Friday, January 18, 2013

How are you feeling, Anshu?

FB asks me that (the blog title) every time I log in. The minute I see that and the umpteen updates of my friends detailing every single minute of their lives, I hit 'Log Out' almost instantly. I think I'm over it, really.

I logged into my blog absently and checked the date of the last post - Jan 21, 2012. Just 3 days shy of a full calender year. I re-read my last post and realized that I haven't really changed much, but my life sure as hell has. I suddenly felt the urge to update this space with all that has happened since that last post; just so I feel like I've recorded this part of my life somewhere. That way I may read it in another year or 5 years or 10 years and remember the strange feeling of mine when I wrote this post. Because I sure as hell remember how I felt on Jan 21, 2012.

1. I got a job, a pretty awesome and superbly cool one.

2. Broke a pretty big news to my parents, more to come on this.

3. I graduated, in style (duh!).

4. Found a new family, it felt strangely nice.

5. Moved, literally 'cross-country', to a city that I have come to love with all my heart.

6. Leased a condo with a view that could make people jealous, the nameS on the condo mailbox evokes strange feelings even today.

7. Celebrated many birthdays (not just mine), and a full calender year of festivals including Diwali, Pongal and of course NYE in full spirits.

8. Somewhere between Diwali and Christmas I said 'YES' to something that I vowed I'd never do.

9. I became a non-blood-related 'Aunt', the title is now freaking official I guess.

10. I'm surprisingly in a state of uncomfortable peace, yes I did say 'uncomfortable peace', go figure!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Simple Plan

1/21/2011 2012

It took 3 class sessions to realize that I'd been scribbling the wrong date on all of my notes. I've never been this spaced out. Which is not that surprising given how cynical and bitter I've become over the past couple of years. It was the first time I didn't care much about my birthday or any special occasion and least of all New Year's. I wished my sister who was half-asleep next to me at 12:30'ish and promptly went to bed myself. I did not send out emails or post on anyone's walls or even blog about it. What was the big deal after all? Just another year...just another day...why all the hoopla? That's become my general attitude towards any of the "special days" people celebrate. Which in turn brings me to the all important question of "what the hell?"; how did I, of all people, end up like this?

My phases in life have been super weird, to say the least. When my mom was pregnant with me, she was pretty sure and convinced that she was going to have a baby boy. But when I came along, I did not disappoint her. I was the biggest brat my family had ever seen. I was rude, brash, a tom-boy, dirty and sneaky. For a very long time, I was pretty sure I had been switched in a crowded market place. My baby pics look(s)ed nothing like me. My parents had no clue how they ended up with a child like moi. In my defense, I was trying to be the "boy" my mom wanted.

But it did not last long, out of nowhere I became kinda girly. It had to hit one day and unfortunately for me it was a little earlier than expected. And over the next decade I went through my awkward phase of life. Totally clueless with highly suicidal tendencies and being in a constant state of depression. Not to mention the uber-awkward phase of struggling to figure out what the hell was going on in the highly controversial "beauty" department. I have no idea how and why I look like what I do today. That being said, I did somehow manage to graduate and get a job.

The biggest turning point in my life was that stupid job. I paid my dues for 4 years, happily and with no regrets. Why? Because that's where I actually grew up. My love for Bangalore and it's people and those amazing friends I have will never go away. I have no clue where my grade school, high school or college people are. The one thing I knew from day 1 was that I was a total misfit in my hometown or almost anywhere else. I just feel lesser of a misfit in some places than others. That's the simple truth of my life. And in Bangalore I felt exactly that and I guess that's why when people ask me where I come from, I say Bangalore (India). And to hell with you if you give me crap for that. In hindsight, I fell into step in Bangalore on a much more easier and faster pace that I had imagined. All I had to worry about was the cheque at the beginning of the month to my housekeeper. I did not give a damn about anything else and ran the rat race dutifully, as expected. But Bangalore is the place where I found a better me, my awesome girl-friends and not to mention, VJ. Bangalore was also the place where I found my way to the good ol' South. 

