Friday, May 30, 2008

Random weekend plan - I

Updated inline. Like this.

My mom's coming over this weekend! But that's no reason for me to be excited, because:
  • She calls me so often and talks for so long that I have to cut her off at times (also that she mostly forgets the important things she had to discuss)
  • She'll be gone in a jiffy. Sunday afternoon through Monday morning is all that she's here for... on her way to Chinmaya Mission, Siddhabadi.
  • During most of her stay here, we'll be mobbed by relatives. No, no, she's not the star amongst them. There are other, more obvious reasons explained henceforth.
My weekend plan begins with work: washing the dusty containers that have been adorning the kitchen platform since a week (remnants of the previous weekend's kitchen cleaning expedition). And getting my husband to do other trivial jobs like:
  • vacuuming the living room (because this is where we idle around eating and dropping stuff, and I swept the whole damn house a couple of days before--while watching So You Think You Can Dance),
  • hiding moving extra items from the balcony to under-the-bed (he was supposed to do that last week),
  • cleaning the damn TV trolley that stands used and abused by the nephew-in-law (because he watches the TV and does little else).
Only the TV trolley got lucky.

Then we clean ourselves and drive our arses to the station to pick my mom, and drive straight to my maternal uncle's house. Why? Because the bloody bugger (and I say this in extreme envy) is going for a trek to and around Manas Sarovar. We all want to see him in case he decides to never come back. No, really, there is a possibility. And no, he's not ready for vanaprasthashram (the link is just to help introduce the term; I googled it and do not necessarily know or agree with all that it says) yet. He's just as whimsical as the rest of his family (including me) is. We plan to, sort of, expedite his decision by vandalizing his house on Saturday.

If he survives that and still wants to go, we'll drop him to the railway station at 3:00 am and then the gang moves over to my house for a repeat act! I've warned the hubs about it, and he has volunteered to spend the day at office to protect his sanity and take care of me (which I very much doubt) when everyone has left. What I am worried about is the efforts, which I have spent cleaning the house my way after the in-laws left, will go down the drain. I'll have to start over again. But when I think about it again, I think my relatives will not be as bad because they'll mess up the house my way. Okay. Enough of this. Whom am I kidding? They'll be too busy pulling our legs and making rude jokes about the 12+ kilos that we've each put on. And the fact that we didn't involve or invite everyone during our wedding. And, possibly, that we did not perform the traditional house-warming puja / ceremony.

We did create enough ruckus at my uncle's place to be driven out of the building. It didn't happen that way probably because the neighbors were away. Or creating a ruckus of their own. Anyway. We dropped him to the railway station at 2:00 am, came back, and slept like logs for a few hours.

Whatever happens, I'm looking forward to a weekend of fun-filled, noisy, maniacal laughter, lots of driving around, and the horrendous possibility of us having to watch our wedding and reception videos if the relatives insist. Good times.

On the way to my house, we had breakfast, and then the older ladies started planning a trip to an ashram out of the town. We kids wen ahead in a car, and had our baths by the time the ladies turned up. Of course, they took the long route rather than follow us li'l smarties. By the time everyone sat their arses on the various mattresses and couches, I got chilled Khus sherbat ready to refresh them. The ladies immediately dumped their travel plans and continued chatting for the next couple of hours. I went into the ktichen to prepare lunch and then the various aunties took turns helping me. We had pooris and aamras (mango pulp) till we could have no more. We immediately cleaned up and then got our arses back to the older locations to continue chit-chatting. Meanwhile my no-longer-so-little cousins and not-quite-large-yet husband had finished wathing their respective cartoons. Later I had to run back to the city to drop an aunt and her son and get a couple of chores done on the way. The rest of them left in the meanwhile.

Once I got back, me and the hubs dragged mom out for a short drive in the car to show her around and boast of our beautiful neighborhood. Then we went out to check a bicycle for myself. I found a good one but din't buy it right away because I found it too pricey.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A day in pictures

The daily commute to work and back is made interesting by the road that's lined by colorful trees.

It's the reflection of the car perfume in the windshield. As is obvious, this was captured in motion.

When it rains, it pours on the office terrace, which by the way is the 3rd floor, not the ground floor as it seems to appear here.

I get back to my desk once the rain stops, but I can't help ogling at the drenched hills outdoors.

Remnants of the afternoon clouds as seen on the way back home.

