A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for March, 2015

Happy Week – Day 6

Posted by Pepper on March 30, 2015

When we lived in good ol’ California, I periodically found myself struck by a deep sense of longing for my family. While I loved my life there, the place was just so damn far from home, it made me feel like we lived in two different worlds. And perhaps we did. I didn’t know how it would feel to actually live close to my parents. I wanted to experience that life. The mere idea would make me wishful, dreamy and happy.

Little did I know that few years down the line, I would get to live not just in the same country as my family, not just in the same city, not just the same neighbourhood, nope, but in the same frigging apartment complex. Some years ago, this seemed like such an inconceivable dream, I want to pinch myself at times to believe it is real.

So what is this life like? Dreamy, in the literal sense. What I love are the evenings. After work, I usually go to my parents place. We sip chai together as we talk about our respective days. I go back to my own place after spending some time with mom, dad and the sis, if she is home by then. On some evenings, we decide to prepare a feast together. Some rare evenings we even sit back and share a drink with my dad. We end up roaring with laughter, despite the lame jokes my papa cracks.

Other than living these precious moments and creating fun memories, I love the convenience. When Mint and I are out on weekends, things seem to magically get done. Our bed sheets are changed. Some carpentering work gets completed. Many times the refrigerator gets restocked. We go back and forth between the two houses a hundred times a day. I’m cutting up some watermelon, do you want some? My mother asks me on phone after dinner. ‘Ofcourse, I do’, I say. And so I walk down and go to my parents’ place in my pajamas and come back home with my bowl of watermelon in 2 minutes. Or, ‘Hey, I ran out of ginger and the stores aren’t open at this time, you have some to spare?’. ‘Sure, I’ll bring it for you in a minute’. Or, ‘We’re going to be out all day tomorrow, get the door opened for the maids and get the house cleaned’. Or, ‘We’re playing a board game, come over if you want to hang out and play’. These are some snippets from our everyday conversations.

Sounds like a very convenient life, doesn’t it? I believe we have the best of both worlds, because while we enjoy the proximity, we also enjoy the space. At the end of the day, we have our own homes to retire to. We don’t have to worry about stepping over each other’s toes. Considering how, umm, temperamental I am, I ensure I bang a few doors every time I am mad at my mum or dad. So it’s good to be able to avoid those hassles. It’s also good to spend quiet time in your own house after a family bonding session. And ofcourse, it’s always good to have your own space so you can have your friends over, without worrying about the presence of the ‘elders’.

What brought out this post? The fact that I had a somewhat stressful day at work and decided to come to my parents place and take a twenty minute nap in the evening. It was special, because I climbed into my parents’ bed. They sat on either side of me, chatting with each other in low voices as I continued to nap. It took me back to old times when I slept in their bed regularly. Lying in between my mama and papa today made me feel that same sense of calm. I felt protected and safe. I smiled as I realised how fortunate I was to be able to do such things on a whim.

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Posted in Happy Week | 13 Comments »

Year 5 – Happy Anniversary, Mint

Posted by Pepper on March 26, 2015

Dear Mint,

We completed 5 years of marriage yesterday. Half a decade. Quite a milestone, isn’t it? I wanted to write this post yesterday, but we were wandering around town all day and by the time we stumbled back home, we were in a giggle induced, semi drunk state. Not the best state to write this letter in, I thought. Anyway, let’s not think about the delay and move on.

5 years! Do you remember all the wedding insanity that took place on this day 5 years ago? Given your memory, I am quite certain you don’t. I do, ofcourse. When I think of that day, I think of the sweltering Chennai heat, the over excitement, the exhaustion, my annoyance because of my uncomfortable hairdo, the beating of the drums during one part of the ceremony and the subsequent relief after it was all over. Yes, at the end of it all, the feeling that was most overpowering was that of relief. Relief, more than joy. After all, the amount of fight we had to put up to reach this stage, I was relieved to know we were done with it.

