Friday, March 31, 2006

Living In - Social Sin or Non-Confirmist Commitment?

A lot of people debate hotly on whether living-in beats marriage or not.

What I fail to understand is why it should be anybody's business but that of the two people who decide. I come from a not small family, which is mostly composed of busybodies whose life-sparks would be extinguished if they could not settle other peoples' lives for them, and I married into a huge family, which is comparatively less opinionated, but is quite as concerned about What People Will Say. I say this just so that nobody can accuse me of not knowing of what I speak. I suffered therefore I know. Wherefore I shall pontificate. Whereinafter you may comment.

But (and returning to English) I cannot understand why, in this age, parents are so gung-ho about What People Will Say. For one thing, offspring are leaving the nest at younger and younger ages. Folks leave to study (like me), to work (like many of my friends), to get a life (almost all of my social circle who have managed to move out). Given the preponderance of nuclear families, it is also given that there are fewer people to handle family problems.

Example: Son wants to marry ineligible woman.
Earlier: Throw the family at him. Let the elders have a go at him, in the meantime you can also emotionally blackmail him along with your sister-in-law and his various other aunts and uncles. Convince his favourite cousins to point out the error of his ways. Faced with the collective manpower, he may (and often did) back down.
Now: Throw a fit. Call up his aunts and uncles in other cities/ countries. Bear with their sympathies and eventually give in (usually with a bad grace).

Now picture this: Daughter wants to move in with boyfriend. Chances are, if the daughter was brought up well, her choice in men is not too bad. The boy might be from a family as 'good' as if not better than the girl's. They are probably both self-supporting adults, and have been used to living by themselves for a few years now.

What are the possible objections?
What People Will Say
What Will People Think
What It Will Do To Our (parents') Social Standing

None of which are, strictly speaking, entirely valid, except in rather selfish ways. What people will say is unimportant since gossip does not take into account past merits and is therefore useless to depend upon. What people will think is largely dependent on how the parents take it. This is a mistake many parents make -- if they hold their heads high, no matter what their personal opinion of their children's actions, it is difficult for the malicious to do much actual damage. As for the social standing bit, let's be a little objective here -- do you really care about your standing among people who will willingly denigrate your babies just for lack of another topic of discussion at a dinner party? It all really depends on how you take it.

Mind you, personally speaking, I do not think a live-in relationship would work out so well for me. I tend to get insecure all too easily, and I find, when V and I fight, the fact that walking out is not really an option helps me to eventually calm down and explore other possibilities. (Like, rat poison in his coffee. A quick swipe with a knife in the middle of the night.)

But I do not have a problem with live-in relationships as a concept because I know several couples living like that, and they are all inherently not very different from V and me. They have their fights, they have their problems, but these are the problems endemic to all relationships. They do not have parties any wilder or any more outrageous than those thrown by married couples, and their lifestyles are often a little quieter than that of married couples since they are constantly forced to be on the defensive. And funnily enough, a lot of live-in couples often have marriage as an eventual goal, to be entered into when they have enough money/ whatever. Basically, they are people, just as 'normal' as any other, and their choice of habitation does not give anybody else the right to discriminate against them.

If you are considering mving in with your partner, you might want to read this article.

me-jhantu-nahi-hoon said:
Consider this: you and your partner are living together, pretty happily, away from the condescending eyes of all those elderly/non-elderly folks. even better you dont even stay in India which makes the whole thing so much great for you. But then after a fairly lengthy period of living together time, one of you suddenly gets the news that ur partner has broken the news to her folks and theres no way that this relationship can go towards fulfillment. Wht do you do then? Do you curse like hell on the day you decided to move in?
Its all very nice to day dream abt how it wld be great to find out if ur compatible/not by moving in (mockturtle) but then at the end of that period if one of u have to move-out against ur wishes that wld be a real real pain.

Maybe it makes more sense to consider the fall-outs of moving out after moving in rather than think abt what people wld think if u moved in with ur partner. Makes more sense to me anyday.
Response: I wrote in the assumption that the couple chose to live together rather than marry because for whatever reason they are not ready to take that ultimate commitment but they are ready to take on the responsibility of running a joint household. That usually says you are reasonably serious about your relationship. So, if later your parents object (which you might even have anticipated) would you be so ready to give up on a relationship in which you invested so heavily?

If your parents' preferences means so much to you, and you have an idea they wouldn't like your partner, perhaps you shouldn't be entering that relationship in the first place.

I'm afraid Mockturtle misinterpreted me a bit, because to me, living in is a decision taken with as much consideration as that of marrying. I don't see it as test-drive, because once you move in you are already signalling a strong commitment. Test-driving would be to maintain two separate establishments while spending the occasional night/weekend at each others' places. Do you see the difference?

Most live-in relationships fail because couples don't see the level of commitment required. In my opinion, living in requires greater mental strength and commitment than living in a marriage, because when you feel like giving up on a marriage, the thought of all those endless processes which are required to end it gives you pause, so you usually give your relationship another chance. When you are just living together, there is nothing to stop you from packing your suitcase and calling a cab. A decision that is often regretted later, but is in itself a very final sort of thing.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Shopping Manners

Yesterday's post got me thinking, perhaps the reason why people have so many unfortunate shopping experiences is because they are not sensitive to their companions' needs. See how you fare on all counts on the checklists below. Needless to say, if your answer is "No" to more than three of each, you need to seriously over-haul your manners.

How Sensitive A Shopper Are You?
Do you ensure that your companion has a comfortable place to wait while you go around the store?

Do you try to go to shops that are near other shops which might entertain your companion so that he/she too has something to do while you browse?

Do you remember to stop for refreshment breaks? Do you keep in mind that your companion needs them as much as you do?

Do you try to direct your companion/driver to a central parking spot so that you can visit several places without needing to park the park car each time?

Do you remember to evenly share the load of all the shopping bags?

Do you make the mistake of asking him/her to buy you expensive things that you would dearly love to own but cannot afford to buy? (Casting overt, longing looks or dropping heavy 'hints' in front of your companion counts as asking.)

Do you make allowances for the effect the heat and the crowds might have on your companion?

Do you accept that the final choice, particularly for clothes, is yours? His/her views may influence but are not be taken as deciding factors for which they can be held to blame later.

Do you remember to wear comfortable shoes and clothes so that they do not add to the stress of the day?

Do you accept that you ought not in all fairness take longer than fifteen minutes to make your final choice and that you cannot do this more than thrice in one shopping trip?

How Sensitive A Shopping Companion Are You?
Do you remember to carry a bottle of water and enough change for parking tickets in the car?

Do you take charge of the baggage token at the big shops so that your shopper can keep his/her mind on other things?

Do you notice when he/she is looking exhausted and would probably welcome a quiet drink someplace nearby?

Do you nag when they cannot decide between their top two choices or do you step in promptly for any one (it's your privilege to choose at random so long as you come up with a good reason)?

