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!

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Day 16: Go Set A Watchman

This is not a book review. I’m terrible at writing book reviews, so I shall not.

This is about the feeling I was left with when I’d finished the book. And for once, I can’t find the right words to express them.

To Kill A Mocking Bird shall always remain in my Top 5 favourites. The reason I loved TKAMB was because I identified a lot with Scout and loved her. I was also a huge fan of Atticus. But mainly, Scout. The tomboy that she was. The way her brother was her best friend. The way her father was no nonsense, yet loving. The way she was always with boys.

So, when I picked this one up, I was prepared to not like it enough. I had believed the reviews fellow readers gave. I’d played down my expectations and was ready to turn the last page over and think “Just did not do justice to the first one”.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I loved Go Set A Watchman for a lot of different reasons, Scout and Atticus being the prime ones. I shall not list them all here because I honestly don’t know how to word those, and I won’t do any justice.

All I know is, I loved the experience of reading this book. I read and re-read some portions because the sheer awesomeness brought tears to my eyes. I sat with a pencil and marked out some really touching parts. I read a certain bit and hugged Pumbaa tight. I typed out a particular bit and texted that to my brother. I thought back to my childhood and smiled fondly. I missed Achan a lot – a LOT. I felt immense gratitude to my parents for bringing me up the way I was brought up. I wanted to curl up inside the book and be at peace ❤

I will always love it for the many pearls of wisdom I picked out and stowed away in a far corner of my mind. I’ll leave you with these…

The Lord never sends you more than you can bear.

This helps me have that bit of extra faith to stop me from giving up…

Sometimes we have to kill a little so we can live.

…and this convinces me that while to err is human, to forgive can also be human; it doesn’t always take divinity.

Because finally,

…every man’s watchman, is his conscience.

Day 15: What was it that I wanted to blog about?

If you’ve been following my random nonsense for a while now, you know I’m a very prospective candidate for the Alzheimer’s Association.

On Day 13, while at office, I thought of something and said to myself “Ooooh I must blog about this today”. I came home, and by the time I sat to blog, had completely forgotten what it was. 🙄

Day 14, same thing happened. I remembered the topic and I went “Yes! That was what I wanted to blog about. Today is the day.” And I forgot. In any case, yesterday I was too tired to rack my brain too much. 🙄  🙄

Today, at work, approximately around 2.15 p.m., I thought of this again. And I told myself to jot it down so I won’t forget by night (and then I promptly forgot to jot it down) 🙄 🙄 🙄 And now, I’ve racked my already wrecked brain for such a long time;  I even went back to my office mail, checked what I was doing at that time, checked my WhatsApp chats, everything. Zilch. I just can’t figure it out!

What was it? Bah! No peace of mind till I remember it.

Now I have this feeling, when I finally remember it and do begin to write about it, I’ll realise it’s no biggie. Sigh. You’ve guessed by now I’ve been through before, haven’t you?

Off topic: Damn, now I’ve forgotten what that was, also!

Such a senseless post. Chatting on WhatAapp with two senseless friends about highly senseless (though wishful) things 😛 With kind of discussions we have about the improbability of impossibility, I think my brain’s overused, which is the reason for all the forgetfulness 😀 One of them is worse than me. The other one – we got to initiate her into the club.

Ooooh – remembered the off topic. Is there nothing as NaBloPoHaMo? Where Ha stands for “Half”!? Question asked for obvious reasons. And today is Day 15, anyway. Just saying!

Day 13: Phone like a baby…

If I have a principle in life I’ve stuck to for the past 32 years (OK fine…past 9 years, since the time they entered my life), it is to not spend over Rs 10,000/- for a phone.

My first phone was a Sony and I’ve been loyal ever since. Give how utterly butterly are my fingers, owing to which I drop everything way too often, one can easily put together the logic behind that life principle 😛 If I drop a phone and smash it to death, I don’t want to be weeping too much over it. And I do that a lot. The dropping, not the weeping.

In any case, the mobile phone and I aren’t the best of friends.

So yes, my first one was a Sony Walkman series the brother brought from Singapore. I fell in love with it. It was about Rs 10,000 in 2007, I think. It served me well. It was a tiny phone, sat snugly in my tiny palm. I used it for 4.5 years. It went through a lot of abuse — falling off stairs, being run over by a car, chewed on by Pumbaa Nayar and so on and so forth.

I bought the next one myself when the existing one begged me to kill it and give it a decent burial as well. That cost me Rs 10,000 or so. I used it for a few months. I lost it on a bus, when I went to Goa to do some serious thinking-by-the-beach about life’s complexities and human existence 😛 So, as soon as I got back to Bangalore, I bought the exact same phone for another Rs 10,000. Sigh. It served me well. It was a tiny phone, sat snugly in my tiny palm. I used it for almost 1.5 years. This one went through not as much abuse as the first one, but had its fair share of falls, scratches and dents (and a chip off as well, if I remember right).

Till it got kidnapped. Literally.

