A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for August, 2012

The ‘Just Married, Please Excuse’ Contest

Posted by Pepper on August 27, 2012

There are certain blogs you like so much, you end up lurking around them silently because, err, their brilliance is intimidating. Happens to you? No? Well, it happens to me. Y On Earth Not is one such blog. Yashodhara is full of wit and humour. I’ve been reading her silently for a while. And now she has written a book! What a treat! I simply can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Here is my entry for the contest she is running.

When Mint and I decided to get married, we knew it would be hard. Hard to convince his parents, hard to organise a wedding in which the families would not kill each other due to the differences, hard to convince his parents.. Oh wait, did I already say that? I was beginning to wonder if his parents’ approval would come around the time of my retirement. Thankfully after a few hysterical months, they agreed to (GASP!) let their son marry me – a North Indian girl from Bombay!. His mother wept for days because of my inability to produce crisp dosas. How was she to face the rest of the family members? Her would be daughter in law was a disgrace. Despite it all, they gave in and the wedding date was fixed, along with plans of getting me enrolled in classes that would teach me the art of making perfect dosas. (Hah, little did they know!)

It was a particularly stressful period for me, because while we were seeking Mint’s parents’ approval, I was also bribing my supervisor and begging him to approve my thesis. By the time both the approvals were granted, I was exhausted and drained out. I had to start shopping for the wedding and the thought of it added to my misery. Mint on the other hand, was reveling in the joy of shopping for himself. Yes, such guys exist.

Of all things, he was most excited about his impending shoe purchase. He spent hours after work, hunting for that perfect shoe. After scanning malls and showrooms for weeks, he found something he really liked. The style, the fit, the look, everything appealed to him. Before he made the purchase, he called me up to tell me he was in the process of attaining shoe induced nirvana. When he told me the price, I almost suffered a stroke. I calculated our loss. If he spent that much on that shoe now, we’d probably be bankrupt for generations. However, he told me this was a one time buy, for probably the biggest occasion in our lives – our wedding! So it would be worth it. I fearfully agreed.

The wedding day arrived before we could blink. We had had our share of loud parties in Bombay, and now the actual wedding was going to be a quiet affair in Chennai. We flew there a day earlier. Since I was the first amongst my friends to get married, the girl pals were terribly excited. I could see them making some sinister plans, but I was too occupied and tired to care.

What I did not know was that the girls were hatching evil plans to steal Mint’s shoe during the wedding. For those who do not know, this is a ritual in a lot of North Indian (Or Non South Indian) weddings – The bride’s sisters and friends steal the groom’s shoe and only return it to him if and when he loads them with cash. Do not ask me more, that’s all I know. The thing about a ‘North meets South’ wedding is that a lot of customs are unknown to both the sides. Obviously, our true blue veshti wearing South Indians had no clue of this shoe stealing custom. So the usual tussle that happens between the girl’s and guy’s side over the groom’s shoe did not happen.

During the wedding ceremony, the sister and the girl pals tried hunting for Mint’s shoe, but they were unable to find it. So they went up to Mint’s brother, Oregano, and asked him for Mint’s shoe. A puzzled Oregano asked them why they needed it. They told him they had to perform some urgent puja  and worship the shoe. Indian wedding customs are known to border on the ridiculous, so he believed them. He went to fetch the shoe, and came back to inform the girls that Mint had two shoes lying there, one were the slippers to be worn with his veshti, the other pair was a Western formal that seemed quite expensive and new. Which one did they want to worship? The girls told him to bring the new, expensive looking shoe ofcourse. He returned with Mint’s precious new shoes and handed it to the girls who couldn’t believe their luck.

They giggled, high-fived and hid the shoe in a safe place. Very soon, we were declared married, and we emerged out of the mandap, relieved to know we were done with the ceremony. The moment they had a chance, the girls surrounded Mint and asked him if he wanted his shoe back. I could see the colour draining from his face, as he asked them, “You guys took my shoe?”. I knew how expensive that shoe was, and how much he loved it, so I suspected he would pass out of shock. I was gearing up to call the ambulance. Before more damage could be done, they told him they would return the shoe only if he handed them the cash they wanted.

