Archive for the ‘The Bloke and I’ Category

I am late by two days but weren’t we busy hoarding on sanitizer, garlic and paracetamol for your travel.  So, as the title says it all, Happy Birthday and you can choose any number you want. No, you can’t pick Seventeen. Remember, it needs to be greater than or equal to Twenty-nine.

Every time I see you shaking with laughter at the silliest things, I truly feel blessed. It is the kind of laughter that puts me at ease and makes me fall in love with the world. That laughter is like an endless invisibility cloak that spreads over every other imperfection around me. Probably, it just blinds me. I wonder how swiftly your actions and words evoke a multitude of reactions ranging from awe to exasperation. And marriage does such weird things that I feel a sense of content even when I feel exasperated by your acts.

The other day,  a recent acquaintance of mine asked me about what I cook and when I finished, she was curious to know who “we” were! I realized how I had used “we” instinctively in every statement and I was amused at their amusement.  Honestly, I can’t imagine it any other way.  But what I love the most is how you hand me my coffee in my hand and wait for my reaction. You make the most awesome coffee.

You surely are a man of steel for it is not so easy to put up with my tantrums, mood swings and temper (all occasional, okay). I have told this to you but you dismiss it always and tell me that I am being hard on myself . Well, when you don’t, I force it out of you.  But today being your birthday (Err, okay lets overlook the two days delay), I am feeling wobbly and week in knees, and I will let you walk away with these accolades. Yes, I am feeling magnanimous today.

Your thoughtful gestures blows me over. Like the last time just before a trip, you carefully picked up many of my earrings that were lying haphazardly and packed it in a box for me and all this without me even mentioning about it. Sometimes, I am afraid if I will end up taking all this for granted. Next time I get annoyed with you, I am going to remind myself of all this and much more (and the aroma of your coffee, obviously).

Thankful, would be too small a word to describe how I feel. I am thankful that “we” happened.

Yours,

Kaapi

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Freefall

Posted: January 5, 2014 in Rants, The Bloke and I
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Freefall. And that is what 2013 has been like. And December is the cushion that I very much-needed. I wish I had seen it earlier.  There were many a time when I resisted and wasn’t ready to take the plunge, many a time when I held on to a rubble and decided not to budge.

It could have been a carousel ride. A merry one. Probably, in rain. The one that leaves you dizzy with happiness for no apparent reason.  It could have been all that if I had not been so scared and hesitant.  So, I turned it into a roller coaster ride. But hey,  when the belts are on and if you didn’t throw up,  what is not to enjoy about a roller coaster, I say.

What is all the hoopla about, you ask?  So when this year started which always feels like just yesterday, I had few plans for the year. No, not resolution just plans. Nothing fancy. Nothing that required discipline or drastic lifestyle change. Just mundane but uphill tasks like getting a address proof which eventually would be used to get a DL.  Yes, I didn’t shoot for the stars and all that. Just quite simple realistic goals they were. But then as it always happens, the evil universe conspired and planted the idea of buying a flat in The Bloke’s mind. How does that affect the plan, one would ask. Take my word, it does.

“What is so wrong with wanting to buy a house”, The Bloke asked me million times. I had a different answer each time. Or rather a question. What if the bore well dries up or what if the work place moves to another end of the city, I asked.  Up until  a few years back,  I was a nomad. Every few years our life would be sorted out, labelled and boxed and moved to a different city or a different locality and we would start anew all over again and somewhere along the line, I started falling in love with the whole process.

In short, owning a house and settling in is all fun and nice when everything is new and fresh but once they are rusty, old and dusted, I may want to flee but then the fact that I “own” it would stop me but I do not want to be stopped and that is the whole point. And every time I dished out this theory to The Bloke he either scoffed at me or asked me why I would want to run. Grr. I gave up.

While the first half of 2013 was spent in my theories and counter-theories, the second half was spent in making earth shattering decisions of high significance like the color of the wall. Bleh I know and I would have also said “Bleh” but that was before I came across the range of colors. There are zillion yellow shades. Yeah I did other rotten investigations like “How to choose the right yellow paint” and all that and then there were serious investigations like download a pretty image, open in paint, lookup the hex value of the color and then choose the paint with the closest value.! encycolorpedia.com anyone? After all these path breaking discoveries, I decided the shade of yellow from an advertisement that I chanced upon.

