The Burden of Being Size Zero

Dear fat, fatter, and fattest people,

I call you fat with such confidence cause till date I have not seen anyone thinner than me.

Hey you, and you, and all you fat people out there, I hope you are all “fat and fine”.  Well, I’d assume so only because you are so healthy and fit and cannot absolutely mind your business that you find immense pleasure in taunting me about my weight. This taunting that you do, I assume, is a fervent effort you make to feel good about yourself instead of trying to dig your nose with your healthy fingers. (Oh, wait! Do they even fit into your nose?)

Let me bore you with some tiny details about my childhood. When I had to give my entrance exam to get into Primary School in Grade I, we had to qualify and pass through three rounds of extensive testing. One; a knowledge based exam, two; a short interview, three; a medical exam. I prepared for the written exam for almost a year, but my mom was the most tensed for my medical exam. I was 12 kgs and looked like a bag of bones when stripped down to skin. My mother prayed really hard during my medical exam and told the examining doctors that I had just recovered from Typhoid and that’s how being 12 kgs at the age of six was justified.

22 years have passed since then and I have put on 23 kgs since that day, meaning I am now 35 kgs or approximately 77 pounds. My goal over the past four years has been to hit 80 pounds but I have not succeeded so far. I have been mocked at, taunted, ridiculed, and questioned over and over again for being this.

As it is, I go through a lot of trauma when I go shopping. Being a girl, I hate to shop for clothes because I never find the right size or should I say, the small size. And when I do, the piece I like is gone. In addition to that, you expect me to deal with you. Each time you call me thin, skinny, malnutrition-ed, weak, and ask me to put on some weight, I want to call you fat. I don’t want to yell, or making sly remarks at you, I just want to call you fat. This is because I know that it would hurt you and I want it to hit your mud filled brain that being called “thin” feels the same too. No, it is not okay to call me thin!

Let me begin by telling you that when your incompetent Comupter Science addicted and Mathophilic brain was dozing during interesting Biology lessons, you missed the chapter on metabolism. If you had been awake then, you would have saved yourself from this embarrassment now and figured out that people who are very thin, often, have high metabolic rates and that it could possibly be the reason why they cannot put on any weight. And it would have given you the power of logic to recognize that the human body is an enormous, unfathomable, natural and scientific machine that structures each body’s response in a slightly different manner and that makes it extremely difficult to predict the way one responds or behaves. But, no! You won’t get it cause you have only studied the Pythagoras Theorem that has been so monotonous over centuries, and worked with lifeless computer boxes that have one basic and banal design. Besides I also expect that you do not know about diseases like Marasmus which is why you call me “malnutrition-ed”. I demand you go and educate yourself, see lots of pictorial images before you use your boneless tongue to call me “a bag of bones”

You fat people, you come in so many different categories too. Some of you are just so fat and jealous that I’m so thin. That is why you throw questions at me like, “When was the last time you ate?” If you used that rusted brain of yours, you would know that everyone eats everyday, atleast people like you and me. The ones who are less fat among the “fat group”, you think no end of yourselves. You are also somewhat proud of your figure and you think that you are thin and right. So when you see me, you are shocked that there is someone thinner than you out there, so do your best to kill my self-confidence and obviously, you fail. The rest of you have no other topic to discuss with me. When you see me after months, the first thing you say is, “You are still the same and sooooo thin, you haven’t put on any weight?” Yes, like the only work I have to do in this whole wide world is to try and put on weight by drinking gallons of coke and munching away hundreds of packets of potato chips just so that I can please your carcass-picking soul and have you tell me that I look fatter than the last time you saw me.

You also throw me at the back seat of the car, you make me sit on your lap in an auto rickshaw, carry me up to fix your fused bulbs, push me over the fence to fetch your shuttlecock, make me run up and down the stairs when you have forgotten your handbag in your house, widen your eyes until they look like an owl’s when I order a large drink, and snatch fries off my plate assuming that I will not be able to finish them. First of all, you have the audacity to do these things, and then you complain that my bones are “poking” you. I would love to say to you then that I love your body fat and that you feel like my pillow and that I’m grateful to you for that.

Also, when you have the cheek to mock at my weight, just keep in mind that I can do an eight mile hike in a few hours, leading and entertaining the group with my chatter and songs, while you need to take several protein drink breaks. And, when we go shopping together, and you laugh at me that all the clothes in Size Zero and XS (or XXS) are gone, I pity you. I have to sympathize with you stunted brain that fails to show you the logic that all clothes in my size are gone and the ones in your size are left behind only because normal people are thin like me, and not many people are fat like you.

