The Taxi ride.

The husband had a school reunion – which in my priorities of life is way up there, somewhere way above back seat driving and just a notch below spending an evening drinking with good buddies.

We left home together, I took a cab from  half the way to meet our friends, and he was to join later.

We stopped our car, next to a taxi driver. He was staring ahead. And he was rocking himself mumbling something.That itself should have deterred me! Nevertheless he agreed to go to our destination and I got into the cab.

Oh! Man. The man was a certified maniac. He drove of at top speed and screeched to a halt at the next signal. Then he tried to weave his way between three cars. Yes!! Truly! I’m not joking. He was hallucinatory – because he kept thinking he was driving not a car but a road racer cycle with wheels no broader that 5 mm. He kept backing up and trying to squeeze his car in between whatever he could squeeze it between, cycles,car, hawkers, bus, ambulance, the wind!

At one point he over took three cars, not one after the other but all at the same time. They were all driving next to each other, keeping to their lanes. “This wont do!” he thought, and with a surge of adrenalin, he vigorously  changed the gear of his car, and took off, over taking all three cars, till I realised I am on the other side of the road,  – the wrong side. I screamed and lamented, but the bizarre man, just shrugged it off saying there were no cars on the other side and its ok to use that road. Thats when I started reciting the Hanuman Chalisa.

After many such sudden rocket launching type take offs, and race car type skidding halts, we reached the bottom of Malabar Hill. Now Malabar Hill, is actually a small hill. Not like those fancy streets named Brooks Hill, where you see neither a brook nor a hill!

The climb is pretty steep. When I directed him to take the left to the top of the hill, he just paused at the bottom of the hill. Seeing his hesitation, I asked him if his car will make it. In answer he grunted, rocked back and front twice, took a deep breath, and launched his car. In his mind he roared “Jai Bajrang Bali, aaj to tu dikha de isko!!’ (Salutions Oh! Monkey God,  today you show this woman what I am capable of!)

He was hoping there would be no other car ahead of him, and that he could take off at the same gear without having to stop his car. Unfortunately, cars kept coming up ahead of him, and he had to keep halting. That man did not take his legs off the accelerator, and whenever he had to stop he would pull the the hand brake – with the same ferocity he used to change gears. His entire body would jerk with either action. As a result the tyres would keep spinning even when the car had halted. My prayers went up with even more fervour.

Finally when we reached the top of the hill, his car slowed down in direct proportion to his and my own heart beat. Two minutes later we stopped at our destination. I scuttled out of the car,and peered through the window and asked his final fare. With a weak voice and a giant pause,  he gave me the amount.

I went away happy to be in one piece. Just once I turned around to see what he was doing. He was slumped against the seat, rocking back and forth, very relieved to know – I am sure – that he did not have to push his car uphill.

 

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Writing workshop – A letter to my dark side.

This is for a workshop, a bit of me, a bit of fantasy!

 

 

Write a letter to your shadow, your alter ego, your darker side, or the parts of you that you have repressed in favour of your more socially acceptable persona. Try to include the reasons why you disowned these parts (or characters) and propose a reconciliation.

Listen Witch,

I have left you many years ago! Why do you haunt me now? Why do you come back as a sniveling cranky hormonal laden bitch and make my day a harrowing hell? Why do you leave me in tears and make me take out my hormone induced shit on my loved ones. Why do those tears at that time feel Oh! So right? And why does the damn sense, that blasted common sense which used to be my constant companion, desert me in my hour of need, and then come waltzing in after I have had a crying fit. And then proceed to make me feel like what I am – A hormonal laden nut case, fit only for the mental asylum.

You idiot! Why do you expect from men, the kind of love and tlc you need? They are too busy cranking up their own testosterone to bother. You had become a nice independent human being. Why have you turned into a blood thirsty vampire?

Go back to work. Learn some meditation. Get a life. Damn it – get another man for all I care. Just let go!

Next time you get into a fit where you feel you just have to cry and find excuses to do so, do me a favour and walk away. Take a stroll, go hit your punching bag, go take a dump. Just get out. Deep breaths, deep resonating breaths, deep ultra fulfilling breaths. That will help. Men wont. Your dogs might!

But seriously, this shit you throw around, only you can understand. This urgent need to cry, this urgent need for a hug. And of course you are too egoistic to ask for it.

Get a grip on yourself. And if you cannot – lock your self in your room and take it out on yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself a good round of shouting at! No point doing that to anyone else. They wont understand. You know yourself that you have lost a few good friends, who you thought were menopausal raving savages. Do you want to be one of those??

