A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for April, 2011

And this is how life happened..

Posted by Pepper on April 27, 2011

It began on this very date, quite some years ago. The confrontation of feelings. The acceptance. The declaration. A lot of time has passed. And now when I look back at our journey from the time it began, I realise we’ve been all over the place.

2004, Mumbai.
Status: Just friends.

Look at that stupid teenage girl and that 21 year old boy. And look at his stupid hairstyle! He had worn a stupid kurta, and had an even more stupid goatee. Rotfl. And me, err.. no comments. Every time I see this pic, I laugh. I met him when he came to Mumbai even though I was sick. That is the sickest I’ve been in my life till date. Look at the bandage where the needles had been inserted on my hand. Despite all of that, I came to meet him.
On our minds:
Pepper: I’ll excuse his stupid looks, but only cos he got me some really nice chocolate.
Mint: How could she not even offer to share the chocolate? I was planning to eat half of it!

***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

2006, Bangalore.
Status: Very good friends.

Both of us happened to be in Bangalore at the same time. I think it was a coincidence, but Mint says it wasn’t. He planned his trip that way. We’re still debating, and i am still trying to believe him. But anyway, we looked so awful! Look at the drastic change in his hair style. He cut his hair so short. Eeks.
On our minds:
Pepper: He is such a funny guy. 
Mint: Why does she always think I am joking when I tell her I like her?

***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

2008, London.
Status: ‘In a relationship’

This was when Mint visited me in UK, while I was doing my Masters. This was in late 2008. By this time, we had already been in a relationship for quite a while and were very much ‘in love’. I think we had an awesome time during his visit, chilling out in London, travelling to Scotland and basically making merry.
On our minds:
Pepper: He is the perfect hot water bottle on this cold day.
Mint: Whoa, babe! Watch where that hand is going.

***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

2009, Mumbai.
Status: Can’t do without each other.

I was in Mumbai during my Easter hols and he flew all the way there for just one day to surprise me on my birthday. The picture was taken at the airport when he was leaving. Much to the disappointment of my friends present there, I didn’t cry. They probably wanted to see some drama, but I bid him a cheerful good bye.
On our minds:
Pepper: Sigh! Best. Birthday. Ever. Can’t wait for the next one now!
Mint: Uh oh. Have I set the bar too high for my own good?

***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************soon

2010, Hong Kong.
Status: Married.

Finally we’re married. After getting married, we traveled a lot within the US, but HK was the second international hol we had as a married couple. The first one being Canada, during which we only ate and slept. HK though was a lot of fun!
On our minds:
Pepper: Ohh! Hearts! Now we can add to our collection of cheesy pics!
Mint: *Groan* Let’s finish this fast.

***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

2011, California.
Status: Married for a year.

 

 

Quite a recent picture, this one. Just a random weekend on the beach.
On our minds:
Pepper: Please don’t drop me! Please don’t drop me!
Mint: Should I drop her here on the sand or throw her in the water?

And life goes on………

Posted in Splashes of Mint | 85 Comments »

The checkouters.

Posted by Pepper on April 24, 2011

I check women out. There, I said it. When I said that to my cousin, he gasped in shock and asked me if I was sure I was straight. I am. As straight as straight can get. So does that mean I can’t notice and admire something that is pretty? And I am always complaining about the shortage of good looking guys to ogle at. But talk about pretty girls, I see them everywhere.

A few other friends have raised eye brows when they’ve found out that Mint and I check girls out together. If we’re out somewhere, and I happen to notice a hot girl, I tell Mint to look in that direction discreetly and tell me what he thinks. And it is the same with him. If he thinks some girl is pretty or hot, he asks me to see the girl he is checking out. Sometimes I think a girl is pretty, and he disagrees. Sometimes he thinks she is, and I say nah. And some other times, we think the girl has a pretty face but a bad body, or a hot body with average features. So yes, we basically check girls out together. Do you think we are weird?

A friend insists saying, every man has a ‘roving eye’. Those were her exact words. She said every single guy when he sees a girl, is guaranteed to do a mental strip. I am sorry, I disagree. I know a lot of sick men exist and they might be doing that, but let’s think twice before we say ‘every guy…’. Give the poor guys some credit. Not all of them want to go to bed with every girl they lay their eyes on. A lot of them just notice the girl, and think ‘whoa, she’s pretty’, without really stripping her mentally. And what is so wrong about that? I mean, some of these girls have taken all that effort to look pretty just for that second glance from you. It is only fair that you give it to them.

