13

If I could be…

I am having an extremely productive day at work. I am running a simulation and have so much on my plate that I cant think straight. So I have let my mind wander. My brain is capable of shutting off when there is a huge list to be tackled and I cannot do anything about it. Either I need to take a restroom break or actually catch a few zzz’s if I need to get back in order. Anyways, I digress.

I went down a beautiful whirlpool of what other living creature could I be if not a human. Dog is an obvious option, but I must be a dog of Moony’s stature or better or I am screwed. I thought of a number of options. I have actually been told that I remind someone of ferrets. Wiggly-woogly, mischievous ferrets but not like the one Draco Malfoy turned into.

And then I started thinking about seagulls. Yep, the rodents of the ocean. Imagine an unlimited capacity to swoop and steal a kid’s icecream and no one can really do anything about it, unless they have a gun! The way seagulls just stand by the beach looking around with suspicion for an unsuspecting fool with food, reminds me of myself in the break room looking for free snacks. Also, the ability to just scream randomly, is awe-inspiring! I would love to run around and just go Keeeekkkkk at anyone while staring in a different direction altogether. They just chill in the sand, till they have to fly a bit and swoop and catch a fish. Or they could just poke into the sand to catch bugs and crabs. But with all the french fries littered around, I think a seagull’s life is quite set. I could be wrong, but they don’t even really have a definite predator. All they have to do is fly to a pole or something high. The eggs and chicks get eaten up, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Being a seagull, would be pretty cool, wouldn’t it? I am hopeless.

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8

Never too old to miss mummy…

When I am bored at work, I start looking at recipe videos to take a break from my mundane simulations. There is something about watching cooking videos that gives me a lot of comfort. I feel like I am almost eating that and it also inspires me to cook up a meal as and when time permits. I really enjoy planning on what to cook that evening and the weekends and that is why pre-prepping for meals does not work for me.

When we were 20-21 year old, fresh of the boat, grad students, most of us had never stepped into the kitchen before. I had a couple of roommates who were already adept at cooking, but for some of us, it was an absolutely new ball game. The only things that I knew how to make were some fancy things that I would look up and make at home. I had zero idea about the basic curries and rotis. In the couple of months that I had between my final exams and leaving home for good(cue: fresh set of tears), my mum tried to teach me some recipes. I picked up the basic steps then, but even then, cooking largely remained a challenge for me. She tried hard, hiding her own emotional state about my imminent departure, and put her soul into prepping me for my journey ahead. She even made a little diary with recipe notes for me.

One of my biggest support during my endeavor to overcome that challenge was and is, a Marathi(my mother tongue) cookbook gifted by my mum’s best friend. ‘Ruchira’ remains a cult favorite and every so often, I bring it down from the shelf, specially during Diwali and other festivals. The other big supporter was obviously, Youtube. I can’t describe my obsession to look up all the recipes and jump from channel to channel, taking mental notes. Some of the channels that were my favorite were Veg Recipes of India, Madhura’s recipes for Mahrashtrian food, Sanjeev Kapoor for popular recipes, and one quaint channel called Nisha Madhulika. I used to follow her videos for traditional recipes because she actually used very classic, typical cooking methods and they worked for me. These channels took me over the mountain, and slowly, I really started enjoying cooking. I am not a Master Chef, but people appreciate what I make. I have also started enjoying potlucks and spending time thinking, prepping, and cooking for 10-12 people. I have hosted dinners for my non-Indian friends and cooked fun things for my Indian friend’ parties. Turns out, that my mom has also discovered youtube now and follows Nisha Madhulika and Madhura’s channels.

On a whim today, I looked up a video to make something that mum makes. The first video that I saw was Nisha Madhulika’s. Nisha auntie, I feel like fondly calling her now, went over the recipe step by step. If anyone has seen her videos, she has a peculiar, slow mannerism where she explains each step and teaches with a certain softness in her. By the time that video was done, I was a ball of tears and snot. I am not totally sure why, but I felt this gush of emotions towards her. And my mummy.

