Thursday, January 29, 2009

Is there any such thing as "too many vacations"?

A colleague at snacks yesterday: How many vacations do you take in a year?! Every few days you send a mail that goes "Pictures from..."
Me: Huh?! Really? I usually take only a day's holiday in addition to a long weekend and that's enough for a nice short trip for me. I do the same during the holiday season, and it just seems like I have too much fun!
Later, thinking to myself: Really? Do I travel too much? No, yaar! I always feel like there's so much to do and no time at all!

Even later, this morning, a friend asked over chat about my recent Goa trip. A few minutes after discussing with her, I found myself looking at Google maps to judge whether Pune - Bangalore was a good distance to cover in the car, before my parents shifted back to Pune. I'd like a little visit with them before they do that! Then I thought of checking which cities NH 4 really runs through, and my eyes darted upwards. I soon realized that I was checking whether Pune - Daman & Diu (coastal Gujarat) - Vadodara (where hubby's sister and her family lives) was a possible option for the vacation I am planning in September (again, around the time when there are a lot of holidays anyway).

And then I was like... my colleague really noticed something I didn't... I do think of vacations / traveling all the time! I had to tear my eyes off Google maps and make my brain shut up about "what I'd like to do" and so on. So here I am, about to listen to "Khuda Jaane" in loud-mode with my earphones on for one last time, before I cleanse my mind of all thoughts of entertainment, and get to actually earning my salary. Wish me some peace at work, peoples!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


As usual, a recipe (-) instructions (+) tips to let you know what I think is the best way to do it.

  1. Pohé (rice flakes, 1 or 2 handfuls per serving)
  2. Onions (1/6th the amount of pohé)
  3. Potatoes (same as the onions or a little more)
  4. Green chillies (1 inch per serving)
  5. Ginger (1/2 or 1 inch block)
  6. Curry leaves (4 - 8 leaves)
  7. Turmeric powder (1 or 2 pinches)
  8. Mohri / Rai (mustard seeds, 1 or 2 pinches)
  9. Oil (I use groundnut oil, enough to fry the onions and potatoes)

Tip: Check the type of pohé you have. There are at least 3 kinds: thin, medium, and thick. This recipe requires the medium variety. However, the medium ones might be thinner than actually required, and if so, you'll need to soak them for only 1 or 2 minutes. If they are thick enough, you can soak them first, chop the onions, potatoes, and chillies, and then begin heating the oil.

Tip: Throw the chillies and curry leaves in first, add the onions, and then the turmeric powder so that it doesn't get burnt.

Tip: Sauté the onions for a minute, and then add the potatoes and stir until the turmeric is evenly spread.

Tip: Cover the mixture for a few minutes (while stirring in between) until the potatoes are soft enough.

Tip: Separate the pohé if they're chunked after soaking, and add them to the mixture. Stir until the turmeric powder is evenly mixed.

Tip: Cover for 1 or 2 minutes, stir once more, then cover again, and keep it on a low flame for another 30 secs - 1 min.

Serving tip: Enjoy them with a cup of hot Indian chai / cool chocolate milk / cold coffee. Good for those who simply can't gulp down dry morsels.

Garnishing: You can add shev (pronounced "shave" or sev ["save"] in Hindi).

Serving tip for the health conscious: Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and / or wet coconut meat.

Good for a morning or evening snack. We usually brunch on this.

'Twas time to Goa

...this past weekend, with very little planning. If I ignore the fact that I had arranged for my mom to come there from Bangalore by train a couple of days before and stay on after we left (which included booking a bus ticket and then canceling it and then booking the train tickets). And also the fact that my uncle wanted to join us but had to let it pass, because he had to report to work, which is why my aunt could tag along. Her son was supposed to join us, but declined at the last moment (although he wanted us to pay for his fuel so that he could ride his bike alongside us; bugger). Anyway, we surfaced calmly from all that confusion and hit the road at 2:00 pm on Friday.

