Category Archives: ME ME ME

Face off

My guest of the past month is dresser-supreme.  She would have made a fantastic model, had she chosen to be one. She dresses for herself, and not (as much) for others.  She wakes up picture perfect – not a hair out of place, and as soon as she brushes her teeth, she brushes her long, silky, streaked hair until it shines with blinding brilliance and applies nice smelling stuff on her face so that she emerges from the bathroom like a cat walker. She accessorises her nightwear, and when she has to step out of the house to throw out the trash, she looks like she is meeting the American president for state dinner.  I once saw her apply makeup and wondered how she remembered what goes after what and in which part of her face.

The line between passion and obsession depends on the perceiver’s judgemental opinion.  Lest you judge her as being shallow, she has a high flying job, is a dedicated parent to two boys, keeps her home spotless, volunteers for a bunch of things, is a social diva, a perfectionist in everything she touches, a terrific cook and would be a successful dancer if she chose to resume her practice.

But the point of this post is not her, at least not entirely.

When I awoke this morning – you must know that I awaken like I have just survived an earthquake, and remain that way until a few gallons of coffee have been assimilated – and looked into the mirror (mirror mirror on the wall, and the mirror cracked), my face looked like it was dug out of a cemetery. Finding a bottle of calamine lotion that my neighbour loaned me to treat the wasp sting of last weekend, I figured that while I can’t look like my ex-guest if I had a gun pointed to my head, I could attempt to at least look presentable and fresh with a potentially harmless emulsion of zinc oxide and ferric oxide, which even grandmother used in decades past.

Thus, I transferred a drop of the pink goo into my palm, and as I applied it over my face, it miraculously expanded to fill the large surface area of the contoured surface.  The mirror was not very cooperative and instead of a bright, glowing face that I expected to see, I saw a dead-as-before, but oily-to-boot-now, face staring back. And then the party began.  In a surge of an internally generated thermal wave that put my monthly infernal heat flashes to shame, perspiration poured from the recently anointed face, and by the time I mopped the flooding, the skin burned like a stake during inquisition, and I dumped my face into a bucket of cold water to stop it from melting off my bones.

There is truth in the saying “Just be yourself”.  Don’t know why I forget it now and then.  Must be PMS. Everything is PMS.

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Astrology be damned

In Indian astrology, there is one day every month, called Chandrashtami, for everyone, according to their birth star, during when it is best if they not get out of bed because Murphy throws a party.  My dad is a firm believer of the Chandrashtami and warns me before our days of Chandrashtami (we share a birth star).   I don’t believe in Chandrashtami, or anything to do with astrology.

My day today started with me ignoring the alarm. This, however, is not a rare event and the alarm is ignored every day.  But today, my kid had to attend a debate workshop all day, which meant, I had to get her breakfast and lunch ready and drop her at the workshop by 9.  Waking at 7.30 does not bode well, especially when I am out of bread and must make something from scratch.  The hormones on a roll didn’t help as well and I had awoken in a panic having dreamt that I forgot to pick the kid from the workshop.  The kid must first GO to the workshop, for me to pick her up, must she not?

So while I freaked out at my own delays, the kid chose today to be at her sluggish best.  Yes, it was her workshop, and I shouldn’t be the one to freak out, but try telling a time-obsessive hormone crazed nerd that.  After jumping around as if on fire, and getting hysteric at the kid who changed clothes five times because “this one is too crumpled” and “this one is ugly” and so on, I dragged her out the door, and rushed to the venue of the workshop with a minute to spare, and the kid realised that she did not wear her ID card because I rushed her.

I may have used the eff word multiple times in public, and loudly too.

I should have just left her to face the music of not wearing the ID, despite her teacher having drilled into her head yesterday that she absolutely had to wear her ID, but moms are a weird lot.  At least some moms are.  Considering that the workshop was conducted in the building right next to our campus, I muttered to myself all the way back home, picked up the ID, rushed back to a teary child, used a couple more expletives at her and walked back, clocking in all, at least four kilometres up and down in half an hour !

But that was just the beginning.  Did you know millipedes bite?  They are in general a peaceful creature, but when taxed beyond endurance, they can stingeth like the adder, as I discovered the painful way. As I took the shortcut through a marshy area, one of them took sanctuary between the feet and the slipper, and feeling the massive weight descend on it, gave the feet one solid bite before being squished into pulp.  And while I hopped around in blinding pain on my feet, a wasp found my pant intriguing and entered it, flew up and deciding to take a nip of the moving part, stung a juicy one on the right thigh, just above the knee, while I crushed it instinctively right there with its sting lodged within my flesh.

I can’t remember how I managed to reach home, strip and pull out the sting and scream in agony, but it seems those I did, in that order. You’d think I would be a spent force by now, and I am, largely because the trauma of the millepede bite or the wasp sting or the general tension of the morning has loosened the bowels, and I am making multiple trips to the bathroom when I am not groaning in pain.

