Friday, September 12, 2014

I'm Doing A Lot Of Things Wrong. But I Have Impeccable Logic On My Side.

My aunt keeps gifting me sarees these days. 

I don't know what to do with them except, stare and admire  like you would at a work of art  at the museum. And she keeps pushing me towards getting the blouses etc done.

 I shrug and say "maybe in the winter." 

Brace Yourself...

So at one point she got a little exasperated and said "don't you want to celebrate your womanhood?!" and I'm like my idea of celebrating my womanhood is not having to wear anything and just lounge around in the summer. Because these are the  tropics y'all. The saree's like the most elegant thing to wear I'm sure but in the summer it's like wannabe hulk gear.

But I listened to my aunt and went for my first blouse fitting..ever. It's supposed to be like a rite of passage...somewhere around your late teens. I've just been very lazy and borrowing my mom's stuff and using makeshift safety pin adjustments to make everything somehow fit.

So this woman started ahem.. measuring me. And then she pointed out that I'm wearing my bra wrong. Seriously. And I'm like really? cause this is how I've been wearing it my whole life. She rolled her eyes at me and muttered "much too loose" and then went on to tighten it. And suddenly I felt like my harmless unassuming underwear was being forced to be something it wasn't. I wanted to be all "hold off Mammy, I am no Scarlett O'Hara and this ain't no corset!" 

But my mom interrupted our fitting session and was a little appalled, because "how many other little things have you been messing up this way? I can't micro manage everything...and how could you ever  feel comfortable in something that loose?! It's like you're defeating the whole purpose of that piece of garment." 

And I'm like woah...calm your jets? And if you really think about it, it's  quite simple. The blouse is a daughter of the almighty bra. And a t-shirt or even a kurti is like a grandma. So it's okay to ahem...let it hang when you're... you know used to wearing the grandma attire. And then my mom just stared at me and the blouse measurement lady looked at me worried. Or maybe she was just sad about living in this weird tight cage for so long, when there was always the option of.. just being comfortable. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Part 1: Weekend Getaway to Haldia

This is about that time I had a a really bad week and didn't want to talk about it. And you can relax, I still don't. 

It's just that my bad week thankfully coincided with the weekend that mom,one of her best friends and I decided to travel to the districts. For fun. 

When I told my friends, I was going to Haldia for fun, one half of them made political jokes and the other half would just stare at me baffled and go..."but what's there in Haldia?" So not the best build up before a trip. 

Then we boarded our "Volvo" buses and I could hear birds chirping in my head with the uneasy silence between the three of us. It was shabby. Definitely not what we were expecting. So mom's friend (P) finally decided to address the elephant in the bus and meekly said "er...the make of this bus isn't of the Volvo kind. Maybe a Small-vo.." with a sheepish grin.

The proactive mother had to immediately call our contact person at Haldia, a certain Mr. Sengupta (S.G) to ascertain if there were better options for our way back to Kolkata.S.G said this was the only "luxury bus" available. Moreover, on our way back this bus won't be plying because of some strike... and we could discuss the "options" once we see him. 

I sat back, rested my head against the tattered headrest of the bus, reluctantly (I have cleanliness issues, to put it mildly) and revised my expectations for this trip. More than anything, I was really hoping to clear my mind but right then it felt like a vague possibility. 

S.G  has been living in this place for the last 20 years.  When we thanked him for being so gracious and arranging this whole trip for us, he said "we have a lot of time on our hands around here." I'm not sure if he was being sarcastic about us ("you city dwellers" as he called us) But just hearing that felt good. So I made a mental note to maybe  use "I have a lot of time on my hands" as a conversation ice breaker with acquaintances because that shit is bound to put you at ease. Like yeah, she has a lot of time on her hands...so there's no need to rush things around here. It's okay to chill. That kind of vibe...you know? (Or maybe this is terrible advice, don't take it) 

We asked him about the possible places we could visit from there. I'm thinking Go, On, Sir, prove my friends wrong...pretty please...and there's again that deafening silence. 

