Sunday, August 21, 2016

For the love of Milkmaid.

As a child, I was enrolled in an all girls' Convent school, where we chanted Catholic prayers which basically were pleas to the Almighty to save us all evil like boys and nail polishes. This was a time before gadgets so the intimacy among friends was raw, unpretentious and one that assuredly grew stronger with time. We co-exist in harmony in a hyper-active Whatsapp group, the only group which is our support system, from which we don’t find reasons to exit. This is also the place we rant and pour our hearts out of our 18 year old hearts and a tad bit older bodies.

As little girls we had plenty of time at our disposal and ate whatever we wanted, thanks to non-existence of fat shaming and anorexic models. Chubby cheeks and love handles were considered signs of health rather than a subject of ridicule. Unlike 12 year olds today who are dieting and crying over breakups, we were a carefree lot who went around eating whatever we wanted (and it continues to this day). Oh the joy of licking our fingers after dunking them in a tin of Milkmaid! Milkmaid has been our strongest collective food obsession. As it was a vital ingredient for payasams and homemade sweets, our Moms made it a staple in the fridge rack. Dunking our fingers in the milkmaid tin when Mom was not looking became a sinful fascination for our naive selves, but soon we became seasoned culprits, uncaught in the mysterious case of the disappearing Milkmaid.

SLURP!
Image Courtesy: Here

Later when I was a teenager, during my study leaves I used to stay at home all day doing nothing. Whenever my sister and I crossed the fridge area, we treated ourselves with a few scoops from the milkmaid bottle. Those were magical times when calories dint count and ingredients were tastier than the end result. Initially Mom used to transfer the Milkmaid to a wide mouthed glass bottle which enabled us to use even the biggest curry spoons in it to extract larger quantities, but she knew that Milkmaid dint last long in the fridge and dint bother to make this effort. Milkmaid tin once opened reveals sharp edges and thus the challenges and trials we overcame to get our fingers into the Milkmaid tin made it a sinfully tempting indulgence. If you are now thinking why we don’t use a spoon instead, well 1. Lethargy has no logic 2. Who will clean the spoon?

My aunt used to stock Milkmaid in her fridge to make her payasams richer; however this was an enriching experience to all of us children visiting her house. The fridge shelves were incomplete without a milkmaid tin in it. Mom, realizing that this is an addiction, tried to replace butter from our bread with Milkmaid but alas, it was an effort that received a lot of flak from us. Milkmaid should be eaten as it is. Not on bread, payasam or pudding! I mean, how hard is it to understand?

Well, we have come a long way from teenage years but the love of Milkmaid stays. We are now mothers of brats, who fight with us for their share of the prized possession- the Milkmaid tin. When my son was almost three months old, one sleepless cranky night I sneaked into the fridge, dunked my finger into a bottle of milkmaid and shared with him as well. He seemed to enjoy it. This could be a revelation to everyone in my family; but how do you expect a baby with taste buds inherited from us survive with just bland milk all the time? Babies have cravings we shouldn’t take advantage of just because they can’t verbally abuse us.

The other day, in the said Whatsapp group of school buddies, there was an incident in which one of us got hurt trying to wipe out the last drop of milkmaid from the tin with her finger. The Milkmaid, which comes in a can, is very unforgiving once opened. She got hurt and had to get a suture and TT as well. Well, all of us girls were highly supportive, because it was for a noble cause and it is totally worth getting hurt for Milkmaid. Such incidents do not deter us from satisfying our impenitent gluttony for Milkmaid, but we would love to get the can revamped to suit our greediness. Milkmaid packing could be a bit friendlier, because most of the eating happens at night with just the fridge light on. For us, it is indulgence for the soul and the therapy that awakens our 15 year old selves.


Nestle, won’t you?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Aunty, please !

It has been an eventful week with Rio Olympics filling our news feeds with updates on exciting events. If anyone of us has ever tried to be in a sport team at least on a school level you would know the failures and rejection one goes through to make it there. How much more determination, insult defying will-power, strength and perseverance would it take to be on the Olympic nomination list?  Most sports-persons do not have sport background, money or opportunity to get trained professionally. You may have read about the ones who can’t afford to buy shoes that are made to play their sport. We’d never even know these stories had Farhan Akhtar or Priyanka Chopra not showcased a Milkha Singh or Mary Kom.

