I have a new signature

I like to play around with my blog. Well, what to do, no one's home ;-)

So, when I googled "signature on my blog", almost all the results pointed me to this cool site My Live Signature.

The best part of the site is that you don't need to register if you don't want to; and still use their services. Oooh, I love you, people. The site is neat. You can choose the font (its a tough choice 'coz there are >100 options available), the colour, the size, the slant. To me, its a neat way of personalizing the blog with a signature that reflects me. Of course, be careful, you could easily spend hours choosing the right one.

I'm good! I finished two signatures for my two blogs in just 30 min :)
So here's what I chose.

I have time to think

I wish I didn't

Is anyone jealous of me

I wonder about that. Yes, I do.

Well, often I look at people's life and I think - hey that's soooo cool. I would want that - So yes, I often get jealous of people who can travel to exotic places, are tall, are beautiful, are witty, are arty, are smart, can sing, can dance, are leggy, can swim & snorkel & dive, can draw & paint, can doodle, can bungee-jump, and run marathons, can write, can cook, can work, can control their tempers, can be good mothers and all that. Why, I only carry Tesco bags, not even a Gucci. Wow, before now, I never realized how many people I could be jealous of.

To me, jealousy doesn't have to be bitter or poisonous or all consuming. Its not that malicious feeling that makes you sabotage lives or hurt people; but instead its that momentary feeling of dissatisfaction with your own self. I know its not normal, but did I ever claim to be normal.

Rationally, even I know I'm seeing just one part of the life of people I'm jealous of -may be the glamorous one, and that I have no idea of what's behind there; but, in that instant, I'm jealous. I am human after all. All these feelings remind me of the short story called "The Grass is Always Greener..." that Jeffery Archer wrote as part of his short-story collection titled "To cut a long story short". He writes about how a homeless man envies a doorman, who envies his boss, who in turn envies the manager, and so on...

But the rationality doesn't stop me from wondering. And I wonder, does anyone look at my life and wish they had my life - my loving husband, my uncomplicated in-laws, my 2 kids, my books, my weird sense of humour, my time, my enthusiasm, my ability to make chocolate cakes (???), my laid-back attitude....

I wonder. May be I grasp at straws, but I sure hope there's someone in the world that is.

Who am I?

Who am I?

I'm from India
I'm an ordinary gal

I'm out of work
I'm on the wrong side of 30

I'm currently unmotivated
I'm not sure why

I'm good at talking
I'm so-so at cooking

I'm good at baking chocolate cakes
I'm even better at polishing them off

I'm not thin
I'm not fat either

I'm my mother's favorite (heh heh heh)
I'm not sure if I'm right

I'm a mother of 2
I'm a wife too

I'm new to writing
I'm old to math

I'm into books
I'm not into philosophy or horror

I'm fond of travelling
I'm not rich enough to travel as much as I want

I'm full of questions
I'm not sure if anyone has the answers

I'm interesting
I'm likely to be even more interesting after 5 years

I'm lazy
I'm impatient

I'm rarely late
I like chocolate

I'm expensive
I'm not that expensive

I'm a good babysitter
I'm just not good at holding my temper

I'm popular with kids
I'm popular with adults

I'm full of myself
I'm sure you're thinking that :-)

I read this recently

...and just loved it.
"An immaculate house is a sign of a wasted mother"

Political Correctness note :
I did not write this. I have no idea who did. I don't remember where I read this. Once I do, I will put the original author's name here to pass on all the glory associated with it.

Obviously the one who wrote this was feeling the pressure of social conformity. Why is it that everyone who visits your house has to comment on how you keep your home ? Why is it almost a reflection of your social success?

Earlier I was a little more careless and untidy. People who visited my home after I was married would snicker & say- Oh your house is so "lived in". I like untidy homes!!! They feel so goooood and warm.

My home is now much neater. People still can't leave me alone. Once they visit, its like -"OMG, why is your house so clean? How do you manage to keep it with 2 kids? Mine has stuff strewn all over the place...."

Yes the situation is reversed. Just because I have kids, you expect my place to be messy. God forbid if you see a tidy place. Its just not done, is it? Toys & shoes have to strewn all over, walls have to be scribbled on, paint splatters on the sofa, etc etc. That's what you want to see, that is what is normal.

Well, not for me. I'm sorry if I disappoint you.
In the past few years, my genes have probably gone through a metamorphosis. I don't know why. May be it was the pregnancies, may be it was the fact that I inherited a lot of hand-me-downs; or may be it was just fate....I don't know. But one thing is for I can't handle clutter. .

