A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for May, 2014

End of the crib fest

Posted by Pepper on May 26, 2014

There is some construction work going on on the highway. The resultant traffic is a bitch. The only way to beat the deathly traffic is to start early. Nothing horrifying about an early start, but to me, the whole process of leaving earlier seems to be very tedious and demanding. I know it is the only way I can get to work at a decent time. Yet, I find myself disgruntled everyday.

And then after dealing with work in office all day when I get home, I have to ready myself for a new work shift. I usually go to the new house to oversee the work that is going on there. This is when my blood pressure shoots up. I always have something to say to the workers. “What? Did you leave the windows open again after you left? Why would you do that?” or “What? I had asked you to pack the new dining table and chairs we’ve got! Why have you not done it yet? What the f*ck? Look at the fabric of the chairs. It already has so much dust. And look at this stain! Who will pay for this damage?” or “No, you’re not allowed to leave this table outside in the balcony for it to be layered with dust and pigeon poop!” or “What? You want to move the boxes from one room to another again? But the electrician said he wanted it in this room. No? You want it in the other room? Okay fine, carry them carefully. Waiitt! Oh waittt! Not like that! They contain a lot of glass stuff. Be careful. Careful!”

And then, there is this whole matter of decision making that stresses me out. They ask me “How many plug points did you want in this outlet?” I tell them I will check with Mint and get back. They ask me “At what height do you want the TV to be? We need to do the wiring accordingly”. Err, I’ll check with Mint and get back, I say. “How much should the width of the kitchen door be”. Umm, I’ll get back after talking to Mint. That is my standard response. What if I make a decision he doesn’t agree with? Beside I know Mint has a very good insight when it comes to these things. He is able to think of things that I tend to overlook. So I simply can’t make a decision without him. In other words, I am terrified of making the wrong choice.

After all this, I decide to go back to my parents place where I hope to finally catch my breath. But then I realise I have to follow up with the society office. “Have you transfered the share certificate on our name? The bank needs it!. You said it would be ready in a week. It’s been 3 weeks now”. And then, “What? A few more days? Why can’t you keep your word?”. Only to follow it with, “Huh? You’re saying you can’t transfer the share certificate until the previous owner clears his maintenance dues? Why didn’t you say it earlier? Fine. I will follow up with him and check with you again”. I then make a mental note to contact the previous owner of our home and talk to him about the pending bills he has to clear. Oh yes, I also have to ask him for the keys of the bedrooms. He still hasn’t handed them to us.

I get home and I realise I haven’t called our former landlord to tell him we’ve cleared all the utility bills we had to for our rented apartment. So can we please get our remaing deposit back now? And then I see a missed call from the bank. Argh. What do they want now? I hope they don’t ask for any more documents. And them my dad reminds me – I am yet to fill the forms that will enable the transfer of our phone line. Sigh.. okay. Will do that too.

Inevitably by this point, I find myself searching for something or the other. My blue shoes. Did I put them in any of the boxes? Are they packed? Or did I bring them with me to my parents place? Uh, I want them. Where should I even look. It goes on..

This picture depicts my current life. Everyday is more or less the same. By the end of the day, I find myself seething. I am terribly annoyed – either by the traffic on the road, or the carpenters and the painters working in our house, or the society office, or the previous owners of our new home, or by the amount of things I have to manage.

I find myself whining a lot. When I finally talk to Mint, I snap at him for no reason. I blame him for not being there even though I know the timing of his work trip was not something he could choose. I wait to talk to him all day (because I have to make those dreaded decisions and get back to those people, remember?), and when I finally I do, I find myself screaming. I make sure I highlight to him in bold all the work I have been forced to do in his absence. I continue hurling accusations unfairly until I have successfully guilt tripped him and made him apologise to me for things he has no control over. And then I hang up and feel terribly guilty myself.

I’ve been quite trapped in this endless cycle of anger and guilt. Swinging between these two emotions sucks. I know I tend to magnify all my troubles. Today, I asked myself to stop it and get a grip. I need to stop complaining about all the work I have been surrounded with. Especially because I know had it been Mint in my position, he would have accepted all these responsibilities with utmost grace. He would even downplay all the work he has done and tell me it “isn’t much”. I on the other hand, tend to inflate it all.

