Day 8 – Overrated

I was reading through the comments on the idiot box post I had written a few days ago, and it struck me how some shows are so grossly overrated, of course, in my personal opinion. And that got me thinking about all things that overrated – TV shows, movies, even food items. And then that got me thinking about how I could actually make a post out of it, because why not?

Since I started with TV shows, I think it is only fair to start with them. I watch a lot of shows, a lot of them. I mean, I think I am almost addicted to TV shows, which is interesting because we were so particular to not let that happen when we were kids. And I am forever on the lookout for new shows to watch. And most of the shows I have tried, I have enjoyed – especially if they are highly rated. Barring a few – two to be exact.

One is, and I’d want you to hold your breath for this, Game of Thrones. Ok. Please don’t over react and close the page, because I might actually explain myself here, but the issue is that I have absolutely no reason for this.It’s just that The Dude and I watched 3 episodes in season 1 (with great difficulty I have to add) and then gave up. We tried again, this time reaching 5 episodes, but couldn’t carry on. Then my sister said I had to wait for the  season to get over and for half of the cast to die to love the show. But I did not have any enthusiasm to give it a shot.The other was True Detectives. I thought no show could be too bad if it had Matthew McConaughey in it, but oh boy, was I wrong. I lasted exactly 2 episodes before I got all nostalgic about Krishi Darshan on Doordarshan.

In terms of movies, and I am talking Bollywood here (considering my love for all the cheesy, unrealistic things they churn out), I never got myself to like or understand Hum Aapke hain kaun. One of the biggest hits that year, I remember that I had zero excitement about watching it, and so I didn’t. Also, despite the rave reviews, I found the music exceedingly meh, and still do. And this is big coming from the one who watches Maine Pyar Kiya and listens to it’s music even today.

In terms of food, I think the most overrated dish I have come across has to be Haleem. I am a converted non vegetarian, and sometimes I feel that to make up for that, I am open to trying all sorts of meat. And I love most of it. But somehow, Haleem never made the cut for me. People in this city, wait for Ramzan to be able to gorge on all the Haleem they can, but I look at it as an immense waste of calories.I’d rather have my Tandoori chicken and be happier.

On the same note, I have to say that I am a true-blue Hyderabadi who loves her mutton biryani. Which is why I also need to say that while Hyderabadi biryani is by far the awesome-st; Paradise is extremely hyped. I understand that it’s grown from nothing and was probably the best at a point of time, but there are way too many places in our city that give you better biryani. Bawarchi is one. And so is ShahGhouse (which I feel is AMAZING, yes, capital letter deserving amazing). But Paradise is visited only when we have firang visitors particular about where they sit and eat.

Now I am sitting and thinking of other things that I find overrated, and turns out, as expected my life and opinions are limited to food and entertainment only. Which is why I cannot for the life of me think of anything else I want to add to this list. And then I remembered books – and by that – The Alchemist, which I thought was so overrated I wanted to hang myself for having bought into the whole deal. But right when I was about to type that, I had a sense of dejavu, that have I said this before? Here, on the blog? So I searched and here we are, from 6 years ago. Where I announced how unimpressed I was with cheesecake. The same tone, the same sense of disbelief, the same vehement opposition to accepting something mediocre (in my opinion) as awesome. So I guess somethings just don’t change.

Except some things that do. Like my not-so-new found love for cheese cake.



Day 7 – Politically correct

I decided to work from home today, to get done with all that was put on the back-burner for a while, because that’s what always happens when important stakeholders visit. The typical showcase of PowerPoint skills, the hundreds of meetings, the dinners and lunches and teas and discussions – and before all that, the preparation, which also means a working Sunday sometimes. Not always, but this time it did.

So a day working from home makes perfect sense, considering you get time to recuperate from all the talking overdose. I am also trying to recuperate from a runny nose, which made a sudden (but expected) appearance when they decided to recreate Antarctica on the floor, to welcome the Westerner. It made no difference that he was in a jacket all the time, which might have been a sort of an indication to tune it down, make it Canada maybe? But all we got was Antarctica, and I am no Eskimo to survive it, and so I sit here sniffling into a handkerchief.

As I am typing this, my phone is continuously beeping, thanks to an ongoing political discussion on my B-school whatsapp group. Only, by ongoing, I mean “going on for more than a year”.  And by discussion, I mean “Look what the folks you are supporting did wrong today” match. I have very limited political opinions myself, and more often than not, I see myself shifting from reasoning or facts to “let’s stay positive and hope what’s happening is good” – basically abstract gyan. Also, I think I am way too selfish to think of the greater good or bad as of now. While there are some things I am pretty opinionated about, politics is one thing I feel I only give any importance if it impacts me or those who matter to me.

