Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The BEST supper!

Yesterday was a ground breaking day in my life… I COOKED, or more specifically I TRIED TO COOK!

Now why on earth would I do something so uncharacteristically outstandingly mindblowingly impossible? The reason was simple: as simple as a rotten gobi, or more precisely, an about-to-be rotten gobi.

Our home has a very simple modus operandi . My flatmate cooks, she bakes yummy cakes and she shops for relevant groceries, i.e. rice, dal, spices, vegetables. I mostly eat out, or order in or gleefully accept whatever she dishes out, and so far I hadn’t really ventured to figure out what we store and where we store, and how all of it looks like. So while I am content with the eggs and the Maggie and the bread, I can hardly distinguish one spice from another and terms like dhania powder, lal mirch and turmeric barely make any sense to me. No correction, they barely MADE sense to me. Please note the past tense! Because since yesterday night, I am no longer a cooking virgin and yes, I know how to add spice to my life, I mean cooking. So far my kitchen exploits were strictly guided by my mom’s expert instructions, but now that I am all grown up and alone, I can manage with valiant directives over the phone, a few downloaded recipes from the net, detailed descriptions on the IM and Q&A sessions with colleagues with a little help from padosi who has more experience in the kitchen than I do.

So it all started with my flatmate mourning about the rotten-to-be gobi and her inability to come home early enough to cook. And since we are both broke, we appreciate the value of each penny and consider wastage as a criminal offence. So clearly letting that expensive gobi rot wasn’t an option. So the only other alternative was that I should cook it, as impracticable as it may sound. I borrowed some money from her and on my way back after managing to convince a very (I repeat VERY) skeptical padosi, we bought rice along with Maggie and pepsi (back up options).

And, ladies and gentleman, at the auspicious hour of precisely 9 pm, I started peeling potatoes and that life changing gobi! The next couple of hours were kind of a whirl that I never imagined I would put myself through as I tentatively navigated through uncharted territories and alien objects like oil, spices, not to mention microwave and non stick pans. My padosi was a little more steady, a little more confident and a little more comfortable than I was. I managed to burn the gobi and what was initially intended to be a curry, ended up being a fried, burnt variety, but which was still edible (or I would like to believe so). Padosi came up with a dal which he proclaimed to be amazing (and in absence of better options, I agreed)
So as we messed up the kitchen, as our sink was filled with dirty utensils (as if we fed an entire baraat), as we sat there exhausted at 11 pm, as we ate our first home cooked meal in one month, I felt so blissfully happy: my first cooked meal, as terrible it was, it was THE BEST SUPPER EVER!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Happiness Quotient>Poorness Quotient

Right now I love my life; it’s not perfect, but it’s as close to perfect as it ever was! Yes, I have no money (not even to pay the autowala) and yes, I am still single, and yes, I don’t enjoy my job as my hypothetical idealistic hopelessly romantic alter ego would like to, but I AM very very happy.

I love having friends who bring home alcohol and chicken as we get drunk, as we make noise, as we go out at 230 in the morning for chocolate mousse and as we somehow squeeze ourselves on the bed, the sofa and the divan. It reminds me of my childhood when I would do the same with my cousins in a small two roomed apartment with my mom perpetually grumbling!

I love the cafeteria food: it’s cheap, it’s simple and it saves me the headache of worrying about food. The same old idli for breakfast, the same old mini meal for lunch and the same old leftover dinner all for 50 bucks works wonders!

I love my mundane life in spite of disappearances of “beautiful” dustbins and appearance of deaf and dumb maids after three rounds of interviews and cat poop on the window!

I love the fact that I get to have weird guests who turn up late at night and then we land up at somebody’s place even later to wish them happy budday and mess up their flat and then go drinking when the bar is about to close and then end up spending 200 bucks for a single flame shot (described as 2 mins of ecstasy inclusive of the 1.5 mins of foreplay)

And I love discussing hypothetical parental ground rules about my hypothetical kids and the hypothetical games and the extra- curricular activities that I will impose on them!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hypothetically Speaking...

At times when you are sitting at your desk, post lunch, desperately looking to come up with “deep actionable insights” and failing miserably, your mind drifts away to hypothetically important issues which lose their significance the moment you pen them down (like right now… I am supposed to comment on some four financial parameters and after two days of struggle I have given up and decided to comment on my life instead: the not-so-important aspects)

So I am still to receive my first salary (one more week to go) and I have Rs 7 left in my account and I am paying off kind padosis not through cash but through Sodexho coupons.

I hate running into my senior in the washroom, especially when we are in the adjacent loos and we hear one another pee and come out sheepishly, not knowing what to say.

I indulge in day dreaming and futile discussions with friends over the IM, planning a hypothetical trip to some hypothetical place when we finally get our hypothetical salary.

I finished my first peg of whisky without getting drunk and I can finally claim that I have “acquired” the taste for it, though I still can’t claim I like it. When did drinking become a proof of sophistication? It’s similar to reading classics. You love to claim that you have read it, but secretly you know you didn’t enjoy it.

I dislike Fair and Lovely shade cards, BMI, excel sheets, CV shortlisting and surprise engagements: all of which lead to drinking with hypothetical friends and walking alone and lengthy late night conversations and sarcastic chowkidaars.

I know I should do something useful with my life: like FRM, CFA, IAS, or at least journalism but all I do is obsess about hypothetical situations.

All said and done, a lot of things in my life are, well hypothetical

Friday, June 19, 2009

When the going gets tough, the tough eats ice cream...

Now that the honeymoon period in my new house is over, reality has started sinking in, and well, not everything is as hunky dory as it is supposed to be…

1. It seems like we don’t employ people, they employ themselves. Like for instance, one evening, a boy in jeans n T shirt turns up and asks for clothes to iron, even though we never called any laundry person. But we thought it’s rude to refuse him, and we give him our most expensive clothes and he disappears for the next 10 years…
2. We employ a maid who stops coming after a week. Then a new one walks in and says she will work. We let her, no questions asked. Then she disappears for three days and we don’t know her name or contact number and we also don’t know how to abuse in Hindi…
3. Our apartment doubles up as a mini zoo where we get regular visits from insects, lizards, pigeons and a particular cat which wakes me up every morning by jumping in through the window…
4. Then people who claim to be unstable and sick suddenly seem to get back to normal human tendencies and I realize that the problem was with me, and not them; and I find myself getting high on ice cream and cribbing for four hours to a patient padosi on a moonlit night, coming up with the “Bucket Theory” after we reject the hypothesis of “compartmentalization”.
5. Finally, the bad news is that my oh-so-perfect room mate who makes the perfect rice and who shares the perfect life with me is supposed to be transferred to Chennai by her oh-so-imperfect company. So I am back to square one, back to waiting (for a flatmate this time) and back to uncertainty…

FRESH UPDATE: My oh-so-perfect flatmate isnt leaving after all!!! n we are ecstatic... paradise regained...
and due acknowledgement to Soumya for the title of the post!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The moment of truth... FINALLY!

As I settle down in my new office with my new friends and new neighbours and new cats, the days of sleeping through training sessions is over. Now I am on projects, going through umpteen reviews and by the time my product is back after god knows how many edits, all that is left over are numerous track changes (IN RED) and nothing of the original piece is retained except my name (even the title goes through thorough transformations). It’s kind of heartbreaking when you have spent hours, when you have left office at 10 pm when everybody else have left, when you have worked on weekends and come to office at 8 on a Monday morning, but well, I am trying to learn to not get too emotionally attached to my product. And yes, I try to convince myself that I am still a good writer!
But the weekend was kind of eventful. Friday night when we finally left office at a godforsaken hour, we decided that it’s too lame to go home and so the only other option was to get drunk! I was tired, I was hungry and I was depressed and I figured that this was my best chance to get sloshed at minimum effort and cost. So yes, the marginal utility theory definitely was applicable here. And 800 bucks later I was there! I was high and happy, I lost my way back from the washroom, I struggled as I was helped down the stairs and into the auto and then into my flatmate’s arms at 1:30 am by an equally drunk padosi. And then, ladies and gentlemen, the moment of truth: yes, I FINALLY THREW UP!!! Something that had eluded me for so long no matter how hard I tried!
The next morning wasn’t nearly that much fun as I woke up with a terrible hangover made worse by the fact that both Shals and I overslept and didn’t open the door when the maid knocked which meant that I had to clean up the mess I had made. Then we played hosts for the first time as we shopped for groceries, stacked our fridge, spruced up our rooms (and ourselves too) with this “blue” theme: i.e. blue bedsheets, curtains and matching blue outfits but stopped short of the blue movie! And then the best part was that our adorable guests brought chocolates for us and then, and then, THEY COOKED ROASTED CHICKEN and French fries and Maggie at our humble home while WE ATE. Once more after our Kerala trip we experienced the magic of this certain mallu guy who is so passionate about cooking that he talks to the chicken as he stands there peeling off the muscles, the fat and the liver. And I quote him: “I have legs, I have breasts and I have wings!” and that definitely makes us scream, “Hot chick(en)”…
And finally rounding off the weekend was coming up with the “Theory of Cupboards” at 1 a.m. with my padosi who is now my padosi in every sense of the term!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Dream Weekend!