Do you accept that your choice has nothing to do with the item bought? If it did, you would be the shopper and not the companion.

Do you wear comfortable, fuss-free clothes so that you can carry the shopping without worrying about what they will do to your outfit?

Do you understand that for the day, you are the nanny, the minder, but not the instructor? You may cater to your shopper's needs, but not add to them.

Do you understand how rude it is of you not to enjoy the shopping when it's your stuff that's being bought?

Do you accept that buying the first thing you see when it's shopping done on your behalf will usually mean less money to spend on computer games/petrol/cafes/any other little treat you enjoy occasionally? Shoppers hunt for bargains for a reason! And the first thing you see in any shop is usually expensive or poor quality being sold cheap. It's called marketing, the terms being downselling and discount respectively.

Do you accept that grocery shopping is as important as any other kind and in case it's for your own family, that you ought to take a vital part in it?

Hope this was of some help. Shopping's fun, guys.*

*So long as you do it in moderation. If you feel the need to even window-shop every other day, learn to enjoy it by yourself. That's another kind of fun too.

Note: "Downselling" is a marketing strategy that means to show more expensive goods first so as to make the cheaper goods more attractive. For those who wondered.

Wedding Pics

Wedding pics. Yes, I know they took us a long time, but they're finally up. Well, some of them. The rest will be uploaded whenever we have some more time.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Clothes and Women Like Me

Several males -- ok, exactly three, but that's one more than a couple so I'm entitled to the "several"... Where was I again? Oh yes, those males. They've asked for a post on

What Clothes (And Shopping) Mean to Women Like Me.

I added the last two words as an afterthought, because I do know plenty of women who couldn't care less what they wear and hate the idea of having to go shopping for something as boring as clothes. Or shoes (horrors!). Or accessories (who needs 'em?)

But Women Like Me, we're the majority. We like clothes like we like chocolate. Or sexy men. Or cute pictures of Johnny Depp. Well, ok, make that any picture of the Depp.

See guys, clothes are our feel-good factor. They perk us up when we are feeling really low. This can work in two ways:

1) We go shopping for new clothes. Deciding on places to go, browsing through the racks, looking for bargains, choosing the right shade to go with that bag you were given and which doesn't match a single thing you own, are strong distractions. And distraction's a good thing when the blues have got you. When nothing else works, a new outfit will bring our sunny smiles back into your lives. It's worth the trouble of accompanying us on our shopping trips.

2) We wear nice clothes when we need to feel good or even when we are feeling really good to start with. Going by what I'm wearing you can usually guess how I felt while I was dressing. How my night was. What I want to do today. But you'd need to really notice. Like, a certain ex-boyfriend finally figured out that I saved two particular blouses for my filthy moods. So, whenever he saw me in either, he ran for his life and didn't come out of hiding any time soon either. He was absolutely spot on and I was the first to admit it.

Also, and don't tell me this works only for women, because then CK undies wouldn't be the rage I understand they are, nice lingerie can give you just that added edge you need. Sitting in an interview, worried nerveless about what the panel thinks of you when you suddenly remember that your lacy camisole is definitely more sexy than anything the lot of them has ever possessed. And bingo, your poise is back, you rule. You are not intimidated any more.

I bought cartloads of sexy stuff for my trousseau. That's how intimidated I was by the thought of getting married...

Myths Busted:

a) We do not usually like incompatible shopping companions. This probably means you. Those of you who are grumbling about spending an entire day bargain-hunting, it's not that we really want you. We need you to carry the bags. To tell us that our favourite colours look much better on us than the yicky stuff that's going cheaper. To occasionally pull us into a food place and tank us up for the next haul. Your role is clearly defined. You just need to learn the lines, ja? And that's not as difficult as you like to pretend.

b) We do not spend the day shopping just because we love it so much. We are making the money really count (and showing you more of the world) by looking around for the best ways to spend it.

We do not really look to spend your money. I, for example, only truly enjoy the shopping when I know just how much I can spend with a clear conscience. And I can only do that when I'm paying. I will help you pick out a birthday gift for me (or a gift for any other occasion or even a non-occasion) but only after you give me a budget. I'm not after your cash, I'm after the satisfaction I get from money well spent.

To answer specific questions:

Wishful: just what is it about women and clothes man??? What what??? Pray tell!!! :)
Ans: See above

First Rain: did somebody actually ask about women and clothes! Next somebody will ask about women and shopping, and that will be it - the end of the world ;)
Ans: Not a question exactly, but relevant. See next question.

: As for shopping and women, would love a tip. Just how much is the lower threshold that a guy must be willing to shell out in terms of time and dough per day? ;-)
Ans: When a girl/ woman asks you to come shopping with her, keep the day free. Time will be an elastic concept, and it's unfair to expect her to stick to the few hours she might have promised you in a rash moment. Add an extra hour or two for the inter and post-shopping refreshment breaks, taking her and the bags home, helping her unwind after all that work. You play your cards right, it pays off rich dividends.

If she doesn't want to take you home with her afterwards, and doesn't have an excellent reason for that, she's not worth the effort.

If she expects you to pay for anything that you don't volutarily offer to buy her, she's got a gold-digging taint you might want to be wary of. Cashwise, all you should have to pay is for the transport and refreshments. Anything else is your choice, not hers.

My Good Deed for Today

For all the men out there who need to know this:

Opening a girl's bra is nowhere near as tough as it looks. We've been doing it for ages, and we usually do it with one hand behind our backs.

The trick is (while facing the girl) to reach behind her back, insert your hand under the strap, fold the hooking part just where the hook holds on to the eye, and the hook snaps open. As simple as that.

Trust me, we girls snap other girls' bras open for the sheer fun of it. And also cos it's such a simple thing to do, and can be done in public, and it will invariably annoy the person who's had it done and cause her a lot of discomfort since she will hardly if ever have the presence of mind to snap it right back in place in public. When you get a bit more confident, you can even do it without reaching under the clothes.

Oh and I'm writing this after going through this.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What I've Been Doing

Long time no see, blogworld. Wasn't well yesterday. What with the heatwave and no rains so far, I've been having day-long headaches. But I'm ok now, so let's see what I've been up to:

Saturday: Mother-to-be went shopping with Grandmother-to-be and didn't enjoy it much to start with. But a new skirt, two new tops, one more top given to be tailored, not to mention two other dresses also given for tailoring do tend to perk one up a little. That and telling V exactly what I though of him. Made me feel so much better. Spent the night with Mum at Moore Avenue, read Speaking of Jennings yet again -- and that gave me a much-needed respite from married life. Baperbaris may be irritating, but man do we need them!

N.B. Was telling an aunt that evening how infuriating it is to have to fight with a jerk who doesn't even have the decency to fight back, but just sits there looking sadder and sadder, when she chuckled and told me that's just how her husband was, too. In her own words, "Those stupid sad looks ruined my youth." Well, I can feel what's left of my own youth clutching its (metaphorical) hair and stomping up and down in frustration.

