A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Birthdays and growing up

Posted by Pepper on April 22, 2021

A few days ago, I turned 35. As a birthday gift, I got the first dose of the covid vaccination. Mint and I had an early morning appointment. The kids were still in school. So after our shot, we headed out for a child free brunch. And as I gorged on my skillet cooked potatoes, whipped butter with rye bread, salsa laced eggs, I kept trying to mentally asses my feelings about my new age. And then I pushed those thoughts aside.

I had no plans of having a cake, because the sugar high doesn’t excite me these days. However, Cotton and Candy were aghast that I was actually considering getting through a birthday with no cake. So for their sake, we got a tiny red-velvet bundt cake, which we let them cut anyway. In the evening, we went to the mall. This was the first time in over a year that we were entering a closed, indoor space. Just walking in that space made me feel happy. We were reclaiming our lives.

We ended the day by picking up dinner from of one of my favorite Burmese restaurants. I was so happy to be home, change into my PJs and put my legs up on the couch as I ate. Now is when I tried to evaluate my feelings. Did I feel any kind of remorse about my new age? Nope. Zilch.

I remember making a big deal about turning 25. In this post, I keep talking about how I can’t believe I am so old. LOL! Seriously, at one time I thought 25 was really old. I am so glad I have these sentiments recorded on my blog. They help me take stock and recognize how I have evolved.

A decade later, my perspectives have truly changed. I am grateful and content. There is very little room in life to agonize over how old you are. I am still not sure about what is expected of me at this age and how smart, successful and wise a 35 year old is supposed to be. But I care a damn about the expectation now. 35 and stupid is acceptable to me.

As I type this post, I am thinking of all the grief my country is going through. India is in terrible shape and the news all around has been so grim and depressing. I am trying to keep my anxiety in check and praying for all the families who are going through such trying times. It’s eye opening and helps you regain perspective, in case you seem to be losing it. The state of affairs at present is a constant reminder of what matters in the end and what doesn’t.

And today, I am so eternally grateful to have all that matters.

Posted in Celebrations | 20 Comments »

When you got to do it alone

Posted by Pepper on April 7, 2021

It’s been rough around here. A few days ago, Mint had a bad fall. Well, the floor was wet and he tripped and crash landed on his arm. It injured his shoulder and he has his arm in a sling.

With him being unavailable, my responsibilities have doubled up. This is probably the first time in my life I have had to get through without him. Seriously, I took for granted just how much he did. Now other than cooking, cleaning, managing all the miscellaneous work, chasing and feeding two kids, I also have to do drop offs and pick ups, grocery, dishes, brushing the brats, bathing them, doing all the bum wiping, there is no end.

In the midst of all this, the one thing that constantly makes me smile is the love and care shown to me by my parents. They are concerned about Mint, but hoping that adequate rest will mend him. As for me, they keep messaging me to check on me, worrying that I look too tired, feeling helpless that they can can’t be with me to take over some load, wising me strength. My mama and papa are my angels, they try to watch over me even across continents.

Posted in Chaos | 9 Comments »

Year 10 & 11 – Happy Anniversary, Mint

Posted by Pepper on April 2, 2021

Dear Mint,

It’s been 11 years. *Gasp*. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe that I was a 16 year old baby when we become friends. I’ve spent almost half of my life with you, with you transitioning into different roles. Friend, boyfriend, beloved, husband, parenting partner, punching bag and I can’t be more grateful for who you are.

Throwback to the time we were child free, loan free and carefree

I’m resharing this amazing, candid picture from our Europe trip. I absolutely love how this is so real and *so* grateful we had friends to capture these moments without making us conscious.

For once, I really don’t have much to say. For once, I will overlook the fact that you take a million years in the shower even when we are running late, or surround the house with annoying cables, or take forever to strike things out of your task list. Today, I will celebrate you, our very awesome children and our awesome life. Thank you, God. Thank you, Universe.

All my love,

— Pepper

Posted in Celebrations, Splashes of Mint | 15 Comments »

Sunshine for my soul

Posted by Pepper on March 26, 2021

Yesterday was the first day of spring break for Cotton and Candy. It’s just a week off from school, but holidays are always special. I remember that feeling of excitement I felt at the start of every summer, Diwali or Christmas break. So of course, I had to do something special for my kids to mark the day and build up the excitement.

