Of San Diego State, past life and ‘Kardashan’ business…

Whole of last week, I have been sick. I discovered that I am allergic to the smell of roasting atta(wheat flour) that my mom was prepping to cook something. In 5 minutes, my throat started closing down, my nose got blocked and I developed a sore throat that resembled a cat post after the kitty is done filing her nails. Ugghh. I went to work on and off. On Friday my dad texted me if we could go to San Diego on Saturday to see the University. I had already thought of going to either LA or San Diego for a day trip, so it sounded great. Except, I was still sick and feeling like death. Sheesh.

But when I woke up on Saturday morning, I felt great! Except for the coughing, I felt fittum-fine. And then we headed to San Diego at 11 am and then we hit horrible traffic making sure that we took 2.5 hours to finish our journey of 1.5 hours. But we had carried homemade paratha and potato fry (Indian tacos to the rescue for non-Indians!) to calm our hungry tummies. What was intended to be a picnic food at San Diego State was consumed in the car like road-tripping!

We finally reached University and I could feel flowers blooming inside me when the campus came into view. It still looks and feels just the same. 🙂 Wave upon wave of nostalgia hit me, but it was all good stuff. I could see me yelling at Brian to put his shirt on while walking to the International Student center(It is California and people walk around shirtless in summer, even at school). I could see the East Commons where lab peeps and I sat eating our lunch boxes and Adam accusing me of eating cat food/porridge. There were the famed golf carts around that groundkeepers used, which the xBF also used to trim plants, to change trash can liners, and to give me rides. Not kidding, he has picked me up from engineering building, just to show me giant snails in the gardens, because I love looking at slugs(Go Figure.) Once he was working in flower area with his older non-desi co-workers and he cut up some fresh roses and tied them up with Aluminum foil for me. His buddies teased him about his ‘moves’ to red hot embarrassment that day! And of course the library! Where I studied less, and took naps more/ watched shows/ collaborated on assignments with Karen. Then there was Educational Opportunities Office, where I worked for 2 years as a tutor to undergrad Mechanical and Civil Engineering students, that helped me ease the burden on my parents and enabled me to pay for rent and school.


The iconic Hepner Hall…

It was a Saturday and I was not expecting anything to be open, leave alone Professors being there. But I took a chance and we went to see my Engineering building. Surprisingly, the door was unlocked. We got in and I took my parents to the Department, showed them the lab from outside, and even my first classroom! On a whim, I walked into the faculty area and ran into Prof. B who taught me a couple of classes. He recognized me right away and met the folks too. Being a true Indian, his second question was if I got married?! And then he went on to tell that parents need not worry, I will find a great boy. Haha! He was super nice and he offered to show them my lab. He said he will let Prof. M know later. Ooh we even spoke about our current mutual friends. 😉 You know who you are.

By a giant stroke of luck, he also let me know that Prof. M was at school today since the Research Symposium was on. I have participated in that when I was at school so I knew Prof. M would stick around till the last talk and key note was done. So, after we were done with the lab, we headed towards the library  where I was looking for the presentations. I saw a girl in a business skirt walking across the campus and I decided to ask her if the Symposium was still going on. She told me that the key note had just ended and it was at the Student Union. We almost ran there as I kept my eyes peeled. And sure enough, I reached the stairs and Prof. M was coming down! He stopped, did a double take and got mad excited to see me. 🙂 We spoke over there for almost half an hour, took pictures and then said good bye.

The folks and I got some coffee from the Aztec market and finally sat down. What had started off as a generally mundane Saturday had turned into an extremely fruitful visit to San Diego State. My professor, who is never at school on Saturday, met us, we saw the Lab, and we saw my old spots where I had left tiny pieces of me behind. My dad says visiting the University was at the highest spot in his list. He was very overwhelmed with emotions. SDSU is truly where it all started as far as my career is concerned and we shall be forever grateful.

I also successfully managed to put my finger into the Koi fishes’ mouth. Just like old times.


Topping off the evening, we headed to Abhi and Nish on our way back where I learned Pav can be made from scratch and can be more scrumptious than store bought ones. After a fabulous meal of Pav Bhaji and tawa pulav and avocado custard, we set off for home. Mumbai ki galiyon se(Off the streets of Mumbai) should be Nisha’s kitchen’s name till she decides to open her food business.

I learned about another thing on Saturday night while watching TV at home. My very Indian mother who has been in the US for only one and a half month recognized this picture below as the person who is ‘Kardashan’ husband, father of North, insulted a blonde girl and is CRAZY! I think we have hit apocalypse and some magazine stories need to be banned.


