Monthly Archives: June 2018

Inspired

I saw an advertisement for a snack called “poppadox”, or some such thing.  This, I believe is nothing but miniature “poppadam“, which Wikipedia describes as “thin, crisp, disc-shaped food from the Indian subcontinent;”.  The pappadam is a very “uncool” food item, compared to the “cooler” Western imports like chips, crisps and fries, although many of us, especially middle aged women of a certain type, ignore the cholesterol implications and devour them by the dozen. Calling it “poppadox” and packing five miniature pappadams in a fancy plastic bag seems to have suddenly made it hipster snack.

Last week, I ran out of biscuits (cookies to some), and I need biscuits with my coffee/tea.  I had requested my father to buy a generic biscuit (not the branded ones from multinationals) from the local bakery and bring it when he visits us.  My dad bought what is commonly called “porai biscuit”, which is a porous crisp baked thingie that is commonly sold in corner tea shacks, and therefore not at all cool.   It is also called tea-rusk, although to me, rusk is the yummy double baked thing you get at Iyengar bakery in Bangalore.  Some also call porai “varukki“, I believe.  But I digress.  As I dip my porai into my tea and bite into the crispy bit of heaven, I think porai needs some serious marketing.

If someone can package porai in fancy plastic bags, give it a name like “poradox”, I promise you, they will be doing the porai, humanity and and my sense of humour  a big favor.

 

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Efficiency and me

Every direction that I turn today, there seem chores awaiting.  The washed utensils must be put way in the kitchen.  The refrigerator needs stocking up. The living room needs dusting. The purse needs replenishing. The washed clothes need to be folded and put away.  The yard needs raking.  The bedsheets are due for a wash and change.  The bathroom tiles need  scrubbing. The office room needs me to sit and work on my various documents.  What do I do?  I say eff-it-all and take a long luxurious oil bath (the shower bath, i.e. not the bath in which you heat chemicals in the laboratory, just to clarify).  For someone who is already inefficient to a fault, lethargy can be killer.

I feel terribly guilty.  People around me are working hard as hell and insanely efficient.  One of my friends tells me yesterday that she is usually up at 4 AM to work.  Another friend tells me, coincidentally, ten minutes after friend A, that all her chores are done by 7 AM.   I have new neighbours (on a tangential note, who don’t seem the friendly type) who, I notice are up bright and early to get their two children ready for the school bus that arrives at 7 AM.  Transpose a little towards the east, at 7 AM, I am running helter skelter to get the lunch packed for the kid, because I ignored the alarm at 6 AM;  despite turning in as early as 10.30 PM last night.

Not that this realisation is doing anything constructive to my psych.  One would think that seeing the efficiency around one, and being aware of one’s own shortcomings in the area, one would buck up, kick herself in the pant and get her act together.  No?  No.  I am writing this blog post, after which, I’d probably do something that does not involve any from the list in the first paragraph and my day would be over with nothing accomplished.  Sheesh.

I believe everyone in this world is efficient because inefficiency as a whole package has been delivered to me. You are welcome.

 

 

 

 

Midweek

It’s Wednesday already and I have not dazzled all and sundry with my pearls of wisdom.

It’s been a crazy week so far.  The Murphy’s law was conceived, along with my child, in my uterus.  If anything can go wrong with it, it will.  We already know about the PMS mood swings, the menstrual cramps and all those invaluable snippets of my uterine existence that you can’t live without.  Add Mittelschmerz – midcycle purgatory –  to it.  That would be a fancy way of saying that the ovaries are laying an egg, and killing me in the process.  There is an elephant dancing around my lower abdomen, and since the elephant is fully grown, it extends to the back as well, and there is a large tyre that feels like it is about to explode like the big bang, scattering my innards all around the zip code.

Now that you have been duly grossed out, let’s get to business.

Sometime back I had mentioned (ahem, don’t take that literally, I meant raved) about how I do a tutoring jig for my kid, and that her first test would be a test of fire for mommy tuition centre.  Mommy scored.  Actually, the kid scored and mommy tuition gets a new lease of life.    Talking of tutoring, I taught the kid and her friend a lesson of Physics – electromagnetism, to be exact, and given that I have the visualization capability of a paramecium, by the time I got the kids to understand the left hand and right hand rules, my fingers were falling off.  That notwithstanding, I had a huge rush of oxytoxin, when that light of comprehension was switched on in the kids’ eyes.  At the end of the class, my kid said – I feel thorough with this, and I smirked, while she shook her head and went “ok ok…you win”.

But all is not hunky dory as that.  I have had a tough time dealing with someone these past few days that although the outcome of the altercations has been positive, I am exhausted as hell.

I need to up my mindfulness routine, I think.  Things bother me way too much these days.  I am hypersensitive, and a lot of unpleasant memories trigger illogical reactions in my mind.

