A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for February, 2012

All it takes is the flapping of an angel’s wings

Posted by Pepper on February 25, 2012

I miss him sorely. I never really wanted to open this page and type out a post, whining about his absence. I wanted to be that cool chick, having such a good time, that she doesn’t even notice her partner’s absence. I give up though. I admit defeat. I miss Mint. His touch. His warmth. His embrace. His annoying persona.

He is away on a business trip, travelling to India, Hongkong and Korea. It feels like he has been gone for eternity, and we still have 2 more weeks to go before he is back. Almost.

We’ve both been under excessive stress. I know, I seem to say that in almost every other post, but that is really how it has been. There are just so many things we need to do before we make our big move. We are always short of time, trying to pack in as much as we can in every possible minute. While it is good to utlise every second so effectively, it does wear you out. If we continue to perform all our tasks, we end up physically exhausted. If we don’t, we end up mentally exhausted thinking of the endless list of pending tasks. Mint especially, is under a hell lot of pressure.

I was overwrought with anxiety and sadness a day before he left. Yes, I do have a lot to look forward to once we move back to India. But right now, there are too many things bothering me. Not just with respect to the move, but a lot of other stuff too. I’ve been going through a phase in which I question the purpose of everything. The amount of grief I see has been overwhelming me.  I’ve been forced to confront certain realities of life that I would have preferred to escape. At this point, I really didn’t want to part from Mint.

Mint has a fool proof way of making me smile and laugh when I am feeling distraught. *Mush alert begins* “Who are you of mine”, he asks? The reminder of what has been drummed into my head always brings a smile to my face. “Angel”, I say with a smile, knowing very well the parts that will follow. “No, you are my baby angel”, he says expectantly. “And how did you come flying into my life”, he asks. I grin. Then he shows it to me. He extends his hands to his sides and flaps his palms. “This is how you flew”, he tells me. The image makes me burst out laughing, uncontrollably. It is a comical picture, resembling caricatures of angels fluttering their wings as they fly. He  brings back the carefree, mirthful child in me. *Mush alert ends*.

I hope the guy doesn’t kill me for embarrassing him by revealing our cheesy secrets on the blog, but the image of him doing that is what has kept me going on. I really wanted to record the recurring memory that continues to make me laugh, even when I am alone.

I get through the day with minimal effort. Night time however, is a different story. Time seems to go by very slowly once it gets dark. I feel restless. Sleeping in an empty house scares me. The fact that our house is now truly vacant with all our furniture gone, adds to the emptiness. I sleep with the lights on. The sound of rustling leaves in our backyard makes me wake up with a start. I’ve lived all alone for extended periods when I was in UK, I wonder why the nights didn’t seem half as difficult then.

About 10 times in a day I glance at Mint’s smiling face, his arm around my waist, the image framed, lying by my bedside, or floor side rather. The memory of him flapping his palms returns. It makes me laugh, all over again. It makes it easier to go on.

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Posted in Splashes of Mint | 60 Comments »

The existing disconnect

Posted by Pepper on February 22, 2012

Persisting gender inequality has really started to depress me beyond words. We all have an endurance limit, and I think I am fast reaching mine. Every time I see women being oppressed, every time I see girls being subjected to varying degrees of unfairness, every time I see the prevailing chauvinism, I want to scream. Scream my lungs out. I feel too demoralized to go on.

Am I a ‘feminist’? I don’t know. I dislike that word. I believe in equality. I believe in human rights. But when I hear the word ‘feminist’, it conjures up images of a ‘female supporter’. To me, it sounds like a group of people showing favoritism to the female gender. It sounds rather sexist. And that I am not. Because at the end of the day, I am not simply advocating equal rights for women! I am advocating equal rights for every human being present on this earth. How does it matter whether that human being is a man or a woman or a homosexual or transgender? We all deserve to be treated equally. Also, when I hear the word ‘feminism’ it sounds like something only ‘females’ would engage in. What about the scores of men who believe in equality, are they ‘male feminists’ then? That sounds quite peculiar to me. If feminism is all about equality, then I prefer calling myself a believer of ‘equality’

Unfortunately, I keep seeing inequality all around me. It’s present, everywhere I look. What bothers me the most is that we are unable to do much about it. We come to our blogs, we rant about the prejudices, the biases, the mindsets, the attitudes, the social conditioning, the set up. Sometimes we have our entire blog dedicated to such matters. We talk about the need for change. We talk about emancipation of women, and why it is important for our society. Who reads it though? The women who are already emancipated! They don’t need to read all that. They already know it. And the ones who need to know it don’t read it. We are unable to target our message to the right audience.

