Posted in RoMa Chronicles

On the way to the other side

It’s been a crazy few weeks. 10 days to the wedding and I have never shopped like this in my entire life. First there’s manic shopping, then there is manic stitching. LOL! Had just so, so many realisations and unstructured thoughts that trying to get them into one structured piece of decent writing is next to impossible. So I will just go with the flow…

… I have been jobless for over 2 months and surprisingly not upbeat about it. It seems like a nice opportunity to do/ learn a lot of things that my manic work schedule and work life and low stamina didn’t let me. E.g. learn how to make the perfect three course meal or do the surya namaskar perfectly every morning and stay in the presidential suite of a star hotel. These were on my wishlist some time ago, and I am almost there ūüôā

… Somewhere down the line, I forgot the concept of a “career”… It’s more like doing an odd job that’s lots of fun and pays decent money. All it takes is conviction. I like it this way ūüôā

… Bright clothes aren’t necessarily stupid. The things I have bought in the last few weeks, I couldn’t have dreamt of owning some time back. Like that sea green saree for the reception or that extremely weird jewellery… Or that one terribly embellished pista green lehenga with patterns of white sequence OR that swimwear in pink and blue! And guess what, I am actually looking forward to wearin all that ūüėČ

… Shoes are the most difficult thing to get!! Shop for them first.. Take whats comfortable for you. Never mind the price ūüôā

… “Basic +” cooking is neither difficult nor boring. If one does it completely independently.

Cochin is awesome for wedding shopping. It really is! And then there is online shopping too ūüėČ

… Shopping for your wedding trousseau can be a real stress buster!

… Yoga and running are the only interesting ways to lose weight. The claustrophobic gym and eating like a bird are not.

… I have been comfortable in my own skin for quite some time now. Gone are the days…

… I can be terribly judgemental if I am directly subjected to things that I am judgemental about. LOL! Confused? ūüėõ

… They may say that a friend in need is a friend indeed. But it no longer makes sense to me. Everyone likes to show sympathy/ give gyaan/ or generally be on your side when you are down and out. But those friends that are happy for you when you get used to being happy, either in spite or because of the way things are, are the only ones worth keeping.

… People’s negativity is generally a direct outcome of their own minus points/ insecurities. But that doesn’t mean I have to take it. I don’t. I wont.

… I am now a little difficult to work for/ with. Ask the card printer guy and the tailors across the length and breadth of the city… But then again, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do ūüėõ

… Ro has unbelievable patience with me and the amount of cribbing I am capable of. But every time he starts cribbing about the rent for apartments in DXB, or food, or job cringe in the gulf (LOL) during one of those phone conversations, I realise I have enough patience too. Or maybe it’s just his way to keep me from cribbing. I guess that’s what equal relationships are all about ūüėČ

… Joey what would I have done without you! Thank you for all the things. The company while shopping, the pep talks n everythin! You are a god sent. Kiran, you come second. But thats because you are her husband eh! But seriously, thanks for driving us around and waiting while we girls shopped to glory. You are a sweetheart! Deeps you are me. Thanks for the support. I love you till the end. You’ll always be me. Div, you are busy but I still love you. Ol Woman, thanks for those lovely cards!!!Psycho, thanks for following me to DXB. ūüėČ Anoop n Anju, you guys are my daily boosts of energy. Shaun, thanks for the love across the miles and Big B, I;d have gotten you a shirt if you were around….thank you for the courage you give me whenever I am low n out. Last but never the least…the quintessential cousins…Su, naani, mons, AC, my MNM you guys are gods gifts!!

… There’s a strange kind of contrast in my world these days. At home, there’s always noise… Das n my aunts have all turned into a peon/clerk type and carries a list of things/ names and a pen with them almost constantly. The phone rings almost all the time… And there is generally a lot of converstaion happening around me all the time. At the same time, there’s a lull otherwise. TV is boring and twisted, any public place I I have been to in the last month and a half – malls, restaurants, – ¬†are almost deserted. ¬†There’s something that’s not totally right with the world right now. I don’t know for sure if this feeling is only metaphorical. I don’t know how to describe what I am saying so that someone reading this understands. But for a change, it’s ok.

I am pretty much done with shopping and stitching. LOL! It is soon going to be time for supreme pampering inside the house and monsoon of kerala outside and I am looking forward to it. What better way to prepare for a life-changing event than a place as laid back as Cochin. There’s a lot of travelling in the next couple of weeks. It’s going to be a crazier 45 days. I will see you on the other side I guess. The other side of this ¬†26 year long phase of life ūüôā

Till then, I am……..

