Going to the Guptas

I wake up at six am, lie in bed till 6.30, picturing the day ahead and lazily fantasizing about  everything from a Europe holiday to dinner at that new Mexican place. Sometimes, I go back to sleep and wake up with a start when I realize that it is already past 7.30. But every morning, somehow or the other, it is a mad rush to office. And the victim of this mad rush to office is always my breakfast. That meal of the day that everyone from your nutritionist, doctor and grandmother tell you that you should not skip. But it is always my breakfast that gets the axe because of my lazy early morning routine. I grab an apple or a couple of biscuits on my way out and have it with a cup of tea in the office pantry. But that is not enough. The problem with breakfast is that it is a big headache. Whether it is dosas or idlis or upma, I need to make the chutney and the sambar and all that and then do the cleaning and washing up before I leave to work. So you can’t blame me, can you?  Cereal is so boring, I used to think. So that wasn’t part of my breakfast menu at all.

But this Guptaji family seems to have it all figured out. They’ve managed to turn the most boring, monotonous breakfast cereal into something as interesting and intriguing as a daily TV serial! Just look at all the yummy stuff here. https://www.facebook.com/anaajkanashta and https://www.youtube.com/user/kelloggindia.

I would just love to have the Guptas living in my apartment block. I’d invite myself over day after day after day just to relish one of these yummy bowls of Kelloggs. And the thing is, half of these nashta recipes don’t even sound like a boring breakfast cereal. They are so creative and innovative and most important, they seem to have that right balance of East and West. Check this out, Chapatti Cornflakes Chivda ! http://bit.ly/Chapattichivda Who would have thought that this kind of fusion is even possible with plain old boring cornflakes! Or this Laddoos wala recipie that makes cornflakes so festive http://bit.ly/LadoosWala. This Guptaji family seems to be the most happening family in their neighbourhood.

So I guess I will just have to take some tips from the Guptas to get my day kickstarted. I can’t invite myself over everyday, can I? So What I am going to do is just hop on to the Facebook page where the awesomeness of the Gupta Family Nashta is being shared and take a few tips as to how to make my breakfast easy, cool and as unboring as I want it to be. So now, I know that I can lie in bed and daydream for as long as I want, because all I need is a little bit of creativity, some tips from the Gupta family and the most solid ingredient of all : A box of Kelloggs.

So do you want to go to the Guptas?

Clap Your Hands

 If you’re happy and you know It clap your hands! One Two!

 If you’re happy and you know It clap your hands! One Two!

 If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it, clap your hands.

Remember that song from school? Simple days when just clapping our hands and stomping our feet to show that we’re happy made us happy.

And then adulthood happened. Happiness stopped coming to us that easily. But trust me, it is easy to be happy again. I get my daily dose of happiness everyday from the little things around me and I clap my hands. Well, not out loud, but I do a mental clap-my-hands to show myself that I’m happy.

Yes, I won’t deny it. Big things make me happy. Like finally buying that piece of jewelry that I had been eyeing forever or taking that holiday to Thailand. But that’s not the kind of happiness that you can experience everyday. It is in the small things that you find happiness, everyday happiness.

I am both surprised and saddened by the fact that we even need something called International Day of Happiness. Shouldn’t everyday be a Day of Happiness? Atleast for me, it is. Or I try to make sure that I find a few moments of unbridled happiness in something each day.

A crisp dosa in the office cafeteria with three types of tangy chutneys. A piece of software code that runs without an error in the first attempt. A silly joke during a boring conference call that sends everyone into peals of laughter, and getting us all alert again. Online window shopping for new makeup, makeup that I might never wear, but something that makes me feel so beautiful just imagining myself wearing it. Learning a new word from some random article that someone has shared on the internet, actually using that word in a sentence and feeling all intelligent about it. Getting an email from an old friend, not a forward, but an actual email that has been personally written just for you. It could be a single line of ‘hey, how have you been?’ But the fact that the friend took the trouble to type it out for me rather than hit a forward button on a random chain email makes me happy. (Well, I could romanticse and say that physical letters make me happy, but who does that these days? )

A good workout in the gym that gets all those good hormones alive and kicking in my brain. And that long shower after that with a snowy lathering shower gel that leaves me all fresh and soft and tingly. Plonking myself in front of the TV on my favourite beanbag with a tall glass of Coca Cola. (Zero, because  all that gym work shouldn’t go for waste, you see) And finally a good night’s sleep, deep sleep that hits you at ten pm and takes you to another world, another happy place in your dreams.

