The new year has begun quite rigorously, asking long working hours, immense mental push to meet deadlines and lack of proper sleep due to a cold that doesn’t seem to be in the mood to be jolly and just saunter off anytime soon. So the news is my resort to humour on such days. Hope you too find the below snippets (mostly from the past two days) hilarious enough to shake off the oncoming Monday morning blues.
Inspired by a video John Green put up last week on his channel Vlogbrothers, where he lists out changes he would want to see in himself in the upcoming year, a public list where he recounts all that could have been better in 2017, I thought of inking my mandatory year end post on the same lines. What would I want to leave behind in 2017?
First things first, I want to leave behind my erratic schedules so that I get enough sleep and can finally work out on a regular basis! It requires so much determination and discipline to ensure that your sleeping pattern is not disturbed. Though I’ve had wild nights involving movie marathons, long talks varying from about love, belongingness, work, family and even food, lot of leg pulling, the day after is spent sleeping in bed with a headache and the week often seems dull.
Cut down on online shopping! Retail therapy might sound good but at the end of the day you forget to keep a tab of all that you’ve bought and shouldn’t have. Until I don’t wear all the new clothes I’ve bought in a while, I’m not spending a penny on another set of clothes. Unless, there’s a mind boggling sale on Marks and Spencers! But, no. Control, Adi, control! Anyone with me on this?
Social media too. It is such a drab on most days and Facebook has nothing on my timelines except “Tag your such and such friend” and short films endorsing brands I don’t even think I’ll ever put to use. Their algorithms have failed to do the one thing they were supposed to do – hold my attention.
Workout! I so need to let go of the irregularity of my workouts. My body has to every couple of months bear the pain of a new workout session that begins at my whims and fancies and ends in a couple of days, citing the same pain. Unfair. So unfair. So the choice is – either workout regularly, or not at all. What say?
Oh but what is that one thing, apart from super awesome family and friends, that I would like to not leave back in 2017 at all?
My WRITING! This year has been extremely successful when it comes to writing and this is when I choose to tell you all that I have almost completed the manuscript of my novel and any day now I will request you to please help me with publishers! Be ready!
And meanwhile, welcome the new year with a smile, hoping it’ll harbour better times for all of us. Except, maybe Trump. Because his better would be worse for a lot of us. You too, Kim Jong.
Nose squashed against the glass, the nine year old saw the corn kernels sizzle in the butter and pop. His breath fogged the glass and the sweat on his nose ran it down. His eyes squinted every time a kernel popped close to his side of the glass box. His father scooped out two paper cups, powdered it with flavours and handed it to him. He ran to the couple sitting on the bench with ice cream cones and handed their order to them. He stood smiling as the girl retrieved cash. She looked at him, slipped an extra note into his hand and said, “Go have some ice cream, popcorn boy!”
Be pre-warned that this has nothing to do with feminism or being a snob.
How many of you men have been shopping with women – your friends, sister, girlfriend, mother or to purchase gifts for your friend’s female friends? Whether you have or haven’t, not many of you must have noticed the stark contrast between the number of pockets a woman’s attire lacks versus the deluge of pockets in a man’s attire.
While shopping, we women have a lot of options to choose from. Let’s say I want to buy a pair of bottoms. My options begin from jeans, jeggings, shorts, trousers, capris, plazzos, harem pants, jogger pants, mini skirts, midis, maxis and these are just the western wear section, without going to the different fit styles available.
But most of the time the options haven’t really met my expectations in terms of one simple thing – pockets.
Why don’t my clothes have pockets?!
I have had to purchase trousers without pockets because apart from that one lacunae they fit really well. I have erroneously purchased plazzos which only had a pocket seam but no actual pocket! My jeans are such snug fits but with pockets large enough to only accommodate half the size of an average 5 inch screen smartphone.
