Grace is full of lovely and lively anecdotes that never cease to amaze us. At times they are even hard to believe (although she ‘swears’ that they’re all true!) and boy, do we look forward to catching a tale or two from my wonderful friend who has lived through many outlandish experiences. Grace, jokes aside- we are deeply and horrendously jealous of you and wish that your stories were pretty much our own.
Here’s one chapter illustrated and penned down by me (click to enlarge picture-so you can read it properly, for you must!):
Gayatri’s been a dutiful offspring, getting high grades throughout school, staying focused during college- professors love her. And now, Gayatri darling is on her way to do further studies. What’s more, is that she’s been offered a 2 year contract with one of the top 5 Consultancy Firms in the country!
Good on you Gayatri! Us ‘Aunties’ and ‘Uncles’ believe that you couldn’t have achieved anything if you were like other ”kids”-with their boyfriends and partying and all. Chhee chhee!
In order to be successful, girls have to be asexual.
No one will talk about the probability that so-and-so’s daughter might just be really interested in her subjects, a multi-tasker, or naturally gifted so she found tests piss easy. They will revel in the notion that she had no ‘distractions’ and a clean, studious mind that didn’t waver, or get influenced.
The ‘No-Boys’ policy gets passed down as a legacy, from parent to daughter. In most households when girls are ‘of age’ and growing up to be pretty young things they must be barb-wired, for they can fall into bad hands. Their minds should revolve around studying and ‘getting ahead’. In college, there is a situation of freedom meshed with a fully developed exterior. But again girls will be reminded that their mental state is not at par with their physical form. They must wait, and purge themselves of such thoughts, since “Now’s not the time for all of this”. The incentive ? Well, one day when they get a top class salary, all boys will be waiting in line for them to pick and choose from.
Wowie. And when exactly will that happen?
Oh when you’re at the marriage-perfect age of 25-30 of course!
So, while our bodies are developed and , according to nature, ‘ready’ we have to train ourselves to stay away from its demands and needs, when we are at our hormonal peak, only desensitize ourselves. By the time this happens -when we have learnt to ignore our bodies’ signals and alarms, we are expected to be interested in spending our lives with a male, to basically thrive in married life and procreate, when we are so over it! Where is the sense? I don’t know!
And to top it off, while I was on my road trip across Uttar Pradesh (so awesome, I can’t wait to do it again) I was totally immersed with countless songs about women’s ‘Jawaani’ (जवानी ). According to my Oxford Hindi-English dictionary, ‘Jawaani’ means early adulthood or adolescence….Yup.
So how many songs have there been about this?
That’s not the end of the list! There is more, so much more. Why can’t we all just stop obsessing about this, and leave people alone to do what they want. People, especially girls, are capable of making decisions, becoming successful even if they date or have relationships.
“One must always work. When you stop working there’s nothing left of life, nothing to do, nothing to put your mind to, no purpose. You just waste away.”
My Dada-ji (paternal grandfather) has always been a man of action. He’s a retired brigadier (now 84years of age), who served India during the wars with Pakistan and China in the 60’s, and retired from the army as a much sought after pathologist. I remember when I was a child, my sister and I would have a sort of game, where we would sit beside him while he studied, and the first person who gagged at the sight of horrifically damaged tissue or grotesquely bloodied organs, would essentially lose. We would be at awe at this man, with his wiry spectacles, peering poker-faced at purpled livers, or bubbling pancreas. Sometimes we would ask him the details of (then) mysterious objects, and he would shut his eyes, give a soft grunt and call out to our mom to get us out of the room. When we would laugh, knowing that we had approached something embarrassing to him, he would feign a stern expression and tell us not to ‘lof’ (laugh) or to be ‘estupid’ with his Rajasthani accented English.
It’s extremely difficult to get to know his secrets. Whenever I spend time with him, I feel like I’m on a mission to get to know his intricate past, and I successfully fail, of course. You can talk to him about anything in the world, but ask a question about how he was as a rebellious teen, and the subject is changed with an impish smile. He used to love quizzing kids about general knowledge-mostly concerned with names of the capitals of countries. He’s knows everything about politics and geography, history and entertainment. The last time I was with him, I was reading a novel and was suddenly taken by surprise; “This girl is finished now. Her career is over-look at what she’s become” , he said while Vidya Balan was jerking her flabby shoulder blades at the camera, in her latest ‘Item Number’. I agreed with him and we began to talk about upcoming films and directors and actors. It was really intriguing.
There’s so much of my Dada-ji in me. I hate spending money excessively, I love being in my room, reading and contemplating, and I love studying. No joke. I just picked up a book about Indian history to flip through, and I suddenly found myself with a pencil in hand, and a notebook on the side! It’s all in my genetic coding- can’t help it I guess!
Killing mosquitoes gives me the biggest high. I know a lot of you will cringe at that statement, take a look at my room-then you’ll truly be disgusted. It’s like a dead zone with mosquitoes slapped against the walls, smudged on the ground.