“But that shoe is already so expensive! Now I should pay you guys more money to get it back? Who invented this custom?”, he almost cried. “Baby, darling, just be a sport and give them the money. It’s a well known custom and you should play along”, I told him. He sulked some more and then agreed to shell out the required money. Pleased with their victory, the girls hugged and congratulated us once more, counted the cash before putting it away and left for Bombay the same afternoon. They had no time to hand the shoe back to Mint. So instead they told him where his precious shoe was lying. He could collect it from its secret hiding place.

After socialising, eating and socialising some more, it was time for us to leave the wedding hall and go home. Mint ran to the room in which his beloved shoes were hidden. “Under the brown sofa” is what the girls had told him. He bent down to grab his shoes, and to his horror, there were no shoes there! He came back to tell me and I was as horrified. We couldn’t afford to lose those shoes! Who asked him to buy shoes that could pay for our wedding itself?

A few phone calls were made to the girls who swore they” kept it there only”. The sister who was still around was as shocked to see them missing from there. So now we had to deal with the mystery of the missing shoes! I could see Mint was not pleased. Would he slap his lawyer on me and ask for a divorce right away? After all, if I had friends who held him ransom, took the money and decided to flee without returning his priced possession, I couldn’t be trusted.

We looked for the shoes everywhere, with no luck. Mint had already changed into his jeans. Me? I was seen running around, climbing onto desks, jumping down from chairs, squeezing myself into corners – all of this in my wedding attire. This comprised of  a heavy silk sari, an artificial braid that kept slapping my ass each time I jumped, jewelry that pulled me down with it’s weight. I had pulled up my sari so I could walk around swiftly, making visible the cycling shorts I had worn inside. I think I represented the perfect picture of a new bride. Not. So when I bumped into my MIL’s mom in that state, I just smiled and scurried away.

After spending a few hours there, we decided to go home since there was nothing else we could do. At home, Mint was a picture of misery. I kept trying to console him, and he kept getting mad at me for trying to console him. It looked like he was determined to stay miserable. That got me mad, and that was our very first fight, after being declared man and wife. I screamed. He screamed. Ah, Holi was being played with our true colours hours after our wedding. I am sure my inlaws sobbed some more and wondered how we would stay married to each other, if we would..

By next morning, we had both cooled down. We decided to take serious action. We would go back to the wedding hall, deploy a search team, investigate all possibilities, complain to the management and perhaps even go to the Police. I am pleased to tell you, this story has a happy ending. We reached the wedding hall and walked up to the reception. We told them the unfortunate story of the missing shoes. Would they be able to do anything to help us out?

They asked all their cleaners, if they had spotted any shoes lying under the brown sofa in the groom’s changing room. One of the cleaners there said he had seen them, and had put them away in another corner since he was cleaning the said area. The staff on duty in the evening, had seen them lying abandoned in some lone corner that we had missed looking at, and had put them away under lock and key. We thanked them profusely as they handed the blasted shoes back to Mint.

It’s been 2.5 years since then. Each time we talk about the incident, we laugh till we cry, while Mint hmphs. Oh, he never dared to wear those shoes again. Makes me wonder what he plans to do with them. Perhaps I should consider putting them up in the showcase in our living room, with a message that says “In memory of all the laughter and drama that ensued on 25-03-2010

Posted in Blasts from the past | 64 Comments »

On work and holidays

Posted by Pepper on August 25, 2012

– I have always dreamt of working in a big, posh office. The kind of work I do is important, but the look and feel of the office is almost as important to me. I want, not just my own desk, but my own cubicle too. I want gyms in the office building. I want machines that brew good coffee. I want spacious cafeterias. If not all of these things, I want atleast some of these things. They give me a high. Recently, I was made an offer from a company that had it’s office in a dingy building. The role was okay. So was the money. Not good, but not terrible either. What I found terrible was the office space. One look at it, and I just didn’t feel like working there. So I turned it down. After all, if I will be spending most of my day there, I better like the place. This was what I thought. But the moment I turned it down, my brain decided to burden my mind by loading it with oodles of self doubt. Am I stupid? Who gives importance to these things? Definitely not people who are waiting for the right opportunity to kick start their career.

– Is there no dearth of crappy offers, or do I have high standards? I ask myself that question often. And then I conclude – I do not have high standards. There is indeed, no dearth of crappy jobs. I am made a new offer every few days, but boy, those jobs are so not appealing. I have now stopped berating myself. If I do not like it, I will not take it up. Period.