Our kurtas don’t have pockets, neither do the dresses we wear. Skirts are out of the question when it comes to pockets and even the wallets we have are crammed with things because who’s heard of compartments? It is so inconvenient to be carrying your cash, cards, phone and other essentials in a separate pouch, when men can simply fill it all in their pockets and roam handsfree. On one hand, we women have so many options but barely practical while men seem to be comfortably carrying on with tradition. The most common men’s wallet designs have barely evolved since the 1950’s, it seems.
I don’t say all brands are an issue. But most brands are!
I had dozens of marigold flowers in my hand, a garland of it actually. What lovers did to a rose, I did to the pretty orange flower. “He loves me, he loves me not,” I uttered, plucking out the petals one by one at first and then bunches of it together until all that was left in my hand was the green stub filled with white broken fragments of the petal base. I ended at “He loves me.” I thought of picking another flower. Instead, I closed my eyes.
When he was in pain, I felt the pangs. He ran against the odds, but I felt breathless. I would be worried about him, but his first words would be “How are you?”. No one said it would be easy, but being by his side made it all so. “Was this love?” I asked of the marigolds. They wouldn’t say.
Karma, they say, bites back. Sometimes in the cold.
When you’re sweater-less!
Taking you back to a couple of months ago. A friend returned from Kashmir, the ‘Paradise on Earth’, having toured among the snow capped mountains and under the blazing sun, in the cold, dry and biting winds and by the sparkling lakes. He came back to Bangalore rejuvenated and a pair of jeans short. Which he somehow, quite conveniently didn’t realize until a week later.
Of course once I knew about it, I didn’t let him stay in peace. Poor guy, he couldn’t even mourn peacefully his expensive, recently purchased at a massive discount (but still expensive) pair of jeans.
But before you start snorting away in laughter like I did, at his plight, wait and think. Read the title of the post again and if that doesn’t tell you what the rest of this post is about, well the rest of the post will tell you what it is about!
Coming to the matter of karma. Technically, this post would have been about the wedding I attended last weekend in Agra. But as fate would have it, or rather, as karma would, it’s about a sweater. And yes, you guessed it right, if you did guess, that is. A lost sweater.
I lost my inexpensive, low on market value but extremely high on intrinsic value sweater, the one I used to wear and twin with my little sister. This was the sweater which kept me snug and warm on my first trip almost two years ago with practically 15 strangers! This was the sweater which first came to my mind each time I thought of wearing one. And it was in my favourite colour. Damn. And I forgot it in the hotel room’s cupboard. My lone piece of clothing lying in the dark depths of the cupboard.
Though it didn’t take me as long as him to figure out what had happened, the housekeeping staff says it was already too late. I’ve now lost it. Forever, maybe. Unless my sister agrees to donate hers to me. (Could you all please be kind and request her on my behalf too?)
So, I guess my friend has the last laugh, even in his sorrow.
And signing off, a tad sad, though actually laughing at the post I’ve come up with,
I heard a rustle I hadn’t before. There was something alive around me. A second step and I realised there was something soft and squishy beneath me. A soft shriek emerged from my mouth. My hand flew to my face, covering my eyes and face. I took my phone out of my pocket to flash light the floor beneath. “It’s okay. All is well,” I murmured repeatedly. Turns out all wasn’t well. I’d stepped on to a pile of leaves soggy from the evening damp but the rustling I’d heard was the bats waking up. The house, or whatever it had once been, now had a bat infestation! Lightning struck again. I didn’t need the flashlight to see the bats this time. Thunder followed slower this time though. “All is well,” I repeated. I pulled the sleeve cuffs of my sweater up to my palms and covered my ears with them. It muffled the sound and the cold out.
I squatted outside on the porch, back stuck to the brick wall. I tried recalling why exactly I’d stomped out of the room. It was my honeymoon. And I couldn’t get myself to even begin to adore him. We constantly fought. Our match was arranged by our parents. I’d known him for six months and been married eight days. We’d fought enough already that I was fed up of being in the same room as him. Just thinking about him stressed me out! My stress came rushing out in the form of tears. I bawled.
