Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bubble-wrapped kinks

Here’s a confession. I have a kink that the mother and the husband know nothing about. I love busting bubble wraps. I love it so much that I can stop everything I am doing and focus on it with an obsession that might seem manic to some. I love it so much that if I chance upon a sheet or a scrap of bubble wrap that someone has busted before me, I am ready to scream blue murder. I love it so much that I wouldn’t share a bubble wrap with my best friend. I love it enough to start a Bubble Busters’ Club on a social networking site. Or a Bubblaholics Anonymous, which is more likely.

It’s not uncool. Some people smoke or clean or game or buy shoes or books or run or kick-box. Some bust bubble wraps. It’s a release. I don’t quite know the origin of it, and I don’t really care.

Having said that, I must add that I am quite fastidious about the quality of bubble wraps I engage with. If the bubbles are not succulent enough (okay, I hate that word, but it explains what I mean), I feel very very short changed. It’s like gifting a single-malt guy a blended whisky.

In fact one of the exciting things about opening my wedding presents was to check how many of them had bubble wraps, and how many of those bubble-wraps had potential to pop really well. More than finding out what the presents were, I was excited about saving up each piece of these happiness-inducing goodies for a rainy day when I am home alone and can bust them to infinite glory.

My fellow bubble busting brethren at work—Vivek, Lolita, Varsha, Sita, Stephaney and Anita are always apprised of any piece of bubble-wrap making its appearance in the building. In fact just last week, I had a tip-off from a kind soul in the IT department—a new consignment of bubble-wrap had arrived downstairs. I jumped with glee, because two of the aforementioned are on leave, so that implied more bubbles per square inch for me!

Each of us has our own unique technique of busting the bubble. Some like to start in the middle and just do it in one go. Phat! Hit or miss!

Others, like me, love pushing the bubble to one side, so that the sound of the bust is amplified. PHAT! And some sadists in the group love wringing the whole sheet like they were wringing a dripping towel off water, producing multiple sounds—almost like those 1000 and 10000-wala crackers in Diwali. I think a good bubble wrap doesn’t deserve that, as you will always find stray bubbles feeling left out at such mass extinction. You have to give each bubble its due, is my philosophy. I am no mass bubble-killer.

Okay, there I have said it. I feel better now. Now to find a nice piece of bubble wrap to bust. Or may be wait till the weekend when the husband and I move house. I do hope the packers use good quality bubble-wraps for all our fragile stuff. I just can’t wait to find out how much bubble-wrap I am going to inherit!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I know what you did when you were two

It’s funny how you know exactly what people mean when they say ‘tag me’ or ‘add me’ Suddenly, it’s all out there in cyberspace. Random nights of partying, reunions, weddings, engagements, anniversaries, babies, birthdays, holidays in Bali, that trek on Saturday—it baffles me how documented people’s lives are. You can almost trace the entire trajectory of “jab they met,” when they first kissed, when they officially started going out, and when they turned from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship’ and when they got married and threatened to live happily ever after.

When I see friends posting pictures of their four day old babies, I don’t know where this is all going. It was ironic that not so long ago, I was despondent when, while looking for my baby pictures to design my wedding invite, I realised I had all of two (one of which was extricated from my favourite aunt, since we never had a family album at home). Which in essence meant that most of my childhood and my adolescence was never really documented (although I still have letters, cards and other trivia). I was a bit shocked—being the first born of the current generation, I thought I merited some Kodak memories. I asked my mother why this deprivation, and she simply told me that I was the best document ever, and what are pictures anyway when you have the real thing? I reminded her that I couldn’t put myself on the wall, hence pictures would have been helpful.

My younger twin siblings on the other hand got adequately photographed by my amateur photographer uncle due to their novelty value (till then, no one in our family or friend circle had twins, leave alone boy-girl). So there are some nice black and whites of them lounging at home, studio shots of them having their first real meal, getting their head shaved, and such like.

For many years, nothing happened—no real photos were taken (and I am not counting the utterly delinquent ones taken while posing for a group family photo at random weddings). The only big photo-op occurred when my brother went to the States—all my family and other animals were adequately framed for posterity. Since then, there has been a deluge of photo memories, so we all have abundant ‘cheese’ moments to stare at.

Which is why I was in awe when the mother-in-law presented me a video of the husband learning to crawl at age six months (I must mention here that he crawled backwards, which should have been an indication of his idiosyncrasies). That is one extremely well documented childhood, I thought.

