A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for January, 2015


Posted by Pepper on January 29, 2015

Life seems to be playing some kind of a game with me. A game in which the forces unite to screw me. Over and over. In fact, if I didn’t have a rational mind, I would even call this black magic. Because really, how do you explain the recurrent occurrence of such events in my life without bringing in the involvement of a dark sinister power?

I was buckling under the pressure of work. I already mentioned I couldn’t have dad by my side because he was forcefully involved in too many other things. I didn’t know how to cope. There were critical issues and there were looming deadlines. I could feel stress running through my veins. Finally, dad was able to free himself from all the crap he was entangled in and get back to work.

Some days ago, we were driving to work when he complained of severe pain in the left side of his stomach. We decided to check with a doctor as soon as we could. Before we knew it, the pain was unbearable and was reaching the left side of his back. He couldn’t sit through it and was grimacing constantly. That made me panic and I drove him to emergency.

They checked the BP and it was really high. From the symptoms, the doctors said it was kidney stone. Since he was in unbearable pain, they admitted him to the hospital and administered an intravenous drip. He was okay for a while but the pain reoccurred in full force in just a few hours. A lot of tests and investigations followed.

It’s been 3 days since I am pacing in the hospital. The work pressure is so high, but unfortunately, I can’t not face it. Unless I want it all to result in humongous losses for the company. So I work from the hospital. My papa continues to be in severe pain and discomfort. They will observe him for another day and then decide whether or not they need to intervene surgically. Also, his reports indicate reduced kidney function and I am beyond terrified. The doctors say maybe it is only because of the stone. Hopefully, kidney parameters will start falling in range once the stone is removed. I really hope so, because after Daddy and Oregano, I don’t know if I can deal with another kidney ailment. The worry is driving me mad.

I shuffle between office and hospital as much as I can. But it all seems like some nightmare to me. Do I focus on work? Do I focus on the big decision I was supposed to make about our company? Do I focus on dad? Right now, I am most worried about him. What the fuck is going on in my life? I am so close to having a nervous breakdown. I am not designed to cope with such pressures hitting me from all sides.

To add to it, Mint isn’t in town for a whole week. I don’t know how I will survive. I have important meetings lined up at work. I have deadlines that I can’t miss. I have other issues to cater to. And dad may need a surgery. I want to sob. Please God, make this end soon.

Posted in Chaos | 62 Comments »

What lies ahead

Posted by Pepper on January 23, 2015

Ever since Daddy passed away, I’ve been struggling with a big decision. What do I do with our company?

This needs some context. My papa and daddy had (have?) been running this organisation for almost 4 decades. We operate in the atomic energy and radiography space. I am not going to get into specifics about what we do, but it is ‘Heavy Engineering’. You have to come from a closely associated field to be able to understand our area of work. Most people can’t. It is complex, to say the least. I was coaxed by my family to come aboard the company just over a year ago. In that one year, I’ve had to struggle to understand the technicalities and nature of our work. When I told people it was ‘Nuclear Science’, I wasn’t kidding or exaggerating. It IS truly Nuclear Science.

Over time, I learnt what I believed I had to learn. I was in a comfortable space. I was managing operations, for which I did not need technical proficiency. My papa and daddy were taking care of other things. Saying I learnt a lot in this one year of partly managing our company would be an understatement. No other work opportunity could have given me a parallel experience. My time here gave me an opportunity to see first hand how a company is run. I realised what went into it. After all, not everybody knows how to successfully run a business. I always thought I was fortunate I was getting a chance to learn from such close quarters.

And then, daddy passed away suddenly. It was only then that I realised how inadequately prepared we were for his absence. Our lack of planning in this regard made me feel extremely stupid. Right after daddy passed away, my papa was pulled into performing endless ceremonies and was made to follow a million customs that kept him away from work and everything else for a long time.