Some weeks ago, we were having a disagreement of sorts. You wanted me to stay up at night and play a board game and I was too sleepy to be willing to do that. At one point you said, ‘Why don’t you like staying up late anymore? You loved not sleeping at night at one time. You were so different when we were friends 12 years ago”. To which I jumped in and said, ‘Ofcourse, 12 years ago I was just 16. I was obviously a different person at that time”. And then I paused for a minute as the realisation hit me. We’ve been friends for 12 years! From a time when we were kids. It’s a long association.

When I look at the last one year, I see the house we’ve tried to build together.  I say ‘tried’ and not ‘have’ because it is still far from complete. But we’ve worked so damn hard for it, we’ve put in our blood and sweat and I see it as a cherished product of our labour. It may still be incomplete, it may be far from perfect, but it is ours. A place we can call our own. And this space we jointly own makes me supremely happy.

I don’t know where we stand today. We have almost no savings, we have a massive EMI and we haven’t made any smart financial investments. In fact, our finances are a mess. We hardly know where our money goes every month. We are yet to learn how to organise and plan our budget. We don’t know where life will take us next. When our sorted and well settled friends find out how we live on the edge, they gasp. It makes me laugh, because it reminds me of the song you sang to me all the time when you were ‘convincing’ me to give our relationship a chance. The lines, ‘Our friends would all make fun of us..And we’d just laugh along because we’d know..That none of them have felt this way’ from Hey There Delilah come to me often. I guess it is true, we may seem crazy to some,we may not have planned our life very well, but at the end of the day, what matters to us is that we are together.

I’ve written a letter to you on every anniversary of ours and I spent some time reading each one today. It is interesting to note how we have evolved, and yet, the essence of our relationship still remains the same. I love the good times we have together, but I also love our arguments and fights. I absolutely love the space we give to each other for such honest expressions. I love the underlying security it all comes with. Between us, there is no pretense. We know each other’s ugly sides pretty damn well. I’m so glad we don’t have to pretend being good when we aren’t.

So thank you, my dear idiot husband. For all the laughs, madness, fun times, cuddles, giggles,  drama, entertainment, fights, disagreements, arguments, space, support, love and above all, the blanket of security you wrap me in.

All my love,

Pepper

 

PS – Here’s the song we sang day and night in our early years.. I’m sure I’ve put it up earlier too, but what the heck, I love it and so, here it is again. Considering we were in a long distance relationship and I was unsure of where we were headed, every single line in this song held great meaning for us.

And since this is our 5th anniversary, let me go ahead and reminiscence. A flash back episode made me revisit the wedding madness. The cocktail party, the reception, the wedding ceremony, all brought back some fun memories!

Posted in Happy Week, Splashes of Mint | 19 Comments »

Happy Week – Day 4

Posted by Pepper on March 23, 2015

Happiness is spending a good part of your evening sitting on your couch, ‘bursting’ the bubbles from a sheet of bubble wrap. Popping those air pockets is therapeutic. See how big my sheet was? Each pop was so satisfying.

bubblewrap

 

And here’s a picture that Mint took of me when I was engrossed in the act.

bubblewrap2

Such joys. For the sake of humanity, I think popping these tiny air pockets is an activity that we should include in our everyday adult life. We knows, we may just be a happier race.

Posted in Happy Week, Small joys | 19 Comments »

Happy Week – Day 3

Posted by Pepper on March 21, 2015

Posting on weekends is such a task. Anyway, let me just keep this simple and talk about my happy Saturday today. Mint left the house at the crack of dawn. I knew he would be gone for the entire day for some workshop. I had finished sulking and had moved on to planning my day in my head.

To start with, I asked the cook to not come so that I could sleep in. Who wanted to wake up to open the door? It was a good idea, because I woke up feeling well rested. After a hearty breakfast and a relaxed shower, I decided to go and get a hair cut. Now, I had short hair already, so getting a hair cut again was quite a crazy and impulsive move.

I told the lady at the salon to give me only a trim, but she chopped off my locks ruthlessly while I was busy looking into my phone. I realised it only when I happened to glance at the floor and saw a pile of something black. With instant dread, I looked up and asked her, ‘Is that my hair?!’, to which gave she me a very proud smile and said ‘Haan’. So much had been cut?! My hair was so short, my image in the mirror made me feel quite shocked and scared. The last time I had hair this short, I was in school.