The same cousin was also surprised that I had no problem with Mint checking out other girls. And the fact that I actually joined him in this activity. I think it is normal. If something is eye catching, it does grab your attention. It is natural. I don’t exactly know the definition of ‘checking out’ here. But for us, this is usually about glancing at the said girl, discussing her features amongst ourselves, and then forgetting about it and moving on with whatever it is that we’re doing at that point. Why would I have a problem if he noticed some girl? Because in all honesty, I noticed her too. In fact, a lot of times I am the one who notices first and then I make him notice her. So what? Big deal.

Sometime ago, a friend’s FB status said ‘A girl wants everything from the same guy, but a guy wants the same thing from every girl’. It had a million ‘Likes’. Everybody agreed. Except me. While I might agree with the first part, I do not believe the second part is true for all guys. But then people told me I was getting too defensive of the male species. Probably I was. And I will be defensive if I think you are being so unfair.

Oh well, whatever.

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 51 Comments »

Let the music play..

Posted by Pepper on April 22, 2011

I associate music to memories. I think most of us do. And I am sure if I Google, I’ll find some research to prove the scientific existence of such a connection. If I like a song, I replay it a trillion times. So the sounds and the current moment get closely linked together in my mind. If I play the same song after a few weeks, months or years, it instantly takes me back to the moment I first heard it in. Not only does it bring the memories back, but I actually feel the same way I felt when I was listening to it then. It’s a great way to go back in time. I have songs that I listened to during exam nights that would help me relieve the stress. And when I listen to those songs, I can actually feel that tension I felt then due to limited time and unfinished course work. And then I can also feel the music calm me. I am not sure I make much sense.

This song was released when I was either 16 or 17. What impressed me most was the dance. I like the dance so much, I can see the song even if I mute the volume. At that age, all I really wanted was to be able to dance like that. But I also love the music in this song, so I never really thought of muting it. I would listen to this particular one during exams nights, quite a lot.

.
And then the next time I clung to it was when I was finishing my Masters in UK. I had a hell lot of work to do on my thesis, so I  would decide to go to the computer lab and work. Because being at home meant succumbing to the temptation of taking the laptop to bed and trying to work. And we can all guess what that would lead to. So I started walking to the lab. And almost everyday I’d get urges to listen to this song. And almost everyday I’d wanna kick myself for forgetting the headphones at home. So in the midst of all the work in the lab, I would watch the video without sound. And I’d dream of dancing like that with Mint and get mad because of our long distance relationship.

I had forgotten about this song, until today. I realised excitedly – I am married now! Mint and I live together. We can dance whenever we want. I showed him the video and told him to dance like that with me. I know it seems kind of difficult. And I am sure they’ve done some editing to give it that slow motion effect. But we can try. He is never the kind to say no to such a thing.

Don’t ask me whether we tried dancing or not. Keep guessing. Hah.

Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments »

About lands that glitter

Posted by Pepper on April 20, 2011

As a child, I had a very different view of America. Different from what it really is, I mean. America was equal to this far away glittering land full of wonders. I don’t really blame myself. My dad’s brother, and two of my mom’s sisters lived in the US. As a result, I was given doses of everything American every summer when my cousins visited. The new clothes they’d bring me smelt of distinct foreign lands. The scent that emerged out of their suitcases was enigmatic and sweet. The chocolates they would get me were so much more delectable compared to what I usually ate. Earning in dollars, they had such a high capacity to spend money and go on unrestrained shopping sprees. They drank only bottled mineral water, because the water I grew up drinking was not clean enough for them. I would often try and imagine the elevated standards of hygiene in the country they came from. From their talks, I gathered America was all about smooth, expansive roads, zooming cars, huge houses with basements, etc. They spoke about the kind of technology I could only imagine, never witness. To add to that, they would bring me little goodies like fancy, scented erasers, fancy hair clips, fancy socks, fancy pencils and other fancy stuff that you could tell came from a far away fancy land. All these little bits were placed in the canvas of my mind to form an intriguing, magical picture that was America.