And though my love for Columbia does not extend beyond my beautiful campus, I definitely count it as one of the other places where I have felt the least as a misfit. My life here has been nothing but a rude wake-up call. Figuring out everything from getting a roof over my head to food in the fridge and checking the dead-bolt on the door at night. Also, the huge electricity bills thanks to my paranoia of not being able to sleep alone in the dark. All you Green people, I'm sorry but I am working on it. And I think I have a solution. But later on that. The one thing about these past two years that has kept me as happy as a fish in water is the routine of student life. To me, in my mind, it's just another fancier-sounding name than the rat race. The OCD that I am, this routine keeps me away from the nut house. And the bottle. But in short, life here has been...I think the word I'm searching for is "happy"; but I'm not so sure. However, I'm ok with that choice for now.

I've got 4 more months. This place with it's people and the thousand other things that go with it has been my second stab at growing up. You see, I try. It's the least I can do. I had a simple plan when I got here. But it got a little complicated somewhere along the way. I've become horribly cynical, I feel like I've hardened and become ruthless in many ways, I've definitely been in more frequent bouts of depression; but worst of all, I've managed to find a way through all of this. And at the end of the day, even though I did not celebrate on my birthday or ring in the New Year NYC style, I've managed to somehow find my own version of peace. And "that" definitely calls for a celebration. :)

Happy New Year y'all!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I have been unfaithful. Sorry. But it's just that this new experiment has been so good and interesting, that I lost sight of you. I did NOT mean to do it. It just happened. But I hope you understand. Please, personal blog...please. But I promise I will not let my cooking blog over-shadow you any more. I swear...cross my heart and hope to die!

But seriously, you should visit my cooking blog here. Go on, click it. It won't kill you. I know because I've tried it myself.

Most of the recipes I have on my blog are skewed towards being Northern Indian cuisine which is a little weird given that I am actually a Tamilian a.ka. South Indian. But actually it isn't that weird at all. My amma is an excellent cook and I never saw the value in making the same dishes. To me it was all about what other dishes can I serve up on weekends when amma took her much needed break from cooking.

Appa was my happy helper who shopped and did all the pre-cooking stuff for me. Kupy was my much needed food critic who tasted everything and told me what was good and bad. I watched Khana Khazana, Tarla Dalal and so many other shows dished out by the cable networks in India for recipes, inspirations and motivation to keep cooking different dishes. I learnt how to make parathas, rotis, phulkas and nan from friend's and their mother etc. I shamelessly stalked people for recipes which I tasted and liked.

It's been quite a journey from that naive and gawky 12 yr old to the wise and old 27 yr me of today. Here's hoping I grow and learn from this journey to experiment with different cuisines and different ingredients. Here's to hope :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to School

I'm back home!!!

I still have a couple of boxes to unpack to be officially moved in. But damn, the last two boxes are the hardest. After a trip to the bigger and better Indian store, I have a fully functional kitchen. My spice shelf looks oh-so-pretty. Making dal tadka and handi paneer today :)

Classes start on Tuesday but I already have a pile of homework to be done. Is it too early to start cribbing? :P

We had the first party yesterday at a friend's place and it was so good seeing everyone. 4 months is a long time and this is the last year of school. But I'm not going to think about that now. But I'll say this much: It's good to be back :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Dangerous Eye Age

Monica: Well yeah, but, you know, uh, 27 is a dangerous eye age.

I smirked to myself when I first heard this line on F.R.I.E.N.D.S. But now, having turned 27 myself, I am not smirking. I actually find myself agreeing with Monica. 27 is a dangerous eye age. It makes you see stupid visions; good ones like those dreams you had when you were a naive teenager and pictured yourself as a career woman who managed a home with a handsome husband and angelic cherubs for kids. And bad ones like those that you get when you're depressed and wallowing in self-pity. It throws all these random images at you (good and bad) like it's mocking you; trying to show you what's in store in the future and that one small step in the wrong direction and you're doomed.

