I am in this vague Friday mode and I ended up reading these beautiful pieces on blogs that I really wanted to comment upon but cannot cos internet policy which is weird because what confidential stuff can you share while commenting on a blog about Potty training that you can’t via email? But reading beautiful stuff inspires me to write because I have realized that it is actually very easy to inspire me.

Let me elaborate. Like yesterday, while I was getting ready for work, way earlier than I am required to because a) I am required very late at work and till very late at work these days what with the end of Day Light savings and all (which I don’t get bloody hell the west thinks it’s cool to change the clocks and not their lazy habits and us Third world types have kindly adjust as always) and b) Because having a baby with a body clock matching her father’s whose body clock matches I don’t know whose but it definitely wakes them up with the first rays of the sun, means you cannot stick to your old “I wake up an hour before I need to leave” routine.

Yeah, so I was up and I was savoring my bowl of oats (Kellogg’s Tomato Salsa. Add some salt. I also added like 5 olives chopped up, and bits of wax pepper which is like this bottled pickled pepper like a cross between Jalapenos and gherkins and absolutely delicious if you’re into that kind of stuff. End result but Oh My God deliciousness!), and wanted to watch something on TV, which is usually Master Chef Australia from the last night/week, but I have been watching it Live for a while now, so I had to pick something else. So I picked “The Devil wears Prada” one of the best ever movies which I can watch a hundred times. And I watched like 30 mins of it and I was like ‘I just CANNOT wear that boring but highly comfortable Kurta to work man, Fashion, style, oh come on, I have to dress smarter’ so I switched to a flattering sweater and trousers. You see, inspired. Like I said, it is easy to inspire me.

Ditto for Work outs and all. This one’s tougher, because it needs more effort than walking to the cupboard and picking new clothes. So every time I see someone stick to their workout routine religiously, I am like I have to start tomorrow! Suddenly the running, the breathlessness and sweating seems extremely glamorous and movie-like sexy (yes I know, SUCH a fake picture). It is a different matter though that when you wake up at 6:45 AM the bed seems much sexier, but here again Zo comes to my rescue by being all awake and bright eyed in a jiffy. And frankly, the thought of ‘trying’ to sleep while she peels your eyelids apart screaming “Wake up! It’s morning!’ is less appealing than walking around in the cool breeze, music in my years, not a worry in the world.

Again, fake, unfair picture. I mean who walks around without a worry – about the little girl counting minutes to when you are getting back standing in the balcony, about the mails you checked on the Blackberry, about stuff in general because you can’t stop worrying in general. But anyway, I do enjoy that time, even though these days it means doing a pre-round with Zo, where she promises she’ll let me walk while she plays, except when she is sliding or running or looking for seeds or chasing pigeons, which is when she wants my company. But end of day, we have a routine. And we have the time to stick to the routine.

The only place in inspiration doesn’t strike, actually it does strike but it never works is when it comes to eating. So every time I hear someone say that they’re off sugar, or salt, or carbs I am like WHA! I can never be off anything, even cabbage which I hate but will definitely crave if I go off it. Also, when people have chocolates lying in their refrigerator I am totally shocked because come on! You cannot have chocolate LYING without being consumed, it’s blasphemous. I do try to moderate my eating, and restrict it to a bar a day, and tell myself that it is worth that ease with which I get into jeans a size smaller. And then as I watch Masterchef Australia and watch the judges destroy dessert after dessert, I get spiritual. You know the mode like what is all this moh-maaya. Who cares if you’re size 28 or 30? Happiness matters. And at that moment, happiness is in that second bar of chocolate in the fridge. And the third. And the fourth. You know what I mean.

Well, I am ok with the current scenario, you know I still get inspired at least, whether I do something about it or choose to scroll down my Twitter timeline 100 times an hour is secondary and something out of my control (I believe).

As long as sometimes, just sometimes, I take this half hour out, and ensure, that you are party to the jumble that’s my thoughts.


Hello! Do not go away! That unread item on your reader is actually a new post. Yes, I know I wrote yesterday. Yes, I know this is weird. Yes, I know there is a vague possibility that PETA has finally hacked my blog and decided to write about cruelty to animals as posts, instead of spamming my comments section (Seriously guys, you can give it a break. I NEVER check the links you send).

