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Oh, how they get you!

I hate going to a parlor or a salon. If you are getting a haircut, they try to get you to color your hair, or perm it, or buy one of their ridiculously expensive care products. So I decided I shall grow my hair out and see how long I can go without a cut. I have long stopped getting facials at a parlor and do them at home instead. Waxing is something I shall never ever get used to, so going to a parlor for that was out too. Eyebrows however are another story. Since I was going for my BIL’s wedding, I had gotten my eyebrows done, and at that visit I acted like I was in so much of a hurry that the girl at the parlor did not have time to ask me if I wanted anything else. Today when I went back to get my eyebrows done again, I forgot about my in a hurry trick. This is what happened:

Eyebrow Girl(EG): Ma’am have you been here before?

Me: yeah I came about a month back to get my eyebrows done.

EG: Do you want to get your upper lip threaded as well?

Me: No, only the eyebrows please.

EG: Oh, OK (gives my upper lip a hard, long look)

After some time, when she is almost done with eyebrows

EG: Do you want to get a facial cleanup done? You seem to have a lot of black heads…….

Me: Umm…..no thanks.

EG: we are offering a discount on your gold facial too, your skin won’t look so dead anymore…..

Me: No, it’s ok. I am fine.

EG: Ok ma’am, as you wish. What about a haircut? You have too many split ends…

Me: No, it’s ok.

I was done and was at the front desk paying.

Front desk girl(FDG): Ma’am do you want to buy some of our skincare products? This serum here ma’am, it will clean up your dead skin cells and make it glow.

Me: No no, I just want to pay for the eyebrows and leave. Actually I am in a hurry, I have a meeting in 10 minutes!

FDG: Ok ma’am…..(stares at my skin and hair)!

Why didn’t I remember to say that I was in a hurry? It almost always works!

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I volunteer for homework help once a week, where a bunch of us get together to help kids who don’t have any help at home, with their homework. Some of the things I have learnt about the kids as well as their families have given me a new perspective on life.

One time, this mother of a kid also joined us because her daughter was very young and she wanted to be around her. The mother and I got talking. She is from Pakistan, and about the same age as I am.

Mother: Kahan se ho aap?

Me: India

Mother: Kahan rehte ho? Kab aaye yahan?

Me: Blah blah.

Mother: Kiske saath rehte ho?

Me: Husband ke saath.

Mother: Bachche hain?

Me: Nahin.

Mother: Shadi ko kitne saal hue?

Me: Sade char.

Mother: Phie koi medical problem hain ya aaplog bachche nahin chahte?

Me: (I just smiled, did not want to encourage this conversation)

Mother: Pata hain, meri ek cousin hain jo shadi ke baad apni padhayi khatam karne tak bachcha nahin chahti thi, abhi padhayi khatam hui lekin bachcha nahin ho raha hain. Apni body ka koi bharosa nahin.

Me: (Again I just smiled)

Mother: Kitne bhai behen hain aapke.

Me: Ek behen hain.

Mother: Koi bhai nahin hain?

Me: Nahin

Mother: Arey arey. Phir aapke abba ne doosri shadi nahin ki?

Me: (totally shocked and it probably showed on my face) Nahin, kyun karenge? Ladka, ladki kya farak padta hain?

Mother: Aur aapke husband ke?

Me: Uska ek bhai hain.

Mother: Chalo achcha hua.

Me:(hain?)

Mother: Mere pati ki main doosri biwi hoon. Pehli ke teen ladkiyan hui tho usne mujhse shadi kar li.

Me: Oh! Tho aapke kitne ladke hain?

Mother: Che ladkiyan!

Me: 😐

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I was reading this post by IHM and then this original post by Desi Ghee and Coffee that prompted IHM’s. The original article was about how divorces have become so common because feminism has been taken too far by women. As expected, there are a lot of provoking and thought-provoking things said in both posts, and have been covered really well by both bloggers, but one that stood out to me was this:

Men will always be men. They are all stupid. They can never adapt to anything.

In one statement, this person has effectively painted all the men on earth with this generic brush that shows men as weak, stubborn and stupid individuals who will not lift a finger to do anything to make their relationship better.

I want to know what “Men will always be men” means.

Does it mean they will never change to include another person in their life and that they need their wives to be like their mothers, always providing, and never expecting anything in return?

Does it mean they will never show any empathy for this person they married, never treat her like an equal?

Does it mean they need to be mothered all the time, and there cannot be any expectations of them?

Does it mean they will beat the shit out of the wife if she so much as tries to ask for what is her right? Does it mean they will be nothing more than a wall flower at home while the wife breaks her back with all the chores?

Why is men adapting such a big deal anyway? Don’t men adapt when they change jobs, or if the boss changes and has different ways of working? Don’t they adapt when the company policy changes? Why, then, are they unable to adapt when there is another person to share their life with?

What does it say about the thousands of men/husbands who wake up everyday, make the morning coffee, take a shower before the wife does and give her the time she needs in the morning to get herself up and ready for the day ahead? What does it say about those husbands who change diapers, load the dishwashers, clean the bathroom and vacuum the floors?

It is such regressive ideas about men that are doing most men a disservice. Most men I know, especially of my generation, are equally, if not more, invested as their wives are in the household. Are they not ‘men’ because they have adapted to a life of give AND take?

