A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for the ‘The black hole’ Category

If we were having coffee

Posted by Pepper on March 21, 2021

  • I would start by discussing the weather. Yes, the weather is always a topic of discussion in Bay Area. It is still too cold for me and the mornings are still in the low to mid 30s. When I convert it to celcius, today morning was 1 degree. I abhor the chill. Spring is a farce. It’s nothing but an extension of winter, but a more romanticized version. Oh summer, how desperately I am waiting your arrival.
  • Now I would tell you that my BFF had her second baby a few days ago. I’ve mentioned her on this blog several times but I feel too lazy to link up those posts. Her older one is exactly the same age as Cotton and Candy and I remember much ado happening about the fact that we were pregnant at the same time back then, with almost the same due dates.
  • Her son stayed with us while they managed the new born for the first night and Cotton and Candy had their first official ‘sleep over party’. That’s what they kept calling it. The kids had a blast. Later that day we went to see the new baby and Candy was in love. She is a natural with babies and I often think of how amazing she would have been as an older sister. Here is a picture of her holding the baby.
  • I would tell you that I am trying to find the courage to buy some medium to large sized indoor plants for our living room. Since the other two small plants I bought 6 months ago are still alive, I want to go ahead and buy some big plants because I love the splash of green they add.
  • I have an appointment for a hair cut this Friday. I am over the moon excited about that.
  • Cotton woke up with a low grade fever, so both the kids have been kept home today. I am amazed by my ability to not panic this time and/or assume we have caught the dreaded virus. I was very nonchalant and just asked the kids to go play by themselves instead of fussing too much. Of course, we will isolate ourselves but I am so glad I am acting sane instead of driving myself up the wall with my thoughts, for once.
  • My energy levels seem to be at all all time low. I feel wiped out all the time. While my day involves a lot of physical activity and labor, it still isn’t any more than what other people around me are doing. So why do I tire out when others are capable of fitting in challenging work outs and packing in so much more? I know, the workouts actually help in building energy, so is that what it is for me? I basically need to kick myself in the butt and get to some exercise but I feel so tired.
  • I am so exhausted with Candy’s perpetual constipation issues. I am sorry, this is TMI, I know. But I need to rant. She has been using Miralax everyday for over a year and her pediatrician has asked us to discontinue it now and wean her off. Her water intake is abysmal and that seems to be the biggest problem. Prunes, chia seeds, soaked raisins, peaches, probiotics, extra fiber, flavoring the water, we have tried it all. She either doesn’t consume all that she needs to, or if she does, it doesn’t seem to work. Time and again, we find ourselves begging or threatening her with consequences if she doesn’t finish her *tiny* cup of water. It is so draining! When do these little humans realise they are not doing mankind any favor by drinking water?
  • I started typing this post 3 days ago and I completing it only now. I had a really good streak with blogging in the past few weeks but I am beginning to struggle to keep up. I wonder if I should slow down or push myself a little harder to write more frequently. I will think about it another day. Right now, I will just focus on enjoying my coffee.

Posted in The black hole | 38 Comments »

This and that

Posted by Pepper on November 26, 2019

Life is speeding by. I don’t think this space of mine is ever going to capture the intricacies of my life the way it used to. But I feel the urge to pop in every now and then. Just that I have to make do with the very limited time I have and not bother about structure, comprehension and order. But then, when did I ever focus on those?

– Life is really busy. I have a lot of friends that give me that needed dose of daily sunshine. In the midst of our busy lives, we meet for coffees and dinners. I am so very thankful for these people and for the genuine support we give each other. Navigating life is so much easier when you have people to lean on.

– And there are other people who I chose to cut out of my life. They are good people and some of them were really there for me in my time of need. So I continued to take the effort to stay in touch with them. Effort that was never reciprocated. They were always busy. I continued to push myself to take more effort from my side. I felt I owed it to them for all the help they rendered.

Until I realised that there is only so much I can do. I didn’t enjoy the permanent burden of initiating contact. Life was busy for me too. So I decided to stop trying. And I felt a huge load was taken away from me. As for those people, they disappeared. If I call out for help, maybe they will turn up again. Like I said, they are good people. But I don’t think they have enough space in their life for this friendship. And that is fine.

Because there are so many people who are over enthusiastic to make us a part of their everyday. I am thankful for this clarity and wisdom I have to choose the people I want in my life and to know whom to classify as unworthy.  Really, nobody has excess time.

– Fear. This has been a constant part of my life. I live in fear of my mom having a relapse of her cancer. I have reasoned with myself, calculated and recalculated the probability and the odds of it happening again, been rational and told myself to not think of things that aren’t in my control, but none of it has worked. I have now learnt to live my life with fear, and it is okay. I continue to go out, play with my kids, have fun with my friends, work, cook, shop, read, all while being fearful. It took some work to be able to operate under the dark shadow of fear, but I have learnt the skill by now. For now, I am thankful for each day, where all is well.