Sunday: Came running back home because V sulkily admitted that he was going flat-hunting and even said that I could come if I wanted to. Well, of course I wanted to -- as if I'd let him choose a place all by himself! Saw a niceish place, was asked to return in the evening to talk to owners. Spent the afternoon sleeping. (Did I mention I'd decided to forgive V after all?) Talked to flat owner in the evening, and came to tentative terms. Went back to Moore Avenue for dinner.

Monday: Blinding headache all day. Felt miserable. Would have been even more sorry for myself if it weren't for this beautiful saree I was wearing. Wafer-thin, light orange chiffon with tatting flowers stitched on. The flowers were made by Tua's dida (a.k.a Diya) for my trousseau and the whole outfit looks rather fetching. Left office early and tried to snatch an hour's sleep at home, without much success. Poached the book V's reading instead. He can find himself something else. Went out in the evening to meet P (schoolfriend from Vizag, in town on work).

Spent an hour or so chatting with him in an over-cooled CCD off Park Street. While I was munching on a passable chicken hot dog the uncle mentioned before messaged to say that they had finally started having chicken again, well-boiled. Well, what can I say? I just wasn't born health conscious.
Flat owners called to finalise the deal. We'll have to meet them to sign papers etc.

P.S. The new summer collection at Pantaloons is pretty pathetic.

P.P.S. The uncle mentioned twice here is a pretty nice sort, but being a doctor, a trifle too obsessed with trivial things like what one should and should not eat. He actually cautioned me against phuchkas in the heat, saying that I might pick up jaundice!

P.P.P.S. I know I've said this before, but CCDs are not comfortable. They are much too cold and far too loud to be able to enjoy the food, which is incidentally, not always as good as it could be. And I resent a place which makes you pay for water!

P.P.P.P.S. I enjoyed reading Rohini's blog this morning. Made me feel somewhat better about the occasional bouts of morning sickness.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Pip-pip. Toodle-oo, If You Like

All of you who've been bewildered by my multiple posts for the last one week, take heart because I'm taking a holiday. It's my Saturday off tomorrow, and I intend to go shopping with my Mum. She's down here for another week and I need to cram in a lot of spoiling before she leaves. (Me getting spoilt, what else did you think?)

So bye all, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Happiness, More or Less

An aunt of mine sent me this list today. Actually, she sent it for V. But reading it got me thinking, the list of ways to keep men happy (at the end) is all too incomplete. So I revised it, going by the knowledge picked up over 2 months of marriage and roughly 7 years of dating. The numbering is co-ordinated, of course. Happy reading.

From my aunt (marked by >)

>(1) How to Keep a Woman Happy? It's not very difficult... All you have to do is to be -
> 1. A friend
> 2. A companion
> 3. A lover
> 4. A brother
> 5. A father
> 6. A master
> 7. A chef
> 8. An electrician
> 9. A carpenter
> 10. A plumber
> 11. A mechanic
> 12. A decorator
> 13. A stylist
> 14. Good in bed
> 15. A gynecologist
> 16. A psychologist
> 17. A pest exterminator
> 18. A psychiatrist
> 19. A healer
> 20. A good listener
> 21. An organizer
> 22. A good father
> 23. Very clean
> 24. Sympathetic
> 25. Athletic
> 26. Warm
> 27. Attentive
> 28. Gallant
> 29. Intelligent
> 30. Funny
> 31. Creative
> 32. Tender
> 33. Strong
> 34. Understanding
> 35. Tolerant
> 36. Prudent
> 37. Ambitious
> 38. Capable
> 39. Courageous
> 40. Determined
> 41. True
> 42. Dependable
> 43. Passionate
> 44. Give her compliments regularly
> 45. Love shopping
> 46. Be honest
> 47. Be very rich
> 48. Not stress her out
> 49. Not look at other girls
> 50. Give her lots of attention,
> 51. Give her lots of time, especially time for herself
> 52. Give her lots of space, never worrying about where she goes
> 53. Never forget:
> birthdays
> anniversaries
> arrangements she makes
> 1. Leave him in peace
> 2. Feed him well
> 3. Let him have the remote control.

Disagreeing with this last bit, I made my own list, as follows:

1)How to Keep a Man Happy is a bit more complicated than that. You have to be

1. A girlfriend (in itself a full-time job)
2. A companion
3. A lover
4. All his siblings, particularly if you happen to be unlucky enough to be much younger than him
5. A mother
6. A mistress
7. A chef
8. A tailor
9. A laundress
10. A nurse
11. A child-minder
12. A decorator
13. A wardrobe-in-charge
14. Good in bed
15. A GP
16. A psychologist
17. Able to live with the disgusting bugs he likes, including lizards
18. A psychiatrist
19. A kiss-and-make-it-betterer
20. A good listener
21. An organiser
22. A good mother
23. Forget all you were ever taught about hygiene
24. Sympathetic
25. Interested in all kinds of sports
26. Hot
27. Attentive
28. A helpless ball of fluff
29. Not too intelligent
30. Like being the butt of his jokes
31. Creative, especially in the kitchen and in bed (in that order, usually)
32. Tender
33. Strong
34. Understanding
35. Tolerant
36. Have enough common sense for two
37. Ambitious enough for two
38. Be capable of finishing all the odd jobs he leaves half done around the house
39. Not too brave
40. Not too stubborn
41. True
42. Dependable
43. Passionate


44. Look at him adoringly even when he hasn't shaved in days
45. Not mind that he'd rather sleep at home than help you shop for the groceries that he'll eat.
46. Be honest
47. Be very rich or at least self-supporting
48. Not stress him out
49. Not look at other men.


50. Give him lots of attention
51. Give him lots of time, especially time for himself
52. Give him lots of space, never worrying about where he's gone or how late it is already and he still isn't back

53. Never forget
- his family birthdays, because he will, and they'll blame you
- his family anniversaries, because he will, and they'll blame you
- arrangements he makes

54. Always let him have the remote control.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Doing Unto Those Others (As I Hope They'll Do Unto Me)

In light of this morning's events and because I essentially believe in a code of fairness... I will (a little unwillingly) document what happened this morning.

Last evening, let me state, was no better than the last one week. I was still ignored, two sons and her husband was called to dinner by Ma-in-law while my presence went unnoticed. (And V wants to know why I cry. Again, in all fairness, he's a fool.) The usual ignoring went on till I went to bed at night.

And I woke up this morning and didn't want to face yet another day of being unnoticed. I'm not keeping all that well and I would like at least the man responsible for it to notice. To occasionally do something about it without being asked. I know, he's a fool but even fools can be less self-centred.

Where was I? Oh yes, this morning. Miserable. For some reason though the crying jag only started half an hour before we were both due to leave for work. And for some still less fathomable reason I cried myself into hysterics and couldn't breathe. V, obviously, decided the best way to deal with it was to yell at me and leave, cursing, for work. (Along with being a fool he's a cruel mutt. In all fairness.)