Add to this a bedlam of eight human-sized suitcases being packed by my guests who leave today.

Today apparently is NOT a chandrashtami day for me.  Ha.

City thoughts

I am a third generation city-native on my mother’s side and a fourth generation city-native on my dad’s.  All around me are people (including the better half) who are recent immigrants to this city.  It bothers me when these new entrants diss my city, and when I was younger, I’d scorn (in my mind, that is, the skies would fall if I could put it into audible words !) at them (including the better half, there, private linen public wash) and tell them (in my mind) to go back to the rural outback they call home.  These days I don’t mind.  Note that I don’t say I don’t care, but I don’t mind.  It still cuts me to the quick when my dirty, big, crowded, polluted city is bad-mouthed by these new comers –  I am the only one allowed to diss my city because this polluted city runs in my veins.

I hear all kinds of reasons for people to denigrate my city – that it has no character (people have character, not inanimate places, for god’s sakes), that it is dirty (India is dirty, my friend, my city is no exception), that it is deprave (seriously?  Depravity does not exist in your rural home?  Wake up and smell the sewer, folks), that people are selfish (please show me a generous non-city dweller), crowded (you immigrated to here, as have countless others, for a reason – a better livelihood) and this is my favourite – city dwellers are emotionless.    The last one, in particular, used to get me hopping mad (anger is an emotion too) in the past, now I am more zen about it.  I had one particular gentleman tell me that the urban folk lack in finer feelings, heaven knows what that means.  I gently asked him to name a single place in the south of India that patronises art the way my city does. He said that by “finer feelings”, he meant romanticism.  Just yesterday, I cried at the last scene of “The Englishman who went up the hill and came down a mountain”, weep when I read a well-written sentence, and sob at music-  I gave up arguing because it was not worth it.

But this is not what I had wanted to write, although, I obviously get carried away when I talk about my city and my nativeness of it.  What I set off writing is that after a really long time, even years, I got to ride our city metro today.  My city was the first in the south of the country to get a metro train (“Electric train” it used to be called) that ran between the northern and southern suburbs through what used to be the centre of the city.  Although the electric train was widely used by the native city dwellers when I was a kid, I never got to using it too often. My mother’s cousin lived in a place that used to be “suburbs”, but is now part of the main sprawling city, and every summer, we’d make a one day trip to their house. We’d walk up to the railway station, which was a fifteen-minute walk away from my parents’ house, take the train to our destination, and take a public bus from the station to the relative’s house.  I didn’t quite like the relatives – I was a bit scared of them because they seemed to fight a lot, but I would look forward to the trip just for the electric train ride.

In the past two decades, more metro trains have been added to my city, to connect other parts of it.  There is one particular route that goes past where I live now to the place that I was born and spent my early childhood.  Our ancestral house was sold years ago, and I have found not many reasons to visit there, except for my favourite temple there.  My father, however, is honorary director of a local small bank because the directorship has run in the family – my grandfather and his father were honorary directors before him.  So, I have a largely passive account in the bank, which needs activation at least once a year.  Today was the day I chose to activate my account and this took me on the metro. The entire trip took three hours, but it was three hours of complete zen.  Time slowed down, as I took in the sights of my city, feeling it in my bones as the crowded city passed me by in its various shades and hues, and in my childhood favourite temple, which always brings me a sense of calm.  To top it off, the bank people treated me like royalty because I am the daughter of their venerable director and all that, to the point of me wanting to sink into the floor, but truth be told, I did feel happy.

Every time I take the metro, I come back feeling tranquil (finer feelings there, my friend) and decide that this must become at least a monthly routine, to take the metro around my city.  As I did today.  But I suspect I would take the metro again next year, to activate my account and decide again to make this a habit.

Runaway life

I am composing posts all the time in my head, but haven’t had a moment’s leisure to put them out here.  There are so many improvements in digital technology…I wish there would be a development wherein my thoughts are directly transcribed into my blog.

Of course there would be a lot of crap in there as well, in fact, you might have to do a phenomenal amount of sifting to make any sense in the jumbled, messy, crappy, stupid tiny trains of thoughts that start nowhere and reach no station you can identify, but at least my blog would be populated with words.

Ah well…

The following words are reminders of stuff to write about, rather than have the thoughts vaporise into the great wide open, into the sky so blue…and all that Tom Petty sang of.

  • lunch meeting – school friends
  • editing crap
  • makeup and mess
  • gym
  • food
  • headache
  • relaxation
  • Madonna

Until then, if you can make out anything from these disjoint words, yeah, that’s what I am thinking too…

Repeat

Ideally today’s post will be a repeat of yesterday’s.  Do you regret that my deadline got over?  I don’t blame you.

