Five Questions

Update:¬†Please also add 5 movies you can watch over and over again. I’d really like to hear about that.

I started my day by reading this post written by the Bride and immediately commented all excited about the P Tracker app that I use religiously. She then tagged me in case I wanted to pick the 5 questions up. I really liked the questions and totally want to answer them.

One beauty product you would recommend to your girlfriends

I have become a fan of Soultree products recently because they are totally natural and organic whenever possible. So I have to say Soultree lipstick and kajal.

I sometimes use Maybelline Superstay 24 which delivers what it promises. The color does stay (even with all the eating and drinking) till you scrub it off with oil. It’s slightly matte and makes it seem like it’s your actual lip color. In fact, when I was travelling in Spain, an Argentinian woman asked me if that was my original lip color. Yeah, brick red! ūüėĬ†In retrospect, I should’ve told her that it was indeed my actual color. ūüėÄ

Okay, I have already listed three, but I must add Maybelline gel liner. It’s perfect, I can draw a fine and dark line with it, and I love the pot it comes in.

I don’t know if perfumes come under beauty products. On most days I go without any product on my face, but hardly ever without a perfume. I absolutely love fragrances, and my favorite is Escada Sexy Graffiti. It’s fruity and clean, exactly what I like.

Three books everyone must read

Like Bride mentioned in her post, I don’t think I feel very strongly about what people should read, because you know we all like different kinda things. So I’m going to tweak the question to three books I absolutely love.

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude: Without a doubt the best book I have ever read.
  • The Good Earth Trilogy: I love Pearl Buck’s writing. I love the descriptions of the farmer’s life in China, the strong female characters, and an underlying sense of melancholy you feel while reading it.
  • Of Human Bondage: I love Somerset Maugham’s writing and had particularly liked this one. Again, I think I feel connected to a certain sense of melancholy and tend to like books that create that experience.

These are the top three for me, but I cannot not mention some others that have moved be deeply and have had a lasting impact.

  • The Adventures of Dennis (Viktor Dragunsky): I firmly believe¬†that all children MUST read this book.
  • Little Women (the Marathi translation): I liked the translation more than the original. It had an exceedingly sweet quality.
  • Dustar ha ghaat (a marathi book by Gauri Deshpande)
  • Moon and the Sixpence (Somerset Maugham)
  • Catcher in the Rye, Kosla, and Norwegian Wood, all of which evoked varying degrees of similar emotions.

Favourite online shopping site

I used to work for one of the biggest (may be the biggest actually) online retailer, and was known to be so much into online shopping since before it became so common in India, that I was asked to write a whitepaper on the online shopping scene in India and my favorites.¬†Most of the sites I listed don’t exist anymore.

I do most of my shopping online, groceries included. But the most reliable site that I frequent has to be Amazon. Anytime I want anything, I first visit Amazon and then move towards Myntra, pepperfry, bigbasket etc. depending on the kind of stuff I am looking for.

There used to be this amazing site called Urbantouch. They sent all their products in super-elegant black cardboard boxes. I still use those for my jewelry and cosmetics. I think it was bought out by Myntra.

Favourite phone app

Definitely P Tracker followed by instagram (for snooping around. I’m not too active myself), and wordathon (word game, when I am alone and bored).

One dish you are really good at making and its recipe

Since cooking is my first love and passion, there are simply way too many (i don’t know if I am good at making these, but I certainly like making them)

In no particular order:

Guacamole, Pho, Thai Chicken noodle soup, Hyderabadi dum biryani, Many kinds of whole wheat breads, angoor malai, tzatziki, all veggie thoran, chocolate mousse cake, Kolhapuri tamda rassa.

A quick Guacamole recipe follows:

  • One avocado scooped out
  • Juice of half a big lime
  • 1 clove garlic (grated)
  • 1/4 small onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 tomato finely chopped
  • 1 chili finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • coriander (optional)

Just mash the avocado with a work, add all the ingredients, and mix well.

I would further like to tag GM, SA, and aditi to answer these same questions since they are really fun.






Not Giving a f%$#

You’d think that not giving a f%&# about unimportant people and events would be an easy thing, especially with the phrase itself sounding so breezy and effortless. But believe me, it’s harder than it would seem.

I would give anything to be able to have that attitude. The effortless and cool existence. Unaffected, untouched by the mediocrity and ignorance around you. But no. It’s dam hard. Harder than most of the things I try to achieve in my life. I seriously envy people who are so comfortable in their own skin that what others would say doesn’t deter them at all. In fact, I often even admire fools who have the confidence of putting their foolishness out there without the fear of being judged. In a way, it’s rather charming to see someone so ignorant that they don’t even realize their ignorance. And I am not saying this sarcastically. Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if people who actually know what they are saying had this sort of confidence?

