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 28: Because you fight like a girl

This is for girls who stay up all night, this is for you who is willing to fight.
For hidden fears, hurt, pain and tears, under the smiles, laughs, and giggles we hear.
Let your hair down, straight or curls, you’re beautiful because you fight like a girl.
For girls who wear short skirts, and their heart on their sleeve,
for girls who know how difficult it is to believe.
The girls who scream and cry to the pillows and tell them their goals,
for girls who have a secret, but can’t tell a soul.
Let your eyes be your diamonds, make them your pearls,
you’re beautiful because you fight like a girl.
For girls who have made mistakes and have regrets galore,
for girls that may not win, but always get up from the floor.
The girls who take life as comes, the girl who have broken the code,
for the girls who hope, that they’ll get better somewhere down the road.
Let your steps be a dance and jump and do the swirl,
you’re beautiful because you fight like a girl.
For the girls who love with all their heart, although sometimes gets broke,
to girls who think it’s over, to real girls, all girls, who have tears to soak.
You throw, you pick up and fall.
But just tell the world
‘I’m beautiful, because I fight like a girl.’


These aren’t my words, they were penned by the one and only Shah Rukh Khan.
I thought they were absolutely lovely…

and they reminded me of these…penned by my very own Shah Rukh Khan😉

She is strong, very strong: I have seen her go through hell and emerge triumphantly
both at work and life. At work, for no fault of hers, she was cornered, isolated, and bitched about.
She came out unscathed and stronger.
In life, she was put through hell and she came out wounded but stronger.

I’m a girl who made mistakes and have regrets galore, the one that did not win,
but definitely got up from the floor. The one who takes life as comes, the one who has always broken the code, the one that truly hopes to get better
somewhere down the road
.

.

P.S. I threw the diet out the window and destroyed the very thought of wanting to take on a diet…
because I fight like a girl,
and I won’t give into things that will stop me from taking life as it comes
(for, it always comes to me with Biriyani love)! :D 

Day 27: Never in my life…

…have I ever taken on a diet plan. I have always eaten what I wanted to, never caring if it “showed” on me. I have my dad’s genes to thank for it, I guess. I have gained weight in the past, but that was when I sat at home, freelancing for nearly a year. And the maximum I gained was 5 kilos. I shed it as soon as I began going for work.

It was when I joined Accenture that I began hogging on Biriyani. It has always been my favourite food (and Pasta), and the only decent thing in the cafeteria was Biriyani. I worked an 11-8.30 shift, so I always had lunch in office (Biriyani every single day) and several days, I’ve known I’d be reaching home way too tired and brain dead, and have to continue work from there. Which meant, I’d either have a 7.45pm dinner (way too early for me, but Biriyani again), or get myself a parcel and go home. If I didn’t do either, I’d call the nearest place and order a Biriyani😀

I did this for almost 2.5 years. Yes, I’m not kidding. It was Biriyani always, five days a week for lunch, and several times dinner as well — and if I was too lazy in the weekend to cook, Biriyani again!

By about a year into my Biriyani binging, my colleagues actually began believing in the possibility of there being a Diet Biriyani, because I was losing weight instead of gaining any!😛

Several people (who were unaware of my Biriyani binging) would ask me how I managed to stay so fit, how much I worked out each day, which gym I went to, what foods I ate…and my colleagues would roar with laughter and say “This one!? She does nothing, except eat Biriyani everyday!” The Biriyani Diet became a thing!

I kid you not, people actually tried it. And bloated. And yelled at me for that!🙄 Well, I was always very open about my fitness secret: Accenture + 2 dogs + Biriyani everyday: try it to believe it. They all failed because they only had Accenture + the Biriyani. The 2 dogs, only I had😀😀 But it was true. I did nothing else.

All was well in life. Till I reached Kuwait.

I was actually looking forward to all the Biriyani I’d eat here. My friends sent me off blessing me and asking me to popularise the famous Biriyani Diet of mine.

Only, the Biriyani here is not to my liking. It smells good, has a lot of “flavour”. Yet, scores a grand zero on taste as far as I am concerned. And, therefore, I haven’t eaten too many of it (maybe about 10 times in the past 8 months). And I have gained 4 kilos. Bah!

Never in my life have I ever taken on a diet plan. Never in my life have I even considered one. Till today. I’ve got to shed what I don’t like, want or need.