There is such a large disconnect between the ‘message’ and the ‘target audience’, I keep wondering how we can fix it. In the blog world, we are a group of women who have perfect partners. Partners who treat us as equals in every possible way. Well, most of us, if not all of us. Really, all of us get as infuriated when we see the existing gender biases. We all want to see change. We come and write about it on our blogs. And the message for change circulates within the same group of emancipated women. We don’t need change. And even if we do, we don’t need to be told that. There is no point trying to create awareness where it already exists.

I wish I could successfully convey my message to the people who need it.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 34 Comments »

I believe I can fly..

Posted by Pepper on February 20, 2012

I believe I can touch the sky. And I did. With my bare hands. We went sky diving! And it has been one of the *most* remarkable experiences of my life.

Let me start from the beginning. I have always wanted to do it, but I kept waiting for the right moment to magically land on my lap. Until I realised, the right moment will not come to me, unless I call out to it.  This was one of those things I wanted to cross out before I turned 30. Well, I knew I had another 4-5 years to get to it, but since we decided to move back to India, I decided, the ‘right moment’ should be created now. The time was ideal. And so the plan was conceived, a month ago.

I told my parents about it. My dad asked me, “Are you crazy? You want to fly thousands of miles in the air and then jump out of a plane? Why would anybody want to do that?” My sister gasped and asked me if I was serious. My mom, well, she told me she won’t let me do it. She said these were ‘cheap thrills’, and I must value my life. She sounded extremely worried. So I did the next best thing, I decided to keep the plan a secret from her. I would tell her only after it was done and over with. I convinced dad and sis to keep it away from mom too.

The next thing we needed to decide was the height at which we wanted to dive from. We could do the lowest one, that started at 8,000 ft. We could do 10,000 ft, we could do 15,000, or we could do the highest one, 18,000. Both Mint and I decided to dive from the highest point. That would give us the maximum amount of time to free fall. We made up our mind and made our bookings a few weeks ago.

From then on, I could feel the excitement, underlined with some nervousness. I kept imaging how it would be to just drop from the skies. To just fall. To hold on to nothing. To keep falling. We would be free falling for 1.5 minute. That seemed like a very long  ‘dropping down’ time, after which, the parachute would open. I started watching different sky diving videos everyday and the excitement went on building up. Some days ago, I told Mint to come and watch the videos with me. Instead, the guy decided he wants to see videos of different accidents, fatalities and deaths caused by sky diving. And so he did. Since I was around, I ended up watching all of that too. It was really not something I wanted to watch or think about a few days before I jumped. What can I say, that guy is an idiot. His explanation? “I like knowing about the different possibilities”. Whatever.

The big day arrived. We had been warned of bad weather. If the weather didn’t permit it, we wouldn’t be able to do our dive. The next available appointment was after a month and a half. We wouldn’t be here at that time. This was really our only chance. So I prayed to the weather Gods fervently. They had asked us to call in the morning and check before we left. I woke up in the morning with a horrid stomach ache. I didn’t want to be dealing with stomach cramps on that day! It would ruin the experience. Mint told me we would call it off, but I stood my ground. I told him I would take a pill and deal with the ache, but if we could, we were going. We called them up and the lady at the other end didn’t sound positive. She said the weather wasn’t very reliable. Flights weren’t taking off yet. We could come over and take a chance if we wanted to, but she couldn’t guarantee us anything.

We decided to take the chance. The drive was a little over an hour. As we pulled in, the nervous excitement returned. We were told to expect a few hour wait once we got there. So I was very unprepared to go right away. We hadn’t eaten a thing since morning. I had packed some idlis for us, which we thought we would eat while waiting there. But what do you know? They said we were in luck. They rushed us in the moment we got there.