So, this is it. Closing ceremony of the crib fest. It marks the end of all my whining sprees. Life is really good and I am a fool to let these small bothers cloud my vision. Now on, I will be making a conscious note of all the happiness I experience throughout the day. And if time permits me, I will document it on the blog.

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Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 9 Comments »

To love what you have

Posted by Pepper on May 21, 2014

Comfort and convenience are the two main factors that compel me to drive to work everyday. But each trip I make to office is awfully expensive. My everyday drive from the suburbs to the city costs me an arm and a leg. At one time, Mint’s company had a fuel reimbursement policy. They no longer have that policy in place. The price of fuel in India is outrageous. Since we are trying to implement some serious cost cutting measures, I have been trying to take the bus to office. And it has been a big struggle.

The first day, I succeeded in waiting at the bus stop for around ten minutes. The heat was making me wilt. I tried to hold on to my resolve, but before I knew it, I was walking back to my car. It was too hot to travel by bus, I told myself. The second day, my endurance limit was a notch higher and I waited at the bus stop for around 15 minutes. The one bus that came was extremely crowded. I considered pushing myself through the door and jostling through the crowd, all along dodging sweaty armpits. But then a closer view of the very overcrowded bus made me give up. I walked back to my beloved car and  breathed a sigh of relief as I turned on the AC on full blast. Phew. I want my space.I want my comfort. But can I really afford it?

I realise I am being a brat. A big brat. Apart from what these trips to work cost me, I should be more worried about my impact on the environment and my carbon footprint. After all, I have no excuse. Unlike other western countries, public transport is easily available here. So my solo drives do make me feel guilty, for both economical and ecological reasons. But not guilty enough to brave the heat and the ever present throngs in trains and buses. I am too used to the air conditioned comfort of my car.

I see millions of people in this city going through hardships without as much as a sigh. The heat, sweat, crowded local trains, the pushing, shoving and squabbles are a part of their life. At one time, they were a part of my life too. I knew how to make my way into a very crowded train before it came to a grinding halt. No easy feat, that one. Yet, I could do it with a great level of skill. I don’t know what happened to me and at what point I got this used to luxury and comfort. The thought of entering a local train at peak hour terrifies me now.

I suppose it was our spending pattern. It reflects in our lifestyle so far. We chose to spend more and save less. We dined at expensive restaurants without thinking about it too much. We employed help to manage all our cooking and cleaning. We traveled. We never missed our yearly trip to a foreign location. We indulged ourselves when we felt like it. But now, I realise we can’t live like that anymore.

Buying this house has been a bigger stretch for us than I can let on. Almost all our collective earning will be routed to our EMI. When I think of it, I realise our EMI is massive. What we are left with at the end of the month is a VERY meager sum. And how we will manage to run a home in that amount is beyond me. Because we are simply not used to frugal living. Perhaps we can lower our standards and manage running a home, but it certainly doesn’t leave much space for too many frivolities. And that is a fact I simply have to come to terms with.

I want to learn to live on a tight budget. I want to accustom myself to the hardships. I want to be more cautious of our energy consumption every month, even if it means using the AC sparingly as opposed to having it on the whole night. I want to be the kind who is aware of the current tomato prices. Heck, I want to even be the one who freezes tomatoes when they are cheap. I want to be the one who chooses a particular brand because it offers an additional free purchase. I want to learn to save our money instead of choosing to spend it on far away travel (I know this will be the hardest). All in all, I want to change my mindset. All of this calls for a major attitude shift.

I’ve heard people question the logic of buying a home at our age. Why burden yourselves, why not live freely, they ask. To all of them, I have only one thing to say. We did it now because we saw no hope or scope of doing it later. The prices only seem to keep going up. If we’re struggling so much now, buying property later may just be impossible for us. So might as well get done with our share of struggle now. Ofcourse, not everybody may agree with this line of thought. There is no ‘right’ way of looking at it. Different strokes for different folks.