This generation is screwed.


Saturday drinks: Unpause

I stopped drinking on Saturdays on 19th December 2009. I have maintained not having any alcohol on Saturdays from 12 am to 11.59 pm until 8th November 2014. Almost 5 years, wow! Do you have any idea how many people found it disturbing, revolting, downright insulting that I did not drink on Saturdays? They are beaten only by the number of people who feel all those things when they get to know that I do not eat meat. Imagine the situation when those people combine into same people. *Shudder*

Let me tell you why. This a looooong boring story and feel free to not read it. Ignore the mistakes, it is too long to proofread.


It was July 2009 when I was a fresh graduate and had received my admit to Grad School in San Diego. Those days, school groups on Orkut were used to figure out everything. I responded to a post by a girl, N who was looking for roommates. She called me up, we spoke and we got along reasonably well. She informed me that a guy Y had contacted her on behalf of this girl Malika. I am mentioning her name cuz she is the central character in this whole story. And just M will not do justice to Her Highness. And then, N informed me about Kals, who was a Mumbai TamBrahm girl. A point to mention, Malika, N and Y were from Delhi/Faridabad. Y was Malika’s classmate and was already here since three semesters earlier. I am going to digress here, and tell about Y and Malika. Malika was a pretty Punjabi girl who knew she was beautiful and popular. You get the gist. I don’t think I need to explain anymore about her 😛 Now Y liked her since their college days. Malika knew what she wanted and inspite of getting better schools, she knew she would have it easy and would have a lap dog here to do her bidding. So she chose this school. So that’s how we all met and reached San Diego together. S joined us around a month later and we were 5 roommates in an apartment. Decent enough.

Meanwhile, Y rented a car, and took us grocery and household shopping, with a li’l bit of sightseeing thrown in. So, it was basically 4 girls and Y going everywhere together. At the cost of sounding immodest here, I am going to say, I am not a bad looker. And I am goofy(not intentionally). And I have been told I am very funny. So, unintentionally, I was making Y laugh a lot. Malika also bonded with me more than others initially. She was alright with N but wasn’t as much with Kals to the extent of making fun of Kals and her Tam Brahm habits. She would call me Bachcha, sweetie, babie, honey and those stereotypical things that no girl has called me ever, and what I shall not call a gal pal. Me and my group are the ‘b*tch, sl*t’ sort of people. I find the supersweet names very fake. But anyways, I went along with it.

After a few days, Malika said something to the effect of Y having a crush on me. She said it and gave a laugh. I downplayed it completely and told her how Y calls me his baby sis. After that, there were a couple of times that Y showered me with attention and there were instances where Malika said I was looking very nice and if I was getting ready for Y. I could smell some jealousy building up right there. Then, she started bonding with Kals more. This was all within a month of reaching SD and school starting. Kals, Y and Malika would hang out ALL THE TIME. They ignored N and I totally. After S joined us, it became even worse. But it wasn’t even the beginning of the real bullying drama.

There was some festival and I had cooked sooji ka halwa for everyone. I had saved some halwa in the kadhai and kept it for Malika and Kals. They came, but ignored it and went into their rooms. I trashed the hardened up halwa after a day and washed the pan. Then 3-4 days later, I got a call from Kals screaming on the phone to come home right away. Me and N walked back to school to see what was wrong. She was sitting inside with Malika and Y and clutching her foot. She started yelling at me that she fell down in the shower/tub because my hair were in the tub. I was stunned at her accusation because I knew it was completely untrue. Both Malika and Kals were simply screaming at me. I told them that I was sorry if I made a mistake, and I was learning cleaning and being tidy and all, since even I had never worked to keep a house clean ever before. They started cross questioning me on a lot of things. Then Malika went to the kitchen and got the pan out showing me tiny speck of the hardened halwa on the underrim. I went totally red in the face. Y piped in that he was the ‘Guarantor’ of the lease on the house and could get me thrown out. I kept repeating sorry, and eventually broke down because I am not made to take 3 people screaming at me and bullying me. A few more such incidents happened at home where for a couple of days Malika would be nice to me and then suddenly would return to her bullying avatar. Eventually we separated out our utensil use and duties and food, and started living like two groups. Kals and Malika together and N, S and I. I was living under the spotlight having been told by Y that one mistake, and he would throw me out. Point to note: He was not living with us.

A couple of months later in November, Kals started warming up to S and me. She started talking to us again since Malika would spend all her time with Y in college or library or at his place. I guess she was feeling left out. Then she confided in us, how Y would come and stay in the room till late night till 3-4 am and she would feel uncomfortable with him being there. We all gathered in her room and Kals told Malika the same thing. Malika responded to all this by saying that Y said, he is not going to step into the house anymore and called us ungrateful explicit names. Plus, Malika said that she would rather not have boys stepping into the home anymore. This was said also because a couple of my friends had come over once or twice in the evening. This all sounds very weird, I know, but well. We all agreed. But it turned into huge dramas a couple of times, where I was targeted for the stupidest things and eventually, it was Kals, me, S being separate with N being the only one who would still talk to Malika. Kals apologized to me for all the accusations in the beginning of the semester and thanked me for supporting her when she had a problem. Now we are good friends.

We finished our finals in December. My last exam was on 19th December. N was home with Kals and S. They generally were homebodies and I would be out the whole time with this group of boys who had become very good friends with me. We decided to drink by the pool in their apartment complex. It was bang opposite my complex and the guys were very trustworthy. We started celebrating the end of the finals with a lot of drinking. By the end of it, at around 3 am I was on the verge of passing out. So I wanted to go back home. They came with me to drop me at my place. I opened the door somehow and stumbled inside. The restroom was directly at the door and I told them to wait while I went in to pee. I am not sure why I told them to wait. 😀 I got back and said bye to them, and closed the door. N was watching some movie and was awake. Kals and S were asleep and Malika was in her room. While lying down, I hit my head against the wall. I am quite prone to do it, drunk or not. Yes, I am that stupid. She got all alarmed(she did not drink and was into a lot of God and meditation kind of stuff. Also, I need to mention, in my opinion, she wasn’t the smartest creature and not entirely all there. I just plainly want to call her an idiot). There was absolutely no need for her to react because I had already dozed off. But she did, and woke up Malika of all the people. OF ALL THE PEOPLE.

Next morning, I was shaken awake by Kals and S and N and they told me that Y and Malika are threatening to call cops because I came home drunk. I was stunned! I told them, if cops responded to that, half of the American population would be arrested! Charged for what? Drinking legally?? Ugghhh. Y and Malika created this huge scene where he called me on the phone, threatened to get me arrested, thrown out, being deported, calling my parents and telling them about my character, etc etc. Because I came home drunk. This all got too much to handle and Kals, S and I went to the apartment manager to find out about this whole ‘Guarantor’ of the lease business. She said there was no ‘guarantor’ and it did not work like that. That was a huge relief. He came over at noon to yell at me again and there we told him, that if he wants to, he can go ahead and take away his guarantee and we told him to come to the manager right away. He stomped off with Malika hissing instructions in his ear. In all this process, that girl did not talk to me directly.

At night, Y gave me a call and I was sitting in my friends’ house. He told me to come down and he wanted to talk to me. He was shouting into the phones and abusing me left, right and center. My three guy friends came down with me, and saw that Y got this guy with him. Y just came over and was about to hit me, when my friends all came right in front of him. The guy held Y back and said Malika is his cousin and he is concerned and he has police cases against him, blah blah. I spoke with a dead calm to him and reasoned things with him. I think that made him feel very stupid about the entire issue and he told Y to leave the girls alone. It is another story that that Gunda tried asking me out eventually. *Rolling eyes*

Anyways, things went really downhill from there. My dad studies astrology as a hobby and I knew that my Saturn phase(SaadeSaati) had begun in September. He had told my mom that I was going to have trouble and he was worried. This whole issue began in the first week of September. I was so fed up of this whole Malika and Y business that I just decided that I won’t drink on Saturdays anymore. Things simmered down eventually and after our lease ended in July, we went on separate ways. As time went by, Malika got all her assignments done from Y and then dropped him like a hot potato after the classes were done. He moved to the Bay area, later on. Blahh.

So, well yeah. Since, unfortunately, most events and parties are on Saturdays, it felt weird. I could not tell the reason to anyone. I would simply say that it is a religious reason and move on. But now I decided that I want to drink again. My last phase of Saade Saati is remaining and began on 3rd November and I consulted my dad if it is okay to drink on Saturdays again. He told me how he enjoys his scotch only on Saturdays and there was no reason for me to stop in the first place. He called me overly-superstitious. Geesh.

PS : This whole girl drama is how my first year went in the USA.

ETA: I need to add this here. I hate confrontations. Due to previous experiences being bullied, I am extremely timid. Now I have developed a strength and I use sarcasm as a weapon. But that time was harrowing for me. Harsh memories full of tears and worries.