I made a pseudoscientific discovery.  When you kick a habit, sometimes the withdrawal is not immediate.  I felt an intense withdrawal for whatsapp recently, almost a month after I bowed out.  I didn’t succumb to it, but it’s interesting that I had it.

I am afraid to say this.  I have two roses, two ixora bunces, and a potfull of orange tubular flowers in my garden.  And it is butterfly season. It’s gorgeous.  I hope I didn’t jinx it, it’s hard to type with fingers crossed.

How has your week been?

 

 

 

 

This, that and a migraine

  • Had a PTA meet in the kid’s school.  The school has  introduced a superb online correction system, and the meeting was to educate parents on it.  It is a well thought-out and designed system, and would help children understand their strengths and weaknesses better. As usual some parents were being a gargantuan pain in the arse – there is a limit to how much of a tiger you can be, you know?  One mom had a problem that the school asks the children to write their names on the top of every sheet of answer paper – the kid loses valuable time writing his/her name, when she should be dazzling the examiner with his/her brilliance.  What the heck?
  • The principal said “At the end of the day, we are happier when the child is a good human being, than when he/she has scored good marks”.  What a woman.
  • Why Air conditioned auditorium?  The headache started there.
  • Had a lunch meet at a high school friend’s house – the rowdy bunch was there, but the migraine was already blinding me, and I stayed for half an hour and left reluctantly.  There were a few naughty games – one of which I won – we had to write words that end with “ing” that are applicable to the bathroom.  I wrote 27 ing activities – don’t ask what they were, I want to keep this post reasonably clean.
  • Couldn’t partake of the vodka-based cocktail because of said migraine. And because I had to drive back home.
  • Got three bottles of wine today –  good ones too, a Carbernet sauvignon, a chardonnay and a Pinot Noir.  The first was gifted by a friend who had visited US on work last month.  The second was bought at a duty free at Quatar by another friend at my request.  The third was gifted to me by an unexpected and sweet high school friend, who learnt through the grapevine (pun unintended) that I am a wine connoisseur (seriously – does knowing names of wines and preferring them to hard spirit make one a connoisseur?).  Can’t wait for this migraine to end to open one of them.  I am seriously thinking of giving the deadpool a miss tonight and watching some soppy romance with a glass of the best….
  • Migraine light flashes.  Shall stop.

 

Mom-daughter unbonding

At dinner table

Dad: Are you people upset about Messi’s missed penalty goal?

Kid: Oh yeah.  Do you know Ronaldo will go to prison for two years for tax evasion?

Dad:  Well he won’t.  So, who is the favourite football team among your friends this year?

Kid:  The usual – Brazil, Argentina, Spain…

Dad:  What’s yours?

Kid:  Spain, I guess.

Mom:  I am rooting for Liverpool.

The kid and dad look at each other and there’s pin drop silence for the rest of dinner.  Any idea why?

***

The kid is planning to see Deadpool 2 with her friend at the local theater tomorrow.

Mom:  I think I’ll come along.

Kid: But you can’t.  It’s rated R.

Mom: ???

***

Continuation of above conversation

Mom:  So, is it rated R for the violence?

Kid:  Also the innuendos.

Mom: Do you even understand the innuendos?

Kid, looking suspiciously at mom :  Would you stop me from going if I said I do?

Mom:  Au contraire.  It makes no sense to go if you don’t understand them.

Kid, looking relieved:  I know right.  None of my friends gets any innuendo…and it is so frustrating to me…

Mom:  Welcome to the world, kid.

***

Mom particularly upset after visiting a high school teacher who has broken her back due to osteoporosis:  Do you know, osteoporosis is hereditary and transmits along the female line? Great grandmom had osteoporosis, so you and I should be careful.

Kid:  Why is it that you have all these faulty genes that you have given me?

Mom:  I know, right?  Why did you have to take so much after me?  Why couldn’t you have taken a lot after your dad?  His sperm is pretty pathetic, I think.

Kid: I am not having a conversation about appa’s sperm with you.

Oh well.

Pain and pleasure

I visited a high school teacher yesterday.She was a live-wire back then, a bomb ready to explode, albeit an excellent teacher.  I used to be terrified of her, and her sharp tongue, although I learned a lot academically from her.  She is ill now.  Very ill.  I was terrified when I saw her yesterday, but for different reasons. If I had not known it was her, I wouldn’t have recognized her.  I was troubled all evening yesterday.

I hear that another teacher, a favourite of mine, is also ill.  Not mortally, but bed-ridden.  I have promised myself that I will visit her, however much it terrifies me.

***

I have a work deadline today. I told my client that I am passing this one.  He isn’t going to be happy, but that’s how it is.  I think I overworked for three months this year, that my brain is refusing to buck up and get into it.  I have another deadline in a month.  I hope the brain stops its revolt soon.