I’m warning you – you had stayed away. I had pushed you away – those many years ago! Damn it I will do it once more.

The hands that warmed my soul – a short story.

I was being wheeled away into surgery. It was time to face the inevitable.

The brains were already a little fuzzy with the sedative they had administered an hour before. I saw serious faces around me, peering from above, trying to push their positive feelings into me through their touch. But it was all superficial, because no one was feeling positive.

And in the middle of all this I was giggling. Not because of the sedative, but because I knew this was the end – of something. The final point, the final dance, the final sigh!

As I sunk into deep sleep, and slipped into oblivion, I felt cold all over. Almost immediately, a warm hand slid into mine and lifted me up. I did not hang around the operation theatre. I did not see the surgeons. But I heard them – there was no panic in their voice. The body was still breathing they way they deemed perfect. But the breaths I took, when I left with the warm hands were deep, and pure. It felt that if I leave those hands, my breath might just leave me altogether. So I clung harder. I felt complete and utter trust.

The breaths were different. My chest did not move, my nostrils did not flare, but still the lungs filled with deep satisfying pure oxygen. We flew over the hill, across the sea. I could see the lights of my city fade away. Somewhere inside that city, in the hospital, they were still operating on my body.

The hands holding mine had no face. Just a feeling, of intense love, of happiness and freedom. A massive heart warming energy. I could see a formless floating body next to me. The hands stayed steady in my focus, but the body kept shifting and stirring.It was like every movement of the air, did something internal to that body and changed it’s appearance. It shifted form but the colour remained the same. Weird colour. I could not put a name to that colour. It was somewhere between a hazy transparent thready blue grey. Everytime the form shifted, the colour got more or less intense, more or less transparent. It had no face yet it had a contour. No features yet I felt the eyes on me and the breath sweet on my neck. I named this creature Love. Because no other name seemed to fit better. And no other word was in my brain. All language and its accessories had vanished.

There was no feeling of space or time. No thought of wonder. No anxiety about where we are headed. Yet my mind was clear – of the pre surgery fuzz, of the anesthesia. My body was floating, mindlessly, but the mind was all there. I had never felt clearer, or more confident and intelligent, yet at the same time more thought free.

There was no talk. Just words communicated by the touch of warm hands. I felt enlightened, filled in with what seemed like very pertinent information. I knew that information, but if that time some one asked me to write it down, I would not have the words to. If someone asked me to communicate through osmosis I could talk volumes!

We did not float, as much as just moved. It wasn’t jerky. It wasn’t even smooth. I felt like I am skidding along a wire, balanced to perfection – with no fear of falling or even a perception of plunging into a depthless pit. Like I am a creature who has done this since the time I have walked.

I don’t know how long we were up there. To this day, I have lost the sense of time.

We did not meet anyone else. Did not see any other person. Nothing. Just plain blank space, yet a feeling of being in connect with everything and everyone. Connected but not disconcerted. Involved but not disturbed. Happy, but not excitable. A perfect state of being. A utopia of emotion.

We neared the city again, and I started hearing distressed voices. As we neared the hospital I heard everybody in the operation theatre shouting “ We have lost her! We have lost her!” And I realized I had died.

In the next instant I was in my body again. But not in the theatre. It was just that moment when I was fuzzy brained and people were peering down at me with concern and I was giggling.

I went in – and the entire story repeated itself.

I was trapped in the astral plane of happiness forever and ever.

 

 

( I have joined a writing workshop – the prompt for the day was – stare at a picture and write a story on it)

 

The Focaccia Bread – Boob Test.

Faint hearted readers refrain.

After my Mammo last week, I have decided to invent a machine — The penis-o-gram. O! Ye women – who have suffered this not so subtle torture, we shall lead a victory dance to all male toilets, grab them and make them go through this very vital test! C’mon – we are as concerned with the health of their precious gems as they are of ours. Right?

Bloody holy hell! Only a man could have invented this mechanism of torment! Some chap called Andre Willemin. I read up on his history – life and death. He was served justice! He died of a severely decapitated and crushed penis injuries!

Have you seen a Focaccia bread?? That’s what they do to your boobs!