I feel extremely limited by by disability to not give a f%&#. So yes, I give way too many of them. I am bothered by a stupid statement made by a neighbor, by the ignorance of a colleague, and some such. I take logic so much for granted that anything less has my temper flying around uncontrollably (only in my head though), which makes my head so freaking heavy. Regular readers may have observed how my posts increasingly touch upon my frustrations with the mundane life, that it’s not even funny anymore. I may even go see a shrink sometime to help me deal with this. But I am a bit skeptical because I know how those sessions go. Eventually, it comes down to making changes within yourself, the inability of which itself is my problem.

I read a really cool article this morning about learning to not give a f%$#. Can you believe I actually googled, “learning not to give a f%$#”? Husband couldn’t stop laughing when he heard this. He thought that’s where my problem was. If only I found other things to be interested in like Sports in his case. Sighhh!!

The Scandalous Lady W

Seymour Worsely, by her own admission, was unfortunate to be born in the age of men, where she refused to belong to any man. A riveting true story of an incredibly liberated and modern woman who refused to give in to her horribly entitled and misogynist husband who made her sleep with several men to satisfy his voyeuristic desires of watching them through the keyhole. She happened to fall deeply in love with one of the men and eloped with him. Refused a divorce by the husband, she went through a humiliating trial to make her point, only to be later abandoned for the love of her life, for whom she did it all. Seymour Worseley was finally granted a divorce but had to pay a hefty price for her own self worth and freedom. Although, she is my hero for having reclaimed her marital dowry and adopted her maiden name, Fleming. She also went on to marry a man 21 years her junior. She did not take his name, he did hers.

Oh, did I mention that this is an 18th century true story?

Just finished watching the telefilm The Scandalous Lady W with Natalie Dormer as the fascinating Seymour. I already like Dormer from Game of Thrones, with this, I might well be on the way to becoming her fan.

The Scandalous Lady W (2015) Poster

My dear readers, if you haven’t watched this already, I insist you do.

Chronic Dissatisfaction Syndrome

I have it, if such a thing exists. I am one ¬†month into my new job in a top-notch IT company and I haven’t found a single redeeming quality of the work I do. Wait, I don’t yet know what I do. The place is excellent of course, with state-of-the-art facilities and fitness classes and stuff. But here I am with a fair salary bump, still feeling lonely, out of place, and unhappy.

In this one month, I haven’t found a single person I can talk to. I am not much of a talker anyway, but still, it’s nice to have someone you can go to lunch with. On second thoughts, I am not sure if I’d crave for company as much if everyone around me also was alone most of the time. Because I anyway don’t have much to talk to most of people, and I prefer the distance rather than knowing people’s moronic thoughts on caste, gender, behavior and some such. But I still feel sick, peer pressure you see. It catches you precisely when you like to think you are beyond such things. Clearly, I am a bigger mess because I think of myself as different from others. And my self-realizations are brutal and spot-on; only that they help me in no way to inch towards a more permanent state of peace of mind and happiness.

The thing is, I never expect any job to be deeply satisfying. I am simply not cut out for a job. But I am practical enough to value it as means to an end. Only, as it turns out, I am not comfortable taking a paycheck when I don’t think I have given enough. Neither am I willing to go to random departments at work and ask if I can help them. Fine, I need to give them a bit of a leeway because this is a new role for them as well. But aren’t engineers supposed to be smart people to realize that we need “some guidance” or “may be you can help us” are really vague take-off points to start anything really?

I don’t know if this will change at all. May be it is too early to tell. But so far, I haven’t received one clear instruction of what is expected of me. All I am asked is, “so what are you up to?” without being told what I should be up to. Is replying that I am up to vomiting my venomous and depressing ¬†thoughts on my blog an acceptable answer? I guess not.

I would have been fine with the bleak work prospects had at least one person around here would be a tad interesting. But the first person I talked to actually mentioned after hearing my surname that she was a Brahmin too. Like it was the most natural thing to say on a floor full of people. And the pride she felt was almost palpable. That’s it, there ends my possibility of being even remotely friendly to this lady. So, basically, days on end, I sit in the middle of a random bunch of people, whom I did make an attempt to talk to. This required me to get out of my comfort zone. I am somewhat of a meek mouse when it comes to approaching people when I don’t have a definite agenda. And my suspicions about people’s hypocrisy and general apathy to most things are usually confirmed. So it makes no sense to forge conversations that only add to my frustration. Another example was a girl who saw me coming back from yoga and said she didn’t do any exercise, she thought walking from the desk to the coffee machine was exercise enough. I never care enough about random people to go and advise them on health and nutrition, life, love life, anything really. But discouraging¬†someone who is actually doing a good thing is not acceptable. Sorry boss.