They keep us company with the cool breeze that makes the evenings so special in this city. I love Pune for this.

Our apartment building welcomes us to a night-full of rest and peace. It's good to be home.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Surviving marriage - I

Points to be noted before you read on: the actions performed by one person could have just as easily been performed by the other. The intent of this post is not to highlight any one person's behavior, but to present a situation and how we got through it... er... tickled.

The loud cellphone ring of the hubs' phone woke us this morning. It was his sister calling, asking him to do run errand. That was, however, against his plans of waking up early and heading straight to office for a whole day of work (it was already 10:30 am). Someone asking (not even instructing) him to do something other than his plans (that too first thing in the morning) really pisses him off. So there he was, lying in the heat of the morning sun that our curtains aren't strong enough to restrain.

Like all clichéd wives, I like to be woken up with kisses and caresses. He was blissfully unaware that this phone call had woken me up, and that I was waiting to be pampered. So I tapped a finger onto his feet (yeah, he had turned to the other direction while talking on the phone--don't ask, I don't know why) only to be yelled at with "It's hot in here, don't touch me!!" (Or something to that effect.)

Being very raw the way I am in the mornings, his words stung me, so I retracted my paw and began sniffling. So he came around close to me, pulled me into his sheets, and began to ask why I was crying. I already had my back towards him, was in no mood to give up, and sobbed even harder. After a couple of minutes, he began flailing his sheet behind him. Within seconds the stench reached me (yeah, the bugger farted--but please refer to the beginning of the post before you judge him harshly--it could easily have been me) and I burst out laughing as if I was exposed to copious amount of nitrous oxide. And so did he. I couldn't stop laughing hysterically for the next half hour or so! And that broke the ice this morning. Otherwise we would have carried on sulking and making each other feel terrible all day.

Some times we need nature to intervene and remind us that it's okay to let your ego crumble and laugh it off. Lesson of the day: farting is fun!

Friday, May 23, 2008

What puts me off reproduction - II

Read this article (thanks to Ms Cute Pants) with tears of joy and respect in my eyes. It's from The Royal Gazette of Bermuda. Pasting it inline because I'm sure this news article won't stay at the current location for long.