It's not like turning 25 or 26. My only concern when I turned 25 was that the next time I picked up a book, I could never imagine myself as the lead protogonist if she would be in her "early twenties". And that thought scared me more than anything else. What's left to life if you cannot lose yourself in a book with the belief that one day you may be that girl in the book!

To me, turning 27 felt like getting interrogated by federal agents. OK, I know I'm exaggerating but that's how it feels to me. It's hard enough that you do it in your head everyday but when you have this SMug, Annoyingly Know-it-all (SMAK) version of yourself interrogate you...its even worse.

SMAK: So,'ve done well.
You: *BLINK* Really? I mean, thank you. *SMALL SMILE*
SMAK: Thank you? (sneeringly) Let me explain it to you, retard..."that" was sarcasm.
You: *GULP* So you mean I haven't done well?
SMAK: Are you successful?
You: Um...well...not see...I...
SMAK: Then NO! (bangs a fist on the table)
SMAK: And don't even get me started on things in the personal front... (sneers again)
You: *WIDE-EYED DUMB EXPRESSION* I know...but...I think...its OK...
SMAK: It's not OK, until I say its OK! It's been 27 yrs and you still haven't gotten that into your head, haven't you?
You: *DEMENTED LOOK* What do you think I should do?
SMAK: Let me tell you what I think you should do...get off that fat-ass of yours and get cracking. You have 3 years hear me? 3-freaking years...find that career that you've been dreaming about...fight for that love you've been yearning for...and for heaven's sake settle down for once! I've had it upto this with your rants and self-pity sessions (raises hand to hold a feet above head)
You: *SHAKING AND TREMBLING* I'm trying...I've been trying all along...
SMAK: Well, then you better try harder...OK Old Lady?
SMAK: Oh yeah, then who's this shrivelled, ugly hag in the mirror? (holds up a mirror to your face)

I told you, 27 is a dangerous eye age *SIGH*

On a totally happy note, my brother's wife delivered a healthy and beautiful little baby girl today! On my b'day! And...*DRUMROLL* she's gonna have at least a pet name that's gonna be similar to mine. How cute is that? See...I can be cheery too :)

Now that I think about it...27 is not that bad, I guess.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lost in Translation

Do you know what Moringa is?

If you do, tell me one thing...did you Wiki-it or Google-it or did you just know? If you belong to the last category, then wow! I mean, really, wow!

It's not that I did not know about it but the fact that when I did find out what it was, I laughed so hard that I'm sure my landlady thought I was having a crazy fit.

Background story time: My friend/colleague/co-intern was leaving this Friday and she's been such a big help not just to me but to all the interns in my office. So when people started talking about gifts for her, I pitched the idea of a gift-set from 'The Body Shop'. People weren't too enthusiastic about it and so I decided to just do it on my own. I owed her a lot and she was such a dear to me when I first moved here. I left office a little early and headed right into the center of the city near the Dom and made my way to 'The Body Shop'. I wandered around and tried 4 or 5 different fragrances and decided on one that was named Moringa. I checked the label and it said nothing about the flower or the fragrance which was weird. But the fragrance was really nice and I liked it a lot and decided to just go for it.

But I was curious about this Moringa flower ('cause the bottle had this small white flower in the label) and kept thinking about it on the ride home. I settled down with a cup of coffee and Google cum Wiki'd it. And this is what I got:

Moringa oleifera, the word Moringa probably came from dravidian language Tamil and commonly referred to as Murungakai.

For those of you who don't get it...I'm a Tamilian and my native language is the dravidian language Tamil. And no, I did NOT know this.

And Moringa or Murungakai is a vegetable that is very common in the southern part of India. It's considered to have very high nutrition value and the plant or tree is even grown in most homes. It's leaves and fruit (or the vegetable Murungakai) is regularly included in our diet.

