Day 29: Me for him, or him for me?

I don’t know if he got it from me or if I got it from him,
but the clownishness was apparent from a very early age!

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From finding joy in a laundry bag, as a puppy…

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And quite literally growing out of it.

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To get on to beds and couches, and be in his hilarious and outrageous poses…

Pumbaa Nayar: The Clown of My Heart  ❤

I don’t know if he got it from me or if I got it from him,
the spirit of playing the fool, being utterly goofy, and still be joy of many lives!

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Like packing himself in for a trip…

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…attempting a career in Accenture’s Security Team, trying to pass off with my id card!

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And mistaking a watch for a paw-cuff and staying absolutely still till it was taken off 😀

Pumbaa Nayar: The Joy of My Life  ❤

I don’t know if it was his decision or mine…
to be the keeper of all secrets, giver of much warmth,
be companion for days good and bad,
shouldering worries and wiping tears
and being the ultimate promise of love and togetherness.

Pumbaa Nayar: The Promise of Love & Togetherness  ❤

Day 23: Good things = Amazing people

So, in my previous post, I spoke about how I had to do a wardrobe rehaul, very unhappily.

Let me explain.

I’m the kind of shopper that walks into a clothes store knowing exactly what it is that I need. I go straight to that department, get what I want and leave. Yes, that’s me. And that’s all the patience I have for shopping. I don’t window shop, I don’t ‘just’ browse inside a shop, and I never stay on longer than I absolutely need to.

My “shopping” normally lasts 15-30 minutes (including a trial), and that’s depending on how long the line at the cashier is. Any more than 45 minutes, and I normally leave whatever I picked up and get the hell out, planning to come back later in the middle of a weekday! In my 31 years of existence, I’ve never had a shopping spree, till the time I had to go shopping for western formals, a category I knew NOTHING about, with none other than the Queen of Subtlety and (self-declared, but totally justified) Fashionista! And not once, but twice! 🙄

Since she had never seen me in western formals ever, she offered to help me shop on ONE condition: I should try out everything she would pick for me. 😐 And boy, did she have fun! I think she took it as her opportunity to torture me by getting out of my jeans and chequered shirt and sneakers…making me get in an out of  everything I used to roll my eyes at earlier.

The first time, we shopped for over two hours. 😮 TWO bloody hours! I tried on at least 11 pieces of formal clothing! And I had to come out each time, let her pass judgement and then go back and come out in the next. Trust me, after just 2-3 times of that, I was exhausted and wanting to leave, but no! I didn’t buy all 11 of those, of course. Which meant my wardrobe was still a million miles from being even quarter-full. At the end of it though, I wanted to cry like a baby and say “I want to go hoooooooome!” I didn’t do that, but the sweetheart that she is, she took me to a nice little place and bought me pancakes and omelette. Such joy after all that torture. 😛

Before I left for home, she said “You do know this isn’t over, right? We need to get you more stuff.” And I mumbled and said I would let her know when I’m ready. She will kill me for this, but I vaguely recall throwing a tantrum at home saying “I hate shopping, I don’t want to go!” and sulking about an hour before I was supposed to meet her for Round 2. And, I may have even considered cooking up a story to postpone the shopping meet. 😐 But yeah – I could not be a baby. I was off to a foreign country, having to wear totally “foreign” clothes. I had to get the best help.

The next time, we shopped for over 4 hours (!!) and she made me try on at least (I kid you not) 25 pieces of formal clothing (or was it 40?!). 😮 At the end of it…well, honestly, I now don’t remember how that day ended! It was some serious brain damage for me. Phew! I can safely say that she had more fun (I say this because she was fully excited explaining the shopping stories to a few other friends while I barely wanted to talk about it!), and totally at my expense–pun intended, considering how much money I spent in one day. They all had 4-digit price tags!!! Jesus — how does the average person afford all this?  I would not even remotely be exaggerating if I say in just a day I spent more than I spent my entire lifetime buying clothes. 😐 Good Lord! Not to mention how she took every chance to thupp at my sneakers and jeans and say “Bwahahaha” 🙄 Oh, she also made me buy the girly, snug-fit, narrow-legged jeans I used to thupp at once up on a time (because I used to only wear straight-fit, ‘boy’ jeans)!