As I grew up, I read books that only fueled my imagination further. As a young teen, I read the whole serious of Baby Sitters Club, Sweet Valley High, Party of Five, Goosebumps, etc. Has anybody else read them? All these are written by American authors and thus, set in an American backdrop. I would absorb all the little details that would give me a better insight to the country. The characters in those books would spend a while deciding what to wear to school everyday. Their outfits would be described in good detail. All I had was the same old uniform to wear on all days. They had personal lockers in school. I had to lug around a heavy school bag. They drove to school at 16. I had to chase BEST buses and trains. They had prom nights and Halloween celebrations. Their lives on the whole seemed so much more exciting and fun compared to mine.

And then we had shows like ‘Friends’ that were aired on TV. They went on to give us a big scoop of life in America. With this, the final image of the country was sealed in my mind. America was all about glitter and glamour.

But as I grew and stepped into my late teens, reality started sinking in. Sure the country was about glitter and glamour, but it was about a lot more than that. I don’t know what came over me, but at one point I was sure I did not want to live there. Especially after I stepped out of India for the first time. I realised that in India, we have glamourised the whole concept of ‘foreign lands’. I was most exposed to the US, but I suppose all that I mentioned is applicable to any foreign country.

Life is strange, and despite my reluctance and apprehensions, I ended up moving to the US. A lot of aspects fascinated me immensely. But a lot of aspects also made me value India so much more. After moving here, I had to make peace with the fact that my family was oceans and continents away. I had to accept the fact that we live in very different time zones and I can’t just randomly call home if I want to. I had to make do with seeing the photos sent to my inbox instead of being able to see them in person. I had to accept the craving for certain food that is available only in India as a way of life. I had to get used to emailing and chatting with my BFFs as opposed to talking to them on phone multiple times a day. I had to make peace with the amount of work load that is a part of your everyday life. At all times, there are either dishes piled up in the sink waiting to be washed, or veggies to be chopped, or dinner to be cooked, or trash to be discarded, or the bathtub to be cleaned or the floors to be vacuumed, or an overflowing laundry basket to be dealt with, or clothes to be folded, or something else. Phew. I envy the comfortable life style most of us can afford in India with maids, cooks, etc. It leaves you with time to do other things. Again, some of you who live here might be used to the work and won’t think much of it. But for me, it is a huge factor.

Despite everything, I love this country. But in my opinion, living here definitely has its own flip side. I wonder if people realise that?

I was chatting with my friend today. She, as per her family is of marriageable age and her parents are groom hunting. She has only one condition – the boy should be living in the US. I found that quite stupid and asked her why. She is said, ‘because I want to move there’. Why? I asked again. She said, ‘because its cool’. I found that so ridiculous, I didn’t know what to say.

But then I realised. She has romanticized the whole idea of living in America. Just like I had when I was a child. I grew out of that spell. But perhaps some people in our country don’t. It makes me wonder, is that why people are so desperate to move abroad? Another friend who works in IT was telling me how people in his office have been indulging in dirty politics just to grab that project that takes them ‘on site’ and gives them a chance to live in a foreign country. Why? After graduating from college, so many people are desperate to do an MS in the US, just to use that as a path to enter this country. I am curious to know their reasons. If they dislike certain aspects about India and want to move elsewhere, or want to move because they think it will give them an opportunity to explore new shores and make money, that is their choice. I chose to study in UK because I had personal reasons that I don’t want to reveal. If anybody has well thought of reasons to move base, I understand. But if they want to simply because they think it is ‘cool’, then they definitely need a reality check. I hope people weigh the pros and cons carefully before deciding to move.

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 52 Comments »

Confusions and considerations

Posted by Pepper on April 18, 2011

So I’ve been playing with this thought for a while now. But every time the confusion takes over and makes it look very hazy. I thought I should just write about it and hope it will clear my head.

I’ve been thinking of locking my blog and going private. I don’t know why. It is just one of the things I feel like doing without reason. If I do go private, I’ll invite a handful of readers. I think I keep getting these kicks every now and then. I suddenly decided to put a lock on my previous blog one day. Did that, and moved to this url which nobody knew about. I wrote in isolation for a while. It had its own charm. If you dig into the archives, you’ll see zero comments on each post. And then at one point I decided to stop being a lurker on my favourite blogs. And as a result, people discovered my blog too. They came, read and left comments. The comments give me such a high. I loved every bit of it.

But since a while, I’ve been getting the same thoughts. I like the idea of a private blog. It is much safer too. And I know my posts have a high chance of coming across as too ‘cranky’ in the coming few days. I know I won’t be fun to read. So I might as well go private?

