There is this phenomenon that has bothered me for sometime, but being single pushed it out of my consciousness. Lately, it reared its ugly head once again, so I have been puzzling over the myriad thoughts in my head for a few weeks now.

I suppose it started off when I was really young, when I heard my mother recount something my father said: “She is the kind of girl you can take home to your mother.” Even at a tender age, it split the world of women into two: those who are marriage material, and those who are not. And it was also clear which of the two camps it was more desirable to be in.

Of course, none of this affected me at all till I came back to India. Back in Dubai, all my mother’s friends thought that I was the ultimate choice in terms of daughter-in-law. We belonged to the same milieu, and they interacted with me at close quarters. One of my mother’s friends even asked her whether they should promote a match between her younger son and me. [NO.] Thankfully he shot down the idea, because I was [apparently] the living spit of an ex. I was also 16 at the time.

But India proved to be a whole other ballgame. Of my exes, only 2 had families that approved of me as a potential bride for their precious son. Again, this is mainly because they spent some time with me before making a judgement call. The others though? Eroded all my sense of self. Here are some of the reasons I have heard [some gave multiple] for not being good enough for their sons:

– Too independent
– Too pretty [really?!]
– Doesn’t speak <insert Indian language here>
– Not the right caste
– Her parents are not from our culture
– Can she cook? [Was in college at the time, so the answer was no.]
– Will she participate in our festivals?

And so on.

The funny thing is that my parents never put up these objections, in spite of privately thinking every one of them wasn’t good enough. They were content to see me happy, and their only requirement was that I was loved by the boyfriend in question.

I, on the other hand, went about trying to live up to any and all expectations. Some of which were highly contradictory! I was supposed to be financially stable, but not completely independent because that would be emasculating. I was supposed to cook really well, but also be thin [not healthy, mind you] so that I looked attractive, but not too attractive either because don’t want to attract other male attention. And so on.

I even went as far as to lose my own identity in that of my partner. The most recent case in point being the “Navy wife”. I can’t even say I have recovered wholly from that, because I still am hard pressed to describe myself succinctly to strangers. There is also the problem of differing desires. I kept myself open to something again for the first time, and was soundly kicked in the teeth for it. Ouch.

It all came full circle for me yesterday though, when mom was recounting an episode from her youth. This was, obviously, before she got married, and I think was still in college. She was doing LLB part time, and had just discovered that she had cleared her examinations for her third year. Understandably, she was thrilled. Just then, a family came to see her and my aunt. [Arranged marriage thing.]

In the course of introductions and initial conversation, the fact that she had just cleared her exams came up. Of course I don’t know the sequence of events, but apparently the family grew steadily more obnoxious: read out aloud from the newspaper; walk in a straight line with this book on your head; let us measure your fingers; etc.

My mother is a lovely person, but had a towering temper that time. She was convent-educated, and the law degree was her third degree. [The fourth came later.] And at this point, she lost it and forgot all the injunctions my grandmother had bleated at her for behaving herself. The family was in for it.

They next asked her what she was doing. She said hospitality and catering, knowing full well that the trade was new in India and many people didn’t know what it was about. Right on cue they asked, oh? What do you learn in catering?

And she said: how to clean other peoples’ dirty plates [restaurant service]; how to clean toilets [housekeeping]; etc.

Horrified, they asked if this was the work she planned to do. And blind to my grandmother’s silent pleas, she replied yes. They were out the door in 5 minutes flat.

Some years later, she met my dad. They were both hospitality people. He didn’t ask her for anything, except her. They had nothing when they got married. They had 40 years of bickering, squabbling, fights, and a love that should go down in history books. I grew up seeing [and being part of] a marriage that was built on a rock solid foundation of trust, love, integrity, and mutual respect. I imagined that is how a marriage is built by two people.

It gave me hope that one day someone will come into my life and take me as I am, because I have a heart full of love to give. But it is sadly a dwindling hope, as I discover that love is not enough.


