Category Archives: Random

Tired Tuesday

Yeah, it’s becoming a bad habit, isn’t it?

A lot of running around thanks to a hypochondriac relative deciding that he needed hospitalization for something or the other, and the associated emotional blackmails – oh, I’ll feel so much better if you are around …family is such a dog, sometimes.  I wish I were more confrontationistic by nature – I could just ask these people to cut the crap out and behave like adults rather than children who got boo-boos playing on the seesaw.  Gah.  The drama isn’t over yet, by the way.  Double Gah.

By afternoon I was fairly disgusted that I hit the gym and worked out more than usual, just to get the irritation out of my system.  I felt better after that, but my muscles ache.

Talking of working out, I have had no luck with losing any of the lbs I have apparently packed in the past six months.  Of course it has only been two weeks of working out and calorie counting, but you know it would be nice if  the scales showed me some encouragement.

I haven’t been in the mood to work today.  And yesterday.  It is piling on.  Hmm.




Monday Medley

You know how they say eating home-made stuff is better than store bought stuff?  Balderdash.  A couple of days back, in an attempt to make “healthy” icecream, I blended watermelon and orange, added home-made sugar syrup to it, froze it and had home-made “sorbet” for desert.  Within hours, I started the mother of all flu.  I could have just bought icecream from the neighbourhood shop than try out stunts like these.  Between wanting to throw up, wanting to blow my nose constantly and wanting to curl up in bed, I have been largely dysfunctional through the weekend.  A visit to the family doctor has put the spring back to my step now, although the stomach does threaten to empty its content at short notice.

I had a minor epiphany – actually I have always known it, but it just got reiterated.  As I lay moaning and groaning on my bed last night, I yearned for my grandmother’s kashayam (herbal tea).  At that moment, I realised (again) what cowcrap nostalgia is.  When I was young, I avoided telling my grandmother that I was sick, if I could help it, for fear of her kashayam.  Just thinking about the making-hole-in-the-stomach-spicy, hot liquid makes me want to scream.  But the mind is such a fraud – it masks the unpleasantness with romantic imagination and convinces you that everything was better in the good old times – even kashayam.

Talking of grandmas –  I think she passed some of her culinary skills to me when she died.  For the past year or so, any food I make seems to come out good.  Now for most people that’s not a big deal. I have consistently, for twenty years of my life, turned food to ashes by my mere presence, so it is funny how ever since paati died, I have been able to cook better. Macabre, I think.

I threw a tantrum today at a shop.  The kid’s football coach wanted me to get her shin guards, now that she was playing serious matches and I took a detour to the sports shop to get one, on my way to school to pick her up.  As soon as I asked for shinguards, the sales man asked “how old is the boy”.  The fellow didn’t know what hit him when I started with “why do you assume that it is for a boy” and went on for the next three minutes about the evils of stereotypes.  Fellow might have resigned his job after I left.

Have a good weekend folks.


This and that

Jackfruit season is upon us.  Yay.  But I had forgotten how the fruit can stink up enclosed spaces.  I bought a jackfruit on my way to school to pick up the kid, and left it in the car.  In the heat.  I couldn’t get back into the car without gagging.  It’s going to take a long time for the smell to dissipate.

At school, a random woman I vaguely remember  to have seen somewhere walks up to me and says “Hi LG, how are you?”.  It’s most embarrassing, isn’t it, when the other person says all kinds of things about you “Do you still live in …., how are A and V, how is your grandmother ?  You dad”? etc., and you have no freaking clue who they are?  Turns out this woman’s son and my daughter were bosom buddies in kindergarten and thereabouts, but they had to leave for US seven years back, and have just returned home and the boy has rejoined the school in my daughter’s class.  Neither my daughter nor I had any recollection of the boy (which makes sense, he would have been a small boy then, and is a pubescent young man now), or the mother, who claims she has visited us so many times to get the kids play together.  My memory is like a sieve, I say.

The kid wanted an energy drink for football class today because she was going to play a game with the boys.  The last time she played with the boys, she was largely gallivanting along the fringes because the boys were not passing the ball to her (and the other two girls), and I gave her the life-lesson, “If you want to play with the boys, you have to grab or else you WILL be sidelined.  And not just in a game”.  So today she is all set to kick ball (ahem, pun unintended), which she insists, needs a lot more stamina than kicking with the girls.  She has been eyeing the Gatorade on the grocery shelves since yesterday.  Today being Sriramanavami and all that, I made Panagam (jaggery mixed with water and spiced with cardamom and dry ginger).  The kid would have none of it – who drinks panagam after a football match? she asks.  You, my dear child.  Some day when you are forty, you will salivate at the thought of cold spicy-sweet panagam on a hot day, after bending it like Beckham in whatever you choose to do in life.  I guarantee that.

Back to work now.



