Tag Archives: confessions

Truesday Tales 2.2

9 Feb

Snippets from last February:

I have killer abs too. Anybody who sees them will die of shock.

#TheMummyDiaries #PSA

~

In which I optimistically set an alarm 6 hours into the future.

Hahahahahahahahahaha!!

#YeahRight #DreamOnFool #NoSleepNoDream #NeverMind

[P.S. Nothing has changed on this front a whole year later. It’s official: I’m a bot.]

~

Finally tossed my empty prenatal vitamin bottles today, after sentimentally holding on to them for the last few weeks. I had those tablets religiously for a whole year, through so many changes of body and circumstance.

It’s the end of an era.

#TheWholeSoLongFarewellSong

Automatic For the People*

28 Mar

I’m going to write a manual on newbie marriage.

I already have a title for it:

“Shut the Door, I Can Hear You Pee”.

Wide open to content suggestions, y’all!

~

*Title taken from one of my favorite albums of all time.

S For Swastika

21 Jan

Picture this: We’re having a conversation and I’m listening smilingly. Then you say “Anyways…” and I still smile. Because I willed that stretch of mouth to freeze, while inside, I took three steps back and flung my eyeballs around in a quick move to spy the nearest exit. Inside, I selected a well-sharpened scalpel and neatly carved the ‘s’ off the end of the word. Inside, I set fire to the letter, dropped it into the nearest trash can, put a lid on it, and walked away.

Oh but I’m still here, yes. I’m still smiling at you. Even though my body involuntarily shudders each time an “anyways” is thoughtlessly flung my unsuspecting way.

No, no, please. Don’t take the trouble. I’ll survive. The colorful inner life that results from this conversation is far more entertaining than what you have to say anyway.

Speak Not Of My City

11 Nov

I speak not of my city

Not because prettier climes lure me

I speak not of my city

Not because I forget

I turn away

Face another reality

Willfully rejecting the one

That sees my back.

In these ways and all moments, I

Silence the pain

Bury the longing under pillows

And sit on it.

Cook Like You Mean It, Feed The World Your Love

5 Nov

While the Boy and I were dating, I cooked for him exactly once. Dumped a packet of readymade Parampara masala into a pressure cooker with some mutton, and dished it up with rice when he returned from a business trip. “Parsi women don’t cook,” I said in an off-hand way, and we moved on to other topics of conversation.

I wasn’t lying. I grew up in a home with family cooks since my great-grandfather’s time, where both Nana and Mum made the sourest of faces when said cook took a day off, and have cousins who engage a caterer to supply their meals on a daily basis.  And, worried that his beloved daughter would have to enter the kitchen, my grandfather sent along a cook with my mother after marriage. That’s right. Other people give their daughters furniture and jewelry. My mother brought along her very own cook. “Slaving in the kitchen,” I was informed by the women in my father’s family, “is not for us.”And so it stood, not questioned or even considered.

The first time I cooked a meal, I was 23 and fresh off the boat in America. Painstakingly referring to my mother’s handwritten recipe notebook, I curried eggplant for my flatmates. It didn’t taste bad. It just didn’t taste of anything at all. “This is shit,” laughed a new flatmate, as I struggled to keep my face composed. I shut the book firmly and put it back in the suitcase that had traveled across the oceans with me. It was the last time I referred to it.

I was clueless. I didn’t know how ingredients blended together, what spice played off what herb on the palate, and which vegetables took longer to cook. Breathing deeply and refusing to be disheartened, I tossed out all written rules and lunged at cooking with my gut. I got creative, I improvised. Rarely measured, and went with what felt right. In a month, my flatmates were marveling at my rapid improvement, and the woman who’d called my food shit was eating second helpings, along with her words. Some months later, I was hosting a lunch for 20 hungry students (who, agreed, will eat anything), whipping up batches of freshly fried fish for 4 non-stop hours, all by myself, and reveling in my newfound skill.

No deaths were reported that day, and from then on, there was no looking back. I fed myself and my friends many hearty meals in the years that I lived in America. When I moved back to Bombay, my kitchen activity churned to a grinding halt. Home claimed other parts of me, and I didn’t care about mucking around in the kitchen when my childhood cook was at the ready, serving up all my old favorites. It was no wonder then, that the Boy realized with delighted surprise only after we moved to California, that his spouse could throw a meal together and he didn’t have to pretend to love it.