If my mom heard about this, she'd guffaw and say: "Murungakai scent a namma ooru la vithu paaru...kall-ala adi pattu sethu than pove". Loosely translated: if you try to sell this in India, you'd probably get stoned to death.

I wonder what other "exotic" fragrances I would find in The Body Shop :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Geet & Me

There is nothing similar about me and the lovable character of Geet. Actually we are poles apart. But I do feel kindred towards her character for one reason: running behind trains/buses/rickshaws etc.

All my friends from Bangalore would vouch for the fact that no matter how early I wake up or how quickly I get ready in the morning, I am always late by a silly 2 minutes. It may not seem much, but it is enough to make me run behind the bus; literally everyday. I can actually count on my two hands the number of times that I have reached the stop early and waited for the bus. Yes, I am that bad. But in my defense, if it wasn't for me...Koramangala 4th block (SONY Signal or Maharaja Hotel stop) would have no entertainment. From running across the busy SONY Signal without waiting to check for traffic, to running alongside the bus a good 20 feet and banging on the sides to get the cleaner's attention, to cutting across the path of the bus in filmi-suicidal style...I have done it all. And I guess that is also the reason that no cute guy on my bus ever made the effort to talk to me. Such is life! *SIGH*

At USC, I live two blocks from my campus; so I walk to school daily. But of course here in Germany, my office is located in a village. Yes, a village. There is nothing here except for this huge plant. Nothing else. So obviously I live in a nearby city; that is slightly bigger, better and well connected. But which also means that I need to depend on a bus/tram AND a train to get me to office everyday. Not just one bus or train. But two switches. Which means twice the amount of running. My apartment has a bus stop just around the corner. I can actually see the buses and trams making their way to the stop and I obviously run everyday to catch up. After that, once I reach the Hauptbahnhof, I have to go all the way to platform 5 A for my train. Which means two floors (that's two escalators) and crossing the main lobby. All of which of course I run across. The one good thing though, is that in the Hauptbahnhof...EVERYONE is running one way or another. So I don't mind it much.

So like any normal day, I step out and see Bus # 60 already at the stop. I quickly check my watch and start sprinting. As I crossed the taxi stand, I heard a sickening crunch over my right shoulder like glass or brittle plastic shattering on the concrete pavement. I paid no heed to it and continued sprinting to the bus. An old man was good enough to keep the doors open for me as I made it in the nick of time. I found a seat and sat down to catch my breath. Then, I remembered that strange sound and decided to make sure that I had all my things with me. My handbag was clasped shut but the sleeve where I keep odd ends like mints, phone, ID card and other girlie-stuff had no zipper or clasp. So I groped around without even bothering to look inside to make sure that all the things were inside and not on a pavement around the corner. That's when I missed it. That familiar square-tubish, leathery feel of my lipstick holder. I looked inside and didn't find it. Now, judge me all you want but it was NOT just a lipstick holder. It was a gift from a very, very special someone and I had my favorite shade of L'Oreal in it. The lipstick itself didn't matter much because I could get it at any CVS or WalGreens. It was the lipstick holder that mattered more to me than anything else.

All this while, the bus had not moved away and I double, triple checked only to realize that I didn't have it on me. Which was weird because in true tradition, I always wear my lipstick on the elevator ride down from my apartment and I had just used it. So I couldn't have left it at the apartment. As all these thoughts flashed through my mind I hesitated just a nano-second before deciding to de-board the bus. I really didn't care that I would have to take the next train and be 30 mins late to office...but I needed that lipstick holder back. I ran again after checking the screen for the next tram to Hauptbahnhof in 5 minutes and reached the taxi stand. I started looking everywhere...under the bushes...near the cycle stands...under the nearest parked taxi...everywhere...but darn it! It wasn't there. I was so heart-broken. And that's the exact minute that my phone decided to beep about low-battery warning. I impatiently looked inside the bag and there...right next to my cheap, 10 Eruo phone was my lipstick holder. I had no time to even rejoice as the next tram was almost at the cursing and mentally kicking myself for being such a fool; I ran to catch my tram and even managed to make it to my train which was *drumroll* 5 minutes late...yay!

