Monday, December 3, 2012

Witter on Winter

Winter's back in season! Over the years, I've come to realise that winter brings out the chirpy side in me  (because, you know, that chirpiness isn't evident the rest of the year at all). I love writing about winters nearly as much as I love writing my annual birthday posts...even more so because winter indicates that the birthday is only a season away!

There's just some magic in the air when you wake up and feel the icy floor with your toes. The magic spreads to the car, as you wipe off the thin frosty icing from its windows. The magic envelops a seemingly boring street, making it look mystical in a dull haze. The magic follows you to work, as the dysfunctional central air conditioning keeps resetting itself to below 20 degrees, ensuring that the bright sweater you wore is completely justified indoors as well. The magic stays with you at lunch, when a sudden gust of cold wind suddenly gives you a hug. The magic follows you home, cooling you down just before you divulge your knowledge of  bilingual profanity at the megalomanic drivers on the road. The magic  drags your eyes upward, to stare at the inky blue sky and the little shimmery stars sprinkled around the luminous moon. The magic finally tucks you into the warm huddle of blankets, reassuring you that it will be around the next day as well. 

Overkill with the magic bit, eh? I guess some things are better expressed through poetry. 

Okaaay, so winter can't be all about happiness and delirium now, can it? There is the bane of the chill - my sporadic exercise regimes. It takes a soul of iron to wake up every morning and try to do at least some form of physical activity (apparently, climbing two flights of stairs is not counted as physical activity anymore. My mother refuses to reason with me on that subject now.) 

And then there is my new nemesis. A cat that starts its own version of Salman Khan item songs in a particularly harsh meow baritone at 5 every morning. To make matters worse, the cat sends out its little coterie of kittens to play peek-a-boo under my me little heart attacks before taking it out. 

And when I've decided to settle down for the night, I see his (why am I so sure the cat's male? Because I don't really know if female cats have a I figured I'll stick to the obvious. Also, boys are snot.  I cannot emphasise that enough.) silhouette at the window, sitting majestically like a sphinx and waiting for the clock to turn five so he can begin his grammy eliciting recital. 

But lets stick to the happy bits of winter, shall we? The steaming mug of cocoa with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles...the anticipation of a delicious Christmas and the promise of an exciting new year (That is, of course, if the Mayans are proven wrong and we don't end up perishing before we can say apocalypse.)

So yes, Winter's here and it's here to stay (for several months, by the looks of the dysfunctional A/C at work). I am one Santa's pants away from bursting into a carol about how awesome this season is, so this would probably be a good time to stop typing. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Malladaptive Behaviour

A hundred posts and you would think I've finally been cured of the cheesy title syndrome. But then again, what's the point of writing a blogpost if you can't give a Margherita pizza an inferiority complex with a cheesy title?

So yes, if you haven't guessed already, this post is about malls. And how they've completely ruined the simple childhood thrill of going to a local market, turning us into a malladaptive lot.

When I was a kid (not too long ago, as I'd like to believe, thanksverymuch)...I used to hate going to the market. My parents would make a weekly customary trip to Sarojini Nagar to buy vegetables, and I hated going there because the vendors would all call me baby. I hated the squishy tomatoes that rolled off a pile and aided the formation of a red carpet on the muddy floor. I hated the green leafy vegetables glinting beneath a swinging 100 watt bulb from a lopsided roof. I hated the mounds of fresh paneer that smelled like cows when you went near them. I would fake stomach aches, pretend to get lost  in the milieu of crazy-vegetable-fanatics...I even tried getting accidentally locked inside the car so my parents would leave me there while shopping...but all to no avail. Except the ice cream cone that was my bribe to come to the market, I found every second of every trip an ordeal.

And so, when malls entered the country (not unlike the locusts entering Africa in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart), I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Now my parents could shop for vegetables in a fancy store while I could peruse books on the same floor. All was well with this new air-conditioned world and I bid Sarojini Nagar a fervent farewell.

Several years later, when Forum opened up in Bangalore, I was the enthu-cutlet who did a recce of all the half-opened shops. The McDonald's, that HUGE food court....the clothing stores...the multilevel bookstore...I could've died and gone to mall-heaven.

