Monthly Archives: November 2017

The thought vortex

First, I awoke early (not ungodly early, but much earlier than my usual time) today for the second time in a row.  Feel good.  Tomorrow I will have to wake at 4 to catch a 6.30 flight.  I am traveling for a bereavement, but am inappropriately excited because I will be meeting cousins after nearly a decade.  That’s that w.r.t. routine.

Having extra time this morning to do whatever I wanted, I perused my reader.  I stumbled upon two posts that spoke to me.  I am not linking them because of my own privacy issues, but the crux of one of the two posts is as follows:

My favourite mommy-blogger writes about how we can be compassionate to others having the faults over which we beat ourselves black and blue .  I had written a post on this earlier (tried searching for it, but couldn’t find it in the jungle of uncategorized and disorganized posts) about how, when other people do the same things I do, I see them in positive light and my own actions, whatever they be, are always seen with a hypercritical eyeball.  The post I read resonated with me, especially in the mood I am in (continue reading, I dare you).

My guest visited for half an hour yesterday and we chatted over coffee.  I use the word “chatted” rather loosely. I wasn’t a chatter as much as a chattee.  Which is fine.  I am not much of a talker, and if the other party can hold a passionate conversation on her own, nothing better, what?  She is a wonderful person, but I was stressed around her as always- she is unbelievably perfect, and in my younger days, I’d often try to emulate her and fail miserably.  I don’t anymore,  I have come to terms with my own imperfections even if I have not quite embraced them yet – have you seen the welts on my figurative back?  Yes, I can’t hold an interesting conversation, yes; I am not doing gazillion things efficiently; yes, I am not attractive – I am what I am.  Yet, yesterday as she sat across the table rattling off nonstop, I felt exhausted and for hours after she left, I stayed disturbed.  When I went to bed last night, I realised with a shock that my fists had been held tightly clenched all day.  Will I ever accept myself unconditionally?  My eyes well up as I type the last line.

Another question I have is this.  Some of you have been reading my blog for many years. You know that I have no dearth of words in this blog and can spew them continuously until something gives.  Yet, why is it that I can’t talk to people?  Beyond the fist few minutes of greetings, I am at a complete loss.  When I say complete loss, I mean absolute loss…abject loss.  I know people who are, in general quiet – I have a cousin who is worse than I am, she can’t even make the first few minutes of greetings, but she does not write either, and communication is not her forte. The written word is like oxygen to me – I must communicate.  Yet, the cat gets my tongue when I have to talk.  Pretty disgusted with myself, I say.

There was one other post on my reader, which hit me right between my eyebrows. I can’t even bring myself to write about it yet because it hits too close home and while I do wash dirty linen out here, the linen that this thought involves is too filthy.

And with that, ignoring the irony, I wish you peeps a lovely weekend.






A temporary breather

Since the meltdown of last post, I met one deadline and tackled crapload of backlog work.  My houseguest had a change of plan and is yet to visit us briefly rather than spending the entire day with us as originally intended.  The dark curtain of PMS has lifted.   The lark’s on the wing, the snail’s on the thorn and all that, at least temporarily, before the frenzy catches up again next week -and the week after, and after…until the end of the year.

I can see the point in rising early.  The better-half had to meet the guest at the train station at an ungodly hour of 4.30 AM, which resulted in me being up since 4.  Since I did have the backlog work to complete, I grabbed the early hours, tackled them, and also completed my kitchen chores by 7 AM.  Pretty liberating.  The only downsides are the light ache behind my eye, and the biliousness that comes from a liver protesting the early rise.  I tried napping midmorning, but it was very light sleep, and did nothing to freshen me.  I am torn between wanting to wake up at 4 every day so that I can get a lot of work done, and not liking the background nausea that results from the early rise.  Oh well, que sera sera.

It’s a little after noon as I type this.  I continue to have a pretty long day ahead.  The guest will drop in briefly, and then I pick up the kid from school.  After that, there are some house visits we make and dinner out to celebrate 15 years of conjugal bliss (or would that be survival?) today.

My reader is filled with Thanksgiving posts.  I hope you had a good one.  Talking of TG, I managed to write the thanksgiving article in good time and it turned out better than I had anticipated.  Thank you to Carol and Hangaku Gozen, for inputs !

I can’t really thank God for Fridays because the weekend promises more chaos and a hectic day of travel of about 1400 kilometers (~680 miles), but such is life.

Have a good weekend y’all.

Air air

The cortisol generated by the mountainous job pile up, the adrenalin of deadlines, progesterone from my brain that refuses to recognise my age, the oxytocin that accompanies the progesterone and addles me with Kafka dreams so I wake up with too much adenosine and acetylcholine, the norepinephrine deciding that the adrenalin is just not doing a good job and jumping into the party- the body is a freaking biochemical lab ready to explode any minute. It doesn’t help that I will have a houseguest (an uber-efficient, uber-cool woman I look up to but knowing my self-flagellation, would lead to pms-induced self-loathing) on Friday and I must make a dash to Hyderabad for a funeral on Sunday.

Have you seen my breath somewhere?

