3

A Southern California winter.

When I was in India, and packing for my move to USA as a brand new Grad student, I realized I had to buy new winter clothes, for things like ice, snow, sleet, etc. I imagined myself sashaying down the road in a beige trenchcoat with sky high boots and a red beanie perched on my head. But all the expectations went for a toss when I realized San Diego is a part of southern California and it’s a paradise in the big bad world of America. I spoke to a senior who was already there since a year and she told me that I will rarely need warm clothes. So I happily carried ONE sweatshirt and one beanie and muffler that my friend had knitted for me.

I wish I could bury that senior in cold sand and put a brick of ice on top. What she did not tell me was that San Diego weather has a mind of it’s own. It is paradise, but only from 10 am to 3 pm, and that too only from June to August. The rest of the time, you will be fighting between too much sun and too much wind.

Let me take you through a snapshot of SoCal winters. For the ease of writing, we will refer to the bo*ty shorts and puffer jacket wearing species as SoCalnian.

  1. When a SoCalnian says Fall colors, they mean 2 shades of brown. Light brown, and dead brown.
  2. It is normal to see a SoCalnian step out of the home, in the morning in shorts, and keep a thin hoodie, and a thick jacket in the car. Both of them come out eventually depending on the hour.
  3. The same hoodie and jacket rule is dependent on the area too. It could be a beautiful 70 deg weather, but go close to the Pacific Ocean, and you will freeze you b*tt off.
  4. A SoCalnian never takes wind lightly. And after my last Malibu camping trip, Brian has re-learnt that(His tent flew away!)
  5. We do love our boots, and we are lucky enough weather-wise to be able to rock mini skirts with boots. But no socks with sandals, please.
  6. You can have a perfect sunny day in San Diego and a massive snow blow out going on 2 hours away at Julian/Big Bear, at the same time.
  7. SoCal and NorCal are on opposite ends of a spectrum. NorCal looks, feels, and is cold, whereas SoCal has everyone hoodwinked by looking warm.
  8. Rainy season hits in the middle of winter, and if there isnt a drought, then it rains, to ruin your weekends.( I am only kidding rain Gods, please dont flood Mission Valley!)
  9. You can tell apart a SoCalnian and non-SoCalnian at any tourist point, by the souvenir hoodie they are wearing. Sudden winds prompt emergency souvenir purchases.
  10. A SoCalnian can talk about the weather every single day at breakfast, lunch or dinner, because it changes by breakfast, lunch or dinner. It can also range from 21 deg C today to 29 deg C by Wednesday. I just checked the weather app.
However it is, or whatever it is, I love this place! I was not paid by San Diego tourism board to say this all, although, I do not mind that.
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4

A bored Instagrammer’s boring rant.

You have been warned.

It started with Youtube. I used to be obsessed with it. Watching vlogs, short films, comedians, skits, etc. Until Youtube became extremely click-baity. It has fallen into the same trap as Facebook or Whatsapp with it’s barrage of fake news, videos, and click-bait videos. “Oh my God, look what i did to my boyfriend!” And it turns out to be an extremely stupid video where the vlogger is obviously looking to increase views. I cant stand the terrible video icons that are pinned. I feel even the content creators are caught in a rut, with the exception of probably Lily Singh. Eventually, I got very bored. So, obviously, my short attention span died, and I moved my focus to something else. Instagram.

Instagram was the ideal social media app for me. Just pictures, tiny videos, and nothing more. I would post, scroll and browse for hours in a day. I found so many makeup videos, DIY tutorials, recipes on Instagram, and they were all quick time-lapse videos. Just my type. But now, my patience is coming to an end with Instagram as well and I blame the so-called Insta-celebs for that.

Instagram has also gone down the youtube(or FB?) way where most videos have really odd and many times unrelated picture icons. If I ever actually go to see a video, it is just like a gazillion others with the model dripping some foundation down her face(what a waste!), putting snow white concealer on dark circles that only she can see, and 800 layers of powders, contouring and highlighting. Every few days, there will be a new trend sweeping, and the whole Insta-celeb community will start doing the same.

If I start looking at an eye makeup tutorial, I stop it midway because I am done with the number of steps! I don’t want to spend 20 minutes doing my eyebrow(#Browgamestrong!), fake lashes(#Lashesfordays), snowy highlighter(#yaasskweeen). All I wanted was a quick tip for a winged eyeliner! Also, since when has every grocery trip started to demand such a heavy contour and highlighting? When did we all started wanting to turn into a Kardashian?! There are very, very few fashion or beauty bloggers that can be followed on Instagram who feel like a breath of fresh air. Keeping it real has turned into a gameshow of fake.