We were to follow our neighbor M, who has a home in Goa that he visits frequently. The dude being an ex-airforce person, was probably finding it difficult to restrain himself at ground speed. Which is what I offer as explanation for his Hyundai Getz (1086 cc) being unfollowable by our Maruti Alto (796). Or it could be that his is the Prime make (1341 cc) which is way beyond what we can dream of beating. (Of course I want a better car now! Not larger, just better. Something like Maruti Estillo would do--although I hated its shape initially.) The bugger would hit the brake in traffic and then zoom away in microseconds while we only kept hoping that our little car would pick up enough speed in time to spot him while he navigates the next turn. We didn't see him for about 150-200 kms, which is a little less than half the journey.

To spice things up a bit, I dropped hubby's phone while we made the first halt for tea. Someone spotted that, picked up the phone and rang the last dialed number. It turned out to be my aunt's who was with us. We didn't mind waiting for half an hour for the blessed soul to come by and hand the phone over to us. Hubby was fuming, a tad mildly, but all was soon forgotten, because we HAD TO keep M in sight. Soon after the sunset we left the highway and turned to the villages-and-ghats section of the road. It was pitch dark in a few minutes, and the absence of street lights made it even more difficult. But that was for M, not for us. All we had to do was switch off our brains and pursue him. I was struggling to not let any other vehicle come in between us, because if we missed him for about 4 seconds and he took a turn before we saw him, we'd be lost in the wilderness for good. The network coverage wasn't too good obviously, so he couldn't reach us if he noticed that we were no longer at his tail.

M must have been zooming past 90 kmph on those treacherous roads, because I often had to push beyond 80 to keep up with him. However, I was enjoying the ordeal thoroughly, and so were hubby and my aunt. We were entertaining ourselves with stories and jokes about other people, because we didn't have to give a dang about whether we were going in the right direction. M was our God at the moment. Anyway. We reached Vasco, our destination, around 10:45 pm, and had to part ways because M's home was in a slightly different direction. I went ahead for about 3 kms and noticed a certain building that made me jump. I had no visual memory, but the name struck me as something I heard from my childhood stories that my aunts keep narrating every few months. I immediately knew where we were and where we had to go. In another 20 minutes we were home, luggage and all.

We spent the night at our old landlord's place (where I lived as a child). It was a bad night for me, because the mosquitoes attacked me like they were my soulmates from a past life. What else could it be? They left the rest of the people in the house alone! Grrr.

So. Morning dawned and we had some more conversations with our host about our memorable stay there, more than two decades back. It mostly consisted of my pranks and how I thought I ruled the place. We then headed out to explore whatever we could, without being baked in the sun. Here are some pictures...

A small island, a few hundred feet from the main road that exits Vasco.

A common view around the shoreline villages.

Another larger island, about a kilometer away from the previous one.

This was connected by road, possibly built by the Portuguese missionaries (notice the church to the right), which is being restored now. This is also where we had our first and only interaction with a local drunkard. He approached us asking if we wanted to go see the church. The stench was overwhelming, and his became more aggressive by the minute. We had to shoo him away. He followed us all the way back to our car that was parked on the main road!

We headed to Old Goa, looking for the church where St. Francis Xavier's remains are located. We found a spot to park, but the first thing we noticed was a Wax Museum nearby. It's created and owned by a software engineer as a hobby. With no other funding, it is managed by the owner himself (I wonder how), possibly with the money that comes in through exhibitions (which means expenses to move the statues between cities) and sales of candles and other stuff.

A nice map of the world heritage site where the centuries old churches are located.

The statue of St. Francis Xavier inside.

From the pews. Hordes of tourists were thronging in, and I was enraged at the way people were behaving. A lot like what MM wrote in this post. Seriously, all that is expected of you in a church is silence and respect, if you can't give that, why bother entering a place of worship?

The atrium of the church, which was turned into a beautiful little garden with very cute sprinklers. I mean the sprinklers were okay, but their jets flew out beautifully. Notice the large bell at the top--no access to it now.

The flowering trees outside the church. There was a little market beyond, where I bought some cute bracelets. Beside it was a restaurant, which was full of people and almost void of stewards. We reluctantly ordered some food, because we didn't know where we could get anything edible before we ran out of energy. After a painfully long wait, we ate whatever was served, without thinking much. All the while, I was trying to suppress my embarrassment caused by my mom staring are the almost bare foreigners and young locals. It was so hot outside, I wish I'd lose some clothes too.