But they haven’t. I am here because my mother who reads my blog read my post yesterday and went “Oh My God! Are you alright? What happened? Is everything ok? Why do you sound so philosophical, Dear Lord the devil has taken over my daughter SAVE HER, SOMEBODY!”

Ok it wasn’t this dramatic but it definitely made me want to come back and write some more. Real stuff ok, as in stuff that matters. Like Zo is 3. *Insert exaggerated expression of shock here* (which should be equal to or more than what you can see on the face of MasterChef Australia season 6 contestant Emily, every time ANYTHING is “revealed”. K serials should hire her.) Three is big people. It’s like I had to turn the “Baby on Board” sign on the car to “Child on Board” officially. Three is shockingly big. It is “Mummy, I was wondering where you were, I was so worried about you” when mummy returns from a 5 minute trip to the loo. It is “You said NO screaming” when you scold her for licking sugar off the plate like a puppy. It is sulking in a corner saying “Nobody’s giving ME huggies and kissies” when you sneak in a hug with The Dude. It is “Give me the phone, I’ll take a selfie”. Like I said, it is BIG. In capital letters.

Zo’s third birthday was a small affair at school where she cut cake and gave out chocolates along with strict instructions to all recipients that “no opening the chocolate until you have finished your snack”. There was a follow up celebration at home with just us and the Grandparents. The birthday dress was a midnight blue “with stars”, an explanation which worked in steering her off pink, not that I have any issues with her love for the color but Godammit I need more shades in her cupboard. She maintained her usual Rockstar Diva avatar, preening around, announcing to all and sundry that “Aaj mera Budday hai”, something she does once a week on an average in general.

Zo has an amazing understanding of things around her now. I was all set to go for my morning walk today (yes, I started, yesterday, pray for me) and she was obviously up, thanks to the Dude’s genes she carries. I told her in the most grown up manner that I’d be gone for a half hour and then get back to ready her for school. She responded extremely politely saying “ Accha, tab tak mai Aaji ke saath kheloon?” I said yes. To which she said “Ok. But give me a TIGHT huggie and kissie before going!” I went all Awww and obliged and left. When I returned, I narrated the incident to my mother in law, in front of Zo, upto the bit where she asked for the hug and kiss. And Zo, who was busy doing her own thing till then, turned around, and said, “And then Mummy said Awwwwww”! To say I was shocked was an understatement cos come on, to be cute is normal, but to know that you’re cute, unbelievable.

That being said, managing a kid is tough. And at many points I wondered where does one learn parenting from? How do you know what the right thing to do or say is? I mean, we all know it gets tough to agree to the fact that your mom and dad were right once you grow up, so following their theories blindly doesn’t happen. But how do you form your own theories? And I realize, the answer is, magic! Ok, not so much magic, as much as it is convenience. I realized this when we were walking around a garden and Zo was running in front. There were wet patches and I kept repeating that she should not step into the water. And I thought to myself, why was I doing this? It’s not that stepping in the water was that bad a thing? In fact, if my mom said that when I was a kid, I would think what the big deal was really. It was a bit of water, it wouldn’t make me ill, or drench me.  But I was still saying it involuntarily. And that was because, if she did step in the water, there was a minute chance of it screwing up her shoes, and that might seep into her socks and then I would have to wash all that, and it wouldn’t dry in time to be packed so I would have to keep it in a separate plastic packet and carry it home and it would stink and it would mean I would have unpack immediately when we reach and Oh My God I would rather she DOES NOT step into the water all! So I kept saying it. And it worked. So there. Parenting 101 for you. If you didn’t find it helpful, atleast it can give you an ego boost, that you’re definitely doing a better job that this mom here. You’re welcome.

There’s more, ofcourse there’s more. Zo stories and gyan and general blah. But I will dole it out in phases because too much of awesomeness after a drought can be too much to handle no? So hang on, stick around, and do not give up as yet. Things can only get better. Ok?


It’s a wonderful life, kinda

I recently tweeted that I spend 3/4th of my life doing stuff that ensures that I am able to do the remaining 1/4th , by which I meant my weekends and vacations. I stood by that statement, quite strongly; till I read this.

