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155: Sundays Of A Different Kind

4 Jun

This was spent sitting on a wooden seat at St. Patrick’s Church during Sunday mass, taking in Sunday mornings from a different perspective. 


It was followed by this debauchery with R, over conversations, laughter, reminiscing, and joy. 


Apt for a Bangalore Sunday morning after a long time. :)

Now on to the match!

154: Snapshots So Far

3 Jun

Some experiences are best described without words. 

Here are some of mine so far, and I’m letting these pictures do all the talking. 

Banana chips and post-dinner conversations


Saris, dosas, window shopping in Commercial Street.

Friday afternoons with family and these eyes

Impromptu visits, conversations, and homemade fish fry and prawn curry meals

Sunny, windy, shade-laden walks under these gentle giants

Andhra meals, laughter, and bubbly fresh lime sodas

Relaxing with baking

130: Girlfriend Time

10 May

There’s no denying the balms that are mom-time and girlfriend-time. I’m a sucker for both, and a hardcore fan of both, too. It was yesterday while tinkering around the laptop waiting for A to come back home from a super late work-day, that P from the states buzzed me. It’d been a while and given that she’s a new mommy trumps everything else. But she calls whenever she can, and we speak. The last time that happened, she asked me if all was well and said that I needn’t let the world or its stresses affect me, almost automatically once we said hello to each other. Yesterday, she needed to hear the things that I was telling her, or that’s what she told me as I went on yapping away like I always do. I even FaceTimed with her baby daughter, who looks just like her father, which P and I almost telepathically grimaced about for a fleeting second. It’s one of those we carry you for nine months (and a lifetime) and you still turned out like your dad harmless and non-regretful funda that gets a lot of us women, you know?

Today has also been an off which I spent a lot of propped up on my elbows texting my girlfriends, who are, by the laws of nature, in different parts of the world. But you take that and suck it, universe, because we still can be with each other whenever we like. Random small talk and rants spiralled into full-blown ventilation sessions and conversations that did naturally revolve around life, the men in our life, the domesticities in our life, the work-life imbalance in our life, and of course, the necessity to stand strong in life. It’s funny how different perspectives in the same conversation take shape and make you see various mirrors that you probably never show yourself, or know exist. My mother and my girlfriends are those mirrors. Not to be sexist, because my brothers and my husband are my main mirrors too, but I’m sticking to title specifications right now.

Anyway the conversations made me think about my life and my journey and assess where I stand in all of it. It’s all easier said than done, because each of us has our own contributory factors that make our experiences our own. It’s as simple and point-blank as this forward that my aunt sent us the other day – if we were all to sit at a table and present our problems for someone else to take, we’d all leave the table taking along with us our own problems and no one else’s. It sort of made absolute sense irrespective of just how much one might crib or feel troubled.

But having said that, there’s no better mirror to look into than a good, hearty, honest conversation with your support system, whoever they may be. Mine are my family and my friends; all with different curvatures for the view they need to show me whenever I turn to them.

51: Not Alone

20 Feb

Back in 2008 when I began my Masters programme, I didn’t think beyond what I had joined college back again for; which was to get on with my studies and move on. It’s been seven years since I completed my MSc., which in itself is astounding for me to write down over here…seven years. That’s three short of completing your tenth board exams, which is 75% of your school life if I’ve got my math right. During that time, I studied in a very culturally varied class. We were an all girls and one male class; most of us residents of places outside Bangalore. Needless to say, those two years passed in a jiffy, and here we are today, each doing our own thing, and walking along our paths as we’ve made it. Class reunions generally happen during weddings, and that was the case with this class too. Except, a lot of the girls in my class got married shortly after one another. Therefore opportunities for our reunions also ran dry eventually.

However, today was a different day after seven long years. A few of us finally made the time to meet each other, and here we were, some with babies, some not, back again, with everything so changed, and yet unchanged. It was during this exchange of stories that I came to realise just how similar our tales are, despite our differences; how together we are, no matter how alone we may feel; how comforting it is, despite how overwhelming it might all feel.

The one thing that stood out to me, above all, was just how important meeting each other really is. If there’s anything that’s therapeutic, it’s the ability to put your feet up, laugh while you drink your coffee, and the reassurance that you’re doing just fine. :)

50: Unchanged

19 Feb

50 days, 50 posts.

