A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for the ‘Er-rant-ic behaviour’ Category

Erratic rants.

In the times of covid..

Posted by Pepper on February 25, 2021

Two weeks ago, my mom went to the salon to get her hair colored. I think I need to backtrack a little here. To start with, my parents have been highly covid conscious. I mean, not like they had a choice. With my mom’s history of cancer and my dad’s kidney ailment, they were both high risk. They followed the recommended protocol, stopped stepping out of the house, dealt with the hardships that came with the loss of their house help. They weren’t fit enough to take on the daily task of sweeping and mopping among the million things that they were having to do. My sister who lives with them had an excruciatingly busy schedule and was struggling in her own ways between managing her work and my parents needs of wanting to do things at a certain time. In short, they really struggled, but they did what they should have done to avoid all exposure and got through that period.

And after months when things seemed to be relatively stable in Mumbai, they brought back their house help. It was a well calculated move and we all agreed they needed the support and were falling sick without it. But how was I supposed to manage my anxiety? I would look up the number of cases in Mumbai every other day. If I was on a video call with my parents and saw the helper in the same room as them, I would yell at the top of my voice and ask them to go and get their masks. For the most part, everybody kept their masks on, but the occasional slip would stress me out.

I was living on the edge. And then one day my mom told me she was sick of seeing herself in the mirror and hated her hair. She wanted to go to the salon to get it cut and colored. I lost my head and yelled at her, asked her if she was nuts. Reminded her that she was high risk and had to be thankful that she was in fact leading a normal, medically uncomplicated life. Why on earth would she think of taking the risk?

She seemed to accept my opinion for a while. But time and again she would bring it up, only to hear me explode. I kept telling her being alive was more important than worrying about a grey head. She would tell me how important it was to feel good and some such crap. I told her to let my sister cut and color her hair. Weren’t we all donning the role of a hair stylist anyway? Unfortunately, she wouldn’t trust the sister to do the job as per her liking. *Eye roll*

Months passed, we kept going back and forth. This subject would come up every few weeks and would result in a heated argument with me yelling at her. In the midst, I would also have to deal with other stress of my dad going to the bank because “it was very important”. Why can’t you just do things online now, I would ask? And he would say he doesn’t know how to do it online. Each time, I would start the mental countdown of 2 weeks and pray nobody has any symptoms. But since the work was supposedly important and unavoidable, I was more understanding of the situation.

But hair salon? Really? How can you think of such frivolous activities when you are high risk? My mom brought it up again one fine day and I got mad and asked her to do what she wants. She said she would use her discretion and make the call. And she did. One morning when there was nobody else in the salon, she went and got her hair cut and colored.

And while we aren’t on the same page on this and while I still deem these activities as unnecessary and unworthy of the risk they pose, I can see how much better it makes my mom feel to not have her hair so out of place. Of course, I love annoying her by telling her how shallow she is. As usual, I waited for 2 weeks to pass before I could breathe a sigh of relief. Like every child, my parents are most precious to me and I wish I could keep them in a safe bubble. They are my lifelines and I worry so much. I hope the world heals soon and we don’t have to stress so much about simple everyday living.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 25 Comments »

Of being disproportionately mixed

Posted by Pepper on February 9, 2021

I am pretty sure I have mentioned this on the blog, Mint’s native language, what we call ‘mother tongue’ in India, is Telugu. However, his family has been in Tamil Nadu for literally hundreds of years and the kind of Telugu they speak is almost unrecognizable when compared to the authentic Telugu. Also, for whatever reason, he identifies more with the Tamil language and speaks it far more fluently than Telugu.

Most of his friends have no clue about his native language and he prefers telling people he is a Tam guy. This greatly irks his parents who feel he needs to take more pride in his roots. Mint on the other hand, says they are hypocritical in their thought process, because they themselves only converse in Tamil. Not Telugu.

We have always dealt with a Tamil – Telugu war. When I got married, his parents wanted me to learn Telugu. He said that if I have to learn a language, he insisted it had to be Tamil. Now the fact that I learnt neither of them is a different story. Because really, that guy has had little interest in teaching me. He was perfectly comfortable talking to me in Hindi and English. All the Tamil I know and have learnt has been thanks to the effort I have put in on my own. And while I can understand a significant amount, I am still sad I can’t hold conversations on my own. But unfortunately I don’t have the bandwidth to self learn or go for classes and if Mint took more effort in teaching me, it would have helped.

I think my in laws gave up on me learning the language. And then Cotton and Candy were born and the language monster raised its head again. After another debate on what language the kids should learn and going back and forth between Tamil and Telugu, my in laws agreed to let them learn Tamil. They stayed with us for a whole 6 months and would talk to the kids in Tamil. Cotton and Candy were picking up the words. And then they left.

I expected Mint to continue talking to them in Tamil. He never took the effort with me. But he had a golden opportunity to do it with the kids. I definitely wanted to pass on the gift of language to them. From my end, I spoke to the kids in Hindi. Again, I have never exposed the kids to my mother tongue, which is a mix of Punjabi, Sindhi and Multani. I thought they would benefit more from knowing Hindi and that’s one language I have a strong connect with anyway, because, Bollywood.

So I took the effort to speak to the kids in Hindi. And surprisingly, it took more effort than I anticipated. English has been my comfort language and the language I think in. Hindi is very close to my hear but really, intuitively I am inclined to speak in English. Anyway, the efforts were paying off and Cotton and Candy were beginning to grasp the langauge well. Also, we spent several months in Mumbai and having a full time helper there who only spoke to the kids in Hindi helped immensely.

But what I began noticing over time is that when I spoke to the kids in Hindi, Mint would continue the conversation with them in Hindi. Every time I pointed it out to him and asked him to revert to Tamil, he would say that it seems unnatural to talk to the kids in one language and me in another. Eventually, he had fully switched to talking to the kids in Hindi. I was not too pleased, but he seemed to be supremely lazy in putting n the effort.

My in-laws were aghast. Cotton and Candy were not learning any language from their end and were developing a proficiency in Hindi. In my head, I could hear them screaming, ‘This is why we were so against the marriage, we knew it would result in us not being able to pass on our culture and heritage’. I have told them several times, this is Mint’s fault. Please blame your son. I would love our kids to know all the possible languages they can, I don’t know why he is such a lazy bugger. And I know a part of them believes me. They know their son. But the other part of me keeps thinking, what if they think this is their evil daughter in law’s fault? One who controls everything and calls all the shots.

Let me talk about the current happenings in our life now. Every time we are talking to my in-laws on a video call, Cotton and Candy keep switching to Hindi. Not only do my in-laws not know Hindi, this is a classic way of rubbing salt into their wounds. My in-laws ask them a question in English, they reply in Hindi. Jeez. Ayyo. Jale pe namak chidakna. I cringe every single time. This, despite me warning the kids before we start the call. Every time, I remind them. “Please talk to Thatha and Nanamma only in Engligh, okay?”. They say yes to me. But somewhere in the middle of the conversation, I see them slipping into Hindi.