The hair dresser seemed quite excited and happy with the end result, when she asked me if I liked the hair cut, I told her I did. And then I came home and cried. Oh well.. That drama lasted only for a bit. Because soon after, I began to feel liberated. I’m not sure how the cut looks on me, but it sure makes me feel all light and invigorated. So, yay!

My dad was tied up with some work too. So my mom, sis and I took off for the day. Good to spend some time without the men, I suppose. We had a good lunch at some Mexican place, after which we decided to shop. Now, shopping isn’t an activity I love. But it turned out to be a good change, considering how rarely I do it. I came home with 3 dresses. I hope I wear them instead of letting them lie in my wardrobe like I usually do. *Note – To use them often, please start making arrangements to keep your legs free of fuzz*

I got home and took a small nap, after which I stepped out to run some errands. I’m back home now, lounging around at my parents’ place as usual. I can smell the tomato rice my mum is cooking for dinner. The flavorful aroma is making my stomach rumble. Anyway, this is quite a crazy post, so I should stop. I’ll go back to my book now. Mint is on his way home. We’ll head back to our own place after dinner and probably crash. Or watch a movie, if we feel up to it. I’m so glad tomorrow is a Sunday. I had such a wonderful Saturday, I hope you did too.

Posted in Happy Week | 5 Comments »

Happy Week – Day 2

Posted by Pepper on March 20, 2015

I woke up to my phone buzzing one morning. It was a whatsapp message from P. I’m not sure how often I have mentioned P on this blog. We studied together in college, during which we practically lived in each other’s homes. We chose the same university for our Masters degree. We shared an apartment in good ol’ Leeds. Easy to guess that she is a close friend of mine.

Just a week or so before I woke up to her message, the two of us had met for coffee and spent some time discussing the perils of growing up. Life was so easy when we were in college. It was all about having fun. And now we were trapped in this adult world. In the midst of this discussion, we both realised that we hadn’t truly grown up. That would happen only when we had a baby. In our opinions, having a baby was like the final frontier of adulthood. That is when you would have to be responsible. We both agreed we were not ready for a baby and the responsibility it all came with. She most certainly wasn’t. She had been married for only a year or so.

Cut to that day. It was 7 am and I was just about waking up. I read her message in my half asleep state. “I want to share something with you”, it said. “Are you preggers?”, I jokingly asked. To my complete surprise, she said, “That’s what the home pregnancy test says. I’m so scared!”. That message made me jump out of bed.

We spoke on phone and I realised she was clearly not ready for the baby. I was so stumped myself, I didn’t know what to say. Accidental pregnancy, really? I almost wanted to ask her ‘how’, but I stopped myself in time. That entire day, I sang in my head, ‘Accident ho gaya, rabba rabba‘.

She told me she would get an appointment with the doctor and get back to me. The next evening, we were sure. The scans said she was 7 and a half weeks pregnant! I was the *first* and only person she had shared the news with until then. She was still to break the news to her parents, in-laws and friends. I was excited to know how they would all react. As expected, everybody was elated. Unfortunately, P herself continued to feel quite low and unsure of everything.

Every few weeks I would ask her if she felt more ready for the baby. To my surprise, she continued to say she wasn’t. Her pregnancy was progressing and I wondered how long it would take her to accept what was now inevitable. Although she become more receptive towards the end, a part of me still wondered how happy she was.

All of that changed the day the baby came. At the end of her labour, out came a beautiful baby boy! She told me she fell in love at that very moment and all her earlier apprehensions disappeared. I knew exactly what she meant when I held him in my arms. His beady eyes looked at me questioningly. I told him I will be sharing with him a lot of interesting and embarrassing stories about his mommy once he grows up. He could use them as tools to blackmail her.

pmt1

With the proud parents on the day he was born. I kept admiring his head full of hair.