Through all the changes, here’s my toast.


While 50 is not much, I think it’s deserving of some special attention, even if it’s with something small.

A lot has changed since I first sunk my teeth into these smilies back in 2006/2007 (I can’t remember).

Then I was a student, now I sometimes wish I was.

Then I thought twice about ordering a plate all for myself, now I can’t do without sharing them for old time’s sake.

Then the waiters hated waiting on us, now they go out of their way to say hello. (It happened yesterday)

Then it was coffee and smilies, now it’s rum iced tea and smilies.

Then they were shared over project discussions, now they’re downed over reminisces and current stressors.

Then we’d wait for money to decide our next meeting, and now we wait for time to be kind.

49: Of Over Ten Years

18 Feb

The thing with girlfriends is this:

we take forever to make plans

we’re almost always caught up in our own shit, a lot of which is known to each other

we’ll take time out from our respective shittiness to meet up and generally forget about the world while we meet

we’ll laugh like we’re sitting in our own homes and most often even speak as if we’re the only ones around

we have no problems talking about anything and everything

we talk about everything and tend to expertly discuss all topics that cross our minds and lives and paths in general

we eat together

we eat some more, together

we counsel each other and find wisdom for ourselves from our conversations

we laugh at each other and with each other

we bitch if we have to

we cry when we really feel like it

we bicker, even

we reminisce, we dream, we talk, we wander, we listen, we hug, we have mini conversations within a big conversation, we sing sometimes, we go crazy all the time.

Today R, R, R and I met after what felt like an unending planning session. We each had our things going on – one was knee deep in work around the time our meeting started, one hadn’t slept much, one had to go shopping after, while I had to finish a few chores after. Lots of food, an ample supply of iced tea, and a river of conversation later, we ended our meeting having forgotten about everything else that was on our agenda even before we’d met. R had downed a couple of coffees and spoke about life with her boy, R forgot about her shopping altogether, R seemed to have eased up from her busy work and home life, and I felt like time played a fast one on us. I guess that’s what happens when you meet your girls, no? Over raucous laughter, snickers, jokes, and inside details, we managed to feel like it was just yesterday all over again.

14 September

14 Sep

I’m still somersaulting in the rainbow of ma’s words. She knows me more than I know myself, but you and I both knew that anyway. There’s no way our parents don’t know the real us, and there’s really no hiding from them spelling the minutest of those details out to us; especially the unpleasant ones. Haha!

R and I honoured our plan to meet each other and she stopped by for a quick but very welcome break, yesterday. With her did she bring not only lots of newness amidst the familiarity, but also an opportunity for the two of us to just be ourselves like old times. Sipping over cups of tea and munching through tales of our every day lives and reflections, we clocked time like I haven’t done in a long while. So many memories were shared, so many new facets of our lives exchanged. The camera and taking photographs were completely forgotten about; or maybe we just don’t really do that sort of thing anyway. It is always hard to say bye, but it’s beginning to dawn upon me that these byes are born more out of gratitude and happiness, than from sadness. The small gifts that come along our way in the form of conversations, chuckles and laughter, a lingering eye contact that speaks of untold yet familiar stories…they’re all for keeps and cannot be filed alongside sadness. R arrived with a gift of sorts for me too, and it has been a delightful sight ever since I laid my eyes on it.


I’m not very versed in cuisines as such, but the possibility of owing a book makes me feel like I have already travelled to the place of its origin. This one is filled with stories, chapters, pictures, and of course, the magical delight of food.


I love South East Asian food for there’s a sense of comfort and fulfilment that always overflows so generously from the steaming bowls and plates they come in. My very limited travails have taken me through streets of food and discoveries that have always been a must do on my list; there’s always so much to learn and grasp.


This book seems to have it all and more. Besides, those pictures. And that fish; oh my.


What a perfect buy.

The thing that really calls out to me are the numerous similarities in the ingredients and methods of cooking Indonesian and Indian food comprise. I cannot wait to discover the treasures in this book; equipping me sufficiently for whenever a travel stop does happen to this famed island. Happies.