– Cotton and Candy. They don’t get any spotlight on this blog, but I think that’s the choice I have made. They turned two, two months ago. And now we are living with two, two year olds. Life is colourful and entertaining, to say the least.

– I think my favourite part about having kids is that I am finally given a chance to be in my element. I am living the life that I relate to the most. I love attending kiddie birthday parties and feasting on cake and playing games. I can finally go to a park and blow bubbles. I can get in and jump in a bouncy house (on the pretext of taking care of my kids), without seeming like a lone, lunatic adult engaging in the above activities.

– I noticed I was spending a lot of time on Instagram following a lot of food bloggers, which was only resulting in me being unnecessarily preoccupied by thoughts of food. I believe we as a generation our fairly obsessed with food anyway. And to have my feed bombarded with pictures of other people’s lunches and dinners was very unhelpful.

I originally started following these accounts to gain inspiration to cook all those wonderful looking things, to learn new recipes and to be aware of the current food trends. But I got fed up of every plate of food being called a ‘simple meal’. Well, most of those meals aren’t considered simple in my world.

I was spending time thinking of the food others were eating and not really feeling motivated enough to cook it. Because what they termed simple was labour intensive for me. This visual information was redundant. So I unfollowed a lot of those accounts to free up some headspace.

– A friend of mine has recently gotten me hooked to lipsticks. For the record, I have never been into lip colour. Eye lines and kajal has always been my thing. But I have started noticing and admiring that pop of colour that lipsticks add to your face. And my lipstick addict friend took it upon herself to push me into that colourful world.

All these years, I didn’t use lipsticks regularly because I have set ideas about it in my head. Idea 1 – lipstick only looks good on you when you are not looking like crap with oily hair tied up in a knot. And since I don’t have freshly washed, bouncy and styled hair often, I don’t wear lipstick often.

Idea 2 – Lipsticks do not look good with a casual, zip up, sporty hoodie (that I use everyday in California winters). In my head, lipsticks warrant pretty feminine clothes and jackets.

Idea 3 – You can only wear lipstick when you are going somewhere. You needn’t wear lipstick on an average work day or just to pick up and drop off kids from school, or worse, when you are simply home.

Turns out, I have all these trashy self created ideas in my head that are not doing me any good. Under the guidance of my friend, I bought myself some pretty lip shades and I am resolving to use them on an everyday basis. Even if my hair is pulled back, even if I am only going to the grocery store, even if I am not wearing the perfect attire, even if I have a zit on my face, I think the added dash of colour will only brighten things up.

– The year has almost come to an end. I can safely say I have had a good, happy year. I have some goals for next year but I am still working on drafting them in my head. For now, all of us are gearing up for our upcoming vacation. We are all set for our little holiday in Singapore and then we go onwards to India from there. I can’t wait for the excitement our holiday in S’pore will bring, but more than that, I just can’t wait to hug my mama, papa and my little sister. I know right now that they care more about getting to hold Cotton and Candy in their arms. Oh well..

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Posted by Pepper on December 26, 2018

It’s been so long, this feels really strange. This is the *longest* I have been away from my blog. A record absence of a year. Or 11 months, just in case lack of numerical precision gets to you, like it does to Mint.

An update has been overdue. Let me try to break down the year that went by. I wrote my last post at the end of January. I was so utterly exhausted with the lack of sleep. And right after I wrote that post, a switch was magically turned on. Cotton and Candy started sleeping through the night. This was a turning point in our lives and made everything significantly brighter.

We spent most of February rejoicing the fact that we could now sleep for 8 hours straight. We had other troubles to deal with though. Candy would absolutely refuse her bottle of milk. At all times. We spent our days inventing ways to sneak in the bottle in her mouth and get her to latch. And although she did sleep for 8 hours straight, putting her to sleep required a lot of skill. I would rock her in my arms for a good 40 minutes. I’m sure I built a good deal of muscle in that time.

March. Cotton and Candy turned 6 months old! We celebrated by getting them shiny helium balloons and cutting a half cake for their half birthday. We actually let them do a cake smash, which turned out to be a lot of fun. This was also the month we introduced them to solid food. Feeding them has been a fairly daunting journey, but let me not get into that now.

Sadly, March turned out to be the worst month of the year for me. Or strike that, I’ll call it the worst month of my life. It was the month my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I cannot put in words the kind of trauma I went through in this period. This definitely deserves a separate post. Anyway, although the kind of breast cancer my mom has (I would like to say ‘had’) is very aggressive, we caught it at an early stage that made her prognosis fairly good. And it is this fact that I have hung on to for dear life.

April. My birthday month. I had spent most of March and the initial days of April lying low, trying to cope with my mom’s diagnosis. I finally tried to get a hold and pick myself up. For my birthday, we drove to Monterey Bay, a pretty beach town in California. This was only a short 2 day break but it was special. This was our first vacation as a family of four. Cotton and Candy were lovely little travel companions.