And while I stress and feel guilty and apologetic, I see my idiot husband grinning at my panicked state. I genuinely feel sorry for my in-laws. This is not how I expected my mixed kids to turn out. I mean, I would have liked an equal contribution and our cultural mix to reflect more evenly. Unfortunately, the contribution of the other half is not in my hands.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 19 Comments »

One and done

Posted by Pepper on September 12, 2016

I’ve never been much of a drinker. I did however, drink in social settings. Quite safe to say that my alcohol consumption has never crossed the ‘occasional’ mark. A while ago, I decided to go on a self imposed ban and chose to completely restrict all alcohol intake. Well, not just alcohol. I also eliminated tea and coffee from my life. This was a huge step for me, given my addiction to coffee. I *tried* to cut out sugar too. Let’s just say that mission was an epic fail. Because, desserts. And chocolate.

This Saturday evening, Mint and I found ourselves home with no real plans. This is quite a rarity for us, so I was happy to spend the evening relaxing at home. The sister was meeting a friend of hers at a food court and we asked her to pack some food for us. I requested her to drop it off at our place on her way back. I’m not sure what got into me, but I told Mint we should get a few drinks. We found a big bottle of Black Label in our cabinet. I’m not a whisky person, but since I was drinking as a one off, I decided to go all out.

It started out rather innocently. And I don’t even know at what point I got that high. I don’t think I’ve been that buzzed in a long, long time. In fact, I don’t remember being that buzzed ever. It was funny because I have a clear memory of all that I was saying and doing, just that I was unable to stop myself from saying it. I punched Mint’s arm every 2.5 minutes and then dissolved into fits of laughter. I also spoke a truckload of rubbish. I know I was talking non stop and I couldn’t get myself to shut up. I even made some smart suggestions to Mint and told him we should sleep under the sofa that night. Yes, under. Not on.

All of a sudden, I could feel the effervescence welling up inside, threatening to spill out anytime. Clutching my head and babbling things like ‘ Chakkar is coming. Ulti is also coming. Spin ho raha hai’, I ran inside the bedroom. I also forced Mint to follow me. Once in the bedroom, I insisted I wanted the lights off immediately. I told him I hated the lights. They were evil.

I really have little memory of what happened after the lights were turned off. I don’t even know how much time passed. All I remember is racing to the washroom suddenly when I realised I had to throw up. Yuck! I then went on to clean up the mess in my drunken state. I crawled back to bed, thinking I’d feel better after the puke fest. But no sir! I wasn’t done. I went on to throw up 4 more times. I quit cleaning up after the first 2 times since I figured there would be more to come, and we might as well do it all at one go. After the 5th session, I was confident I had nothing left to spew out. I told Mint I was done and he could proceed to clean up now. I must say, the poor guy did a good job of cleaning up all my puke.

I slept finally, after being forced by Mint to drink a lot of water. He said it would help with my hang over in the morning. Thankfully, other than a mild headache, I didn’t suffer too much the next morning. In all of this, did I have fun? Hell yes. It was good to shed all my inhibitions. The puking was gross and a complete spoiler, of course. But all in all, I did have a lot of fun! Would I do it again? Nope! I think I’m done.


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

The act of moving on

Posted by Pepper on September 6, 2016

When I was little, I mean two ponytails and teddy bears little, I was conditioned into believing my life would follow a typical progression and I would be the mother of two kids by the time I hit 30. I would have a high paying job I love and look forward to everyday. I would also have a dog. And a fun and happening life. I admit, my conjured image of an ideal life was more driven by social conditioning than my own desires. Plus, I was young and stupid.

Having said that, I still didn’t imagine myself not having a single child by the time I turned 30. I suppose I got older a lot sooner than I expected to. I mean, I always wanted to have kids from the time I can remember. I just didn’t know when. When I got married, Mint told me in no uncertain terms that he never wanted to have kids. The word was ‘never’. While such statements did worry me at times, I knew in my heart that he was merely freaked out by the idea of raising a child. He would overcome his fear when the time was right. Also, we did have a lot of time on our hands. We married young.

Time as we all know is a slippery factor. It passes before you know it. All of a sudden, I found myself anxious about my age. I decided it was time to push Mint to think. After a lot of debates and discussions, he ‘agreed’ to have a child. This would worry me at times. Because he only agreed. He still didn’t seem to want it enough himself. But he told me this was the best he could give me. He wasn’t sure he would ever want kids desperately. He would only agree and maybe feel happy about his decision at a later point. But right now, agreement and an assurance that he would give parenting his best shot was all I would get. After more debates and discussions, we decided the time was right. After some more thought, we decided our first choice was to adopt a baby girl. When we signed up for adoption at the beginning of the year, I was ecstatic to get the ball rolling.

Little did I know then that our ride was going to be tumultuous, to say the least. Things changed rapidly. Our personal situation became so precarious that we could no longer be sure about adoption. But until we are sure we can’t adopt, we don’t want to give it up. And unfortunately, it is taking us some time to be sure of that. Our circumstances are making us dangle on the edge. And I find myself wondering everyday. How long should we hold on to this dream? Is it meant to be? Should we start thinking about having a biological baby if adoption isn’t working out? In the end, we decide to wait a little bit longer for adoption to work out before we think of embarking on the journey to have a biological child. This waiting however is wearing me out.

Mint often asks me, why I am so sure I am ready to have a baby. I think my desire to have a child right now is still mild. It hasn’t peaked, but I sense it is there. I think I want a child because I am bored of the monotony. I want to experience something intensely challenging and there are few things as challenging as parenthood. I know having a child will be exceptionally demanding. It will shake us and make us refocus. I like the sound of that. Plus watching a child grow is fascinating. That, and the truth that I can’t deny. I want a child because most people around me have one. And the world has led me to believe that I should have a child by now.

Sadly, since our personal situation is so wobbly and we don’t yet know what path we will take to have a child (and that we shouldn’t even be thinking of having a child until things settle down for us), I know waiting is imminent. A baby will most likely not be on the cards for us for a long time. A year? Maybe. More than that? Perhaps. I have no answers. The thought of my passing age makes me panic but there is little I can do other than convincing myself that though I may be 30, I am not that old. A delay worth a year or two might hurt me a little but it will not kill me.

The social pressure is momentous. Either it has escalated all of sudden, or I am falling prey to it now more than ever. At first, people would ask me when we planned to have a baby. It would anger me and I would respond based on the circumstances and who the questioning authority was. I would either find a polite way of asking them to f*ck off or I would brush it off and laugh. Things seem to have worsened now. From asking me when we plan to have a baby, people have now graduated to asking me if I am pregnant. This has made me cry twice. I’ve thrown a fit, wondering if I look that fat or have such a protruding belly.