Not only did I have to deal with Daddy’s absence, I also had to contend with my dad’s unavailability. Suddenly, the entire onus of managing everything at work was on me. I don’t know what I was being hit with. Everybody came to me for approvals. I had to rely on my own judgment and make some critical decisions. I had to look into countless matters. Some days when I felt too burdened, I would begin to tear up at my desk. Then I would hold myself and try and move on. Even now, I work for the entire day without a break and have to spend my weekends in our factory. I hope things get better once I find a rhythm of some sort.

Some days ago, my dad asked me what I wanted to do with the company. Do I want to run it? Or do I want to shut/sell it? He reminded me of the fact that there was nobody else to run it other than me. He is 64. He doesn’t know how long he can work. I realised he was right. Most of his friends have retired. If you see my dad, you’ll say he looks old for his age. I’d like him to sit back and enjoy his life now, instead of stressing over work. But that brought me back to my present state. Am I capable of running this company on my own? Before I knew it, everything came down to this one question. Should I run the company or sell it?

The general consensus is that I should keep it running. I see logic in that. This was started by my family so many years ago. I feel emotionally attached to it. Beside that, there is no way we can recreate something like this in this day and age. The office. Our factory. The machines. The unit. The whole plant. It is almost impossible to establish this set up again. Since we own it, we should keep it functional. Also, our employees, in particular, our factory workers have been with us for decades. They’ve spent their lifetime serving us. Their livelihood is our responsibility. I don’t want them to be stranded or displaced in anyway.

Most importantly, running your own company will give you higher prospects of raking in money as compared to an ordinary job. Ofcourse, this is generalisation to an extent, but it is mostly true in my opinion. Do I want to let go of that opportunity? After all, my family inducted me because they wanted me to take over. That is the thought I entered the company with. To carry it forward. I knew there is nobody else that could. Then why do I find myself having second thoughts now that the time has come?

I think the reasons are plenty. For one, when I began, I had no idea of how hard it is. You need to possess good business acumen, sound judgment and many other skills. Only then can you keep all the balls up in the air. I wonder if I have the required aptitude and abilities. There isn’t much margin to slip. If I take this on, I have to be ready to lead an organisation. Sure, if my budget permits, I can hire effectively, but I will still be the one at the forefront. The thought of being the one responsible for generating enough revenue to profit or atleast enough to pay salaries of all employees on our payroll is terrifying.

I haven’t yet spoken about my biggest apprehension. Commitment. I don’t know if I am the kind who can devote 12 hours or more of my day to work and be happy. I know I will have no choice but to invest *a lot * of my time in work. I wanted to think of having a baby in a year or so atleast. If I commit myself to the company, I cannot have a child anytime soon. There is no way I can run a company and raise a child. I know myself. Maybe some people can. But I can’t. I will not be able to do justice either way and I will be miserable.

Other than that, I will be bound to this city. That’s another important point of consideration. Mint is the primary bread winner in our home and he will have to restrict his opportunities to this city. Considering how massive our loan is, I am not sure that is a very wise idea. Even now, at times he seems jittery and sometimes even talks about moving back to the US. If I take this up, I will have to mentally close that door.

I don’t know how to arrive at a decision. I am confused. Mint is confused. And I am time bound. I need to decide soon. Don’t ask me why. Certain circumstances demand it. I really need to make up my mind. Sigh.. Hopefully, my decision will be driven not by emotion, but by logic, feasibility and practicality. *Takes a few deep breaths*

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 23 Comments »

Life lessons

Posted by Pepper on January 20, 2015

Dear people, thank you very much for all your prayers and wishes for Daddy. I am still trying to find time to reply to your mails. I will get to it as soon as I can. I know I asked you guys to pray and then I vanished from this space, leaving everybody in the dark. I am sorry. I haven’t had a moment’s respite in the last few weeks. Daddy passed away 10 days ago. I am still a little numb.

I keep linking back to an old post so that people who read the blog get some context to who he was. But going by the messages I get, looks like people still don’t know. Daddy wasn’t my biological father. He was my dad’s elder brother. He was just another father to me. Please read that post if you care to know more.

