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*

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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!

15

Lessons from a tomato…

Some of my friends may know that since last year, I got involved with house plants and growing some vegetables after I started renting my own apartment with a nice patio.. I started off with tomatoes, cucumbers, mint and jalapeno. I went through a bunch of cilantro, pole beans, spinach and carom seeds(ajwain) too during fall and spring and have some more tomato, bell pepper, basil in inclusion with last year’s stock. Most of this enthusiasm was from reading gardening articles, friends and this episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix about a Buddhist Monk growing all her produce and creating beautiful dining experiences combined with spirituality. She let her plants grow and did nothing about pests considering them to be natural forces of nature.

The cucumber’s gone though. It got powdery mildew right after the first fruit. It still braved on and gave me atleast 10 cucumbers before I decided to let it die. I tried milk, neem, and a bunch of DIY and store bought medicines, but nothing really seemed to help. The mint is trimmed off every now and then, but the leaves are getting smaller and more hole-ridden despite constant neem oil or insecticide sprayings. The tomatoes last year were good, but many had to be discarded because of pesky greenworms boring through fruits or spots because of temperature and moisture changes. Jalapeno is going strong. It keeps looking like it will die and then it springs back with 8-10 flowers and fruits suddenly. Same goes for the bell pepper, and that has hole ridden leaves too. The insects are everywhere and there is no escaping. I have still tried to stay on the organic path with all my insecticides being natural and not harmful to the bees. The temperatures are not helping either with fluctuations between 70F to 100F in a matter of few hours.

Yesterday, I noticed that one of my tomatoes had ripened nicely with a bright red color and I decided to pluck it off. When I harvested it, I noticed that it wasn’t as nice as it looked.


I had a new perspective dawn upon me. The humble farmers have to face way more issues than being given credit for. Because I went through the actual ratio of fruit eaten to fruit harvested, and the lifecycle of my plants, I understand a miniscule part of the horrors faced by them. The plants and the crops are their livelihood. Each fruit is important. They have to fight the forces of nature which include heat, cold, rain and shine. Just a change in couple of degrees turns a ripening round tomato into an oddly lobe-shaped fruit. A small difference in moisture content of the soil will introduce the unsightly black spot on the fruit which will lead to discards. Too much rain or too little rain can wreck havoc in the life of a farmer. Same goes for too little or too much crop. A bountiful crop will drive the prices low with a nullifying effect on the profit. Back to square one.

We complain so much about pesticides and the higher costs of organic fruits which use natural herbicides and fertilizers. But I saw the other side where they have to resort to heavy sprayings to prevent pests from literally eating up their money. There is practically no winning.

It is a thankless task to work on farms. They have to fight against nature, flora and fauna to bring food to your table, all the while toiling for almost nothing.

So what am I doing with my tomato? I am cutting that quarter off and gobbling down the rest if there is no sign of a pest inside. I have worked hard(sort of!) to grow it and I am not wasting it. The quarter goes back in the pot to decompose and fertilize. I have done the same for my mint leaves. If there is no sign of pest remnants like eggs or droppings except holes in the leaves, they just get washed nicely and I make my chutney/sauces. The next time you go eww about a couple of black spots on bananas or a soft spot on a tomato, before discarding it, think of that one person who bent his/her back under the afternoon sun to tend to it. Maybe now you have a new perspective on the words ‘Farm to Table’.

