Category: random

Random ramblings about leftover rotis

Random ramblings about leftover rotis

The other day about half an hour after dinner H said, ‘I am hungry. Can I have a roti?’ The only emotion I felt at that question was annoyance.

It had been barely five minutes since I’d wiped down and cleared up the kitchen and the last thing I wanted to do was to pull out the entire roti-making paraphernalia and roll out one for him.

It’s another matter that I also dislike the idea of him eating anything half an hour after a meal only because he was in too much of a hurry to get back to whatever he was doing while having lunch.

Of course I can make a few spare ones but the thing is I hate/dread left over chapatis. I have no idea what to do with them. Oh I do have an idea, many ideas, actually, but most of them require either too much effort or some form of deep frying – both of which I am averse to.

Re-heating doesn’t make them palatable and the maid doesn’t want any. Cows and stray dogs are not so common around here, even if I could gather the courage to seek them out to feed them. And I do hate throwing food in the bin. So I’m pretty stuck, unless I resign myself to eating stale chapatis.

How did the past generations manage.. 

…I sometimes wonder – my grandmom and my mom. The number of people who would be around for lunch or dinner was often fluid. People would flow in and out all the time. Very often whoever visited at lunch/dinner time was asked to join in. And Boy! did they have appetites!

What’s worse, one could never ever, repeat, never ever, ask people how many chapatis they would eat. It would have set tongues wagging and become the worse kind of family folklore in the entire extended community as the epitome of bad manners. I can clearly imagine the whispers, ‘So and so asked so and so how many rotis will you eat.’ Yup, it would been quite the scandal. The person who had been thus humiliated would probably severe all relations with the family of that insolent woman.

In any case counting wouldn’t have really been required back then because rotis were supposed to be made and served hot and fluffy, as and when various members sat down to eat.

A story goes..

..that when my maternal grandfather (my mom’s uncle) would sit to eat and my mom, not really famous for her patience, would ask him how many more chapatis she should make for him, he would shake his head and reply with a rather vague and completely non-committal, ‘I’m eating.’

She had little patience with this tiresome tradition but was fortunate in that the trickle of random guests had all but died down by the time her generation took over. It was only occasionally that she had to chip in. I have to add here that this is her own uncle we’re talking about or else she wouldn’t have dared to voice that question. Also, my mom has been quite the revolutionary. She broke many traditions, which worked really well for us, easing the way ahead.

That brings me back to my quandary

As the children are growing, specially H, their appetites vary from day to day. Sudden growth spurts make them sometimes more sometimes less hungry from one day to the next. And so either I’m stuck with stale rotis or I don’t have enough.

After thought: I’m seriously considering adopting a stray.

Memories and random ramblings

Memories and random ramblings

The other day I was reading this post at Pins and Ashes about memories and how she stored them in her head. She said she deleted the bad ones and stored away the good ones into neat little boxes like we store earrings.

I realised I did it the earring way too but not quite like her. I did it the way I store earrings which, by the way, I am very fond of. I have loads of them and have a box with squares to store them too. However barely any two of a pair are in the same box. They are all together in one big jumble along with bracelets, bangles and what not. If there is some vague organisation it would be in order of how much I love them and how often I wear them. So the gold-diamond-garnets  might be in the same box as one I picked up at the roadside in Goa.

That’s quite how my memories are stored – here there and all over the place – the good ones and the bad ones all mixed together so it is almost impossible to separate the two. When I pick one up another one comes dangling along and I have no idea which one it might be. A small inconsequential one, might be jumbled up with a large important one like an inane remark someone made years ago at an office party, or the clothes a friend wore a decade ago at a school social or some random interaction at the bus-stop between two people I don’t even know.

Then along comes someone and I begin to dig into this chaos to find something to say. If that someone is a mere acquaintance I’d be tiptoeing around in my head thinking ‘which is a safe memory I can share?’. The conversation will be stilted at best.

However if it’s a friend, I pull them all out pell-mell without worrying. The conversation then comes spilling forth, without a pause, one thing leading to another, stories, thoughts, feelings, emotions all together. And if you’re my kind of friend you’ll probably be doing the same till we’re struggling to get in a word, completing each others sentences, agreeing and disagreeing vehemently, laughing hard, probably annoying people around us and then wondering where the time went.

