6

Castles in the air

It’s a semi-rainy Thursday in here at work and I can see some sunlight poking out of impossibly fluffy clouds. My boss has left for the weekend and I am somewhat done with what I had to do but not completely done with the project. I want to finish it soon, but as of now, my brain refuses to deal with it. I can imagine a hundred other things that I could be doing right now if I had the liberty to flake at work.

  • Food taster : This is the life you guys. Getting paid to go out, eat and review food has to be one of the best professions around. I refuse to pay heed to Debbie Downers who talk about health, fats, monotony and such bland stuff. I would love to do this if I get a chance. Order a bunch of food, taste a bit of everything, and down what you like best. You generally get to try a few courses and get served in the best possible way. After your meal, you get to skip the depressing part where you have to whip out your wallet. Eat, repeat, and bolt. And workout.
  • Hair and makeup model : I am an odd person. I absolutely love it when someone is doing something to my hair. Even if they are barely braiding or even just touching my hair, it makes me all happy and tingly. Same goes for someone working on my skin. Aah, bliss. I understand that a lot of beauty and hair bloggers/vloggers need faces and heads to work on. Do think of your homegirl, will ya?
  • Dog walker : Dogs. DOGS! Do I even need to explain how much I love the little, or big, furry, or hairy, buns of pure affection? As mommy has strictly asked me not to get one for the next few years, I have to be content with doggie-sitting my friends’ dogs which doesn’t happen often enough. I have looked into a walking service, but my visa won’t quite allow me to get another job even if it’s just paperwork and unpaid. I have looked at volunteering also, and so far things haven’t worked with respect to timings. Hopefully, soon. I look forward to walking puppers, requesting them to poop and then ensuring that they do know ‘Who’s a good boy!’
  • Sand castle architect : The one place I look forward to most for the coming summer, is the beach. The warm sand, the blue water, golden sun-rays, useless sunscreen, I look forward to all of that! I think I would be really good at drawing up blueprints of castles and instructing my minions, err, groups of kids, to build them according to the plan. I can make really pretty castles and my mechanical engineering background gives me a good idea about material strength and malleability of sand. So, why not?
  • Cocktail artist : I can mix up some basic alcohol and have a general idea of what goes together with what. I have been reading up a bit on mixology and I have a teensy crush on female bartenders. There is a certain badass attitude involved and it gives that extra flair to the profession. I think I can do it. Except the juggling skills, where I will be a disaster, thanks to my total lack of hand-eye coordination.
  • Chocolate quality analyist : If there is heaven on earth, it’s not Kashmir, but the Ghirardelli or Lindt factory. Even if all that chocolate kills me, I will be at peace knowing that I passed on with a kick of endorphins. I will gladly accept half of my current paycheck, if it means trying out every piece of new chocolate to come out of those stores. I don’t even want to write anymore about it, because it makes me so misty-eyed and drooly.

I have good alternate career plans to look forward to. But as of now, back to calculating the correct blade exit angle and the velocity profile.

4

Raw reality

I am a fan of realities being shown exactly as they are. Sugar-coating is nice, but over the time, saccharine sweetness is boring. It is nice to make something sound beautiful to make it attractive and lucrative and probably comforting, but hiding the grim reality behind a situation does more harm in the long run. Give it to me straight without coloring it pretty. I am an adult and I can take it, and I expect the same from the other person.

I saw an article that I forwarded to my friend last night on WhatsApp and I was amused and amazed by it. It showed motherhood in its raw, open form. It has a selfie of the dad with his baby in his arms, where the new mum is also seen in adult mom diapers from the back. She decided to post it anyways because she wanted to show that motherhood is all about the cuteness and the rawness at the same time. Labor is about a human body going through unbelievable transformation and there is no point to shy away from it when almost half the world’s population goes through it. Similarly, there is nothing good that comes out of hiding issues behind the curtain, like post-partum depression, medical issues, stitches, br*ast-feeding. The more women are aware, the more their ability increases to take informed decisions about their health and the little one and the whole process. Having a child means coming to know the extent your body can break and re-mould. It makes sense to know all aspects of it.

