Thursday, January 31, 2013

To- my ladies :D

I have some friends who vehemently swear that a girl and a boy can never be ‘just friends’. I have no comments about that. I have some other friends who swear that two girls can never, ever be friends. Now, that is very lame, I say.

Most of us have been through phases where the number of friends of the opposite sex outnumber the number of friends we have in the same gender. That is when we have really steep learning curves. We learn what to say, what never to say, what to ask and what is implied. This phase is of great significance because it is usually likened to that treatment that a gemstone gets when it is getting scrubbed and polished. It comes out all shiny and then its value soars.

But what happens post this phase? I cannot comment about the theory of a boy and a girl never being able to be ‘just friends’- I have loads. But I can most definitely say that they can never remain even ‘just friends’ for long. Most of the boys I have been best best buddies with, I have lost to marriage. Theirs. Somehow, after an especially close buddy is married, you don’t really know if it is okay to call, if they would be interested in your stories, if it’s okay to punch get the drift. When I said this to one such going-to-get-hitched friend, he said. ‘Over a complicate pannikaadenga, madam!’ (why complicate it too much, madam?!) but yeah. Better safe than sorry.

THIS is where girlfriends come into the picture. For me. They have always been around. We grew up together. We have seen each other through many an awkward phase- from braces to the first period, from first crushes to first rejections, from wardrobe disasters to teenage embarrassments..we have been through them all, and survived.

Fast forward to today. There are certain things that you can confide only with a girl friend.  There are certain kinds of advice that only a girlfriend can give to you. She will look at your hair and say what is wrong. She will look at what you are wearing and suggest something or pull something out of her wardrobe and make you wear it for the soiree. She will listen to you as you weep into bales and bales of tissue, about time wasted on the wrong man. She will empathize with you when you say your man is a mamma’s boy or when he acting like a bum.

A girl friend will never judge you. She will tell you on your face, when she thinks you have failed her. There is nobody in the world who would feel happier for you when something goes the way you wanted- and the same way there is nobody who would weep with you, and constantly keep checking on you- when something didn’t. 

A girl friend will always have her own life- yet, she will be around when you need her. She will know. She will know what exactly you need for this birthday. She will know what you need to hear, and she will say that. She will cover up for you. She will solemnly grin and pull you away from the party to put you to bed when she knows you have touched your saturation point.

A girl friend is this, and many more things. Every girl needs girl friends- because they channel her bloom.

Boys may come, boys may go. But girls- girls will always be :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

13 things I will NOT do in 2013

Like someone rightly said, the first few weeks of ANY new year will see one sure-shot conversation starter: What is your New Year resolution for this year? Ofcourse, I strongly recommend that nobody follow this, because seasoned conversation-ists will look you up and down with arched eyebrows and walk away. Instead, ofcourse, you could try the title of the post. So here we go- 13 things I will try NOT to do this year. 

PS- This post is rumination for a write-a-post contest conducted by The Chennai Bloggers Club. The CBC is (not just a) Facebook group where bloggers with a Chennai connection interact with each other. 

*Drum roll*

#1 I decide not to make a fool of myself in public any more. On secondary thoughts I realize that I have already broken the resolution. Only today my dear bum-of-a-friend Ranjith and I were playing hide-my-ID card-Hide-your-ID card and I got told off by my boss. “Such a shame” he hissed at me.  With this resolution I also part ways with my water-sprinkler role, my banshee giggle role and my general-embarrassment-causer role in the office pantry zone.

#2 I will (in the fashion of this post) NOT to be a bad girl hence-forth by never making any of the men who ask me out wait (and subsequently curse themselves for it) The last earful I got as I slid into my friend’s car was, ‘Ah, ONLY an hour late’.

#3 I resolve not to read ANY more crappy books year. And NOT throw money on crappy books JUST because they are famously-famous. Last year saw me try-and-fail-and-try-and-fail to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (seriously, does anybody care?), Catch 22 (or something), quite a bit of philosophy, Issac Asimov and Carl Sagan (I foresee the person who gifted me the last two fuming flames on reading this. It’s okay, Gautham, you hated Malcom Gladwell :P )

#4 I will no more be a lazy bum this year. I will rinse my coffee cup once I am done- and not wait to scratch the goo off the next time I take a break.

#5 I will not get my car crashed or scratched every time I take it out for a drive. I have taken it out on my own twice, and either has happened both times.  It is such sadness. Even my own car doesn’t listen to me.

#6 I will NOT buy clothes or accessories over which sales women croon, ‘Madam, it looks beautiful on you!’ I have a collection of Halloween night outfits accumulated in such a way. Throw in a pair of palm sized butterfly earrings, bright, bright pink harem pants and some tops that look like they have time travelled from Alladin’s time.

