Friday, July 24, 2015

That five letter word

There’s a five letter word that I have grown up with but I have grown to hate.
A word that rolled off my tongue effortlessly, when I saw a lady that fit my definition of old which usually meant she wore lipstick and had breasts. I instantly rechristened her Aunty.  The world seemed just as normal as mamma, papa or bhaiya.  I never thought  that this seemingly innocent word could redefine you. Aunty =officially old.

Even though I am at a legit aunty age, I casually use this noun as an adjective that describes other women that aren’t “cool”. No, you can’t wear that. Do you want to look like an aunty? * Friend throws dress in the corner and opts for the sluttiest outfit* We air high five, she takes a selfie.

I decided I didn’t like the word anymore when I became an aunty. I admit that it’s been happening for years now. A cherub girl, toothless with an adorable lisp will turn into a demon child the second she tugs on my sleeve and says, hi auntyAunty?!  I look over my shoulder. Was she talking to me? When the hell did I became an aunty? Aren’t I still young-ish? Do I not have that youthful glow. Oh wait, that’s just the instagram filter.  Dang it.

 My beautiful cousin was recently reduced to an aunty by a man who looked like, well, an uncle. She was taken aback and immediately pulled her hair into a tight pony tail and muttered fuck you and stabbed his left nut with her stiletto. (That never happened but I would have clapped.)
She has kids and aunties of her own but when she’s got red lipstick on, the last thing she needs is AUNTY raining on her parade, reminding her that she is in her fifties.

I doubt  that I’ll ever come to terms with that word and respond with a gentle yes, beta. I think it will always sting. I'm all about aging gracefully without ever feeling like an “aunty” although chances are I'll hear that word for years to come, until I reach the maata phase. Then aunty won’t sound so bad.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bikes and babas

I had the most wonderful afternoon and it all started with falling off my bike and twisting my knee.
Let me back track a little bit.  Five months ago, my husband, two close friends and I decided that we were going to be bad ass mountain bikers. So we made a trip to a bike shop on MG Road and after a brief test ride, I was most comfortable on the Cannondale and my husband on the Merida. We ended up switching later because turns out, I meant to point at the Merida when I pointed at the "white bike with bigger wheels."  I didn't know anything about bikes and it took me a couple of weeks to learn that MTB was an acronym for Mountain Bike.
Fast forward to five months and many rides later, here we were trying to conquer Mangar forest, third time for me, and fifth time for the hubby and our buff biking buddy, Ricky.  Riding with the boys isn't easy. They pedal fast and hard, and I am often left behind. I try to keep up by pedaling harder, changing gears faster than I should, and scrunching my face into a distorted, hideous expression. I desperately want to be one of the boys, I don't want to be left behind nor have them think that "this chick is slowing us down."  I do slow them down and they are kind enough to wait at turns and bends. They are also worried about my safety, since it is Gurgaon/Faridabad and they are probably rapists lurking behind trees with their pants down, dick in one hand, weapon in the other.
The ride started at 6:15 AM and the next 45 minutes were pretty fucking rad. I was sailing over rocks with the ease of a young Lance Armstrong, my tyres were responding well to the sandy parts of the trail, and the sun was roasting my brown arms sparingly and I was smiling to myself and thinking " I is a legend."   But that was rather short-lived. Like a happy movie that takes an unexpected turn where one minute the couple is driving down the freeway singing Old MacDonald had a farm, and the next they find themselves slaughtered like the animals on MacDonald's farm.
The trail meandered downhill as most trails do but this was a lot more challenging as the surface was completely covered in rocks, big, small and turbulent. The boys were out of sight and I got off my bike initially and then I thought to myself- "If they can do it, so can I." Just then, the boys shot me a warning and told me to get off and push my bike downhill instead. I pushed aside their warning, scrunched up my face and got back on. Half a second later, I was flying off my bike. My knee decided to cling to the bike and in the process it twisted in mid air. I landed ass first, knee later.
The pain was excruciating at first, and involuntary tears streamed down my hot cheeks. I was lucky, the pain subsided quickly and with the coaxing of my husband I wiped away my tears, grunted and got back on the saddle. 
We reached our destination, stuffed our faces with watermelon and bananas, and drowned our insides with water that had now turned warm. I tried to get a cab back but no radio cab comes to dum duma lake.  I had no choice but to ride back. After about half an hour of struggling, more from the heat than the pain, I finally admitted that I couldn't do it.  My arms, knees, legs, ass cheeks had given up.

