The road ahead

So what happened after the last post was that Ramu Kaka fell ill and didn’t come yesterday. It was very sad and made me all worried about the jinxing power of showing off on blogs. Then he returned today and made delicious aloo-parathas and so I was like, maybe I was over-thinking it all. So I returned here to post again. But no, this post is not about Ramu Kaka. I honestly have no idea what this post is about – as in, this post exists because I feel like writing, and not because I have something to say. But because I am here, I might as well say something.

Now you all know we moved into a new house. The new house’s only problem is that it is far. Far from work, that is. Those who have been reading me for long, by which I mean ~ 8 years in this context, might have read this post from the yore, where I was lamenting about my long-long ride of ~30 kms to work. Well, things obviously changed and we moved to a place that 1.8 kms from my workplace, which was like a dream come true. All was well, but we decided that all this was too good, and moved to Pune, where I was around 6 kms from work, and the Dude was 35 kms from work, so while I was pissed that I had to travel for more than the 10 mins I was used to, I couldn’t complain much, because that would be plain mean. Also, The Dude would have killed me.

Then, we moved back to Hyderabad, and to our old house, but, here’s the twist – my new workplace was once again a good 16 kms from home, and the roads that led to there were pretty nasty – it was actually the same route that I took before in 2010, turned the other way round. Talk about irony.

Well, it wasn’t all bad because eventually I moved jobs (again) and was back to my 2 km journey, and, at this very time, we decided to buy a new house that was – in our old people language – in a not-so-crowded area. Because, you know, old people, peace, green, quiet, too much pollution, need-more-space, close to school, blah-blah and whatever. We were fully aware of the distance, but somehow, the thought that the move was almost 2 years away, made it look like an unimportant thing.

Anyway, fact is, 2 years eventually do happen. And they did. And now, the move is made and the house is lovely. It really is away from pollution, and doesn’t warrant dusting twice a day (something we faced in our centrally located old home where you could walk out and get anything at any time of the day). It is also big and pretty and we are doing it up the way we wanted and yes it takes longer to clean the place. It has a lot of walking space and cycling place and hardly any crowd, because it is practically in the ‘suburbs’ if Hyderabad had a thing like that. Which means 4, yes 4 restaurants deliver food here. Which means to even buy a tooth brush or get your eyebrows done you have to get the car out (no you don’t, I have just gone lazy). Which means we are back to travelling 12 kms to and from work.

So fine, 12 kms is not 30 kms, or even 16, and it is definitely not all through roads which haven’t seen the sun in a while because they are forever covered with vehicles, but they are more than 2 kms. And to add salt to the injury, they make you pass through the said 2 km stretch, which you wistfully sigh at every time you pass – going ‘Been there, done that, Oh Lord what have I done’. Also, this time, I’m not being chauffeured around in a bus or cab, and I am actually driving (is it better or worse, I’m yet to make up my mind).

It is not all bad really and in fact, the route I take has good and a bad half. The first part is through the route which I believe everyone in the city has decided they just have to take or they will miss something in life. It is also the road that the GHMC folks think should be made better, a noble thought, only it means at all points of time 1/2 of it is under construction and blocked. The second is on the world(!?) famous outer ring road, which makes driving feel like a fun activity (what? Not everyone loves driving people. Some, like me, do it because it gets you from one place to another).

All in all, it takes around 30 mins, and every day I listen to Radio Mirchi play whatever they feel like, which is mostly traffic updates from other parts of town, that sometimes have the ability to feel better about your own state. It is definitely the most time I have spent driving by myself. It is also the most time I get everyday to spend with myself in general. So, quite frankly, I am not really complaining.

I mean, I am. But not so much.


Horrible people

I have concluded that there are a lot of nasty people in this world. If you are wondering why it took me 34 long years to figure this out, umm, I don’t know. But better late that never they say and I say okay.