After lunch, we headed to this district called Ponda, which houses the Mangeshi temple. Mom and aunt went ahead to the main temple, while and a hubby sat in the cool shade of another small adjacent temple. The journey was interesting. We missed a turn just before every destination, and had to turn back a few hundred meters to reach the correct spot. But it was fun! We even had sugarcane juice before we went to the wax museum!

Once the temple visit was done, we headed southwards to find the Colva beach. We had bought a map as soon as we headed out in the morning, and were doing a great job of navigating with its help, except for spots that weren't marked clearly. It was the best me and hubby ever coordinated at driving.

As we entered the Colva beach...

A closer look.

The speedboat was towing paragliders and zoomed away.

Hubs and I were sooooooo excited, and we jumped at the opportunity to do some paragliding. The sun ahd gone down by the time we went up, so we couldn't get a great view, but it was fun. That's me returning from the flight.

A fleeting parachute.

We walked along the shallow coast for a while, ignoring the life gaurds' announcements asking everyone to stay clear of the waters past sunset. Then we lay on the sand for a bit, while mom and aunt had a little nap. We were exhausted by the time we reached home, but we all enjoyed the Baskin' and Robbins ice-cream we took along for our host.

Hubs and I woke up at 5:00 the next morning, changed and rushed to the nearest beach--Bogmalo. It was still dark, and we tentatively stepped into the water, a bit scared when waves crashed loudly and unexpectedly. We were surprised at the warmth of the water and then spent the next hour or so walking in knee-deep water along the shore. Once the sun came up and lit the waters and people started trickling in, we locked the car keys into our finger rings and dived in. To put it in hubs' words, for the next hour or so, we were experiencing weightlessness. That lasted only until the moment we decided to walk out of the water. Then, we were almost drooped with the weight of the seawater in an on us. Needless to say, I involuntarily gulped in a few sips of water through my nose when a couple of unexpected waves pulled me in. The fun part was the feeling of being pushed and pulled by the huge waves--this particular beach was deeper than Colva--you just had to walk in about 7 or 8 feet to be fully immersed.

When we felt a bit satisfied with all the soaking and sinking, and it was time to return, we dried ourselves by the car. Hubby changed in a lonely spot, but I was too impatient to change. So I warpped the front seat with plastic and drove us home. We had to rush through bath and breakfast so we could move on to the next destination: Panaji. Our next hosts were the landlady's son and his family. They live in a prime area of Goa's capital amidst bungalows of politicians and rich people in general. Their own bungalow is pretty well done. I'd posted one of its pictures earlier. Upon reaching there, we spent a while indoors, chit-chatting, and then left for the Dona Paula beach.

It was a bad decision. It was sweltering hot outside, and we spent 20 minutes finding a space to park. To top it, there was no direct access to the water. People could only walk up and down a ramp. As soon as I parked, I bathed in the sunscreen lotion, but I think it had an adverse effect. I felt my skin burning more than ever. Nevertheless, the little market distracted me, and I ended up buying a couple of trousers.

The view on one side of the beach... there were lots of speedboat riders.

The pier with the tiny market on it. It must look lovely in the evenings with all those lights on.

The other side of the pier... so calm, and void of people!

We learned from that experience and headed straight home, abandoning the plan to visit another beach before lunch. It felt so nice to change into cooler clothes and spread out on the sofas and watch TV for while. After a while we had lunch and then napped. It was 5:30 pm by the time we freshned up, had tea, changed and stepped out again. Not such a good time to leave, because it took us about an hour to reach the next beach: Vagator. Our host led us through roads where we saw signposts for almost all north-Goa beaches but went towards none. We thought he was about to take us back home after showing only the signposts. That's when we turned in to the parking lot of the Vagator beach.

This one was shallow, like Colva, and we'd reached there a few minutes after sunset. With no enthusiasm left for clicking pictures, all we did was walk amidst knee-deep water. Then we stood rooted to a spot for a long time, trying to see how long it would take for us to be sucked into the earth, due to the sand beneath our feet being carried away with each wave. In about 1o minutes I was a foot underground. Then, for a while, I let people go their own way and stole a few minutes for myself to talk to the powers that be--for a safe trip so far, a comfortable stay, and the great time hubby was having.