In conclusion: I have held up my tradition and provided pure entertainment value not only to 4th Block Koramangala...but also to Bismarckplatz in my small city. I think I just found my life's true purpose :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I was talking to my friend Sunitha a couple of days ago and she mentioned something* that made me literally stop and think. What she said had little to do with me per say and more to do with how I view myself.

I think very poorly of myself. How and where that comes from, I'm not too sure...but I think it has something to do with my up-bringing. I was never the model child in my family. I was a brat, to put it mildly. I had issues and I had no idea how to deal with them. The only way that I knew was to be rebellious. This of course made my parents worry a great deal and the only way that they thought would change me was to compare me with anyone and everyone around. To them, any child on the road was better than me. From my sister (who btw, was THE model child) to all of my classmates. So obviously I hated them all, including my sister. But it also made me feel highly inadequate about my own abilities. And the little things that I could do well, I always looked for external validation from others to make me feel surer. Surer that yes, I was actually good at something.

And I carry this like a burden on me to this day. Another spin-off about this issue of mine is that I also constantly evaluate myself (and my life) based on what others have achieved. By others I mean those people my parents thought right to compare me against. So it comes as a horrible surprise when someone does the same with me as the yard-stick. I feel like gagging when I hear people tell me that. Because I am doing the exact same thing with someone/anyone/everyone else.

I have nothing against my parents, believe me. They did the best job they could with a brat like me. And all that I am today is because, whatever it is that they was a dammed good job 'cause I am in a good place in my life. Of course, I had problems in my growing-up years but which teenager didn't? It reminds me of this song that I loved in my teenage years...Affirmation by Savage Garden. And this one line in particular: "I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do". It's not like our parents were interviewed or shortlisted before they became mom and dad. And it's not like prior experience was a pre-requisite to become parents. They just married and had kids. Because that's what they did. Come to think of it, that's what most of us are going to do too. Or have already done. Whatever. No one has answers to these kind of questions and it anyways demands a completely different post in itself.

Which brings me to the other issue that I have. Now, I do understand that this kind of comparison does make me get off my lazy ass and do things for myself. But it also makes me look at some others on my down-in-the-dump days and say to myself: " Thank God, I'm better than him/her". Now before you get all judgmental on me...cut me some slack! I'm human, after all. But here again the sick part that I can't help think about is...who is looking at me like that and saying the same thing to themselves? You know, the one with "Thank God, I'm better off than A".

Oh, it makes me feel sick... :(

* Sunitha said that she learnt a lot of things from me. That she wonders how I am so responsible about things in life and even take care of every small issue that she didn't even know would need attention in life. It made me smile then; and it makes me smile now. Thanks Sunitha :)

Monday, July 25, 2011


The first time I saw these 3 words was on Stevie's status message and although had given me the "definition", on an imp I asked Stevie what it meant and enjoyed the brief "education" from him on Americana.

Today is my FML day. And there's no escaping it.

Also, it's confession time. So here goes (deep breath): I CANNOT LIVE ALONE

There, I've said it.

The so-called independent me does not mind saying this. Because I don't think that being independent is synonymous with being alone. I moved out when I was 22 and I've lived independently ever since. I survived on my own and learnt about everything from signing cheques to always keeping an extra tube of toothpaste or storing a couple of hundred bucks in a small purse in the bottom shelf of the cupboard for those emergency days when my forgetfullness caught up with me. I learnt it all and I am proud of it.

But that doesn't mean that I am going to stay alone for the rest of my life. No. I refuse to do that. And the simple reason for the same being that I hate myself when I stay alone. I become whiny, wallow often in self-pity, have horrible mood swings like I'm constantly PMSing, start skipping meals, be a couch potato on weekends etc. I hate myself!

