Category Archives: Moments

Seriously?? SERIOUSLY!!! 

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You know those days when you just feel like throwing things and stamping your feet in the middle of a supermarket in a right old childlike tantrum until you get what you want? Yeah… I’m having one of those. And no, I’m not PMSing.
Adult life is NOT fun on some days.  On some days, I HATE that I have to be responsible and prioritize and behave myself. I used to be impulsive. I used to be crazy and reckless too. I haven’t done stuff like that in a while. Well, I’ve been adulting away, haven’t I! There’s no time for crazy and reckless and almost always no money for impulsive. (₹6000 for shoes?! That’s a month’s grocery right there!)

I used to trek, travel and in general enjoy my life to the fullest. We had an amazing Nature Club on our campus and I did a lot of trekking before graduating. But I haven’t been on a trek in years. Now, I can’t just get up and decide to go out of town for a week. Everything needs to be planned well in advance if there is any chance of things ever happening. Save up for stuff. Book tickets twenty years in advance to get them cheap. Find a pet sitter. Arrange work schedules (being a freelancer, I need to get enough jobs to cover for my week long absence as well as pay for the vacation) so basically, there’s a lot of long term planning involved.

But here’s the thing about long term plans. THEY DON’T WORK OUT EITHER!! Life sucker punches you and gives you wedgies and bullies you into blowing your long term plans to handle the crisis at hand…
Ok now I’m generalizing a bit. All long term plans may not end up like that but my life is behaving like a particularly recalcitrant child right now… Absolutely refusing to settle down. And I desperately needed to feel that madness again. To feel like something more than just an average middle class woman with a boring life .

A few days ago I was invited to judge a screenplay writing event for the intercollegiate mass media festival that my college hosts every year. Polaris. Polaris had been our lifeblood during our time on campus and being back in the thick of things reminded me once again of how my life has changed since college. I later went to see our Head of Department, Prof. Sudhakar Solomon Raj. Along with being the head of the Bachelors of Mass Media (BMM) program, he is also the heart and soul of the Wilson College Nature Club (WCNC) So basically, the meeting point of the two things that changed my life after I came to the city; BMM and WCNC. Meeting him made me want to go back to college like never before.

But since Harry Potter and his friends smashed all the Time Turners that the Ministry of Magic had, my plans to steal one and go back to college looked bleak. So I decided to do the next best thing. I signed up for the trek that was to happen a week later. Not a long one; just a day long trek. Easy peasy… Not too expensive or time consuming and after years of sitting on my ass, not so physically taxing that I’d find it difficult.

I was excited. Oh so excited! The whole week, I looked forward to the Sunday trek. I fished out my shoes, picked out appropriate attire and made mental check lists of everything I’d need. Even when I was working, I found myself pleasantly day dreaming of the hours I’d spend in the National Park. It was to be my day. MY day… To recapture a sense of adventure, of sheer joy and excitement. To break away from the mundane. It was going to be awesome!

But Life is that bitch who came up with the idea of pouring pig’s blood on Carrie when she was expecting to have the time of her life.  Yep. A real bitch!

‘Cause guess what happened just before I was to leave for the trek. Go on… You get three guesses…

Nope, my shoes didn’t fall apart.

And my only trek worthy set of clothes didn’t tear.

And I didn’t suddenly get a call for a coveted assignment.

I woke up with a crick in my neck. Yes!! A bloody CRICK IN MY F’ING NECK!!! Can you believe that?! I mean, after having looked forward to this all week, here I was, groaning in pain, typing out my message to Sudhakar Sir explaining my absence because one bone in my body decided to call in sick! Today… It was supposed to be MY day!! I was supposed to go grab life with both hands or whatever… But I can’t because of a crick in my neck..?! I mean… Seriously??? Seriously!!!!

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6 Reactions To My Bald Head

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In my last post, I wrote about how and why I donated my hair to cancer patients. So for the last few weeks, I’ve been going about my life as usual, just without hair. Let me tell you, this feels like nothing short of a social experiment! I should walk around with someone filming me on a GoPro all the time! I mean, seriously, those women who are looking for some attention, trust me… Go bald! Nothing like it to make not a few but ALL heads turn! I’ve had little kids asking to touch my head. I’ve had old ladies asking if the heat is more or less bearable without hair. I’ve had men offering me their rumaals to wipe sweat off mu head! I’ve had random strangers grinning at me or giving me hifi’s. But be warned… there are the others too.. I’ve also had women calling me shameless and disrespectful and men calling me uncultured. If I list out each encounter I’ve had, I’ll need days to type this out. So I thought I’d share general categories of the sort of reactions my bald head has received.