We decided to dine outside, and went to the Delhi Durbar restaurant on M. G. Road. (I just looked it up. We're just not ready to go beyond M. G., C. S., J. N., and I. G., are we? [Only Indians will understand what I'm talking about; if you are one, and if you don't, well, I can simply conclude that you were extremely poor at History. :P]) The food was okay and our hosts were urging us to have more, all the while stuffing themselves. That was the only point where I had to control my sarcasm and not point out how they really needed to eat less, and leave us alone--as it is we are carrying an average teenager's extra weight as a couple (meaning, between me and hubs, we have about 25-30 kilos extra).

Anyway, I also picked up a bottle of port wine (Vini Cola) for a friend, before we turn to go back home. On the way, we made a pit stop at Miramar beach, just to fill up our quota of beaches, and because the night air was so tempting. It was another couple of hours before we actually got to sleep. There was a lot of confusion of who would sleep where, because the house had only two bedrooms and there were 11 of us. We ended the bedlam by taking over the hosts' master bedroom because that would help us wake up early the next day without diturbing the others.

Republic day (Jan 26) dawned without any feeling that remotely resembled what it used to be 20 years ago, and it has been so ever since I finished school. We were ready in time, but spent a few minutes longer bidding farewell to our hosts. I was in a hurry to get us out of the city and onto the highway as soon as possible. Our target was to cross half the distance by noon or earlier. We wasted about 20 kms (and 30 mins) looking for a petrol pump, but that didn't deter us from achieving the target. The drive was almost as good as the one where we followed M. Aunt and hubby took turns sleeping in the backseat, while I enjoyed my time behind the wheel.

We stopped only once, at the Amboli ghat, for breakfast--wada paav, kaanda bhaji, and chai. Here's how the moutainside on our right looked.

Here's the valley on the other side. The roads were winding and steep, and there was average oncoming traffic. I noticed all vehicles from MH01 through MH15, except MH05, and then some (those are registration number prefixes for the Maharashtra state, where each series represents about 259974 vehicles)!

We crossed a distance of about 460 kms in 8 hours. Luckily, we noticed a Mc Donald's drive-in on the highway and picked our lunch from there. I was stuffing my face with a Mc Veggie, fries, and coke, while speeding between 90-110 kmph--not an ideal thing to do, but then I was never a good girl. It was good to have a fun and confident-in-me aunt and a cool as a cucumber (read who-isn't-crazy-about-driving-and-prefers-his-comforting-pillows) husband, who never bothered me even once with such lame instructions as "slow down" or "watch out" or "don't overtake." Bless their souls! The even switched seats (aunt moved to the backseat and my almost-6-ft hubby moved to the passenger seat beside me) inside the 4 ft tall car, while I was speeding at 80 kmph on the highway!! They totally rock.

Special note to hubby: mmmmmmmuuuuuuuuuuuaaaaaaahhhh!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's that simple (or not)

The answer to the many questions that have caused me many a swollen eye over the past 3 days:

"The problem of the mind is that we have one"

"... and that it has a natural tendency to spend a lot of its time thinking a steady stream of distressing thoughts that make us feel bad about ourselves and our lives. When there's something inside us that spends a lot of its time making us feel bad about ourselves and our lives--and it's out of control, to boot-- that's a problem."

- How Long Till My Soul Gets It Right (Robert and Jane Alter)

Friday, January 16, 2009

100th post in a special guest's honor


Presenting Jaanu. My (not-so)-little-(any-longer) cousin Shaanu's newborn.

Arrived at 10:05 pm on Jan 15th, 2009. After making her mother run out of water (literally)!

I was sooooooo eager to see her perfect little fingers. I always knew she'd have beautiful hands!

I almost had them up my nose trying to ogle at those gorgeous nails... sigh!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Totally uninspired today

  • Boring day at work
  • People simply not responding to mails marked "high priority"
  • No inspiring blogs to read
  • The feeling that I've run out of things that will make me get my ass out of its comfort zone and do things
  • Irregularity of days--both at home and at work---with noone else to blame but me
  • Immediate distraction when anything remotely interesting interferes with work
  • Putting off swimming when I should really be going regularly
  • Sleeping in each time I decide not to
  • Always thinking of how easy and important it is for me to spare only 30 minutes for a brisk walk but never actually getting to it
  • Remembering the drawing in my closet that I began over a year ago and haven't had the inclination to complete
  • Wanting to cook at home, my half-hearted attempts at housekeeping, and then giving up almost as soon as I begin
  • Buying all the books I want but not making enough time to read them
  • Spending way too much time plonked in the bean bag in front of the telly and always hating the way I lose track of time

... make for a big, bad fucked up life. Hmpf!