Let’s take Trump as an example. I remember joking with a colleague a day before the election that Trump winning would be as big, if not a bigger joke than Rahul Gandhi becoming the Prime minister of India. I also added that if the people did elect him, maybe they do deserve to be governed by a guy like him. But he won. He did. Which means, maybe I just didn’t know as much about what him being elected meant to the folks who elected him. So while I walked around in disbelief for a day, I pacified myself later that maybe it’s for the greater good, only I am not aware of it. Plus, how much does this impact me? It doesn’t.

Which is why, when it comes to Social media and politics, I keep my trap shut. I am friends with folks from either end of the spectrum and I think that while my opinion about any political party, or anything that they do won;t impact me as much directly,  as saying it out in the open will. Because either way, there will be detractors, and these are folks who I assume are my ‘friends’. And in my case, even my immediate family has highly opposing views. So, I am better of ignoring all that they have to say. And even if I do notice it, I’d rather nod along in agreement or vehemently oppose it – in my own private space.

Because while it might look like a frog in the well situation, heck – it is;  atleast I will be a less stressed out, happy frog.

Day 6 – Weekend(er)

This weekend was spent at NH7 weekender – which we had pre-booked back in August, when the first announcement that the event was happening in Hyderabad came out. I was beyond excited, because the one time I attended this event in Pune, back in 2013,  we absolutely loved it. The three evenings we spent under the skies, listening to all these bands we had never heard of (and some that we had heard of, but hardly heard) were pure bliss.

This time, it was for 2 days – and it had a plethora of indie-bands performing as is always the case. The line-up was declared almost 2 months ago, and there was a fair bit to look forward to. Plus the Dude and I are always open to new music of any kind, and this genre falls into neither of our regular fare, so we were on even grounds. And my only pending dilemma was – what do I wear?

I am not sure if I have said this before, but I am stickler for “dressing for the occasion”. What I mean is, while I  really believe in dressing comfortable (except for them heels, I cannot stop wearing heels) and dressing as you want to, I also believe that each place and occasion has a dressing-type one should adhere to. Like a coffee place warrants jeans or shorts, and a fine-dining place warrants something dressy (and definitely NOT jeans), and a pub or a disco can be more casual, but a lounge can be blingier. Which is why, when the Dude says “let’s go out somewhere tonight” I bug him until he gives me the finer details of where, so I can pick my outfit in advance.

The other aspect to my dressing is I seriously dislike standing out of the crowd. I just don’t like it. So while I might want to wear a dress to a pub, I have to be sure that it’s a pub others (atleast some) are wearing dresses too. Like, at my last work place I was totally ok wearing skirts to work because others did, and I am not ok in my current work place. Stuff like that. Boring, but true.

So the problem with Weekender was that the last time I attended it was in Pune, which is infinitely cooler (or less conservative) when it comes to dressing. Again, by this I mean that in Pune, shorts are casual, not dressy. You wear them for comfort. Which is also why I had decided that shorts and a tank had to be the outfit for the event. Only, I was not sure how the rest of Hyderabad was going to turn up.

But when I reached there, man was I shocked – and pleasantly so! Hyderabad not only met my expectations, it went above and beyond and almost crossed the fine between pleasant shock and actual, real shock. To say it was amazing, was an understatement. Not only that, we were also worried about there not being enough turnout, which would mean the show would be a damp squib and not happen again – but no. There was a spectacular turnout – not so much that you would choke to death, which was the case in Pune, but enough to have the high energy vibe in the air.

And we loved it, yet again. Squatting on the grass, from 4 until 10, for two days in a row. Squinting at the sun, which was so damn pleasant I was confused this was the same city, sipping on the iced breezers (because they don’t serve beer!), and enjoying the music wafting through the  air. And then watching the lights come up, as the sun went down, and band after band came up on the stage, for their turn in the spotlight. It was after a long time that a Sunday evening felt this good, because the music wouldn’t allow the blues to set in.

Or allow the weekend posts to go up, because there was just no time. Only, this excuse was way too awesome in itself to allow any guilt to set in. Fair enough, you think?


