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Brand new garb, same old crap

Check out the designer label at the bottom. Luckily I didn’t have to pay an arm and a leg for this template as Chugs is like Spiderman- helps the poor and hapless by spinning his web. Being a professional web-designer, I think he couldn’t deal with the eyesore and hence the gracious offer, which he came to later regret. He doesn’t like to be heaped with praises (found out the hard way), so I’ll spare him (and myself). But I was immensely surprised at his generosity as I had no clue of his existence. Need to hang out with more celebrities in future.

Now I see Chugs designs everywhere. It’s like when you get your new pair of Nikes, you start noticing other people with Nikes and think- hmm, his Nikes are better than mine! But when you get it for free, you wonder how much that sucker paid!

Chugs, you totally rock buddy! Thanks for putting up with me and my browser and blogdrive. I love this look, but I still see weird things like potbellied, bald guys on the header. The calendar keeps blinking with an eerie message saying- Your expiry date is fast approaching. People, if you see question marks randomly, please substitute with inverted commas, brackets, exclamation marks- whatever suits you...or contact Simon Singh. Next thing I know, Lynne Truss is going to call me and offer free classes (surprisingly it hasn't happened yet).

Ok Chugs, I’ll trust you when you say you can’t see the same problems and that I am going mental (meaning I lack aqueous humor)

Hey, if there are any magnanimous doctors, masseurs, eyebrow-threaders, drycleaners, cops, shrinks etc out there reading my blog, please drop in a note. I am open to charity.

Life is good.

Never

'A blue saucer! Ok, a blue edible saucer! Why blue, why saucer?'

'Ok ma, stop making fun of my cake. I agree it's a little too thin and hard and saucer-like. All I did was use the freaking recipe you gave me! The blue color was my improvisation. Maybe I can use it to play Frisbee with my friends'; I concluded gauging the fact that my hard work may not be devoured with glee in my household.

'I guess no harm in tasting it', said my encouraging mom as she dug her teeth forcibly into the lumpy bar that was called cake. 'Eeauu *cough* Was the salt an improvisation too?'

Little research led to the fact that I had indeed used salt instead of baking soda. More research failed to reveal why I had committed such an act.

'Why do you make me cook in that case? You do it yourself from next time!!!' I stormed out of the room.

'But, when will you learn?' she looked distraught.

Fast-forward all the boring scenes including song sequences and we arrive at the present.

Yesterday, I came back panting and puffing from grocery shopping, with bag handles ripping through my skin. Before I could even slump the bags on the kitchen floor, Pi goes, 'Did you use the coupon for groceries?'

'What coupon?' I asked irately knowing where this conversation was going and trying to feign ignorance regarding aggravating coupons that had caused volcanic eruptions last week for self having ignored their existence.

'The coupons that I painstakingly sort out and keep aside. You could have saved 5 bucks today.' He showed me the location of those culprit coupons.

Defense mechanism at its best, I cut in, 'Whatever!'

A speech was in order about virtues of saving money and on how absentminded and careless and negligent and *few more bad qualities* I am. I'm quite immune to these allegations (rightfully false) as I have heard them all ever since my brain knew how to process external noises.

He looks at the bill. 'Why didn't you use your preferred card that was hanging in your key-chain? You could have saved another 3 dollars.'

I think Mr.Prim & Propah derives immense pleasure in this activity of busting me and desperately trying to make me feel miserable.

'How the hell did you know that? That store fellow never asked me to show it to him! So I forgot like the fifty other times.' I offhandedly remark not bothered one bit.

After a few more minutes, peace doesn't prevail. I get interrupted again. 'Where is the baby food and diapers that you bought?'
Eh?

Investigation proves that I indeed paid for blasphemous items mentioned above. The only recent recollection of similar items happened to be in the cart of the next customer I had encountered in the store. Profound conclusion on my part revealed that I paid for the nice lady whose baby must be wearing my diapers and eating my baby food!

Ominous look from Pi gets me even more infuriated at his thoroughness and obsessive behavior. Maybe it's that involuntary training of being around me. But seriously, who the hell proofreads a bill? What about the time of transaction, is that printed all right?

'Next time you go shopping! I'm not going to bother.' I say trying to sound hurt, salvaging my pride.

'But, when will you learn?' he looks distraught.

It won't be very long when I'll hear the same thing from my kids. Sometimes, life feels like a still picture and not a movie.

