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(Cream, Linen) Curtains

31 Dec

hello from the other side

Helloooooooooo? Can you hear me?
I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be….

Okay, fine, the Adelegend sang that, I’m just fluffing the lines. But I’m here to say a Very Important Thing:

Goodbye.

[For now.]

Thing is, there’s no point having a blog that was once alive and chattering languish like a Limp Thing (yes, I’m up to my eyeballs in Sandra Boynton, can you tell?) when I’ve clearly moved on to Web Affair 2.0 with other social media (looking at you, Instagram!) The 3 seconds it takes to click a picture, add a filter (or not), and upload it, is all I have to give of myself presently before hollers of “Mamaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!” come seeking my bone marrow.  (Here’s a fun fact: In the time it took me to type this post, I was interrupted 9 11 13 times, and not just by the bebe.)

(Here’s a second fun fact: I’ve gone dotty with the parentheses and haven’t the foggiest why.)

Or maybe that’s just an excuse and I don’t have anything to say anymore. Whichever way I look at it, I think closure is good manners. I may well be back when my brain returns to its skull. Or not. But ten years is a decent run in the world of blogdom, and it’s been a good decade, non?

Thank you for all that you’ve given me. You have my love and gratitude, all 3½ of you still glancing at this blog. I’ll draw only the lightest linen curtains for now, and you can continue to visit and make yourselves at home if you would so like. And come say hi on Instagram and Twitter (find me on the sidebar)!

For now, here’s my final post, a little something I wrote earlier this month and had vaguely referenced some years ago.

Happy New Year, lovelies! May every blessing be yours in 2017. ❤

On this day, nine years ago, I managed to lock myself into the restroom of a posh South Bombay hotel. I’ll just pee really quick, I had thought, before taking the elevator to the rooftop lounge for my date.
And there I was, trapped by an errant bolt that wouldn’t slide back. My heart sank. He sounded amazing in all our communication so far. He knew and loved my music, we got each other’s puns, and–best of all- he texted with zero spelling and grammatical errors!
“I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a stupid door get in the way of meeting this intriguing man,” I gritted my teeth. There was a considerable gap between the door and the floor. I could crawl through, but that wouldn’t be too dignified. And the germs, ugh.
Thankfully, I’m big and made with a fair bit of physical power. “Here goes,” I inhaled, and my shoulder made contact with the door.
Don’t tell the Intercontinental I owe them a latch.

~

Nine years later:
I’m sitting cross-legged on the floor, tying bows to the backs of dining chairs, the quiet rumble of the dishwasher in the background. Outside, the streets are wet from a quick drizzle. The lights on our Christmas tree glow as I work silently, grateful for the peace of a sleeping household. It will be a while before I finish tidying up, set the vacuum loose, and leave a (somewhat) uncluttered room for the farishtas to visit at night.
Right before he went to bed, tired from a business trip, I received a bear hug and thanks for making him a home, family and life.
All I know is, I’ve never been gladder to bust a darn door. And never in the history of humankind was lard put to better use.

Adieu and kisses! Time to give these soft, faded jammies a shelf.

 

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The Products That Saved Mummy

31 Dec

a.k.a. When Mummy Took To The Bottle

For a person who has frequently scrambled her Tuesdays and Thursdays this year, even I am aware it is the last few minutes of 2015. So why am I not doing the usual end-of-year review? Because that would be predictable. Because I now dwell on Planet Baby and tomorrow will be the same as two days ago, give or take a few milestones. Because I want to talk to you guys about something other than parenthood, given that I live, breathe and unsleep it every moment of every day. (And also because we’ll be doing that in future posts.) Because I’m excited to share with you the products that made me look human through this first year in bebe wilderness.

At the very beginning of 2015, my skin was a minefield of postpartum hormones with at least one zit the size of Jupiter at any given time, and it took several weeks for everything to calm down. I have combination skin that now veers toward some dryness in the California winters, tends to freckle and burn easily, and will still throw up a zit or few to announce that my period is on its merry way. Brightening, reduction of sun spots, degunking, and deep hydration without greasiness were all primary needs. And, with lots of research, trial, and consistent use of these magic bottles and the odd kitchen aid, I’m very happy to report that at the end of 12 months, my skin looks better than it has for a long while. *GIANT JINX BLOCKER*

Beauty

See my glow? My fabulous cheekbones? My blue eyes and blond hair? What, you don’t believe that’s me?! Man, you guys are so sharp.