How many tunnels, rains, and mountains of hurdles would gymnast Dipa Karmakar have overcome to be recognized in gymnastics, which is not even a popular sport in the Indian scene? Well, criticizing sports-persons is a sport anyone can play in India. Even when it comes to cricket the competition is so cut-throat as every family we know has a kid that is getting trained in it. But when Virat Kohli does not score a century and the team eventually loses the game, everyone gets pissed and starts talking like they sponsored him for that match. Then they start flashing pics from his endorsements, personal life and derive possible reasons that could have deterred him from achieving the target each one of us set for him. This is the exact opposite of the word ‘sport’.

‘Did you go to college only to have fun or what?’ is one of the common and the most decent interrogations by parents when the University results are published. We are entitled to listen to these because our parents spent their hard earned money for our education and thus earned themselves the right to question us. What gives us the right to insult hard working sports-persons striving to give their best shot in a spotlight when the whole world is watching? Is it not pride worthy that talented Indian sportsmen and women are participating at Olympic events and representing the country?

Image:Twitter screenshot

This is Shobhaa De. Renowned writer, socialist and opinion shaper of the elderly elite. Specializes in erotic novels. Born with a silver spoon in her mouth.  Have Ambanis, Kapoors, Mittals, Khans and Bachchans on her whatsapp chat list. Do you think freedom of speech has actually gone bit too far? I am curious to know whether she pitched in to pay for the Rio trip.


Image courtesy: Here


Sports are meant to be played, winning and losing is a part of that. Of course we want our country to win and that is patriotism. If we don’t, it is nobody’s fault. Somebody put their sweat and blood into it. When our children participate in a competition and don’t win, do we say ‘what a waste of money and opportunity’ and stop sending him to school? Twitter has roasted this lady enough that she will remember it a long time, but I cannot even believe that there are people half her age more mature than her.

Some celebrities do not know what it is to mince words, and such people should be banned from inflicting their atrocious thoughts to the world. How about a temporary twitter ban? 

Even Serena Williams crashed out of Rio Olympics let's all wait for Ms.De's  comment on that. Perhaps she too was focused on selfies?


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ringing out the old!

Days are going by so fast that it is only realized by how soon the laundry bin overflows. My parents were here for a month and left just a week ago, and that is one reason time ticked away sooner than desired. Whenever Mom comes, the inevitable happens. Moms have this unique way of making us conveniently handicapped. She takes charge and goes about cleaning and rearranging parts of the house neither I (nor the maid) ever noticed before. She plans the meals, and makes the house spotless. When she leaves after a month I would have fallen down to the phase wherein I have to Google ‘signs that the water has started boiling’. I may have over the months trained my two hands to multitask like there were six, and by the time Mom leaves I would have just one functioning hand, and the function it does is eating.

ME, After Mom left.
So when she left, I got so bored that I went through my to-do list. There was one in there, which was always on the list but ignored, because the list of things-to-do are not cleared by a Last in First Out or First in Last Out or First in First out or a Last in Last out basis. When something on it is ignored long enough it actually becomes a chore that is bold, underlined with a red background . This point which was really close to becoming a project was decluttering our master bedroom. To be honest, we bought the bedroom furniture six years ago, aligning it with the size of the room we were living in that time. It was a spacious 1BHK. Later we were endowed with the honor of shifting to a 2BHK. Now the problem with 2BHK is that it is a 1BHK whose rooms have been split into two. Basically what you get with a higher grade is a wall that makes rooms smaller.

So the big cot and its side tables and dresser were shifted to a house which was originally meant to accommodate the Chipmunks. The King bed became a burden, dresser was a pain and side tables became the curry leaves in my curry. Every time my parents or some guests stayed, and they had to walk around this room like there was hot water on the floor, we pledged to put up an ad, and forgot about it later. So few days back as I was running through my Instagram feed, I had this brilliant idea. I walked to the bedroom, straightened the bed cover, and pushed back some stuff from the dresser to make it look neat.  I clicked some pictures and posted it on OLX.
The next morning I am at my desk at office, completely oblivious of the ad and my phone rang. It was the hubby.

He: ‘Hey, what ad did you upload yesterday?’

Me: *Thinking*

He: ‘Someone just called me and asked to see the bedroom!’

Me: ‘What a b***h !’

He: ‘Did you upload bed and dresser ad on OLX or not?’

Then it clicked. Oh Yeah. 

That.

