Life's Like That

Friday, February 17, 2006


This is going to be a rather Bengali-fied post.Non Bongs, I shall try to provide translations wherever possible, but some of it is bound to be beyond my translation skills.
But before I get into that, what a week this has been! My office and I have been flooded with massive boxes contaning things like press folders and pads and pens and gifts and photographs and the like. Thinking back on the week, I can only recall a vague flurry of meetings and discussions of media lists... and many boxes. People are suggesting that my chair be taken away and some of the boxes be put there, and that I sit on the boxes and work. Oooooofff!! The only good thing about this week was the meeting with Marauders Map and Kaashyapeya. Very nice it was. Just for the record, Aarka you look younger in person than you do in your pics and I always thought you wear spectacles for some reason!
Anyways, to get on to the Bengali bit. I have been called " Bangalir naame kolonko"! ( translation...umm....disgraceful Bong)I am very distressed and I protest! It is bhery unphair I say!
See this is what happened. I was nursing a bad headache from a terribly box filled day and staring morosely at my computer screen when the delightful Marauders Map popped up on Google. We had the most wonderful conversation about PR and media and then somehow the topic of food happened to crop up. And I just happened to mention that I am not too fond of Bengali food. That stuff like shukto and mochar torkari ( two of those things I cannot translate) dont really do anything for me. I like some Bong food like dhokar dalna( sorry), and alu posto (potatoes and poppy seeds cooked in mustard oil..verrry yumm) and postor bora(poppy seed cutlets) and the like. But on the whole Im not too crazy about Bong food. Oh! And I HATE fish!! I dont touch fish. Any kind of fish. I do eat prawns though, but then prawns are not technically fish so thats ok.
Marauders Map threw a fit! Then I told her about the time I went to these people's house for lunch and much to my dismay they had made ilish mach (hilsa fish). I refused to eat that and settled for dal bhat and alu bhaja( dal rice and crisply fried alu)..which in my opinion is absolutely delicious. But then Kaku( uncle) and Kakima( Aunty)threw a fit. And Kaku demanded to know why I refuse to eat fish. So, I, in my usual mild inoffensive way explained that I dislike the mecho gondho that fish emits (fishy smell of fish) and that I find the kaanta (bones) very difficult to deal with, they get stuck in my throat. The strong fishy smell of hilsa and the profusion of very fine bones that hilsa has makes it particularly unpalatable for me. I also observed, very politely, that in my opinion hilsa by virtue of its smell and kaanta is unfit for human consumption and only creatures such as cats and bears can enjoy such a thing.
I thought I was quite reasonable. I was asked my reasons for refusing to eat a particular thing and I explained exactly that. I never once said that what I was saying was in any way a comment on their food preferences. But the way they reacted!!! My goodness!! They called me "Bangalir naame kolonko!" And said that I should be excommunicated from the Bangali community. My parents were questioned as to why they didnt do something to change my deviant behaviour!! My poor mother who tried everything she could to make me eat fish was forced to glare at me while simultaneously smiling sheepishly at them and making apologetic noises, and my father pretended he didnt know me. I sat in the middle of this whole drama, shamefaced and red around the ears.
I could have dealt with this trauma, but then upon telling Marauder about it, I found that she seemed to agree with Kaku and Kakima. She even agreed that I am indeed a kolonko in the name of Bengalis! And she is not the only one. Most people seemt o say the same thing.This is most upsetting!! Just because I think only cats can enjoy fish, just because I would much rather eat puliogare than mochar ghonto (I just cannot translate that), just because I think shukto is absolutely horrible, just because I prefer dal makhni to maacher maatha deowa muger dal (moong dal with fish heads in it...its considered a delicacy)...ta bole aamake kolonko bolbe!! *sobs*
Have any of you even considered the difficulties I face because of my fish aversion? Being called a black sheep is just one of the many heart wrenching things I endure. So many times I have gone to someones house for lunch and been faced with a wide plethora of fish fish and more fish. "Fine! " I have thought to myself. "I shall eat dal and rice with some of that potol bhaja there". ( dont know English for potol). Only to pour the dal onto my rice and discover with a shudder that it is full of heads(eeeeeeeeeewwww) and fish chunks and fish skin!!!! Then taken a bite of the potol bhaja only to realize that it is not the innocuous fried vegetable it is pretending to is stuffed with fish paste..potoler dorma I think its called. Have you spared a thought for how awful it is to sit at a table laden with food, starving, and know that no matter how hungry you are you just cannot bring yourself to eat the food in front of u? And then there is the embarassment that happens when your hosts realize you are not eating anything and then apologise for cooking only fish and then start offering you everything from omlettes to take out Chinese. All while your parents look guilty about having brought up such a disgraceful Bengali child!
But noone spares a thought for poor me. I never once said that you shouldnt eat fish or shukto or mocha or thor or any of those other typical Bong things. I am merely expressing my attitude towards it, why treaten to excommunicate me!? Why? Why? Im a good Bong otherwise, I read Bangla books, and talk about kaalchar.I even pretend to be aantel (pseudo) from time to time. I looooovvvve Calcutta and wax eloquent about Durga Pujo, and Boi Mela and jhal muri, and radhaballabhi( have been obessing about radha ballabvhi for the last 3 weeks..if anyone knows where one gets some in Bangalore please do tell). I cannot bring myself to staunchly support Saurav Ganguly, but then I hate cricket so thats ok. Why must I be called a kolonko? *weeps uncontrollably*
Am overcome by grief. Need to go and drown my sorrows in some vodka. Goodbye.
Update: Get a sneak preview of the latest sensation to hit Indian romance literature. It is bold, it is provocative, it is the new age mantra for love!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happppy Birthday Depo!!