My lunch everyday is a plate of salad and a bowl of soup. And so, today afternoon as I polished off the salad, I decided I’m going to stick to salad/fruits only for dinner from today. And from the moment I took that decision, all I’ve been able to think of is dinner: having a Biriyani, or some fried rice, or just homely red rice with some aviyal and curds, or curd rice, or even god old kanji. Anything, as long as it is rice.

So, before I lost complete control, I went ahead and brought fruits. Apples, oranges, pears, guavas, pomegranates, bananas. And I bought enough to last me a week.

Now, I hate myself. Without finishing all these fruits, I won’t even be able to get back to my rice dinner. Bah, why do I do this to myself? I hate being on a diet😦😦😦😦😦

And while we’re at it, this is all Kuwait’s fault – I hate Kuwait too!🙄

Day 25: Why “Kinder” is the funniest word!

As I read the word “Yemble” on this post from Shail, I laughed out loud, both at the hilarity of the word and at a similar one from my ‘family’ vocabulary.

Both sides of my family — Amma’s and Achan’s — are huge. My dad is the eldest of seven kids and my mom the fifth of seven kids. So, counting the two sevens plus their spouses and kids would come up to — ermmm…just doing some calculations here, give me a moment — 27 on the dad’s side and 29 on mom’s. That’s a whopping 56 of us. We can be declared as qualifying to be a tiny village! :D And there have been times when a majority of this big number got together. Weddings, some Onams, some  New Year eves…

One such time was, when I was about three, on a trip we made to Ahmedabad, where my dad’s second sister lived. Some folks from mom’s side came along too. Frankly, I don’t recall the trip at all: the only visuals are from fading photographs in old albums I’ve seen many hundred times, and this particular incident is from the tale having been told and retold by many in the family, much to the chagrin of my aunt (though she’s gotten over it well enough to remind me every time we speak, that it happened)😛

Oh, and I forgot to say: we’re a very boisterous group. The 56 together, as well as the 27 and 29 separately as well. Yes, this point is critical to the story😛

So, I was the youngest of the crowd, with just one kiddo below me, who was too much of a toddler (or so I like to think, though he was only 5 months younger). The elders were all in the big living room, making merry. The kids (if I recall right, about six of them) were probably making more merry in the other room or the dining area. I was sitting in my aunt’s room, in one corner, playing with something-I-obviously-don’t-recall. So, when everyone decided to go out and my aunt came into the room to change, she didn’t notice me sitting in that corner…at least, not until she was midway changing into a salwar-kameez from a housecoat. And then she thought, “She’s a tiny tot, what harm can there be?” Little did she know, when she opened the door a minute later, what was in store (for near eternity).

I shot out of the room, thrilled with my discovery, yelling at the top of my voice, loud enough to be heard in a boisterous crowd of over 20 people: “Njaan Amba Ammai-de bown kinder kandeeee!

There was absolute silence for a couple seconds, before the entire household dissolved into laughter, making my aunt nearly float out of her room in utter embarrassment. For I’d just screamed out to everyone that I’d seen her brown panties! This was way back in 1987-88, when mentioning anything about innerwear in front of people of the opposite sex was a big no-no. And here I was, declaring it out loud for all the men (and women alike) in the room to hear,  complete with colour!😛 I’d run out of the room yelling “I saw Amba Aunty’s brown underwear!”

As I mentioned at the start, I don’t know how, when or by whom this was coined, but in my mom’s side of the family, the word ‘kinder‘ meant underwear! And once she became part of my dad’s family, it got accepted that side too.

Which is probably why, for a long time, every time I heard the word Kindergarten, I would go Aiyyyeeee and Hihihihi for a while! The first time of that being when I asked my parents what the expansion of LKG/UKG was😛 And well, when Kinder Joy came out with their advertisement on TV first — boy, it was kinder joy for us indeed! We laughed for hours! And the most curious cat of the family even bought one immediately, just to see what it looks like, though not wanting to ever eat it😛 OK, that was me!😀

The good part being, among family members, we can discuss ‘kinder’ matters in public without having to ever be embarrassed because no one knows what it is. Ooops…unless one of you readers happen to be in close vicinity :D

Day 24: I just noticed…

…how age is catching up with Khloe Nayar.

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That’s her in 2013…

…with her ears and little head and her slender body a rich chocolate-y brown amid all that black and white, that I once did nibble at her thinking she’d taste like a Black Forest gâteau!

