A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for May, 2016

M for Musings

Posted by Pepper on May 26, 2016

In the recent past, I’ve spent many hours contemplating about life. What is the right way of living it? Of course, I haven’t found an answer to that. But all my introspection has led to some clarity. I know in this life, we all strive to achieve one common goal. Happiness. But unfortunately, I think our idea of happiness is skewed.

When I ask myself what it is that makes me happy, I can rattle off a list. Wearing good clothes makes me happy. Eating out and exploring different kinds of food makes me happy. Reading good books makes me happy. Travel and holidays make me very happy. Every item on my list has one common requirement. Money. It almost made me believe that happiness has a cost price. Until I realised with a thwack one day, that it doesn’t. My happiness doesn’t need to be dependent on any external stimuli. In order to be happy, all I need to do is, well, be happy. It is simple and it is free.

The more I think of this life, the more worn out I feel by its complexities. All I really want is a simple life. I think I can find true happiness in simple every day living. I’ve reached a stage where I find myself unwilling to work under highly stressful conditions. Not even for good money. And I also seem to have developed a low threshold for stress. A work day that is longer than 8 hours, a bad commute, a mean boss, a very demanding work culture. For me, all of that equals stress. I see a lot of my friends voluntarily choosing this life. They get good money at the end of the day. The wake up at the crack of down, work hard in the morning to put together lunch boxes, leave their homes in a rush, go through a crazy commute, go through their work days, rush home, feel exhausted, put together dinner and then crash. That is their life on loop.

I’d rather earn less money and pick a peaceful job. These jobs would also pay me less. Simple living is based on the principle that by lowering our expenses, we can lower the time spent earning money. That free time can be used for a variety of purposes. I love the sound of wading through life at my pace, pursuing my interests and having time to volunteer.

I know it is unrealistic on my part to expect myself to embrace all ideas that Simple Living promotes. But I have started taking baby steps in that direction. I try to lower my consumption. I am going to try reduce my possessions. But I know there are some things I can’t give up. Eating out and exploring different food for one. But I am going to limit that activity to only a few times a month.

We also cannot eliminate debt from our lives. Not until we have cleared our home loan, which will take another decade. Until then, I can revisit my idea of happiness. I can try my best to simplify my life and cut down my wants. I know I am saying this now and I might completely change my tune when I am carried away by the glitz. But I am willing to consider this as an experiment and make a genuine attempt at embracing simplicity.

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 19 Comments »

L for laughable

Posted by Pepper on May 24, 2016

bathroom

 

That is a picture of our shower area. I live with a ridiculous fear. I suspect somebody is hiding behind the curtain and waiting to pounce on me when I am in the midst of my business. I don’t know why, but I have always lived with this fear. Every morning when I enter the bathroom, I first peep and check to make sure there is nobody hiding behind the curtain. I do this every.single.day.

While I have always done a thorough scan of every new bathroom I enter (especially if it happens to be in a hotel!) before I even consider undressing, I find it absolutely ridiculous that I do it in my own home. It is laughable. It is embarrassing to admit. But I suppose all of us have some absurd fears that we simply cannot explain? Please tell me I am not the only one.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 14 Comments »

K for Kindness

Posted by Pepper on May 23, 2016

Mumbai is hot. That is an understatement. I see everybody around me perspiring and sweating it out all the time. While it is obviously very hot outside, it is also very hot inside the house. Unless you keep the AC on 24/7. And that is something I am not a fan of. There is something very unnatural and suffocating about keeping all the doors and windows shut all the time. So we try to cut back on our AC usage and only use it intermittently.

We try to get by by consuming a lot of liquids. Mint flavoured buttermilk and chilled lemon Tang. I have several cups of these a day. I’ve been meaning to cut back on the Tang, because oh the amount of sugar I consume everyday! But an iced glass of Tang is just what I need at times and giving it up has been tough. So the sugar overdose continues. I must at least try making up for it by going for extra long walks, but again, the heat is such a killer.