Food and sleep

I am a slave to simple pleasures of the flesh.  A small bowl of curd rice with mango and a full night of uninterrupted sleep is all I need to be happy.

img_20170213_200425The forties has been weird in terms of my metabolism.  Rice, the cereal of my life, even a few morsels of it, seems to expand in volume and stick permanently to my midsection and the cushion -side and therefore I had attempted to partly replace this staff-of-life with alien material such as wheat.  Wheat is good, I don’t deny.  But after two months of rice-challenged meals and the resulting serotonin shortage, I am all set to be locked in a granary of boiled rice for the rest of my life. Given that it is tender-mango season and I have pickled five kilos of the blessed stuff in my kitchen, to be accompanied in all stages of pickling with curd rice, the midsection can go to hell.  So, in the near future, if you see someone with a planetary graitational pull around her, you have found me.

The past fortnight has been good on the zzz front, perhaps because of the pleasantly chilly nights, or the hormones behaving themselves for a change.  Last night was the first warm night in a while, and with mosquitoes hovering around as well, I lost a few hours of sleep.  The effect shows.  I sat in stupor on the potty for a full fifteen minutes this morning, without doing my business before I realised that I really need to catch up on the winks.

To work.


The first time I tasted alcohol (not including the ethanol that you accidentally over-pipette into your mouth in the undergrad lab) was when I was about twenty four years old.  This was my first weekend in the US as a grad student, and the neighbourhood Indian grad mafia was having a party of sorts.  A guy offered me a toffee the size of Kilimanjaro and forgetting the adage of “do not accept toffee the size of Kilimnajaro from (relative) strangers”, I bit into it only to have a flow of what I thought was concentrated nitric acid, into my mouth.  After spitting it out and gagging for an hour afterwards, I learned that it was a liquorice toffee, and that nitric acid was actually Vodka. On that day, I promised myself that I would never taste alcohol ever again in my life. A couple of years later, as I attended a midnight new year bash with a friend in a pub, I sipped coke to “Auld Lang Sine” while the rest of them downed what my friend claimed was the bestest, sweetest Chardonnay EVER.

Fast forward half a dozen years.  I was a newly wed, madly in love with the new husband, who proposed an evening of unwinding over a movie (Pirates of Carribean) and a glass of wine each.  With much trepidation, I accepted the glass of wine, I don’t remember the brand, except that it was red wine, and I thought it tasted (and smelled) like rasam gone bad.  Again, I knew that alcohol would not have any part in my life and made the fellow finish my glass too.

A couple years further on.  A relative visiting us from the US, brought us a bottle of white.  These were the days in which between cleaning a 2 year old’s poopy backside and not having a moment myself to poop in peace without the kid banging the toilet door, my body was in constant pain.  Half a glass of the white wine seemed to melt the pain from the body and the cares from my mind and I wondered if there was something about alcohol after all.  It did not taste of rasam gone bad anymore, the sour bitterness was masked by the warmth that spread through my being after every sip. I may have finished that bottle by myself over the next week.

A couple more years later, I ran into a high school classmate, who claimed that she always bought wine from a relative who brewed at home.  I bought a bottle of the home-made wine, and wasn’t impressed – the wine had too sharp a taste, and tasted more of acetic acid than alcohol (damn my chemistry nose). I still managed to finish the bottle because the husband didn’t like it at all and I thought Rs. 500 was too much to be flushed down the toilet.  I suspect I had Rs. 500 worth of vinegar over the week.

The relative visited from US again a couple of years ago and bought wine (white) and Scotch.  Scotch was horrible.  One sip made me  sick as a dog for hours afterwards and the migraine that resulted made me use swear words I didn’t think I knew.  Hard liquor is not my cup of alcohol. The wine, however, was even better than before, especially when had with a bar of black-as-hell chocolate.

Last summer, we visited Florence for a week.  In Italy, if you didn’t know, wine is not an alcoholic drink – it is in fact, a holy  drink, like the “theertham” you get in temples here, or perhaps “paanagam” – children as young as 3 years are initiated into it by being given diluted wine so that they develop a taste for it.  All menus have a separate section for wine and another for liquor.  I had a glass with every meal- every glass of wine was perfect. We even visited a vineyard and had their signature Chianti classic, which has become my all time favourite wine (for now).  I’d love to go Tuscany side again, if only for the Chianti.

We had dinner (what else? pizza) one late night at a local, non-touristy shack and home made wine that a very homely woman brought from inside her family pantry located behind the shack. I may have had three sips, four at the most, but I was giggling for the rest of the evening that my kid refused to walk beside me and said that next time I got giggly after wine, she would disown me.  I had the presence of mind to tell her to remember the moment when she was 22 and at her grad school party and someone gave her a something dubious to consume, because the sentiment is mutual.