They say EMIs are romance killers. I can see why that notion is so popular. It is easy to fuel romance when you have the money. When you can afford candle lit dinners, holidays on pristine beaches and aromatic couple spa packages. But those obsolete ideas aside, I think it is entirely possible to feel romantic even when you return home drenched in sweat after a long day. Sweaty hugs only reiterate the love you share. Or when you let out a mutual sigh on seeing the grocery bill for the month. Your togetherness is visible in strange ways. EMIs not withstanding.

So here it is. Cheers to my very different and new life. *Clink*

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 38 Comments »

Tangy noodles

Posted by Pepper on May 17, 2014

You agree to make dinner one night. The sister has been asking you to make Thai noodles for the longest time and you finally decide to indulge her. The much anticipated noodles are being prepared. And then you commit a blunder. Instead of the salt jar, you reach for the jar that contains lemon tang and add it to your noodles. Hello? They looked exactly the same.

salt n tang

I can’t be blamed for the confusion..

 

The very sought Thai noodles are ready. You decide to sample it while it is still in the pan. It tastes, err.. funny. It is completely unsalted. That surprises you. You clearly remember adding the salt. And what is this odd flavour it has, you wonder. You double check the jars, and soon you are aware of your own very creative goof up.

You decide to keep this little fact a secret from everybody. You merely add the salt in the end and try your best to mix it. You serve it to the sister, and say to her, “They’ve turned out great this time. I worked really hard to add the tangy flavour it has”.

When you see her relishing it, you ask her, “Didn’t you like it??, “Yes”, she says between mouthfuls. “The extra tanginess is great”. Whew. You saved yourself. And came up with a new invention – tangy noodles!

 

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 12 Comments »

Awards and Tags

Posted by Pepper on May 15, 2014

Much to my delight, I’ve been given several awards in the past few months. Some I remember, and  some I am trying to recall. Please do forgive me if at all you’ve sent an award my way and I haven’t acknowledged it yet. Do let me know and I will fix it right away. Meanwhile, here we go. I am taking the liberty to bend the rules, or partially follow the rules, as usual. I have only done the tags in parts.

Bhakti passed on this ‘Wonderful Team Member Readership Award’ to me.  Thank you so much Bhakti! Awards are always a source of joy!

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Sometime ago, Smita gave me the ‘One Lovely Blog’ Award! Thank you Smita.

3d9bd-one-lovely-blog-award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one comes with the same tag that we’ve all been doing forever. I have to jot down 8 things about myself. I thought of cheating and linking back to earlier posts, but then decided to be honest and put up some new points here. After all, I am quite the narcissist and I love talking about myself. So here are 8 things you absolutely don’t care to know about me.

1. Each time I see a very rounded and stout water tap/faucet, I feel like winking at it. Insane urges, I know.

2. I used to paint fairly well as a teenager. I had a book that contained some really good paintings of mine. They were made under the guidance of my brilliant art teacher.  When we moved homes, I misplaced that book. Shortly after, I quit painting. I deeply rue the loss of that book. I still dream of showing Mint my old and if I may so myself, ‘impressive’ artwork.

3. About two decades ago, the sister and I threw a kitchen strainer at a crow that was annoying us by its persistent cawing as it stood near our window still . It pecked our hands in return. Well, my hand to be precise. The sister fled from the scene as soon as it came close. Till date, this incident is discussed in our home.

4. I feel most hungry at around 6 in the evening. I’ve tried to understand why my hunger pangs at that hour are so uncontrollable. I am never that hungry during breakfast, lunch or dinner, but when it is time for an evening snack, I feel ravenous. Mint knows my timing by now. So do my parents. They know they need to place some food in front of me at that time or be prepared to face my fury.

5. I began reading The Famous Five series at the age of 8. Till date, they remain my most treasured books.

6. I’ve lived and experimented for 28 years, but I am still trying to find a shampoo that perfectly suits my fine-brittle-oily scalp-but dry hair.

7.  Elephants are my favourite animals. This happened shortly after my encounter with a darling baby elephant in Thailand. I really wish I could raise one.