Anyway, this post isn’t about my coping mechanism for summer. It is about the birds and how the scorching heat and dry, acrid air makes them suffer. A while ago, we noticed a line up of pigeons fighting over a few drops of water in the balcony at my parents place. This water was toxic, dripping from our air conditioner. To watch the pigeons thirstily peck and gulp the few available droplets of carbonized water was heart breaking.

Ever since that day, my dad began to lay out a fresh bowl of water for the birds in the balcony. I was hoping to see more sparrows quench their thirst, but most days we just saw pigeons. I am a pigeon hater but the heat made me feel sorry for them. At the end of the day, my dad would take the almost dry bowl and replenish it with fresh water.

A few days ago, my dad had to leave the city for some work related travel. The sister was given instructions to water the plants in his absence. He told me to refill the water bowl for the birds. Unfortunately, I forgot to do it for the first two days. I would only remember at the end of the day, feel too lazy and decide to do it the next day. This happened twice.

The third day, I noticed the fully dry plastic bowl was lying upturned. The pigeons were back to gulping the drops of water that ran from the air conditioner. I kicked myself. The birdies must have surely been missing my papa. I set down the cold litchees I was about to peel and decided to first get the pigeons their bowl of water. This heat is particularly cruel to the birds. Us humans have destroyed their habitat anyway. The next time I indulge myself with some iced refreshments to beat the harsh summer, I’ll stop for a moment to think of the birds. And whether I have done my part for them ..

Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments »

J for Jumble

Posted by Pepper on May 21, 2016

That is what my life seems like right now. Dictionary defines ‘jumble’ as “A confused multitude of things”. While my head is almost always jumbled at any given time, I am trying hard to straighten my surrounding. So how do I cut out the junk and jumble from my life?

There are a lot of things I can do, but I think I want to start with a few basics.

For one, I need to attack my closets with a vengeance. In Mumbai, homes are small and storage is always short. I don’t blame myself for having to stuff a million things into a tiny space. Organizing is particularly hard when you don’t have enough room. Things just find a way to a place in which they don’t belong. Before I know it, everything seems out of place. Sigh.

Anyway, so my first step is to sort through my wardrobe and simply reduce the number of clothes I own. No, they aren’t worn out. Yes, I still use them. No, I am not bored. I am simply tired of having to manage with such little space. The wardrobes are always in a state of disarray and I feel helpless. So one of my tasks this weekend is to pull out tees and other outfits that I think I should say bye to.

Here is my problem. And I think I may have mentioned this before? I don’t really know who to pass on my clothes to. I’ve always donated clothes to our domestic help and their kids. You don’t have to look too far most times. I will have a separate bag of clothes for them. Clothes that I know they will use and appreciate.

But a lot of the clothes I want to give away now are not ones that maids and their daughters would wear. A lot of them are tank tops, halters and other clothes considered ‘immodest’ by some parts of our society. Also, many of these are expensive labels and brands and I don’t feel like passing them on to people who will not value or even recognize them. I wish I had a cousin or a friend I could hand clothes down to, but I have nobody who is my size. So I have a bag full of some neat stuff that I am forced to give away only because I have no space to keep it, but I don’t think an NGO or a domestic helper would really appreciate them. Oh I wish India had a Goodwill. Let me think of what I can do..

Next on my list is sorting out the kitchen. Because of Mint’s crazy obsession with boxes, we have an entire carton of boxes that came as packaging for various kitchen items. He hates throwing any kind of packaging material and it gets on my nerves. Why add to the clutter? He thinks it helps us organize better when we are ready to move next. That logic sounds ridiculous to me. I wouldn’t want to keep a box that came with a set of mugs for 2 years just so we can use the same box to repack if and when we move. I feel stupid for having listened to him for so long. I think it is time to throw out (or put away to recycle rather) a ton of cardboard from our kitchen and free up some space.