Cures for blogger's blocks

There are two kinds of Sphinxes:
  1. The ones who don't blog even after you pester them more number of times than you care to remember
  2. The ones who return to the blogosphere after you leave them well alone for a month or more
I guess the cure for the first kind could be to add them to your blog list, so that people can visit them and shame them about how well they write but it's such a pity they don't anymore. What say? :P

Monday, January 05, 2009

Random weekend plan - V

...that wasn't a plan, actually. Also, it's just an update now.

Usually, the weekend begins in the mind on Friday afternoon. When you're planning what fun things you want to do over the next 2 days when you're NOT supposed to go to the office. Mine began at 6:45 pm with the realization that I had spent all of my time at work NOT doing the two most important tasks planned for the day. Instead, I completed other tasks and proceeded to purge obsolete emails outta my work mailbox. The waste-of-time alert sounded a bit too late, but I'm not one the to not keep my word. So I stuck to my workstation till 10:30, and delivered what was promised.

I hadn't planned on getting hungry when I reached home, because I had snacks earlier that evening and thought they would keep my natural food processor occupied through the night. But the moment I saw the hubs' steaming hot Maggi noodles that smelt like heaven (for no understandable reason), I knew I wanted some. So I grabbed the bowl from hubby's hands, and pushed him off to cook some more. I downed the whole bowl along with some chips by the time hubs could rest his ass on the couch beside me. And then I grabbed his other bowl and downed some more noodles. Of course,
being the considerate wife that I amto silence my shrieking guilty conscience, I fed him a few bites in-between and also while he was (re)cooking. As always, we were glued to the telly after that, watching any damn thing being shown. This time Enchanted and Premonition happened to catch our attention. We dragged ourselves to bed after that, because there was another screen to be stared at the next morning.

Before the alarm rang on Saturday, a friend who was supposed to be flying down from Delhi called saying that she was about to take off. Thanks darling, what else could have made me realize that we had only 40 minutes left to look human-like and reach the 9:00 am show of Australia?! We did reach a couple of minutes late, as usual, honking at everyone in our path. The movie was good, but seemed to have had a bad screenplay, or a good screenplay that was edited badly. It stretched a bit longer than to make us happy, but Hugh Jackman made up for it by looking good to ogle at. Oh, and the child actor, Brandon Walters, was simply great. A little better direction / characterization could have helped though. I had expected Gudiya to reach Pune by 12:30, and hour and a half after the movie was over. In fact, all flights from Delhi had been postponed due to extreme fog that day. Not hers, though. So, poor-little-girl landed at our doorstep a few minutes before the movie got over, and we could let her in only an hour later!

The maid story referred here ran alongside, and then we headed out for Smokin' Joe's. We were all drowsy by the time we got back home, so we went straight to bed for a couple of hours. As I said, this wasn't the original plan. Originally, I was supposed to attend a friend's house-warming ceremony / lunch and visit my pregnant cousin in the evening to attend to her craving for a certain dish. The first event was overridden (to my relief) by Gudiya's arrival. The second one fizzled out (again to my relief) because the cousin in question was suddenly invited to dinner at her family friends' place. So basically, we had the whole day to us, not literally, though. Me and hubs went for a walk in the lovely evening breeze and came home to cook a quick khichadi for us and another cousin who was to come over for the night. Guidya was out with her friends. We dined while watching Holes, and it was 1 am by the time slept. The hubs warned me (very lovingly) that he was to be asked to wake up only once and to be left alone if he didn't spring upright immediately. Of course, I knew what that meant.

Sunday morning dawned at 4:00 am, a mere 3 hours after I hit the pillow and struggled to sleep (flashes of a horse-riding Hugh Jackman intervened, you see). I woke up my cousin who was the cause of all the pain and excitement today. He was to reach Palm Beach Road in Bombay at 7:00 am for a bicycling race. We began at 4:45 am and covered the 130-km journey (with a few are-we-sure-we're-heading-inthe-right-direction kilometers thrown in) by 6:30 am. Contrary to my expectation it was hot in the car. We kept the windows open all through the drive and felt moderately cool. Rock On saved us from the terrible numbers the radio was beleting out. Bombay was warm when we reached. Seriously, does it ever experience winter?