Instagram was my happy place to see cute dog or kitty videos. I loved browsing through antics of labs and golden retrievers and adorable Corgi-b*tts. But then, something scary started creepin’ into my feeds. Toddlers. Not the average, cute toddlers, but the Insta-celeb kinds. Nothing is creepier than seeing a 3 year old in a very adult trendy outfit with curled hair, lipstick and oversized sunglasses. Nothing makes me cringe more than a 4 year old looking like a 20 year old frat boy. How do you even want to see your child like that, makes me wonder. If I want to see frat or sorority kids, I just have to walk over to the closest bar. They will be there falling over each other in drunken slobbery. I will not even touch upon the kind of videos and selfies that teenagers post because it just upsets me. Why is there such a need to act like adults?

I am starting to sound like one of those whiny vloggers themselves, so I will stop my rant now. I guess, every shitty thing has it’s day and then the next shitty thing takes over. Now, is the era of click-baits and I will just have to wait it out. Till then, the golden retrievers will keep me going.

Also, if you liked this post, dont forget to like, and hit subscribe on my blog and my instagram profile. #fail

10

Oh, snap!

Have you noticed a lull on my blog since a few months? No? you clearly lie. Because I have and the lull is so loud, its almost obnoxious. I keep thinking of going back and writing, but I feel like my fingers weigh a 100 pounds each and typing is way too much. How I wish we can get to the point soon that I talk, and the keyboard gets it and writes. I know the smartphones have that technology, but I dont have the accent that it requires! First world problems.

I wish I could just say, “You guys! there is so much to tell! But I am just being lazy!” Nope. Honestly, I have no material to talk about. There was a big change with respect to job and home, but that’s done and dusted. I wrote about it. How much more can I talk about a city and work environment change without sounding like a crazy confused person? It happened, it has been a mix of emotions, and that’s that. Should I write about my parents being here? But everyone knows how it is to be with parents for extended times. There is nothing much to talk about there as well! They were here for 5 months, and we had a good time. I tried very hard, and my behavior was marginally better than last time, which I kept on insisting and they nodded in agreement(or to stop making me shout anymore). Also, I was glad they were here, for the apartment change. I have WAY TOO MUCH stuff. But I am also sort of happy that all of us have our lives back now. They are at home, doing what they please, and same goes for me.

Do you want to hear about my life as a social butterfly? What do I even say about my friends and going out, and the fun nights to not sound like a ditzy chick? I had a good Halloween party, couple of dinners and brewery turns with friends, cozy evenings at home with family(parents + Abhi-Nish), a weekend trip with Shawn and Alicia, an anxiety attack at a party that I handled like a pro, and relaxing weekends by myself in this short time here so far. I am going camping over the coming weekend for our annual Malibu disco beach camping! Then there is thanksgiving dinner coming up in Orange County. My friends are also coming over for a Friendsgiving/Stock the bar party in December. I am atleast getting out of my home more than before and I deserve a pat on the back for that! But y’all know how that is. Everyone will be busy with the holiday season coming up so nothing to show off.

Is there any boy in sight? What a ‘haha’ joke. Don’t worry, I run away at the first sight of anyone interested. So nothing to write about here also.

So, if you have made it till here, nice! Here it is. my post about nothing. *Insert Seinfeld joke*

6

Food nightmares

I dreamt of my worst fears last night. I was living with a friend/sister(?) and her husband and we are taking care of the potted plants in the patio. I realize that both of us are pregnant and that too in the 9th month of pregnancy. The other girl is telling me about some of the contractions that she has been getting lately and that day turns out to be my due date as well. I realize that I have not had a single contraction yet and I get worried. I suddenly realize that I did sort of had my menses recently though and I get confused. I go back to check my calendar on my phone and it turns out that I am right! I did have my cycles! And then it hit me. I was not pregnant. I just got really. really fat!

Have you ever eaten so much that the food ended up translating into your worst nightmares? Well, I was that anaconda last night who forgot the size of her stomach and proceeded to stuff her face.

That’s it, you guys. I am going on a diet. I haven’t worked out since August and I need my fit body back. I can’t deal with all the winter food and the super-round face I have going on. Especially not with these kind of dreams!

Wish me luck!
2

N-N-1 October 31, 2017

So we had our N-N-1 challenge again hosted by Barb. This challenge actually drew a lot of people from different places and there were so many contributors. But the one common thing between the pictures was fall/winter! Even the picture from the Southern Hemisphere seemed cool-tinged to me! I noticed that all pictures were suitable winter-hued thanks to the shorter and colder days! Also, Halloween!