Advertisements
Posted in m@dness

13 point something

‚ÄúYour time is limited, so don‚Äôt waste it living someone else‚Äôs life. Don‚Äôt be trapped by dogma ‚Äď which is living with the results of other people‚Äôs thinking. Don‚Äôt let the noise of other‚Äôs opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.‚Äú

Things are moving pretty quick and its almost June. I don’t seem to get time to update anything or anyone. So, I decided to ¬†take a pause and update on the happenings of the past few weeks.Thanks to a trillion changes,the renovation at home and all that, I have an average of two hours per day to do something on my own accord. And those two hours are spent in reading one page of a book, taking a bath, going to the loo, among other things. I owe this post to my blog (and the receding number of hits on the blog, I shamelessly admit :P), so here goes. My 13 ¬†point update

1. The house is being renovated to accomadate a room for me. Yes, now the brother n family has one room and I no longer have to be the refugee when they arrive for a few days. Das has his room to himself and he doesnt have to share it with me when summer comes( He has an AC in his room and I didnt. Now I will too). The kitchen is being done the way I always wanted it or atleast some parts of it. The lounge area is bigger and better and the whole house seems to be getting cooler than before!!

2. There are also days when I do get some extra time and that I make sure is well spent with the gals. Some random conversations with a few awesome women- happy, strong, spirited women who are different as chalk and cheese, and yet very similar….

3. Looking forward to that no strings attached trip to bengaluru.¬†By no strings I mean, a trip with no work to think about, no deadline, no date that I have to get back to etc. The trip where I am allowed to shop , where everyone will be nice to me and stuff :). The only hitch being, the brother hasn’t yet told me where he has shifted to. I dont know their new address. ūüėõ

4. ¬†The other M got married. She is enjoying her new role and has fitted in quite smoothly. One of the D’s is expecting. I also have another Momma in the making amongst my gals. Sin is carrying her 2nd for 4 months now. Ms A is busy job hunting in Dubai and thats making her get into one of those grouchy moods.

5. The fact that in 12 working days, Ill be free from everything related to work keeps me going these days

6. Everyone seems to be telling me things these days. Thing related to making a house, duties of a wife/daughter in law/mother in the making(whenever it happens) / sister in law etc. They all seem to say the same thing in different ways. Control anger and be patient. Thats it. period.

7. Since I am serving notice period, I am pretty much free these days. So I am looking out for my replacements and also looking out for jobs for the man. I havent done job searching for anybody else for awhile now so it is a little difficult. I feel I dont have the urge and passion to do things like before. Haaa lets see. Time heals, hopefully.

8. I realised that ever since I moved back to Cochin, I have hated more people than I have liked. I haven’t always been like this. My intense dislike for a lot of people stemmed as much from their stupidity/ pretentse/ laziness as my own lack of work. Of late I haven’t had time to notice anyone’s shortcomings but my own and I want to keep it this way. It keeps me grounded, it keeps me happy.

9. The manic, man killing bus drivers(Red Killers) of Cochin. They are quite crazy, especially when you travel a 90 minute distance twice everyday. They want to fight every 5 minutes, and they actually provoke you to scream at them so that you are rude to them and they get an opportunity to scream back! How I wish I could get over my irrational fear of driving! I am being more than civil to all the bus drivers and auto drivers – they are so rude I am scared of them. The only time I get rude is when they fight for more money in spite of what is the fixed rate. I just quietly utter the words “police station” in my super polite argument. I am scared one day I will leave work and never reach home again. I get rid of some of the commuting stress by having a full fledged music fest for myself from the minute I step in. Thank God for portable music devicesand nice people who give well timed gifts, I have been a lot less scared of dying while commuting ūüėõ and I have discovered my love for music all over again. Like the good old days!

10. Ro and I no longer spend as much time talking as we used to.  The time difference, the lack of time, the job hunt and the tiredness of a day at work and stuff make it difficult for us to spend time with each other. And strangely, I miss him all the time! I hope it gets better when I quit and sit at home. Hopefully I can arrange my day according to his time n work.Why does life ALWAYS have trade offs?

11. The new family is great. Supportive and definitely the give-you-space kind. Thank god!

12. I still read. Even if it is a page a day. Ro says I cannot take my books to Dubai. The man doesnt realize that I will buy books from there and start another library there! I still sing. Even if it is only in the bathroom and the bus. I still spend time blogging. Even if it as the cost of my company. I still play and walk in the rain. Even if i know I will catch  a cold the next day. I still gym. Even if it is a torture to drag myself there everyday! Thank god that I have time atleast for all this.