The last year and nine months have been a journey of elaborate, made-from-scratch home-cooked dinners to throw-something-together-after-12-mindnumbing-hours-at-work meals. I have ground and peeled and grated and stirred, pureed and sautéed and infused and simmered. Concocted my own potions, and experimented with the tried and tested. Alongside my steadfast mission of honoring my roots, I have expanded my repertoire of recipes, scouring cookbooks and aunts’ memories, discovering food bloggers, and calling my mother at odd hours to ensure that exact taste of home. I have delighted in the heady scents of spices, the delicate notes of lavender and lemon, the more temperate palate of soups and bakes, and the kick of fiery Thai curries. The Boy devours it all like he was born to it, wants dhandar and fish every Sunday, recommends my dhansak to anyone within earshot, and is wowed by all the things Parsis can do with the humble eedu.

I cook for friends. I create for family. I conjure with all my senses and rejoice in feeding people. And today, I take a moment to acknowledge the amazing lady from whom this love of food and its preparation is inherited. Born on November 5th, 94 years before this one, my Granny left us many years ago, but in so many ways lives on. A sorceress in the kitchen and puppeteer of an intricate ingredient minuet, her food—comforting, flavorful, hearty, deceptively simple, nutritious, and madly scrumptious—was the stuff of my childhood dreams, and I am so, so glad her love of the culinary arts skipped a generation and was bestowed on me. (Also inherited were the chubby genes and the ability to be a human pillow that annoyingly skipped a generation too, but never mind that. 🙄 )

I do not aim to match my grandmother’s skill, for that is the stuff of family legend, with relatives traveling miles out of their route for a taste of her good stuff. I only wish to be the flag bearer of her passion for the things that nourish our body and spirit. George Bernard Shaw was bang on when he said “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” And I know he and my mum’s mum are having an agreeable chin wag about that wherever in the firmament they are.

Happy birthday, Granny. In these delicious ways, may I continue to honor you.

A Week in Bullet Points

5 Nov
  • Our trip to the East Coast was fantastic. Everything we wished for and more. One of those rare periods of time when everything went off seamlessly, without a glitch, and we created stronger bonds and happier memories. No, I’m not gushing. This time was truly precious and we will always cherish it. For me, it was my best trip ever, to any place. And in the fray for that title were the surprise trip to Mussoorie to see Ruskin Bond and our pretty plush honeymoon in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand.
  • It was also surreal. We walked around on campus, with me interspersing our contemplative silence with stories of “Here’s where we marched against the war in Iraq…” and “Here’s where we all lay down at 3 in the morning to watch a meteor shower….” and “This is where I watched the plane hit the second tower…” and I kept expecting the guys from the Engineering School to call out, “Hey, Bawi!” and to see my Swathi, flatmate and darling friend, scuttle down University Hill like the white rabbit, announcing she was late. I half expected to hear Prof. Evatt’s Texan drawl, to turn the corner and have Prof. Guiniven tell me he’d never met an Indian he didn’t like (and I’d retort that I had), and to witness one more candlelight vigil at the Hendricks Chapel. It was like time had formed a vacuum corridor and sucked out most of the people I knew and replaced them with fresher faces who looked at me blankly. But those who remained remembered me. And I was engulfed in warm hugs and exclamations. It was good to be back. It had been too, too long.
  • I surprised myself. Did not shriek or cry like I’d imagined I would. Laughed and exclaimed a lot. I visited my first apartment. Rang the bell, was buzzed in, and begged to be let in to see the first room I paid for with my own money. The suspicious Chinese student looked at me like I was Saddam Hussein and waved me away. I had on an angora beret for Pete’s sake, I wailed to the Boy. Who in their right mind would wear fancy headgear if they wanted to bust an apartment?  😦
  • New York City was the perfect starting and ending point for our trip. Devoid of any powerful memories, it is neutral ground and I can view it any way I choose to. And we chose to have fun! A day of Manhattan-ing at the Met, in Central Park, and on Broadway (Watch Mary Poppins! It’s excellent!) with the Boy’s brother and cousins was so enjoyable, even though we all had sore feet from all that gadding about. I spent an afternoon with an old and dear girlfriend. And it’s true what an ex-colleague said to me on this trip: You don’t realize how much you’ve missed someone until you see them. The City brought home how alarmingly soft we’ve grown in California. This was the first time since we moved in 2011 that we used public transport. Yup. You can close that jaw now. No wait, let me finish. I was the prissy princess who sanitized her hands each time she rode the subway. Okay, now I’m all done. Oops, too late, a fly just sauntered in.
  • I visited the place where awful things had happened to me. And stared it in the eye, cursed under my breath, then out loud, blew out bitterness like smoke rings, and then let it go. I faced my demons and made my peace with the past. I will carry its lessons for a lifetime, but I cannot be burdened with its weight anymore. Wonder of wonders, there were no sniffles, and I suspect that had to do with the rock standing by my side through it all.
  • I also found my Gujarati grandma, sitting right where I had left her 7 years ago, and knew I was home. Someday I will share how special this delightful 85-year-old is, her life story, and her progressive beliefs, but for now, all I’ll say is that she embraced the Boy like the son she never had and told me my piyar had been waiting for me all along. Life is too short, and good souls too many, to love and be loved by people related only through blood.
  • Even so, my brother was the highlight of this trip, though we met way too briefly. I hadn’t seen him in nearly two years, and this meeting did us both good. Siblings become even more precious as we grow older, do they not? That I got to see him in Boston, my favorite city in the country, was the icing on the dark chocolate torte. My baby brother made lassi for me. *sniff* And offered us homemade kaju katli. *blubber* He’s all growned up now. *desperately searches for a tissue* He was still eating leftovers from our dinner together, 4 days later. Praise the lord some things never change.
  • On this journey eastward and pastward, places, memories and people melded to form a potent amalgam in our lives. We met new family, old friends, my American parents and bonus grandma, both our only siblings (as as textbook first-borns, the Boy and I feel a shade responsible for these 31- and 29-year-old men respectively), ex-coworkers, advisors, mentees, and then we met one additional person: the old me.  The Boy quite liked her, I think. This was the last bastion in the list of places that have made me who I am, and also the most significant. And I was glad he could meet the 20s me, and the places that sculpted the person who eventually became his partner. Me, I smiled at her quietly, and told her she hadn’t done too badly for herself. She tried her best and gave it her all, and for that I will always love her.
  • We came home sated. And so, so much richer. How can anyone who acquires a pair of chocolate suede boots not be fabulously wealthy? Immediately upon our return, our life and friends here swarmed around us busily, and even as we were swept along, we know we’ll always look back with gratitude at this most blessed of times, a moment when life truly came full circle for me.