So how do you do it? All organised? Or is it a crazy place up there?
Of rude strangers at coffee shops

Of rude strangers at coffee shops

The other day as I was at a coffee shop with an ex colleague in walked this man. ‘Black coffee with milk on the side,” he tossed out loudly over his shoulder and settled down on one of the sofas with a friend.

A few minutes later we heard raised voices. The man was yelling at the staff – You have NO idea what a black coffee is and you work in a coffee shop!! You bloody f****** Indians . . . . . No don’t call them becharas (poor things). That’s exactly why they do nothing to improve themselves. We’re too soft with them . . . . . . . . DON’T, DON’T say sorry. Save it up for your bosses when they fire you.”

I had my back to the man and I turned to look just as every other customer in the coffee shop. The verbal barrage was vicious and brutal and very loud. It left us stunned and silent. Oh and in case you are wondering he was very much an Indian. I wanted to say something, anything. Something in support of the boy at the counter, anything to stop the man. But I couldn’t. All I could do was throw the rude man a furious look and turn back to my colleague. The man quietened down after a while.

My friend and I continued our conversation that ranged from books and my blog to his job with a newspaper. When my friend got up to go to the counter I heard a 
“What’s your name?” addressed to my back.

It was the rude man. He was alone; his friend had apparently left.
“Why would I tell you?” I asked half turning to him, still infuriated.
“Because I’m a writer too. I write scripts for soaps at Balaji Telefilms.”
I put a mental black strike against television soaps and their writers even as he seemed completely unaware of my reaction. He simply went on to enumerate the soaps he had written and how “people like me” would probably find them boring. For a moment I wondered if it was the same man at all. It really was like he was a different man, like the nasty scene hadn’t happened, or at least as if he wasn’t responsible for that vitriolic attack.
I was too outraged to get into a conversation with him. I nodded/shook my head dismissively as my friend returned to the table. Then finally when we were leaving he called out a ‘God Bless You’ from his corner!!
I am still stunned at this volte-face. Did he not realise how rude he had been? Did the boy at the counter not matter to him at all? Or did he think as a ‘creative person’ or a minor celebrity he had the right to ‘mood swings’? And worse, did he think I condoned his outburst?
Most definitely, yes!

What irked me even more was my reaction. I wish I had made my displeasure obvious. I could have asked him to keep his voice down while he was shouting. I could have completely ignored his attempts at a conversation I truly didn’t want to be a part of. Better still, I could have mentioned his earlier outburst.

However, none of this happened.
It was only later that I thought of scores of ways in which I could have expressed my distaste for his behaviour. For many many hours I couldn’t stop thinking of the boy at the coffee shop whose day had probably been ruined. 
Does this ever happen to you – this inability to verbalise your feelings – specially negative ones even though you know you should? How do you react to rude strangers? Would you consider reacting even if the rudeness isn’t directed at you? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Good morning

Good morning

Early mornings are so not my thing..
We’re in Goa and The husband got the strange idea of watching the sun rise from the sea… Yeah I know, it would be a wonderful sight, but the catch is one has to wake up before the sun.. On a holiday… Why that’s blasphemy!
But so contagious was The Husband’s enthusiasm that we did wake up – at five. And then it started to pour!!!!!! The ever accommodating Husband promptly collected the kids, snuggled together and three of them went back to sleep.
There I was on my own with no desire to get back to bed. Silently berating The Husband for his weird plans I wondered what to do with myself. I reached out for the I-pad to find it needed charging. I sighed. The ticking of the clock seemed unusually loud. Listlessly I wandered around our resort suite. How come it’s so small? I wondered. It had seemed so roomy when we arrived.
I walked out onto the tiny balcony and instantly felt better.. The warm, balmy, rainy breeze felt much more friendly than the artificial cool of the AC. It was quiet but for the rain. Even the birds were asleep.
I watched in the hazy light as the rain left fleeting imprints on the surface of the pool.
I watched as the water splashed off shiny leaves that glinted even in the semidarkness of dawn. It slid silently off deck chairs, off the concrete tortoises at the pool and the red tiled roofs.
I watched as a conscientious worker came out in a raincoat and began to clean the pool.
I watched as the sun, dulled gently by the clouds, showed up far in the East and spread silently all around.
I watched…….. Enjoying.. Yeah enjoying, as the peace of the moment stole over me.
I might have missed the sunrise but I did catch the morning. Maybe I should do this again – this early morning thing!
Blog-Prompt Day 3 – Monday

Blog-Prompt Day 3 – Monday

An interview: Getting Up Close and Personal with my friend ‘Monday’

Me: Hey there Good Morning

Monday (Stumbling out of deep
slumber): What? What? Is it my turn already?