#7 I will NOT stay quiet when I am stalked or touched inappropriately. I will not stay quiet when I hear another woman’s appeals. Why the addendum? Sad though, that the last time I yelled at a boy (not a man) who tried to grope me, there was a lady walking down the dark, lonely road with her child. The woman heard me scream, pulled her kid, and ran.

#8 I will NOT cut down on chocolates, chicken or pizza. I will NOT stop buying watches, shoes or bags. I will NOT stop buying books or gifting them. Cuponation, just FYI, you know.

#9 I will NOT waste any more of my waking time. I will not day dream about charming princes, I will not gawk shamelessly at Greek-God-like-characters, I will not re-play and go back to over and out scenarios and wish I had said something else or worn something better. I will do my work and wait for the prince to catch up :P

#10 I will not guilt trip anybody who might listen and fall for it. “This might be our LAST trip together as a gang!” “I might get MARRIED next year!” “She gets married only ONCE, you know, you might as well dance if the bride wants you to!” “It’s my ONLY 25th Birthday! It won’t happen again, you know!”

#11 I will not say things I don’t mean. Next time I see someone asking me for an opinion about a hideous saree/ shoes from planet Saturn/ a rat bite hairstyle..i will NOT turn my plastic smile on and say, ‘Who ever said it was bad? It is absolutely lovely!’

#12 I will NOT, and will not allow anybody I know (either) to litter when I am around. This is not a new ‘I will not do’ thing still. Everybody be warned, the embarrassments will continue. Moving cars will stop once you throw stuff out, I will pick it up and put it right back inside.

#13 Lastly, this year. I hope to do everything I choose to, and everything I please. If I had to sum it up- what I will not want out of 2013- Regret :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Chennai- For me :)

This post is published as a part of the CBC Tablog.CBC, for everybody  is the Chennai Bloggers' Club, which I am honoured to be a part of. Over 35 bloggers from Chennai are taking part in this blog tag- we take turns to write about Chennai and what it means to us.This tag is perceeded by Sowmya Swaminathan, who blogs at

Chennai is my city and I am proud of it.

I look at the Cooum with disdain. I complain about the sweltering heat in May, but will raise eyebrows if any of the visitors try to do it incessantly. Come on, we are not even close to the equator!

I shamelessly haggle with the overcharging auto-drivers. I turn my heart to stone every time I hand my card over while fuelling my car.

I turn my nose up at the night curfews imposed by the Government. I hide myself when friends from other states complain about the quality of booze in TASMACs.

I squirm when I see Vijayakanth and Rajanikanth catch/chew bullets and spit them out. I wonder who designed costumes for Vijay when he wears yellow-pink-green-blue combinations.

I speak Tanglish.  I tend to embarrass people by going “What de?No ya.Why ya?” in all the inappropriate places. Sometimes I use the S word too in a very un-lady like way, but it’s okay. It usually gets the desired effect.

The roads make my back hurt. There have been days when I long for rains, and then curse it after a five-minute walk down my street.

I keep scouting for fashion; not that I am a big fan of it, but just to keep in pace with the times; there have been times when I have traveled all the way to Bangalore- just to shop.

Chennai seems to be a difficult city, eh? Seems.

A walk along my city’s vast beach lifts many a dying spirit- every passing minute.

I bow down to the mutually-beneficial concept called share autos.

We appear all hep and mod with our list of labels, but we love our collection of pattu sarees equally and never miss an occasion to flaunt it.

I own three pairs of anklets that I shyly guard like a secret. Every girl here does.

We adorn our hair with jasmine- and its unique, intense fragrance.  No  occasion or saree-ensemble is complete without it.

We draw our kolams with mathematical precision. We team it with piping hot filter coffee at 6 am in the morning. There cannot be a more perfect start to the day.

We may lag behind in the cuisine arena, but we most definitely have something for everybody.

You might be able to count the number of decent pubs my city has on your fingers- but they are definitely safer than anywhere else in the country.

Our men might seem intimidating. But they are can be trusted. They might see. But they will never touch. Only one, in say, a hundred might cause you any trouble. (Sad to quote this as a proud statistic at this juncture, still)

Our mamaas are reasonable. They hear you out. They allow dialogue. They even joke and laugh with/at you at times.

We love springing relations into conversations with strangers. Anna, Akka, Amma, Appa- does wonders.

Our trains are never crowded. We love the yellow metal like crazy. We do the dappan-kuthu EVERYTIME we get a chance.

We can feast dosa-sambar all our life, and we definitely NEED rice, atleast once a day. We have all played kho kho and kabbadi outside, and many a noon has been spent playing pallanguzhi with cousins.