Don't get your hankies out just yet though, this is where things perk up. There I was, lying in bed, trying to breathe any old way I could, when Ma-in-law popped in, shook me around a bit (this family doesn't know its own strength!) and bawled at me (nor the default value of their voices) asking what was wrong. Since I couldn't talk I muttered weakly that I was fine. And she left. But she had talked directly to me, note. Five minutes later, she was back, offering me a different breakfast in case I couldn't face the daily bhaat-dal. She even asked me what the doctor had said. Finally a sign of interest in the baby. From the dining-room came the voice of Baba-in-law asking if I could do with some tea.

I did eventually get up and have my bhaat-dal. Left for work actually telling Ma-in-law I was off. And Baba-in-law insisted on me taking the car. Even though it meant he'd be a little late to work himself. And told me to ensure I got home early since I wasn't well.

So, you see, they aren't monsters after all. V is.

A Game of Tag

I like lists – so here are two.

10 Things I Will Have Done by Thirty (in order of absolutely sure to I hope they'll happen)

10. Had two kids (horrors!)
9. Grown my hair long (and probably chopped it darn short all over again)
8. Either got used to V or killed him in a fit of homicidal mania.
7. Attended my coz Tua's marriage with a bag full of diapers (her recurrent nightmare)
6. Become an awesome cook.
5. Learnt to drive. (Keep those fingers crossed.)
4. Sat for my French diplome.
3. Moved out of Cal.
2. Learnt to live with Ma-in-law (and her with me). Ditto Baba, my own I mean.
1. Changed my cellphone to a smaller model.

10 Things I Miss in My Life Right Now (in no particular order)

- B and E, my two sources of support
- Grass (the kid better be worth giving it up for good)
- The badam milk you get in glass bottles in Vizag
- Vizag. Its beaches, evenings and hills
- My waist
- My old kitchen. Been missing it for such a long time now. Could help myself to whatever grub without asking somebody for permission or needing to consider somebody else might wish to have some of it. Yes, I am just that selfish.
- Equilibrium. I seem to be a mass of rather emotional hormones.
- My books. Nobody, but nobody and that includes my mum who usually gets what I need, understands how lost I feel without them or how upsetting it is for me to see them rotting away in a house far from me. In a fit of pettiness I threw some of V's down today, from the shelf. Why should I care for his when he couldn't care less for mine?
- My sense of humour. Once famous in my circle as my only redeeming feature... where does that leave me now? :-)

Oh, and because I've never done it before, I'm tagging 5 people. Check your respective comments section. You can do either or both lists.





When I was in school Savage Garden sang

And she takes another step
Slowly she opens the door
Check that he is sleeping
Pick up all the broken glass and furniture on the floor
Been up half the night screaming now it's time to get away
Pack up the kids in the car
Another bruise to try and hide
Another alibi to write

Another ditch in the road
You keep moving
Another stop sign
You keep moving on
And the years go by so fast
Wonder how I ever made it through

And there are children to think of
Baby's asleep in the backseat
Wonder how they'll ever make it through this living nightmare
But the mind is an amazing thing
Full of candy dreams and new toys and another cheap hotel
Two beds and a coffee machine
But there are groceries to buy
And she knows she'll have to go home

Another ditch in the road
You keep moving
Another stop sign
You keep moving on
And the years go by so fast
Wonder how I ever made it through

Another bruise to try and hide
Another alibi to write
Another lonely highway in the black of night
But there's hope in the darkness
You know you're going to make it

Another ditch in the road
Keep moving
Another stop sign
You keep moving on
And the years go by so fast
Silent fortress built to last
Wonder how I ever made it

It's from a song called Two Beds and A Coffee Machine, a slow, acoustic-sounding number. I'd just bought the new album and the other songs were mostly very peppy. But this one song slows you down. You can see the woman leave. You can see her bruises as she moves in the darkness. You can see her drive with an expressionless face.

This morning I thought, my life's better than that.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Teachings of My Elders

Things at home not being so peaceful, yesterday I went to visit my favourite dida (who hasn't been keeping very well of late). Shared a cab down to Jadu Bazaar with A-mj from work, and then walked down the busy street. Came across a dosa-seller so I picked up three masala dosas. Yummy, and at Rs. 5 a piece, I didn't mind the thinness.

Incidentally, all non-Southies seem to think the thinner the dosa the better. Not correct. The tastier the dosa the better. Some batters taste better when spread a little thick. Ideally the dosa should have a slightly puffed rim. In my opinion of course, but then, I love dosas and appams and shoru chaklis. For those out of the loop – dosas are South Indian pancakes, appams are bowl-shaped Kerelite ones and shoru chaklis are Bengali pancakes. They each taste very different although essentially made of a batter of fermented crushed rice and lentils.

Back to my story: I went up, only to find Ma, who'd reached a few hours earlier, had come with singharas, kochuris, huge langchas (a kind of fried sweet dipped in sugar syrup; tastes soft and yummy), rabri and a little box of gunjiyas, which just happen to have been my favourite sweet from my sticky-fingered childhood. I had some of everything of course. Office leaves me famished, or maybe it's the kid.

And Ma, Mejomamidida and I sat around chatting for another hour. I filled her in on the news and the sasurbari stuff, and as always, it was explained by the Bangal factor. They are not like us Ghotis, don't you know. They talk harshly, and stop at nothing. They are, in short, uncultured. I'd heard a lot of this stuff all last summer and on and off afterwards, till the marriage. I've never really made much of this nadi'r epar and opar divisions, but it does come in handy when such things need explaining.

When an aunt got married some years ago, certain members of the groom's party distinguished themselves by spectacularly boorish behaviour. I remember my mother telling her mother about it later, only to have my didima say, oh but these people are from –[a certain village in Bihar]-- and they always behave like that. She followed it up with a story about another bridal party from that same village where the members had also behaved very badly (this happened several decades ago, though).

How do you explain these things away? I don't really want to fall for the Bangal-Ghoti divisions, if only because the husband and I (who are incidentally the people who matter the most in this equation) grew up largely ignorant of any but the main differences. But when the didas talk, their worlds are clearly demarcated. And when one applies those demarcations to my own experiences, lots of things make sense that wouldn't otherwise. It's all very disheartening. In the meantime, here I am, a cultural bastard, wondering how to apply the secular and non-communal teachings of her CBSE textbooks* to real life.

*When I was in school, social studies wasn't entirely taken over by the Hinduvta brigade yet.

The Teachings of My Elders

Things at home not being so peaceful, yesterday I went to visit my favourite dida (who hasn't been keeping very well of late). Shared a cab down to Jadu Bazaar with A-mj from work, and then walked down the busy street. Came across a dosa-seller so I picked up three masala dosas. Yummy, and at Rs. 5 a piece, I didn't mind the thinness.