***

I need to get my life into order again.  The past week has been extremely disorganized, mostly due to inexplicable mental lethargy.  I like to blame it on the heat, but that would be escapism.

***

While beating myself over my laziness, I made a mental list of chores that make me want to lie supine, and jobs I enjoy doing.

Hate list:

Cooking (oh god) and associated crap – planning, chopping vegetables, grinding spices, cleaning up, organizing fridge, organizing pantry…KMN.

Paperwork – since we moved into the new house, the files and important papers have not found a permanent home and have been disorganized.  I spent two hours yesterday reorganising and managing, and realised how very much I hate the chore.

Finance – I had to meet the auditor about my tax returns yesterday.  I had to drag myself by my ear to his office.   It does not help that the chap who has been taking care of my papers for the past 17 years is retiring and delegating the work to his unerlings now.  I hate talking to the underlings about my finance.

Social conversation – During the visit to my high school teacher’s with my friend, I was completely at a loss.  I had no idea what to talk. Thankfully, my friend made up for my awkwardness.  I returned exhausted, partly at the emotional distress of seeing my teacher so, and partly, at the strain of social interaction.

Love list:

Teaching: A few years ago, I got back in touch with many of my high school friends.  One of them, whom, funnily enough, I did not meet through social networking, but in a grocery store, tells me that the reason she passed math in high school was my coaching her.  Another school friend claims I taught her Hindi, and it really helped.  A third friend from college says that he passed quantum mechanics because I sat outside the examination hall at 5 AM on the morning of the exam, and rammed it into his head. I can’t remember any of this – except the last one, because I remember being appalled at how under-prepared m friend was for the exam.  But as I teach my daughter every evening, I realise that their claims could be true –  I seem to love teaching.  After a two hour session of chemistry with the kid last night, I felt like a lot of bucks.  I wondered if I should have chosen teaching as a profession, but then decided that if it became a vocation, it probably wouldn’t be as enjoyable as it has been as an avocation.

My child has her first school test today.  Today could potentially decide if mommy tuition center is effective or not.  Can you believe I am nervous?

Yard work:  Despite the fact that it is pure evil to let me loose anywhere near plants, I love pottering about the yard.  Some day, I might have a thriving garden.  That would be the time I’d have given up yard work.

Writing work:  although at the moment my brain is on strike, I actually like writing sciencey stuff.

Writing my thoughts:  I love writing random thoughts as much as I hate voicing them to someone.  But you know that, don’t you?

***

My mental lethargy seems to continue.  I have a document to edit that has been open in my laptop for two days now.  I edit a few sentences before the ennui hits and I do something else.  Yeah, it’s a criminally boring document alright, but that hasn’t stopped me before.  Oh well.

**

I am passing sharing my world this week because the questions don’t inspire me.

**

I read about a certain country pulling out of human rights wing of UN and the only thought that comes to my mind is a grammatically wrong phrase, largely used in said country – you got to be kidding me.

Oh well.

 

 

 

 

Cow, Kali and Kamasutra

We watched “Outsourced” – the kid’s cringe meter, according to her, fused out.  I didn’t find it too bad, in fact, it was perhaps even cute, but that could be the aftereffect of  having just finished reading Mansfield Park and all its disinfectant romance, as my better half likes to call it.  Of course, the movie was packed with cliché and hyperboles – please tell me which call centre in India is located in a village,which, in real life India, may not even have a reliable power source, let alone high speed Internet connection.  OK, let’s call that artistic liberty.  But that Auntiji?  Can you get anymore stereotypical than that?

There were some pretty accurate observations too – the hero tells the call centre people that they must talk like native English speakers, and one of them replies that they ARE native English speakers, and got English from the Brits, just as he, an American did. The dhobi colony was realistic as well, and the ingenuity of the underprivileged to use the resources available to them (e.g. the mixer running on live wire pulled off street light) is typically Indian.  The guy’s chagrin at using the Bombay squat toilet and his left hand for ablutions was also subtly cute.  Reminded me of the first time I had to use a toilet paper towel for said purpose – how does one bear to use the manifestation of Saraswathi, the deity of learning, on one’s posterior?  This, according to me is, the best example of culture shock.

The romance angle was jarring.  Not the morality of it – I don’t believe that Indian women are dripping with chastity and such crap, but that was unlikely romance.  A woman such as Asha would not fall in love with her American boss on the strength of his compliment that “Asha can do anything”, and if she chose to sleep with him, it would probably be to advance her career, however sexist that might sound.  Thank heavens, the ending was open.

All that said, it is a movie worth watching, because there is a fairly sincere representation of the Indian culture from the eyes of a Westerner.  Yes, there are cows, Kali and Kamasutra, but there’s no Taj Mahal, and that clinches the deal.