A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for the ‘Happy Week’ Category

Happy Week – Day 7

Posted by Pepper on April 8, 2015

Okay, looks like my happy week that started on March 19th has stretched up to April 7th. This was supposed to be 7 days of continuous posting. I feel like such a fraud. On second thoughts, I haven’t consciously been insincere to my beloved blog. It’s just that I’ve been really occupied with work. Sigh.. Anyway, a few more weeks and this critical project I am working on will be ready for delivery. I expect my work life to be calmer after that. *Fingers crossed*.

Let me get to the happy bit now. Yesterday, we went sailing with a bunch of friends. It was a lazy Sunday, and this seemed like a fitting way to spend the evening. I was quite apprehensive and scared at first, as I usually am in the beginning of any new activity. Especially if the said activity involves water. But ofcourse, that is why I have Mint in my life. He is committed to making me do things that I would never consider doing myself. So with some amount of coaxing from him, I agreed to go ahead with it.

It turned out to be such a good idea. We spent a fun and relaxed evening on the sail boat. Here is a picture I took before we set off. These boats in the surrounding looked so zen and calm. I had to click.


And once we set sail, I managed to muster up the courage to go and sit on the edge of the boat. It had no railing or fence. Just a flimsy little rope to mark the boundary. Obviously, I was scared, but once I settled down, I was lost. The sea and its endless ripples was making all the thoughts in my head bobble up and down too. I thought of so many things, all at once. What is the meaning of life? Why do humans (and most other creatures) have to pee so often in a day? Who lives in the top most floor of that building, far far away?


We made sure we sat with our legs around the pole. It was the only way to prevent ourselves from sliding down into the water. There were times when the wind would make the boat tilt to one side with such intensity, I was almost certain the boat would topple. Sure, we would have been down within seconds had it not been for the poles we sat around and held on to. But the poles apart, what I loved about sitting like this was the fact that my feet glided through the water as we sailed. So calming. So blissful.


I changed my position after some time. I love this pic, it shows how each of us is doing our own thing. The sun was setting. We were mostly quiet, watching our surrounding and listening to the music that drifted out of an iPod. If you notice carefully, you’ll see this guy precariously leaning out of the boat, while another guy casually holds on to his leg to keep him in place without even looking in his direction. I thought it was funny and cute.


After 2 hours of sailing, we were nearing the jetty. The sun had set and the light was low. All I had was my cell phone. I still couldn’t resist clicking a grainy picture of the Taj. Mumbai meri jaan, I love you.


Posted in Happy Week | 15 Comments »

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.

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,



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.



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


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.


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..


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?



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




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.



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




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



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..




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




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.




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.



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 »

Happy Week – Day 7

Posted by Pepper on June 10, 2014

Today is the grand finale of the happy week. My day has been dispersed many happy moments and now they are all competing to be featured in this space. Since today is the last post of this series, perhaps I should factor in and include all my happy bits instead of focusing on one. So I am going to go with the flow and write without an agenda.

Mint. I’ve come to realise, he is the source of my eternal joy. And eternal annoyance too, but we’ll leave that for another day. My heart still skips a beat every time I lay my eyes on him. So it was the weekend and we were chatting with each other with our webcams on. It was past 4 am for him and I continued asking him to go sleep. But he would insist on staying back and talking to me. Since he refused to listen to me, I let go. His reponses became slower. After a point, he seemed to be mumbling and in the next few minutes, he was fast asleep. It got me a little mad. Why does he want to fight sleep all the time? Why does he tell me he will be there when he can’t? I pulled out my phone and took a picture of my laptop. I wanted to show it to him and say, “See? This is how sleepy you were! You just fell asleep while we were talking. So next time don’t act smart and try to stay up when you can’t”.

Today, I was going through my phone and I came across the pic that I had taken this weekend. And only now did I really notice it. The sight of him sleeping put a big smile on my face. I think it is the sweetest. But ignore me, I am just a smitten wife.


As the days progress, I am trying really hard to contain my excitement. Mint will be returning from good old California on this Friday. Calling me excited would be an understatement. I am hopping from foot to foot. I can’t wait to be with him. I can’t wait to dive into his suitcase. I can’t wait..