Anyway, when I am saying nasty, I mean real nasty – the kind who seem to get pleasure out of saying hurtful things to others. Now don’t get me wrong – I do not mind, in fact believe in, being hurtful to horrible people – but it is always in reciprocation. Like if you are sitting in a café, sipping on your Latte, and someone walks up to you and goes ‘Hey!’ and you are like ‘Hey’ and then they are like ‘Long time’ and you are like ‘yeah, very long!’ and then they are like ‘Let me join you’ and you are like ‘Sure’, and then they sit down and say ‘by the way why are you so stupid?’

Now here it is perfectly normal to say, ‘Oh no, looks like you are confusing me with someone, maybe you yourself. OR YOUR WHOLE FREAKING FAMILY.’  Hurtful right?  You might even call it on overkill, bringing in the family and all but I still believe that this is acceptable. Bottom line, meanness in reciprocation is not meanness but justice.

So in the context of the above, I am talking of the person who came up to the person drinking his latte, and not the latte drinker himself. I think you get my point. Yeah, so I think that the world is full of such people. They are there everywhere, like flies, buzzing around and annoying you like that’s the sole purpose of their life. Only, the flies are actually looking for food, and I am sure the buzzing has some relevance too, but these nasty people are like that for no particular reason.

You can identify a nasty person by the way he reacts to a happy update or piece of information about anyone except for himself. Like if you tell a person in this category, that ‘Do you know X got promoted?’ his response will be dismissal, or shock, or sarcasm, basically anything but genuine happiness. In fact, if you think showing genuine happiness on another person’s success is tough, let me clarify that this category will also not respond with a neutral stance which as per my personal belief is what one maintains if they don’t feel that the person deserves it. They will react in the manner best suited to their kind, i.e. nastily.

Some other examples* of nastiness can be –

  • When you tell someone about the new home you bought and they react with “Why would you want to buy a house there? It’s so crowded!”
  • When you tell someone that you read with your child everyday and they react with “I would rather have my child be in sports than become a geek.”
  • When you tell someone about your child’s daycare and they say “I could never leave my child at a daycare, so unhygienic!”
  • When you tell someone that your child loves the pancakes you make for breakfast and they say “I don’t like giving sweet breakfasts to my child, it’s unhealthy’
  • When you say your daughter has a strong resemblance to her father and they say “Poor kid, she will end up looking like a guy!”

*Inspired by true events

Basically, I am talking of folks who think it is absolutely normal to voice their opinions, however hurtful, however mean, just because they can. They have no control over themselves, and no understanding of when they should stop. This kind also finds it hard to take hints, I have noticed, but that might be because all this nastiness has crept up their almost non-existent brains and replaced whatever little bit of IQ that existed (hopefully) in them.

Which is why, I strongly advocate avoiding people who tend to make unprovoked, unwarranted and definitely unacceptable statements, which technically they should shove up their even nastier behinds. But instead they vomit it out like it’s their birth right.

And all we can do is sit and hope they choke on it someday.

A is for Anger

Of late, I feel that I am way angrier than I am usually. This is an important thing to note, because I am in general an angry person. And to say that I am ‘angrier’ than usual, well, let’s just say, it’s a scary thought. For me and the world at large, the part of it that faces me.

The scarier part is that this increase is in both volume and intensity. I will explain this with an example. I am not sure if I have mentioned this before, but I usually commute to work, which is a mere 2 kilometers away, on a bike. This takes me nearly 20 mins, which makes no mathematical sense but I have already explained it. Our office has neatly demarcated parking spots for bikes, and they are sufficient in number – of course some spots being a bit farther from the elevator lobby than the others – by which mean additional 20 steps at most. But, some morons are too lazy to make that effort, so they park their bikes at an angle perpendicular to the spots, because of an assumption I think, that the parking lot belongs to their father. This also means that the regular idiots, who park normally, cannot remove their bikes.