– I was so put off by the kind of offers I saw around me, that I stopped looking out for jobs altogether. It’s been a while now. Recruiters still keep contacting me on their own, and do their best to sell certain jobs to me. I feel like getting into the phone and punching them, because they just do not understand the meaning of ‘no’. Are they recruiters or sales men/women?

– I *almost* took up a  job. Actually, I did take up a job. And then I retracted. But we worked out a good arrangement. I now freelance for them. Along with a few other companies/people I freelance for. I realised, freelancing was a great option for me. It gives me the flexibility I need at this point. It lets me travel on a whim. Which means, I can go and see Mint when I want to. I can also go on holidays.

– I got a little too carried away with this freelancing business at  one point. With the enthusiasm peaking, I took on too many assignments. More than I could handle. That meant busy days and sleepless nights. And a lot of deadlines. I learnt my lesson and decided to only take on work that I could handle peacefully. My sleep is precious to me.

– What I dislike about freelancing is that some people take the word ‘free’ in it, a little too seriously. Do they really think you are doing the job for free? As a gift to them? Or is it that they forget to pay me? I *hate* chasing people for payments. As a result, I wait for weeks. I better learn to open my mouth soon. Thankfully, not everybody makes me wait endlessly.

– I have also been wondering how people work from home. The distractions and temptations are far too many. The bed looks inviting whenever I try working on an assignment. Or I am overcome by the urge to read a book. Or I happen to pass by the living room and see a good movie playing. Or I feel hungry for the nth time. Or I get pulled into a futile discussion. Concentrating on anything while lounging in the pink comforts of your home is hard. I don’t know how some people do it.

– The good news is that I am on the verge of something very exciting. Yes, a good holiday. We’re off to Europe. In 6 days. This is one trip I have been looking forward to. We’re visiting Prague, Paris, some place in the South of France, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Venice. People who live there or are familiar with the places mentioned, please bring on the recommendations. Any must sees or must dos?

– Although I am very excited, I am also scared. Scared to leave my parents alone for almost 3 weeks. I really wonder, how did I live away from them for all these years? I’ve asked them to be good kids while I am gone. I do however, want to be able to talk to them everyday. And I wonder how I am going to do it. Finding public phones will be a task. I am looking at calling cards and prepaid service providers that have good rates for international calling. I used to use Talk Mobile when I lived in UK. Again, any recommendations for cheap calling from France to India?

– I am asking myself to keep calm and deep breathe. Everything will be okay. Everything will be good. Paranoia won’t take me anywhere. I should just focus on having a good time. Right? Right!

Posted in Slices of life | 65 Comments »

It raises its head again

Posted by Pepper on August 22, 2012

This is an angry post. I had to put my thoughts down here, just to get over them. I have an aunt who doesn’t think too highly of me. Most of the times, it is evident from the way she talks. Well, she is a nice person though. At the most, I’d call her silly.

The girls in my family are quite pretty. Except me. I think my sister is gorgeous. Okay, fine. I am biased. But it isn’t just me. We’ve had a lot of people praising her light brown eyes, dark brown hair and fair skin. I guess, that is their idea of ‘beauty’. I think she is gorgeous because she has the most dazzling smile. My first cousin (that would be my dad’s brother’s daughter) is also very beautiful. She receives compliments from all and sundry. That leaves just me. I look average to the extent of being blah.

Now this aunt of mine is always complimenting the sister. This usually makes me happy and proud. But these days, instead of praising her, she starts digging at me. I guess it is playful. But it annoys the hell out of me. She looked at the sister, and said “You are so pretty! I can keep looking at you. I feel so proud. Our family is known to produce beauties. All the girls are so beautiful. Look at S (my cousin), she too is gorgeous. It runs in the family” I just smiled. Perhaps they are good looking, but they aren’t as good looking as she makes them out to be. Never mind. Let her take pride in her genes.

And then, all of sudden she looked at me and said, “You don’t feel bad. So what if you are ugly. You already found a good husband”. HUH? WTF? She had said the same thing to me a while ago, and I had ignored it. And then this incident happened again. She told me the same thing. I raised my eye brow at her, wanting to give her a piece of my mind. But then I know I only stop at raising eye brows. I know I can’t speak up. Beside, she was laughing. So was this supposed to be funny?