We were asked to sign a bunch of papers and watch some video. I knew what the papers were all about. We basically had to sign away our life. I didn’t want to be reading the detailed clauses, so I chose to sign without reading it. Who wants to read about the morbid possibilities moments before you jump? I signed every section blindly, until I came to the last bit, in which I had to copy a statement in my own handwriting and sign it. It said the the same thing , that I was aware that sky diving is an inherently dangerous sport and that accidents, injuries and deaths are not uncommon. And that this action may result in my death and I take full responsibility for it. Writing it down on my own did make my hands shake for a moment, but we got done with it anyway.

Before we knew it, it was time to be strapped. It was going to be a tandem jump. My ‘flying partner’ came up to me and introduced himself. The video girl was shoving the camera in my face, asking me how it felt, was I excited, nervous, etc. I am extremely conscious in front of the camera, so I kept shifting my gaze, fidgeting with my hands, and answering her questions awkwardly. No wonder I look stupid in the video.

As we walked to the airplane, another wave of nervousness hit me. Was this really happening? Was I going to be boarding a plane that I would jump from? I realised all of a sudden that we hadn’t eaten a thing. Would jumping on an empty stomach be a good idea? I didn’t have time to rethink. We were whisked away into the aircraft. I saw Mint enter after me, and I made it clear to him that I was jumping first.

We took off. I could see the buildings becoming tinier, the people disappearing, the landscape blurring. Each time I thought, we are going to go higher than even this! Those folks told me to make sure I am breathing while we jump out. The oxygen levels are already  low on that altitude. A lot of people forget to breathe because of the adrenaline rush. That can be dangerous. I made a mental note to keep breathing.

And then, the door of the airplane opened. I looked out of the window. We seemed to be at a very big height. I looked out of the open door. I could see nothing but the vast sky. And then those folks tell me, ‘Only people who’ve taken the 10,000 ft dive will jump out now. You guys have to go a lot higher, so stay here and watch them jump’. I gulped. If this height was only 10,000 ft, what would 18,000 ft feel like?

Once those guys jumped out, they closed the aircraft door and we continued to go higher. After a few more minutes, it was time for us to be ready. I was going first. My diving instructor told me to give Mint a quick kiss before I jumped, and so I did just that. The three of us – my diving instructor, the photographer who would be going down with us to capture my feat and I, positioned ourselves at the door. They slid it open and I looked down.  All I saw was the vastness of the sky. There was no time to question my decision.

We stood there, dangling from the door of the aircraft for a minute. ‘Ready’, he asked me. I gave a slight nod. He counted to 3, and said ‘GO’. And there! We were tumbling out of the plane. We did a few somersaults in the air. Looked at my photographer and gave her a ‘thumbs up’, and continued to fall. There is no way I can describe that, so I won’t even make an attempt to do it. It was pure magic – just falling from the sky, in the sky.

The speed at which you are plummeting down to earth is crazy. And yet, it doesn’t feel like that. It felt like we were floating in the sky. It went on for a little while, and then I saw my photographer drop down and wave a good bye. That is the only time I realised how fast we were going. After a bit, he opened up the parachute. That is when we slowed down.

Once the parachute was opened, we had the power to steer in the direction we wanted to. That made it a lot more fun. He let me handle the parachute for a while. It was extremely thrilling. He asked me if I was up for some crazy flips in the air. I said ‘Yes!’. And so we did those, I don’t know how or what we did, but it was like the most exhilarating roller coaster ride you could go on. Only that this was real stuff! We were mid air, doing crazy things like rotations, sharp turns, flips.

He told me how to position my legs before we landed. I did exactly that, so our landing was very smooth and totally bump free. I ran out in the open field after landing, unable to believe I had experienced something like that. And there, I saw Mint landing a few minutes after me, with the same indescribable smile on his face. I ran up to him. We hugged. We kissed. We grinned. We jumped.

That’s me saying Hi, before entering the flight. Or was it bye? Just in case I never saw anybody again.

On my way in.