13.¬†I also have a lot of things in the head now. His job. Mine. A flat in dubai/sharjah that we have to put a finger on. Relocating to a totally new land!Leaving family n friends behind. Starting from scratch, again. ¬†The weddings and births I’ll miss. The places that I’ll see. Or not see. New experiences and so much more.

So thats it. Thats my life in a nutshell. Shall keep you posted.

Till next time, take a pause, look around, get a hold of whats happening, smile and give time, time.

Posted in m@dness

From Lappie, With love

My Laptop,lappie has panache!

It’s battered, bruised, chipped, cracked, marred, used and abused but it has a certain charm to it. It calls out to you and says,

‚ÄúHey look at me, I am something special, so what if I am not perfect, there is perfection in my imperfect existence. I have lived a full and rich life, seen things others haven‚Äôt, done some pretty wild things and been in some weird locales. ¬†I am a wanderer with his heart rooted in one place called ‚Äúhome.‚ÄĚ

If only I had blood running through my veins, I would dip my pen in it and write my life story but since I have just some wires and a chip in me, I will tell you my story in the only way I can, by way of text. The crack that you see near the touch pad is due to the fact that M@d had the habit of keeping me on 24/7, 365 days a year. She never slept and never let me sleep either. She kept me up from morning to night and then again from night to morning. Especially while she was studying for Human Resource. Ask her friends:Ash,Tee, Gij, Somettan,Raakri etc. She ran on chicken and made me run on electricity.

My charger tanked and gave up half way through the second year of our association of 5 years. The motherboard had heated up and ignited and burnt making a crack appear on my being, my inner turmoil was exposed to the cruel eyes of the indifferent world. Each and every scratch on my body has an interesting story to tell. Now I am as good as a desktop. I can’t move around like my siblings, I have to be rooted to a spot or move around only as far as the wire lets me; I am a prisoner of my own chord and not accord. The charger is always plugged in from start to shut down, have no life without it.:( Its like the ventilator thingie you humans get wired to at the end of your lives.

I have played songs for her, millions of songs, sad, happy, and angry and some romantic ones in between the angry and happy ones. But mostly soft, melodious ones, she loves music and I have fallen in love with it too. There was a time when she used to play some stupid farm games on some site.  I tried my best to dissuade her from playing that game by  taking time load the page and all that but she still wouldnt let go. Finally someone got some sense into her head n she stopped farming!Another thing she likes is writing. She used to write on word earlier n now she has started writing on her blogs directly. She is a piece of work, and I have been her side kick for 5 years. We make a good team. I love her energy and enthusiasm. She rocks and so do I.

Then there were her projects and assignments, the actual reason her father bought me and let her keep me. The research, downloading, printing, reprinting has driven me mad but I have become an amateur professional because of her. Thanks to m@ds I now know about HR laws, Marketing jargons and process and have become a professional in cut-copy-paste!

She used to take me to some crazy places: the library(just for horror), to cocoa tree(she used to get free wi fi there), her friend’s place, her class(to chat and pull rajeev’s leg), MG Road, Kakkanad, Kalamassery, Kottayam, Bangalore…haa watta life! I have been exposed to all the elements, sun, rain and wind. Sometimes she and her friends have spilled coke and coffee on me other days noodle and soup. She is one sloppy eater but she has never hurt me, never let me fall from her grasp and grace. She has always protected me and cared for me in her wild, careless way. She has loved me more than she has loved anybody in her entire 25 years or so I hope ūüėõ

We made a good team, like that strange dog on tv and its master, Dumb and dumber etc. I battle scarred and she the same, both valiantly charging ahead in life, against all odds, unafraid, passionate about life and its discoveries. Looking forward to another day in the sun or rain. Unafraid, enthusiastic and happy to be alive, living every moment, enjoying it and appreciating the ironies of life. ”

 

LAppiee, I love you still!!! I would never trade ¬†you for anything in the world…..

Stand by me!

Posted in m@dness

The Indian Kids Tamasha

Disclaimer- I still love kids! And I plan to have lots of em one day but definitely won’t allow them to annoy people!

Just the other day I was having a really quite nice date at a nice restaurant in Cochin. It is a charming restaurant on the roof top with a lovely panoramic view of the city. This is the last place one would bring their children to. Somehow Indian parents insist on bringing children to late night dinners at expensive restaurants and wreck everyone else’s privacy.