 

I guess it is a different feeling when a close friend of yours has a baby. Especially if the friend is someone you have childishly giggled with and foolishly played around and grown up with. This little bundle is a few weeks old now. I feel so connected with him, I believe he is mine. If only I wasn’t scared to hold him. Now, I sit in the centre of the bed and have somebody else place him on my lap. And oh sometimes, I even put a pillow beneath him. I’m terrified of holding him unless I am sitting. Sigh..

T1

With his very besotted aunt..

 

When P came home one time, she placed the cute heart on our bed and just left him there. When I entered the room, I was startled to see a tiny, tiny little thing, fast asleep on the bed that looked so huge. That sight stirred something inside me. I keep thinking of that little thing arbitrarily placed there.

He makes me so happy. I have a hundred pictures of his on my phone. I zoom in to his face and replay his videos all the time. Sometimes I even call P just so I can hear him in the background. Little beam of sunshine, that’s what he is!

Posted in Friends, Happy Week | 16 Comments »

Happy Week

Posted by Pepper on March 19, 2015

The happy week is a series in which I scribble either a happy memory or write a happy post everyday for a week. Hopefully, writing daily for a week will also compel me to snap out of this very lazy spell that I have been reeling under.

Today, I will write about a happy little weekend trip of ours that lies in danger of being overshadowed by other recent events. Some weeks ago, Mint and I drove to an organic farm a few hours away from Mumbai. The idea was to spend a night in one of their cottages.

If you know us, you will know both Mint and I are heavily into organic food. Seeing how the produce is cultivated first hand was an exciting prospect. I must say, we weren’t disappointed.

Let’s get to the pictures.

Look at this cutie! I wasn’t comfortable holding it, so Mint was happy to hold it for me while I clicked. The little thing was content sitting on his palm. What was it thinking, I wondered. Did it know what a cute bald head it had?

K1

 

I clicked another pic when another cutie settled in even more comfortably in Mint’s palm.

 

K2

 

Lookie!  A baby bottle gourd in my palm. It was so tiny, my instinct was it to give it a good squish, jump in excitement and scream, ‘Aren’t you adorable!’. I didn’t, ofcourse. I behaved like a sane adult instead. Oh, I did bring this home with me, but alas, it didn’t last for too long.

K3

 

This one is a grown up bottle gourd, probably the mommy of the baby?

 

K4

 

Cauliflower! Ready to be harvested. So cool, isn’t it?

 

K5

One of our super delicious meals. Papad, rice bhakris, some mixed dal, sprouts and potato curry, mango pickle, alu wadi and some mixed green. Everything was home grown and came straight from the farm, including the rice used in the bhakri. I thought it was incredible. The taste most certainly was. Such mind blowing flavours. Sigh..

 

K6

 

The one on the right is the lovely cottage we lived in.

 

K7

 

The line up of the beautiful cottages. If you notice closely, you will see the lovely warli art work that I was so smitten by.

 

K8

 

I wish I had more pictures. There was a very playful farm dog that Mint couldn’t get enough of. The place had acres and acres of trees. Right from fresh bay leaves, to turmeric, to exotic fruits and vegetables. We took long walks, watched the cows swishing their tails and the goats bleating in harmony. We ate our meals in a shed that was placed in an open expanse of land, overlooking the hills. The greenery was refreshing. A sight for sore eyes. They lit a bonfire for us at night. It was so wonderful.

They don’t allow you to have noisy parties, nor do they sell alcohol on the farm. Since we weren’t looking to party anyway and were only interested in a peaceful break, this place was ideal. But ofcourse, no trip of ours is complete without drama. I must write about the sweet but strange Christian lady we met there who was taken aback when she found out we were married. She was horrified when we told her we had been married for several years now. Because we still didn’t have (or want) kids. So much so, that she insisted on holding an immediate prayer session for us. So she made us all sit on the grassy lawn and hold hands as she prayed aloud to Lord Jesus to bless us with a child. The look on Mint’s face made it painfully hard for me to not giggle.

She was so sincere, she even removed the pendant she was wearing and gave it to me as a good luck charm. She said that Saint (I’m not sure which one it is) would help us conceive. *Gulp*. Since I didn’t know what else to do, I accepted it and thanked her. I may have found the whole thing ridiculous, but I was touched by her gesture. She was willing to part with something that was clearly precious to her. Bizarre episode, I thought. Here is the pendant she gave me.