I made a mental note of documenting my little ones adequately, and have done a good job of my cats so far. Lupooh Singh and Millie Kutty don’t know it yet, but they have been tagged for posterity. Also I made the rather wise decision of asking my brother to gift me a camcorder for our wedding—this way I could make sure that I could show the mother-in-law equally bizarre if not more absurd videos of our children—and hopefully, theirs too.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

No Big deal

How can I be a gender columnist and not talk Sex and the City? I was resisting it, because I hate having opinions in an overcrowded space. Besides, I might have nothing to add that hasn’t already been said. But I am guilty of two things:

a) Taking a quiz to find out which Sex and the City character I am most like

b) Organising a girls night out, where me and a high estrogen population of 40 will arrive at Wink at the Taj President (may be not in our Manolo Blahniks and Cavallis), where we will down Cosmopolitans and Winkitinis with élan, pick on sushi and marshmallows with a certain daintiness and then head to the actual movie screening at Inox. Where, I hope we will hoot for our empowered gender with full lung power (it will help if there are more Samanthas in the room)

I must admit I was a bit disappointed to find out I was Carrie in my quiz. Yes, I have a bit of her style and may be her hair, although I don’t do shoes like she does, neither do I have a shrinking bank account and credit card bills to pay forever. Even so, Carrie is the most flamboyant mascot of the series—she has the best job (someday, I want to be able to write just this column and nothing else), she seems to be the one who is the real thinker, and she does write a column, like me. The reason I was disappointed was, to me, Carrie will always be the emotional fool who has no control over her life or her finances really. I am too smart to be at the beck and call of the Bigs of the world, and I am much too practical to be her, although I get her ideology completely.

But then, look at the choices. Samantha is too over-the-top-slutty and has no benchmarks, and Miranda is the workaholic I never want to be, although I come closest to her in my uprightness, independence and financial acumen. As for Charlotte— well, who wants to be Charlotte anyway?

The point is, there is a little bit of Carrie in all of us, who is in awe of a Miranda and finds the earnestness of a Charlotte and the balls of Samantha quite fascinating.

Here’s to her.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Eleven month itch

I have a theory, however warped it may sound. That you can never be completely ‘in love’ with the place you rent. It has to have something amiss, something that ‘can do better’, something that makes you feel like you are in transition. Because 11 months later, when you realise it doesn’t have long-term potential, you have to be able to get up and go. It’s like the guy you can date, but not really marry.

At least the theory has helped me make transitions easily. I have moved 14 abodes in my humble lifetime, six of which have been as a single woman living on her own—I inhabited each one of them, including my hostel pads, with an aesthetic and an individuality they deserved. But when I knew that it wasn’t mine to keep, I had no trouble moving on to the next one.

Reason why I am quite buoyant about moving from our current abode—I am only imagining that the next one will have newer adventures, newer memories and a brand new view. The husband, however is feeling the tug of being de-linked from the squirrel squad and other fauna outside our window. Or the shop-on-call that sends him everything from beer to bread to dahi to lemons and even accepts cheque payments.

To him, an apartment is like a marriage—may be because he is Cancerian and I am Gemini—one is a creature of habit, another thrives on change.

Saturday’s house-hunting sojourn (the husband and I are planning to move to the queen of burbs) was a bit of a weird experience— neither of us had been through such extreme scrutiny, though both of us had rented places as singletons without much ado in the past.

May be it’s the recent spate of crimes. Or may be the husband and I look ‘too cool to be married” . He has an American accent (thanks to 16 years in American schools) and I look like a firebrand from Kerala with my curly locks and deep brown skin. So we get asked where we are from, or whether we are ‘married’ or ‘couple’, questions we hate answering.

After convincing a dimwitted broker that we were a “married couple” and not “that kind of couple,” we get off to a bad start—we are shown some hideous flats in the queen of burbs.

Disappointed, we trail off to the boonies where the husband falls head over heels in love with an apartment (and I won’t mention where it was, as I don’t mean to be disparaging to residents thereof). He gets into immediate planning mode of where we will have our futons, our surround sound and TV. I restrain him by saying “You can’t marry the first girl you date..” .

He is not convinced. I then remind him that should we move there, Shaan restaurant would be our only social life, and Hotel Ashwin would be a landmark to get there (sorry, they are both friends’ names, but this is true) and we would have a neighbour who walks up and down corridors a hundred times as a part of his daily exercise regime (the man totally spooked me out). He gets what I mean.

I am hoping we would have zeroed in on our nest by the next column and answered more stupid questions that we can anticipate. Else I will have more of the same stories to tell you.