Monday, November 18, 2013 | By: Anamika

WOMEN through the Eyes of a Skeptist

I do not defy my kind. Nor is my gender in ambiguity. But there are quite a few things I fail to comprehend although I am a girl.

Ø High heels
Which one to pick?? A black wedge with heels or the comfortable floaters? It’s a choice between comfort and vogue. Try walking in that 10 inch long heels and you will know what I am talking about. I tried walking and felt like someone shove an iron rod right through my ankle up the spine and I looked like a new born calf trying to walk, not to mention the number of times I tripped. Apparently you need to practice to master the art of balancing yourself on it. But hey! The little black dress with a low cut hemline and high heels steals a lot of lime light. Heels for women is like bikes for men, You know your back hurts still it feels awesome. Well, ditto here!
I wonder why floaters and flip flops are not cool enough.

Ø Nail Polishes and polka dots
Yeah, grow them, file them and paint them. Women should seriously try “leave them alone” for a change. They grow the nails until it’s almost an inch long and start to look like claws. Ever thought of the dirt that goes inside it?? But no, you have to paint them slutty red, electric blue and crappy yellow and put polka dots all over . Even worse , pick a  colour that goes with your dress.

Ø Hair Removal
Why would any sane person spread the hot wax on their body, let it stick to the skin and then go through the mind numbing painfull process of pulling it off along with the hair. Arms and legs are less sensitive but the “upper lip”, I don’t even want to talk about it. Someone who have had issues peeing can totally pull it off with the upper lip waxing/threading. My salutes to the women who go through the ordeal every  month. Been there done that, not happy about it even a bit and definitely not going to do it again. Get a razor or the cream people!! I am glad gorillas never felt so itchy about the whole hair thingy.

Ø The fringes aka zulfen
Never tie a pony! Well, you know the world comes to stand still when you turn around in slow motion and the neatly cut layered hair flies around in the wind making you look like a Bollywood heroine. Ah screw the scorching summer heat ! Oh , why bother when you can look smoking hot with the kohl ed eyes and fringes falling off to your face.

Ø Accessorize!!
Bangles and funky beeded bracelets all crammed in one hand , a thin long chain with an incredibly large locket that reminds me of Voldemort’s horocruxes, drop earrings so huge that it almost touches your shoulder and your ear looks droopy trying hard to hold on the weight of the earrings, not to mention the bloody expensive stone studded hair clips and multicolored tic tic clips, and the anklets that do not agree much on symmetry, you wear them on just one leg, leaving the rest of the mortals to wonder if the girl actually lost the other one.

Let’s face it, almost all the men like the girl who looks good, dresses up well, not the hairy, geeky Sandra Bullocks from Ms.Congeniality . So next time you men roll your eyes and make jokes about the time spend by my kind in a beauty parlor, do have it in your mind that you are bringing upon yourself the wrath of a hundred million beauty conscious women out there in the world.  And me?? Well I am still trying to fit in.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 | By: Anamika

Chennai diaries

I moved to Chennai last week. My first week in a metro. I stay at a PG located very close to an IT hub, on the side of a beautiful street, a place like no where , a place where you could expect a hero like Karthik would see Jessy for the first time and start off the hosanna song. One side of the street is barren land, with lonely trash cans place here and there. On the other side are apartments that give off a homely feeling. Next to my PG is a huge house with two Fords jam packed in the porch, a drowsy golden retriever and an old man who sits next to goldy.

                The mornings in Chennai are hot dusty and noisy. The hot sun, speeding vehicles, daily wagers, professionals, everybody seems to be in a conspiracy to make it the worse morning of my life. The peak hours of traffic, the crowd in the bus, tamil songs playing loud on the cellphones, indecipherable bus numbers and unpronounceable place names, my futile attempts at reading English versions of tamil bill boards, it is a whole new world out here. I love the way we make faces while trying to pronounce “Dindikul thalappakatti brrriyanii”, I keep mumbling words like “nanban da”, ”vanthitten da” at all the inappropriate occasions. My arguments with auto drivers about the fare is a sight of sheer entertainment for the bystanders, for none of them would understand what exactly I said along with the tone or the expressions on my face. They never seem to be in sync. Perks of not knowing the language **sigh**.

