Friday, September 19, 2008

Wanted: Female driving instructors

If any of you ladies have had the misfortune of learning to drive from a member of the male species or just had them sit by you while you drove, you would know what I'm talking about.

So most of them would simply refuse to let you drive, declaring you a public hazard. Also if by a wicked stroke of fate you were to drive, they would constantly be wincing like they had a scorpion in their pants. Needless to say, one of their hands would be tentatively hovering over the handbrake, like one of those blokes from the westerns fingering their guns, ready to blow your face.

And if you're unlucky enough to be learning from a close friend/relative of this species, it's a trip to hell and back.

There's yelling punctuated by hysterical advice giving. You suspect they're hiding their face (they blame your driving but come on) near traffic signals. There's uncontrollable anger at your unwillingness to change gears between 35 kmph and 45 kmph. There's shuddering and undeniably loud sighs of relief when you brake. Reversing is a challenge, but nothing compared to when you have edgy men sitting next to you. Then as if the 'L' screaming Loser on the back of your car wasn't enough, your reversing siren going berserk and the male taking control of your steering wheel.

And don't even get me started about parking. Usually it ends in a heated argument and you being ejected of your car.

If you're a lady, I hope you would take some time out in the name of empathy and reach out to the nearest lady driving with an 'L' board on her car and a frenzied man inside it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Couch conversations

Dad has seated me down on a couch for a conversation very sweetly. Yikes I dread those times. A creeping feeling is coming over me.

'Sandhya, I'm ok with anyone who's a Brahmin. Marathi, Bengali, Kannada..but let him be a Brahmin please.'
Ya right.

'So what are you doing about it? We are very tired of trying to find someone of your specifications.'

Dad I'm not allowed to date, am I, with your permission?

'Everyone says you're too short for them.'

Talk about adding insult to injury. What about Gulliver being too tall for Liliputians?

'And then you don't want a Software Professional.'

So there is no other profession in the world now that Indians are taking up? The whole lot of Indian men don't have to be software engineers. What about physicists and artists or professional wrestlers or TV weatherpersons..? (And no offence to software professionals, I have been one myself fleetingly.)

'Plus you're not really getting any younger...I mean you look young, but the clock is ticking...'

This is just getting worse isn't it..

'So basically you're telling me that I should find a guy of your specifications because you're too lazy to do it?'

And then Dad shook his sweet disappointed head. Sideways. Two times.

'Sandhya, why can't you be like other kids, who want normal things? Why do you want to be rebellious? Why can't you want a husband and a family and want to settle down?'

Doorbell rings as a welcome reprieve. It's Mom.
'Poor girl. She comes home only so often. Let's speak to her later.' She says to Dad.

Wow, but beware...I told myself. This is the calm before the tempest. Wait for somebody younger to get married and voila, there I'll be on the couch again...

Friday, February 8, 2008

are you moving out? gasp..gasp..

My mom awoke to this shocking revelation when I told her I needed to stay closer to work.
'What!' was her expression for the first two days.
'I won't speak to you' was her attitude for the next three days.
'I know you're in the room and I pretend as if everything is the same, but I'm mad at you and you should know that' was her tune for the week after that.

When there was about a week left, she became sad.
Then came the bottles of pickles, rice crispies, salted, dried and fried red chillies, and other condiments that I had begged for. They're all neatly arranged in bottles. She also gives me a rice cooker and a few steel utensils, all meant for my marriage. She's a little disappointed that it's not the occasion of my marriage that she's giving away steel utensils. But I tell her, it's a start and that seems to cheer her up oddly.

'You have to come home every weekend,' she said. And she religiously meant it. She is not satisfied if I don't sleep at least three nights in the house (Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night).

Dad has been stoic about the whole thing. He has lately been observing with great detail the entire process of making Sambhar for 200 people by a Bihari who's opened up a new South Indian snack shop. So he's busy regaling us with stories of how buckets of water and Dal are poured into a giant vessel and cooked. (He does this with actions, so its funny, really.)

My sister is happy, now that the disputed area of the shelf space is no longer under conflict. She is also dreading the fact that all the attention, concern will come upon her. ('Vandhna, you're aren't eating enough. You've become so thin! You've lost so much weight! Eat this banana. An hour later, you have to eat papaya and drink a whole glass of milk.' She hates bananas and milk.)

I'm ok. I miss these crazy dudes, but they make me laugh like hell.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

south-indian weddings

So I dread going to weddings, for very obvious reasons. I'm at the age where any relative/family-well-wisher/woman-friend of my mother would be proactively seeking me out in a crowd and bombarding me with only one question.
'So when are you getting married?'
Or another variant. 'Is there anybody you have in mind?' (This one came from a friend of my mom's whom I have previously seen just once in my life).
Or yet another variant. 'We are now going to have the next wedding meal at your wedding.'
To all such questions and insinuations, I have developed a standard response. It's called 'grin and bear it.' I have realised with time that the best thing to do is to not argue and just accept that this is better than a lot of things...being hungry and poor, having bird flu, being tortured in a Chinese prison...
The wedding I went to was punctuated by a lot of other 'usual' South-Indian-wedding events. Eating Rasam-rice with a spoon, a video of you being taken while you have your mouth fool of beans curry, waiters almost throwing food onto your banana-leaf-for-a-plate etc.
After the last you-just-watch-while-we-get-you-married comment was done with, I was dying to go home(Public conveniences...really are you kidding me?). And the conversation on the ride back home was also dominated by how a younger cousin of mine(younger than even my younger sister) was married and was expecting a child. I was back to my smiling routine.
Till the next wedding, I'm smiling.