A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for the ‘Splashes of Mint’ Category

Flavour of my life

Year 10 & 11 – Happy Anniversary, Mint

Posted by Pepper on April 2, 2021

Dear Mint,

It’s been 11 years. *Gasp*. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe that I was a 16 year old baby when we become friends. I’ve spent almost half of my life with you, with you transitioning into different roles. Friend, boyfriend, beloved, husband, parenting partner, punching bag and I can’t be more grateful for who you are.

Throwback to the time we were child free, loan free and carefree

I’m resharing this amazing, candid picture from our Europe trip. I absolutely love how this is so real and *so* grateful we had friends to capture these moments without making us conscious.

For once, I really don’t have much to say. For once, I will overlook the fact that you take a million years in the shower even when we are running late, or surround the house with annoying cables, or take forever to strike things out of your task list. Today, I will celebrate you, our very awesome children and our awesome life. Thank you, God. Thank you, Universe.

All my love,

— Pepper

Posted in Celebrations, Splashes of Mint | 14 Comments »

Our crunchy battles

Posted by Pepper on March 3, 2021

I have to say that Mint and I are pretty well aligned in our thought processes. Our world views are the same. We don’t have many noteworthy differences in our outlook. So we rarely argue or fight over the big stuff. The causes of our arguments are almost always petty. And it annoys me greatly that we bicker over such inane and silly issues.

Today was one such day. We had a mini fight, if I can call it that. This is probably the 75th dispute we have had about the same damn issue. Let me just say that Mint has a big problem with the way I tear open any packet. Typically, this is some form of chips which need to retain their crunch. He insists that I mess up the opening, which keeps getting enlarged every time you put your hand in. This makes it hard to put the packs away for later use and results in the contents getting soggy.

This is the source of our latest disagreement. Firstly, I am reasonable enough to understand and agree with Mint’s point of view. I know I mess this up. And I have tried my best to open the packs in a more dignified way. I have no idea why I just can’t. I have tried different techniques, even pulling apart the layers from the center, but I always seem to mess this up. Umm, snipping open packets with surgical precision is not a part of my skill set.

So the next best option is for Mint to do it himself, since he is the one who has a problem anyway. And if he doesn’t do it, then I have asked him to shut up and not comment on my lack of skills. But this is the pattern we seem to follow. I ask Mint to open the pack. He keeps saying yes but doesn’t get to it. I lose my patience and do it myself. He sees the opening and comments on how badly the job has been done. I blow up because I don’t want to hear any comments about this. He accuses me of overreacting. Every. Time.

Okay, I know there are more earth shattering problems to deal with than our chips packet opening saga. But this persistent problem seems to be getting on both our nerves. We’ve resolved our conflict for now and have gone back to snacking on our chips in harmony. But I know the opening of the next pack will make us resume acting in the next season of our in house drama series

Posted in Splashes of Mint | 24 Comments »

Year 8 & 9 – Happy Anniversary, Mint

Posted by Pepper on July 2, 2019

Dear Mint,

I missed writing to you last year. Not that this year’s letter comes in good time. We are already late by 3 months. But I figured writing now is better than skipping it completely. After all, I have a letter for you for every year of our married life, right from year 1 to year 7. Let me keep up the tradition, atleast until we reach the big 10? That, by the way, is only a year away. Can you even believe that?

Since this letter is going to cover the past 2 years of our married life, let me start with a recap. Year 8. The crappiest year of our relationship so far. I went through an excruciating pregnancy, got cut open, gave birth to TWO very tiny, premature beings, we lost ourselves in caring for these terrifyingly delicate humans, started coping with the effects of zero sleep, were forced to abuse our bodies in every step of the way. My mother was diagnosed with cancer, pushing me deeper into a deep, dark hole.

In the midst of all this, I hated you. I don’t know if it was my PPD that didn’t allow me to see clearly. But all I remember is hating you. Nothing you did was good enough. I wanted you to comfort me. When your attempts to comfort me failed, I hated you more for being so inadequate. You were supposed to rescue me from what I was feeling. You were not allowed to fail. I hated you for failing.