Incidentally, all non-Southies seem to think the thinner the dosa the better. Not correct. The tastier the dosa the better. Some batters taste better when spread a little thick. Ideally the dosa should have a slightly puffed rim. In my opinion of course, but then, I love dosas and appams and shoru chaklis. For those out of the loop – dosas are South Indian pancakes, appams are bowl-shaped Kerelite ones and shoru chaklis are Bengali pancakes. They each taste very different although essentially made of crushed rice and lentils.

Back to my story: I went up, only to find Ma, who'd reached a few hours earlier, had come with singharas, kochuris, huge langchas (a kind of fried sweet dipped in sugar syrup; tastes soft and yummy), rabri and a little box of gunjiyas, which just happen to have been my favourite sweet from my sticky-fingered childhood. I had some of everything of course. Office leaves me famished, or maybe it's the kid.

And Ma, Mejomamidida and I sat around chatting for another hour. I filled her in on the news and the sasurbari stuff, and as always, it was explained by the Bangal factor. They are not like us Ghotis, don't you know. They talk harshly, and stop at nothing. They are, in short, uncultured. I'd heard a lot of this stuff all last summer and on and off afterwards, till the marriage. I've never really made much of this epar and opar Padma divisions, but it does come in handy when such things need explaining.

When an aunt got married some years ago, certain members of the groom's party distinguished themselves by spectacularly boorish behaviour. I remember my mother telling her mother about it later, only to have my didima say, oh but these people are from –[a certain village in Bihar]-- and they always behave like that. She followed it up with a story about another bridal party from that same village where the members had also behaved very badly (this happened several decades ago, though).

How do you explain these things away? I don't really want to fall for the Bangal-Ghoti divisions, if only because me and the husband grew up largely ignorant of any but the main differences. But when the didas talk, their worlds are clearly demarcated. And when one applies those demarcations to my own experiences, lots of things make sense that wouldn't otherwise. It's all very disheartening. In the meantime, here I am, a cultural bastard, wondering how to apply the secular and non-communal teachings of her CBSE textbooks* to real life.

*When I was in school, social studies wasn't entirely taken over by the Hinduvta brigade yet.

Daddy Dearest

Another favourite: Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster. This links to the gutenberg etext which can be read online.

Did every reader fall in love with it like I did? Could they all relate to it like I did, years after I first read it, when I went to college? I lived alone, and experimented with all sorts of lifestyles and clothes and economies, and indulged in a variety of messes imply because I'd never even known such people/places/things existed. Just like Judy.

I hated the movie though. Silly Fred Astaire.


Warning! This is women stuff, so men read at your own peril.

Came across this link from Desi Chicklit's site which listed what every woman should have, want, need blah. How do I rate?

1. I have an old love I can imagine returning to (not that I want to. His wife wouldn't like it, not to mention V the Dad-to-be lol). And V always reminds me how far I've come – which is never far enough somehow.

2. I finally do have enough money within my control to move out and rent a place of my own.

3. I have a whole new wardrobe, none of which will fit me in a few month's time. But for now, yes I do have something perfect to wear.

4. I have left my youth behind and was perfectly content to do so. One does outgrow it, rather.

5. And yes, my past is juicy enough to enthrall all kinds of descendants. No, you're not one of them and I'm not telling you about it.

6. I don't have a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill or a black lace bra, but I used to have all three and intend to replace the ones I no longer own. In the meantime I have black lace panties!

7. B always makes me laugh and E always lets me cry, so there's that as well.

8. I have two steel wardrobes not owned by anybody else except me, ever. Not exactly high in the aesthetic department, but they are pretty useful.

9. I have the crockery and the glassware and the recipes to be the perfect hostess, should I feel the inclination.

10. Ok, I admit I don't feel in control over my destination. You try having a baby and see how helpless it makes you feel!

11. I do know how to fall in love without losing myself. I think. Just that I've never actually tried practising it. I think.

12. Oh yes, I know how to quit a job, leave a man, confront a friend (without ruining the relationship, thanks). Not too good at walking away but I'm practising.

13. Well, I don't want to change the length of my legs. And I know my hips are stubborn about their shape. And I gave up on my parents a long time ago.

14. I had a pretty decent childhood really. But I don't mind its being over.

15. Well, by now I've worked out what I would or would not do for love (or more) and it's pretty scary. I try not to think of it.

16. I sure do know how to live alone. And no, I don't like it.

17. Not very sure whom I can trust and whom not to. Try to take people as they come. But yes, I can't help taking it personally.

18. No, I don't always know where to go when my soul needs soothing. That's why I want a home I can find peace in.

Query: Do men know where to go when they want soothing?

19. Umm... No, I don't know what I can or cannot accomplish. Every now and then I break my previous record and surprise myself.

Well, that's how it goes. Not too bad for a 23 year-old.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Abject Apologies, All

(A description of events that lead to the following apology:

The Princess enters her office, chirpy and sleepy on this Monday morning. Looking forward to getting back to her blog, hoping that this day, like the last week, will be one filled with free hours. Which, incidentally, it will not. A class is scheduled in 20 min. Anyway. So, she turns on her monitor. Goes to the mail, then the blog. Mentally mumbles unsavoury words about all those folks who chose not to advertise their visits, even though the counter recorded those little bumps in the cyberspace... goes back to the Inbox, sees there is finally a comment for moderation... goes to Blogspot to publish it... yelps in shock and horror when she sees that comments have been waiting for moderation since January. Bruised and shaken, she picks herself off the floor and swears to turn the damn thing off, spammers or no spammers.

Except for the falling off the chair bit, it all happened, too. So, back to the apology -- )

I'm ever so sorry, folks. You must have been wondering what I was up to. I swear I didn't receive a single comment notification from Blogspot, except for this morning's, where Rimi self-righteously condemns my choice of reading matter. We will overlook her sotto voice thankyous for the link. Anyway, all your comments have been published, the darn moderation's been turned off, and you are free to air your views. I shall respond to all the stuff that was said in this post.

Anon -- With those best of intentions, do keep visting. If you do feel like doing night-monster bumps, I shall have to remind myself that I'm all growed up, now..

Vicky – Your language is not befitting our court. We are not pleased with the cowardice either. But in light of the fact that you made the bed this morning, we graciously pass over it this once.

Lakshmi – Thanks for the wishes. I am indeed being back to blogging as your fellow Madrasite noted, and allow me to point out I blogged two post daily for a few days last week. Tried logging into yours, but couldn't. Will visit later, ok?

Rimi – True, I admit your gift deserves a special mention. She got us a big and beautiful Japanese (?) fan, folks. It will be given a place of honour when we do have a place of our own. Where we live right now, the places of honour are rather taken over by the Marx Bros., Hedy Lamarr and Cary Grant, not to mention The Bogart. My own special man, Jimmy Stewart, is waiting for free walls too. So your fan is in august company.