My first weekend at my new house was kind of a liberating experience… I had guests staying over, losers dropping by anytime they want, for food and for making fun of me at MY OWN HOUSE, drawing room “mishaps”, staying out till midnight without having to face the wrath of parents/security/warden, fooling around with the cooking gas (cooking is too strong a word to use for preparing Maggie and omlette but yeah, I am getting there, slowly), making people jealous about my house and trying on a combination of nail polish, sunscreen n foundation at 3:00 a.m. in the morning!

And yes, CLEANING THE TOILET FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YOUR LIFE really really liberates you from whatever inhibitions you may have left…

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Theory of Beer Equivalence!

I survived the first week in the Mumbai office, still in training, and still not much work, and lots of free coffee, free water (yes, I understand the value of water now that I have to BUY it) and full fledged social networking! And since I am not much of a cook (I mean NO cook), I have all my meals in the office cafeteria only. May be that’s the reason I am blessed with a work station in one corner right next to the door which leads to the café, so that I can slip out unnoticed umpteen number of times! Well, when I am not in the café, I am chatting with my padosi who also has no work and whose motto in life is, “eat till you are sleepy, and sleep till you are hungry”. Now in the past five days, after n cups of coffee, long lunches, and roadside dinners, we have come up with three very important theories:
1. The Theory of Aesthetics and Privacy
2. The Theory of the Coffee Machine
3. The Theory of Beer Equivalence

Then Friday was Impact Day when all the employees of our company the world over go on the streets to work for a cause that they are passionate about. And then there are people who are forced to register for causes about which nobody is passionate about. So I was in one such thread, “Road safety” with a couple of other friends. So finally what was supposed to be a long, tedious day in the sun, turned out to be not just that, but more, especially since we kept slipping in and out of the nearest CCD! However it was a pretty cool experience given that we got to scare people pretending that we were these hotshots masquerading as police proxies.

I am still getting used to domesticity, still getting used to grocery shopping, still wasting money on locksmiths, plumbers, electricians and broadband connections. I still can’t imagine that things I took for granted till a week ago, actually required so much of hard work! And yes, I am also a host now! Nidhi is staying with me tonight, and I am monitoring her progress for her exam tomorrow. But why do people inflict so much torture on themselves VOLUNTARILY by writing exams at this age is beyond me…

Monday, June 1, 2009

MY house, MY life!

Last night was mind boggling, unbelievable, something that happens once in seven years for me! I actually slept in MY VERY OWN ROOM, all by myself!! No loud noises, no sleeping with lights on, no screaming in the background, and definitely no getting up stealthily because you are scared to wake your room mate. Mind you, all of it was fun for seven years, and hostel life was THE BEST phase of my life, but now, that I have been there, done that, I crave for this little corner all to myself, my little space where I can do whatever I like and not do what I don’t like! I know shelling out one fourth of my salary on rent is simple stupidity (as have been pointed out many a wise individuals) but I am willing to pay that price: alcohol and partying are important to some people, privacy is important to me, and just to make sure I justify the exorbitant amount of rent, I have decided to spend quality time at home, with myself, almost as if to enjoy that privacy that I am paying for so dearly!

But yeah, things I like about my new house (this even after getting locked out of my room for an hour and paying the locksmith a ridiculous amount to get me inside-

1. The closet space: you can’t imagine the thrill of at last seeing ALL my clothes and accessories together at one place! For seven years I have lived out of a suitcase, where one third of my outfits were stuffed in some bag, which never saw the light of day, and therefore I never had a chance to wear them!
2. The fact that it’s so ridiculously close to my office, so close that even autowalas refuse to drive at times. Five minutes of travel time in Bombay is a rare luxury!
3. That it is close to the Hiranandani main market which makes all the hip places accessible, yet far enough to enjoy the serenity of suburban life!
4. The hall, the cane furniture, the homely feel to it, which makes you want to come home and invite people too!
5. And ahem, the kitchen! I am no cook by any stretch of imagination, but I like the idea of having our own fridge, our own corner where we can store our favourite fat free ice cream (such a thing doesn’t exist by the way) and make what we want, even if it’s just Maggie or omlette or sandwich!