You, yes you married tongue-wagging Aunty! This letter is almost incomplete without a special mention of your crazy perception about people like me. As it is, I hate to see your and your attitude at weddings. Yes, those functions where you think you are the bride and wear a saree and gold that could be in par with your body fat, I’m talking about those. You have no shame and you know no respect. The bullshit you talk with my mother. You tell her, “Whaaaat!?! Aren’t you feeding your daughter? Are you eating all her food?” At that instance, I want to box your ears and ask you, “Aunty, it looks like you have spent all your money buying gold for this wedding, are you going to have money left to feed your fat kids or will they eat you when they are hungry?” Then, the other group of aunties, the ones who wonder how you are going to get married if you are so thin. You are so concerned and you behave like I am going to marry your son and pose for your family portrait. Oh, Please! Spare me the torture.

For your kind information, I am healthy. I fall sick less than once a year, and I have not even caught common cold more than five times in my entire lifetime. I don’t vomit when I smell cow dung, and I can do my own work without acting like a patient when I have my period. So better act sane and treat me with respect and integrity and don’t you dare judge my capabilities based on my weight. And the next time you want to butt into my calm head with your nitwit comments about my weight, laugh at me, and try to convince me that only Kareena Kapoor is Size Zero, you better think twice about it cause I may be small but my mouth isn’t.

Sincerely,

The girl who has been Size Zero since you, I and everyone can remember

The victim- A plurality

The year was 1998 and I had just finished my 7th grade exams. It was a typical day number one of the vacation. I woke up late, sat in front of the T.V with my brush in my mouth for more than 20 minutes trying to catch the latest film releases that summer, got yelled at by my mom for being late for breakfast, followed by home-made dosas and peanut chutney for brunch. As I gobbled up the last dosa, I breathed freedom. I was at home and this meant that I did not have to wash my plate. I lazily walked into the kitchen to dump my plate into the sink as I noticed my mother and my maid getting ready to make lunch.

I found myself a neat spot on the kitchen bench-top and flopped myself on it eager to catch up on their conversation. It was then that I noticed the weirdness in the air. My maid signaled to my mom and asked her if she wanted to tell me about it. My mom looked perplexed. I was just a curious cat so I pressed my mom to spit it out. And thus, she began.

A brief introduction; my mom ran a non-government organization (NGO) that had worked on some projects to provide free education to kids under 14 years, employment to single mothers, etc. She also participated in some sort of “women counselling” program where she did a lot from abc to xyz. Basically, she was all for women rights. 

“There is this three year old girl, a kid from the nearby village. She is in the hospital. I’m going to see her this evening”, she said.

“What is wrong with her?”

“She was raped two nights ago”

My mind went blank for almost 60 seconds. I was 13 years old. This kind of stuff was too much for me to take. But my mom continued.

“She doesn’t have a father. She was sleeping outside, on a cot, in between her mother and her grandmother. (Summers in A.P were really hot and most people slept on their terrace) This man came along, he was drunk. He picked up the little girl from in between those two women and carried her to the dumpster at a distance, threw her on a pile of garbage, thrust his shirt in her mouth and raped her. It was only 15 minutes later that her grandmother woke up and found her granddaughter missing and went looking for her. She heard muffled screams at a distance and gave out a shrill cry at what she saw. Of course rapist ran away but only after the grandmother got a good look at his face.”

“She is very sick. The sick, drunken bastard bit her all over, on her vagina and it was bleeding uncontrollably. He happens to be the village Sarpanch’s son so we have tracked him down. Me and my friends want justice for the little girl. Do you want to go to the hospital with me?”

I was numb and disgusted. A three year old girl! What kind of a demon does that.

She was tiny, with several bandages on her elbows, knees and forehead. My mother went to talk to the little girl’s mother, trying to comfort her, and telling her that they had found him. I was very uneasy. I did what I do with most kids, gave my index finger to her to hold. She din’t take it. She was expressionless, and just started and started and stared, into some sort of emptiness above my head. I wondered. I wondered if she could even fathom what had happened to her. I wondered if she would grow up to forget this incident. I shuddered and wondered about the society we are living in.

She hadn’t moved for more than 10 minutes now. She was wearing a bottle green frock. A doctor came in to examine her. He moved up to her to lift her frock and see if the wounds on her vagina were healing. The second he touched her frock, she became violent. She started to fight off the doctor’s hands with all her might and was screaming so loudly that probably the entire floor could hear her now. Her mother ran forward and tried to pacify her but the little girl wouldn’t stop her terror stricken cries until the doctor left her room. Her mom was all tears said that she had been doing this. The kid wouldn’t let anyone examine her vaginal wounds. My mother pacified her mother and asked if the little girl had shown any signs of speech. Then my mom turned to me and explained that the girl could speak really well. She had even started going to the local nursery free-education program. But the incident had muted her. The doctors couldn’t tell if she had lost her voice due to the shock of the horrific incident or due to the way her neck was handled during the same. They mentioned that if it was due to shock she would eventually be able to talk again.