There!! nikal li appni dil ki bhadaas. Thank you my dear blog for always being there as my sounding board.

Ants in my Pants

It was a Friday like any other. Just another day of the week, only the best day of the work week because there is two days of nothingness to look forward to, owing to which I was in a more positive mood than usual. I was in the office transport van, sitting on the front seat, looking out the window, when I had the uncomfortable realization that there was definitely an ant in my pants. Possibly two even.

I tried very hard not to visibly squirm, although all my energy was going into not getting up suddenly, not violently scratching, or just putting my hand inside my jeans to get the damn thing out. I could even feel the ant make lethargic circles on my butt. I tried to look at the guy sitting next to me from the corner of my eye, just to check and see if my body language was attracting attention in anyway. No movement there, so I was in good control.

I kept wondering and imagining the worse. What if the ant went ahead and bit in so badly that I just absolutely had to pull my pants down. I tried to wiggle my bum a little, only to lead the ant into a far worse direction. I instinctively tried the kegel to ensure it didn’t travel any further. I noticed that I was clenching my palms and teeth. On one hand I was imagining the worse, and on the other, I found it incredibly hilarious and couldn’t wait to tell the husband. It was exactly the kind of thing he finds funny and believes can only happen to me.

I don’t know for how long this episode lasted. But as usual, the stream of consciousness took over and the ant was only at the starting point of it, it disappeared somewhere along the way. ūüôā

I want to live like Julia Child

I cannot remember the number of times I have watched the movie Julie and Julia. It’s undoubtedly one of my most favorite movies about food and cooking (correction, THE most favorite…because well, Meryl Streep).

I feel so positive and relaxed when I watch this movie. I don’t think I have ever gotten bored of this movie, except for those parts with Julie’s story, which I have no respect for.

But coming back to Julia Child, and Meryl Streep in particular, every time I watch this movie, I’m amazed at Streep’s potent acting. I haven’t watched any of real Julia Child’s shows, but I did watch a small clip and Meryl Streep has to be the only person who can do justice to the character. What I am about to say is more about Meryl Streep and Julia in this movie, rather than Julia Child herself.

Julia and Paul Child are such a lovely couple. I want to grow old like them…with the same kind of joie de vivre and the same passion and pure love for each other. I want to retain that kind of zest for life forever. Sometimes I fear I am too jaded already at a very young age. But this movie is an inspiration for how a happy and fulfiling life would be for me. Julia’s childlike enthusiasm and sheer joy on chopping opinions before anyone else in her Cordon Bleu class is almost palpable and immensely contagious, as is her sheer dedication to the art and science of cooking. I love the parts where she is shown to retain her childlike romantic attitude towards her husband, and the way in which he reciprocates it. She is a misfit in France, in terms of her looks, manner of speaking and body language, but is far too big a person to take that to heart and become subdued.

I know I keep coming back to this point, but I simple LOVE the chemistry between Julia and her husband. They are so different and yet so together. That’s the kind of mature love I hope to share with the husband even 20 years down the line when we are no longer newly marrieds. It’s amazing how they both boost each other’s confidence all the time and encourage the other to pursue their individual dreams. I could ramble on for hours, but I want to go back to the rest of the movie.

Cheers Julia Child!

SATC Reflections: Why I think Carrie is the worst friend and person

I’m watching the last season of Sex and the City (SATC) again. This is generally my in-between-shows show, which means I end up watching the entire series 2-3 times a year. So I must have watched each episode a minimum of 10 times now.

courtesy: huffpost

The first time I watched the show, I absolutely fell in love with it. It was a first: A show about four women, their friendships, their idiosyncrasies, and mainly sex, all against the backdrop of New York. Technically, what’s not to like? But since the first time, I have had more of a love-hate relationship with the show with every subsequent viewing.

I think the irritation mostly stems from¬†two characters, out of the four, that I find insufferable. First, Carrie Bradshaw, and second Charlotte York. It troubles me to see that Carrie gets to be the “heroine” of the show in spite of the presence¬†of really strong characters like¬†Miranda and Samantha. In fact, if there’s any character that personifies sex and New York, it’s got to be¬†Samantha Jones. While Miranda is the one I identify with the most. Her observations, her no nonsense attitude, the conviction in self, and her very real vulnerabilities are extremely realistic.

