Monday, May 20, 2019

the big move

Having lived my whole life in one city, in one country I must admit that leaving everything I have ever known behind and joining my husband across the world was, well, challenging. We were moving to a small industrial town of Duisburg in Germany. Looking at the place on google, it was the least fascinating of all the cities in Europe. I had no idea what I was in for, but I knew I that my ‘year in Europe’ sounded super cool, and nothing else, it would make for a great hashtag for social media.

My husband had one shipment from his company that allowed him to send everything he needed to this new unknown place. That was left up to me. I must admit I had a bit of a panic attack. Sending a life in a cardboard box seemed too daunting for me. I carefully chose toys, books, clothes and food that we may possibly need in this new unknown. Despite my midnight google-ing of this small town, I had no idea what it had to offer. Let me let you in on one of the most random panic questions that crossed my mind: “What if they don’t have Rice?”
Well, spoiler alert, they do.

The first week I was here I could only think of the things I left behind. Travelling with two suitcases packed to the brim with ‘stuff’.

I am no Marie Kondo, but I honestly don’t miss the cupboard bursting with clothes. I don’t miss the toys overflowing from boxes, although perhaps my 4-year old may disagree. I don’t miss the travelling to work, those grueling two hours in a traffic jam. I don’t miss the heat. I don’t miss the pollution.
I do miss some things though. I miss a friendly face in the office. I miss talking in a language that people understand. I miss not standing out like a sore ‘brown’ thumb. I miss my son having the time of his life with his friends, he’s not made any yet here and that is quite sad for a mom. I miss having adults to talk to during the day. As much as I enjoy my son, there’s a limit to the amount of 4-year-old conversations I can take. I miss not converting everything into rupees (yes, my middle-class self is still doing that, do not judge me) I miss, and this may seem strange, ambient noise. The first night I was here I swear I could hear my own stomach rumble (very disconcerting that). I miss my dad. I miss my pillows. I miss chaos.

Having been here over a month now, I realized why I had so much panic as I packed. Because deep down I knew that the things I would miss most of all… could never have been sent in a little cardboard box.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

statistically speaking...

Quick update on the four years I have been away: I’ve gotten married. And had a baby boy. I’ve begun to learn the Ukulele. I still sing in a band and I am still writing, just not blogging as much. I can’t believe it has been over four years since my last post. But let me explain why I thought about this cob-web covered blog after such a long time:

It’s about Friendships.
Frankly I have never been any good at them. I am no good at keeping in touch, and I have been so scared from past experiences that I often don’t put too much weight in friendships. I have not had a ‘best’ friend since college (read: 20+ years). I do have some close female friends who I try very hard to make time for, but being a working mother, I often choose going home to be with my son over an evening of Mojitos.

This doesn’t help the ‘sustained friendship’ cause. This morning I discovered a close set of friends have been meeting without asking me if I would like to join them. The excuse was that I often say I have to go home, so they just thought of not asking me altogether. But they ‘swear’ they ‘spoke about me’ and ‘thought’ about me.
As soon as I heard it, I felt choked up and was instantly in tears – I had to immediately hang up the phone. And the moment my body reacted like that, I blamed myself. I blamed myself for putting too much faith, love, emotion into a friendship that, statistically speaking, isn’t likely to last.

I see so many women with ‘best friends’ even at my age (here I was thinking it was a younger woman thing). And I often wonder what I have done wrong to not deserve, or be able to sustain a friendship that is my ‘go-to’. We are constantly fed with the idea of Meredith-Cristina friendships that are able to surpass Motherhood, long work hours, personal catastrophes and silly misunderstandings. So how does it work? And why have I never ever had one?

The moment I put the phone down, these thoughts ran through my head. And I had no one to talk about it to. My husband agrees that I seem to not be able to sustain a friendship, and has nothing to offer on the subject besides jokes. Work colleagues would find this kind of a heavy topic to discuss, perhaps even whiney. There’s always social media, where people upload their status and get loads of free therapy – but that seemed too needy for me. What would I say anyway? I don’t have any friends, so that my 700 Facebook ‘friends’ would read it and perhaps have a ‘sad smiley’ reaction? No thanks.