You started cold shouldering me in those days because you couldn’t handle my tantrums. You were too physically exhausted to deal with a screaming monster. I thought of you as utterly insensitive for not being there for me. I genuinely think you could have been more forgiving to me in those days. I needed copious amounts of kindness from you.

But I remember you breaking down one day. I remember you sobbing and telling me you don’t know what is happening to you and you don’t know how to handle it. We were in the brink of exhaustion. I know you were deeply affected and overwhelmed because it is very rare to see you cry. The burden of two very fragile newborns, my postpartum depression, lack of sleep, physical exhaustion, the load of our day time jobs, the complete lack of support in this country had burnt us out and we lost each other in those few months.

I’m not sure when, but slowly, we began to see light again. I think it was when Cotton and Candy began to sleep through the night. Getting a few good hours of sleep ourselves made us see things more clearly. We began turning to each other for comfort again. Most importantly, we regained our lost friendship. We were able to go more than 2 hours without feeding the babies. This gave us some freedom to step out of the house. Normalcy was seeping back into our lives and our relationship.

Year 9 has been infinitely better. Cotton and Candy are more grown up, and though that comes with its own sets of crazy challenges, nothing compares to the first few months of managing twins. Nevertheless, we have begun to see each other as parents, not just partners. Most of our attempts to spend child free time with each other after kids go to bed seem to fail, because I fall asleep almost as soon as they do. We do take the time out to go on lunch dates while the kids are in daycare and those moments are precious to me. This past year, I have really come to value the love, warmth and most importantly our rock like friendship.

Since this is year 9, I am compiling a list of 9 things I love that you do in our present life

1) We have a set of chores that each of us is responsible for. We have this clearly divided and charted. But, you often take over things from my assigned list. Loading the dishwasher at night is my job. Yet, I don’t remember the last time I did it. After tackling your list of things to do, you ask me to go and sit back while you go and tackle a full kitchen sink.

2) I always imagined having a partner who would make my morning coffee. I’ve seen my dad make my mom’s tea and hand it to her before their day begins. This was part of my expectations. Sadly, this never happened. I am always forced to wake up before you and practically drag you out of bed.

However, you do show me your love in little ways before I go to bed. I have come to love our night time routine where you tuck me in bed, adjust the temperature of the house and make sure it is to my liking, get me a water bottle for my bedside, refill the humidifier and set it beside me, massage my head with Vicks or my back with Bengay and kiss me for the night. You do all this without me saying a word.

3) Candy’s hair is something I am still not sure I know how to deal with. I find you chasing her around the house with a comb in your hand, patiently detangling and parting her hair while coming up with ways to pull her down for 3 seconds. You are amazing.

4) Night time brushing! You’ve taken on the task of brushing Cotton and Candy before bed and I am so relieved that isn’t part of my to do list. Thank you.

5) You push me to go out with my friends. I have a fabulous group of friends and we do a girls night out every month. But every time I have plans, lethargy strikes me a few hours before I am set to leave and I start saying words like ‘tired’, ‘not up to it tonight’ and you step in to remind me that this will be fun and I need to go. You know I need a cheerleeder.

6) You love exploring different cuisines and restaurants as much as I do. Eating out is one of our favourite things to do together and I am so glad we live in a place that has so much to offer in terms of food!

7) I know I always turn to you when I am in doubt and can’t decide whether I should buy it or not. Because I know you always convince me to buy it. And then I feel better about buying it because I had no choice, I was forced, right?

8) You are my in house therapist. When I worry about my parents health and feel the onset of an anxiety attack, I know it is time to talk to you and clear my head. You ask me hard hitting questions, throw different statistics and numbers my way, give me a clearer perspective. In the end, I always feel stronger. And lighter.

9) You are the most amazing father ever. I have a new found respect for you when I see you with the kids.

Thank you for being so awesome! I can’t wait to see how year 10 turns out.