Sonography in itself is torturous. A full – and by full I mean bloody full bladder is needed. Then they strip you waist down, and apply cold gel all over your uterus! That doesn’t really help the urgent need to pee! Then they press a mouse like machine all over your uterus, but what they are actually doing is punching your bladder. Slowly, deliberately they press those very points, which can embarrass you right there and then! They keep punching keys in the machine and peering at it. As it is – its a test to check the health of your very precious baby producer – and you are just a wee bit nervous. And then there is the completely beaten up bladder, which you are controlling with military discipline, and on top of all this the technician hems and haws over the computer. One starts with wanting a woman to do such precarious job for you, but after a while you cannot be bothered. A dinosaur could be peering up your uterus it doesn’t matter. All that is in the site of your vision is a commode and some toilet paper!

One step further – no many many miles further is the Mammogram. Wrong word actually. Nothing mammo is left after the gram! All those mammary glands, made to feed the babies, are destroyed. Crushed! Hopelessly annihilated.

Obviously you are striped down, and asked to wear a smelly dirty hospital gown. (They can keep saying it is washed – it could be – but when? – is the question!) After this one looses all semblance of dignity!

One boob is lifted up and placed on a machine. You could be 7 feet tall, but the machine will always be a few inches higher than you – you have to stand on tip toes. Subtle torture has begun!

The poor unsuspecting, ill fated, boob is then placed on a shelf like thingy. The woman does thousands of adjustments. She cops a few good feels! Your hands are practically placed and stretched at angles and distances, you did not know you could manage. At that point you feel you have mastered Iyengar Yoga! After the stretching and pulling, she commands “stay still”, and slams another lever on top of your boobs – and victoriously turns the screws of yet another lever – till you have FOCACCIA Bread Boobs.

“Don’t move” she says again. Oh! but you want to! You want to pull your super stretched, immobile hand and slam her face with all your strength. You want to yell and curse!

And repeat with the second one. By now the second one knows its fate and completely shrinks. “Wow!” says the technician. I get to throw this one around a little more!

Once you are let off the machine, run. Barefeet, bare breasted but run!

I’m inventing that machine ladies. All technical minds are welcome. Women who know martial arts are required too.

I have already been funded – by all the women whom I instigated to do this test! Please know I just followed the Doctor’s orders. This suggestion was made before I went through it myself. I apologize!

 

IMG_2945

 

 

 

Periods is a Man!

This is a dialogue between a woman (me) and her periods. The period is a man.

Well – of course he is!! Would a woman invent such a thing, and then put another of her brethren through this kind of bullshit, over and over again? Month after “bloody” month?

THE PERIOD IS A MAN:

Personality – Agressive, Brash, Unpredictable, Impulsive, Impetuous, Rash, Hasty and Downright Inconsiderate.

Characteristics – Mischievous, Badly behaved, Irksome, Nocuous, Sly, Exasperating, and an Unholy Terror.

Period, in this dialogue will henceforth be known as P. P as in Pain in the butt. (or stomach, or vagina, or boobs!)

I (and the thousands other fellow sufferers) will be known as MW – Miserable Woman.

The door bell rings. MW is expecting no one, so she is surprised. And then shocked –  to see, P standing there.

MW: Whaaaa? You were supposed to arrive a few days later?

And MW tries to close the door on P. But once P arrives, P has to come in, and remain as a damned unwanted guest in your house for the next few horrible days. Nothing can stop P from taking residence whenever he so pleases.

P is comfortably snuggled in the sofa, and MW is having a crying fit.

P: Why are you crying?

MW: (Between heartbreaking sobs) I wanted to go swimming with my husband this evening. Now you have ruined it. And the husband will finally give up on me, eye that hot blonde (fake one) in the pool, loose interest in me, and when I have gone to the loo, (thanks to you – asshole), he will take her number and get in touch. And then have an affair. Oh! God ! What if he leaves me for her?? I don’t think he will – but …

At this point P has sighed 80 times, rolled his eyes 100 times and now looks like he is ready to turn around and sleep -(remember he is a man!) The only way he can stop this is by throwing a cramp at MW.

MW stops mid triad and collapse into an uncomfortable mind numbing painful ache. More sobbing ensues.

Tired, exasperated MW goes through the chores of the day, with a hungover look on her face.

Just a few days before P made his appearance her breasts were feeling like rocks, and each time one of the kids hugged her, she felt they were mountain climbing on her.

Her body was bloated, stomach heavy, and hunger pangs at their meanest best. Chocolates were gobbled up and immediately after they were swallowed, guilt would strike. And with that – out would come the sarcastic mean bitch living inside MW. The one who made an appearance once a month without fail. Like a ghost with an agenda.

