A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for January, 2013

One with no title..

Posted by Pepper on January 31, 2013

I am known to carry huge handbags. I will go to the extent of saying that most of my handbags can accommodate half of my earthly belongings. I am often ridiculed for this reason. Today, I happened to carry one of my favourite bags to office. I had used the bag the previous night, and today morning, I didn’t have enough time to change my handbag. So I decided to take it along, though it isn’t exactly the office kind. Anyway, the point being, the bag is a favourite. It is an orange leather bag I bought from Paris. As usual, I was laughed at. They said the size of the bag makes it look silly. All my bags are big, but I spend a lot of time choosing them. I don’t go about buying big, frumpy looking bags. So no, I don’t think they are silly just because they are big. See?

Orange

If I remember correctly, it contains an ipod,  my wallet, my home keys, the car keys, a pack of dry tissues, a pack of wet tissues, a hand sanitizer, my lunch box, a book, random scraps of paper, a small water bottle, my sunglasses, 2 hair clips, and my jacket. Pretty awesome, isn’t it? If you don’t like it, I’ll just say you have poor taste. Hmph.

******

My home continues to be that black hole in which things mysteriously disappear. I swear, I am not making it up. So often, the sister and I have had conversations on the lines of, ‘Hey, you remember we used to have that blue tee with a red stripe? I haven’t seen it in months’. And then we go about looking for the missing tee for days, weeks even. Most times, we have no luck. I wonder, where do our clothes vanish? It is a mystery we haven’t been able to solve. Mint was visiting this weekend. He had left his white shirt behind in his last trip. While leaving, he asked me to get him his white shirt, so he could take it back with him. I searched, and searched, and searched. But the while shirt was nowhere to be seen. It had vanished. Disappeared into that dark hole. He couldn’t understand how that was possible, and we ended up having an argument. The shirt is still missing, just like the rest of the stuff.

*****

I am eating a bowl of dal and rice as I type this. I think my mom makes the world’s best dal. It is so simple, yet packed with such subtle flavours. I believe eating dal and rice is a way of soothing your body. All of yesterday, I ate a ton of rubbish. Maggi, pani puri, some pasta that was probably stale and some hard dhoklas. Today morning, I had a stomach ache. So we decided to treat my body with dal-chawal. It felt like telling my tummy, “I know I was abusive. I am sorry. Here, let this comfort you now’. Perhaps why they call it ‘comfort food’

What’s up with you?

Posted in Uncategorized | 30 Comments »

I am an alien

Posted by Pepper on January 28, 2013

I have a monster headache. As I stepped out of office and got into an autoricksha, I realised the racket on the road was going to kill me today. Drivers who just can’t seem to let go of their car horns must be on a mission to scale down our country’s population. They kill people by subjecting them to deadly levels of noise.

Horn OK Please? Did I read that again? Your incessant honking is causing me acute trauma. My heart rate is shooting up. I suppose my nervous system can’t take it either. So, no. Your bloody horn is NOT okay. Oh, I forgot. You want me to die.

It looks like most Indians are addicted to their car horns. The horn is a device that is used mainly to allow the driver to vent his frustrations. And oh boy, frustrated they are. Want to show that other driver you are pissed? Go ahead. Just don’t release your hold from the damn horn. Let your eternally blasting horn kill others around you.

Oh wait. Nobody else seems to be dying. I am the only one wincing here. Right. I believe the horns are audible only to me. When I am on the road, my brain registers the sound of a horn once every two seconds. The loud dissonance enters my system, making my insides spin. But when I am at the wheel, and I honk, hoping it clears my path, it has no effect. Other drivers around me do not react to the horn. Pedestrians do not move. Hawkers do not move. Oh maybe they are all aliens, unable to hear or perceive sound. Or maybe I am the alien, the sound of horns is audible only to me. The present cacophony doesn’t seem to be causing any other deaths anyway. Yes, that explains it. I am an alien. A dying alien.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 36 Comments »

Small world and all that..