Lots of love,

— Pepper

6m.jpeg

PS – This picture was taken on the day the twins turned 6 months old and we had a small half birthday celebration for them

PPS – Since this is year Nine, I am also going to use this post for the letter N. N for Nine? Yes, I am still trying to complete the A – Z writing challenge.

 

 

Posted in Splashes of Mint | 19 Comments »

Year 7 – Happy Anniversary, Mint

Posted by Pepper on July 15, 2017

Dear Mint,

Let me start by acknowledging the fact that this letter is late by several months. Our anniversary was in the end of March and I am writing this to you in the middle of July. I wonder what the delay implies. Have I stopped attaching significance to the ‘little things’ like the letters I have been writing to you? I hope not. I will attribute the delay to the changes and events that took us by complete surprise, made us sit up and scream ‘Oh My Goddd, is this really happening?’. I know you understand what I am talking about, so you will pardon and overlook the delay.

7 years of this crazy ride. How did we fare in the past year? I’m not quite sure. To start with, the first half of the year was so full of stress, so full of unanswered questions and well, drama. Should we move back to the US? Maybe not. Let’s try finding you another job that lets us stay in India. What? You aren’t able to find a single job that is comparable to your current one? Time is running out. What do we do? Give up on the US job offer too and stay without any job?

Maybe that is stupid. With no other job in hand, maybe we don’t have a choice but to move back to the US. But I don’t want to move. Should we give up on our dream of adopting a baby in order to make the move work? Is it worth it? Where is life headed?  Argghh. I remember being full of tantrums almost all year round, blaming you for our inability to ‘decide’, hating the uncertainty we were going through and feeling totally out of control. I think a lot of our potential moments were lost due to me either sulking or being hysterical.

To add to the issues we faced, I noticed how much you grew this year. And how much I didn’t. Of course, I am not talking about the wretched growing up that we adults have to do. I talk about the growth in your interests, passions and desires. What were just hobbies at one time turned into full blown passions. Your heightened interests in the world of board games and frisbee as a sport left me feeling disconnected.

You joined clubs, became a part of several groups, devoted exclusive time to understanding the subjects of your interest, took these ‘hobbies’ very seriously and reached a whole new level of involvement. Sadly, I didn’t discover any new passions of my own. The very geeky board games that we play will always remain a hobby for me, I doubt they will ever turn into a passion. I blamed you for allowing these activities to eat into our time together. You blamed me for being dispassionate about them.

I suppose these unmatched interests is something we just have to live with and work around. We’ve reached a point where you forgo a lot of your interests in order to spend time with me. But I keep wondering if you are masking the resentment that probably lies beneath? On most days, you seem very spontaneous about what you give up. So I do try to be equally spontaneous about letting you go and pursue your interests when I sense you really want to. Trying to maintain this equilibrium is hard work though, and I keep wishing our preferences were more aligned with each other’s.

And then there was the move. If I thought the act of moving was stressful and tiring, coping with the move has been far worse. Time and again I have compared my present life to the life I had back in Mumbai and each time I end up feeling like I’m getting a raw deal now. I know most others feel differently so let’s not debate that. But the massive changes and the associated discomforts made sure I wasn’t at my best behaviour. And you smilingly put up with it all.

I have to say, I have only been able to tide through the madness because of your reassuring presence. I love the way you hold me. It calms me down magically. The coming year is going to be very intense for us, probably the most intense and overwhelming one we’ve experienced so far. If we continue to hold on to each other and take one step at a time, I think we’ll be okay.

Here’s a picture one of our friends took of us when we were cuddling up. I love candid pictures. No pretense. No posing. No being self conscious. Pretty much like our relationship.

b12

Thank you for being there. Always.

All my love,

— Pepper

Posted in Splashes of Mint | 10 Comments »

Name game

Posted by Pepper on April 28, 2017

There are several things that annoy me about Mint. The one thing that tops the list is how he has saved my name on his phone. Assuming Pepper is my first name and Mill is my last name, my name in his contacts reads ‘Pepper Mill’.

