A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for December, 2014

Bits of joy

Posted by Pepper on December 23, 2014

* The nip in the air and the resultant change in weather has given me the mother of all colds. I lay in bed at 4 am, unable to disconnect myself from my state of discomfort, unable to drift away. The severely blocked nose and hacking cough was not granting me any respite. Just as I was beginning to feel utterly miserable, it began.

The wind chimes. At first, it sounded like a mad clamour. The wind outside must be blowing with unusual gusto tonight, I thought. Soon, it picked up a tune. And the melody continued. I held on to the notes, taking in the sweet rhythm of the clinks and tinkles. It seemed lyrical. I lay there in bed and smiled. Had I slept through this, I would have missed something beautiful.

* Talking about beautiful, our Christmas tree makes the house seem cheerful and adds a new dimension of beauty to it. We haven’t had the space for a big tree in years but that hasn’t diminished our joy in anyway. We’re happy. Some of our favourite carols are played on loop, and yet we never tire of them. There is excitement in the air.


* Some days ago, Oregano completed the 6 month mark after his kidney transplant. Like I keep telling him, his illness has taught me a lot. I’ve learnt to value normalcy instead of taking it for granted. While I have seen closed ones suffer from dreadful illnesses, it is Oregano’s sudden kidney failure that really shook me. Although I had come to terms with the fact that people fall sick as they age, I was unprepared for something as dreadful as an organ failure happening to somebody as young as Oregano, with no cause or warning.

6 months after the transplant, he has come a long way. He is healthy, doesn’t have as many dietary restrictions and leads a fairly normal life. He ran a marathon and struck out an item from his list. Every time I see this picture, I feel incredibly happy. I took the first picture a day before his transplant surgery. Mint and I were sitting by his side as he underwent the dialysis. We were anxious and excited. I had truly hoped this last session marked a new beginning for him. And it did.. Here’s the picture from his blog.

* Guess who I shared space with this Sunday while we were buying our weekly supply of veggies at the organic farmer’s market. None other than the lovely Nandita Das. She was right behind me and we moved together from aisle to aisle. I hadn’t realised it was her until we reached the billing section and somebody let out something that sounded like a loud exclamation. That is when I turned my head and saw her face. My first reaction was, Oh My God! So I was making polite conversation with her about tomatoes and stuff without knowing it was her! But instead of letting on my over excitement, I just gave her a composed smile.

And just after I was getting over this, in front of me appeared Manisha Koirala. Two celebs in a matter of twenty minutes? Have I told you how excited I get when I spot any known personality? Anyway, I came home, Googled and found this image of hers at the farmer’s market that day. Do you like what she is wearing?

* Yesterday was the BFF’s birthday and we went to a lovely Mediterranean place for dinner. The food was amazing and they gave us some complimentary lemon tarts in the end. What a perfect end it was. You know life is good when you are genuinely happy on a Monday evening.


The very amazing dips and spreads served on warm stone platters


Lemon tarts


* Lastly, I am excited because Mint is off from work for the whole week. Although I am off for only 2 days, his longish break makes me very happy because it will let me spend my evenings with him without worrying about his night calls. And ofcourse, we have the holiday spirit to revel in. Yay!

Posted in Small joys | 10 Comments »

Mere yaar ki shaadi thi..

Posted by Pepper on December 10, 2014

The BFF’s wedding is an event that I have to record on the blog. She got married to R. The two of them had been in a relationship for the past 6 years or so. R, by the way, is her immediate neighbour. They have only a wall separating their homes. Literally! When I was visiting India in 2008, I saw her practically glued to her cell phone, talking to this guy, R. All day and all night. So I asked her if there was anything brewing or if she felt anything for him. Since she is my friend, she denied it vehemently, ofcourse. Mint coaxed her to admit it to us too, but she said we were imagining things. Alright then, we decided to let her be.

As expected, she finally did admit to us (and herself) after a few months. That they were a couple. Like we hadn’t guessed in all this time. She and R were of immense help to us when Mint and I got married. R went on to become a close friend of ours and the four of us hang out together all the time. Years passed and I started bugging them to get married. Yes, I am a very non interfering friend. Ahem. Besides that, the BFF would get bouts of anxiety herself and fake sob with complains like, ‘The whole world is married, I am the only one not married. Mera kya hoga..’.

She and R were in a comfortable spot. Since they were neighbours, both their parents were family friends. They lived next door to each other and had no trouble seeing each other. They had to make no arrangements to ‘meet each other’. It was going well, which is why R was always reluctant when we spoke about marriage. What is the point, he would ask? We practically live together even now. Quite a valid thought, but then the BFF, along with us kept highlighting the benefits of marriage and at one point he decided it was time to take the plunge.