She called me ugly, but that didn’t  bother me too much. She is entitled to her opinion. What I couldn’t get over was her underlying belief. We should be beautiful to fetch ourselves a good husband? That’s all? REALLY? It’s amazing, how almost every thought of ours contains hidden undertones of patriarchy. I feel like giving up.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 90 Comments »

And a happy birthday it was

Posted by Pepper on August 21, 2012

A few days ago, when India celebrated her Independence, we had some special celebrations going on at home. It was my mum’s birthday, and like a little kid, she had been awaiting the event excitedly. She wanted gifts (of her choice, nevertheless!) and wanted to eat good cake.

Getting her the gifts was not a big deal, but the cake? That was a problem. You see, a few months ago, my mom was diagnosed with high cholesterol and diabetes. The reports shook us. My petite, skinny momma having high cholesterol? And diabetes? How was that possible? People laughed at us when we told them. Some went to the extent of asking her where the extra cholesterol was hidden. Her body was too tiny to carry it. And where did the diabetes come from? Nobody in her family has it.

The discovery of her ailments called for a diet change. A ‘no sugar’ rule was implemented. But do we follow rules? No sir! We don’t. I think the older we grow, the more childlike we get. The mother would be found sulking and brooding each time she was denied chocolate. Sometimes I would take pity and hand her a piece while issuing an “Only one!” warning.

A few weeks ago, we experienced a tantrum. She said she wanted a particular dessert. We told her she could not have it. So there was a meltdown. She insisted on having it and was not willing to be distracted. She kept pointing at it and asking for it, saying  “I want it, means I want it, means I want it!”. What was this? I half expected her to start stomping her feet too. I then had to pull her in a corner and tell her, “Mama, you are not 5 years old. A tantrum won’t work.” I feel liker mom!

The other day, the three of us were sitting in a newly opened cafe close to our home.  That included, the mother, the father and I. Dad and I were talking about something animatedly. The mother started complaining, saying we were ignoring her. We laughed, and carried on with our conversation, not taking her seriously. I guess we really got too involved, and forgot about mom. That made her stand up, tell us she is not talking to us anymore, and walk away. Huh? Dad and I continued laughing, at what we thought was extremely childish behaviour. I wanted to run after her and say “Sorry babyyy, I won’t do that again”

While she is a little child at times, she is definitely my momma other times. I am so used to hearing the “Clean your room” dialogue every few hours, that I start imagining it now, even when she doesn’t actually say it. Was that her strategy? I wonder. Most times, I don’t have to clean my room, because it has already been done by her. A clean bedsheet replaces the old one. My clothes get washed, ironed and folded. They are put into my closet. Other miscellaneous belongings of mine are put into their place. It annoys the hell out of me. Ofcourse, I love the clean room, but I hate her working hard for it. I have told her several times to not do it. To let go. To leave it to me. I will do all of it on on my own. Later. It’s just that, she knows I procrastinate forever, doesn’t have the patience to wait for me. I don’t see an end to our quarrels.

We did get her a good cake for her birthday, albeit a tiny one. Dad has been a diabetic since years. I guess mom couldn’t bear to not be by his side, so she decided to jump onto the wagon too. Sigh. Fortunately though, her next reports said her sugar levels were normal. So I hope the previous reports just showed some momentary fluctuations, and that all her counts are okay.

Since her birthday is on a national holiday, we are all at home, without the hassle of taking an off. Mint got here on the eve of her birthday, and that is when the celebrations began. Mama wore her new clothes in the morning. We had a sumptuous lunch at home, that included all our favourite food. We cut the cake. We went for a movie (Ek tha Tiger – no, I don’t really recommend it), and then we went out for dinner. Throughout the day, the five of us got quality time to spend with each other. I do remember the sister and Mint ganging up against me during dinner. They made some allegations against me that were totally false. Hmph. Anyway, all in all, it was a wonderful day. I was planning on putting up a few pics taken during the day, but I feel too lazy.  Hope you had a fun day, mama. Here’s to many more..

Posted in Meet the family | 47 Comments »

Happiness comes in puddles

Posted by Pepper on August 14, 2012

The mother and I had to head out to run some errands in the evening. Since I was ready before she was, I decided to wait for her downstairs in our apartment complex. It had rained a while ago, leaving behind puddles of water everywhere.  I was having a casual conversation with the watchman when I noticed a familiar toddler, who I assume was not more than 3, walk out of the building with her mom.