Same thing goes for having periods. About half of the world bleeds. And the onset can be annoying, painful and inconvenient. But it happens, and it is a part of the shoddy deal. Men, it is about time you stop acting immature about PMS and periods, and women, please stop being embarrassed, and being uncomfortably sneaky. It will help both genders to snap away from the awkwardness of menses and be more adaptive and accommodating. Shout-out to my friend for carrying my emergency pad and Ibuprofen in his jacket-pocket so that I don’t have to carry any bag to the club.

From all the movies, and books(Mills and Boons, I am looking at you!) and all the seemingly perfect couples around us and on YouTube these days, it becomes slightly disconcerting that our idea of relationship is that of a honeymoon period that lasts forever. Every friendship ends in a relationship, every relationship has a happy marriage, and everything is perfectly rosy all the time is fiction we have been led to believe. Only recently has Bollywood decided to explore unreciprocated feelings, one-sided attraction, heartbreak and awkwardness of breakups. I actually know people who don’t believe that marriage can be quite a bit of work to maintain even if there is good compatibility. It is a relationship that needs constant nurturing with TLC to make sure that you don’t actually murder the other person in their sleep. You may have been in love with someone for a month or 5 years. But living under the same roof comes with its own host of issues. The better this reality sinks in, the easier the process becomes. A whole another chapter can be written about the awkwardness of intimacy. What is shown to be so beautiful and romantic every single time, can be anywhere from cringe-inducing, to rolling-on-the-floor kind of laughter, before settling on that right point.

Coming down to vanity, when I go around shopping, I see these gorgeous outfits in stores, with beautiful back detailing, etc. These days in the world of style blogs and red-carpet fashion statements, it feels amazing to look at the clothes and it is not even that difficult to find an affordable version of it thanks to fast fashion retailers. But what always stumps me is the question of appropriate innerwear for the clothes. The actual story is that celebrities and their outfits have a relationship cemented by backless br*s, silicon pasties, double-sided tapes, gel shoe soles and a gazillion safety pins. Of course, there are girls who are willing to go to that length and they do look every bit stunning. But I just want to dance freely and have the ability to sit down anywhere. I was watching the Golden Globes and when Viola Davies was giving her winner’s speech, I noticed stretch marks on her arms. It made me feel so happy that a celebrity like her on a global awards show had no qualms in hiding her scars. She was showing off her muscular, bad-ass arms and they were the highlight. The marks were an ode to the amount of effort she has put in to get that fit body. It is a reality of life and just goes on to show that you did actually grow up, irrespective of being a man who built up his body or a woman who filled into hers. It is a testament to growth. Behind the beauty in the stunning bodycon dress and high heels, lies a reality that the woman accepts and chooses to subdue or enhance as she deems fit.

It feels empowering to read articles and posts that show what actually life and being human being is. I like untouched pictures that show the way you are, and not what you are supposed to be. I love hearing and reading stories about life and love that are put across with straightforwardness. Uncomfortable they could be, but shouldn’t be shunned. 

So, here’s to growing up, and accepting things as they are, and not as I dreamt they would be. *Cheers*

17

2017 it is!

So how was my 2016? Pretty much like any other year, partly eventful, mostly fun, and with enough rained out moods and gloomy days. 

The best thing to happen was my folks staying with me for 5 months. It was their first trip to the US. There was a lot of happiness, but also enough drama and tears for you to cancel your subscription to Hindi prime-time soaps. The fights between me and my mom are melodramatic to say the least. They also mostly seem ridiculous in hindsight. I am trying extra hard to be nice specially because they are going to come here again in summer. I don’t want a repeat of the ridiculousness as last time. I think this time would be more chilled out too. We have less long distance travel since they finished most of the touristy stuff last time. We will cover more local areas and activities. We still feel incomplete without Moony, who is in doggie heaven, and he is always missed.

The middle of the year and September also brought back an important entity in my life. I started talking to the xBF again. We always were friends and it is nice to see that spark being back. There are momentary relapses, but mostly we are on track to nothingness. Yay for that?