They took a while to tell their respective parents about each other, but once they did, things moved at lightning speed. There was almost no drama, too bad. Mint and I were waiting with our bags of popcorn, but unfortunately we hardly found any entertainment. Such easy acceptance is boring! All they had to do was say it out aloud to the parents and watch everything unveil. Wedding dates were fixed, venues were booked and everything whizzed by. I am finally taking stock of all the happenings.

– A bunch of us girls kidnapped the BFF and drove to Lonavala, where we had rented a bungalow for her bachelorette party. I managed to get a ‘Bride to be’ sash and tiara for her from a party store in Bandra on the very last minute. A good buy, because we used those for a lot of fun pics.

– We played games like ‘flip the cup’ and ‘beer pong’, all of which are wasted on me. I cannot for the life of me indulge in any kind of binge drinking. I am the sole cause for making the team lose. It got so bad at one time, it was mutually decided that I should be lowered to the position of ‘kacha limbu’ (no, I really can’t translate or explain that) and should be allowed to play the games while consuming water instead of beer. And guess what? I *still* couldn’t compete. Bottom line – no bottoms up for me, ever. I can’t chug any liquid at high speed.

– Next up was the sangeet and dance party. It had a Bollywood them. I loved the BFF’s ‘fusion’ outfit for this one. Mint and I danced on, ‘Samne yeh kaun aaya dil main hui halchal‘. We barely had any time to rehearse and I was nervous as hell. Thankfully, it went okay. The moment it got done, we heaved a sigh of relief and geared up to enjoy the rest of the evening.

– The mehendi party happened on the terrace of their building. I ended up having the same amount of mehendi as I did on my own wedding! I didn’t intend having it that way. The lady doing it for me took the liberty herself, and when I glanced down, she had already begun and it was too late to change it. So there I was, having mehendi upto my elbows, almost. That was the side of the palms. For the back (or is it front?), I insisted on having not more than a small circular pattern, thassall.

– While the party was a lot of fun, I must also write about the catastrophic fight I had with the BFF on that day. At some point while the BFF was busy getting her mehendi done, I went looking for Mint. I found him with R and his family. They were laughing hard and seemed to be having a little party of their own. Turned out, they were fooling around, hatching plans of asking the BFF”s dad for dowry with the standard opening line of, ‘Hum aapse ek baat kehna toh bhool hi gaye’. The joking and laughing was making everybody keel over.

– I obviously joined hands and told them I was willing to partner with them in this prank. We started devising big plans and thought of big demands to make together. And all of it got punctured when the BFF realised I was a part of this seemingly horrific joke. She refused to talk to me. Infact, when she saw R talking to me, she refused to talk to him too. No amount of appealing or cajoling worked. She was really mad at me.

– She was that mad, she even refused to look into my eyes when I was smearing her face with turmeric paste the next day during the haldi ceremony. We made up finally later at night when she had showered and calmed down reasonably. I must say thank you to R for helping me with this, haha.

– The actual wedding was a long and tiring affair. Us, that is, the girl’s immediate family and close friends had to be at the wedding hall to welcome the boy’s side in the morning. From then on, there was some ceremony going on right until midnight. I felt really sorry for the BFF and R.

– Finally, in the midst of all the cheering and spraying of rice and flower petals, they were declared married! Since I was on the stage, I ended up having a lot of rice in my hair too. Those of you who asked me, now you know why you see rice grains in my hair in some of the photos.

– The reception was in the evening in an open lawn and with all the fairy lights, it looked lovely. When I saw them standing on the stage and greeting the guests, I smiled to myself. They had overcome a lot of apprehensions and mental hurdles to get to this stage, both literally and figuratively.

– Despite the fact that they were the ones going through all the ceremonies and rituals, we felt terribly exhausted too. Oh there was also some chaos, as there always is at such times. I realised my hair looked too oily and I had to rush to a salon to get a wash in between ceremonies. My sari wouldn’t come right. And so on..

– For those of you who wanted to see my outfits, here are the pics. I reused all the outfits from my own wedding, much to the BFF’s chagrin. She couldn’t believe I wasn’t buying anything new for her wedding. Well, I did want a chance to air out my very expensive wedding clothes and I convinced her I wouldn’t get a better opportunity than this.


The gorgeous BFF and R. I loved this outfit she wore during the sangeet party.


This outfit, an orange and gold corset and pink lehenge belongs to the BFF. She wore it  at the sangeet party during my wedding and I happened to borrow it for the sangeet party during her wedding. Life does come a full circle. For Mint, we chose a plain black shirt with trousers..