A home is a home. A home is where you feel comfortable. Home is where you can be free. Home is where you laugh. Home is where you cry, you eat, you sleep, you read, you play. Home is where you invite people when you want to be with them, home is where you retreat to when you want to be alone. Whether a home is tidy or not has nothing to do with any of this.

Don't make me self-conscious about it. Messy or not, please leave my home alone.

My Besan Laddoo success story

I never thought I'd do a blog on food. I mean, yes I can cook, but its not as if I'm the best cook in the world :-P. But I'm just thrilled beyond bits and I have to share why. I made "Besan ka Laddoos" yesterday. Indians will know what I'm taking about, but for the non-Indians, let me try to define what Besan Laddoos are...

Besan = Gramflour / Chickpea Flour
Laddoo = Sweet balls
So Besan Laddoo = Sweet Balls made of Chickpea flour = Indian Sweet.....very sweet...
Check out the web here & there for more on these divine forms of food.

Now, I'm not sure if you know this; but I feel my kids are secretly Chinese; but somewhere inside both of them, there's this stubborn Indian food gene that refuses to give up. As a result, they just adore some specific types of Indian food. For good (they're delicious) or bad (they're fatty) one of these favorites is Laddoos. While we were in India, Nani dear would painstakingly make the laddoos and courier them over. The moment our stock got over, there would be one call to Nana / Nani who ensured that the laddoo container wasn't empty for long. Then, we came out of India, and sending laddoos by courier became a proposition too expensive for even the doting Nana-Nani to consider. Bravely, Amma stepped in to see that the kids were not being starved of laddoos by the unfeeling parents; and we were living happily with our supplies of laddoos.

Why am I telling you all this ?
Well, just to reinforce the reason why I never needed to learn how to make the Besan Laddoos. But in the last month, each time my kids spoke to either grandmother, all they would talk about is laddoos.
Kid : Neil wan' yellow laddoo
Me : Doll, Ma doesnt know how to make laddoo
Kid : Why Ma, why? Neil wan' yellow laddoo
Me : Neil, I just explained. I don't know how to make them
Kid : Neil wan' yellow laddoo. Neil wan' yellow laddoo. Ma, Neil wan' yellow LAD-DOOOOOO...

Talk about pressure. So I finally decided to take the plunge; and yes, I made the laddoos. Took some ghee, added besan, fried it on low flame till it was fragrant & slightly brown. Cooled it. Added Boora (reconstituted sugar), cardamom, and powdered almonds...and made balls of them.....VOILA, My laddoos were ready.

Oh man, were they great, or what ! Between husband + 2 kids, we were down by 10 in 3 hours. I am sooooo thrilled.

Thrilled, thrilled and thrilled some more :)

Are you happy now?

This is directed to those people kind enough to leave a few suggestions behind. Now, I cant say I dont like you (what a pity, I do enjoy ranting at the world in general).

Now, I don't really understand why my old template got such an adverse reaction. I really don't think its bad, though it did have more features than I knew what to do with (But then that's probably my fault rather than the templates). And so what if its brown. I like brown. Just last week I bought 2 brown skirts...but then you don't need to know that.

Anyway, I do hope you are happy with the new template now. BTW, if you aren't, TOO BAD ! I've wasted several hours on first identifying a suitable one; and then getting "bX-bliced" at Blogger for the better part of 2 hours while loading the template that I wanted (see this). Then, my original template (yes, the one that you guys didn't like) also got corrupted. Can you imagine my plight. The only thought that kept me going was that nothing I chose could be worse than the free templates that Blogger provides.

So here you are...the new look (for the time being - till I figure out how to go to the Japanese Fleur without encountering the bX-bliced errors again).

Wish me luck!

My son has RED toenails

My son has red toenails.

Over the weekend, I had a pedicure. Since everyone in the house was sleeping, I decided to take my older son with me while I went on a pedicure. He was most fascinated with the whole process - that magical piece of cotton which can take the color off mummy's toes, that strange rectangular something that can make the nails shine like never before, and the lovely lovely array of color.

So anyway, once we got back, he decided that he needed colour on his toes as well. So what if he's a boy. Its pretty, isn't it. To keep peace, I painted his toe-nails red (that's the colour he chose). Now, I'm struggling to accept. To me, its strange to have my 5 year old have painted nails. Red nails. A boy with red nails. I'm sure if it were a friend's child, I would have told her to chill. But it isn't. Its my 5 year old. My son.

