A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for July, 2013

The drive to succeed..

Posted by Pepper on July 27, 2013

Dear Papa,

I have an endless list of things to thank you for. But today, I want to thank you for that one skill I would have been lost without. Driving on Indian roads. It is frustrating, taxing, exasperating and plain scary at times. It requires restrain and caution. I do realise, I would never have been able to master this skill had it not been for you. You pushed me in my earlier years. I can’t thank you enough.

I have a vivid memory of what you told me on my 18th birthday. “It is sad, but most women in India do not drive. Surprisingly, a lot of them even have a license. But they only use it as an ID. They hardly go behind the wheel because they say they are scared and can’t handle the chaotic traffic. I don’t want you to be like them. I want you to be independent, and I give you no choice but to learn how to drive’

At that time, it was only your constant encouragement that got me through. I do realise I wasn’t an easy student in my initial days. I would adamently refuse to touch the wheel in peak hours. I would tell you I will drive when the road is empty. I would stop in a corner and almost cry each time I saw a bus or a truck driving around our car erratically. But you would just not have any of that. You told me I will never learn if I drove only on empty roads. I had to learn to manuavuer my way through heavy, disobedient traffic.

You put in a lot of effort, taking me for practice regularly, teaching me the techniques and building my confidence.  I see the result today and I feel grateful to you. I think I unlearnt how to drive on Indian roads after living and driving in foreign lands. If there was one reason I could get back to driving in India, it is only because of my past history.

Today, I feel like an equal because Mint and I are able to take on equal responsibility in many ways only because I drive. Just like him. I drive everywhere, run errands, drop and pick people up from the airport, drive back when Mint has a drink, we divide our time at the wheel when we go on trips. I am glad the onus doesn’t solely lie on Mint. Driving gives me this sense of freedom. This feeling of not depending on anybody to transport me is incredible.

Now you have entrusted me with the responsibility to get the sister to drive. She, like me, is not an easy student. She prefers you as her teacher. Perhaps because you are so much more patient than me. Either way, I do not intend giving up on her. And hopefully, we will get to our destination soon. Thank you for laying such a strong foundation in us.

Lots of love,

— Pepper

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Posted in Meet the family | 16 Comments »

My corner

Posted by Pepper on July 23, 2013

It was a rainy morning today, just like what most mornings are these days. I sat with my mug of coffee in my favourite corner. As I put my mug down, it dawned upon me how beautiful the moment was. It was drizzling. The sky was overcast. I had a hot mug of coffee, and here I was, in my favourite space.

my corner

Pardon me for the poor quality of the picture. It was a dark morning, and the picture was taken from my cell phone camera.

This expanse faces our bed and is my favourite part of the house. We have a similar seating arrangement in all the rooms, but for some reason, I have turned this space into my own personal nook. I often make use of the seating area, stretch my legs and read by this window. I have my cups of tea and steaming mugs of coffee here. Oh, I also share this space with my loved ones. The sister and I have long conversations here. The BFF always finds her way to this little spot of the house too. Friends sit on the sill with their beers. Hookahs are made and passed on by this window. But what brings me unparalleled joy is simply sitting here and watching the rain.

Posted in Small joys | 35 Comments »

Tagging along..

Posted by Pepper on July 17, 2013

It has been a wonderful day. No stress, no anxiousness, no exhaustion. Nothing. Just a big smile on my face,  peace and lots of gratitude. And I am talking about a weekday. Oh, I have updates about my job. Happy updates, but let me save that for another post. Today, I feel like writing, but don’t have anything in particular to write about. So I will steal this tag from Pixie. Just because I was reading her responses and thought the responses and questions were fun. So here we go.

1. What curse word do you use the most?
Since you asked, I’ll say it. I say ‘fuck’ quite a lot. My most common reaction when I am bewildered or angry is ‘What the fuck?’.

2. Do you own an iPod?
Sigh. Not anymore. The one iPod I had, I lost when my bag got stolen. Now I keep borrowing the sister’s iPod. It was a gift given to her by Mint and I on her 16th birthday.

3. What person do you talk to on the phone the most?
Close tie between my parents, sister and BFF. I don’t talk to Mint on phone much now a days. At one time, I had a reputation of being on phone with Mint 24*7. That was during our long distance phase. So now it is just the family and the BFF. Thankfully, I meet all of them almost everyday, so I don’t really spend too much time on the phone.

4. Do you still remember the first person you kissed?
Ofcourse.

5. Do you remember where you were on 11/9/01?
I was in school. In 9th grade. I remember being home late in the evening that day, watching news while having dinner.

6. What was the last movie you watched?
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. No, I didn’t think it was great. Just about okay. And too long.

7. Has anyone ever called you lazy?
This has to be a joke. There are few who haven’t called me lazy. Tales of my laziness have spread far and wide.

8. Do you ever take medication to help you fall asleep?
Err, no. On the other hand, I should probably consider taking some medication that will keep me awake for longer durations. I can sleep all the time.