I ran out of the room. I cried, a lot. I cried more that night. I could not get her empty eyes and her bottle green frock out of my mind.

The rapist eventually got away. Neither was he tried at court nor was he convicted. Huh! He wasn’t even arrested. He was after all the son of the Sarpanch. He faked a letter from the Government Hospital that said that he had been in the hospital for the last seven days suffering from diarrhea or some shit. The police refused to issue an arrest warrant.

I have thought of that girl many times ever since. I think of her when I read about Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander, I think of her when I read about the rape of any woman, in India or otherwise. I thought of her when I read about the public molestation about a 16 year old Gawahati girl by a dozen savages, I thought of her when I read about an independent 25 year old woman in Mumbai who was assaulted and murdered by her lust-filled watchman, I thought of her when another 6 year old girl in Haryana was recently raped, and I thought of her as I watched Haryana Khap Panchayats shamelessly tell the media that the cause of such rapes is women not being married early.

She must be 17 years old now. A teenager. Does she go to school? Does she remember the brutal attack? Will she ever lead a normal life? Does she have a boyfriend? Is she a strong and independent girl? How does our “society” treat her? Has she been shunned? How does she feel about denied justice? And most importantly, can she TALK?

I probably will never find answers to these questions cause I am like most Indians. I do nothing. After all, I have lived and grown up in a society that flops itself in front of the television every Sunday morning to watch shows that have been adapted from the epic, Ramayana, the one where the antagonist sneaks in and kidnaps a married woman against her will, in her husband’s absence, and where the protagonist rescues her from him but gives her as much respect as asking her to jump into the fire to prove her chastity and who abandons her when she is pregnant with his kids.

The Chocolate Chip Muffin

He was a muffin, a dark and handsome chocolate chip muffin. Although he hated his brand name, Little Debbie, he was glad that he wasn’t made at the Great Value factory. Nobody in general, the young, the old, and the middle-aged, could say no to him. He knew that even the ones who bloated with pride about their diet plans slowed down and stopped for a brief moment just to steal a quick romantic glance at him. He always enjoyed that attention. After all, he knew his life was a brief one, and a one that would end with a disgusting flush down the drain.  

He had always wished to choose his home but he knew that was considered atrocious in the “muffin world”. So he waited each day, hoping someone would come by, pick him up, and lovingly put him in their shopping cart, and take him home. 

It was a boring Wednesday and it was the first time he saw her. Of course he had heard about her, a lot. None of his fellow senior muffins had thought highly of her or her home. “It is the “muffin hell”, her home, it is infested with roaches,” he had heard them say. A muffin at her house knew neither love nor liberation, it always landed in a bin. 

He saw her approach the aisle he was seated on. He was aware that she hated the banana muffin and always picked the blueberry ones so he wasn’t worried. He stared at her as she got close to his rack. It was the first time he got a whiff of her and she sure smelt good. He silently watched as she glanced up and down the rack and threw a pitiful look the blueberry muffin and silently muttered a thankful prayer to Little Debbie for making him with chocolate. Even as he was in the middle of his prayer, he felt himself being lifted from his steel rack and put into her shopping cart. He was shocked and in short of thoughts! He wouldn’t call it the worst moment in his muffin life, no, not yet, he knew the worst was just a mile away. 

She was a loud chatterbox with big eyes. It took her new roommates three days to figure this out. Irresponsible and extrovert, an awful combination they had thought. She asked a lot of questions. Well, asking questions was considered okay, after all, she had just landed in the United States. It was during these question-answer sessions that they decided to break the news. They began with, “What do you think of cockroaches? And, Oh! They are called roaches here.” They saw her eyes widen with glee.

She was particularly not a fan of cockroaches or roaches or whatever! But they, the brown insects, had had a special place in her life. She had spent all of her adolescent life dreaming of studying to become a surgeon. She had watched all her seniors as they performed frog dissections. She couldn’t wait to be in high school and major in Biology. But thanks to Menaka Gandhi’s stunted brain development, frogs could no longer be euthanized for knowledge purposes. Her Biology teacher had let her practice dissection on cockroaches. A big brown cockroach was her very first.

“You can keep your apartment as neat as Monica Geller’s but you will still have roaches here. It’s probably cause of the hot and humid weather, so be prepared,” she was told. Little did she realize that it would be the last day she would be able to associate with the roach as a fond memory.

They were everywhere. In the kitchen, on the table, under the blanket, in the shoes, around food, everywhere. Any food packet opened had to be sealed with a paper clip. That was the rule in her apartment. She once forgot to seal a packet of corn cereal. The next day, her roommate saw them feasting and crawling all over the cereal, through the transparent bag. Her roommate was furious, not at the roaches though. At her!