Lancelot – Thanks for the welcome. And you're allowed to enthuse about cricket only as long as I am allowed to grumble about it. I enjoy watching the occasional match, but don't tell anybody that! As for the grass, I'd go for any march that said Legalise It. Why not? Am off it now cos of the baby, but I like knowing it's around and beloved.

Portnoy– I guess I wasn't clear about the literary reviews. I write for The Statesman when I can be stirred to it, and I was referring to those reviews. The folks there are being mighty patient about it, too. But if you like, I'll post the ones I have already done (the interesting ones, not all the rubbish) on my writing blog. And as for the tattoo, I sympathise. But tell me, can you get a decent proper tattoo done in B'lore? How expensive might it be, do you think?

Vicky – A last point. Go to Portnoy's site, you'll see something that'll interest you there. Port (can I call you that? Easier than Portnoy.) the husband's a PI freak.

Ok, that was written before the class, and is now being posted during my lunch hour. Bon appetit to you too.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Etext of a Georgette Heyer

The Black Moth online, hurray! See you later, world.


Once upon a time, I was a huge fan of Shania Twain. And there was this song, not very easy to sing, that I liked to match my voice against:

From this moment
As long as I lived will love you
I promise you this.
There is nothing
I wouldn't give
From this moment on.

Now that is the kind of thing I believe you can only say in a song. But what the hell, I feel like saying it to my little baby, and so I will. Now I say it in my mind, when I have him in my arms, I'll say it to his dear little face.

Yes, I'm expecting a kid, isn't that awfully exciting? And just to spite V and my father, I will have a son. And they will just have to grin and bear it, heh.

Cool, huh?

Makes me feel all jittery and excited inside.

Oh, and while I'm on the subject, a list of things I want to remind myself of, when I'm a mum:

  1. Kids will have their own wishes. I only get to rule their lives so long.

  2. Make him/her eat every damn thing they are supposed to. Not grow up to be like V or me.

  3. Resist the temptation to spoil the brat silly.

  4. Do not let my friends anywhere near the child (from child's age 3 to 35). Ditto certain big-mouthed cousins. V and I will have images to keep up!

  5. Not to let the sun go down on my anger. Very old lesson, well learnt once, thoroughly forgotten of late.

  6. Not worry about kid's education. (Can't see myself doing this anyway. V neither.)

Ooh. A kid. Mine. Oh, and V's of course. (sheepish grin) As a certain Tamilian I know would say, bleady!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Tattoos and T'ings

I want a tattoo. I do, really. Ex-boyfriends, present husband and my pal Ravi know I do. They also know how scared I am of needles. How does one reasonably cowardly woman reconcile this paradox? Because I really do want a tattoo.

V even got me a fantastic design. And he wants me to get a tattoo, so I can always blame him for it afterwards. Particularly to the parents (although the Ma-in-law seems to have ceased to care whether we exist, except for the food we consume.) But back to the tattoo. I tried getting one, in Singapore last year. I still harbour suspicions that Ravi sneakily played on my fears and got me out of it -- but the point is that my skin's still unmarked except by the regulation stretch marks and pimples.

The Compulsive Confessor writes of her tattoo. Describes the pain etc. Unfortunately, she also compares it to waxing underarms which is something I wouldn't even do at knife-point. (I'm less scared of guns.) All these contradictions are not very helpful. Besides, why can't you have a tattoo when you're pregnant? Of course, that gives me another excellent reason to push it back a little longer. But (and picture me wailing this, even as that woman was wont to wail for her demon lover) I really want a tattoooo...

As always, I'm at work and have nothing to do. Am almost longing for the 'training period' to end so I can sink myself into some real work. I know I will wish to retract that soon enough, but for the moment let it stand. To give you an idea of how I'm spending the time now:

  1. I have surfed through new blogs every day for the last four days, including checking my favourites (see right) for fresh updates. I have gone so far as to mentally bad-mouth these regulars for not updating enough to give me fresh reads every half hour or so. I'm not unreasonable. I know they need time to write.

  2. I have gone through South-East Asian recipes. Theoretically, I can now make excellent fried rice, not to mention lemon orange chicken.

  3. I have blogged twice daily for a good few days now, because I have all the time in the world to think of things to write about -- and to actually write about them then. I thought of plenty more, if you're wondering, but resisted the urge.

  4. I have slept. In office.

  5. I have run for my coffee break almost before the hour has struck, and stayed on till the last possible second.

  6. I have brooded over my family life (although I admit that was a short-lived phase, ending as soon as the page I was waiting for loaded).

  7. I have caught up with my correspondence.

  8. I have actually completed the research for a couple of columns as well as the writing of one days and weeks before any of them are due.

  9. I am seriously contemplating getting down to the literary reviews as well.

The last two will be a clear indication to anybody who has ever shared their lives with me as to just how much time I have. Normally I share Douglas Adams' attitude to deadlines, right down to loving the sound they make as they go whooshing by. And these people who have been lucky enough to share my life have witnessed my transformation from my usual lazy, grinning self into a homicidal maniac who's willing to hurl heavy objects at anybody foolish enough to disturb her as the deadline is warming up on the runway, preparatory to whooshing by.

Anybody who wants to go with me for a tattoo please leave a message here. I could do with support. V offered, but said I had to get mine done first. I conclude I've married a greater coward than I am myself.

NOTE: I tried linking directly to CC's post, the tattoo one, but for some reason I couldn't get the entire post on the link. It's easy to find though, just scroll down till you find one titled "Beauty is skin deep. A tattoo goes all the way to the bone" (author unknown)".

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Catch 'Em Young

Younger men, huh? My best friend (who's seeing one) told me I'm disqualified from speaking on the subject since I married a man six years older than me and never dated anyone less than thirteen months older than me. Well yah booh to you babe, I once slept with a real cutie who was several months younger than me. Ok, two months. But younger, note.

So, why not younger men? When I was in my last year of school I remember feeling a tad disconcerted because a whole lot of the cute guys I met turned out to be younger than me. The same thing happened in Uni. The difference was, it stopped bugging me. Men are men, all acceptable if they are cute and available.

And younger men have certain things in their favour. They think you know all there is to know about lots of things (and not just sex). They love the idea of being in a hot relationship with an older woman. They actually think your years are adding to your attraction. And well, they are cute. 'Scuse the repetition.

So, as I was saying, why not younger men? Well, no fun having the guy at your laundry tell you that your 'son' already picked up your clothes. And your acquaintances will bitch, which will eventually get on your nerves. And it'll not make the old folks at home happy.

But and get this, my uncle who's a research guy at some hotshot Scandinavian place (ok, I'm not sure what he is, but he knows it all, ok?) tells me it's been proven that women should have younger partners, because apparently men age faster and so, this way they age together and in such relationships – if you make it past the bitching and the feeling older-than-you-should – the man is physically able to take care of the woman when they are both in the twilight of their lives. Which as any of us can attest, is rather rare in the more conventional older man/younger woman relationship.

