To a Love Like No Other

One perfect misty evening two girls took turns on a swing. They were best friends, soul sisters and lovers like no other. Fate brought them together. They stuck with each other through many bumps and finally made it to what they then thought was the cusp of their life. That balmy evening they talked about their dreams, hopes and fears. They were starting a new chapter in their life, taking different paths to reach one final destination.

But what did those two eighteen year olds know then about the places life would take them, about the twists that would come, the successes and the heartbreaks. Life was a rollercoaster. They went through all the twists intended for them, clutching on to each other for dear life.

From that day onwards every December 31st the girls reminisce that day. They discuss their achievements and fears, and start the new year leaning on each other. Because the space on the swing has already been reserved, it doesn’t matter if we bring in the year in style or by ordering in pizza, we’ll never start the year without each other. ‘Cause this kind of love is a once in lifetime kind of love. Its a love like no other.

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Home Is Where I Am

Growing up, all I ever wanted was a room of my own. We lived in a  two bedroom apartment for the longest time. I never had a room of my own. The general area of the house was my refuge. I kept myself busy during drowsy afternoons but I wanted a room I could escape to. I watched a lot of teenage dramas and I was itching to ‘bang the door shut in anger’. But my wish never came true until I was sixteen.

Once we moved house and I got a room of my own, I never wanted to come out. My room was my solace. It was my protection from the big bad world outside. I filled that room with my dreams and my pains. The walls speak of my heartaches. The floor absorbed my tears and the high ceilings accommodated my dreams. My room watched me grow from a naive sixteen year old to a… well, what I am now. The crazy thing is I always thought that my room would never change, it would remain the same, always my protection from the outside world. But when I went back this time I felt disoriented. It felt like my room had changed. My once comfortable bed that held my body shape now hit me like a rock. I felt weird and uncomfortable like I was living another life.

Every night when I went to bed I couldn’t help but think about the room I left back in California. I missed my bed and my fluffy comforter. When my mind started associating that with home was when I realized, much to my dismay, my solace was where I had stayed for the past year. This realization hurt my heart like crazy. For days I kept thinking my mother had moved my things and my room had changed whereas in reality it was I who had changed. I had been living away from my previous life and walking back in to it sent my senses in to disarray.

Today, as much as I miss my room I know that the girl who lived there was a slightly different one. She was confused and naive, among other things but she always had hope. I wouldn’t change a thing about that girl, or the room for that matter (trust me, there were quite a few things that needed to be changed). That girl and that room helped me appreciate the person I am now.

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Twenty four

Yesterday I turned twenty four. A year older. A year wiser? I surely hope so. I want to feel wiser and smarter but its taking me baby steps to get there. Year after year I try to work on how I present myself. I try to be a good person to others. But I forget to work on me. And me has been needing a lot of “me” time lately. For a long time I’ve struggled with the person I am. I was confused about what was expected of me. I was continuously pleasing people around me, ignoring what I wanted. By the time I could get that idea out of my head it had become a habit that was hard to shake off.

Now I am trying my hardest to take the reins of my life in my own hands. And I want to ride fast and strong. I don’t want to stop. I don’t want that number to tell me what I’m supposed to do right now. 

Here’s to a positive year with nothing but happiness and sunshine, something I need a lot of in my life right now.

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I declare October first Annual Cheesecake Day. Every year on my birthday I intend to eat a slice of cheesecake. Last year it was a Godiva chocolate cheesecake. This year – dulce de leche cheesecake with almonds and crunchy caramel bits. It was beauty in a take out box.

When I was in college I watched a lot of movies. It didn’t matter how B-grade they were, if it was on torrentz I would watch it. One of the movies I saw during this time was The Invention of Lying. The movie was an epic fail but today while I was thinking in the shower (the other place I do my thinking is on the bed) I recollected this movie. The movie was bad but imagine if none of us told lies. We would just tell people what we thought about them and lying isn’t even an option. Would relationships survive in a situation like this? No matter how much we love some one, how much of the truth can we handle?

Most of us may say small white lies, not for defending ourselves but in the belief that we’re protecting the other person from the harsh truth.  Its not easy being entirely truthful either. To be entirely truthful the person you’re answering to must be able to take in whatever you reveal to them or you must live a perfect life with no space for error. But we’re human and our life is a train wreck.