Thankfully though P had a whole list of places she'd downloaded "from the internets". Mr. Sengupta(S.G)  shook his head at all of them..."I don't see what you'd want to see there" 


So we ambled along hesitantly in our car post breakfast and here's what there wasn't much to see of: 

A Temple on the grounds of a deserted palace- Mahishadal, West Bengal 
The Deserted Palace- Mahishadal, West Bengal 

Palace adjacent to the deserted palace, apparently we like contrasts.  
This place is teeming with taxidermy, old books, gramophones...
the works! You're not allowed to take pictures though. 
At this point we were rather surprised to find actual places tourists could visit. And P started to tell the palace curator how West Bengal was teeming with wondrous places and how she would be sure to ask her family to visit Tamluk. 

The curator gave a wry smile and said "that's great madam, why don't you ask them to visit this poor palace in Mahishadal as well." 

It's amazing how we know the names of so many obscure places on the world map, places we probably won't be able to visit in a lifetime...and yet our geographies get so messed up when it comes to these great spots waiting patiently to be discovered on extended weekends. This reminds me of how I get with  distant relatives on Facebook...I know them by my idea of them...a nickname or a blank placeholder. On Facebook they use their real names,  a friend request from them and I'm always like...who are you? I don't know you. Oh wait, you're So and so's husband. Right. Sorry my bad.

~~~

There was  a procession in Tamluk 

Color, Noise, Paper and A Whole Lot of Gaping. 


They had some mad beats. I have no idea what dude in the brown shirt 
is doing and why he's making weird faces at my mom who has taken this picture. 
I don't know what they were celebrating, but there were little boys and girls dressed as Gods, Goddesses, brides and they passed by too fast for me to enquire. It was the independence day weekend though. So, maybe this is their quirky homage to our nation. 

After another stop at a temple, it was lunch time.  I had a bit of an incident. Mom really wanted to get the "local flavour" and try some fish in these random cooking shacks. I wasn't very opposed to the idea myself.  But the smell of that place hit me out of nowhere and I couldn't eat.  Which was absolutely fine except our driver felt so terrible about it that I wanted to go back in time and stuff my face with food just to stop him from sulking. 

But we were already off to another obscure place...Gyeonkhali,this time... the confluence of the rivers Hooghly, Rupnarayan and Damodar. 

We stopped at a restaurant. (The driver was very relieved.) However, they didn't have any food... shops, restaurants everything shuts down at 1 p.m in the districts. But the driver didn't have to know. 

I got me some chilled Thums Up instead and had my pretend lunch in a mostly deserted room.... with a view. 



Gyeonkhali, West Bengal. 
It became a guessing game: which country are  the ships  
coming in from. You can tell from their names and the more obvious hint of the flag. 

Thus, ends part 1 of this trip. 

I realise that this was meant to be a blog post about our weekend getaway to Haldia and not one of these places are in Haldia. At this point I'm thanking my lucky stars I'm not a travel writer. 

Let's talk about Haldia in Part 2 which hopefully happens...or doesn't...no rush,  no pressure.  ( Because this is a safe space, a laze around as much as you want space and more importantly a me- space. And Peace is of primary importance here. )

My work and  life in general right now... is all about delivering and seeing end to end completion of every bit of task handed out to me...It's annoying, tedious and I'm always unprepared. Of course,  I get that it's not very adult of me to complain about this. But posting something that might be left  unfinished  feels like a glorious aberration and I shall partake in this tiny ceremony, guilt-free. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Tire Swing

When I was growing up I always thought "Lay a whisper on my pillow" from Must Have Been Love by Roxette meant that Roxette was on her periods. And I thought the following "lay the window on the ground" clearly just means she's PMSed bad enough to  tear open a window with her bare hands! That song used to comfort me, because I thought surely things are not  bad as this for me. I have no delusions about love while PMS ing which sounded like a really hard trip if you ask me.