Day 5 – Namesake

For those of you who know my name, you’d agree that it is a fairly common name. The one thing that stood apart however, was my last name, or surname, which was pretty much unheard of in the small town in UP that I’m from. Additionally, even folks from my own community did not choose this surname, unless they were living up north – which is when they, like my father, chose it purely out of convenience and ease of spelling. And also to make an attempt to save their actual surname (their father’s name) from getting butchered more than it already had been in the past.

Anyhow, when I created my first mail id back in 2000, I was – in my defense – not even an adult, which is why the id included all the cliches in the world of email ids of yore. It had my name, shortened to an abbreviation no one ever called me by, was followed by an underscore – something that I hadn’t even heard of until then. And ofcourse, it also included my year of birth because displaying one’s age isn’t as big an issue for a 17 year old. And I lived with this for almost 4 years.

Which is when, Gmail arrived. I remember how you had to be invited to get an id, and when I got mine, I was pretty clear what I wanted as my id – myname.mysurname. One because I was no longer 17, and two because this would go on my CV for placements for the next year. And fortunately, I got it immediately. But then came the twist.

With the www the world itself widened, and all of a sudden I knew, or atleast knew of a lot more people, many with my name, many more with my surname, and lastly, quite a few with both. How do I know this? Well. Turns out, that when the gmail invites were going out – many of them were too young to either have an email id, or not lucky enough to have 24 hour internet in their rooms to create one. So while I did get my amazing firstname.lastname id, I also got curses from the others who missed it.

And these people, I assume to get back at me, to generally use my id to register on the randomest websites, even if that would technically mean they cannot verify the id. Or, even give away my id to – get this – their insurance companies, friends they meet at NASA conventions, or in general anybody.

Which is also why I get reset password prompts for multiple sites, none of which I have registered on to actually need to reset my password, all the time. And today, when I go to see if I have a Microsoft account, I apparently do – only, after resetting the password and getting in, I realise it belongs to someone else, from Kolkata, born 9 years after I was. And yes, I also get regular updates from the Kotak guys on the balance in my insurance account which I don’t have. And updates from the multiple communities I am part of, only I didn’t know.

My favorite story is from when a whole family sent me mail after mail, congratulating me on my engagement to this guy I didn’t know. This got fixed, when the guy himself started sending photographs of his family and detailed accounts of who was who. This was when I let him know that I was the wrong person. He was quite polite, and apologised, and passed on the message to all the mamas and mamis and thathas . But even then, it took almost a year for all of them to stop mailing me blessings. And fortunately for them, I was too good to send them my bank account details for some monetary blessings instead.

On second thoughts maybe I should I have. For my name’s sake.

Day 3 – Idiot box

The Dude and I watch a lot of TV shows. One of our favorite things to do on Saturday nights these days is pour ourselves a drink and then sit and watch multiple episodes of the TV show we are following at the time. Our genres are pretty specific to – comedy and thrillers, and we are pretty experimental when it comes to the latter category. Sc-fi, crime, political drama, psychological thrillers, court room drama – we try it all and savor it equally.

Right now, as I type this, we are watching our latest obsession – Fringe. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a show from 2008, ended in 2013, and is pretty much a modernized version of the X-files (which I sincerely hope you have heard of) – except every unexplained phenomena here is eventually explained as a result of science and scientific experiments.

It’s a fun show, and the leads are interesting. But what I am missing right now is interesting sidekicks. I have a thing for sidekicks. The best friend, the sister, the partner at work – basically the folks forming the additional track in the main story. Some would call them fillers, but to a large extent they add much more to the realism, which is usually missing when it comes to the extra perfect protagonist.

The reason we started watching Fringe was because we recently finished the famous Netflix original – Stranger Things, and quite liked it. In terms of the look and feel it was even closer to X-files than this show is. Also, the fact that it was set in the 80s, gave it that authentic vibe. The protagonists there were kids, and I loved them. Plus, it had pretty decent side stories. We finished all 8 episodes in 2 days because it was crazy engrossing. And it dealt in concepts like the parallel universe, and genetic mutation, which is the common link it has with Fringe. And while the latter has been good so far, it is not even close to how interesting Stranger Things was.

The one other thing that I think is absolutely essential when it comes to watching thrillers however, is that one needs to pay attention. Every tiny detail, every scene matters. And you can miss out on the “Whoa!” moments on these shows if you try to multitask while watching them, which basically would render the whole thing useless.

Which will also be my excuse now to wrap up this post, and get back to the television, because God knows I will hate myself if I miss out on these guys catching that weird creature they have been looking for, for the past 35 minutes.

