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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.

The beauty

It has been a really really busy day.  What’s up with Gobblefunkist, I ask.  Why is she running around like a chicken on fire, on a Saturday?  Oh well, when it rains, it pours, when it comes to chores.  The day found me gallivanting around town again, following up the bank eff-up I had mentioned yesterday, getting some cell phone issue sorted out, gymming, going to the nursery to get some pots for plants etc.

The day ended (or is ending) with the movie “Beauty and the beast”.  Not the cartoon version, the Emma Watson version. It was aired in the open air theatre in our campus, and the kid was definitely not going to miss it for the world, and given that I drool a little over Emma, I tagged along.  Emma is amazing.  Got one heck of a talented head on her shapely shoulders.  I am almost jealous.

But here’s what struck me most.  As a youngster, I hated (or claimed to hate) romance of all kinds – books, movies, real life etc.  These days I actually like romantic movies.  I think I am just too old now to be a pretentious prick, attempting to look “cool” and hiding her own lack of romantic skills under assumed disdain.  Now I couldn’t care less, and romantic movies are charming and cute to me, as they are meant to be.  I wish I could go to the young me and say “its ok to feel fuzzy inside, you don’t have to hide behind the ice curtain”.

Oh well.

Good night folks.

Cover it up

This is a rant.

I live in the campus of the institute in which I did my first graduate course.  So, sometimes I get requests from friends about stuff to be done around here.  I don’t like to do them,not because I don’t like to help people, but because more often than not, I feel like I am taken for granted.  Like this one.

My classmate from grad school is applying for a job in a different country (not the first world countries, just to be clear).  He lives in that country now.  The agency to consider him for the job, wants his transcripts and certificates certified as authentic by the institute that issued them. This in turn involves  getting a banker’s cheque in the name of the institute, and submitting it along with an application requesting verification and other documents to the institute. Since I live in campus, he asked me if I could do it for him.

I was very hesitant at first because nothing is as simple as that in a country like India where the red tape and formalities are unbelievable.  Still, considering that this chap has been struggling to find a job, I agreed to do my bit.

As a first step, I go to the bank to get the banker’s cheque (DD as it is called here).  It is a sweltering day here, the AC in the bank was kaput, and everyone and his cousin took it upon himself to visit the bank today.  Drawing out a single DD took one and a half hours.  I came out of the bank with a migraine.  But that’s ok.

I call this chap to tell him that the DD is ready, now what should I do.

He has no clue.  He asks me to find out.

Where do I find it out from?

Somewhere in the XYZ building, he says.

The XYZ building is a six storied building with hundreds of departments. Hundreds. And no customer service counters or a reception. U-huh.

Which is fine again. Tomorrow may not be as sweltering. And XYZ building is not air conditioned, anyway, for it to fail.

He then emails to me, his transcript and certificates that I must print out and submit along with the DD somewhere in the jungle of the XYZ building.

I look at the email attachments, and find no cover letter.

I tell him “you need to send me the cover letter”.

His response?  “Why?”

I am a little stumped because I believe it is a universally known and accepted practice that any formal application needs a cover letter saying what it is that is being applied for. Especially in India where formality is everything. The Brit may have left us alone in 1947, we don’t intend to let go of their pomposity anytime soon.

I tell him that. Not the Britt pomposity thing, but the fact that any application needs a cover letter.

“Oh, but I have sent the transcripts”

“Yeah, but you need to tell people what to do with the transcripts”
(in my mind is the uncharitable thought that with so many “E”s, you really have to tell them what to do with the transcripts – I am mean, but by this point I have a full blown migraine and this guy is being deliberately stupid.)

He sighs and says “oh well, if you say so. I will send you a cover letter”.  The tone was “oh bother, why do I have to deal with people like Gobblefunkist”.

I am still wondering who was doing whom a favour.

I am also getting a vague idea of why he has such trouble getting a job.

An immenses conversation

On the way back from the beach yesterday.  Two moms on the front seat, two teenage kids at the back.

Kids singing some random song, completely out of tune and loud.

Mom1:  Can you please tone it down a little?  Mom 2 and I are trying to have a conversation.

Kids’ ears flap.  Moms’ conversation, they are sure, would be something they can crib about later.  E.g. “moms don’t know how to have fun, you know?”. “Moms are so jealous of anyone who has fun, that they have to get on our case if we laugh ” . (Actual quotes we have overheard in the past few days).

Mom 2:  I haven’t gotten my periods in three months now. I wonder if I have menopaused.