Chechi(okay chechi means sister in malayalam), what is this?’ I turned around to find a little kid tugging at my skirt.
‘It’s nothing baby. It’s just a fork,’ I smiled and turned to my friends.
Chechi, is this your mobile?’ the cuteness was fast fading for this brat had pulled out my mobile from my hand bag.
‘Yes it is and now would you be a good boy and give it back to me?’ I forced a smile.
After much deliberation the kid dodged me and ran with my mobile to his mother who was sitting two tables away. Politely but firmly I asked the mother if she could get me my mobile back as it was important. Instead of being apologetic she tells me kids are like this only and that I ought to be more tolerant.
I mean seriously, as much as we feel proud that our little Tintumon is an active child bursting with energy, or love to see our little Raju sing “Twinkle Twinkle”, the rest of the world is under no obligation to indulge them. Parents should stop thinking they are entitled to some special rights.
Even at the movies I happened to get seats next to a boisterous family who had bought all the junk available at the multiplex and the kids were fighting over it all through the movie despite several refills. Also each kid by turn kept wanting to go the washroom, and each time he would have to cross me. I don’t think I caught a word of what RA-One was saying!
I don’t know what we are proud of. We make monkeys of our kids. Feed them all the junk and make the world listen to them singing Jack and Jill a zillion times over, and force them to clap and cheer. So we all have sung Baa Baa Black Sheep, it has been the most natural part of our growing up, cute as it may sound it really is no rocket science.
So I think it’s time to impose a few rules, Children below the age of 4 ¬†no 5 should not be allowed entry to
-Fancy restaurants at dinner. Even if they do allow children it should clearly mention they are ‘child-friendly’ or whatever, so that the rest of us can stay away.

– At the theaters for all shows from the evening show. The parents can rent the DVD and watch it later.

– At the beauty parlours where I like to get a my head massage done without having to hear pesky kids running around and trying to handle the equipments.

I don’t have kids of my own, I am not even married. When I do I’ll ensure they follow all these rules but right now I don’t want be deprived of a good movie or a great dinner.
Posted in Uncategorized

Hotel Sagar- A review

Ask anyone in Calicut or anyone going to Calicut about Sagar and they will tell you it’s one of the most familiar names associated with Kozhikode aka Calicut! Hotel Sagar is also ranked at #3 in the To-Do at Calicut List in Lonely Planet.

So when they decided to open up a branch in Cochin it was imperative that we go there at the earliest. They had opened up three days ago and I had heard from quite a number of people that ‘Sagar’ had finally arrived. So off we went.

The branch at Cochin is a replica of the structure at Calicut. ¬†Situated right opposite ‘The International’, it has an Air conditioned family hall and a non Air conditioned dining area. They have plans to open up the first floor once they are settled for good:). Well I went along with dad and three of our friends. I knew it had to be them that i went with coz they had been to ‘The Original’ and knew what to order!The restaurant is not open for Lunch though they do allow takeaways (only biriyani for lunch). Parking is spacious and they have valet parking too.

The¬†ambiance¬†is neat(till date) and the waiters are a real pleasant lot. They know how to deal with impatient and demanding customers with a smile so genuine that you will be forced to pay a tip and wait. Coming to the food, the menu was not ready yet. It still isn’t and will not be till this weekend. The gracious waiter said they have:

  • Sweet Corn Veg/ Non VegSoup
  • Chappathi
  • Parotta (Paratha)
  • Chicken Biriyani
  • Fried Rice
  • Chicken Curry
  • Fish Masala
  • Prawn Fry
  • Chilli Chicken
  • Chicken Dry Fry.

Dad was not in a mood to eat so he had the sweet corn soup while we ordered Biriyani, Prawn Fry, Chicken dry fry, chicken curry, fish masala and chappathi. The soup came promptly and the food followed without any delay. The soup was okay, a bit salty. The chappathi, according to me was processed chappathi and was not freshly made. The biriyani had a taste that was different from any biriyani I had eaten. Not exactly in a nice way. Apparently they make the special Biriyani Masala at the house of the owner in Kozhikode and transpport it everyday to Cochin. The Biriyani was not spicy, it had a distinguished garam masala added to it. They call it their ‘Secret Biriyani Formula’. We did warn them that the cochinites are not going to fall for it at all. The chicken curry was wasted coz it had a plush of tomatoes and only its tangy taste stood out surpassing spices, saltiness,sweetness and all that. The fish masala was nice and the only dish worth going back for. The biggest shock was the prawn fry¬† had a nice coconut and masala combination which was really nice until they billed us Rs 200 for 6 small pieces of prawn!!!!

Overall the five of us ate for Rs. 820 which is not exactly a bad deal but not worth for the food they gave us. I must admit that I will go there again in one month’s time just to see if they have improved and if this was because they did not yet have a fully functioning kitchen. That is for time to tell. Which leaves me to give the MAD VERDICT.