My confession is that I loved the time I got tipsy – it was as if all of me was light as a feather, and the whole world was funny and there was not a care in the world. I can see how people can get addicted to alcohol. Thankfully, I didn’t have a hangover that time and neither did I experience the Bard’s allegation of fuelling the desire and taking away performance, if you know what I mean !    Every now and then, I crave for the four sips of the strong wine, only if to laugh like an idiot for a couple of hours after that.  Thank God, alcohol is big time taboo in my society and it is not easy to get a decent bottle of wine at a price that does not require me to sell my kidneys.  Otherwise I’d probably have changed my hobby from blogging to wine-downing.


  • On top of everything else, I started a flu.  Yay.
  • Three more days to the deadline, two more proposals to write.  I think I won’t be able to make it.
  • One more day of ceremonies.  The last one appears to be the big one, considering how many people my dad has invited.  Am very nervous.
  • I want to write something interesting but nothing comes to mind.
  • After the deadline, I want to take a day completely off and do things that I have been putting off for two months now.  Cleaning the house comes to mind.  I also desperately need to buy new clothes .  The three daily wear ones are beyond redemption.
  • I am way back on reading posts on my WP reader.  I am beginning to get withdrawals.
  • I wish my right eye would stop twitching.  I think the twitch is because of an inflamed sinus, but the superstition is that right eye twitch is an indication of trouble.  As much as I try to poo poo it as superstition, I am nervous.
  • I watched La La Land recently.  Was bored to death.  Why is it hyped so much?  Yeah, some of the songs and dance sequences were good, but the movie was terribly boring. I’d rather watch movies like “Singing in the rain” or “Everyone says I love you” if I wanted to watch a musical.

So long.

A weekend, finally

A brief respite, considering the two more deadlines – DoD and DoE, which will arrive like transition pains in labor soon enough. I am usually very apprehensive before I plunge into the whirlpool, but once in, I revel in the swirls.

I spent Saturday deliberately relaxing – took a one-hour oil bath, and read Lord of the Rings in between on-and-off dozing-on-the-couch.  By the end of the day, I was guilty for not having used the weekend to finish up projects that I had set in the back burner during the NASA deadline.

But no worries..I finished half of that today. One of it was English-Tamil translation work – I have never translated for money so far, I translated two cancer booklets for an NGO into Tamil a few years ago, but that was voluntary work.  I don’t think I am great with Tamil, but my client seems to think I am a miracle worker in all languages.  While I am flattered and all that, it also puts enormous pressure on my limited skills, especially when money is involved.  Nevertheless, with ample help of a thesaurus, I managed to translate a 10-page technical document from English to Tamil.  I actually enjoyed it. Talking of translation, I translated the contents of the CD cover of Mahler’s symphony, in German, to English for my better half this morning.And translated Tamil to Hindi and vice versa in a conversation between my neighbour’s mother and his maid this morning.  Languages are beautiful, aren’t they?

While we are at Mahler’s symphony – why is it that I simply can’t relate to symphonies?  I can’t understand them, heck, I can’t even enjoy them.  Mahler’s fifth gave me a headache this morning.  And it’s not just Mahler.   I can listen to sonatas and the like, but all symphonies make me hyperventilate – they are too violent for my  timid sensibilities.  Either that, or  I am terribly culture-challenged.

I don’t think store bought pizza agrees with me anymore.  Having had errands to run, notably buying footwear – I wore mine out, what do you imagine when I am walking 10 km every day, I bought back pizza for lunch.  I only had two slices, but have been palpitating and a migraine seems to be in the offing (can’t choose between pizza and Mahler as a cause).  The stomach is not as robust as it used to be.  In fact, I didn’t even enjoy eating the pizza like I used to.  All I wanted was some pepper rasam and potato fry with rice.

Oh yeah.  The family finally got rid of two hundred DVDs today.  The better-half has been collecting movies for the past fifteen years, but now with movies available as files (either ripped or bought or ahem, downloaded), DVDs have been rendered obsolete.  I have been asking (nagging, pestering, hen-pecking) the fellow to throw them out, but he has been dragging his feet.  Today, finally sick of the cardboard box that has been sitting on the floor of the dining room and gathering dust for two months, he left them out in the curb for the garbage collectors to pick.  I know one part of him regrets it, but my argument is that if you haven’t used something for a year, you don’t need it.  I am evil that way.

There has been a protest in our part of the world against the ban against jallikkattu, a bull taming game that has been a Tamilian transition for centuries.  The ban has been provoked by the animal rights activists.  Tempers are running high both in and out of social media, and I don’t want to add to the fire with arguments here – just a brief statement that I am for the ban – tradition and culture that endanger lives (of men and animals) need not survive – I will not approve any troll comments against my opinion.  But I bring this up to share an interesting incident.  I was out and a bunch of protestors crossed me on the road chanting

கோழி போடும் முட்டை

நடத்து ஜல்லிக்கட்டை

(kochi podium muttai, nadaththu jallikkattai)

A loose translation is “hens lay eggs, let bullfighting go on”  yeah, it cracked me up too.

The week will start tomorrow and I will have to hit the ground running.  How exciting.

Have a great one, folks.