Mom1:  Lucky you.   You can set the calendar by me.

Mom 2:  I wonder if I am really that lucky.  Maybe when it comes, it will finally kill me.

Mom 1: More likely.  At least, when you are dead, you won’t get periods anymore.

Mom 2:  I am not sure.  My ghost will probably get PMS.

Kid 1: May be we are better off singing.

Mom 2:  Don’t behave like you guys don’t know what we are talking about.  Especially considering how crabby you guys get before your period.

Mom 1:  You know how they throw parties and have celebrations for menarche*?  We must have a celebration for menopause you know..makes more sense.

Mom 2: What do you mean we must have a celebration for menopause?  We must have a kick-ass party.  You know, invite all menopausal/perimenopausal women, have a big feast, dancing, singing, new clothes, drinking..the works.

Mom 1:  And banners.  “Take that, uterus”.

Mom 2: “Die, ovaries”

Mom 1:  “Hormones to hell”

Mom 2:  “Vale, vaginal vagaries”

Mom 1:  “Cheerio Cramps”

Kid 2:  You know how moms think we are crazy?…

Mom 2:  And we can have a cake shaped like uterus.

Mom 1: With red icing

Mom 2:  And not cut it, but each of us gets a knife and stabs it

The kids are stunned to silence until we reach home.

Later in the night, mom 1 gets a message from mom2: “Got my P :(”

Mom 1:  What?  No party then?

Mom 2:  More time to plan.

What can I say?  We are glass-half-full people.

* In India, a girl’s menarche is traditionally celebrated on a grand scale – feasting and all.  It still is among many families.

Edited to add:  A dear cousin wrote back saying “why so much hatred for the uterus?  Without it, you two would not have had your kids”.  I feel partly combative, but also bad.  Thirty odd years of pain and PMS shebang (the other mom in this conversation faints every period with pain, and I go through dark mental periods every month) seems like a steep price to pay for reproduction, considering that the other half of the procreationist gets away scott free.  That said, I’d face any pain all over again, and again, and all my life, for my kid. If I have inadvertently hurt anyone by this post, I am sorry. I considered deleting this post, but realised that that would be escapist.  I own these thoughts. They may be wrong, but they are mine.




S being Sunday.  I am so done with this weekend. Give me Monday.  And work.

I learn today that the uncle who shocked me by his untimely death on Friday, had committed suicide. I can’t wrap my head around this one bit.  This chap was a very successful doctor in a large town, had pots of money, a very smart wife… children, but I wonder if that would be disturbing enough for a 59 year old man to kill himself. I hear from the grapevine that he had been disturbed for a few months now due to setbacks at work, but seriously – why must someone’s work be connected to his survival instinct?  I don’t know if I should be angry or sad.

It really bothers me when I hear of people committing suicide.  When I was a teenager, two of my friends committed suicide for stupid reasons.  One was our maid’s daughter- my age, but who had married early (~16, yes illegal), who burned herself because she had a fight with her husband.  Another was not quite a friend, but a neighbour, whom I occasionally chatted with, but I didn’t quite get along with – she and her boyfriend drank pesticides and died because their families wouldn’t agree to their union.  Bollocks.

I live in a university township where there are college kids that periodically hang themselves from the ceiling fan because they didn’t get good grades, or failed, ,or were spurned by their crush or whatever stupid reason.  It burns me up.  I very uncharitably want to say “good riddance” to them.  A 16 year old who used to be my neighbour and who I have seen grow up, killed herself last month because she had a spat with her boyfriend.

I don’t get it.  I just don’t.

This uncle of mine who bit the dust was a doctor.  A brilliant doctor. I don’t get how and why he could not see the symptoms of depression in himself and seek help.  I will never know.

Missed me?

I am assuming that even if you peeps had not been heartbroken and become alcoholic for not hearing from me, you would have at least wondered – what became of the verbose Gobblefunkist?

What became of gobblefunkist is that her MAC-Air crashed.  I may be the first and only person in the history of the digital age, who crashed her Mac laptop, because the in-house MAC afficianado says MAC is, borrowing Shyamalan, unbreakable.

While the MAC is at the service station undergoing “diagnostics”, I got myself a HP laptop because I suspect repairing the mac would end up being costlier than buying a, in my daughter’s words, stone age laptop.  The MAC was a gift from the better half.  My business only lets me buy an HP, so I must be happy with stone age technology for now.

More once I get used to this bulky thing on my lap…