While the sole intent was to give them a dose of joy, it turned out to be as nourishing for me. I guess we all need a dose of happy sunshine. The weather was on my side. I texted my friend P and asked her if we could plan a day in the park with our kids. She jumped to it.

We carried our lunch. Spinach pesto pasta for the kids. We also picked up some subs. After a good hour of playing on the structures, we moved on to the picnic table for lunch. Unsurprisingly, the kids were very cooperative and finished their meal so quickly. Why does this not happen at home?

Then P and I sat munching on our sandwiches while we let the kids run around on the vast green lawn. The kids enjoyed the freedom of being able to run. P and I enjoyed some good conversations. We kept talking about how wonderful it was to be out in the sun, to not have to worry about chores and pending work, to just let yourself unwind and watch our beautiful kids laugh and play.

We then moved on to getting the bubble wand out. Bubbles are of my favorite things ever. Blowing and chasing bubbles in the park along with my kids was what my soul seemed to need. Did I already mention I was having fun? I still haven’t mentioned our favorite part of the day.

The park has a *giant* slide. So what do you think us adults did? We promptly jumped on to the slide. Seriously, why should kids have all the fun? The kids were partly amused to see their moms gleefully sliding down. We laughed endlessly and let our kids loose. I have no idea of the number of times they went on that slide. We left for home after *many* happy hours in the park. This day will stay etched in my memory for a long time. It really was what my soul needed.

Let’s be tree huggers
Chasing bubbles is fun!
My son watches his crazy mom slide down
Sliding down for probably the 75th time

Posted in Small joys | 12 Comments »

If we were having coffee

Posted by Pepper on March 21, 2021

  • I would start by discussing the weather. Yes, the weather is always a topic of discussion in Bay Area. It is still too cold for me and the mornings are still in the low to mid 30s. When I convert it to celcius, today morning was 1 degree. I abhor the chill. Spring is a farce. It’s nothing but an extension of winter, but a more romanticized version. Oh summer, how desperately I am waiting your arrival.
  • Now I would tell you that my BFF had her second baby a few days ago. I’ve mentioned her on this blog several times but I feel too lazy to link up those posts. Her older one is exactly the same age as Cotton and Candy and I remember much ado happening about the fact that we were pregnant at the same time back then, with almost the same due dates.
  • Her son stayed with us while they managed the new born for the first night and Cotton and Candy had their first official ‘sleep over party’. That’s what they kept calling it. The kids had a blast. Later that day we went to see the new baby and Candy was in love. She is a natural with babies and I often think of how amazing she would have been as an older sister. Here is a picture of her holding the baby.
  • I would tell you that I am trying to find the courage to buy some medium to large sized indoor plants for our living room. Since the other two small plants I bought 6 months ago are still alive, I want to go ahead and buy some big plants because I love the splash of green they add.
  • I have an appointment for a hair cut this Friday. I am over the moon excited about that.
  • Cotton woke up with a low grade fever, so both the kids have been kept home today. I am amazed by my ability to not panic this time and/or assume we have caught the dreaded virus. I was very nonchalant and just asked the kids to go play by themselves instead of fussing too much. Of course, we will isolate ourselves but I am so glad I am acting sane instead of driving myself up the wall with my thoughts, for once.
  • My energy levels seem to be at all all time low. I feel wiped out all the time. While my day involves a lot of physical activity and labor, it still isn’t any more than what other people around me are doing. So why do I tire out when others are capable of fitting in challenging work outs and packing in so much more? I know, the workouts actually help in building energy, so is that what it is for me? I basically need to kick myself in the butt and get to some exercise but I feel so tired.
  • I am so exhausted with Candy’s perpetual constipation issues. I am sorry, this is TMI, I know. But I need to rant. She has been using Miralax everyday for over a year and her pediatrician has asked us to discontinue it now and wean her off. Her water intake is abysmal and that seems to be the biggest problem. Prunes, chia seeds, soaked raisins, peaches, probiotics, extra fiber, flavoring the water, we have tried it all. She either doesn’t consume all that she needs to, or if she does, it doesn’t seem to work. Time and again, we find ourselves begging or threatening her with consequences if she doesn’t finish her *tiny* cup of water. It is so draining! When do these little humans realise they are not doing mankind any favor by drinking water?
  • I started typing this post 3 days ago and I completing it only now. I had a really good streak with blogging in the past few weeks but I am beginning to struggle to keep up. I wonder if I should slow down or push myself a little harder to write more frequently. I will think about it another day. Right now, I will just focus on enjoying my coffee.