I need people around me. Within reach. Not a phone-call or mail or any of that crap. I mean really within reach. Who can come over and give me a hug and sit next to me with a Kleenex box when I am howling away about something/anything stupid. Who can give me a pep-talk when I am too depressed and put my head through a wall when I am being too depressing. I need people like that.

There have only been 2 instances when I have been really "alone". And both the times were in Germany. Which is a weird coincidence. The first time I came here on a work project, the recession hit and all the people were called back. Since my project was already billed, there was no reason to send me back and so they let me stay. I spent 2 weeks alone in the huge guest house until mom came during Diwali to stay with me and keep me company for about a month. This time around, mom was kind enough to offer to come again...but with my student stipend it was impossible for me to afford a place where we could stay. So I obviously said no. But how I wish I could have had someone with me. I spent 3 blissful weeks in June travelling and meeting my classmates around Europe and those 3 weeks were the only time I remember being genuinely happy. So I guess that further proves my point.

Now with less than 3 weeks to go, I am getting frustrated and I want to go home. Now. Right now. I have had enough of this staying alone crazy routine. I just want to be home. With familiar faces all around of me. Friends within huggable distances. Company that can be easily assembled for a "chai-time" get-together or leftovers potluck. All of that. And more.

I am going to be 27 soon and I've had it. I've taken care of myself long enough. And now I want to be taken care of for a change.

I need a place called home. With people in it called friends and family.

Monday, July 18, 2011


--> On days like this, I think God is definitely male

--> is not accessible in office. Apparently it comes under the category of "profanity"

--> I have sat with my legs supported on a box since 9 AM...inner peace...inner peace!

--> I need to stitch up that rip in my sweater or stop wearing it to work or make peace with the stares I get

--> I called a friend skrud-face because I remembered it from an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

--> Had a very nice surprise yesterday from a special, stupid, crazy, loveable someone. Kept smiling the whole day for no reason except that a name and a person kept popping in front of my eyes

--> You know you are in love when all the songs makes sense. - Inspired from Castle

--> My recent conversations with a particular friend goes like this:
d: guess what
me: wat?
d: chicken butt
me: skrud face
d: whaaaaaaat
me: wat wat?
d: i have a sexy face
me: or so your mirror would have you think
d: that word is nonsense
me: thats what all skrud faces say
d: have you been drinking at work?
me: i wish i was
d: no you dont
me: why not?
d: because you dont drink. now tell me something sweet!!!!!!
me: gulab jamun
d: oh god...what in the world is that
me: its a sweet
d: i need it in english
me: waffle balls

--> I love my Maybelline mascara and hate my Maybelline eyeliner...I need to find that L'Oreal eyeliner that I packed in one of the 4 bags I bought with me for an internship of 3 months to Germany

--> And I also cannot find that 4-pack of Maggi that I packed in one of those 4 bags

--> It has been raining for one week straight here...meh

--> Some cleaning lady in office threw away my packet of appalam. I found it in the newly changed trash bag all by itself. It was double-bagged anyways, so I picked it up and inspected it and decided to keep it sans the double bags. Don't judge

--> I spent Saturday creating Friends lists and now I have categorised the 271 friends on FB (with new, updated Privacy settings)

--> I hate it when my s's are forcefully converted to z's. I don't believe in conversion of any form or nature

--> Today is Sankatahara Chaturthi and I miss home and my kutti pilaiyar kovil

--> I have 7 GB of songs on my hard-disk but I have no idea which ones to put on my iPod...VJ, where are you when I need you the most?

--> I told someone today that he smells like spring and summer in a bottle...I really need to follow that "Think twice before you speak" advice that people talk about

--> I'm going through a anti-food phase after I weighed myself yesterday night

--> I miss Mai, Chand and Radz. All of you should move to Germany with me for the next 3 weeks and then to the US for the next 5 years. This is an order. Or I will commit suicide. I mean it

--> I cannot stop counting the days until Aug 13. But it also means that I am counting faster to turn 27 and that is not good

--> I am turning 27...'nuff said

...and I end the post on this depressing note...*belch*