 “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” @SethGodinBlog

 Usually, inspirational, motivational quotes put me off completely, so I’m judging those making the quotes, those circulating them, and those who follow them. Especially the people who apparently realize that these generic statements resonate with their life and then try to conclude that whatever fucked up shit is happening with them is meant to be and happens to everyone, and will sort itself out someday, and I’m like SHUT UP AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, IT’S NOT GOING AWAY.

 Anyway, vent out apart, my point is, I think stuff like that is flaff. However, this quote did what those motivational quotes seem to do to the rest of the world, it resonated with me. And in the same “Oh, he is talking about me” sort of way, only it did not make me feel better about my situation. Instead it said, “Not cool. Nuh-huh. You think you have your life and priorities laid out? Really? Take this.” And I felt very very sorry about myself.

 Which brings me back to the fact that I do need to set up my life in general. Considering the audience of the blog I do not think that I need to worry about responses like “What do you want to set up! Everything is so exactly how it should be for you!” I think that at every point in life, I tend to let the most prominent thing takeover beyond how much it should be taking over. And then I lazily amble back into this zone, which is not comfortable, not really nice, but has this big cloud encasing it, labelled “This is my excuse for not doing what I enjoy”. This time, that thing is work.

 Work and its issues seem to have taken over my life in such an aggressive manner that I flounder to spot life beyond it. My other love, Twitter, which used to annoy the Dude quite a bit, with my constant scrolling down the timeline, suddenly became a relief for him. As in, ‘Oh you’re checking Twitter, I was worried it was the Blackberry again’. Even little Zo is ok with Mumma checking the white phone, but not the black phone. The blinking red LED has become what it is meant to be, a danger sign.

That being said, I have to admit that I like what I do now. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of pride, and actually makes me realize that I am good at this stuff. However monotonous, however routine, this is stuff that I can manage, pretty well. The downside is I make the stress my cocoon, and refuse to get outside of it and, like it says above, live.

 I have stopped working out. So much that I danced around with Zo some days ago for like 10 minutes and all my bones ache at the moment. So much for the 20 minutes of running I did 2 years ago (without stopping, it was a big deal). I have stopped listening to music, which is so strange. Because before phones were allowed on the floor my worry was how I would keep up with my music. And now, I don’t even bother to know what the latest music releases are. I don’t even check out my favorite MTunes HD, though there I assume part of the issue is the love of my television-life MasterChef Australia. And then ofcourse, the blog. I just cannot seem to write. At all. Anything sensible, even remotely. Which also explains why I have been missing all this while.

 Then, we went on a vacation last week. A 9 day road trip from Pune to Delhi and back, via Chittorgarh, Jaipur, Udaipur and Baroda, a total of 3600 kilometers. Yes, with Zo. *Pause for applause* It was lovely, like vacations are, by default. There was a lot of time spent on the road (ofcourse), and the times I was not sleeping, or entertaining Zo, there were these phases of solitude, however brief, where I actually stared out of the window with nothing to distract me.

 And I spent some of this time contemplating how I could get some order about. I know I can’t change myself when it comes to work, it’s an ingrained thing. I am a chronic worrier. So the next best thing is to keep myself so busy, so busy, that I forget that should be fretting about the number of unread items in my inbox. Atleast when I am not at work. That way, I will be doing stuff I should be doing instead of feeling sorry for myself. And that way, I wouldn’t have to go on a vacation every time to make sense of things.

 It is easier said than done, I know. But I think giving it a shot is necessary. And better now than later, when I would still be doing the same thing, perhaps after another road-trip which again gives me time to think. And whenever I find myself deviating from this optimistic plan of making the most of everything, I will close my eyes and refer back to my happy place – with the long winding roads, the sound of the wheels on the tar, the sunset at a distance, music in the background, and the breeze in my hair.

Like a shot straight out of Instagram. #nofilters

Present Sir!

I am not typing this on a word doc as I usually do. Instead I am using the new post page on WordPress. This is because if I don’t do that, this post will end up incomplete, unpublished like all the other posts have been recently. So I am assuming that if I type it here I will be forced to publish whatever shit I write. Haha, like that’s possible.

So before we head on to more important things like what’s kept me busy, couple of nice things happened. Like this.