Posted by Pepper on January 22, 2013

“So you know? It used to be great fun. BFF#1, D and I always hung out together. We were a team. I miss those days. I don’t know why D disappeared from our lives after school. BFF and I often talk about her. We’ve tried contacting her several times..”, I went on. I was telling Mint about D, who used to be a very close friend of mine at one time.

He interrupted me. “Wait. Are you talking about DC? I know her!”. I was stunned. Surely, he was mistaken? That must be another DC he was talking about. How can he be even remotely connected to my school friend? We’re not even from the same city. Our social circles come from two different planets. Anyway, turned out that he did indeed know my school friend. Don’t ask me how. Small world.

‘It is such a small world’ has been a recurrent line in my life. It looks like everybody I know seems to know everybody else I know. It is not fun. Because it means, all details about my life are out there. Facebook is not helping. I find ‘mutual friends’ every time I happen to look at random profiles of random individuals.  And then I am left wondering, how does she know him?! The fact that I do look at such random profiles is ofcourse, irrelevant.

The theory ‘Six degrees of separation’ makes complete sense. And by that logic, I understand that these things happen to everybody. But why does it seem like they happen to me a little too often? Even in the blogworld, I find myself dealing with these eerie connections. For example, we discovered that Mint and her husband, TS, have known each other from their college days. Another time, we discovered that my BFF happens to be her cousin.  And another time, we discovered that Mint’s grandmom, happens to be a neighbour of hers. Phew. See what I mean?

Today, I happened to be in the midst of a casual discussion with my boss. Same names were taken, and I discovered that she knows my ex, also known as the Monster Boyfriend. I tried to not choke on my coffee. The result was an awkward cough. Dammit, I’ve burnt that bridge a lifetime ago. I don’t want any such connections, thank you. I sneaked out of her cabin as soon as I could. The first thing I did was message Mint, saying ‘The boss knows my ex’. He replied back with a ‘LOL’. Sigh. Sure, that helped, Mint. Thank you. I wish the world was bigger.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 25 Comments »

I had so much fun!

Posted by Pepper on January 16, 2013

These 16 days of daily writing have been thoroughly enjoyable. I didn’t officially sign up for any blogging marathon. I only tried writing everyday, wondering how long I would last. Now, I believe it would be best to break the continuity.

I feel a little sad, because unlike what I believed, I didn’t ever run out of content. I saw others around me, fretting over ideas, racking their brains and searching for blog worthy material. Me? I always had something to say. I think I have an opinion on pretty much everything.  I feel for pretty much everything. Combine my opinions and my emotions and the result is a never ending monologue. There were days in which I wanted to put up more than one post, because I was so full of thoughts.

I can’t go on anymore because I feel too stretched. I stay in office till late. I can’t blog from work. I come home miserable and cranky, carrying other burdens on my shoulders. Putting an end to daily blogging makes sense.

I must admit, there were days on which I felt very guilty for writing everyday  There are so many people who have subscribed to the blog. They get posts delivered in their mail. What if they got annoyed with my daily posts? What if they thought I was spamming their inbox? What if they cursed me? And then I told myself, they asked for it! I shouldn’t find reason to feel guilty.

Anyway, thank you for putting up with me. Thank you for being there. I had a wonderful time. And I do hope to do something like this again. For now,  I am still here. I still hope to blog regularly, but I don’t think I can continue blogging daily anymore. This was good fun while it lasted. Ta for now. See you around.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments »

When your mom discovers the phone camera

Posted by Pepper on January 15, 2013

you end up with embarrassing pictures like these.

Madness

More Madness

The first one is me trying to get even with the sister who dared to tickle me and attempted to flee from the scene of crime. Ofcourse, I had to get her! Umm, I know we look a bit..funny. We have our asses jutting out. But let’s ignore that, shall we?

The second one is taken after we seemed to have made peace. She is lying on her belly and reading a book while I sit on her butt and work on my laptop with concentration.

Would you like to come home and join in the madness?

Posted in Meet the family | 27 Comments »

The tale of the vada pav

Posted by Pepper on January 14, 2013

You know, those days on which you wake up craving for something out of the blue?  I was having one of those days. I woke up wanting to eat a vada pav. Not just any vada pav. I wanted to eat a vada pav from Jumbo King. The spicy, buttery one.  I was desperate. I couldn’t wait.