Bernella Williams has every reason to smile proudly at the pictures of her sons.
Because almost single-handedly she has raised eight boys - who are all excelling in fields ranging from medical research, law, business and computers.
An Antiguan native, Mrs. Williams came to Bermuda in 1966, after her mother gained status, and worked at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital as a nurse and married Carlton Williams, a Bermudian with whom she had eight sons.
They divorced and he became ill, so a lot of the child rearing and financial burden fell on her shoulders, but despite that Mrs. Williams was determined to give her boys the best education she could.
All of her sons attended Bermuda Institute (BI), a private elementary and high school, and with the exception of her youngest son, who is 14, all of her boys have attended university.
She said: "Some of my boys received scholarships and some of them I had to pay for. I struggled to pay tuition and I had to have priorities — what is most important?"
Carlton Junior, 31, her oldest son graduated from BI and then attended Oakwood College, in Huntsville, Alabama, where he studied business administration. He now works at Durham Accountant and Management.
Her second born, Burnell, 30, also graduated from BI and attended Oakwood College, obtaining two Bachelor degrees in biology and science.
Burnell wanted to go to graduate school to study Bio-Medical Research but funds were not available at that time.
He came back to the Island and taught science at BI, returning to Oakwood to pursue another Bachelor in Math.
After graduation, he attended the University of Michigan on a full scholarship and obtained a Master of Bio-Medical Engineering degree.
He is currently at The Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences completing his PhD in Bio-Medical Engineering, which he is due to receive later this year.
Burnell said: "I am currently doing research which targets specific cancer cells. Currently, cancer medication, such as chemotherapy, targets both the good cells and the cancerous cells which cause harmful side effects."
Orlyn, 27, also attended Oakwood College after graduating from BI. He received his Bachelor's degree in information technology and is currently working in the IT department at Butterfield Bank.
Orlyn is currently working on other certifications in his field of study to enhance his skills and outside his IT career, he works as a photographer taking pictures for, a Bermudian entertainment website.
Next in line is Nevin, 26, who like his brothers, successfully finished his formative education at BI and continued on to Oakwood to obtain his Bachelor's degree in Biology.
Currently, Nevin is at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California, in his third year studying medicine.
Mrs. Williams, 61, said: "Nevin is very musically talented, he plays grade seven piano and grade six soprano sax from the Royal College of Music, so I am very proud of him."
With a degree from Oakwood College in history Dante, age 24, is currently at the University of Manchester, in the UK, studying criminal law.
Shammah, 22, graduated from Oakwood with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a Bachelor of Science in Math and is now at Loma Linda University in his first year of Medical school.
"He is studying to be a cardiologist. When he is on vacation here in the Island, he works at the Cardio Diagnostic Unit at KEMH," said Mrs. Williams.
Not following the trend of his brothers, Delmont 19, is currently studying at La Sierra University, in Riverside, California. His major is Math, with a concentration in Education. His focus is teaching High School Math.
"My youngest son, Va Shon who is 14 is currently at BI and graduated from the eight grade with a 4.0 grade point average, he says he just wants to be successful and play football," Mrs. Williams laughed.
Mrs. Williams revealed her secret to keeping eight boys in line: "I prayed a lot and we did everything together. I taught my sons to take care of each other and to respect themselves and others, especially women."
She said life was not easy for her while she brought up her children, but she stopped working for a while and focused on making her sons well rounded.
"When I was up to five sons, a lady came up to me and said 'If I had five boys I would kill myself', I told her, because I have five boys, I can't kill myself."
Mrs. Williams says that in the mornings she would gather them all up and go to the beach or the docks and sit and watch the ships come in and talk about them.
She made every experience they had an educational one by allowing them to ask any questions and keeping the lines of communication open.
Mrs. Williams, who lives in Pembroke, said she taught her boys to read at an early age by first reading to them, then as they got older, she would pay them an amount for every page they read on their own.
"This was a big motivator for them," she said.
She talked about today's education system and said parents need to be more involved in their children's education.
"I made it my duty to have a good relationship with all of their teachers.
"My boys told me if they had problems in school and I listened to their side but had already been in contact with the school, so that eliminated a lot of the misunderstandings.
"We live in a neighbourhood where there is a lot of undesirable things that go on, but I taught them values and to know their limits so that is how they have managed to stay out of trouble over the years.
"I have taught my sons that when they're going up the ladder of success, take someone with them, so when they fall, someone is there to push them back up."
Mrs. Williams addressed the recent issues of the motorcycle accidents and fatalities and her own issues with her sons.
"In 1999, Oryln had his liver severed in a bike accident, I prayed and prayed that he would be OK and thankfully he has fully recovered," she said. "I still get nervous when I see him on a bike and tell him to be careful."
"The young people today don't understand consequence.
"They think they're in charge, I have seen Bermuda go down, down, down but mothers need to reclaim it. Train our children right."

I don't think I have that kind of strength of character to bring up a child. Besides, I'm not sure I can spend enough time at home with the child to bring it up the way I want, while keeping my job. Heck, I'm not even sure of what I want half of the time. Hence the title.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fast food junkies

That's us. Me and hubs. Evident, isn't it, from what we ate since the past 5 days. Here's how it went:

The in-laws left for their hometown last Tuesday evening. MIL had kindly cooked for us along with the food that they prepared to pack and take along for the journey. So that is what we had on Tuesday evening when we returned home late at night.

Wednesday didn't bring up a particular mood for cooking, so we went to a nearby restaurant where my long-standing craving for a pasta was fulfilled. Of course the serving was too much for two, so we got the remainder packed. The hubs stuffed himself with some lip-smacking honey-chilly-potatoes.

I had back-to-back meetings through Thursday evening that went on till 10:30, so dinner was out of question. We got home, changed into our skimpy clothing (to beat the heat, of course) and planted our posteriors on the sofa for a night of television and finishing some more left-overs from MIL's cooking: chivda (a mixture of fried items that includes rice flakes, groundnuts, chillies, onion, etc) and mathri (another fried item made from maida spiced with a fine paste of onion and green chillies).