9. Has anyone told you a secret last week?
Last week? Nope. But somebody told me a scandalous secret in the past month. I generally end up knowing a lot of secrets and I am happy to note that people around believe their confessions and secrets are safe with me.

10. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
First thing? Probably the face. Nothing interesting, I know. A warm grin and a fresh scent will make me really notice you.

11. What are you looking forward to?
A well brewed coffee, a good book in this beautiful rainy weather, a hot oil massage given to me by momma, a cheese omelette by papa,  a bollywood trivia quiz with the sister, seeing Mint at the end of the day and so much more. And the fact that I am only moments away from experiencing all of the above makes me so happy.

12. Do you own any band t-shirts?
Nope, but Mint does. And I do steal his tees every time I want to climb into something loose and comfy.

13. What will you be doing in one hour?
Grocery shopping. I can hear fresh veggies calling out to me already.

14. Is anyone in love with you?
Yes. Very much. I see it everyday.

15. Last time you cried?
Day before yesterday. For a ridiculous reason. I was alright the next instant.

16. Are you on a desktop computer or a laptop?
Laptop, although, I do use a desktop in my parents’ home.

17. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoos?
Maybe. I have three piercings in one ear, and two in the other. A horrific incident that happened some years ago, caused some acute damage and the hole on my ear lobe closed. I am always tempted to redo it and get back my 3rd piercing.

18. Would you ever date anyone covered in tattoos?
I doubt it. I dislike the very idea.

19. What were you doing before this?
Restoring the beauty of my feet (hah!)  by using some foot scrubs and exfoliating gels. Okay, I hate the shape of my feet, so I try my best to atleast keep them supple and clean.

20. When is the last time you slept on the floor?
In beloved California. When we had sold all our furniture just before we moved. The last few days still remind me of the awful butt ache I had.

21. How many hours of sleep do you need to function?
8. I can function with less than 8 hours, but I’d certainly not call it smooth functioning.

22. Do you eat breakfast daily?
Sigh. I rarely eat breakfast.  Lunch is usually the first meal I have. In the mornings, it is only tea or coffee. I really want to change this and have been trying to think of  good breakfast ideas. Idlis, dosas, parathas, upma, poha and the usual options are too cumbersome to make, not to mention time consuming. I like the sound of cereal, but cereal in cold milk doesn’t go well with my hot mug of tea/coffee. Very rarely, I smear some cheese spread on bread and eat a sandwich, but other than that, everything seems like too much effort. Any ideas for an instant breakfast?

 

Posted in Tags | 24 Comments »

All that has been going on..

Posted by Pepper on July 12, 2013

I haven’t written here much in the past month. So let me make up for it by writing one long post. Be warned, read only if you truly want to.

After endless research, reviews, debate, deliberation, verifications and checks, we finally bought a car. A used car for now. It was barely used and the owners were moving to Singapore, so we kind of lucked out with the deal. Most poeople don’t believe a used car can be that new. And oh, we knew it wasn’t tampered with. Mint has the knack of digging up history and past data even from the dungeons. So all details were authenticated before we made the purchase.

For those who are interested, we bought a white polo. The highline varient. The original plan was to buy a used car now, sell it next year and buy the new Honda Jazz, but since this car is so new and we love it so much, I think it is a good idea to hold on to it for a while. It has all the features Mint was looking for – ABS, airbags, spacious trunk, foldable seats and reverse parking sensors. I think those sensors make my life so much simpler.

I was so excited on the day of delivery, I could barely get through my day at work. In the evening, Mint and I went to pick it up. We then headed out to a celebratory dinner. At night while we were driving through the beautiful stretch of Marine drive, I felt a special thrill. This is our first car in India. Our old car is still most special to me, but this one is gaining a very special place in my heart too.

Our fuel is paid for by Mint’s company, so it suits us to drive everywhere. Mint doesn’t use the car much, since his work place is walking distance from home. Which means, I have the car to myself on most days. It is such a relief. Although he keeps asking me to drop him and pick him up from work everyday. I do it, thinking of ‘how the poor guy will walk in the rain’, but once the rains slack off, I am going to ask him to walk and get the exercise.

*****

We have a big list of people we want to invite to our new home. People keep asking us when they can come, so we have decided to phase out the invitations. A few weeks ago we hosted a house warming party for Mint’s batchmates from his MBA. It was huge because of the number people involved. We ended up having more than 22 people on the list. I was nervous. Where will people sit? How will 22 people fit in a 2 bhk? What if there is chaos?

Mint kept asking me to chill and not think. We’d be able to accomodate everybody. People would find a place for themselves. And that is what ended up happening. We had just set up our sound system, so we had good music. We laid out chips, masala peanuts, spiced mini idlis, and some khandvis. The original plan was to whip up some interesting dips and put together some home made appetizers, but then Mint talked me out of it. We both have terrrible judgment of quantity, and churning out stuff for so many people was not wise. Also we were short of time, so the store bought snacks worked just fine.