Anyway, it got better from there for the next couple of hours. I badly wanted to piss, so I had to go find a hotel. Since there wasn't any, within the next couple of kilometers, I barged into a building that had an ATM center. Obviously it would have a toilet for the security gaurd? Turns out it had two: a toilet for men to take a leak and another for the whole world to shit it. Thankfully, the floor and the bowl had none of the shit on it, I dared my way in. As expected, the walls were covered with illustrations of the human reproductive organs and instances of "love me" which actually meant "fuck me." By now, I'm so callous about these that it hardly bothered me. I did my job and left. My cousin had, in the mean while met with his circle of acquaintances, and was as hungry as me. So we went away from the "gathering spot" again to hunt for food at 7:15 am. Fortunately, we found place that served us wada-paav (they even heated the paav) and cheese dosa. We returned, sated and ready to face whatever the day had in store for us. Which, for my cousin was the 4th position in his time trial, and for me was 3 hours of being baked in the car. It wasn't all that bad though. I was very happy to spend a Sunday with my stomach full, a cool seabreeze along with the morning sun, spread out in my car, reading a book. Things began to turn sour when the sun turned its power up, and things started to err... heat up. I got all sweaty and cranky after there was no hint of the race beginning even by 10:30. My cousin (thankfully) was away all the time socializing. He did a few practice laps, though. His time trial finally began after noon and was over within an hour. We had no time to waste, because the tickets for our 3:45 pm movie were already booked.

A couple of pictures from the trip...

The sunrise as seen from the roadside where I was initially comforted and then cooked

My cousin's 20-grand ride (aside from them 28-grand tyres)

We began the return jouney at 1:00 pm and were home by 2:35 pm, with a pit stop to pack food at a highway joint. There were quite a few climbs on the way back, but we beat them anyway by covering 130 kms in 95 mins. That included the pit stop and two almost-halts for toll payment, making it an average of 82.105 kmph. Woot! If it wasn't for the afternoon heat and the fear of tyre bursts on the highway, I would have gotten a high from all the wada-paav munching (again!) and Thums Up guzzling while steering at 120 kmph zigzagging past luxury cars and SUVs. I stayed sane and got us home safely in time for me to have a bath and feel better for the rest of the day's events.

My cousin left after a few minutes of rest, and Gudiya packed her luggage to leave for her guest house, while I washed the sweat and grime off me. We dropped Gudiya on our way and reached well in time for the movie. Outsourced turned out to be more hilarious that expected, and in a natuaral way, not the forced humor that's pushed into such cross-cultural movies these days (The Darjeeling Limited, for example). Soon after the movie, I felt a craving for Aaloo Tikki Chaat, so we hurtled off to Sagar Arcade on FC Road. It turned out to be a not-so-good experience after the couple of times in that last week that we gorged on Aaloo Tikki at home. It's a simple frozen pack we get home and heat up instantly with some oil, and have with chutney, but it tastes like heaven, and the extra chaat flavor/masala just put us off today. We headed home, but asked the hubs to switch to a different route so I could buy a box file holder like this from a particular stationery shop. The owner had promised to stock one for me, but didn't, and I was pissed because he normally keeps his word. I thought of getting at least one thing I wanted, so we went to a relative's place further on the way home, so I could get The Celestine Prophecy back. No luck there too. We spent 15 minutes chatting them up and listening to their usual bragging about their schedules, but in the end I couldn't get my book. It was inaccesible at the moment and I didn't want to pressure them. So we got home, cleaned up and bit and I went to bed.

Of course, hubby was told to cuddle me till I conked off. He was unsure that he wanted to sleep at the ungodly hour of 9:00 pm, but I convinced him it was a good idea, because otherwise he'd wake up late tomorrow as always. Not much in position to argue, he joined me, and we drifted off into deep slumber. I think. Because I woke up straight at 8:00 the next morning. 11 hours of blissful sleep. I was so relaxed.

