A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for January, 2011

My thoughts on blogging..

Posted by Pepper on January 28, 2011

A more fitting title would have been, ‘Confessions of a blogger’. Because more than voicing my thoughts and opinions, I am making confessions that I haven’t made before.

1)  Going by my observations, the blogs I end up really liking are the ones that have a distinct personality. The writer has a signature style of writing, which distinguishes him/her from the rest. Some bloggers are funny. They rely primarily on humour. Some others only write about deep analytical stuff, like feminism, current affairs, etc. Some expose a completely personal nature. It’s not just the content, but I always believe my writing lacks a personality, which is why I wouldn’t rate it too well.

2) Bad Grammar completely turns me off. And I come across way too many blogs, where the blogger doesn’t respect Grammar. Punctuations and articles are often missing. The writing seems haphazard. At first, I’d judge these bloggers and think they are not worthy of my time. I still judge them, but  now I read them, and even comment on their posts sometimes, even if I think they are shabbily presented. I don’t know why. And yes, at times when I read such blogs, I can’t help but feel my writing is superior. Perhaps I should stop being so snooty.

3) I have come to realise that the content, style and quality of your writing has very little to do with how popular your blog is. Some times I discover brilliant blogs that have very few or no comments trailing their posts. Other times I come across blogs which seem very mediocre, mundane, or sometimes even poor and incoherent and yet they have trillions of comments glorifying their blogs. It all comes down to how much you socialise in the blog world. It’s all about making your presence known. This does not apply to very popular bloggers who have carved a niche for themselves, but for the majority of us, it’s true. A lot of times, I don’t have the enthusiasm to comment, even though I read the posts enthusiastically.

4) Comments are addictive. When I didn’t have them, I didn’t miss them. Now I enjoy the interaction. But I do think people comment on my blog mostly because I comment on theirs. The day I stop, I’ll hardly have any comments on mine. There was a point, when I didn’t comment on a post if I had nothing worth while to say. Now I do. Even if it is a lame ‘Lol’. The comment is more like a stamp of my validated presence on their blog. Like signing the attendance register of their blog perhaps? I have the time and the patience to do it now. The day I don’t, I’ll stop. I am quite comfortable with the idea of having a blog with zero comments. I do, and will always continue to write for myself.

5) Using too many emoticons while writing blog posts bothers me. Facial expressions like :), :D, :P, etc are alright while chatting. But when you write, I like using only words to express myself and convey how I feel. It’s harder, yes. Emoticons definitely go a long way in depicting your mood and tone. But I like the challenge of translating my emotions into words. And isn’t that the whole purpose of writing? Note – I see a lot of bloggers using  numerous emoticons in their posts. I don’t mean to judge them. This is simply my opinion, an honest confession of how I feel.

6) I heart mommy bloggers. Some of my favourite bloggers are about 8 to 10 years older than I am. They have kids who have moved past toddlerhood and are now little adults. It’s been fascinating to watch them grow. These blogs have made me think of my parenting philosophies, broadened my perspective and made me grow as an individual. What saddens me is that I continue to be a lurker on their blogs. Or even if I am not, it continues to be one way interaction. These bloggers are usually too busy to blog hop. A lot of times I’ve wished they’d read my blog and get to know me.

7) I am extremely jealous when I see such solid bonds of friendship amongst bloggers. Seeing them plan surprise birthday themes, baby showers, sending gifts across different cities and countries, being on each other’s speed dials makes me eye them with severe envy. Because I’ve never been the recipient of such blog love. Nor do I see it happening. Alas.

8 ) My stats always tell me I have a lot of lurkers haunting my space. I can relate to these guys well, considering I’ve been a lurker myself for the longest time. At the same time I do wish I’d get a chance to say hello to these folks .

9) I usually skip commenting on a post if I see more than a 100 comments there. It’s intimidating. And here, I talk of genuine comments. Not cases where your comment space has turned into a  mini chat room.

10) One thing that makes me instantly judge a blogger is him/her ignoring a comment in which he/she has been praised for his/her writing. I find it extremely rude. Imagine someone complimenting you for some reason in real life and you just ignoring the said person? The least you can do is say a ‘Thank you’. In my eyes, nothing justifies the silence.

