A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for September, 2013

Why Facebook is not good for me

Posted by Pepper on September 27, 2013

This Friday afternoon, I feel a little gloomy. I’ve spent some quiet time thinking about it, analysing the cause of my sullenness. And I think I know. Facebook. Facebook is responsible for killing my happiness to an extent.

There are status updates everywhere, telling me about the awesome time my ‘friends’ are having, while I sit here loser like. A is having a terrific meal with her husband, B has just returned from vacation and is exhibiting her fabulous pictures to the world, C is relaxing with a good book, D is watching her favourite movie, E has a fantastic life with rejuvenating weekend trips thrown in, F has announced her promotion, G has just uploaded pictures of her beautiful kids and her happy, sunshiny family,  and so on and so forth.

So why should somebody else’s happiness cause me unhappiness? Well, because being so informed about other people’s lives makes me crave for similar things, and knowing that I cannot have them makes me unhappy. Perhaps I am just another vain, jealous girl entangled in this comparative and competitive world.

And at times, I think about it. Hell, I have similar stuff. I lead a similar life. I do fun things too. We went for a rafting camp last weekend. I should have put up a status that said ‘White water rafting at X location. Feeling thrilled’. Would that have made me feel better? We go for dinner to a lot of fancy places, but nobody knows about my exciting life on Facebook, because I do not have a status that says ‘Saturday night dinner and drinks with Mint at Y restaurant/cafe’. Really, will these status updates make me feel better? In all honesty, yes. I will feel successful in proving a point, like telling the world how much fun we have. But that is just a case of one upmanship. So I don’t do it.

On Facebook, even the most mundane things are made to seem lucrative. It is just the way we paint our life. Put up any picture and word it well. ‘Buttered toast and a cup of ginger tea’ for example. Now I genuinely appreciate my toast and ginger tea, but that is not so hard to attain. Most people can have it if they choose to. But when I see somebody else putting up a picture of exactly that, I start yearning for the simple pleasure of toast and tea that may not be available to me at that point.

I wonder what the purpose of these messages is? Do people put them up to remind themselves of the awesome things they have? Or do they do it with the intent of creating those cravings in others? Or do they do it to simply put down their friends’ lives? No, I do not judge those who send out such messages. Heck, I used to put up a lot of vacation pictures too. Because, it almost seemed mandatory for others to know I was having a good time. Otherwise what is the point if I have so many awesome things and nobody knows about them? I think happiness intensifies when you are happy and you make sure others know you are happy. Or the joy feels incomplete to some. I still feel like that at times. Shallow? I know. I go ahead and put up exciting pictures every now and then, and probably make others feel miserable.

Facebook also makes me realise I am not a very popular person. I see people putting up pictures that fetch them over a 100 likes and my mouth is left agape. Those pictures are not even extraordinary, it is just that other people are happy to see them. Some people just have to put up  any picture with their partner or parent, and they will get an insane amount of likes. I never do, and thankfully I do not compete for being ‘liked’, But yes, it always reminds me, I am not a very popular person.

I was telling Mint the other day about some people who I think are such star achievers. He made me realise something. Those people may be achievers, but more than that, they were good salesmen/women who made me believe they were such achievers.. Every little accomplishment of theirs is announced on Facebook. This is followed my a million likes and congratulatory messages. Even if I know nothing about the said achievement, it sends out a message to my brain that goes like this – ‘Wow, this person is being applauded and congratulated to this extent, this achievement must have been huge.’ And then once I googled the said achievement of a friend that had received such extensive acclaim, only to realise, the ‘achievement’ was ridiculous and almost insignificant. It was a small course of no repute that she had completed by merely attending it. Anybody could do it. But the way it had been marketed made it sound like a very difficult attainment that required immense skill and hard work. Facebook is more about personal brand management. People can make themselves seem like stars by highlighting even the petty aspects of their lives, and other people fall for it and think you are a star to have achieved all that. It does go a long way in building reputations though, and I do not deny the fact that marketing yourself like that asks for some talent.

Facebook has turned me into a stalker. Even if an obscure classmate of mine has gotten married, I waste precious time of mine by checking out their spouse’s profile and peeping into their life (if the profile is open, which a lot are) Damn hell, I don’t care about the classmate, let alone caring enough to know their spouse who is a complete stranger to me. But I check them out, simply because I can. I have better things to do, yes. I am not jobless. Far from it, I have a long list of pending tasks, but I waste time by studying lives that are irrelevant to me.

I am also part of the other, bigger problem. I hate putting up ugly looking pictures of mine. I scan albums and if I am uploading some pics, I make sure I look okay in them. I am quick to delete pictures that make me look frumpy or stupid. I am aware, most people do this. So why then am I still fooled by the million pictures of pretty, dolled up faces? I know people discard the ugly and display the best. We are all stupid, causing each other grief by selling false ideas of beauty.