S called me ever so randomly yesterday – she has moved countries – and our conversation was rife with peals of laughter and curses, memories and time standing still. I miss her dearly. The last time I went back home to Bangalore was to say bye to her and it was just like how we would’ve said bye anyway – complete with conversations, lots of dancing, food, music, laughter and jokes. Marriage changes things not just for the couple but for their friends as well. But everyone is on their respective journeys and we’ve to learn to incorporate whatever we can into these newfound routes. Mad times. I hope they don’t ever change.

Here’s a song S introduced me to which she played during her wedding, and which I love to bits. Also, it fits because it’s Onam. Onamashamsagal (happy Onam), my dear friends.


*afk, dancing*

13 September

13 Sep

Since we’ve moved, we’ve been more or less disconnected from the world at large. With an absent cable connection and no newspaper subscription yet, it’s a strange bubble we’re living in; one where news comes to us in the form of notification snippets that NDTV or BBC slip our way or when we switch on some news via the internet. It’s a rather unfamiliar feeling of knowing only broken pieces of an event or not knowing the event at all, sometimes. In the middle of all this, the Supreme Court gave Karnataka the verdict it didn’t really want to hear and has been fighting against receiving since before I was born probably. My city has shut down, I hear. It’s scary to imagine what’s going on without constantly being tuned in to the happenings of a very angry people fuelled by a very volatile mentality.

I really do believe that there are only so many prayers that can work; that logic is the need of the hour at most times and that these are also idealistic concepts, clearly. There’s nothing stronger than emotion, it seems, especially when it is communally driven. Of course there’s no question about the powerful political undertones that really have steered this to what it has become today. It all just feels like an endless fight that just goes around in a circle stuck in the same place, same time, same mentality. In times like these, I’m hoping for the very best. Maybe some biryani could help. Or maybe not. One can hardly ever tell, these days.

****

Yesterday made me realise in many small and big ways, that you’re required to sell a lot of yourself, for the lack of a better word, to move forward. We call that change or adapting. We call that bartering, give and take, creating new avenues for growth. Never have I felt so conflicted before. Apparently this sort of thing has been around forever; this you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours business. The concept of liberty, freedom of being what you want to be and putting to action all that you speak so openly about, is one that comes with many a terms and conditions; baggage that is too heavy to carry and too volatile to keep down. It is true. You want to stand out, you stand all alone. Except, that standing out isn’t a very welcome thought. As I enter newer paths that I’ve to walk on, it becomes clearer that my options to really be who I want to be, become fewer and far in between. You either fit in and become someone that you never thought you would be, or you find your voice (if at all) by going down fighting for it. There’s apparently no other way, or so I felt yesterday. It’s a damning world, this one.

****

Owing to all this that was doing the rounds in my head yesterday, today feels like I want to just stop and not take in anything; except maybe music. I’m not in the mood for conversations or people or much else. Of course this isn’t really going to help me get to where I want to go to, but sometimes shutting down helps. No words. No questions. No answers to give. The furore lashing in my mind and aimed directly at my sense of identity, or lack thereof, feels too tumultuous to even warrant anything. There’s no room for any kind of accommodation. There only seems to be white anger. And deep sadness. And a heightened sense of loss and loneliness. And so I began my day with music and writing and water. There is also a previously postponed plan to meet a friend which must be kept and seen through, today. Hopefully that may make it all better.

****

Going by how I’ve made it almost a rule and therefore imperative to find positivism wherever I can, I’m always trying to sponge off the little titbits of goodness that are around me. So, in the middle of all this friction yesterday, I lost my FaceTime virginity to a very dear friend. P called me last night to honour the long pending catch-up session we were to have; except she wanted to see my face. To be honest, I’m not a fan of anything face/video related when on a call; simply because it removes that extra barrier which talking over the phone gives you to hide behind. The only time I dove headfirst into Skype was for my Master’s dissertation interview and that was that. But when P called me yesterday and when I reached over to my phone only to see my face, my heart skipped a beat. But the joy in seeing her after years and chatting, laughing, and generally faffing around, was unparalleled. Maybe I need a longer initiation period, but I’m feeling more confident and ready to FT with whoever will be kind enough to FT back with me.