1. The Kings, Queens and Knaves of Judgmentia:

13mnwvI believe there is a land called Judgmentia where people believe that they were put on this Earth for the sole purpose of judging every act of every person around. I also believe that the Royal Family ruling this land has decided to walk free through the rest of the world, and I met some of them. These are the people who glared at me from across platforms, or scorned at me or even took the time to stop and abuse me. I am surprised at the amount of spite these people carry around! They behaved as if I’d done them some personal harm by being bald! One of these, a middle aged woman with a toddler in her arms actually stopped and told me, people like me were the reason she was scared to raise her daughter in this city. I mean no disrespect to anyone but every time I met one of these people, I found myself resisting the urge to kick their royal behinds!

2. The Masters of Assumption:

13mnqiThese aren’t as bad as the Royal Family of Judgmentia but they were an interesting bunch. These people saw me and immediately made up their minds about why I was bald. One woman chattily told me all about being a devout believer in Tirupathi, convinced that I had sheared off my head during a recent visit to the temple. When I told her I hadn’t been there, she just responded with a comical ‘oh!’ and no doubt jumped to the next assumption about me in her mind. One ridiculous woman thought I was a widow and berated me for wearing color (some customs in India require widows to lead a life of austerity after going bald and not wearing any colors). Another  man assumed I’d done this as a fashion statement and proceeded to lecture me. I didn’t bother to correct him; it’s none of his business even if this was a fashion choice and I told him so.

3. The Pointers and Starers:

13mo1bThis is the category I found most annoying. They hang around street corners and make no efforts to be discreet as they point, stare and often laugh at me as I pass by. I confronted a bunch of them and told them why I’m bald. Their reactions often bordered on the comical. Some even said sorry. But then there were so many of these that I stopped bothering to confront them.

4. The Well Meaning, Curious Types:

13mq5wI’m just about getting used to the staring. People stare at me all the time. If I make eye contact with them, I smile. Often, some people smile back, then talk. These people ask questions about why I am bald and listen to the answers. Some of these ask some of the random-est things.. does my head get goose flesh? if I scratch my head, can I feel it? seriously! But then, some ask for more information on hair donation, then smile and go their way. Two little girls I met on a Metro ride on my way to a meeting sat on either side of me and listened to my explanation then promptly turned to their mother and declared that they too wanted to donate their hair. I respect their mother who calmly told them that they should wait till their hair is long so that the wigs made could be long and pretty. These people aren’t  judgemental. Often just the opposite. I like these people. They are open to information and the choices other people make with their lives.

5. The Thankful:

13mpjcIts a little scary how many of these I met. On my way to work, I was telling a young lady about hair donation and a woman sitting across me got up and hugged me then told me that her daughter had cancer and thanked me for doing this. I didn’t know how to respond to her other than just returning her hug. There are so many people who have family or friends who’ve gone through or succumbed to cancer, its scary. Even within my friend circle there are those who’ve seen cancer up close and have sent me messages to thank me. These people have the most emotional reaction to me. One man actually offered to help me carry my laptop bag after he told me about his sister who had breast cancer. My heart goes out to these people and I wish them all the strength. If there was any other way I could help, I would.

6. The Smiley Faces and Thumbs ups:

FullSizeRenderThese are the happiest chance encounters that make my day. Random people walking past, throwing me a dazzling smile. They don’t even know why I am bald but they seem to like it. They smile, wink, even give me hifi’s at random. One woman told me I looked super cool as she walked past me. One guy winked at me and grinned as he walked by. Not in a creepy kinda way… just a happy wink. I have no idea what makes them so happy to see a bald woman but whatever it is, I’m glad these people exist.

 

 

To sum it up, from total douche-bags to people I feel like hugging, I’ve met a whole range of them. Normally, I just travel through the city never actually ‘meeting’ anyone. But it seems like a bald head comes with perks! I love all the attention.. I seriously do! But I must say, I am thankful for the people who don’t fall into any of these categories… People who have absolutely no reaction to my hair or their absence. These are the people who walk by, without reaction as if there is nothing to react to. Who view me as absolutely normal! And isn’t that what I am? I am just a woman who made a certain choice about the way I look. For whatever reason, I am bald and they are so fine with it, they don’t even care to turn and look! I’ve loved all this attention from everyone else but I can’t imagine what it must be like for a real cancer patient. With people judging, assuming and asking questions every turn of the way. No wonder they need wigs. I’ve given my hair today to save a woman from just such undue attention.. but I dream, not of a day when all cancer afflicted women have wigs to wear… but of a day when a bald woman walking down the street is no biggie!

My 6 ‘Moments’

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My 6 ‘Moments’
“Life isn’t measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.”