This outfit, an orange and gold corset and pink lehenga belongs to the BFF. She wore it at the sangeet party during my wedding and I happened to use it for the sangeet party for her wedding. Life does come a full circle. For Mint, we chose a plain black shirt with trousers..


Our outfits during the BFF's wedding ceremony. I am wearing the sari I wore for my own wedding ceremony. I *heart* it. Mint borrowed my dad's kurta.

Our outfits during the BFF’s wedding ceremony. I am wearing the sari I wore for my own wedding ceremony. I *heart* it. Mint borrowed my dad’s kurta.


The reception outfit is my favourite of the lot. My sister wore this during my sangeet party. I told you, 'reuse' was the manta.  We had paid the designer a bomb for this one and I am glad we could use it atleast twice..

The reception outfit is my favourite of the lot. It is a backless halter. My sister wore this during my sangeet party. I told you, ‘reuse’ was the mantra. We had paid the designer a bomb for this one and I am glad we could use it atleast twice.. PS – I am not sure why it looks so crumpled in the pic


Posted in Friends | 50 Comments »

Weird and bored

Posted by Pepper on December 5, 2014

So, I am bored. I know, that isn’t a great opening line. But when I am this bored, how am I expected to come up with a more interesting beginning? I am in Pune for work. I decided to skip the official dinner and drinks this evening (blasphemous, I know), and instead walked back to my room in the hotel, changed into my pajamas, climbed into bed and did what? I watched ‘Gopi Kishan’ on TV. Yes, that funny movie of our childhood. When I mentioned this to my friend on phone, she laughed and said, ‘You’re weird, you know?’.

*Yawn*. If this is weird, I like being weird. And what does weird even mean? The dictionary defines it as. ‘strikingly odd or unusual’. Unusual happenings can make our life more interesting, I believe. When I thought about it some more, I came up with a a list of recent events that can be classified as ‘weird’, and perhaps, interesting.

Event 1: Last weekend, the sister said she wanted to eat a burger from the newly opened Burger King. I groaned. I was never a big fan of Burger King when we lived in the US. But they were the only ones to offer a veggie patty, so we did go there now and then. It was always our last resort though. Anyway, since the sister had never sampled their burgers, we agreed to take her there.

What do we find when we go there? A ridiculously long queue that went across the entire length of the food court. Wha?! So many people waiting in line to eat from Burger King? Really? I almost giggled at the thought of some American catching sight of this and feeling a combination of shock and amusement. It was crazy! Indians are so fascinated by any chain that has been operational in the West. What is more? Since the sister really wanted to eat from there, we joined the spiraling queue. Had somebody told me some years ago that I would one day stand in an hour long queue to grab some food from Burger King, I would have laughed out aloud.

Event 2: A few days ago Mint discovered that his wallet was missing. We looked for it everywhere. He had it with him in the car that morning when we left for work. I dropped him off near some flyover on the highway and continued to drive towards my office. By the time he reached his office, he knew it was missing. I searched for it in the car quite thoroughly, and then let him know that it wasn’t there. He went back to the flyover where I had dropped him to make sure it hadn’t fallen there while he had gotten down. He couldn’t find it there either. Somebody could have very well taken it.

We obviously blocked all the credit and debit cards immediately, but I was annoyed because his wallet contained his driving license. With that missing, I become the sole driver until he figured out what he had to do to get his license again. After a day or two, we got a call from some unknown number. The guy on the other line said he had found Mint’s wallet on the road. I asked him which area he was in. He said he was calling from some town a hundred kilometers from Pune.

We were quite taken aback. Pune? How did the wallet even get to another city? All his credit and debit cards were safe in there. The cash was missing. Somebody took the wallet to another town and just threw it on the road? That doesn’t make sense. No, we still don’t have the wallet back with us. Why not, is another story.

Event 3: Now this one requires a back story. I lived in a 3 bedroom apartment when I was studying in UK. It was originally leased out to 3 of us girls. 2 of the girls had already moved out and I was living all alone for a considerable amount of time. When the lease was about to expire, I started packing up since I was going to be moving out too.

P was with me at that point and while clearing out one of the bedrooms, we were shocked to find a laptop lying in the crevice between the bed and the wall. It looked like somebody had deliberately hidden it there! We called up M, our flatmate who had previously used that bedroom. She said the laptop wasn’t hers and had no idea of how it came there. It was quite well hidden and I couldn’t blame her for never having seen it.

We didn’t know the password, but we used some software to unlock the laptop. Our home was quite close to campus and had been rented out to many students prior to us. If we could, we wanted to pass on the laptop to its rightful owner. We managed to unlock the laptop, but unfortunately we found no data or information that would connect us to the owner.