She was a princess, so regal in her ways. She was the lady her sister (that would be me) never could even dream to be! She had the charisma and grace of someone who was born into royalty and had it in her to be so. No one would look at her — in the way she walked, gazed at you or turned a blind eye to Calvin (who was head over heels in love with her) — and be able to make out she ever went through any kind of horrors in life.

Well, she took after her Godmother, the Queen and WIFE. She had to be a Princess!

She was only six then🙂

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This is she in 2016…

  …looking like she may have meddled with the bag of flour, sprinkling some healthy amount of it all over her. Well, her expression does say something of the sort may have happened!😛 Fading away are the rich colours and hues of her once chocolate-y fur. And abundantly settling in are the grace and beauty of a life (being currently) well lived.

She is 10 now!😐
Trust me, most times, we’re still trying to figure out what species she belongs to🙄

There’s none of her Princess-ness anymore, so completely clowny in her ways. She’s every bit the tomboy that her sister (that would be me, again) loves being herself. She hops like a rabbit, gallops like a pony, runs like a deer and at times skitters like a lamb — when she is given one of her favourite treats. She flies like a sparrow, a short and quick flight that delivers her all the way from the couch in one end of the living room right in the kitchen that’s a good 10 steps away — when she knows her dinner is being taken off the fire. She jumps all over us, she whines like a lost child and she paws us furiously, not knowing her nails are digging into us — whenever we enter the house, leave without her, and eat our food without seeming to realise she’s waiting by our side for her share. Once in a while, she goes bonkers and flitters around the room like a butterfly, howl-barking at Pumbaa Nayar, and then absolutely freezing in weird poses with some bit of him in her mouth, jaw wide open, as if to say ‘this is your cue to run, boy!‘.

But most funniest of all is when she follows one of us into the kitchen, slowly but surely, like a tortoise — when she knows we’re in there, letting us us know we’re being watched, in case we think we can grab a bite without her knowing.

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This is she in her elements…

I just noticed how age is catching up with Khloe Nayar…
but ONLY in the colour of her hair fur😛

I also just noticed, her name can be spelt and felt as
❤❤❤❤❤  ❤❤❤❤❤
Sigh! The power of a dog’s love!

Day 22: ‘For the apparel oft proclaims the man’

This phrase isn’t mine, of course. It was coined by the great Shakespeare. For his famous play, Hamlet, where Lord Polonius enlightens Laertes on a few rules of life; the phrase in question addressing the point of “being presentable.” Most of us commonly know this phrase as “Clothes/Dress maketh a man.

Over 3 years ago, a week before joining Accenture, I received a call from my soon-to-be manager, for confirmation that I will be joining his team (well, a good two months had passed since the interview, so confirmation was justified, I suppose). That’s when I was “by the way” informed that there is a dress code that’s to be strictly adhered to in office. “Business formals — western or Indian,” he said. How I managed not to blurt out “What! Are you serious!?” beats me. Or ummm, maybe I did blurt that out. Subtlety is not (always) my closest companion.

Dismay. Anxiety. Panic. In that order. And a good amount of self angst! Why do I always say “Mmm…not right now, nothing.” at every job interview when they ask me if I have any questions? Why do I not ask these severely important, life-altering questions? Why! W.H.Y!?

For 23 years of my life, someone other than myself decided what I would wear. At kindergarten. At school. At college. And again, at college. Then one fine day, the great powers of the universe conspired in my favor. I got a job in an advertising agency. That was the beginning of a new era. Well, I wish I could say I was like a caged animal let free, and all that. Sadly, no. I suppose the conditioning over 23 years was pretty binding.

But.

I did discover the joys of “casual” dressing. Of wearing a comfortable pair of jeans every day (yes, different clean ones). And the comforts of shirts that don’t fit in the formal category (and at times, T-shirts). And every company I worked at allowed me to wear those. And not all of them were advertising agencies, let me tell you; there were other Fortune 50 giants in the list too. And in all those years, not only did I forget that “dress code” was still in practice, I also reached a stage where my wardrobe scored a grand zero in the formal wear department, Indian or otherwise!

To quote a very observant ex-colleague of mine, I’m apparently “more boyish than many boys” she knows. Must give her credit for this one because it is true. In my defense, I grew up in a house full of boys — what else can one expect? So yes, the comforts of a good pair of sports sneakers is something I have fallen addict to…and the only kind of outfits that goes with them are western casuals (not my fault!)😀 Yes, my love for sportsy footwear is actually the only biggest reason for my choice of preferred attire!