That’s when I realized my catharsis. Writing. Writing down my thoughts and feelings and posting them into some abyss. The old cob-webbed friend of a blog surfaced. I’m not necessarily feeling any better than I did. But at least it saves me from venting to a human being who might judge me a few years hence. I’ll pass.

So here we are. A ranting post about how I have no friends.

Friday, June 20, 2014

friday rant..

I thought about writing this letter to the woman incharge of seating in my office. But the risk of having an annoying over-friendly human replacing a relatively harmless machine stopped me...


Dear J,

Everyday I help at least one person to operate the scanner. I change resolution size, I change settings from black and white to colour and I answer banal questions like “Where is the USB port?” or “Do you scan?”

I am a nice person. And I continue to do it. But it is making me very unhappy.

I feel I should put up a rude sign that says, ‘Do not ask me about the scanner!’. On the other hand, I could start an alternate income where people pay me to help them operate the scanner, but I don’t think that is allowed as per my contract.

I sincerely ask you to move the scanner from next to me.
I understand this will greatly reduce my popularity and not many people will talk to me anymore, but that’s a risk I am willing to take.

Thank you.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014


I’ve always thought that 13 was a good number. We lived happily in Flat No. 13 for the longest time. I’ve never hated Friday the 13th, despite the negativity that surrounds it. But last year left me absolutely confused. I was deeply sad and depressed for the first half of the year, and then my life moved forward from the stagnant plateau it was stalled at.

First Half:

My mother was battling Cancer for five long years. She had a wonderful set of doctors who were nothing but absolutely positive. No one ever mentioned stages, terminal-ness or anything morbid. She lived happily, although perhaps not pain free, for five years after the discovery. Then last year around April, around the time Easter happens, we noticed that her memory wasn’t what it used to be. Her usual Sudoku’s and crosswords were going undone. I blamed it on her just being tired, or bored of the same thing. But the signs were getting more obvious. She began forgetting names, dates and other things my mum would never ever forget. She stopped eating, because she couldn’t chew.
That’s when my dad and I decided to take her to the hospital. The last word she said to me was “Bye” when I was leaving the hospital to take her reports for a second opinion. She had a seizure in the hospital that rendered her pretty much motionless for over two weeks. By then she even stopped talking. I spent every single day in the hospital, praying for her to move and talk and recognise me.
Then one day, she smiled at me. My mother’s smile. I cannot describe that joy. It felt surreal. Like nothing could have ever made me happier. My heart swelled, literally. I could feel it. It filled my chest and throat and felt like it would pop out of my mouth. That’s the happiest I have ever been, to see her smile again.
The doctors could not figure out what was wrong. But my constant research of her symptoms online lead me over and over again to one thing. A thing I did not want to talk about.
She spent over two months in the hospital. With my dad and I doing whatever we could do for her. After four spinal taps and several scans, each rendering my sweet mother weaker than the first, the doctor broke the news to me, in the most nonchalant way possible. She had carcinoma meningitis or Leptomeningeal Carcinomatous.

“I knew that you over-paid heartless asshole, thanks for taking two months to tell me!”

Online, Leptomeningeal Carcinomatous, is an uncommon and devastating complication of cancer. Not everyone goes through it. It is when they find cancer cells in the spinal fluid and the fluid surrounding the brain that leads to the brain becoming a big lump of jelly, not being able to function and finally dying. That’s the inevitable. Death.

But at that time I was under the impression that I would be able to save her. Me. I would do everything, keep her extremely comfortable, play her music to stimulate her brain, talk to her, stay positive, massage her feet to heal the brain and everything else that I could read or learn about. So I did. When they finally told us we could take my mum home, I was on top of it all. Feeding her meals through a tube, cleaning her, changing her. I was going to make my mum okay. Every night I prayed that I would wake up the next morning and she would smile at me. But she didn’t.