Posted in The black hole | 38 Comments »

Letters for Cotton and Candy

Posted by Pepper on March 10, 2021

Dear Cotton,

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such a fabulous child. A few months ago, your sister decided that she wants to sleep in our bed. You found yourself alone in the bedroom that you have always shared with her. I wondered how you would deal with that. To my surprise, you were very understanding. You even told us to be easy on her because “she wants mama and appa at night”

I faced several attacks of guilt. Why is it that my baby boy has to sleep by himself when my baby girl cuddles with us? Would he feel lonely in the dark without his sister? I can’t indulge in such differential treatment. For a few days, I got you to our bed, even though you didn’t ask for it. But fitting all 4 of us on a queen sized bed was a nightmare. Also, you made it clear that you were indeed okay sleeping by yourself and this would not haunt you into adulthood and make you feel abandoned or less loved. It has been a few months now and you have adapted well. All you ask for is 2 minutes of cuddle time in our bed, before you obediently walk back to your room for the night. You have won my heart, my baby. Like your nani says, you are the best boy in the world. Thank you for being such a darling.




Dear Candy,

You are a super brat who knows how to have her way. A while ago, you started coming to our bedroom in the middle of the night. You’d walk in the dark passage to reach our room with your eyes half shut. This used to scare us. Initially, we’d let you have a few snuggles and then transport you back to your bed. Only to have you return in the next 30 mins. None of us were getting much sleep.

Since you really seemed to want to be close to us at night, we decided to let you sleep in our bed for a few days. After all, how can we deny you something as fundamental as this? But few days turned into a few weeks, which turned into months. Every night you throw tantrums, cry and insist on staying in our room. Nothing we say or do helps you change your mind.

But here is a little secret, my cuddle bug. Your presence helps me too. I love your baby smell and that I get to kiss your cheeks when you sleep peacefully next to me. I also understand how you feel, because I was that child who refused to get out of her parents bed until forever. Nothing they did would make me consider stepping out. I know where you come from. You and I, we are a clingy bunch.

But baby, I request you to move back to your room with your brother soon. For one, I continue feeling guilty about him sleeping alone in your shared bedroom. And two, appa and I don’t really have a life of our own with you in our bed. We even bought a TV for our bedroom recently so that we could unwind with some late night viewing, and now that has turned into a joke. So baby, we will wait till you feel more secure and content, but I do hope you go back to your room happily, soon.



Posted in CottonCandy | 11 Comments »


Posted by Pepper on March 5, 2021

Today is my dad’s birthday. His 70th birthday! What a big milestone in our lives. Most of my friends (who are my age) have fathers younger than mine. So there is a newness in that number. I feel very privileged to be able to celebrate this milestone, even if its from continents away.

Let me be honest, I did sulk a little today because I wanted to spend the day with my parents and have our family together. But I quickly got over it and decided to focus on the blessings. We are all healthy, alive and loved.

Cotton and Candy wanted to wish their naanu after they got back from school. I reminded them that it was the middle of the night in India, so they would have to wait for it to be morning there. Since they were that insistent on wishing him right away, I told them I would film them and we could record a video message for him. I took a video of two little bouncing bunnies, clapping their hands excitedly and singing the happy birthday song. That video become the highlight of my dad’s birthday and I am told he replayed it about 400 times.

My parents and sister in India celebrated the day with pani puris. No fancy outings, gifts, agendas. Just happy mouthfuls of food and contentment. We had our usual video call with them and there was such a happy vibe in the air.

So today, I choose to be happy, because it is my papa’s birthday. And in lieu of his celebrations, I am going to eat cake. And watch a happy movie. And send out happy vibes to the universe. I hope you feel them.