Can we rewind and go back you think? That was probably the last time all of us met up wasnt it?. How quickly time flies, and how things change! Am glad you were able to make it to Bangalore, even if it was for a really short while and the prawn biriyani did not happen ( but Im thinking the afghani chicken was adequate compensation).

Hope you have a fabulous day and an even better year!! Take care* hugs*

Monday, February 13, 2006

Valentines Day

I am back to being happy and cheerful...a biiiiig thank you to all those sweeeet people who left nice comments on my previous rather whiny post :)

Moving on to regular programming. So, its Valentines Day tomorrow. For the past few years Valentines Day merely means writing Valentines special press releases for icky heart shaped and/or pink coloured products. It also means avoiding restaurants, and roads like MG Road so that I dont have to deal with the overabundance of red hearts, ugly Cupids with bows and arrows and of course young couples who seem to be joined at the hip. Thats all. Loves special day means just about that much to me.

Things were not always like this. There was a time when I would get excited about Valentines Day, agonize over what gift to buy and plan elaborate dates...the works. Unfortunately, Saint Valentine did not seem to like me much. Disaster is the word that springs to mind.

The year: 1995/96. I am in Class IX or X(cant remember exactly) and totally thrilled about having a boyfriend. D is a family friends son. (We used to play together as kids, then lost touch then met at a wedding and pubescent hormones took get the picture Im sure). So we have been "seeing each other" for a month, and Valentines Day is to be the BIG DATE. Till now we have had to restrict our interactions to extended phone calls and depend on common friends/ family friends organising get togethers/picnics/ Saraswati Pujo and inviting both our families. Therefore, we are both highly excited. We have bought 'advance' movie tickets, and plan to end the date with some hand holding and sweet nothings over icecream.

Unfortunately for us, our prolonged phone conversations have been overheard, moony eyed glances at get togethers noticed and parental suspicions raised. Due to several factors, poor D has been labelled "undesirable" and a "bad influence" by my parents. So when on V'Day I announce that I am going out for a movie, meaningful glances are exchanged between the parents, and my father immediately says that he will drop me to the theatre. (Please note I was quite the spoilt brat where it came to public transport when I was young, and usually demanded the car if I had to go and meet people. Therefore my declaration of taking the bus to go for a movie would have naturally made the most gullible and trusting parent suspicious). I protest vociferously but succeed only in reinforcing his unspoken suspicion that his little angel is upto no good. So I give in and let Baba drive me to Priya Cinema. After which the man refuses to leave till my "friend" shows up. Through my desperate protests and attempts to convince him otherwise, I see D reach the theatre, take a second to register my father's presence and dive for cover behind a car.... all behind my fathers back. Thankfully. Finally Baba leaves with this dialogue " I suppose your friend is obviously not going to show up as long as I am here right?" (!!!!!!!!)