So we started browsing through the pictures. What did we find? Nude pictures of girls making out with each other. *Cough* We went through the entire list of albums, not because of our penchant for sleaze (no, really), but because we wanted to see if we could identify any of the girls in the pictures. Fine, I admit, those nude pics of those Brit girls became good fodder for us for a few days. We really are angels, but like I say, the halo sometimes does turn into horns.

Finally, after a lot of scanning, we came across a resume in one of the folders. It didn’t contain any phone number, but we found an email address. We mailed the girl saying we had found a laptop that we suspect was hers. Could she come to our place and get it?

Sure enough, they did come. I was all alone at home and when I opened the door, I realised they were the same girls in the pictures! I tried to brush aside thoughts that reminded me of the fact that I had seen all of them naked. Focus on the matter, I told myself. They told me the laptop had gone missing 3 years ago when they lived in that house. It was apparently stolen. I didn’t say much, just handed it to them.

It obviously left us with a lot of questions. Were they speaking the truth? Had it really been stolen, or had one of the girls just hidden it there? If yes, then why?  If it really had been stolen, then how did it reappear in that room? This felt like a thrilling mystery. Too bad I couldn’t pursue it.

Anyway, after all these years, I got a friend request on Facebook from one of the girls a few days ago. It came with a message that said, ‘Need to talk’. It took me a while to place her, and when I did, I was confused. What does she want to talk to ME about? Why is she adding me? Anyway, because I have always been a curious cat, I accepted her friend request. Only to find that her profile no longer exists! She deleted it? After telling me she needs to talk? Why?


Posted in A penny for my thoughts, Blasts from the past | 15 Comments »

The silent judgement

Posted by Pepper on December 3, 2014

There are a few things that I keep mulling over time and again. This is one of them. It started off with my aunt complaining to me about Mint and how he doesn’t talk to her much even when he meets her. Again. Yes, this is a complain I have heard fairly often. That Mint doesn’t talk. I have tried telling people several times that Mint is a quiet person. And that I can’t change it.

The underlying truth is that this does bother me. I fear people mistaking his quiet, placid temperament for unfriendliness. Besides, it is much easier to bond with people if you talk to them. I think he misses out on that bonding. Engaging in conversations gives people around you an opportunity to know you. Verbal communication goes a long way in depicting your character and personality. I feel a little bad that people don’t know him too much only because he is quiet.

Even if I don’t enjoy talking, I still try to participate in conversations if we are socialising with new people. For example, I try to pick on common themes and share anecdotes from our own lives. Infact, when I find Mint not participating much, I even speak on his behalf. ‘Oh you take long in the shower too? You should see how long Mint takes. I’m always getting hysterical while waiting for him to come out!’, I chip in. I wish Mint would speak at such times and say that he takes long to shower too, and thereby connect and bond with the person who is jestingly complaining about his wife’s reactions to his long showers. I mean, I see that as the perfect opportunity to bond. We have the same story. Mint on the other hand will only laugh and give me a look that says, ‘Sounds familiar?’.

So he stays quiet in most intimate gatherings, talking mainly for the sake of politeness, not much else. I used to resent it a little earlier because I know he is a friendly and favourable person, and I wanted him to come across as one. I realised a little later that Mint absolutely does not care about how he comes across to the world. He does what suits him and gives a damn to the rest. Thinking about what impression he leaves behind in somebody’s mind is not his concern. Quite a good way to live your life, so I stopped thinking about it..

There is another little problem I face. I am chatty and I discuss my life with people around me often. Mint who is obviously an integral part of my life, is a different person when is with me. He is fun, talkative and awesome in general. So I find myself sharing those awesome snippets of our happy and playful life together. I even talk about how Mint has always spoken up for equality, how open minded and fair he is and more. Now when the same people meet Mint, I worry about my honest claims not being validated in their eyes. On one hand I truthfully tell them about how loud and playful we are together and how my husband raises his voice to protect me from the wrong doings of patriarchy, on the other hand they meet a guy who is serious and doesn’t seem to speak up too much. This contrasting picture bothers me at some level..

Anyway, I am gradually learning from Mint and letting go of my need to seek validation. Although at times I still feel like a child wanting to show off my shining trophy. He says as long as I know what I have is awesome, I shouldn’t want to prove anything to anybody. I know he is right. But the final straw for me came when my aunt kept praising my cousin’s husband. She said ‘He is such a nice guy’. Now, he is a good talker and a pro at connecting with people. He does come across as friendly and genuine, but I know from internal sources that he is a chauvinist pig. He ill treats people around him. And he is known to be nice only because he talks well? Quite sad, if we judge people by their ability and willingness to talk.

Posted in Splashes of Mint | 28 Comments »

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