A buyer arrived, made a deal and gave a token advance too. The next evening the King size cot with the gigantic headboard, colossal pain of a dresser and two side tables were gone, and we were spellbound to see our master bedroom actually looking like a well-lit dance studio. The room finally got a long pending makeover in a sunny theme and we could actually feel some positivity playing around.

As I basked in the success of my achievements (as this was all my idea) my little one ran into the mattress where I was just lying down soaking in self appreciation of the mastermind that I am, and said :

“ Amma, you know we should sell some more things from this house and get new ones”

“Like what?” I enquired.

“I will show you” he dragged me to his toy basket.  


Sunday, July 3, 2016

The spies in our Whatsapp groups!

There are three types of people on our Whatsapp groups. One, people who are still in touch and are friends even outside the group, two, people whose names you still remember and are participants in the group, and lastly, people you don’t remember at all, making you question where you stand on the road to Amnesia.

The first category is the best. I have a whole group of them from school; we chat from different continents, are supportive, and have honest discussions without being judged. We discuss everything from stuff on our grocery list to men on our wish list to relatives on our hit list. We use everything from F word to B word to A word like it was our normal vocabulary. There is nothing more energizing than a girl group of like-minded super crazy individuals. The second category is people who are neither friends, nor enemies and are scattered across groups. They probably bothered to study during the time I was busy socializing, so they dint have anything to do with me then or now. The third category comes into picture when some conversation about that person happens in the group. This is the time I’d be reading messages without any clue about the existence of that person. 

How did I possibly forget the very existence of a person who sat in the same room with me for an extended period ? May be our brain chooses to forget irrelevant people, the ones who had nothing to do with us. May be it just moves people to the recycle bin when it is time to move on and then empty the recycle bin too. Oh I haven’t forgotten any of my enemies, mind you. I am still waiting for the right time to get back at them. ( Meanwhile, for them I am their third category of forgotten morons)

This irrelevant third category sent me a friend request on Facebook, and the profile picture is intelligently chosen. It is a picture of his/her child. Just the child. No parents anywhere in the album. I mean unless your kid is North West or Princess Charlotte, there is no way to know who you are. I make all kinds of efforts to visit their profile and try to place this person. I mean why on earth would you upload your baby’s picture on your profile? I mean it is not okay for you to upload your picture due to Sati Savitri reasons but your child’s picture can be posted everywhere?  Either you become a little bit social or don’t be on social media. At least, don’t remain anonymous and send friend requests.

Once I was pinged by this forgotten person I had mutual friends with. We exchanged a ‘hi’. She asked me where I am, what I do and the name of my child. I answered the above questions dutifully, and when I was about to ask something back, she said ‘Okay then bye’ and was offline in less than a second. This means that she pinged me to ask these three questions. She also left in a hurry and was never online again on messenger (or I was blocked immediately after). May be she dint like the name of my child.  My dear friend, if you are an introvert I completely understand. If you want to maintain your privacy I get that too.  Why would you want to know everything but not say anything about yourself? Why would you be in a group reading all messages but never say anything?

Most probably.
Image Courtesy: Here



My parents always tell me, that I should never suspect or blame anyone without proof or knowing them long enough.  
Going by that advice, my best guess is that she is a spy for the RAW, or works for the CBI. They can question you. Do you question them back?



Monday, June 6, 2016

A Midsummer Day's post.

Apart from the sweltering heat that is dry roasting us during the day, there has been no other hot news from my side over the month. Like fasting is followed in some religions so that the rich realizes the pain of hunger and poverty, summer is here to make us realize the pain of air-fried potato wedges.

In other news, appraisals are coming soon but from the work front, the only part of me that is working overtime is my sweat glands. Had Shakespeare been in the Middle East he wouldn’t dare think about venturing into the comedy genre and label it ‘A Midsummer night’s dream’. I mean you don’t get any dreams on midsummer nights, my friend. There is an AC and fan too, but the hard hitting reality strikes on such nights that nothing, NOTHING can cool you down. Oh and the incessant worry that the washing machine is about to breathe its last.

The last thing you want broken in this time of the year is the washing machine. You may have guessed air conditioner, but that is wrong. I can explain. Chances that four air conditioners will go on strike at the same time are very less. However washing machine is only one. If you have to clean, feed and change its diapers three times a day, even that is fine as long as it works. There are just three of us in this house and the number of clothes in the laundry bin is greater than or equal to the total number of clothes in the wardrobe. Despite all that, the males in the house have to wear socks, even when the reality is literally burning under their feet.