Related image

The way Nisha auntie was explaining the recipe, was like a mother taking pains to teach her child how to cook. She explained what ingredients to use, any substitutions, the right way of adding them, and so on. I have seen countless videos by now, and no one has the mannerisms of this lady. It feels like she has put her emotions and passion into it. I started thinking of my mum, who taught me in the same way, and even now will answer my doubts when I FaceTime her while cooking. My mom isn’t actually that detail oriented so she will forget about some or the other thing and then I have to question her again! But nevertheless, I can tell that my mum loves the fact that I take pleasure in cooking now. In her new videos, I felt this jolt of realization that she even looks like my mummy! Her hair pulled back into a ponytail, her kurtas with long sleeves, and the way her face lights up when a recipe is done, is so much like my mama! Obviously this did not help my emotional state. My mum taught me a lot, and is still teaching me. But most importantly, she is teaching me to enjoy the process, and put love and care into it. I know she wants me to do more and so do I. I feel there should be someone to keep taking the small traditions ahead. The small rituals that make up Diwali, Holi, etc, also make our lives sweeter.

Image result for nisha madhulika

It’s surreal how memories of home can rush back all at once, when you are least expecting it. I never thought that watching a cooking video will take me back into my home kitchen and refresh my senses with all the wondrous aromas. I was not prepared to have goosebumps watching someone like my mom talk, and then remembering my mom standing in her petite self, by the kitchen counter. The images of her making fresh rotis, stirring the curry, insisting on all of us sitting down and serving piping hot food, are all dancing in front of my eyes now. The lady takes immense pride in whipping up delicacies for people she cares about and making sure that no one leaves with a dot of space in their tummies. She thinks her job isn’t well done, until you lick your fingers and are deep into food coma. Oh, how I miss her!

This is my unintended mommy appreciation post. Here’s to my mom, and all of ours, who moved mountains to turn us little monsters into what we are today. They taught us with love, patience, and a little whack here and there, to give us this life. These are important life skills, and they taught us to mix them up with TLC and pass it on. Mamas are really the best! Give them a squeezy hug today when you see them, even if virtually! ❤

My sweet mummy, even if I achieve a 10% of what you are capable of putting on our plate, and in our lives, I will consider it my biggest achievement.

0

N-N-1 February 2019

(Hosted by Norm)

This picture speaks of missed plans, but with no regrets at all! Snow didnt happen, but dumplings and punchbowls did!

Classical Gasbag

It’s time for you to enjoy another N-N-1. Once again we have people in different locales sharing their different contemporary lives with a picture and words. One thing they have in common is an interest in sharing (giving and receiving) with others. 

Natalie Garvois sent this picture and description (surprisingly not in verse). You can find her blog at Wild Rivers Run South.

A Day for Poetry

I visited Nana Julia this afternoon. She invited me to look through her treasure trove of books and pick out a few for myself. I found this textbook of poetry she had saved from college. I shall never be a Whitman; but I can read and appreciate the greatness of others. My Nana never wrote in her books. She didn’t want to ruin their pristine condition. I only wish that she had saved her notes, so that I could also have those…

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8

What not to eat on a V-Day/First date…

Here comes my most favorite time of the year after my birthday, parents’ birthday. Moony’s birthday, Diwali, Holi, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, New Years’s, random street aunty’s birthday, random uncle’s anniversary. You get the gist. Years ago, I started a campaign called Single Awareness Day also lovingly called S-A-D(may have been inspired but whatevs) and although I think 3 more people joined my SAD celebrations, it has been a resounding success. We are going to ignore my mum’s taunt from last year about how there could be one way I wouldn’t have to sit alone at home that day. Again, whatevs.

I think I have covered the gift suggestions in my past posts and you may have a fair idea on what to not give so as to avoid receiving a beating. While having my lunch salad, and then fishing to take the green pieces out of my teeth, I decided to suggest some food options to desperately avoid the said fishing in public. These also work fabulously as first date options.

Shall we?