People are ruthless and insensitive. I was asking a friend to drop by since she hasn’t yet been to our home, and she kept saying she would come only when I gave her a reason to come. It took me a while to understand her implication. She then went on to say her son would want some company and there was no child in our home. I really couldn’t think of how to respond. It’s just that much harder when people your age do it to you. You can’t even blame it on the mindset of a past generation.

And then there was my yoga instructor. Or rather my ex yoga instructor. She lives in our apartment complex and has known my family for ages. She conducts classes in the community hall. While I was trying to get some inputs on some muscle strengthening exercises, she told me she would rather show me some exercises that will help me conceive. She went on to add that the said exercises have worked for many women and that I would surely benefit. Boundaries anyone? I guess that concept is unheard of in India. I’m sorry, but if I ever need your help in conceiving, I will let you know, thank you. To say that I was enraged would be an understatement. It explains why the said teacher turned into an ex teacher.

Wherever I go, I am hounded by the baby question. The badgering is incessant and merciless. Even if I respond politely, I am subjected to more intense grilling. The fact that we’ve been married for six years makes us undergo constant scrutiny and interrogation. It has reached a point where I have begun to avoid social interaction.

Every move of mine is examined, inspected and dissected. If I am at a party and I refuse alcohol, people ask me if I am pregnant. God forbid I have a stomach upset or some unexplained nausea. People will move on to congratulating me. I feel so suffocated, I am scared to even let out a sigh, least it is interpreted the wrong way. I feel vulnerable wherever I go. I guess I didn’t find the questioning and the investigation half as grueling earlier because at that point I genuinely didn’t want to have kids. Now I think I am ready to have kids and the same questions sting me a lot more.

It’s easy to ask people to ‘not care’ about what others say. I am guilty of telling my unmarried friends to not care about the so called well meaning relatives’ nudges and jabs, asking them to get married. At times it is easy to ignore, but other times it is not. And it is especially hard when you struggling to achieve the same thing you are expected to have.

As for me, I think a lot about time lines. How important are they? What do you do when the time you take to achieve some goals overshoots the time limit you set out for yourself. Sometimes I wonder if our society is devised in such a way that it requires your life path to be constantly aligned with your peers. We usually do find it easier to connect with folks who are in the same phase as us. Whether it is the phase of choosing a partner and getting married, or experiencing parenthood, or the same level of seniority in professions, etc. The moment your lives stop running in parallel, you are made to feel a sense of alienation. Is this why we are pressured into following what is a typical trajectory?

If you’ve chosen differently or life didn’t happen to you at the same time, you’re going to be made to feel like a misfit or a social outcast, depending on how different your choice is and where you are placed at that time. I know we’ve chosen differently. And since adoption is still our first choice for having a baby, I think I have to prepare myself for a lifetime of being under the glare. I know I have to stand up and face the invasive spotlight that will always follow me. Much as I’d like, our unconventional choice doesn’t let me scurry into the shadows and live in oblivion.

Whether it is getting married, or reaching a certain milestone in your career, or having a baby, or buying a house when the world thinks it is time you should own one, or having baby no. 2, the probing never ends. I am actively working on desensitizing myself. One day, I know I will reach that zen emotional state. Hopefully, my posts will map the path I took to get there. Until then, I will continue to silently cringe at the comments and push myself to move on..

Posted in A penny for my thoughts, Er-rant-ic behaviour | 52 Comments »

L for laughable

Posted by Pepper on May 24, 2016



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 »

Being stupid

Posted by Pepper on April 25, 2016

Time and again I find myself going ahead and doing things that have absolutely no explanation. These are the things that make my family address me as ‘mental’, or like my mom says, ‘crack’.

This time, it happened in my cousin’s home. The sister and I were playing with the said cousin’s kids. The young lad had a bow and arrow set that I was particularly fascinated by. This was no ordinary bow and arrow set. This one came with a laser beam that would help you aim and target. Very neat. The arrows were long and sturdy and had suction cups at the end. The suction actually worked, unlike the ones on the darts that I used to have as a kid. We continued playing for a while.

When it was time for the kids to be fed, the sister and I sat back and I continued fidgeting with the arrows. I don’t know what got into me, but I decided to stick the arrow in the center of my forehead and see how long it stays there. I forbid you from asking me why. Because, well, I don’t know. I am whimsical and feel overcome by strange urges.

To my surprise, the arrow got neatly glued to my forehead. So the suction works on all kinds of surfaces, I thought. I wanted to see how long it would stay, so I let it be there as I continued to chat with my aunt, who was kind enough to ignore it. The sister kept eyeing me suspiciously but chose to not say anything in front of the many people around. Half an hour passed.

We finally found ourselves alone in the room. The arrow was still sticking out of my forehead and she pounced on me. “Do you know how ridiculous you look? Stop being so mental in front of others at least.” Saying that, she grabbed the arrow and decided to yank it out without any warning.

The suction turned out to be more powerful than I thought. The skin on my forehead was suddenly pulled, tugged and stretched without any warning. It was stinging for a few brief seconds and then it was gone. But of course, I yelled at the sister and asked her why she would pull it out like that without warning. She kept muttering something about me looking exceptionally stupid.

And then after a few moments, she gasped and asked “What is that!”. Turned out, my forehead had a big round circular mark, where the arrow had been attached. Yikes! I waited for a few minutes and sent this pic to Mint on WhatsApp.


He decided to annoy me further by sending me this pic and said I could cite her as my inspiration for the new look I was sporting. Do you know now why I want to murder him?



No offense meant to Usha Uthup. She looks great, but I think that look is best suited to her, and maybe a few others. Not me!

To my horror, the next day the circular mark had turned a bright purple. Every single person is curious to know how it happened. It isn’t often that you get to see such perfectly shaped scars. What is the secret? I tried telling a few people the truth, only to have them dissolve in fits of laughter. I could see the look in their eyes. The look that screamed, “She is such a lunatic.”

Gah. The world thinks I am stupid and now I have my stupidity stamped on my forehead quite literally. I knew it would leave its mark someday. It’s been 3 days and the bruise refuses to go. This makes the entire world question me. And then laugh at me. I’m sorry, I don’t know why sticking toy arrows on your forehead is not considered a part of normal adult behavior. I wish I could lie about how the bruise came but I can’t think of anything that will explain such a perfect circle.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 60 Comments »

Some days are like that

Posted by Pepper on April 14, 2016

I’ve never been an efficient cook. While I can manage to cook a decent meal, it takes me forever to put it together. And when I see people who can cook for a group of 10 in an hour or so, I feel awful. I usually take about an hour or so to whip up something for 2 to 3 people. In fact, I find the ‘prep time’ stated by most recipes to be very misleading. Especially when it comes to Indian cooking. How can chopping all those veggies, dicing onions, preparing the ginger garlic paste take only 30 minutes? It takes me a year. Sigh.