But before I go, what are you watching these days?

Day 2 – November

November is a nice month that I am personally fond of. One, it is my birth month and despite the fact that I no longer look forward to growing older numerically, I still like the idea of having a day for myself, not necessarily literally, but atleast in theory. Two, because it is the month before December, the holiday month of the year. Not that I have holidays, I don’t, but over the 11 years of working I have realised that it’s not a holiday until your client is on holiday. And December is the holiday month for them, making life infinitely better for me. So November, is like the Friday of the year.

And ofcourse, I am looking forward to this month too. Despite a prolonged client visit and a probable working Sunday, it just feels like that ill-timed meeting set up on Friday evening, when you had decided you would leave early and do nothing – you know, spoils your mood for a bit but doesn’t ruin it, because come on, it’s Friday! In the same way, in my head, it’s November and just for that fact, nothing can ruin it.

I have things planned for the month. The first weekend of November has me and the dude going for the happiest music festival again, which is happening in Hyderabad for the first time ever, which is a huge thing because this festival was one of the things I regretted leaving Pune for. The next weekend is the working weekend and I will avoid talking about it at all. The weekend after is a no-plans weekend, which would mean I would spend the day researching and hopefully finalizing some house related work. And then, as a grand finale, we are off to Goa for the last weekend!

So all in all, this is going to be a busy, happening month, and quite frankly, the problem with updating the blog is going to be threefold 1) What do you write ?2) When do you write?  Which will bring us to the big, resultant, overarching question 3) WHY IN THE WORLD DO YOU GET INTO THESE THINGS?

Anyway, since the plunge has been taken, and the pep talks to self given, there is no escaping it now, and there will be no attempts to as well. And I will just believe that the spirit in which November was started will see me through this marathon, this month and through this year.

Day 1 – Getting started

Of late, my life seems to be increasingly dominated by a phenomena, which by definition is not even applicable to my generation. And the more I consider myself to be above or beyond it, the more it seems to prove me wrong by making itself felt in a slightly more customized manner, one more befitting my age and stage in life.

FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out – I strongly believed was something governing only the lives of the teens and tweens today. A lot has been written about it, and a lot is discussed. How they don’t live in the moment, how they are forever doing a relativity analysis against the lives of their peers, and how social media is adding fuel to fire by making everything look even rosier with the Instagram filters.

But turns out, it’s not an age thing. It’s a life thing. And this, when you are supposed to be all settled and content in your 30s – what with that cushy job, and that beautiful house, that car, the wonderful spouse, that adorable baby, those exotic vacations, all that eating – the perfect life. So what else would you want? Or what exactly do you think you could be missing out on?

The answer is the little things that make up all these big things that your life is made of. There is just so much everyone seems to be doing all the time. And very conveniently, we look at all things collectively – like look at these people doing all these awesome stuff while we are managing so little with our time! So let’s do some more. And then when you do it, you have a chocobloc day/week/weekend, with not a moment to spare.

Let me give an example. The diwali weekend was supposed to be simple – clean up, do a rangoli, visit parents, visit some friends and done. But did you know that a colored rangoli takes 2 hours and a calloused finger to make? Did you know that if you decide to deck up in traditional wear and do the same for your daughter, it would take forever? No. So by the time the weekend was done, all things planned were ticked, but I was exhausted.

Which led the screw up of the week. I somehow missed reading the note on Zo’s diary, that we were supposed to send the kids in black/Halloween costumes to school on Monday. In fact, I did not realise till the Dude dropped her to the bus, and the few kids that did not bunk school were in costumes. My baby went in her school uniform. And when the Dude told me this, it pretty much ruined my entire day. Because 1) Bad mom 2)FOMO. I had missed out on my kid celebrating Halloween and the whole day I whined about how upset she was going to be.

When I picked her up in the evening however, she grinned and said “You forgot my costume!” I was pretty teary eyed and was cursing myself, when she said “My teacher put on the clothes you packed for daycare. You sent the shirt with the castle and the unicorn. So I was a story book for Halloween!” And she said this with just as much enthusiasm as she would have had if I had bought her an elaborate princess gown. Trust her to be the sensible one among us.

So basically, there went my theory about FOMO being an age thing. It’s a person thing. And unfortunately, it’s my thing too. Which would explain why – despite November being a crazy week with travel and client visits and other things to do, I decided on participating in this month long challenge anyway. I could not, for the world, miss out on something my entire blogging gang of yore was part of. So here I am with my first post.

Only 29 more to go.