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Then and now

And by that I mean, myself, 10 years back, and now. A lot of things have changed, here are a few:

  • My heart is in a very comfortable place now. At 19 I was confused, angry, and hid my feelings from everyone, because I was scared of rejection.
  • I am so much more at ease with who I am. Growing up I was a very awkward and gawky girl. A misfit. Too tall, too broad, too manly for most girlfriends! There were times when I was told I looked like my mom’s sister, or people asked me if I had kids(when I was barely 20!) Now, I accept my physical attributes, and am happy with myself.
  • I used to be a rebel, still am, but with discretion. Any mention of anything even remotely resembling putting a woman down used to rile me up like crazy. I have put my foot in my mouth umpteen times, made enemies, and generally had people run away from me. Now I have learnt to hold my tongue and now argue where unnecessary.
  • Most of my friends from way back when remember me as the girl who wore clothes that were 2 sizes too big for her and who never ever paid attention to her looks. Until I was about 21 my mom shopped for me(she bought something called “free-size”), because I had no views or preferences on my clothing, and because I had better things to do, like read or meet friends. Part of the problem was that I felt guilty thinking about my appearance. I felt like I should not be superficial and shallow but pay more attention to the inner me. Now, I know better. I know that the outer my is only a shadow of my inner me, and being attentive to my outer me does not take anything away from the real me, only enhances it!
  • I have learnt that I love being independent. Being the master of my own time and fate.
  • The one thing I sorely miss is that feeling of being at home. The feeling that only comes when you are with mommy :-D, the feeling that only comes when you argue with your little sister about that hair straightener, or that shade of the dupatta!

Finally, I want to make a tag of this. What has changed in you in the last 10 years, the “You: Then and Now” tag. If you are reading this post, then consider yourself tagged!

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I was reading this post by Chinkurli and it hit a nerve.

How do you like your parents being on Facebook? And in your friends’ list?

Scene 1: Your mom calls you at night, your time.

Mom: Hey dear how are you today?

You: Hi ma, I am fine…….I saw that you have a new Facebook profile now! Wow great job!

Mom: Yeah all my friends were pestering me to start one. I was looking at your friends list. Is K the one who used to live in our colony, then they moved to Delhi when she was 10?

You: Yeah you remember her then? Hasn’t she changed a lot?

Mom: Yes looks more ‘posh’. She used to run around in chaddi when she was 5…haha

You: Ugh mom every child does that at some point!

Mom: yes yes true …haha

The next morning you login to Facebook and HORROR OF HORRORS there is a post on K’s wall from your mom:

Hello K this is R aunty. How are you? My god you have changed a lot. You used to be a wee little girl running around in the colony in your chaddi when you were little. Please pass my regards to your parents.

Another day another social media story.

Your dad adds you as a friend and you, after a lot of deliberation, accept his request(after almost pressing ignore). One day you post what you think is a very witty post on your wall. Only, your dad knows you in and out, and totally outs you in comments!

Your whole online life is then spent weighing your words so carefully that you barely interact with friends anymore.

One of my friend’s dads posted on her wall asking her if she still runs up huge credit card bills like she used to when she was younger! Poor girl could do absolutely nothing! Another had his mom asking him about an ex-girlfriend, someone who still was in his friends list, if he was trying to get back with her, etc.

Parents should have a separate circle on social media, and that circle should not be allowed to interact with anyone from your generation. That is the only way to live your online life without being scared of your secrets being out all the time! What do you say?

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I was talking to my cousin who just finished his undergraduate course and is waiting for some results etc.

Me: Hey K how are you?

K: Hiiiii! I am fine. Having fun now that exams are done.

Me: I called your place the other day and uncle said you weren’t home. Been a long time since we talked.

K: Yeah I am not at home much these days. Air Force.

Me: Wow you are going to the Air Force Academy? Want to be a pilot? We only have engineers in our family, you would be a first, way to go K!

K: Relax, I meant I go wherever the force of air steers me, like a kite 😉

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What did you say?

I reconnected with this girl who was my junior in school after 10 years, through a social network. We found out that we lived in the same area too! I sent her my number so that we could talk sometime.

At about 4:00pm on a weekday my phone rings.

Me: Hi this is S.

Caller(P): Hey S this is P, remember?

Me: Oh yeah! Hi! How have you been? It is so nice to hear your voice after all these years. It hasn’t changed at all.

P: Yeah it is nice to hear your voice too. I am good S. Life has been good. Got married a couple of years back then decided I wanted to have a baby so I did and now I am a SAHM. I have a little boy who just turned 1.

Me: Wow that is great. Congratulations. 1 year old you said? Nice. How do you like being a mom?

P: It is amazing S. It is one of the best things I have ever done in my life. Hey how about you?

Me: Well, I moved here in blah blah year and have been here since. Married to my college sweetheart for almost 4 years now and work in __.

P: No kids S?

Me: Eh, well, no! Haven’t thought about all that yet…. hehe

P: Come on S. Don’t delay. You are already late. All your juniors have had kids and you are delaying. How long will you wait?

Me: What?? err….ermmmm….hmm….ohh…….yeah…….blurb..blurb…..erm erm…….hey you know what, I have a meeting to run to. I will call you sometime later. Nice to speak to you.

P: Sure S. Do come home sometime to play with little N. Maybe then you might get the maternal feeling and want to have one yourself!

Me: Oh yeah sounds great(ugh). Bye

Needless to say, I haven’t called her yet!

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