One night I had this feeling something was wrong. So I slept with my head near her feet so I could see her face. We put of the light in the room and I could only see her face thanks to a streetlight. Through half-closed eyes I monitored her every breath. Then at 2am she heaved a heavy sigh and stopped breathing. I waited. Then panicked. Then woke up my dad. And he tried to resuscitate her by pumping her chest. With each pump he allowed the last breath to leave her lungs. But at that time I thought she was still breathing so when he gave up I frantically continued. Then I was hysterical. And after that everything, including the funeral is a total blur. She died on 30th of June 2013.

My dad is still devastated. And so am I.

Second half:
Besides my family, there was one more huge support. The only person I wanted to talk to when my mum was in the hospital. All my other friends wanted to visit and lend a ear, but I wanted nothing to do with that. I didn’t want sympathy I just wanted someone to be there. And he was. There was a moment when I thought; I will never feel love ever again because I am sapped out. But every time I saw him walk into the hospital I felt it.
After my mum died, I was a horrible person to deal with. Crying for everything. Hollow. Bitter even. But he never judged me or told me to snap out of it. I probably would have. I don’t know.
In early September ‘13, he told me to “make a ring”. He asked my dad for my hand in marriage, and if it was okay or too early. We got engaged in October and married this March. The wedding was wonderful and full of love and support from so many people. Our honeymoon, which was totally planned by him, was amazing.

2013 left me extremely emotionally drained. From extreme grief to a start of a happily-ever-after. Thankfully, post wedding and honeymoon, 2014 has been positively uneventful. For now.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014


I had a dream about this blog. I dreamed that everyone who used to regularly read the posts, stopped. Oh wait…

Monday, April 08, 2013

limp twilight

So after years of resisting it, I finally succumbed to the whole vampire book rage. I read part of the Stephenie Meyer series, but I must admit it was not with an open mind. I did try to understand why these books were so popular with the ladies: is there something intriguing about being ravished by a cold, undead man who shows little or no emotion?

On the face of it: Yes. The book is written from a young, pale-skinned dorky teen girl, who clearly has some kind of death wish, which is amplified more thanks to her attraction to a sparkly-skinned bloodsucker. He’s handsome, he’s mysterious, he shows no interest until she is completely smitten and then confesses he wants to drink her blood. He disappears without warning only to make her pine (like the knee-hugging, lying-on-the-floor-while-seasons-pass kind of pining. And for those of you who don’t know pining, that’s the hardcore variety of pining).

So it is a love story. And clearly gushing girls around the world are only looking at it from that point of view. But thanks to my overly logical thinking, I began to analyze. Which is when it whole thing got creepy.

Firstly, this snowy cold place is that she has moved to, clearly lacks any interesting women. Because two of the most hunky guys around like this pale-faced dorky girl, and are willing to die for her. A bit extreme, no? (This reminds me of my new girl theory – very apt in this context) Frankly, any guy who is so intense with you in school is bordering on being a social psychopath. Warning signs should have been going off all around her.

Secondly, and this is a biological point, Edward Cullen is a vampire. Which means he is bloodless. Which means he has no blood running through is body. Which means he can never have blood gushing through his privates. Which means, that every single intense moment that he shared with Bella was her own active imagination. For him, it would be as asexual as kissing an iguana. Which in turn means, he was only using her for her tasty, tasty blood, and all this sexual tension was in the mind of Bella Swan (how typical for a woman to over think the relationship!)

Thirdly, given the fact that Edward would be very bad in the sack, thanks to the above conclusion, I find it absolutely appalling that this dumb girl chose the pale, dead vampire over a hot-blooded wolf-man. Seriously? I’d pick hairy over limp any day!

Lastly, this angst and drama that is overflowing out of Bella’s life, just makes every other teenager around feel like, ‘man… why doesn’t anyone want to suck my blood? I hate my life… I’m bored!” Not a very healthy frame of mind when you are already a lame teenager.