Yes. I find happiness in all these, every day. I am happy and I know it and I really want to show it. So here

*Clap* *Clap*

Here’s more happiness http://CokeURL.com/96jnc.

One Afternoon

Can I call you a loved one? I do love you.A lot

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve met just once? Is an afternoon enough to make you decide that someone is The One.
Yes, it is.

Two months ago, exactly two months ago, you stepped out of my dreams and stepped into my life. Like that Savage Garden song, the moment I saw you, I knew that I had dreamed you into life. That January afternoon, that perfect Chennai day when I got into your car, glancing at my watch even as you shook my hand because I had to get back
to office in another three hours. But that was the only time we could make it happen, make that meeting happen, the meeting that would decide.
I was in white, so were you. Filmy coincidence. What was missing was a bunch of dancers in white, floating around us in a cloud of mist. Wait. I don’t want to remember that day as a bad Bharathiraaja duet. Let me erase that thought and go back to that moment I stepped into your car again.
There was that awkward silence. We had spoken all that we had to in those endless chats and phonecalls. Face to face wasn’t something we both were prepared for.
But then the ice broke. We had books to talk about, we had Lingaa to talk about, we had all those places we had travelled to to talk about. Places we had travelled to alone, places that one day we will travel to together. Hopefully.
You had a history, you told me. I too have one, but I did not tell you about it. I think it is too early for that. We have the rest of our lives ahead to share histories, to create histories.
If I close my eyes and take a deep breath, I can smell that restaurant we went to that afternoon. That seat next to the kitchen was such a bad idea, but we had no other option. We had to keep shouting to each other across the table over the din of cling clanging vessels. Those 90s Bollywood songs that were playing loudly over the din, it gave us something to talk about didn’t it? Our common love-hate for Kumar Sanu. I still don’t understand what you see in Aishwariya Rai though. Tabu, Tabu is the woman I would want my man
to have his crush on. She has class, man. But let’s fight over that another day. You’re a Darlymple fan, you said. All I know about the Mughals is from my eight standard history text book. But it was fascinating, the way you spoke about history so passionately. Maybe I should read up on something so that I can have a decent conversation
with you next time.

Next time. When will the next time be? It is two months already and you have gone back to your Island of Rain. Was that afternoon a dream? Did you really step out of my dreams, out of my phone and into my life that day?
We speak everyday, we chat. You visit me in my dreams every night. We may not happen, maybe the fates won’t allow us to happen.

But that afternoon, that single afternoon is something that I will remember forever.

Maybe we’ll find our moments again at https://housing.com/.

Hair Today

What does it take to start a new life? Move cities? Quit your corporate job and to teach slum kids? Get out of a relationship that’s not going so smoothly? Yes. Maybe. But then, those are the big things. Major changes. So why not start your new life with the small changes instead. And believe me, it is those ‘small changes’ that are the most difficult to make, the most difficult decisions to take.

I have bad hair. Mousy, limp, rat-taily. I could model for the Before part of a miracle hairgrowth potion from the Amazon forests. All my life I’ve longed for waist length, thick black hair. I’ve envied every woman who walked past me with a snake-like plait swishing behind her back or a woman who wore her hair like a silk scarf casually draped over her shoulders. It was my dream, my fantasy, my obsession : long thick black hair. And without me realising it, that longing was pulling me down, draining me emotionally. Slowly, it started holding me back from everything I wanted to do.