 

My hair is typically low maintenance, but when washing it once a week becomes the highlight of my social calendar, you can understand it gets grumpy, greasy and flaky every so often. Okay, more often than not. Which is when three basic products came to my rescue and ensured I didn’t have to don a hijab to avoid recognition.

So, with all disclaimers about not being a dermatologist/trichologist/product expert and knowing one’s allergies, skin/hair type, and lifestyle choices in place, here are the products that were lifesavers, time-savers and face-savers this year.

SKIN:

Cleanser: Shea Terra Organics’ Rose Hips Black Soap Deep Pore Facial Wash

rosehipsblacksoap

Serum: PCA Skin C-Quench Antioxidant Serum

pca

Moisturizer: Boscia Sake Balm

boscia

Night cream: Korres Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial, Wild Rose

korres

Odd kitchen aid mentioned above: Wedderspoon Raw Manuka Honey Active 16+ (I just spread a thin layer on freshly cleaned skin and washed off after 20 minutes. I probably did this thrice in the whole year, so not sure it counts!)

honey

 

Sunscreen: Coola Mineral Sunscreen Matte Tint (this doubled as a BB cream/any semblance of everyday makeup)

coola

HAIR:

Shampoo: Aveda Scalp Benefits Balancing ShampooAveda_Scalp_Benefits_balancing_shampoo_1000ml

Conditioner: Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle Spray 

beautyprotector_protect_detangle_new_900x900

Dry shampoo (a new mother’s knight in shining armor, superhero, messiah!): Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk, Tinted for Brown to Dark Brown Hair

klorane

 

And with that, my sweets, I will love you and leave you to go hug a sniffly, snotty Boy and together stand at the foot of our baby’s crib and welcome in another splendid year in this, our life as a little family.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! *toot toot!*

Guest Post: by The Mad Momma

8 Feb

The Mad Momma needs no introduction. But way back when, my Daddy did the honors, and I can’t thank him enough for it. This is a first-rate second-generation friendship. And here’s the story, in MM’s inimitable voice.

~~~

Jab We Met

It was my parents’ college alumni meet and they’d insisted I fly out to meet their old friends. It’s not the sort of thing most kids would happily do, but then you’ve not met my parents or their friends. The event was perhaps one of the best times of my life, and I have to admit, not in small part because it was where I met OJ.

Her dad was senior to my parents in college, and he and his camera were omnipresent. A joke a minute, a big smile and the most endearing way about him, it’s easy to see where OJ gets it from. Thrilled to see that other ‘kids’ (erm, all well past our teens, thank you very much!) had turned up, he immediately introduced us. Shiny, enviously magazine-cover-worthy hair was my first impression and I decided I was going to hate her for it. Except that she smiled, and she had Uncle’s smile and it was over before it began. I could see we were going to be friends. Angels didn’t play harps in the background, but it was pretty close.

We’d barely got around to introductions when we ‘kids’ were asked to put up a dance show and the look on OJ’s face was worth a thousand words. She had an excuse though – she had two sprained ankles; I unfortunately, had none. To this day, I’m convinced she came along with those and a cane to avoid being coerced into something like this. I maturely decided to make the most of a bad thing and began to train a bunch of girls I’d never met before to dance to “Chunari Chunari”. OJ played the most important part in this – rewind, play, rewind, play. Yes, that’s how long ago this was.

The dance performance was put on that night. And in between tripping over skirts, sarees, lehenga hems, bumping into each other, and getting our moves wrong, we got it done with. Of course, our beaming parents thought it was a brilliant show. Apparently, that doting blindness never ceases. And all this while OJ smiled encouragingly from the sidelines and turned a blind eye (also!) to our dismal show.

Like all disasters, that event brought us together and there was no looking back. We compared notes on planned elopements, unwilling parents, great love and other things that girls our age did. Hers are the only emails I don’t delete when I empty my inbox for the mix of humour, compassion, warmth and sheer practicality they burst with. And I have about 15 years of those now.

I’d like to say I knew her pretty well before she started blogging, and I think I would be right. But there’s nothing like a well-written post stating your stand to show you for the person you are. A peep into your life, a slice of your beliefs, a taste of what you believe in. Throw in some the power to weave magic with your words and you have OJ’s blog right there. So yes, I knew her well. And then I read the blog and knew her better. And to know her is to love her. I didn’t think I could love her more than I do, but I do.

Here’s to many, many more years of taking a stand, making it worthwhile, and living by your own rules. Big hugs.

Guest Post: by Thinking Cramps

6 Feb

So remember I mentioned cramming gouda toasties in this post? Yeah, those were with her. She let me show off about my city, AND there was a background score of bread and cheese involved. How can I not love her?