The View from a Drawbridge

This was a fun post to write, because it took a village. In an atmosphere of increasing divisiveness, people from all walks of life, from all over the world, got together to do one thing: Take a photograph at 6 pm (their time zone) on the 31st of October. If you’re mathematically inclined, in N-N-1 the first N stands for the number of participants, the second for the number of photos (because those numbers should be the same), and the 1 stands for one time. These photos were sent to me, along with 50-100 words about them, so that we could share them all with you.

What I love most about this project is that we are all seeing different things at the same point in time. The world is so varied and nuanced, as are our lives, and yet we are all part of the human race. Thirteen responses…

View original post 1,757 more words

2

Real costumes for a real Halloween

How many of you have gone through the drills of panicking for a last minute costume on 30th October and deciding that you will be ready way in advance next year? Both of my arms are raised high up.  So far I have been Hermione, Katniss, Minnie Mouse over the years. After dressing up as a minion for the last 2 years, I have decided to mix it up a bit. That remains the plan as of now, but can change depending on the last minute mood and panic. Also I, ideally, do not want to be the most dressed person in a sea of s*xy koalas, rodents and felines.
In my bid to come up with innovative, scary, Halloween-worthy costume ideas, I drew up a list of some potentials for real-life horrors. What is scarier than real life, right? White-walkers have got nothing on seeing the depleting bank account. So. here are some ideas for realistic fearful costumes:

  1. Fund investment sheet: They say adulting is hard. But no part of it is harder than learning where to put your money so that you don’t starve eventually. If you want to spook everyone out, grab a giant sheet of paper and write 401K(Pension plan, if in India) and stick it to yourself, or hang it around your neck. It may also work well, because you will attract some Gujju who will leave you with the best investment advice.
  2. Tax document: After the first costume, how can the taxman stay far behind? You will not only spook yourself out, but also make the group quite nervous. After all, they obviously come after the most hard-working, earnest citizen(me!) right?
  3. Wedding priest: If you are my age, there are chances that you will be around plenty of single people being harassed by their well-meaning family members and friends to get married. If you know you are going to a party with those singles, give them the scare of their life by dressing up as a wedding priest. Just start chanting the words every time you are within an arm’s length from any 2 of them.
  4. Driving License photograph: The internet is full of DIYs on Instagram/Snapchat filter costumes. But we are talking about a spooky Halloween here. What is scarier than a passport or DL picture? The actual answer is my TOEFL id picture, but we will stick to this for now. Pretend that you finally got in front of the camera after 2 hours at the DMV, in the balmy 95 F heat, smelling like a mix of we*d and Walmart perfume, and there you have your shot.
  5. In the name of Starks: Everyone from that family is doomed. For anyone who is not a GOT follower, they are practically the most cursed family(but also the most badass). So you will have a dual nature-ed costume. Nobody would want to be you, but everyone would want to be you.
  6. Stressed Engineer: Welcome to a real life costume of about a majority of 30 year old Desi population. We are a stressed lot, working in stressed environments, to please a stressed boss, and stressing out our stressed minions. We don’t have time for costumes. We are going to get up from our chairs, and go to the bars directly to have a happy Halloween.
  7. FLOTUS: Have you seen her? She looks permanently spooked out! I don’t know whether to feel bad, pity her, or be happy for her. Many local parties have explicitly mentioned not to wear her hub’s costume in fear of igniting violence(against the costumee?). But she isnt any less scary. So, go be her!
If you do end up dressing up for this Halloween, let me know what you went as! I may or may not use that as an inspiration for the next year.
6

Fight to survive.

I refuse to lose.
You try to bring me down. You try to crush me under harsh reality. Every day, you leave me hurting, trying to breathe. While I am gasping for air, I hear the sound of your laughter. You try to win over me everyday, making me feel small.
You try to make me feel inconsequential by showing your might. You may have the power of ‘blitzkrieg’ over me, but I am trying. I am trying to survive, and not drown under the cold blast. I am desperately clawing for some warmth in the wet air, to keep up.
What do I do? Face the situation, or turn my back to it? I have to tolerate the cold wake up call you send my way each morning. I breathe in, and breathe out, in the hope of standing up to you.
This is a daily fight. But dear morning shower, one day I will win.

 

12

30 on 30.

