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I must survive

One of the worst places you could ever find yourself in India, besides busses, trains, and most gyms, has to be in a hospital elevator, especially if heaven forbid you’re a patient.

Let me try in the least exaggerated way to describe a ride in an hospital elevator in India.

So after you’ve finally determined which one of the many elevator Ques (you’d be very lucky if one has been formed) to get in, be prepared to have some kind of badge to show, even if you happen to be bandaged up on a wheelchair, to prove that indeed you are eligible for that ride up to either the O.T/patients room or for just a casual stroll into the radiology department. You will have to validate your ride to not only one, but two uniformed, well(hair) oiled attendants, one outside the elevator, and another once you’ve successfully gotten in.

Once in, my advice to fellow women would undoubtedly to a) stand against one of the side walls. b) use your handbag as an armour. c) yell out your floor as loud as possible. d) Hold your breath because nothing can prepare you for the impending assault on your olfactory senses.

In any other country where safety measures are moderately adhered to, once the elevator capacity is reached, you’d expect the appointed attendant present would halt passengers from filing in.. Not in India. He will not only allow a few more in, but he will also stop at every floor to take in some more!! It doesn’t matter that the doors won’t close, nor that the warning indicator flashes red, the point is, so long as the cables can take it, he will let just one more in, and the rest of the “crowd” meekly sucks it in a little more.

I’ve long accepted the reality that in India, people in general do not believe in the necessity of personal space, whether it be in a confined area or even just walking on the street, a little bumping into, armpit in your face holding an overhead handrail, or just standing in line waiting your turn, a little physical contact doesn’t amount to an intrusion, and is far from any violation. If this matters to you, as it most definitely does to me, you have to make sure that you either stay away from people in general, or bluntly ask them to do so by whatever means deem necessary.

My foremost strategy for the elevator dilemma is to take the stairs as far as possible. If not, then I adopt the aforementioned advice, along with attempting vociferously stopping not only the attendant from taking in an endless amount of people but also stopping passengers from doing so!
And if all else fails, pray! Out loud!

Purpose

Everyone needs a reason to wake up every morning, a job of some kind that kicks you out of bed and makes you look forward to that cup of tea or the day’s horrid smelling paper. `Sometimes the reasons aren’t very exciting, sometimes they’re downright dreary. For instance like school, or a desk job you hate, but a purpose all the same. It makes you feel as if you’re meeting some part of life’s many commitments, expectations if you must. The feeling of accomplishment at the end of the working day is rewarding.. But what happens when in life, your current purpose has moved on? grown up? doesn’t really need you all that much anymore? I guess the answer is to Accept and Move On as well, find a new purpose. Hopefully one that will need you until you decide you need to move on again, and, ehm, not the other way around. 

So, for the Shiny New Year, at the ripe young age of 43, here are my choice of purposes:

1- Write more, start the cookbook I’ve been planning since forever. 

2- Work out like crazy, stick to  a high protein diet and look like a Godess through my 40’s.

3- Accompany my husband to business meetings(especially those scheduled overseas) and hope that my charm and “luck” rain cash on him (and ergo on me) 

4- Study at home. There are a number of courses my delusional brain believes I would excel at. So many choices, so little usable, healthy memory/retention cells left.

5- Work part-time at an NGO. Well, since this says part-time, I can do this regardless of whatever else I choose to make my New Purpose. 

Though my conditions in making any one or more of the above my new purpose(s) is that none of it should come in the way of my 2 biannual vacations(or spontaneous short trips to wherever, whenever) and most importantly, absolutely nothing should ever come in the way of my primary purpose, the reason for my existence and the ultimate Purpose I have ever chosen for myself: Being the best Mom to my kids. 

Love you Salim!!!!

Happy 2014 to you all. 

Where there’s a card, there will be a Swipe!!

I want to take a vote on this, is it morally acceptable for my husband to receive alerts on his mobile phone for my credit card spends? And then call me to double-check if it was indeed I who swiped it? In my opinion, implying “why?” And perhaps even more humiliatingly “how could you?”

I’ve asked many wives how they felt about this, and its unanimously abhorred by all!!

So why can’t we abolish this intrusiveness? What reasons could there be, other than the obvious one of wanting to keep an eye on our spending ??

There are a bunch of baseless excuses that many a husband has attempted to clarify actually, let me list them quickly;
*”They” need to make sure the credit card is not being misused by someone other than us spendthrift wives! As dim witted and slow to react as we are, it would never occur to us that there might be something amiss, say if were to receive a message on our phones(while we were home in India), alerting us that at that exact moment, we were in fact at DIY, Watford, UK purchasing a Bathroom Vanity! Obviously we’d simply ignore it, and assume it to be a “wrong number”… We’re so unassuming like that!
*”They” need to keep tabs on all household expenses, because either a) we’re irresponsible or b) our credit cards have no pre-set limit?
*The Credit Card company might charge twice for a transaction and only “they” will notice the discrepancy!!! I mean, come on! how would silly little WE realise that we couldn’t have had our hair done twice on the same day in a span of 2 minutes. That would be such an atrocious waste of electricity, let alone the damage it would do to our hair.