My son with red nails. I wonder if I'd felt the same had it been my daughter with red nails, instead of my son. I wonder. I think I'd have been cooler. And that surprises me. It exposes a part of me I don't like. I never thought I was a sexist. I didn't think I was so conventional. I don't know why I'm uncomfortable - is it because boys normally don't paint their nails. But then boys also normally don't play with dolls. Why was I okay with buying him dolls and encouraging him to play with it; or with joining dance & ballet lessons; playing with girls; not playing typical "boy" games? I'm surprised at myself.

Are these ways in which having children challenges you? It makes you suddenly realize how stupid you are about inconsequential things. Just as well he's doing this when he's 5. That way I'll be a cooler mom by the time he's 15.

Bring it on son, its okay. I need to grow up too. I'll struggle, I'll learn, I try not to judge, and I'll accept and love.

Yes, I'll always love you, my son with red toes. Yes, you can have red toes, for as long as you want. And if you don't, that's okay too. I love YOU, my son with red toes.

I don't like you

Yes, you got that right. I don't like you. I don't.

You guys are so inconsiderate. Here I am, slaving away, struggling to write something witty, something to put a smile on your face, something that will cheer you up (even if its for a short while); and I don't hear a peep out of you.

Firstly, most of you are rude enough NEVER to visit my site. There's absolutely no traffic here. I actually put up a visitor count to see how many people came to visit me. After a few days back, I had to take it off. It was embarrassing to see the count moving in increments of 0. What's up with you people. Can't you see, here I am, this brilliant blogger, just waiting to be discovered. Well? How am I to be discovered if you people don't come visit me, huh? There's only 1 visitor I have - its my old roomie. V, my love, I'm eternally grateful! I 'm going to leave you all the money I (don't) have.

Now, back to you guys. The second reason I don't like you is because you NEVER leave a comment. Please! It only takes a minute to leave a comment. No, not being on this blog is NOT an acceptable excuse for not commenting. I don't CARE how you comment, but please do! Leave a hi; and if you're feeling extra nice towards me, you can choose out of the following options -
a. I like it
b. I love it
c. Dammit, You're a genius, where were you all these days

I'm going to log off now. I'd better see something tomorrow; else I'll have to say this again
I don't like you one bit.

I'm cranky today

I'm cranky today.

The plumber I've been chasing the past few weeks finally promised to come today. "I'll be there before 10, madam". By 1230 I was getting a little edgy from waiting around and repeated replies of "I'm on my way, madam".

The Plumber finally arrived at 1:00pm. Its 4:30 now. The work is half-done and he's disappeared to "buy some things, madam". There's no water in the house because "must off supply madam, how to work, madam". The bathrooms are all messed up with dirty boot marks - "sorry madam". The kitchen sink is piled up with dishes. My bathroom shower has been completely dismantled; and I dare not start the water supply just in case the house gets flooded. The Security office just called to say they won't be allowing any contractor in after 5:00 pm "for security reasons, madam". The kids want to go out & play; and we can't because we're waiting for the plumber to return...

No! the day is not going well. I'm depressed, I'm angry, and I'm ready to kill someone.

Stay away. I'm cranky today.

I can't write

I want to write. I desperately want to write, but I can't. I've been racking my brain for a suitable subject. I've reviewed all my pieces in "draft" form, tweaked them around, and I still don't know what to write. How is it that on some days thoughts flow effortlessly from my brain onto the keypad? On days like today, I sit in front of the screen trying desperately to take words out of my brain, and I obviously am not succeeding if the only thing that comes out is this.

I've shushed the kids, and sent them out to play because they were disturbing me too much. Now the house is empty and silent as a tomb, and I still don't know what to write. is it too quiet? is it too noisy? the music on radio isn't nice. Any other music I play makes me want to sing and not write. what do i do. I desperately needs more number of blogs - i started one about my recent holiday; then about my kids, then about my sex life, and then about my skin... I've abandoned them all.

I think I'll go and make myself a cup of coffee. Half milk, half water, a nice full teaspoon of coffee, no sugar. Heat it, mix it, froth it up....hmmm the thought excites me.

I'm going. Yes I am. Waiting around here isn't getting me anywhere.
Bye. See you tomorrow

The New Look

So this is the new look for my blog. It took me the whole evening to figure out a skin I liked; and then to trouble shoot it (I NEVER claimed I was smart!)

I love it! Creators, thank you, thank you, you've done a fine job!