So we heave big sighs of (misguided) relief and walk in for the movie, and spend a happy 3 hours holding sweaty hands and attempting to rest my head on his shoulders (most uncomfortable). Then, feeling all mushy and gushy and looking forward to icecream, we walk out of the theatre hand in hand…straight into my wonderful father. The conversation goes something like this:

Me: Baba!! Ehehehehehehe (please read as nervous hysterical laughter).

D: Oh!! (drops hand that till now he has been holding tenderly, like it’s a hot potato).

Me: Eta D, eta Baba (This is D This is Baba). Ehehehe.

D: Good morning Uncle. (It is 5.30 in the evening)

Me: Hehe!! Good morning. Heehee!! Baba!!

D: Eh!? Eh!! Heh! ( various tones and intonations and pitches)

Baba: Hmm (curt nod and tight smile at D). Tinni get in the car.

Me: Yes…car…ehehehehe. I shall go now. Heh.

I dive into the car without a second look at D and we drive home in stony silence punctuated by my nervous and still slightly hysterical giggling (which on hindsight, Im sure didn’t help my case much).

Not exactly what we had in mind for V’day. My romantic first date ended with my mother making up for my fathers lack of words. She screamed at me consistently for the next 6 months, which was when I dumped D( he was really rather dull and I grew out of it).

I remained boyfriendless after D till I reached college. By which time my parents had relaxed considerably and though I never explicitly told them I was seeing V, I think they guessed and seemed to like him. For our first V’ Day together, we decided to go to a fancy restaurant for dinner. I bought him a nice T shirt and he bought this really cute stuffed green and orange turtle and really sappy card ( we were 19 so sappy cards seemed romantic, ok!?) All seemed to be going ok, till the food arrived. At the sight of the Chicken Escalopes, the mildly nauseated feeling that I had been ignoring all evening could not be ignored any more. I just about made it to the restroom on time. V drove me home and spent the evening holding my hair back as I puked! Bad case of food poisioning from stale college canteen egg puffs.

The year after that we decided to go to a restaurant on MG Road. And almost got trampled by the massive crowd. And felt up by a drunk pervert..or perverts..difficult to tell in that crowd. So by the time we got to the restaurant we were both quite put off and in no mood to enjoy ourselves.

After that, I decided that Saint Valentines does not like me much. So Valentines Day stopped being special in 2nd year of college. I haven’t done anything for V’Day since then. Why tempt fate!? This year Rahul will be working late (as usual) and I shall go home after work and watch tv. Sounds like a plan doesn’t it?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Home Alone

Mom's away...again..and Im home alone. Much as I hate coming back to an empty house, I must say that being absoloutely alone once in a while is a wonderful thing. Specially when you have been feeling out of sorts with the world and been forced to be polite to people. I have been smiling and laughing and joking the entire evening...wonder if any of those people I was with, even realized how...I dont know how to describe it...uncheerful ( for lack of a better word) I was actually feeling.