            Chennai has wide service roads and I am reliably informed that they are for broken vehicles waiting to be towed away later. But these roads are mostly invaded by cars, trucks, dogs, humans and street vendors, not to mention the crap (literally) that adorn the beautifully paved roads. The concept of footpath is virtually non existent here. They are encroached by the shops on the side. So, a pedestrian  by definition is someone more like super Mario who jumps over obstacles(being manholes, human/dog/cow shit, sleeping dogs/cows, drunk men who found solace on the pavement ) or moves to the nearest available free space just in time for a truck (that keeps honking)to pass by.

          Every working day I see people hurrying down the streets holding Tupperware kits packed with lunch, wearing an ID card and earphones plugged in , all dressed up in formals. The buses are so crowded that many a times I have found myself clinging to the door of the bus with all the strength and praying to spare my life to see my grandchildren. I can almost hear the inner demon yelling out “do not try this at home” to the fortunate ones standing on the road . Every multiplex movie theatre comes in 120 bucks, there is an outlet that sells fried chicken of sorts in every 500 m distance, not to mention the so damn expensive coffees outlets that makes me wonder what coffee beans are actually made of. It never made sense why I had to pay VAT and even worse educational cess and higher educational cess on every thing that’s billed. Heck I dint even do a higher education after Btech :/   Then there are good Samaritans who translate tamil for me, shows the way around, cobblers who offer their umbrella while I am getting mine fixed when the sun is burning hot on my head, fruit vendors who smile at me for no apparent reason, strangers who pull me away from a speeding vehicle, “akka”s who offer to hold my heavy bag in the bus…

Now, I find a familiarity in this strangeness, a feeling of belonging in the crowd, something inexplicable that keeps me away from the pangs of homesickness, something that tells me I am fine here,that I am not so bothered about the sun tan or the hair loss due to salt water,that the pongal or lemon rice could ruin my appetite, that Iam falling in love with Chennai…

Monday, July 22, 2013 | By: Anamika

The Wedding

'Afreen calling'. My cellphone vibrated with its last ounce of battery.
"Jackass!!! how are you?"
"Aami, I'm getting married, next week"

I don't quite recollect the rest of the conversation because it was mostly lost in sobs and whimper. One of my best friends was going to be a wife very soon. Marriage, that is one huge commitment. Afreen's mom was happy and relieved that she got a good alliance, the guy tempting package altogether, huge pay check, reputed family. Meanwhile all of our mommies said something similar along the following line, " see that's what good girls do, get married early, not like you hippies roaming around boasting about jobs and post graduation, despising the holy institution of marriage".

         Back when we were in tenth standard, during the PT periods in the hot afternoons, our gang would perch on the overgrown roots of an old fat tree, chatting, gossiping and dreaming about future. I would declare, "we all will get married at 24, I will have one kid and name him aadi, Afreen will have four kids and Remya, oh never mind, she doesn't want to get married, she will join NASA. Hmm, we all will buy adjacent villas in the United States(closer to NASA of course), and Sree will open a dental clinic there". Only if it all came true...Here we are, barely 23, one of us engaged, others busy planning life ahead, Sree finished her Btech, Remya ditched her dreams of astrophysics and joined for mechanical engineering and I am yet to name my unborn kid (I am not pregnant or even married for that matter!). Our life is no where near what we had planned. The closest we are going to get to USA is probably on the street view of google maps(sigh!).

Afreen was a peppy chatterbox with an amazing sense of humor. After the engagement she became taciturn.We all went for a sleepover at her place, planned a bachelorette party, only to cheer her up. If the wedding is inevitable, why not hope for the best and celebrate?! Like in old times, we gathered, talked about old crushes, their ridiculous nicknames, the broken toilet window at school, opened up the tom cat app, swore at it and laughed till stomach hurt when the cat repeated every uncensored bad word in its squeaky voice, we fought, we lamented over the loss of bachelor life, we were all exceptionally horrible at dancing, yet made sheila ki jawani a memorable one. The mehendi night was amazing. The videographer wanted shots that looked natural and asked us to "pretend" like we were in a busy conversation with the bride, one of my evil friends jumped in, " Afreen what do you want as wedding gift?? dotted, ribbed, ..???" The gang broke into fits of laughter leaving the relatives and videographer to wonder what was so funny. And I saw Afreen smiling...

               We all knew the pain that lurked behind her smile. Tying knot with someone you barely know, with just one week to mentally prepare for the ordeal that is going to last for a life time, to be someone's wife...
There was a time when our life was nothing but fun and joy. Bunked  tuition classes, the sharjah, chikoo shakes, flunked mock entrance exams, patterns drawn on OMR sheets with random answers, the trash talks, long hour telephone conversations, fantasies about favorite film heros, bright nail polishes, sleep overs, humming random tunes in math classes only to distract Afreen who took notes fervently, SOS at the back of notebooks, shared lunches and umbrellas, dead leaves that fell off from the blackcurrent tree in the school, the wind that swept them away with time...

              There are certain aspects of one's character that wouldn't change no matter how old you grow. But marriage is one phase of life that changes everything. You are not that old carefree, alleged hippie anymore, You turn into a loving/submissive wife, protective mother and a humble daughter -in law(?), and then there is no turning back. You are never the same again...

      At the wedding I saw the name of the bride and groom written in fancy sparkling bold lettered thermocol. 'Afreen weds Ishaan' . I never knew how painful it was to see my best friend's name up there. It is a symbol of separation,lose but also a ray of hope that he will take care of her, stand by her side in pain and happiness. I went upto the stage and gave her a warm hug. Guess I needed it more than the bride herself. I congratulated the groom and gave him that "If you hurt her, I will find you and I will kill you" look (Man,I always wanted to do that!!). I walked away. It is the end of an era.

A week after the wedding, my whatsapp blinked. " OMG, I LOVE HIM!!" with lots of assorted smileys that implied the same. It's time to let go her go, with her man...God Bless.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013 | By: Anamika

The Last Jounrney

I dragged my heavy luggage through the platform looking for an empty seat. The familiar voice echoed in the station, " Yatriyaan kripaya dhyan deejiye, train no,XXXX, thiruvanthapuram se hokar calicut thak jaane waali janshatabdi express platform no 2 par aane ki sambhavna he". I had an epiphany that this is my last journey from college back to home. Four years of pointless slogging for a B tech degree is over.

        I refuse to brood on the four years, time spent not so well. But every train journey has been memorable. I would give an arm and leg for another journey with my fellow mates. The most notorious members of the gang, Deepak and I use to walk in through the train crossing the pantry car, through the jam packed compartments, ignoring the visibly annoyed passengers, we would slow down occasionally to award a cold stare to the jerks who crowded the passage to take advantage of the gorgeous girl( that would be me!) who would walk in. We would walk till we reach the last compartment and then return. Finally we would settle down in our respective seats which are usually scattered across the compartment, thanks to IRCTC's insensible automated seat allocation system. Having been a regular passenger in this train for four years, I almost know the chaiwala and biscuit wala on a first name basis. I would wait for the regular "layssh bisshcut choclate" wala. His name is Ahmed. Found that out from the name tag pinned to his uniform. I would buy the green lays and choclate chips claddded gooday biscuits.

       After I have my fill I sit back and enjoy the scenery of the paddy fields and backwaters, the suns setting around the time when it reaches Alleppey, the neon lights shone brightly near the backwaters of Cochin Sometimes it rains. Sometimes the wind is chilly and I enjoy the flying of my hair in the wind and sit there pretending to be one of those Bollywood heroines with a background score playing. Sometimes I doze off drooling over my laptop bag which would be skillfully positioned as a pillow. Sometimes I wander off from a boring book and slip into a reverie. Sometimes I plug in my earphones to remain in a blissful oblivion.

          Everyone loves to rain on my parade! There are those annoying curious passengers who interrupt the reading, music or the pretentious heroine thingy of mine, the old grandmas who innocently offer eatables and I politely decline. Then there are these hunks who believe themselves to be the doppelgangers of
Tom cruise and John Abraham and looks like they ran into a staring contest at girls.
     There is something captivating about every place the train stops ( Let's skip the imagery of the dirty railway tracks for now)  , an incident or a person associated with each place reminding me of the old times.
Calicut, the hometown of my best buddy, Shornur from where a college mate of mine boards the train and her parents wave her goodbye like it's her bidaai time after the wedding, all touchy and mushy.
Thrissur, days of horror at entrance coaching centre, Eranamkulam, the growing metro, Alleppey the town that I have never visited, the Kottayam tunnels which blacks out the train and I jokingly warn Deepak that I might let out a scream when blacks out, tricking others to think that he did the unspeakable and might get beaten up by the passengers in the process. He replies with a vicious grin that if he's getting beaten up for nothing, he would rather do the unspeakable and then get beaten up. My inner demon laughs at me and I shut up. Finally i would reach my station Tirur, get down, give away my backpack to mommy and sit silently at the backseat of the car and doze off.

 My last journey wasn't any of this. I was too tired carrying the luggage, everyone was held up in a myriad of emotions of the last good byes being said. Ahmed was no where to be seen, no lays and biscuits to bid farewell to. I brushed away my choking feeling under the carpet and dozed off.

 Adios Janshatabdi express...
Monday, July 8, 2013 | By: Anamika

Confessions of a Foodie

The mess food of my college always took pride in keeping the young ladies in shape. We seldom ate the mess food: the food was awe-full, ALWAYS! So finally when i came home from that institution not only did i have a graduation degree but a good curve to show off. And then things changed. Being a foodie and being a girl never goes hand in hand. Everyone "ooh"ed and "ah"ed  about how much weight I lost. But, after feasting on the most sought after "mommy's food" like a voracious caterpillar, for over a month, with no proper workout whatsoever I transformed into a humanoid version of an appy fizz bottle.
          After pounding google with a couple of "how to's" of burning fat at all the inappropriate places, I decided to accompany mom on the morning walks. It lasted one day. Who am I kidding anyway?! Why would any sane person on earth want to go for a walk on a cold rainy morning, when she can simply tuck in her blanket and drift off to the dreamy land in the warmth. Next came a set of aerobic exercises i managed to fathom from Youtube. I was left panting like an old dog. Then i decided to skip my dinner. After a sleepless night of stomach gurgling with hunger I changed the diet from null to bananas. This went well until one day I found the fish curry and hot steam cakes waving their aroma at me. I ignored the out cries of the inner angel
and dove in. Screw the bananas! Then came the legendary elliptical cycle which had this fancy screen that displayed pulse, distance and calories burned. I peddled hard like Lance Armstrong heading for the
Tour De France title. 20 mins, burned 500 calories, sweating like a pig gasping for breath.

         On second thoughts, I think I can live with the fact that I wouldn't fit into my old jeans but I sure as hell can eat everything while I have it. I might move out of town in a couple of weeks and home made delicacies will haunt me.

   There, I am all back in square one. I see Deepika Padukone flaunting her curves in Batameez dil, I look away. 3 weeks of workouts and diet control goes down the drain.

                            Let's just say I am not fat, I am food enriched ;)