Femina 2

Yes, so the review I wrote for Femina got picked and they did this itty-bitty introduction of me in the magazine in print and had me pretty chuffed for a few days. Until one day I arranged for a Collage competition at work and people were busily cutting through magazines and one of them came across this. Said person shared it with EVERYONE in his group and finally, added it on the collage itself for the whole floor to see. Now thing is, this means free publicity, which I do not dislike, but I personally do not share my blog with people at work. But this has happened now so I have no clue who among those who know me here read me now, but if you got here through the collage, hi there! Now you know why I don’t talk of the blog at work!

The other nice thing was Aarya nominating me for the Liebster award (again! but this time in pink!) thereby spoiling me for attention. Thank you girl!


There was also a tag of questions, which I swear I started answering on my last draft, but I realised that I fell asleep somewhere in between which scared me, because I can’t have you all sleep when you read me, please. Especially since I have become so infrequent, I am sure some of you have removed me from your reader *Sad face*.

Anyway, getting back to the ‘important’ topic of what kept me away. Let’s pause here, build some anticipation, take a deep breath, and here goes.


I mean seriously, nothing. No big trips, the usual work, the usual Zo, the usual life. So why was I away. Hmm. Let me think. I think it’s cos I’m a helluva lazy bugger. I mean seriously. Zo sleeps by 10 on most days and I never do before 11, so I don’t have that excuse as well. I have just been so busy doing irrelevant things, that I haven’t blogged. Or commented. I read though, in my defense. Plus this twitter business has gotten out of hand. For me, it’s like blogging was in 2009 – out of hand, constant refreshes, constant commenting, conversations. Oh My God. And Twitter is crazier because all you need is the darn mobile, and you can make it the first and last thing you do each day.

Except it is not. The first and last thing I see each day is my Blackberry, a curse bestowed upon mankind. It is one thing to be constantly connected, but itsn’t good for people who do not know where to draw the line. I think I know I crossed it when Zo asks me to play with her but also adds – ‘phone mat lana‘ everytime. Bad mommy. Very bad.

Ok, so that was that. I came here just to mark my attendance so that you don’t forget me altogether cos that would break my heart. Blogging is still my first love and I really hope that I give up on the distractions and get more regular again before I am stored off as defunct, or inactive on Readers, or worse still, removed. So yes guys, rejoice, there’s hope! For me that is, yours just got smashed.

We’ll be back.


Peace out

I am a staunch believer in revenge. As in, I think it absolutely makes sense to return the malice or hatred someone doles out to you intentionally. I also believe in Karma, but for an impatient soul like me, waiting for her to strike back at morons who do bad to me, doesn’t cut it. Also, the poor thing has so many people to get back at, I believe in lending her a helping hand and doing the dirty work myself.

I am also very particular about giving back the exact same portions of ‘love’ to the one you’ve received it from. For me, ‘an eye for an eye’ is the concept that rules my actions. And to the additional piece of wisdom doled out by Mahatma Gandhi (or as Sonam Kapoor said – Robert De Niro), I would just say that I would obviously prefer a blind world to one where I am sitting moping in a dark room, while the evil guy who poked my eye is watching a movie and thinking – Thank God for Gandhi. Erm, thanks, but I don’t think so?

Fortunately, for the recipients, life hasn’t given me enough opportunities of physical reciprocation and most of my getting back has been bitter (albeit classy, ok, sometimes not so classy) remarks in response to personal comments that I do not appreciate. Words I wouldn’t utter otherwise, things I wouldn’t say. Things I believe are true but too nasty to mention. Things I do not believe at all but saying them seems right because the person who hurt me deserves them. Sometimes immediately, mostly as an afterthought, because God hasn’t granted me a quick retort system.

But there have been a few cases where I have actually gotten back in action.

One such situation I remember very clearly, more so because my mother does, and quotes it every time she thinks I have rage issues, which I don’t, is from when I was back in the B-school. So our hostel being in Kerala had those sloping, tiled roofs, and on the highest level of each hostel building was the washing area. By which I mean 3 fully automatic front load washing machines were placed in this area (very posh and smart investment I think) and also several clothes lines to dry the almost dry clothes that came out. These 3 machines were to be used by the 40+ students residing in said building.

