The one where we make an announcement (kinda).

You might have guessed it! But, this is not a pregnancy announcement because I have already delivered a baby boy. (Please don’t be shocked.) It’s been 2 months now. (I hope you haven’t fainted from shock.) Extreme morning sickness coupled with my extreme laziness- and I didn’t move from the couch for a good chunk of my pregnancy. This explains why I was away from writing on the blog for a long time.

The little boy is doing good, and has adapted well to this mad world. He has us all wrapped around his pinkie and we love it! How am I, you ask? I am doing well too! I once woke up in the middle of the night pointing to a burp cloth on a chair near the bed and asked my mother “where is my son where is my son”. He was sleeping peacefully right next to me, probably dreaming about milk.  This became a standing joke at all family meetings and with all visitors.  Another time, I took a tube of toothpaste and tried to wash my face with it. As you can tell, I am basking in the glory of new mommy zombieness.

Having a baby gives you a lifetime supply of blog material. Worry not, I am not becoming a mommy blogger. At least, not as yet. The first few weeks were traumatic mostly from the barrage of visitors who thought it was their birthright to come and dish out a truckload of unsolicited advice at this poor woman. Those few weeks saw me crying more than the baby himself. I briefly considered seeing a counsellor, but after writing my emotions down (the keyboard might have borne the brunt of my hormones) I felt loads better. Husband has been my rock through pregnancy and postpartum. I have woken him up in the middle of the night to cry and he has been ever so patient at dealing with my craziness. This is the most grown up thing we have ever done and will ever do, I suppose. Both of us have been surprisingly good at this parenting thing, which at this point is only coo- feed- burp- change- rock- coo on repeat.

Mother deemed it necessary we engage an experienced person for bathing the baby till we are confident enough to do it on our own. Enter BabyBather. You might think I am making up that name for this post, but I am not.  Her “business card” reads- baby bather, baby massager, baby exerciser. Okay then! We were also impressed with her experience and clientele. She took to our home like a fish to water and within no time, she was calling the baby ‘Rajkumar’ (it is not his name, btw.) It took us all a few days to comprehend whether she meant the Actor-Rajkumar or the Prince-Rajkumar. The child seems uninfluenced by this affection and frowns at her till he thinks she will disappear like magic. He cries his guts out when she gives him a massage and I can see from her face that the bather is a little heartbroken by this. In her own words, she is the “leader” of a major political party in her area (talk to the hand. geddit?) and all the problems in the area right from absence of water tanker to wife beating cannot escape her good judgement. One morning, she saw me applying moisturiser to my flaky face. She called me aside and said “You know, during our time (which I’m assuming is ancient) we never used to put as much a kajal for many months after delivery. If our husbands saw us with a face of makeup, they’d call us ‘come’ and suddenly there would be another baby! We only have to be careful about such things na.” Subtle bather is so subtle.
Tomorrow is her last day with us and to compensate my baby’s hatred for her, the least I can do is give her an audience.

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Of courtrooms and the drama

For a long time, I have garnered a fascination for watching a case live in the courtroom. My precious knowledge of the proceedings in the courtroom (and that Judge must be addressed as Yuvar Aanar, also “Objection Overruled”) is gained by watching very many Tamil movies. Then I started watching Suits and How to Get Away With Murder. My interest piqued considerably but there was nothing I could do- I wasn’t sure if they’d even allow unwarranted parties inside the courtroom. So when I got a chance to fight a case (I will not be able to give out more details about the case as I have learnt that it may be held against me in the court. LOLJK.) I lapped it up with all interest. I am not a lawyer and I haven’t changed professions but you don’t need a lawyer to fight your case in the Consumer Forums.

Armed with an incurable enthusiasm and the case history papers (and the darned DD and postage stamps that I forgot), husband and I walked into Cauvery Bhavan. We started the paperwork, while being gently (at first. very rudely later on.) reminded by husband that “Act more like a complainant and less like a lawyer please”. The officer(?) who took in the complaint was all “what sir such small font how will old judges read this?” “madam how you have addressed the judge is wrong” and decided that I needed more and updated knowledge on such things & asked me for my email ID to release the official format. Whatay friendly! I was impressed, but husband was sure that i would not receive any mails. “Why do you need the format anyway? Are you planning to file more cases?” he looked at me, petrified. I assured him that this would be my first and last case, irrespective of the outcome. We were given a hearing date two days later and in a week, I would be in the courtroom!