Yes, I joined the Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women

If you haven't been following the Indian news lately, see this : The Consortium of Pub-going, Loose & Forward Women a group of women has started the Pink Chaddi campaign to protest against some activists who assaulted some innocent women enjoying themselves at a Mangalore pub.

These are my thoughts on it -

Yes, I joined the Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women
No, I don't drink
Yes, I still joined it
No, I don't intend to start drinking
Yes, I'm fighting for women's rights
No, I'm not a feminist
Yes, I believe its OK to think for yourself, experiment & then decide what you want to do with your life
No, I don't think anyone - father, brother, husband or even mother, sister - should decide how I lead my life

Yes, its okay for girls to have fun
Yes, its okay to go for a movie
Yes, its okay for girls to have friends who incidentally are men
No, it doesn't mean they are sluts
Yes, its okay for women to go to a pub
No, Men in dance bars is not different
Yes, its okay to marry who you like and love
No, its not okay for you to marry people just because they went to a pub together

Yes, I feel the Valentine day is just too commercial
No, I don't go around hitting people

Yes, I wear skirts, jeans and t-shirts
No, I'm not out to titillate you
Yes, i proudly wear sarees & salwar kameezes too
No, I don't feel safe from harassment just because I'm in a salwar kameez
Yes, I know its not traditional Indian culture to wear spaghetti straps
No, I also know its not traditional Indian culture to hit women
Yes, sometimes I too feel, we're losing our unique "Indian-ness"
No, our "Indian-ness" doesn't lie in threatening people who think differently

Yes, you are not the sole guardian of Hindu culture.
No, you're right, neither am I! Neither you nor I can singularly decide what Indian culture is
Yes, I know you are a Hindu
No, I'm not anti-Hindu

Yes, I'm worried
No, its not about you
Yes, its about my country
No, I'm not comfortable about the direction my country is moving in
Yes, I worry about it for my kids
No, I don't want them to grow up like you
Yes, I want a society where women can think for themselves. Hell, even men should be able to think for themselves
No, no one appreciates you taking up the responsibility of thinking for others, telling them what they can or can't do

Yes, our society is in transition
No, it isn't the only one.

Yes, drinking in pubs is a western phenomenon
No, drinking at pubs doesn't mean I'm aping the west
Yes, in the olden days pubs were called "kothas"
No, in the olden days women didn't go to them - they stayed at home
Yes, in the olden days schools were called "pathshalas"
No, in the olden days, girls didn't go to them - they stayed at home
Yes, in the olden days men were the ones who went out for "kaam"
No, in the olden days, women didn't go out - they stayed at home
Yes, now the women do - they go out - they study, they work, and if they pub - that doesn't make them prostitutes
No, we definitely don't live in the olden days anymore

Yes, some things are better now
Yes, some things are worse now
Realize, some things are different now

Yes, I think you're after publicity
No, I can't dismiss this as a cheap stunt

Yes, I'm a woman
Yes, I'm Indian
Yes, I'm modern
Yes, I'm also traditional
Yes, I will protest when you treat women shabbily
Yes, you are being a bully
Yes, I feel you are a threat to a peaceful society
Yes, participation in the Pink Chaddi campaign is my silly, irreverent way of protesting against your more sinister way of life

Presents for Wife

You know how, sooner or later, all conversations turn to what each woman got from her husband on her birthday / anniversaries / Valentine Days, etc.... Yes, we women are like that. We do compare notes...

Most of my friends and colleagues used to happily tell me about the flowers, jewellery, clothes, bags & other presents that they got. On Valentines, on Birthdays, on Anniversaries.... Wow !

Me ? Well, its a little embarassing... Let me see.... Birthdays? Nope, nothing !
Anniversaries? uh, uh! no such luck
Yes, once, I think.... Oh yes, I remember now. It was 8 years ago - yes, before we got married - He gave me a rose. .....Yes, Yes, I'm positive, that was the last one I received...

(Had I known it will be such a rare occurrence, I promise you, I'd have it mounted and framed in our house.)

Earlier, I used to sneak to his phone's calendar function & set alarms for buying presents. 30 days before Birthday: "Wife's birthday coming up. Buy a nice present". Repeat calendar function every week until D-day to ensure "I forgot" can't be an excuse.

But, come D-day, and husband would happily present himself empty-handed.
He: Happy Birthday
Me: Thanks.

still nothing
.............................some more waiting...