Anyway, the process we followed was, take your clothes and detergents to the top, load the available washing machine, start it, and then place the empty bucket next to it before leaving. Reason being, the cycle would go on for about 90 minutes, and most of us would put the clothes in before leaving for class. In the meantime, if someone else comes up and the run has completed, by default, they would put the clothes out in the bucket and load theirs. You could dry your set when you were back. All fair.

Back to said day, I had put my clothes for a run first thing in the morning, when all the machines were empty and there were only day old dry clothes on the clothes line and left for class. I returned probably around 4 hours later. Now on a regular day this would mean that assuming someone else walked in to wash their clothes after mine were done, my damp clothes would be in the bucket. But no.

My clothes were on the floor. And they were not damp, they were soaking wet. Which was weird, because as far as I knew you could not unlock the door, until the cycle was complete, till the drying bit. But someone had managed to open the door midway through my wash. Not only that, they had unceremoniously dumped my clothes on the ground instead of in the bucket.

I swear I saw red. I say this because the next few minutes passed quite fast. So I did a quick survey to see that at the moment, the other two machines were occupied and running. Also, the machine I had used was empty. Which meant that the person who emptied the machine had used it (most probably) and had also removed their clothes. Probably.

Which meant said clothes would actually be on the clothes line now. I did not wait to analyse any further, but blindly pulled down all the clothes in a semi dry state off the clothes line and dumped them on the floor which was quite wet. I then took additional pains to crumple them, stomp on them, and only when I felt a bit relieved did I stop to put my clothes back in the machine for a second wash. This time of course I kept time.

I really didn’t bother to find out who did it, or whose clothes I screwed up, or if I was right in my half-baked theories to assume the attacked clothes were actually the right ones. It was more for satisfaction for the moment and it worked amazingly well.

Moral of the story is there is no moral of the story. The thing is, I still think what I did was right. The thing is that if the same thing happened again today, I would do exactly the same thing, perhaps a little better because now I know the situation. The thing is when Zo comes back and tells me someone hit her at school, my first reaction is to ask her if she hit the kid back because God forbid she gets bullied, but I bite it back and ask her if she told the teacher. And when she says she did but the teacher did not say anything (which could be true, or not), I ask her if she hit the kid back anyway.

I wonder if that makes me a bad parent, but honestly, I don’t care if it does. I know, one might think that is wrong, this is what is wrong with the world. But no, as long as we are venting out at the person who caused us pain in the first place, it is justified in my case. Because how much ever Zen you are, what goes in, will somehow come out. Better hit the person it is intended for, than a random by passer. And yes, while I understand that stooping to low levels just because someone else did doesn’t make sense to many, if it hurts me personally, I would rather get it out of my system than bottle it up hoping and wishing that in some manner the universe will fix things for me. It’s just so much faster, and more convenient.

And it’s also the only way I can sleep peacefully at night.

Of summer vacations and mangoes

A couple of months ago, Femina announced the launch of their Book Club (on Facebook) , where they called out to bloggers who were interested in reading and reviewing recently released titles. Since I am quite fond of the magazine, and participating meant getting new books to read, if your blog was selected, I reached out to them, and voila! In some time, I got a mail saying I was now a part of the Femina Book Club panel and I was one happy cookie! The very next day the book arrived – Ruskin Bond’s Love Among The Bookshelves. 

Love Among The Bookshelves is Ruskin Bond’s memoir and my first book by the author. It traces his journey into the world of books through his childhood, teens, until his early 20s. Narrated in a simple, free-flowing language, these memories are interspersed with excerpts from the writings of the authors he talks about, beautifully blending with his perception of them. So you get to revisit the likes of PG Wodehouse, HE Bates, Somerset Maugham and Charles Dickens.

However, what sets this book apart is that fact that it forces you into the recesses of your own memories—of summer vacations and air coolers, of Roohafza and mangoes. And the books, which made up your childhood and went on to establish you as a reader.

I am not much of a non-fiction reader, but I could glide through this book effortlessly. My biggest takeaway from it was a reinforcement of the fact that one can never read ‘enough’ because there are numerous titles, authors and genres out there, waiting to be explored. The book very helpfully ends with a list of authors and their works, which Ruskin Bond deems his favourites. And it makes you want to make a list of your own, from the past, and especially for the future.

My list is ready, and Mr Bond is right at the top of it.