And while we are fixing the house, I might as well get the water heater in one of our bathrooms fixed. We’ve not bothered to do that for the longest time. Since the in-laws along with Oregano will be visiting us soon, we will need both our bathrooms to be functional. More on the in-laws upcoming visit later!

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments »

Because some things shouldn’t be left incomplete..

Posted by Pepper on May 19, 2016

I started the A – Z writing challenge in November last year. To my dismay, it stands incomplete even at the end of 6 months.. I know, I should have at least tried completing it in April, when the entire world was on board. But I didn’t. I wasn’t busy. I wasn’t pressed for time. I was simply lazy. But things that are left incomplete continue to haunt me. And so I will attempt to finish this one more time. I will continue from where I stopped, of course.

The last time, I stopped at ‘I’. Hopefully, May will see me reach Z. Here are all the previous posts in one place.

A for All

B for Blessed

C for Cockroach

D for Dream

E for Exercise

F for Flight

G for Goals

H for Hope

I for Integrate

See you tomorrow, I hope!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

35 and counting..

Posted by Pepper on May 18, 2016

My parents completed 35 years of marriage a week ago. The sister and I call them our angels. We’ve had the fortunate of growing beneath their wings and we can’t feel more blessed. In my eyes, not only are they the most perfect parents, but they also are the most perfect couple. So much in love! They talk to each other at least twice a day on phone when my dad is at work. I hold them as a shining example every time I nag Mint. The guy is known to not answer his phone. Ever. Hmph..

Of course, we had to celebrate the parents anniversary. And after a lot of debating, we finally decided to go for a pool side buffet lunch. It was a relaxed Saturday and we had a great time. All through I kept thinking of what it is that makes the sister and I so crazy about our parents. After all, not all our friends worship their parents the way we do.

When I think of it, it isn’t like they made no parenting mistakes. In fact, I think they’ve even committed some blunders in the past. And no, I am not talking about dressing me up in a frock that had pineapples and the alphabet A all over it. (Seriously, why though?). I am talking about real parenting mistakes. For example, I distinctly remember being whacked by my mom on several occasions for getting a Math sum wrong. In my world, that is blasphemous! You cannot raise your hand on a child for a reason like that. My mum apologizes profusely now when I remind her. She believes she was stupid. The whacking could have deeply affected my psyche and made me fear Math for life. Or did it? I don’t know. But yeah, both mom and I agree that approach was terribly wrong.

My dad, he made mistakes of a different kind. He has always been over indulgent. He would drive the sister and I to school every morning just because the school bus came 15 minutes too early. We paid hefty bus fees and used the service only while returning home. So we wasted half of the fees for the sake of 15 minutes of extra sleep in the morning. I think I wouldn’t do that for my child. What about teaching them the value of money? If we are using our hard earned money to pay for a service, we should utilise it. And what about other life lessons we could have learned? Waking up in time and viewing that as a necessity. The sister and I could have grown up with a sense of entitlement because of dad’s over indulgence. Thankfully, we didn’t.

But, their mistakes apart, they did for too many things right. And most importantly, they acknowledge the mistakes they’ve made in the past. Growing up, my parents turned into our best friends. I’ve written several posts about how terrific they are. I don’t know how I would have turned out without them. In fact is it their awesomeness that makes me scared of being a parent myself. I feel unsure I can be such an amazing parent.

While the sister and I obviously consider our parents to be the best in the world (typical kids, aren’t we?), it is heartening to see Mint echo the same thoughts. He’s never really been very close to his parents, and it is only now that he realises how beautiful and strong a bond can be between parents and child. It has been wonderful to watch him develop a very intimate relationship with my parents. A relationship that is independent of me. He has his own personal relationship with them and I know he doesn’t care about them because they are my parents anymore. He cares about them because they are two people he respects and loves sans obligations. He does think they are the nicest parents ever, and that coming from him is wonderful.

So my dear Mama and Papa, your 3 kids are nuts about you. You’ve had a great run together. 35 years is big. Here’s to many more fun filled years..

 

Posted in Meet the family | 12 Comments »

 
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