Thongs and Things

Utterly random post up ahead. You’ve been warned.

This morning, I decided to choose a podcast I had subscribed to in 2015 [really], but of which I hadn’t heard a single episode. Just to put things into perspective, I’m subscribed to about 80 podcasts in total. Several of them, I can’t bring myself to delete a single episode without listening to it. Here are some of them. The list has since expanded. So it should come as no surprise that I have 1200+ unlistened-to episodes.

The easiest way for me to tackle this load is to listen to them when on my morning walk. Yes, music is more traditional but it is truly hard to beat The Now Show on BBC Radio 4, on an otherwise booooooooring walk. The belly laughs are like ab exercises in themselves. 😛 And yes, I’ve managed to knock off several by doing this.

Today, I decided to crank up.. *drumroll* My Dad Wrote a Porno. I am not making this up. It is an absolutely bonkers bit of talk radio which is unexpectedly funny. The first episode was the first chapter with copious amounts of commentary, disgusted, wondering, surprised, witty, and hilarious by three people.

If the podcast itself wasn’t hilarious enough, the whole premise was so bizarre, I found myself laughing even more because of it. [Matunga East had very surprised crows this morning.] The text of the erotic novel is so cringe-worthy that it surprises a laugh out of you every so often.

After I had finished the episode, I was debating whether or not to stay subscribed to this podcast. It was funny, granted, but I still found the text a little too cringey for my taste. Thongs, nakedness, and “labial pinkness” made appearances in the FIRST chapter. Doesn’t bode well.

Anyway. I didn’t reach a conclusion on that point, and I guess I will give the second episode a go before deciding.

But. The whole erotica aspect reminded me of an incident with visible underwear lines. [Don’t ask me why. My mind is a mystery to me too, at the best of times.]

This was way back in 1999, and I was in Scunthorpe in sixth form college. A friend from college, also an international student, and I were walking into town. We happened to be walking a few feet behind a lady. This lady was dressed in a well-fitting grey pencil skirt. Office garb, by the looks of it. I cannot remember anything else about her, and you’ll realise in a moment why I remember the skirt.

We were walking on the pavement, and all of a sudden I hear my friend gasp in shock. I looked at her in some surprise, obviously, and she whispered to me the following words: “That lady! She’s not wearing a panty!”

Of course I stopped dead in my tracks in shock, questions coursing through my mind. WHAT? Which lady? Are you sure you meant ‘panty’? Do you know what that means? HOW do you know? Do you know her? Why would she tell you that she doesn’t wear underwear?!

Turns out she was referring to the lady in front of us, and her reasoning was that a skirt that well-fitted should show panty lines. And if it didn’t? No panty.

I was 16 at the time, and raised in UAE. She was 18, a Sudanese-origin Arab, born and raised in Oman.

We had no idea that thongs were a thing. Or commando, for that matter. *giggle*


My dad was very little like a father, and more like an annoying brother. Or so I am told, because I have no brothers for comparison. There were many times we plotted together, mostly leaving mom out because of her halo. [I told her some of our shenanigans later, and since they were all harmless, she had a good laugh and shook her head.]

But there were times where my dad would have gotten into trouble with her, if she had been with us. Most of those times, I covered for him, because he was chastened enough. [Examples are things like tripping over something because he wasn’t being careful, or eating/drinking something he wasn’t meant to, and the like.]

Except for one time.

Around the time we lost him, the pair of us had trotted off to the market. The market is very familiar, as we go there very often. He wasn’t keeping 100% well, so it was imperative that he wasn’t too far away from me at any point. Plus, he had a new phone, whose ringer was absurdly low for Mumbai. He couldn’t hear it ring, essentially.

I had to stop at a store to pick up a couple of things, but he didn’t want to come in. So we decided to meet in 10 minutes at a nearby eatery for lunch. He would head off there first, since he was tiring and wanted to sit. I headed into the store, and bought the stuff I needed. I then proceeded to head to the eatery. No sign of him.