The day dawned beautifully, and we reached the court after invoking the help of 2-3 autouncles (such a cool word. like autobots. wow.) for directions. Imagine a full length mirror and now imagine the sound of a big crack on the mirror. That was my dream of walking into the court shattering. What we had infront of us was not a court but building complex that had a mechanic’s shop to its right and a godown to its left. It was like walking into what third-standard children would call a booth bungalow. We reached the court office to find that we were the only ones loitering around the area. After a clueless few minutes and cursing the system, we walked into a conference court room. It had the set-up of my (engg) HOD’s office, only difference being there was an elevation with three chairs for the jury. After a while, lawyers and few other people started coming in. We were eleventh in line for the hearing. The jury- a man in his 50s, another in his 30s and a woman who was quiet and did nothing for the entire time- walked in and we all rose and the court was in order.

Judge: What is the case?

Harvey Specter: Opposite party not paying for my client’s insurance.

Judge:  Why?

HS: Er, umm, er

Judge: Did you even read the case?

HS: I am not the lawyer on this case. The actual lawyer is sick so I came instead of him.

Judge: (meaning to say “Go Away!”) Case adjourned till next month!

The opening case was a dampener, but my excitement levels were still holding up.

Judge: What is the case?

Mike Ross: My client’s water connection was cut off, even though he was paying the bills properly.

Judge: Does it even come under the purview of Consumer Forum? You should go to Civil Court!

MR: But sir… <muttering some clause>

Judge: JUST GO TO THE CIVIL COURT!

Next!

Judge: <visibly irritated> What is the case?

Louis Litt: Opposite Party is wants to claim insurance for Obesity treatment. Our T&C is clearly states that insurance can be claimed for operation of diseases.

Judge: Obesity is not a disease aa? <scratches head>

LL: No saar. Its is not a disease.

Judge, not believing Louis Litt asks the courtroom: Obesity is not a disease aa?

It went on like this case after case where the Judge threw insults at the lawyers. In his defence, half of them didn’t know what they were arguing for. When it was my turn, the Judge asked me the same “What is the case?” to which I ratted out the details a tad unintelligibly. Since the Opposite Party was not present, we were asked to come the following month.

Husband: Why were you shaking when the Judge was asking you details, lawyeramma?
Me: I get shaky when I am angry and fighting for justice.

E is for expectation

Do you know of the memes doing rounds about Expectation v/s Reality? I was in one such incident last afternoon. I had taken an off day from work yesterday. As it was Akshaya Tritiya, Mother asked me if I was interested in going to the jewelers with her. I had nothing better to do so I agreed to go with her. We were looking at the jewelry when one uncle came over to the counter and adjusted the brightness of the lights in the floor. After some time, I turned behind my seat just like that and saw that he was being interviewed by a Kannada news channel duo. I giggled and pointed it to mother, who told me that he was giving his valuable input to viewers about Gold rates on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya.

I was looking at a necklace mother had picked for sister and wondering if it was Kundan or Polki when the interviewer lady came up to me and asked me to pose wearing the necklace. I nodded vehemently and looked away awkwardly, which is when the camera-man also joined her and asked me to wear it and feel my neck in a model kind of pose whilst looking into the mirror. I was wincing like a worm by now and was hoping the earth would open up and swallow me. At this point, the saleswomen in the store also joined them in convincing me. They thought that this would be a good memory for the necklace. (they are our family jewelers so I couldn’t even stare at them like I was going to kill them) I looked at mother, hoping she would shoo them away, but guess what she did! I wanted to disown her right there.

I put on the necklace and smiled uncomfortably. The camera-man worked his invisible charm on the video camera lens. “I haven’t posed like this even for my wedding”, I laughed nervously. All of them joined in appreciatively. After what seemed like 10 years, he told me that he was done and walked away. I asked mother when this would be telecast. She didn’t know, and asked the saleswomen; who in-turn asked the interview-lady. They informed that it will be broadcasted from 10-10:30pm.

I informed husband of the same and didn’t let him watch his stupid IPL match in peace. We were toggling between IPL and Public TV. They did the first news item on the lot many people who died on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya. Next, they featured a MBA who started a business with hundreds of sheep. Then the CM of Karnataka came in with some press conference. My interest had evaporated by now and I gave the remote to husband, who was more than happy to watch the game rather than his wife on the TV. I was thoroughly convinced that they edited it out because of my awkwardness. I wasn’t even giving a speech, just a goddamn holding-the-necklace-pose; so I decided to go to bed.

I texted sister and asked her if parents watched the program. She replied that they did, and that my face was out of focus the entire time; entire time being less than one minute.