~~~

The OJ Redemption

It was an imprisonment of sorts in a desert country that led me to discover Orange Jammies, and to rediscover the blogger world.

I’d just begun to know Bombay – newly married, newly moved – when Anando and I moved to Dubai for a 3-month assignment. He worked in a glass-and-concrete office. I freelanced out of our monochrome serviced apartment. We had wonderful evenings and weekends – discovering new places and people. But during the day, it was 48 degrees outside, there was nothing to do and no one to meet, and only endless corridors in shining malls to walk around. So it was my room, my computer and me – heat outside, air-conditioning inside, and thick white walls cutting me off from the noise and colour that had always been my world. I was homesick, and I didn’t really know what I was missing. Was it Delhi – where my parents lived, where my life had been till 4 months ago? Was it Bombay – the city I’d chosen to move to, where I was a wide-eyed tourist and new resident? Or was it just the feeling of “home”? Where was home? I remember the smell of fresh curry leaves at the antiseptic supermarket making me nostalgic for the bustle of a kitchen filled with love and warmth.

Stuck indoors during the day, with the internet my only link to the outer world, I longed for human interaction. I befriended Albert, the young Goan who came to clean our room each day. And I started writing limericks on Yahoo 360. My page had all the colours Dubai lacked – a rainbow background and Vincent’s Starry Night for my profile photo. Back then, that’s where OJ blogged too, as did Aunty G and many others. And before I knew it, we were virtual friends – united by a love for words (and in OJ’s case, also a sweet tooth). OJ wrote tenderly, fiercely, truly and funnily about Bombay – a city I longed to return to and belong to. She wrote about Bombay the way I felt about Delhi but had never really put into words. She made me even more impatient to return.

Enthused by daily comments and appreciation, I eventually revived my Blogger page as well. I’m sad to say the Yahoo 360 account died soon after – due to my neglect and Yahoo’s decision to shut it down. So I’ve lost those prize-winning limericks. Sorry, those prize limericks.

Nearly 6 years ago, then, I discovered an ever-expanding circle of bloggers – limerick-writers, foodies, kindred spirits, angels and wise-asses. I love them all. I don’t blog as often now, but the www was there for me when I needed to shout out to the wider world to drown out the silence all around me. The world shouted back, and still does – pushing me to think, to feel, to fight, to debate, to joke and to write. And OJ, you’ve been an absolutely vital part of this force-field. Cheers to your blog-life, may the 7-year-itch be one that makes you write more, more, more.

Guest Post: by Anindita

4 Feb

When an award-winning poetess writes lines for you, it’s a really good idea to zip it and let her do the talking. Like I’m going to do now. Watch. Almost…..see? Getting there….7….6….5.5….. Fine! I’m gone!

~~~

I first met OJ almost two decades ago, when we were giddy with the thrill of junior college. She was exceptionally warm, funny and generous. Yes, even back then. Seven years and two cities later, we reconnected through our blogs and discovered so much in common—the love of a city, the love of cities in general, the love of grammar, gender, books.

I also discovered that her writing is like her–vivid, often startling, bright, strong and humorous.  I asked OJ to get involved with Ultra Violet, a feminist website I started in 2007.  She has been its most prolific writer, most committed support and now, a brilliant and dedicated editor.

There is the sort of friendship based on slumber parties. There is also the sort based on building something together, slowly, with infinite patience and generosity. I am happy to have known both with this wonderful girl. (And yes, she will always be a girl.)  Here’s to you, OJ, and to many more years of writing, blogging and being your wonderful self!
(and here’s a bit of wordplay because i couldn’t resist)

What I think of when I think of you
We inhabit this parade of words, intimate
as the press of a stranger’s hands at a wedding.

We are more than the faces we hold up,
these books of glitter and jade. Even the coincidences

of nation, culture, cities may fade.
(Though we have known the love of that lost one

like a common lover.) But beyond that, and above,
there is something else–a sense, perhaps,

of what is possible in another human being.
If this sounds sentimental, consider:

when I type no, the computer spells hope.
In its language, the two must be similar.

Like solar and plexus, like distance
and resistance, like write and entire.

Guest Post: by Shail

2 Feb

When I grow up, I want to be Shail. Feisty, plain-speaking and sensible, she shows us exactly how to raise sons to face a changing world.