It took every ounce of my will power to stop drooling and to convince myself to wait till evening. I kept telling myself I would get by the day. I had to go somewhere in the evening. I would be using the train. Jumbo King had an outlet near the station. I would surely stop by and pick up the object of my desire.

Evening came. I was on my way to attaining bliss, in the form of a spicy vada pav. As I walked into the store, I could smell the pungent flavours lingering in the air. I placed my order. The waiting seemed unbearable. And then, it came to me. It was placed in a brown paper bag. I thanked him and left.

Should I eat it now, while walking towards the railway platform? Or shall I get into the train, find a seat and then enjoy it? Although every fibre in my body was dying to get a taste of the food I had been dreaming about all day, I decided to push myself some more. I told myself there would be no joy in eating it while walking. I must sit, and I must relish it.

So I held on and walked ahead. The platform was crowded, as usual. Just as I was feeling the warmth of the packet I was holding, I saw a grubby hand tapping my waist. She was a young girl with sun bleached hair, a grime layered body and piercing eyes. She pointed at the packet of vada pav I was holding. Then patted her belly and fed herself some imaginary food. Then she pointed at the vada pav again. She wanted it.

I paused. Under normal circumstances, I would have handed it to her without a second thought. But this time, it felt like my soul hungered for the food she was asking for. The desire in me to eat it was intense. I was craving the first taste. I didn’t have time to go and buy another one. What should I do? She jerked me out of my reverie with a ‘do na‘.

I realised I wouldn’t be able to eat it after denying it to her. There was no point in not giving it to her. So I smiled and handed over to her my heart’s desire. She grabbed it out of my hand and walked ahead.

My eyes followed her. Just a few feet away and I saw her approaching other passengers who were waiting for the train to arrive. ‘vada pav lena hai? dus rupay ka hai‘. It translates to ‘Do you want to buy a vada pav? It is for Rs. 10’

My jaw dropped. She was selling it?  She wanted money and not the food? I could have as well given her some money and saved my precious vada pav for myself. I felt cheated and angry. And stupid. I should have realised this on my own. I should have assessed her needs better.I should have known.

Posted in Slices of life | 23 Comments »

For the year gone by..

Posted by Pepper on January 13, 2013

So we have been tagged by her. Thank you, Subs! I know I already did a post that detailed the events of the past year, but here is one more. This one is more condensed.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before? 
I jumped out of a plane.
I traveled all alone, to another city, in an overnight train journey. Multiple times.
I managed a bank account in India, all by myself. I even put some money in an FD.  On my own, with no assistance!
I drove my car into a ditch on a dark, rainy night.
I participated in a fashion show and actually walked the ramp.

2. Did you keep your new years resolutions, and will you make more for next?
I don’t remember having made any resolutions last year. That should tell you how seriously I take my resolutions, if I do make any.

3. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 
21st March. It signifies a new beginning. It is the date we moved back to India.

4. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I managed to live without Mint around.

5. What was your biggest failure?
Failure? Well, I really wanted to learn Tamil. But there has been no progress this year. My small vocabulary showed no signs of expansion. I blame Mint. The guy is too lazy to teach me. He is comfortable speaking to me in Hindi and English. Anybody willing to teach me Tamil? My inlaws will bless you.

6. Did you suffer illness?
I have lived with acute pain in my neck and shoulder area. It has really hampered my life style. Some days are good. Some days are awful and unbearable. Doctors say nothing is wrong, but the damn pain returns every few days. I don’t know what to do.

7. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? 
My boss’s. She appalled and depressed me beyond words.

8. Where did most of your money go?
Eating out. Our bank account wouldn’t have been this injured had we not spent such obscene amounts on food.

9. What did you get really, really, really excited about? 
Our European holiday. Spending Diwali and Christmas in India, with my family around. Experiencing the Mumbai monsoon after years.

10. What song will always remind you of 2012?
I can’t choose. Forgive me.

11. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
Happier, definitely. This time, last year, we were in the US. Confused and stressed out. We are confused and stressed out even now, for other reasons. But last January was very exhausting.

12. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Blogging. Calling my extended family. Organizing my wardrobe.

13. What do you wish you’d done less of? 
I wish I had spent less time aimlessly floating around the world wide web.

14. Did you fall in love in 2012?
Yes, very much.

15. What/Who was your greatest musical discovery?
Nothing. Nobody. I just stuck around to listening to the music I have always been listening to.

16. What did you want and get?
A chance to live at home with my parents and sister. A new job. A holiday in Europe.

17. What did you want and not get?
A job that makes me happy. Clear skin. Savings. More time with Mint. Certainty.

18. What was your favourite film of this year?
I am not passionate about movies. I liked a few films I saw this year, but I won’t go through the effort of evaluating them and picking a favourite.

19. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I did the usual. Cut a cake, went out for lunch with friends and dinner with family. I turned 26.

20. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having a job I liked. I do realise I am being repetitive, but this is true. Not hating my work environment would have made a world of a difference to my emotional and mental well being.

21. What kept you sane?
Meditation. Cups of tea and coffee. Mint. My family. This blog.

22. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
You can’t have it all, and that is okay. As long as you know to choose well.

23. Which new places did you visit in 2012? 
Ahmedabad. Prague. Paris. Amsterdam. Brussels. Venice.

24. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year
Bhag bhag DK Bose! The year rushed by, and each time the speeding events would make me sing this song.

Posted in Tags | 19 Comments »

Down

Posted by Pepper on January 12, 2013

I don’t have much to say today. My mind is foggy. My heart is heavy. I am tired. I am unwell. Nothing seems right. My work, it is killing me. I know I never really wrote about the harsh difficulties I face. I don’t know if I ever will. There is so much to say, yet, I don’t know how to say it. I deal with deadly toxic matter on a daily basis. Some days are unbearable. Why am I still here? I don’t know.

Mint and I recently faced a massive disappointment. We really began to question one of our past decisions. Did we make the wrong choice earlier? I don’t want to be cryptic, so I won’t talk about it now. Right now, I feel like we are in the midst of a very turbulent ride.

I am scared of the different possibilities. I am tired of the unknown. I want this to end soon. I want certainty and clarity. Please send us your good wishes, people. All you lurkers too.

These are times in which I remind myself, atleast I have my loved ones healthy and safe. I don’t have to worry about where my next meal will come from. So with that thought, I will try and smile.

Posted in Chaos | 48 Comments »

Sounds of the past

Posted by Pepper on January 11, 2013

It is just another evening at home. We’re all busy doing our own thing. The song ‘Yeh hai reshmi, zulfo ka andhera na ghabraiyei‘, plays in the background. Every now and then, we sing along. I wonder, how is it that we choose the same lines to sing? Ah, music makes you bond. In that moment, we’re all involved with different chores. We are seemingly disconnected. There is no conversation. But there is that one connecting melody that we are all tuned to. That one common moment in which we all pitch in and sing along. I smile as I think of it. Music is a shared connection.

My phone rings and I turn down the volume. A friend is aghast. She has never heard of the song we are listening to. She asks me why I am listening to such ‘old and boring’ songs?

Well, I have grown up on a staple diet of old Hindi songs. I started listening to English music only during my early teens. My early childhood memories are full of old Hindi melodies. Perhaps, it is the obvious consequence of being born to parents who swoon over Mohammad Rafi and other such legends.

Visiting family and relatives was an integral part of our childhood. The family was spread across the city and it would invariably be night, by the time we would leave from their home. My parents always carried night clothes for the sister and I. Many times we would fall asleep at the said relative’s home. We would then be carried to the car, and carefully laid on the back seat. I have hazy memories of the sister and I, lying bundled in the backseat of our Maruti 800.

It is during these night drives back home, when soft old music would be played. The music always seemed calming. Listening to it over the years, made it seep deep into our young, half asleep and subconscious psyche. Now we love it.