I was smiling to myself as I drove back from work today. For a change, I made it home in a record 25 minutes. The roads were almost empty. Why, I wonder. It is a Tuesday. Anyway, I am not going to question it too much.

BFF#1 had to drop by my place in the evening to collect a book. She brought me almost a dozen idlis. Those who know me will know what a big fan I am of home made idlis. So this unexpected treat had me gasping in delight. What joy.

Once home, I spent some time going through Asian Paint’s Colour Spectra. What colour should the walls of our new house be? We need to make a final decision in the next few days. I took immense pleasure in picturing our home in different shades. But really, any recommendations on how we should go about choosing the colour of our walls will be welcome.

Mint is landing in Mumbai on Friday night. We’re flying to Chennai for Oregano’s transplant on Sunday. Both Mint and I are going to be working remote after we land there. I have to pack for a few weeks. We need to settle some things with the new house in the two days that Mint will be here. It is all very rushed, but beneath all my anxiety, there is a hope. Hope of Oregano’s transplant being a grand success. The thought of his life being presented back to him makes me happy like nothing else does.

This happy week has been a wonderful exercise. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. If at all any of you are interested in taking this up, please let me know. I would love to read it!

Posted in Happy Week | 38 Comments »

Happy Week – Day 6

Posted by Pepper on June 9, 2014

So I had all plans of writing a happy post for 7 days straight. But then the weekend came and took away all my inclination to write. Not my fault. It is hard to get yourself to sit in a corner and compose a post when you are busy having fun. And I figured, it is okay to resume the happy posting from Monday.

Monday arrived too soon, as usual. So here I am, ruing over the end of the weekend. And dreaming about the things I want RIGHT NOW, on this hot Monday afternoon. This is something I have realised – dreaming makes me happy. I spend hours thinking of my perfect world. Building it bit by bit and living in that imaginary space for a while. Most of us have a million fantasies, and even though it maybe hard to fulfill them all, living those fancies in a personally constructed dreamland costs almost nothing.

Making lists is another task that actually makes me very happy. So today, I am going to combine my love for dreaming, and my love for lists. So here is a list of things I am happily dreaming about right now.

* I want to stop working. That’s what I want right now and have actually started fulfilling this desire from the time I started typing this post.

* I want to be home. With my family.

* I want to take a cooling shower and give myself a good head bath. The shower gel should be something fresh and citrusy. I’ll pick a soothing conditioner for the hair. At the end of it, I want a very clean, soft and fluffy towel to hug me.

* I want sit in my balcony as the sun goes down and immerse myself in music. The playlist must be full of old classics.

* Goa. I want to be in Goa. Again. I never tire of Goa. I can hear the beach and the sand calling out to me.

* I feel like a pedicure. I never get one done. But now, I am dreaming of soaking my feet in a warm, sweet smelling and shampooed solution. I can see somebody scrubbing my soles. Then they lotion and massage my legs right upto my knees, focusing on that exact spot near my heels and ankles. After the cleansing of my cuticles, I emerge with soft and supple feet with bright coloured toes.

* I want to eat a warm sponge cake. On that, I will make a smiley with chocolate syrup.

* I want to buy atleast 2 classy pairs of rainy shoes. Then I will be all prepared for the impending rains.

* I want to be presented with atleast 6 new books. I want to experience that conflict when it comes to picking the one to read first.

* I want to be at the airport. In the flight, with my seat belt on. Ready to take off..


Posted in Happy Week | 18 Comments »

Happy Week – Day 5

Posted by Pepper on June 6, 2014

I was certain today was going to be a very happy day, by virtue of it being a Friday. Sadly, as the day progressed, I failed to feel the usual Friday exuberance. Work was chaotic. And then I had a lousy fight with my dad. My papa is extremely dear to me, and any fight with him throws me off. I sulk for hours.