We spotted a white mandir, in a semi fenced compound. A baba lay on a charpai   under a large, chirping Pipal tree.  I demanded to be left there while the boys got the car, but of course my husband stayed on with me while Ricky, hopped on to his bike and promised to come get us as soon as he could.
The baba awoke, thin but not frail, expressionless yet kind. He instructed us to put the charpais under the Pipal and Neem trees so that we could rest. He was happy to host us and didn't care who we were or where we came from. He moved around his little compound, watering something, barely attempting to fix something, smoking something and taking periodic naps. The baba slept to my right, my husband to my left, on charpais that creaked under our weight.

The blue sky, tent of green leaves, and warm wind, eventually rocked me to sleep. I have never felt so comfortable at a stranger's home. And this home didn't even have a roof.  He had such little to offer but he offered it anyway. Water, thandai and a delicious soup and noodle concoction called chow chow prepared for us by another baba who emerged an hour later. Shorter, with golden dreads, and a lot more energy. There was no way the Musafirs could leave hungry. In between hot mouthfuls, we thanked the babas. They smiled, not understanding why we were so grateful.  But we couldn't get over how they let us invade their sacred space for two whole hours. We didn't need to make small talk nor did they ask invasive questions. They simply cared about my leg and our comfort.  
Two hours later Ricky remerged in his white swift, dark from the sun and limping from a fall.  I was a little sad to bid farewell to the two babas and their dog Kutti who loved my tickles more than I loved the chow chow.  They promised to visit us if they ever made it the concrete jungle called Gurgaon. Although we warned them against it. 
As I limped away, the baba sank back into his bed, lit a biri and closed his eyes and the Pipal tree waved  goodbye.

And that's what I call a perfect afternoon. In the middle of a jungle, somewhere between Mother Nature's mercy and baba ji's pity. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

You're my facebook friend but you're also annoying.

I just read an article about annoying people on every facebook list.  Though I nodded in agreement, I found that the list didn't include a lot of the different characters that flood my newsfeed every morning.I am a little bit of all of them. And I'm sure I have a few hundred "friends" that cringe at my every facebook move.  
But this isn't about me; this is about all the friends you'll come across on my facebook.

The avid traveller when the fuck do you work person
This person(or persons) is always posting pictures of exotic locations, perfect sunsets, and cute messages on the sand.  The captions below will occasionally make you barf in your mouth a little- "There is no perfect life but we can fill it with perfect sunsets."  As I look away from the phone, I catch a bus driver with a protruding belly staring at me with his mouth curled in a perverted snarl.  Some of us only have the luxury of travelling to work and fro and the only sights we see are traffic jams, stranded cows, and bulging eyeballs (and balls) that study your every move while the red light counts down to green.

The my child is sooo cute I must post everything person
 I don't have kids but I do have a dog that I am pretty much obsessed with. I do post the occasional picture or ten so I know that it's easy to get carried away. Especially when you roll over to find your puppy with her head nestled on your husband's shoulder while your husband holds one tiny paw in his large man hands. You got to share that with the world, man.  But I know where to draw the line. I want you to love my dog, not secretly dream of taking her to China and feasting on her rabbit like ears. So I do have  problem with parents that share every crawling, pooping, drooling moment on facebook.  Yes, you have a cute kid but we don't need to know the colour of his poop and the density of his spit up.   Share a picture or a story twice or thrice a week but don't tell us how your little one dressed as a princess or made a joke about a fat cat sitting on a mat.  Keep some moments between you, your wife, grandpa, or the girl you're desperately trying to f*ck at work.  Photos of you being a loving father works better than a roofie in a Cosmo. 

The big bad ad guy person
I am a copywriter and my clients are thirsty vampires that suck the creativity out of every headline and story, I seek appreciation elsewhere. I write for my friends and family and post stuff on facebook and have tiny orgasms with each like that I get. BUT there are some ad guys on my friends list that go on and on and on and on trying to win us over with their witty campaigns and self art directed layouts, long copy diaries and status updates that are like prologues to a new book they're writing.  Give us a little breather, if we wanted to read we'd go to the nearest bookstore, grab a cup of coffee or green tea and pick out an author that we actually enjoy reading.

The I know all the angles that make me look good but I'm secretly a troll
So we all know those girls that know all the perfect angles and make all the perfect pouty faces that makes them look facebookfuckable.  But in real life, you'll walk past her without looking back unless she lets on rip. These girls (and I used to one of them) know the angles that will hide their double chins and sagging boobs. They know the angles that make look more Gisele like on facebook even though they are more Rakhi Sawantish in real life.  And sometimes it's something as simple as sucking in your cheeks and turning slightly to the left and moving the right shoulder at a slightly contorted angle. We all know them, and we are secretly scared of their ability to transform the second we say "cheese."   