7

A tail of sensory delights…

It would have been Moony’s 17th birthday. It has been 2 years since he has passed on and has been gamboling at the rainbow bridge in a pile of chicken, boiled eggs and sukhi bhel(an Indian snack that he would relish with mom every evening). But the chasm that Moony has left behind  will not be filled easily. I would like a furry sister or brother to come into our lives, but as of now we aren’t ready. A gazillion amazing things have been spoken about how amazing dogs are and how they enrich our lives and every bit is 110% true. But while driving, and reminiscing about my days with Moony, I thought of how he regaled every sense of mine. I thought of how dogs excite, amuse, confuse and delight every human sense. Every pet owner will be able to relate to this, I am sure!
1. Sight : If you haven’t felt a warm gush in your heart at the sight of a dog’s big brown eyes and sloppy, drooly smile, you, my friend, are made of stone. They bring such happiness by just existing in front of your eyes. Have you noticed how warm a dog’s big beautiful eyes are when they are looking at you with all the love their little bodies could hold and quivering from head to tip of the tail for a hug? Have you seen how naughty those same eyes look when your dog has spotted a squirrel and sensed a slack in the leash? I feel giddy just remembering how happy the sight of my dog’s fan-like wagging tail would make me after a long day. The blackberry eyes, the giant smile, that big tummy!
2. Touch : Trust me when I say that no fabric in the world is softer than a new puppy’s pink tummy. No velvet is smoother than running your fingers over a dog’s floppy ears. I used to love patting my dogs legs, right between his thigh and his tummy and even keep my palm there to take in all his warmth. Absolutely nothing beats pulling your dog close to your body like a giant teddy bear at night and just nuzzling into his fur, not even a better half! I miss running my fingers over his temples, on his cheeks, tummy, just about everywhere. His big doggy hug would end every stress and worry right there and soothe me. The softness and the warmth was unbeatable.
3. Smell : Dear dog owners, please tell me that I am not the only weirdo who totally loves the odd smell of a dog’s paws! Moony’s feet used to have this funny smell of corn chips mixed with old cooked rice, I have no idea why! He would invariably push his paws on my face when deep in sleep. I would still hold him close and take in that part atrocious, part mesmerizing scent. Aah, how can I forget the stink of his ears when we would clean them. Even his mouth smelled like a fishbowl for some odd reason. Such a jumble of weird smells they are, but so lovable!
4. Taste : If you are living with a dog, and haven’t casually ingested enough of it’s hair to have a hairball in your stomach by now, you are doing it wrong. The hair finds its way into your stomach however hard you try. After picking it off everything, I learnt to just roll with it. It was on my clothes, in my bags, every rug, sweater, hairbrush, and floating around in the kitchen. And, also, kisses are a big source. 😀
5. Hearing : The cutest part of bringing home a puppy are the adorable sounds it makes. Those little grunts, snores, burps, squeaks, toots become such an indispensable part of your life. Agreed there were times when I have thrown a pillow at Moony to shut his barks at the invisible monster, but then he would throw in a squeaky whimper and all would be forgotten. And then he would start barking again. Trust me, dogs talk to you, and you only have to respond back anyhow you like, and watch them go at it.
I miss every bit of Moony and what he would do to my heart. I miss all the love he held for me and his various moods and his king-size personality. I miss the effects his sight, touch, smell, taste and voice had on me and how soothing that all was. All of you who have a furry friend to go back to, go give your dog a biiiiiggggg hug and tell them PB loves them.
kashid 131
14

What to do when you spot your crush…

… A La Princess Butter.

  1. Stare at him from crowds, hiding behind people, or between the machines at the gym.
  2. Consider talking to him, and keep considering that till the allotted 30 days time period for ‘over-thinking’ is over.
  3. Forget how he looks like, and mistake someone else for him and get yelled at by your buddy for being a ‘floozy’.
  4. Try not to stare like the said shameless ‘floozy’ at his lean, tan, physique…………
  5. Try not looking like you and your buddy are a thing, specially when you both enjoy silly antics in public.
  6. Make your buddy catch signs, like engagement/wedding rings, the slogan on his university tshirt, the year on his school jersey, etc.
  7. Finally make a decision to smile at him.
  8. Attempt to smile, and then stop midway, and look like you are trying to cough up something nasty and watch him return an undecided half-smile.
  9. Cringe in embarrassment for being a chickensh*t and continue staring at TV at the oddest angle from your machine while doing chin-dips.
  10. Go crazy on the internet looking for the guy and get other friends involved in your utter stupidity.
  11. Disregard any advice about the sane method of ‘smiling , saying hi and a normal introduction’.
  12. Continue being a weirdo and make #foreveralone your motto.
17

Yes, I am vegetarian…

1. No, I don’t care if you eat Beef/Pork in front of me. 

2. Yes, I do eat eggs. Yes, I do feel conflicted.

3. I do consume dairy. I am not vegan. Yet.

4. Even though I like salads once in a while, salad bars are not my ideal places to eat at.

5. I do get things outside to eat. Even at steak houses. Heard of Mac-N-Cheese? Karl Strauss has the best one I have ever had.

6. No, I don’t care if we are all going to a meat spot to have a good time. I will drink and make merry. Except, Korean BBQ. Nope.

7. My health is fine, thank you very much.

8. I have all the protein I want.

9. I don’t just put fake meat in all my food.

10. India is not 100% vegetarian. In fact,60% are meat eaters.

11. Again, not all Hindus are vegetarians.

12. I don’t ask you 10 questions about your food, so I can expect the same, hopefully.

13. I CAN live without meat. I promise you I am not a zombie.

14. Yes, this food that I am eating right now is vegetarian. You KNOW I am vegetarian.

15. If you sneak meat in my food for shitzengiggles, I WILL pull a Ramsay Bolton on you.

Every. Single. Day. 

12

Dating Tales : Boy 4 : Date 1

A lot of people have been asking me to chronicle more dates or setups that are going on in my life. I feel extremely sad to disappoint you all, and myself, that there aren’t a lot of those things going on even now. At this juncture, the past is out of the window, but it takes all the effort to not be a 3 year old who says ‘eww’ and blushes when someone mentions a boy.

I have spoken to a few people, and met 3 so far. The first was depressing, with his hypothetical question and declaration that he may move back at any point to India and he doesn’t mind living in a one bedroom apartment with his parents. I was too stunned the whole time to react and he took that as me being high. Yes, he asked me that. And I was not, I promise.

The second one went alright, but the dude got back with his girlfriend, with both of us clear after the first date itself that we were better friends than as a couple.

The third, was a bit of a basketcase when it came to communication and definitely needs a mention here.

So, I came across this guy and let’s call him Mr. Y. He was from a town close to my city back in India but he went to college in my city before moving to US for his grad school and work. He is an IT guy and he definitely was the kind who studied all his life, and aspires to work for the Silicon Valley bigwigs. He told me within a few moments of the date that he is getting interview calls already from Facebook and Google. I did not feel like telling him that they call literally every techie in California, with a lot of my friends actually succeeding the interview rounds. Anyhow, here goes the timeline of our exchanges.

Saturday was when we started texting each other and it was a short exchange of 3-4 texts where he confirmed to call on the next Tuesday at 7.30 pm. It sounded more like a corporate meeting scheduling than a getting to know each other conversation.

Tuesday, he texted at 7.30 pm to check my availability to answer the damn call. I called him back right away and we spoke for 20 min, where there were really long pauses and I could hear a very slow and sad background music that could exist in that part of my biopic if ever made. Towards the end of that call, we agreed to text on Friday to confirm a spot to meet on Saturday for a date.

Friday evening arrived, with clockwork precision, Mr. Y texted and asked if a Starbucks would be fine. I asked if he would like to go to some other coffee shop, and that I had a few nice places on my Yelp list. We decided on Portola in Costa Mesa because it is adorable with it’s industrial interiors and I have always wanted to go there.

Saturday afternoon, we met at the coffee shop, talked for around an hour, and yet I left from there feeling like I did not know him AT ALL! The only recall value was how nice my coffee was, he liked NBA, and he had a Scuba license that he told me 3 times about. My impression of him was a vanilla software techie, with a Scuba diving license. One thing irked me big time was the way he was pronouncing my city’s name. It bothered me way more than it should have! We left the cafe after telling each other that we’ll text and stay in touch and see how it goes from thereon.

10 day later, until Tuesday, I saw no message or call from him. I was sort of mad at him for not even sending a polite text like it was nice seeing you, or something sweet. So, in all my anger and ego, I texted him that since we have had no communication with each other, we may as well end it here. My outlook is, if either of us would have felt inclined to meet again, we would have texted.

