Author Archives: Gobblefunkist

Bedroom questions

From Embeecee, who got it from pressing patience.

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The Questions:

Do you have a “before bed” ritual that you do, well… before going to bed? If so, how long have you had this ritual? How uncomfortable are you if you cannot, for some reason, perform it?

I must change underwear, wash my feet and brush my teeth, in that order.  I don’t remember when I started doing this.  I can’t sleep too well if I have not done these.

Does sleeping in someone else’s space make you uneasy? or can you sleep anywhere?

Oh yeah.  I can’t sleep in anyone else’s bed, except perhaps my daughter’s, when she has had a nightmare and needs my presence.  These days, owing to the fact that she is as tall as I am, her single bed is uncomfortable for two of us. So, I snuggle up until she falls asleep again and get back to mine.

I don’t mind hotel beds, ofcourse, under the assumption that the sheets have been changed.

When I am staying in other people’s houses, I prefer lying on the floor, with or without a jamakkalam.  Or if there is a guest room, the guest room bed, but only under extreme duress.

Where is the strangest place you’ve spent the night? How well did you sleep there, if at all?

When I was in grad school in the US, I let a friend persuade me to take a road trip down to Nashville.  They were weird 4 days because I stayed in strange people’s apartments (other desi students I did not know) overnight, went pub hopping although I was a teetotaller at that time and spent the days in stupor because I had no clue what I was doing.  I slept on the dirty carpet for three nights and bathed in grimy bathtubs.  I still don’t know why I did it.

When you were a child, did you have a preferred blanket or toy you couldn’t sleep without?

I had a pet pillow that I hugged.

If you could build the perfect mattress for you, what would it be made of?


Do you sleep with your bedroom door opened or closed? or does it matter?

Open. Fully open.

What is the longest consecutive period of time time you’ve gone without sleep?

12 hours !

Contrarily, what’s the longest consecutive period of time you’ve slept?

12 hours !

Have you been informed that you snore? or do you sleep with someone who snores? What, if anything, do you do about it?

I snore when I am very tired.  My better half snores very loudly.

Everyone dreams, it’s a scientific fact, but do you — in general — remember your dreams?

Oh God, let’s not go into that.  My dreams would be the death of me.

Do you think that the dreams you remember are significant in any way?

Yes, they tell me the state of my hormones.  They also tell me that I am a neurotic idiot who really needs to learn to let go.

How difficult/easy is it for you to go to sleep once you lie down at night? and/or wake up once you get out of bed?

Out like a light. Waking up takes an hour and two cups of coffee.

Have you ever had an episode of sleep paralysis?

God, I hope not.

Do you wear bedclothes of any kind? or do you prefer to be au naturelwhen slipping under the covers?

In summer I sleep in shorts and t-shirt. In less-than-summer, I sleep wearing a really faded and soft salwar.

If you have pets — cats, dogs, and the like — do they share your sleeping space or is it a “humans only” area?

My pet shares my bed.  My better-half.

When it comes to going to bed and waking up, are you on a schedule (bed by X up at Y) or do you just go with the flow of your body’s rhythms?

10.30 PM to 6.30 AM.  Yes, I need a lot of sleep.

Have you ever had hypnagogic hallucinations?  They’re very common…

I get very disturbing dreams just before I wake up.  Perhaps they are hypnagogic hallucinations.

Can you sleep without blankets? or must you have something covering you when you sleep?

I use a thin coverall when it is chilly. Else, no.

Do you have any superstitions or taboos regarding the bedroom and/or sleeping? For example, no shoes and/or hats on the bed.

Feet must be clean before getting on to bed.  MUST.  My kid must show me her feet before she gets on to my bed, and only when I am satisfied that they are clean, can she get on.

All doors to cupboards must be fully closed.  Door to room must be open.  I like the window doors to be open too, but sometimes that’s not possible.  I have learned to live with that.


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Man, the destroyer

I am disturbed about the Manchester violence, who wouldn’t be?  It has been bothering me that had I lived in the UK, my daughter would have definitely wanted to attend the concert, and I would have chaperoned a bunch of teenage girls to it.   What quirk of destiny is it that I live in India?  And what cruel fate for my counterpart out there. My heart goes out.

Man is a weird species.  A dangerous and weird species.  Why is it that all religions preach love, but none in any religion gives it a damn?  And yes, I generalize on purpose.  I don’t believe one religion is better than the other.  Religion is not the opiate of the masses, it is a dangerous weapon.

I find myself not wanting to associate with any religion these days.  I don’t like talking about religion (and politics) in a public domain for obvious reasons.  But sometimes it bothers me.  Last week, a friend sent me a WhatsApp forward about how my sect is best because we pray to a particular god.    Her words were “A true vaishnavan is one who obeys Lord Narayana implicitly”. I was miffed because I don’t think Narayana, or whatever other name She is referred as, is petty enough to require obedience.  It is a mortal insult to the immortal grandeur of God, if you are a theist.  Besides I believe that a true Vaishnavan (or whatever religion you want to throw in there) is one who, like Abou Ben Adhem, loves his fellowman.  I replied to my friend’s WhatsApp message with the following YouTube video.  The meaning of the song is given below.


He is true Vaishnava who knows and feels another’s pain
Always willing to serve the unhappy without a shred of vanity
With humility of being and non-judgemental existence,
With pure words and deeds, blessed is his mother
Of tranquil and equal view
Bereft of lust
Seeing the mother in all women
Failing to utter a single untruth
And not a glance at another’s possession
The bonds of earthly attachment bind him not
With mind set to renunciation
And every moment, uttering the name of the Lord
His body is the home of every God that may be
Having conquered greed, anger and lust
Such a Vaishnava, says Narsinh,
saves a family through seventy-one generations

Sharing my world

Cee’s questions for the week:

What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? 