I must say, my timing had improved a little when I was forced to cook everyday while we lived in the US. All those years of preparing meals all by myself had resulted in me being a little fast, or faster than my usual self at least. Unfortunately, ever since we moved back to India, I managed to unlearn all the skills I had acquired. All the cooking was outsourced. I still feel grateful when I am presented with a hot meal prepared by our cook. But I have to admit, I have lost touch with everyday cooking.

But of course, there are still days when I want to cook on my own. Because like I have said, although our cook has a steady hand when it comes to Indian cooking, she has very rigid ideas in her head. She refuses to explore or innovate. As a result, we are forced to eat not just Indian food, but Indian food prepared in the same way. Also, she has little to no knowledge of South Indian cuisine. Or any other regional cuisine for that matter. It is all completely alien to her. She refused to even believe that sambar was eaten with rice. She insisted sambar was had only with idlis and dosas, the way it is served in Udupi restaurants in Mumbai. Sigh. For a self proclaimed samhar saadam lover, such lack of knowledge was blasphemous.

And so, on some days I cook. It takes me forever, but I still think the effort and time I put in is worth it if it gives us a break from the regular fare. I also read so many food blogs, I feel overcome by the desire to try out the recipes I have bookmarked. Trying to ‘explain’ the recipe to our cook is a pointless exercise. Doing it yourself is far simpler. Ideally though, I should ask our cook to chop and get all prep work done. Unfortunately, I end up giving her a day off every time I decide to cook. This is because I feel guilty asking her to come all the way just for chopping a few things.

It takes me forever to dice 3 onions and peel a few pods of garlic. I time myself, I try so hard to speed up, but each time I feel let down and discouraged by the amount of time it takes me. And some days are worse than the others. Other than moving in the kitchen in an exceptionally slow manner, I successfully create one disaster after another.

Like the other day, I was excited about trying a new recipe I had found on some blog. I placed my laptop on the kitchen counter and plugged it in to a socket on the other side. As a result, I tripped on the charging cable and dropped the little bowl of yogurt I was carrying in my hand. It took me a couple of minutes to clean up the spilt yogurt.

And then, I tried to puree some tomatoes in the mixie. The result was a shower of tomato puree all over my face, my arm, the mixie, the floor, the cabinets and even the ceiling! Either I overshot the capacity of our mixer or I didn’t hold down the lid right, but the result was not pleasant. In fact it made me cry.



After the hour long clean up session, I was beginning to question my own sanity. Why do I even attempt to cook when I have the option not to? Maybe I am incapable. Maybe these things are not meant for me. Mint got home exactly at that time and on seeing the bedlam, let out a laugh. Of course, I wanted to hit him for laughing at me. That night when he was clearing the kitchen after dinner (that we ordered), he came up to tell me that he could spot some dried red pulp on some cabinets on the other end of the kitchen. I sighed. Looked like I had coloured our kitchen red. This was going to need a few more sessions of cleaning up.

I’m not sure what changed by morning, but the next morning I decided I wasn’t giving up. I love food too much to do that. Instead, I am going to have to try harder. Let’s see how this goes..

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 39 Comments »

Living with anxiety..

Posted by Pepper on April 9, 2016

Some months ago, Mint came home and told me he was planning a trek to Sikkim with his colleagues. A 9 day trek that would take them through the Himalayan range. Typically in such situations, my initial reaction is to lose it and ask him to cut it out. Because I am by nature an extremely anxious person. The first thought that enters my head is: what if something goes wrong? Why expose yourself to dangers that can easily be avoided? How will I get by the days living with such intense worry?

Unfortunately, other than being an anxious person, I am also a fairly rational person and realise my own line of thought is at times quite ridiculous. I find it hard to justify my fears to my own self, let alone to Mint. Other than knowing the odds of something fatal happening were very low, I also knew living a life completely devoid of risks isn’t a possibility. And of course, we also have all those theories about space and letting your partner live their own life and blah. So this time when he told me about the trek, I said nothing. When he told me he was  booking his flight tickets, I said nothing. I remained silent as he went about making all his travel arrangements. He booked his accommodation, purchased the gear he would need be needing for his trek. It was all finalised.

And then two days before he was to leave, I broke down. I realised he would be going through completely uncivilized terrain and passing through settlements with no electricity. There would be no mobile coverage. The thought of remaining disconnected for days together when he was in the wild made me feel sick. I threw a fit and asked him to cancel his trip. He looked at me with disbelief when I said it. I was asking him to cancel a trip that he had booked over 3 months in advance, one that he was highly looking forward to, was fully paid for and would result in a complete loss. Yes, I repeated what I had just said. Don’t go.

He negotiated with me for a while, requested me not worry. When I would not budge, he agreed to cancel it. As usual, I didn’t know what it was that would make me happy. The thought of him going was killing me with worry. The thought of him not going was killing me with guilt. After a lot of turmoil, I turned around and asked him to go. Only to back out a day before he was to leave and create another scene. I screamed, accused him of not caring about me, being the most inconsiderate partner and so on. I knew I was being unreasonable but who is to stop me at such times? He was back to asking me if he should cancel his trip and I was back to saying no and then hating him for going.

We decided to have a good heart to heart on the evening before he was to leave. What exactly was my worry, he wanted to know. I thought for a few minutes, and then blurted out. I was worried he would die. There, I said it. Of course, he laughed and told me he was going for a trek, not on a war. Before you laugh at me, let me tell you anxiety is not rational. And it sucks that most people with anxiety realise how irrational their fears are. We had a good long discussion and he acknowledged my fears instead of dismissing or ridiculing them. Somehow that conversation put me at ease. I felt better after a long time and was able to let him leave on a cheerful note the next morning.

It took him two flights and a 7 hour car journey that went over the ghats to reach the place from where he was to start trekking. He called me the next morning before beginning his trek. I reminded him again that I expected to hear from him at least once in every 24 hours. If there was no mobile coverage in the area, he was to find a landline. He told me knew how worried I was and that was worrying him and making him uneasy. He wasn’t able to put his mind at rest knowing my condition. I promised him again that I would try to not worry.

And just like that, I lost all contact with him after that conversation. I waited for night to set in. Maybe he would call when they stopped for the day. He didn’t. I convinced myself to pull through the night. When I hadn’t heard from him by the next morning either, I was in a state of extreme panic. What could have gone wrong? I knew he would be making all possible attempts to call. So then, why couldn’t he? His phone was switched off.

One day stretched into another. By the end of the second day, I was sure I would not survive anymore. I kept calling him every 3 minutes, knowing very well that it wouldn’t help. I was trying so hard to not imagine the worst. What if something had happened to him? How would that impact me? Please God, make sure he is alive and well. I prayed with all my heart.