My affair with the malls continued through college, as I wandered from store to store in huge buildings, took many a movie in multiplexes, had every food stall cognitively mapped out and knew exactly where I could buy what. I had turned into the quintessential mall-rat.

Let's cut this love saga short and fast forward to today. I visited this swanky mall that should ideally be my paradise. I stepped into the grand facade, looking at everything awestruck, like a kid (or me, even) in a candy store. Every store had a name that was spelt in one way, but pronounced in another. Shimmering fabric was enveloped in glass cubicles, daring you to come closer to see if it was for real. Shoes were glinting under lights that could have lit an entire village for two months...heck, the cost of one pair of those shoes could educate children from an entire village for two months.

I thought I'd be enthralled at visiting such a was, after all, the king of malls. But I cringed at the sight of frozen, diced vegetables looking sanitised enough to be wheeled into an operation theatre. Instead, I found myself searching for the rustic thatched stalls selling fresh vegetables. I heard the murmur of Burberry-Chanel-Jimmy Choo  around me...but yearned to listen to aloooooo-gobieeeeee-matarmatarmatarmatar. I lost myself amidst the suavely dressed people walking from store to store as if they owned diamond mines...and wished for that corner of my mother's dupatta that I used to wrap around my pinky, while manoeuvring in a chaotic crowd.

I found myself wishing I could go back in time to when I'd begin my stomach-ache faking...tell the seven year old (ok, so maybe it was a long time ago) to take in every sight and sound, that it wouldn't last very long. I'd tell myself to watch that tomato roll off the pile in perfect rhythm to the cacophony around. I'd convince myself that being called a baby as a kid is far better off than being called a babe as an adult...umm...maybe I'm pushing it with this one.

From Gandhi Bazaar to Sarojini Nagar, markets have this charm of bringing back childhood memories like nothing else. Today, as I drive out of the mall on that spirally multi-level parking thingy, I can't help but wonder if there will be a day when I'll look back at that mall with the same nostalgia I have for a market.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sau Far, Sau Good

Five years, four cities, three phoren lands and two degrees later, my blog has finally done a Sachin Tendulkar on the web with this - the 100th post. Again, like Sachin Tendulkar, it took many many attempts to get the post online. As an idealistic rookie in 2007, I was certain that I'd be typing my 100th post that very year. (But then again, I was also certain I would become a geo-political journalist and write my way to a Pulitzer Prize back then.) So today, I'm glad it's taken all of five years to get here. Believe me, you would not have wanted to read a hundred posts on how my life was trippin' back in 2007.

In five years, so many things have changed.

My carrier (as those well-meaning aunties and uncles who intercept you on the way to the dining area in a phamily phunction call it) has taken a blind U-turn...eerily resembling my land up on a new and interesting road.

My parents have taken an equally blind U-turn and gone from Oh god, she's only nineteen! We don't want her to elope with some rockstar dude with facial piercings and indecipherable tattoos! to a contrasting Oh god, she's twenty four! Why can't she just find someone to marry instead of making us search? 

And then again, so many things haven't  changed.

I continue to make friends who are completely ok with giggling like a gaggle of geese (do geese giggle? It just sounded nicely alliterative, though.) They (the friends, not the geese) have been part of some wild adventures (in des and pardes) and continue to inspire the crazy in me.

I still obsess about chick-lit, weird television soaps, certain shirtless gentlemen, MO of serial killers and psychopaths of the creepiest severity.

So, What?

So, yes...these five years have truly been a roller-coaster ride. Beginning in Bangalore, going through Hyderabad all the way up to Delhi, peaking in Germany and Italy...nosediving into Chennai and ending back where it all started. The people, the memories, the adventures, the heartaches, the exhilaration of new beginnings has made this ride completely worth it.

But the ride's only completed one all roller-coaster maniacs, no one can sit on a ride just one time simply have to re-strap, take another deep breath and get started on the adventure all over again...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dumbbells and Whistles

Long, long ago...I had written this post about Yoga . I had been coerced into taking up Yoga because my mother felt I needed some form of 'Anger Management' (She caught me fighting with an auto-driver just outside the house...and using some interesting words in Hindi..most of which she didn't understand, but was smart enough to infer from the context and decide that immediate intervention was needed.)

