I’m a dingbat.

Really.

I end up in completely avoidable situations such as going on dates when I don’t intend to, unwittingly put my bare bottom on display, and I have this nagging need to be vocal about my feelings when I’ve been drinking. In fact, I’m not even cut out for compassion. I try to be benevolent and do the right thing, but you know where that always leaves, me. In the middle of the road, clutching a thankless scarf.

Anyway. A few days ago, I stepped out of the house to buy stuff from a market that’s always infested with cars, scooters, bikes, and far too many people. I parked a little further away inside a hospital, to save myself the horror of having to wade through the said market.

As I was stepping out of the hospital, I walked past a stinky old lady with one of her arms in a cast wearing garish, hanuman-like, orange clothes, her face full of pockmarks. Her daughter (?) was arguing with a rickshawallah.

Tees, she said as she wiped the sweat from her neck. Thirty rupees.

Typical, I thought to myself. They will argue endlessly with a poor rickshaw puller for what, ten bucks? Look at the old man, toiling in the sun all day long. How can anyone put a price tag on physical labor? If he wants more, pay him more or move along!

I waddled like a buffalo, deliberately taking pains to walk slower than normal in an attempt to prolong my alone time – it’s hard to come by!

I bought what I had to, and stopped at multiple fruit stalls just to check if fruit cost less in this area than where I live and pissed off a lot of fruit vendors in the process – lena nahin tha to itna mol bhaav kyon kiya? If you didn’t want to buy, why did you haggle?

After about 20 minutes, I found myself back where I started – the old lady and her daughter (?) were still there. Bhaiya, chand saleema chaloge, she said. Will you take us to Chand Cinema? The compassionate mother in me reared her head. This was my chance to redeem myself, my good deed for the day. Their destination was enroute to mine.

Aapko Chand Cinema jaana hai? Main us taraf hi ja rahi hoon. I offered to drop them off at Chand Cinema on my way home.

They exchanged a look that was somewhere between can-this-woman-be-trusted or omg-I-can’t-believe-we’re-so-lucky. They agreed.

I dumped all my stuff on Z’s car seat in the back, and helped the old lady in. Her daughter (?) joined me in the front.

I asked how long they had been standing there, and the old lady told me the story of their life. She had slipped and fallen in the bathroom, and her daughter (aha!) brought her here because it was a bigger hospital than the one in their locality. Now they were trying to go back but no auto or rickshawallah was willing to go that far unless they paid a premium. She thought she’d have to walk back, but then I came to their rescue, which was a surprise, because aajkal to sab bahut khudgarz hote hain, koi madad kare bhi to uska bharosa karna mushkil lagta hai. Everyone’s so selfish these days, it’s hard to really trust anyone.

The old lady gave me a lot of free advice – you shouldn’t trust anyone immediately. Who knows what people are up to? Hum to ladies hain, koi aadmi bhi ho sakta tha. We’re women (and therefore it’s ok for you to help us), but it could’ve been a man (and men are untrustworthy in general). She shut up only when her daughter turned to frown at her. I was really really (really) thankful when that happened.

Anyway. I dropped them off at chand saleema. The old woman thanked me a hundred times for being such a good human being, and I tried my best to remain humble.

I drove home feeling really good about myself – the (miniscule) sliver of guilt that I had had when I left home was gone. I parked the car and got out with a swagger, kinda feeling like I was Katrina Kaif in #KalaChashma. (That song has been stuck in my head for a month.)

I was so engrossed I walked a few steps toward my building, then realized I had forgotten all about my stuff.

Only, when I opened the door, there was nothing to pick up.

Yup. I’m a dingbat.

Have you been through anything like this? Have you spent hours on the phone trying to block stolen cards and been pissed about it? When was the last time you stole anything?

To the Linguistically and Cognitively Challenged Douchebag from Yesterday

I can understand that for someone stuck mentally in the 1990s, general namecalling would be the go-to mechanism when stuck in an argument that they cannot win. This is, however, 2016, and you’re expected to act your physical age, or at least pretend to be on board with the whole being an adult thing even if you don’t actually understand it.

Here’s a simple flowchart that you can refer to when you’re in an argument with someone who has, unlike you, aged mentally.

Troll_Vertical

You’re welcome. Metaphorically speaking, of course – lest you assume I’m telling you it’s ok to return here. It’s not.

Did you see the troll at work yesterday? Are all of them this deranged, or did I win a special lottery? What’s your troll story?

of bad moves

Me: What are we going to do now?

D: I don’t know. What do you think?

Me: I don’t know? What do you think? Oh wait – we already covered you.

D: Why don’t we start making plans for just the two of us and maybe he will get the hint?

Me: You think that’ll work?

D: Of course it will.

It didn’t.

We made plans to go out for walks, shop, and watch movies, but because it was never established that by we we meant just the two of us, AP tagged along everywhere anyway.