Mad Monday

I so want to write bytes and bytes of stuff here.  The head is so full of words that need release.  Unfortunately,  Monday morning has set the pace for the rest of the week, which promises to be frenzied.  Here are some one-word hints for stuff I need to write about, and probably will if I can squeeze in.

  • Baking
  • Wodehouse
  • Rebecca
  • Weather (really?  Hmm)
  • Guest
  • Kid
  • Dreams
  • Sharing my world
  • Work

Let’s see how many in this list get scored off by midweek.

When’s the American Thanksgiving, by the way?  I need to write an article for a client connecting thanks giving and technology- yep, I have no idea of the sentiment behind thanks giving, except of course the historic connection, and technology for that matter, self being a technophobe to a large extent.  In case you are not a professional writer yourself, this is what many of us, who write for a living, do – gas about stuff we don’t know.  My profile page in this blog describes me as “word-pimp”.  Rightly so.

Toodloo for now.


The buds of taste

I have always loved vazaithandu mor kootu – VMK henceforth, loosely and pathetically translated as “plantain stem, buttermilk gravy, spiced with green chilly, cumin seeds and coconut”.  When I was young, I believed that this was the stuff that only grown ups could make because of the difficulty involved in chopping the hyper-fibrous stem.  For a long time after I took over the kitchen, I made everything except VMK because I wasn’t an adult.  Whenever I visited my in-laws for meals, I would request my m-i-l to make it because well, she is an adult, isn’t she?    Somewhere in my early forties, my father gave me a plantain stem from the plantain tree that grew in our farm house, and with much trepidation, I made the dish at home, and while it was delicious, I was distraught because I had become an adult.  Today I made VMK. Perhaps I have come to terms with my grown-up status, because I relished it without hesitation.

I have noticed something interesting.  I am not a good cook, my family,  friends and guests who have partaken of our figurative bread and wine would vouch for it.  However, there are some dishes that I excel in – the above VMK, mashed yam spiced with ginger and tamarind (karunaikizanghu masiyal), pumpkin milk-kootu, and mango pachadi.  I love all of the above.  Unfortunately, my family hates all of the above and so while I am glad to have more of them for myself, I don’t make them too often.  On the other hand, I despise sambar.  All kinds of sambar. Given a choice, I would ban sambar from the world.  And it reflects on my making of the dish.  I make the worst sambar in the world.  My poor family, which would like nothing but to swim a large pool of sambar every day, are given the short stick in this regard.  Likewise, I make the worst Morkali, which my family loves, but I am not particularly fond of.   I can’t make pickles to save my life, and my family often looks at home-made pickles in other people’s houses with longing and pain.  I am, as you have guessed, not a great fan of pickles.

I often wonder if this is true with others as well – that food items that are liked by the cook taste better than those that the cook does not like?

Sharing my world and stuff you didn’t need to know

Cee’s questions

Do you ever sit on a park bench for more than ten minutes?

I wish I could say “yes”.  For a long time, I thought that’s what was missing in my life – a park bench in which to sit and be lost in the moment. Took me a while to understand that I am too restless for that.  In retrospect, everyone else around me has known it.  My class teacher in 11th called me “jumping jack” for a reason.  My college friend called me “butt spring”.  My labmate (a Japanese girl) called me “bullet train”.  I can’t sit in one place (unless I am writing) for more than two minutes.  I must move.  Even when I do sit, I am fidgety.  My feet tap, my hands flail, my eyes wander hither-thither – definitely not the Buddhaisqueness you’s associate with a park bench.  That’s why meditation is hard for me.  My brain calms down instantly, but my body can’t take stasis.

A few months ago, a bench was installed right outside our fence.  I was excited when it was being installed – now I can finally sit on a bench in the evening, listen to bird song, watch children play, and tête-à-tête with the neighbours.  Guess how many times that has happened?

When you lose electricity in a storm, do you light the candles, turn on the flashlight or use your cell phone for light?

I live in India.  We don’t lose electricity in a storm.  We lose it because we can.  The powers that be, believe that character must be built among the citizens and in their magnanimity, always cut off power just when you dump soaked rice into the mixer to grind, or you are in the middle of a work deadline and the goddang document must be mailed within the next seven minutes or it would spontaneously combust.

But that does not answer the question. I use my phone flash light to get the candles and light them all around the house.

Would you rather be given $10,000 for your own use or $100,000 to give anonymously to strangers? 

Can I have the $10000, keep half to myself and give away half to the stranger?  I could use the extra dough at the moment.  To buy innerwear.  You know the problem with rains?  Inner wear don’t dry fully (no, we don’t have a washer-drier – yes, we live a fairly spartan life) and there is nothing more annoying than having damp clothing next to your skin.  But you didn’t want to know that, did you?

While on the topic of innerwear (yeah, I am gross like that), I always call it by its Tamil name (jaddi), which drives my family nuts – “you are gross…why can’t you be decent and call it inner-wear?”, the kid and dad chorus.  “Why?  What’s wrong with jaddi?” I ask, “it is just another piece of garment that you wear”.  They roll their eyes around and give me a wide berth until I stop saying the blasted word.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?

My kid’s cheer-up book is my inspiration this week, and perhaps for a long time afterwards.