Once P arrived (ill timed as always) the bloating disappeared. All that remained was the mean bitch.

But next day MW is feeling remarkably better. The world looks like a happy place. Till she went to the loo! All hell broke loose then! Figuratively speaking!

P: Well hi! Good morning!

MW: Good morning my ass! (Gutter mouth is a side effect of P’s arrival!)

P: Now is that any way to greet a friend who makes it a point to visit you every month? I mean who could be more faithful?

MW: You are never welcome, you know! I hate you.

P: Not true. Remember the other day, when I arrived on time, but you thought I was 3 days late? (naughty girl!) You welcomed me like I was that puppy you always wanted? And you sent up fervent prayers of thanks to the MAN that made me?

MW: (Sheepishly agrees) True. And I will remain ever grateful to your arrivals. But why are you so ill timed? And why such grand entrances. That once, three months ago was so embarrassing. Why can you not give me a warning?

P: Darling – I do! Sometimes you are too busy to see it!

MW: (Thinking — Yeah ! True! Why do I forget that! Empty mind and all that ..)

MW: When do you think you will leave forever? Huh? I have had you visiting me since I was 12. Don’t you think you need to diversify and move on? I have been feeling you getting milder, your arrivals more inconsistent for a while now. But the problems associated with you will never fade. I don’t know how much longer I can handle you!

P: Darling – (MW hates being called that by P, and P knows it) I’m not going anywhere in the longest! You will have an ultra dry vagina, a mean streak which will hit record levels, even for you…

MW is now abusing copiously.

P:(Continues, least concerned about gutter mouth) Missed dates which will give you high BP, food cravings, the smell of which will make you fat, grey hair, dry itchy skin, and mild alcoholism!

MW: (The last few words, put a sudden 100 watt smile on MW’s face) Now that perks me up. You fuck with me as much as you like P. I know how to deal with you.

MW went to her bar. Poured her self a chilled crisp glass of wine, started a chick flick – and in the back ground P faded away, till he could not be felt anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goa

Goa – the land of toddy, feni, siestas and fish! Every where we ate, the sea food menu far out did the veg menu. And Pork!! Goans and their Siesta and Dukkar!

We stayed in Casa Colvale. Back of the Beyond.

By the Chopra River
By the Chapora River

If you don’t mind driving 40 minutes to the closest good eatery, and if you dont require extreme luxury – stay there. Because the people are lovely, service fabulous. It’s clean, romantic, extremely peaceful, and the small pool is clean and water beautifully chilled, set in the midst of a forest and by the river Chapora, Siolim.

Places to eat –

Mustard. It’s a mix of Bengali cuisine and French. Both of which use heavy doses of mustard. Bengalis use Kasundi, and the French, version of Dijon. Both potent!

Bomras. Oriental at its best. Beautiful settings, slightly bad service. (PSST – I think my server had inhaled some substance which made him slur and his nose water!) Decentish veg options. The rock fish with galangal is highly acclaimed. PS – order the khowsuey in advance. Its really nice, but not readily available.

Gunpowder. Authentic coastal cuisine. You wont get idli dosa there. Look for their appam’s, ishtew, and fish curry.

La Plage. Shack/ restaurant by the sea. Go there with you costume, jump into the sea, have a few drinks, have a meal, chill and spend the day there. Great service.

Thalassa. On the cliff, by the sea, great food, awesome sunset. Book in advance. Well in advance.

J&A. Amazing Pizza’s. But the service has fallen some.

I have a friend sitting next to me, itching to get hold of some pics on my computer. She also has some suggestions for Goa.

Sinq and Cavalla Night clubs. Look for their bollywood and retro nights.

Leela Cottages. Elevar Restaurant . Another place like La Plage. But its seems La Plage is loosing its plot, in comparison to Leela Cottage. Try the baked Camembert cheese, says friend who breathes down my neck.

Fiesta Old favourite. Still does well.

Curlies. Famous shack. Go. Party. Eat and feel the sand between your toes.

Jardin D’Ulysse. Comes highly recommended.

Go with the flow. S A A. So many restaurants were recommended to me. This was one of them. We needed more than 15 meals to complete the list given by friends.

Antares. Started by Master Chef, runner up no 5 or something. Giving Thalassa a run for it’s money. Book in advance.

PS : Look out for Goan Poi bread, Balchao Naan, Balchao Prawns, Fish Curry, Goan Xacuti. All local favourites.

Do have a Feni and Toddy based Cocktail. If you have the gumption, try it their way, neat with whatever they mix it. I don’t know as I have never had the guts to try.