There were  older kids, who came down to play unsupervised, merrily splashing in the puddles. Seeing them, the little girl’s eyes lit up. “Can I also jump in the puddles?”, she asked her mom. The mother replied with a stern, “No”. And then the mom realised she had forgotten something in her home and would have to go back to get it. Since I was around, she asked me if I could watch her daughter for a few minutes until she returned. Sure, I said.

The moment her mom was out of sight, the little one looked at me and asked me, “Can I jump in the puddles?”. The question startled me. Sweetheart, I am not the decision maker here, I wanted to tell her. If I was, I would not stop you from jumping in the puddles. Since her mom had said no, I just echoed her words and said no to her. “Pleaaassee??”, she asked me again. This one was a smart kid, I thought. Asking me, her momentary care taker, because she knew her mom said no was a smart move.

“No baby”, I said again. “But I am not a baby! I am a big girl. See, they are all jumping in the puddles”. Umm, what was I to tell her? “Okay, let’s wait for you mama to come back, and then we will ask her again”, I said. “But can I jump now? Pleaseeee?”, she tried again.

I thought there was something heart wrenching in denying a child the pleasure of splashing in newly formed rain puddles. But what could I do? After all, this was her mom’s decision. I suppose she knew what was best for her child. Maybe the little one had a cold? Maybe she didn’t want her to be exposed to water? Maybe they were heading out somewhere and she didn’t want her to dirty herself? Or maybe she just didn’t like the idea of her daughter splashing around in puddles? Who was I to question her decision anyway?

Seeing me deep in thought, she tried her luck again. “I will jump only once, promise”. Although I didn’t want to give in to her, the wicked child trapped in my adult body decided to give in to her pleas. Because, children should not always be immaculately dressed, with neat hair and shoes and clothes. In my opinion, grubby feet, muddy nails, shabby hair, paint stained clothes, mucky legs, those represent a happy childhood. I asked her if they were going out anywhere. She said they weren’t. They had in fact come down to play. Okay then, we’ll jump only once, I told her. Let this be our secret. I thought I could dry her ankles with the tissues in my bag quickly before her mom came back. I know, I can hatch evil plans in an instant.

We walked to the closest puddle and she jumped in with glee. Before I could tell her to step out, she  jumped again, and then again. I could see the delight on her face. What the hell, I thought. I should do this too. So we held hands and jumped together. Again and again. All promises of jumping only once, forgotten. It was delightful and liberating, that’s all I can say.

I think both of us got too carried away and forgot about the world around us, until I spotted her mom standing in front of us, staring at us. Before I could react, my mom walked up to us, and stared at us too. Both of us stood there in the midst of the puddle, wet, with water trickling down our legs, terrified of our moms. There was silence for a few seconds.

Would her mom think I am irresponsible and unreliable? Would she scold me, or worse still, whack me? Would she complain to my mommy? I was panicking. I think it was our fearful, white washed faces that made our moms burst out laughing. No words were spoken. She laughed, as she collected her child and walked away. My mom was equally amused. Me? I was just glad I managed to sneak in some fun, and yet escape their wrath.

Posted in Small joys | 65 Comments »

Tales from campus – Part 2

Posted by Pepper on August 11, 2012

Read the Part 1 here. We won the ‘carry and run’ race, but I didn’t feel too excited, because this wasn’t the grand finale! These were only the trial runs. In fact, now that we had been selected, I only felt more nervous by the idea of representing our section during the finals. Oh the pressure to win. I know, I had nothing to really fear, since I wasn’t the one running. But I specialize in getting nervous without a cause.

I had plenty of time to argue with Mint in the evening, and ask him why he signed me up for the events without checking with me. Like I said though, I already knew his reasons. So we agreed to let go of it. I convinced myself to participate in the fashion show. Did I have a choice? From then on, it was all about taking deep breaths and telling myself I can do it. That I won’t stumble and fall on the stage. That there won’t be any disasters and that I won’t make a fool of myself. By late evening, I learnt that unlike what I had imagined, we wouldn’t have to perform in front of a big audience. We weren’t allowed to see other sections perform. Which meant it would only be our class. And our class would be cheering from the sides of the stage. That left only the judges and some members of the cultural committee in the audience. A total of only 10-20 people? That sounded much better.