Poop Goes The Weasel

3 Oct

I’ve recently switched doctors and my new one wanted to conduct a series of routine tests, so last week, I traipsed along to the clinic, empty sterile container in hand, to donate some pee to the lab. Walking toward the entrance, I noticed a man—middle-aged, Asian, balding, with slightly rumpled clothes—headed toward the entrance as well, with a bottle of stool sample in his hand. And so began my not-so-pleasant reaction to the swishy brown contents of his bottle. All conversations in my head will hereafter be italicized:

Eww! Gross! How could he just bring poop in a transparent bottle like that? At least cover it with a paper bag! Some people.

Swish, swish, swish went the poop, as the gentleman stepped into the clinic lobby, with me a safe distance behind.

Disgusting. It’s so runny. Good thing I haven’t had any breakfast. Seriously, I get you’re a recent immigrant, but watch and learn, my friend! No. Scratch that. You’re not my friend. No friend of mine would walk around with poop in public view.

Poop-swisher took a seat, bottle in hand and on full display, while I chose one at the other end of the waiting area.

Really? Holding it so close to you like it’s your lost lover? You’ll die of an infection, man. Oh god I’m going to hurl. This should be illegal. There are kids with compromised immunity in this place. Have you no concern for the wee ones of the world??

Poop-swisher stared benignly into space, clutching the watery contents of his intestines.

I don’t believe this. Why couldn’t he just do it in the bathroom here, like everybody else? Maybe he has a performance anxiety issue. Maybe he had one of those tiger mums who said “Poop now or forever hold your piece.” Well, he’s sure holding his piece now!

Poop-swisher adjusted his position and I looked away for a moment, to give the impression I wasn’t turning cartwheels on the inside and emanating guttural gasping sounds of disgust.

Holy guacamole! He’s raising it to his mouth! Omigod, he has Pica! Somebody get mental health medics in here! Noooooooo! STOP IT! Don’t drink that!!!! I’m gagging, oh lord I’m gagging, I need the bathroom. Now!

Wildly looking around for a nurse or medical aide, I saw Poop-swisher from the corner of my eye, calmly take a swig from his bottle of Starbucks Mocha Frappucino, screw on the lid, and put the bottle beside him.

Oh.

“…………..”

 

If you ever repeat this incident to anyone, dear reader, you and I are OVER.