We weren’t sure about the drinks scene, so we had asked people to ‘BYOB’. We just had the ice cubes, sodas and juices in place. Again, turned out to be a good idea. Other than that, we ordered pizzas for everybody. Since we didn’t have crockery for over 20 people, we stuck to disposable tableware.

We had taken pains to tidy up the place, made sure we had a good stock of ice cubes. Paper napkins were lying in convenient locations. I lit the candles and added the aromatic home oils. Other than that, we didn’t do much.

The crowd seemed big, but we had people comfortably strolling in and out of all the rooms, with glasses in their hands. We had people sitting by the open french windows and having what seemed like an intense conversation. There was a lot of sound and laughter coming in from all directions. The pizzas were a hit. After a while, we relived the memory of the campus days by playing videos taken during the talent nights and fests. A good idea, again.

It was a fun night. The last of the guests left by 1:30 am, much later than what I had originally expected. When I went about picking up after the party, I found empty beer cans and glasses strewn all over the place. I like to believe they are signs of a successful party.

*****

One Sunday morning, Mint woke up with a lot of pain in his eye. He said something was bothering him. His eye had turned red and was watering. He could not endure sunlight at all. Since he was in such severe discomfort, we decided to check with a doctor immediately.

It being a Sunday, no doctor was available. Mint isn’t the kind to ask for medical help, but I could see this time he was barely able to sit. It was worrying me. We drove around, looking for eye doctors. Finally, we went to a reputed eye hospital- only to find it shut. They said it was a Sunday, so they could not let us in. Who the hell shuts down a hospital on a Sunday? Can’t people fall sick over the weekend? I was furious. The only doctor in the hospital refused to see us, saying he was only there for patients that needed post operative care. No new cases.

We gave up and drove to Ambani hospital and were asked to go to emergency. The doctor there said he had to take Mint to the OT to examine his eye. They kept Mint in the OT for over an hour. All along, I was pacing outside, worried as hell. I hadn’t informed anybody, since I didn’t want people to panic. So there I was, all alone outside the OT, waiting for some news. Wondering why an examination would take so long.

Finally after what seemed like forever, he was out, with a huge bandage on his eye. They said he had abrasions in his cornea. He had to keep his eye shut for a while. We’ve been taking treatment ever since. I have finally learnt to put eye drops and ointment in his eye without screaming or freaking out. The first few days, I refused to do it and he had to seek help from the maid.

For a while, he looked like a pirate..

bandage

Funny, isn’t it? He’s much better now. He has to see a doc once in a week and go over the rounds of eye drops and ointments, but other than that, we’re good.

Posted in Slices of life | 45 Comments »

Angry

Posted by Pepper on July 10, 2013

I’ve been away for almost a month. I didn’t want to come back with a rant, but what do I do? This particular issue has been making my insides roar. I knew I had to write it here, collect myself and try to accept this as a way of life in India. So here I am, hoping to sort myself.

Here is my problem. I am used to following traffic rules and this doesn’t seem to be going too well with drivers around me. I will start with incident # 1. Mint and I were driving back home at around 11 pm one day. I was at the wheel. The roads were empty. I saw cars in front of me jumping the red light. Not being the kind to do that even when the road is empty, I stopped at the signal. A few seconds later, a couple of cars lined up behind us. The car behind me started honking at us. I could see from the rear view mirror, the guy at the wheel in the car behind me was asking me to jump the light and move ahead. I held my ground, ignored the honking and continued to wait. It was a narrow road, with room for only one car to pass. So I knew I was blocking everybody’s way.

Soon, the other cars behind us started honking too. I held on. For some reason, the collective honking was making me nervous. I hoped the signal would turn green, but it turned out to be one of those never ending ones. Within no time, there was complete chaos. Every car lined up behind our car was blasting their horn furiously. I could see drivers mouthing abuses and almost getting violent.  It was unnerving and plain scary. I was blocking the way for a bunch of people who wanted to speed. They hated me. I was so scared, somebody would get out of their car and come and thrash me.

Mint asked me to keep cool and ignore the furious mob. The awful signal remained red for the longest time, before it finally turned green. Angry drivers in their bid to prove a point, sped past our car dangerously – most of the drivers glaring at us like they wanted to kill us.

I was beyond angry. What the f*ck was this. They don’t want to follow any rules, and they want to gang up against and kill anybody who does. Incident #2,#3, #4, #5 were exactly the same. Only difference was that some of them happened in broad day light, when the road was empty.

I don’t get this. People collectively decide to break a signal when they believe there is no other vehicle on the road or when the wait is too long. Every time I stop at a light and people want to speed ahead, I am met with hysterical honking, abuses and threatening glares. The mob makes me shaky and jittery. At times, I give in to the honking and jump the light myself – only because they succeeded in causing me an anxiety attack and turning me into a nervous wreck. Other times, I roll down the window, stick my head out and fight back, abuse and engage in a nasty battle.

I am disgusted and very, very angry. I don’t know how to resolve this really. I’ve been trying to get myself to breathe and meditate every time I am waiting at a signal and people want to speed ahead. I only hope I don’t get hit by an enraged driver one of these days.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 45 Comments »

 
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