****

Speaking of goodness, girlfriends are a gift and it would be best to keep them closest to you. Really. They’re the antidote, the pretend boxing bag, the mirror, the magnifying glass, the jug of joy and all things good we always need. Also, they’re full of stories, love, and light. The good ones, i.e. In a world that is constantly getting smaller yet more distant, keeping a life private is difficult, yet achievable. I’d like to believe I’m a very private person, whose miserliness on parting with information is directly proportionate to whom it’s going to. We all are like that, I think. I don’t really have a person in Grey’s Anatomy’s context. But there’s the magnificent luxury of calling some, my own. And for now, that’s much more than I have asked for.

****

PS, she arrived just when I was finishing this post but before I could hit publish. She brought a sense of belonging, a stash of memories, a feeling of normalcy, and a book for me, with her. Really, I couldn’t have asked for more.

Random Afternoon WhatsApp Conversations

20 Jul

The girls and I, we have a group…but of course. There are more than one in number…some consisting of old classmates, another consisting of a smaller bunch of said classmates who’ve been more communicative than the larger whole…some that comprise really close friends, some comprising family members, cousins, even colleagues; you name it and it’s probably there. We all are a part of at least one group somewhere in this cosmos of WhatsApp, one might as well admit; mostly voluntarily but sometimes obligatory and sometimes unknowingly even. Isn’t it?

The great thing is that geography doesn’t pack as hard a punch when you’re conversing on these groups; the special ones, the most. Nothing can of course replace being physically present with the people you want to guffaw your guts out with, but this comes close, and quite at the cost of startled looks from one’s spouse or family or even strangers who might find themselves in the presence of said mobile-derived guffaw. The great thing is that that guffaw happens anyway. Or the frenetic pecking of the keypad, packed with the same energy your words would be filled with if you were out there, employed to provide that much needed girlfriend advice that was warranted. Oh WhatsApp, you’ve made the world grow smaller, that’s for sure.

So while C (who was certain she needed that black coffee post disappointing rounds of milk coffee), R (who was also contemplating a cuppa black), N (who was away and being productive at work) and I were chatting, the topic of coffee which was doing the rounds made me think of this.

Tea Phobia

Do you have this? I was somewhat ashamed to admit that I did, in fact, have this fear nestled quite unapologetically in me. I felt snobbish, which I will admit I am when it comes to many things. C confirmed that she automatically expects bad tea or coffee, which makes the appearance of that occasional decent bevvy a pleasant surprise, to which R concurred. It’s one of those things that doesn’t stop a million what ifs in my head when I have tea from places other than where I like drinking my tea or coffee from. The reality of insipid, watery, tasteless, stale, reheated, or worst still, cups of tea or coffee with floating islands of malai in them, is one that looms large on this already fretful mind, oftentimes leading to my not having said tea or coffee no matter how badly I might want one.

While I was looking for this picture to share on the group, I also came across these very random but cute ones.

Toast Phobia

Flamingo Phobia

I’m certain that these aren’t as real or anywhere close to being real like tepidophobia is. I’m not even certain if tepidophobia is paramount enough to be classified as a disorder in the ICD or DSM yet. But looking at how taking selfies has landed up as a classified, official disorder, I won’t be surprised if this makes it there too someday.

However, in the mean time, here’s what caused a slight guffaw on many a group today. Simple cartoons brimming with expressions and randomness are sometimes just what we need to see humpday through, no? I guess it’s all about keeping it simple and real, or random sometimes.

PS, I really loved the flamingo one. Whodathunkofthat?! Also, to be culture fair, perhaps a crow would be a better option.

A Title Where Words Fail Me

25 May

After a lot of effort and trying really hard to write on Monday, I came away with more drafts than I would’ve liked. Four in the span of two hours almost shows the desperation I felt to get those words out and on to this space because they needed that release from my mind and heart, except those same words didn’t really budge in my favour. I lamented about it over here for a bit, and let it be because I’ve come to learn the importance and the necessity of letting things be when they need to be left alone. I was trying to write about my girlfriends. Clearly it didn’t prove to be an easy task and one that I’m still not trying to attempt at the moment, unless my words are ready to match all that my heart and soul feel.

The first time I was prompted to write about them was because of a phone call I received from A who lives every single ocean away from me. If you have a girl brigade, a sisterhood, a team, support system, your essential go-to gang, which germinated and evolved over the years; everyone’s probably all over the place by now, with distance and life having played their cards like they do on every single one of us.