Friday morning was just another day when we swore to wake up early and do some exercise. As it happens all most of the time, we slept straight through those planned-exercise-hours and woke up mildly disappointed with ourselves. To overcome the disappointment not waste any more time on lunch, we decided to have brunch. So hubs was told to make some Maggi noodles for himself. For me, out came the Wednesday's left-over pasta from the fridge and onto the frying pan. I don't remember if we had anything for the rest of the day, but the night went something like this. We had two capsicum peppers, which were not enough to make sabzi but too much to just add as a flavoring to anything else. So what did I do? Well, I used some good ol' besan paste laced with turmeric, red chilli powder and salt and made pakodas. Hee hee. The only thing close to a meal we had this week was the moong-daal-ki-khichadi I prepared that night.

We had our favorite activity planned for Saturday morning. A movie. So off we went after the bath and the pseudo-mandatory glasses of Bournvita. Prince Caspian was yummy, but sadly he had no emotions to be displayed. Also, I couldn't follow the story as easily as I picked up the The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Felt the need to read the book this time. Also, I was more interested in Aslan that in anyone else. That's my dream... to have a lion that I can cuddle with (minus the lion breath of course). But, I digress. We sat through the movie without any snacks because we were looking forward to going to the Burger King outlet some 7 kms away to dig our teeth into the best (and cheapest) burger on earth. We did just that. And ogled at the dogs there. Did I mention our craving for a pair of nice pet dogs? Whom we can play with when we wish, but can pretend they don't exist when they barf whatever crap they've been eating off the roads? And expect them to clean their own mess (don't ask me how). Oh, sorry, we're talking about food. Yeah. We were so stuffed that we drove across the city with the air conditioning on full blast, undressed as soon as we reached home as if we'd ants crawling up the clothes, switched on the fan, and lay down for a nap. Two hours straight. But all that Saturday morning celebration had done wonders for my mood and I got to work , cleaning the kitchen (read: scrubbing and washing everything in sight) for the next 4 hours. Till the hubs wailed and complained that HE WAS HUNGRY. Hmph. I asked him thrice about what he wanted to eat. He either didn't hear it, or he ignored it. It's his favorite tactic to annoy me. So I decided that the nearest Smokin' Joe's outlet was the right spot for us. With that done, we went for a short drive, a short walk, and then perched ourselves for a short while on the benches beside the neighborhood mini-park. Talking about why the moon appears the way it does. Does it revolve in the same direction in which the earth rotates? Okay, that was way too much information than anyone would want to hear. So I move on.

What? You thought it was over? No, sir! My alarm cheated on me this Sunday morning and so I couldn't go swimming as planned. I woke up two hours later than I thought I would and so went straight to the kitchen to clean up and make breakfast before the monster-husband woke up and gobbled me whole. Turns out, I took so long to wash the remainder of the utensils (including the stove) that the hubs was up and bathed already! So I instructed him about what and how I wanted for the morning meal and ran off to bathe myself. On the menu today was boiled eggs (only because I wanted to use the new slicer I bought last week), toast, and cold coffee. Hubs did 90% of the work. A first in our household. I just added the finishing touches, mostly because my stomach was rumbling I like to do my share of work. Psst! Don't tell him, but I loved what he made.

Food update over. You are now free to do whatever important work you were doing. If you are not already tempted to have some of the aforementioned things right now, that is.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A bedtime story

A couple of nights ago, the hubs sweetly put me to sleep. Yeah, I'm sad like that. For most of the day you could catch me yawning, but when it's time to hit the bed, I'm stubbornly wide awake. So, when my darling is not too busy sleeping himself, he nuzzles me to sleep.

It was past midnight, and in a few hours, I was awakened by a silly, scary dream. I looked around the room and I could see all the adjoining doors and windows open, the curtains flowing wildly in the breeze. It was spooky and I needed to hide into the hubs' warm, soft-skinned chest and go back to sleep. Expect that he was so sound asleep that I didn't want to wake him. Not simply because that would disturb him, but because one of the many things he absolutely hates is being woken up from his always-peaceful-slumber. He breathes fire on anyone who dares to get him out of that heaven of his.

So, I lay there, close beside him for 3 hours, tossing and turning, hoping that he would wake on his own and cuddle me. The only thing that broke his spell was the milkman who rang the doorbell at 6:00 am. Of course, he got a verbal thrashing! Now, we've told the milkman right from day 1 that he is not to ring the doorbell at any cost (unless it's time to collect the bill, of course). We tie the plastic bag, where he can drop the milk packets, to the door and leave a note mentioning the amount we need that day. Convenient, right? So, when we did not tie the bag in place for 2 consecutive days, he probably was worried ;-)

Anyway, so once my darling hubs got back to bed, I told him that I had been waiting for him to hold me since the past 3 hours. He took me in his arms at once and we dozed off again, only to wake up when the whole non-PST world was already in the office. He found it rather funny that I didn't dare to wake him up and suffered 3 sleepless hours alone. He laughed and joked about it with me the whole day. And I kept reminding him what a monster he is to anyone who even accidentally wakes him up. Bugger.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

For the heck of it

Updated. Somewhere in the middle. Like this.