  1. Chocolate is my best friend and my worst enemy.
  2. Financial investments and a saving plan may not seem cool, but are extremely important.
  3. I definitely love to be surprised.
  4. I crave, need, thrive on attention.
  5. I am way cleaner than I used to be when I hit 20.
  6. It is difficult to live with parents.
  7. It is difficult to live away from parents.
  8. My indecisiveness is going to kill me.
  9. I like ambitious people better.
  10. Independence is extremely important to me, be it financial or emotional.
  11. I have learnt that it is ridiculous to pick a side and stick to it through thick and thin. There needs to be openness to ideas.
  12. Politics is complicated and no one is clean.
  13. Flexibility is the key to happiness.
  14. I have accepted that ‘never say never’ should be my life motto.
  15. I am a social bird who loves to actually cozy up in her nest on Fridays.
  16. I am quite hypocritical and most people are anyways.
  17. I am a people pleaser a la Monica Geller. I am also materialistic a la Rachel Greene.
  18. Health must be a top priority and fitness and regular checkups should not be ignored. 
  19. Technology gives me a headache.
  20. I am not into the whole iPhone vs Samsung debate, and I am firmly in the ‘Its just a phone!!’ category. But my last 2 phones have been Apples.
  21. I am a hoarder and have way too much stuff for a single person.
  22. I am definitely not cool.
  23. I am generally cold.
  24. If I could have puppies instead of babies, I would pick that option.
  25. I am toeing certain lines and I really want to cross them, but I am too much of a chicken.
  26. I definitely need to work on being a good host.
  27. Coffee makes my tummy happy. 😉
  28. Steps are not the right way to get into a pool.
  29. Respect and courtesy go a long way.
  30. Life is not a joke, but also shouldn’t be very serious.

Just something that I thought of worth jotting down when I hit 30. Yep, bring on the ‘over the hill’ jokes. Well, my knees actually do hurt, but I am so glad to be alive! Let’s see what the ‘dirty 30s’ have in store for me. Cheers, you guys! Have a shot(alcohol, pani puri or pink lemonade) for me!

10

The next phase…

Gee, you guys!

I feel like so much has changed with a tiny step. A few months back, I was fed up of my professional life and I sat in bed at 10 pm applying to new jobs on Indeed. The next morning, I had a call for an interview! That process led to my move back to San Diego, with a U-Haul and my parents in tow. I cannot thank my folks enough because they were such troopers, staying in Orange County for a week and packing while I joined work, commuting from Abhi-Nish’s home. It took me 2 hours of driving everyday from their place to work to and fro and I was ready to drop dead. I had Kunal Nayyar’s audiobook for company and that may have saved me.

My parents had actually done most of the packing for me. I just had to wrap some loose ends, which were way more than some to be honest. Shawn arrived bright and early the next morning with the rental truck and we got to business. I could have tried, but would have failed to choose a worse day for the move. We were on the last and strongest day of the heatwave, and I had sweat pouring out of pores that I did not know existed. Shawn would shake his shiny head and sweat would fall off like rain from his head. He looked like a shaggy dog, except that his head is shaved. Also, I am amazed that I have so much stuff for a single person living in an apartment. The previous place had lots of storage, so of course, I expanded. The new place does have good storage, but nowhere like my apartment earlier. Every evening I find myself at my wit’s end trying to push a box somewhere in a corner. Yet, I have atleast 3 pieces of furniture that I need to buy. Even through all this, Shawn kept saying that I didn’t have too much and wouldn’t let me hire movers. What would I do without him? Big bro is the best!

We are mostly settled in now, but I still need to dot some i’s and cross some t’s. I don’t feel fully satisfied right now. All this is above and beyond the separation anxiety that keeps cropping up every now and then. OC was my home for 5 years. 2 years more than San Diego. It was my first job, and I credit many of my achievements, patents, owning a home to that job. However upset I got, my relationships over there did not sour. During my first week here at the new job, partly fueled by exhaustion(all that commute), I was close to tears, wondering what the heck had I done! This company is poles apart form my previous one. It is much smaller, is not highly organized owing to the fact that they are family owned, but they are ready to expand exponentially. They have never had someone with my job title before(no pressure there, girlie!) but they did not bail out after I negotiated and accepted my counter-offer right away. I guess there is no way of knowing if a decision is right or wrong, if you don’t live it, but you can always hope for the best and put in all your efforts. My last week at ACD was full of goodbyes. Every single person, from shopfloor and office, came in to say bye to me and we were a huge group for my farewell lunch. My friends and I celebrated my last weekend in OC with sushi and the big Mayweather-McGregor fight. It was the best.

Now about moving back to San Diego, I am living in a super central spot. It is close to practically everything and everyone and I am very excited! It is still far from office(from 3 miles in OC, to 22 miles in SD, gulp!) but it takes me exactly 25 min owing to the freeway and being in opposite direction to the flow of the traffic. I get to see SDSU everyday on my way! When I am driving around, or walking around in the malls, I feel this sense of familiarity from my grad school days shenanigans. I recall moments spent at those exact same spots with my buddies, and with the boy that time. Things do get bitter-sweet but mostly they stay sweet.

I hope this new phase brings a whole lot of positivity for me. Please wish me luck! Also update me with what is going on with y’all, since it has been forever!