This year was also the year that ‘yours truly’ got set up for phone and text dates with prospects. Hello, online dating and arranged marriage scenarios! Someone from Michigan came to meet and hangout to see if there was any possibility. I have ended up being very good friends with his friends and hanging out with them for happy hours, even though that dude is out of picture. There was nothing wrong with him, just that Cali is way too far from MI, among other things. Then there was another awesome sauce dude who seemed like the master of hypothetical questions. His questions and talks were so whimsical that I found myself depressed for the next two days. I pulled myself out of it and prayed for the girl who may end up with him. Then there were others, who are already married, judging by their whatsapp display pics. See, I told you I am a good luck charm!

Babies entered my life in 2016, left, right and center and they are very loved by Auntie PB. They made me realize that I am not hated by their fraternity, and also, that I still prefer puppies. 😀 My plans of adopting a pupper are being steamrolled by the Mothership, and her reasons are valid and annoying at the same time. But that doesn’t stop me from browsing adoption websites. Meanwhile I am doggie-sitting other’s pets and spoiling them to the core.

I had quite an active social life with a lot of exciting events and trips planted in my memory. I got yelled at by a few buddies for meeting them after years(since graduation). I had a lot of very memorable fun weekends. I flew cross country to meet my bestie Hazra who’s wedding I will be missing out in January. It was his first trip to the US through work, and we made it quite fun. I was glad I could drive him around and show him some glimpses of America. I had a mini re-union with old friends and our fun little trio got together and had a blast. I celebrated all American holidays with Shawn n Alicia as their adopted family member and even had a set of gifts from Santa under the Christmas Tree! There was a lot of new thrown in as well, when I met some of my blogger buddies. January through December, I met some of my favorite writers and I am looking forward to our next hangout session and meeting more new people already!

I took chances this year, and made quite a fool of myself. I got rejected as well when I told someone that I was crushing on ‘em. Atleast I was braver than him, because every friggin’ sign from him pointed to a two-way traffic between us. Ah well. In this situation, trust me when I say this, his loss. 😉

I have been going through trying times, and phases of depression. Sometimes I am simply sad, and sometimes ‘need to rip off my skin’ upset. I went through some frustration(still going on) at work. In my personal life, I am trying not to feel abandoned and lonely. But I try to keep these thoughts away. I don’t want to feel clouded and lose sight of my life and it’s potential. To anyone feeling low, make sure you knew that you are capable of much more than what this darkness offers. Just a tiny turn may help you put your life back on track. Nothing, and absolutely nothing will help, unless you help yourself.

So, I bid adieu to 2016, dancing for 4 hours straight, right under the Empire State in New York. This was the first time I have clubbed out on New Year’s Eve as a drinking-age adult(but I barely drank!) and it was a blast!

After the kid-sized roller coaster that 2016 was, let’s see how 2017 shapes up. The bet’s on it being ditto, but I will give you excellent odds on PB’s major life events(0.5% chance!).

Happy new year, y’all!!

2

Look how far we’ve come…

I met up with my friends from my Lonavala days over the weekend in San Jose. We used to be a trio when we started college. All three of us from different backgrounds, found some common ground amidst the chaos of 20 girls sharing a large hall in the first 6 months. We were roommates as well for almost 2 years after that. It will be a mighty understatement if I say that ‘yep, we have had our ups and downs.’ What we had was a family drama that will last longer than your bag of popcorn. But, we grew up(almost!)

It was a very fun weekend with a lot of happiness sprinkled around generously. Looking back, I realized one thing. We all have come such a far way from what we were. It is quite astounding because if you stand from the outside and look at us three, you will be hard-pressed to find a common trait that binds us. Our similarities are indiscernible. We are 3 girls with a very strong sense of individuality, with 3 absolutely different personality traits and 3 ways of thought processes. We think on completely different levels from each other, yet mostly, the end is similar. It’s almost like we are trying to reach the same point, but we take different routes. 

Back in college, when we first met, we did realize that our backgrounds were so different from what we were used to. Yet, we had a common plane. Specially in the first year, having common subjects and living in the common hall and eating in the cafeteria bound us somewhat. Going forward, two of us were in Mechanical Eng department and one was in Computer Eng, but things were still similar to a level. Yet we had our very strong differences. Only commenting about myself, boy, was I rigid! A lot of changes came into my personality and behavior over the years as I got influenced by situations and people. S and A have had a more lasting and a very deep relationship with each other over the years and they both are much easier to understand than all three of us together. I did drift apart, but it was mostly okay for all of us.