The invisible stalker person
They don't post things on people's walls. They don't comment on pictures.  But they see everything and they stalk the shit out of you and everyone in your network. They know your husband's ex girlfriends pug's name. They constantly refresh their newsfeed so they never miss a beat.  But we'll never know that they've been on our page and it could make you a feel a little violated like someone's been staring into your bedroom, watching your every bad dance move since 2005.

The I am photographer because I filter the shit out my pictures person
I find these people highly annoying. While some of them are truly talented, filter or no filter, there are some people that wouldn't know creativity if it bit them in the ass and made a home inside their large intestine.  The ones that take a top angle shot of a stray shoe, add a black and white filer and call it "abandoned" which is met with responses such as "deep, my friend, deep."  But my friend, a filter and a catchy caption does not a photographer make. You have a phone with a camera and you take cool pictures. That is all.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

no drinks OK please.

When I was fifteen, I broke into my father’s booze cabinet and mixed everything I could get my bony hands on, poured it into a glass, and drank it neat. My pupils dilated, my heart raced, my body got all wobbly, and my speech slurred. It was love at first bitter sweet sip.  Alcohol made me funnier. More confident.  It gave me game.  I could have conversations with the opposite sex without dropping everything at arms distance and giggling like a school girl telling her friends that she just got her period.  But the best part about drinking was that it made people more interesting and more attractive.  But alcohol and I had our issues.  The 24 hour long hangover where I’d stare  face down at my toilet bowl with my finger down my throat. The making an “ass of myself” pictures. The thousands of falls my- not- so –cushioned- ass has endured. No, it wasn’t always pretty, because just like most people, alcohol made me invincible in a Courtney love-esque way. I don’t mean the cool, bad ass Court. I mean the more recent wasted- mascara running down her face-crotchless panty wearing- Courtney Love. Ok, I am exaggerating but I did feel pretty ridiculous the morning after.
Alcohol also made me angry and super emo. Of course my boyfriend (now husband ) was the enemy. I’d launch my attack on him and declare war over the sound of blaring speakers at a party. 
me-“I can’t do this anymore.

him-But why.. we are at a party.

me-You don’t love me. You’re ignoring me.

him-Yes, we are at a party.

me-I’m leaving you. It’s over. Goodbye.

If you’ve paid attention, you’ll notice that I have been referring to my relationship with alcohol in the past tense. I have decided to take a break.  I haven’t decided when I want to drink again because I am discovering a whole new side of me that isn’t drenched in alcohol.But I must admit that the hardest part about not drinking is socializing. Wow. Now that my beer, wine, and vodka goggles aren’t blurring my vision, I find most peeps really boring and it is extremely annoying that they cannot get past the fact that I am not drinking.These are the conversations I have at almost every party I attend.
Party person- What’s up man, long time brah.. braz.. dude.. baba.. babes (*insert any Delhi greeting)

Me- Ya.. how’ve you been?

Party person- The same man.. work and all that jazz.

Me- Ya… me too. You know I’ve started..

Party Person- (Cutting me off, and spitting a little on my mouth ) Let’s get a shot!

Me- (politely ignoring the spit that is sitting on upper lip)

I’m not drinking.. but I’ll come with you.Party Person- What..? are you preg…..

Me- (my turn at cutting party person off ) Nope. Just not drinking.

Party Person- Oh like a detox? (A word we Delhi peeps love  to use.)

Me- Well sort of but mostly want to do other things like cycling, fitness, not wake up hungover.. not puke..

Party Person-  But why?

Me- Never mind. Let’s get you that shot.

So I spend most of my nights explaining why I don’t drink, and trying to prove that I am not boring.  But the truth is I am boring. Very boring.  I can’t do my famous pelvic thrusts with the ease that I used to. I am self conscious (are those women whispering about my panty line? Does my breath reek of lemon butter shrimp?  Did I just hug my husband’s boss inappropriately?) And I really don’t know what to talk to people about, and the worst part is that I can’t even excuse myself to get a drink. “I’m going to go get a Fanta” just doesn’t sound like an authentic enough excuse.  When I’m drunk I can talk to anyone and I can dance like a paraplegic who has just learned to walk again. Uncoordinated but ecstatic.
But I am much happier. And I’ve made peace with being “not as much fun, dude.” After 13 years of drinking away my weekends, I finally have complete weekends where I actually do things like cycle all the way to India gate at 8 am.  Tick ofF my to-do lists. And spend time getting to know my husband without a glass of wine obstructing my view.

Will I drink again? Probably. But I will never let it become my best friend again. It can be like a fun acquaintance that I’m happy to meet on occasion.