Book Club

June baraabar June

You have to believe me when I say that I have started a post multiple times in this last month and none of them ever got published because, well, because I can get moronic about what goes out on here. Before you even mentally make a any remark bordering on ‘this is what comes out after screening?’, I will quickly divert your attention to the nicer things that have happened!

Like this lovely award from the equally lovely Shweta! And might I add in a moment of immodesty, the second time it has been passed on to me, making it all the more precious!

So of course accepting the award had it’s set of rules to be followed, of which I only adhered to the questions bit last time. I thought of doing the same thing this time around as well, and when I started answering the questions, Around question no. 3 I realized that my post had started sounding very much like an inspirational speech by Mata Divyamayi and this point, combined with how my frequency here has dwindled to less than once a month, could be hazardous to my very existence. So I quit.

And instead thought of recording some stuff I am not allowed to forget.

In the facts category, June was an extremely happening month with the whole family stepping into a new routine because Zo, wait for it, started school. Yes yes, take your time to get over the initial shock. But yeah my itty bitty Zo wears a uniform and sits in class for 3 hours every day and ‘learns’ stuff. However, the school is one of those ‘we want the children to absorb at their own pace’ and ‘we believe each child is measured only against himself’ and ‘blah-di-blah’ kinds, so it works well for my Zo-who-gets-bored-easily. Anyway, the new routine took a while to kick in and still has hiccups but we are happy to report, it’s functional.

In the observation category, what is with the constant whining about childhoods being ruined by technology and internet and smartphones and blah? Really? Are we saying that our kids aren’t ‘enjoying’ their childhood the way we did because all this extra stuff is available? Reeeeallly? I mean so TV is available 24X7, so where does it say they have to see it all the time? I think we should thank our stars the content is good (Baby TV and Disney Junior have taught Zo better English than I can expect, plus all those counting and guessing games are fun), because when I was a kid I watched Ramayana and Mahabharata and then waited for that ONE hour of Ducktales and Talespin. In Hindi.

Also, about they getting their hands on smartphones and ipads this early, ok fine, then don’t let them have the stuff! The only time I am guilty of doing this is when I really need time off for something else like work or a quick nap. And honestly, she prefers play-doh to all this. Even when does watch stuff on the ipad, she is back in sometime wanting to play ‘Bat-ball’. In any case, I still see hundreds of children (literally) in the play area every evening playing exactly how we did. So please don’t share that picture of a Lama kid with a sparrow and that of a city kid with an iphone because YOU gave him the iPhone. Also, bullshit we played with sparrows (actually, I did, a lot, but that was before I kinda started disliking birds and the mess they create).

Anyway, I do have some rules like I haven’t taken Zo to the movies yet, because it’s too loud, plus she gets bored soon, also I hate being an nuisance to the rest of the people (totally judge people who get little kids along, sorry), so it isn’t that I am chilled out about everything. Just clarifying.

Fact point 2 was that the Dude and I finished 7 years of marriage! *Drumrolls* My company gifts us a dinner at a lavish place which is how we brought in the day. On the actual day, I had a holiday (which I thought was unfair because I had planned to take the day off anyway and the whole company got the day off. Hmph.) and so did Zo, but The Dude didn’t but he chose to work from home, so I spent my day trying to keep Zo away from the Smartcard through which The Dude had connected to work. T’was fun. I also cooked my first non-vegetarian dish, a baked cheese chicken thing I picked off the internet and The Dude conceded it was good. Like he had a choice.

Finally, The Dude closed June by gallivanting off to Goa with his college friends leaving me in charge of Zo. Fortunately, I developed a sudden interest in shopping online (the online part being the new thing) and wasted quite some time doing virtual window shopping with the Lil Sis trying to use up the 40% weekend discounts. I also tried real shopping at some sales that started, but I forgot that Zo and Sales do not go together, and it doesn’t really help if there is this little thing pulling you towards kids clothes aisles saying , ‘mera clothes dekho‘ all the time. It certainly helped her, because we only bought her stuff.

By that equation, June was a busy month. But it is over now. So is half the year. And as always, it’s scary how time passes. Eep. Sometimes I don’t like it. Some times I just want it to go by even faster. Sometimes, I really don’t give a damn.

And those days are my favorite kind. I just hope that every day in the rest of this year falls under this bucket.