I want to visit the Himalayas.  I am not exactly sure where in the Himalayas, probably Mt. Kailash and Manasarovar.  But the catch is this:  I want to go there alone.  I don’t want to go there as a tourist, but as a spiritual journey.  I am not clear on what it is that I seek, but I feel a tug every time I read about or see or hear of the Himalayas in books, movies and conversations.  Perhaps it is merely a romantic fantasy.

How often do you get a haircut?

Like I have hair to cut.  I have never been well-endowed outside my skull (some would argue, inside as well, but the judgement is reserved on that one), but things went south fairly rapidly after delivery of my one and only. Now I have hair on my head which could be counted on two hands and two feet.  I still pretend to have it trimmed once a year or so, just so the bottom does not look like a rat’s tail.

In regards to puzzles what’s your choice: jigsaw, crossword, word search or numeric puzzles?

Word search.  Jigsaw next.  Crossword after. Numeric puzzles, only under extreme duress.

How many cities have you lived? You can share the number of physical residences and/or the number of cities.

Chennai (India), Syracuse (NY), Gaithersburg (MD), Chantilly (VA), Dallas (TX).

Grateful for : End of hormonal crap, surge of work energy, half a kilo lost.

Looking forward to:  More work to be completed.

Extremely pleased about: My article to be included in a chapter of “Family Resource Management”, a text-book co-authored by Sylvia Asay who is a professor at University of Nebraska at Kearney.  Yay.

From yore

The three and a half regular readers of this blog (in many of its earlier avatars) know two things about me – one that I take my hormones too seriously, and two, I detest cooking.

The irony of my life is that for someone who hates cooking, I cook a lot. I usually make three fresh meals every day (today, for example was Pongal-sambar for B/F, rice-spinach-avarakkai-lemon rasam for lunch and probably roti-dal for dinner). My family knows better than to bother me when I am in the kitchen because they wouldn’t know what hit them.

The second irony is that I co-wrote a cookery blog with my friend G a few years ago.  G is a kitchen diva.  I, a kitchen devil. So, we made a fairly potent combination.  The blog continues to exist in cybersphere, albeit in a dormant form and I refer to G’s recipes now and then.

The reasons I bring this up are these.  I am (a) backlogged with work, and am unable to find time to come up with an original post (b) actually, only (a).  So, when I am not sharing my world, I will probably repost some of my gems from cookalogue here, without G’s permission.  I guess G won’t mind because my posts didn’t add any functional value to her marvellous recipes and I doubt, were even read by people other than G and me.

So, today’s repost is a true story of sorts.  Remember, it was posted first in 2011, six years more immature.  The only change since then has been that I am a marginally better cook now than I was when I wrote this up.

The Paste

Lord Brahma sat in deep thought.  He had a piece of human clay (Let’s call it “G” for convenience).  What to mould?  Madame Curie had been done already.  Sarojini Naidu, over.  Agatha Christie, over.  Jhansi Rani, finished.  Simran, Jyothica, Madhuri Dixit – still around.

Suddenly, another piece of  clay (“L” for convenience) disturbed his reverie.  “What do YOU want” asked the Lord.  “Oh Lord”, said L,  “I need a special gift when I am born”.  Fast losing His patience, the Lord thundered “What is it?”.  The timid clay whispered “Lord, anything I cook must be tasty”.  Her question gave Brahma an idea – “why don’t I make G a fabulous cook?” he thought to himself.  In his excitement and in haste to get back to moulding G, He granted L her wish – “Alright alright…I grant you the boon that anything you cook on earth will be pasty”.

Years passed.  G grew up to make Gobi Manchurian and Chinese fried rice when she was not in the mood to cook.  L grew up in another town, making pastes in her kitchen, as blessed. As destiny would have it, G and L met in their third decade of existence and became friends.  Like the crow who got stoned by passers-by for trying to mimic her friend the cuckoo, L hoped to be inspired by G  in the kitchen.  Despite the boon.

So one day, G posted a recipe for Cabbage Rice.  Not knowing what else to make, L decided to get adventurous, despite her established history of pastifying food that were not meant to be pastified.  G assured her that “soaking the rice for half an hour and fry nicely along with the vegetables” will make it un-mushy, forgetting that it was L she is talking to.

L, the recipient of the special boon from Lord Brahma.

So, with that promise, L followed the recipe, word for word. After two whistles, the cooker opened to exhibit rice, uncooked and separate from its water, like the water on a lotus leaf.  Feeling sorry for the family, L let it cook for four more whistles.

Brahma had the last laugh.


It has been a while since I bragged and humiliated my little one.  Since it is in the fineprint of the mothering manual, which must not be forgotten, I am doing this. I hope you understand that I am merely doing what is expected of me.

I started reading to my kid when she was 12 days old. I believe I read PGWodehouse to her as she peed and pooped when she wasn’t suckling or sleeping.  Then, when her eyes began to focus, I read Tintin and Amar Chitra Kathas to her, so she could see the pictures and colors.  Then we graduated and by the time she was two, I was reading Enid Blyton to her, and one of the first things she told me when she had started talking was, let’s have an English breakfast like the Famous Fives.  By four, she could read, and didn’t need my droning voice anymore and anytime anyone suggested outing, she said “bookstore”.

But that’s not the brag (well, it is, but you know…). She started writing creative stuff when she was five.  Seeing her love for writing, I started a blog for her when she was six, and she wrote extensively in it.  She still has the blog, and recently, she privatised all her old posts (she wanted to delete them because “amma, they are so immature and kiddish” but I told her to merely privatize it because I want to show these posts to my grandchildren) and revamped her blog into a typical teenage repository of hormone-induced, often funny banter.

Am sharing the blog here (see above link)….just so you can check it out.

End of brag.