So that is it. My true opinions on blogging that are usually concealed from the blog world. They are thoughts that lie unspoken, because it is either rude to talk about, embarrassing to admit, or politically incorrect. Do I come across as rude? I hope not. But if at all I do, I’ll live with that label. But if I can’t be honest and outright on my blog, where can I ? This also makes me wonder if I am the only one who has such fierce opinions on this medium, or am I the only one who voices them..

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Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 66 Comments »

Lessons learnt!

Posted by Pepper on January 27, 2011

I love embarrassing myself. It’s a hobby. There’s no other explanation.

Conversation # 1

Aunt: So how’re you doing?

Me: I am great. How’s D? (Her daughter). Which college is she going to?

Aunt: HR.

Me: *Thoughtfully calculating the said daughter’s age* Oh, she’s twenty two right? I am sure she has passed away by now.

I knew I had something wrong when a silent, horrified gaze stared back at me.  And then quick realisation dawns.

Me:  I am sorry, I meant passed out by now. ( I was referring to college. What?..)

She didn’t respond much after that and just moved away.

Lesson learnt: Think twice before you talk, you asshole.

Conversation # 2

Friend: So do you and Mint ever fight?

Me: Of course! But then we make out and it’s all good.

Friend: Ohhh! Nice! * Giggles *

Me:  *Realisation dawns*  Err, I am sorry. I mean’t we make up and then it’s all good.

Lesson learnt: Take the advice you give yourself seriously.

Sigh.

Posted in Uncategorized | 32 Comments »

Madras

Posted by Pepper on January 21, 2011

..or call it Chennai. I always prefer calling cities by the names I’ve heard as a child. In all honesty, this is a city I was quite indifferent to. The media had bad things to say about the place. Mostly. The citizens of this place built temples and worshiped movie stars. I didn’t ever think I could connect to a place like that. And then there was our man, Chetan Bhagat. He had some interesting descriptions of the city in his book. People wore lungis on the streets? Alcohol was so hard to get? Meat was such a no no? Mentalities reeked of chauvinism? How can anybody live freely in such a conservative environment?

And then I decided to give the city a chance. The place became special to me. It is where Mint grew up. I decided to try and wipe out all prejudices that had been scrawled all over my mind over time. And when I viewed the city with no tinted shades blinding my eyes, I was  pleasantly surprised. The city is like any other metro. It has interesting places for the youth to hang out at. The young crowd there has the same lifestyle and attitude as they do in other big cities. The ambiance in some of the swanky new joints is very interesting, and very urban. And lungis on streets? What was that? I have no idea why such an established author would paint such a biased and unfair picture of the city.

I can actually say I enjoyed my time there. I think my in-laws house is huge. There is some joy in running around on the stairs, up and down, multiple times a day. I also spent some time bonding with the mom in law. I’ve always been intimidated by her. Perhaps cos I am so vastly different from her image of the ideal daughter in law. But I can see the efforts she takes to accommodate my personality and lifestyle. And I really appreciate it. So when I could dress, speak and live the way I usually do, living there was actually fun. I did try and help her in the kitchen, lest I am slated as a bahu from Baghban. But most of the time she wouldn’t allow me to do much and I’d end up getting everything in hand. Perhaps because we don’t live there and only visit once in a while?

Mint left for the US a few days back, and I actually spent a few days in Madras without him. And surprisingly, those were fun too. I came back to Bombay yesterday in an early morning flight. And of course, there was some drama at the airport. My flight was scheduled to take off at 5:40 am and so I reached the airport at around 4:35 am, thinking I have sufficient time considering it is a domestic flight. I walk to the check in counter and find it shut, only to be informed that the flight timing had been changed to 4:50 am. All passengers had been called and informed about this change, but since I didn’t book my tickets from India, I hadn’t provided a phone number and could not be contacted. After a lot of WTF moments, threats and arguments, they did let me board that flight. Yes, I’ll go on and say it. Why do such things happen to me?

I have two more weeks in Bombay, before I leave. I hope to savour the food, the moments, the people, the weather, and then head back, recharged, happy and content.

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 35 Comments »

India so far..

Posted by Pepper on January 7, 2011

So here is the update on our trip so far. I realise my blog is turning into one of those boring diaries that simply hold records of the ongoing events. But never mind, there is too much happening and I want it to be stored in these pages.