~~~

I don’t know how exactly I landed on OJ’s page. Addicted that I was (and still am) to blog-hopping, one day I found myself on a page titled Wisdom Wears Neon Pyjamas. I was intrigued. The blogger’s moniker said ‘Orange Jammies’. But the page itself had been a pale green with no hint of orange anywhere in it. That did not deter me. I stopped right there to read the little nuggets of wisdom, clad in neon pyjamas I am sure, doled out with such panache and wit that I was hooked.

Such economy in the usage of words— and yet those that conveyed ever more. That’s something I struggle with in my writing. So OJ soon became someone I truly appreciated. This was way back in good old Yahoo! 360 days. Seven years down the line, she is still at it and I remain a fan of her incisive writing as much as ever.
Congratulations on completing seven years of blogging and here’s to more, in multiples of seven!

Guest Post: by Mom Gone Mad

31 Jan

From the land of fjords comes our very own desi girl Mom Gone Mad, gorgeous and talented in equal parts. I could read her ’til the cows come home. And then I’d have a giant burger and continue into the night. Vegetarians pliss excuse all animal-eating references.

~~~

After a fanfare-filled (yes, I blew trumpets in my own office. What do you think?) blogging premiere in 2005 and an equally meteoric burnout, I settled for writing for myself. Occasionally, I would also torture great and tolerant friends with philosophical treatises in the garb of e-mails.

I didn’t really begin to read personal blogs till 2007. Maternity leave coincided with my wonderful best friend blogging about her life with children. Through her blog, I stepped carefully into the strange and fascinating world of Indian mommy bloggers. A world of friendships, cliques, empathy, envy, support and spite. It spanned a complex spectrum of emotions, yet it seemed to inspire such belonging.

I quickly tired of the blogs that recounted the minutæ of daily life, but was drawn back to those blogs where feminism, current affairs, new parenting paradigms/challenges, food and humour were staple fare. I delighted in this newfound sense of community; the freshness of the voices, the compassion and the obvious intelligence in well-expressed posts. It was liberating to see a space so public for a kind of gendered discourse that had previously been confined to quietly exchanged confidences. I began blogging in late 2008 and slowly gathered the nerve to start commenting on my favourite blogs.

As is the case with blogs, you would read an interesting, insightful comment on a blog, entirely by happenstance, and proceed to click on the handle. There is no way to NOT click on a handle that says Orange Jammies. There is no way because these two words, well, they hold an entire world of favourite things. Of a fire that creates a mellow roast. Of cups of warming tea. Of warm flannel, delicious satin, worn cotton. Of long, cinnamony kisses.

The OJ space is one where you’ll carefully dry your feet before entering. It has its bright orange warmth and glow, a huge heart weighed with feeling and the rarest combination of tremendous dignity combined with a zesty wickedness. Oh, she’ll trip the light fantastic with her words, our OJ. She tweaks them, she teases them and she’ll make them do the most unusual, astonishing things. They will curl into some crazy shapes, those words. She can run literary rings around the best of them.

Yet, what I love the most is really quite simple.

I love how OJ loves. Her fierce and sure devotion to the things and the people she believes in. Her joy in the simplest, the best, the truly good things in life and her willingness to share of herself and her thoughts.

For better or worse, this is what blogging does to us. It gives us a strong sense of people, a sense of a connection. So much so, that if I really try, I can see OJ whipping up some world-class eeda in her kitchen, humming an ABBA showtune and sighing contentedly as the happiness of the moment surrounds her.

I hope you continue to bless this space for many more years, dear OJ. Maybe your fire burn bright and orange and may your jammies always wash soft.