Most of my friends have not heard many of the songs I have grown up with. The sister was telling me the other day that a classmate of hers borrowed her iPod. It had a lot of old Hindi songs.  On seeing her playlist, she made a face and asked her, ‘Is this your mom’s iPod?’. I don’t know what the implication was. If we listen to that music, perhaps we are too uncool. Oh, never mind.

Posted in Blasts from the past | 35 Comments »

For old times

Posted by Pepper on January 10, 2013

Dear Mint,

Do you remember the day we took this picture? It was my birthday. We were out, dining with friends. On that particular day, we had absolutely no idea of what our future held. But we were fearless, young and hopeful. And full of idealistic cheer.  We had no idea how we would convince your parents, or how much we would have to fight for our relationship. We had no idea if and when we would get married. But there we were, foolishly rehearsing the coy looks we would be made to sport during our wedding. We mocked and ridiculed and laughed at the concept of posing for wedding pictures.

During one of our mock performances, I picked up the table cloth lying in front of me and covered my head. I lowered my eyes, shyly. You played your role, smiled demurely and held up my chin. It lasted for a split second before we both burst out laughing. But in that one second, the BFF who was sitting across the table picked up the camera and captured the moment forever.

The drama

I laugh each time I see this picture. We look pretty damn genuine, if you ask me. Must thank the BFF for her quick reflexes. She froze the moment and gave us this picture to laugh at. It has been several years, but this picture takes me back to that dinner table, and our naive confidence in everything falling in place for us. Thankfully, it did.

May the faith always remain alive.

Love,

Pepper

Posted in Splashes of Mint | 33 Comments »

Finding family

Posted by Pepper on January 9, 2013

I spent a lot of my childhood around my cousins. My mom has 5 sisters. She is the youngest. Obviously, the sister and I were the youngest grand kids. All our cousins were older kids who seemed to enjoy more privileges given their age. What made it so awesome was that they loved spending time around us. I have memories of them chasing us around parks, taking us to the beach, playing card games with us and even taking us for local train rides. Today, most of my cousins have kids of their own, but when we meet, we’re a riot.

I think I missed out on connecting with my cousins from my dad’s side of the family. My dad has 2 brothers. 1 of them has no kids. 1 of them lives in the US. He visited India with his kids only once a year. Those summer months with my cousins were fun, no doubt. But it wasn’t the same as it was with cousins from my mom’s side of the family. I wished we were a bigger group. That always added to the fun.

Anyway, a few days ago, I had the pleasure of getting to know a set of very interesting people, who are actually my second cousins from my dad’s side. Here is the story. My paternal grandmom’s brother moved to England to study. That was where he met a British girl, fell in love and got married to her. Er, yes. We’re talking about my grandmom’s brother. We’re an ‘uncultured’ family. Anyway, let me not digress. They went on to have a bunch of kids. Unfortunately, my grandmum’s brother died at a very early age, when his kids were very young.

The British woman he had married chose to stay in touch with her husband’s family back in India. She wrote letters to my grandparents. Sent pictures of her kids. Her kids are my dad’s first cousins. My dad too stayed in touch with them via snail mail. They did come down to India once when I was around 12. I remember being excited about seeing my foreign aunts, who had gone on to marry British men. The aunts, despite having an Indian father, didn’t look even remotely Indian.

A few days ago, my dad told me one of his Brit cousin’s kids was getting married to an Indian. The two had met in their office in London. The guy was from Mumbai, and so the engagement would be held in this city. He told us meet him at the venue. He would be coming directly from office. My mom, unfortunately was unable to make it that day.

The sister and I were reluctant to go. We spent about two hours deliberating. Should we go? After all, these were the Brit second cousins we had never met before. We had never seen their faces, nor had they seen ours. What was the point in attending this event? They wouldn’t care either way. Beside that, nobody else from my dad’s family was able to make it that day. So we would be knowing nobody there. With those thoughts occupying our minds, we decided to skip it.

When my dad called us to ask us where we had reached, we told him we were still home, and had in fact, decided to not come. He was terribly upset. He said we don’t take enough initiative to socialize within the family. And then the sister said, ‘Know what? Let’s just go’. I was a little taken aback by this sudden turn of events. It was quite late, but we decided to rush ourselves and leave.