Also, I had to talk to Mint urgently about the choice of sunmica for our kitchen door. I had promised my uncle (who is doing up the interiors of our house) that I would get back to him by today afternoon at most. Unfortunately, Mint fell asleep without talking to me. I had to discuss the sunmica patterns with him before I could respond to my uncle. I kept pinging and calling Mint hoping he wakes up, but I had no such luck. With each passing hour, I grew more anxious and stressed. I am very particular about keeping my word and getting back to people when I tell them I will. I hated it that I was answerable to somebody else and I couldn’t live up to my word because of Mint. In general, I spent my morning and afternoon feeling strained.

And then when I thought the day was turning out to be tiring and annoying, something wonderful happened. By chance, the sister and I stumbled into my grandmom’s home. Memories came flooding back to both of us. We smiled as we recounted incidents of our childhood. We talked about our beloved grandmum, the stories she told us, her peculiar pronunciation and the many times she saved us from the wrath of our mother.

Her house, in particular her kitchen, has remained untouched from the time she passed away. We just locked the door and refused to let people enter it. As a result, it is a dirty, rusty, and run down room. But we wanted it that way. We didn’t want to let others come close to touching the things she last touched. Even the gas lighter that is lying on the stove in the centre is the one that was placed by her when she cooked her last meal there.



To an outsider, this kitchen range will be nothing more than rusted junk. But to the sister and I, these scraps are very precious. When we stood beside it, we could almost hear the sounds of our past. The running of the tap, the sizzling of the frying pan in which she cooked our favourite mix of cauliflower and potato, which we fondly called, ‘phool batata’. Her reprimanding her overenthusiastic grandkids when they tried fingering the ultra hot potatoes as they were being spread out on a newspaper. We devoured the memories and felt our spirits rise. When we walked out, it almost felt like we were returning from a visit to our darling grandmom.

Posted in Happy Week | 16 Comments »

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Posted by Pepper on June 5, 2014

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Happy Week – Day 3

Posted by Pepper on June 4, 2014

Today, I feel a surge of emotions, so I don’t know if I will be able to write a coherent post. I am happy. If I had to choose the ‘happiest post’ from my ‘happy week’ series, this post would be a clear winner.

This one is about Oregano. From the time he was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure, we’ve  faced a series of blows. His condition only kept worsening. To make matters worse, we were unable to find a suitable donor for him. So we weren’t in a position to arrange for a kidney transplant. Everybody in the family was tested as a potential donor, only to be rejected on medical grounds or due to an incompatible blood group. His condition declined and we really didn’t know where we were headed.

He was put on dialysis a little over a month ago. Like I’ve said in my earlier posts, dialysis has terrified me because I’ve witnessed my dad’s brother journey. Dialysis reduced him to almost nothing. Thankfully, a kidney transplant is what saved him. I hoped it would be easier for Oregano. After all, I did know people who were doing fairly well with dialysis.

Unfortunately, like I suspected, dialysis has had several intense and undesirable effects on Oregano. It is not that they insert two big needles into him. It is not that he has to endure it for four hours, twice a week. It is the fact that he gets unbearable headaches during dialysis. So much so that he starts throwing up uncontrollably. We’ve feared he will pass out. And to undergo that torture for four hours straight every 2 or 3 days? It is traumatizing.

To add to it, he is constantly fighting intense muscle pain in his joints. His stamina has dwindled and reached a level that is dangerously low. He can’t walk a few steps without feeling short of  breath. He can’t climb a single flight of stairs with ease. His hand aches even when he raises it to brush his teeth. I wondered how he will go on.

I know all of this sounds depressing, But when it all looked bleak, a ray of hope made its way into our lives. An aunt of Mint and Oregano offered to be a donor. Her blood group was compatible and she got all the necessary medical clearances. It took us some time to get all the legal clearances as well. After a lot of running around, paperwork and interviews, we’ve finally got the green signal from all concerned authorities.

I am delighted. We have a donor in place. The surgery has been scheduled for the 17th of this month. That means Mint will have to shorten his US trip by a few days. We’ll both be off to Chennai in less than 2 weeks. If the transplant is a success, it will mean an end to the dialysis sessions and a relatively normal life. This is  big for us. I am happy. And I am praying fervently.