I spent my birthday evening dining with a college friend and her family, who also happened to be holidaying there. Our kids were asleep in their strollers that were parked alongside our table. The cocktails were delicious. The company was fabulous. I remember telling Mint I hadn’t laughed so much in ages. I’m so glad we made this trip.

May. The BFF moved from LA to Bay Area! This was a huge deal for all of us, to live in close proximity. Her son is the same age as Cotton and Candy. Having kids of the same age makes us value each other’s presence even more. We spent May catching up with each other, lazing around in our homes.

June. We came to India! Well, I traveled to India with my FIL and the 2 kids, *without* Mint. Yes, I survived a 24 hour journey managing 2 infants on a flight. That needed to be put down here. Anyway, Cotton and Candy were 9 months old at this time and my family in India went berserk when they saw them.

We are still in India as I write this, and the brats have been smothered with love, kisses and attention in this time. I am so glad we decided to spend these 6 months in India. They have the biggest fans in nani, nanu and masi.

July. Mint joined us in India. He had saved up the 6 week paternity leave he is eligible for for his India trip. He got to see first hand the terrific life the kids had in India. We also hired a full time helper for the kids here, which means all feeding, diapering duties were outsourced. Ah, what life. This was bliss, after all the struggles we had been through in California.

August. We celebrated my mom’s and sister’s birthday. It was a happy time with all of us around. Mint and I also got to spend some quality time in Bombay and visit some of our old favourites in that month.

We also made a trip to Chennai to meet Cotton and Candy’s thatha and pati. Needless to say, a grand time was had.

September. Our jumping, squealing little monkeys turned a year old! I have barely spoken about them on this blog. Probably some day I will, without worrying about sounding overly smitten. For their birthday, we decided to keep it really low key. We chose a monkey themed cake and had a small celebration at home. It was perfect. Mint returned to California a few days after their birthday.

October. My mother completed all her treatments that had started in March. She underwent a lumpectomy, many, many rounds of chemotherapy, followed by more rounds of radiation. It all came to an end in October. Throughout her treatment, my mom was such a trooper. She went about living such a ‘normal’ life, going out, managing and having a blast with Cotton and Candy, being cheerful and active, or overactive if I have to say. All this, despite her nausea, low levels of hemoglobin, sores, blisters and more. If you’d see her, you would never know she was undergoing such aggressive treatment. Her bald head is probably the only thing that would give it away. We were so very relieved her treatment came to an end.

October also brought thatha and pati to Mumbai. They couldn’t wait to see the brats and decided to visit. Cotton and Candy had both sets of grandparents to spoil them rotten in those few days.

November. Month of Diwali. We went all out with the lights this year, knowing this is the one Diwali the kids will be in India. The rest of the month was spent waiting for Mint’s arrival.

December, the present month. Mint arrived on the 1st and shortly after that, we made another short trip to Chennai. Once back in Mumbai, we got busy with a friend’s wedding festivities. We had a chance to dress Cotton and Candy in colourful pavadais and kurtas.

We had a very merry Christmas and clicked lots of lovely pictures. We go back to California in a few days and I have never felt more unprepared in my life. I have no idea if I can survive life there, caring for the typhoons while keeping myself sane.

My parents and sister are unsure if they can live without Cotton and Candy but more than any of that, I am terribly unsure I can live without them. My mama and papa have been my biggest support. They are rock solid. They have babied Mint and me just as much as they babied Cotton and Candy. Their warmth, their generosity, their soothing touch, their goofiness, they are the kindest and most giving souls, especially when it comes to their children. I think I have the best parents in the world.

Please pray for us as we learn to live without this supporting foundation. Life is going to be different, to say the least. If you are reading this till the end, let me apologise for the multiple errors this post is likely to have. Hopefully, this space will see more of me next year. Until then, best wishes for a bright and peaceful 2019.



Posted in The black hole | 35 Comments »


Posted by Pepper on April 25, 2017

Some days ago, I got a notification from WordPress that told me my blog stats were booming. This left me confused, because I haven’t posted anything new in ages. What could have led to the surge? I logged on to my account and took a look at the stats to find out what was going on. Now, I have no idea after how long I was glancing at my stats. When you post this infrequently, the last thing you are interested in is tracking the number of hits you get.

So it looked like my stats were booming because of one single visitor. He/she spent a significant time in my world and seemed to be diving in to old posts. Along with him/her, I began to read all my old posts too. It is something I haven’t done in a long time, and I can’t really put in words the kind of nostalgia I was hit by.

Hello there, visitor! Whoever you are, thank you for pushing me to tour my past. It was a refreshing experience, to say the least. I also got wishful thinking of how often I used to update my life here. I’m not sure I will ever go back to posting that regularly, so there is no point writing another ‘I’m back’ post. I end up feeling stupid after each of those. But I will drop by every now and then to at least write an update post and share a part of my life here.