When we reached the venue, we spotted my dad sitting with a group of people we had no clue about. That irked the sister. Shouldn’t he come and get us and make it less awkward for us? We’re anti social in an unknown crowd. Why make it harder for us? We scanned for a familiar face, but could see none.

Finally, I walked up to my dad’s table. He introduced us to a few people. We smiled politely and then moved on to get our dinner plates, considering it was already late. The whole hall seem to be full of foreigners. The sister and I felt terribly awkward, and decided to sit by ourselves at a separate table.

Just as we got through with our meal, the bride came up to our table and introduced herself saying ‘Hey, I am L, your cousin. You must be Pepper’. To say we were surprised would be an understatement. In no time, her brother joined us. And then their dad. Now you don’t go about expecting the bride and groom and their immediate families to take this kind of effort with people they don’t know.

The bride looked gorgeous. She was wearing a beautiful silk sari and seemed most elegant. We joked about the trials of walking in a sari Her brother spoke about his trip, his very first experience of India. He had a fantastic sense of humour, and the sister and I found ourselves laughing out aloud without restrain. Their dad told us about his life in England. We discussed work, families, philosophy, culture, countries, languages, food, history, it went on.

As we sat in the midst of our British cousins, we wondered if this really was the first time we were meeting them. We exchanged email IDs, swore to stay in touch and even visit each other often. By the time we left, we  knew we had found found friends and developed bonds that would withstand the distance. The sister rightfully said, meeting them has one of the best things to happen to us this year. Now I won’t complain about not having enough cousins to connect with from my dad’s side.

Posted in Meet the family | 20 Comments »

Understanding the dynamics

Posted by Pepper on January 8, 2013

At one time, ‘So what do you do?’ was a question that would end up depressing me. Understandably, it is the focal point of almost every new meeting. At a time when I was not working professionally, I really didn’t know how to answer that. At that time, I was foolish enough to want to work, just so I could provide an acceptable answer to the world. Ofcourse, to the world, ‘cooking, traveling, reading, exploring’ were not worthy enough, since they didn’t fetch you money. They didn’t leave me with an ‘identity’. I wonder who decides the worth of your time. What defines your identity? Surely, it can’t just be your association with the corporate world.

I thought having a job would bring me some solace. When asked this question, I would no longer have to fumble for a response. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I have faced this question several times since I began working full time. The discomfort I feel on hearing those words has not lessened.

‘So what do you do?’, I was asked at a friend’s birthday party. Despite having an answer that conforms to the norms, that old feeling of vulnerability and uncertainty returned. I lowered my gaze, paused for a moment, and stirred my drink. I could have told her what she was expecting to hear. ‘I work as HR in an IT company’. Instead, I chose to deviate from the expected reply. I said, ‘I read, I write. I dream. I am working towards some of those dreams. I do a whole lot of things actually’. She laughed. ‘No, I meant to ask you where you worked’.

I smiled. ‘By work, you mean to ask me about my job? Why do you take for granted I have and want one?’ She seemed confused. “Just, you know. Everybody our age is working. We’re not the stay at home sorts. Every woman wants to be financially independent’. I let go.

Financial independence. I know that is the new buzz word. Apparently, it is below our dignity to live off our partner’s money. We are asked to make ourselves capable of fulfilling our needs. Because money equals power. And unequal distribution of money leads to power struggles between couples. My friend says she feels too vulnerable by the thought of taking money from her husband. She wants complete autonomy when it comes to finances. She wants to decide how much she will spend and on what. She doesn’t want to be answerable to anybody.

I feel a little confused. Did I have complete autonomy when I wasn’t working? No. Did Mint have complete autonomy despite being the one who brought in the money? No. Of course, I do not talk about small purchases.  But when it came to anything big, we did consult each other before arriving at a joint decision. He wanted to buy an iPhone a while ago, and I said no to him. I told him I didn’t think we could afford it. He should consider waiting. He agreed. The thought of me not having a say just because I did not have an income did not even occur to either of us. The money was ours. I had equal right to make a call.