Before we jumped out. He asked me to leap out the moment I saw 3 fingers. That’s him saying ‘one’!

And we’re out.

Falling.

And falling. Upside down this time.

And after a long time of falling, a tiny parachute opens.

And we’re a speck in the horizon.

And finally, after all that adrenaline rush, we come back to earth.

And he congratulates me for having done it!

And there, I see my darling boy coming back to earth too. We finally unite with a ‘Yay! We did it!’ kiss.

Posted in Euphoria | 81 Comments »

Such is life

Posted by Pepper on February 15, 2012

I wrote this post yesterday and I am publishing it a day late

******

Do you celebrate Valentines Day? I am the kind who thrashes the concept, considers it to be a truck load of commercial crap, sees through the marketing gimmicks, wonders how people fall into that merchandising trap and then promptly accepts the cheesy cards and gifts and heads for a fancy dinner. Do you think I sound like a hypocrite? I won’t disagree with you. While I have no real feelings attached to this day, I have been using it as a convenient excuse to indulge in things I normally wouldn’t. Isn’t it easier to quieten the guilt that comes with spending those extra dollars on a lavish dinner, by telling yourself “Hey, it’s Valentines Day, so I am allowed to do something special”. I guess there are others who fall into this category. We don’t really believe in the concept, but we celebrate it nevertheless, just because it suits us. The stupid games we play with ourselves.

The past few years on this day, I have been prettifying myself, wearing something glamorous, spraying my favourite fragrance and then heading out for a candle lit dinner. This year, I look like something even a hungry lion wouldn’t want to touch. I sit here, with my unkempt, overgrown flicks of hair falling shabbily on my eyes, I am wearing an old tee of Mint, which is obviously over sized for me. I notice a piece of dried dough stuck in the curve of my finger ring. Eeks! It must have gotten there when I was kneading the dough. I smell of Vicks and Bengay. That’s the current ‘fragrance’. I feel like crap.

Life has been overwhelming me. Two days ago, we put up our furniture for sale. We were told it would take a few weeks for it to be sold at the price we wanted. We quoted the same price we purchased it at. I thought that was stretching it too far. Nobody would want to buy it at that cost. We would have to wait for a while and then lower the price. But surprisingly, the next day itself, an interested buyer came by to take a look at the stuff.  He liked almost every item we had put up and decided to buy it all right away. I was unprepared to let it all go so soon. Mint told  me it did make sense to sell it now if we were getting the price we quoted. Before I knew what was happening, the movers were here. I stood there, watching them carry out all my cherished items one by one. They took it all away. It hurt. That’s all I can say.

He took our dining table, our sofa set with the coffee table, side table, our TV stand and our bed. I stood there, facing Mint in an empty house all of a sudden, feeling an unknown ache. He held me and told me cheer up. We will buy new things in India and build our home again. That is true, but I couldn’t help feeling the pain that comes with giving away things that are close to your heart. That night when we entered the house after an evening out, I stepped back, startled all of a sudden. The bareness was unrecognizable. I was whining on phone while talking to the sister and she told me in a very matter of fact way, “Don’t get attached to non living objects.” Um, okay.

I’ve been trying to adjust to the emptiness, but the hard part is that we have nowhere to sit on. Not a single chair. We sit on the floor all the time. We eat on the floor. We even sleep on the floor. We got out the only sleeping bag we had and spread it out on the carpet. They say sleeping on the floor is good, but I have been feeling stiff. And sitting on the floor continuously for the past two days has given me a butt ache. We still have a month to go and I don’t know how easy or hard it’s going to be.

The next day we put up our car for sale. My precious, beloved, treasured car. People told us, that one is going to be a big item that we need to check. It takes a while to sell. So we thought we could put it up for sale and then let people come and take a look every now and then. Yesterday, I got a call from Mint in the afternoon. He told me a prospective buyer is coming to take a look, so he will leave office early and be there soon. He asked me to pick him up from the station at the specified time. I remained unperturbed. I expected a lot of people to drop by to see the car in the coming few days. I picked him up and we headed home. By the time we got home, those guys were already around, waiting for us. Apparently, they had driven for 2 hours to come and see the car. I left Mint to deal with them and walked into our apartment.