Posted in The black hole | 16 Comments »

Life updates

Posted by Pepper on February 24, 2016

It hit me with a smack. The realisation that we’ve reached the end of Feb. In a few days, we’ll spill over into March. Life goes by so fast! This year has been fairly good to me, making me hang on to the optimism I had in the beginning of the year.

What have I been up to? Not much really. A while ago, I consciously decided to slow down my life and from what I can see, the effects have been wonderful. Through some stroke of luck, both Mint and I were able to get some time off work at the same time. This has always been hard to accomplish in the past. It is a strange feeling to wake up and know you have the entire day to your disposal. I wake up with no real agenda. Initially, I told myself I would try and do more. Read and cook for example. Instead, I do neither. I sleep in, I wander around the house, I take long naps, I browse the internet for hours and in short, waste all my time. I stopped feeling guilty after a point and decided to allow myself to do exactly what I wanted, even if it meant being a sloth and nothing else.

It is also great to have the opportunity to relax and unwind together with Mint. We go for early morning movie shows, we go to food courts in malls to eat and satiate random cravings. We hang out and explore new places. One of our recent and highly cherished discoveries has been a little place in Bandra that serves absolutely brilliant Asian food. The dumplings are melt in your mouth, but most importantly, I’ve been overjoyed to discover the availability of good Ramen. Even the veggie version is perfect, and better than all the Ramen I got in the US. We visited the place twice in the same week and each time I sat back and lazily slurped on my delicious Ramen, I said a thank you to the universe for making my life pretty damn perfect.

In other news, we finally stopped dithering and registered for adoption. This has been a big move on our part. We are now officially PAPs, which stands for Prospective Adoptive Parents in Indian adoption parlance. Of course, it is a lengthy process. We have submitted a million documents and are yet to submit a million more. But the fact that we may be less than a year away from getting our baby girl in our hands is exciting and terrifying. There are still some roadblocks lying ahead on our personal front (which I plan to write about in a while), but I am hoping we are able to overcome those and go ahead with adoption the way we intended to. I think we should know for sure in the next few months. *Fingers crossed* If by chance  we find out that the door to adoption is closed for us, then we will think of having our own child (The heart rate is in control and I have been given all clearances by doctors! Yay!). But I am so glad we have made adoption our first choice.

Lastly, I finally managed to get myself to join a yoga class. I think it is the most amazing thing I am doing for myself right now. I start my day with an hour of yoga every morning, and I can’t stop marveling at how well balanced a work out it gives me. I absolutely love it. I can’t wait for the day where I can twist my body into pretzels the way other people around me in class can. Baby steps, I tell myself. My body is way too stiff. I can’t even come close to touching my toes with my hands. Freeing up my body and gaining flexibility will take me some time, but I know if I continue this class and remain dedicated and consistent, I am going to get there soon. I have already taken the most difficult step, which was to begin. The rest will follow. I already feel pretty damn great after the hour long yoga session in the morning.

Other than all of this, there are some uncertainties brewing in our life. I’m not sure where exactly we will be 6 months down the line. I can foresee some changes. But by now, I’ve learnt to take this in my stride. I will talk about it when I feel ready to. Right now, I’m happy to close my eyes and stay oblivious to all possible outcomes and scenarios. Besides, for all I know, we just might be able to avoid the changes completely, so no point thinking about them now. Living in the present is something I have learnt with great difficulty. And now that I have, I am not letting myself entertain thoughts of a different future. My present is quite perfect and I am happy to soak in it.

Anyway, that’s about all that has been going on in our lives. How have you been?

Posted in The black hole | 36 Comments »

My very first post from the phone..

Posted by Pepper on January 20, 2016

My laptop isn’t powering up and I am in panic mode. I’m hoping it is nothing more than a temporary snag, because without it, I will be really lost. I must admit though, it doesn’t have a very long life left even if it does start now. The exterior case of the screen is all cracked. It’s being held together by a hundred tapes. Other than that, it hangs and slows down at every opportunity. Too many tabs? Clicked too many times too quickly? Hang. Hang. For everything, hang.

I wanted to buy a new laptop when we were in California in July, but for some reason, it didn’t work out at that time. I am still holding on to the one I had, which I honestly believed would fall apart and wouldn’t last me as long as it has. I am still unsure I want to buy a new laptop right now. What if this one can be revived? I should use it till the very end, right? Anyway, let’s see how close the end it.

I am quite exhausted today. The sister needed to see a doctor for her lack of appetite and consistent weight loss. The doctor happened to be in the other end of town, Churchgate, to be precise. We live in the suburbs, and so we took a train all the way there. Oh, while waiting outside the doctor’s office, I happened to check my pulse again. It was 130 which again freaked out the nurses and in turn freaked me out. I am told 130 beats per minute is a very high heart rate. I am convinced I need to go see a cardiologist in the next week or so. Just the thought of it is accelerating my heart rate now. Hmph..