  1. Green salads: I understand the need to not be bloated, but what to do. Imagine a nice big smile, and seeing a lovely piece of green stuck over your front, top incisor a la Ani and her cilantro in college. Right? Nope. Stick to Caesar salad if you must. You may fancy out to quinoa and stuff.
  2. Burger: If you are eating at a fancy place, chances are that the burger is going to be super loaded, and there will be dripping, the wrong kinds. And somehow I dont enjoy opening my mouth like a cave to devour all that stuff in one go. Also, I am not prissy enough to use a fork and knife for burgers. Just not ladylike, whatever the hell it means.
  3. Pizza: A date got into an argument with me because I usually have my slice folded up. I was not having it and argued back like my life depended on it. He wasn’t a tough loss because well, he chewed with his mouth open. But otherwise, a rather good option, if you can avoid the stupid arguments. And also if the date isn’t picky about toppings. Otherwise, you may as well have toasted bread with ketchup and cheese thrown on top.
  4. Seafood or Bbq: Homegirl doesnt eat meat and seafood places have, probably, ONE thing to order, and mostly created for the menu as an afterthought. Also, many *cough* girls refuse to kiss meaty mouths till they have brushed their teeth.
  5. Indian food: Unless you are going with a Desi guy, or someone who has experienced and enjoyed the cuisine before, it’s a bad idea. I have a tendency to focus on other people’s reaction at every bite if we are eating something or somewhere that I suggested. I will forget about my food and get jittery if I feel that they did not like it, and then will start a passive aggressive defense of the food. It’s quite mental actually and combined with my utmost love of desi food, chances are that i will take it personally. So if you are like me(i hope not!), pick another spot till a comfort level has set in and your craziness has been accepted.

These are kind of my top 5 not-to-have when out on a first date to avoid looking sloppy. The frizzy hair covers that aspect quite well. There are plenty of options that you could go for. Craft cocktails or breweries, as long as you are not falling of the bar, are always a good idea. Get some munchies, good drinks, and you are set for the next 5-6 hours. Thai food is good and tried and tasted. Sushi is nice, clean and pretty light on the tummy. Just be mindful of the wasabi because crying on a date is awkward, whatever the reason be. Italian is cute, romantic, and paired with wine, works out well. Mexican food or Ramen is definitely a winner because tacos and ramen are life!

Anyhoo, Happy V-Day to the oddballs who celebrate, and extra hugs for SAD celebrators, because y’all are way cooler anyways.

4

N-N-1: How Are Your New Years Resolutions Holding Up? A Check-In!

Right at the beginning of the year, Norm and Anju got in touch with me to kickstart our fab N-N-1 picture series for the brand new year. Anju took charge and compiled all the posts and pictures. What a great theme this was! I am definitely not a resolution person and I am exceptionally annoyed by the Reso-losers hogging the parking lot and the machines at the gym right now. Jk, I support everyone who embarks on the fitness journey whenever and wherever. But just don’t sit and text on the machines.

My post had to be about the massive challenge I took upon recently. I have finished with the hardest category, and a couple of laundry sessions after. So far, the folding and sorting has been quite successful! I want to ideally finish the checklist(they are freely available online if you simply google KonMari checklist) within the next month. I highly suggest getting started. It can be a little overwhelming, but it feels so good! The whole idea of de-cluttering is to keep only those things that truly give you happiness, that ‘spark joy’. Needless to say, a LOT of the xBF stuff was dumped out.

So, here is my entry and please go to the link to read up on the rest.

Sparking Joy

One fine day in the first week of January 2019, a little Japanese doll-like lady with a quiet demeanor and a calm force, came into my life. Marie Kondo in her Netflix special ‘Tidying Up’. Within the next few days, I had watched every possible #KonMarimethod video on YouTube and had printed out a checklist on how to follow her de-cluttering method. Last weekend, the closet and the dressers looked like a hurricane passed through them. But by Sunday evening, things that ‘sparked joy’ were hung in the right place and stashed with a higher level of organization. There were two bags of clothes to be trashed and three to be donated. Time to move to the next categories!

One fine day in the first week of January 2019, a little Japanese doll-like lady with a quiet demeanor and a calm force, came into my life. Marie Kondo in her Netflix special ‘Tidying Up’. Within the next few days, I had watched every possible #KonMarimethod video on YouTube and had printed out a checklist on how to follow her de-cluttering method. Last weekend, the closet and the dressers looked like a hurricane passed through them. But by Sunday evening, things that ‘sparked joy’ were hung in the right place and stashed with a higher level of organization. There were two bags of clothes to be trashed and three to be donated. Time to move to the next categories!