I was surprised, but not worried yet. I figured he would be in the next eatery, as this one seemed full. Nope. Tried the next, nope. And so on, till I was in the midst of the crowded market, having a complete panic attack.

I tried ringing his phone, but of course he didn’t answer. I went to where we had parked the car, but didn’t see him. I started asking passers-by and shopkeepers whether they had spotted someone of this-and-this description, but no dice. I stood in the middle of the pavement, at my wits’ end, so panicked that even tears had seized in my eyes. I knew calling my mother was the next step, but she would immediately panic and we would have a full-blown crisis on our hands, so I waited.

And then I spotted his salt-and-pepper head bobbing close by. In mingled relief and rage, I ran across roads and people to get to him.

Only to be greeted with the most seraphic smile, and mild surprise: “What happened?” he asks me, with the utmost guilelessness. If ever I came close to strangling my father, it was that moment.

Anyway, I told him off a little, because he never took my annoyance with him seriously anyway. And we proceeded to have lunch, finish our errands, and head home.

When I got home though, I knew I had to tell mom. I asked her to take a seat, and gently told her everything, in front of him. As she proceeded to take in all of what I was saying, the colour drained from her face, and her eyes widened in horror. Only the fact that my father was sitting opposite her, in front of her eyes, stopped her from whipping herself into panic-stricken frenzy.

When I finally finished the tale, my father was fixed with an exceedingly beady-eyed, far from amused look. He grinned at her placatingly, but it didn’t make a dent: “If she had called me before she had found you, you would have gotten the pasting of a lifetime, and I would have walked out of here!”

He had the grace to look at her with a little more shame than I apparently warranted, and said that there was nothing to worry about since he was here now, wasn’t he?

My mother harrumphed, and declined to grace that with a response.

He then turns to me, wrinkles his nose in some disgust, and says: “Sneak! It’s not nice to tell on people, you know!”

That’s when he got a smack from my mother, and I walked out laughing my guts out. Because which father accuses his only child of being a sneak?!

Ms. Impatience

Because, of course that should be my name.

I’m certain many of us have epiphanies about what we are doing wrong at various points in our lives. Apart from those of us who have our heads constantly stuck up our own asses, and thus find it impossible to acknowledge [even to ourselves] that we can do wrong at all. I have these moments a LOT; because I accepted a long time ago that I was exceptionally flawed, and those flaws needed acknowledgement and conscious work. Case in point: impulsiveness.

My impatience though was a little harder to pin down, because it isn’t universal. I have tons of patience for certain, usually frustrating, things like sorting out tiny things piece by piece; or listening to a boring story; or dealing with stubborn stains. You get the gist. The problem is that I had no idea that patience varies from situation to situation. And there is one area I have absolutely zero ability to wait: Life.

Hm. That’s a big topic, so I’m going to break it down a little. It does encompass my point though, but it deserves some explanation also.

Firstly, and most importantly, I am impatient when it comes to a breakdown in any relationship. This could be an argument with mum, or [formerly] a disagreement with a boyfriend. I needed to resolve stuff and get back to the original [albeit improved with now better understanding] status quo INSTANTLY. To a great extent, this is why I always make the first move after a bust up. I also am usually the one who has messed up too, but that’s another story.

Why is this a problem? Well, because people require time to process. Emotions, feelings, thoughts, anger, frustration, sadness, etc. It is hard to come through to a clear understanding without processing. And my blundering onto the scene is not helpful. It isn’t even helpful to ME, because then the processing happens AT me, instead of inside that person’s mind. I need to learn to respect that everyone needs their space and some time to process, and not be so driven to fix things in the shortest amount of time.

Secondly, I am impatient of uncertainty in life. For the big things, mind you. Not if I’m getting a taxi or something. I have constant thoughts of “where is all this going?” and it is stupid and unproductive. Countless times I have heard smarter-than-me people saying that the journey is important. But hasn’t percolated into my anxiety. It is scary to be faced with the spectre of bills stacking up, or medical emergencies, without an idea of where those funds will come from. And a multitude of things like that. Uncertainty scares me because I have no control over the outcome, but I still have to face consequences. I can work my fingers to the bone, but it might not translate to saleable commodities. Etc.