 And then I grew up and discovered the internets and consequently, this thing called Google that lo and behold! allows you to search song lyrics on-line.  And that made me very sad because suddenly everything wasn't as you'd imagined it to be...much like life.. (the number of Celine Dion songs I'd messed up must be some sort of a record). 


Sadder still? I started to relate to the lyrics I was discovering anew. I cannot tell you how many times I have cried over these stupid songs. 

Now, when I tend to get carried away, I always remind myself that sometimes in life, you are going to cry and worry about songs that you were convinced at one point were about the unleashing of PMS rage, or something equally ridiculous....

"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts." 

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Concept of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans and its Several Applications

Conversation I had with a dear friend, hence known as F (for sheer lack of imagination): 

Me: I just had an awesome idea about hot kathi rolls! 

F: Like that time you had that awesome idea about phones being programmed with smelltones instead of ringtones? 

Me: I'm always busy inventing brilliant ideas, remind me again. 

F: you know, you wanted to have the warm sputtering of cheese popcorn for a ringtone. It's too futuristic to put across in words. Or maybe that's a sign it shouldn't happen. 

Me: Ah yes, with the whole corn popping noise. I'm such a genius ~sigh~ 

F: And then you wanted to do something immediate about it and you sent me sushi on whatsapp. 

Me: really? Sushi? That sounds like an odd choice. 

Bento Box

F: Yes because whatsapp doesn't have a popcorn emoticon. And I'm not even sure if that emoticon was meant to be sushi, but you were pissed because "whatsapp's gone Marie Antoinette : 'Let them have sushi'." 

Me: At this point, I'm not sure if I said that or if you're making all this up just to fuck with me. 

F: No,  I remember this painfully well cause you kinda spoiled sushi *and* popcorn for me. And now you have another "awesome" food-related idea. So I can't wait, please go ahead. 




Picture Courtesy: http://bellycentric.in/

Picture Courtesy: http://finelychoppedk.wordpress.com/category/beyond-virtual/

Me: Well you'll thank me for it later. You know the paper we use for the rolls? It gets tedious when you can't tear it out all at once right? And then you have all these little bits of paper torn out. So you're hogging the roll and littering the environment? 

F: uh-huh. 

Me: So I was thinking, what if  the "paper" was edible? 

F: really D? 

Me: no hear me out, it could be this thin coating of mint that dissolves in your mouth. Or maybe a potato chip flavoured coating...like Bertie Botts Every Flavored Beans. 

F: exactly how many hours did you sleep last night?

Me: ~sigh~ one day I shall wake up and the world will nod a big yes at me. 

F: Good thing the world doesn't wear a Noddy hat.


Monday, August 18, 2014

What Saved A Bad Week

Hi. 

Last week has been mean. And I don't want to talk about it. 

So I'm going to share a picture of a green faced pig wearing a stache. I haven't thought of a name yet. 


It was a gift from a 9 year old. He had one look at me and said, "here have a biscuit and you can take him home. You're welcome." 

 Nine year olds are my new best friends. 

Updated: You know what would  top green-faced-pig-wearing-a-stache (a.k.a Mr. Bean) ? 

Mr. Bean riding a unicycle with a jaunty top hat. 

And when you see what you're about to see, you're going to hear a sound. Don't worry it's just the internet exploding from all this awesomeness. 


When I see him I always giggle because Mr. Bean looks like he's just realised he's riding a unicycle *and* he's missing a limb. He looks puzzled at best and freaking out enough to shit his pants at worst.  There cannot be a better representation of my life right now. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

For The Sake of Whimsy

I'm minding my business and watching Doctor Who when this ad pops up: 



I'm thinking well this must be like a test of my intelligence. Because that looks like a rotten banana and it's kind of obvious that you're not supposed to eat rotten shit because keywords? rotten. I was very tempted to click on the ad because it became a guessing game... what are the three other rotten things you can never eat to lose belly fat. I had a surprisingly long list. 

I mean don't get me wrong. I'm a whimsy lover. I use a butter dish for a soap dish for the simple fact that it's shaped like a fish. Except the fish keeps eating  all my soap up. My mother tells me that's because the butter dish isn't designed to be water-proof. 