Although he was unwell, we were still unprepared for what happened. Because he wasn’t that sick. We knew we were treating him in the hospital for an abscess that had caused a severe infection in his body. We thought he would come out of it. I don’t know at what point things began to go downhill. Daddy and I were chatting with each other in his hospital room one evening. He told me to make a move since I had been in the hospital all day. I said bye and I left. That was the last conversation we had. The moment I got home, I got a call from S mummy saying they were shifting him to the ICU because his BP was falling.

From then on, things only went from bad to worse. The doctors told us that the infection had spread far too deep and the medicines weren’t working. They were still trying their best. They said the body was dealing with septic shock. They looked so bleak while talking to us, we really didn’t know what to make of it. Were we supposed to hold on to hope? Or were we supposed to prepare ourselves for the worst? The mental tug of war I faced at this time was highly traumatic.

We would sit on a chair in the waiting room outside the ICU from morning to night. Each time the doctor called us, our hearts would stop. They only had bad news for us every time. His BP isn’t picking up. His kidneys have shut down. They need to start dialysis. He needs to be put on a ventilator.  His cardiac reports show some bad changes. It all seemed like a nightmare. And yet, the doctors couldn’t commit either way. They told us they ‘are trying’. We had no choice but to go through the wait.

It was so exhausting, both mentally and physically. I got to see daddy when he was conscious at one time and it totally broke my heart. He had a million tubes going through him, one through his nose, one through his throat, some needles through his hands, some through his thighs. He was in agony and was trying his best to pull them out and break free. He asked me to help him. I don’t know what he meant, but those were his words. The helplessness we both felt made me feel sick. After that, they kept him sedated.  I was glad they did.

I would think a million times to even step down to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee. What if something happens in those few minutes that I am gone? What if the doctor calls us for something at that very time? I had a million thoughts racing through my head at all times. Surprisingly, I made a ton of friends in the 10 days we spent in the hospital. I realised when people are in pain, they tend to be more empathetic. They had their family members battling it out in the ICU too and we all understood how each of us felt. Every time I stepped down for coffee, I ended up chatting with somebody who was going through what we were and I came back feeling a little lighter.

We were almost living in the hospital, but how much exertion can the body take? We had to come home to atleast shower and get a few hours of sleep each day. Mint would sit outside the ICU each night while we would come back home. It was really hard to leave, but I agreed with people when they said we couldn’t stay there forever.

Unfortunately, being at home was proving to be another nightmare. We would jump out of our skin each time the phone rang. We thought we were more at peace waiting outside the ICU. We tried getting some sleep at night but they were wasted attempts. Our senses were hyperactive. And almost on cue, the phone rang at 2 am every night. Mint would call to say his BP is getting too low, the doctors are asking all family members to come. And we would try to still our hearts as we rushed to the hospital. I wondered if we had any connection with the time? How did it always happen at 2 am?

Since we spent the entire day in the hospital and also had to make a frenzied trip every night, we were practically running on NO sleep. I wondered if it was possible. Now I know it is. We would sometimes doze off on the chair while waiting outside during the day. It was very disturbed sleep, ofcourse. One night as I lay in bed after going home, I could hear the sounds that the hospital elevator doors made each time they opened and closed. Every few minutes, I even heard my cell phone ringing and realised it was my imagination when I looked at the screen. I knew I was hallucinating too much and that I needed to sleep.

Just as I fell asleep, the phone rang. Yes, at 2 am again. Mint said the BP was just too low this time and despite them doing their best, they were unable to bring it up. As usual, with our thumping hearts and rickety breaths, we rushed to the hospital. When we got there, the doctors shook their heads and told us they couldn’t do anything more. The BP was too low and it would eventually drop, till nothing remained. We were allowed to be by his side in his last few minutes. It didn’t take too long for the line to go blank.