I read this somewhere and I thought; How apt! It’s been almost three months since we got married and somehow, I remember this time not as months, not as weeks or even days either… I remember it in moments. Some of them were precious.. the others, scary… I’ve picked out 6 of them to share here… The others, I’d rather keep to myself.. 🙂

I’m-A-Complete-Disaster Moment

A week into being married, we were either ordering in or cooking very basic food at home. But I knew this couldn’t go on for long. So, beginning one Monday morning, I decided that for a week, we would order nothing from outside. I will prove to myself that I can take care of my home and put wholesome meals on my husband’s plate thrice a day. Monday went well. A good breakfast, a neat lunch and a filling dinner. Tuesday saw me a little rattled but I managed the routine again. By Wednesday’s dinner, I had run out of the recipes that I knew. That night, it hit me that I wasn’t prepared for this! Thursday I muddled through with some rudimentary recipes from the internet but I was unraveling fast. Cooking three meals a day is not an easy task. There are so many things to consider; likes and dislikes, what ingredients do you have, what left overs are in the fridge, how much time do you have, what’s the average appetite.. and believe it or not, once you begin running your own kitchen, you’ll see that it feels like ten seconds pass between clearing the plates after one meal and beginning preparations for the next! There is no respite! And being raised by my mother and my grand mother – two extremely efficient home makers – I had standards to live up to! So between the endless chores through the day and the worry keeping me up at night, it is no surprise that I miserably broke down over the charred remains in my kadhai after I’d burnt Friday’s breakfast. My husband was still fast asleep since he’d been working late the earlier night which left me sobbing over the sink as I scrubbed the kadhai, wondering what he was going to eat when he woke up. In that moment, I felt lonelier than I’ve ever felt before. My darling of a husband had been doing everything he could to make sure our life could go as smoothly as possible and here I was, a clumsy mess of a woman who couldn’t even serve meals for a week without incident! I felt wretched, gripped by fear that I was going to bungle this whole thing up… It took an hour long chat with my mother to calm me down. Finally, I got bread and served toast and tea for breakfast. And though it was a perfectly acceptable breakfast, the feeling of being inadequate stayed with me. It was a couple of days later that we had a chat and my husband forced it out of me… and the man made me feel like a master chef with the way he reassured me about my cooking skills!

Enough-With-The-Teasing Moment.

I started to lighten up a bit after this. The euphoria of being married had settled down quite a lot but some of our close family and friends were still pretty kicked about the ‘newly weds’. Small anecdote: We had spent our wedding night in a hotel with one of those horrible spring mattresses which appear fun at first but ruin your back. It resulted in my husband asking for a back treatment from my father-in-law who is an exceptionally amazing acupressure therapist. Do I need to quote the jokes that followed? Wedding night followed by the groom having a back ache? You get it right? yeah… it was pretty funny and almost everyone made snide comments for weeks after that. In fact, for the first month, no one could resist teasing us and to be honest, I enjoyed all the attention. But then, it started getting repetitive… I know we have a place of our own and we can ‘do it’ a zillion times a day if we want to but the fact is, we didn’t! We did so many fun things… slow dancing to no music… cooking together… endless tickling matches… intense nerdy movie marathons… so so much more than just sex… So after a point, all the innuendos and teasing started feeling churlish… Like, there came a point when I felt like shaking the next person who throws a layered comment at me and saying, Look! We are not rabbits in heat! We do other stuff too.. OK? I vented my feelings and the husband, knowing my temper very well, pulled out the fire hose (Don’t you dare twist that in your dirty mind and snigger!) He too found all the teasing pretty annoying so we just sat and laughed at all the naive commentary people made about our private life over a peaceful cup of coffee. After that, whenever someone (with a few exceptions) spat out a predictable teasing comment at us, we just exchanged a look; knowing that we’d laugh at that when we got back home later.

I-Miss-Mom Moment

Life likes to sucker punch us when we least expect it. Since we’d spoken about the stress of the chores, my husband took up a lot of the work and we even cooked some meals together.  Whatsapp came to the rescue and I got mom to send me recipes every day. My husband and I went vegetable shopping together so we picked stuff that both of us wanted to eat. That eased off some of the stress. Still, life wasn’t a song yet. Amidst all this, Sankranti appeared around the corner. Mr. Iyer made me Gajar ka Halwa which was splendid despite it being his first attempt… that was a moment in itself but like I said, some moments I shall keep to myself.. Now, like I said, I had standards to uphold and there was no way that I was letting my first festival as a married woman go by without doing something special. So I decided to make tilgul laadus. For years, I’d helped mom make these so it wasn’t a big deal. I got the exact recipe from mom and went about making them. For those of you who don’t know, this involves melting jaggery, adding sesame seeds and other ingredients to it and rolling the mixture between your palms into smooth laadus before the jaggery hardens. Yes, it is hot and yes, it stings your palms! Like hell! As I made these, I thought to myself, what kind of a masochistic woman invented this recipe..? And somewhere, a memory stirred… Once, when I was a little girl, I’d asked my mom, why she did this when it was so painful? and she’d said, “Because you love to eat the laadus so much!” And I missed mom… it was almost a physical ache, like a constant toothache that wouldn’t go away. I cried myself to sleep that night. But then morning came and I found the husband stealing the laadus and eating more than were healthy for him and that made me smile… they’d turned out almost the way mom’s did.