After a week, we abandoned the apartment with the colorful walls and the huge terrace and the almost-French windows because it was too small for us.

It drove me raging-bull-mad, so one day I decided to rip the band-aid off myself. I was like a ninja on the prowl – I waited all day to find an opportunity to have the tough conversation with him.

Badaboom

Anyway. We finally found an apartment that we all liked, and we decided to move. It was a 3 bedroom house on Road no. 10, Banjara Hills. We didn’t need three bedrooms, but D and I were desperate. We needed a room of our own where we could have the clean fights and the dirty sex.

The moving day finally arrived, and so did N, a colleague of AP’s. She had promised to help him move, and she reached, as promised, at 10 am. We had met her a few times before, and she seemed like a nice girl. We were done moving by lunch time, and decided to order pizza as we unpacked.

N helped me set up the kitchen, while D and AP went about setting up two of the three bedrooms.

What are you going to do with the third room, N asked just as we all sat down to eat.

I don’t know, maybe we’ll create a guest room in case any of our parents come to stay, I responded.

AP chimed in. But parents will come only once in six months. Why don’t you move in with us? 

No points for guessing what happened next.

of privacy

D (the ex-husband) and I had been married for just over a quarter. As with all newlyweds, privacy was highly desirable and in our case, something we didn’t have. We lived in a house with aging parents and only one western toilet, which was unfortunately attached to our bedroom.

We lay in our bed one Saturday, discussing in hushed tones what we could do about our situation. It was the middle of the night, so it was eerily silent; we could hear nothing except for the sound of the crickets, the wind whistling in through a partly open window, and my mother-in-law’s incessant snoring. Continue reading of privacy

of uppity aunties and upturned noses

I have yet to tell you the dirty details about why the Baran Ceremony was such an eye opener for me.

So there I was, in a long line, waiting for my turn and watching other women do things I had never done before. I saw Durga’s beautiful face be smeared with vermilion with a vengeance, sweets stuffed into her closed, and to me, disgusted mouth, and flowers strewn all over the place being trampled by women holding more flowers in their hands.

The two ladies behind me were from the lower middle class, and stuck out like a sore thumb. I overheard one of them talking about their ailing child, whom she had left at home. When my turn came, I asked them to go first because I had no sick children waiting. She looked very thankful and climbed up up the chair in front of the idol and started doing the thing. She must’ve been up there for less than two minutes when I realized that two uppity aunties in uncannily similar blue and green sarees (almost the same design in two different colors) had just climbed up on the stage and were slyly trying to jump their turn. I politely told them (in Hindi) that there was a line, and pointed to where it ended.

The woman in the blue saree was visibly miffed, but kept quiet. For one second. She suddenly started urging (rather rudely) the lady on the chair to hurry up, because tum kitni der se oopar chadhi hui ho, hamari baari kab aayegi (you’ve been up there for such a long time, when will we get a chance)?

I smirked, which she (mis)understood, as she started asking me and the other women why we were not saying something to the woman who was taking too long. The other lower middle class woman came to her friend’s rescue – she just got up there, less than two minutes ago.

The woman in the green saree then started pushing the woman and asking her to get off the chair. Kahan kahan se aa jate hain! Where do these people even come from?

Then I lost it. I asked her (pretty rudely) to back off and go stand in the line. Sab yahan line mein ek ghante se khade hain, agar paanch minute puja karne mein lage bhi to kya problem hai? Jab aapki baari aaye to aap bhi time laga lena. Ab jakar line mein khade ho jaiye. Everyone’s been standing in the line for an hour – what does it matter if they take five minutes to pray? Please go and stand in the line and await your turn, and when you do get a chance, take as long as you like.

Hum yahan dus baje se yahan hain, barah bajne wale hain aur hamari baari ab tak nahin aayi. We’ve been here since 10 am. It’s nearly noon, and we still haven’t got a chance.

Agar aap line mein khade hote to aa jati naa baari! Par aap to subah se mandir mein socialize kar rahe ho, kaise aayegi baari! You would’ve, if you had stood in the line instead of socializing with the other ladies in the temple.

Aur itne saare logon ne time liya, aapne unse to kuch nahin kaha! Aisa kyon? Kyonki woh sab zyada classy ladies thi? Also, many women took this long, but you said nothing to them! Could it be because they were all classy ladies?

At this point they were really mad at me because it really was the truth, but they could say nothing because I wasn’t from the lower middle class. They just kept their noses upturned and said mean things about me in Bengali, all of which I understood.

So I decided to take things a notch higher. By the way, ami bangla bujhte pari. By the way, I understand Bengali.

You should’ve seen the looks on their faces as onlookers began to laugh.

Here’s a picture of me doing the baran. I was laughing all the time, and took a good five minutes to finish just to piss them off!

Photo(10)