Posted in Meet the family | 6 Comments »

Our crunchy battles

Posted by Pepper on March 3, 2021

I have to say that Mint and I are pretty well aligned in our thought processes. Our world views are the same. We don’t have many noteworthy differences in our outlook. So we rarely argue or fight over the big stuff. The causes of our arguments are almost always petty. And it annoys me greatly that we bicker over such inane and silly issues.

Today was one such day. We had a mini fight, if I can call it that. This is probably the 75th dispute we have had about the same damn issue. Let me just say that Mint has a big problem with the way I tear open any packet. Typically, this is some form of chips which need to retain their crunch. He insists that I mess up the opening, which keeps getting enlarged every time you put your hand in. This makes it hard to put the packs away for later use and results in the contents getting soggy.

This is the source of our latest disagreement. Firstly, I am reasonable enough to understand and agree with Mint’s point of view. I know I mess this up. And I have tried my best to open the packs in a more dignified way. I have no idea why I just can’t. I have tried different techniques, even pulling apart the layers from the center, but I always seem to mess this up. Umm, snipping open packets with surgical precision is not a part of my skill set.

So the next best option is for Mint to do it himself, since he is the one who has a problem anyway. And if he doesn’t do it, then I have asked him to shut up and not comment on my lack of skills. But this is the pattern we seem to follow. I ask Mint to open the pack. He keeps saying yes but doesn’t get to it. I lose my patience and do it myself. He sees the opening and comments on how badly the job has been done. I blow up because I don’t want to hear any comments about this. He accuses me of overreacting. Every. Time.

Okay, I know there are more earth shattering problems to deal with than our chips packet opening saga. But this persistent problem seems to be getting on both our nerves. We’ve resolved our conflict for now and have gone back to snacking on our chips in harmony. But I know the opening of the next pack will make us resume acting in the next season of our in house drama series

Posted in Splashes of Mint | 26 Comments »


Posted by Pepper on March 2, 2021

When we moved into this house in August last year, this tree on our front porch was bare. It stood on the left side of our main door. We had no idea what tree it was. A few weeks ago, it started to bloom. Gorgeous pink magnolia.

I usually enter the house through our garage but this tree has motivated me enough to actually use our front door. So often I find myself standing and staring at this beauty. CottonCandy love picking up the petals that have fallen on the lawn. The fragrance in them is very faint, but it is there. They say they love the khushkoo (refers to khushboo, which means ‘fragrance’ in Hindi). I adore these mispronounced words of theirs and hold on to them dearly.

I am grateful for these reminders to stop and smell the flowers.

Posted in Small joys | 17 Comments »

In the times of covid..

Posted by Pepper on February 25, 2021

Two weeks ago, my mom went to the salon to get her hair colored. I think I need to backtrack a little here. To start with, my parents have been highly covid conscious. I mean, not like they had a choice. With my mom’s history of cancer and my dad’s kidney ailment, they were both high risk. They followed the recommended protocol, stopped stepping out of the house, dealt with the hardships that came with the loss of their house help. They weren’t fit enough to take on the daily task of sweeping and mopping among the million things that they were having to do. My sister who lives with them had an excruciatingly busy schedule and was struggling in her own ways between managing her work and my parents needs of wanting to do things at a certain time. In short, they really struggled, but they did what they should have done to avoid all exposure and got through that period.

And after months when things seemed to be relatively stable in Mumbai, they brought back their house help. It was a well calculated move and we all agreed they needed the support and were falling sick without it. But how was I supposed to manage my anxiety? I would look up the number of cases in Mumbai every other day. If I was on a video call with my parents and saw the helper in the same room as them, I would yell at the top of my voice and ask them to go and get their masks. For the most part, everybody kept their masks on, but the occasional slip would stress me out.

I was living on the edge. And then one day my mom told me she was sick of seeing herself in the mirror and hated her hair. She wanted to go to the salon to get it cut and colored. I lost my head and yelled at her, asked her if she was nuts. Reminded her that she was high risk and had to be thankful that she was in fact leading a normal, medically uncomplicated life. Why on earth would she think of taking the risk?

She seemed to accept my opinion for a while. But time and again she would bring it up, only to hear me explode. I kept telling her being alive was more important than worrying about a grey head. She would tell me how important it was to feel good and some such crap. I told her to let my sister cut and color her hair. Weren’t we all donning the role of a hair stylist anyway? Unfortunately, she wouldn’t trust the sister to do the job as per her liking. *Eye roll*

Months passed, we kept going back and forth. This subject would come up every few weeks and would result in a heated argument with me yelling at her. In the midst, I would also have to deal with other stress of my dad going to the bank because “it was very important”. Why can’t you just do things online now, I would ask? And he would say he doesn’t know how to do it online. Each time, I would start the mental countdown of 2 weeks and pray nobody has any symptoms. But since the work was supposedly important and unavoidable, I was more understanding of the situation.

But hair salon? Really? How can you think of such frivolous activities when you are high risk? My mom brought it up again one fine day and I got mad and asked her to do what she wants. She said she would use her discretion and make the call. And she did. One morning when there was nobody else in the salon, she went and got her hair cut and colored.

And while we aren’t on the same page on this and while I still deem these activities as unnecessary and unworthy of the risk they pose, I can see how much better it makes my mom feel to not have her hair so out of place. Of course, I love annoying her by telling her how shallow she is. As usual, I waited for 2 weeks to pass before I could breathe a sigh of relief. Like every child, my parents are most precious to me and I wish I could keep them in a safe bubble. They are my lifelines and I worry so much. I hope the world heals soon and we don’t have to stress so much about simple everyday living.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 25 Comments »

Driving little friendships

Posted by Pepper on February 19, 2021

Cotton and Candy have always been in awe of garbage trucks, more appropriately called waste collection vehicles. They watch in admiration as the trucks come, stick out their robotic arms, lift up our bins, tip them in and place them back on the curb. On the days of our weekly pick up, watching this process is probably the most exciting part of their day.

They are regulars who run out to the curb the moment they hear the whirring of the truck. Cotton and Candy then wave excitedly and say hi to the driver, all along jumping in the air and waving their arms wildly. By now, we recognize the driver and he recognizes them. He gives them a big grin and waves back. I can’t put in words how happy this makes them and they go about telling everybody that they are friends with the garbage truck driver. Really, a warm smile and a wave is all it takes for the driver to be marked as a friend in their little heads.

Yesterday, I saw Candy drawing something on paper. She said it was a flower pot. Err, that drawing looked nothing like a pot, but okay. She then told me she was drawing it fast so that she could show it to the driver and wanted to finish it before he arrived. That warmed my heart. She truly considers that driver to be her friend and it was her way of letting him know.

As usual, I couldn’t capture the moments on camera clearly, but this time I did manage to take some rickety pictures. The first one is Candy running to show her drawing to the driver. The second one is Cotton and Candy watching the truck as it rolls by. They wait until every bin on our street has been emptied.

I can’t help but ponder over how easy it is for kids to label somebody as their ‘friend’. I don’t know at what stage we unlearn this. For now, I am glad I get to witness this friendship between my kids and a kind driver who waves at them as he goes about his job of emptying our bins of trash.

Posted in Small joys | 20 Comments »

Inhale. Exhale.

Posted by Pepper on February 17, 2021

I have been dealing with massive anxiety. So I’ve been a little quiet around here. I expect this gigantic wave of stress to pass in the next few days. Oh God, I really hope it does, I can’t function like this. This blog used to be a good place for a mental dump at one time. I really wanted to write more about my feelings and the causes. But over the years, I have come to the realization that the best of the best people get sick of hearing you, patting your back and telling you it will be okay.

So for the sake of not annoying the random (and mostly silent) people who seemingly read my blog, I will not unload here this time. I will probably write a password protected post IF I continue feeling the way I am. The content isn’t too private, I just don’t want to forcefully dump on people who haven’t signed up for it. For now, I will pray that things turn around and I am able to move past this.

Until then, I am going to try to focus on some breathing exercises. Inhale. Exhale.

Posted in Uncategorized | 27 Comments »

If we were having coffee

Posted by Pepper on February 11, 2021

  • I would first discuss with you what kind of coffee we should order. And then tell you about how my stash of filter coffee powder that I get from Chennai is almost over. Sobs. I’ve tried so many different brands available here but nothing comes close to the powder we get from Chennai. So every India trip, we stuff an entire suitcase with the most heavenly smelling, freshly ground coffee beans and carry it here. The filter coffee in our house is pretty famous among friends and everybody demands a cup when they come. I am trying to imagine my life with inferior coffee now and it’s making me sad.
  • I would also tell you that I have been stressing about this stupid phenomenon called Valentines’ Day. Every year, the kids’ school requests, no demands, that we send cards for all the kids in class along with some gift, namely, pencils, play dough, erasers or other dollar store junk. Planning the whole damn thing, making or buying cards,deciding what gift to buy, packing the said items and cards in heart shaped paper bags makes me lose my head. We aren’t artsy, crafty parents and events like these turn into an ordeal for us.
  • I would tell you that we mopped our house this weekend. This is a very big deal for us. We vacuum often but we rarely wet mop. The job had been outsourced to our cleaner, but ever since we discontinued those services, we have rarely mopped. So much so that my parents keep nagging us on phone and ask us to mop the house. When I told my dad during our video call that we actually mopped, he tried to suppress his eye roll. And then said he expects us to mop only during Diwali after this. Thanks for the vote of confidence, dad.
  • I would tell you that February is the month in which my mom has her follow up medical tests. And I am waiting for her to get done with them.
  • It’s 3.23 pm as I am typing this and it’s the beginning of the danger hours. 3.30 to 6 pm are dangerous hours in our house. It’s that time where I have the tendency to binge eat all kinds of chips or any fried snack that is available. I have tried my best to exhibit some self control but so far all my strategies have failed. Not getting or buying the said items isn’t an option since Mint and I are not able to reach on agreement there.
  • I would tell you how fed up I am of being perpetually burdened with all the personal work we have. We never seem to get on top of it. Even now, we have to renew Mint’s passport and consolidate all the hundred documents they need, we are in the process of refinancing our home, we have to clean out our garage, complete the process of installing cameras in the kids bedroom and so on. I don’t want to enlist all our tasks here but I am so done with this state of being neck deep in work. I know I have said this too many times, but I have to say it again, adulting sucks.

This was a good mini catch up session. I used to write these ‘If we were having coffee’ posts many years ago. And I have recently come across bloggers doing the same posts, except the chosen beverage is chai. Whatever rocks your boat. I am glad I thought of redoing this.

Posted in Slices of life | 20 Comments »

Of being disproportionately mixed

Posted by Pepper on February 9, 2021

I am pretty sure I have mentioned this on the blog, Mint’s native language, what we call ‘mother tongue’ in India, is Telugu. However, his family has been in Tamil Nadu for literally hundreds of years and the kind of Telugu they speak is almost unrecognizable when compared to the authentic Telugu. Also, for whatever reason, he identifies more with the Tamil language and speaks it far more fluently than Telugu.

Most of his friends have no clue about his native language and he prefers telling people he is a Tam guy. This greatly irks his parents who feel he needs to take more pride in his roots. Mint on the other hand, says they are hypocritical in their thought process, because they themselves only converse in Tamil. Not Telugu.

We have always dealt with a Tamil – Telugu war. When I got married, his parents wanted me to learn Telugu. He said that if I have to learn a language, he insisted it had to be Tamil. Now the fact that I learnt neither of them is a different story. Because really, that guy has had little interest in teaching me. He was perfectly comfortable talking to me in Hindi and English. All the Tamil I know and have learnt has been thanks to the effort I have put in on my own. And while I can understand a significant amount, I am still sad I can’t hold conversations on my own. But unfortunately I don’t have the bandwidth to self learn or go for classes and if Mint took more effort in teaching me, it would have helped.

I think my in laws gave up on me learning the language. And then Cotton and Candy were born and the language monster raised its head again. After another debate on what language the kids should learn and going back and forth between Tamil and Telugu, my in laws agreed to let them learn Tamil. They stayed with us for a whole 6 months and would talk to the kids in Tamil. Cotton and Candy were picking up the words. And then they left.