The grief didn’t hit me hard at that time. We just held hands. I was most worried about my father and S mummy, and how they would take it. But they too seemed to display great strength and courage. The ordeal wasn’t over, because we had to go through the last rites and the ceremonies that followed. They sent his body to the house and that is when I allowed myself to shed a few silent tears. I am yet to allow myself to break down. Mint did not want me to come to the crematorium, because watching the pyre would be too traumatic for me. But I wanted to be there till the very end and so the sister and I decided to go. My amazing and super strong papa was the one who completed all his last rites. We have all been very brave. I love my family so much.

I am sorry for writing such a heavy-hearted post, but I really wanted to put it down here. I think I have learnt a lot in the past few weeks. The grief hits us very hard at times but I have learnt to be strong. And although I am not going to go through the ordeal again by reading this post, I want it to be there to serve me as a reminder. Life is very fragile. Life is short. This whole episode has also made me paranoid about losing my parents. Even the thought of them not being around is unbearable. But when the terror starts to creep in, I hold myself and try to focus on the present. We really need to learn to make each day count. I have already stopped caring about what the world thinks or says. Instead, I do things that make me happy. Although I did follow this to an extent, I am going to be more intent on living my life this way now.


PS – I can’t get myself to proof read this post. Please bear with the errors.

Posted in Slices of life | 44 Comments »

The last minute post

Posted by Pepper on January 8, 2015

I was *this* close to not posting today. The day has been so tiring. Both physically and mentally.  But then I decided to log on and type this one line. Daddy is in the ICU. His condition isn’t great. But the doctors say they are trying their best to fix things. We’re holding on.

I am so damn tired. I’ve been juggling between office, home and hospital for a week now.  I wake up early and get home around midnight everyday. The crazy commute makes me spend around 4 hours on the road everyday. I kept going without whining. But today was the worst. Daddy’s condition worsened. Things seem difficult for us. Please do pray. Thank you!

Posted in Uncategorized | 31 Comments »

Think about it

Posted by Pepper on January 7, 2015

I am talking about the usage of the word ‘rape’. I’ve given it a lot of thought. Do most of you even know that the original meaning of the word was; ‘destroy or strip of possession’. Or like Wiki says, “to snatch, to grab, to carry off”. It is only in recent times that the word become synonymous with forced intercourse or sexual assault.

Have a look at the etymology on wiki. I’ve pasted it below for the sake of convenience.

Etymology of term

The term rape originates in the Latin rapere (supine stem raptum), “to snatch, to grab, to carry off”.[21][22] Since the 14th century, the term has come to mean “to seize and take away by force”.[1] In Roman law the carrying off of a woman by force, with or without intercourse, constituted “raptus”.[22] In Medieval English law the same term could refer to either kidnapping or rape in the modern sense of “sexual violation”.[21] The original meaning of “carry off by force” is still found in some phrases, such as “rape and pillage” or in titles, such as the story of the Rape of the Sabine Women or the poem The Rape of the Lock, which is about the theft of a lock of hair.

Here is another link that says the same thing.


And now, we as a society have begun to condemn, criticize and hate people who use the word ‘rape’ in its original form. The other day, I heard somebody say, “It was so cold, the strong wind was raping me”. The girl who made that statement was condemned by one and all. She was called insensitive and inhuman for using the word so callously. Everybody hated her for her supposedly inconsiderate words. She was made to feel very ashamed.

But it set me thinking. We have started associating that word ONLY with sexual assault and anybody who uses it keeping its original meaning in mind is a monster. Why? In my ideal world, I would reclaim the original meaning and context and STOP associating the word with sexual violation. Instead, we choose to affiliate the word only with sexual violation and assault and want to forget about its original meaning. Hmm..

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 15 Comments »

Where she came from

Posted by Pepper on January 6, 2015

We’ve been looking out for a good cook now that we have begun setting up the kitchen in our new house. Although I seem to enjoy cooking sometimes, neither I, nor Mint has the time or inclination to do it on a daily basis. We did it in the US when we *had* to, but now that we have the option of hiring somebody for the job, we would rather do that and use the time we free up to focus on other things. Infact, we’ve always had a cook since the time we started living on our own in India. The setup works quite well for us.