Not that I have lost my sleep over it, but last weekend found me questioning the existence of common plane and if it indeed is important. Moo, Ani and I bond over a myriad range of topics. We love similar things and hate similar things. Our families have very similar traits. Well mostly the way we bond is Ani yelling at Moo and I. We do have our differences but that also just blends with the way we are. Maybe that is a result of us molding together as friends over the last decade. But with S and A, I am finding it very hard to point at what is making us tick now.  One has a Roomba and wears flipflops on carpets, one had no idea about Legos till a week back and doesn’t like mushrooms, and one obsessively drinks smoothies for lunch and hates Beiber and loves T. Swift. Interestingly, I have noticed that with almost every topic, among the three of us, two will have the same view about it and one will have an opposite outlook.

But I suppose, it doesn’t really matter. As long as we continue to laugh over the ridiculousness of PG certified but actually X-rated Bollywood, we should be good.

0

‘Tis the season…

…to be dark, broody, annoyed….. and a bit jolly.. FALALALALALALA!

I kid, I kid! It is almost Christmas, you guys! This year has passed by like the falling stars that I keep trying to take pictures of. It started with a daze and the crazy excitement of traveling back to US with my parents. Their long visit flew by swiftly, I stepped into my last year of Twenties, and Diwali came and went. Everything has been such a blub of memories with somehow, my memory registering almost every food that I ate. I think it is partly because that food still lives on parts of my body as adipose layer. Damn you, pesky inches!

But I love the buzz in the air that started with Thanksgiving last weekend. I strolled into the mall for some Black Friday shopping and was defeated by long lines and mobs of people. After more than 7 years of living here and claiming that I will ALWAYS shop on Black Friday, I have bummed out of it. At some point in Sephora, I just stood in a corner for 10 minutes staring at people going nuts over makeup that wasn’t even on discount! I dropped the idea of buying my sunscreen that day and took off. Target was much better and I bought a few things that were on my list. Oh, I also got a set of Pyrex bake and store set in my bid to do away with plastic Tupperware and that made me feel very grownup and ladylike.

Since the past couple of weeks, I have caught myself singing ‘Rudolph-the red nosed reindeer’ and ‘’Tis the season to be jolly, FALALALALALA’ so many times now! I distinctly remember leaving this bar previous weekend, with my buddies in San Diego, singing Rudolph. I had a backup chorus too thankfully! That friendsgiving rocked!

Can you all smell this sweet, pine-y, cinnamon-ey scent in the air? No? Oh wait, because I do have a cinnamon roll on the desk. 🙂 I can’t help it! All the cookies, brownies and candies are screaming out my name! The air everywhere is so thick with the fragrance of Christmas. Most parking lots around homegoods stores have been turned into makeshift Christmas tree stores. I can breathe in and out that woody, sharp scent day all day long. I would have gotten a tree home, but they are expensive! And I know I won’t find a gift under my tree on Christmas morning. My Santa is miles away in the Indian sub-continent.  Maybe I will get a small wreath one of these days from Trader Joe’s.

You have to be living under a rock if you have not seen or heard about the Starbucks holiday cups. After the useless debate about the plainness and political correctness of their cup design last year (plain red, that’s it), Starbucks went all out and brought a lot of happy into their design this season. They are bright and cheery and scream holidays!

Everybody has their fairy lights on to herald the holiday season. Yours truly is not behind and I got a brand new string of lights and hung them up. The only problem is that the new multicolored lights are sort of clashing with my older cool-white and blue icicle lights. For a normal person, it’s not a grave issue, but hey, we are talking about me here.