I may not have fancy resolutions, but now I know how to fold my clothes like Sushi. 

This Labyrinth I Roam

We’re almost at the end of the first month of 2019 (WHAT!!!). All of the carefully thought out goals, ambitions and resolutions are well underway. As part of this year’s first N-N-1, we’re checking in with our favourite bloggers from around the world to see how they’re faring.

READ: The N-N-1 Collaboration

Sparking Joy – ASplashOfMyLife

One fine day in
the first week of January 2019, a little Japanese doll-like lady with a quiet
demeanor and a calm force, came into my life. Marie Kondo in her Netflix
special ‘Tidying Up’. Within the next few days, I had watched every possible
#KonMarimethod video on YouTube and had printed out a checklist on how to
follow her de-cluttering method. Last weekend, the closet and the dressers
looked like a hurricane passed through them. But by Sunday evening, things that
‘sparked joy’ were hung in the right place and stashed with a…

View original post 972 more words

10

Some more randomness

1. In a drying rack, post washing dishes, I insist on keeping all the spoons, forks, butter knives with the handle down and eating part up. In my head, the bottom of the drying rack is teeming with cooties and muck and the eating side must never touch it. There have been countless arguments with the father and mother about this when they were visiting me. Of course, the question remains, why would I not throw away such a mucky rack?! The short answer is, it’s all in my head, people.

2. I keep count of how someone treats the gifts I give them because for me, that is directly proportional to the feelings involved. I keep all gifts, even buttons of old dresses, like precious items. Ani knows this very well, and yet she made the mistake of not keeping the flowers and card that we sent her on her wedding day. Preserving the flowers should have been her top priority on that day, obviously. It bothers me, way more than I admit, if I see my gift going unused, or worse, left behind. I am totally judging the gift-receiver at that moment. And it bothers me even more, if I give something and that is given away. I had given a bunch of makeup bags and makeup from Sephora to my mom, and all it took to blow my lid off, was to mention the idea of giving something out of that set to some family friend.

3. I am feeling very abandoned by some close friends and I hate how much it has affected me in the last one year. Anyhoo, this topic shall not be touched here.

4. My aversion to phone-calls still continues. I still find myself wishing, while the other side is ringing, that they miss the call! Oh Ani, I am sure you remember this!(2nd mention in the post, waah!) I get clammy, I feel tongue-tied, and I get just so awkward every time! Is there a phone-call-phobia, or any word for it? Even while I was attempting to date, I would get jittery when the guy would ask to talk on the phone. I have almost asked to continue dating on Whatsapp to keep things easier. Phone-calls are bad, and talking to people who I don’t really know well, makes it even worse. Also, thank god for online food orders now!

5. I have started enjoying collecting fun mugs. I don’t quite drink tea or coffee, but weekend mornings feel extra special these days as I get to have tea or filter coffee in a cute, hand-picked mug. It just feels nice to sit cozily with a nice mug. You know what I mean? Weekend rituals, perhaps.

Alrighty, that’s all for today folks! We shall continue with this random silliness when my brain freezes the next time.

26

Of tear-ible times…

Ever since I posted about my eye troubles in my new year post, I have not received a single question about it. So I am going to talk about it of my own accord. I know none of you care, BUT YOU MUST!

In the beginning of December, my contact lens started to get uncomfortable and I would be constantly blinking or trying to move my right contact around to make it sit better. I was washing my eyes all the time because there was this feeling that something is stuck in there. My eyes were drying out too like no tomorrow! That feeling of a foreign object being in my eye started growing into eye pain where keeping my lids open were really bothering me. I tried a couple of lubricating OTC drops, but there was no improvement.

Finally, I made an appointment with my primary care doctor, and I had to wait for 2 days, because legendary American healthcare system. I went in, got my eye prodded and poked at, dyed, rubbed vigorously with a Q-tip, but the doctor said there really wasn’t anything. She just asked me to continue with my OTC lubricant eye drops and discontinue contacts for some more time. She did give me an opthalmologist number, in case I didnt feel better in another week.