While talking to my mom in law on phone, I mentioned to her that we were looking for a cook. She let out a small laugh and asked me why we wanted a cook. Does Mint dislike the food I cook? I took a deep breath before responding to her. This one has always been a sore point. My MIL does not understand why I cannot take on the entire responsibility of cooking on a daily basis. The assumption that I am and should be the self appointed cook while my husband should do nothing other than judging my abilities and skills obviously pisses me off.

I told her calmly that I cannot be the one responsible for cooking because my office is quite far from where we live, and it is too late to start cooking after I get back home. I let out another laugh and told her, that if at all, she should be telling Mint to cook because his commute is less tiring and he gets home sooner than I do. We were both silent after that.

Here is the thing. I know my MIL secretly agrees with me. She understands logic and reason. But she has spent her entire life living by the norms set by the world. She always wants to ‘fit in’. Her family is full of unreasonable and rigid women who actually believe their daughters in law should be sweating it out in the kitchen, dishing out and serving hot dosas to the rest of the family, no matter what. That is the kind of stuff ‘good’ daughters in law are made of. But most of those women aren’t capable of logical reasoning. Their minds aren’t trained to think. They aren’t very educated.

My MIL is different. At times, I think she is caught in two very different worlds. I’ve tried to understand where she comes from, several times. She was born in Madurai. She was highly interested in education and was a class topper all her life. She completed her BSc in Nutrition. Since she wanted to do her Masters, she was granted permission by her father to do her MSc. After completing that, she set her sights on an MBA. Women completing their MBA in those days was very uncommon. Since she was of marriageable age by then, her father told her that she could start doing her MBA while they were looking out for suitable grooms. If they found any good match, it would be upto the guy to decide whether she could continue her MBA or not.

Her match was arranged. My FIL permitted her to complete her MBA after they got married. They lived away from each other for the first 9 months of their marriage because my MIL was still studying. After that, she moved in with my FIL and that is how they began their married life. Equipped with an MSc and an MBA degree, she considered working for sometime. But she had married into a highly conservative family in which women did not work. In my FIL’s family. almost everybody had chosen to marry within the family. Crazy, in my opinion. But apparently, marrying your cousins and your uncles wasn’t very uncommon in South India back then. My FIL was the only sensible one who put his foot down and insisted on marrying an ‘outsider’.

She began her married life as an ‘outsider’. She tried hard to not be seen as one by the rest of the family. But that tag never left her. Given the circumstances,  she did not want to do anything that set her apart from the rest. Obviously, going out to work wouldn’t get her any brownie points. So the idea was nipped in the bud. Soon, she was pregnant with Mint. And then, with Oregano. She devoted her entire life taking care of her husband and sons. She served them with utmost sincerity, their health and well being being her priority.

That is how she has lived her life. Pleasing and obeying the men and serving her family. Sometimes, I wonder how her life would have shaped had she gotten adequate opportunities. If you talk to her, you’ll know she is a very intelligent individual. She is very knowledgeable and has a strong sense of logic. She has a good command over the English language and is also very well read. So when I speak logic to her, when I talk about feminism and equality with her, I know she gets it, even though she doesn’t say it.

And yet, she will try and persuade me to cook without any help, to look after her son, to strive to be a better homemaker and do everything that we consider to be highly sexist. She is surrounded by conservative, close minded individuals and she has been made to idolise their way of life. She has been made to believe it is the only right way. But sometimes, I wonder if she acknowledges the recurrent clash between logic and belief.

Posted in Gender, Meet the family | 10 Comments »

2014 stats in review

Posted by Pepper on January 5, 2015

I never intended to turn this stat report into a post. But they say, desperate times call for desperate measures. I saw some people doing it and I decided to follow their foot steps. After all, today has been quite a crazy busy day and looks like it will only get busier. So maybe this cheat post will give me some respite from blogging for a day.