By the end of day, I'm a little disappointed & a lot annoyed.....
Me : Do you know A's husband bought her a diamond bracelet on her birthday?
He : So?
Me : You never buy me anything
He : Whaa-aaat? Why would you want me to buy you stuff?
Me : Well it is my birthday today
He : So? Ok, Come here, I'll give you a much better present. I'll give you a kiss
Me : A kiss! I don't want a kiss! I want a present.
He : A present? You can buy whatever you want - why drag me into it?
Me : Because all the other husbands buy their wives stuff & then I feel jealous
He : Oh, you know men buy wives presents when they are having an affair. Guilty conscience!!
Me : ALL my friends husbands are having an affair ALL the time?
He : Well, its a depraved world out there !
Me : Never mind, you buy me stuff to show me you love me.
He : But I dont!
Me : Just pretend you do
He : Ok, ok....but why would a strong, confident woman like you wait for a mere man to give her stuff...its sooo "weak"
Me : I don't care. I want to be weak. I just want something on my birthday. Put in the effort of buying me something. But remember, I have to like it !
He : Don't be silly. If I buy it, how can you like it? Its an oxymoron
Me : Mummy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Obviously, I don't like to tell people this (at least not the snooty ones - No, you aren't stuck-up. You can'e be - look at you, you're as pathetic as me! I write sidey blogs; and you're reading it). So, anyway, after a while I decided I just can't wait around for husband to be buying me presents. I had to do something -----

Me (gleefully) : Husband, thank you! You bought me a really nice present for Valentines
He : What did I buy? What did I buy ?
Me : You bought me a Purse.
He (anxiously) : Wow! Did I spend a lot of money?
Me (determinedly) : Of course you did! Purses (or diamonds) dont come cheap. Its branded and limited edition. You really went through a lot of effort to get it for me.
He : Really! Wife likes it ? I'm happy! Can I see it ?
Me : Of course. See, its beautiful, I love it !!!! You really know what I like !
He (full of it) : I do have good taste, dont I?
Me (also full of it) : Yes you do, you married me, didn't you. Here's the credit card receipt. Don't forget to pay the bill. Its due next week ! Thank you hubband !
He : Happy Valentines Day
Me : You too

...and we live happily ever after

My husband's KRAs

It is the new year. Every year, in the beginning of the year, companies make the employees think about their goals and the Key Result Areas (or KRAs) that would be used for measuring their performance at the work place.

I've decided that I too need to assess my husband's performance. The following are the KRAs that shall now apply to him with immediate effect. Of course he doesn't know it (No, he doesn't read my blog!!!!). Go thru' it. Tell me if you want to make additions to it; but if you're planning to use it, don't feel free because I need royalties.

Section 1 : Work Life Balance

1. No. of days he came home at 6:00pm or before
Total no. of days worked

2. No. of days he brought work home

3. No of days of travel
a. No of days of travel to interesting places where wife wasn't taken
b. No of instances of travel when wife didn't get anything interesting

4. No. of extra hours that he did office work while at home

5. No. of official phone calls he attended while on "home" time

Section 2: Quality Time with wife
This can be measured by the following surrogate measures -
1. No of birthdays/ anniversaries / important days missed
Fine Print : Important days = Anniversaries of the day we met, day we saw our first movie together, day he gave me our first flower, day he met my dad, day he met the rest of my family, day he met my aunt twice removed, day we had sex for the 1st time, day we had sex for the 100th time, the last time we had sex, the first time we had a fight, day we made up, day we left for our first holiday and whatever else he thinks was special

2. No of lunches and dinners he took wife too

3. No of presents he bought for wife.
Note : Special bonus for buying diamonds

4. No. of days he babysat the kids while wifey went shopping

5. No of days of work he bunked office to come spend time with wife

6. No. of vacations taken per year.
a. No of vacations taken per year with wife + kids
b. No of vacations taken per year with wife alone

Section 3: Financial Performance
1. Amount earned very month -often also known as Monthly take-home salary

2. Net increase in salary
a. % increase in salary Year on Year (YOY)
b. % increase in salary for every year of marriage

3. Amount of money spent by wife shopping
a. Gross Amount spent by wife shopping this year
b. % increase in shopping amounts YOY

c. Amount of money wife spent without having husband give her weird looks

Section 4: Display of Love

1. No. of times he said "I love you" even though wife was NOT holding a gun to his head

2. No of massages given to wife per month

3. No of phone calls that wife made to husband per day that were not returned

4. No of poems written per year in praise of wife

5. No of sudoku print-outs brought per unit week

6. No of print-outs of airplanes / trains & other colouring pages brought for kids

==================End of Patience to make any more ===============