 But there is just something about group exercise classes and live music singers that triggers the giggle button within me. I can neither exercise well, nor can I sing like a rockstar...but being part of either, makes me giggle uncontrollably...resulting in awkward consequences. (During this one dinner, I ended up sitting right in front of a ghazal singer...and chortled through my meal so diligently, I'm sure he was mentally singing a dirge before the night was over.) So while I'll be graceful enough to admit that yoga did help me, I had decided that I would never join group exercise classes again. Ever.

And then, in the words of a teenaged memory obsessed with Britney Spears..Oops, I did it again! This time, I joined the epitome of group exercise classes. The one place where you are judged on everything...from the brand of your shoes to the amount of sweat you work up in an hour. Where extra-teethy women smile at you from huge posters, promising you that you can look like them too. Where people drink water out of the same bottles we used back in kindergarten. Where the weighing machine is treated as a holy object, that has to be paid homage every hour. 

I joined the GYM. Honestly, this time around, no one coerced me into joining it. (Even though, I had caught the glares of my family ever so often, every time I bit into that delicious chocolate cake). I decided that I needed to become fitter...and gym seemed like the best option for it. Of course, I was wearing the rose-goggles of optimism, with the distant dream of looking fab tempting I missed all the vital clues. 

My first clue should have been when I entered the gym. The first thing I could hear was Justin Beiber pleading with one random Baby. I should have realized that this song would get stuck in my head like a makkhi on gud. That I would end up saying Oooh in the same pitch as Beiber when my limbs ached in agony. That the gym had this song on a loop, so I'd be subjected to it every twenty minutes. But no, those rose glasses were sitting firmly and I had decided that nothing would deter me from becoming size zero. 

My second clue should have been when I noticed far too many people looking at my 'gym attire'. Pink sneakers does not a fitness freak make. And wearing an old Google t-shirt that says "I'm Feeling Lucky" became the ultimate irony. The best way to become invisible in a gym is to wear undecipherable logos and drab, dull shirts...with gray sneakers. A good way to check if you're well dressed is to see if you can camouflage with Bangalore's monsoon skies. Any lesser shade of gray, and you're subjected to The Look.

And of course, the actual work out. That should have been my final, and biggest clue. First they made me run on a treadmill. Then do walking on a walking type thingy. Then cycle. All this with the stationary scenery of the opposite building. After every session, I used to limp back home and dread waking up to strange and painful experiences the next morning. Then, when I figured that I had finally mastered the art of running 5 kms in the same place...they changed my entire work out plan...and made me jump on boxes and squat with dumbbells. A whole new set of strange and painful experiences would begin.

Today, I stand on the brink of freedom. I may have turned fitter (but we can only judge that if I have to save a twenty pound dog from a raging fire...or summat). I certainly haven't turned thinner (because my only way of battling with the gym-pain was eating lots of ice cream.) But I have become wiser. My membership ends when the monsoon begins. I'm going to dust off the gym-ness from my *pink* sneakers and take in the freshly drizzled air and jog instead. I'm going to appreciate the scenery for what it really is...a moving green I watch life outside a glass box. I'm going to listen to the birds chirping and the children gurgling with laughter. Most importantly, I'm going to run far, far away...the next time I hear that Beiber song. So yes, the gym taught me to appreciate what we already have...a green (at least on this side of the town) city, brilliant weather and a vibrant atmosphere. I'm going to soak in all of that in my next attempt to be fit.


I could always join Salsa! ;) 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thawing the Block

It takes a nationwide bandh to awaken this blog from its semi-comatose state. Although I had set off for work this morning, ignoring all the Why are you going? Buses are being burnt, people are going crazy on the streets, throwing stones on glass buildings, shouting profanity at auto-drivers.. (ok, I made the last one up. But if I ever took part in a riot, that's what I would do.) ...after reaching work, I was politely told to head back, thanks to these bus burning people. Hmph.

Now that I'm on a house arrest, I might as well make use of the impromptu holiday, and inject some life into this poor blog. I figured out the apt post to do it. This post is all about why I did NOT visit this place for so long. (And by visit, I include all the random times I keep opening the site only to increase the ticker count on the right side.)