Maybe honesty is over rated. Maybe white lies are needed to keep the world running. Women need to be told their rear doesn’t look fat in that dress and we have to say “It was nice meeting you” when in truth it was awful. I guess that is just how the world functions and if it weren’t for this, the world as we know it would end.

Or maybe we should lead such perfect lives that the need for telling  a white lie or telling a truth that doesn’t hurt someone is unnecessary.

So what is better? Telling the small white lies in the belief that we’re protecting others, being truthful or leading the perfect life?

Crocaholics Anonymous.

I have big feet. At least by Indian standards I do, and it’s always been hard for me to find my size in shoes I liked. Comfortable shoes were even harder to find, thanks to my gorgeous flat feet. I would tear apart every shoe store in Madras from top to bottom in search of the perfect shoes in the perfect size. Shoe salesmen would give me dirty looks. One guy even told me my size wasn’t the “normal” size. The nerve of him! Safe to say, I stomped out of the store.

During college I went through a lot of shoes – sandals, ballet shoes, cheap sandals from Fountain Plaza, pretty ones from Lifestyle, polka dotted ballet shoes from Shoppers Stop, tough boy sandals from Nike, you name it. But none of them lasted long enough. I would see the wear and tear in a few months, and the fourth toe of my left foot would inevitable scrape against the base of the shoe.So the left pair of all my shoes would have a distinct mark. I know, I’m special.

Wedding shoes shopping was another tiring journey but at then end of it I managed to find a gorgeous pair that hurt as good as they looked.

Over the weekend while doing some much needed, therapeutic shopping I saw a Crocs store beckoning me in all its neon glory. I told Jay I’ve never tried on Crocs and I thought that the comfort factor of those shoes was just a myth. I had to find out for myself if it was true. So we entered the store, and I was in shoe heaven. I know all you “fashionistas” out there are like, “Omg, Crocs are soooo fugly”. But honey, you haven’t lived until you’ve lived in my shoes.

Crocs are generally expensive but I got my hands on the most beautiful pair for half the price! Yay for sales and retail and stuff! I think my new shoes perfectly encapsulate the weather right now. They are summery, yellow and so cheerful! I think I’m going to live in Crocs for the rest of my life ’cause these shoes are so comfy! It’s like walking on a baby’s bottom (sorry, baby)! They are made out of some rubbery material so no awful, skin peeling shoe bites and I must say, they look really, really good. So Crocs taught me one lesson : never brush of anything based on what others say, find it out for yourself.

Let’s all raise our glasses to Life, and the lessons she teaches us in the most unpredictable ways.

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Put that samosa down! It’s Ramadan!!

Ramadan Kareem, everyone! This year is going to be my first Ramadan away from home, in a different country with a fifteen hour fasting time. This will also be my first year making **iftar and preparing for *suhoor, and I’m already starting to appreciate my mother for all the years she cooked it for me. I now realize it’s a hard thing to strike  balance between your spiritual side and well, keeping house. I try to “keep” my house decent enough. It gets messy every few days and I do get lazy but I try to get by.

I know I will miss home terribly during Ramadan but I don’t want to admit it. I will miss the food and the bit of forced friendliness that Ramadan injects, both in society and family. We have suhoor together and break iftaar as a family. I will miss my annual iftar potluck with my girls (especially the one year where we went a bit wild, you know the one I’m talking about, ***Kuki). I will miss all the tiny traditions that I’ve done subconsciously. I only hope to continue with them and hopefully, create new traditions.

I will miss planning my Eid outfit. But that’s cause I already planned it in super advance this year.

Oh, I will also miss the samosas. Mmm.. samosas.

Have a blessed Ramadan, people. I pray we all come out of it as satisfied and better people.

*suhoor : Meal had at sunrise during Ramadan (fasting) time.

**iftar : Meal had at sunset during Ramadan (fasing) time.

*** Kuki : My stalker. I would named you the other thing but I don’t want people who read my blog to think I’m a pervert. Also, hi.

Today morning I peeped through the blinds expecting the harsh sunlight, instead I was greeted by pleasant weather – blue skies, a light breeze and just enough sunshine to brighten up my gloomy mood. I had enough reason to put on my shoes and go for one of my mini runs. I had my shoes on and music blaring in my head. So off I went, enjoying the wind tickling my neck, breathing in that fresh air that I love so much.