And then I did something REALLY stupid. I told a colleague of mine that the WIFE was doing this. And I said this to this darling girl who is a total shopaholic. She went ballistic that I did not include her in that experience. And demanded I share pictures of everything I bought. Sigh. Which I did. And she went “Here I am, hoping she would have bought you all kinds of clothes to make you look like a doll. Instead, you bought trousers and shirts!?” 😦

She took it up on herself to buy me western dresses that would make me look like a doll. Actually, she told me I should have bought skirts and summer dresses and all that 🙄 And I may have mentioned I don’t know what to buy and that if she wanted to help, she was free to do so. Well, though I said “help”, I meant “do it for me, I’m not interested” 😀 And she still took it seriously! 🙂

It was absolute madness and quite funny. She proceeded to spend hours and hours on Myntra site, looking at dresses, shortlisting, all that and I would take no more than two minutes to to look at them all (about 20 at a time :P) and say “Too short” “Too costly” “No sleeves” “Too colorful”. She would tell me to sit with her and look through the site…and I would just say “I have work!”

God. So much money that darling girl spent on her Internet charges 😛 Finally, she told me to just shut up and wear the ones she would order for me! And she ordered and ordered and ordered. In fact, we had a team member who was an ex-Myntra employee and had a huge discount card she could use anytime. We made her do the actual “order placing” on the site, using coupons and everything. It finally became a big project needing a lot of coordination and feedback and “tweaks”, that we had to start a WhatsApp group only for this! By the end of this, I’m pretty sure the darling girl even knew the SKU numbers by heart. And the ex-Myntra girl–such a darling–sat up late into the nights, ordering, raising return requests and ordering again! 🙂

Since we both had to go to office, and there was no one at my home to collect when delivered, we gave her home address. Her mother went completely bonkers, opening the door every 2-3 times, every single day for the next 2 weeks, to collect packages from a Myntra delivery guy each time! Normally Myntra delivery guys call in advance to ask address, route, etc. After 2 days of multiple deliveries, just about everyone at Myntra knew her house 😛 And they even stopped demanding that someone open the door to collect. If her mom was late to reach the door, she would often find a package dropped in through the window! 😀

She would then bring the dresses to office next day, make me try them on. After a point, I lost track of the number of dresses I tried–of which, few I kept and returned most 😛 The good thing was that they were all in 3 digits. She then demanded I take a day off and go to her house with my entire purchase (including what the WIFE helped buy) to do a trial + mix-and-match session.

Though they all had fun shopping for me, I did not enjoy it at alllllll. I was confident I would never pull those off. And hated how happy the WIFE and the darling girl were while I was in utter despair!

Till the time I reached here, got into a pair of trousers, a formal shirt, a blazer and a pair of formal shoes and felt just fine. Till I wore one of the dresses with a pair of pretty shoes and felt just fine. Till I saw myself in a skinny jeans, a proper ‘girl’ top and a pair of flat shoes and felt just fine.

So totally fine that even today, after 7 months, I’m just as grateful to these two as I was on Day 1 at my new job 🙂 ❤

(But, I still wait eagerly for my Thursdays to be in jeans and T-shirts, and once in a while I do go back to my ‘boy jeans’ and sneakers and chequered shirts! Such contentment those days, I tell you! Only, since no one knows my tomboyishness here, which doesn’t even seem possible in all my very lady-like attire, I siffer rfom a major identity crisis! I fit in so well with the larger (and always well-dressed British crowd, but I miss the me I would happy being. Sigh. And before you thupp at me for saying this, dear WIFE, think of how you’d feel having to go to work in a salwar-kameez every day. Ha! 😐)

As for where I got all that money to “splurge” with absolute abandon on a wardrobe I wasn’t even sure I would like? I will just say I have AMAAAAAAAAZING people in my life who let me redeem all those accumulated credit card points as Marks&Spencer and Shoppers Stop vouchers. Basically, my wardrobe came to me fully filled, fully free 🙂 I’ll never stop being grateful to you for that! ❤picture1

Day 17: WIFE!

The Queen of Subtlety and I were talking today on Skype. We were catching up on good old days and having the usual banter, when she said…

do you know i read about all you other friends on your blog and get so jealous
ppffftt…
best friend, this friend, college friend…that friend…uuugh
i want to write a big board and say WIIIFFEEEE!!