I tell her, that's the only reason Titanic sank. Because butter dishes aren't designed to be water proof. Titanic's like "fuck you butter dish makers, I'm going to make sure  breakfast sucks in the motherfucking life boats. And when those sad losers get on land they will find you and kill you." 

My mother raised an eyebrow and let it pass. (Later when I told her I was going to meet a friend she said "a.k.a the shrink, right? Buuurrrrnnnn, she wins round 2) 

This is what it looks like except it's a fish instead of a snail (use your imagination!) and no I'm not sharing my bathroom pictures with you because I'm a lady, that's why! Also bathroom is in a terrible mess. Also, tell me it doesn't scream "Soap dish" and I will hit you. 

Also, I asked myself am I the only person on this planet that thinks ghosts don't have to wear underwear? Because that would be insane and I could get rich....(because being the only person in the world that comes up with ideas that will have no impact on anybody's life is what millionaires are made of? Or not. I think I'm confusing millionaires for homeless people.)



And Google throws up this picture and I'm like damn. Fuck it, being rich is over-rated. And so is being homeless. I'm fine with my fish butter turned soap dish. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Rainy Day Essay Revisited

The rains are upon us, incessant, like the wailing of a baby in the night time, fraught by unknown fears in its heart. 



I am harrowed, exhausted, suffocated in the few hours (or is it just an hour) that it takes me to get to and from work rather than the 8 hours I spend at office. When I'm stuck in the cardboard box shaped taxis or the burgeoning buses with it's heaving breasts and shoulders I always think of this city drowning. I wonder how much water it would take to wipe everything out...it's lush green, dark angel, sweaty bus ticket remains. And then I hear the sighs, yawns and exasperated screams around punctuated by incessant notifications of a door bell ringtone of yet another whatsapp message and I feel like everyday it is... Drowning...

I don't know why the rains amplify the tenuous actions of day to day so much.

So, I thought I'd be clever and ask my cab driver to drop me to my house instead of getting down and taking a rickshaw from a convenient point like I usually do. Mostly because I thought I wouldn't find rickshaws given the state of the rain. But as I guiltily made my way  in my cab chariot I saw a long queue of obedient riders. A part of me wanted to get down and forget about being so lazy. But the other part said hey, don't I deserve this little bit of luxury? Of being dropped home directly when it's raining ponds outside? 

How weird that I thought of this when we stumbled upon the water logged streets leading to my home and the taxi driver asked me to kindly get the fuck out of his car. And so I did. It isn't even a coincidence that I'd read this post on Facebook on that very day. 


This is what happened to an abandoned mall:(http://mobile.theverge.com/2014/6/30/5856856/abandoned-mall-in-bangkok-has-been-overtaken-by-fish) This picture seems like its right out of  the horrors I store in my mind. 

Wading through the waterlogged fishes and snakes and leeches clogging my paranoid mind, I kept the fear of being swallowed whole by a giant sea monster safely at bay by trying to hurry through it and gasping and panting and finally falling face down into the mush. 

It strikes me then that I am stupid. That rather than the monsters in my head I should be worried about the acid in the rain and the saliva of random strangers who spit on the street all the damn time. And the biggest enemy of all: my rampant clumsiness.

With that comes the startling realisation that my face just got marked by the  kiss of a thousand strangers and all I could think about was that poem about the road by T.S Eliot: "You had such a vision of the street/As the street hardly understands."  



So I waited it out till my knight in shining rickshaw came and took me home after charging me triple the standard fare. There's something to say about these men who ride....maybe not as vicariously or on the edge as a vehement bike rider... But a slow rhythmic clickety clack rickshaw journey. It's  like a dance:  all sinews and legs and hands... with a hint of a different era: ancient, slower, glowing times. 

"I am moved by fancies that are curled 
Around these images, and cling: 
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing."