Tuesday, 26 May 2015

It's a frown. It's an itch. It's a slap from hell. It's Summertime!!!


The fashion magazines are all pasted with the latest summer trends; models clad in bikini with prints that scream about the wild flowers of Africa. The cover photo has a promising picture of a cellulite repellent lady sipping Pinacolada on a beach that looks pristine, bohemian curls flirting with the summer wind, her skin kissed by a gentle tan. You stare at the magazine until a sweat develops on your scalp and lands noisily on it. So much for a dreamy summer in India.
That drop of sweat brings you back to reality. A reality that consists of your head that seems to have been licked by the holy Indian cow, the patches of makeup that managed to hold on to your face, the collar of your shirt as dirty as your thoughts and sweat glands that are working overtime like Santa’s little elves on the last day of Christmas. There is nothing I enjoy about summer, except mangoes. Yes Mangoes!
I have hated summer with a conviction as fervent and strong as a mother’s love. The only nostalgia attached to summer was fighting for a spot in front of the air cooler and later escaping the responsibility to quench the exhausted machine’s thirst with buckets of water; the prospect of carving out biceps lost in that process. Summer never brought to me crop tops and hot pants, my family was orthodox like that; my body was obese like that. What it did bring to me was frequent bouts of diarrhea, credit to the dirty ice lollies that Mahesh Thelawala sold and I gulped down like vitamin pills. It also brought out this other version of my mother, the one who was always ready with a bowl of milk with salt in it to rub on my face, every time I returned from an episode under the blazing sun. It removed the tan she said; never did I vouch! A regular sight during summer was my topless, hibernating grandfather stretched out on the diwan and my grandmother sprinkling cold water on him.
While the other kids took up a summer hobby and went to camps, I spent my holidays being a human fan. It was my eternal duty to stand on the kitchen counter and help bring down the temperature by fanning my mother using that day’s Hindustan times. When I was tired, dad took up the spot, lest we wanted to end up sleeping hungry. Bathing never made things better, thanks to the black overhead tank that only supplied boiling water. I have always wondered why people decide to get married during summer. A far off relative who I was particularly fond of, hates me because I once told her “Aapko malum hai ki aap kal apni shaadi mein kitni gandi dikhogi?”. She had chosen the month of May to get married. The bride’s sindoor running down the forehead as she smiles at her new man shaped tote bag who seems to have lost a couple of kilos inside his safari suit, wasn’t exactly a grand way to kick start a lifetime of togetherness. Her wedding video could easily be mistaken as a clip from the movie Shutter Island. In a climate that makes cuddling the last thing in the mind, no wonder they choose Switzerland to initiate honeymoon consummation.
Henry James once said “Summer afternoon- Summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” This makes me want to cry while I attempt to wring myself dry.
P.S- Almost 2mths of not blogging. I am alive and there to stay! 
Image Courtesy- myindiapictures.com
 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

THE SECRET ROMANCE...



Back when I was a little girl, my favourite game was called ‘Mr. & Mrs.’ While the Mr. was a magazine cut out of an actor stapled to the face of my one eyed teddy bear, the Mrs. was a blushing me. My relationship with my paper husband could be labelled as romantic, since I spoke to him only in dialogues straight out of the Bollywood movies that I watched when my mother wasn’t around. But something that the little me noticed was that this romance that existed between me and my inanimate husband wasn’t present between my Dad and Mom.

Many nights were spent wondering whether my parents were together only because of the common burden that they shared; the burden being me. But then they made my brother, thereby challenging my hypothesis. But how could a relationship continue with no romance in it? There were no cute glances across the hall and though I knew I would barf if they ever said ‘I love you’ to each other in my presence, I sometimes wondered if they ever said anything that did not involve their problematic children, the grocery list, the different kind of bills, their work or their general loathing towards majority of our relatives. The closest to romance that they got was when they dyed each other’s hair or when they took their weekend afternoon naps, with synchronized snores setting up the mood.  After a certain point of time I simply gave up and declared to myself that my parents were suffering a boring marriage.

My mother for some reason was always very protective of her bedroom almirah. A rusty old Godrej almirah, that she kept locked at all times. It was the only place in the entire house that I wasn’t allowed to raid and this fact used to haunt me like dry cough.  Paulo Coelho rightfully wrote, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” It was this very want in my part that made my mother forget to lock the cupboard one fine day before leaving for work. I opened the cupboard half expecting Narnia at the back of it, but instead got hold of what seemed like a stack of greeting cards and a few old photographs.  The photographs seemed to have been taken soon after my parents wedding, one showing both of them sitting in a garden, my mother laughing maybe at a joke my dad managed to crack. The next picture showcased my parents in goggles, both staring at opposite directions with a serious look on their face. They looked like idiots; idiots in love. The cards were all gifted during wedding anniversaries and it seemed like my mother hadn’t got one in the past few years. Even though I was a child, I knew I was trespassing into her personal space, but there was a certain joy that I derived by knowing that there was romance present in their relationship at least in those initial few years of marriage.  

Last year they celebrated their 25th anniversary. Dad bought mom a few sarees using the bonus he earned by working extra, mom didn’t bother to do anything and I ordered a mocha cake to celebrate the occasion and ate most of it. There was no grand celebration and no one gave a speech or popped a bottle of champagne. Frankly it was amusing how boring they were together as a couple. 

But then I saw it, their silent and secretive romance. The romance when dad backs mom up when we raise our tone against her, the romance and comfort in those synchronised snores, the romance in dying each other’s hair using old toothbrushes and the romance in cooking a meal together. The romance when dad irons her saree and she polishes his shoes. The romance when dad cleans the ceiling fan and mom holds the stool. The romance even in those farts. The romance that made their children and the romance that made them raise us together. It wasn’t a boring marriage but a successful one.

Anniversary cards with their printed words cannot express relationships like these. Their years together did that for them. I and my brother did that for them. Their hidden romance did that for them. 

If you ask me, I prefer a secret romance. A relationship as carelessly strong as theirs. 

P.S- Yes, I MUST BLOG REGULARLY.
P.P.S- Still getting used to Bangalore. New place, new job and new people. I take time. 
Image Courtesy- onesmedia.com

Sunday, 8 March 2015

TO THE MAN WHO BOUGHT A PAD...


There is nothing interesting that you will read in my blog today. There is nothing funny in here, nor anything thought provoking, just like all the other times. This is simply a gratitude post. A gratitude post to a minor section of men.

It seems like my grandfather did not know that he was married to a woman.  Actually, I think my grandmother thought it was her duty of never letting him find out about it. She also made sure that he did not know that there was a daughter among the three kids that they had together. Funny, but true! Ok, let me come clear and tell you that my grandfather lived in a house where the women pretended to never have periods.

It was fun to watch you know. My mother sneaking in sanitary napkins into the house as if it was a stash of cocaine, just because my grandfather was reading newspaper in the veranda. How one second I would be holding my stomach, whining to my grandmother about the first day of absolute pain (the kind of pain you get when your uterus squeezes out blood) and the next second I would be sweeping the house clean because grandfather spotted some dirt on the window sill. We made sure that he never knew about the monthly issue that came our way. We PMSed in private.

My brother too was kept in the dark. Every time he innocently pointed at the Whisper advertisement and asked what it was for, my mother and I became the most creative people on the face of earth. We just could not muster enough courage to tell him about womanhood. It’s like we were ashamed of what made us, us.

And then something magical happened. I heard my mother on the phone asking my father to buy pads on his way back from office. I looked at her and she simply said to me “He is not like your grandfather.”  And mind you, my father did get sanitary napkins on his way back, that too the right kind.

Last week I went to the medical shop to buy Crocin. Now, it was around 6 pm and the shop was crowded. I was waiting to be attended when a man standing nearby said “Bhaiyya, ek packet Stayfree deejiye”. It was amusing how every other man in the shop stared at him as if he had broken some code of masculinity. It was even more amusing to note that this man wasn’t a tad bit uncomfortable with the attention he was garnering. He spent a while choosing the correct sanitary napkin, paid for it and left the scene. I looked at the men around me, all smiling slyly. I wonder if they felt this uncomfortable while buying condoms.

I think I now know what my mother meant when she said that my father wasn’t like my grandfather. I also think I know how difficult it must be for a man to be different from the rest; to be someone who understands women. It’s embarrassing to be someone who acknowledges the strength that is required to be a woman. But yet, these few men continue to be different from the rest because they know their women matter much more.

Women are to be blamed. We keep menstruation a secret, as if it’s a sin instead of an inevitable biological process. Imagine discussing periods with your father or any male member in your life. Trust me, they would prefer you menstruating than being pregnant and not doing so. So why do we hush it up? Why not give them the opportunity to accept our reality?

So today I want to thank the men who are not like my grandfather. We need more men like you. We need more men like the guy I saw in the medical shop and lesser like the rest who were mocking him silently. Thank you for being real.

Dear men, this women’s day gift the women in your life, a better you.

P.S- Dear women, let us promise ourselves one thing today. That we would stop outsourcing our life. We must start making our own decisions instead of letting someone else do it for us. Promise yourself that you would never outsource your life.

Monday, 16 February 2015

I CELEBRATE BIRTHDAYS TOO !!


I am not particularly good at remembering names and dates. When I meet someone for the very first time, I skip the usual “what is your name?” question and directly jump in to enquiring about the place they belong to or their thoughts on mint chocolate ice-cream. I am also bad at remembering dates and if you have known me for a while, you would know how I have never wished you on your birthday or the fact that I didn’t give a call congratulating you for getting married until you returned from your honeymoon in Bali. Even if I have surprised you by wishing you on time, you are just plain sure that it was because of the Facebook reminder. Actually it would be justified to state that I have never cared enough to remember milestones, including mine.

Today is my blog’s 4th birthday and this is a scheduled post written a week back because I am sure I will forget about it. Now since I have established the fact that names do not matter to me, I had kept this blog anonymous but never letting that filter out the content that goes on it. If you have been reading me from the beginning, you have pretty much figured me out or at least the kind of person I am. I like being anonymous, not because it helps me write better or because I am scared of being judged, but because this works for me. I am anonymous because I am not a writer and I don’t intend to publish a book. This is just a blog and I am just a blogger. Plus, I find a little bit of mystery, attractive.

There is no story behind this blog being named ‘THE RED HANDED BLOG’ or that there is ‘AN UGLY HEAD’ on its web address. They just came up in some corner of my mind and I found it catchy. Many like to put my blog in the ‘HUMOUR’ category. I don’t know how that happened, especially when my first ever blog post shows me as 21 year old girl who was depressed because college wasn’t treating her well. But over a period of time, humour started to define everything I wrote. There is no creativity in the posts I write, I suck at rhyming words and I never have been much of a story writer. What I am exceptionally good at is self mockery and it has helped me see that life is beautiful if you see it from the right perspective. This blog has made me a much happier person. I am thankful. I also made some new friends through this blog and decided to make my anonymity conditional. These people would forever be a part of my life; of that I am sure.

I don’t participate in contests, I have due to my anonymity not been able to be part of amazing blogger meets and I don’t earn a single penny from my blog, but it was all a personal choice and is something that I hope to continue. I am also not a regular blogger and I am extremely humbled by the readership that this blog has been able to garner. Someone recently mailed me that the only reason I have readership is because I am anonymous. That someone was anonymous too, but without readership. Well, I don’t know why you read me, but I am thankful to you for doing so even if it is only because I am anonymous. Thank you.

4 years of blogging! This is surprising to me because I am the kind of person who loses interest quite fast. My family knows that I blog but have never been interested enough to go online and read. They say why write when it’s never published in print. They ask “What do you get out of it?”  I don’t know. Some write just because they like to.

So to all those who have been reading this blog, regularly or occasionally, I call you family. Thank you for commenting and thank you for laughing at my expense. Your every single comment means a lot to me and I value your inputs. I hope you continue reading this blog.

Dear ‘THE RED HANDED BLOG’. Happy Birthday! I don’t normally tell you, but I love you.

But most importantly, thank you Dad for instilling in me the love for writing.  

P.S- Please appreciate the Photoshop!

P.P.S- Today is also my first day in my new workplace. Coincidence much? 

Monday, 2 February 2015

IN PURSUIT OF A GOOD BLOUSE TAILOR


Last week, when Barack Obama and his wife visited India to be a part of our Republic Day parade, rumours had it that Mr.Narendra Modi might gift 100 Benarasi sarees to the first lady as a gesture of goodwill. Now this way of tightening cross border friendship deeply troubled me because our Prime Minister failed to answer one important thing, ‘Where will Michelle Obama find a good Blouse tailor?’

Once a girl reaches the threshold of womanhood, she begins to understand that she can no longer inveigle herself into believing that her T-shirt can make up for a saree blouse. It is then that she begins her pursuit to find the one who understands her enough to wondrously stitch out the perfect saree blouse and mind you, a good blouse tailor is not an easy catch.

If you think about it, blouse making shouldn’t be an arduous task. You provide the tailor with the matching piece of cloth which you spent hours to select, leaving you wish that you were colour blind and all he has to do is stitch out a decent blouse by following your measurements. You even ignore it when the tailors, irrespective of the gender, use more of their hands and less of the measuring tape to chalk down your size. You brave it all, just for that one perfect blouse. The result is almost always, disappointing.

My first blouse tailor was obsessed with Egypt. Why else would he stitch out a blouse that made it look like I had pyramids built on my chest? Another tailor made a blouse so tight that I began to think that I had deceived puberty and was continuing to be flat-chested. The tailor I went to get a blouse stitched for my college farewell ardently took down all the measurements and promised to not disappoint me like the others did. Interestingly, I attended the farewell wearing a blouse that resembled a shirt because the tailor didn’t want to upset my family by cutting my back low. Then there was this particular tailor who added pads inside my blouse and his reasoning was a classic “Medem, aapke wo jo haina, wo kaafi nahi hai.Sleepless nights were spent considering a boob job.

Now it is a universal fact that all women secretly hate each other. There is this woman my mother is friends with whose blouses are so perfect that you might doubt if they were pasted on her. Others including my mother would regularly swarm around her encouraging her to divulge the name and whereabouts of her tailor. Her answer was always, “Yahan ka nahi hai. He belongs to my village. I got this stitched when I went home.” Such a bitch!

Recently, I happened to come across this particular guy who ran a small tailoring shop named ‘OOH LA LAAA’ near my brother’s school. I wonder what might have been the reason behind me choosing him. May be it was the proximity to my place or the fact that he was ready to first stitch a trial blouse to clear my confusion. I was sold! After a week of questioning my patience, this gem of a guy gifted me a blouse that made me wonder if he knew my proportions better than me.  I had finally struck gold after going through so much dirt.

A woman’s relationship with her blouse tailor is unique. He knows what she means when she requires a Vidya Balan style blouse, or when she says “Bhaiyya front deep chahiye. But not that deep ok?”. He knows the contours of her upper body better than her boy friend and he is ready to make alterations to her heart’s desire. He is true to his words when he says he will give her the blouse on Saturday and he never messes with her cup size. He knows when she has gained a couple of kilos and silently increases the length of the blouse to cover up her peeping back tire. He should be declared an Indian Super hero.

I wore my new tailor’s creation to a wedding recently. A friend asked, “Kahan se silwaya?”. I flushed a bit, looked at mother while replying, “Yahan ka nahi hai. He belongs to my village. I got this stitched when I went home.”

I blame it on Muliebrity!

P.S- I am not dead. :) 

Friday, 26 December 2014

THE RED HANDED "GIA BATH AND BODY WORKS" GIVEAWAY !!!!


So, I love chocolates and anything or anyone who smells like one. A few months back a friend of mine gave me a box and told me that inside it were some bars of soap. Now this made me furious. Why would anyone give someone soap unless they think that the person cannot afford to buy one from the local supermarket because of which his/her personal hygiene has been compromised. But then I opened the tiny box it came in and was immediately compelled to dig my teeth into a divine bar of soap. It was the ‘Chocolate Crème Silk’ soap by ‘Gia Bath And Body Works’.  Ladies and Gentlemen, GAYATRI BROWN made me eat soap!!


Gayatri Brown is professionally a makeup artist, celebrity stylist, cosmetic formulator and a gourmet artisan soap maker. Fancy eh?! She is personally an amazing person and a mother of an equally amazing little girl named Georgia, who was the inspiration behind the brand name ‘GIA BATH AND BODY WORKS’.