I was feeling physically sick by day 3. If something has happened to him and he is no more, maybe I will really not survive myself. How bloody fortunate I was to have met him in my life. Maybe I was so fortunate that it had to be short lived? He is the best thing to have happened to me. What if I have to spend the rest of my life without him? Oh my God! We have a massive loan that I will never be able to take care of single handedly. Well, I will sell the house immediately. But oh, what if I am unable to sell the house because the market prices are too low? The loan will not disappear. I will be ruined. I will be all alone. I will die too. Oh God. Stop! Stop! Stop!

On day 4 I decided I hate him. How could he subject me to this anguish for the sake of his own pleasures? He knows that I would be dying every minute. People who have partners with anxiety should try to curtail their lives and desires to an extent. Yes, this was his fault. I will never talk to him. Oh wait, I will not talk to him only after I know he is alive and well. Please God, just let me hear from him once.

He called finally on the 5th day. This time I thought I would die of relief. I had no words to tell him the kind of hell I had been to. Like I should have guessed, he could not call for all those days because he had absolutely no means to do so. No mobile network or coverage, no access to landlines. Nothing. I hated him for going to a place like that. These adventures are meant for people who are free and footloose. People who have no responsibilities and can live their lives with glee and abandonment. Not for people with massive loans and wives who suffer from anxiety disorders.

When I had calmed down though, I knew the biggest lesson was for me. I have always known my anxiety makes me deviate from my sense of logic. It begins to exercise a deep level of control over my every day life. For example, I still panic when my dad comes home two hours late and we aren’t able to get through to him. When other people would attribute it to heavy traffic and a phone that has run out of charge, my mind embarks on a journey of it’s own. What if he was in a accident? What if his phone was stolen? What if something terrible happened? How will we get through it?

I read in an article that having anxiety is like having a brain with a faulty alarm system wired into it. The alarm goes off in your head even when there is no real need for it to, even when there is no sense of danger. And then you spend your time freaking out knowing well that there is no reason to freak out, but being unable to stop yourself from freaking out. It’s like wanting to stop the blaring alarm that is causing a heart attack and driving you nuts but you just don’ know where the ‘dismiss’ button lies.

I know coping with anxiety has always been one of the biggest challenges of my life. But this whole episode has taught me that this isn’t a sustainable way to live. I will always be exposed to situations that have more questions than answers. But every time I face a question, I cannot let myself assume the worst answer, not even in my subconscious. I have promised myself I am going to try to be a more secure person. I know it will be a long journey, but the first step is making myself believe that I can do it.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour, Splashes of Mint | 45 Comments »

Aunty club

Posted by Pepper on January 8, 2016

I secured a place in the ‘aunty club’ a few years ago. No, not because of how old I am or how I look, but because of the way I behave. I have often been chided and asked to ‘Stop being such an aunty’. What qualifies me to be an aunty, you ask? Well, pretty much all my preferences.

For starters, I am unable to keep myself up till late at night. Ideally, I like to be in bed by 11 pm. I can push myself till 12. Anything beyond that becomes too much of a strain. Unfortunately, this makes me stick out like a sore thumb. Our social circle is full of people whose idea of fun is to stay up all night. Most times, we are in the midst of playing board games and I have to excuse myself at 1 am and say goodnight to everybody. This is almost always followed by collective groaning. If we are having a sleep over in our house, it is even more difficult for me to wriggle out. Every time I tell people I am tired and sleepy, they scoff. Probably my energy or enthusiasm level isn’t comparable to theirs. This has earned me the status of being ‘boring’ other than being an ‘aunty’.

I don’t really care about alcohol. Don’t get me wrong, I do drink every now and then, averaging to about once in every two to three weeks. But I don’t know why I drink. Because it isn’t that I fancy the taste. In fact, I can hardly taste the alcohol because my drink is always so full of mixers. And beer? I HATE it. I have tried so hard to get myself to like the taste of beer, but no matter what kind of beer I try, I still dislike it. I am just about okay with wine. For me to like it, it has to be a little sweet. Other times, I just stick to vodka or rum with a glass full of sprite or coke. And lots of ice. You see, I do my best to guise the taste of alcohol.

There are times when everybody around me orders a beer. Since I don’t really care about beer and I am not inclined to be the only person drinking vodka, I usually decline alcohol altogether. Again, this makes people push and probe. Some of them want to know why I am being such a ‘spoilt sport’. When I stick to my guns and continue to deny a glass, I get pushed into the ‘boring’ bracket again.

The only bachelorette party I attended in my life, everybody around me was playing games like flip the cup and beer pong at 2 am. The games, all of which were built around the idea of binge drinking were so not appealing to me. Since it was the BFF’s bachelorette party, I didn’t even have the courage to tell her I was going off to bed. I continued stifling my yawns. I had stopped drinking a while ago, and if I had gone ahead and told her I wanted to sleep, she would have probably thrown a fit and asked me if we drove to Lonavala all the way only to come and sleep through the night. Sigh. When I looked around, everybody seemed to be having fun and I was the only one suffering in silence. Around 3 am though, I decided to stop suffering and told myself the BFF will understand. I decided to sleep, while everybody else partied on. This of course, only strengthened the reputation I had acquired.

To add to my auntyness, I don’t exactly enjoy dancing in clubs. I am always too conscious and too full of inhibitions to dance in front of a roomful of strangers. Actually, I will rephrase that. I do enjoy dancing to good music in a club, but that is only on a rare occasion, when I am too high on life to feel inhibited. But on most days, I dislike it. Because clubbing is invariably a late night affair, where the real party begins only after midnight. By then, I am already dreaming about my pajamas and my bed. Whenever friends suggest we head out to a club, I try hard to not make my reluctance very obvious. By now though, most of my friends know my preferences. Although they don’t always voice themselves, I know how they feel.

Since a lot of people have ‘jokingly’ said it in the past, I know now that I am a certified aunty. Well, I don’t feel very bothered. It is just that since I am tossed in the midst of people who are oh so full of ‘youth’, I stick out too much. I am planning to socialise more with fellow aunties. Let’s see how that goes!

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 18 Comments »

C for Cockroach

Posted by Pepper on November 23, 2015

Okay, I’m sorry. That really isn’t a very glamorous title. And I can’t believe my own choice of topic. But then, it really does fit the bill. The cockroach is quite the protagonist in this post. So let’s move on, shall we?

It so happened that I forgot to roll up the windows of my car one day. I must have rolled them down for some reason, and since I am not used to having to roll up the windows before getting out of the car (I hardly ever roll them down), I forgot about it. So looks like the windows remained open all night. I was quite alarmed when I noticed it the next morning. Thankfully, I couldn’t find anything amiss and I concluded that it had been an uneventful night.

Then it happened. I was driving back from work that day. All of a sudden, a creature whizzed past my vision and it resulted in me braking abruptly. It wasn’t funny in the least bit. I could have caused an accident and it would have been all my fault. I couldn’t help it though, I was so startled by that damn thing that appeared out of nowhere. I was horrified to note that it was a cockroach. And wait for it, a freaking flying cockroach! My guess is that it had entered the previous night when I had left the windows open.

