Who moved my dosa?

IMG_9146I was in Bangalore for a little less than two weeks, fully determined to eat every meal outside of home. Living in South Bangalore, I enjoy the luxury of having several celebrated south indian breakfast joints quite close to home and so it didn’t take a lot of orchestration to go put thindi there. Given that I don’t get to eat at these places as often anymore, I optimised for experiences worth remembering and I had some pretty interesting revelations – such as chutney at SN is amazing, and sambar at maiyyas is super and so on. It’s easy to forget these little revelations and be consumed by the cult value of these eateries, and hence, I want to make this diary entry.

As dutiful fans of Mahalakshmi Tiffin Room (MLTR), Basavanagudi, we paid our homage to this holy shrine the day we landed in Bangalore. Now, I must provide some context as to why the husband and I love this place. In September 2009, when the husband and I met for the first time, we put beat around Gandhi Bazaar, to avoid continued eye contact (that you’d have in a coffee shop) and to morph the general awkwardness of meeting a friend off the internet. It was too much fun (and resulted in a marriage), and so, in 2010, we wanted to re-trace the beat. As we started walking down the Gandhi Bazaar main road opposite Vidyarthi Bhavan, we saw this small pre-darshini style Bangalore restaurant on our left, which we hand’t noticed the last time, probably because they were closed for Dasara.

We walked straight in, happily sat on the old style wooden benches, were amused at sign boards like “please don’t wash your hands in your plate”, “family section”, a stack of newspaper pieces to wipe hands and a wooden shelf hoarding “cool drinks”. The food at MLTR is good, not out of the world, but we love this place because of how we discovered it, how low key it is – the decor is plain, they aren’t trying to be anything they are not, waiters are humble and the ops is plain-ass simple, and of course, because they have a family section (which needs atleast one woman per table).

The khaali dose here is famous because it’s soft, fluffy, etc., but you see, over the years now, I have discovered that I am not such a big fan of khaali dose, I prefer crispy doses. I like their vade dippu (slang for vada dipped in sambar) and their coffee, which is a tad bit sweet for someone who prefers their coffee bitter and so you better remember to say “sakre kammi” if you’d like. We usually leave a generous tip every time we visit this place because the food is very humbly priced for the experience.

Within a few metres from MLTR is Vidyarthi Bhavan, which we don’t go to as often because it tends to be too touristy on weekends, which is usually when one steps out for breakfast. Until this winter, I’d been to Vidyarthi Bhavan twice – once with my parents when I was 5, had lost a painting contest and needed consolation, and then with the husband 6 years ago on a south bangalore thindi yatra. Thankfully being NRI and all, we were vela during the week and could also afford to eat overpriced dosas (Rs.56 for a std benne masale – which are 1.5x the price in any regular restaurant) without much guilt.

Now, the dosas here are a very different breed, they are thick yet crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and made of red rice. The palya inside is soft and tasty, and the oil/ ghee all around brings together the whole experience quite nicely making us pay a 2nd visit within a week.  The chutneys and sambars were very madhuve mane types, and so was the chow chow bath. Coffee was alright, nothing to remember.Ops is pretty straightforward again, there’s one guy to seat you, one guy to take your order, serve and bring you the bill and another to clean your table. The only one thing that was amusing was the waiter who kept bringing a napkin after each course as opposed to keeping a stack of them on the table.

Now having done my bit as a tourist, it was time to get local and so, we visited Shankaranarayana (SN) in JP Nagar which also serves pretty good masala dose. It’s a tiny restaurant that was introduced to me by the husband a few years ago as being a great restaurant for idli vade. There are a couple of high tables by which you can stand and eat. Now, the cashier sometimes doubles up as the guy who runs the dosa pass, but I am still amazed by their dosa ops because that dude remembers exactly who orders how many dosas. I am less impressed with the idli vade counter because you have to give your receipt and stand around as a way to remind him that you are next in line. However, their chutney is sexy. The coconut used in the chutney is so sweet and yummy. Coffee is nothing memorable, but it was the first time I watched someone make a “sakre kammi” coffee as the barista fills the cup with sugary filk followed by plain milk (which is obvious I know, but still!)