I posted a total of 98 posts last year. 31 of those were in the month of Jan. From Feb to December, I posted only 67 posts. Quite disappointing. If I can post 31 posts in one month in Jan, I can surely post atleast 15 posts per month in the remaining months of the year. That is my ideal number. Well, let’s hope I blog more in the coming year.

For now, let me thank all of you for the hits. Considering this blog churned out only 98 posts, the number of hits it received obviously gives me a high. That would roughly be around 2450 hits per post on average. By my standards, and considering how inane the posts are, the number is good. If you don’t thinks so, get out of here!

Here we go..

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 240,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 10 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Dhak dhak karne laga

Posted by Pepper on January 4, 2015

I have typed out the last two posts from the hospital bed side. This one too, is being written from the hospital. Given my circumstances, I think I am impressed with my own ability and willingness to keep up with the blogathon. Sure, I will quit if I find myself unable to cope at any point, but so far I’ve had the grit to keep going and that I believe is an achievement by itself.

Here is what happened. We took Daddy to the doctor that day. He examined the abscess and swelling on his chest, noted down his symptoms, went through his reports and then shook his head in disbelief. How could you not have come earlier? How did you allow this to get so bad before you sought medical help? We just stood there in silence, not knowing what to say. How can we explain Daddy’s irrational stubbornness to any sane individual, let alone a doctor?

Things moved very fast from there. That doctor never allowed us to go home. He got us to admit Daddy to the hospital right away. That was on Friday. His abscess is communicating with his lung and rib cage and looks like he may have to undergo another surgery. They’re still monitoring and investigating the damage.

Surprisingly, I am more relieved than worried. He is such a difficult person, I think we feel safer when he is tied down to a hospital bed. We’re also secure in the knowledge that he is in very good hands, being treated by the best doctors, in one of the best hospitals in Mumbai.

The only problem is that I find myself burning out. I stay in the hospital for long hours, sometimes from early morning to late night. It has been a little tiring. Mint has been around too and his presence is a big booster for me. But then, I am not sure if he will be able to be around from tomorrow. Anyway, I’ve had the beautiful sea for company. The hospital room’s window overlooks the sea and it has a nice, calming effect on me. I took these pics a little before 8 am today. See?


From the window..

From the window..


A little closer

A closer look

In the past few days, I’ve done it all from the hospital. I spent time staring at the sea, reading a book, I blogged, I chatted up and become friends with the adorable, elderly uncle in the next room. When I found myself really bored, I hooked up one of the machines to myself when Daddy had taken it off. I am not crazy. Just that, nobody was looking, all I had to do was put that clip like thing around my index finger and see my heart beat and patterns appearing on the monitor. I was curious to see how it worked.

My brilliance caused the alarms to begin beeping in all their glory. My heart rate was 116 beats per minute and apparently that is alarming? I was both, startled and scared in equal measure and took the damn thing off before somebody came to arrest me. Here’s a little secret. We tried it again when Mint was in the room. His heart rate was around 70 while mine climbed to 115 again. This time, it scared him too. When I took a few deep, calming breaths, it came down to around 101. What’s with my increased heart rate? Let me Google for more information. Or maybe not. Google scares me.

Anyway, that is all I can manage to write today. Got to go. See you tomorrow.

Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments »


Posted by Pepper on January 3, 2015

I almost never make New Year resolutions. They’re not meant for people like me. I lack the determination to reach any targets or goals I set for myself. I wish I cared enough, but the truth is, very few things matter to me. Anyway, so I am going to create a small wish list for 2015. They’re not resolutions. They’re not hard set goals. They’re only things I wish for. And if you notice, this list only contains wishes that are attainable.

1) I wish to focus more on fitness. I know, this one is really common. But what most of us do to our bodies is quite appalling, to say the least. We need to care more. We need to take this up sincerely. My foremost wish for 2015 is to be more conscious of my health. To eat right and devote time to regular exercise. Most importantly, I need to train myself to *keep at it* instead of allowing it to be only a passing phase.