This is a problem because my anxiety achieves nothing. Whether or not I worry, the outcome remains unaffected. So basically I’m torturing myself at least one time too many. Pointless.

There are many times I have wished to know the end of my story – or current story arc – at my lowest ebb. Of course, it never happens, and yet the desire is strong. Perhaps it is the sense of an impending timeline that causes this stress, and that was the key to my epiphany.

I have been wanting something specific to happen for the past couple of months. It is partially in my hands to make it happen, but not completely. The trouble is that my actions could end this something much earlier than its time, much like overwatering a plant. The other day though, I sat down in a quiet a spot, and actually reflected on my feelings. I recognised that my impatience was because of what I thought were deadlines that would irrevocably change the status quo. And I had to force myself to accept that I needed to let things be. Not force any issues. Not get sunken into a pit of desire, anxiety, and gloom. Just let it be.

It was super hard, but I did it. I do however still hang on to hope. That’s the next on my list of epiphanies I guess.

Tortoise Shell Moment

There was a time that I would have thrived on what I am about to describe, but that time has long passed. So, this is about my ex again. Because of course it is. It is going to take me time to fully process all the shit that went down.


I wondered for months after our break up, if he still thought of me. If there was still a spark, or he missed me. I was feel the pangs of grief and separation, and it would have been a balm for me to have known that he missed me too.

But, by all appearances, he had cut me cleanly out of his life. We were never friends on Facebook because he rarely used it, and since his divorce was pending, it seemed like the prudent thing to do. He did follow me, and I him, on Twitter, but he never tweeted. I on the other hand have verbal diarrhoea. Especially with someone I like talking to? Find it difficult to keep my trap shut. So I had no way of knowing whether any of my pining was being mirrored at all.

Then comes Whatsapp statuses. I was never really into them initially, because why? There’s Facebook, Twitter, and, my recent SM of choice, Instagram. Instagram stories are very much along the same lines of Whatsapp statuses, all of which I believe have been inspired by Snapchat. [I’m too old for Snapchat. I tried to use it and gave up in minutes.]

Side note: I couldn’t figure out the point of Instagram stories in the first place, as I’d rather have those memories permanently visible on my profile. So Whatsapp statuses were not a big deal.

Until I tried it out.


I did not know, going in, that there was this little eye icon next to every post. Clicking on the little eye icon shows you who has viewed your post. Again, not something I knew going in. Interesting.

Mostly, it was a bunch of my friends, and some characters who I am absolutely certain have no clue that the poster can see you’ve viewed their update. These are people who would never admit to being interested in my life, and would probably faint at the thought that this was all visible to me. Not that I minded, to be honest. My life isn’t all that interesting anyway, so go ahead.

Except, the latter category included the ex. Ha!

So I tried a little social experiment. I posted updates regularly, and watched for when his name appeared on the viewers’ list. Invariably, it was either almost immediately or about 10 minutes later. Every. Single. Time.

I even tried posting absolute tripe. Like pictures of flowers. Or an odd thought that passed through my brain. Still. Every time. Like clockwork. His name was on the list.

Two years ago, I would have been jumping for joy, wishing and hoping it all meant something. Now, I just wish he would stop keeping tabs on me. Because I realise that’s what is happening. He may not be a friend on Facebook or an approved Instagram follower, but his best friend is. A best friend, I might add, who is devoted to him, and thinks the sun shines out of his ass.

I realised all this in crashing terror today. Tubelight that I am. So I went about changing privacy settings every where. I even swapped out my profile picture on Whatsapp for one I took of a tree. I am still figuring out ways to limit his access to me online, but I am in full tortoise mode now.

The thing is: he told me he would do this. He told me that, if we ever split up, he would ensure that I was ok. That he would keep an eye on me. I forgot that nugget of information before, and assumed it no longer applied, like the many other promises he broke. But it was true. And I now realise that I may be over him, but he does not appear to be completely over me.