PS: While being cooked in the Bombay heat inside my car, I almost finished EM's You Are Here.

It's just not my day

...inspite of the hope I had for it; or maybe because of it.

It began with waking up later than planned, because I was exhausted with yesterday's activities and the previous night's lack of sleep. I ignored that and tried to set things right by planning to cook a meal, visit the bank, and then go to work.

The first thing that caught my attention after that was a cheque lying on the living room table. It was a payment to be made to the security agency that provides its services to our apartment building. The moron who went to deposit it into the bank had added to the name that was already addressed to. To top that, he added the wrong word, scratched it out, and wrote another word. To top that too, he spelled the final word incorrectly. Obviously, the bank did not accept the cheque, and it came to us to be signed again.

I was so thoroughly pissed with this ineptitude that I wanted to do something physically harsh. So I went to the kitchen and started scrubbing all the utencils that were lying in the wash basin since 3 days. Of course, the hubs' attempts at comforting me weren't helpful at all, because I was pissed beyond reasoning. Around the same time, someone from the security agency called, but before I could run to answer, the hubs had finished the conversation and cut the call. Luckily for me, the guy came to collect the cheque before I left for work, and I could vent all my anger on him. I sometimes think we should conduct life skills classes for everyone, to teach such simple things. Arrrgghh! The stupidity that I have to put up with everyday!

As if that wasn't enough, the maid issue came up. This weekend, a maid was supposed to begin work with us. She was asked to come only on the weekends (as opposed to all days of the month): on Saturday--sweep the house, mop it once with phenyl and then again with plain water, and on Sunday--clean the window bars and dust all the furniture. She would be paid the regular month's salary. Now what is so objectionable in that? First of all the lady did not come over by herself. I happened to see her in the passageway, and when asked about beginning her work, she said that her sister would do it instead. Okay. Sister welcomed in on Saturday, told to do the aforementioned tasks. Noone bloody turns up on Sunday at all. So as soon I hear her going over to the neighbor's place this morning, I get hold of her, and she explains on behalf of her sister that it's not acceptable to mop the floor twice instead of once. Also, nobody cleans the window bars, etc. I tried to reason that these were the very tasks I was paying her for, and she was getting the complete month's salary for working only 8 days! Well, as I learned for the n-th time, there's no reasoning with these people. They're bloody stupid and can't understand that "just because it is, doesn't mean it should be" (line cheekily stolen from Australia). Arrrrrgggghh! Again!

I go through the morning rituals and head out for office, and as usual, the road is full of more moronic drivers. I get past that, and even as I am about to enter my work area, I have a sudden feeling of joy such that I would have hugged and kissed the first colleague in sight. So I rush over and back-slap a colleague who's returned from her holidays unexpectedly early, asking her how she's been. I hear that she lost her grandad on the first of this year, due to which she had to cut short her fun trip to Bangalore. Sigh! Doesn't look like the day's getting any better. I get to my desk and notice that I had forgotten to send out my status report last week, so I do that hurriedly. Just as I get that out of my way, my team lead comes up saying that a colleague from another team who used to be our neighbors, lost her mother on the second day of this year. Shocking, and most unexpected: we had just had a fun chat with her the previous day over a tea break! Even more sickening news. I had to stop everything and vent. So there. Hope yours isn't as bad a day as this.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Hopes for 2009

Resolutions are not my cup of tea / coffee / milk / whatever. I simply suck at sticking to them. Hence the title.

So what do I hope to achieve this year?
  1. Spend at least an hour a day for /with myself, doing one of my favorite activities: walking / reading / swimming / hiking / meditating (something I confess to not have done in the past 2 years due to sheer laziness)
  2. LOSE WEIGHT (I won't set unrealistic goals, but 5 kgs would be good start--see how I choose the smallest battle possible? heh!)
  3. Proactively and efficiently do more than just what I'm told to do at work--I make plans all the time, but never really see them through... this year, I'm gonna break the habit (not a hope, but a promise)
  4. Be forthright with everyone without being rude (this is a hard one, especially when all people want of you after 2 years of marriage is to make babies... AAARGHH!)
  5. Make at least two long road trips (not just the lousy 100 / 200 kms to Lonavla / Panchgani)
If I can stay put with these till June, I'll do another semi-annual goal-setting.