My first TV appearance. In out of focus. For less than a minute. Expectation v/s Reality.

D is for disappointment…

…with myself. I am unable to keep up the writing schedule because of mad, crazy goings-on at work and home.
Our company’s ISO certification expired in February. We decided to go for a fresh certification, instead of going for a surveillance audit. We have our first audit on Monday. The documentation and record-keeping work has been going on from March, and is still nowhere near completion. We have employed a consultant-duo for the internal audit. The lady is responsible for all our documentation work. There were many grammatical and spelling errors in the documents, and I corrected them all by myself. I was not going to judge her because I know that these documents are generic – she only adds our company name and makes format changes. Yesterday, she was printing all the documents for filing when I saw that “description” was spelt “discription”. I asked her to change the spelling since it was going to be a Master Copy. “E is also correct, I is also correct, but I will change for satisfaction!” she replied. Restlessness worked its way up to my head and I had to google straight away. YES I WAS RIGHT, but I let myself be the bigger person walked away. Sometimes, she talks to me like I am a tenth fail. I have stopped worrying about wanting to change people’s perspective about me. I do not care enough to show her my Masters Degree certificate.
Incompetency annoys me these days. Instead of teaching someone how to do a job, I’d rather do it myself. I guess my delegation skills are nil? It is not out of the lack of trust, but I find it easier and fulfilling to do it myself. On a bad day, I want to do company accounts, machine moulding, inspection, purchase, marketing all by myself and end up feeling miserable because obviously not only would I be getting in the way of other people’s job, but also not get done with mine. This is such a massive change for such a lazy-goose like me. Is scoring an ‘A’ grade in Professional Ethics any explanation?

At the home front, I have a long story that will make a nice blogpost. Our (husband and mine) parents decided to go on a vacation to Europe and they were scheduled to leave on the 15th of this month from Bombay. Father called husband at 3:30am from the airport and I thought he was calling to say good-byes. “There is no ticket booked for us in this flight!” I heard him say. As it turns out, it was a huge glitch from the travel agent. Supposedly, they were scheduled to leave on the night of 14th. They took a flight out to Bangalore from Bombay, after paying a bomb for the last minute tickets. Since then, I have made it my life mission to work this out amicably and give many sleepless nights to the travel agent, uttering sentences like “Imagine your parents being stranded in the airport with nowhere to go! What would you do? They wanted to go for a holiday to relax and have a peace of mind, but alas!”
This wisdom comes with many donkey’s years of experience of conversation with customer care.

C for Customs

I felt so beaten up the last two evenings that I kept postponing writing a post. I had no intentions of blogging today either, but something mother told me changed my mind.
I am the annoying kid that asks questions all the time. (husband calls me “question paper” some times. i’d like to think I have an inquisitive mind. anyhoo)

I was fed a constant supply of customs / traditions / traditional customs/customary traditions from childhood. However, it was not before a certain age that I started questioning the true purpose behind them.
I had never removed my toe-rings from the time of our wedding. (thali is a completely different story) Last Sunday, I was feeling like a change and stowed the metti aka toe ring in the draw that I call “things to wear before going to visit relatives”. Mother saw me with bare feet today and asked me why I had removed the metti. I shrugged, thinking that she would talk about something else. She usually does- mother is not very rigid about these things. But what did I know!

“There’s a nerve that goes from your second toe to the uterus. It is like a pressure point. That is why you wear metti. Married women who are in the child-bearing age should not remove it. It might cause problem, who knows!” (this is the woman who does not care if I do not wear thali)

“So you are saying that women in Canada etc. have problem with child-birth?”

“Yes. They do.” (the conviction!)

“Really?”

“Why can’t you just wear it instead of making me talk so much? Even if you don’t, just say that you will.”

“Okay, I will.”

So yes, mother can be pacified after 4 rounds of arguments. My relatives, on the other hand…

It was in college that I learnt about the theories of “echcha”, “madi” and “paththu” from a tambrahm friend. It baffled me, and we had many a disagreements. I am pleased to report that we are not in touch anymore. “Every ritual is for cleansing of the body, mind and intellect” itseems. What a strange crowd.

There’s a list of things that married women should not do. This list, I am guessing, runs to pages. One of the clauses state that married women are not supposed to keep a black bottu. I love black bottu. It is so versatile and pretty! I was told off and was asked to change the bottu many times. Why? Widows in the pre-historic India used black bottu to symbolize their unfortunate state. So I am guessing nothing’s going to happen when I wear black bottu, other than getting a sun-spot on my forehead.