The first time this happened, I sighed, got mad, wedged myself in the tiny space, pulled my bike out, and tried pulling his bike a bit, bruised myself, and eventually left a good 10 minutes later, which sucks when you have had a long hard day at work. The second time, I pulled my bike, banged it against his, and kept banging till it moved enough to give me the space I needed – this time there was no bruising. Last night, when it happened a third time, I did all that I did the second time, and then finally took time to write and leave him a not so polite note, which basically explained how the world would be a better place if folks like him did not exist. I could feel my ears grow warm, and I am sure if I were fairer complexioned, one could see my face turn brilliant red. Also, all this while I was wondering if I should so some physical damage to the vehicle to make up for my mental trauma – and while I decided against it, the fact that I thought it is pretty alarming.

In terms of volume, the examples are not as worrisome, but they still are. Like, I pretty much wake up angry, but that might be because I am not a fan of waking up in general. Very small instances and interactions at work make me mad. By default, anyone more than 5 minutes late to any prescheduled meeting, without the courtesy of informing that they will be late,  makes me hopping mad. What makes me angrier, to the extent that I completely write off the person involved in my head, is the casual manner in which they brush it off like nothing happened – like it’s the norm, and that it should be expected. Unfair expectations make me angry, though I know these can be handled with a basic push back (which works in my case), and I always spend a good half hour angry that the expectation came up in the first place before handling it. People not taking work seriously, not owing things, not caring about what they do – all of this makes me SO angry I often wonder if I am actually as disconnected from work as I think because if yes, why do I take everything so personally? I am getting ruder, snarkier, and unfortunately guiltier, because this is not me.

In addition to this there are the regular things that most people complain about or worry about, but I choose to be angry about. Like the weather, or water problems, or a packed weekend, the numbers on the weighing scales, the lack of will power, the fact that I don’t do enough, the general state of the world and of course  my mid-life crisis. That would explain the permanent scowl on my face, which folks have actually asked me about – it’s all because I am constantly thinking of what is wrong with the world and why everything sucks so much and it makes me, well, angry.

But yes, I am taking baby steps to control it. Cutting myself off where I am not required to be as involved. Stop taking everything personally; try getting the proverbial thick skin. It’s not easy as it sounds, and I am struggling to keep my calm. But I am trying. And hope and pray and wish that my low blood pressure condition ensures that my brain doesn’t hemorrhage in the interim.


Complicated heart

Edit : As a women’s day gift, the nice folks at Blogadda decided to call this post out as a Tangy Tuesday pick after my last one, wait for it, 5 years ago! So thank you very much people, always appreciated!


I hate Maslow.

He made life and human needs and wants seem so straightforward, so simple and so damn believable that all my life, I assumed that if I let life take its course, I will eventually follow the path he laid out. Or stairs; you know, walk my way up the pyramid, sealing one need at a time.

For the uninitiated (I doubt there are any), Maslow said that all the needs a human being has, can be categorized into types, and these are the basic types of motivation that would guide or govern a person’s life. He thankfully adding caveats, that while the order he prescribed was the general norm, he didn’t necessarily deny the likelihood that some people might have an overlap or a change in sequence when it came to these needs being met. And the pyramid below defines the basic motivators or needs (which apparently he never used to describe his theory).


I always felt this was quite apt. I mean, it made perfect sense that the first requirement for anyone is to fulfill survival needs – food, air, water; followed by a house, protection, safety and security. Maybe love and belonging could be interspersed, since we are born in families, and make friends right from when we are taken to the park to play. And once you have your basics in place, the focus moves to proving yourself, building respect. And ofcourse, finally, we all want to be in zen mode where we are doing what we want, and not what is expected of us. Nice right? So straightforward, so convenient. And so not true.

Because, he missed one thing. He missed telling us that those ‘basic’ needs he spoke of, they don’t stay basic forever. They evolve, along with us. They grow, laterally, and extend out of the pyramid – even if he didn’t build the damn pyramid. And as they expand, they make it tough for the poor beings to move upwards, because half the time you are struggling to cover the length of the step you are at. And the other half, there are steps even below that entice you with new, improved, and now affordable things.