I think the banks entice the primary cardholders into getting supplementary cards by telling them “now, finally! you can be in control of how your money’s spent. Every time a supplementary card is swiped, you will receive an instantaneous alert”

Really? Do “They” actually believe that all it takes is a bit of sarcasm and false concern in a spontaneous phone call to stop us from paying the Grocer! Or the dry cleaners? Or a lunch bill??

I concede that every time i swipe my card, I’m dreading the dreaded phone call that will follow…. though regrettably ( for the husband), the dreaded phone call rarely ever discourages me from making The swipe! It’s an unavoidable necessity, accept it dude.

My advice to all the wives would be to sternly threaten the credit card companies with Pressure Cooker consequences if they do not seize their marriage sabotaging tactics. Alerts are to be sent solely to the card holder, wether its the primary or subsidiary cardholder. It is within our spectrum of rights to be able to spend with dignity and discretion.

As for the dear, well intended-not-trying-to-keep-tabs-on-the-wife’s-expenses Husbands, do you honestly believe a phone call claiming to check on the identity of the “swiper” is going to deter us from giving in to our impulses?

Dear Primary Cardholders, Believe me when I say that I’ve mulled over this for several days, but I sincerely don’t have a better alternative for you… only know this, that sometimes, if you probe too much, it might compel us to swipe(vengefully) some more… Especially since no one’s well intendedly keeping tabs on who’s on the other end of your swipes.

Fois Gras Puri anyone?

I’m beginning to think Muthuswami might be going out of business pretty soon as far as children’s birthday parties go, and no one could be happier than me! Unless he catches on, as he almost always does, and starts laying a slice of Sashimi on his mini idli, tops Gorgonzola pijjha with chorizo or octopus, replaces his smiley’s with Sardine chips, spikes up is noodles with rare bits of filet mignon or eel, and the humble dosa gets smeared with some caviar, or then a plain dosa with truffle oil!
No, this is not a menu to please the most refined of adult palettes, this I hear from my friends with toddlers is what their children prefer to eat!! these are kids who turn up their noses at staple “kids meals” of fries, burgers and pizza’s!! Snobbery you’d presume, but no! They’re genuinely repulsed by these greasy, fatty, salty foods. Or perhaps this what they are duped into believing by their well meaning parents? After all, it’s all a matter of conditioning, and a bit of moulding.
On being privi to this new age change of preference in meals, my head is reels with questions, as many an older parents’ would be! We all know that a child cannot, no matter what bribes or threats are made, be forced to eat what their sensitive taste buds disapprove of. So there’s no way these kids are being coaxed in to eating octopus, (eek) eel, or the likes of it, or can they be? Most adults (including myself) feel our skin crawl and appetite disappear when we so much as make visual with crawly slippery eatables, in fact most draw the line at jello! So then what was it that got these babies to try yucky stuff in the first place.
From my extensive research into this most perplexing change in palette, I’ve discovered that more times than not, the incipient moment was a monkey see, monkey do kind of situation, they see Daddy or Mommy eating something new, child wants to imitate to look as cool as daddy( or mommy) and slides that escargot down! With a bit of cajoling and lots of praise once it’s down, of course. I mean, what a conversation starter this makes at a who’s who dinner party, right? ” my kid eats shark meat, carpacio, fois gras..blah blah..what does yours eat?”
Don’t get me wrong, raw meat and seafood wins hands down over a domino’s pizza where nutrition value is concerned.. My question is, do our kids really need to develop such a sophisticated palette at the early age of 4? And if they prefer these foods now over say, Khichdi or a simple dosa, what will they eat at the age of 15? Or when they go to college and have to live on some sort of a budget? None of the afore mentioned foods come cheap, nor are they easily available. Or could it be that their little baby taste buds today will regress to savour a bowl of instant noodles or maybe even, gasp, French fries when they’re young adults!
Either way, it is rather cool when your toddler living in India devours sushi, just as it would be when a parent in Tokyo can boast how his kid appreciates a thepla! Or when a Swede’s baby prefers chicken tikka over smoked salmon, or a frenchman’s child asks for a dosa instead of a crepe…
I guess this is part of the globalisation that we witness in today’s impossible to keep up world.
So would someone please call up poor old Muthhu and tell him, that thankfully, tastes, they are a changing…