Carrie Bradshaw on the other hand is everything that’s wrong with the show. I remember a time when I had almost regretted being friends with this girl because she said she liked Carrie and Charlotte the most. I was puzzled by how she could prefer Carrie who is basically a closeted “I need to be rescued by a price charming” personality masquerading as a feminist, while Charlotte has Victorian beliefs on propriety and how women “should” be. The confusion came form the fact that this girl is a staunch feminist, and her preferences made me doubt her belief. Of course, that’s my problem, not the show’s.

Charlotte’s character is ridiculous and her expressions are so loud that they border on comic. I don’t like women like her in real life. Yes, it’s quite a strong statement to make, but I do really dislike women who have too many rules and should be’s about how women should be, and how romance should be, and how women should treat men. It’s a shallow character, but even then the character has more integrity that Carrie’s. It’s almost heart warming to see Charlotte falling in love with a guy who is the stark opposite of her entire life’s expectations from a husband. But the way she converts to Judaism and actually changes her entire lifestyle is beyond ridiculous.

Carrie Bradshaw probably is the most hate-inducing and dishonest character in the entire series, and here’s why (Sorry, this post is turning into a “I hate Carrie” rant.

1. Throughout the show Carrie “wonders” about something or the other, and they are mostly inconsequential topics, only she makes them sound like research articles, which they are not.

2. She is the only character who is hardly shown doing something for her other friends. The other three girls however keep making small compromises for each other all the times in spite of personal discomfort.

3. How she manages to have such a luxurious lifestyle and owns over a 100 pairs of Manolo Blahniks, and Jimmy Choos and what not is not explained. It’s puzzling how she can afford that with the income from one weekly column in a not-so-great local newspaper. And that’s her only job. Also, she always takes the taxi, never cooks at home, goes to fancy clubs all the time.

4. Carrie seems to always manage to land super-rich and super-famous guys: global artists, business tycoons, New York Yankees. basically people who must support her financially. So all the talk about women and freedom and independence coming from her is just hypocritical.

5. In all the relationships, it appears that she takes and takes and takes, but is hardly seen doing anything in return. She makes a huge deal about having to walk Aidan’s dog completely ignoring the things he did for her.

6. She hates plants, animals, and jungle retreats. It’s annoying how she is not appreciative of the cabin Aidan has built himself in the woods. In one of the episodes, she’s shown throwing a plant in garbage with utmost pride. She basically hates anything that requires some degree of effort.

7. She is extremely naive and has zero idea about how the real world functions. She is incapable of being on her own.

8. She cheats on Aidan with Mr. Big and then in the SATC movie, she ends up kissing Aidan after being married to Big. Make up your mind already! So basically, she constantly wants what she doesn’t have and is eternally dissatisfied.

9. She is dismissive of most people and their problems, even of those she calls her best friends. In most of the episodes, she pretends to care for her friends and listen to them, but the moment they take a breather, you’ll invariably see her jumping in with something about herself. She doesn’t even pay much attention to her friend Stanford when he’s talking about the biggest love of his life.

10. Most of Carrie’s reactions are horrendous. The way she enunciates (while talking about being broken up with on a post-it), her patent “Oooooo” when someone gifts her anything (I do an uncanny impression btw :D), her crocodile tears, the unconvincing dialogue delivery. Of course, I’m not sure if I should attribute these to the character or if SJP is a really bad actress. How can you not judge someone who identified with this character!

It’s almost unfair how all the characters consider Carrie her best friend. Even Miranda with her levelheadedness and no-bullshit approach. Every time I watch the show, I get really annoyed with this character, which is probably the show’s success: to be able to elicit a strong emotional response even if it is negative. I was googling to find articles about the show that talk about the negative aspects of Carrie’s character as well as the other characters to some extent. They more or less echo the reservations I have about this character: here, here.

Having said all of this and ranted so much, I still LOVE the show and think it was ground breaking on several counts. I don’t think there’s another show that has explored sex to such an extent. All the wacky aspects of sex that I know, I owe it to the show. It expanded my knowledge of sexual terminology. There are several brilliant moments that show strong female friendships and make you want to crave them.

I was also talking about this to the husband who has been forced to watch this show many many times with me and has pretty strong opinions himself now. He made a very interesting point about how shows such as this one are generally really well thought out and it’s for a reason why the central character or the anti-heroine is deliberately annoying. All the characters balance out in the larger context of the show. Like Miranda’s levelheadedness stands out against Carrie’s naivete and selfishness, and Miranda’s free view of sex comes out even stronger against Charlotte’s prudishness.