2) I wish to finish setting up our house. By setting up, I mean buying the basics. That’s all. No frills. With our non existent budget, we’re unable to buy even basic things at one go. We’ve been phasing out our purchases. The slow pace has been annoying me. I hope this year we manage to buy all the essentials. I’ve been wanting to get this out of the way for a long time.

3) I wish to go for atleast 3 holidays in this year. That isn’t too much to wish for, is it? They can be local destinations. I just want to travel and explore some new places. 3 sounds like a good number.

4) I am too embarrassed to say this, but never mind, here we go. I wish to start waxing my legs. Now get over the shock already. It is really not my fault. I switched from waxing to shaving my legs when I moved out of India many years ago. There was no way I could afford to go to a salon to get waxed in foreign lands. I did wax my own arms at home, but the lazy me was very happy using the razor on my legs. I had no complains, other than the times when Mint ran his hands up my legs, which is when I would say, ‘Not like that baby, run your hands the other way. Up to down only, okay?’ And it was all good.

I moved back to India and started feeling jealous of all the smooth and creamy legs around me. I decided to ditch the razor and go back to waxing, but what do you know? Just a few rips of the wax strip and I was howling in pain. You see, shaving pretty much screws you up. Ripping out the coarse hair was killing me. So I went back to shaving and have stayed here ever since. Every time I try convincing myself to give waxing a shot, the painful reminders of the stubborn razor treated hair being ripped out begin to haunt me. I really hope to overcome this fear and go back to waxing for good.

5) I wish to bake a good cake. You see, I have never baked in my life. Okay, strike that out, because that would mean overlooking my one lousy attempt. I wish to be able to bake a good, soft, moist, spongy, awesome cake. Maybe a coffee cake or something? That sounds fairly easy. I’ve been searching for recipes for a while. This one should be doable. I hope.

6) I wish to find and assign more time to playing board games. Both Mint and I love board games. We’ve had a lot of fun together. Settlers of Catan, Thurn and Taxis, Puerto Rico, Pandemic are some of the games we want to spend more time playing. Each one of them is amazing. They make you think. They make you plan. They let you enter a new world. Let’s hope we have a ‘playful’ year ahead.

7) This last wish of mine is going to be kept secret. I am not superstitious like that. Just that, this one is really dear to me and I feel like snuggling and cuddling the idea all by myself. PS – I feel compelled to add this here. I am not pregnant, so no thinking in that direction, okay?

Phew. The time is 11.54 pm. I made it.


Posted in Uncategorized | 32 Comments »

Had I known

Posted by Pepper on January 2, 2015

Had I been able to peek into the future, here is the letter I would have written to myself in January, 2014.

Dear Pepper,

We have officially entered 2014. Brace yourself. This will be a very big year for you. I know you have absolutely no idea at this time, but in the next 2 months you will actually consider buying a property, one which will be your very first ‘home’. The idea will first be nothing more than a random whim, but it will gather momentum once you actually start looking. I know, did you ever imagine you would be buying a home in Mumbai at the age of 27? Heck, did you even consider this possibility two months ago? Life is full of surprises, isn’t it?

You will first consider buying a smaller apartment, but as your search progresses, you will be drawn into buying a bigger apartment than you had intended to. Your budget will be bungled. You will take on a loan so massive, you wouldn’t have deemed it even possible a while ago. Until now, you have made yourself used to a certain standard of living and some luxuries, some of which you will have to now forgo. In the beginning, you will romanticize the idea of a less expensive lifestyle, as long as you and Mint have each other.