Someone who knew very well my deep-seated HATE for Samsung phones and surprises alike, gave me a terrible surprise by exchanging my much-loved Sony phone for a Samsung S4! Ugh! And, as if that wasn’t enough, gave it to me as an advance birthday gift (insult to injury) aaaaaand made me pay for it as well (vile abuses to insult to injury)! That one cost me Rs 45,000/-, of which Rs 6,000 was paid for with my dear Sony’s life. But since I was not the one that bought it, I continued to hate and never care about it. The damn thing fell once and died! I had to revive it since it was too new and I was still paying the damn EMI 😛 Then the damn thing fell again, and again, and again so many times. Till it died on its own in good time and I rejoiced! It was too big for my tiny palm, and would never sit snugly. Ugh. I hated it and I hated it so much! But I used it for 1.5 years and abused it so much so it would die soon and I wouldn’t feel so bad about throwing it in a dumpster. (Though I meant to exchange it and get some money out of the damn thing, it miraculously disappeared from my life – thank the Lord!) I don;t want to go into depth about the kinds of abuse this one went through, and I was always overjoyed 😛

I then again bought a Sony phone, this time for just Rs 8,000/- and was very pleased with myself. It was a tiny phone, sat snugly in my tiny palm. I meant to take good care of it, but on Day 2, it fell onto tarred road and got scratched all over. Sigh. And once there appears one scratch, the rest keep coming. I used it for over a year. (Hmmm…interesting trend of usage duration.)

And now, I have bought another Sony phone, which, for the first time, does NOT sit snugly in my tiny palm. It is longish, and looks lovely, with matt-finish edges and back and a shiny screen. And, it cost me Rs 16,000/-. Not at alll in line with my phone-related life principle! For someone sooooooooo not used to taking care of a phone, I have this urge in me to take good care of it and to keep it looking as good as new.  Two years later, I want to be able to “puthan aaittu iruppundu” (looks as good as new!) to someone who says that a lot 😉

I am extra careful about not getting any scratches on it. I keep it on soft surfaces always. At work, I lay it on a folded tissue paper, lest the backside gets soft scratches 😛 At home, it’s always on the bed (never ever on a hard surface).

And I am, therefore, in perpetual paranoia that I will drop it!  Utterly butterly still are my fingers, and since this doesn’t even sit snugly anymore, I’m super scared. Since when have I become so careful of a phone, I do not know, but I am. I searched all over here for a cover, but looks like they no longer have covers for Sony phones 😛 I think my only option is to get one of those very girly phone pouches. I’d rather die 😛 I checked on Amazon, but they don’t deliver to Kuwait. I’ll have to wait till end of December now. Sigh.

I live in paranoia the rest of the year. Unless it falls before that and gets that first scratch on it. Damn, I cannot claim the puthan aaittu irippundu dialogue if that happens!

I know very well that if this phone cost me only nearabouts Rs 10,000, I wouldn’t be so careful.

Secretly, I like the fact that I’m being as careful as I am now (am I growing up?).

And that’s because, ever since I came to Kuwait, my phone has become quite a close ally, one I’d be lost without 😛 😛 😛

Day 11: The insides of a Ghost

…are amazing. It will make you feel like you’re floating, that you’re surrounded with awesomeness, that you’re “above” everyone else. It will make you feel like you’re being held and comforted by hands that do not really touch you, yet you feel the cozyness so well that it makes you want to hold on for ever. It will suck you up into an alter world and when it is time to leave, make you want to cling on and never get back to reality.

The insides of a Ghost are beyond awesome: a feeling I do not have enough words to express.

I grew up with boys. Till I was about 6-7, I was constantly in the company of my brother, and whenever we cousins got together, it was all boys. Then I moved with parents and brother to Guruvayur, which then turned out to be the BEST TWO formative years of my childhood. And there as well, all my friends were my brother’s friends.

We played cricket and 7 stones and all sorts of boyish (and sometimes quite violent :P) games. When we came back to Trivandrum, though I did make some girlfriends, most of my “everyday” company were my brother’s friends. When my favourite cousins came from Qatar once a year, the “games” were mostly re-enacting “the WWF”. And they took it rather seriously (that it was all staged on TV wasn’t something we figured too easily).

Therefore, I was always a tomboy. A big part of me still am and always will. A few dear friends of mine will vociferously vouch for this fact (and that’s a while other post!) I still remember the highpoint of tomboyness — going to UB City, Bangalore, once…and while the friends were going crazy window shopping at Louis Vuittons and the likes, I was in the basement parking, going gaga at all the awesome cars parked there 😛

Which probably is why, when we once went for a wedding reception at the Royal Orchid Hotel in Bangalore, in 2010, while Amma was ogling at the grandeur of the place and sparkle of the event (read dresses, saris, jewellery, shoes, etc.) that the other pretty women turned up in, I was ogling at a Rolls-Royce Phantom parked proudly outside. I had to then be physically shepherded inside by Amma (it was her best friend’s son’s wedding). I made a mental note to take a pic on the way back.

I’m not the kind with the patience for weddings and those elaborate parties, yet I deliberately delayed leaving the wedding hall, to make sure there will be as much space and calm around the Phantom when we leave. I had great hopes. I was already imagining sharing that photo with a few of my friends and the subsequent conversations after that. Needless to say, none of that worked out the way it should have!