I'll take his word for it. He's the scientist, he knows. Unless he's in a relationship with an older woman none of us know anything about...?

Obviously, It's Just Not Cricket

It's a Thursday, which puts the weekend only two days off. I have to work this Saturday, but things at home being what they are, I ain't complainin', bud.

People are so crazy about cricket. I don't get it. So it's a bunch of guys footling around with a painful little ball. One thwacks it all over the stadium and the others rush to catch it like their lives depended on it. Which they probably do, considering they are trying to make a living out of playing the game. It's never had any fascination for me, except when I played it myself, briefly. And that was because I was playing it, not because I found it particularly exciting. I found all the games I played fascinating while I played them. So what? Volleyball is much more testing of physical fitness and endurance any day. So is table-tennis. So I should imagine is a good, paced gamed of badminton. But do they go wild over these sports? Hell no. And cricket isn't even as good to watch as ice-skating or swimming. You sit there trying not to look bored and wondering if it's too soon to have yet another sandwich, and no sooner than you decide that it's not, and bend down to get at the hamper, somebody loses a wicket, which was the whole point of the game and which you have now missed. Mind you, all this talk of batting styles is so much wrapping paper, designed to take your attention away from the fact that it's just a man swatting at a ball with a wedge of wood really.

If one were to probe into the murky waters beneath one would probably discover a worldwide conspiracy designed to promote it at the expense of any other sport. Like my father maintains the alcohol lobby runs a 24/7 campaign against the ganja lobby because if only we were allowed to choose, any sane person would choose the weed that gives a cleaner, healthier high over the additive-ridden, unhealthy exhilaration induced by liquor. Of course, that doesn't stop my father from having the best-stocked bar I personally know... In any case, I do not believe that liquor would be unable to take the impact if ganja were legalised. I mean, my husband would probably keep them in business single-handedly and justify it on the principles of a free market. Likewise, I imagine that if more attention were to be paid to other sports, I don't think cricket would suffer any lasting injury as a game. I'm all for competition. Especially if it brings down prices. And makes grass available at pan shops.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Naming No Names...

The gentleman in charge of us copywriters – otherwise known as Momo's dad, since I knew his son much before I met the father – just told me a funny story about mixed up names. His wife apparently called a neighbour by a name other than the one his (the neighbour's) parents had bestowed on him. The funny part was, she did this consistently for a really long time. The practice eventually culminated in an argument between Momo's parents, and the neighbour was called in to state his correct name once and for all – and Momo's mum was embarassed to find she had been slightly off-target after all.

In the Vizag colony where I grew up there used to be a guy who would do the odd chore for the residents in return for small bits of money. To my utter incredulity Baba announced to all and sundry that his name was Raj Kapoor. He called him that, loudly, and up and down the colony. On Sunday mornings, when this chap would wash the family car, it was common to hear Baba bellowing “Raj Kapoor!” to remind him to use this duster and not that or some such thing.

It wasn't as weird as it might sound. In a place obsessed with its movie stars, you hear of people being named after them all the time. And besides, everybody else called him Raj Kapoor too, so obviously my father couldn't have been pulling my leg.

A whole year later I asked the guy, “How come your parents called you after a Hindi film star and not a Telugu one?”

He grinned sheepishly and said, “My name is actually Ganapathi...”

Then why – what – who--?” I spluttered.

Well,” said he, “Your father called me Raj Kapoor and everybody else seemed to think that was my name as well, so I gave up telling them anything else.”

My father, in his way, is something of a player.

Better Than The Last

Good morning, world.

Temporary if armed truce being assumed yesterday, Holi was not too bad. Woke up a grumpy V late in the morning and went off to a friend's to see what Shorty was up to. He was busy hiding at home in a clean, white t-shirt, so we hauled him out and got him nice and colourful. We played mainly with Shorty's friends-and-relations, and not for very long, but we had fun. And sweets. We had lots of sweets. There was a little boy who appeared to have taken it upon himself to ensure that all comers were drenched, in any liquid at all. Which course he followed with single-minded devotion till all the water was finished. After the fun slowed down and all sorts of little children were hauled off to baths and lunches we hopped down to A's place on Shorty's bike. Yes, I know, I actually sat threesome, and I can't say I've changed my mind about it. It's an irritating way to travel and you can't enjoy the ride.

A, predictably, does not play. But there were a few tots in front of her place who do and believe in the water-based-dyes variety of playing. One of these, a little girl with a shaven head came up to me no fewer than five times and grimly sprayed my saree all over. Was it because I smeared her all over with my parrot green powder, I wonder? Kids today are not as tractable as I like to believe we were wont to be.

We returned to Shorty's for some good coffee prior to being dropped off home for lunch. A long bath, fried rice, sex to Getz-Gilberto and a quick nap followed, after which we met up again, Shorty and A, V and me, DrD and his notun bou M. Had a nice, peaceful evening with lots of munchies, courtesy M and Shorty, so I returned home unable to do more than be rolled out of my clothes and tucked into bed by an unusually solicitous V. Nice when you can get it, is what I say.

Not a bad Holiday, all things considered. Wish Ma-in-law and her younger son would stop sulking at each other, though.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Yesterday's Adventures, Continued

Wrote about my adventures yesterday but I didn't get around to mentioning such a vital part of them. Am writing now, after reading what Annie says.

Yesterday, after I stalked out of home, I ended up taking the Metro from Jatin Das Park to Esplanade. A Cal Metro regular might know this is not always a very populated station, except for the regulars who know each other, many of them. Well, I was in a foul mood and sitting hunched up on a seat, looking down at my shoes. A man's foot stepped on one of mine and moved on. I didn't bother looking up. 30 seconds later, the same thing happened and this time I looked up and glared. It was only when I looked up that I realised how close the man was standing and that he was trying to look down my cleavage (hidden by my hair, funnily enough.)

That didn't startle me; what did was the comment from the woman next to me who had just finished her phone call. She said that he was a known face, always up to this sort of thing, and that the regulars all knew him. As I mentioned before, I was in a foul sort of mood. That put the lid on it. I admit I dislike taking on molestors, all the more so when I am alone, but I was not scared of this person (I was that mad). So I glared at him, and kept on glaring till my train arrived. Before I got on, I pulled out my (camera) phone and took a picture of him, inspired by a certain campaign.

He seems to have underestimated the anger behind my glare because he was silly enough to get on the same compartment and take up a position where he could stare at me. Well, it also meant I could continue glaring at him. So I did, all the way 5 stops down to Esplanade. By the time I got off the entire compartment was staring him, wondering what he had done, and he himself was squirming.