On the other hand, I have totally grown to love my comments, my lurkers and my stats. Some blogger once told me, ‘I don’t even look at my stats’. I was really amazed. I wish I could be like her. But I can’t pretend to be like that when I am not. I have to be honest on my blog, even if it means being vain and shallow. I love my growing stats. Every time I reach a new milestone,  I am beyond thrilled. I actually jump around like an idiot. So would it be worth it to deprive myself of this joy? I know how much I love and value these comments and how excited the increasing statistics make me. Besides, I’ve discussed this thought of going private with a few of you bloggers, and almost all of you seemed against it.

So, I am left confused. I still haven’t made up my mind. If I do go private, I might do it suddenly and will invite readers. Or I might go private only for a brief period and then come back. However I may not. Or I might start a new blog elsewhere. Or I might just ditch all these ideas and stay here. As usual, I cannot decide. And until I do, i will not act upon my impulse. I am going to give myself some more time to think over it. Because I like to believe, people would miss me if I vanish. And that the whole world loves to follow, ‘The adventures of PepperMint’. Sounds like a nice title, no? If only that were true.

Anyway, we shall get back to regular programming, or, err..blogging now. At least until a decision is made.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 74 Comments »

The big day!

Posted by Pepper on April 14, 2011

My birthday is over. I feel bad it is over so soon. But thank you very much. All those wishes are treasured. For those who wanted to know, here is how my day went.

A day before my birthday, I was down in the dumps. I was throwing up, had a monster headache and felt quite ill. I was also in a cranky, ‘nobody loves me’ mood. The world didn’t seem right. But by evening, my nausea decreased and my state of mind improved. We went out for dinner, and then went to get my cake. I wanted a Gelato cake this time.

Once we got to the store, we were told the kind of cake we wanted had to be custom made. So we placed an order . Like always, it took us hours to decide the exact flavour, the shape, the size, and the design. We finally settled for the usual. And since we had to wait for a day to get our cake, we took home another cake for the mid night cake cutting ritual.

I logged on to Facebook after we got back home, and what do I see? A million birthday wishes posted on my wall. It left me confused. I have never liked the idea of my birthday popping up as a notification on your homepage. I had chosen my options and made sure my birth date was not visible to my friends. So I really do not know how my setting changed by itself. I know a lot, or in fact, most people display their birth date on their profile. But the idea simply does not appeal to me. Especially because most of us have a couple of hundred ‘friends’ on our list. It is as though I am asking them all to wish me. I know my close friends would not need reminders of my birthday, and will wish me anyway. The others just feel obliged to scribble on my wall on that day. And I know a lot of them don’t care a damn and just leave behind a meaningless message. So the whole formal exercise seems senseless to me. But these are just my opinions. I do not judge people who display their  birth date. But it is not something I am comfortable doing.

Anyway, I have no clue how my settings changed. My birthday was displayed and I had a whole load of messages waiting for me from the previous day. Since majority of my friends live in India, my birthday dawned a little sooner for them than it did for me. It took me quite a while to say thank you to everybody individually.

I asked Mint for an extended back massage, and he gave in without a word of protest. Hah! This is why I love birthdays. Otherwise the same guy has to be told to crack my back and apply some Bengay at least 6 times before he does it. The massage put me to sleep. But I was woken up by the boy at mid night. After some wishes, a tiny, delightful cake and a flurry of phone calls, I slept. Only to have missed some more calls.

The next day, on my birthday, I kept getting hit by bouts of crankiness again. Why is my birthday on a weekday? Why is my family away? Why do birthdays exist? But by evening, everything changed. I felt energized and happy. The excitement of my birthday returned. We went out for dinner to a great place and ordered like there was no tomorrow. After which we picked up the cake and came home for a new round of cake cutting.

The Gelato cake was brilliant. If you like ice cream, I highly recommend it. It is a heavenly medley of delicious cake and gooey Gelato ice cream. I wish I had a better pic. I’ll blame it on the stupid camera settings again. Mint tried to flick off a stray flake of icing that had landed  on the chocolate surface, but the cake was so soft and creamy. even the slight touch of his finger left an imprint. Can you see it?