I have my own income now. But do I make all decisions alone? Hell, no! When it comes to money matters, I can’t do without Mint’s input and approval. I think that has more to do with you being a couple. Your lives are connected. Each decision of yours impacts the others. It is only fair that we act in unison.

I am also confused by the term ‘Financial Independence’. How do most couples work? Mint and I have all our funds in a joint bank account, that both of us have access to. I even transfer my salary to that account. It is easier and more convenient to be dealing with one single account. But a lot of people disapprove of this. They believe separating funds is important. Neither of us feel the need to do it. And like I said, that comes with more hassles. We are lazy.

I think being divisive and accounting for every action is not easy. Mainly because there are so many things that cannot be accounted for in monitory terms. How do they come into the picture then? So really, what does independence mean? Aren’t couples dependent on each other for so many things?

Two people in a marriage or a relationship may not have equal earning capacities. Like I say, your own income may afford you a basic lifestyle, but your partner will be able to provide you with the luxuries. If you do count on him for the luxuries, do you still consider yourself to be financially independent? Do you maintain separate accounts? Do you split the monthly bills? Or do you combine your income and then pay bills together? If your partner asks you to go on a holiday that you think is unaffordable by your means, would you still go ahead with it? Would you not buy a home together, because of the disparity in your incomes? Go and and tell me how you function. I promise to not judge. I only aim to understand the dynamics.

My journalist friend, earns a pittance. Let’s say her income amounts to x. Her husband is an investment banker who is doing exceptionally well. He earns about 7 times more than her, totaling his income to 7x. (Yes, we verified) Put together, they lead a very rich lifestyle. A lot of times, her outfits costs more than what she earns in a month. Yet, she feels very proud of her ‘financial independence’. Would you think she is really financially independent just because she has an income?

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 72 Comments »

This is how you get yourself fired

Posted by Pepper on January 7, 2013

There I was, in bed. Snuggled under covers. On a Monday morning. I had my laptop sitting on my tummy. There I was smirking at the poor souls who had to be in office, and feeling thankful for having the option of working from home. The last two days of being able to do this, you see?

My role is not client facing, but there are times in which I have to interact directly with the clients. Today morning, I had a client call scheduled for 10 am. We had one of our project managers on the call as well. Two minutes into the call, and I hear my maid laughing in the kitchen. Loudly. Her laugh, a hysterical, shrieking echo that refuses to die down. Since I was in the process of saying something at that time, I couldn’t even mute the call.

There was a second’s silence on the phone. I racked my brains for an explanation, but could come up with none. Thankfully, they decided to carry on. He took over from me, with a ‘So I think we should..’

And there, I heard the dreaded beep that warns you of low charge on your phone. A second’s pause in the conversation made me realise they had heard the beep too. Crap! How did I not think of this? The next minute saw me flying across the rooms, from one end to the other, desperately hunting for my phone charger. Dammit! I couldn’t see it anywhere.

Just then, the conversation took on a new turn. ‘So Pepper, do you think you can do this’?

And the line was blank.

Perfect way to tell them I can’t.

Posted in Uncategorized | 37 Comments »

What I have been upto

Posted by Pepper on January 6, 2013

This is perhaps the 6th or the 7th consecutive day I have been putting up a post. Quite an achievement, I say. I have been prodding myself to give daily writing a shot. I started with small targets, like posting everyday for a week. But I was unable to achieve even those. So participating in and completing a month long blogathon seemed very unrealistic. Then I saw Lifeslittetwists rounding up some bloggers for the blogathon, and I decided to take the dive. We’ll figure out workarounds, I thought.

So here I am, on the 6th day. I refuse to make any commitments though. I am of the opinion that I should post only when I have something to say. Forcing words out of myself will seriously bring down the quality of my writing. That is not how I would like it to be. So we will see how long I can last in this.

The other factor is time. Finding time everyday is not going to be easy. I prefer not writing shabbily. And I tend to be haphazard when I try to do something hurriedly. So the moment I find that happening, I will stop.