Why the story? Well, it's a technique I've used before, and I know it works, so I thougth I'd share. But it only works under certain conditions:

  1. The jerk has to be alone.

  2. You have to have enough people around you (to fill up the seats, say) but not too many so that he can hide behind a crowd

  3. You have to do the glare with single-minded dedication. Every time he glances at you he should meet your glare. Else he'll start feeling braver than he should.

  4. Helps if you have a companion with whom you can loudly discuss the jerk.

It's a scary thing to pull, but if you can do it, it's very effective.

And the sad post script? Well, despite all that bravery, I was a bundle of nerves when I walked into the movie I had been headed to. An unknown man sat next to me and accidentally brushed my hand with the back of his arm, but that was enough to keep me glued to the other side of my seat for next one hour.

You can triumph, but you really can't ever win, I think.

On a different note: yes, Greatbong, it does make sense to talk about it. Nobody's secure enough not to need to know yet another way to keep her sanity intact in the presence of these daily attacks. And I include children in this, they do need to know what it's all about and how it should be dealt with. Even then, the most any of us can do is not enough.

Battle-Scarred But Grinning Shamelessly

Passed a crazy sort of week. Unpleasantly so, I mean. With Vicky's talent for withdrawal and my gift for over-reacting, it all ended with me spending way too many uncomfortable nights on the floor. Incidentally, all the men reading this: if your wife/girlfriend/whoever decides to vacate your bed in a huff and the floor is the only alternative, be gent enough to insist that she get the bed and you the floor. Trust me, you wil be suitably rewarded when you make up. (Which V was not!) Besides, she might take pity on your misery sooner if she were to see you tossing on the cold floor from the cofort of her mattress.

But will you listen? Nossir. Being male automatically makes you all-knowing, right? Fine, let the poor girl catch a cold.

All men are idiots.

Yes, well, where were we? Oh yes, my-week-that-was. What with days of hectic projects to finish at work alternating with entire days when I had exactly nothing to do, my sleeping habits got utterly confused. On top of that there was that massive fight with Vicky into which the Ma-in-law insisted on poking her nose. The results, predictably, were not happy. She got snapped at and then got good and mad at her disrespectful offspring and his hell-born wife. The brother-in-law was an unexpected source of support, coming in occasionally and doing much to calm the good lady down. (Not me, I'm the hell-born wife.) No, but good work was put in last night by him and I shall remember it.

My parents were called up and Ma's coming to Cal on Saturday. Yippee! I shall probably be scolded, but who cares?

I have to agree with the disrespectful offspring in this, that Ma-in-law does watch too many of those damn soaps. Gets the weirdest ideas into her already melodramatic mind. Ended with the grandmother of all scenes last night where tempers ran high and all sorts of things were said. (For the first time, I actually gave as good as I got, not contributing to the general spirit of dulce et docorum either.) But she and I were nice enough to each other this morning, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping we can be that gracious till we actually feel nice towards one another.

The disrespectful offspring of course skipped work and is probably lying in bed as I type, morosely comtemplating the havoc his shilly-shallying has led to. Me, I thought office would be a safe place to be in.

I forgot to mention, things came to a head because I stalked off without having lunch yesterday. Watched Firewall at New Empire instead, which didn't make me a whole lot happier. Silly sort of movie.

Friday, March 10, 2006

A Voluntary Donation to a Good Cause

I would have liked to be a part of the Blank Noise Project. Harrassment is something we often talk about, me and the whatever women happen to be around me. And it's always the same sad story.

What's the worst ever happened to me? In terms of extreme behaviour I've come across far worse, but the incident I reacted to the most strongly was perhaps something that happened near the end of my first year of graduation. I was living by myself for the first time and thinking I wasn't coping too badly, when one evening while returning from the Uni I was molested in the crowded bus. I was standing near the gate, waiting for my stop to arrive when I felt a hand over my breast; it moved lightly and then withdrew. I was so shocked (though I was no shrinking virgin at that age) that I could barely stand, far less speak. I remember silently starting to cry and then stumbling back to the place where I was staying in a daze. My mother, calling up a little later to ask how I was doing, found me unable to talk.

They moved me to my aunt's place, in another, quieter part of town and after a while, I was able to relax in buses.

Any woman would know that what happened was not only nothing very unusual, nor was it anything big enough to react so strongly to. And I would agree. But the fact remains it was the first time in my life I had been molested and the shock of such a thing actually happening to me made me hate my body for a while. I wasn't comfortable being even held by my boyfriend.

And there are so many women who go through so much worse. I should know, I've helped many of my friends through it. The thing is, till we band together, mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and cousins and aunts and uncles and friends, and stand up to these people who misbehave in public, they will get away with it. Think of it the next time you watch a woman being molested in front of you and are waiting for her to say something because it's none of your business -- that same man will be at it when your little sister is sitting in that seat. He will only get bolder by the time your daughter gets into that seat. And the day will very likely come when he will try to shove his crotch into your terrified young son's face. You could have taught him a lesson much earlier in his perverted career.

News from the Front

The stalemate continues. I keep to myself, and everybody acts like wounded martyrs. Touching.

I wish I could get away somewhere, even if it were only for a day or two.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Where did your real (i.e. formal) name come from?
- I was a baby with largeish eyes. And my elder (cousin) sis was called Trinayana, so it seemed like a good thing to carry the 'nayana' theme further.

Favorite Proverb
- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
(also means I'm prepared to take meanness from those
I've been mean to :-)

What office supply do you feel most akin to?
- Scissors.

It's your funeral, they are lowering you down, what's your "swan song"?
- Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day

Legos, Lincoln Logs or Tinker Toys?
- Legos. The ones that form housing communities and have those cute little people.

Name one song, poem, passage that you know all the words to.
- Lots of songs; "Someone Came Knocking" by Walter de la Mare; dunno any passages.

If your life was a play, what would the title be?
- Death of a Princess

Favorite cookie.
- Royal/Embassy cream biscuits

Name the first animal you see right now.
- Dogs, on the website I'm supposed to be working on.

How do you WANT to spend the next year?
- In another city, in a home of my own, living alone with my baby. I'd be happy.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Joined the Rat Race, I Have

Blogging from work today. Yes, I know it's unethical, but what the hell. I have a few minutes.

So, I'm a copywriter at It's a pleasant place actually, don't think I could have asked for a nicer 'first' office. Fairly friendly colleagues and not too many things to hassle one. pay's good too. Which reminds me, I filled in the form for my Provident Fund today -- what a very grown up thing to do! I made V my beneficiary... given that I'm his, for his life insurance, I figure we both stand to make a lot of money if we kill each other in say, a decade's time. And we can enjoy it before we go too, if we run up huge credit card bills, for example, which can be paid from these two sources. Interesting thought, that.

Cons: I can't laze off on holidays any more. Have to wait for leave. Have to sit in an office all day. Have to wake up mornings. All my work is postponed for fortnights at a time since I work alternate Saturdays. Am having to learn HTML.

But then, it's nice to have a job. And the money that comes with it. And the pride, there's that too.