed to scrape off the leftovers, rinse, and again put everything in the dishwasher to clean. If I was doing half the work already, what will the dishwasher do?? I have trouble liking appliances that seem like doing only half the job. Plus, thanks to the soapy mess experience, I always felt that it was more trouble than worth it. Not to mention, the added electricity bill, for the poor student who had to count every dollar going out of her pocket, made it even worse. So how did we use the dishwasher? We used to wash and store the dishes, cooking pots and pans inside and used it as a drying rack. We did that when I lived with the girls, and continued doing the same when I lived with Abhi and the xBF, until the day we discovered a gross green pool building inside the dishwasher. The one that we had in this apartment, had a bad drain. Us and our other roommates would load it without even attempting to let the excess water run off the dishes and pans. So the dripping water was collecting at the base and there was mildew all over on the floor. That day we somehow managed to run the dishwasher correctly and cleaned it, and we were extra careful about wiping off excess water first, and regularly cleaning the appliance.

We moved to another apartment in San Diego and that place did not have one. We finally bought a drying rack and mat and that was where our dishes went. Then in both my previous places in OC, we were using a drying mat to dry everything and then I would wipe off and keep everything back in the shelves before bedtime. My first roommate in OC, Laurel, would often use her dishwasher. Whereas my Vietnamese landlady in the previous place, used it just like I did in San Diego. From what I had gathered from my Asian friends and Reddit over the years, was that Asians do not tend to use it, considering electricity and all that, or for whatever reasons. Most Asians, and I am including Indians, use it as a drying rack or for storage. Abhi and Nish use theirs to store lunch boxes and Tupperware. I am doing the same thing in my current apartment. My lower rack also hold all plastic bags that I use for lining trash cans and recycle bin. I am sure you all know by now that I am quite a miser and a cheapskate, so the electricity bill is still a major point. These habits have resulted in a weird thought process where I happen to think that Dishwasher is practically unusable!

I hung out with Pop this weekend when my parents went to Seaworld, San Diego. I did not go because I have seen it 3 years back and now I am not into the whole animals-shows-training thing anymore. Pop and Bandar and her Hubby hosted us over the weekend, and what a wonderful time I had! We had some amazing Mexican food for lunch, went to the beach, tried to play Paddleball and managed to hit everyone around us with our rogue ball. They have a lovely house that has a backyard with a grill. We had yummy Paneer tikka and a bunch of other yummy things during the course of our stay with them. Pop, a huge thanks for being such awesome hosts!

Life goes through many stages. Each more chaotic than the other. A simple thing like being able to use dishwashers means to me that a person has settled well into life and its chaos. I saw Pop doing that. I saw her scraping stuff off, rinsing the dishes and loading the dishwasher after every meal. I saw how the dishwasher runs, and gives super clean, warm dishes back. I noticed how well it fit in her scheme of things and lifestyle. It was just… Right. Bandar was playing around, or eating or going off to sleep and a being a super-cute goofball. Pop and H are usually handling work and Bandar and life. It is like juggling pins and trying not to drop them, but those pins give the most satisfying feeling. It could be anything with regards to work, friends, family and home. A practically unusable piece of appliance, fit in so perfectly in their lifestyle. Of course, she had to use it, considering the amount of dishes that were being used. But even if I had a pile, I have avoided using it, only because I am used to a certain way and I hate changing it.

I think such is life. You suddenly find beauty in chaos. You make peace with things that scared you earlier. You manage to plunge into the unknown with the hope that you will make it. Maybe one day, I will also stop looking at it with suspicion and the dishwasher will fit into my life. I look forward to the dishwasher stage of my life. And to the Yacht and a Greek villa stage too.

*If you made it till here, congratulations on having read a strange post about an appliance. I was thinking about all this while in the shower and it just made sense to me.*

39

10 Valentine gifts for instant breakup…

It is coming! Apocalypse of Love is coming! This is the 3rd consecutive year where I am going to absolutely hate on the concept of Valentine’s day and curse the xBF to oblivion and utter some abusive words for the Crush, who’s name I am sure I won’t remember when I come back to read this post in a few years.

I had jotted down some interesting points on how to spread the joys of Single Awareness Day on Valentine’s day. If you want to read about that, go HERE. If you still insist on not being ‘aware’, go ahead and do your thing.

For people who are a part of a couple and want to be on the fast track to being single, I am going to make your job easier by listing down some of the top instant-breakup gifts that you can give a girl. Because I am a girl. Also dear future partner, let this be a guide to ‘what-not-to-gift-PB-like EVER’.