Whats wrong you ask me? Nothing. Nothing that I can put my finger on. I have a decent job (maybe not the best but not the worst either), finally have a really nice boss, things at home are peaceful, everything seems to be working out on the Rahul front ( although his parents seem to favour the adjective "talkative" whenever they describe me to people, sometimes they add a "very" before the talkative. So I am now trying desperately to cultivate the strong silent image...trying being the operative word). All in all things are good (touchwood) and there is no reason for me to be uncheerful.
But uncheerful and snappy I am. Small seemingly insignificant things have been annoying me for the last few days. Im annoyed with the fact that despite having access to a 100 odd channels I am unable to find a single programme that is worth watching. Have any of you seen this monstrosity called Remix on Star One? Going by this serial with its awful Hinglish dialogues, one would be forced to think that romance is the only thing that teenagers in urban India are concerned with. Its ludicrous and impossible to watch for more than 5 minutes. I have seen each FRIENDS rerun at least 5 times, and Desperate Housewives has gone off air. I am feeling nostalgic about this serial called Remington Steele, starring a pre 007 Pierce Brosnan....what a lovely show, do you guys remember it? Total entertainment. Either that or the Agatha Christie's Poirot TV series. And I obviously cant watch either.
I annoyed with myself for being convinced that I will be a total failure at the marriage thing. I have let other people's expectations ( real or imagined) of me overwhelm me. I am unable to think of myself as a wife, a sister in law, a daughter in law. I am convinced I will be hopelessly bad at being married and will spend the rest of my life being unfavourably compared with Rahuls sister in law N, who in addition to doing very well professionally is also brilliantly efficient at managing her home. My house, I am convinced, will be a messy disorganised uncomfortable disaster zone. I doubt my own ability to bond and be nice to all his relatives (again something N is soooo good at). I have succeeded in freaking myself out to such an extent that I am now refusingto discuss anything remotely related to the wedding...unfortunately that seems to be the only thing people around me want to discuss. This from someone who till a few days back was thrilled to bits about the entire thing and delirously happy is quite stupid I think, but I dont know how to get over it. Panic attack has happened before, but this time it is soooooo much worse. I can only imagine how much worse it will get as things move closer to the actual wedding.
Im irritated because for some strange reason I went and bought Tarun Tejpal's The Alchemy of Desire and now I am thoroughly regretting it. The main charecters keep having sex anywhere anytime anyhow..all the time. So much sex talk is tiring after a while. I should have bought something else. Now I have nothing to read.
I am getting really pissed off with this anonymous charecter/s who seems to find it necessary to comment on everything I write as sarcastically as he/she/they can. What annoys me most is that I get so annoyed that despite telling myself that I will just ignore all of it, I immediately react as nastily as I can...which is what Dear Anonymous wants anyways I guess. Come on Anonymous, leave your initials at least..why hide behind the nameless tag? Someone (not anonymous) commented to my last post saying he feels the post doesnt deserve a comment...then why comment? Why keep visitng in the first place? I never tried to say that my blog will be about deep thoughts and philosophy or it will be terribly topical and political and learned. At the end of a long hard day I usually dont want to write about serious stuff. This is about my life, and life as I see it. Yes it is personal, yes it is trivial, yes it is frivolous and yes sometimes I write a lot of personal stuff on a forum that is open to practically the whole wide world. Im ok with that. Thats the way I want it to be.I can deal with the occassional immature comments, usually dont bother with them. Its the weird anonymous sarcasm that gets me...not to mention that last comment on undeserving posts. Dont like it, dont read it. Simple. But no, I still wont close anonymous comments...
Im annoyed with myself for being so uncheerful and depressed. My back is killing me. I am irritated because I feel like writing, but so Ive written a whole lot of rubbish. I cant think of anything blog about. Went through my old posts, some are funny, some are nicely written, some can even be passed off as "deep thinking"...I cannot imagine how I came up with any of those posts. Feel singularly unimaginiative and useless now. Been toying with the idea of closing this blog...but I like writing...but then I cant think of anything to write and am writing rubbish!Vicious circle!
Aar bhalo laagche na. I think I shall sleep now. Wish my mom and sister were home. The house is just so quiet. Wish Rahul wasnt working so late these days, I could do with a hug...the "block out the whole world and make me feel safe and happy and comforted" kind of hugs that he is so good at. Wish I was at least 2 inch taller, several kgs lighter and had light eyes. Wish I was wonderfully talented at something.Wish wish wish...the list is endless.
I think I shall stop whining and go to sleep. Goodnight. Take care all.

Monday, February 06, 2006

People who are married!

Disclaimer: Erm...married people who read this blog, please dont take this post too seriously. It was meant to be a joke. Really.
A lot of things have happened since my last post. I have been to Chennai and attended a TamMallu wedding. I have lost my temper thoroughly with Rahul (and regardless of what he has to say, I still maintain that he deserved it!). I have dropped my cell down the elevator shaft, then had major panic attack, and felt bereaved till elevator mechanics arrived and rescued it. ( Yes I am extremely attached to my cell phone, its like an extension of my hand). But most importantly, I have been subjected to a conversation that involved a group of married women and me( or should it be I?). I am much annoyed after this conversation (I actually walked away in a a huff). But before I get into the details, just a little matter of censorship:
  • Ma, Baba ( and any other family members who might be lurking around) go away right now. This post is not meant for you. Reading this post shall lead to a lot of unnecessary questions which I dont want to answer. No reason really...but I just don't feel like answering any questions.
  • Weird anonymous people who leave cheap stupid comments, as always I will not stop you from commenting by disabling anonymous comments. I hope you will have the sense not to leave signs of your stupidity on my blog.
  • Other anonymous people who leave sensible decent comments, please by all means go ahead and comment. No issues with you guys.

