A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for September, 2011

The periodic rant

Posted by Pepper on September 28, 2011

It’s been a stressful few days. The in laws arrived. For those of you who wanted to know, I chose to wear the ‘thali‘ while they are here. I don’t think I have the energy to deal with any conflicts. Or maybe that is my excuse for not having the courage to speak.

This time, since their stay with us is going to be kind of long, I wanted to take that extra step to reach out to them. I wanted us to truly bond. In the real sense. I was prepared to do all I could to make it work.

Before they arrived, I spent quite a few hours cooking. I stocked up the fridge with a good amount of food. Mint kept getting mad at me, all the while telling me to not do so much. But I wanted to do it for them. I wanted them to have an elaborate meal the first time they ate in our house.

We also spent a lot of days cleaning up the house and setting things up so that they find everything in good order.

Things haven’t been easy for me since the time they came.  I find my mother in law very difficult to deal with. I have a lot to say, but I am not sure how much I should divulge.  Those of you who I talk to would already know all that has been going on. For the rest, let me just say it in a few words. My mil cannot see her son doing any chore around the house. If he is seen doing anything, I have to answer a lot of questions. No, don’t tell me Mint should speak up at that time. He speaks a little too much whenever he witnesses his mom cornering me. The problem is that I am subjected to all the questioning when he isn’t around. And I still haven’t figured out how to speak for myself.  Also, she expects me to be like the other ‘domesticated’ married women she sees around her. And since I am not like them, I have to answer a lot of questions again. Questions for every thing I do and more so for everything I don’t do. I know she doesn’t have any ill intentions. I know she doesn’t do it to make things difficult for me. She only does it because she is supremely concerned about her son and his well being. And she believes I am the one responsible for his overall being. And that I don’t shoulder that responsibility well.

I wish I could assert myself and ask her to get off my back. But I can’t. Instead, I run to Mint and cry. I’ve already had two sobbing sessions so far because I felt I was buckling under all the pressure that has been piling up on me. Mint has been extremely mad at me and has already issued me a grave warning. Either I speak up myself, or he will speak up for me. Either ways, he doesn’t want me to go through this kind of stress and anxiety. I can’t imagine speaking up, but I definitely can’t imagine him speaking up. I know that will be a lot worse. I hope with time I learn to be polite, yet firm and assertive.

I’ve been having long days at work. After work I rush back home only to take on more work. Yes, the mil does a lot, but I expect myself to help out in everything. And I know she expects it too. I don’t know at what point I will snap.

The one good thing I realise every time is that I have the most awesome husband ever. He is so fair, so supportive, so bold, he makes up for everything.

Phew. It’s been a tiring few days, but thankfully, a break is in store. Mint and I are going to be heading to New York soon.

See you on the other side!

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Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 98 Comments »

Were they really warned?

Posted by Pepper on September 23, 2011

Did they know what our generation will be like?

Happy weekend!

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

Response to ‘Let him drive please’

Posted by Pepper on September 20, 2011

A few days ago I wrote this post on what I thought was a sexist ad.

I was particularly disturbed by one comment I got.

This is what a commenter, Anil said:

Agree with this ad 100%. All women do is bump their gums on the telephone. Without complements, the women of this world will die in self loath.

I’m the boss in my dept and I’ve made it clear to our HR manager that the less women we hire the better it is for business. I can’t yell at women. If I do, I feel guilty. My guys have no problem spending the whole night doing urgent work. But the women pack up and leave everything the clock hits 5; 6 at the most. If I keep them late by command, there safe and secure delivery to their homes at late night automatically becomes my responsibility. I have to spend 800 bucks on “meru cabs” for them.

Women should stay in kitchen. If they start working, they become my headache. I’m fully aware that this comment sounds misogynist but this is how I feel. Sorry if it has hurt anyone.”

This was my response to him:

Anil, your comment is highly offensive and demands a lot of restrain from me. I am going to try my very best to be polite in my responses to your statements.
Let’s take this bit by bit.

All women do is bump their gums on the telephone. Without complements, the women of this world will die in self loath.”
What are you talking about may I know? Are you really telling me every woman is alive only because of the constant compliments she gets from the average male? I wonder what kind of women you’ve encountered in that case. Perhaps you’ve never had the fortune of meeting a bold, strong headed and confident woman.

I’m the boss in my dept and I’ve made it clear to our HR manager that the less women we hire the better it is for business. I can’t yell at women. If I do, I feel guilty..
Its a pity there are so many bosses like you in India. You are not supposed to be “yelling” in a professional setup anyway. You can express your disapproval without yelling. You should treat the women at your work place in the same professional manner you treat the men in. If you are yelling, then you should be feeling guilty, irrespective of whether you are yelling at a man or a woman.