I told her she is the only friend of the above mentioned categories to have an entire post on her and multiple mentions across several other posts. And then I thanked her for giving me a topic for today. I said I’d put up a pic of her and put a board saying WIFE! Since I don’t wish to die for the mere reason of having publicised a photo she then would kill me for, because she doesn’t look good in it, I stuck to just putting up a board title – WIFE!

Let me clarify the “Wife”, before any of you have wild imaginations. So, I’m this tomboy I’ve told you about several times. I’m constantly in jeans, T-shirts (or chequered shirts, mostly in blues!) and a pair of running shoes. She takes the word “Queen” and “Princess” quite literally at times and goes to the other extreme of being a completely pretty and mostly hot girl! She hates my boyish attire, and I don’t really care about her’s (pretty or otherwise) 😛 I’m constantly pulling her leg and responding with “No, I won’t/can’t /don’t” to just about everything she says. She tries to shower her love on me (sometimes quite literally in the form of tea, biscuits, curds, and whatnots 🙄 ), with hugs and I wriggle out of it with my classic “Ugh, get off me!” expressions 😀  She says “I love yaaaa” and I go “Yeah OK whatever 🙄 ” She tries to (in jest) be the damsel in distress and I tell her to cut the crap. She is absolutely bonkers about the colour pink and I make it a point to tell her every time just how much I hate pink (aaand that she should cut the crap). She calls me Jack (short for jackass, nothing fancy) and I return the love in titanic proportions by calling her Rose! Despite all these, I love her and will always be there for her, and I do think she loves me too 😉

After a few months of this behavioural exchanges, an ex-colleague (well, all three of us are ex-colleagues now!) said that while we’re supposedly best friends, we totally behave like Husband and Wife, where she is the nagging wife and I’m the no-nonsense husband 😛 😛 😛  And that stuck. To the point that my brother has her number saved in his contacts list as “Mrs Priya” 😛

Hence, the title. And the jealousy 😛 Long distance relationships are tough! I miss the wifey!

Day 10: My greatest support system

What we come to call as “support system” usually are parents, siblings, relatives and the friends you categorise as “best friends”. They’re the ones you can fall back on, without having to feel bad about doing so, knowing full well you’ll be taken care of, even though it is not an entitlement. Only, you sometimes end up taking that for granted. If not the people, then at least the fact that there WILL be a support system.

Until you move out of all your familiarities and face a whole new world.

There is this girl who was my classmate during post-graduation. We were a pretty close-knit class of just 15 students. She was one of the sweetest in the class. She had none of the recklessness I had in me; she had none of the popularity, the stupefying clownness, the annoying self-righteousness, the frustrating over-confidence or the plain damsel-in-distressness that the rest of her classmates had. She was a simple, Mamma’s girl. She did not bunk classes, she did not do anything she feared her parents wouldn’t be proud of, she did not even hate the person who made her everyday life a living hell 😛 I hated that person on her behalf 😛 She was just a very sweet, happy person. I would always remember her as someone who vowed not to get married, but would adopt a girl child because she was fabulous with kids.

But I wouldn’t say she was in my best friend category at that time. Her constant company made it rather difficult for me to figure out how much I could like her 😛 After college life came to an end and we all went our separate lives, though, she and I became much closer. She got married, had a baby girl — and every once in a while, we used to have video chats, where I gurgled to the baby in her own unspoken language. We were pretty pretty close.

And then, I went into hibernation. For about 3-4 years. Our conversations became thrice in a year; once for her birthday, once for mine, and once for Christmas / New Year 😛

When I moved to Kuwait in March 2016, a lot of people assumed I have half my family here (you know all those jokes about half of every Malayali lives in the “Gelf”). I therefore drew a lot of surprise when I said I don’t have anyone in Kuwait. No relatives? Not even friends? Are you sure you’ll be OK there?

Well, I did have friends. I had, 2-3 months prior to relocating, figured out that this girl was in Kuwait (and all the while, I’d been thinking she was in Bahrain, don’t ask me why!) with her husband and daughter. I knew I didn’t want to be a burden for her, especially not after having been in hibernation for so long. And, I’d lost touch in those 4 years.

Or so I thought. I was wrong. She turned out to be my biggest support system ever. 

I cannot imagine the past 7 months in this country, if she hadn’t been here. She took me into her life and home (literally) and we re-connected like there had been never a day that went by without us talking.

I crashed on her couch for almost 15 days, shamelessly making her cook for me (in return I washed the dishes, something I’d never do given a choice :P) in the morning and night. I would put all my clothes into her washing machine and go off to work. In the evening, I walked back to see them all out drying on the clothes stand. She and her husband voluntarily took it up on themselves to help me find a place of my own, took me shopping, told me exactly what and what not to buy from where. We sat up till 12 most nights, reminiscing college and friends and our separate lives and laughing our eyes out. How her husband tolerated the incessant laughter without arranging to have me deported, still beats me 😛

Even now, after all this time, I know I can walk in anytime and not feel like a guest. I still take my laundry to her place and get it done (each time praying her husband won’t kick me out :P) When I get a pizza craving and don’t want to eat alone, I know she’ll tell her husband “She is craving pizzas. Let’s go get some!” 😀 When I need company to buy plants, I know she is ready before I can say “pla”. And when I am depressed and want to bitch about the marabhootham, she is always available 😀 When I am extremely unwell, I know I have someone I won’t be a burden to. When I’m thoroughly bored, I know if I ping her to say that, she will say “Oh come over already” without missing a beat. And man, her humour timing and sense is always reason for a complete riot!

And the best of all — she bakes the most awesome cakes. And if that wasn’t enough, she recently attended a bread making class and now makes beautiful croissants and focasias and what nots. OK – I haven’t tasted them yet, but well, got to be awesome.

Well, cake or no cake, I’m super glad to have her for a friend. The kind of friend you know isn’t “just a friend”.

What would I do without you, Deepti!? Thank you for everything you do, for being you! 🙂

Day 2: It’s my birthdayyyyyyyyy :)

Yaaaaaaay! It’s (one of) my most favourite day(s) of the year. Well, I could have had it a little better, but what the hell…birthdays come once a year, so I shall still go yaaaaay!

I’m 32 years old. And frankly, I still have no frikking clue what all the fuss about “going into your 30s” is about. I said this two years ago when I turned 30, and I will still say it. Hobbes told me yesterday “You’re going to be 32 years old!” and I went “Yaaay!” 😀 And he said, “You’ll never grow up, will you!?” and told me not to even as I was shaking my head NO 😀

I’ve had the most out-of-ordinary birthday ever. I think since the one i had in 1984 and 85, this must be the ONLY time I spent (almost) all day in bed. I was served breakfast in bed (well, never wishing for that one again, ever). I was given a massive surprise by the Queen of Subtlety and I could barely make my shock known, much less talk to her or go yay! I was under the care of the loving heart all day and now feel miserable for ruining all the plans.

But here’s the best of it all. My biggest birthday-wish of all times came true. I got this! So what if I’m 32!? For some things in life, there is no age limit. Yay (back to doing some mental somersaults)!

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Ok…crawling back under the cover now, with a mug of steaming chukku kappi and some lehyam. And some coffeecream birthday cake. Calvin and Hobbes is the best. For always. ❤

After 8 long years…

…after several instances of misgivings

…after wishing I’d not let interruptions stop me

…after cursing self for giving it up

…after agonizing over having lost it forever

…after realising there is no more the confidence that once came so naturally

…after many days of thinking and re-thinking

…after one trial that was not good, and another that was barely satisfactory

…it happened.

Once again, I got on stage. As part of the office band. And sang! This and this 🙂 

I will not comment on how I could have done a LOT better.
I will not comment on how one was way better than the other.
I will not comment on the pathetic sound system or the wrong pitch (which spoiled one) 😀

I will just say I felt on top of the world!
People who gave me the opportunity — the ALKMS Band — I’m eternally grateful! Thank you! 🙂

Licensed to kill

Finally!