Let me list all the ways that today is bugging me:

a.  I forgot to take in the clothes from the clothes line yesterday and it rained.  I have two sets of daily wear, of which one was wet, and hence, I wore the other, which are my gym clothes – capris and t-shirt.  It is a clean enough outfit – washed and pressed, not too faded or crumpled, yet I always feel like I have just gymmed whenever I wear it – like I haven’t showered.   Don’t ask why. I have such weird quirks in life.

b. I sprained my neck last night. Need I say more?

c. Sat with math with my kid.  Realised she was terribly backlogged from class and there was considerable catching up to do. With this and that, the math session took four hours.  I am exhausted.  And have a headache to boot.  The only saving thought is that the kid probably understood polynomials.  As did I !

d. Had taken the kid and her friends to Guardians of galaxy at the local open air theater last night.  Couldn’t sit beyond the first scene. So, I let the kids watch the movie by themselves and decided to come out and sit by myself, sorting out my thoughts and being alone in silence instead of that Godawful din of the movie.  But when I got out of the theater, I was in a very restless, even agitated mood (from the day’s aggravations) and  couldn’t sit in one place.  So ended up pacing up and down the street for two hours straight.  My legs hurt now.

e. I have been getting emails from clients all weekend asking me to send me their stuff soon.  IT IS WEEKEND FOLKS. WEEKEND. I need weekends to NOT work.  Sheesh.

f. Am I coming down with a cold or flu or something? Oh bother.

You know, I have at least seven more complaints, but I am out of patience.

I hope this, to use the clinical term, “bitchiness” passes soon.

 

 

Aggrieved

There are those days and THOSE days.

Today is one of THOSE.

The Zen master inside me says the world cannot irritate me, only I can be irritated.

The rest of me gives the Zen master a rude finger.

The zen master smiles and irritates me further.

Bare your head folks, for you just saw the smile of a dying master.

PS:  I promise I did not attempt to write poetry.

PS2: I also promise this is not hormonal.  AT least not for me.  Everyone around seems to be swinging wildly though.

Of dreams and thoughts

The dreams are back, but with a variation. Usually, I would go unprepared for an exam, usually Tamil exam, in high school, and naked, to boot.  Or I would be lost in a colossal multi-storeyed white empty building with large stairs and run up and down these stairs in abject panic.  These days, I am in a large college campus, trying to find the classroom, and being completely unprepared for college.  Half the time I don’t even know which course I have taken, or if I do know which course I need to take, I have no clue what is going on.  There is no panic, but a dull sense of hopelessness.  My brain is a garbage dump, and really stinks once the lid of consciousness is opened in slumber.  My daughter gets weird dreams too, but my better half says that he does not remember any of his dreams and feels no aftertaste when he awakes.  I, on the other hand, need a couple of extra strong doses of coffee to break free of the gloom that lingers after I have awoken from my dreams.

Something else interesting happened.  Yesterday, a friend and I were discussing dreams.  This friend is a talker, and usually when we are conversing, it is one way, I listen more than talk, partly because I don’t like talking too much, and partly because this person leaves no breathing time for response.  This person notwithstanding, in general, contrary to my image from this very verbose blog, I am not a big talker.  As I told this friend about my consistent dreams of being unprepared (for exams/for class) , I was told “you have no thoughts in your mind…you never think of anything, hence the singular dream”.  The tone was not indicative of “you are thought-free, you enlightened soul”, rather, “you are stupid and empty upstairs”.  I know it because more than once I have been told by this person that I have no interests in anything (e.g. I don’t like watching movies, the only movies I watch are with family – both my better-half and kid like to watch movies, as “family time” rather than any personal interest in watching them), no passion (because I don’t passionately argue about or discuss anything), uncultured (because I don’t listen to music when I am working, and I am usually working most of the time), am a hamster-in-wheel (because I am doing something all the time without staring at the ceiling and thinking thoughts) and am, in effect, intellectually dead-as-a-dodo.  These have been told to me at different times, under different circumstances, and so I believe that “you don’t have thoughts in your head” is an extension of me being of vegetative state. For a moment, I flared up in my mind as “just because I don’t overthink everything and verbally vomit every thought that crosses my head, I am not a doorknob”, but figured that such a response would only lead to me having to listen to more arguments, and thus moved on.

The thought I had then was this:  It is so easy for the world to consider silent people/introverts as being stupid.  Being an introvert myself, let me tell you – we are not stupid.  In fact, we have more thoughts in our heads because we are not wasting time communicating it to others.  We don’t communicate our thoughts because we don’t need inputs from anyone else.  My thoughts usually range from banal stuff such as “where can I get a neem sapling to plant on my backyard” to philosophical/spiritual musings on God, mindfulness, hope, faith and death, none of which needs a recipient.   We are also sensitive people, and can gauge by the talker’s tone, what he/she really means beyond the words uttered, because WE LISTEN and not just hear.

A quote I subscribe to is “It is better to stay silent and let others think you are a fool, than open your mouth and waste time talking” !

 

 

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