Disturbed by the amount of chemicals that the skin care products in the market contained, Gayatri decided to launch her brand of skin care products that were untouched by any harmful chemicals. Handcrafted with love, her products contain no SLS, SLES, hardeners or preservatives, but are instead packed with liquid silk, fresh cream, sweet almond, cocoa, jojoba, avocado, shea butter, virgin olive oil and other such delicious ingredients.

Since Gayatri specializes in Gourmet Artisan bath and body products, where her soaps resemble a pastry, a cake slice or even a cupcake, I won’t blame you if you actually lick it or eat it. They smell irresistibly good, feel good, taste good and are suitable for all kinds of skin type. She also makes shower gels, body butter, perfumes, body mist and body polishing scrubs, all of which are made in a smoke free, pet free and a germ free environment that is her home kitchen. How cool is that?!


Now I have a problem. If I really like something, I keep recommending it to others till they actually try it out and eventually fall in love with it. Since I am addicted to this particular brand, I have been off late recommending it to almost everyone who I believe takes a bath. Gayatri stepped in and decided to help me by generously agreeing for a Giveaway.

You have got to participate and support!

WHAT IS UP FOR GRABS???

1st PRIZE-  Gia Bath and Body Works gift hamper worth Rs.1500/-
2nd PRIZE - Gia Bath and Body Works gift hamper worth Rs 1000/-
2 winners, 2 humble prizes

Now participate in the giveaway already! For Indian residents only, but if you have an Indian address where we can possibly ship these goodies, hop in!

You can ENTER THE GIVEAWAY THROUGH THE RAFFLECOPTER WIDGET BELOW.

GIVEAWAY STARTS TODAY, 26th December, 2014 and ends on 6th January, 2015. Support!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 19 December 2014

An Ode To The Indian Toilet...


Dear Indian Toilet,

Nothing screamed of your slow demise more than the Harpic advertisement, where you were heartlessly replaced by your western counterpart. Renovation after renovation, you were destroyed, only to survive in areas that were yet to be touched by westernization and joint problems. In a world where everyone and everything pretends to be urban and red carpet, you have become a symbol of rural living. But I shall miss you.

You my friend taught me my first and only known yoga pose, Malasana. You made me squat before squatting became mainstream. You would be surprised to read this but you also taught me the art of meditation. You see, with you I only had the option of staring at the opposite wall or the ant steadfastly walking on the handle of the red bucket. Sometimes I would work on my predilection for peeling the paint off the opposite wall by counting the numerous bindis my mother had left on the washbasin mirror, permanently stuck because she found them too unhygienic to be used again. Our romance was always interrupted by the numbness creeping into my feet, forcing me to leave you temporarily. But you knew, I would always come back.

I still remember the day those men came to my house. We already had an English version of you on the first floor of our place, rarely used because we all loved you. But my grandfather was 78 and you knew that he couldn’t garner enough flexibility to use you. He needed a seat, which the western toilet with its ceramic throne kindly provided. Your demise was inevitable but let me tell you something; you served us well my friend.

You are well aware that innovations make life easy and I know that you would scream “traitor!!”, but I have to tell you that it did not take time for me to fall in love with your western avatar.  On the day following a strenuous workout at the gym, I didn’t have to scream out a cuss word or two every time I had to attend the nature’s call because unlike you, the western toilet understood my limitations. But as much as there are pros to something, there are cons. The western toilet has sprouted my yearning for extra entertainment like replying to important mails through phone, watching viral YouTube videos or stalking the ex, which wasn’t possible with you because all available energy was utilized by me towards keeping myself from falling into you.

You might be thinking, why a letter now? Well, I was forced to squat yesterday while fitting accessories on the lowest branch of my Christmas tree and guess what, I fell backwards. Wouldn’t have happened, had I stayed loyal to you.

Until we meet again (courtesy-Indian railways).

Love,
Your once devoted user.


P.S- I know that blogging works on a give and take basis. I also know that I haven't stalked other blogs for long, owing to being a junior lawyers who gets excited at the mere mention of the word 'sleep'. I humbly apologize. I shall stalk you soon!