My guys have no problem spending the whole night doing urgent work. But the women pack up and leave everything the clock hits 5; 6 at the most.
Do you know why? Because most women have to go through a whole new work shift once they get home. Their husbands do not contribute at home at all. Had the men in our country been brought up in a way in which they believed that the house work and the kids were as much their responsibility as the woman’s, the women at your workplace wouldn’t have to rush back by 6.

If I keep them late by command, there safe and secure delivery to their homes at late night automatically becomes my responsibility. I have to spend 800 bucks on “meru cabs” for them.”
Again, do you know why? It is because women are constant victims of sexual harassment and assaults caused by men. It is because most men view every lone girl on an isolated street as an opportunity. Do you really think women enjoy guarding their dignity every moment or living in an unsafe environment all the time? So ultimately who do you think is responsible for you having to spend 800 bucks on a Meru cabs to ensure your female employee gets home safely at night?

Women should stay in kitchen. If they start working, they become my headache
How much more chauvinistic can you get? First you subject women to such intense oppression and they go ahead and blame the same women for the consequent scenario? You believe women should stay in the kitchen and not work, otherwise they become your headache. Great. You want to suppress the ailment instead of wanting to cure it by treating the root cause. This attitude will help nobody. If you really want to improve the scenario, maybe you should think of men wanting to take on equal responsibility at home. Maybe you should think of men cooking dinner and feeding the kids. Maybe you should think of men learning to hold their urges and not view women as objects of their desire.”

********

And then he asked me a very simple question. How does knowing all this solve his problem? I did answer him, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

The problem we have at hand cannot be solved immediately. It will take years, probably even decades for there to be gender equality in India. Clearly, Anil is impacted by the current situation. The change that will come about after years will not benefit him as a Manager. What are people like him supposed to do today? They do seem to be at the losing end if they hire women. Why then would they be motivated to hire female employees ?

Please note, I am not talking about men and women in the blogging community. I know most women do not have chauvinistic partners, and that most of us work in places that give due consideration to equal opportunities. I am talking about the general Indian population, the million small to mid sized firms that are not familiar with the concept of equal opportunity, the million women who can’t afford to stay back late, the many managers like Anil who do not hire women.

In the current scenario, what reason does a manager like Anil have to hire a woman, when hiring a man is much more effective? Your thoughts?

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 48 Comments »

Duhness personified

Posted by Pepper on September 19, 2011

I don’t know how to deal with Mint most of the times. His responses make me go “Duh!”. A lot of times I am mad at him, and then he says things that make me want to laugh. Those are the times I have to really hold back my laughter, least my anger loses its efficacy.

And then there are times he is so duh, I don’t know what to say.

For example, this is what his “About Me” section says.

Pronunciation: ‘mE
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English mE; akin to Old High German mIh me, Latin me, Greek me, Sanskrit mA
• pronoun – first person sing.
1. used as the object of a verb or preposition or after ‘than’, ‘as’, or the verb ‘to be’, to refer to the speaker himself or herself.
2. (N. Amer) informal to or for myself.
3. (Informal) used as a predicate nominative.
4. (Nonstandard) used reflexively as the indirect object of a verb.
• noun.
(Music) the third note of a major scale, coming after ‘ray’ and before ‘fah’. (also mi)

Wouldn’t you go ‘Duh!’ too?

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

He was really mad about something once.

Pepper: It’s okay man. It’s not the end of the world.
Mint: When did I say I was the world?
Pepper: *Can’t think of an appropriate response*

(Please note how dramatic he is. And then he calls me a drama queen. *Rolls eyes*)

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

I was really mad at him for something.

Pepper: Just get lost!
Mint: Which season of lost?
Pepper: *Tries not to laugh. Can’t think of an appropriate response*

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

I had a bad case of diarrhoea once and that idiot boy was laughing.

Pepper: Stop laughing! Do you even know what state I am in?
Mint: California.
Pepper: *Tries not to laugh. Can’t think of an appropriate response*

Really, what do I do with him?

PS – I am trying to clear my drafts. This is an old post. Expect to see more of my dusty collection.

Posted in Splashes of Mint | 57 Comments »

When collisions occur..

Posted by Pepper on September 14, 2011

I tend to space out a lot. I am *always* dreaming. Even as I type this, there is a parallel thought process running in my head. Mint always asks me the same question. “What are you always thinking about?”.

I don’t know. It is such a haphazard blend of thoughts, that I can’t get myself to give him a coherent answer.

I might be doing something, while thinking about something else all together. So one part of my brain focuses on the task at hand, while the other part caters to the other in built, bizarre world that occupies my head.  I would say my brain is like a two way street. I have to ensure that the opposing thoughts, though they are being driven simultaneously at high speed, do not collide.