MAD VERDICT:

Location: Prominent and easily accessible.

Ambience: Neat and well lit.

Food: As of now a shame for ‘The Original’.

Service: Excellent and prompt service.

Mad points: 2/5.

Pointers:

  • Go after awhile and after you have heard they have settled down.
  • Tip the waiters in uniform. The owners also take orders for now so do not mistake and tip them instead!
Posted in Uncategorized

The Song Birds

I live in a gated community in the heart of  Cochin city. It is  a small locality, with just nine houses. Barely a kilometer  away from the hustle and bustle of  South Railway Station, our enclave  is a haven of peace and quiet.  Far away  from the madding crowd, as it were.  The sound and din of the city traffic do not bother us; there is just one high rise apartments nearby, and the closest supermarket is more than a kilometer away. There are a couple of old fashioned provision stores in the vicinity selling milk, bread,  eggs and all the usual items one would see in a store in a village.A corporation truck that comes to clear the waste or the bus that wants to save time disrupts the traffic occasionally; otherwise the road is mostly filled with usual cars,bikes and pedestrians engaged in quotidian chores. As I leave my house for work each day, I see almost the same faces Рsome going to school, others picking up milk and daily  provisions  at the corner store,  few senior citizens diligently  taking their morning constitutional,  and some regulars returning home after their daily visit to  the local  temples.

All in all, an oasis of serenity. A sort of bucolic retreat  in the middle  of a crowded city.

Naturally, the area shouldn’t be ¬†green and verdant, but it is thanks to the disputed property that belongs to a¬†neighbor. The area is thick with foliage and trees, and the sights and sounds of a forgotten childhood that assail our senses constantly. Bumblebees and dragonflies fly around impudently during the day, and evenings resonate with the tireless chirping of crickets and the sonorous croak of bull frogs.¬†¬†Early mornings are simply beautiful . ¬†There is¬†¬†barely a hint of¬†¬†magenta¬†¬†at first, and then as the sky is suffused by a beautiful pink blush, the day awakens¬†¬†to the refreshing music of the¬†¬†birds. There is a lot of greenery where we live – several coconut palms and temple trees,¬†¬†a couple of¬†¬†majestic raintrees, a konna , a weeping willow, and a number of divi divi trees that¬†¬†provide a canopy of lush green along the driveway;¬†¬†and a profusion of¬†¬† flowering plants and bushes that serve as¬†¬†cover and sustenance to a variety of songbirds. Sparrows, swallows, koels, thrushes, larks , kingfishers¬†¬†– are in abundance, and they all¬†¬†appear simply joyous to be alive!

More than a month ago, I noticed a  pair of red whiskered bulbuls busying themselves around a decorative palm near my front porch. Now these birds are easy to identify. They have a distinctive crest, and a fan tail. Their body is generally a dull brown, with a white underbelly, a red face patch and a colorful red vent near the  tail. The birds typically  feed on fruits and small insects. They are normally not shy of humans, and perch conspicuously on trees and rooftops, sending out a  sharp  three or four note call.  Most mornings, I wake up to the music of their scolding chatter.

I could see that  what these two birds were doing was part of their mating ritual. They  were getting ready to breed. The pair  worked tirelessly, and soon enough, had succeeded in creating a small cup shaped nest with twigs, dried leaves, grass, roots and strips of bark. The overhanging palm fronds ensured that the nest was quietly  tucked away from the roving eyes of predators. And within a couple of days, there were two pale mauve, speckled eggs resting inside the nest.

Then followed a period of incubation. One bird would sit on the clutch of eggs, while the other would forage for food, and bring it back to its partner.  Everyday, even before I had my morning cup of coffee, I would check on their status. I also became a vicarious parent of sorts, watching and observing my avian friends, waiting in anticipation  for the eggs to hatch. After about  fortnight of waiting, I found that the alchemy of creation had taken place. Th eggs had hatched, and I could see two tiny naked heads, eyes closed,  jostling comfortably in the nest. . Both parents were close by, perched on trees, zealously guarding their off spring against any intruders, the air filled with the sharp notes of their constant warbling. Were they warning me to back off, I wondered. After  a few days, I saw that the baby birds had opened their eyes, Of course, they were still helpless and depended on their parents to feed them.

And then, one morning, after about three weeks,  I observed that the nest was empty. I realized that my young wards had fledged. They were ready to stretch their wings and soar forth into the world. The cycle of life was complete. The parents had done their job, and it was now time for the young ones to create their own music. I look around, and I can  see the proud parents perched impudently on the rooftop opposite my house, making joyous music.

I am reminded of an old Chinese saying :  A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.