So far, things have been easy for me. I have been working from home since the past few days. This obviously means a more relaxed life, and more time to blog. This ends in the next 2 days.  *Sobs*. I do not want to go back to office. I wish I could continue working from home. I know I said I miss the office space earlier, but I changed my mind. Not spending any time traveling is a blessing. Other than that, I hate strongly dislike my work environment, for too many reasons. But let me know rant now.

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I just realised, I never put up a post about my last trip to campus. I spent more than a week there. I took the sister along with me this time. Mint had made arrangements and rented a married students hostel. That is a 1bhk. So atleast we would have space to walk around. We reached his dorm at 6 am, and the rented accommodation would only be ready by afternoon. We were sleep deprived zombies. Mint was terribly sleepy too. We only had 1 single bed, between the 3 of us. After fighting for it for sometime, we decided to make peace with sharing it. Yes, 3 of us on one single bed. The sister and I on one end. Mint on the other. We managed to sleep pretty damn well. Just that Mint might have had 2 pairs of feet being shoved into his face, one from each end. The image makes me laugh.

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The sister had to complete a market research project for which we had both been working very hard. Yes, I help her a lot.  She is blessed to have me in her life. I think the first thing she needs to do on waking up every morning is thank God for giving her a sister like me. No? Okay, I won’t over do it. Anyway, we really worked awfully hard. She had to analyze competing brands – Bournvita and Horlicks. Her submission was scheduled for Saturday. It was Friday night, and we had miles to go before we could sleep. In fact, there was so much of data that we weren’t sure how to read. Let alone analyse and draw conclusions from. We were both lost, fatigued and nervous. At about 1 am, she received a message on whatsapp, saying her submission had been postponed to Monday. That feeling we experienced  on reading that message was nothing short of bliss and disbelief put together. We dumped the work and and went to bed.

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Mint has placements going on, and we’re both very stressed out. The companies he really wants to be a part of are coming towards the end of the placement season. The ones he doesn’t care much about are all lined up before that. Given the complexities of the rules and regulations, we don’t know whether he should wait for the companies he wants. That comes with a high risk of not being placed at all. We don’t know if it’s worth it. Decisions, you never seem to leave us alone!

 

Posted in Slices of life | 16 Comments »

My first win

Posted by Pepper on January 5, 2013

Mint loves seeing me all dressed up. He dislikes me wearing jeans and tees, which is pretty much all I really wear. He keeps urging me to step out of my ‘boring tees’ and wear more of fitted dresses, skirts and the likes. I promise to include more of the said outfits in my wardrobe, but each time I back out. Because

1) I believe I can’t carry them well enough. I look too thin. This very thought also angers me because I really do not want to care about my appearance beyond a point. If I feel like wearing a dress, I should.
2) I am always apprehensive showing skin.
3) I come back to point 1. What if I look stupid? Jeans are safer. Yes, I am a confused individual who doesn’t know her stand.

This Christmas, I came across an interesting competition. You had to send a pic of yourself in a red dress. The best dress would win a pretty silk scarf. The scarf looked gorgeous. I set my heart on it the moment I saw it. But I knew. I never win. Ever. Despite my past records, I sent in this pic. This red dress has been with me for about 5 years, and I have worn it a total of 3 times. Including an evening out with  her. Anyway, the picture was mailed. Today, I received a response. The mail said I was one of the 3 winners of the scarf! And then, I noticed the category. It said ‘Best Body’. I hadn’t even submitted my entry in this category, but I suppose they took the liberty to do that.

Red

I am very pleased with the win because I really wanted that scarf, but when it comes to the category, I don’t know where I stand.  I don’t want to endorse the theory that says a good body translates to being skinny. These thoughts conflict with my feminist ideologies. Afterall, don’t we all want to work towards freeing ourselves from body shaming? I say this for myself, more than anybody else. I know how much thought I put into how women who wear dresses and skirts should ‘ideally’ look. It is what prevents me from wearing them. I am stupid. But I don’t want to be.

I know I keep saying this, but I am truly going to try wearing more of dresses and skirts. Not because I now feel more confident about being able to carry them well. But because, I think my concept of beauty should not be dictated by cultural conformity.

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 42 Comments »

 
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