In spite of all this happiness, I hate to admit that I am going through a rather low dip right now. There have been ups and downs, with a long, low, stressful dip going on right now. Hopefully my little buggy will be able to crawl out of this pit unscathed and much happier. I have been feeling this emotion where I just want to give my loved ones a long bear hug and cuddle up with them. I am taking anything that comes my way for a bit of that warmth. I have caught myself becoming teary eyed when some of my best friends have been giving me tight hugs. So, if anyone needs a big hug for any reason and needs a pick me up, here, have a huge, giant, all-consuming, warm as Butter hug! XOXOXOXOXO

hug

PS : Let’s ignore the mini breakdown I had at the gym today with Shawn patiently patting my head with a healthy dose of ‘There, there…’
“No sirs, I am not crying because he is forcing me to workout!”
12

PINK : A Guide to Women’s Safety

I finally got around to watching the movie PINK two Sundays back starring Amitabh Bachchan. It’s been quite some time since the movie came out and I had heard really good reviews about the movie. My father specially had raved about it and he is not easily pleased by Hindi films. After I saw it, I have nothing different to say. It’s a fantastic watch that will throw you into a whirl of thoughts.

When I started to watch the movie, I had to stop and text Moo because I was starting to feel this rage inside me. That rage only built up to a crescendo like Falak Ali’s until she lashes out at the lawyer. It was making me so angry because the movie is not simply a fictional tale about women caught between lust, lies and political mileage, but has elements of what every working, independent woman has to go through in different shades of sexism. But it was just a movie. And a one that I made sure from Moo, ended in a non-depressing note. In real life, that’s not the case always as learnt from countless cases like Ruchika Girhotra, Jessica Lal, Bhanwari Devi, and many more.

Amitabh Bachchan’s portrayal of an old lawyer, desperately trying to report an abduction/molestation, then an almost bumbling defense attorney, and then a questioner with conviction, brings up some points that show how the world has moved ahead but the mindset of men is still regressive. Side effects of patriarchy have made sure that men continue to follow medieval rules and resist any changes towards equality for men, women and even the LGBT community.My father has an interesting point of view on this. He feels its an inherent jealousy of women(the assumed weaker sex) being able to do everything and more, than men.

If you have have watched the movie, you will remember his ‘Guide to women’s safety’. Dear ladies, if you want to survive, forget thrive, in this world, you need to follow this guide book. The rules will ensure that you live till a ripe old age. You may suffocate to death, but you shall be safe.Nothing else will protect you better than these rules. Not even a simple word or seemingly complete statement ‘NO’. Like the State Lawyer says, consent is highly fashionable these days and unnecessarily pranced around. Follow these rules to be safe.

  1. Do not go out alone with men anywhere. Men are boys who actually are toddlers that get swayed easily by your blooming sexuality. You are responsible if they cannot keep their feelings in their pants, specially being led to a lonely area. If you are alone, it’s a natural lead on to physical intimacy.
  2. Don’t smile or laugh too much. I am a personal victim of this. I have been called a sl*t, wh*re, easy, and many other fun names in Hindi/Marathi/Gujrati/Punjabi by my classmates and college folks during Engineering. When I moved to US, I thought I have entered a bigger, more liberal world, but many of my fellow countrymen here did not share the same sentiment. I realized this even more when I melted into the pot of different cultures that was my lab. I enjoyed company of people and I liked being friends with everyone irrespective of their gender, if we had a matching wavelength. I also liked being expressive about my attraction to a guy and the idea of a normal, healthy dating life. But how dare I. I should have known that I am a good Indian girl. So, ladies, if you smile or laugh too much, you are driving these innocent boys into helpless fantasies, who can’t help acting on it.
  3. Your character depends on the clock. Almost all of us have heard this one or the other time from concerned neighbors, family, friends’ relatives, teachers, and the entire community. Coming back late at night means you are easy. It doesn’t matter that you work hard in shifts, or that you may like to have some downtime after work. A girl walking alone in the PM is calling for it more than the girl walking alone in the AM, who is also asking for it to a degree though.
  4. Do not drink alcohol, use cell phones, eat Chinese food, or get educated. Like AB says, the ill effects of alcohol for men end at health risks, whereas it’s a whole new list for women. We don’t just get sick, we make people around us sick, with lust. Again, a personal victim of accusations stemming from this. Then there are the amazing concerned members of the society who are worried that ‘too much education gives girls much more to talk about’. Curb their mouths, curb their lives, and keep them safe.
  5. The venue you are at determines your character. If you break the Rules 2 and 3, but are in the presence of family, or are home, or in a temple, you may still have a chance. But if you are at a club, or a concert, or a café, you are providing an open invitation to men. Be careful of where you go. The nature of a venue has a direct relation to lust.