Yes, that's exactly what this post is for. I'm breaking a long silence here, but there's nothing of any significance that I want to say. At such times, I prefer to keep my mouth shut. But, because there's no one whose ears I'm chewing off through a blog, I'll just blurt out some things that crossed my mind recently.

To begin with it's a cousin's birthday. A cousin whom I lost touch with, some 7 years ago. More like cut cords. It was a family battle of sorts and I had to take sides. Simply because I could not continue being hypocritical about her and her family. As a child, I have received much love from them. I repent that I could not reciprocate. There was no time for it. They probably are going through a bad phase right now, but it's more like they've brought it upon themselves. Whatever the situation, I still remember the relationship we shared with fondness. So, here's wishing you a happy birthday, cousin.

A couple of my college friends are getting married. One of them is now an Australian citizen. Obviously, he will be here only for the wedding and will hardly have any time for meet-ups. However, there is another friend from the same group, who will be here for the occasion and, possibly, to look for a life partner himself. Yes, the great Indian arranged marriage. So, I'm hoping to milk the situation and call as many folks from that group as possible, over to my new house. The shameless, selfish bitch that I am, I never bothered to consult with my hubs, but I know he'll be okay with it. After all, all he has to do is follow my orders and clean the house sit around and chat with people, while I clean the house, prepare the food, and play hostess. Or he could just sulk in his corner while we merrily catch up and walk down the streets of nostalgia. Sigh! I'm really looking forward to my moronic friends responding to this call, though. Most of them are big lazy asses like me. At least I try! This is the second such invite and I don't think I'll be inclined to send out another one if they disappoint me this time.

None of my friends ever responded to that invitation email I sent them. I was pissed, to say the least. But the suckers made up for it by paying a surprise visit. I happened to be 40 kms away from the city, driving towards Lavasa. Only for a drive. Not to look for property. We can't afford one there, obviously. And boy, what a drive it was! The road was lovely, the weather would have been great if we had started a couple of hours later in the evening. Okay, back to my friends. So we chit-chatted, and since they, very sensibly and cunningly came without prior notice, so that I wouldn't find the time to cook, I ordered pizza. We stuffed our faces, and then went out for some more. Ice-cream, that is. It was a Baskin and Robbin's evening before we parted ways to return to our nests. Me married, carrying hubby along, one guy whose wife delivered a baby girl a week back, one guy actively looking for an arranged-marriage-type life partner, and another girl in the same process. These past couple of months have seen two other guys from our college group getting engaged. Where have all the simpler things in life gone? Like debating about which lecture to bunk, or which question paper was the most difficult, leaving us with minimum chances of getting through the year, or what to order at our favorite tapri? Hmmmm, seems like some of us will be re-living those moments with their children in a few more years.

Did I mention why I have time to think of such things? Simple. My in-laws left yesterday. Liberation time for me and hubs. Now we can prance around semi-nude in the house and not think of shocking our family members. Well, mostly we're just found lazing around on the couch stuffing ourselves and watching English movies. Or Discovery, NatGeo, Travel and Living, and Cartoon Network. I picked up on Ben 10 lately. One of hub's favorites. I don't follow it completely, yet, but at least I watch it with him without nagging him to change channels.

Things I want to do over the next few months:
- Continue swimming to improve my strokes and stamina
- Buy and use a bicycle for a morning / evening workout
- Join a Kathak class
Yes, I'm trying to lose weight. Basically, I think I have way too many clothes that I don't fit into, and I don't really like shopping. I'd rather shed some kilos and fit into my nice old ones. I'm sick and tired of hiding all 60 kilos of me behind a salwaar-kameez. Let the jeans, t-shirts, and flowery short skirts tumble out of the closet and onto me. All that's lacking is some solid inspiration. Pleading with the Universe everyday to grant me some.

End of random ramblings post.