So my laptop has turned into a hot gizmo. After working sincerely for over four years now, it has decided that it prefers Delhi over any other city, and is emulating its scorching temperature. If I keep it on for over an hour, I can use it as a grill to make cheese sandwiches. Two hours would produce a decent tawa for a crisp butter dosa. Anything more than that, well, it emits a feeble phatooey noise, and gives up on me entirely.

I've begun going to the gym. I think that's a good enough reason, thanksverymuch. I usually get back home in a zoned out state, walking as stiffly as a cardboard cutout, wincing with every movement that even saying the word 'Blog', induces pain in at least 19 body writing on a blog doesn't even figure in the picture.

I've begun doing bizarre things at work. The other day, I was walking through this forested path when I chanced upon a couple of mango trees. The trees seemed to have been planted by a kind soul who thought he could inspire a Robert Frost out of anyone walking down that path. I plucked several mangoes from the trees and loaded my bag with them...all the while, feeling this childish excitement at having re-lived a childhood fantasy. On my way back, I was told that they weren't just timepass mango trees (you know, the sort that kind souls plant in forests), but were part of an orchard owned by a farmer.

The child in me would have gone "Muahaha, I stole mangoes from an orchard!". The adult in me went "I deprived a poor, struggling, farmer from 11 mangoes." I felt bad all the way back home. And then I ate them. They. Were. Delicious. So the child beat the adult. Hah.

And then I got chased by a turkey. The first thing you would wonder is Who gets chased by turkeys? Well, my friend, I do. I didn't even know turkeys could run this fast. Or were this agile. When the turkey finally decided that pecking the grass was more interesting than chasing me, I had my own little thanksgiving ceremony that moment.

So yes. *That's* what has prevented me from writing here. Hot Laptops, Painful Workouts, Stolen Mangoes and Irksome Turkeys.

While there's so much more I want to write about, I have already spent a good half an hour on this post...and if you add that to the hour I spent on Facebook and Gmail, you would be nearing the hot as tawa mode on the laptop. I really want to get this post up, and re-read it a couple of times (because I'm that much of a narcissist), before the laptop decides to call it a day. But, in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger (who is a living nightmare of what happens if you go to the gym for far too long)...I'll be back. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

All Geek and Latin

Howard: I guess times have changed since we were young. Smart is the new sexy. 
Leonard: Then why do we go home alone every night? We're still smart. 
Raj: Maybe we're too smart. So smart it's off-putting. 

I grew up believing in the 'Knight in Shining Armour' theory. From fairy tales to chick-lit, almost everything perpetuated the theory further. That, you know, when you're in trouble, a mysterious man will appear out of nowhere, looking ridiculously handsome while balancing on a rioting white horse, and sweep you off your high heeled feet which are miraculously holding their own, in a tulip field where the winds could put a tornado to shame. (Okay, so I ripped that scene off Baazigar...but you know, we all dreamed of that scene. Admit it.)

And then, somewhat accidentally (I still haven't quite figured how it happened), I grew up, aced a couple of exams, landed up with laurels like 'Best Student' awards and a gold medal for my Master's and got labelled a Geek.

Geeks are, apparently, inversely proportional to the degree of attractiveness, according to a friend of mine, who claimed this to be true as soon as he heard I was a rank holder. To phrase him, 'Damn. You've just slipped a few notches down on my hotness scale', said he.

I could handle that, what with these uber-feminist How dare you brand beauty to be so shallow type lectures just waiting to spout out, but then I realized, that he may mean something after all. Being a Geek does have some effect on how people judge you.

And you know what's worse than just being a Geek? Being a Psychology geek. Not only does it mean you can read minds....duh...but you can now read minds accurately. 

So is that why all the Mills and Boon books that I claim to be a closeted fan of, make the girl all hapless and hopeless? Is that why the knight is the one doing the rescuing? Because the damsel is perpetually in distress, something she could have averted, had she been smarter? Is that why teenage rom-coms always have the college jock transforming the local geek into a supermodel and then falling in love with her? Is that why intelligent men are termed *hot* and intelligent women thought of as *opinionated busybodies* in conventional stories?