Ladies, be careful of what you wear, how you behave, and where you go. There will be men out there policing how we need to be. If we don’t reign ourselves in, they will not hesitate to discipline us. After all, we would be asking for it.

25

First World Terrors

She had her perfect Minnie ears and smeared kohl for a scary Minnie Mouse in the house. Her costume had been appreciated at work and the Halloween party had been a success. She stepped out of work to a dark and gloomy sky and walked to the parking lot. It was only 4.45 pm but the overcast skies made it look darker. The area was empty and a little chill crept up her neck as she tugged on her sweater. She got into the car, and got a startle! The radio was accidently set to the max volume. Strange. She never hears music that loud, she thought. She shrugged and drove out. 

She was stressed. And for some reason, she felt frazzled. She was nervous about something, but she couldn’t put her finger on why that was so. She decided that the best way to calm herself down was to haul herself to the gym. She took a turn and drove herself to a work out. After finishing her work out, she stepped out of the gym and shuddered. Was it her imagination, or was it way too chilly and dark? Dementors crept up in her (Potter)head, and she shook herself to push away those thoughts. She did not need anymore negativity than what she already had.

She drove herself to her home. She was listening to the radio to keep her mind in a better place. But it was Halloween and between every two songs, there was a phone call with people reporting in their paranormal experience. She kept shutting off everytime the call was put through. Living alone, such stories were the last thing she wanted to hear.

She got home, finally. She looked at her beautifully carved pumpkin at her doorstep. She got her tealight candle out to light up the Pumpkin for the night. It was glowing beautifully. The darkness in the hallway though was giving her the creeps. Was it her imagination, or was everything just wrong with the night? She whipped out her phone and started to take a picture of the glowing Jack-O-Lantern.

She was not prepared for what happened next!

Her phone said:

10

N-N-1 again/ The 200th!

This is my 200th post, guys! Whoa, I really did write all that?

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It was N-N-1 time again, and Norm was hosting it. He asked us to send in a picture that we clicked on Saturday, Oct 8th at 2 pm. By a fabulous stroke of luck, a wonderful story and picture fell into my lap! It’s a wonderful story of love, hopes, dreams, life and happiness. And the makings of a bridechilla.

Gowns

Gowns…

We wondered about them when they had accidentally ‘disappeared’ during the Halloween party. We were almost sure when we saw them bonding in the research lab. We had called them out during the Christmas Secret Santa party when they both went to the room ‘tired’. K5 and I had ended up as neighbors in my last year at SDSU and CT was there a lot! It all became superbly clear after he moved in. Chadillac Thrills thought he was being sneaky! Haah! After 5 glorious years of friendship, love, game nights, Grad school, traveling, pizzas and boba tea, parties, camping, hiking, they are getting ready to spend their lives together, officially as a married couple. The anticipated engagement did not happen during their Europe trip, although there is an adorable picture under the Eiffel Tower tagged #didnotpropose. But it happened in true Chadillac style, calmly and sneaky-ly, where they started playing Sunday night games and there was the diamond in the Lego sets. I am glad to have witnessed the making of this amazing couple, right from the inception of their relationship. I am even happier that they consider me close enough to be a part of this beautiful journey. Last Saturday afternoon, at David’s Bridal, I helped K5 try on different shades of white, as she took on her role of a bride-to-be. There were tulle and organza, sweetheart necklines and mesh capes. There were pearls, lace and sequins. There were Zac Posens and Vera Wangs.
And, so it begins…

PS : Please pray that I can RSVP “Princess Butter + 1” for this August 2017 wedding…

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Rest of the pictures and stories are linked below. Head over to Norm’s blog from here!

Classical Gasbag

It has been about three months since the last N-N-1. Rather that let it fade in to a mere memory we’re doing it again. One of the things that I love about N-N-1 is how people from different parts of the world connect electronically to share brief moments of their life. We see differences and recognize similarities. To me, it shows once again that while there are billions of people in the world, humanity is a singular noun.

The first participant is Pins n Ashes.

Poori-masalaPoori-masala

I was at one of my favourite restaurants, lunching with friends enjoying one of my favourite meals. Poori masala as we call it.

Next is Her Royal Highness Princess Butter with a picture and story dear to hearts of many Princesses. Oh, and thanks to the Princess we now call this process N-N-1 rather than just sticking in numbers that change with the number…

View original post 559 more words

12

The case of the lost shoes.

Let me start this off by saying I hate my feet. They aren’t particularly ugly or anything, in fact they look positively cute with fuschia nailpolish on my toes. But I hate how delicate my feet are. Shoe shopping is a nightmare. I not only have to make sure that shoes are comfortable, because, thanks bunions, but that they are actually available in my size, because, thanks tiny feet. So, it all boils down to my hating buying new shoes. I needed new shoes for my Turkey trip last year because I wanted to wear cute clothes and I definitely did not want the look to be ruined by ugly running/walking shoes. I had bought these Skechers Bobs after hours(weeks) of consideration(painstaking research at work). Moo had a pair and she had told me how comfortable they were. They looked casual, sneaker-ish and would have gone well with casual dresses, shorts and jeans as well. They weren’t outrageous in cost but were more expensive than what my other casual shoes cost. That was a sacrifice I was ready to make once I tried on the shoes at a Skecher’s outlet. The memory foam felt like a cloud and I knew I had to buy them! Except, the smallest size in my store was still big for my feet, and we ordered it online right at the store. The shoes truly were amazing and my feet were thankful for them after the trip. The shoes have seen a lot of Fridays at work and even more casual hang outs where walking was involved. I even had these adorable Gap no-show socks to go with them! Red and cream, and pink and silver. How cute!

So, I was going down to San Diego on Friday night to attend the Balboa Diwali night festival and meet Abhi’s parents because I ended up missing them on their LA day trip while taking care of other commitments. I got back home after work and working out, took a quick shower, and started packing. Then I remembered that Nish mentioned about a trip to San Diego State was in the offing, since Abhi and I both had attended school there. I thought of my Skechers but decided to keep my Keds(thanks SA!) instead. For the shoes, I opened my sock drawer to look for my socks. I picked out the pink and silver, and I noticed, there was no hint of the red and cream. I panicked. Not just for the socks, but because I hate losing stuff. I looked everywhere and I couldn’t find the socks. Then, a sudden dread filled me and I wondered if the socks were in my shoes, tucked away happily and lazily. This exercise resulted in a thorough search of my home, only to figure out that the shoes were now missing! If you thought I was disturbed earlier, you should have seen my state then. 

I managed to calm myself by assuring myself that they must be at Abhi’s. So as soon as I reached, I went to their shoe rack, and looked for my shoes. Nope. Abhi said they weren’t there. Nisha suggested that I could have left them at Del Coronado when I stayed over there. They may as well have been stolen by a raccoon then. As good as gone.

By this time, I had put on my Nancy Drew hat and had my Famous Five notepad in hand. I got through the weekend with the case of the lost shoes burning a hole in my head. Meanwhile, a new possibility crept up. I may have slipped them off quickly in a rush to get to my yoga class in my flip flops and I could have left them at LA Fitness. So I got through Monday with a renewed vigor and headed down to the gym. But alas! There were no shoes in the lost and found. There were sandals, yes. But shoes, no. I got through my workout with a determination that I was going to call up the hotel and have them find my shoes from the suites we had. At that point, I did not care how utterly stupid I was going to sound. I just wanted my beloved shoes back. I contemplated even calling up my MOM! My plan was to make her look around on FaceTime. Mothers can find anything.

After my workout, I headed out to the grocery store for my weekly groceries. After I had parked, I had this bulb go off in my brain. What if I had simply peeled off my shoes in the car, worn my flip flops and run to the gym? So I opened my passenger doors, rolled out on the back seat and started digging under the seats. But, nothing. I did find a hair tie, and some change. And a straw. I sighed and looked around. There was a plastic bag in the mesh behind the front passenger seat. I thought I may as well trash it with the other junk. I pulled it out, and screamed with joy, loud enough to scare the 3 Indian kids few cars down! My shoes! There they were with the socks tucked in nicely in them! Oh, my grey trusty Bobs, with my red and cream socks! My travel companion, my feet nuzzlers, my personal tufts of clouds! My dread was gone. My worry about ordering another tiny pair was gone. I saved some $$. I heaved a sigh of relief, and went down my merry way to buy myself some food.