8. When I was born, my parents chose to name me ‘Rashmi’. The name was almost finalised. And then they were made to change their mind because the letter ‘R’ is not considered auspicious by my extended family. I don’t believe in that bullshit at all, but whatevs!

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Next, is the Leibster Award. Once again, thank you so much for sending this my way, kind people! I feel elated.

liebster

 

This award was presented to me by Chipmunk, Aarya, and Princessbutter. I will however answer the 11 questions put up by Princessbutter.  Here we go.

1. What is the significance behind your blog name/title and the name you have chosen(if) for yourself.
Ah. Good question. I used to blog under another name until one day I thought of having a name that I can connect and match with my partner’s. Like two pieces of a whole? I hit upon PepperMint because both Pepper and Mint are very different from each other when seen individually, yet together they form a widely known distinct flavour. Just like us. Or so I believe.

I remember telling Mint one night while we spoke on phone, “You know, I am thinking of changing my blog name to Pepper. And I will refer to you as Mint. Together, we’ll be Peppermint. Isn’t that cute?”. I swear I could *hear* his eye roll. It is cheesy, I know. But I chose to ignore the smirks. I know people still smirk at the cheesiness. I continue ignoring them. I know many others who love our blog names. Heck, I love you guys, okay?

2.  What inspired you to start blogging?
Mint. Or rather, his blog. He inspired me to do it.

3.  In your list of pictures, how many are selfies?.
A big whooping zero! I don’t recall having a single selfie. To double check, I rummaged through my gallery, only to confirm what I already knew – I don’t do selfies.

4. Name a place in India and one abroad that you really would want to visit or re-visit.
Okay, I struggled with this question for over 30 minutes. Typing something and then changing it the next instant.I give up now. Picking just one destination in India and one abroad is almost impossible for me. Because I ‘really’ would want to visit more than a 100 places. There is so much in this world to see.

5. What is your daytime job when you are not moonlighting as a ‘city vigilante’, err, or a blogger? (Sorry, just saw Spiderman2)
Business development in the atomic energy space. Have I told you I love my job? When I am not stressing over it, that is.

6.  What is the most amazing thing and the most annoying thing about yourself?
I am amazed by my own capability to love. The people I love, I love madly. This amazes and scares me at the same time.

Regarding what the most annoying thing about me is, I guess this would be best answered by people around me. If you were to ask my sister, she wouldn’t be able to pick. I can’t live without slapping her ass, squeezing her fingers, pushing pencils up her nose and ears and more. The other day, I tried spraying some colin on her. What fun!

If you were to ask Mint, he would have another long list. My compulsive need to have atleast 6-7 hours of sleep even when we are out on vacation, the fact that I nag him without much reason (as per him, ofcourse), my undying need to be in control at all times (read that as being given prior notice and being aware and mentally prepared for any upcoming events) and more. I guess nobody will be able to pick ‘the most’ annoying thing about me. I am a very annoying person in general, or so I am told.

7.  What is the most amazing thing and the most annoying thing about the opposite sex?
Now this one is a toughie because it forces me to generalise. So here is my disclaimer. These are solely my opinions and they may not necessarily hold true for everybody endowed with the Y chromosome.

Most amazing thing I find about guys is their ability to bond with just about anybody. Put a new guy in a group of guys who are old pals and you will notice no sign of awkwardness. Only comfort that comes from inclusion. Soon, they will all be on backslapping terms. Girls on the other hand feel awkward being in new company a lot more easily. Probably because the girls around them are not very inclusive. Most girls have a specific ‘group’ of friends and even that group generally has a sub group.

I am going to skip the ‘most annoying’ thing about guys because I really can’t find one annoying trait that I believe would fit most men.

8.  Everyone asks about love. I want to know how important do you think lust is in a relationship?
Oh, a very interesting question. How important is lust? I don’t know. For me, love and lust run parallelly. My head is wired to lust the one I love. So the presence or absence of lust is not something I have worried about, because it is a given. A constant.

9.  What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Reading late into the night when I know I have a long day ahead.

10. How much time do you take to get ready for work?
“Precisely 15 minutes. Breakfast is not a constant in my life. On days I make breakfast a part of my morning routine, I add another 10 minutes to my total time.