Thank you to all those of you who made my day special. Especially her. She woke up in the middle of the night on a week day to call and wish me. And when I didn’t answer the phone, she left me a voice mail singing the entire Happy Birthday song, in her sweet, sweet voice. I am secretly glad I didn’t answer her call and that she left me a VM. It gives me the chance to replay the message again and again. And her. She surprised me with a call and added a big smile to my face. She even used her magical powers to clear up the sky and stop the rain so that I could go out. You don’t understand? Never mind. And her. She called me to wish me and totally cheered me up at a time when I was sulking. And her. She sent me a wonderful mail with lovely wishes imprinted on a picture from her personal collection. And her. She took the time out to write in and wish me personally. And all of you who wished me in the comment section. Thank you so much!

I can say I had a wonderful day. I was sorry it was over. Today morning I was complaining to Mint and telling him my birthday got over so soon and that I will have to wait for another year now for it to come again. And he replied saying, ‘ Never mind, we’ll have your birthday today also’. I happily agreed of course. I know why I love this boy. So for us, today was also considered to be my birthday. Celebrations were declared. I got royal treatment. I then asked him at the end of the day if we could have  my birthday tomorrow also. That would be the last day, pakka. He said I could of course. Yay! I love my birthdays. While talking to my parents today, I told them it was my birthday today as well. As expected, they thought I am being a nutcase.

Posted in Slices of life | 47 Comments »

I am 24

Posted by Pepper on April 12, 2011

only for a few more hours. After tomorrow, i.e. 13th of April, I will never be able to say that again. So let me repeat it as many times as I can in these few hours. I am 24. I am 24.

From tomorrow, I will have to get used to saying a new number when people ask me my age. 25. I really don’t know how I got to this age. I mean, how? 25? Really? That sounds way too old. I still think this is the post that describes me most appropriately and one of my favourite posts on this blog. Read it. On most days, I need to remind myself of being an adult.

Mint’s school friend who lives in Kansas City was visiting us this weekend. So we were out all the time, taking him around and doing all the touristy stuff. At one time I was lying on the beach, in the sand. Since I didn’t want sand in my hair, I was using my portable pillow to rest my head on –  i.e. Mint’s lap. It was quite magical. The kind of stuff people write about in books – lying down by the sea under the liquid blue sky, hearing the soft waves and all that. Being there made me feel blissfully happy. And then I started telling Mint I had done the very same thing quite recently in Goa. I laid on the sand in the beach, watching the sky and hearing the waves. Just after I started speaking did I realise, that was not ‘recently’. I was 18 then. That makes it 7 years ago. Gulp. 7 years, and I felt like it had just happened. Where did the time go? It’s like, the last I remember I was 18, a crazy teen living an exciting life and now I notice, my official age is 25. I have no clue of how this happened.

Clearly, there has been no mental progress in me after I turned 17 or 18. Until then, I think I did gather some amount of sense along the way. At least I was aware of the passing years and conscious of my age. You know, when we are in school, with every year added to our age, we are promoted to a higher standard (or grade, depending on your location). Every year, you sit in a different classroom. Some of us were even shuffled and spread out in different divisions. There is a gradual increase in the difficulty level of the subjects we study. There are new text books. That is how most people track their age as kids. And I guess that tangible annual progress helped me mentally connect to my real age. I suppose that is how it works with most of us. ‘Age’ and ‘Grade’ are held in close association with each other while we’re kids. After all, when you’re young, people mostly ask you ‘What standard/grade are you in?’, as opposed to ‘How old are you’.

But then, school came to an end. I stopped being aware of the passing years, since there were no ‘standards’ to link back to. A birthday was never about a new age. It was only about celebrations, cakes, friends, gifts, the works. It was that one day in the whole year when everybody put their focus on me. I gleefully awaited my birthday all year. Life was  more or less the same. It went on. Like I said, there was no mental growth. Heck, there hasn’t even been any physical growth. When I compare pictures, I see no difference in the way I look now compared to what I looked at 18. Which is why when I note my age now, I can’t help feeling a little shocked. 25 is here already. At 18, I thought 25 couldn’t possibly come so soon. I had a long way to go.  25 year olds are matured adults. Then how come I’ve reached this number without reaching that state of ‘maturity’. Okay. Never mind. With added time I will probably get there. I’ve always been slow after all.