I rolled down the windows immediately, praying to the Almighty to show the cockroach the right path and lead it out of the car. I had scary thoughts of it flying across my face and since I was driving, I knew that wouldn’t result in something nice. To make matters worse, I wasn’t getting the opportunity to pull up on the side. I was right in the midst of speeding cars, being forced to maintain a certain speed myself. The cockroach seemed to be enjoying it’s flight. I had no idea where or when it would land next. It was a few moments of acute tension and anxiety. I started to sob. Quite literally, I had tears streaming down my face.

Finally, I did get the opportunity to pull over. I waited for the damn thing to make a peaceful exit. But no, it seemed to love it’s new hang out. I got out of the car and prayed some more. When I peeped in, it was still there, cosy in it’s spot. Finally after waiting endlessly, I decided to be brave enough to use a piece of paper to flick off the roach. But every time I would attempt to do that, it would scurry into an unreachable crevice; that tiny gap between the door and window. Fine, I thought, as long as it stays there and doesn’t come out while I am driving. So I convinced myself to start driving, but like I suspected, the dude was out the moment the car was in motion.

I stopped again. Wiped my tears. I took a photograph. I wanted evidence of my sufferings. I called Mint and told him I was stuck on the highway, in the car with a cockroach that wasn’t letting me drive. I told him I had taken a picture of the monster. He asked me why I would I stand by and click, instead of driving it away. Hah, if only I knew how to do that. When I sent him the picture on WhatsApp, his only response was, ‘Don’t be ridiculous’. Don’t be ridiculous? What does that even mean? And how insensitive of him.



I swear it was much bigger than it looks in the picture. I really didn’t know what to do. I probably sound lame to some, but trust me, when you are trapped in a car and are forced to drive while a cockroach circles around the air and takes sadistic pleasure in arbitrarily zipping by you, the mystery of when and where it will land is torturous. I mean, I have never come in physical contact with a cockroach. I have never touched one. The last thing I wanted was for it to disembark on my nose or something. I would probably crash.

Sigh. If you are wondering how it ended, I convinced myself to ignore it and continue driving. I used the slowest lane and stuck to the sides, just so I could stop in an emergency. But that was probably the most painful drive ever. Ofcourse, I swapped cars with Mint for a week after that. I expected sympathy from my family, but all I got from them was hysterical bouts of laughing. Meanies. Now I know what to do for revenge. Someday I will lock them in a car with TWO flying cockroaches.


Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 26 Comments »

My very own 50 shades of grey

Posted by Pepper on August 26, 2015

Two years ago, I wrote this post. I spoke about the three strands of grey hair I had then. Let’s cut to the present. I now have a head that has an infinite number of grey strands. Infinite additions in just a little over 700 days. How much grey must I have sprouted per day then! Sometimes I wonder, how did that happen?

They say stress accelerates greying. Well, there is no denying that in the past year and a half, my body has been subjected to an alarming level of stress. I have undergone a lot. What with Oregano’s kidney failure, recurring problems and subsequent transplant, daddy’s health faltering, his hospitalisation, the waiting game outside the ICU that used to make my heart pound hard against my chest, facing the big question of whether or not he would make it, the sighting of a doctor accompanied by a delirious heart beat as we waited to hear their verdict on his condition, the trauma of his passing away, my papa’s sudden ill health, his hospitalisation, the sudden, enormous responsibility of running a company, I think I was sucked into a whirlpool of stress.

Thankfully, my life is back on track. I am in a happy space. My dad has recovered and we are all well. Having said that, I don’t know if I can overlook all that I have been through. Sometimes, I believe that phase caused some irreversible changes in me. Not just emotionally, but physically too. I have become prone to sudden bouts of palpitations and irregular heart beats.

Work also ends up tiring me out completely. I do try to not let the tension build up in my system, but I have often wished I could take a sabbatical from work, get a few months off to unwind, incorporate meditation and regular exercise into my life and bring in a sense of calmness. Unfortunately, with the current state of affairs at work, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Anyway, going by my lifestyle and my history, I shouldn’t be surprised by the amount of grey that has appeared. Other than the stress, I also suffer from various vitamin and mineral deficiencies. I began to to take my supplements seriously, only to lose steam in a month and after missing a few consecutive doses, all my determination went kaput. Note to self – Restart supplements.

Coming back to the grey, I feel awfully disturbed each time people react to it. I have had friends who see my hair and go, ‘Oh my God! You have so much grey hair!’. The shock and exclamation in their tone makes me supremely conscious and I almost think of ways to cover or hide my hair from their view. I need to learn to deal with this better. Because, clearly, people will not change the way they react to it.

It really sucks that my mother-in-law does not have a single strand of grey at 58, whereas I, despite being under 30 have a million. People tend to compare and I feel like smacking them and telling them I didn’t get my genes from my in-laws. I got them from my parents. My mother has been suffering from premature greying from the time she was a teen. I need to be thankful I didn’t have to undergo it from such an early age.

I’m not entirely sure where I am going with this post. I just wanted to write about how disturbed I feel with the emergence of all this grey and the reactions it garners. On one hand I am struggling to accept my adult hood, on the other hand, my body is showing signs that translate to old age. It is just too much to cope. I am struggling already, please don’t make it worse with your reactions.

On some days I wonder what world I am caught in. I keep seeing flashes of my happy and carefree childhood. I see myself riding my bicycle in our apartment premises, my friends calling out to me from the ground floor, asking me to come down to play, the shuttle cock landing in some aunty’s balcony. I take several such trips. My brain freezes these memories so that I can savour them just a little more…

And then I have to snap out of that world and return to this world, full of responsibilities, exhaustion and grey hair.

A friend sent this image and I thought there couldn’t be a more apt description of how I feel.


Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour | 44 Comments »

Fitting in

Posted by Pepper on June 11, 2015

There is this couch at my parents’ place. It is meant to seat two people. I loved this couch from the time we moved in to this house. Although it is the smaller of the two couches in the living room, it is mega comfortable. Since I loved it so much, I laid claim to it from day one. Instead of letting it be a seat for two people, I would spread out on it and lie down, using one of the arm rests as a leg rest. The other one was used to rest my head. The size was perfect. I snuggled like that for hours.

Then Mint came into my life. From the day he first visited my parents’ home, he decided to take over my couch. He started sprawling on it in the exact same way that I used to. At first, I let him. I was sure he would return to me what was clearly my place. Unfortunately, he had no such intention. He would rush to claim the couch the moment we would enter home. And once he was sprawled out, he showed no signs of moving his ass. If at all I did manage to get the couch to myself sometime, he would even have the audacity to tell me that I was occupying his space! He would annoy me till I was forced to get up. How convenient.

I tolerated this injustice for years, until one day I got fed up and tried to squeeze in while he was lounging on the couch in his favourite position, watching TV. To my surprise, what I thought would be an uncomfortable squeeze, turned out to be an extremely comfortable position for me. I was so excited I had found a new spot. I started using him to lean on. He is a good pillow. Ever since, this has been a favourite position. He welcomes me to use him as a back support. I place my legs up on the center table. It is uber comfortable.