But sometimes collisions do occur. Sometimes it happens because I am too exhausted and the signalling system runs out of power supply, thus disrupting mental traffic flow. Other times, there is a big jam in my head and I am unable to regulate the traffic. These are the times when I suffer from a complete, mental black out.

One such accident happened yesterday. I had to thread my eye brows and had an appointment with a lady who lives in our apartment complex. There were a lot of things going on in my mind as I walked up to her apartment. What should I cook for dinner? Oh, we’ve run out of cooking oil. Did I call back my aunt? Tomorrow is another working day. How I hate it. Remember to wish X on her birthday. What should we do this weekend? I miss home. I think this new shampoo suits my hair. Damn, I have to get my eye brows done now and undergo the same third degree torture.

It was too late by the time I realised what I had been doing. I was using my house keys and trying to open their door instead of ringing the bell. All along, I wondered why the damn door wasn’t opening. At some point, they must have heard somebody fumbling with the key at the door. The door I was so desperately trying to open suddenly swung open by an old man. That is when I realised what I had been doing.

I couldn’t think of any explanation to justify my actions, instead I burst out laughing without saying a word. I know. Must have been perfect. Psycho girl trying to openly break into their home and then laughing like a maniac when caught. The poor man seemed positively horrified. I commanded myself to “Behave!”, offered a lame explanation and a sincere apology.

I am sure the Police has put me on their list of suspects by now. I think my neighbours are living in high alert.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 64 Comments »

Just do it!

Posted by Pepper on September 12, 2011

That’s been my mantra these days. It’s the only way to go on, if I want to be able to do everything that I have to.

You see, I am a very lazy person. Now please don’t go about saying “Me too”, without fully understanding the magnitude of my laziness. I’ve always been the kind who would do anything to avoid any kind of physical labour. I don’t mind paying a price for my lack of effort. When I was in school, I would skip making “the time table” for the next day. By that, I mean, I would not bother to look at my calender and put the required books in. I would choose to carry all the books everyday, only because I was too lazy to sort out the stuff at night. Almost doubling over and collapsing under the weight of my school bag on my shoulders was a small price to pay. That was just one example.

My mom would give me that “What are you going to do in life?” look each time I would tell her I didn’t want to eat the pistachio lying in front of me because I was too lazy to snap open the shells. She would get fed up and ultimately do it for me.

A lot of times, I would just walk into a salon to get my hair washed, because I was too lazy to wash it at home myself. I used to live on pocket money at that time and I would go great lengths to save some bit for my occasional hair washes at the salon.

And I was a highly pampered brat. I used to wake up in the mornings and lie on the couch. My mom and dad would be in the kitchen. My dad making my morning coffee and my mom making my breakfast. I got every thing in hand. All the time.

I never had time to do things by myself, you see? I was always busy with college, assignments,exams, internships and other stuff. If I was home, I was too tired to do anything. At the most, I would just plonk myself on the kitchen counter and chat with mom while she cooked in the evenings. If I was asked to do anything by mom, my dad would cut her off with a “Poor baby, she must be tired. Let her go rest or have fun. I can do that for you”. A lot of times when I think about it, I think my dad is largely responsible for making me believe I am a princess and that I will have an army of men at my service at all times. I don’t think I even noticed how things got done at home. The home was always clean. The bathrooms were always clean. The kitchen counters were always clean. The sheets were regularly changed. The laundry would get done. My clothes would get folded and ironed and even hung in my closet. I would get food in hand. My job was just to take the empty plate to the sink.

Sigh. Some life that was. Now, I feel equipped enough to handle any amount of assignments, studying, office work, etc. But ask me to stand and do the dishes and I will find that too strenuous.

Life is so different for me now. I find myself on my toes all day long. I know I complain, but I am glad I am being put through this. I think I needed this experience go grow as a person.

Anyway, until now, I used to do the bare basics that were necessary for survival and just let go of the rest. In the past few days, I’ve been going that extra step to maintain order instead of taking the lazy approach. Each time I think of a task, I push myself and say “Just do it” instead of contemplating and waiting for inertia to take over. So far, it seems to be working. I am really tired by the end of the day, but then if I have clean carpets, a sparkling platform, a well stocked fridge and a fragrant home, it’s worth it I guess.

Now, I need to see how long this “Just do it” phase lasts. Knowing myself, I know this won’t last long and I will be back to my old ways soon. That’s okay too. At least I get to experience both the worlds.

Posted in Slices of life | 48 Comments »

Thankfulness

Posted by Pepper on September 8, 2011

Since I’ve been a little edgy in the past few days, I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on the small mercies and show some appreciation. Here are a few things I am thankful for today.