And just as I typed that I saw one meander past my screen. Operation Dead Wings now comes into effect. I switch off my fan/air conditioner-anything that can cause movement of air particles, because then the mosquito can just get pushed out of the way just as you try to smack it. The best method is to push the mosquito downwards or against a wall. Then Smack! You may use your slipper, a book you’re reading, or a ruler-like my mom did the other day. Anything with a flat surface.
Some people think this is really cruel. They say things like “But what makes you think you have the power to kill a living being?!” The thing is, that if I don’t make my move first, it will instead- when I’m asleep, that too on my face. And just look at the stats for malaria cases in the city this season. A website said :’ just like every mosquito doesn’t have malaria-every guy’s not a cheater’. Well come to south Delhi, then we’ll talk. Every guy is a bozo and every mosquito is a blood sucking malariaite.
This week has been tough. Mainly because there are so many changes happening. Finishing undergrad (I don’t care if I sound like a broken record) is momentous and the little cricks and turns of relationships only makes it more memorable. Suddenly everyone is their own selves and unanswerable to others. Those days of having a coffee salted with tears over what so-and-so said, sitting in depressive silence due to some universal hormonal wave-and then suddenly bursting out with laughter, has all come to an end. You don’t send text messages asking what your friends are doing more than once a week-that’s ‘old and overbearing’ now. You don’t have to share each and every episode of your life, we’re a little too busy with our own stuff. If you’re feeling low and being poop-faced about it, go do something with yourself. And that’s how one chapter ends and another starts.
Now all that’s left to do to tie up the lose ends, is to study for the finals. To pine over work that simply doesn’t have any intrinsic worth anymore.
My exams are in 14 days and I don’t feel the pinch. I think I’m over all this stuff……In fact, I feel to old to care. Yep-that’s it, I’m an old hag in this 21yr old’s body! The more I think about it, the more I have come to terms with a simple truth about myself: I seriously do not act my age.
Here are the top signs/reasons:
1) I am paranoid about ‘time’. Whether it’s the time to reach a certain place, or the time it takes to travel somewhere.
2) I scold little kids often and get a rise out of it.
3) I always take the side of my 60+ yr old professors in class
4) I love to watch Door Darshan on a rainy day
(The guru dude is hot to listen to…the woman…let’s not start)
5) I cannot stand anyone making noises with their mouths- that includes chewing noises or swallowing noises which some people do as a pastime.
6) If people (usually guests) at home watch their daily Indian soap operas, I HAVE to sit behind them and heckle at the losers on screen. I do this while they say the dialogues. There’s so much stupidity, if I waited for each line to end, I’d run out of time.
(WHAT THE HELL DO PEOPLE WATCH MAN)
7) I’m starting to find every item of food too spicy and rely on cold milk as a cure. That’s exactly what fuddy-duddies do.
8) I always forget a good idea.
9) I randomly finish things at a certain number (includes number of sit ups, salute to the suns, things to write on a list) , under the pretext of it being my lucky digit. In reality, I’m too lazy to go on. But…9 is my lucky number. Shut up.
So what on earth is the remedy to this?
I barely got back from a health check up, and I woke up with granny body cramps! It’s a catastrophe I tell ya. How much older can my soul grow? If I find that there are others who feel like this, I’m just going to have to blame globalization, and then start an anti-globalization group. On the other hand, when I’m not feeling old and I’m all bubbling with joy- I begin to think that life is really simple….Sometimes when things like that hit you it can freak you out, because you just end up wondering what exactly you forgot to stress about. Or maybe that’s just me.
Take care of yourselves and eat lots of fruit, wear woolens (although its 40 degrees Celsius).
I swear Sharifa leaves puddles after she mops, just so she can see me tippy toe over them and lose my balance!
She’s a lady who helps us clean our home…..yes, she’s a ‘maid’. We have them in every home in the city. Even my dirt poor friend who lives in semi- slum conditions has one. They all ‘take too much money’ (they are underpaid as hell) ‘never do any work properly’ (they don’t really see what the big deal is about having a spot of dust in a corner, they live in appalling surroundings) ‘they take advantage of you if you’re nice to them once’ (they get yelled at a lot and they’re never given a day off) and they are untouchable. When Munni , the last lady who worked for us left, I gave her a hug – indeed they are touchable. I even did a small feature on her earlier
If I’m working in my room and Sharifa needs to sweep or mop (it’s not actually mopping , she just has a bucket of soapy water and a hand cloth) I leave my room, or go stand in a corner with one foot on top of the other like a deranged trapeze artist. Yes I’m quite entertaining that way….
And it’s back to studying folks!
All social ties have been unraveled and my phone will now grow a fuzzy beard, because exams are just around the corner. In the meanwhile I’ve been spending more time at home (when have I ever gone out?) and wallowing in nostalgia already by thinking about how my uni days are about to end. College life in Delhi isn’t like typical university life. You feel part of a family (which you really hate 88% of the time) where any small thing is made a really big deal of, whether it’s missing classes or having a roadside treat with friends. Every single thing is pulled out of proportion and it ends up being a larger than life experience as a whole. I’m going to miss it. But oh well, tougher times to look forward to I guess.