We met for our rehearsal and I was amazed to see how good some of the students were. The girls seemed like they were born to walk on the ramp. The guys walked with such oomph. I, on the other hand, was too stiff. They asked me to ‘cat walk’, and each time I did, it looked more like a ‘duck walk’. They asked me to ‘pose’ once I got to the end of the ramp. I looked like I was trying too hard. I realised this would take a lot of work.

On the other hand, our costumes were splendid! The fashion show was divided into three parts. Each part had a different theme. I was part of the ‘Recycle’ theme. So our costumes were all handmade! A fish cut gown enhanced with hand made paper flowers glued to it. A jacket and a skirt made out of black garbage bags. A skirt made out of hand made newspaper fans, etc. I was to wear a one piece outfit with balls made of aluminium foil stitched to the sleeves. We spent the entire night working on the outfits. Cutting, sticking, stitching, chatting, eating Maggi at 3 am. What fun. Finally at 4:30 am, I got up to leave. I had woken up at 4 am the previous day, and it had been a long ’24 hour’ day for me.

When I was leaving, one of the girls told me, “Wear this with black leggings. And wear black heels with it. Red lipstick will look good too” Err, I didn’t have any of that stuff. I told her I hadn’t come to campus prepared for a fashion show. I had just carried a few casual tees with me, to be worn over the same pair of jeans. She told me, in that case, I would have to buy all of that. I told her I would figure it out, and I left.

I remember waking up the next afternoon. Mint hadn’t come to the room at all. He had been busy all night and had gone to class directly the next day. Great. The first thing I did on waking up was turn to YouTube. I looked for videos that displayed and taught ramp walking techniques. One foot in front of another. Posture straight. Sway your arms gently. I practiced walking in the room for a while. And then I realised, to my horror, I’d have to be walking in heels. I wasn’t allowed to wear flats. Which meant, I had to go buy the shoes as soon as possible, so I had enough time to practice walking in them. Considering I had so many shoes back home, I didn’t fancy the idea of spending thousands and buying a new pair just for this one day, but I realised I had no other choice. Ugh.

Meanwhile, the campus seemed abuzz with activities, and being a part of it was so thrilling. I would just walk in to classrooms, to watch the dance group rehearsing. Some of the rooms were occupied with paints and other craft work. Students sat back painting posters for the competitions. The singing troupe would rehearse till the early hours of morning. We could hear live bands playing from all corners. The people participating in the skits would rehearse after class hours. Mint was in charge of the mock rock show. He had to organize it, and of course participate. Entire nights were spent carving guitars out of thermocol, gluing plastic sheets onto it. Trash cans were turned into drums. Loud rock music was a constant companion. Tea and coffee flowed through out the nights. I think for a week, nobody slept. There were rehearsals going on everywhere. We would rehearse our fashion show at 2 am on most nights. Dinner was had at 3 am one day, at a colonel’s house. It was an experience I will never forget.

I went and bought the shoes a day before the events began. I remember trying out shoes with different shapes and sizes of heels. I also remember practicing my ramp walk in the store, while wearing those heels. I am glad I realised where I was soon. People were beginning to think I was one of those ‘wannabe’ types.

The first day of the events dawned. The entire campus was celebrating. There were processions with drums and other live music. You could hear shouts and slogans in the air. Everybody was cheering for their teams. The races were the first of the events. Yes, Mint and I won the finals, in the midst of loud cheering. Everybody came up to us to congratulate us. It made me grin. People asked Mint if he has been carrying me and running since childhood, or if we ‘ran and got married’ 😀

We won the mock rock show as well. It was entirely Mint’s brain child, and we received a lot of applause. We really worked hard, selecting the music, rehearsing all night, working on the equipment, working on the costumes and make up, the actions. When people told Mint how awesome he is, I couldn’t stop beaming with pride.

And yes, the fashion show! We won that as well. There was a bit of chaos on the stage before I walked the ramp. Which made me nervous and my walk was a clumsy duck walk. I shuddered when I saw the video. Sigh. But I think our outfits, the sequence, themes and the rest of the folks more than made up for everything. Our team got a lot of appreciation.

The events were spread over 4 nights. We came 3rd overall, but what gives me a high is that we came 1st in everything we (Mint and I) participated in.

The ‘carry and run’ race. The pic was taken during the trial runs.


The girl gang. Easy to guess which one is me, I suppose.