He stepped in after 30 minutes and told me, “They want to buy the car. They’ll take it with them right now”. I literally jumped out of my skin. “Right now? You mean now?? This very moment? They’ll take it away?”, I asked. He replied with a sad smile and said “Yes”. I burst into tears. This particular car is very dear to us. It is special. I had just started preparing myself to let go of it, but I was definitely unprepared to let it go so suddenly. I wanted time alone with my car. To hug, kiss it, spend some quiet quality with with it before bidding it a final good bye. And here I was, having to deal with the untimely departure of my beloved car. Had I known a few minutes ago, that it was the last time I was driving it, I might have kissed it right then and there. Now I wouldn’t get any private moments with it. It brought a new rush of tears.

Those people were still waiting outside. Amid sobs and sniffles, I continued to murmur rubbish, telling Mint stuff like “But that’s my car. I am not giving it to them. They cannot take my car. Ask them to go away”. He kept trying to calm me down. After a few minutes, those folks came in to do the paper work. That’s when I ran out to spend the last 5 minutes with my car and give it a kiss.

I was happy to note that the girl who bought it seemed as smitten by the car as we have been. She kept saying, “It looks so cool”. I could see genuine happiness and excitement on her face. That was a relief for me. I am happy the car is passed on to somebody deserving. Somebody who values and loves it as much. I miss it even now, but I will get over it. I wish her good luck. We might buy a new car when we go back to India, but that car will always remain very special to us. Like we joke, it was the reason I married Mint.

Valentines Day came at a time when I needed some celebration. I didn’t have too much enthusiasm though. We didn’t even have a car. I didn’t fancy the idea of walking around for miles when I was already exhausted. A little bit of persuasion from Mint made me give in. I took the train and met him in the city. I love downtown San Francisco at night. We held hands and walked around amid the lights, ate dinner and went to a bar. They started a strip show as soon as we entered. I couldn’t get over it. I didn’t think she would really strip entirely. I was so shocked when she did, I almost spat out my drink. She then went on to jiggle her boobs and I wanted to run away forever. I think Mint had a good time laughing at the horrified look I was sporting. It was a good break and I am so glad I went. It’s been crazy the past few days, but I feel grateful for the intermittent shower of blessings that keeps soaking me.

Posted in Slices of life | 69 Comments »

It’s not just you

Posted by Pepper on February 12, 2012

Really. You are not unique, even if you think you are. I know, as humans, we tend to believe we are different from the rest of the world. The truth is, we aren’t.

I am talking about you. Yes, you. You did something stupid in front of your colleagues and other senior executives. You feel awkward and embarrassed. The next day you do something even more embarrassing. Then you wonder why it always happens with you. You ask “Why only me”. No, it’s not just you. Trust me. There are a million other people goofing up, worse than you. You are not the chosen one. It happens with everybody. So please don’t get onto the “Why me?” bandwagon.

You believe you are the laziest person. You believe nobody procrastinates as much as you do. You don’t think anybody can be clumsier than you. Or you might believe you are the biggest cleanliness freak in this universe. Or that nobody works as hard as you do. Get over it. You are just a speck in the midst of  infinite other specks.

Did the power supply get disrupted one night prior to your exam? Did you have to worry about studying in the dark? Were you not able to locate the candles on that one particular day? Did you find a massive traffic jam when you were on your way to the airport to catch a flight, on a road that is usually empty? Did you curse your luck? Did you get caught by a cop on a day you were really short of time? Did your professor decide to conduct an important surprise test on the one day you chose to be absent? Did you happen to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time? Do all the forces of the universe seem against you? Do you wonder why these things are happening only to you, when the rest of the world is functioning smoothly? Stop wondering. You are not the only one. At this very moment, there are millions facing the very same issues that you have just gone through.

Do you believe your perspective is unique? Do you smirk at those girls who spend hours working out in a gym to maintain their wafer thin bodies? Do you tell yourself that unlike the rest of the world, those cheesy pizzas and chocolate muffins are more important to you than a hot body? Don’t. More than half of the women think this way. What you see in the gym is just the other half. You either belong to one half or the other. It is never about you.

Do you take pride in the fact that you would you would be happier if you were gifted a book, instead of being ladened with diamond jewelry? Do you think ‘most of those women’ are seeking shallow pursuits while you get to experience the small joys? Do you wonder how most of those girls are sporting fancy, branded clothes and swanky heels, while you are the odd one in loose tees and flats? Get real. You are not the only one. There are millions of girls who will prefer books to diamonds, street food to European holidays, flats to heels. Your traits are so common, there is nothing to feel ashamed of. Or proud of.

Do you think your child is the brattiest? Do you think only you fight with your partner over things like “Who will get up to switch off the lights?”, do you think only you give your partner the space  to ogle at the members of the opposite sex, do you think you are ‘cool’, do you think your excessive closeness with your parents is unique? Or do you think you being so distanced from your parents and family is unusual? Do you believe only you cuddle so much with your partner, or that only your partner tells you “everything”? Do you think you are the only adult who sulks in a child like way, throws tantrums and hugs stuffed toys? Again, it is not about you. Wake up and realise that. There are millions around you. Just like you.

Does your pain hurt? Did you just go through what you think is the worst? Do you believe nobody else has experienced such intense sadness? Are you in the midst of a divorce? Are you facing threatening financial crisis? Did you lose a loved one? Are you lonely? Do you wonder why you have to go through this ache when the rest of the world seems jolly? Do you think life is unfair only to you? Trust me, that isn’t true. More than half of this world is grieving at this very moment. Maybe they aren’t hurting as much as you are. Maybe they are hurting as much as you are. Maybe they are hurting a lot more than you are. You are a part of a group that is large enough to constitute half of this world. You just don’t realise it.

In this world, nothing about you is unique. Not your thoughts, not your habits, not your desires, not your characteristics, not your actions, not your behaviour, not your relationships, not your problems, not your joys, nothing. Nothing at all. You are not special. So get off that high horse. Because you are only a part of a large group.

“You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.  You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile.”  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 17

PS – I have written this post more for myself, than for anybody else.

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 78 Comments »

The different shades of love

Posted by Pepper on February 8, 2012

My parents are extremely fond of Mint. I can see that they actually love and care for him just the way they care for the sister and me. My dad, fondly calls him “Superman”. He came up with the name when he found out that Mint can function effectively for days with absolutely no sleep. I remember my dad’s initial bewilderment when he would found out that Mint and I would be heading to a club to dance the night away, immediately after I picked Mint up from the airport. This is when the guy had just flown to India from the US. My dad could not get over it. He kept asking Mint how he had the energy and the enthusiasm to go to a club and dance after spending endless hours in a flight. Didn’t it matter? What about the jet lag? That didn’t affect him either? “You are a superman”, my dad told him. After which, each time my dad has witnessed the manifestation of Mint’s undying reserves of energy, his ability to function without any sleep, or other commendable accomplishments of his, he  laughs and says, “Why am I not surprised? He is a superman”.

That name stuck. Till date, my dad never asks for Mint by his name. Every time I am talking to him on phone, he will ask me “Where is the superman?” or “What’s the superman doing?”. I can hear the affection in his voice. I can sense the fondness. Sometime ago, my dad graduated from calling him “Superman” to “My Superman”. That bothered me a little. A name, exclusively for him? Such pride in him? I thought he had those affectionate names just for the sister and me. But a name, lovingly created for Mint too? Oh well, I know I should be happy, considering how much my parents love him. But what do you know? I am immature and jealous. Jealous of Mint. Because he gets such treatment from my parents. Whereas I don’t get it from his. Go figure.

And then, there is my mom. All my life, I have seen her int he role of  ‘my doting mom’. One who goes that extra mile to add a smile to my face. One who feels guilty eating my favourite food in my absence. One who thinks of who me all the time. And now, I see that privileged treatment has been extended to Mint too. Mint loves the ‘sabudana vadas’ my mum makes. Each time she makes them now, she will tell me how bad she is feeling cos Mint isn’t around. How much she remembers him eating those fondly. How eager she is to make them for him. I listen, quietly. A little pleased. A little jealous.