Like food. Now food is food is food. And this requirement is pretty much fulfilled and clear right from the beginning, I mean we are talking of this stuff because we are alive which means we are having food. But who knew just how exotic, how varied and by that equation, expensive food could get? Not me. Security; we all need a home, we have one, but they get bigger, and more interesting and from an apartment in small building they become townships and communities with pools and gyms and you might have all of it when suddenly the hoardings scream about villas with a front garden and you are dreaming of that little organic garden you could have. Again, it’s a house, a shelter, a basic need, but who knew it had so many dimensions to it?

If you are fortunate you have love and belonging, and have built an acceptable self esteem (thank the lord the former doesn’t have a measure). You are technically, all set to move to the final level, and realize what you are here for. But wait, we forgot the extensions; the extensions that are concealed deceptively as basic needs. They are there, and you are caught in them, right at the bottom of the pyramid again. Now luxuries matter, they are not basic needs, but they become. Travel matters, seeing new places matters and thankfully atleast this helps you realize who you are to some extent.

But when you try to think bigger, beyond that, you tend to think of all that you will have to let go for it. Those virtual extensions of the basic needs that you have built for yourself don’t let go of you. And those extensions, they are expensive. They need money. And the money, you get from spending a huge chunk of your day, every week, doing something you are no longer quite sure is what you should be doing in the first place.

And you are stuck. You tell yourself you will take the right decision in time. You convince yourself, that one day, the differentiation will be stark, and it will be easy to choose. It just needs some time, and a little more growing up.

Till then, you think about Maslow, curse him for making it sound as simple as he did. And you this all the time, through the day. Sometimes, even when you are picking up clothes from Zara, or digging into lobster at that luxurious Sunday brunch place. Because those are basic physiological needs after all.


Leaving on a jet plane (for work)

Quite contrary to my usual interest in travel and my heartfelt announcements about how I would do anything to go see new places, one of the things I dislike the most is travelling for work. While it works in my favor (or so you would think) that I have always travelled on business outside of the country only, it is actually quite a bit of a pain. One, because I am a clingy old woman, who somehow refuses to let go of the routine life that she otherwise complains about. Also, traveling for work means being away from The Dude, and Zo, and nothing sucks as much as that. Again, with a disclaimer that I usually crave for ‘me time’, turns out that at the end of all that ‘me time’, I need to see those two faces before I fall asleep because Oh My God how old and clingy am I?

The other thing that I hate more than travelling for work is traveling for work to the same God forsaken place over and over again. I am not even saying that it’s the place per se, it’s the fact that I have been there before that kills it for me. Yes, the place might be a decider to some extent. For example, I’m thinking, I’m only thinking not claiming, that may be going to London more than one time might not hurt as much, because London, well, I have a special affinity to that place. It was the first place outside of India I visited, and that too for work. It was a long month, but there were friends, and then there were colleagues who became friends and it didn’t hurt as much, though I was dying to get back for my wedding in 2 months time, and by the way, The Dude was visiting the US at the same time. So I managed somehow, and returned a pretty happy and much fatter person who wouldn’t fit into her wedding lehenga because of all the cheese that was consumed.

The place I visited most for work was Switzerland. Not the dreamy, snowy, DDLJ-eqsue Switzerland they show you in the movies, but an industrial town on the banks of Rhine which did not have the slightest glimpse of the Alps or snow or anything remotely Switzerland. In fact it had summers which hit 35 degrees (yes, Celsius) and tiny table fans that folks kept at their work desks because the air conditioning wasn’t as effective. This place, I went to over and over again. And since we travelled on actuals, there wasn’t much tourism that I ever indulged in because somehow, I always travelled alone. And when I do, there isn’t much I want to see except for my work floor and the hotel room. Also, the Swiss believe in shutting down all signs of life on the streets as soon as the weekend arrived and from India where you do not have a spot with no people to Basel where you would not spot people, it was always a depressing transition.