Sit and Chill. Goa is for relaxing, eating and drinking, Chatting and Catching up. Enjoy!

IMG_2943Underneath the Coconut Tree. 

Sitting under the whorls.

Staring at the sky,

My word mixing with yours.

Conversations in the breeze.

Catching up.

Old times and New.

Planning the future.

Blessing the past.

For it brought me to you.

And you can be compared to very few.

(For Mr. Somani – cheers to our many days in the sun!)

 

 

My approach to life – 50 things I have learn’t.

  1. Dont stress! For every problem there exists a solution. Trust me. Find it. It’s there somewhere.
  2. Read. There is a world hidden amongst words, and sometimes an answer to your questions.
  3. Make work fun. I have a friend who has to travel 3 hours back and forth, thrice a week. He has a picnic breakfast, en route,with fellow travellers who are now, thick friends.
  4. Have a drink with your friends. Look them in the eye and say cheers!
  5. Hear Music. It has the capacity to uplift you , or to stir up your emotions. Catharsis both ways.
  6. Travel. When you don’t have money. You will see things, you cannot – from fancy hotel rooms.
  7. Travel. When you have money. You will experience a different side of your destination.
  8. Cook. It’s an important skill – and – it’s amazingly de stressing.
  9. Eat healthy. Binge on healthy food, nibble on junk.
  10. Exercise. Every day. Minimum 5 days a week. Without fail.
  11. Take Deep Breaths. Conciously. We don’t take in enough oxygen.
  12. Walk. It’s the best way to see the places you travel to.
  13. Pray. It helps. It heals.
  14. Talk to your kids. About everything. Decisions – family matters – grief – loss. Just everything. They are more intelligent than you think.
  15. Don’t become friends with your kids. Who will be their parents?
  16. Be polite to those who work for you. I once sat with two men for dinner. The difference between polite and harsh was so vast, it made me rethink what I want to be.
  17. My friends mom always told her – don’t fight with your spouse and sleep. Resolve the tiff, or then, decide to call peace till next morning.
  18. Hug people you like.
  19. Don’t be bullied or black mailed into spending time with people you don’t want to.
  20. The people you love ? – Hug them extra hard.
  21. Take naps. Sleep always makes thing better.
  22. Tough decision to make? Sleep over it. I promise you – the morning will bring clarity.
  23. Make girl friends. (Women — This is for you!)
  24. Take girls’ only trips.
  25. Learn something new every year. Let your self be challenged. Let the brain cells exercise.
  26. Dance. Even if you have uncoordinated, buckling feet.
  27. Make your bucket list. Start ticking off your bucket list, earnestly and immediately.
  28. Hug a small baby.
  29. Pour out your emotions to a dog. Nothing is more unconditional than that.
  30. Keep a clean house. Clean office. Clean mind.
  31. Follow your intuition. Your soul will always guide you.
  32. Meet your school friends. They have seen you poop in your pants. What more can they judge?
  33. Stare. At nature. At the sky. At the sea. Into space. When you come out of the reverie a few questions will be answered. Trust me on this!
  34. Meet your siblings. Have dinner with them. Talk to them. They have shared the womb you came from. The same blood runs in you’ll. What can get closer?
  35. Walk bare feet. On the sand. On grass…..
  36. Sleep on grass. On sand. Let your body meet the earth.
  37. Sit by the sea. Aimlessly. No agenda. The wave more than roars. It whispers. To you – personally.
  38. Start that hobby – the one you always wanted to. Time waits for no one.
  39. Laugh! Loudly. Happily. Copiously. 
  40. Sleep in late. Laziness is good – sometimes.
  41. Take care of your parents. They have lost at least 1000 hours plus of sleep on you – and continue to do so.
  42. Do something unusual at least once a year. Milk a cow. Bungee Jump. Take up martial arts.
  43. Don’t let age EVER get in your way. Shrug at them nay sayers and carry on.
  44. Make your kids skip school once in a while. And take them for a movie or to the park. The bond made that day stays forever.
  45. Drink loads of water. Loads.
  46. Eat on time.
  47. Don’t forget romance.
  48. Wear what you want to wear. Whats the point of wearing something in fashion and almost having an asthma attack because its so uncomfortable?
  49. Follow a rainbow. They might not exist. But they sure are pretty. Don’t let your dreams rot! Act!
  50. LIVE. BREATHE. LOVE. BE HAPPY. SMILE. LAUGH.