By the time that week ended, I was crying most evenings out of the pain. I would weep while driving to work, and bawled while driving back home, because the pain was becoming insufferable. My eyes are anyways too sensitive and the high prescription makes it even worse. I am pretty much blind without glasses or contacts and they do hinder my lifestyle in some way or the other. It’s a very sensitive subject for me, even if you leave the vanity part aside. My short sighted friends do agree that it definitely affects confidence and self-esteem. As shallow as that sounds, it is true.

Finally I took the eye doctor’s appointment and went in, another 2 days later. Meanwhile, my insurance decided to play games with me, and that very month increased specialist visit rates by $30. Again, legendary American healthcare.

The optometrist took a look at my eyes through a slit lamp and told me that my tears were evaporating as soon as they were forming, and my eyes were extremely dry as a result. The oil glands seemed to be underperforming majorly and she wrote down names of two more OTC eye lubricants. I noted that down, and asked if that would also make that foreign object feeling go away. She looked at me, and asked me to come back to the slit lamp. She flipped my lids over and declared that it was full of inflammation and bumps. She prescribed some anti-histamine eye drops and asked me to see her in another month and to not use contacts until then. She also asked me to heavily consider switching to disposable contacts in the near future. Holiday season, looking good, makeup, got flushed down the drain. I asked her about estimated recovery time and she gave me between a week to a month and said it was hard to say. Ugh, more bummage.

That evening after the doctor visit, I had to go to a shopping mall to finish some last minute holiday shopping. I think I bawled all the way to the mall and some more while I waited in my car at the parking lot. I spoke to my folks too, and there was a good deal of tears for around an hour. There was some more breakdown in a Banana Republic store, the classy chick that I am. I had had enough! My eyes were hurting like crazy, they were prickly, I had to continue looking dorky for holiday pictures, the drops were $200 and with insurance $80, and I had to handle all that sh*t by myself during that time. Meanwhile, I convinced myself that I am never going to get better and never be able to go back to contacts. I simply lost it.

I did calm down the next day and with a peaceful mind, started researching my condition and all my options. Turns out I have something along the lines of Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis(do not Google it!) which affects most soft contact lens users. Steroid drops, anti-histamines and disposable contact lens help with the condition. You could be wearing contacts for years, and one fine day, your eyes decide to go rogue on you. Such betrayal! My doctor did not prescribe steroids yet, so maybe it’s a good thing? I did some more research and have managed to find a substitute OTC anti-histamine till my drops get to San Diego through someone. Meanwhile the prescribed drops just got into my hands me through a friend, from my father, because they cost a paltry $5 in India! Yep! The same brand, some composition, and it even says manufactured in the US and imported to India! Once again, all hail American healthcare.

I have used my new drops for 2 days, and my eyes are in pain again. Probably because I had skipped a day to switch from OTC to prescribed and the irritation had started again. I am sitting here annoyed by the pain and I know I am being dramatic, but I feel like my life has come to a standstill. I was happily prancing around in my contacts everyday, and had a nice thing going on. It’s all gone out of the window. I don’t want to constantly whine about it to the people who I spend time with, but the fact that I can CONSTANTLY FEEL MY EYEBALL AND EYELID is extremely annoying. So, hopefully this post takes care of the crying and the whining part.

Atleast I have learned to swiftly take my glasses off whenever someone wants to take a picture of me. I am getting used to going to the gym in glasses, even though it’s a real pain to run blindly on the treadmill or risk shattering expensive glasses if they fly off my nose. It’s not the end of the world, and there are bigger problems in my life. With time, and medication, hopefully I can get back to my contacts, and perhaps think of a permanent solution to the problem. Let’s see how it goes.

Hope you all have the answers to the questions that you did not ask. Thanks for letting me rant!

PS- I know you all do care about me. 🙂 I promise, I was only joking when I accused you all of not asking anything, but the scolding seems to have brought all my old-timey favorites back! So yay! “My scolding brings all the bloggers to the yard…”

PPS- I had a follow-up on 1/21 and eyes are getting better but the bumps are still there. The doc prescribed new steroid drops to be used along with the anti-histamines and another visit which will include a prescription and new lens fitting exam. Post all my research about my condition, I had asked my dad to send another kind of drops with Pataday from India, just to be safe. Guess which one she prescribed? I am smart!