Anyway, irrespective of meeting the cardiologist, I know I need to  take on breathing exercises, yoga, meditation and walking very regularly. I have been doing all the above sporadically and in varying degrees. What I need most in my life is a set routine and schedule that includes all these healthy habits.

There is only so much I can type from my phone. So that is all for today, folks. Good night!

Posted in The black hole | 10 Comments »

Welcome, 2016!

Posted by Pepper on January 1, 2016

Happy New Year! This is going to be a cheat post, because all I am here to say is that I have done it again. Signed up for the annual blogathon that happens across the blogosphere in January. I know, I have a dismal record when it comes to any kind of writing challenges, but then, one more attempt doesn’t hurt. So here we are!

Since I very abruptly paused the A – Z challenge I had taken up in December, I am going to try and complete it in the course of this blogathon, but since that challenge is SO HARD, I am going to give myself the luxury of choosing when and where I want to throw in an alphabet themed post.

Anyway, here is to a new beginning! I am thoroughly looking forward to 2016. I can clearly say that 2015 has been the crappiest year of my life. And almost through out the year, I wished for it to end. I wished for new beginnings. And now that I see them on the horizon, I can’t contain my excitement. I am more full of hopes and dreams than I have ever been.

To bring in the new year, we had our own little party on the BFF’s terrace. She had made arrangements for cushions and beddings that were laid out on the floor. We had music and fairy lights and pizza. It was casual and informal. And as I lay down on my back beneath the stars, blowing bubbles out of a blower, I wished for peace, above everything else. And that is what I wish for you too, love, joy and peace!


Posted in The black hole | 31 Comments »

‘I am back’ post..

Posted by Pepper on November 18, 2015

I typed out that title with great trepidation. You know, because what if saying ‘I am back’ is like a promise that I can’t keep? I am known to shy away from binding commitments. And at this point in time, I already have a truckload of commitments that I have to cater to, both professional and personal. Why then am I adding more to my already full plate?

Well, because this blog is very dear to me. And I have been noticing it’s decline. 2015 is probably my worst year in terms of blogging frequency. I don’t blame myself entirely. There have been too many distractions this year, other than general life to focus on. It has resulted in gross neglect of the blog. But now, I sorely miss the warmth I felt after a publishing a post. The chatter in the comment section. It was almost a part of my daily life. And while I know that things may not be the same anymore even if I do become more regular with my writing, I am still willing to try my best to restore that happy connection I had with this space.

And so, I am back. To ensure I post everyday often, I am signing myself up for the A-Z blogging challenge. This is an annual challenge that usually happens in the month of April. But ofcourse, I will bend the rules to suit myself. I hear this challenge is not easy, and I must be crazy to take it up at this time. But I have a penchant for all things crazy, and so here we are. Ofcourse, anybody else who wants to participate in this challenge and join in the craziness is most welcome to do so. All you have to do is choose a topic using each letter of the alphabet from A to Z.

Here’s to a new beginning. See you tomorrow.

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Catch up

Posted by Pepper on August 16, 2015

Since I have neglected this space over the past few weeks (or months?), a catch up is due. Here’s a toast to my rambles. *Clink*

So from where do I begin? Right. I’ll try chronicling my life from the time I returned from California.

Well, the day after I landed, I was greeted with some sullen news. Our car had met with an accident. A bad accident on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. I was horrified. I asked my dad why he had not informed me earlier. The answer was something I should have guessed. He said he didn’t want to spoil our trip. I was perturbed. Had he told me while I was there, I would have had Mint by my side and we could have grappled with the news together. Now I was alone, Mint was still in California. It made me feel worse.

I am not going to get into details on how the accident occurred. It was pure bad luck. Let me just say my dad decided to use our car for some reason. But here is the worst part. Our car insurance had expired just a few days before this. We had decided to come back from the US and renew it, since we thought nobody would be driving the car in our absence anyway. My dad didn’t know about the expired insurance and he used the car. As luck would have it, it met with a bad accident. I know I should have been extremely thankful that my dad escaped without any injuries, but at that point, I was blinded by a strange force. It made me feel very resentful.  Thankfully, I have returned to my senses. I still feel really bad when I think of the huge loss we have incurred (no, we’re just not letting my dad pay for this), but I am so very grateful that my precious papa is okay.

I had hoped to send our car for repair as soon as Mint got back to Mumbai, but though it has been some time since he returned, our car is still lying in it’s mangled state. Mr. Mint has been unable to decide whether we should give it to mechanic A or mechanic B. That is so typical of him. Ask him to make a decision and he will tear himself apart. Every fiber will be dissected at infinite levels. The pros and cons will be weighed with minuscule precision. A ton of time will be wasted. Sigh. What do I do with him?