This is a song that my college has been singing for years at competitions, it’s ‘Advaita’- an Indian (Delhi based I believe) fusion band with their version:
This weekend has been a complete blur. I don’t remember it starting, I can’t recall what I filled it with, or even brushing my teeth-forget bathing. I tried to do something I used to be half decent at, ie a print ad for a social cause. But nah. Too bad brain, the lazy body won again.
I wonder if it had to do with a certain injection I got myself. The tetnus jab. After grazing my arm on a hospital door (which is soo sooo stoopid) I ran and got a freshly refrigerated spit-full of the vaccine. A nurse, who at first seemed like a nice gentle soft spoken thing, told me to go to a room and get a nice meaty part of myself ready for the needle. Everyone knows where that is. The funny thing is that once I was lying there, the nurse sort of transformed…..
She appeared to be a little chirpy. I was told that the injection wouldn’t hurt because I was ‘so strong’ and ‘so good’. I didn’t even ask her anything. But oh well, whatever made her day I guess.
A day later I was woozy as hell. This apparently is a normal side effect, but it kinda boosted a really terrible side of me!
The ‘talk-to-myself-coz-I-can-and-I-wanna’ side! This includes singing really disgustingly stale songs in different voices , saying things of no consequence really loud and repeatedly, and best of all- texting someone non-stop till I end up having a conversation with myself ! This is how it generally goes:
And meanwhile the person’s probably like
…sleeping and hasn’t heard the buzz of the phone yet….
(I’d hate to see the look on his face when he wakes up and checks his phone!)
Well this is how I get when I’m ill and sloppy. Let me know if you do the same, or if you found this post a waste of time. In that case here’s a nice hypnotic Columbian disco track by Quantic for you:
And I shall post an interesting little tidbit when I feel a 100% again. If ever.
Today was a strange one. A girl I’ve never talked to /knew ever existed was forced to share her grammar exercise book (yes, grammar bo-stop laughing) with me today (is her name Esther-I’m not too sure) even though she made a face at first (she grimaced actually). At the end of it all , I could tell that she was surprised at how great my company was.
Let me tell you what she looks like:
She has bland lemon shaped eyes.
A spotless oval face.
She wears her blue black boring hair in a long plait (or does everyone call it a ‘braid’ now?)
Usually, she wraps herself up in a nylon-synthetic salwar kameez (that has aunty prints, you know, the green leafy stuff).
She loves a plain dupatta (or for non-understanders, a scarf) across her neck…Like a throat band.
She hated the fact that she was asked by the Prof to remove herself from her row of viking-pixie friends and sit next to the loudest mouth in town (c’est moi).What was worse for her, was that her personal belonging-the grammar book, was going to be ‘touched’ by me and therefore soiled forever, bringing down the standards of every item that it came in contact with. The book was shifted away every time I tried to reach for it. Damn.
What a ‘cartoon’, as they say in the capital. They also say “thappar maaroongi” out of affection. That sounds like a threat as it translates into something like “Ima slap you!”. Oh and “maar hi daalogey” is another one. It’s a compliment. In english, it means “you’re just going to kill me” (with what? Your good looks? Your amazing cooking? The mind boggles). The capital drips with violent love. If we slap you it means we love you, and to kill you-well you’ll just have to be amazing at something.
Soon after this person (whom I’m secretly jealous of, because she’s 10 times more behenji than I am) sits next to me, with her legs hanging over one side of her chair. In my world, you either sit like that when you’re at the table when the food’s a drag, or you’re ready to leave at any given moment.
Now, within seconds after I had apologized and thanked her a million times (the best way to annoy someone), I then concentrated on getting my hands on her book (that’s all I really want). She miraculously realizes that I’m a wonderful person (heh) that she is now friends with (mmm) and decides to make ‘hanging out plans’ with me ( what’s with my english).
What’s the plan?
To join her and her pals (or pal-only the viking one was interested) for an organized picnic for everyone in Arts. Did you just fall off your chair when you read the word ‘picnic’?
If you didn’t, then you’re a convent educated dearie who has ‘sweet sweet’ memories of school outings, where you’d be allowed to share a field with boys from your ‘brother school’. Well, in this case, it’s actually different, okay. There are no males in the scene at all. “If boys are there, then problems are there.” And it’s a little iffy , because the venue is called ‘Worlds of Wonder’. Hey at least it’s not ‘Wet n Wild resort’ (Gurgaon). That would have been horrible. What a horrible name. Shame on those people.
My new best friend (Esther?…Pallavi?….Jane?) told me that I should go and have fun in life, instead of just sitting around and doing nothing……Holy smokes she knows me too well, and how!
If I don’t go, I’m not a ‘fun’ person and definitely repudiate the title and position I have achieved in my life. That of a ‘Behenji’. If I do go, the people who have been forced to be my friends will have a great excuse to run away. That too, with speed.
Anyway, I caught this music video of some band of boys in Iran. It makes me laugh and lets me jive. Please tell me what you think about it, and which of the 4 is the hottest according to you. My pick is the camel.
Oh but it is funny. Good job. Note how the woman’s hand is covered in a glove…Sigh.