What’s-My-Name-Again? Moment

Weeks passed after this. Work was catching on and I had episodes to deliver. When I was mailing an episode I realized that I’d signed the e-mail off with my maiden name. That brought on its feet the embarrassing realization that I had sent all earlier mails with the same name and signed for couriers and debit card slips with it too! Two months and I still hadn’t gotten a hang of it! For someone who’d been so excited about us being Mr & Mrs Iyer (Like the movie) I wasn’t very good at using the name. I decided this wouldn’t do and used my old school teacher’s trick. Yep! I took a pen and paper and wrote my name with the ‘Mrs’ and ‘Iyer’ prefix and suffix in place some twenty times. Days later, I was placing an order for home delivery with the local cold storage. The guy asked for my name and number. I almost used my maiden name… but then paused and said, Mrs. Iyer. Believe it or not, I think I blushed when I said that!

Where-Did-My-Time-Go? Moment

Now, between managing home and work, I woke up one morning and realized it had been two months since we got married!   There were so many things that I had wanted to do by now and there had never been enough time! What if my life went by like this and I never got to do the things that I had wanted to do? Imagine this. This post has been in the drafts folder for a month now and I’ve been meaning to complete this and post it for days! I’m an adventurous soul. I thrive on DIY’s and travel. What if I woke up one morning and realized that it was our 50th anniversary and I hadn’t done anything other than keep home and finish work? It was a paralyzing fear and I knew I did NOT want that to happen. From that day, I made a conscious effort to make sure I got some time to do something I wanted to even if that meant ordering in for a night.  Life is about balance and I was not about to lose mine so early into the game.

I-Can-Do-This Moment

After the first few weeks of chaos, life settled into a manageable cycle. Somethings became routine. I still had my fears of being a messed up wife but not as much as before. I’ve mentioned twice earlier that I had standards to live up to. Now let me elucidate a little on that. As a child, I’d seen my mother and my grandmother putting together ingredients and serving magic on my plate. In my grandmother’s presence, even with the most unexpected of guests showing up, there was always enough to go around and then some. Yet, nothing was every wasted. She always recycled leftovers into some amazing treats! One of the things that my grandmother routinely did was make Ghee. We never purchased ghee from the market. And the day she made it at home was a fun day for all of us kids. When she churned the butter out, we got little lumps of it along with a glass of the buttermilk. And when she put the butter on the stove to make the ghee, the house filled up with the waffling aroma of it. When the ghee was ready, we each got rolled up chapatis with ghee and sugar. In my mind, She will always be the epitome of the house proud home maker and I will always see her as that plump old woman sitting at the kitchen platform, surrounded by that heady aroma. If I could be half as good as she is, I’d have achieved something. Keeping that in mind, I’d started collecting cream from milk practically from the day we started living here. After making two batches of butter, I took a deep breath and set about making ghee.. and when I finished, my tiny flat was filled with that same aroma… it was like going back in time to our old bungalow… though a tiny, almost insignificant achievement, I had been able to do what she used to do… I’d made a little bit of the magic that had filled my childhood.. and as I stood staring at the golden liquid in a bottle, I couldn’t help but smile.. I’d done this… I’d made it… and somewhere, it was a reassurance that I could do this… I could make this new life work… of all the chats I had with my mom and my husband, this moment in my kitchen was the most reassuring one.

As I publish this post, we are a week away from finishing three months together and I am already managing much better. I’ve found normalcy in chaos and peace in things as simple as a perfectly shaped, fluffy chapati. I still have these moments; of desperation, of victory and of wonderment. Each passing day brings with it new moments and with each, I grow a little. I realize that I’ve rambled on through this post but I think I wanted to get this out there. If there is one thing I’ve learnt, it is that no matter what the situation, you are never alone. There is always someone out there who knows exactly where you are standing. So this post is to all those newly weds out there. You may have these moments too… and when you do, I want you to know that you are not alone. We all go through these and if you hang on tight through the tough bits, more often than not, the view on the other side is pretty darn good!

Photo Credit: Meraki Pictures (I Love You Guys!)