The thing with most of these restaurants is that they are pretty crowded and form a huge part of the ambience, but it takes tremendous amount of enthu to make a trip to any of these places when you wake up late and you realize you don’t have your own bike/ car to make a breakfast trip. So, we did Swiggy breakfast a couple of times – once from Kottureshwara/ Grameena thindi and another time for Maiyyas, both in 4th block (down the road from home). Now, the thing with dosa, it’s best eaten hot of the griddle, and when not, it’s like eating a piece of semi dried cloth. So, I can’t say much about dosas from either of these places except that Maiyyas puts a chutney into the dosa and kottureshwara serves it plain because it’s davanagere benne dosa style. While Maiyyas sambar is the epitome of kannada sambar (sweet unlike tamil sambar), Kottureshwara serves some kickass chutney. The unique thing about the chutney is the use of cardamom, which is signature style of davanagere chutney. Oh, kottureshwara also serves cheap coffee, which used to be 8 bucks at one point, but god knows how much it is now.

This wasn’t meant to be a post reviewing thindi teertha at different eateries across south Bangalore, but when you try to write a blogpost over 3 weeks, you can’t help but forget where you started. Anyway, I am happy to have biassed your opinions about these addas. kthnxbai.

 

 

 

 

 

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Letters to my Berry#15

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This has been the longest I have actually taken to write you a monthly birthday letter and this is mainly because we were off to Bangalore on a holiday and my routine was completely disrupted. In hindsight, I am glad I waited because 15.5 months seems like a better milestone than 15 months because of the sheer developments I have seen in the last couple of weeks. This month, you met Santa for the first time at the Christmas party in your nursery, cried your lungs out but managed to get a lovely present from Santa (courtesy smithfield) and also enjoyed the music and movements session at the party. However, you were mostly sticking to us through the party, wonder if seeing so many parents at once was daunting for you?

However, you are a completely new person now. especially post the Bangalore trip. You are ‘tarle’ to the core, so much so that you bit our selfie stick into pieces this morning. You are in this massive destructive phase where you have all this unshaken energy that simply cannot be contained by one adult and it is positively correlated to the number of adults watching you. You seemed fine on the flight to Bangalore (slept for the first couple of hours), which I had dreaded for a while now. You were very perplexed when you arrived home here in Jayanagar, very unsure of where you had come and if it was okay to walk around the house, but within a few days, you’d become a ‘dada’ in that house pulling every drawer/ shelf you could find, running into the balcony at every opportune moment and trying to hide in the on-suite bathroom every time you saw the door open.

Your curiosity has increased multi-fold. You would keep trying to go into the bathroom and close the door behind you, but we wouldn’t let you. Finally one day I wanted to watch what you did, so let you close the door and then walked in a minute later to see that you were trying to pull up the toilet seat to see what’s inside and when I caught you do that, you had the cutest sly grin on your face. I am sure you will do plenty of silly things behind my back, and remember that even if I don’t peep in to see what you are upto, I will have a pretty good idea because you know what, I have been there and done that myself 🙂

The day we arrived in Bangalore, ajji thatha came home to meet you and you had no trouble recognising them, as you went to them quite instinctively, especially to thatha. I guess his hymn (onannna baranna berry-anna) helped a tad bit. You also went to Inna ajji at the same time, although with mani ajji you just smiled from far away and hesitated in the beginning. However, over time you grew quite friendly with her, so muchOne of the biggest revelations for us in Bangalore was seeing how social you are and have no trouble going to strangers, almost on the verge of being quite kidnap-prone. For instance, you happily held our house watchman’s hand and started walking away with him, even though you were meeting him for the first time. So, yeah, we’ve got to watch out.

The upsides to you being social of course meant that we didn’t have to bother taking care of you when we went somewhere – muthajji mane, leela aunty’s house, kitta thatha’s house, etc. In fact, you were a mini celebrity at muthajji mane on day 2 after landing in Bangalore, with your babble-y rhymes and dance moves. The most amazing bit about that day was how you went and hugged every person in the room in between your performance, almost as if to make sure each and every one there paid you attention and didn’t feel left out of your attention as well. You have clearly taken after your mutthajji in this aspect since neither appa nor I are this socially lubricated.

We even left you with Ajji thatha overnight for a couple of days just so you could spend more time with them since all anyone in India cared about was spending time with you rather than with us. They thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with you barring the time you broke amma’s glasses, and left them sleepless and exhausted, although they will vehemently argue that they enjoyed your destructive streak too. You even bore the mosquitoes like a champ, with one swollen eye and what not, thanks to your NRI-ness.

Ajji thatha have taught you some animal sounds, and the way you say meow is the cutest, EVER! You really like animals, you enjoyed playing with the kitten in Swaroopa’s house, random bow bows all over Bangalore and the ducks in the lake at Hyde park. You came with us to all the awesome bhindi places we went to and belted dose everywhere – Mahalakshmi, Vidyarthi Bhavan, Maiyyas and SN. To be fair, the only place you actually enjoyed the dose was at Vidyarthi Bhavan, and of course, enjoyed conversing with random strangers at neighbouring tables there too.

Thanks to hanging out with ajji thatha, we discovered that you know ABCD, all nursery rhymes and so on, which you seem to have picked up at your nursery. You have also started communicating extensively, mostly in babbles and it sounds so cute, except I feel very bad that I can’t understand what you say. You can also say a few basic things – in fact, you have started to use words to manipulate/ get your way. For instance, you say taachi (sleep) when you want to be breast fed because you think I’ll feed you if you were to fall asleep more than if you were to just ask me for milk. This goes to show how manipulation is such a basic instinct. Oh and you can also say kakka when you are doing potty, which is really cool because this means you are ready to be potty trained next.

Sometimes, we let you sleep in the crib and since, we have removed one side of it, when you wake up in the middle of the night, you come over to our bed by yourself and get all cozy with us. It’s cute, but scary because I don’t even realise when you come sleep next to me. You go to bed early and rise early. When you are sleeping between appa and me, you wake up the moment you lose warmth on one side, which is usually from appa’s side since he wakes up early every day. You follow him to the bathroom, brush your teeth yourself while he brushes his and then follow him to the kitchen and run around him till he gives you haala. You have your haala while we have our morning coffee.

You get ready with us every morning, bring your shoes and jacket just when we are wearing ours since you love stepping out of home. You keep saying tata and going off all the time, especially on your tiny bug scooter. You loved stepping out in Bangalore, since we’d take you up and down in the lift, which is your most favourite place in the world right now. May be you will grow up to be like M Ganesha and A Ganesha loving lift aata. You have also got a new peppa pig bag from ajji thatha which you will start taking from now on, since you love peppa pig. You can actually say peppa. Well, I must confess that I got you hooked onto peppa because I liked the show, so if there’s anyone to blame for excessive screen time that would be me.

Theres always so much to write about you, and when I fall back on my letters to you, it’s that much harder to squeeze so many things into a tiny blogpost. So I promise to write to you more often so I can tuck away more memories for us to reminisce on. You are going to your first late night, new years party now at our friends place, so I am going to end on a good luck note for us, so we can all have a good time (which means you will hopefully sleep early. Haha).

 

 

 

 

How smart phones have made my parents teenagers

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As usual I’ll start with a quick backstory – When I was in 10th grade, I’d called a radio station to request for a song and the radio jockey had told me that I have a very hazy and seductive voice for a 14 year old. I got yelled at by my dad for being told that by a boy on public radio, yada yada yada. A year later, I was recounting the incident to a new classmate in school and he refused to believe that any radio jockey could have told me that and I offered to call him later that evening so he could hear my phone voice. As promised, I call this boy later that evening and I say, “Hey, whats up? What are you upto?” and the boy says “I’m in the toilet”! I say “Yikes, why would you take your phone to the loo, and I’m going to hang up because that’s gross!” Now, 14 years later, I am guilty of doing the same. Ok, no, I am not typing this post on the pot, but just saying.

Every time I am about to poop, I first look for my phone, because I think I won’t be able to do it alone – I need my WhatsApp groups (yeah, next time you add me to a group, think again!), Instagram Explore feeds and so on. It’s absolutely mental how these smart phones have taken over our entire lives. I am from a generation who recognises this is mental and once in a while tries to detox, take social media sabbaticals and may be even go on a phone-free meditation workshops. I don’t know what the younger generations are doing, I guess I’m going to find out as my daughter grows up. But my parents and grandparents’ generation on the other hand, have gone completely reckless like teenagers who’ve found cheap dope.

We were visiting some friends yesterday and they were talking about how their parents, uncles, aunties, etc. have now replaced the post lunch nap with a two hour WhatsApp marathon.  They are basically busy reading all forwards they have received and doing the responsible thing to do as dutiful whatsappers – forward them onto other groups they are a part of. I remember calling my mum from the US every night (when it would be her mornings) and she’d talk to me for a bit and then say she has tonnes to get done before leaving to work and hang up. When I asked her why she couldn’t finish all the work given that she’d wake up at 4:30 am, one of the big agendas for early mornings apart from doing dishes from the previous night, washing the front yard, etc., was reading all the WhatsApp messages and deleting them. Yes, you read that right, deleting WhatsApp messages is a thing amongst these uncles and aunties.

For starters, most people don’t exactly know that you can disable auto download of media onto your phones, which means you are bound to run out of space on your phone. Now, once you enlighten people about this feature, they are faced with a bigger dilemma, “I don’t always have the time to see all videos/ photos immediately, and so I may forget to download them. Also, it takes longer to download one by one for assessment.” All very fair reasons, but my response to that would be – “It’s a WhatsApp forward for god’s sake, why are you wasting your time on it, get a life!!!” My mum’s poker faced response to that would be – “Some are very important messages and are quite useful, I don’t always have the time to go looking for it on the internet”. This is usually when I give up and spend time backing up all these photos and videos onto google photos so they can move on with their lives.

I remember my parents would keep nagging us about being on our phones back in the early 2000s, and now, our roles are reversed. We are probably the first generation that is seeing our parents act like teenagers even before they fully grow old. I’ve heard/ seen that people start behaving like babies as they grow older, start to become dependent on children for being taken care off, but acting like teenagers in their 50s? Swalpa new this is for us I would say. I remember being in a team meeting a couple of years ago when I lived in Barcelona, and my mum texted me around 7pm (10:30pm IST) asking me to call her back.

The last time I’d got a message like that from my mum was when my dad was suddenly admitted to the ICU a couple of days after I’d moved to Barcelona, so you can imagine my anxiety. I immediately excused myself from my team meeting to run out to make a call and my mum picks up the phone within one ring, and says “Pinky, I can’t find the folder with all the photos I’ve downloaded from Facebook on my phone, how do I find it”. I couldn’t figure out if I was relieved to find out that everyone back home was well, or if I was amused to see what kept my mum up at night. It was the first time I was living in a different country, and I was still living with some age old ideas about what was a late night trunk call worthy news.

While we all exchange amusing stories about our respective parents and their revelations with technology, I think it is absolutely amazing that my parents’ generation have a way to keep their social lives active, even if it were just virtual because growing up, I remember wondering why my parents didn’t have a lot of friends (to be fair, as a parent myself, I now understand how hard it is to keep an active social life while juggling full-time jobs and children, and I am sure my parents did their best). I also think it’s amazing that I can see my granny every other weekend even though we live miles apart and that my entire family back home can see Berry grow up.

While technology enables me to feel at home while staying away, I do hope someday in the near future, we can just take our virtual communities from WhatsApp and recreate those into real physical communities, and restore the past. Growing up, my mum would always say that history repeats itself and what was fashionable in the past would become fashionable in the future again, and for once, I really hope that comes true.

 

Letters to my Berry#14

IMG_9037You turned 14 months 3 days ago, but given that things have been mental at work this month and will continue to be until the end of this year, I am only getting around to writing to you now. But hey, you are 1.16 now. Woohoo. As you can see from the picture above, you are scaling new heights, quite literally – you managed to climb onto the chair and stand up on it all by yourself. You also wake up, get off the bed quietly and come to the living room like a big girl. I can see that you are discovering a lot of things for yourself and prefer to do everything independently – you prefer to not be carried, because you want to run and explore the world all by yourself. You like to touch and eat everything, that too, all by yourself.

For the last two weeks, you had been making it very difficult for us to feed you dinner and so, one day, I finally plonked you onto your high chair, put your food onto your plate and left. Guess what? You happily started to eat by yourself. Excited by this, I came back to feed you and you got so upset, so I let you finish your dinner on your own. This meant that you threw food all around you and I spent a few minutes cleaning up after you were done, but it was all worth it. Now, you eat your meals all by yourself, thanks to your nursery.

Since last week, you have been going to a new nursery just on Fridays, since it’s impossible for me to work from home with you around. I never felt guilty when I first left you at Smithfield back in March as I was excited to start a new adventure (at work!). But now, whenever I drop you off at your Friday nursery, I feel so guilty for leaving you there since you cry so much, and you don’t even look at me when you do and I think that makes it worse since it feels like you are clearly upset with me for leaving you. If I had to choose between you and work right now, I would choose you any day hands down but I don’t have that choice, atleast not right now.

But as always, you are making peace with how we have been treating you. Thank you. Sometimes I wish we did better as parents, because I have seen mine do better, but it’s okay. For instance, you probably had some viral infection over the last 2-3 weeks and I don’t think we even realised you were unwell because we kept thinking you were hurting from your molars beginning to pop out. I guess we are raising you the British way given that by the time you can get an appointment with the NHS, you would have kissed your sickness goodbye. In a way I don’t mind since it helps build your immunity.

There are a few other British things you seem to have picked up on your own – drinking imaginary tea from your tea cup all the time, and saying  things like “hiya”, “yeah”, etc. with an accent. You love playing with kitchen play things – I don’t blame you given that you see either appa or me in the kitchen most of your waking hours (mornings before work and evenings after work). The one cool thing that has come out of playing with kitchen things is that you have learnt to count from 1 to 10, I mean count, that too from a musical tea pot that Smitha gave you for your birthday. At first, I thought you can only say these numbers, but it’s only when I started saying ABCD and whenever I got to I, you would say 10, that I realised you have actually learnt to keep count. So, you aren’t so bad at Math, huh? Although you only like to say 2,3,5,7,8,9 and 10.

You aren’t that quiet kid who will just sit with her toys and books, you keep coming into the kitchen to pull out all the vessels and cutlery from the shelves, and you like to run away with the empty milk cans screaming “haala (milk)” repeatedly. You also love riding the buggy on wheels which we got you for your birthday and the musical walker that Sam got you for your birthday. You might be learning a few things from the walker also, who knows?! You know how to ask for milk, food and water, which is quite useful since we can use that as a cue to feed you, and be assured that you will finish what is given.

You have started to communicate just a little bit. You keep saying “yeah” at all opportune moments. You can understand what we say to you in both Kannada and English fairly well. You follow instructions like a bot – you bring things we ask you to bring, sit when told, etc. It’s quite cute. Oh, you also have the cutest sad face when we scold you for doing something naughty such as pull my hair, etc. You are appa’s pet, who brings his socks, his shoes and also yours every morning as we get ready to go to work. You also bring your jacket from the room because you love going out and you know the drill. You also wait like the dog at Shibuya station for appa coming back home and as soon as you hear the door downstairs you run to the gate at the head of the stairs to see him. You babble some gibberish as soon as you see him and it’s the cutest sight ever.

It’s not funny how quickly you are growing up – Appa and I were just watching photos and videos from the day you were born and you were sooooo tiny and quiet and now you are one big dada who demands maggi and soft drinks as if it’s your birth right. I can’t wait to take you home next month to see how you’ll react to everyone back home. You are a people lover and love socialising, so I am sure you’ll love it because everyone is waiting to see you.

More exciting stories for next month. Toodles.

 

 

 

In India, we date in English.

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I was researching dating apps in India and stumbled upon videos created by some of the big players in the space – this was a combination of testimonials from real success stories and other promotional content. As I watched most of the videos on a particular youtube channel – I found a huge disconnect between the real people who’d found success on this app and the actors from the promotional videos who were portraying potential users of the app. The most apparent difference was that these two sets of people were conversing in different languages – the real people in English and actors in Hindi.

Fortunately or unfortunately, for having learnt English for more number of years than any other language (Kannada/ Telugu/ Hindi/ Sanskrit/ Japanese/ Spanish), and for also having grown up in a house where the mother tongue was Telugu but the spoken word was Kannada, my preferred language of communication is English. Given that I am a native English speaker, it was easy for me to not relate to the app but I wondered if you would relate better as a native Hindi speaker? The real people from the testimonials all had “hindi speaking” surnames, so why were they all speaking in English? Do we prefer to speak in English when we talk about love/ dating?

In order to test my hypothesis, I quickly re-watched a few Hindi movies that popped up on top of my netflix page – Raja Hindustani, Jab we Met and Kabhie Haan, Kabhie Na. Barring the last one (given that this was based in Goa, where people do speak English quite commonly!), the other two are classic hindi heavy movies. In both movies, the first words/ conversation between the actors is in English, especially when they recognise the other person as a potential interest. Maybe we prefer to date in English?

This is not surprising, given that dating has not been a part of our culture atleast for the last 200 years, and it has come around as a result of western influence. Thanks to penetration of western television, and Titanic, we like to now “date” in India, and date in English. If someone texted me on Tinder and said, “Hai wanna hav sex?”, I’d still prefer that to someone saying “oye chodhna hai?” or “yenema keyonva?”, despite the spelling mistakes (Yes!), because we like to date in English. The countless hindi movies in the 90s, early 2000s that had the hero pull off some English stunt with the heroine when he was hitting on her, have made it cool to date in English in India.

Now, if we like to date in English, why are these apps making ads in Hindi? Do they even get their customers? For all the apps that are stagnating at less than a million unique users in India, remember that we date in English – whether we are from Bangalore or Bhatinda.

 

Fail if you have to, but fail fast

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No, this is not gyaan about start ups. Although there is a lot to learn from them. Last evening, quite unexpectedly, I got a call from a very good friend back home, who I had also worked with through Marriage Broker Auntie in it’s previous avatar. He told me he was getting married in two weeks. I love it when people reach out to me and share the news of them getting married even if I hadn’t really been able to successfully set them with their chosen partner, because Marriage Broker Auntie is that person who you can always count on through your relationship journey and if someone thought I provided any form of support through their hunt, that’s a big win for me. Also, I love listening to relationship stories, and the one I listened to yesterday, is definitely worth sharing.

This friend was looking to recruit someone for his start-up and found someone whose profile he found interesting. When the girl came in for an interview, they chatted for a couple of hours and they clearly stuck a good rapport. When asked what her plans in life were, she told him that her family was currently looking to get her arranged married, being in the same position himself, our man clearly sensed an opportunity. She even said something that was a “violins playing in the background” type moment from an arranged marriage perspective – she said she didn’t have time to fall in love given her career choices and she would probably consider marrying someone only if she deemed them to be marriage ready/ fit without having to spend years figuring it out.This is exactly how our man felt too, so it was almost now or never.

So, he suggested they go out dinner after the “interview” so they would have a chance to get to know each other better beyond the basics. At the end of the evening, given that there was a good fit, our man knew he had to take a chance, fail if needed, but fail fast and so he just popped the question – “Do you want to get married to me?” Obviously the girl was shell-shocked/ taken aback but our man assured her that it would be like a regular arranged marriage proposal with parents verifying fit through jatakas and what not, and if it were to not work out, there would be no love lost. It was almost like a put option from his perspective.

I was too impressed by his guts, especially because I always tell people the same thing – if you like someone, just say it out loud, fail if needed but fail fast because life is too short Although this is easier said than done, so when I asked him how he mustered enough courage to say it out loud, he said something that was even more impressive – he said “well, I liked her and she surpassed a fundamental threshold I had for a woman I wanted to marry but I wasn’t ready to spend years chasing this, wondering if I would clear her threshold or not and then brood over things not working out the way I wanted so I had very little to lose if I just asked her straight away because anyway she would come work with us in the future when he had a project, worst case.

The longer you hold something within your head, the more you build it up without any real feedback. Given that most men lack the ability to read women or their intentions very well, they are most susceptible to being led on with the wrong imagined feedback. So, when they finally receive real feedback, it’s too big to deal with rejection and the stakes her too high to fail, resulting in the whole thing dragging along for longer. This is a vicious cycle that you don’t want to get into. This is probably also why people can get over one night stands quicker than something they’ve been at for ages, because the downside is limited – one less person to copulate with.

What about if you are a woman and you think you are better at reading a man’s intentions and given social norms, you believe you must wait around long enough until the man has made his move? Should you really wait or apply the fail fast rule and just tell him how you feel and get it over with? Unfortunately, I don’t have a simple answer for this.

There are two parts to this answer – Ask any guy and he will tell you it’s far easier for a woman to get any man she wants than the other way around. So, if it’s so easy for a woman to get who she wants without much more than the blink of an eye (which is the code for hitting on someone anyway!), being more explicit makes it more likely for a woman to seem like a lemon (although we can debate if she is really a lemon or not). The second part – given the social pressure around seeming like a lemon, women have a harder time being rejected when they have made the first move. Women find it close to impossible to just move on, unlike men. Women take it very personally as we are generally more self critical, and go into this vicious circle of trying to prove our worth to someone who is not even interested in us and make things worse.

However, if you are a woman who is beyond this social pressure, I say, fail, and fail fast because nothing like trying a 100 men vs being stuck trying to pursue one, because you don’t even know how much harder the battle to make it work with this one is. For those who are single and think you can relax after once you find a partner, you can’t be more wrong – relationships are a LOT of work. So, if you’re optimising for no work post marriage and chasing that “perfect” partner, let me break your bubble right away – there is no perfect partner for anyone. Optimising for the battles you can handle post marriage  is a more realistic challenge to take on – As I’ve said before, love is not blind, but it’s about all the faults you don’t mind.

 

 

 

Letters to my Berry#13

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I am a week too late, but I am glad I waited to write this. I was PMSing (something you will experience when you grow up) and so I wasn’t completely in control of my emotions to provide with you a fair report of the last one month. For starters, I yelled at you towards the end of month 13, I gave you “hatta” on your back since you wouldn’t let me work on Fridays and spent the rest of the day crying about being so mean to you. I also realised what it must have felt like for ajji when she once hit me a 7 year old for doing something stupid. Neither of us are right in what we did, but I feel a bit more empathetic towards her than I ever did. That’s the great thing about being a mum – to see what I was like as a child right in front of my eyes, and to feel what ajji felt as my mum first handed.

I saw fear in you this month, for the first time. There are these moments when I watch you and wonder if I have damaged you for good, and the next minute you just start laughing and come give me a hug and rubbish my doubts. You got three vaccines on one day, you didn’t react for the 1st one, you winced and held your pain back for the second and you only cried for 30 seconds for the last one. As I watched you, I wondered if we learn resilience that early in life because you are surely fearless, as your name suggests, my little Abheri.

You show resilience as you learn to run. A few weeks back, we were out near King’s cross in a square with little fountains and as soon as we put you down, you started walking and then running, away from us. You loved being chased by us around the square and went absolutely mental when we tried to pick you back up. You are a runner, you absolutely enjoy running in parks – we took you to Walpole park last sunday and you just kept running and falling, picking yourself up and running again. You even enjoyed playing on the swing, slide, see-saw and the little merry go round type thingie. You refused to leave the park, which means we have to live in an Ealing like neighbourhood even next year when we move. I wonder if you’ll ever get a chance to run around so freely if we went back to Bangalore?

Among the other big milestones this month, you are showing more signs of fulling understanding what we say. You do peekaboo when we ask you to, you sit when we ask you to, dance, sing, kick the ball, throw it and even say 1, 2, 3 when we ask you to, and when you are in the mood. Talking about 1,2,3 – the funniest thing about this month has to be the 5 page report we got from your daycare about your progress, which said you aren’t very strong in math and your carers plan to help you get better. Hahahaha.

You are one!!!!! I don’t care if you aren’t good at math, as long as you are eating and alive. But hey, I may not say this when you are 10, so enjoy this as long as it lasts. 5 pages, I still can’t believe they had so much to say about my little person – this is the nice thing about living in London where you have daycares that are run professionally, albeit being expensive. It makes my job of entertaining you that much harder, but I don’t mind being challenged to do better as a parent.

The one thing I still struggle to keep up with is your obsession with books. You wake up in the morning, the first thing you do is go find appa, since he is busy working away in the kitchen in the mornings, have a babbalogue with him and then come back to me to drink milk and once that’s out of the way, you hit the books. You flip pages, make strange sounds, want us to read out stuff from the same books, over and over again and you keep giggling at the animals sounds we make, over and over again. You never get bored of the repetition, it amazes me and we play along. I will get old someday and might enjoy repetition just like you do right now, but will you have the patience to indulge me?

You love the computer, kindle and phone, just like any other kid your age, thanks to us for overexposing you to gadgets. Although you surprised us by picking up the phone one day and holding it to your ear and pretended to talk to someone, because you’ve only seen us video call people and so, we didn’t know where you had learnt to make voice calls. You’d apparently picked this up at your nursery, I learnt later. It was a revelation to learn that we don’t entirely control what you learn even as a one year old, and that there are so many influences outside of home and outside of our control. It was both re-assuring and unsettling at the same time, because what if people could make you do what ever they wanted and it wasn’t necessarily in your best interest?

You are not a big fan of toys really, you prefer books, and music making toys, the piano and your tea cup, from which you keep pretending to drink out of. You even pretend to take food from our hands and pretend it. You even pick your chest and pretend to be feeding yourself milk (Lulz!), but I guess you being able to pretend and imagine things is a sign of you becoming more and more human everyday. Of course, your ability to socialise (thanks to your great grandmum’s genes) always made you more human, from a very young age and I really do hope you will use your ability to make everyone around you smile for years to come.

Ok, happy 13th month for now (you came and disturbed my flow of thoughts, so this is what you get – an abrupt ending!). Can’t wait to experience many more revelations with you. Hugs.