Like I said, this annoys me. It makes our relationship sound so official. I am all about adding a personal touch. Fine! You don’t want to use the so called cute names, but why can’t you use my first name and leave it at that? Maybe he could call me just Pepper?Why add the surname? It’s not like he knows a million Peppers anyway. And even if he did, I’d expect him to suffix their names with whatever he wants. Not mine. I am supposed to be the primary Pepper in his life. Okay, that does sound a bit hysterical, but you get the point.

In his defense, that’s how he saves all names in his phone. All his contacts have the same format, first name followed by last name. The same holds true even for his parents. There is no mom and dad. Just official first and last name. I wish he’d make an exception for me though. He has his contacts synced to his Gmail and he doesn’t want to mess with that. *Rolls eye*

Me? I have all sorts of names for people. Mint’s name was once saved as Makkhan Singh on my phone. We’re done though. I get irked every time I see my name on his screen. When I was saving Mint’s US number after we moved here, I decided he deserved to be only called by his official name too. So first and last name it was. Hmph..

 

Posted in Splashes of Mint | 29 Comments »

Keep calm and.. moisturize

Posted by Pepper on April 29, 2016

Mint has terribly dry skin. The skin on his legs is completely parched. If you even gently run your nails around his ankles, you will see white flaky lines all over. The sight would make me cringe. I had been pointing out to him for years, that his skin needs intense moisturizing. But the guy would simply ignore my pleas and concerns.

Well, on second thoughts. He wouldn’t ignore them. He would promise to take action. I bought the best body butter I could lay my hands on (rich cocoa enriched with shea, I must add). Along with that, I ensured he had timely reminders from me. Please use it regularly! He would promise to do so but most of the promises would fall flat after he had used the cream once or twice. He simply couldn’t keep up. Moisturizing was never a part of his daily regime.

To make it easier for him, I bought a bottle of some nourishing body oil. Probably that was easier and quicker to use. Again, he promised he would use it but he was simply unable to live up to his commitment. I moved the bottle of body oil next to his shower area. This would make it hard to miss. It would be in a very accessible location. All he had to do was pat down some oil after his shower. As usual, he said he would do it. But after a month of me eyeing the bottle and noticing no change in the quantity it held, I decided to give up without even confronting him this time.

The last time we were in the US, I couldn’t resist buying a bottle of ‘Jergens Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer’ for him. I don’t give up easily, you see. Maybe this one would help repair his skin, even if he didn’t use it religiously. It was a big bottle and I just hoped the extra weight in my luggage would be worth it. But who was I kidding? The bottle sat untouched on our dressing table for months.

Some time ago, I noticed those awful marks on Mint’s ankles again. Flaky white scrawling. It made me shriek. Enough was enough. I pushed him back on the bed, pumped some moisturizer onto my palm and applied it on his legs. To my relief, I could see an instant difference in his skin. It looked so much healthier with just one use.

That was motivation enough. I began to apply moisturizer on his legs every night. He would sit back and continue using his laptop, I would silently massage his legs. The boy got used to it of course. Whenever I asked him to do it on his own, he would grin and ask me to do it instead. This was my own doing. I knew it. He needs to worship me. I’ll let him know that I accept offerings in both cash and kind.

That is how our night time ritual began. It continues till date. And surprisingly, rubbing moisturizer on his legs is something I have come to enjoy myself. It is rewarding to see his skin heal, day by day. In the quiet of our air conditioned bedroom (for which we need to be so grateful! I keep thinking of how the homeless survive in this heat), with the calming scent of eucalyptus, and our bottle of Jergens, we find our solace in fixing things.

Dear Mint, just keep in mind though that without me in your life, you’ll have some rough times.

Posted in Splashes of Mint | 25 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 »

Year 6 – Happy Anniversary, Mint

Posted by Pepper on March 25, 2016

Dear Mint,

It’s been 6 years. Gasp! 6! It’s a number I am still trying to come to come to terms with, because it makes me feel just so old! But then who am I kidding? I have always been the person who struggled to embrace adulthood. I thought getting married at the little age of 23 was the most grown up thing I did. Until I realised being married does not necessarily include growing up.