Birthdays excite me. I know most people shrug it off, with a casual, ‘It is just another day’ remark. But I jump and dance for a week before the date and tell the whole world, ‘My birthdayy is comingggg’. This time, the excitement has been sporadic. Although I’ve moved out of home a couple of years ago, I’ve always ended up being at home with my family during my birthday. This is the first birthday of my life without them around. That makes me feel a little heavy hearted every now and then. And also the first birthday during which I won’t race my grand mom to wish her first. We shared our birthday. But never mind. Such is life. I shall try and hold on to the cheer.

So yes, I complete 25 years tomorrow. I’ve had an exceptionally happy childhood, exciting teens, managed to acquire two BFFs and some good friends, managed to educate myself and obtain my Masters degree, managed to find myself quite an awesome guy, managed to complete more than a year of the so called ‘marital bliss’, managed to see 7 countries, managed to live in 3, managed to learn to cook, managed to learn some useful tricks, like making cute faces that will make my mom do anything for me and most importantly, managed to survive. On the whole, I think I have managed decently.

Do spare a minute to send some good wishes my way. Yes you lurkers too. Silent wishes count as much. I want to pile it on and use it in the coming year. Let me start by wishing myself – hope I have a fun day tomorrow and great year ahead.

Posted in Uncategorized | 86 Comments »

A little bit of fame..

Posted by Pepper on April 7, 2011

comes my way, with an award! The lovely R’s Mom has passed on this award to me.

Thank you so much R’s Mom! My thoughts are usually very random and diverse. My mind always jumps from one subject to another. A lot of times I wonder if my inward versatility reflects on my blog. So an award like this obviously pleases me very much. Thank you once again!

There, now that I am done with my thank you speech, we will move on to the more interesting part. This award comes with a tag. You have to list out 7 random facts about yourself. This tag is such an old one and has done the rounds of the blog world at least three times. Something similar went on on Facebook a while ago too. But despite the fact that it is so overdone, I love it. It is always so much fun to know these random facts about people around you.

So here we go. Since I am narcissistic and sadistic, I changed the number from 7 to 10. At first I was blank. But once I started, I found it hard to stop. I am so full of myself, I can just go on. I copied a few points from my old blog, but never mind. Presenting 10 random facts about me:

1) I am terrible at swallowing pills. Even the smallest pill makes me gag and want to throw up. When I am sick, the sight of big tablets and capsules makes me cry.

2) I like to name inanimate objects. My iPod is called ‘Cupid’, for no reason. Or maybe because it was gifted to me by Mint in a very special way on Valentines Day some years ago. My old car in Bombay was called ‘Long John Silver’.

3) I randomly think of things that happened years ago and laugh uncontrollably. If this happens while I am walking on the road alone, I hold my cell phone against my ear and laugh. So that I can laugh with dignity at least.

4) As a child, I used to be really scared of stepping into the shower. The water and the spray from the faucet on top would invariably enter my eyes, making me shriek. For the first 10 years of my life, I only used the tap and bucket to bathe.

5) If we’re in a restaurant, I like making a mess in my plate while waiting for the food to arrive. I play around with the salt and pepper bottles, mix the two ingredients, add ketchup, vinegar and any other thing I find on the table. And then I force ask you to eat the interesting concoction I have composed. Mint is the only one who eats it calmly without questioning me too much.

6) Every time I am nervous, I find myself touching the metallic surface of my ring. The contact with the smooth metal on the backside of my ring usually helps me calm my nerves.

7) I have a sharp scar on my right knee that I got because of a bad fall I had while playing cricket with the colony boys at the age of 10.

8 ) I *have* to slap my sister’s ass if I see it. If her butt is in my line of vision, an automated response from my senses makes me lift my hand and whack her ass. It is beyond my control now. She has screamed, cried and kicked to no avail. She now makes sure she does not expose her butt when I am around. She will sit in one place, and even sleep on her back. Needless to say, she was the one who celebrated the most when I moved out of home.

9) Blood fascinates me. I love going for a blood test, to watch them extract it out of your body. I love the colour. The flow. I think it is beautiful. If I ever get a cut, I deliberately press the affected area and make sure I ooze out as much as possible.

10) Only if I really love you or am close to you will I unleash the true lunatic within me. This means I will subject you to an insane amount of ridiculous questions. And then find novel ways to bug and harass you until you answer me. One of my most common questions is, ‘Will you drink cow pee if that is the only way you could save me from dying?’.

So yes, I said it. Most people know I am a nutcase, but very few people know the extent of my lunacy. But then I already admitted it. My parents and sister look for ways to run when they see the insanity taking over. Considering all this, I really wonder how I have such a remarkably sane husband. Oh well..