To start with, I am thankful to my manager for wearing heels. The clicking of her heels always warns me of her nearing presence and gives me that one precious moment to stop day dreaming and feign the “deep, serious too engrossed in work” look. I know I need to practice the art of dreaming while staring at the screen. For now, my head wanders in random directions.My favourite spot is the ceiling. I stare at the ceiling, looking at it as if it contains all the answers to life. Thank God she wears heels. And thank God my office is not carpeted.

I am thankful to the DJ who made me laugh dementedly on my drive to work. I didn’t even curse the long signals.

I am thankful that the weather is now slightly chilly at nights. It will give me a chance to wear the new leather jacket I bought during my shopping spree last weekend.

I am thankful that the book I was reading (I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson) is finally over. The protagonist was annoying me too much. The fact that she was a fictitious character and I couldn’t give her a piece of my mind was really bothering me. I am glad I don’t have to endure her anymore.

I am thankful for the fact that we ran out of all essentials today and that it went unnoticed until I walked into the kitchen to cook. The lack of basic ingredients gave me an excuse to not cook a proper meal AND not feel guilty. How awesome is that?

I am thankful for the fact that, for a change there was charge in my ipod when I felt the urge to listen to a particular song. Other times I have to wait till I get home and log on to the comp. Or else I have charge in the iPod but no current favourites hovering in my mind. Very rarely do my urges and my ipod battery life coincide.

I am thankful I saw a girl with the most godawful nose ever. It feels good to know I don’t have the worst nose on the planet. Yes, I do take solace in your misery.

This stuff is good..

Posted in Slices of life | 46 Comments »

Let him drive please

Posted by Pepper on September 7, 2011

I saw this ad and almost burst a blood vessel.

The text reads “Don’t talk while he drives..”

Really?

Don’t talk while HE drives? Oh right. Driving is only a man’s prerogative.

Look at the background in which she is standing. A kitchen. That’s the only place she belongs to. Of course.

And oh, the ad has to be addressed to women, asking THEM to not talk while HE drives. Why should they ask the men to not talk while they drive? What can the poor guys even do when the women talk to them right?

I am so disgusted.

Posted in Uncategorized | 69 Comments »

Making the transition

Posted by Pepper on September 6, 2011

It has been a little crazy around here from the time I started my internship. Perhaps because so far I was comfortably lying in my cushioned, carefree existence. I did what I wanted, when I wanted. And now, being forced to adhere to a routine, being answerable to my manager, being responsible for other everyday stuff seems very hard.

If today is what a typical day for me looks like, then I am in for some serious fun.

–  Woke up in the morning and rushed to drop Mint.
– Got back home and ran into the shower.
– Got ready and decided to treat myself to a mug of hurried coffee before I leave.
– Walked into the kitchen to see a big pile of dishes in the sink. There was no washed mug in sight.
– Made a mental note to myself – *Do not leave undone dishes overnight. Get more organised*
– Quickly washed mug and gulped down coffee like a vodka shot
– Got to work and spent half of the day *trying* to work and the other half looking at the clock.
– Realised I had forgotten my lunch box at the kitchen counter at home.
– Ignored the above fact and continued working.
– Got back home in the evening, tired and a little grumpy.
– Ate my forgotten lunch
– Rushed to pick Mint up.
– Got back home.
– Was informed by Mint of his very important deadline coming up in 10 days. That translates to “I am really sorry but I won’t be able to help you around the house until this thing is done”
– Hmphed and went to the kitchen to tend to the dishes. Spent an hour scrubbing and cleaning.
– Left home to run some errands.
– Got home and heaved a sigh of relief. I would finally get some respite.
– Realised the relief was short lived. It was already late and I hadn’t even started cooking.
– Wished dinner would self cook for the nth time.
– Spent some time peeling, chopping and cooking and kneading the dough
– Asked Mint to go and make chapatis. Heard him ask me if I could do it today, cos he was busy.
– Got mad and yelled at him.
– Felt horrible.
– Took a little break while he made chapatis.
– Realised there were a lot of clothes to fold.
– Ignored the above fact.
– Had dinner
– Cleaned kitchen
– Took another shower
– Collapsed in bed and typed out this post.

Okay, I feel dead. And to think of it, this is what everybody goes through everyday? I mean, how do they have the energy?

I know things will get better. I will get used to this. Mint will be around to help. And that its not such a big deal. I know all of it so don’t say it to me. Right now, I feel like somebody has snatched away my cosy covers, forcing me to face the harsh weather conditions on my own all of a sudden. I will learn to deal with it eventually. For now, I will pull back my covers and say ‘Good Night’.

Posted in Slices of life | 50 Comments »

 
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