Posted in Happy Week | 40 Comments »

Happy Week – Day 2

Posted by Pepper on June 3, 2014

With Mint away in the US, it has been a few weeks since I have moved in with my parents. I love living at home for obvious reasons. All my needs are looked after. I am well aware of the oversolicitous attention I get from my mom and dad and how much they pamper me. Yet, each time I feel amazed by the depth of their love and care.

It is no news that I share a room with my sister when I am home.  We dance to crazy songs at night, tire ourselves out and chat until we fall asleep. However, the past few days we’ve been a little agitated. The remote of the AC in our room stopped working. We can’t leave the AC on the whole night because we can’t afford to the room gets too cold in a few hours. When we turn it off, it gets too hot again in an hour or two. So we need to turn it on again. Come night, and the sister and I start negotiating. Who will keep waking up to operate the AC? Getting out of bed to turn the AC on or off is not fun. We keep passing on the chore to the other.

One morning, we woke up feeling harrowed. Mom asked us what the matter was. We told her neither of us had had a pleasant night. It was too hot without the AC and yet, we were too lazy to climb out of bed to turn it on. So we tolerated the heat and kept sighing and kicking out our summer quilts. We didn’t sleep too well. She sympathised and we moved on.

Last night, we slept with the AC on. The plan was for one of us to wake up and turn the AC off when the room got too cold. I hoped the sister would do it. The sister hoped I would do it. We fell asleep without really making a decision. In a few hours, I noticed the AC had been turned off. I mentally thanked my sister for doing it. When I stirred again a few hours later, I noticed the AC was on again and the room was perfectly cool. Great. Finally, when I was half awake at the crack of dawn, I saw a dark figure enter the room to turn off the AC. It was mom! I realised it was her who had been working our AC all along. Although I was half asleep and dazed, I was stunned by her actions.

On hearing that her children had had a rough night, my mother decided to take it upon herself to ensure we slept well. I couldn’t get over the fact that she woke up every 2 hours or so and walked to our room to turn the AC on and off for us. And the sis and I thought getting out of bed in the middle of the night itself was a herculean task.

I wonder how parents do it. I doubt I have the capacity to  love my child in the same way. My sleep is too precious to me. I don’t know if I will be a good enough parent. But for now, I know I am very fortunate for I have been the recipient of such unbridled love.

Posted in Happy Week | 59 Comments »

Happy Week – Day 1

Posted by Pepper on June 2, 2014

I’ve been very envious of people who’ve dared to participate in the 100 happy day challenge. Much as I want to add some happiness and sunshine on this blog, I don’t think I can ooze out the required amount of joy for 100 days straight. Because, let me face it -I need to whine periodically. And although ranting aloud actually does make me happy, those posts surely won’t qualify as ‘Happy Posts’. So I thought of a middle ground and came up with the idea of a ‘Happy Week’. 7 days of happy and jubilant writing sounds very doable to me. Since it will last for only a week, I also don’t have to worry about my blog turning into a cloyingly sweet space. Infact, I don’t think I mind doing a happy week every other month.

So here is my inaugural post for the Happy Week. I happened to go to the vegetable market yesterday and I came back with a lot of smiles. Markets always remind me of my childhood, because I grew up right in the midst of a bustling market place. Come evening and our street would come alive with flames that shone in bright kerosene lanterns. The vendors placed these lanterns beside their ware in order to make their produce gleam. It usually worked. The tomatoes glistened. The brinjals looked glossy.

The kerosene lamps that are reminiscent of my childhood have now been replaced by light bulbs that dangle precariously over the colourful produce. Although I miss seeing the markets of my childhood, the sight of the more ‘modern’ version also fills me with much joy.

To add to my delight today, when I walked up to the vendor with my basket full of veggies to be billed, he stuffed my bag with two springs of fresh curry leaves. Just like that. “Rakh lijiye”, is what he said. The fragrant springs reminded me of the times I had driven all the way to the Indian store back in California just to procure a zip-locked pack of around six curry leaves for $ 2. And here I was, having fresh curry leaves in abundance – at no extra cost. Oh the joys of living in India!


Please excuse the poor picture quality. I am usually in a hurry to click and snap away with my cell phone camera without much thought.

Posted in Happy Week | 30 Comments »

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