Anyway, in a happy twist, S mummy decided that she wanted to gift us daddy’s car that had been lying unused. We were a bit overwhelmed. Ever since, we’ve been using that car. While I am happy we haven’t been carless, the lack of inconvenience gives Mint more time to mull over his decision (which mechanic, remember?), and that grates on my nerves.

While we were trying to wade out of the mess that the car accident had created, our bed broke. I really wondered, what the hell was going on. How much money were we supposed to spend on fixing broken things in this period? The fact that we had bought this bed just about 6 months ago, got us all the more worked up. Serves us right for choosing the cheap model, knowing well that the quality was sub standard.

The bed has broken in such a way, we’re not even sure it can be repaired. As of now, we’ve been sleeping in the other bedroom, which has a sofa cum bed. Not very comfortable, but we’re managing. Moreover, the news of our bed breaking has resulted in our friends asking us inappropriate questions about how me managed to achieve this feat. I suspect people believe we take kinky to a new level. I wish the truth was as exciting as that, but no sir, the bed broke while we were dumping our junk in the storage section. How boring..

In other news, Oregano finally left for the US for his MS, two weeks ago. I will probably dedicate a separate post to this, but for now, I wanted to mention how happy his new life is making me. He’s been having a great time and the sound of his exciting life brings me such joy. See, it is possible to have a very happy ending despite all the turbulence we face. Oregano is proof. He deserves every bit of this happiness.

Talking about happy things, we replaced our cook. The new one we employed is a sweet old Gujrati lady. I am thrilled to come home to delectable theplas, handwas, and other Gujju delights. I have a new found love for Gujrati cuisine. Food. It is my eternal source of pleasure.

While I love the food she cooks, my problem with cooks remains the same. Most cooks only know how to make Indian food. I enjoy it but I can’t eat Indian food day and night, everyday. Our family needs some stir-frys, pastas, bakes, etc every now and then. So we end up cooking on our own fairly often. On those days, either her role is limited to chopping, or she gets free holidays. Since it is a choice we’ve made, I don’t have much right to complain.

Lastly, the big news is that the sister started her first job. She had been aspiring for and training to be a teacher for the longest time. She now works as a teacher in probably the most elite school in Mumbai. One in which almost every star kid studies. I get to hear interesting anecdotes of her interactions with these ‘star kids’, belonging to the Bollywood family.

I am also bowled over by the quality of education they provide. Their method of teaching and the syllabus they follow focuses on overall brain development. The learning is not one dimensional. One mention of the school fees and all jaws drop. It makes me sad when I realise that quality education in India is only for the privileged. I know we will never be able to afford this school for our future child. This is such a flawed system. But well, that is a post for another day..

Anyway, I think I have rambled enough for the day. The bed beckons. Good night!

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Life updates

Posted by Pepper on June 18, 2015

It’s been a while since I allowed myself to write mindlessly with no agenda in mind. Today, I will let my thoughts flow.

Let me first rant about work. It has been very stressful. I know I need to learn to deal with the stress better. But as of now, I feel too much of physical and mental strain. Running a company is hard work. That is an understatement. I find myself constantly juggling to keep all the balls up in the air. I know we need to make a few hires at the senior level. I am too stretched. Sadly, a snapshot of our finances tells me we have no budget for lateral hires at this point.

I spend most of my time either working, or worrying about work. Sometimes, I tell myself to calm the eff down. If production stalls for a day because of an unexpected problem, it is okay. If I detect a small flaw in the operation process, it is okay. If a project delivery happens a day late for some unavoidable reason, it is okay. I can’t worry about everything. I have way too many things to look into. I need to deep breathe and let go of things that are beyond my control. Most importantly, I need to stop thinking about work when I am not working.


Talking about work, my dad has been traveling for official work since a week. Bah, I miss him so much, it’s not funny. I also realise how dependent I am on him for so many things. Especially work. Without him in town, I feel more unsure of everything. It’s rather strange because I am used to working without having him around all the time. But perhaps, knowing he is right there if I need him makes me feel secure in some way.


The R family visited us for lunch last weekend. The last time they came home was when RM was expecting R2. That time, they came for a pani puri party. Ever since my mom saw the very pregnant RM, she had been waiting to see R2 in person. She finally got a chance to lay her eyes on the little one. Both R and R2 are such absolute cuties. Playing with them was a delight. We kept the lunch simple. Our cook made the dal. Mint made spicy potato roast. My mom made mutter paneer. We had rice and rotis. We obviously laid out yogurt and a special red chili pickle outsourced directly from Rajasthan. RM brought some aam ras and our meal was complete. It was a rainy day, so we had some fun indoor. I even spent time dancing with R in a locked room. So glad they came!


We went to watch the Tamil film, ‘Kaaka Muttai’ on a Sunday morning. I was wondering if the early morning show was worth it. In the end, I was so glad we chose to sacrifice our sleep for this movie. This was one of the best movies I have seen in a long, long time. The attention to detail, the story, the casting, the expressions, it was all perfect. It left a deep impact on me. I urge everybody to go watch it. Even the sister, who doesn’t understand a word of Tamil, loved the movie. The subtitles worked wonderfully. I think the movie is a must watch for everybody, more so if you have kids.