Frame those eyes

'I have no absolutely no patience when it comes to grooming. I cannot wake up an hour early to do my hair and makeup. Heck, I refuse to even get up a minute early. But sometimes, when things become aesthetically offensive, I will endure a parlor so that people don't think I'm a Neanderthal woman or an out-of-control dumpster. '

'There is one thing I can't afford to neglect even if I decided to stay in the forest with blind bats. My eyebrows. I am extremely conscious and will go to lengths to get them trimmed/threaded/waxed whatever the country is willing to offer by the time the stubble can even say'Boo'. '

'There was a time when this guy kept looking at my eyes. Flustered, I was bracing myself to refuse any requests for a date.'What's that poky poky thing near your eyebrows?' he asked after much deliberation and to my mortification. '

'I inherited my thick brows from my dad (thanks, pa). Looks rugged and great on him but looks like I sprouted caterpillars and painted them black, not to mention the caterpillars that meet at the bridge of my nose. So you can see my predicament and necessity to have them look like eyebrows periodically when they start to go out of control. With the thick nature of my eyebrows, you could shape them as anything, even George W if you so wished. My brows grow at an alarming rate of ½ a nanometer per day without fertilizers and need to be fixed every 2 weeks.'

'It's a five minute ordeal, even that, as you guys (especially guys) know. So I hate having to travel far and wide (to better places) to attend to this minor detail. The Vietnamese place I go to (on the way from work) is exceedingly rude, barring the fact that she insists on talking only in Vietnamese to me, animatedly.

'I feel this is a nice method for venting about bad eyebrows.

'Suddenly she switches to English and sometimes I do recognize the fact, "Vely thick haaail!"'

'"So Thiiiick, yowl iblouse!" she drones again.'

"Yes, I agree." I agreeably agree.

"Too much Haiiil. Tsk tsk!" She persistently whines.

"‘Why do you think I freaking come here?' '

'Yes, why do I go there?! Before I could envision a place where eyebrow artists know how to treat their guinea pigs, I was smacked on my head for stirring! Owwwch! Need to find a civil and cheap place.'

'Voila, I found one near my house. I walked in skeptically to see Vietnamese people (methinks this is an ancient mandatory art in Vietnam) and drew conclusions about treatment meted to costumers. After all, I am a stereotypical human-being. With not much of a choice, I was willing to give it a try. "Blouse?" I asked pointing to my eyebrows.'

"Five dollas", she said politely.

I did a little caterpillar dance as the previous place used to charge a staggering six dollars (with abuse).

She ushered me into a separate'eyebrow' room. Made me lie down on what could be construed as a bed. A bed for an eyebrow trim? Very suspicious indeed. I had no way to communicate my suspicions as her English vocabulary ended with'five dollars'. She turned on some bright bed-lights on my face and started performing the'eyebrow' trimming act, which turned out to be more elaborate than an open-heart surgery. Very patiently she laid the tiny wax strips on my face and worked on it for almost an hour by which time my patience had decided that I wasn't going to come here ever again even if my brows looked like the St.Loius arch.'

'Eerie silence was too much to bear. Why couldn't she talk to me in Vietnamese at least?! Or berate me for having thick unruly eyebrows? How about smacking my face, you antisocial being?'

'I could have tolerated a flight to India, but this was one of a kind torture that I will never want to suffer again. It was like being held hostage by a very boring villain. By the end of it, she showed me the mirror proudly. Holiest crap! Every stray hair was intact, jeering at me. What the heck was she doing for such a long time? Stunned, I looked carefully hoping she had reconstructed my nose or something. No such luck.'

"‘Ok?" she asked beaming.'

"‘Yeah. Thanks." I pulled out six dollars, handed it over and ran for my freedom, almost tripping over the doormat. '

Go green!

'I volunteered for some greening initiatives in my office. Please go easy on the praises this time, while my halo goes for servicing. So while we were in the conference room, throwing in some dull ideas on how to celebrate Earth Day, I spotted it. There was a money-plant (people here call it ivy) sitting high on one of the closets totally neglected. In other words, it was dying a painful and lonely death. Completely withered, but showing some vital green signs of life. What a fighter, I thought. Must have been un-watered for months, from the time we had our office reconfiguration. While the meeting was still in progress, I animatedly staged the whole affair and ran off with the plant to the kitchen to revive it. The only thing missing from this scene was a stretcher and mourning plant-relatives. I hope I sufficiently managed to make my green-team greener with envy and guilt by proving to be the one who can stand up for the cause. Well, I did hear a slamming of the conference door. Uh! Such dramatic people!