Be warned though, some rough patches lay ahead. Having lesser money than what you are used to is not romantic in the least bit. It will give rise to a lot of arguments and fights between you and Mint. You will struggle to lower your standard of living. I say ‘struggle’ and not ‘will’, because despite all attempts, you will still not be successful in cutting costs. As a result, you will be very stressed. You will second guess your decision of buying a home at this stage of your life a total of 50 times. Seeing your friends leading carefree and reckless lives will make your heavy debt seem even more painful. There will also be times when you and Mint will blame each other for having pushed the other into buying the house. You will be very mad at each other. And then you will also get over it.

This will also be the year in which your personality will undergo some noticeable changes. Buying a house will be a contributing factor. It will make you a wee bit more responsible. Your focus will be to ‘set up’ the house. You will keep coaxing Mint to take on more responsibilities and do more for the house while he will try shunning it all. This will anger you and give rise to more arguments between you and Mint. For atleast half of the year, you will carry with you the weight of tasks left undone. This will make you resentful.

You must understand however, that Mint cannot be blamed if he is unable to cope with the changed you. Remind yourself of the times in which both of you would roll in bed till noon on the weekends. And then proceed to watch movies, while still lying in bed. And only wake up to heat some food and bring it back to bed with you. And then go out in the evenings. Those were the days. The new you always wants to wake up early, spend time cooking a meal, fixing the house, clearing the space and heading out to buy essentials for the new house. You want to fix the lights, buy a bed, hang the curtains, rearrange the living room and more. You go on to grudge Mint when he prefers to lie low instead of doing any kind of work. But if you remember the fact that you are the one who has changed, while he has remained unchanged, you may be a little more gentle with him.

All that said, this will also be the year you will learn to value Mint the most. You will remind yourself a million times of how awesome he is, and how very lucky you are to have him. He will fill your life with so many loving gestures, you will not know how to thank him enough. Like always, you will also be touched by how much he does for your family. And when you get to experience your idea of a ‘blissful’ life, of living close to with your family, you will feel your move back to India from the US has been worth it. Again and again. But yes, you will have to live with Mint’s uncertainty in this regard. He will continue talking about wanting to move back. You will learn to not think beyond a point and live one day at a time instead.

Your health will be more or less okay this year, though you will ignore the deficiencies detected in your blood reports and not focus on fitness at all. I hope you learn soon. This will also be a big year because Oregano will have his kidney transplant surgery and the BFF will get married. Other than that, your social life will get dizzying at times. You will oscillate between whining about it and enjoying it. This will also be the *first* year in your almost five year married life that you will not take any international holiday together. You will have no money but you will still travel to some local destinations. Goa and Kerala will be a lot of fun.

Life has always been full of crazy twists and turns. There’s a lot more in store. Don’t fret. Welcome 2015 with open arms. Sit back and enjoy the ride.



Posted in Blasts from the past, Slices of life | 14 Comments »

Oops! I did it again..

Posted by Pepper on January 1, 2015

Yes. I am talking about the blogathon. 31 posts in 31 days. Last year was undoubtedly a lot of fun. But it was also quite crazy. I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it again. But then, almost everybody who did it last year was doing it again. How could I be left out? Even the idea of missing it was hurting my pride. So here I am. You read it. For the next 31 days. This time however, I am going to bend the rules a little. I am not going to push myself to publish my post before midnight. It is extremely hard, especially on weekends. Anyway, let’s see how it goes.

The past year has been good. I was going to inaugurate the blogathon with a very different post, but then, something happened. My dad’s bro, who is my Daddy, *finally* agreed to get some blood tests done. Please read the post I have linked to to know how difficult he is. He has been quite unwell for a long time. The test reports are bad. We don’t know much, but the physician called us on his own and asked us to take him to a specialist right away. He wouldn’t give away too much, but he sounded grim. So this has upset us considerably. I am a little too distracted and weighed down to be able to write a meaningful post right now..

We have an appointment with another doctor tomorrow. My job is to convince him to come to the doctor. Only God knows how difficult that is. But hopefully, we’ll deal with it. And hopefully from tomorrow, I will have my heart in the blogathon. See you!

Posted in Meet the family | 11 Comments »

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