After a long wait when the move happened finally, I thought I might miss the house a wee bit given that The Bloke and I, started our lives together in this house but to my complete surprise and disappointment, I didn’t. On the contrary, we missed the small things that were infused in our humdrum existence. The friendly shop keepers who always hand-picked the best drumsticks and coconut for us knowing our puzzled expressions, the street dog that used to pester us for biscuits every time we stepped out and the happening chai shop.

Now, I think both of us have moved a wee bit from our earlier stances. The Bloke kind of understands my theories and I think I see his rationale.

Double standard

Posted: October 1, 2013 in House full, The Bloke and I
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Few months ago, The Bloke and I attended a cousin’s wedding.  While my mom stomped her feet and declared that I should wear a saree, the dress code was relaxed very much for The Bloke. No worn out jeans, was the only rule he had to abide by. But then I couldn’t let him revel in that and so I pushed him to don a Dhoti. Having never worn it, he was quite diffident about it but then I cajoled him – “How tougher could it get? Just wrap around and you can even wear a belt” I said.  The belt did the magic and he was lured.  one of his friends loaned him a Mundu and also provided him with instruction to “wrap” it around.  We thought we were all set for the wedding but then there were few glitches in the plan. The wedding was supposed to be a early morning one held in the bride’s ancestral place while the bus in which we had booked tickets would drop us almost at the same time but in a different town, Karaikudi which is almost hundred kilometers from the wedding venue. We couldn’t do much about it but this meant we had to stay at a hotel in Karaikudi and I had to drape the saree on my own and the last time I had tried draping, I had got it perfectly right but something looked amiss and after thirty minutes of brain storming, The Bloke pointed out that I had draped the Saree on the wrong side!  So I ended up saving few pictures of “How to drape a saree” on The Bloke’s mobile for emergency. Okay, who am I kidding? Those pictures were my guide!

The previous day when we had to catch the bus, we were at our best by which I mean we had surpassed all our previous levels of disorderliness and  I was very sure that the bus would be late and for once, The Bloke agreed to go by my estimate. Half way through the traffic, it started drizzling which usually is just a coincidence but then if it is Bangalore, it is just the way of life or rather the “way of evening life” and just yet another reason for the traffic to double up.  We were stranded for a long time and after much drama, we stepped  into the bus.

Karaikudi is a small town and though you may not fall in love with it immediately, there is something quite comforting  and inviting about the place and people. Probably, that is the case with every small town. Or with every small town where you have your heart set.

After arriving at the hotel, we were on our mission and surprisingly, accomplished it in lightening speed with few flaws. The Bloke had tied the Dhoti perfectly, albeit tightly and he ended up limping. My attempts at coaxing him to tie it once again went futile. I gave up and we set on our hundred kilometer journey.

After what seemed to be a little over an hour, with the help of passerby, we reached the venue. I spotted my parents as I emerged out of the car lugging yards of fabric. My mom was elated.  I had never seen my mom that happy. No, not even when I had got my first job. Nor when she sets her eyes on myriad of colorful  sarees in Pothys.  I was exhilarated looking at her elated state.  I commended myself for having thought of the pictures beforehand. As I sauntered towards her in a daze, she headed straight to The Bloke. “This looks great on you”, she gushed. I readied myself for my turn and I went and joined The Bloke. My mom shot a glance of “intense disapproval” at me and said I hadn’t tied the saree well.

Hmph! I wondered if I should point out that The Bloke was actually finding it too hard to walk in his looks-great-on-you attire. But then my tummy growled and I feasted on a plethora of dishes neatly laid on fresh plantain leaf while The Bloke  fumbled with many of them trying to figure out what they were and with his preoccupation of what was on his plate or on his leaf in this case, missed out on second serving of the best dishes. Serves him right!