I’ve had instances in which I bought an expensive dress for an occasion, only to have a million pics clicked on the day and splashed all over Facebook. I wore that dress only one single time, but the whole world is now familiar with it. I am too conscious to wear it again, because I know people will remember it and think I repeat clothes too often. I know it is my fault that I care, but that is how it is. That dress is not the only one with this story. People remember what clothes you wear because of Facebook. Some annoying twits even go to the extent of saying “Hey, I remember this dress, you wore it on your graduation, didn’t you?” So what if you decided to wear this dress after a year. But no, people remember the last time you wore it, and rub it in. Nothing wrong in that, I know. But it just annoys me. Like I said, I am shallow. And Facebook is shallow. And shallow people like me get shallower when they enter the shallow Facebook world.

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 103 Comments »

Stray thoughts..

Posted by Pepper on September 20, 2013

– Time and again, I find myself caught in a whirlwind of activity. We lead a very hectic social life. We have too many social circles, so almost every other day we are either lunching or dining with a group of friends. Or we have friends coming home. We also go watch a movie every single Tuesday (Yes, the Vodafone offer is too tempting to let go according to Mint. Tickets are dirt cheap in the theatre close to my parents home). So every Tuesday after work, my parents, sis, Mint and I make our way to the theatre to catch a movie. Most weekends we end up traveling, Just after we returned from Chennai, we did Goa, then Nashik, then Dahanu, and we have more travel lined up in the next 2 months.  Mint says this is the best time for us to lead this kind of life. We are relatively settled, do not want kids for sometime, have domestic help to cook and clean for us,  so we have no real responsibility. Now is when we can make spontaneous plans and travel with abandon.

– Something strange has happened to me in the past month or so. I have finally stepped out of my jeans. I now wear skirts, dresses, shorts, capris, and different kinds of coloured cotton pants without being coaxed. I get pedicures done, I file and paint my nails. I make sure I have a good lip gloss on. I even use shades of pink! I wear coloured beads and other junk jewellery. I actually take more than 5 minutes to get dressed.  This has been fun. At one time, I wondered how people had the time and enthusiasm to groom themselves. And then I realised, if you have adequate interest, you do find the time. The other day, I filed my nails when I was stuck in a traffic jam while driving back home.

– Perishable home supplies are something we haven’t been able to manage too well. This is because we are hardly at home. We end up staying in my parents home half the times, the other half is full of weekend travel and other plans. And most of these plans are spontaneous. So when we stock things like fresh veggies and milk in the fridge, we realise they’ve gone bad when we need them. Other times, when I buy little, I realise it is over too soon and we have to make do without it when we need it. So I really do not understand how frequently we should be stocking up. We either end up throwing things because they have gone bad since we were away, or we end up running out of supplies when we need them because I was cautious and bought too little.

– Mint has turned into that annoying idiot who cannot register external sounds and noises when he is asleep. He was not like that! Now, each time the cook rings the door bell in the morning, I have to wake up. Just after the cook leaves, we have the maid who comes to clean, and ofcourse, I have to get out of bed. On some days, I find myself getting up after every 5 minutes. It is either the cook, or the maid, or the lady coming to collect the trash, or the car cleaner asking for the car keys. I have told Mint repeatedly that we should be taking turns to wake up, and he agrees. But in the morning, the guy doesn’t even stir when the bells ring. The amount of energy I have to spend waking him up so he can open the door is ridiculous. Infact, the whole exercise of waking him up wakes me up. Not fair. The other day I had to leave home at 5 am for something, so I had instructed him to be vigilant and make sure he opens the door to the cook. As expected, despite my instructions, he slept through the million door bells. The cook later told me, “Maine toh intercom bhi kiya tha, toh bhi kisi ne nahi uthaya” Arghh! Damn, I still adore this annoying idiot.

– I am sharing something that makes the sister and I laugh like maniacs. The other day we were driving back home, and as usual, we were stuck in a snarling traffic jam. I was chatting with my cousin on whatsapp. He said something that I took a little too seriously. Within minutes, I pulled open a picture of Adolf Hitler on my phone. I zoomed in. Then, I showed my phone (with the picture of Adolf Hitler on the screen) to the driver adjacent to our car. He peered questioningly at the phone in my hand. I told him, ‘Yeh Hitler hai’ (this is Hitler) and I burst out laughing. Our car moved forward and we could not stop laughing as we thought of the poor man. Lunatic girl in the next car shows him a picture of Hitler, mumbles something and starts laughing to herself? Crazy world! 

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 18 Comments »

Yet another getaway..