Fortunately, there was a nice trip to Spain, which The Dude joined for an extended vacation because who would miss out on Barcelona yes? And then there was New Jersey, where I had a weekend to spare and Manhattan a bus ride away. Also, there was some company for some part of it, and that made life more bearable.

And now there’s this trip. Dubai was never on my must visit places, but we’re here, and I usually don’t complain as much for short 4 day trips. I mean, I do complain, just not as much. So despite much more advanced technology which lets me see my guy and my girl as if they were right there in front of me (including the Dude talking to me distractedly while watching TV because some things don’t really change right), I still dislike being away. This time, I have company, so there’s some basic walking around, and hopefully a visit to the Burj Khalifa (today, fingers crossed). And there’s also a highly anticipated evening to be a spent with a very good friend just before I leave, which makes all of this much easier to accept and survive.

But then, being away is being away, and change is change. And I am not too fond of both, however short. So I have decided to be agreeable and tag this visit as acceptable. Not nice, just acceptable. And I’ll keep my fingers crossed hoping that fate doesn’t decide to take that as a positive sign, and think it can do it to me more often.

Life as we know it (or we think we do)

My new workplace has this interesting concept, where they lower the temperature on the floor to near-freezing, whenever our western counterparts come in. I wrote about when it happened the last time and here I am writing about it again. And before you go ‘Pshaw! Get some new stuff to say already lady!’ I will warn you, that smart folks would not look at this as repetition and understand, that reiteration means emphasis.

Anyhow, I have a new theory around it. Maybe, the idea isn’t the assumption that the westerners prefer colder work environments. Maybe it’s just that since they have come from frozen zones of the planet at this time of the year, the folks just want to ensure that they don’t enviously hate us as we scamper around in our sleeveless tops and skirts without leggings, and so, they freeze the place. I mean, it’s either that, or that we have this uncanny need to project our Bhartiya Sabhyata to the outsiders, and the only they can make the women dress modestly is by scaring them with threats of hypothermia.Maybe. Because, I have to tell you, it’s working. And after spending the morning almost being roasted to death by the Hyderabad sun, in my summery, white sleeveless shirt, I am now dressed like a freaking Eskimo, to avoid being frozen to death instead.

Which brings me to the Hyderabad sun, which is currently in its element, bringing forth the bitchiness like never before. Where ‘never before’ is actually an incorrect phrase because the Hyderabad sun is always this horrible, except for this one month starting in late December when it takes a break to sort of refuel and re-attack with the same viciousness. In short, its back and how. The mornings, thankfully aren’t as bad yet, and one can actually still manage to sit in the balcony for a good 15 minutes. It also helps that the Balcony faces west. Which is perfect for someone who will never have the pleasure of being in the balcony during the evenings, to actually feel the sun because that’s how life works in this industry.

This industry also means travel that I mentioned in the last post. I will be visiting Dubai for the first time, because I have only seen in while taking off and landing in the past. Dubai is the best transit airport, with its maze of Duty free stalls you can spend hours looking through. It is also where we restock on the good alcohol (cue to the spammy trolls consistently sharing links of how alcohol ruins life, you are welcome) and chocolates. Dubai is also the first foreign airport I visited  the first time I traveled abroad (London, Circa 2007), and marveled at how it looked like a posh railway station because (I kid you not) there were folks sleeping on the floor amidst the ruckus. So, I will have just 4 days I will spend there, all working, and so I doubt I will have time to do the mandatory touristy gawking, though I think I will make time to see the Burj because I have a thing for the biggest/tallest/first/last kind of hyped stuff. And atleast step into that famous Dubai shopping mall because I owe to my shopaholic self, though my middle class self will ensure I will not spend a rupee (or Dirham).

Other than that, and general pondering over life’s little mysteries, also a common phenomena some people call a midlife crisis, things are the same. As we grow older, things we ruminate about undergo a major paradigm shift. And if you have been blogging for as long as I have, it just takes a glance at the older posts to confirm this. What else explains  whole posts about how much Placecomm sucks and how the juniors are being a pain? When all I think about now (assuming thoughts do turn into blog posts, and you don’t get distracted while posting and talk about the traffic instead) is what I am doing with my life and more importantly is this what I should be doing with my life and how do I ensure I do what I really want in life because you only live once or Zindagi na milegi dobara Oh My God Zoya Akhtar movies really do make so much sense.

But unfortunately, life doesn’t. Which is why I need to get back to doing what I am meant to be doing instead of spending time talking about things that matter more. Like the temperature on my floor; which by the way – still as annoying as before.

Day 25 – Yeh safar bahut hai kathin magar, na udaas ho mere humsafar

Long ago, I used to live 25 kilometers from my work place. I used to take the bus to work. And the route, was unfortunately decided by the transport coordinators (and not me), and hence the bus refused to take the 25 km road. It instead, took a roundabout, dropping me 2 kms ahead of my home – making the total distance around 30 kilometers. It was a hard life. The day used to begin at 7:15 AM in the morning, and end at 7:30 PM in the evening – on the good days. And this was in a company which had an 8 hour day. Which means (I know you can do basic math but I am helpful) that I spent 4 hours and 15 minutes on road.

Now I live 2 kilometers from work – door to door. This state technically should be bliss. If you look at it mathematically –

60 kilometers in 255 minutes


1 kilometer in 4.25 minutes

Which means

2 kilometers in 8.5 minutes

However, traffic at 6 PM is much higher than traffic at 8 PM (which is when I leave). And we will build in an additional assumption that states that the same distance would take 20% less time at 8 PM.

So if we can cover 2 kilometers in 8.5 minutes at 6 PM

At 8 PM it would be 8.5*.8 = 6.8 minutes

Lastly, my base travel was by bus, a big Volvo bus, and now it is on a bike. We all know how buses move in traffic vs two wheelers in our country. Additionally, buses stop to drop of folks, a bike doesn’t. So even if I look at another 20% saving here (which is very conservative), we should take

6.8*.8 = 5.44 minutes


There is always a but. Turns out that this equation doesn’t work. Because of this amazing, frequent phenomena on the the roads – we call it U turn.

I don’t understand U turns. I mean, I know we need U turns because when you have dividers, it means there has to be some point where you turn around and go to the place you left behind, just because it was on the other side of the road, but the number of u turns in this world, and the length of road you have to cover to make it to a U turn, are getting close to unbelievable these days. I have spent some time getting frustrated over the traffic, and signals and U turns, and then traffic on signals near U turns now, but my final conclusion has been that U turns were made to make us healthier.

Picture this


To give some persepective, the green lines are the shortest routes to and from work, and add to 1.8 kilometers, rounded to 2. But, because the authorities take some pleasure in blocking turns and gaps in dividers, I was first promoted to the blue route, and now, take the red. This one, by the way, has a signal. Which means I get to gawk at my office from the other side of the road for a good 10 minutes. All in all, I spend nearly 20 minutes on the road, on good days.

Also, on the way back, I have to take a God forsaken U turn at the other end of the city. This is ok, because the traffic is manageable. But, some how, after the turn is taken, and all that remains is a left to gain freedom, the folks going straight refuse to give way. The just stick around, enjoying their time on the road, while idiots with their left indicator on, wait for them finish their city tour, so that they can go home.

Which brings me to my theory of how U turns promote good health. You see, I realized that instead of all these turns and signals and waiting for imbeciles to move, if I just walked to office on the said green route, I would reach in 25 minutes flat. Tried and tested.

And so I manage. Walk at times, ride at times and sometimes just wonder why there couldn’t be a zipline connecting my home to my office. But most of the time, I whack myself on the head really hard for whining about what is the most perfect and comfortable travel to work I have ever had. Touchwood.