18

Happy 2019!

Hola, chicos!

Finally into the 3rd day of 2019, I have opened my wordpress and decided to write. As I started typing, I stared at the keyboard and actually drew a blank. Have my creative juices dried up? Or have I actually written about everything? That can’t be so. Ah well!

Last year was, eventful, to say the least. I did a few new things, explored a few new cities, and met new people. I met a LOT of dogs through my dog rescue and my new friends and that made my 2018 a resounding success! There was puppy love everywhere and I soaked it all up like a sponge. I do feel that I lost out on a wonderful doggie because I truly am not ready for the responsibility. But she found a great family, and that warms my heart. I may foster this year depending on my apartment situation. I also know when the time comes, Moony will help me meet my soul-dog. Waiting for that wet-nosed signal from the beyond. I wrote ads for 150 dogs, the last I checked, and all of them have been adopted. I am happy to have helped a teeny bit.

One of the biggest highlights of 2018 was skydiving! A gazillion people have done it before me, and it’s not even that rare anymore, but for me, it was SOMETHING! That rush of air as I tumbled out of the plane, that ‘whoop’ in the pit of my stomach, and my spit flying everywhere because my mouth was in a constant ‘YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA’ scream with a giant grin, remain unparalleled. That jump has made a lot more people believe that I am a badass, and I will strive to keep the facade on with other acts of faux daredevilry.

Mid-2018 saw Moo saunter off to her sasural wrapped in exquisite silks and gold, and she managed to do that without tripping. Thanks to her I also saw Kanyakumari in it’s full glory, and once’s enough, truly. None of us cried, even when I dropped the oil from the vada on my silk saree, I maintained my composure. She found love, and how! She scaled mountains to get there and couldn’t be more proud and happier! Now if only, we grow up mentally and stop doing what we do best, that would be great. Thank you very much.

I ticked off another major checklist item in 2018 but mum’s the word on it. Moo and SP, do not dare! Remember the comment has to be approved by me first.

With some motivation, I finally decided to enroll for a Spanish course at the university and I got an A! I can describe myself, tell and ask the time, look for bathrooms and food and supermarkets, and my hobbies. I do have a limited vocabulary so I stick to describing myself as muy bonita. Just agree with me, okay? Bien. Also, we have been only taught about the present tense, so just roll with it when I talk. Give me a few more months and Spanish 2 and 3, and then watch me describe the past and future activities!

2018 is going to be super special and close to my heart. It is going to be a favorite year for a long time to come, unless 2019 topples it off the chart. My heart, body and soul have been fuzzily happy through the year and a sense of calm has come into my life. I, obviously, still have my crazy moments, but I am learning how to communicate better. Instead of holding in thoughts that are constantly whirring through my head, i let ‘some’ out and we deal with that. It’s a change and it feels good! I haven’t been this happy in the longest time! *Knock on wood* May God grant us the power to beautify every moment, to revel in happiness, to accept things that we cannot change, and to use the ‘block’ feature on Facebook if everything fails. Amen.

Per every year, the end of 2018 has seen some piling on with respect to sweets, cheese and pounds. I have some major shedding to do, and have decided to be regular at the gym and with cardio. The puny amount that I run, helps only if it’s regular, so will focus on that too. And like I always say, vanity IS a major factor too. That new Zara skirt is not going to fit itself.

December has been sad for me healthwise. My eye and contact lens have been giving me trouble, and it made me miserable. I let my emotions and vulnerability take control of me during some special moments. I can’t wear contacts for a while till my eyes heal and then perhaps have to switch to disposable ones from my cheap annual ones. and sadly, glasses bring out the little bullied girl in me. It sounds really shallow, but these issues affect confidence and self-esteem. But I am taking it in my stride now, and hoping for a full recovery.

Professionally, I am alright. There shall be some improvements and changes but that will come when the time is right. I shall try not to fret over that.

I sincerely hope for the coming year to be even better than the last for me and you all! May the new year bring you all that you craved! We shall strive for a drop of insanity in that cauldron of peace. Here’s a toast to a healthy, adventurous and exciting 2019!