Finally, we have gotten our friends addicted to Settlers of Catan. Tables have turned and they are the ones who call and request us to play now. Haha. We’re the only ones who have the game and they take special effort to remind us to carry it when we meet. This weekend, we met at a coffee shop. We were not sure how appropriate it was to spread out the board on their coffee tables and play there. Thankfully, nobody seemed to mind and we had a grand time playing. Cheers to board games! They are perfect for rainy weekends.


Yesterday, Oregano turned one! That might not make sense, so let me explain. Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of his kidney transplant. Since we consider his kidney transplant day to be his rebirth, we choose to call that day his birthday. He says it is more important to him than his actual birthday. I am inclined to agree. So when Oregano buzzed me on WhatsApp last evening to ask me what special something I was making to celebrate his birthday, I racked my brains and then zeroed in on Vidhya’s bread pudding.

It turned out lip smacking. And it was unbelievably easy to make. Thank you so much, Vidhya!


Mint is leaving for the US tonight. I’ve been very cranky and clingy. He’s going to Utah first  (beautiful Salt Lake City!) and then he’ll be in the Bay Area from next week.  I just don’t want him to leave me. *Sobs*.. But then, I am consoling myself because there is a chance I may join him in the Bay Area. It really depends on my work and a couple of other things. But until I am sure, I should tell myself to shhhh.. No getting excited until I know for sure.

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Yet another ‘I’m back’ post.

Posted by Pepper on November 24, 2014

Reappearing after a brief spell of silence seems to have become a common theme on this blog. This time, I have missed the blog sorely. And ofcourse, I’d like to believe I have been missed too. In my imaginary world, there is a large audience waiting desperately to hear from me. I see them whistling, clapping and cheering as I emerge. Amidst all that frenzied hooting, I approach the podium.. err, blog. And then I begin to speak. People hang on to every word of mine. The moment everybody has been waiting for has arrived. I am back!

You see why I love living in my imaginary world? Because reality sucks. Nobody seems to have missed me. I got no emails checking on me this time. Nobody seems to be desperate for my return. Hmph.. But we will ignore that, okay? We will instead focus on the few hundreds of people who visit this space religiously. Despite me posting nothing. They come here and leave empty handed (empty headed?), having found nothing new to read. So for all those awesome people who give my stats a constant boost, I am back. How can I continue disappointing you like that? I know. I am modest and humble. Thank you.

What kept me away? I believe I have mentioned that already. The month has been crazy. My cousin came down from Spain. She had gotten married to a Spanish boy and wanted to come to India to have an Indian wedding ceremony. She was visiting India after 17 years, so she knew almost nothing about the city or country in its current state.

They also wanted to have their honeymoon in India. The responsibility of planning their travel and the wedding ceremony fell on me entirely. I cribbed and whined. Because I was already very  burdened with the BFF’s wedding planning. I don’t know how the days went by. I was coordinating with a travel agent for my cousins’s honeymoon arrangements, checking suitable venues for the wedding, planning the BFF’s  bachelorette party, writing the script for her sangeet and dance party, talking to caterers, figuring out what to wear for all the upcoming occasions, whining about how busy life is, rehearsing my dance for the party, brain storming with the BFF’s sister, trying to come up with appropriate props for the Bollywood theme we had chosen for one of the parties, getting movie banners printed, having family dinners every other day with my cousin and her husband and so on and so forth.

I haven’t had a moment’s respite. No, it isn’t over yet. But a lot of events have been crossed out of my list. The cousin and her husband had a happy wedding ceremony. They enjoyed all the family gatherings and dinners. They loved their honeymoon. They have now returned to Spain. Phew. The BFF’s bachelorette party is done. The sangeet and dance party is done. I will write individual posts on them later, perhaps. What remains now is the mehendi party. And the haldi ceremony. And the wedding ceremony. And the reception. Okay, that does sound taxing. But the good news is that I have no more work! All the events that I had to plan and organise are done. Now I only have to show up for the rest of them. Okay, I am kidding. Knowing the BFF, I know I will be swamped with last minute chores for the remaining occasions too.

But, but! I am back. Despite the ongoing festivities. They will be over in a week. I intend writing here regularly. I have so much to say. Looks like the silence on the blog was just the calm before the storm. So beware! You are now going to be inundated with posts.

Posted in The black hole | 27 Comments »


Posted by Pepper on October 21, 2014

Hello! Anybody there? I’ve been away for almost a month. (Digression begins. I was going to say I have been missing in action. So I thought I’d rather say I have been MIA. But it was making me giggle, because MIA reminded me of meow. So after some bit of chortling, I deciding to break the silence by purring like a cat. So. Meoww. Digression ends)

We came back from Kerala a few weeks ago. I have an incomplete post in my draft about the trip. I hope to complete that post soon. Unfortunately, I came back rather sick. To add to it, I kept getting hit by an assortment of illnesses. Nothing big, but the minor ailments were enough to disrupt regular programming.