There are a few more things that do rounds- no applying oil with your left hand (done only for the dead. you use left hand, you die?) touching pickles when you’re menstruating will spoil it (if your hands are unwashed, yes it will) no cutting hair on Tuesday, Friday, etc. (your hair will cry if you do. don’t hurt its sentiments) and so on…

B for Bengaluru

I was born in Tamil Nadu, and brought up in Bangalore. When people ask me where I am from, I usually reply that I am from Bangalore; unless they ask me for “native place”.

Bangalore was and has always been the “hep” place. Some of my male cousins associated Bangalore with “superrr figarrrs”. I don’t really know much about that, but when it comes to “male figarrrs”; this city has been an illusion.

Sometimes I get livid when people associate a State with just one popular city. Once, a classmate in my university asked me where I was from. I told him that I was from Bangalore, and he asked me a question that left me stumped. “That is in Keral, na? What language do you speak there?” A 25 year old Indian, doing his Masters in the US.
I don’t get angry anymore when people identify Karnataka with Bangalore.

I won’t say the life of Bangalore is Vidyarthi Bhavan or Koshy’s or even Lal Bagh or Cubbon Park. The life of Bangalore is the city itself. Always warm and welcoming. When husband moved here, he was apprehensive about not knowing Kannada. It’s been 4 months and I don’t think he’s ever had to use more than 10 Kannada (a moment of silence for some North Indian friends who are now realizing that it’s not Kannad. and some South Indian friends who realize that it’s not Kannadam) words. Most people in Bangalore grow up on atleast two to three languages. (if not, there’s always sign language.)

The city that was once so cool and green is now terribly sweltering & bald. It is over-populated with people, buildings and autos. There’s traffic, there’s pollution- I am not complaining about any of it. I might crib about the heat, but that’s it.
During one of those very passionate I-love-Bangalore talks with my very-Bangalore-loving- Manee, she told me “You don’t come to Bangalore for a vacation, you come for life.” I have been quoting this in context and out of context all the time! Please don’t come to Bangalore for a vacation. (unless you want a staycation. we are totally equipped for that.) We have nothing but malls and parks. I am pretty sure your city does too, so please don’t come and complain that there’s no beach (i’m looking at you Chennai) or a Taj Mahal. Oh, I am sure you check TripAdvisor before you book tickets. I still have never been to many areas in South Bangalore. I am too lethargic and avoid going to South Bangalore like there’s a disease outbreak. One of these days, we might just go there for a road trip with Puliogare and Curd rice parcels.

There’s nothing to see, yet there’s so much to see in Bangalore.

A is for…er, A

I have decided that the only way to start writing is..gulp..by joining a blogathon. Such sad state of affairs. Given that I am not the 100 Happy Days types, A-Z blogathon it is! Today’s letter is A. This is easy peasy mac’n’cheesy! My husband’s name starts with A. The yin to my yang- there’s never a boring moment when he’s around. (except when he’s glued to cricket matches. that is SUPER boring.)

I have a kind of secret blog where I write down my life’s philosophies, who to hunt down if I am found dead, who should never be forgiven, how I was feeling before an operation etc. The posts don’t cross more than two lines. (sample: [photo of food] Woke up to this. Best husband in the world) Despite having a very, very poor memory, somehow I remember the context of all the posts very clearly.
Before we were married, A and I were in a long distance relationship. We used to be on Whatsapp/ Facebook/ Viber and every other damn app all the time. When I wasn’t complaining and him not coaxing me, we used to have some interesting conversations. I duly noted them down in secret blog because I found them insanely cute. I still do. So for this post, instead of writing paragraphs on how cool my husband is or how much I love him; I decided to blog some snippets from secret blog.

When we were still getting to know each other, he asked me to teach him Kannada. After learning a few words, he uses them in a sentence: “Subbu is a bekku (cat), aa bekku nange beku (I want that cat)”

We were on FaceTime. He was doing something (must be that stupid cricket again) and I was doing my own thing, singing a stupid Tamil song: “18 vayasil enna padikkum? La lala La lala
Him: Beer

Once, he was playing around saying that he knows palmistry very well. I presented my palm for his expertly opinion. He looked at it like a doctor that looks at a dying patient and told me that my life line is very weak. I told him that it was weak no way because it ran from one end of my palm to another. To that, he replies “anaira velakku, adhan prakasama eriyudhu” (the lamp that is going to die out soon glows the brightest)

I am going to stop here because I am not able to stop reading old posts and reminiscing.