On the way out, I gave the camera to Achan and asked him to click a few awesome shots. I made a bee line to the Phantom (did not even lean on it like it was mine – bah!) and turned around just in time to see one watchman shaking his head and spewing random Kannada syllables to Achan. Another one was walking straight toward me. He shooed me away. Literally. He said “Shooo…(blah blah blah in Kannada) go…no no no“. Ugh. I made another (highly improbable) mental note of someday going back and taking that pic!

Last month, Achan called me up and said a close friend of his from the good old “Lions Club” days of Trivandrum is in Kuwait. He gave me the phone number and told me to reconnect.

Wilson Uncle was someone I saw once a month till I was about 4 years old, I guess. I had a very vague memory of him being this bespectacled man who used to joke that I’m his girlfriend and that he was going to marry me 😛 I was always terrified of him and potently shy! He was 23 at that time. Every time I saw him, I would shriek and flee! And now, nearly 30 years later, I was meeting him again. And what a meeting that was. I had expected there to be awkward silences and nothing much to talk about, but I had a fabulous few hours!

And the highlight of the meeting: He is the one who introduced me to the insides of a Ghost!

Before picking me up, when he told me to watch for a “blue and white car”, I expected anything but a Rolls-Royce Ghost, of the most amazing blue! My jaw hit floor, and then once I got my bearings back, I hop, skipped and jumped across the road and got inside the most amazing car! 😀 Needless to say, I was too overjoyed to maintain any kind of social behaviour that will fall in the “appropriate” category. I became a complete “jolly villager” and went “Is this your car!? Oooh!” 😀 And when he nodded in the affirmative, went further ahead asking “Your own car, or company car?” He had the most amused expression before he said “own car alright”. 😀 When we stopped for lunch and he switched off the engine, the Spirit of Ecstasy retracted into the bonnet, and I even went “Oh where did that thing go!? 😮” Fine – I didn’t know it worked like that, ok! 🙄

When I got off the car after a rather amazing ride, I was reminded of the watchman who shooed me off from near the Phantom. And here I was, feeling giddy after having sat in another version of the  after-world beings. In your face, Mr Security. In. Your. Face! Ha!

With age comes maturity, and therefore I took no pics. Errr fine – I already told you I was on jolly villager mode. I have a crappy phone, which would do no justice to the photo (plus I am completely camera allergic and I am yet to find a camera that will like what it sees!)

Therefore, the only pics I took were with my eyes. And they’re uploaded on to a special folder in my brain. No share option there. Sad, I know. I’m secretly hoping he will offer to meet again, and come in the Ghost. I will make sure I have a pic of myself behind the wheel 😉

It was an amazing feeling, and I thanked my Achan profusely (but only after duly pulling his leg about where is an Alto and where is a Rolls-Royce) for making a dream like that come true. This is totally why he is the awesomestestest! 😉

insidesofaghost

The insides of a Ghost…as spectacular as its outsides!

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 8: Back Where I BeLOnG!

When I set out to take on the NaBloPoMo Challenge, I had not blogged in 2.5 years. Not weeks or months, but years! And I was taking on a commitment to blogging every single day for the next 30 days!

Knowing myself fully well, I was near sure I’d give up right before I was due to begin, especially given the highly unfavourable conditions I was under 😛

A week into the challenge, I’ve not failed.

  • Have I been blogging the way I used to long ago? No.
  • Have I been taking my time to write a good draft, then review it and make sure it reads well to my liking? No.
  • Have I been linking to other blogs and following some of those basic blogging etiquette? No.
  • Have I been posting any pictures at all, which I once used to religiously do along with (almost) every post? No.
  • Have I been reading other bloggers’ posts and commenting? No. (Except, today I did, quite a lot — and made me realise what a lot of amazing content I’m missing out on by not doing it more consistently!)
  • Have I been writing from the sheer joy of writing, rather than to fulfil a commitment? No.

But.

  • Have I been enjoying the past one week I spent in this much-loved space? YES!
  • Have I been grateful to Swaram for pulling me in? YES!
  • Have I been glad to get out my hibernation? YES!
  • Have I been happy to get Back Where I BeLOnG? YES, YES, YES!

It’s not easy, getting back to something you’ve been so out of touch with. Takes grit, will and an enormous amount of convincing self to go ahead with it. The first time I attempted it, it brought back a loving heart into my life. The next time I did something like this, I LOVED it. And now, this.

I think I ought to revisit my life and see if there is anything I decided not to walk headlong into just because I’d thought it would be tough 😛 I’m sure as hell to love it and be glad for taking the plunge. I guess when the negativity flows out of your life and leaves all that space free, good things automatically begin journeying towards you to fill up that void. Truly, “Acche Din” are here 😉

And that’s especially true today, for other obvious (but rarely) patriotic reasons! I’m still dazed (it happened) and amazed (yay, it happened) at the end of the 500-1000 saga! It’s against my personal blog policies to dwell on serious political/economic issues in this space, so I shall not. But I really cant help being overjoyed, and yet still amazed it actually is happening! Such a radical move. Bravo!