I must admit though, not marriage, but the forced adult life has caused me to grow up a little. All I can is that I am so glad I grew up with you. That is so much nicer than the idea of meeting you as a ‘grown up’ person who has already been forced to attain adulthood. You have seen me transition from a whimsical child to what I call a half adult to a choiceless  adult. And although I grumble and rant quite routinely about the perils of adult life, I have to admit, on most days it is not so bad. And that is mainly because you’ve made it all such a fun ride.

Let’s face it though. Life with you is like my friend said, ‘riding a constant wave’. While I see other peoples’ lives resembling stable, flat lines, ours swells with excitement and then plummets into adventure and uncertainty, only to rise back to more excitement. I am a person who always preferred stability to adventure. When I talk about stability, I mean being rooted to one place, enjoying a level of certainty and sameness, having an established routine in place. But you, you love riding the wave and boy, you sweep me off with every surge and ask me if I had fun! I am now used to holding on to you for dear life.

We’ve had a few good years in this city. To my surprise, by now I find you almost as attached to this place as I am. And now, we’re back to a crossroad and we need to pick the direction we want to move in. The next few months are full of myriad questions. And the only way to find answers is to wait for them to unfurl. For an anxious and impatient person like me, this can be quite a test. But the ease with which you coast along at such times makes me feel amazed. If there is one thing I could learn from you, it is your ability to be zen and nonplussed.

This year is going to be huge for us. We’re working towards one of the biggest projects of our lives (getting a baby home!). And as I watch our lives being hijacked by this massive project, I can’t help feel all excited. The coming few months are going to be overwhelming for us because there is so much going on on all fronts. Thank you for keeping me safely belted up. Thank you for being the awesome person you are.

All my love,

Pepper

Posted in Splashes of Mint | 24 Comments »

Glimpses of junior Mint

Posted by Pepper on January 23, 2016

Every time I visit the in-law’s house in Chennai, I get to see a piece of Mint’s childhood. His mom has preserved so many things from his past. Of all the things she has safeguarded over the years, I love to see the toys! These are the toys that Mint and Oregano played with when they were little kids.

In this picture are some action figures, hot wheel cars and the Boggle Junior game (does anybody else remember that? I had the same game too!). What makes these toys so amazing is that they are almost 30 years old! I keep picturing my little boy playing with these hot wheels and my heart melts. Most of Mint’s toys were passed on to Oregano and he too has used them well.

These aren’t the only toys and games that have been preserved. My MIL has an entire cupboard dedicated to her kids’ toys. I love going through the collection, sappy sentimentalist that I am. And sometimes, for no real reason, I lay out little bits of their past and take pictures. These sights make my day.

Posted in Splashes of Mint | 4 Comments »

The knock

Posted by Pepper on January 5, 2016

I usually get home atleast an hour before Mint. I say ‘atleast’, because Mint has no fixed time of return. Moreover, he isn’t the kind to keep me informed about his expected time of arrival. It is nothing short of a guessing game for me. He might get home at 7 or he might arrive later than 9. I hate not knowing, so I turn into the typical wife who calls her husband every half hour to check when he is leaving from work. On most days, he is unable to answer my calls because he is stuck in some meeting. On days he does answer my call and gives me an estimated time of his return, he overshoots the time he has given me and I am back to waiting and not knowing. On the days he actually arrives at the promised time, I am pleasantly surprised.

Since I have come to accept (with a lot of struggle, I must add) that he doesn’t have any fixed working hours and that he isn’t the kind to call me before he leaves everyday, I have become accustomed to the suspenseful wait. He can basically turn up any time. This takes me to new heights of anticipation.

Mint has a signature ‘knock’ that distinguishes his arrival from the rest. He doesn’t ring the door bell and by now I have come to recognize his knocking style. I stay tuned in to every little sound that comes from outside the door. Every time I hear the elevator, I pray it is followed by a little knock. I count minutes. Every evening, I am so full of desperation to see that boy.

When I finally do hear the much awaited and highly treasured knock, my senses go into overdrive. I abandon whatever it is that I am doing at that time and charge towards the door. I then greet him with a million hugs and kisses. The poor guy gets smothered just as he sets his foot in. I know, I can pass on your sympathies to him. That is mostly how I have greeted my dad when he returned from work too. But with Mint, I take it to a new level.