I ran on the side walk and saw something that hit me deep. Someone had spray painted the word ‘humble’ on the sidewalk and I thought how a small act like this could reminded me of a trait I should strengthen. Being humble doesn’t come easily but it’s what I try my hardest to be. It’s easy to get a bloated head and think of oneself as better than the rest, to flaunt what we’ve got. Arrogance is never appetizing. Sometimes we don’t realize when we’re being arrogant or prideful. We think that’s just the way we are, that’s just “me”. But it comes across as offensive to the other person. So to bring us back to reality and to burst that inflated balloon of ego over our head, we need a sidewalk to remind us of what we forgot.

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Dosa and I have a wild ride.

Today was like Christmas. The tattooed FedEx employee was Santa Claus and my present was a Preethi mixie my Mama sent. I immediately tear the packaging apart and spend a minute marveling at this mixie which is everything an American blender isn’t. The mixie seals what’s for dinner – chutney and godumai dosa. I’m really excited right now as this is my first time making godumai dosa. I check hungryandexcited to brush up on the how to’s of the dosa and I’m confident enough. I make the thokku for the chutney, cool it and grind it in a second with my new Preethi mixie. I then temper it with mustard seeds and enjoy the smell of the curry leaves. Also, tempering is like my favorite part of cooking.The first few sodas are clumpy. I don’t wait too long before I flip it and it forms a paste on the tava. I don’t let that deter me, I soldier on. Finally I make soft dosas. I’m ecstatic. It’s 7.00 pm by then and husband walks in through the door, “Mmm.. You made dosa and chutney! So good!”

I beam proudly, so happy of my achievements. After we eat our spongy dosas and spicy chutney in front of the TV, I clear the table and take the dishes to the kitchen AND I SEE THAT I’VE LEFT THE STOVE ON AND THE PLASTIC DOSA FLIPPER THING HAS MELTED AND FORMED A PLASTIC GOOP ON MY BRAND NEW TAVA.

Someone please tell me how I’m going to flip my eggs tomorrow morning.

Eating Out 101

I have never eaten alone in a restaurant. I always had someone to accompany in my quest to fill my belly – friends, my mother and brother were my go to options. I’d wake up one morning thinking I just HAVE to eat pani puri today else I will die of a deficiency of chaat. The next step would be to pick one of the above three options and off I’d go with savory dreams in my head.

After living here for close to five months now. Now my only option is The H and yes he is very accompanying of my cravings so that’s good, but on most days when I decide to step out for lunch it’s always a table for one.  At first I didn’t like sitting by myself in a crowded restaurant eating my meal. No conversation means Zarine will eat her food at an intense speed. So that’s ten minutes of polishing the plate and then what? I mostly people watch or eavesdrop (which I find highly entertaining) or read my book. But the secret to eating out alone is, I’ve realized  pretending to enjoy your own company. At first it may seem like a huge task pretending to be interested in yourself. But then for self loving veterans like myself, it is routine.

So you are sitting in a cafe, eating your scrumptious sandwich and you are having this deep conversation with yourself in your own head. No, you are not thinking. You are having a conversation with yourself (I swear I don’t hear voices in my head though). Oh, that’s wonderful Zarine! You are such an interesting interesting person. Do you like your sandwich? Oh yes thank you it’s delicious. Would like some? Yes I’d love to try! You can have some of my drink too. Really? Thanks!

See! It’s not that hard to be a generous person if you practice enough inside your head. Soon you will implement it in your life and people will finally like you. You will thank me for your training.

Coming back to the topic, yes, it is very easy to eat out alone at a restaurant. You just got to love yourself enough and if you really are that boring where you can’t seem to keep even yourself entertained then just bring a book or check your Facebook. That ought to keep you happy.

Fantastic Five

Today is the five year birthday of my blog. I started off on the 16th of February  2008, writing my first post about Valentine’s Day and how I was against it. This year on Valentines Day I ate chocolates from a heart shaped box, dressed up and went out to dinner. In five years I didn’t accomplish too much on my blog or write fascinating posts. The only accomplishments and stories I had were personal. Over the past five years I’ve grown to be a much wiser person. The lessons I’ve learnt were imprinted in my soul. This blog has been my one portal that has seen me through everything. When I had nobody to talk to, I would write out seemingly ambiguous posts and would feel like I have a shoulder to lean on. I may not have been very faithful but I always did manage to find my way back. That’s a relationship that stands the test of time.So to commemorate this relationship I celebrated by eating cupcakes – salted caramel and pineapple upside down.

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Here’s to another year filled with cupcakes and happiness.

Happy birthday, you. You know I love you.