Posted by Pepper on September 11, 2013

A gorgeous drive to a town a few hours away from Mumbai, a drizzle, lush green in the mist, a welcoming family, masala chai served with freshly made banana chips, idlis steamed in jackfruit leaves woven together by hand, a lovely beach, laughter and conversations with the BFF, the sister and Mint, playing frisbee by the sea, going for a run along the shore, sand in your toes, driving to another secluded beach at night, acres of palm trees, a dark stretch of land with no soul in sight, feeling spooky, driving back to civilization, devouring tangy sev puri and gobhi manchurian, returning to our hosts, being served a home cooked meal on a banana leaf, eating while being seated on the floor, admiring the freshness of the pickle, wondering how those women cook such delicious meals for about a 100 people, experiencing community living in a chawl, playing housie at night, the cool wind, a fresh morning, bathing with hot water filled in steel buckets, a bright salwar kameez, gearing up to bring the Ganesh idol, soaking in the festivities, admiring the decorated idol, the lights, the flower arrangements, smiling through a karaoke session, silly poses for photographs, feeling suffocated during the puja, a big meal of hot rice, dal, fresh pickle, patra, karela, banana and mirchi bhajjis, a fabulous dish prepared with chopped cucumber, ginger, yogurt and coconut, a mixed veg concoction, chana in some unknown,  flavourful gravy, more idlis steamed in jackfruit leaves, buttermilk, payasam, and another mysterious dessert, licking my fingers clean after the big meal, feeling satiated in every sense..

That is what going to your best friend’s home town for Ganesh Chaturthi is all about. There is a lot of family, a lot of fun, a lot of love, and a lot of good food. The joys of living in India..

Posted in Travel | 16 Comments »

No ownership. Thank you..

Posted by Pepper on September 7, 2013

In the beginning of my relationship with Mint, I was led to believe that he was ‘mine’. You think that sounds stupid? I do too. How naive and dumb was I? And Mint? Why on earth did you drill that in my head? And hey, just in case you think I am making all that up, I have your cheesy emails as evidence.

In fact, let’s leave the past aside. Till date, when we are in one of our mushy moods, we talk about how we belong to each other. I can see the sincereity in him. He has always told me he has complete trust in me, so giving himself to me does not scare him, becuase he knows he will always be taken care of. Now that sounds wonderul to hear. The only problem is that I tend to take such statements a little seriously and my poor little brain is left confused due to conflicting viewpoints.

All these romantic notions aside, the damn truth is that no one individual can own another. You don’t own your partner, or your parents, or your sibling, or best friend or your adult child. Individuals only belong to their ownself. Period. That is one something I keep reminding myself of.

Let me now come to the point of my post. There is a particular trait of Mint that really annoys me. Actually, there are several traits of his that annoy me, but this one makes me see red. I have written about it before. Mint only moves around barechested when he is at home. This preference of his disturbs me so much, it makes me cry. I cannot tolerate people staying indoors without a tee on. Why would they do that? Normal, civilised beings are meant to be clothed. No, don’t tell me it is hot. We have an AC in every room of the house. Use it. Or maximise the speed of the fan. Do whatever. But why would you choose to remain shirtless the entire time you are at home? It is an eyesore for me. Mint only moves around in his boxers. If you don’t want to wear jeans or trouser at home, I get it. How about shorts or track pants? Every time the doorbell rings, I glare at him and send him in the room to wear atleast a goddamn tee before I open the door.

He doesn’t even seem to think it is a ‘guy thing’. Numerous times he has asked me why I choose to wear clothes when it is hot. Why don’t I roam around like him? He really doesn’t get it. He can’t fathom why somebody would want to wear clothes when they are indoors with nobody else’s intruding presence.

I feel depressed. I can’t reason out with him. Why can’t he be ‘normal’? His contant refusal to dress like cultured beings at home fills me with despair. At times, the fury starts enveloping me and I feel ready to burst. At times I throw a fit and insist he wear some clothes. Sometimes he listens to me without putting up a fight. Most times he does listen only after putting up a fight. And yes, most other times, I try to ignore the bare chest and keep calm. It doesn’t stop bothering me though..

So I go back to being confused. Do I really have any right over him, despite him saying I have complete authority? He is his own person. I do now own him. No matter what he says. I cannot and do not want to rule his life, but then again, don’t I have some say atleast ? Should I be excersiing that if something bothers me this deeply? Or should I train myself to accept him and all his ways, however wrong or annoying I think they are? Ultimately, it is his body, his home (also), and his choice.

This is such a pety example, but it does make me wonder if people in relationships have any right over the other? If yes, then to what extent can you exercise that right? What is acceptable and what is not?  And if no, then to what extent can you ignore your partner’s actions? For example, if Mint was ruining his health, doing drugs or gambling away his life, I would take it upon myself to prevent him from doing all or any of that. Relationship protocol be damned. I wouldn’t care about his preferences, or him being his own person. I would assume all right to stop him. But if it were something milder, like Mint getting himself addicted to the games in his cell phone (true story), do I have any right to stop him even if I know what he is doing is harmful in some way? The fact that I do stop him is another story. But really, what right do I have when an adult is knowingly and consciously making an informed choice? If he is okay with the consequences, do I have any right to hold him back? So how do I give myself the authority to stop him from doing drugs but wonder if it is okay to stop him from succumbing to other addictions? If you say drugs are extreme and other things are not, I wonder who draws the line and at what point? We may all have different definitions of ‘extreme’. Ah, I am confused.

For now, I will go back and nag Mint to wear his tee.

Posted in Splashes of Mint | 75 Comments »

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