Because on some days, I even jump and clamber into his arms. He carries me like you carry a 3 year old. Except my age is almost 10 times 3. I do pity him when I realise he has to bear the weight of my body when he hasn’t even set down his laptop bag or taken his shoes off. But that is how it is. Slices of our everyday life.

PS – In case you are wondering, that picture has been taken just as Mint got back from work. And yes, he goes to work everyday in jeans and tees. Lucky, I know.

Posted in Slices of life, Splashes of Mint | 21 Comments »

To be a husband

Posted by Pepper on September 3, 2015

is a joyride. Not.

Because while you put your feet up and watch some TV, a sneaky wife may appear and start adorning your foot with her jewelry. She’ll start with her rubber band and place it around two of your toes, she’ll place the loops of her diamond-studded earrings around your two little toes, she’ll add a bangle around your big toe, she’ll let her chain ornament your foot and will even shove her butter-fly hair clip between two of your toes as a finishing touch.

Why, you ask? Well, just because she was bored.

PS – In case you are wondering about the said husband’s reaction, let me just say, he belongs to the zen category. Nothing perturbs him. Not only does he ignore his wife while she err, beautifies his foot, he even gives her a big smile once she is done. Much to her disappointment, she has failed to evoke a strong reaction, once again. The quest to rattle and annoy him continues..

Posted in Small joys, Splashes of Mint | 11 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 »

The tides of memory

Posted by Pepper on June 3, 2015

Ever so often, I’ve wished I had penned down my love story on my blog in detail. Chapter by chapter. That was such a glorious period of my life. I love soaking in the memories. Maybe I will write about it in sequence someday. Until then, let me just write disconnected chapters. Chapters that come from memories that get triggered unexpectedly by events of my current life. I know I have mentioned this part of our story somewhere on my blog, but for my own reading pleasure, let me put it down here in detail.

****

December, 2006. I was in college. I  was planning to go to Bangalore for Christmas break with my girl pals. That included my BFF, her sister, my sister and ofcourse, me. Since the plan involved 4 people, we kept going back and forth with the travel dates. At that time, Mint who was in India for his annual vacation, kept calling me every other day. He was going to be visiting Bangalore around the same time and he kept begging me to try and coincide our travel dates.

Mint. He was a good friend of mine. A friend who was witty and sarcastic. He was bold and intelligent. A friend who would hit on me and tell me he liked me more as more than a friend. I knew it was all said in good humour. So of course, I would laugh. While I did think of him as a really good friend, I always knew he would forever remain in the ‘friend zone’. It would have been great to meet him in Bangalore and catch up, I thought. But if we weren’t able to coincide our travel, there was nothing we could do. Why did he have to sound so desperate and earnest? Like the world would fall apart if we didn’t meet. I told him I would try my best and left it at that.

Once I had finalised our dates, Mint reshuffled his own dates to match mine. Or so he claimed. I still couldn’t understand why he would do that? Why that urgency to meet me? Anyway, the four of us girls traveled to Bangalore. We were staying in my cousin’s house and having our own fun. My cousin had planned a Christmas party in her house on the day I was to meet Mint. Neither my friends, nor my cousin was pleased with the idea of me going out to meet ‘a friend’ on that day. I tried explaining to them how eager my friend had been to meet me. He was leaving Bangalore the next day. He lived in the US. So I didn’t get to see him often. After bargaining for some time with him and promising to be back in time for the party in the evening, I left.

Other than Mint, I was also supposed to meet S, a common friend of ours who had just moved to Bangalore. We were to meet at The Forum mall for lunch. S and I were dot on time. While the two of were hanging out, we started bitching about Mint for being so late! What kind of a guy shows up this late? Just as we bitching, he came. After giving a quick hug to S, he came and enveloped me in a big, giant bear hug that seemed to linger on forever. Although I was mad at him, I could feel his warmth and that made me soften.