Some of us left to be with our husbands, some for higher educational pursuits, some to take their careers forward while some stayed behind, choosing to continue their professional and personal journeys back at our home ground. These changes were bound to happen, but if you asked me five years ago, I wouldn’t have acknowledged this awareness with as much consciousness. It’s one of those things you know is an eventuality, just like ageing is, except when you stand and look at your life sometimes, nothing feels different. I’ve written about this weird time illusion here, and I felt this way a lot of last year especially.

However, I don’t really feel the same way any longer. My friends are interspersed across geographic locations and even though we pick up the phone and call each other, and even though we catch up from where we left off with an ease only those very comfortable relationships allow, I feel a difference in the passing of time. While we can laugh, gossip, be giddy-headed (my mom’s favourite adjective to describe my friends and me) and totally mad, we’ve also changed. I sense a growing up that has happened when we were too busy transitioning and not paying much attention to this metamorphosis that was also simultaneously happening on the side. Today we’re a little more busy or preoccupied, a little more aware, a little more understanding of space and what it means to give each other that without questioning it. We’re a little more wise, more cautious, more skilled at handling ourselves in situations we never thought we could get out of alive. There’s a little more grace, a lot more dignity, and that command for respect. There’s a sense of stature, of direction (even when we feel so lost, which we do so often), of being in control (again, even if we aren’t really in control or feel like our life’s going crazy).

If I were to have a reunion with my friends, it would feel like time has stopped or gone back to its old ways where nothing has changed, where there were no responsibilities or as much stress about and accountability for one’s actions. We would gag on our own laughter and warrant stares from other tables, order food like we’re starving beasts and get bills that run longer than the length of our table. We would talk dirty, cheap, and still maintain that poise even with our hair flying in every direction from that amount of shoulder-shaking laughter and occasional snorts. Despite a higher spending capacity earned by our grit and effort, we would drink a lot less than we would’ve had we met a few years earlier, but we would’ve still had the same amount of cheese and french fries. And we would definitely moan over anything that deserved moaning as we savoured it off our plates. Time speaks in its own way, and will always continue to. Today if I were to meet my friends over a lazy lunch, we would still talk about all that crazy stuff like we did back in college even though our conversations would also now involve spouses, maids or the lack thereof, housekeeping, parents, the need for space, existential choices and decisions, the perennial lack of money and how expensive things have become, life and how it feels like it’s going nowhere. We would bitch about everything that needed bitching about. And then we would order dessert or step out for some exclusive Corner House treats. It all feels the same and yet different, too. Some of us may arrive later than the others thanks to housekeeping and/or marital duties. Some of us may arrive late because we never really were the ones to arrive in time anyway. Some of us may arrive first and leave first. Some of us could arrive first and linger around. Some of us may not even show up and it would be understood.

Priorities.

If I was to engage in some navel-gazing today, I would certainly say that we’ve caught up with time, or are getting there at least. We are more aware of time’s ways and its fragility. We are more conscious of time and its limited stock disclaimer. In every sense, I know we are more clear about taking the next step forward, whatever it may be, because we know that no one’s waiting any more. We’ve all taken foot on our respective journeys, irrespective of where we are, and while distance and time are relative, our bonds have withstood their tests so far.

To the ones who got married early and are having babies, to the ones who got married early and don’t really care about babies, to the ones who are driven by higher educational goals, to the ones who’ve moved out of home, to the ones who’ve stayed back at home, to the ones who so badly want to leave home, to the ones who want to be away from home but have their sense of home close by, to the ones who feel jaded by time, to the ones who just don’t care, to the ones who have the wind in their hair, to the ones who feel an oscillation of love and hate regularly, to the ones who feel like our bodies are changing faster than we care to accept or recognize, to the ones who stand their ground, to the ones who are everywhere yet here together – we’re all fighting the good fight every single day. We’re all just still a phone call away, irrespective of time zones, changing priorities, errant bosses. We’re still that sisterhood we never thought we’d become but which we worked towards becoming anyway.

To that support system which no one else can be – it’s a blessing, time’s doing and distance’s way of showing how close we can be, no matter how physically far apart we actually are.