We landed in Mumbai a little past mid night, more than a week ago. We were picked up from the airport by P and her dad. Do I have any old readers who remember these names? Anyway, so instead of walking home in the middle of the night and terrifying my parents, we decided to stay at P’s place for the night and go home early in the morning the next day. It was around 8 am in the morning when we were standing outside the main door of my house. How I wish I had the sense to carry a camera and capture the reactions of my parents when they saw us. My dad forgot the fact that I don’t live home anymore, and for a few seconds thought I had just gone out and I was coming home like any other day. LOL. And then suddenly, it occurred to him and he went ‘AREY?!’, complete with wide eyed shock. My mom walked out of the room and spotted us. She then stood there open mouthed, unable to believe her eyes. The surprise was totally worth it.

It’s been a while since I’ve been home now and I am totally loving it. I can’t view this city or country as an outsider and remark about the changes that have taken place. I will leave that to the typical NRIs. They are the kinds who visit the country, move around with bottled water, comment on the traffic, feel surprised when they realise that ‘you get everything here these days!’. I have no idea why, but they annoy me. I can never ever view this place with the eyes of an outsider. This is home. So I can’t/don’t notice the changes, just like people living here wouldn’t notice them. I won’t lose immunity to street food, however unhygienic it is, or I won’t notice the increasing potholes. This is where I belong and it is all a part of my home.

We’ve been meeting relatives every day, and they all have the same thing to say the moment they set their eyes on me. ‘You’ve not gained weight at all after marriage’. Yes, I am aware of that. And I do not understand why marriage would make me gain weight. Oh well..

In other news, we have been eating. I mean, really EATING. How can anybody resist the food in India? We binge, we overeat, and then we eat again. Especially Mint. A lot of times when we visit relatives, he plonks himself on the couch, and attacks the food on the table in quiet comfort. No conversing, no disturbance, simply indulging. This trip has also made me realise how very different Mint is when he is alone with me. He’s playful, talkative, affectionate and showers me with cuddles and kisses. In front of other people, he’s quiet, serious, solemn, and sensible. What does it say about him, or me?

So yes, we’ve been busy having a good time. I don’t get sufficient time to catch up on all my favourite blogs, but I try. We’re off to Chennai in the next two days. The most exciting thought is that of food. And filter coffee. Of course. I hope I get to post soon. Ta!

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 31 Comments »

Hong Kong..

Posted by Pepper on January 3, 2011

was super! We had a lovely holiday. To record our little vacation, I am going to scribble down some observations and of course a few tidbits.

We landed in HK late evening after a long and painful flight. This time we had no personal TV screens, no window seat and terrible service. I could’ve shot myself in the brain. Just out of boredom. As expected, I was kinda mind f*cked by the time we arrived. Which is why I didn’t take it the sights around me then.

And when I did, the first thing that hit me was the vibrancy. HK is a young and lively place with a very impressive sky line. The roads are narrow with towering buildings closing in on you from all sides. That did make me feel a little claustrophobic. A lot of the buildings there have gaping holes in the middle. We were told it was for the spirit of the dragon to fly through. Interesting eh?

We were staying in the midst of some Chinese medicine market. So we had to walk through streets where they sold huge lizard skeletons by the dozen. I thought, traveling in Bangkok had hardened me enough to endure such sights, but this stuff made me cringe all the same. Walking in the city also gave us a chance to see the interesting things they eat.

 

The temperature was around 12 degrees and even then, I felt cold! As a result, I have a stupid winter cap on in all the pictures.

Traveling in the city was so easy. The cabs are cheap! Unlike how it is in UK and USA. And we found the place relatively cheaper than other countries on the whole. Things like shopping and eating out seemed so affordable. Or perhaps it was cos we were converting the prices to USD. Anyway, I did shop and buy myself some nice stuff.

I was surprised to see good beaches there. Blue water and pale sand. Brilliant! The food was pretty good too. On our last day there, we went to some authentic Chinese restaurant. The food was so sumptuous, we ate to our heart’s content.

There was some confusion at the airport regarding the terminal we had to go to. That caused a delay and we ended up having some nail biting moments. Or rather I did. Mint is pretty unperturbed in such situations. But my polished nails get chipped off with all the biting that comes their way. We walked in to the aircraft during the last call. It was a fun trip!

Posted in Travel | 37 Comments »

 
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