We have now made truce and no longer have to fight for the couch. This is us, watching TV together. Now I know what they mean when they say we must all learn to carve a niche for ourselves. Mwahaha..couch1


Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour, Splashes of Mint | 28 Comments »

Celebrations. Not.

Posted by Pepper on April 16, 2015

And so I celebrated my birthday. Quite a strange day it was. For the first half of it, I was clearly suffering from an acute case of birthday blues. Yes, they exist. For one, I had put a ton of pressure on myself to ‘do something very special’. What that something was, I couldn’t quite figure out. I wanted the celebration to be fun, and not include only run of the mill dinner plans. I wanted to feel super happy and excited. Yet, I couldn’t zero in on any activity that would make me feel that way. To add to my woes, the preceding few days were full of being daunted by the ‘What are your birthday plans’ question. That led to an even higher build up of inner expectations. No plan seemed good enough anymore. In the end, this whole mountain of unmet expectations made me fall flat on my face.

The final plan was to go out for lunch with my family and dinner with a friend. No, it didn’t make me feel super excited the way I hoped, but we picked good places and it was the best we could come up with. It was a weekday. I had decided to skip work that day. Unfortunately, I found myself looking into some unavoidable work in the morning. That took up some time. It got me cranky. I felt very loser like for working on my birthday. How pathetic it was to be surrounded by work on my special day? Wasn’t I supposed to be out, painting the town red, glowing with happiness and feeling all perked up? But here I was, working and feeling pathetic about it. The fact that I was feeling pathetic on my birthday made me feel even more pathetic.

And then, I was under the impression that Mint had also taken an off from work. I found out in the morning that he hadn’t taken an ‘off’, he was only working from home. So I got more cranky and asked him to go to hell. Weren’t we supposed to be out, ‘having fun’ all day? Why did he have to go ahead with work from home? I was inconsolable. The fact that he had important work to complete but had still chosen to work from home in the hope that he could be around me was totally lost on me. He said we could go out for lunch and even be out ‘having fun’, because he had already completed most of his work at night. He would only be looking into it intermittently during the day. That annoyed me further and I told him I would rather have him in his office instead of watching him work ‘intermittently’ around me and spoil my celebratory mood. Everything was making me miserable. Did I already say that?

And then there was my birthday gift. Or lack of it. I expected to be presented with boxes, packed in shiny wrappers and ribbons. It was my birthday, after all. And so it was Mint’s moral responsibility to present me with atleast one birthday gift. But there was no birthday gift awaiting me. And so, I screamed and cried some more. He told me he wanted to take me to the mall during the day and buy me something of my choice, but I was inconsolable again. Gifts are supposed to be surprises. They are shiny and exciting and fun packages. Buying something of my choice was just not the same. I was miserable.

We were supposed to cut my birthday cake at my parents’ place before we left for lunch. I walked in to their home, sulking quite evidently. No amount of hugs and ‘happy birthdays’ cheered me up. I wanted to feel ‘extra special’ and I wasn’t feeling it and everything was going wrong and I was letting myself down by feeling miserable.What a mess.

Mint wanted to wash his face, so he stepped into the washroom just as my parents laid out the cake. We waited for him to come out so we could proceed with the cake cutting. He took longer than we expected and I threw a fit. I yelled at him the moment he was out. I told him it was his fault that I was feeling so miserable. By now, Mint was quite exasperated with me and he said, “Fine. Everything is my fault”. He sounded rude and stern and so I wailed. Why was he shouting at me on my birthday? This isn’t how it was supposed to go. So I wailed some more and decided I didn’t want to cut the cake at all. I threw another tantrum when my parents requested me do it. Since I was obstinate, the cake was put away.

We left for lunch. I was sulking and feeling sorry for myself. On the way we encountered traffic, that got me even more grumpy and I went through the ‘Why is everything going wrong today’ phase again. My sister joined us for lunch and was most taken aback to see me in such a foul mood. My parents didn’t know what to make of my behaviour. Neither did I. Our lunch was good in parts. I would seemingly recover, only to start sulking again when I would remember that Mint didn’t give me a birthday gift.

I don’t know what on earth had come over me. No, it wasn’t PMS. I went through the day in that ridiculous state. I recovered completely only by evening. Finally, when I met my friend and sat in front of a tall pitcher of sangria, I actually decompressed and started having some fun. I had a wonderful dinner, thankfully. On the way back, I felt really guilty for throwing tantrums and spoiling the day for my family. They had all been eager to celebrate and I had successfully ruined it all for them. So I got home, spent some good time with my family and finally ate my neglected birthday cake.

Like I said, strange day. To add to it was the disconnect I felt with my new age. I turned 29, and I really cannot relate to such a ‘big age’. I just cannot. I say the same thing every year. I sound like a stuck record even to myself, but it is truly hard to associate myself with these numbers. And considering the kind of tantrums I threw the entire day, I do not think my maturity level matches up to my age either.

While I was still trying to mentally cope with my new age the next day after my birthday, I experienced what I call my saving grace. My sister asked me to collect some notes from her classmate. The first question her classmate asked me when I met her was ‘which school’ I was in. Quite stunned, I just told her I wasn’t in school. She asked me later how many years younger I was to my sis. To that I giggled and said I was older to her, by 6 years infact. We continued talking and at one point, she mentioned something about how it was important to consider a particular factor before I thought of getting married. Again, I looked at her and told her that I had been married for 5 years. At this point, she almost fainted. She held her hand to her mouth and continued to gasp, literally. Me? I was giggling and doing a mental bhangra.

My sister looks *very* young and I have never in my life been mistaken as her younger sister before this. I was so excited, I wished I had an audience to witness the conversation. Since I didn’t, I kept telling my sis to go and ask her classmate all that she said and thought about me. I was floating in the clouds, but I knew in my heart that this was just a one off. While I may look young in relation to my true age, I know I don’t look like I am in school. It was my hair cut, and the loose fitting dress I wore that that looked more like a frock.  Anyway, I was one happy girl. The fact that I got asked asked which school I was in right after I turned 29 was the true icing on my birthday cake.

Edited To Add: I thought I might as well share the picture that was taken on that day right after I came home. You can see I am still holding the notes in my hand. I told you, it is my haircut and that outfit.



Posted in Celebrations, Er-rant-ic behaviour | 80 Comments »

Please help?

Posted by Pepper on February 27, 2015

People of the internet, can you help me please? Something seems to be up with WordPress. I am unable to comment on wordpress hosted blogs about 80% of the time. It is very frustrating, because I am not the kind who comments just for the sake of it. I rarely type comments with only a smiley, or a ‘Haha, nice post’. When I comment, I usually take the pain to elaborately construct and lay out my thoughts. When I hit enter, these thoughts disappear. There is no trace left. Neither does my comment get published, nor does it tell me that it is ‘Awaiting moderation’.