Let me talk about the biggest roadblock I have run into. Lethargy. It is single handedly responsible for all the disorder that has seeped into my life. I have lost all will and inclination to perform any chore that involves physical activity. It happened at the wrong time because my parents had to travel to Bangalore for a week. That meant the responsibility of running two homes fell on my shoulders. The sister cited exams as her reason to not take on any any additional work. As far as Mint is concerned, the past month has been so hectic for him at work, he practically lives in office. He comes home only to take on more calls that last until late night and then continues to work until the wee hours of morning.

I had no help. I was more sluggish than I have been in a long time. I don’t know how I managed to wade through that week while my parents were gone. I didn’t ever want to get out of bed. A small task like laying the table or opening the door to the maid seemed to take massive effort. I only wanted to lounge around and do nothing. Not even read, which is surprising. Blogging seemed to take too much effort. Heck, bathing seemed to take too much effort. So I just allowed myself to slip on all fronts. Mails went unanswered. Work in office piled up. Work around the new house came to a complete halt.

There was a lot I had to focus on and I chose to just lie back and do nothing. The drama queen BFF who is getting married in the end of November called me (exclusively to shout at me) one day, “Do you care to plan my wedding at all? We hardly have any time left. Have you decided what you are going to wear for the ceremony and the reception? Have you planned my bachelorrete? Have you planned the sangeet and dance party? When are we going to start rehearsing the dances. Have you thought of surprises for me?” I knew I had too much to do in that direction, so I decided to get going. November is going to be an extremely busy month for me. What with my cousin getting married, BFF1 getting married and BFF2 having her baby shower, I am going to have my plate very full.

Anyway, I am trying to get back to regular programming. My parents are finally back. The house is slowly getting back in order. Diwali is here! We have to put up our lights today. Few things excite me more than strings of twinkling fairy lights. Mint has taken off from work for the remaining week. So that is a big relief. I can’t wait to submerge myself in all the festivities. How have you guys been?

Posted in The black hole | 18 Comments »

On my mind

Posted by Pepper on August 12, 2014

Is a motley. An assortment of thoughts. Ofcourse, I am converting them into a post.

Is the new fridge we got this weekend. Yes, we bought one FINALLY. The moment it arrived, I went to a quiet corner and fist pumped like mad. You see, it wasn’t just the joy of owning a new refrigerator. It was the joy of finally having decided on a brand and a model. Phew.

Are the pani puris I have been bingeing on. The mother made a couple of gallons of pani this weekend. For a change, the supply could match our capacity to consume. Since we couldn’t finish it in one go, we decided to freez it. I come home every evening only to let it defrost, before I go on to stuff myself. Pure bliss.

Is our newly done flooring. Yes! We managed to choose the pattern. That’s one more thing off the list. Euphoria!

Are the rakhis we tied to each other. The sister and I have been tying a rakhi to each other since the past couple of years. The sister also ties one to Mint. It is only this year that we realised that Mint had not been tying one to the sister.We realised it in time and he did tie her a rakhi this year.


The rakhi I tied to the sister. Pretty, isn’t it?

The sister tying Mint a rakhi.  Too bad I don't have other pics..

The sister tying Mint a rakhi. Too bad I don’t have other pics..

Are the new shoes I need to buy. I have been surviving only on one pair. The rest are in boxes that lie unopened. I am going to buy a new pair of shoes because that is obviously easier than opening the million boxes and searching for the old ones in there. No, you’re not allowed to ask me why we didn’t number/mark our boxes.

Are the many holidays that are coming up. For the first time ever, I think we’re too broke to travel. Any spare money we have needs to be put into the house. Surprisingly, that is not saddening me as much as I thought it would.

Is the stupid lady at the salon. I happened to take a package that included eyebrow threading and a hair cut. Along with it, I got a free facial clean up. There are few things I love more than a good facial massage. Especially one done by skilled hands that know where the sinus points lie. Anyway, I told the lady I wanted some mild cleansing and then I wanted her to focus only on the massage, nothing else. No bleach by any means. I repeated that a total of 5 times. Only to realise that my face was stinging a little and I could smell the bleaching agent. When I called out to her, she said she didn’t use bleach, but only used an “Anti tan pack”. Because apparently my face needed one desperately. What the hell does an anti tan pack contain if not bleach? Idiots!

Is the picture of the sleeping child I happened to see when I was at Dadar station a few days ago. As expected, crowd and chaos reigned the premises. I was startled to see a child, fast asleep amidst the din. Instantly, my mind was spinning a million stories..


A makeshift bed in the midst of complete bedlam. Can you spot the baby?

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