I think a lot of my irritation came with picturing Kristen Stewart’s face in every scene. There’s something about that girl that makes you want to throw her into a fire and film it so you can see her emotionless face go up in flames, over and over again.

Wow, that was violent.
On that note….

Friday, March 29, 2013

hall of worship

I'm not one to write about religious issues. But this particular one has been bothering me a great deal. For the past several years the parish where my parents have a home, have been asking the government for a plot of land to build a church. There is no Catholic church in this area and for over 12 years the priests have been renting a hall where they conduct Sunday services. A hall.

A church, for anyone who has been inside one, is a glorious place. And honestly, you don't have to be of that religion to appreciate it. It is serene and quiet, with stain glass windows and a beautiful alter. It's magical. And there is a certain kind of aura to the place, an aura that you will never get from a hall, no matter how much silken fabric you throw around.

It's been approximately 12 years and the government has kept denying the priests. So the parishioners have continued to worship in a hall. They have made the best of a bad situation, renting sound systems and having a make-shift alter (a wooden table) where the Holy Book rests. They've built a community out of virtually nothing, they have been denied spaces to rent saying that the neighbouring buildings have complained about noise, and they have trudged on, not complaining about it and hoping that one day their prayers for a real church would be answered.

Meanwhile down the road: A small statue of a Hindu God was placed on a small concrete mound, at the beginning of a large plot of land. Having being placed there by someone, it soon became a spot for locals to stop and say a small prayer. Soon that small mound was surrounded by some marble flooring, a few bells... And before I knew it it was a full fledged temple. Now, I cannot honestly claim to know what transpired between the government and that community. I do not know if they too had a tough battle to get this temple made, I don't know.And i don't claim to know.

But from where I am standing, I think it is unfair.

Nevertheless, this parish continues to make the most of what they have. They've been moved now to a school hall because the rent of the last place increased. This hall is bigger, they are happy to say, because it can accommodate the growing parish. But, they say solemnly, please continue to pray for a church.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

promenade of numbers

There are Six guys, all dressed in black, taking turns to jump from a grassy patch to a slab of concrete about four feet away. I hear claps, as one of the guys makes the jump, the second guy flexes his arms, and spot jumps, prepping for his turn. I'm not sure what the purpose is, maybe it's a new exercise fad? Or perhaps a new Olympic sport? Whatever it is, these guys All have an uncommon interest in it.

There are Five people standing in a circle, a man in dread-locks plays on a small drum, the others hoot and chant. They all look like a rave party in Goa threw up on them. I spot the neon-coloured embroidered "Om" fanny pack from a mile away. I glance over as a crowd begins to form around them. The louder they play, the bigger the crowd. It is some kind of 'drum circle'. The crowd doesn't understand what these people are doing, but in India it doesn't take much to get a crowd.

There are Four middle-aged women all in 'shalwar kameez' and brand new Nike shoes. They squeeze together on a a single bench, all trying to get a word in, gossiping on their routine evening "walk".

There are Three young girls dressed in small shiny clothes, ready for the night of clubbing they have been preparing for. They pose with each other, in every combination possible, and finally ask an innocent passerby to take a picture of them. They all secretly hope they look the best, so it can be their Facebook profile picture.

There are many Two's: couples sitting under trees, on benches, in the bushes, on the rocks. There are crowds of them, each engrossed in their own private moment. Some are in the middle of a lovers quarrel, some are about to kiss, and some have been together for so long, that they stare in opposite directions, but still hold hands.

And then there is the One, Me, walking home from work, slightly hunched from the weight of the world. Bag in one hand and a bright golden inflatable guitar in the other.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

35mm of life

I have just come back from a work trip to the beautiful, magnificent, scenic Cape Town. I am lucky to have gone and I have no complaints. But I discovered a few things in my four days there. They may be silly at first, but I think they all, like most of life's learnings, have a deeper meaning that is yet to reveal itself. 
Firstly, I discovered that the people of this gorgeous land are friendly and very accommodating. The only downside is that they all wear very low pants. I saw more butt cracks in four days there than I have seen anywhere else (not that I keep a track of these things). It worried me at first, but then I got used to it, and it was almost inevitable that I would see one if someone bent or sat in front of me. So much so, it became an anomaly to not see one. As much as I love the scenery in Cape Town, that is one sight I would like never to see again, for a long time. 

Secondly, I discovered that I have an over active imagination that may borderline on paranoia. On the way back to India I was on a flight that seemed like a beginning of those corny airplane disaster movies, where something goes terribly wrong with the flight and people begin to show their true colours. First there was a man who began complaining to the ground staff about something or the other, in the plane disaster movie, he would be the annoying cynic who screams "we're all going to die", or the one who grabs a child from a woman so he can be saved first. Then there was a young cricket team. They would be the ones who help to get the people out, like forming a chain or something. They wouldn't be individual characters, but one mass of people whom in the credits would be called 'cricket team'. Then there was a mother with a crying infant, enough said. There is always a mother with a crying infant in disaster movies. She will be the sacrificial one who says something like ''leave me behind and save my child!". There was an old woman who complained to the flight attendants about the bread, they were more that peeved with her and tried to explain that everyone on the plane was getting the same kind of bread. She would be the one is sucked out of the airplane when the wing rips off. Cause you know, no one likes her from the start of the movie anyway. So then it got me thinking, would I be the protagonist? Would I keep everyone calm and instil confidence in the plane during the time of need. Personally, I think not. 

Which comes to my last discovery. I am quite wimpy. I like to think of myself as having a few leadership qualities, but maybe in a movie, I'd be cast as "Lady 3", and I'd say one line that does not take the film anywhere really. Like maybe I'd scream "listen to him", speaking to the cynic about the heroic protagonist who will save everyone. 

Yes, I'd probably be "Lady 3". And that makes me sad. I should change. I should take control. I should make myself the heroine in life's movie. take some chances, jump some bridges. I could have stayed a few more days in Cape Town. But Lady 3 felt a little scared to be in a new city all by herself. What if she didn't make it back? Lady 3 is a wimp and I want to change her. But that comes with time, as do most things in life.

And I have time, because thankfully Life is not a 2-hour long B-grade movie. 

P.S : I realise now how incredibly irrelevant the first point is. But I am sure there is a deeper meaning hidden there somewhere... I just have to crack it. Pun totally intended. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

anatomy of a rant

I just finished watching reruns of Season 4 of Grey’s Anatomy. I like the show. I like the medicine. I love Dr. Miranda Bailey. I love every other doctor in that show. But I hate, I hate Meredith Grey. I hate the protagonist of the show. I hate the character the show is named after. She is an annoying, self-absorbed, un-gorgeous, painfully whiney, stupid doctor. She gets this dreamy guy and she keeps throwing it away. How can one person keep messing up and still keep on being forgiven? So what if her father left her when she was 5, Christina’s father died when she was 5. So what if her mom was a giant bitch, Carev’s mom had a psychotic breakdown when he was a boy and he dealt with it on his own. Even if the Chief Resident calls her on a wrong she did, like operating on a patient, she brings up her dead mother and the pathetic life she is living, rather than being answerable to him, the Chief! And if that wasn’t annoying enough, she manages to make everyone draw their attention away from major issues because she is too busy drowning or putting her hands on a bomb. She is one of those people whom you would hate if she worked in your office, because she’s the one who knows the boss and gets personal favours from him. She didn’t write anything on her intern exam, but got a second chance. But when George fails, he doesn’t. Is that normal? What this show is teaching me is a lot of scientific stuff, how hard a doctors life is and also that if your mother didn’t manage to sleep with your boss, then chances are, you’ll get left behind. Stupid woman should have just drowned in Season 2.