On Wednesday, Mr. Y replied apologizing for a late reply. His reason was that he was unsure of what to reply because he thought the meeting was great and he was going to suggest to meet a few more times. I was so confused! Because at what point did he think that I knew about him wanting to meet more! Anyways, I decided to be nice and offered to meet again and give him a second chance. And I waited.

Until another 10 days later, on Saturday again. I swallowed my pride and I messaged him only to find out that he was in San Jose with his friends. I talked about food(because that’s my fav topic) for a few minutes and told him that I was running the St. Paddy’s 5k like every year the next day, Sunday.

Monday, he messaged asking how my run was. I said that it was very fun and I had a great time with my friends. He said ‘nice.’ That was it. Those were our last sentences to each other. It has been more than a month.

Such a lack of attention is a turnoff for this princess. I don’t understand. There were 20 messages to each other in a span of 1.5 months almost. Is he still thinking that we got along very well, and has he assumed we will be meeting more? Only God and Mr. Y know!

 

6

Of being a p*tty mouth…

This post is not for underage kids, although I seriously question if kids these days even sit down to read anything while they are busy with their BAEs and YOLOs.

F*ck is a four letter word and not a three letter + asterisk word. Profound thought right? (For the curious, I use the asterisk, not because I feel shy of using these words, but to prevent pervs from landing on my page.) It has been a part of my vocabulary like clockwork as soon as I entered high school. I still was a good girl when I got into junior high, but by the end of it, I knew many more such fun words. My speech was still relatively clearer when I started college. Enter my friend AM, and the F word was rolling off my tongue with surprising ease. Since then, I have struggled hard to keep the usage of such slang to a minimum, but alas, the damage has been done.

My first memory of cuss words, are through my uncle(dad’s brother). He has no control over his tongue, or over that bottle of alcohol, for that matter. He would cuss like no tomorrow and the little me would gaze at him in part amazement and part disgust. He used Hindi swear words too which just have a tendency to leave a worse impression on me for whatever reason. Maybe I am an elitist in my head, I don’t know.

My father has always been very constrained about using cuss words around me and has lost control very rarely. Some of the times have been India-Pakistan cricket matches where the excitement is generously peppered with slightly milder version of cussing than my uncle’s. Another moment that I remember distinctly was the time my dad and I were at a gas station and the attendant was trying to cheat my dad into paying more money. I think I was in high school then. While driving away, in the car, my dad said a particular word that was in Marathi(my mother tongue) and that was the first time I had ever heard it. I giggled and asked him the meaning, and threatened to tell my mom if he refused. Very sheepishly, he answered, “Female reproductive part…” and shushed me after that. I had fits of laughter the whole way home and obviously I relayed the incident right away to my amused mom.

I have definitely struggled all these years to not utter the F-word in front of my parents. But after I started working, frustration is often vented out to my parents and nothing helps me convey my feelings better than calling some particular people F-ing morons. They have been surprisingly okay about it, but do ‘ahhemmm’ a bit if my swearing goes out of control. An occasional thwack on the head helps too. I try everything in my power to not use these words around kids. They are going to be exposed to bad words at school later anyways, but I don’t want to be the person who polluted their seemingly innocent minds and vocabulary. I don’t even want to be a part of the conversation where after my careless utterance, they would want to know the meaning. Also just generally, I would like to clean up my language a bit more. Hearing people use swear words like punctuation, for seemingly no reason, has started to make me cringe. Heck, I cant maintain conversation with some people who obviously think that swear words are the ‘in thing’. I cant watch a lot of TV shows that have free flowing abuses. I have trouble reading and enjoying articles with too much slang.  It’s just a general preference that has become more nuanced with age, like enjoying Planet Earth over MTV Roadies.

But unfortunately, the feelings conveyed through ‘That F*ck@ll pig’ are still way more satisfying than ‘That terrible person’.