Now if only, that ‘lost’ bunch of 1000 bucks shows up…. 😀

31

29 it is!

Another year older, another year gone by so quickly!

Yep, it was my birthday yesterday and I had a wonderful time with some of my favorite people.

Like all princesses, my birthday isn’t limited to a single day, but spans across the weekend. The celebrations started from Friday afternoon when my buddies at work took me out for a huge birthday lunch. They ordered a shot of Fireball and beer for me and the result was 10% of efficiency for the rest of the day. I kept myself awake at work by thinking of elaborate ideas to take a nap, but without real success. I should have taken a leaf out of George Costanza’s book of ideas like the hammock under his desk.

The celebrations extended in the evening when I went out for a Japanese dinner with Shawn, Alicia and a few others form the Softball team. I love Ramen and their Ramen was no exception and I really enjoyed the vegetable sushi as well after a very long time. I am not big on sushi because of a few wasabi related incidents in the past(fire in the brain and tears from eyes, nose and ears), but this sushi was quite good! Abhi, Nish, we have another new spot to go to! After the dinner, we headed to a real divey-dive bar, in Tustin where our group became bigger as more of our friends joined in. Now, it was a Karaoke bar with an open mic. We belted out quite a few songs like Bohemian Rhapsody, Sweet Caroline, etc. But the real highlight of the evening was the thorough butchering of Summer of 69 by Alicia and yours truly! I think we were hopping like bunnies more than singing! The DJ announced out that it was my birthday party and the entire bar was upon me to wish me.  We sang almost all the songs as a chorus to whoever was singing and by the end of the night, we had lost our voices. It was all worth it!

Saturday passed by in a whirl, where I did grown up things like laundry, vacuuming, renewing my apartment lease, crying at the depleting bank balance. I was expecting Abhi and Nish in the evening, but flight related incidents with their mom and sis postponed their visit to the next day. Shib called from Kerala after fighting with terrible phone network. I spoke to Hazra over video chat for quite a bit and the poor guy tried to order a cake for me which turned out to be a fail. I was so touched by his gesture and assured him that it truly was the thought that mattered to me! I headed out to the mall in the evening to use my discount coupons and birthday vouchers from stores that I may not shop full-price from. 😛 I ended my Saturday at the grocery store where I had an unexpected ego boost when the cashier gave me student discount without even asking me if I was one! To celebrate, I treated myself with some Chinese takeout. Yep, I love Asian food!

I spent most of my Sunday being lazy and talking to friends on the phone. Thank you Moo and Ani for the infinite wishes, and so much love to Ani’s Jonah for the cutest message ever for his PB Maasi! The xBF also called and we spoke for a long time. It truly made me happy and very satisfied that we now trying to get to a stage that we can joke and laugh and look back and look ahead without ruining our moods and dissolving into tears. It was good. Abhi, Nish showed up late afternoon with some absolutely yummy desserts and I finally cut my birthday cake/dessert and got to make a wish by blowing out the candle. Well, I think I forgot to actually make a wish! The day ended with another FaceTime chat with the folks.

Monday came bright and early and really hot with 100 F or 40 deg C and 9% humidity. More friends from work took me out for lunch and we had Thai food. Did I already mention that I am a sucker for Asian cuisine? I skipped gym yesterday and chilled at home with my friend Adriane to watch the presidential debate. We had my birthday dinner at Maggiano’s Little Italy and celebrated with the group of friends that I call the OC squad! Of course, the prime members are Shawn and Alicia. 😀

It was the culmination to a fabulous, celebratory weekend and I couldn’t be happier. I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by people who love me, care about me and keep me in their thoughts and prayers. No one can take the place of my parents, my family, but my friends come very close. I feel grateful.

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I have entered the last year of my 20s. I am determined to make it worthwhile. I want to do everything so that I can look back and say that I ended up my 20s with a bang. God willing!