And then one fine day, I decided. My hair shouldn’t decide who I am or who I want to be. So I marched myself to the salon and unashamedly told the hairdresser to chop it off, chop off my mousy, limp, rat-taily hair. Make it short, I said. Give me a pixie cut, a boy-cut a buzz-cut if you will. But chop it off. I don’t want to see my failed efforts , those rupees invested in shampoos and oils and treatments going down the drain everytime I look into the mirror. Cut cut cut. Are you sure, he asked me. I have nothing to lose, I replied. And so the scissors snipped. Snip. Snip. Snip. I felt a cold breeze down my neck. It had happened. I had been freed of my limp, mousy, rat-taily hair. I was reborn. I did not have anything to care about now. New look, new person.

It was bad the first day, I couldn’t face myself in the mirror. I was afraid to step out of the house, I couldn’t face another human being. But then, my hair wasn’t a rat tail anymore, it was fashionably short. I had reinvented myself. I needed a new wardrobe to go with the new hair.And thus the transformation began. New haircut, new wardrobe. The next logical step was a new attitude.

What seemed to be a small step, cutting off my hair slowly snowballed ( in a good way) into a huge positive change in my life. I was finally able to deal with the fact that I will never ever have waist length hair and that ear length hair was better for me. I was finally able to look at those women with snaky plaits and not feel that tinge of jealousy. I was finally able to carry off my own style. And that unveiled the Real Me to me.

It is not about those big bold decisions that you need to take to change your life. All you need to do is to take a small step, a small step our of your comfort zone. A small step away from something that has been holding you back all your life. That’s all it takes for your to transform, for you to start a new life.

So go ahead. Start a new life. Cut off your hair if you want to. Click on https://housing.com/. if you want to.

You’ll be surprised at what lies ahead.

Hope is all around you

Hope, they say was something Pandora unleashed upon the world. Something that is more dangerous than all the other evils she released. Hope. Optimism. Faith. Words that seem so promising, but cause so much frustration when they fail you.

There are some mornings when I wake up hating everything and everyone. I don’t feel like getting out of bed, I don’t feel like dragging myself to work. Days when I don’t even want to exist anymore. And then there are some days when I spring out of bed like a Jack-in-the-box, full of energy and positivity that comes from god-knows-where. The skies seem blue and there is birdsong in my head. And the whole day is filled with joy. Well, a cynic could call me bipolar. But it is not that.

There are small things that bring that spurt of happiness, hope and optimism inside me. It could be the gurgling laughter of the neighbour’s baby . It could be the loud phone call that the  Bihari construction worker is making to his family at the building site next door, assuring his mother or wife that all is well and he will be home soon. It could be the strain of an 80s Illayaraaja song wafting from someone’s FM radio.

It could be the sound of the roadroller starting and the smell of fresh tar, assuring me that the road ahead will have no more potholes, literally atleast. It could be the chatter of children off to school, peppered with giggles and maybe a nursery rhyme or two. Or just aroma of fresh filter coffee that pushes all those positive buttons inside my brain.

Sometimes a poem just pops up inside my mind, filling me with hope. ‘…God’s in his heaven and all is right with the world’. The Song from Pippa Passes, my instant pickup. Or maybe a group of early morning devotees on the way to the temple spreading that invisible aura of devotion, sharing the blessings they are about to receive with the world as they walk past.

Or maybe it is just a good hair day or a nasty pimple has just cleared up and my face seems less blotchy and more beautiful to me  in the mirror. Or a dosa I make has turned out so golden and crisp, making me feel like the world’s best cook, ready to rid the world of hunger with perfect dosas. Or an imaginary crush visited me in my dreams the previous night, making me spend the rest of the next day looking out for him. Well, it could even be a positive horoscope in the newspaper that makes me feel so full of optimism for the rest of the day.

But hope, optimism, faith. It is all out there. In the small things, in the big things in everything. We just need to keep our eyes open and look out to find those triggers. Those triggers that send you to that place, that green flower filled meadow of happiness where everything seems perfect, endlessly perfect.

Find your hope here https://housing.com/lookup.