Once I’d cried enough to tire myself out, I checked my phone. It had network bars now but I no longer cared. The winds had calmed down and I’d made up my mind. Trees swayed lesser; I heard a car honk in the distance. Maybe I’d find a road that’d take me away from the resort. Vigor induced in me, I rushed up from the ground and flashlight on I walked towards the direction I thought I’d heard the honk from. Come jaguar or snake, I didn’t care now. I couldn’t fight them maybe but I needn’t sit crouched in fear either. I saw a road, a dust covered grey strip of tar, to be precise. It needed washing. I almost ran to it and found myself looking at what I was running away from. The resort loomed large and at the gates was my husband getting into an open Jeep, possibly to hunt me down. Again.
Gritting my teeth, I snorted and stepped back into the bushes, taking cover behind a tree. I wouldn’t let him see me. I couldn’t.
The box. The door. The crumbling brick. They all begged me to enter. It was the only shelter I could find from the thunders outside! I’d lost my way back. Now it didn’t seem such a good idea to stomp out of the resort in anger. In my blind anger, I’d forgotten the road and the turns I’d taken, the spot where I’d decided to enter the woods. I recalled a milestone sign, but I couldn’t recollect the number written on it as I’d seen it through my blurry vision then, clouded by tears. I was never this careless. My mobile phone showed no network. This was a decision I’d have to make. I couldn’t Whatsapp a friend and ask them about whether I should enter the house or try another turn in the woods. The trees were swishing loudly, the darkness that had set in not helping my heart calm down! I was shivering, gooseflesh lining my arms. Was it the cold? Or was it fear?
My ears were on alert but I didn’t want to pick up any more noises than I already was. I didn’t know what a slithering snake or the roar of a jaguar sounded like, or the bite of a wolf felt. Lightning struck once again. The trees around me lit up. The house was just a dozen feet away. Closing my eyes, taking a deep breath, I decided to go there than lose myself further into the woods. I took each step carefully, hands crossed across my chest, lest my heart thumped out of my body, phone inside the pocket and head lowered. But one step on the porch and I knew I’d made a mistake!
A week off from work means going home and then away from home again. Home always is special but the day, when thanks to tech advancement, you are in both cities on the same day, when you leave home in the morning and are away by evening in another city, is the day the stark contrast between both hits you hard.
Back at home, I stayed 100 metres away from the kitchen and Mother was more than happy to feed me! Our domestic help whipped up my favourites, bringing food to the table for me every couple of hours. Her sole motto was to not let me feel even the slightest pang of hunger. Even on insistence to cook, Mother refused to let me enter the kitchen. Away though was a different scene altogether! Within two hours of stepping into our rented flat, I was cleaning the refrigerator with soap water and then stocking freshly bought vegetables in them. Our cook wasn’t turning up for the night and my flatmate, S and I were too tired to bother about even cooking Maggi!
Back home, well fed and humidity affected, we were ready to sleep by 9:30 PM itself, though I never did, because when else do you get to have late night chats snuggled beside the younger sister? On two occasions though, she’d slept off while I was recounting my stories! Wake up time was 7 AM, thanks to the Sun, Father, and my favourite radio jockey, RJ Praveen’s morning show. Away though, by 9:30 PM, dinner isn’t even ready, let alone thinking of sleep! Oh, but wake up time still is at 7 AM because someone’s gotta let the cook into the house.
Back at home, Dad knows I love fruits. So fruits are myriad and spread across the table to be eaten at different times of the day – sometimes even freshly cut. Fruits, here, however mean apples and bananas, which are few and far between, that too if we buy them on a one-off day. Oh and avocado on some days!
And considering I went home for Diwali, the spring cleaning time for the whole of India, there was a lot of cleaning, fixing and repairing to do, obviously! My mother made me a handyman, or a handywoman to be politically correct, where I sandpapered, primered and painted to complete pending repair on walls. Whereas here, even dusting once in a fortnight seems so tedious that we learn to live with the dust!
Back home, there’s family and friends too. Here, away from home, there’re friends who became family. Home or away – there’s none which is better or worse.