  1. Envelope with straight up cash : You are her lover and not her mother’s sister’s husband who got invited to the wedding. You must make a better distinction between the occasions. Since, we are on the point, checks, Visa gift cards are also off the table.
  2. Weird Und*rw*ar : My friend had gotten his GF this really weird thing with strategic keyholes, and yes, he told me because we are almost siblings and he was sharing how lost he felt in the store, which incidentally was called ‘Pink Kitty’. He never ended up giving it to her after seeing the face I made. Ha! Also, I don’t know who or why someone would like edible UGs. Nope.
  3. Deodorant : Perfumes are beautiful. Perfumes are sensual, playful, s*xy. But, please, do not give a girl Deo sprays. It is almost like telling her that she stinks.
  4. Cookbooks or cookware : Unless she really enjoys cooking or requests you specifically, giving a cookbook or cookware says that you want her to seriously work on her cooking.
  5. Bunch of yellow roses : A friend actually gave his wife a dozen yellow roses and she was horrified! His reason was that the yellow roses were cheaper by almost 2 bucks a pop. He is lucky that they were already married. For the uninitiated, if you want to or have been in a cuddle with someone, give them red roses! Yellow = Friendship.
  6. Showpieces/Figurines : I don’t know how to describe these, but these are the little pieces you get in greeting card stores like Hallmark or archies, that look like little angels or birds or dogs or cherubic babies. An ex used to give me a bunch of these and I hated them. What the hell am I supposed to do with these in a dorm room and no home to decorate?! Moo hates them too and her line of reasoning involves a dust-phobia. It is true! The amount of dust we have in India, makes keeping home spick n’ span really hard!
  7. Self-help book : Give her ‘How to be a nicer person’ and say bye-bye to love forever.
  8. Clothes or bags : Some people like to get clothes as gifts. But if your girl is like me and extremely picky, I would suggest to steer clear. Most men that I am friends with or have dated, have not had (good)similar taste in clothes as mine and it makes an awkward situation when I express the desire to exchange a la Rachel from Friends.
  9. Gym membership : Are you calling her FAT?!?!?!?!
  10. A small velvet box, with no ring inside : This is the worst gift I have ever seen if you are dating. I saw a vlog by a very famous youtube personality’s boyfriend who gifted her a small square box on their anniversary with a bow on top and recorded her reaction. They had decided no gifts, but he was trying to be sweet. She went all oooh and aaaah and emotional and opened the box only to see a tiny gold chain inside. Her next set of oohs and aahs was weirdly high pitched and absolutely fake.

So, keep this in mind and have a good Valentine’s day. Whatevs.

Valentines-Day-Jokes-06 (1)

31

Why don’t I have new friends anymore?!

I was reading Pepper’s blog post here about friendships and I wanted to write a comment, which ended up being an essay on its own. So I thought, I may as well type out what I feel about my friends and friendships.
 
I was talking to a guy the other day, and he said something on the lines of, the more you live in USA, the lesser friends you tend to have. It made me think and I realized it’s not completely wrong. At least in my case, the statement holds weight. The only part being different for me was USA. This has happened to me every time that I changed schools or colleges. I have always had hesitation in talking to new people that I meet, and my insecurities about myself tends to compound the situation into total absurdity. I have switched so many schools, and my experiences with getting bullied, have made friendships difficult. For some reason, sustaining friendships was also a hard task for me. But it changed quite a bit in college, where I found some life-long friends(hopefully). Having verbal diarrhea is also not a big help.
 
Talking about friends in India, we were a group of girls and boys in the engineering college who are still together on different levels with each other. The girl group(we were roommates) is still together on Whatsapp. But my relationship with them is quite non-existent. The onus lies on my own personality issues too, but I will not take the blame on myself completely. I think I have stopped trying to please people, which was a compulsive habit even till a couple of years back and that has resulted in some acidic conversations. I do not feel welcome there, and so I don’t feel like I am a part of that group. Exceptions being of course Ani and Moo and I hope they understand my point of view. From the group of boys, I am friends with most of the boys who I was friends with earlier, but there are two people who are firmly within my circle of trust. Hazra and Shib are, and will always be family, and it makes me very happy that they are aware of this and reciprocate.
 
After moving to USA, I have switched between people and between groups and had reached a point where I needed only two people. The xBF and Abhi. The situation got weird after the xBF left, but Abhi made the time easier for me. We are not in the same cities. But he and Nisha are among the people I can count on if I get in trouble. Abhi is like the brother I would have had if I had one. I like to think that they are aware that I can be counted on if they ever need me to be there.

I have another really close friend who I work with and workout with(we recently paid extra for the gym membership, so that we can continue that after trying to work out alone since the last July). We have our lunch together where the other accompanies the person even if they have a lunch box, and we meet over the weekends to watch movies and have lunch again. We share stories, jokes, frustrations and work gossip and we yell at each other. People have mistaken us to be dating, but they realize eventually that we have turned into siblings, squabbling with each other. So that makes a grand total of THREE people around me who are friends in real sense of the word.
 
After a certain age, the dynamics of friendships change from complete buddy to people needed to spend evenings with, and even to call in case of emergencies. I may have a lot of friends around me, but friend-friend is becoming the Loch-Ness monster of people. There is a need to lower the bar of expectations when it comes to friendships. You cannot expect someone to show up when you crave a steaming bowl of Pho, leaving their partner or their kid behind. It is just like how you will not show up to spend an evening at the bar with your buddy during a work week. Situations change, priorities change, and the biggest cause of worry, proximity to each other changes. If we talk about making new friends in Grad school or at work, friendship thrives when you let your guard down, and that is seemingly impossible with so much competition involved. It is a cut throat world, and most people tend to hide their vulnerabilities.
 
When younger, friendship is a survival tactic. Proximity in school, college puts you together. You need someone to kill time with, to say the least. When family, partner, work and life are thrown into the equation, the unstructured relation of friendship becomes more vulnerable to collapse. It is no longer a real necessity. How well one deals with friends and balances relationships, depends on an individual’s personality and the need for social fulfilment. If they make a FRIENDS 2.0 I am sure Rachel and Phoebe haven’t met each other in 3 years. And Ross hasn’t heard from Joey since he moved away.

In the end, it all boils down to this insanely accurate definition.