11. Last but not the least, where and how do you see yourself in ten years from now?
As much as I would love to say I see myself heading some kickass company, or chasing my kids or managing a posh home, I won’t. Because the sorry truth is that I can’t picture a future at all. Life is too unpredictable and my mind feels blank when I try to peep into my coming years. I have no idea of what is in store and I am not attempting to find out. I only hope I am able to live a happy life in the present and make each day count.

This was fun. Sorry for bending the rules and also for not passing on these tags and awards to other bloggers, but I hate playing judge. So I will excuse myself.

Posted in Tags | 21 Comments »

E X H A U S T E D

Posted by Pepper on May 13, 2014

That’s what I have been. Completely drained of all energy. First it was the bank that kept us on our toes. As soon as we got done with that, we started moving our stuff to the new house. Both Mint and I took a week off from work. Our days and nights were spent sorting, wrapping and packing our stuff. It was awfully tiring, but we had to keep going. We were time bound, because we had to return the keys of our rented apartment. And because Mint was to leave for the US soon.

And then he fell sick. I kept hugging my feverish boy as he stayed up at night to seal the box he was packing. He was to leave the next day. Despite the fact that we weren’t close to done, I asked him to let go and sleep. How much can we push our own body? It is bound to protest.

Anyway, Mint left for California a few days ago. Yes, without me! This was the trip I was supposed to accompany him on. And I didn’t. Well, I couldn’t. The timing was lousy. I kept grumbling. After he left, I had to finish clearing out the house ON MY OWN. That has been one of the hardest things I have done. We’ve moved so many times, and each time I feel guilty at the thought of hiring professional movers. They seem ridiculously expensive and I can’t justify the cost to myself. So this time too, we decided to do it all ourselves. Except for the fact that Mint ended up leaving a lot of it to me. So it wasn’t ‘us’. In the end, it was just me.

Since we were moving in the same city, our packing happened to be very haphazard and unorganized. Other than all our big boxes, I ended up putting a lot of paraphernalia in a million plastic bags since we didn’t have to worry about shipping them anywhere. Well, it was a bad idea in hindsight. Because carrying those heavy bags individually has been a pain. I believe I may have broken my back because of the 100 trips I had to make all by myself. I couldn’t allow my parents to help. My mom suffers from severe Osteoporosis and my dad is not permitted to carry any weight because of his heart condition. The sister did help, but she usually can’t carry heavy stuff either. So it was just me when it came to managing the bags that weighed a lot. Multiple times I thought of calling a friend over, and then I pushed away the thought. Might as well deal with it myself. The sister’s presence was a blessing though.. And now that it is done, I shudder to think of how we will sort out the contents of those bags. Gulp.

bags

The chaos I created with the bags after Mint left..

This has been the 9th time I have moved in less than 6 years. Somebody beat that. And each time I am faced with the mammoth task of packing, I swear to myself that I will not allow such massive accumulation of junk. Okay, I admit, it is not junk. But our worldly possessions seem far too many and I just don’t know how to cope with them. I really don’t think we need half of the stuff we own. Why then do we pile on so much? Thought for another day, I guess.

boxes

Boxes that contain God-Knows-What

Mint is going to be in San Francisco for another month. And I am still struggling with all our pending tasks that I am forced to do all alone. Dealing with our landlords to get our deposit back. Closing all our previous accounts. Transferring our phone lines. Submitting our meter reading for the gas line. Dealing with banks, and the biggest of them all – managing the renovation of our new house. We’re getting it painted, redoing the electrical work and adding some new fixtures. And to manage and oversee that work without Mint gives me the jitters. Dear Mint, like I told you the other day, you owe me something really big for having managed so much all alone.

Since Mint is not around and our new house is getting ready, I am staying with my parents. And that has been a relief. I get things in hand and I have mom and dad to pamper and indulge me after a long day. Slowly, my days are starting to inch towards normalcy. I am done with this frenzied existence. I still have a fatigue hangover to recover from. How have you been?

 

Posted in Slices of life | 51 Comments »

 
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