Me: Hey No, chill, it’s just

Monday (Falling back on his
bed and sounding very annoyed): What are you doing then, waking me up? Can’t a
man have some peace even on off days.

Me: Oops sorry there. It’s
just that I had to turn in a piece on you and I thought I’d get an interview.

Monday: An interview?? Like
I’m a celeb or what?

Me: Um.. actually I googled
you and all I found were loads of caricatures saying nasty things about you. I
thought I’d get your perspective on this whole Monday Blues, Manic Monday

Monday (Snorting): Oh I
know your journo type. You’ll pretend to be all nice and fair and I-
want-your-side-of-the-story, all Simi Garewalish. Then you’ll just go out and
turn into an Arnab Goswami and write a sarcy, nasty piece. You know how
people interview Mallika Sherawat then make fun of her accent, or get a starlet
to deny an affair and then put the ‘just friends’ in quotes like this. So no
Thank You. I’m good.

Me: You’ve got it all wrong. Trust
me. I’m a friend. For the record I’m not a Monday hater. Never have been. We work in shifts.. My off days have varied from Wednesdays to Saturdays so
my Mondays haven’t been Mondays at all, at least not the much maligned Mondays.
I’m the most neutral person you’re ever likely to get to tell your story to.

Monday (Disappearing back
under the sheets): Story? I have no story to tell. Nighty night.

Me: Come on Monday. Don’t get
all cynical.

Monday (Emerging from the
covers): Gosh but you’re persistent. Oh alright since I’m awake anyway, fire

Me (trying to look all
friendly and grateful): Thanks thanks Mon.. may I call you Mon?

Monday (Still grumpy):
Whatever! Get on with it, will you.

Me: So Mon you seem to be the
most universally hated day of the week. How do you feel?

Mon (Smirking): You sure are
original! Really the journo type – the type who thrusts a mike in the face of a
man stuck in a manhole and asks him, “So Sir how do you feel?” How do I
feel???? For godsake how would you feel? How would anyone feel? Being maligned
for no reason at all. Had it not been for me would anything get done anywhere in the world barring a few countries? Is it my fault that people refuse to give up their bingeing and partying
even after two whole days and nights and are then hung over all of me? Is it my fault that the funnest days come right before me? How would you feel when Saturday and Sunday strut about right
behind you with their “We’re the most popular days” faces? And you know the
irony? No one would even look at them had it not been for me. So much for their
lording it over the rest of us! But do I tell them that? No I don’t. Like I
said I’m a peaceful guy. I do my day’s worth and then snuggle up and sleep
unless I’m invaded by you journo types.

Me: Hey
what’s this ‘journo type’ you keep going on about? I’m on your side, remember? So you think
people have been unfair to you?

Mon: Of course they’ve been
unfair. But then life, my friend is
unfair. Being in a place like me turns a guy philosophical. God made us all the
same. It’s you who turned us into super Sundays and monster Mondays. Did I tell you to work like Zombies without stopping to enjoy yourself? Is
it my fault you get yourselves caught in jobs you hate?

Me: So what advice would you like
to give our readers?
Mon: I’m not one for advising
anyone. All I’ll say is STOP THE HATE. Give yourself a break if you want to.. even
if it’s a Monday. Then get back to work. In fact, how about reserving one happy thing for a Monday? Make it a mazedaar Monday.. will you? Love your job and you’ll find you love
me too. Love me and see how your life changes.

And now may I just go back to bed?

That dear readers was ‘Monday’ for you. I’ve been forbidden from putting any caricatures that perpetuate the myth that Mondays are anything but mazedaar so this post goes pictureless.

On my other blog: Beat About The Book

Ghosts and Writers #BookBytes 12

Ghosts and Writers #BookBytes 12

I am currently reading Eating Wasps by Anita Nair. Here’s a quote that caught my eye, specially as a writer. “Ghosts and writers are more alike than you think. We can be what you want us to be. We can hear your thoughts even if you don’t tell us. We can read the silences and […]