K9

 

I still don’t know why a stranger would be so interested in our affairs. She said something like it was ‘our duty to procreate’. Hmm.. I don’t know what to make of it. We’re not ready for a baby right now, so all I do is chuckle at the memory of this very bizarre episode. Life is interesting and fun.

Posted in Happy Week, Travel | 27 Comments »

A little bit of clarity

Posted by Pepper on March 1, 2015

What’s up with the weather in my city? Dark skies and sudden showers in February? Oh well, I am not complaining. I’m sitting in my balcony as I type this. The cool breeze and gentle spray from the rain has such a calming effect on my senses. It is a relaxed Sunday evening. For a change, I don’t have to cater to any commitments. I have no agenda. The plan is to just be..

After all the work pressure I have been dealing with, I think I totally deserve this time off. Oh, I last spoke about my pending decision regarding the company here. I must tell you what I finally decided. After a lot of deliberation, my decision was to sell the company. I am not sure I would like to get into the thought process that drove me to this decision. Let me just summarise it by saying I know exactly what it takes to keep the company running and I didn’t think I was capable of being this devoted and invested all my life.

Ofcourse, selling it isn’t an immediate plan. It cannot possibly be one. For one, we are in the midst of several projects that will take a while to complete. We are also committed to several annual maintenance contracts that we cannot retract from. Other than this, the company is doing reasonably well right now. We aren’t desperate for a buyer. In fact, we haven’t even put it in the market yet. We want to wait it out a bit. After it goes on the market too, we will only consider selling it if we get a very lucrative offer. Mercifully, we get enough work and will be able to sustain ourselves fairly well until a sweet deal comes along. We plan to put the company up for sale by the end of the year and then see how it goes.

We have asked my dad to take it easy and try and disconnect from work eventually. He is doing alright now, but the lack of work stress will hopefully reflect well on his health. We want him to sit back and unwind now. He is trying and doing that. We are very happy, but the only thing is that I find myself too stretched. Dad comes to office about thrice a week but I try my best to shield him from the pressure and stress.

As for me? I’m living a life I barely recognise. The reigns of the company have been handed to me entirely. I hardly get any respite from work. My phone buzzes every 1.5 minute. I go from meeting to meeting. Sometimes I am busy number crunching, breaking my head over the finances. Sometimes I am preparing for a good technical discussion I need to have with the regional head of a giant company. Like I have mentioned, we work in the atomic energy sphere and we are associated with some of the biggest names, both nationally and internationally. It makes me rather proud to chair a meeting with such biggies. At the same time, these meetings are hard because I need to be at the client location, since we need to see, inspect and discuss the industrial equipment we have supplied to them. With these client side meetings, my tight schedule gets even more tight because of all the travel I have to do in a day.

Between all these meetings, visiting our factory to oversee the production, discussions with company advisors and legal consultants and my regular office work, I find myself totally and completely tied up. I’m still taking on some new projects so that we can continue sustaining ourselves, but by the end of the third quarter of this year, we will probably start phasing out. Until then, my life will continue to be this busy and crazy. My friend even joked once and said my schedule and calendar resembled a big industrialist’s. I laughed it off but the truth is I never imagined I was capable of working so hard and managing so much. I am also thankful for getting this level of exposure at this age. I have amazing work experience and some noteworthy accomplishments that I can put on my resume now. A local business magazine wants to interview me and I am over excited about that. I hope it goes well.

All in all, work life has been very good and fulfilling, although it also means that I am left with little to no time for other things. Since I know it is a phase, I don’t really mind it. Does that explain the low frequency of blogging? I count on relaxed days like these to revive myself and get my batteries charged. A new week begins tomorrow, but before that, I still have a few more hours of this blissful Sunday left to soak in. I will be off, but I hope to be back soon. I want to learn to manage my time more effectively. So, see you soon.

Posted in Slices of life | 7 Comments »

 
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