A truly terrifying thought.

Nothing I Can Do!

Again, need a dear old dad post to wash away the cobwebs. Short one this time.

My mother is quite the character really. She is determined, fearless about her principles, focused on what she needs to do, and impossibly naive in a lot of respects. Before I came along, my father used to point out some of life’s realities to her. Case in point:

He took her to the Taj one evening, and pointed to a group of girls in the lobby. “Look at those girls. They’re escorts,” he said. The almighty sap that is my mother exclaimed, “WHAT?! They’re so well dressed and presentable. How do you know?! No! It can’t be.” After looking at her, with a mixture of what I imagine from later experience to be disgust, pity, and affection, he apparently said, “Never mind. Tumko kuch maalum nahi.” [You don’t know anything.]

That is far less offensive in Hindi than it is in English, and roughly approximates to ‘You’re so naive.’

By the time I came along, he had stopped telling her stuff. Possibly because her reaction is usually loud and explosive, and draws attention when one is trying to be discreet. Her jaw visibly drops and so on. I have written about this before. So when I started “educating” her on things not so politically correct, he was not a fan.

“Don’t teach her all this stuff!” was his almost constant refrain. I gleefully taught her curse words and Internet slang, and watched in side-splitting amusement when these bombs were deployed unexpectedly in public. For instance she once told off a bunch of louts, who were sizing me up, questioning their morals and announcing to the world that they were a bunch of “fucktards”. It was magical.

Invariably though, sometimes these utterances were less than appropriate. In the aftermath of each of those instances, when my mother had cleared a path, I often asked my father where he had managed to find such a specimen to marry.

His response? “I can’t do anything about it now. She’s your mother.”

True that, dad. True THAT.

Movie Review: Moana

I am seriously late to this particular party. The movie was released in 2016, and I didn’t watch till yesterday. There was no reason as such, because I do know that it got rave reviews. But there was one thing that put me off slightly, even though it had nothing to do with the movie as such.

I happen to be Facebook friends with the guy who did the Hindi dialogues for the Hindi version of this movie. And while he is not precisely someone to dislike, he is rather full of his own self-importance. The aggressive self-promotion [which I am chronically incapable of doing!] becomes a barrier for me to overcome, and in this case I just didn’t. Same reason I didn’t want the new Jungle Book forever. So mature of me, I know.

Story: The story opens with the legend of Te Fiti creating the world. The story goes on to show the demigod Maui stealing Te Fiti’s heart, as it is said to have the power to create life. His theft causes Te Fiti to crumble, and he soon is faced by Te Kaa, a fiery lava demon. In the fight, he loses his magical fish hook and the heart to the ocean depths.

Centuries later, toddler Moana is listening to her grandmother tell this tale. Soon after, she runs onto the beach and the ocean gives her the heart. She loses it soon after though, when her father comes to carry her back.

As she grows up, Moana is shown to be drawn to the ocean, and her father constantly pulls her back. It is a tussle which she initially succumbs to, but overcomes when she feels her island is dying. She then sets off on a quest to find Maui, his fish hook, and for him to restore what he stole to the goddess Te Fiti.

Review: The movie is magical. The story is not any different from an ordinary hero quest, but interestingly has a female protagonist. It is very coming-of-age in the true Disney style, and Moana finds herself in the bargain.

Story: Doesn’t break with any traditions, and predictably follows the classic three-act structure. No surprises, but that’s really all right.

Characters: Lovable characters all around. Even the villains are adorable! Coconut pirates? *squee*

What I liked: Sigh. Everything! The movie was uplifting and happy. It was lovely to see female protagonists, and persons of colour as major characters. I love that Moana finds herself on her own steam, and is not a damsel in distress. And the music was better than Frozen’s. [Don’t kill me please.]

What I disliked: Absolutely nothing.

Rating: ✩✩✩✩✩