Image Courtesy: Here

In the Middle East there are two types of people. People who have air conditioners in their kitchen, and people who don’t.  This makes a hell of a difference because more cooking happens only in no-AC kitchens. For example on a typically hot day you walk into the kitchen and start the stove, there are two things that get cooked. One is the thing on the stove and the other is you. In case of red meat which takes more time, then you get cooked faster than it does. This does not benefit anyone though. Well, benefit is not a word one uses in Middle Eastern summer.

Another discovery I made in the recent times is that kids get hyper active during summers as if they got recharged from solar energy. Of course I happen to be one of those adults who supervise this downright mean activity of outdoor play every evening out of helplessness. This ritual is rightfully named as the ‘melt hour’. In addition to the misery, the sun just burns our skin and sanity; it has chosen not to burn any calories.

Also in summers as the water from the taps are only a few degrees away from boiling point, the vessels and cutlery are sterilized when they are washed. As for us humans we don’t have to drive to the gym to get a steam bath. It is available right here in the ‘comfort’ (lol) of our homes. Mild cries have been overheard outside restrooms during midday, due to nature’s untimely call, if you know what I mean. Suryanamaskaar in this time of the year has a whole other meaning, which is begging the Sun to spare us from this horrific episode called summer. When it is not summer, we do not know what Suryanamaskaar is. This fiery catastrophe is expected to continue till September.

If you happen to have any enemies living in the Middle East, this is your time to party.




Sunday, May 22, 2016

Minutes of a Party!

It had been a month that was delightfully eventful. Some of my son’s friends had kid parties for their birthdays and he had been on a sugar high all month.  Aaron’s five year old friends, majority of which are girls, arrived floating at each of these parties like they just dropped down from heaven. Of course it doesn’t matter for the boys whose lives revolve around their tee shirts and denim.

This could be the official theme of every kids party!
 Image Courtesy: Here

So the other day at a party I caught him sporting a confused face amidst two arguing girls. The girls and my boy had a bunch of balloons each. My son was witnessing the argument and was highly amused. He offered to exchange his bunch with the girl who was not satisfied with hers, but the girl declined. Who wants boys stuff anyway? Eww. Meanwhile, one of their mothers arrived trying to console the girls that the balloons were exactly the same. The girls were convinced that they weren’t. I analyzed both bunches and realized there was a pink balloon in only one of them. My son could not decrypt the argument even after I pointed at the pink balloon and explained the matter to him. He tried, but still did not make anything out of it because for him it was nothing but a pointless debate. I don’t blame him. Guys don’t see anything. Like my husband who wouldn't know if I get a plastic surgery, forget haircut or eyebrows. It starts at a very young age, you see.

There was a slide in which all the children played at the party. I kept an eye on that, because it always starts with happy squeals and ends in a war. After gliding quickly down the slide, my son looked back to see an almost teenage looking girl coming slowly behind him. 

He quipped ‘Why are you so slow?’

Pissed off girl: ‘Yeah I AM a bit slow’

He: ‘Are you a baby’?

The girl, both hands on her hips looked down at him. ‘Do YOU think I am a baby?’

He ran back to the slide, without answering that. I almost died laughing. I caught him calling a crying girl a ‘baby’ and annoying her further, few minutes after this incident. I realized I have to talk to him a bit about pissing off girls (or maybe I should talk to his Dad first?). How do boys get this uncontrollable urge to annoy peer girls? How hard is it to not laugh when a girl cries? I realized that it was high time for a little pep talk or no-TV threats if the first doesn’t work. However I cannot hover around him all day and watch what he is doing. This is the reason even atheist and agnostic parents become religious once their kids are in school.

Soon after when he was in a good mood, I told him that it is not cool to laugh when someone cries, trying my best to be casual and non-preachy. It is also very bad boy thing to be the reason another person cries, I added.  This talk was made when they distributed ice creams. He looked straight into my eyes (this rarely occurs) and thoughtfully said ‘Okay’. There was a moment of temporary peace. When he gave me that eye contact, he probably may have been thinking about donating that ice-cream to me because I am the official leftover eater. I know for one that when a male looks into your eyes and pretends to listen they are NOT listening. When they pretend not to listen and go about doing their thing when you are talking, they are in fact NOT listening either.

The next day as I dropped him off at his art academy, there was a notice board outside.


“Parents are responsible for the safety AND BEHAVIOR of their children”.