A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for February, 2011

Password sharing anyone?

Posted by Pepper on February 28, 2011

If there was one thing I was absolutely uncomfortable doing, it was sharing passwords. Especially, when it came to personal email accounts. I remember a friend of mine telling me at 16, that she had shared her password with her boyfriend. I gasped! Either change your password, or your boyfriend, I told her. Why would anyone in their rightful mind share passwords? She said it was cute. I say it isn’t.

Over the years, my Gmail inbox has witnessed the exchange of many private emails. Saved chat conversations hold confessions trustingly made by many friends. Some official emails carefully guard other confidential and sensitive data. Divulging my password is akin to handing you the key to my personal wealth. Agreed, there is a lot of junk buried in there. But if you dig deep, you will have access to all my treasure. And I really do not see any reason to grant you that access.

And then at one point in our relationship, Mint shared his password with me. His mailbox, like most others was full of confidential data as well. But he said he trusted me, we were in a committed relationship and he had nothing to hide. That made me feel a tad guilty for not revealing my own password to him. It isn’t like I had anything to hide from him. And yes, I trusted him blindly. But the whole idea made me feel a little too exposed and vulnerable. So I let go of the guilt and held on to my password. Besides, he never ever questioned me, and so it didn’t bother either of us.

More importantly, I thought password sharing was not the ideal thing to do. Because this was not about me. This was about other people who trust that only I will be reading their mail.

I don’t really know what changed over time, but that feeling of vulnerability disappeared. Here was a guy I bared myself to, be it my heart, my body, my mind, or my whole soul self. Password stopped being such a big deal. So at one point, I did end up sharing my password with Mint. Because it became a matter of convenience. If he is online and I am elsewhere, he’ll log in to my account to print that ticket for me and bring it along. Or if I am close to the comp and he is out, he’ll call me and ask me to open a particular mail, and give him the details. The address and the number mentioned in that mail are then spelt out to him on phone. Like I said, this was a matter of convenience for both of us. Beside that, I know that he will NEVER ever open my inbox without reason, just to meddle around without my knowledge. I trust him enough to know that mails are never being read, chat conversations are never being opened, it is never about keeping track of what I am up to. If at all he’s curious to know something, he’ll ask me and we’ll open the mail together.

Some years ago I read a post written by a friend of Mint in which she talks about the same issue of sharing passwords. She seemed rather surprised to find out that a lot of couples did not share passwords. At that time, I was surprised that she actually believed most couples shared passwords. I feel differently now. But I am curious to know how most people operate. Do any of you share passwords? Why? Or why not? Go on and tell me!

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 55 Comments »

My body. Not your business.

Posted by Pepper on February 23, 2011

Some time ago, I saw a spate of posts in the blogosphere that spoke about the insensitivity with which ‘fatness’ was conceived by people in general. Let me talk from the other side of the fence.  I’ve always been thin. As a child, I was skinny, and at the receiving end of many ruthless comments. Opinions rose from concern, but they were harsh and nobody made an attempt to mask their disgust. I actually believed that people were more sensitive to those who were fat or plump. Nasty views would stay unvoiced, because, ‘what if he or she feels bad?’. Whereas nobody bothered to be discreet around me. When I think of my childhood, I still hear the ‘Oh God, you are so thin!’ remarks that followed me everywhere I went. These remarks would be replete with frowns. I eventually learnt to ignore them.

As I entered adolescence, my body filled up a little. i was still considered thin. People refused to believe that my appetite had nothing to do with my weight. I realised, that my body was everybody’s business. My thinness would be the first thing to be spoken about when anybody would lay their eyes on me. I would get sick of it, but grin and bear it all the same.

Time went by, and suddenly things turned around. Thin was now in! People spoke about size zero and all that jazz. All of a sudden, a lot of people had some new found respect for me. I was told I had a ‘a good body’ and a ‘great figure’. And now, people focused on my height, or lack of. I stopped growing vertically after the 8th grade. I am short. Just a little above 5’2″ in case you are wondering. People loved rubbing it in.

Why is this world such a strange place? There are two kinds of people. They are either thin or fat, tall or short, fair or dark, or tilting towards one of those. But the trend right now is to be thin, fair and tall. Why? Maybe twenty years from now, it will be more trendy to be hefty and fat. Will I be scoffed at again because I am thin?  Or there might be some era where being short would be more respectable than being tall. Will I be envied at that time? How does it make sense to align my body as per social trends?

Everybody continues to have an opinion. The opinions are quite diverse, depending on your age group and mentality.  The aunties frown in disgust and concern and tell me I need to ‘put on’, because I don’t have ‘child bearing hips’. A lot of the young crowd eyes me with envy because they think I have a great body and all that. People in their late twenties and early thirties always refer to my kind as ‘those stick insect figures’ and then wonder how much we starve to retain that state, other middle aged folks worry about people like me being a problem and then worry more about where the society is headed. My friends oscillate between calling me thin and telling me I have ‘a great figure’

Honestly, I don’t care.

Besides, being tiny and petite has its own advantages I say. For example, you can always arrange for a make shift bed when you need a nap and every corner of the house is unimaginably messy, and the carpets need a rigorous round of vacuuming.

Sometimes a siesta is more enjoyed when you lie curled up in a foetal position.










Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 62 Comments »

Somethings never change.

Posted by Pepper on February 21, 2011

I had written this post in 2007. And as I read it, I realised that most of what I’ve written in this post has remained unchanged. Apart from the situation of course. I am no longer a college student living with my parents in my beloved city – Bombay. But my personality, shortcomings and idiosyncrasies have not changed in the least bit. Over to the twenty year old girl.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Discussion :- Why I am a defected piece of nature.

I have come across too many problems with my brain, and have realised, that unfortunately, my brain isn’t as developed as other homo sapiens. I think I have average intelligence and my IQ level is decent. I have a good grasping power and pick things up faster than others. I also have the memory of an elephant and remember word to word conversations that happened years ago. With complete details of the location, the colour of your clothes, etc. I enjoy surprising people with my memory. But this isn’t about that. This is about regions of my brain that remained undeveloped.

God gifted us humans with a tiny navigator in the head. It is placed in that component of the brain that deals with directions. He forgot to add that in mine and that constitutes my brain’s biggest disability. It is not an easy handicap to live with. That is one of the reasons I don’t enjoy driving too much. Its not fun asking for directions at every turn. Am better off in an auto. Oh yea, when the auto drivers ask me what route to take, and when both the options seem like far off alien lands, what do I do? I don’t flaunt my ignorance. I have one standard reply, “jahan se traffic kam milega wahan se lena”. When it comes to directions, all I understand is left and right. Nobody is more bemused than me when I see the myriad turns on the roads. Even if I have visited a place forty thousand times in my life, I still have an amazing capability of getting lost when I am going there all by myself.

An extra segment present in the brain.
There are two segments present in my brain, where there is need for only one. People always have a perspective. I generally have two. I always have two view points. I see both the sides well and can justify each side. In any situation. Because of this there is a constant inward monologue playing itself in my head. The colours of confusion in my life originate from here.

The tiny bulb present in my brain gets switched off when I sleep. Either I talk nonsense if you wake me when when am fast asleep, or the things you say to me don’t register. This problem is more recent and I am just hoping that once the levels of stress abate, I shall be freed of this ridiculous malady. A while ago, V’s mom called me when I was fast asleep. I answered the phone in my semi conscious state and I could just hear a human voice talking to me on the other side. And thats all I remember. Later on she told me I answered the phone with a normal “hello”, followed by three softer “hellos”. Each one softer than the previous one. She said she actually noticed my pitch fall with every hello. Few weeks back, my mom tells me I got up with a jerk at 6am and asked her to tell Preeti I am not coming to college. Who Preeti is continues to remain a mystery for all of us.

That has been my life long ailment. Today morning I had to leave home and I needed my laptop. I was already late. I reach the gate and realise, the laptop is sitting on the shoe rack, where I had put it for a minute while I wore my shoes. I run back and ring the bell ten times till I remember nobody is home and spend another five minutes hunting for the keys in my bag. Once I open the door, I realise all the lights and fans in every room are on, cos I left in a big rush. Pat myself on the shoulder for getting back and saving my dad from economical problems and the country from ecological problems. Switch off every light and leave. Only to reach the gate and realise I have forgotten my laptop again!!!!!

I think I should just stop trying to live a normal life.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 31 Comments »

Why I married him..

Posted by Pepper on February 18, 2011

I started dating Mint when I was in my third year of college.  But each time he steered towards topics like ‘marriage’, ‘long term’, ‘commitment’ etc, I’d chicken out. The ex had me bitten by commitment phobia and I could still feel its sting. So we started avoiding the said topics, and I was fine and dandy.

And then one day I happened to see some pictures of Mint. He was just back from one of his trips and had shared the picasa link of his album with me. While browsing through the pics, I noticed his car, and it was love at first sight. I showed the pics of the car to the sister, and we oohed and aahed and drooled together. Instantly, I had thoughts of driving around in that beauty and taking over the world. Maybe this is the guy who would build me a diamond studded palace after all? Even if he doesn’t, he would at least pass on his car to me. Hmm, maybe marrying him wouldn’t be such a bad idea. As you can see, I have all the signs that make me a genuine and a good human being.

Time went by. This time he knew he could approach the otherwise prohibited topic with more ease. ‘Will you marry me, someday?’, he asked me one night, while we were talking on phone. ‘Yes’, I replied without hesitation. ‘You have a very hot car’. And that is what I told him each time the topic was brought up.

Two years after that, we were married. I have happily taken possession of the car, ever since. Each time the car is brought up, I make sure he knows the car is no longer his, it’s mine! He being the wise guy, knows it isn’t sensible to argue with me and always picks peace of mind over ownership of his car. ‘Yes, it’s yours’, he says.

The problem only arises when other people corner us, asking us questions like, ‘what did you like about each other’, ‘why did you choose to marry him/her’, and other such demented crap. And before I can even think of an acceptably cheesy response, he says ‘No reason, she married me because she liked my car’. A lot of times there are elderly relatives involved, and the stunned silence indicates the shock they are under. The last time it happened, I went red, and in my lame attempt to undo the damage, I glared at him and said, ‘Don’t lie, okay?’, followed by, ‘Hehe, he’s just joking’.

The damage was already done.

Since the world now knows my secret, I shouldn’t care. At least, I can openly show my love for *my* car.

Posted in Splashes of Mint | 73 Comments »

Am I a cheat?

Posted by Pepper on February 15, 2011

I’ve had this internal conflict going on for some time now. It began the moment I got married. As soon as the wedding ceremony was over and I stepped out, my mom in law looked at my thali (for the uninitiated, this is the tam version of the mangalsutra) and told me in all seriousness, ‘Never, ever take this out even for a moment. If you ever remove this, it shall mean that your marriage has been terminated’. I looked at her to find out if she was joking. She wasn’t. How could she  be serious? It seemed rather ridiculous to me.

And then I thought about the cultural differences and the different backgrounds we emerge from. She is a woman, who never questions tradition, but in fact, dutifully embraces every aspect of it. For her, the thali is precious. It is the sacred thread tied around her neck by her husband that binds them into holy matrimony. She has worn it since the day she got married, and it is now second skin to her, an inseparable part of herself. That is the only way she knows. My family on the other hand, is a lot less traditional. I have never seen my mom wearing it, unless an occasion demands it. The bonds between my parents are strong. The connections are internal, and a piece of jewelery has little or nothing to do with their marital status. Naturally, I belong to this school of thought.

Mint tying the thali during our wedding ceremony

For the records, I do not wear my thali/mangalsutra at all. Not because it is sexist.  I am the kind of person to go against my personal belief and bend as per your needs, IF it does not interfere with my life in a drastic way. So I will not even get into the whole sexist argument. But my thali is not something I can wear on an everyday basis. It is a thick, chunky and long gold chain, with an added piece of gold dangling in the centre. Not only does it clash with my outfits, it is also extremely uncomfortable. Beside, I do not feel emotionally attached to it. Not even remotely. For me, it just just a gold chain. There is nothing holy or sacred about it. It does not represent or symbolise my marriage in any way. The love we have for each other and the life we’ve built together is all that is important to me. Our bond does not need to be testified by a shiny piece of metal. So I don’t wear it.

Here is the twist though. Every time I am in front of the in laws, I do wear it, making them believe that it is worn by me at all times. Since we don’t live together and only visit India for a few weeks, this works. But this is what guilt trips me and makes me feel like a cheat. I end up putting up a farce each time we are together.  I do not have the courage to tell my mum in law I do not wear it, nor do I wish to wear it. I know the consequences. For her, it is the most important thing, and knowing I do not wear it will make her break down. She will be appalled by my complete disregard for their belief, for tradition, for what is right. She will question my values and view me with perpetual bitterness. Because like I said, going by her background and upbringing, such traditions are unquestionable and always have to be adhered to. Deviating from such norms is something she has never known.

How then do I make her see eye to eye? I do not have the courage to deal with her tears, and subject her to such hurt and misery. Nor do I have the willingness to wear my thali at all times. So I continue to deceive the in laws. And continue to battle the guilt. Will I have the courage to stand up for what I believe in some day? Will I have the heart to cause them such unhappiness? Will I always be timid? I don’t have the answers to these questions. For now, I take the easier route that makes me wonder, am I a cheat?

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 85 Comments »


Posted by Pepper on February 11, 2011

I’ve been sitting on my bed, crouched up, white with fear. It’s been a while. I am hungry and thirsty, but I lack the courage to move from this spot. Every dark shadow is making me hallucinate.

I’ll start from the beginning. I saw it when I was in the kitchen this morning, fixing myself some breakfast. A rat. My eyes popped out of their sockets and I did a double take. Then I did what any respectable girl would do. I screamed. Hysterically. Ran around in circles and screamed some more. After which I made a mad dash to the bedroom, thew myself on to the bed and called Mint.

‘There’s a rat in the house!’, I almost cried.  I was sure I’d break into sobs any minute. See, lizards, roaches and other such creatures repulse me. But I would survive. A rat in the house when I am all alone on the other hand is asking for far too much. So Mint asked me some questions and then finally told me to shut the bedroom door. Why hadn’t I shut the door earlier? Because I wasn’t sure where the cretin’s hideout was. What if it was in the bedroom? I didn’t wanna be locked inside, romancing the dude.

I haven’t seen it in the bedroom so far. In all this time, I’ve done some thoughtful analysis. Really, how did this fellow get in? I can think of no possible way. Are these rats or mice? Who cares about that anyway. Now that I have seen one, my mind isn’t at ease, obviously. What if the damn rat has more siblings in hiding? Cringe. What if our house has been serving as a maternity ward for these lovely creatures while we were holidaying in India? Double cringe.

I continue sitting here hunched up, without food or water. Somebody save me! *Sobs* I hope the rescue operations begin soon.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 44 Comments »


Posted by Pepper on February 9, 2011

I refer to how I feel, after being back. The flight fortunately was very tolerable. And I landed without having killed myself or anybody around me. And while I was bored, I either ate, slept (yes!) or played the game I have patented. I believe, the face of every human resembles an animal. Mint for example, looks like a chimp I say. So I sat back, staring at fellow passengers, having mental debates about who looked like a cow and who resembled a horse.  Soon my illusions had turned the aircraft into a boastful zoo. Caution had to be exercised, since there were grumpy wild animals at large.

So yes, I am back. Bittersweet is how I feel. Bitter for obvious reasons. I no longer have twenty people fussing over me. But the bitterness is followed by sweetness. Because I am back to my candy land, full of Mint flavoured cuddles.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 27 Comments »

I have reasons to love this place!

Posted by Pepper on February 1, 2011

It’s been a while since Mint is back in the US. While I miss him like crazy, I cannot overlook the perks of living at home. It’s a different thing that the word ‘home’ conjures up multiple images in my brain. But right now, I am talking about the home I’ve lived in for the longest time, with my parents.

– One of the biggest advantages is that I am not the primary care taker. In fact, I am not the care taker at all. When I live here, I am simply one of my mom’s little girls. I get yelled at for being lazy, I get pampared, I get to make demands and watch them getting fulfilled, I get to lie on the couch with my legs up and watch TV, knowing that everything will be taken care of by people around me. ‘Spoilt brat’ is what my mom would always call me and wonder how I will be able to run a home by myself if and when I have to. Well, I do things when I have to do them. Unfortunately my mom finds that hard to believe. For her, I continue to be a spoilt brat. Suits me I say. And I suspect, secretly, that’s how she likes it.

– My maid greets me with hugs and happy tears. I love feeling this cosy blanket of love.

– Family time. It’s precious. There are evenings when the four of us sit back in our living room, doing nothing in particular, but yet having so much of fun. My dad, who I believe is the king of lame jokes, keeps us entertained. I see my mom in the kitchen sometimes, dancing funnily as she cooks, making me and my sister laugh. I love our time in the car as well. My dad,  sis and I always gang up against mom, and let the music play at a thrilling volume. And hear her scream at us asking us to lower the volume. How much I love these guys.

– Girl time. It’s refreshing. I spent a night with my girl pals after ages. Five of us, everybody spending the night at my place. Raiding my wardrobe and ransacking my room, wearing mis matched pajamas, driving around mischievously and being a bundle of giggles, exchanging stories, male bashing, guilt free hogging, prying on facebook to see what other people from our school are upto, more giggling. Oh, bliss.

– My sister. For me, she’s the official brat. I am a good six years elder to her. The little lady is eighteen. And how much I love annoying her. Slapping her ass, tickling her, making her choke when she is drinking water, watching her spew it out and get mad, squeezing her fingers till she screams and cries, shaking her violently for no real reason, what fun! I harrass her so much when I am around. I ruin her peace. She keeps asking me to go away. And when I am gone, she is the one who misses me the most. Understandably so, we’ve always shared a room, and late night secrets along with that. I know I am going to miss this.

– Reliving old times. A lot of times, my sis and I would shut the bedroom door, blast the music, jump on the bed and dance. If my dad happened to pass by, he’d keep asking us to get off the bed, worried that it would get damaged with our combined weight. At times we’d listen, at times we’d just continue laughing and dancing till he came and phsyically pulled us down. Yesterday, we did the same thing. Shut the door, got on to the bed and danced, to this song.

– Meeting people. This one has been a little troublesome. I seem to have too many social obligations. All I wanted to do was to sit back and relax at home. But all that I end up doing is going for lunches or dinners to my relatives houses. Or they come home. Mom’s side of the family, dad’s side of the family, mom’s friend’s, dad’s friends, my friends, it never ends. And it takes up my entire day. At one point I was getting mad, and then I realised how arrogant I am being. People genuinely want to meet me. And although it is stressful for me and doesn’t leave me with time for anything else, I should stop being so pricey.

– Shopping. Not just the stores, boutiques and malls, but the roads. Colaba causeway, Linking road, Hill road. I love buying silver junk from these places. Yesterday I also happened to look at the lingerie they sell on the streets of Linking Road. Honestly, I think they sell the very same stuff in the stores, which I happened to be at just the previous day. While I was skimming through the pile, the guy holds up a fire engine red bra and tells me, ‘Yeh colour aapko bohut suit karega madam’. Ehh, you telling me what colour will suit me is creepy dude. And this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Has anybody noticed that all lingerie and inner wear stores mostly have men behind the counters, attending to women. I really don’t care anymore, but as an awkward fifteen year old, I didn’t like a man telling me to try size no x or whatever.

– While walking on the streets, I find a man carrying a load on his head. Every few seconds, he bellows ‘Haiiiyyaaaa’. So I stopped him and asked him what the ‘Haiyya’ was all about. He said using his lung strength to say that out aloud acts as an energy booster. I tried figuring out how using your energy by shouting would help you obtain more energy. But whatever, these little things go a long way in adding flavour to this country.

– I love this place and these people. Now I have less than a week left before I leave and go back to big, bad America. Sob, sniff, sigh.

Posted in Meet the family | 36 Comments »

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