When we were kids, being a geek was cool. I remember people in my class (that I labelled intensely annoying, because they would do bizarre things like calculate relative percentages of everyone in class and give individual report cards of their own out of sheer lack of any constructive activity) would hanker to be around the dude who scored a 100 in an exam, just to 'pick up a few points'. How getting the most number of A's in class made you the ultimate champion of sorts. Most importantly, how Nirula's awarded you with a free chocolate float if you got above 90% in your exams.

So what happened to all those little charms of being a geek? (Sadly, Nirula's seem to have stopped the scheme...or so they claimed when I asked them...for my school going cousin, of course. Only.) Today, being a geek is all about wearing thick glasses, mismatched clothes, using words that can put a dictionary to shame....and of course, being hideously unappealing to the general public.

I wonder if that will ever change. As I open the latest Mills and Boon book (which, technically, as a geek, I shouldn't be reading in the first place), I wonder if the hero will ever let the heroine's intelligence speak for herself, rather than her limpid pools of turquoise eyes or shimmering wave of spun gold hair. I wonder if there will ever be a book on someone who is smart, and beautiful because of that.

I guess, some things will always remain Geek and Latin to me. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Two and Two Squared

Twenty four days left for me to turn Twenty Four. Sigh. If the plans I hatched over a decade ago had worked out, I should've been happily married to Daniel Radcliffe, with a couple of Harry-Potteresque kids along the way by now. But life (or the delusional one I had back then) changes. And now I get to write this ridiculously long Birthday Post instead! (Don't blame it on my narcissism. Blame it on my age.)

So. When I hit the Second Decade of my life, I wasn't ready for it. A Year Later, I made a wishlist, that, miraculously, came halfway true at least (have you read the bizarre things on it? I'm surprised even some of them were met!). After That, I listed out my eccentricities (because, you know, they're not that obvious at all.). And finally, Last Year, I resigned myself to growing old.

After the hyperlink infested paragraph, I come to this year. With the Grammys (No, that word does NOT mean a couple of grandmothers and I'm capable of being musically knowledgeable too.) being in the news, I decided to give this year's lengthy list a new melody. This is the soundtrack of my life. A playlist, if you must, with the songs that keep recurring dangerously in my mind, thanks to odd situations they represent. (After twenty four years, I've realized that 'odd' is ordinary in my life.)

24. 'I have a Dream', Abba - I have the weirdest dreams. Seriously. When I was sixteen, I dreamt that a classmate of mine from college was a serial killer and I was his next target. The dream was so life-like, I actually avoided the poor boy like the plague until I graduated! This year, I'm going to turn this song back to what it originally was. And maybe ping the chap if I see him online (oh dear. That means I'd have to unblock him first.)

23. 'If you're not the One', Daniel Bedingfield - Does anyone else read Daniel Bedingfield and wonder if he's sitting on a mattress in the middle of a paddy farm? Oookay. Maybe not. So this song used to play over and over again in my head, only because I had no one to sing it to and wallow in heartbreak. I still don't. But I wonder sometimes, if people really do feel as emo as this dude felt.

22. 'Kitabein Bohot Si Padhi hogi Tumne, magar koi chehra bhi tumne padha hai?', Baazigar - Seriously. If one more person asks me if  I can read faces/minds/hands/feet/endocrine glands, I will push them off the rooftop of wherever we're standing. (I'll bet Shah Rukh did that to Shilpa Shetty for the same reason.) I'm a psychologist. Not a clairvoyant.

21. 'Be Happy', Aqua - Hehe, I just added this song because I really liked it. And I still do. Despite the balding Ken and the blue-mascaraed Chick and the very cheesy everythingelse. And sometimes, it just starts playing in my head and the day looks brighter.

20.  'Hot Child', Nick Gilder - I heard this song only a couple of days ago, and I can't get enough! It *totally* represents 2009, 2010 and 2011!

19. 'Can't get you out of my head', Kylie Minogue - I don't even like this song, but I can give you a handful of bizarre things that I just *can't* stop thinking about. My current obsession? Chocolate Bread.