'In the kitchen, I laid the plant near the kitchen sink, removed all the dried up leaves and twigs, cleaned up the pot and watered it. The soil was still hard, so I got a plastic fork from the cabinet and started jabbing through the dirt to loosen it a bit. If that plant could talk, it would have heaved a sigh of relief and said- Alpha, you have a big nose!

'A colleague walks in. Seeing me poised with a fork and potted plant on top of the kitchen counter, he goes, 'Even for a vegetarian, I think THAT is extreme lunch!'

What was that again?

New Indian guy to join my office.

Boss comes up to me and asks, 'How do you pronounce his name correctly? I want to make sure we useless Americans get it right.'

'Why should it bother you Jack? You have been mispronouncing my name for four years.'

The poor guy was so rattled that I felt bad and quickly tried to calm him down, 'Not that I really care. As long as it doesn't get distorted to Bitch.'

'So it is not Sumaaaan?'

'No, it is Summmun. Mun as in 'fun'.

'Oh ok. Simple enough. I will remember that.'

'Seeuuuummmun, he hollered the next day when I walked into his office.

'No no', I said shaking my head with dismay and regretting the freakier version that was emerging. 'Su…as in Subbramanikanteshwar. Forget it, it's fine actually.'

'Suman, did you manage to get that transmittal out? he asked when I was busy at the copying center.

Not recognizing my own name when it was pronounced right, I didn't even bother to look up this time.


Who is Alpha

'Our cousin, Sridhar, called us frantically from Singapore. He had the shock of his life early in the morning (must have chocked on his coffee) when he saw my name splattered on the Supplement of The Straits Times called ‘Digital Life'. To make matters worse there was a Jayalalitha sized photo of me on the right hand corner that appeared bigger than the article itself (all those donuts paying off). No, I was not caught with illegal possession of narcotics or spitting chewed up gum on the immaculate streets of Singapore. And before you jump into any random conclusions, I was simply selected as the “Blog of the Week”, in Singapore of all places.


'The story goes thus- I was contacted by this extremely nice person, Jennani Durai who claimed to work as a journalist for The Straits Times and wanted to feature my blog. I was of course thrilled, amused and skeptical- in that order. Hmmm…wonder why my blog? April fools day is not far off either. Sweet of her to assuage my fears and still persist, in spite of the thick-skinned moron I was proving to be. I was apprehensive about losing my identity or rather gaining my real identity here. Apprehension lasted for a single second more when fame loomed in front of me and vanity kicked in.'


'Sure! Here's my name. *blurt*'


'Are you sure? It will be published in the national newspaper? Can you handle it Ms. Hydroxy?'


'Sure sure… *trying desperately to wipe the drool and sound composed*'

'You want my photo? Oh jeez, that's the tough one. I have a digital camera. I have million photos, but not ONE worth sending. I absolutely look like a pathetic witch in every one of them. Panic mode! I almost took a day off and spent quality time with the automatic feature in my camera covering every corner of the house till I gave up, panting and puffing. Took a power nap on the couch for 5 minutes and got to business again. Even for a non-perfectionist like me, it was an ordeal. Darn! Can I just send one of Aishwarya's pics? Is she popular in Singapore? To make matters believable, I could settle for Sonali Bendre.'

'I did manage to send one which hubby took after much coaxing. I don't look like a pathetic witch at all; I look like a plain witch. Small truth in this matter being- photos don't lie. '

'Here's the article. Don't say I didn't warn you about the photo, hoping you have survived the heart attack. Actually say I look just fine and that I am over-reacting (to be courteous).

'When I first started blogging, I made a decision to go completely anonymous for various reasons.''

'-Unhindered writing. '

'-Make fun of people just to elicit a few laughs (what won't I do for that!) without offending them.''

'-Use other people's stories as mine.'

''-Come up with cooler names than my actual one.''

'Somehow I started without really knowing how to proceed and very soon I was churning out posts whenever I had the time to pen those thoughts that threatened to fly away. Strangers came, left invaluable comments, inspired me to write better and before I knew it those very strangers started becoming friends offline. The real and blogging worlds were getting mixed. Anonymity was not that big an issue anymore. I hope I have sufficiently drilled my confusing thoughts regarding this and beaten it to death. '

'Thanks to all those who have been reading the pieces of my puzzle- I mean it. Thanks Jennani, for selecting this blog that I have enjoyed writing. I am indeed humbled. ''

Very soon you shall see my talents emerging as a budding star in the next horror sequel, Ring-III. The director is bound to get in touch with me soon.

Hall of Shame

I won’t deny the fact that I was an evil prankster, much more sinister than I am now. Cheap thrills make me do it. Apart from the ones I have mentioned in this blog before, here are some more-

 

When I was in high school (during the time when talking to guys was a big deal), me and a friend called a dozen of my classmates (guys) as Roshni from Adarsh Vidyalaya (a school known for hipper babes) on the pretext of doing an assignment on ‘school boys’! Yeah, the geeks fell for something as preposterous as that and answered all my outrageous questions patiently. Some guys who wouldn't lift their eyes off the books admitted that they would like to have a girlfriend. Scandalous! My other girlfriends would be thrilled with this info. Next day, every guy was talking about this Roshni and pitying the other guys who hadn’t got her call. ‘Sorry buddies’, I thought sagely, ‘Only if I knew your numbers.’ They were flying high having spoken to some babe who sounded much cooler than their nerdy classmates. Oh well, I just decided not to break the news that it was me lest they tie me upside-down from the basketball loop for playing with their minds and prying into their deep dark secrets. It’s OK that I didn’t receive any credit for that prank; wise decisions come rarely to me.

It became serious business when girls started out-sourcing crank-calls to me as I could pull it off without a wayward giggle. Me, my mom and my brother denied having anything to do with the staggering phone bills, so my dad’s suspicion lay on our cat. Before my dad had further heart attacks, some one smart came up with email. Email opened a whole new realm of opportunities. I could kill five birds with one fake id. If you happen to be a friend with a decent sense of humor, you could have received a mail from Shyla Krishnan, Sapna Bhargava or Sweety Baroness. If you haven’t, please work on your sense of humor. Or just be glad.

 

Recently, one soul thought that Sapna was an artist who wanted to paint his portrait, in Mughal clothes holding a rose, for an upcoming Indian restaurant in the locality. We even fixed the time for head measurements for the turban. The guy was in a state of shock when he ultimately came to know who Sapna really was, especially when he had just finished giving the mirror the 67th look for the hour. A lot of egoistic guys out there, I say.

 

One day, I logged on to msn. I saw my then roommate. I logged off. I created another id, which resembled her boyfriend’s id. Just inter-changed a couple of letters and logged back on. As predicted she began, “Hi Kittu Puttu” *heart* *heart* *heart* 

 

I played along till I was almost gagging with the endearments and decided to stop this before it got too personal (yes, I do have a conscience sometimes).

 

So I typed, “You know, I think your roomie Alpha is very beautiful.”

 

“What??!!” *angry smiley*

 

hmm..she thinks I am not. Wait till I get home; no cooking tonight!

 

Before I could move on to Alpha’s clothes, she found out and gushed out, “Oh Gosh, Alpha! Its YOU!!!! Jeezzz! My God! I feel so dumb! Hehehe!” *embarrassed smiley*

 


With all the enemies I have made, you can imagine why I stay alert and paranoid all the time to a point where I have started doubting perfectly genuine emails.

 

One Mr. Jay Something emailed me to my office address.

Sorry I couldn’t meet you the other day at the Future City Volunteering Competition. I hope we can fix another time.

 

Convinced that this was indeed a prank, as I had not promised to meet anyone by the name of Jay Something, I replied with a curt – WHY?

 

He replied with a one liner- To discuss sedimentation remediation process, of course.

 

Ha! Is this the latest pickup line, dude? The only sediment I am aware of is in my kitchen sink.

 

Yes, I am sometimes delusional apart from being dumb.

 

Mr Jay something was not very amused, “In my 20 years of service. I have never received such a harsh reply! I am disappointed.”

 

A rude jolt and a frantic search in google reveals that this guy is a grandpa who has been in the business for many years (20, to be precise), won a few awards and could ruin my career if he so pleased. This dude Jay Something had the worst sense of humor I have come across, not to mention an attitude problem. He didn’t even apologize for the identity mix-up, while I had to do all the apologizing while referring him to someone who had better knowledge on sediments in my company. Phew!

 


I do live on the edge. In spite of all this, I haven’t been victimized (or conned) in a big way at all. ‘Oh look, there is a red mark on your forehead’ doesn’t count. I can find two explanations to this-


-People are in general are much nicer than me.

-They have much better things to do with their lives.

April Fool?

“Go get the homework books from the staff-room. I have finished correcting them”, instructed the gruff teacher to the class monitor of fifth grade, many years ago on this fateful day.

 

Forever obedient and vying to please, I made a dash to the staff-room. I came back panting to the classroom empty handed, having searched high and low for the darned books.

 

“APRIL FOOL!!” yelled the entire class in glee to the immense pleasure of our smug teacher.

 

Now if you have heard of a more sadistic and ill-humored prank, please let me know. How can one not obey their teacher? Did he think he got away with this? I'm still trying to locate his whereabouts!


It's almost as sinister as asking your mom to wake you up the next morning as you have an important exam. But you wake up late and when you confront her, she says 'April Fool, I was just kidding when I said I would last night!'


The quest for perfection.

You can never be satisfied with what you’ve got if you haven’t started off poor. What’s happiness to you if you haven’t cried?

Some of my prettiest and near perfect friends are the ones seen fretting and fuming about their skin or their weight. I feel adults who complain about their looks never saw bad days early on. You haven’t lived your childhood if you haven’t been teased. Can you reflect to those days when kids would poke fun at the gap in your teeth, your obesity, or the humungous mole on your long chin?...when you grow into an awkward teenager and worry excessively about that bump in your nose. ...when all of a sudden (after 50 years) you discover that inner beauty and cease to care about these things anymore. We ought to strive for that peace sooner or gorge everyone else's eyes out.

Aim towards perfection has almost become an obsession in the west. Kids start early these days with braces, accutane, nip-tucks, nose-jobs, boob-jobs, blow-jobs (sorry, got carried away). Where are the imperfect people like me? Whom do kids tease these days?

Memorable were those days when people called me a coconut grater because my two front teeth could have given Bugs Bunny a heart attack. My accomplishments at that time included brushing my teeth without even opening my mouth. My teeth walked in before me and God forbid if we ever played hide-and-seek…I was surely to be found as I had no place to hide my pair of pearls. Apart from that minor problematic detail, I could have replaced the statues of Venus de Milo. I was starting to get worried about my social/love life when I was thirteen. I pleaded with my parents to save me from this misery, just this once. It was a necessity and not vanity. Never will I ask for anything else (it wasn't the last time they heard that phrase). My parents finally decided to shell some cash for this endeavor and got me the coveted braces. They hoped that they could show my ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures to the future groom and get some concession on my dowry.

Flashing metal with different colored rubber bands became the fashion statement in my uppity school. Forget the fact that there was no bar between the deserving and the non-deserving candidates. Everyone I knew wanted their teeth behind bars. But I could care less…my face transformed during the two painful years. My dentist almost fell in love with me and I couldn't stop grinning ever since. The teeth surely went in, but in the process, my nose slowly came out! Darn!

Surely, ‘Ms. Proboscis’ is not flattering anymore (Respected proboscis, the nose looks perfect on you). Patrix, want to try a group discount for a nose job?


Toilets- no more toil.

 

The office toilets (or 'restrooms' (??) as these people call it) got revamped. Just as you do your job, and the automatic flush does its job. *Swoooosh! Gurgle!* The first time that happened, I jumped up with fright. Actually thought someone was employed to do this by standing behind unsuspecting toilet goers. Relieved to find no one staring at my butt that was open to the elements, I breathed. *swoooosh gurgle* again! I lifted my hands and waved. The pot got flushed. I winked- the same thing happened. By the time I finished up with my little activity, I might have emptied the river Kauvery. Goo-ness me! The amount of water these Americans are willing to recycle ( or do they?) for the sake non-contamination from a few non-existent bacteria just bothered me. My early training in Chennai saw me through with a coke-can of water. *swoosh Gurgle* Holy crap! Shocked, I turned around again. It must have heard my heart beat.

 

I decided the whole hype about cleanliness was going too far as I washed my hands from a motion-sensor tap, received a few drops of pink liquid from the automatic soap dispenser and placed my soapy hands under the tap again for water to come out like every magician’s ‘Water of India’ trick. Wait a minute, an automatic soap dispenser?!!! Wow! This is why I don’t get a raise anymore. Then the hand-dryer dried my hands as I wondered about good old handkerchiefs neatly folded into the pockets. Did people swoon to their death after every bathroom visit in the olden days? Human intervention puts microbes in the endangered species list just after pandas-  the headlines will read soon, if this goes on.


Disconcerted about not touching any surface (except toilet paper) and finishing my work, I walked out of the automatic door in a dizzy when my colleague pointed out that I had toilet paper sticking out of my pants. Eeeeew! Gross! Is there an automatic toilet paper remover? I’m NOT touching that thing!

I also need to use that ‘memory eraser gun’ (the one they had in MIB) on my colleague.


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