Hah!! Now that thats out of my system. So MR, SR, MM and I were sitting and talking about life in general. The conversation soon turned to men and dealing with men and such like. (Please note, I was the only unmarried female in the group). We laughed and exchanged tales of masculine stupidity and related problems etc. After a point, the conversation turned a little risque. A couple of dirty jokes were cracked. It soon showed signs of turning to personal experiences. And then...then SR looks at me, giggles and says " Hey Ron, you shouldnt be here. You are too young."

TOO YOUNG!? Me!? Im 26!! She is 29!! How, pray, does that make me "too young"? To which she replied amidst much giggling " You are not married...heehee..this kind of conversation is just not suitable for you". I seriously thought she was joking, till MR chipped in saying "Yeah and anyways I guess only married women will understand what we are talking about", and I realized that all of them were in fact more or less serious. Thats when I walked off in a bit of a huff!!

The worst thing it, this is not the first time this kind of a thing has happened. Married women seem to belong to some kind of an exclusive club, wherein only other married women can understand their lives, their anecdotes and appreciate the endless boring tales of maids and recipes!! Any signs of boredom on ones part are dismissed with "oh you are not married, you will not understand". Gah!!!

Why do I need to be a married woman to understand recipes? or maidservant problems? or sexual anecdotes? Im not exactly an underage little girl am I?? Im 26 for gods sake!! How do these people have the temerity to assume that in this day and age Im a innocent little babe in the woods who has been protected from the world, never cooked a meal or ever had a single domestic crisis!? . Why do I need to be married to just understand and sympathise with someones domestic problems? Or suggest easy recipes? Or laugh at their sex stories?Or understand how annoying men are when they refuse to let go the remote? Its not even a question of whether or not I have actually done all those things. Correct me if Im wrong, but arent all of these just a matter of a little bit of sympathy, and a little bit of sense of humour? (It is a different matter altogether that I get bored to death when people go on and on and on discussing how their washing machine is not working and how their husbands demand hot rotis for dinner). How dare these women assume!?

As a child, everyone around you keeps telling you "You will understand this when you grow up. You are too young now." It used to irritate the hell out of me. Looks like things just never change. You will always be to young or too inexperienced!!

On the other hand, men who are married seem to only want to talk about how marriage is a terrible thing and try their best to convince you that you should never get married. When they are not talking about the sex or the hot babe in the next office i.e. The more they get the more obssessed they seem to be!

Marriage is not a good idea I think. It turns perfectly sensible men and women into absolute idiots. There should be a married people's club, where they go and discuss things that only married people will understand and stay away from sensible unmarried people like myself. I dont think Ill get married! Can you imagine me giggling like a demented hyena and telling some poor young unmarried girl "You are not married, you will just not get this..heehee"!! Eeeek!! what an absolutely horrible thought!! No! I must convince Rahul and concerned family members that a prolonged courtship ( cannot for the life of me think of a less Victorian word) with each one living in separte houses, but spending a lot of time together, is the best way! The only way in fact to remain sensible and appreciate other people's maturity.

PS: Even as I write this, a married woman in the office has sent the following jokes via email to all in the officel:

Hi Guys,

Only a married woman can identify with these, but have fun nevertheless...

WOMEN'S REVENGE:"Cash, check or charge?" I asked, after folding items the woman wished to purchase. As she fumbled for her wallet I noticed a remote control for a television set in her purse. "So, do you always carry your TV remote?" I asked. "No," she replied, " but my husband refused to come shopping with me, and I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him... legally."

WIFE VS. HUSBAND: A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word. An earlier discussion had led to an argument and neither of them wanted to concede their position. As they passed a barnyard of mules, goats, and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically, "Relatives of yours?" "Yep," the wife replied, "in-laws."

W O R D S: A husband read an article to his wife about how many words women use a day... 30,000 to a man's 15,000. The wife replied, "The reason has to be because we have to repeat everything to men...The husband then turned to his wife and asked, "What?"

Aaaaaaarrrgghhh!!See what I mean!? Its like a frigging club or something!!!! Why do I have to be married to find these jokes funny!!?? Why!? Why!? Why!?