Or maybe not. As a person too, I’m not too “formal.” While I am courteous and polite, I’m in that category that generally goes “Yaaaaaaaayy!” where others might opt to just say “Oh, that’s great news!”

So where were we? Ah – dismay, anxiety and panic. Dismay that I only had the weekend to go shopping (I left the previous company on a Friday and joined Accenture the following Monday). Anxiety of not knowing which shops to walk into, what kind to buy and if I’d ever feel comfortable in those. Panic of realizing that anything and everything I picked from the Indian business formals (read as Kurtis and other such) department were either too big or too small (leaving me feeling like Goldilocks who got into a house that had no baby bear living there)! But wardrobe rehaul was done, not too happily.

It was a struggle, those initial days: of not having a pocket to stuff my phone and wallet into…of having to go rickety-ricket on a pair of sandals (which I still do, without failing to go “twainnng!” and nearly toppling over at least once a day — God, I miss my sneakers!)…of not being able to pull on that favorite shirt and feel secure and warm in its apparent familiarity…and other such. (Frankly, after a full two and half years, I still never came to terms with it; oh, how I wait for the blessed Fridays.)

And just about when the rumour mills began buzzing with news of a soon-to-come casual-everyday dress code in Accenture, I got myself offered a job in Kuwait, which I grabbed. And, like lightning on a snake-bite victim, the HR said they have a “western formals only” dress code, since the company is mostly British. Bloody Nora!🙄

For some strange reason, though I was always most at home in a pair of jeans, I’ve never worn formal trousers in my life, except try it on once inside a trial room before quickly discarding it (along with the thought of ever having to be in one). So, this was NOT good news for me.

Again.

Dismay. Anxiety. Panic. In that order. Dismay that I was finally having to suffer for the WIFE‘s constant curses of my boyish attire and my worst nightmare was coming true (OK, that’s taking this a bit too much – my worst nightmare is ever having to go to jail). Anxiety of not knowing which shops to walk into, what kind to buy and that I will never be able to carry off the “formal” look. Panic at the price tags that were mostly in the 4-digits category and me simply not being rich enough. But wardrobe rehaul was done, not at allllll happily.

Because  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! Not once, but twice! :roll: That’s a whole new post, my shopping experience with two people who were hell bent on making me a girl (finally! as they would add).

Now, going back to how “the apparel oft proclaims the man.” What’s really the idea behind being dressed a certain way four days of the week and differently on the fifth? I can discern no difference in how things  on Fridays (or Thursdays, in the Middle East) are, compared to the rest of the week: not in the responsibilities we shoulder, the tasks we handle, or the people we work with. In fact, at Accenture, Fridays never cut us any slack! There have been several instances of people pinging me on Skype (internal office chat) a little before 8.30 p.m. (we worked 11 a.m.- 8.30 p.m.), lamenting the fact that we were “still working at this hour on a Friday evening.” And, it’s the same story here on Thursday. We work straight from 8 through 5 on every single Thursday!😛

I read somewhere that “people make assumptions about work ethic, intelligence and professionalism based on how others are dressed while at the office.” So then, do none of these (work ethic, intelligence and professionalism) matter on a Friday?😀 So yeah, what makes the Friday more casual than the rest of the days, that we are allowed a bit more freedom in matters concerning our “apparel”? If there is a logic, it beats me. It will be muchly appreciated if any of you can give me some insights into this. Also, let me clarify right away that I am not proposing being allowed to wear torn jeans and ripped shirts and so on I’m only talking about permissible limits to being “casual” in a professional environment. I honestly believe we’re all at our best on every given day, including on Fridays/Thursdays – so, does it really hurt to allow through the week, what we currently are allowed to wear on a “dress-down day”? *tilts head in hope, waiting for the Al-mighty to say “Al-right…go ahead!”*

Sigh. I miss my jeans and sneakers! I do, I do, I still muchhhhhhhhhhhly do!

Day 20: The voice of my subconscious

When I wrote this post yesterday, I had a lot of questions kicking up a mini-storm in my head, derailing my otherwise logical thought process. When Varsh commented that if only we knew all the answers, life would be much less complicated, I told her travel was the answer to everything, especially if to somewhere in the Himalayan region😉

Which is true, of course. But, when you are not all set for travel, there is another source for answers to these kinds of questions! And, that’s in Hobbes. If you follow Calvin and Hobbes, you’re probably nodding your head right now. Haven’t you wondered how Calvin always asks these philosophical, highly intriguing and seemingly rhetorical questions, only to have Hobbes respond with the simplest answers? Little surprise then, that the answer is in yourself🙂 In the rare chance that you actually get it from another person altogether, then be assured that person is, in essence, your subconscious!

Anyway, after I posted this yesterday, I got well told off by my subconscious, who then sat me down and took those questions one by one.

Here are enlightenments from my subconscious (up for debate, though not for agreement, because my subconscious is mine own and might think and perform differently from yours for good measure)

Q: Reflections, when ugly, are never the mirror’s fault. It is the fault of the “object” and the “light” that reflects off it at a bad angle. But you do need the mirror to show that to you. Unless you choose to never look in the mirror. Is that wise, though?
A: Not at all. Though, if in your search for ugly reflections, you’re missing out on the beautiful ones, then you’re defeating the whole purpose of reflections and probably should stop it right away! Or, look for the beautiful ones instead and see how they weigh against the ugly ones. Whatever you do, make sure the outcome is a good one. Else, don’t attempt it. It gives you no returns in the long run.

Q: Looking back at the past and drawing lines to the present…is that a good thing to do? Does reflecting on the past and regretting not acting on a certain intuition then…make it sensible to consider that decision now?
A: Yes, it is a great thing to do to help you spot potholes from afar and steer away from them. But unless the people, situations and feeling are the exact same now as they were then, that decision from then is irrelevant in the now. It’s got to be a fresh, well thought out one that will consider and help you brace against impact from all angles.

Q: Are intuitions any good, or is it just a fancy term for a comparison at different levels? Are they just bad feelings to brush off with Hope and Faith, or are they things needing serious thought?
A: Intuitions are good, to be listened to. They’re not fancy or to be brushed off at any time. Please, always listen. Never walk into something you have doubts about. If you’re not convinced, don’t do it.

Q: How much, what kind and when is it OK to forgive? If you cannot forget, what’s the point in forgiving, when memory serves to rekindle the same feelings many times over? How genuine, then, is that forgiveness…and how fruitful?
A: If it didn’t include physical abuse/violence and deliberate false accusations/character assassination, the rest could be considered forgivable. This is a matter of personal choice, of course. But broadly, if it is in someone’s character to accept fault and be corrected, then they deserve that chance at forgiveness. But, just one chance. It’s good to not forget, because if life slaps you in the face again, you know what and how you survived previously. It makes you stronger, wiser. Forgetting something is not in anyone’s immediate control, but the forgiveness can be truly genuine if it is from the heart, with no unhealthy intentions…and highly fruitful in salvaging a lot that matters in life.

Q: How can you weigh the unknown repercussions of your decisions against your future happiness? What if your intuition fails you and you don’t take what could have been the best decision of your life?
A: Everyone knows the answer to this 🙄 It’s the future we’re talking about! Don’t, and you can’t, plan it.

Q: How trustworthy can today’s promises be, when tomorrow is a whole new day?
A: Go ahead and trust – it will do you good. It does make you vulnerable, yes, but not if you’re in the right hands. So, before you call on your heart and trust someone (again), call on your mind and make that smart assessment of whose promises will be kept and whose will not. But please, do trust. For people cannot rip open their hearts and show you that they mean it – they can only tell you and hope for your trust.

Q: Does anyone know how the scalded cat, that feared even cold water, finally got over its fear? Is fear a good reason to not believe?
A: Well, this is a secret of my species; I’m not really allowed to divulge it to your kind. But for you, and only for you, I shall. We just got thirsty. Think about it…if we relied on fear as a good reason to believe that water (in all forms) was going to burn us, we’d have all died of thirst and become extinct. So, no – fear is never a good reason to not believe; fact is.

Q: In an attempt to stay positive, is it wise to brush the unknown, unexpected and unhappy under the carpet?
A: No. Well, the unknown and unexpected are not in your control. The unhappy, however, is. Goes a little back to the first question, really. But if the attempt to stay positive is supported by fact, faith, trust and hope, then maybe (just maybe) brush it under for now. Because, there will always be an opportunity to lift that carpet and clean it up for good.

Q: How late is too late?
A: It’s never too late, for anything. No decision you take is the final decision of your life, unless it is to take your life itself. Which I, as your subconscious, will never let you do: because your life is mine too…and I am, because you are.

If there is one thing I’m grateful for in life, it is my subconscious🙂 What would I do without you!?