The past two months were just too bland, punctuated with deadlines and the days whizzed by. The Bloke was equally busy. Or, probably busier.And at times, when I decided to push the work aside and took time to laze around, I tried to write. But I went blank  and  mostly ended up  sleeping with the laptop beside me.  And along with me, the draft as well went dormant.  Now, I guess the mayhem is over. I mean the work and deadlines.

Two months back, when there was a lot happening (comparatively, that is), I missed updating about few things. Actually, I completely missed writing about my travel to places half way across the globe! It was quite a short trip and we had just one day for sight-seeing and rest of the time, The Bloke slogged in office and I worked from the hotel. Even now, that travel seems so unreal that if  The Bloke ever told me that it was all a dream, I would believe him. Erm.. okay, he may have to delete all those pictures that we took at Golden gate bridge.

The Bloke had to travel for work and I never even thought of accompanying him but he had different plans altogether. I planned on staying with her while The Bloke would be away. But as luck would have it, she relocated and moved out of  Bangalore!

“See, you are destined to come along with me”, The Bloke yelled. I dismissed him off. No, we are not that philosophical about ‘destiny’ but we are those complete duds who use ‘destiny’ to even decide on the place for dinner.  Mostly, destiny helps us in the forms of traffic lights and rains!

Anyway, I digress. The reality struck me when we booked my ticket.  The entire flashback  of  my misplaced stay extension approval letter (from previous travel)came back to haunt me and someone had warned me that it was required for subsequent travel.   I spent sleepless nights after that, waking up all sweaty and parched from nightmares of being deported. Erm.. okay, that was in March and that explains the sweat and thirst.  But the nightmare would always end before the climax.  I was always left wondering if The Bloke would join me back or if he would continue with this work and travel!  It was after rigorous ‘Google’ search’, I realized I was misinformed.

So, just like usual, we packed on the day of travel and at The Bloke’s insistence, reached airport  much much earlier.  It was a long flight. At times, The Bloke and I stretched and walked around and I saw so many fellow passengers flirting with the air hostess and boring them to death that now I can very well write a book titled, “How to flirt under 30 seconds”. Seriously!

Once it was our turn at the immigration check, I duly went along with The Bloke. While he explained the nature of his travel and work in many words, I just added, “I am accompanying him on his travel” and dished out the marriage certificate.  “So, you don’t trust your husband?”, the immigration officer  asked and burst into a peals of laughter. My jaws dropped to the floor. I was dumbstruck and bewildered. The Bloke joined him and my expression was quite a sight, I believe. While I was still retaining my composure, the stamped passports materialized out of nowhere and The Bloke ushered me out.

“Muje bahut neendh aa raha hai”, I announced.  And just then I noticed that sarcastic lopsided grin appearing on The Bloke’s face and I knew something was wrong.

“Is it ‘aa raha hai’ or ‘aa rahi hai’?”, I further questioned him and he dissolved into a peal of laughter.

Hmph.  “It is my neendh and I decide its gender”, I shrugged. He guffawed.

And for the record, The Bloke can manage just few Tamil words and he gets labelled as ‘cute’ for that. Uh.

Anyway, I digress. This post is NOT about The Bloke or about the state of my spoken ‘Hindi’ but rather about my miseries with it.

The story dates back to ’93 when my vocabulary in Hindi was limited to ‘hathi=elephant’ and ‘kalam=pen’. To supplement this, I was sent to a Hindi Pundit and he bestowed the worldly knowledge upon with  the sentences like ‘Yeh kalam hai’ and ‘yeh mej hai”.  And equipped with vast and improved vocabulary, I appeared for Prathmik exam and ahoy! I managed a good score as well ;).  For the uninitiated, in TN we have exams conducted by Hindi Prachar sabha and back in ’90s, almost all of us appeared for those exams and mostly, in this case, the teacher is referred  as ‘Hindi Pundit’. So,  after all this rigorous and ‘katin’ Hindi exams, we could confidently rattle off, Yek gaavon my yek kisan raghu thatha’

All was well until we moved to Delhi in ’95.  At school,  I dreaded Hindi classes.  I was totally lost. On my very first day in school, just before the Hindi period could start, someone behind me buzzed, “Rajini madam is coming”. I  turned around with adoration in my eyes. How cool it was to nick name your teacher after RajiniKanth’! Probably, the teacher was just too strict and well-built, I thought. But in came a petite woman with a porcelain skin and  looked pale. Or, so I thought. when she spoke, I could hardly hear her.  No way near Rajini, I thought. Few more days and then the understanding dawned on me that her name actually was ‘Rajini’  and it looked like it was a pretty common name given to girls as well!

“Is that name in any way  inspired by the actor ‘RajiniKanth’ ?”, I asked the boy sitting next to me. He scratched his head in reply.

After the initial hiccups, I managed to pull through the Hindi classes. Among the four of us, my mom adopted quickly to Delhi. She would pack Chapathi and Dal for us every day.  The extra protein and fiber did help the plants in my school and they flourished and looked greener.  “Idly arici’ became a precious commodity and was taken out only on special days or when we had Tamil guests at home. And those were the only years when we got away giving Idly  and sambhar on the day of Diwali to all the North Indian neighbors. They were insanely happy. I was happier since I had the Gulab Jamuns for myself. After few years we were back to Tamilnadu and there, I pledged my commitment to Hindi and went ahead and chose it over Tamil.

Cut forward to 2006, I was the most sought after by my Tamil friends.  While Shahid Kapoor wooed, enticed and smiled, I interpreted his words and I think I did well,  for my friends let out a collective long sigh. I never understood if it were my words or Shahid’s looks that garnered that reaction. Living in a paying guest accommodation had its perks and I almost became the  North-Indian-certified-decent-Hindi-speaking-tamilian.

After getting married to The Bloke, I thought I would be more fluent in Hindi. How wrong I was! True, initially I picked up cooking instructions in Hindi like “ubalo”. But it was quite short-lived. Within a year of marriage, I forgot all the Hindi that I had picked up since The Bloke just refused to  converse with me in Hindi. Okay, we had never conversed in Hindi before wedding as well but we could have given it a try!

To me, Hindi is like  aerobics. When I practice it sincerely, I reap the benefits. But when I turn to it once in a blue moon, I end up with sore muscles. So recently when I had to converse for long in Hindi, I said something like “Mere prashno” and before my words were out, I realized my mistake but the damage was done. The very moment, the truth dawned on me – Hindi Prachar Sabha had left a dent on my heart, mind and soul and it was to remain forever!

So people, that is my tale of woe and now, I need a drink to keep the misery from enveloping me.  A strong filter Kaapi for me, if The Bloke agrees to make it otherwise I will settle for a Chai 😀 .

Until I sober up,

“Hail Hindi, hail Hindi Prachar Sabha”

The Bloke finished his post graduation few months back. With that The Bloke’s two years long ordeal came to an end. Or, so I thought. The last two years whizzed by in a haze with whirlwind of activities and suspense and with days merging into each other and punched with deadlines.  While The Bloke endured all of that, I had the best time of my life.  There is just nothing comparable to the joy of relishing your dinner watching a pack of men gobble up their food and swot for the exam. And even more priceless is the pleasure in asking the inevitable question, “How many more chapters to go?”. Ya, I am wicked that way ;).

While The Bloke slogged, I savored the campus, walked around the roads and deserted paths, sometimes aimlessly and at times, in search of the best spot to sit and read a novel – in short, I had all the time to stand and stare and probably, I cherished it all the more since everyone around me were  caught up in a web of chores that they had to tick off from their list and I had none other than to follow my will.

Add to this,  the coffee served in the campus is one of the best, brewed exactly to my liking and that was all that I needed on cold foggy mornings and on rainy afternoons. Err.. Okay, let me admit, the weather was just an excuse, I just couldn’t keep my hand off that heavenly coffee  and the low price that I had to pay for it was a bonus ;).  And The Bloke is such a big fan of the buttermilk served here along with the meal that he didn’t believe me when I told him that it is just yogurt, water and salt and every time he drank it with his heart’s content, he set me off wondering about his north Indian roots. For the record, now all that he has to do is to slurp the Rasam and eat that curd rice and pickle and I can christen him as south Indian ;).

I had my share of embarrassing moments as well in campus . Once a foreign student shoved a sheet of numbers in front of me and asked me to explain it to her. I could feel her helplessness and yet for a moment, but the very situation tempted me  to try my luck at fishing out  theories out of thin air and explaining to her. But thankfully, better  sense prevailed and I squirmed in my seat until I made it clear that I don’t study there.

So even though we were counting quarters, days and exams all the time and were exuberant once The Bloke finished off his last exam, there was a part of me that cringed. The only consolation was that we could drive to the campus any day but so far it never happened at all since The Bloke just detests driving through the heavy traffic.  After the 3 months hiatus, I happened to visit the campus last week along with The Bloke with some miscellaneous errands as an excuse. We drank gallons of coffee, walked on the rustling leaves listening to the sound as they cracked beneath our feet and just like any other farewell we bid adieu with the same old thought – “Time flies”!

Weekend by the Arabian sea

Posted: March 6, 2013 in The Bloke and I, Travel
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It has been a totally busy February for me this time with each weekend being busier and merrier. The Bloke and I, along with a couple of friends spent a weekend in coastal Karnataka.  The Bloke and I are last minute planners. Most of our vacations in past two years were planned and decided in last moment mostly as late as The Bloke got the email about a cancelled lecture. So unlike all our past vacations, this one was planned much earlier and our friends did all the planning and we just tagged along! And it coincided with The Bloke’s birthday!! So how more wonderful could it get!

So one beautiful misty and drizzling evening (Yeah, they are just so rare now in B’lore) we hit the road. With five of us in the vehicle and with too many things in common, we spoke of all random stuff.  Around midnight, we stopped at a ominous place for Chai.  There in midst of nowhere and in pitch darkness, we celebrated The Bloke’s birthday with a make do cake and lot of gaiety.

The last leg of the journey included ride through the curvy ghat roads and since driver never wanted to slow down, every careless moment, The Bloke and I had our heads bumped into each other.

Our first stop was in Murudeshwar. Our friends, S, MD (yeah, that is how we call him. Lucky, isn’t he?) and T ventured into scuba diving while The Bloke and I stuck to the shore.  We first visited the shore temple. Probably for the first time, we were kind of language-crippled. My Kannada is sadly  limited to dishing out directions to Autowala or on insisting to go by meter fare and grocery shopping.

In evening, we walked along the beach and watched the myriad hues of sunset. The explosion of colors set against the vast s was breathtaking. Amidst all this, there were others going about their routine like the fishermen sorting out their catch and our curiosity led to them and among their catch, we noticed this starfish.

Starfish

StarfishGokarna 198The hues of sunset 

And in some parts, we found  beautifully weaved intricate patterns, probably left behind by crabs?!

The next day, we reached Gokarna. First we headed to Om beach. This beach has some water sports including Banana ride. You know where this is leading to, right? After few minutes of bumpy ride we were toppled into the water. For sometime all that I saw was blue. And I panicked. Since I didn’t spot anyone underwater, probably I was scared that I had drifted too far.  End of it, there were hands reaching out to me and I was shaken and a bit embarrassed as well.  See, I was in a clutter of emotions. A part of me wanting me to try it out again and be brave and the other part that just wanted me to make a self note of my fear of water.

Very close to Om beach is Kudle beach and a narrow path led us to it. While on the way, we caught beautiful glimpses of the sea glistening in the sun, like a zillion diamonds scattered all over.  With the muddy hill in backdrop, the curvy coast line and the amazingly blue water were more than what we could have asked for.

All that glitters

All that glitters

Remember, the last time I was in search of tranquility, this probably is the place one could start looking for it. But while you are at it, you may want to keep a watch on your bedsheets and other earthly belonging which the cows could masticate upon. No, I’m not kidding.

Spot the cow?

Spot the cow?

Though it is one of those quiet beaches (not that I have seen many),  I got the feeling of a party going on – most of them drunk with a que  er sense of contentedness and in a happiness hangover.  It felt like we were in a parallel universe that had no definition of  ‘work’! Strange and nice, isn’t it?

We spent almost the entire day in this beach. We sipped drinks in the shacks, played a few games and watched the day roll by.