Anyway, it is now time to pass on this award and tag. I pass it on to Revs. Because I do believe she has a versatile blog. Talking about feminism in one post and then sibling lou in the next. And also because I know she has a ready list of the random facts. Let me paste the rules here:

1. Thank the person who awarded you and link back to them in your post.
2. Tell 10 random facts about yourself.
3. Pass the award.

And with that, I shall say take your leave. Have a good weekend folks!

Posted in Uncategorized | 53 Comments »

And so we met!

Posted by Pepper on April 5, 2011

Yes, I talk about the one and only. I talk about the Queen who reigns the comment sections of blogville. I talk about Sakshi! Her highness agreed to grace me with her presence. How fortunate am I! She even got along her little Prince, all of 6 years old.

As per our plan. we met for lunch very close to where I live. The thing with meeting bloggers is, you never run out of stuff to talk about. We chatted animatedly as we tucked in. About life! We are profound, you see? You think we bitched about you? Nyah! We are beyond all such shallow pursuits. *Cough*

After a fulfilling lunch, we walked back to my place. I knew her majesty would be visiting, which is why that morning I had run around hysterically putting things away in their rightful place, vacuuming the carpet in the living room and doing everything I can to come across as a normal, civilized human being living in a sane house. All this because, I was still on probation to secure an extended friendship. What if she decided I was not worthy of being friends with? All my chances of getting the goodies she cooks would be gone.  I couldn’t do this. Besides. Mint would never forgive me.

To make matters was, she had informed me of her OCD that involved cleanliness and order. I imagined her home! I imagined her wiping off every speck of dust the moment it disembarked. Me? I have no regard for spotless washbasins. Coffee stains on tables do not bother me. Our house, on a daily basis resembles a tornado struck zone, with all the dust and chaos wheeling in the air. But like I said, I had to win her over. And for the sake of good food, I could do anything. Even if it meant a new serious of Mission: Impossible that involved cleaning my home. So I did all I could on that morning. I even ensured there were no finger print stains visible on any surface. I smiled as I finished wiping the side table. Sanitizing my undies was the only thing left to do. Yes! I could fool her into believing I was just like her. We might even become best friends. Yay!

We entered the house and sat back on the couch. The moment we were comfortably seated, I spotted an even film of dust layering our center table. How the hell was it there? Great. I had spent all my time cleaning invisible corners and ignored the most important in your face piece of furniture we would be sitting around. I specialise in focusing on the unimportant and being blind to what counts. Bah! I should give up all pretenses of being a normal person. I cried inwardly as I bid goodbye to all my dreams of those awesome biryanis.

But all that stopped mattering the moment she started narrating her love story. I had been waiting to hear it for a long time and had been after her life to tell me. She finally decided to end the trauma for herself. I heard every little detail, with complete expression. It qualifies as the best love story I’ve ever heard. I am still spellbound. I can’t stop smiling. Wow.

And her little boy. What do I say? I am trying to find out if he really belongs to Sakshi, or was this her attempt to fool me? It is hard to believe she can raise such a gentle, well mannered  and sensible child. He patiently waited as we spoke. At one point, he found Mint’s PS3 to entertain himself and let us carry on with our conversations. The little guy amazes me.

And oh, she also got me Pepper (corns) and Mint (chocolates). Can it get any sweeter?

Sakshi, meeting you was so much fun! I enjoyed every minute. Please overlook the dust and tell me if I made the cut.

Posted in Slices of life | 66 Comments »

CSAAM April 2011 – My contribition

Posted by Pepper on April 1, 2011

From the time I heard of this initiative, I’ve been dealing with a mental tug of war. Should I participate and share my story, or not? I did have second thoughts. Because talking about this has never been easy. I’ve had to throw myself out of my comfort zone in order to write this post. But I have come to realise how common child sexual abuse is. And if talking about it and discussing it is one way to spread awareness,  then I am willing to do it. Child abuse is rampant in almost every strata of society. To end this, we need to join hands and contribute in whatever way we can.