It’s been over two-and-a-half years since I resolved to learn driving. I wrote here how I joined driving classes and had managed to attend almost every class. but well, I had to quit. Well, in my defense, the man who used to come to teach NEVER brushed his teeth! That my classes were early morning, about 6.30 – 7.00, did not help AT ALL. For all I know, he might have been coming right from bed with that stinking mouth of his. Ugh. I shudder to even think of it. I used to attend every class till he began teaching me how to reverse! Moron that he was, he just would not let me use the rear-view mirror. He said I’d to turn around and look back through the rear windshield. And, the very moment I’d look back, he’d also look back! His face then would be inches away from mine, and it’d hit me like a whiplash! The mouth odour, I mean. It was killer. That was the day I quit! Not to mention that he was sleazy and tried to use every opportunity to ‘touch and teach’. *&^$%^&*(*&^%

So well, that was a nightmare. I went back to my philosophy about how I did not need to learn driving, because I always had/have my drivers — dad, brother, brother’s friends and Suraj. At all other times, I have bus and auto drivers 😀 Life moved on. Till I met The Queen of Subtlety (TQS). She was dying to learn driving, and when she told me about it, I randomly commented on how I should also learn, but it has always  been a jinxed effort. That was it. She convinced me to join with her, yelled at me for missing some classes and pushed me to continue even when I was fed up with the folks at the school and wanted to give up.

The two of us joined Maruti Driving School (MDS). We both signed up for evening classes (4.30 – 5.30), since the place was close to office, and we could easily reach. After my first 3-4 classes, I got into a project that had recurring meetings every day at that precise time! I missed some 7-8 classes in a row. According to their system, if per the initial schedule your classes get over on a specific date and if you cross that date for whatever reason, you need to reschedule (and write them an apology letter!). So I wrote apology letter, begged and pleaded to be given a new set of dates. The new set of dates arrived. TQS looked at the dates and timings and randomly commented “All your classes are in the evening”. I was sooo dying with work, I did not even bother to check the date and time to see if she was right. I just took her word for it 😀 Turned out, I had only one class in the evening. All others were in the morning! And it was not on every other day, like the previous time. So on days I could not make it in the morning, and called to say I would not be able to make it, it would turn out I had no class scheduled that day! Long story short, I missed a lot of classes again! That is when I heard from my manager (who had also been a student there once up on a time) that MDS reschedules only once, and after 2 attempts, if you are not regular, they blacklist you. I freaked out. Two years ago, I’d paid Rs 4000 to a man who did not even brush his teeth. I’d now paid MDS Rs 6000. I could not waste money on this anymore! But how was I to explain all the goof-ups?

That is when I made TQS tell the folks at MDS that I was sent out of India on official duty 😀
“But why can’t she call and let us know!?”
“She’s in Singapore, you see. On official duty.”
“So? Can’t she call? If she can tell you, can’t she tell us?”
“Well, you see, she is on international roaming, and did not think it was thaaaat important to call from there.”
“Hmmmm. Ok. Tell her we will send a revised schedule.”

So well, I got another revised schedule, and this time I was a good child. I attended every single class, and finally got it over with. Or so I thought. Well, the RTO was waiting.

On Oct 20, Saturday, I went to MDS to get my paperwork done and head over to the RTO for the driving license (DL) test. But the previous day’s dinner had poisoned me, and I was real weak. So I decided to go the following week. On Oct 27, Saturday, I went to MDS to get my paperwork done and head over to the RTO for the DL test. And guess what? Since the previous day was Bakrid, RTO was closed that day. So well, left with no choice, I decided to go the next Saturday. I did not despair. I’m a staunch believer in the Malayalam saying “Onnu pizhachaal moonnu” which translates to mean that if your trial fails the first time, it will work ONLY the third time. This one is ALWAYS true in my case. See how I had to get three schedules for my classes? 😀

So, on November 3, Saturday, I went to MDS to get my paperwork done and head over to the RTO for the DL test. No poisons, no holidays, no glitches. After finishing paperwork and simulator test in 15 mins, I headed over to the place I was asked to wait at, for the Inspector who would give us the test. I waited under that tree for 5 hours. Whether I pass the driving test or not, I sure passed the patience test 🙂 I did not walk away! 😀 The inspector came then, took the test, finished it off in 5 minutes, and that was it! 🙂 That evening, I called MDS, and was told I was licensed to kill 😉 The weapon however, would take a month to reach me. Today, it came. A driving license bearing MY name on it.

Moment of joy. Sense of accomplishment. Happiness. Yay! 🙂:)

Dear Queen of Subtlety, I’m deeply indebted to you for making me see this through till the end 🙂 If it weren’t for your incessant yelling and prodding and motivation and encouragement, I would most likely have given up 🙂 Thank You for bringing me some much-wanted joy! 🙂 I owe you a big one 🙂 And every time I’m behind the wheel, every time I open my wallet and see the “D.L. SMART CARD”, I will remember you 🙂