A few days ago I was talking to her on phone. She was going on about all that she would pack for Mint, before he leaves Bombay and starts school . “I will  make those aate ka laddus that he likes, and we will also buy that naankhatai. He liked that a lot the last time. We can also give him a stock of those spicy Banana Chips. If he is going to be in school, he won’t have time to go and get all this for himself. So we can keep replenishing it for him. I saw a pack of dry fruits, those had a high nutritional value. I’ll buy it for him. Atleast he will have somethings in his room if he gets hungry all of a sudden..”. She went on and on.

At one point, I got really angry. “Okay. Stop it. Enough. You don’t have to care about him so much. Just be normal towards him. All those are things you’ve been doing for me. Let it stay that way. Why are you doing it for him too. Of course, I should be more special to you than him. Okay? “, I yelled. I know. I sounded insane even to myself. My mom, was very amused. She laughed and asked me to behave myself. She said he was her child too, and there was no denying that, so I better get used to it.

I told Mint all about it. I told him how annoyed I was that my parents really, truly do not differentiate between us. Because at the end of the day I feel too envious of him. Not because I think I have to compete with him for my parents attention, but because I see him getting all that I dreamed of, from my in laws. I don’t know if Mint’s parents will ever treat me like their own child. Sometimes I think they will only view me as their daughter in law, the primary nourishment provider for their son, the one whom they have expectations from. There is no way I can imagine them loving me like their own child and thinking of packing my favourite food for me while I am gone.

I spent the day sulking around. Getting reminded of the love that Mint has. Feeling jealous of him for owning something I always dreamed of. Something that I feel denied of.

I happened to talk to my mum in law the next day. She told me, “I bought you some beaded jewelry. It is the kind of stuff you will be able to wear with your western outfits. I hope you like it”. She sounded almost shy. Her doing and saying such things is very unusual. Those few statements made all the bitterness in me dissolve. It added a big smile to my face. It made my day. I know we have a long way to go. But these little things count. They count a lot. They mean a lot. We have our differences. I do not like my mom in law’s behaviour towards me. I do not like her burdening me with her unreasonable expectations. But I will never deny the fact that my in laws are good people. And those words she spoke were a gift to me, in the truest sense. Something that was granted to me, something I really wanted.

Posted in Meet the family | 67 Comments »

It’s a mixed bag

Posted by Pepper on February 6, 2012

* For a change, I am glad the weekend is over. I never thought I would say this. Ever.

* This weekend, I learnt the real meaning of the term ‘anxiety attack’.  At that point, my legs were shaking. I could feel my knees shiver. My hands were trembling. My breath was caught in my lungs. I couldn’t stand. My head hurt. I felt dizzy. I felt nauseous. I was made to lie down and I thought I would pass out. In fact, I wished I would pass out. My body couldn’t handle that level of anxiety and I really wished somebody would sedate me and knock me out.

* Things are okay now. I realise my condition was such not so much because of the issue at hand, but more because of the lack of information available to me in that period. It made me imagine the worst. Those 40 minutes of suspense and zero connectivity were pure hell. I don’t know what I would have done had Mint not been around. Once I realised things were okay, I could breathe again and I realised how much I take that feeling of normalcy for granted. Really, if all our loved ones are healthy and alive and we have food on our plate, we have nothing to fret over.

* I have been getting increasingly annoyed with people who abandon their shopping carts in the parking lot. This happens everywhere, but from my own experience, I can say it happens a lot more in the parking lot near the Indian store we frequent. How much effort does it take to push back the cart to its rightful place? Why can’t we be more considerate towards others? Most of the times I am all alone  when I pull into the parking lot of the grocery store. And I see there is a shopping cart right in the midst of every vacant spot. Which means I have to get out of the car, push back their carts and only then can I park. It annoys me every single time.

* Speaking about the things that annoy me, our internet connection has been topping the list. Comcast is going to face my wrath if it doesn’t repair itself.

* I have been experiencing severe pain at the back of neck and shoulder area for more than a year. Mint’s steady fingers and tubes of Bengay have come to my rescue so far. Again, I don’t know what I am going to do without him. One of my favourite feelings is when he has just massaged and straightened my strained, hurting muscles with comforting ointment and tucked me in bed.

* I hate taking a hair bath. I attribute it to my laziness. To step into the shower, lather your body, rinse your body, lather your hair, rinse it, condition it, rinse it again is too much work. And with the kind of hair I have, I am forced to give it a fix even after I step out. I have to dry it using a hair dryer, unless I am willing to live with the frizz. Which I am not. And then also use a hair serum. Did I already say I hate taking a hair bath? How I wish I could escape it or atleast find a way to shorten the process.

* I had accepted the ‘Versatile Blogger Award’ and done the tag a while ago. In recent times,  Smitha, R’s Mom, Double Inverted Commas and 2-3 other people whose names I don’t remember passed it on to me again. Let me just link back to that old post. I am guessing everybody has already read about my hidden insanity. If not, head there. And yes, thank you kind folks, for considering me worthy of that award.

Posted in Uncategorized | 42 Comments »

The action that awaits

Posted by Pepper on February 1, 2012

My mind is overcrowded right now. In fact, I would go to the extent of saying I can feel a stampede inside my head, with my thoughts wrestling, jostling and pushing each other aside in a bid to move forward and get the desired attention. I have so much to think about and so much more to do. Instead, I feel the overbearing weight of my thoughts and succumb to the temptation of lying in bed, doing absolutely nothing.

Moving back to India has been a big decision. The move back is going to be harder because in the first year, Mint and I are going to live in different cities. He will be doing his MBA, and I have chosen to live with my parents in Bombay during that period. Well, mostly. I can live with him on campus for that one year, but I thought it didn’t make too much sense. The 1 year residential programs are known to be insanely hectic. He wouldn’t have much time for me. I don’t fancy being all alone in a new city. Other than that, if I find myself a job there and start working, I will have to quit and move out in a year, again. My senses tell me it is a better idea  to use this time living with my parents, setting up base for both of us in Bombay, and then wait for him to move there after he finishes his course. But the mere thought of that one year of separation is very distressing. I know I sound like a whiny, lovesick girl when I say this, but I don’t know if I can live without him. He has spoilt me too much and made me used to a particular life. And without him, it is going to very hard. I’ve been worrying about this, a lot.

I have to find myself a job and I think this might be very challenging, considering I have no ‘work ex’. I also have to explain the break I have taken while I was here. While I know I have valid reasons and given a chance, I can address these concerns quite well, a part of me is terrified. From what I see around me in India, most freshers only get recruited through campus placements. Otherwise, every company wants people with work experience. I hope I figure something out. I have to really get down to it soon. Uploading my resume on job portals, forwarding it to people I know, etc. Most people tell me the best way to land a job is through your contacts. I find the whole process of searching for a job very daunting.

And then there are times when I feel overwhelmed by the prospects of letting go of everything we own here and building our life in India from scratch. We’ve to let go of our beloved apartment, the chosen furnishing, our precious car, our priced electronics and other miscellaneous goods that have been collected over the years. We will move back with nothing but a few suitcases full of our clothes, and a few boxes filled with other personal belongings. The thought of selling our car is very tear inducing. I know I will have to go through the pain of parting with a lot of things that I cherish. And then also go through the fear and excitement of starting a new life completely empty handed.

There are more than a million things we need to do with respect to our move. Mint has been emailing me task lists and spreadsheets. Each time I go through those, my head spins. We have to make some purchases, clear out our closets and shelves, research prices, sell our furniture, sell other electronics and goods, find out shipping costs, settle and close our bank accounts here, sell stocks, transfer funds, start packing, give away a ton of our stuff, and take care of so many other commitments before we leave. It tires me out when I think of it. I’ve been telling myself to get going, instead of stressing over it. All I have been doing the past few days is lying in my bed.

No, that is not a recent pic, but it very precisely shows my current state. That is exactly how I have been lying down, on my belly, with my hands tucked under my head. I wish I found a magic button that would transport me to India, while I continued to lie like that.

Posted in Slices of life | 90 Comments »

 
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