As you can guess, I was sexually abused as a child. I’ve been a victim more than once. In the first case, it came from my own family. I was 5 years old. My dad’s cousin, who lives in Spain, was visiting us along with her son. That guy must have been around 13 years old. The two of us were once playing a board game in the room. There was nobody else at home. This guy had been asked to look after me while my mom ran errands. At one point, he told me the game we were playing is boring. He will introduce me to a more interesting game. The child in me got excited by the thought and willingly agreed. He asked me to lie down. He then flopped himself on me and started rubbing his genitals against me. I told him I wasn’t liking it and asked him to stop. He insisted that we should continue playing this ‘game’. To convince me fully he even told me that this was a very popular game back in Spain. I gave in and let him to do it until he was satisfied. He told me to guard this secret of ours. We got back to the board game at some point. We continued laughing and playing until the others got back home. This incident was never spoken about.

What do I make of this? As a child, I did not think what happened was wrong. Had the same thing been done to me by a strange man, perhaps my instinct would tell me otherwise. But a child’s mind observes and learns from the environment. This guy was trusted by my whole family. So my little mind told me I could put him in the ‘trusted’ bracket. And when you are a child, anything that ‘trusted’ people do is not supposed to be unacceptable or unusual, right? Perhaps that is why I did not mention a word to my parents. Beside, it was the whole new thrill of guarding a secret.

It took me years to really understand what went on on that particular day. I was around 13, when it suddenly hit me like a bolt of lightning. By now, I knew and understood the finer details of sex. Only then did I realise that what had happened was wrong. Very wrong. I was filled with disgust and anger. I considered telling my parents, but it was very hard. I could not get myself to speak about it at all. Not with anyone.

I pondered for days. What made him think he could do that to me and get away? Perhaps because
– We were home alone, and that made me an easy target.
– As a child, you come with added gullibility.
– He knew I trusted him. So did the rest of the family. He was sure no fingers would point at him because of the ‘trust’ factor.
– He thought I was too young to really remember this incident.
– If at all, I did speak up, he could always deny it. I was a child after all, he could just say I have misunderstood a lot of things.

I do believe those are the very reasons he got away. I wish I had spoken up then. I see no point in talking about it now. This happened around two decades ago. If my mom ever gets a clue, I know she will want to rip him to shreds. This being a family matter, things will get extremely messy. Fortunately, this incident did not affect me at a very deep rooted level. I did not stop trusting men. I was not filled with paranoia that came with the male touch. More than being guarded by my own fears, I could taste the disgust and the anger. But I feel very fortunate I could brush aside this one incident and not let my fears consume me and take over my life. But a lot of people have not been as fortunate. When I hear their horror stories, I shudder.

I’ve written these pointers so that we have a better understanding of the precautions we need to take with children. My parents trustingly left me alone with a cousin of mine who lived in another country. I don’t think they ever imagined the kind of stuff he was capable of. I might not be brave enough to leave my child alone with any person unless I really, really know him/her well. Even if he/she is family. More importantly, I would want to train my child in a way where he/she is used to telling me every little thing that went on. Every little secret he/she was asked to keep. I’d want this to be the case at least for a few years, until I feel safe and believe the children are capable of looking after themselves.

I do think after a certain age, the human mind is developed enough to distinguish between right and wrong, good touch and bad touch. I was subjected to some amount of sexual abuse again at the age of 10. We used to live on the 3rd floor of our building. It was an old building with no elevators. I used to leave for school at 7 am. My time used to coincide with a man who used to come by to drop a bag of milk on the 2nd floor. The first time I bumped into this man, he smiled at me. We walked down the stairs together. The second day, he put his arm around my shoulder. I let it go. The third day, the man was touching me all over my back, my ass, and my chest as we walked down. I screamed. The moment he heard me shout, he ran. I went upstairs and told my parents. That is usually an awkward age where talking about such things is embarrassing. But by that age, you are also intelligent enough to understand that it is wrong. I am glad I told my parents. They took up the issue and that man was no longer seen in our building premises.

My point is, even children understand that some things are acceptable and some things are not. But that understanding comes with age. The initial few years are extremely vulnerable. You don’t have to be a parent to understand that. Look out for all children, not just your own. Be vigilant and alert. Every child is precious. Do all you can to keep them safe. Once the child reaches a certain age, they learn to defend their bodies, at least by asking for help or speaking up. For that, we need to cultivate an environment that encourages open talk. Sexuality should not be treated as a taboo.

Will child sexual abuse ever come to an end? I don’t know. It is a long and hard battle. But I am glad the journey has begun..

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 58 Comments »

 
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