Since all of us wanted to eat different things, we decided to eat at the food court. We chatted as we ate. It was a good lunch. Shortly after lunch, Mint requested S to leave so that he could spend time with me alone. I was horrified. Now, I know this guy always claimed to like me. It was all said jokingly and I always laughed. But asking somebody to leave so out rightly was rude! S giggled. She turned to me and said Mint had already told her he wanted to hang out with me alone and it had been decided that she would leave right after lunch. Umm, okay.

And then, we were alone. Since we couldn’t stay in the food court, we kept walking around the mall, trying to find an appropriate place to hang out. I remember Mint coaxing me to enter ‘Firangi Paani’, but I dismissed the idea because they had a big cover change and we didn’t plan on ordering anything. It didn’t make sense to pay for nothing. So we just kept talking and walking aimlessly. Until I glanced at my watch and realised the time. OhMyGod! I told him I had to rush back. I had promised my friends and my cousin that I would be back soon. Moreover, I had missed 4 calls from the BFF. She had also sent me two very angry text messages.

I kept telling Mint I had to leave and he kept begging me to stay some more. At this point he did something that took me aback and had me totally stumped. When I declined his request and said a final ‘no’ and told him I was leaving, he went down on his knees and folded his hands in plea! OhMyGod again. The mall was crowded and what the hell was he doing, creating a scene and getting us so much of undesired attention? I was embarrassed. People were staring at us. What a drama queen he is, I thought. He refused to get up until I gave in. I gave in, just to save myself from further embarrassment and stares. This boy knew how to have his way.

After walking around the mall some more, we found a quiet stair way connecting  two levels of the mall. It was silent and perfect for us to sit and talk. We sat on the steps. Conversation flowed. We spoke about his life in the US. My college life in Mumbai. His views on life in general. My views. And so on. It went on for a long, long time. Talking to him was so easy. Sometimes I would notice him just staring at me dreamily as I spoke. What, I asked. He kept telling me it was my eyes. They were arresting and it was hard for him to not stare into them. Right. Good dialogues, I told him. *Chuckles*. As usual, he was offended because I dismissed everything he sincerely said.

When we were both silent for a while, he pulled something out of the little bag he was carrying on his shoulder. “I got this for you”, he said. It was a tiny box. When I opened it, I saw in it a set of gorgeous earrings. He told me he had spent many hours choosing them for me. He made it a point to tell me that he “didn’t get anything for any of his other friends”. Wow. Why did he always treat me in this special way? And why did he want me to know that?

When I was quietly staring at the earrings, he asked me if I would mind if he put them on for me? Umm. I wasn’t sure. Would that be awkward? Instead of answering him, I told him we should go and find a mirror so I could see how they looked on me. With that thought, we tried to find our way back to one of the levels in the mall. We would find a mirror somewhere, we thought.

Instead, the door we got out of took us the parking lot of the mall. ‘Perfect’, Mint said. We can use the side view mirrors of all the parked cars. It was funny. We walked to the nearest car and both of us stood close enough to peer into the mirror together. I pulled out the earrings, and just as I was putting them on for myself, I had a change of mind. I decided to allow him to put them on for me. All along I told myself, I shouldn’t find that awkward. They are just earrings. Why would him touching my ear lobe be a sign of intimacy?

I told them he could put them on for me if he wanted to and his eyes lit up. He brushed aside me hair and put them on slowly and carefully. We continued to peer in the mirror. “Tell me, do you really like them?”. I swore to him I did. I really did. They were such gorgeous little things. “Thank you”, he said. When I told him it was funny he was thanking me after gifting me something, he said he was thanking me for allowing him to put them on for me.

Before I could respond, my phone beeped for the nth time. I had stopped answering my phone because I was too scared to tell my folks that I was still at the mall with my friend. I was supposed to be gone only for around 2 hours during lunch time. It was late evening by now. The party at my cousin’s place had begun. My friends were at her place and I wasn’t there myself, which was awkward for them. They were all furious. I knew I was in for big trouble when I got back. I told Mint I really had to leave. We walked to the exit together and he gave me another big hug before he let me go.