18. 'Wuuudn't It be Luverly', My Fair Lady - Wuuuuudn't it be luverly if we got to eat Chocolate Bread for breakfast everyday?

17. 'Hips Don't Lie', Shakira - No, they don't, my friend. Not even when you've indulged in chocolate bread and hoped the calories would disappear as an early birthday present. Sigh.

16.  'I am sixteen, going on Seventeen', The Sound of Music - And I always will be. :) However old I get and however long and painstaking the birthday posts become.

15. 'Apologize', Timbaland & One Republic - Admit it. Even you've tried to hit the highest pitch on this song and attracted weird looks in a crowded market. If you haven't, then it isn't tooo laaaaate  to begin now. The stares people give you? Priceless.

14. 'Big Girls Don't Cry', Fergie - Haaah. Tell that to me in a movie theatre, as you try and waterproof your surroundings. Won't work. Now. Or ever. Movies were made so I'd cleanse my eyes. Even the slapstick, horrible, I-so-want-to-kill-the-guy-who-made-this type of movies.

13.  'Superstition', Stevie Wonder - I've heard this song, ok? I've not just randomly written it here because it fit the number and my personality.

12. 'Leaving on a Jet Plane', Justin Timberlake - If you don't already know about how my aerophobia has driven me crazy, then this title should explain it. And also, the fact the I like the Justin Timberlake version more.

11. 'Firework', Katy Perry - So I don't burst crackers because of child labour and environmental pollution. Doesn't stop me from singing this number like there's no tomorrow! (God help you, if you're around when I'm in the 'Firework' zone.)

10. 'Crazier', Taylor Swift - Does this need any more explanation?

9. 'Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast', RandomAkshayKumarMovie - Is it weird that every time I listen to this song, I think about a person being unnaturally obsessed with cheese?

8. 'Kal College Band ho Jayega', RandomEarlyDaysOfMr.BajajMovie - I want to go back. To college. And sing this song around the green trees and wide roads...and stick my tongue out at that rude librarian.

7. 'FunkyTown', Lipps Inc. - Because I feel like dancing every time I hear it. (And that's usually a rare phenomenon. The dancing, I mean.)

6.  'Hey, Soul Sister', Train - Best. Song. Ever. For the best soul-sisters ever. :) This includes the Foo Foos, The Glove and the gang of gal pals I've had all through my life. Also, best Bathroom song ever. Seriously. I could win a Grammy with this one and a soundproof shower.

5. 'Jaane Kyun Log Pyaar Karte Hain', Dil Chahta Hai - I've wondered this every single day of my life. (You know, when I'm not over-indulging in Mills and Boons. Which...uh...I only read on flights, of course. To combat the aerophobia. Only.)

4.  'Vaadi Vaadi Vaadi Vaadi Cute Pondatti', TamilMovieDon'tBeShockedIUnderstoodTheLyrics - okay, so the Youtube video had subtitles. But if all Tamil songs have such a kickass beat, I really need to brush up my language skills. (The last time I heard a Tamil song, I thought they were singing an ode to an egg. And the shame of it all? I speak Tamil at home. Or parts of it, clearly.)

3. 'Yeh Taara Woh Taara', Swades - Because counting stars on a moonlit night is the best way to forget all troubles in life. Instant dose of happiness, this gives me. (The counting, not the song.)

2. 'When You say Nothing At All', Ronan Keating - I'll bet a LOT of people feel like singing this to me. Or maybe you feel the same after having spent half your lifetime reading this post. Sometimes, I worry if God will tell me one day that I've finished up the quota of words I can talk in a lifetime. That can't happen....can it? I really should start talking less. :-/

aaaaand....we reach Numero Uno! So if you've survived this literary-ily challenged gabfest, and are two seconds away from murdering me in your minds for having wasted SO much time of yours....what can I say?  I was...

1. 'Born This Way', Lady Gaga. =) 

Happy Birthday To Me!