At first, I thought I lost internet connectivity the moment I hit ‘post comment’. Of course, it was too much of a coincidence to happen all the time. After rechecking, I concluded that my internet connection was fine. For some time after that, I hoped my lost comments would magically reappear, but nope, they are truly gone. Sometimes I painstakingly type out the comment again, sometimes I mutter bhaad main jao.  It’s good to ask wordpress to go to hell, because most times the comments disappear even after typing them out a second time. Or third.

Does anybody know what the hell is going on? Sure, I manage to publish my comments sometimes, but those times are rare. When I do succeed, I feel like I have attained victory. Quite crazy. Can anybody help me fix this?

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

To traumatise

Posted by Pepper on August 29, 2014

My sister has been rather ill for a week now. It all started with a bout of nausea in the local train. We were on the way to her college to complete the admission formalities for the new course she’s begun. Before we could fully asses her condition, she began throwing up. Fellow passengers were kind enough to help us out by giving us a bottle of water, a plastic bag for her to throw up in and some valuable suggestions on how to counter the nausea. Unfortunately, nothing worked and she puked the entire day. In the train, in the cab, in her college. That was a bad day.

Anyway, we attributed it to indigestion and since she seemed to be getting back to her usual self by evening, we didn’t think it necessary to check with a doctor. Then it happened again. I got a call from her college day before yesterday. They told me the sister was throwing up violently and I had to go and pick her up because they didn’t think she was fit enough to travel all by herself. Thankfully, her college is not too far from my office. I found myself in a cab within minutes. When I saw her, I realised she was extremely weak and dehydrated. She was having a hard time even taking a few steps.

We took her to a doctor immediately. Her BP was very low! The doctor asked her to take complete rest for the next 4 days. Along with that, she gave the sister a round of medicines that she asked her to take quite vigilantly. Despite the medicines, she developed a high fever by night. And it has been there ever since.

Yesterday was her birthday. My little baby sister turned 22! But due to her spells of dizziness, vomiting, low BP, fever and weakness, we had to cancel all our grand celebratory plans. Nevertheless, we sneaked her out for dinner, ignoring everybody who objected to the idea. Unfortunately, I regretted the decision as soon as the sister complained of stomach ache after ingesting just a little bit of food. We were in a restaurant in the mall. The restroom was on the other end of the mall. She said she wanted to throw up all of a sudden and we had to run all the way across the mall to get to the loo. Quite a harrowing experience.

We got home as soon as we could. By then she had such a high temperature, she was burning. When we reached, we found out that my dad was not very well either. He was quite feverish himself. And today was the day my mom was not home. Sigh. Anyway, we tucked the two sick people in bed. I have realised one thing about myself. When people around me are sick, I am overcome by this desire to soothe them. I do all I can to comfort them, be it sponging them with an ice pack, stroking their hair or settling them in bed.

The sister was unable to sleep because of a bad headache. So I sat beside her, massaging her temples with Vicks Vaporub and alternately sponging her body with a cold piece of cloth. She fell asleep with great difficulty. It was past midnight by the time I turned in for the night.

And then it began. At 1.10 am to be precise. A *LOUD* noisy procession with a *BLARING* musical band. It took my just asleep brain a few minutes to register the source of the noise. What the hell was it? And then I realised. Ganpati. It was the first day of the festival and they were bringing in the idol.

I was livid. It was past 1 am. And these fuckers were passing through an entirely residential lane. (Yes. For the first time ever, I am not going to watch my language on the blog. I am *that* angry.) How dare they subject all the sleeping residents to this blasting music? Did they have to screech and dance at this hour? Did they have to bring the idol at this time? Did they have to have such a noisy band? Did they have to pass through residential lanes? DID THEY?

I walked in to the other room, and as suspected, my sister was in acute discomfort. She was clutching her temples and twisting in pain. My father was tossing in bed. I have two sick people in the house who had just managed to fall asleep with great difficulty. This was so not done.

I waited for five minutes, hoping the procession will pass. It didn’t. I continued pacing back and forth in our living room for a good twenty minutes. Finally, I stepped out in the balcony to see what was going on. There they were. Dancing in front of the cart that carried the Ganesh idol. The procession didn’t seem to be in any rush to pass. They were dancing in the same spot, barely inching forward. If you insist on disturbing me and passing through my lane at this hour, can’t you atleast be considerate enough to leave fast? Do you have to dance and stay rooted to the same spot for a bleddy hour? From my balcony, I could see other residents waiting angrily by their windows, hoping this would end soon.

When I had had enough, I twisted my dishaveled hair into a ponytail and slipped into my flip flops. I decided I was going downstairs and confronting the assholes. Just as I was stepping out of the door, Mint grabbed hold of my hand. He told me it was a large mob. How many people would I single-handedly take on? What if they were linked to a political part? What if they were dangerous? What was I planning on telling them anyway? How would I accomplish anything? I had no answers to his questions.

So I stepped back in and thought some more. I decided to contact the police. This was something I have never done in my life, so I was a little apprehensive. I pulled out my laptop and googled for the right numbers. I found this page that dealt with ‘Noise Pollution Complaint in Mumbai’. There was an option to send an SMS, but I wanted speedy action and I wasn’t sure that was the best way to go about it. So I called the Police control room directly.

The lady at the other end was very helpful, but since my surrounding was so ridiculously noisy, I could barely hear what she was saying. I blurted out to her my problem in the best Hindi I know. I was so angry at that time, I wasn’t sure if my blabber made any sense. I just remember saying words like ‘too much noise’, ‘loud band’ ,’almost 2 am’, ‘sick people at home’.

She asked me my exact address. I had a tough time explaining to her where exactly the procession was. The lane they were passing from has no name. Not that I know of. So I gave her my apartment address and told her they were exactly below my building since almost an hour. She said she would send a Police vehicle in less than 20 minutes.

I hoped the miscreants would have to deal with the police. The band and the loud beat of drums continued to pierce through the night. Twenty minutes were up and the noise showed no signs of abating. I was wondering if my call to the police would have any effect at all. Finally, after 35 minutes of making the phone call, the band came to an abrupt stop.

I rushed to the balcony to find out what had caused them to stop. I wanted the satisfaction of knowing that the cops were here and were giving the jerks a hard time. Unfortunately by then, the procession had moved further ahead and I didn’t have a clear view of what was going on. I would have to live without knowing how it ended.

I walked back to bed, thankful for the precious silence that had crept on so suddenly. While I have always loved the spirit of the Ganpati festival, to say I am disappointed with the way some people treat it is an understatement. How many laws can you break in the name of religion? How inhuman and inconsiderate can you be to people who are aged and sick? How much more can you harm the environment? I am too scared to find out.

Posted in Er-rant-ic behaviour, Life in India | 54 Comments »

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