I expected Mint to continue talking to them in Tamil. He never took the effort with me. But he had a golden opportunity to do it with the kids. I definitely wanted to pass on the gift of language to them. From my end, I spoke to the kids in Hindi. Again, I have never exposed the kids to my mother tongue, which is a mix of Punjabi, Sindhi and Multani. I thought they would benefit more from knowing Hindi and that’s one language I have a strong connect with anyway, because, Bollywood.

So I took the effort to speak to the kids in Hindi. And surprisingly, it took more effort than I anticipated. English has been my comfort language and the language I think in. Hindi is very close to my hear but really, intuitively I am inclined to speak in English. Anyway, the efforts were paying off and Cotton and Candy were beginning to grasp the langauge well. Also, we spent several months in Mumbai and having a full time helper there who only spoke to the kids in Hindi helped immensely.

But what I began noticing over time is that when I spoke to the kids in Hindi, Mint would continue the conversation with them in Hindi. Every time I pointed it out to him and asked him to revert to Tamil, he would say that it seems unnatural to talk to the kids in one language and me in another. Eventually, he had fully switched to talking to the kids in Hindi. I was not too pleased, but he seemed to be supremely lazy in putting n the effort.

My in-laws were aghast. Cotton and Candy were not learning any language from their end and were developing a proficiency in Hindi. In my head, I could hear them screaming, ‘This is why we were so against the marriage, we knew it would result in us not being able to pass on our culture and heritage’. I have told them several times, this is Mint’s fault. Please blame your son. I would love our kids to know all the possible languages they can, I don’t know why he is such a lazy bugger. And I know a part of them believes me. They know their son. But the other part of me keeps thinking, what if they think this is their evil daughter in law’s fault? One who controls everything and calls all the shots.

Let me talk about the current happenings in our life now. Every time we are talking to my in-laws on a video call, Cotton and Candy keep switching to Hindi. Not only do my in-laws not know Hindi, this is a classic way of rubbing salt into their wounds. My in-laws ask them a question in English, they reply in Hindi. Jeez. Ayyo. Jale pe namak chidakna. I cringe every single time. This, despite me warning the kids before we start the call. Every time, I remind them. “Please talk to Thatha and Nanamma only in Engligh, okay?”. They say yes to me. But somewhere in the middle of the conversation, I see them slipping into Hindi.

And while I stress and feel guilty and apologetic, I see my idiot husband grinning at my panicked state. I genuinely feel sorry for my in-laws. This is not how I expected my mixed kids to turn out. I mean, I would have liked an equal contribution and our cultural mix to reflect more evenly. Unfortunately, the contribution of the other half is not in my hands.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 19 Comments »

Absolutely not.

Posted by Pepper on February 5, 2021

During Prime day last year, I bought a pack of scented candles. I have been wanting to light them for a long time and every time I feel the need for a pick up, I sniff the pack. And then I tell myself I will light them soon. I do have a bunch of other candles that I light every evening, but the scent in these new ones seems a lot more lavish. Mentally, I had decided I will light them after we clean up our bedroom.

I wanted to tidy up the room, have sparkling floors, clean sheets, a relaxed state of mind, free time at hand and a general sense of order before I treated myself to some fragrant candle light.. I kept waiting for a day when all my boxes were checked. Because scented candles represent serenity. And serenity and chaos cannot coexist.

I had a particularly tiring day yesterday and then I decided to screw my own ideas. I was going to relax and unwind in my bedroom and I was going to light my candles. Never mind that the bed wasn’t made and my clothes were spread out on random surfaces. Everything was a mess, but I told myself it was okay.

And then as I lit my candles in my messy room, I thought about how wrong I was. Serenity and chaos can coexist. It is okay to feel fractions of different contrasting emotions at the same time. They are different grades on the scale. On many days, I am partly happy and party sad. And that is okay. I can’t always be a 100 percent happy and neither am I always a 100 percent sad. On other days, I am partly excited and partly indifferent. Party crazy and partly sane. Life isn’t about absolutes. We just lie somewhere on the spectrum.

Posted in Lessons I learn | 13 Comments »

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