P.S. For further details about what to gift me, kindly contact in the comments page. I've activated comment moderation, so don't think I'll publish stinky opinions of what you'd like to get me instead. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bajji and the Beach

My favorite fairy tale as a child was Beauty and the Beast.  I had a wristwatch, pajamas...even plates and a mug of Beauty and the Beast. I'd re-read the story over and over again, and watch it on Disney Channel every time they aired it. And even now, I have the Celine Dion cover version of the title track in my ipod. I was that crazy about the story. Somehow, among all the other fairy tales, this 'happily ever after' made me feel the happiest. And in the past few weeks, I got to witness the 'Happily Ever After' come alive before my eyes. Made me reinforce my faith in fairy tales, it did. 

So one of the Glove bit the dust. Our Photu-Behen has now gone to the land far far away, after hosting us for one of the best weddings I've ever been a part of (that's not really saying much, given that I've skipped almost every wedding from 2001 to 2011 with the same reason -Exams. And when you're from an Iyengar family, you're excused instantly with that reason.) 

It began with an overnight train-ride to Kerala. You know, trains are so much more easy to travel in, compared to airplanes. I cannot believe I spent two years of my life gripping the armrest with all my strength as the flight took off...or prayed to every deity as we experienced turbulence...or plea-bargained impeccable behaviour for a safe landing in fog....I'd have rather spent three days viewing the countryside as I reached the same destination. 

But I digress. So yes, Kerala has to be seen from a train. It's simply the best way to see it. After a tranquil train-ride, the rest of the journey went past in a blur of Sangeet, Food, Dancing (haha, yes. I finally managed to unearth the right foot and replace it with my second left foot.), Food, Dressing up, Food, Tears, Food, Hooting and scandalizing relatives, Food, THE wedding, Food, Photographs, Food, Reception, Food, DJ parties with psychedelic lights and dry ice smoke in a sea-facing apartment (how cool was THAT!) and..what was that again? Aah, yes. Food. 

I leave the wedding details to the bride. (She is, after all, sitting in a fancy cabin as I write this, sipping free coffee and wondering what to do with her time. Here you go. Chronicle your wedding. :P) 

...and move on to the other best part of a wedding. The FOOD! Not only did I get to try completely new cuisines, I ended up loving every single thing! And the star of the show, Mutta Bajji (that's egg pakoda for those who don't know.) Have you ever heard of such a marvel? Of course, if the Photu Behen had served the Mutta Bajji in her wedding, I doubt if anyone would have hung around to wish the happy couple, people would be running towards the dining area.

 But then again, I wonder how many people get this excited about egg pakodas. Dude. It's egg and it's pakoda. Two of my favorite food items combined to form a fantastic dish. That doesn't happen all the time, now, does it? Or else we'd see more of French Fries served with Vanilla Ice cream in the market (What? It tastes great together. Don't judge, you curd-rice-with-ketchup eating person.) 

And of course, eating the Bajji after a looooong stint at the Cherai beach where we did everything, from posing for random artsy pictures (that just had to become cover pictures on our timelines) to collecting shells  (I found one that had my initials, VV on it! And yes, I behaved like a three-year-old on a sugar high after that.)...Bajjis taste best on a Beach, where the Chaetta (haha, call me Pseudo-mallu, chechis of the world) reties his mundu, wipes the sweat off his brow and begins to deep fry the boiled eggs soaked in a batter straight from the heavens, picks them up and puts them on a plate, where it swims in the spiciest of chutneys, and convinces you to drink 'Chaaya' with it, because it would feel lonesome without the tea. 

Watching the waves try and reach for you with the increasing tide, tasting salty grains of the sand as you take that delicious bite....and just being in great company, the Bajji on the Beach was a moment I will always cherish. In so many ways, I've conveyed everything I wanted to about the wedding with the Bajji on the Beach, two entities made for each other, looking picture perfect as they blend into the sunset....with the end credits rolling after a Happily Ever After moment.  

Photu-Behen and Butter-in-law, I wish you both a lifetime of Bajji and the Beach moments. :) Ok, now move along, there still 6 more of the Glove waiting in line. 

On a random and completely unrelated note, I just realized that my customary birthday post is due next week. And that I'm getting older and more invites for classmates getting married is coming into my inbox/newsfeed each day. Oh dear. Looks like the I will run away and build a cottage in Florence and live happily ever after plan needs to be put in action. Fast.