We tend to sway, we tend to be influenced, we tend to be drawn towards so many other things, but- eventually, we all come back to what we call home.

Chennai is my city, and I am proud of it :)

Here I pass the tag to Jefferson Jaikar Anand- who calls himself an incomplete human being who loves f-syllables viz. Food, Fotografy,, nothing more! ;) He blogs at

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

When I Don't Understand..

Long angry post ahead. Not meant to offend anybody, but seriously- we got to do something about this!

Communication- is everything. Social beings that we are, it is of supreme importance that we understand what is being relayed to us, and in turn be understood.

I have been in many, many situations where- I have failed to grasp what was said to me- in a language that I can follow (and subsequently, made a fool of myself). I have also been in situations where I was unable to fathom what was told to me, because of a language barrier. Like- one fine day, I was travelling in a bus in Mumbai- it was one of the first times that I was travelling alone, and I was trying to appear cool, calm and composed. My Hindi- is okay (though my accent makes people go bunny laugh) so I was all, ‘Okay, girl, you can do this’, when the conductor went ‘blahblahblhablah’ in Marathi. Now, I can follow Marathi if it is spoken slowly. This was a little too fast for me, and I immediately got flustered. My face became blank, and I was suddenly embarrassed- for no reason, I realize now. And that is when everybody around you looks at you and goes ‘tsk, tsk’. Anyway, I requested him to talk to me in Hindi (“Mala Marathi yet nahi”) and finally I got my ticket and all was well. I knew that this was okay- because I was not staying in Mumbai indefinitely; I would be going back to my comfort zone of Chennai in a few days’ time.

 So, fast forward to Chennai. Today. I was out with a friend who spoke absolutely no Tamil. We were stuck in a traffic deadlock-like situation. We couldn’t move in front or reverse. We were blocking, and being blocked by vehicles all around us- in a very, very narrow lane. Slowly, the easing process was being carried out by some good samaritans. It was hot, there was a lot of tension in the air. I was upset, my friend was pissed- at the foolhardy state we had gotten ourselves into, and we were surrounded by people who were going ‘vanga, vanga, vanga’. I have been there, so I could fully empathize with my friend when he wore the blank mask that I only remember too well from my experiences. Like every situation, there was some good and some bad to this one too. Folks who guessed the language barrier immediately switched to broken Hindi ‘idar front come..’ and so on. And when I opened my mouth, they immediately went, ‘oh, sister, Tamil a neenga!’ and we were good. There was a bad side too, like I mentioned: Localites, who smirk at you, who pass comments at you assuming you don’t apprehend, who abuse you for no reason other than the fact that you do not understand what the hell is happening! Today, we were fine. But I think of folks who face this every single day. Folks, who never deserve to be spoken to as such, who go through this hassle oh so often! Men and women who are smart, accomplished, achievers- scowling in frustration, because they do not get what is being said to them! It is such sadness. It made me very, very angry.

I have friends who have their own defense mechanism to counter this. They hang around with ONLY Hindi speaking folks. They seize power in numbers. They tried and failed to learn the language- and now they have a smattering of phrases that they use in auto repeat mode. They have this high-and-mighty look when they talk to people they don’t know, attempting to scare the strangers into not messing around with them. They cannot take the strain of communicating with a world that doesn’t bother to give two hoots about them, so in the end, they ALL unanimously say- we HATE Chennai.

Such sadness.

There is no escape route to this. Mentalities will never change. Low borns (not by caste, creed or race- but by thought) will always be low borns. And my city will forever be the city that raises an ‘Oh NO! They have posted you in Chennai? You are so screwed dude!’ reaction.

Preventive action for visitors would be- to learn the language. Atleast- learn to identify the swear words and show them the finger- or shut them up with another equally dirty word. Learn the basic phrases- so that people don’t take you for a ride. I have a friend from Delhi who speaks such amazing Tamil- that he picked in less than a year. I have heard him blast someone who tried to make an ass of him-in Tamil- and I have never felt more proud. He was lucky to have had somebody who took the time and effort to teach him- bless her. Not everybody is as lucky.

Tamil IS the language of our land. It IS the language of our ancestors- it does have a rich heritage, and our works are incomparable. I am proud of it. BUT. Creating a generation of kids who cannot follow Hindi- by making Tamil the only permissible second language- is folly. If one tries to make TN/ Chennai a country in itself, like this, yes- one might succeed at it.  But, one will do good to remember that this royal treatment will last ONLY within the confines of the TN boundary. Once we get out of TN, trust me, we are in for hell. Because, it is like you are blindfolded and let loose in a field, when you cannot make sense of what is being spoken to you. It is unpleasant and I wish nobody ever be in a situation like that.