Helping one of the students. We cut strips of cloth and made bandanas out of them


The fashion show. That’s me on the ramp.

I exit


Mint during the rock show


PS: This post has been typed in a big rush. Please excuse the poor use of English and grammar.

Posted in Slices of life | 43 Comments »

Tales from campus – Part 1

Posted by Pepper on August 11, 2012

The pace of my life accelerates by itself without warning at times, and I am left clutching the edges, gasping and screaming, “Slow down! Slow down!”. That’s how it has been in the recent past. Who would have known I’d experience such thrills and frights so unexpectedly? Had somebody told me a week ago, that the next week I’d be walking on a ramp, I’d have probably collapsed out of shock, fear and bewilderment. But then we all know life is strange..

It so happened that Mint told me he had booked my ticket, and I had to leave the next day. I love visiting the campus, but this time, I was a little reluctant to go. I don’t do too well with short notice. I always need time to prepare myself for any upcoming events, or I feel lost and out of control. Other than that, leaving the next day meant missing the occasion of ‘rakhi‘ or ‘raksha bandhan‘. I don’t feel too strongly about it, but this time, I was going to be home for the occasion after years. I didn’t want to miss any family get together. And to let go of that and be on campus for a whole week didn’t make too much sense to me. But the interculturals on campus were to begin and Mint kept harassing me till I agreed to go.

I left early in the morning the next day. My train pulled into the station at 1 pm. Mint was still in class. So I had to make my way to the campus on my own, and I am proud to say, I managed! If you know my inability to understand directions, you will know how triumphant I felt on reaching the institute by myself. So what if all I did was tell the auto driver where I wanted to go? The point is, I managed all alone. Oh anyway, I digress..

After meeting Mint and exchanging hugs, I decided to take a little nap, considering I had woken up at 4 am that morning. That’s when he excitedly rolled up his jeans and told me, “See this, I injured myself” He pointed to a dressed up wound on his shin. He said it with such pride and excitement, I felt a little zapped. How did it happen and why didn’t you tell me about it? I could feel the arrival of an anxiety attack. He told me all about his fall and said he didn’t tell me earlier because he knew I would worry too much. He even told the rest of the folks on campus to keep his fall under wraps. Sigh. I asked him if he could walk comfortably. To that he told me he was planning to run today. He’d participate in the ‘carry and run’ race. His intentions of carrying me and running dawned upon on me only after a few seconds. I kept protesting, he kept persuading. Until it was time for him to leave for another class…

Once I was alone in the room, I got a call from one of the girls there. Her first line was, “We’re meeting for the fashion show rehearsal at 10 pm tonight.”. Eh, what’s that? She sounded confused, and asked me if I didn’t know I was participating in the fashion show. I didn’t! I am not made for that stuff. So I politely told her I wouldn’t be participating. She told me I had no choice anymore. They had already started working on my outfit! Huh? And who told them I would be participating? She said Mint sent them an email saying I would be here on campus and they could put me in any event they wanted. I gulped. She hung up, saying “See you at 10”.

I paced around the room, having a few ‘what the f@#k’ moments. How the hell could he do that? He pushed me into it, WITHOUT asking me! And fashion show? Heck, I can’t even walk straight without bumping into every visible obstacle in my path. There is no way I would be able to walk on a ramp. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it, neither could I wriggle out of it. So what was I supposed to do?

When I had cooled down, I realised why Mint did it. He knows I only do things when I am pushed into them without warning. Had he told me, I would never have agreed. Perhaps this was his way of making me conquer my inhibitions. Well..

He was back in the evening, and we had no time to discuss or fight over what he had done. We rushed to the ground for the races, or rather the trial runs. The emergent winners would be competing against the other sections during the main event. I was still doubtful about our participation, but I gave in when I noticed the excitement around us. Also, I knew we had an advantage, given how light weight I am.

I expected him to carry me on his back, like he often does when giving me a piggy back ride. I waited behind him at the start line, a little nervous. I guess I was totally unprepared for the way he carried me. Instead of hurling me on his back, he lifted me above the ground in the blink of an eye and slung me on his shoulders. I remember my head dangling from one end, while my legs dangled from the other, as he ran. I also remember nervously shutting my eyes. When I opened them, I realised we had won!

To be continued..

Posted in Slices of life, Uncategorized | 29 Comments »

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