That day after the party, I had quite a fight with the BFF. She said we had planned our holiday in Bangalore together. If I wanted to keep disappearing to meet my friends, we needn’t have come together. I knew she was right and I didn’t know how to explain the inordinate delay to her. I just told her ‘my friend really didn’t let me leave’. She continued being mad at me. That was one of the biggest fights I’ve had with the BFF till date. Some years later when I introduced Mint to her as my boyfriend, her first reaction was “Oh, so this is the friend you ditched us for in Bangalore”. We still laugh when we think of it.

What brought this on? I was cleaning my jewellery box and I pulled these out. The earrings he gifted me on that day. I put them on and smiled as the rush of memories hit me.

Earrings

 

Posted in Blasts from the past, Splashes of Mint | Tagged: | 41 Comments »

Year 5 – Happy Anniversary, Mint

Posted by Pepper on March 26, 2015

Dear Mint,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All my love,

Pepper

 

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

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

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

The silent judgement

Posted by Pepper on December 3, 2014

There are a few things that I keep mulling over time and again. This is one of them. It started off with my aunt complaining to me about Mint and how he doesn’t talk to her much even when he meets her. Again. Yes, this is a complain I have heard fairly often. That Mint doesn’t talk. I have tried telling people several times that Mint is a quiet person. And that I can’t change it.

The underlying truth is that this does bother me. I fear people mistaking his quiet, placid temperament for unfriendliness. Besides, it is much easier to bond with people if you talk to them. I think he misses out on that bonding. Engaging in conversations gives people around you an opportunity to know you. Verbal communication goes a long way in depicting your character and personality. I feel a little bad that people don’t know him too much only because he is quiet.

Even if I don’t enjoy talking, I still try to participate in conversations if we are socialising with new people. For example, I try to pick on common themes and share anecdotes from our own lives. Infact, when I find Mint not participating much, I even speak on his behalf. ‘Oh you take long in the shower too? You should see how long Mint takes. I’m always getting hysterical while waiting for him to come out!’, I chip in. I wish Mint would speak at such times and say that he takes long to shower too, and thereby connect and bond with the person who is jestingly complaining about his wife’s reactions to his long showers. I mean, I see that as the perfect opportunity to bond. We have the same story. Mint on the other hand will only laugh and give me a look that says, ‘Sounds familiar?’.

So he stays quiet in most intimate gatherings, talking mainly for the sake of politeness, not much else. I used to resent it a little earlier because I know he is a friendly and favourable person, and I wanted him to come across as one. I realised a little later that Mint absolutely does not care about how he comes across to the world. He does what suits him and gives a damn to the rest. Thinking about what impression he leaves behind in somebody’s mind is not his concern. Quite a good way to live your life, so I stopped thinking about it..

There is another little problem I face. I am chatty and I discuss my life with people around me often. Mint who is obviously an integral part of my life, is a different person when is with me. He is fun, talkative and awesome in general. So I find myself sharing those awesome snippets of our happy and playful life together. I even talk about how Mint has always spoken up for equality, how open minded and fair he is and more. Now when the same people meet Mint, I worry about my honest claims not being validated in their eyes. On one hand I truthfully tell them about how loud and playful we are together and how my husband raises his voice to protect me from the wrong doings of patriarchy, on the other hand they meet a guy who is serious and doesn’t seem to speak up too much. This contrasting picture bothers me at some level..

Anyway, I am gradually learning from Mint and letting go of my need to seek validation. Although at times I still feel like a child wanting to show off my shining trophy. He says as long as I know what I have is awesome, I shouldn’t want to prove anything to anybody. I know he is right. But the final straw for me came when my aunt kept praising my cousin’s husband. She said ‘He is such a nice guy’. Now, he is a good talker and a pro at connecting with people. He does come across as friendly and genuine, but I know from internal sources that he is a chauvinist pig. He ill treats people around him. And he is known to be nice only because he talks well? Quite sad, if we judge people by their ability and willingness to talk.

Posted in Splashes of Mint | 28 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: