Monday, June 12, 2017

AJ

AJ, the other half of my madness,
We filled each other's lives with badness.

From friendships gone wrong to bad hair-days,
We conquered them all in our own ways.

You've been a concerned brother and the bestest friend,
At every tricky bend.

While you constantly pulled my leg for overeating,
You ensured there was good food at every meeting.

Not once did you call me fat,
Not even in front of a little rat.

May our bond grow stronger with every passing year,
Like a freshly brewed bottle of beer.

(Writer's Note : This poem is about my chaddi buddy AJ, whom I haven't met in years, but the crazy memories we created still make me smile. We were each other's "bros" for the longest time.)  

Thursday, June 08, 2017

My Love-Hate Relationship with Gyms


I belong to a family of fitness addicts. Dad and mom wake up at 5am everyday and go for a light jog/walk. My brother has been gymming and thulping down protein shakes, ever since I can remember. And, my grandfather has never missed a morning walk in his life. Quite naturally, my love for junk food and sleeping till 10am came as a big disappointment to them. Forcing me to swim, buying me a cycle and getting me the occasional "one size too small" dress, were constant hints they threw at me, to make me shed the extra pounds.

I was too blinded by my love for food and my oh so divine "sink till you become one with the mattress" fluffy bed, to pay any heed. Out of sheer frustration, my brother took me out for a long drive one day. "Gayu, pizzas and burgers are not food. The amount of carbs and cheese on those things lead to heart attacks, obesity and diseases you can't even fathom. Please lose some weight." For a nano-second, I stopped tugging at the straw of rich chocolate milk shake which I was cradling in my hand, like a precious new-born baby. "But why, Arjun chetta, do you think I should lose weight? I don't think I'm fat", I replied, continuing to sip on the shake. He let out a frustrated sigh and gave up. He took me straight to his gym (Fitness One in Ascendas) and introduced me to his trainer.

After gaping at all impressive equipment and admiring the spacious interiors of the gym, the trainer finally caught up with me and asked me with a smug smile on his face, "You weight about 63 kilos right?". Stunned by his accuracy, I gave him a thumbs up. "So when does she join sir?", he asked my brother. "From tomorrow, just show her the ropes." replied my brother. My fate was sealed. I was petrified of my brother, back then. His word was law. I could'nt go against it.

Thus began my love-hate relationship with the gym at age 19. As for his trainer, not only did he "show me the ropes", he belted me with the rope in question, a couple dozen times. He mercilessly tried to pound all the fat out of me. It was no easy task for him. Poor fellow! The minute I stepped out of gym, I would stuff my face with the biggest chocolate sundae or ghee laden pongal I could lay my hands on. After about a month of personal training, I gained two kilos. I saw a distinct, fat tear-drop roll out of my trainer's eye. "What are you eating, after gymming? Why have you put on two kilos, despite this rigorous workout?" After confessing my sins and explaining to him my logic of "I'm working out, so I can eat double", he threw his hands up in despair. "You're on your own now. My training with you comes to an end. Remember everything I've taught you and please try to stick to it."

What began as a forced ritual, slowly became an obsession. I shed five kilos without even realizing it. Then another five. I was down to 54kilos, at the end of one and a half years. I looked and felt great. I began eating lesser and lesser, until I fainted smack on my face in the bathroom one morning. That's when I realized I was pushing myself too hard. 

Over the years, my gymming has been on and off. My weight has been fluctuating between a modest 55 kilos and a dangerous 62. It's nice to comfort yourself with phrases such as "Stop body shaming" and "You're beautiful just the way you are", but the reality is, the minute the weighting scale hits 60 kilos plus, my confidence drops. I hate being fat and I hate my fat genes. Despite my dislocated shoulder, ligament torn and dislocated foot, severe back pain and sprained wrist, I'm back at the gym. A little older and wiser this time, hoping to not break any more body parts.

I've rejoined the fitness center under my house, after a hiatus of two years. The trainers and the receptionist gave me a warm welcome back. One of the younger trainers even gave me a little scolding for not cycling properly. It feels good to be back in my second home, the gym. 

(Image Source : https://thewondrous.com/funny-gym-pictures/)

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

The Reluctant Woman

They wondered why I was one of the boys,
Playing with loud guns and crackers, gave me the biggest joys.

I wore shorts, instead of a pretty dress,
Causing Granny a great deal of stress.

I didn't want to have enviable long hair,
Each time I saw a comb, I hid behind my teddy bear.

I fell in love with metal,
Instead of helping mommy with her coffee kettle.

I also loved fast cars,
Refusing to believe they could lead to potential scars.

The transformation from a tomboy to a girl has been hard,
But I'm so glad I had the chance to play that card.

(Image Source : https://www.etsystudio.com/listing/279205736/tomboy-girl-die-cut-stickers-window) 

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The Three Musketeers

Classmates for two years, sisters forever,
I can forget you never.

We may have parted ways,
By choosing to swim down different bays.

But you still reside in my heart,
Like a beautiful piece of art.

You have always been by my side, 
Right upto the time, I turned into a nervous bride. 

From trying to figure out life, to bunking classes together,
We will always be birds of the same feather. 

Mother, wife, daughter-in-law, whatever role we may don,
Lets promise to be each other's lifelong dawn. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Meri Pyaari Bindu

A heart breaking story of unrequited, undying love that a boy has towards a girl. That's the plot of Meri Pyaari Bindu in one line. Nivin Pauly starrer Premam, Ranbir Kapoor starrer Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Dulquer Salman starrer 100 Days of Love have all attempted to capture this helpless emotion, in various shades of grey. 

One could call Meri Pyaari Bindu an out and out chick flick, as it appeals to the rom-com loving audience. Ayushmann Khurrana, enacts the role of a lovelorn Abimanyu Roy with candour and ease. As an onlooker, your heart would go out to him, whenever the love of his life Bindu, puts him in various comic situations. You will find yourself crying and laughing along with Abhimanyu as he tries very hard to win over the love of his life and childhood sweetheart, Bindu.

Parineeti Chopra as Bindu Shankarnarayanan plays the stereotypical "wild-child, untamed woman with a multitude of interesting personalities and interests" as essayed on numerous occasions by Kangana Ranaut in Katti-Batti or even an Anuskha Sharma in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. 

My only issue with this movie was that it centered fully around the man and his broken heart. Why does the female lead always have to be portrayed as the "jhalli/guaranteed will break all men's hearts" chudail

Women get their heart-broken too. More often than you know. The key difference between men and women, when faced is a heart-break is this; Women cry about it quietly for a year or two and then move on. They don't publicize it to the whole world. Men on the other hand, bitch about the partner that left them 'til kingdom come and make a mockery of themselves in public. 

Coming back to the movie, watch it, if you're one of those moviegoers who cries at the drop of a hat. I for one, finished an entire box of tissues while watching it. 

(Image Source : http://www.koimoi.com/movie/meri-pyaari-bindu/) 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Shameless Foodie Tales

Idlis, doshas, appams, puttu and Kerala porotta have been childhood favorites for as long as I can remember. I grew up on a staple diet of these irresistible carbs, doused with generous portions of chutney, sambar, chilli beef, egg curry and chicken stew. 

After relocating to Mumbai post marriage, I naturally began scouting for these authentic Malayalee and Tamil home made delicacies. Thankfully, the area that I live in, has an abundance of food loving Gujjus who are open to try any and every flavour, from various corners of the globe. Living amongst them, my taste buds have also been diversified. While they gave me poha, sabudana khichi, vada pav, pav bhaaji, dhoklas, samosas and chatpata farsan, my brethren (and non-brethren) were busy preparing doshas and idlis, with a strange murky orangish red version of sambar with oodles of sugar. At first, I was puzzled tasting the vile liquid and then I made peace with it because, when in Rome.. 

2 months ago though I met him, the man who would solve all my home sickness, Idli Anna! After my routine early morning run-walk and grocery shopping, my nose sniffed out a familiar nostalgia inducing scent. That aromatic fragrance of home, which I was so used to for 30 odd years. I followed the scent and found the cutest little road side stall selling piping hot poha, sabudana khichdi, sheera, upma, idlis, sambar and chutney. 

I gave him the brightest smile that I could conjure and greedily pointed out to the sambar. "Boliye maydum, kya mangta hai", was his cheerful response. "Sambar, idli, chutney, poha, sheera and sabudana khichdi", I replied greedily. He nodded and continued serving his mouthwatering home made food to a group of sweaty boys who were circling around him. 

"Aap kaha se ho? Pehle dekha nahi aapko", I continued. "Raigad maydum", he replied. How can a man from Raigad make mommy's sambar, I mulled. He continued giving me his toothy grin as he swiftly packed the food which I had asked for. 

I rushed back home with the overflowing packet of food and gobbled down Idli Anna's fluffy idlis with his sambar and chutney. After the first 2 bites, I realized that the sambar was not what I had grown up on, still, it was the closest I would get, being 1000 odd kilometers away from home.

Food is an emotion. It has the power to build childhoods and bring back a flood of happy memories. What I would'nt give, to be 4 years old again, thulping down morsels of delectable meat with my grandfather by my side.

This one's on you appuppa, this mad craze which I have for scouting out food and eating endlessly.(including your salty drink snacks, which you thought you hid so smartly between your overflowing wardrobe of shirts and pants). 

(Image Source : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WH2vEN5seVY) 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Flock of Ducklings

I woke up bright and early today to hit my building's swimming pool. I aimed to leave home by 7am and be back by 8 to baby-sit both my "Quick Gun Murugan" maids, who make me feel like their maid 90% of the time. The only reason I get up early on my "swim-days" is to avoid being scolded by them. (Don't laugh!) Handle a Bombay-Bai for a week and you will know how feisty they are. 

Back to my swim now. For the first half hour, I was all alone inside a dreamy blue trance. I took slow lazy laps, back and forth and allowed my mind to wander. After about half an hour, two pleasantly plump boys violently dove on either sides of me from the deep end, whereby almost drowning me. After attempting to give them a dirty glare from the insides of my foggy swim-goggles, I continued with my laps. 

After about 10 minutes of trying to swim peacefully inside the Titanic-drowning-current created by the two tornadoes on either sides of me, I began to pant like a baby-seal. My lungs were on fire and I clung onto the nearest wall I could find. Just as I felt comfortable enough to get back to my "calorie-burning" laps, I saw a group of skinny little girls, in bright summery swim-suits and cute swimming-caps which had Mickey Mouse ears stuck on them. They were accompanied by a middle-aged gentleman.

As the twin-tornadoes and I swam back and forth, the group of little girls began swimming between us in the shallow end, whereby causing even more confusion in the already choppy waters. The older gentleman ("Da-Da" as referred to by one of the girls), held them back and signalled us to go back quickly, so that they could continue with their splashy attempts to swim. 

Da-Da's patience levels must be applauded, as he single-handedly managed three very excited little girls in the water. He was teaching them how to swim, breathe and use the right hand-leg co-ordination while afloat. He was even bribing them every 5 minutes with Dairy Milk Silks and Amul Ice-creams, each time one of them felt tired.

I couldn't help but grin at them like a Cheshire Cat. When the clock struck 8, I quickly climbed out of the pool (in fear of my maids), threw on my clothes and just as I was about to leave, one of the little girls screamed "Bye DiiiiDiiiii!". I chuckled, went upto their Da-Da and told him how my daddy taught me to swim at their age. Even my Da-Da (daddy) used the same tactics of food and meat, to get me into the water. 

If it weren't for my Da-Da, I would have been a food loving, lazy football. Thankfully, the football has been reduced to a golf ball and I still love food. Sorry my dear Da-Da, there are some battles you just can't win!