She quickly began to despise them and it increased day by day, exponentially. She always wondered how a country as sophisticated as the United States could not control a feeble insect infestation.

She used the electric cooker to make rice everyday. The cooker lid had a steam vent, small hole through which even her little finger wouldn’t pass. They always went into the cooker through that vent and ruined her cooked rice. They were there on both washed and unwashed dishes. The baby ones would crawl out from her college bag, onto the desk, and towards her classmate, embarrassing her the entire time. One boring afternoon, she was at home, sitting at the dining table busily punching into her keyboard preparing for her weekly meeting as she saw her friend walk into the kitchen. “I’m in the mood for a muffin,” her friend said and pulled open a box that was lying unattended for about a month now. Hundreds of thousands of roaches quickly began swarming towards her friend. She stared, aghast, as her friend impulsively dropped the box, causing the bitches to seek refuge at the nearest available corner. She had never imagined that those many roaches could even exist on the face of the earth. It had reminded her of the crawling bugs from the movie, Mummy. God! They were disgustingly everywhere even though she was at her neatest.

She woke up with a jerk. One of them might have just gotten into her ear. “The roach might have lost it’s way,” she thought, as she tried to remove it from her ear. She tried hot water, a torch to show the lost insect the way out, and ear-buds with lotion. Nothing worked. It was 3 am in the morning and she counted every minute down to sunrise. As the doctor used a water gun to eject the dead bitch out of her ear, she had finally decided that it was time. Time to move out, not just out of the apartment but out of the hot-humid-roach filled town. She booked her flight tickets.

A new place and a new apartment meant shopping for new stuff. She was happy that day. She was smiling as she entered the store. She wanted to do everything a little away from usual today. She got an Iced Mocha instead of the regular Americano at Starbucks, picked pizza for dinner instead of the regular pasta, took strawberry ice-cream instead of the regular pecan, and finally, picked the chocolate muffin instead of the regular buleberry.

He looked around the house as she unlocked the door. He could not remember the last time he was this nervous. His tension could possibly melt the chocolate chips embedded in him.

She set everything down. She was tired from all the moving and decided to grab something to munch.

He heard her humming a soft song as she reached out to him.  

She carefully set the chocolate muffin on a blue plate and flopped herself on the couch. Just as she was about to take a bite, she heard her phone ring. She was expecting a hiring manager to call her. She took the phone and ran outside.

He knew his fate was sealed. In about two minutes, he would be swarmed by hundreds of roaches and thus, he would die a shameful death. He waited!

She hung up. She thought that it had gone well. It was her first phone interview. Then she remembered, the muffin. She hadn’t left food open and outside for two years now. The roaches would not spare a thing. She ran inside. And stared, and stared, and stared. No roaches. The relief stuck her like a bolt of lightening. She quickly called two of her ex-roommates and narrated her freedom episode with hyper excitement. Her move brought with it, freedom. “Little pleasures in life,” she thought as she picked up the chocolate chip muffin and began to undress it.

He felt the muffin paper wrap gently part with him. He blushed as she took him close to her mouth and bit into him. The purpose of his muffin life had been successfully achieved. To be eaten by a pretty young girl  had always been his ambition. An ambition that was as strong as his roach abhorrence.

She walked back into the kitchen and took a sip of the iced mocha.

An abhorrence that was equivalent to……….. 

He stopped thinking as the iced mocha washed him down to where his soul found bliss. 

That night, she slept peacefully, without her ear-plugs.

The Carries and Gellers of Womankind…

I think my forehead is a placard that has compassion written all over it. Perhaps I have a very very long nose that just pokes itself into everything. Either this or my friends think I have been in the shittiest of relationships.

My friends have ‘mostly’ approached me for relationship advice, or so I presume. Knocking the room no. 52 door at 2 am, asking me how to tackle her insecurity mania the day after my eye operation, making drunk ISD called across continents just to cry her broken heart out, and pleading to play cupid and shoot the arrow of love, I have faced every little piece of this shit.

On deep contemplation, I cease to understand the complexity of women. Their complexity is just an inch and a half longer than male complexity. After all, Oscar Wilde said, “Women are meant to be loved, not understood.” 😛

Well, you got it! This is going to be a long one. So grab a snack or two, brew up some coffee to keep you awake through this one because, here, it’s Friday night and I am all charged up on red raspberry margaritas. (Blogstops don’t provide free food and coffee but thank you for stopping by) 😀

A drama queen that I am, I try to cast a broader net, as if the drama in my life doesn’t suffice enough. So, I microwave some popcorn, and watch loads of romantic comedies. Both, series and films. Over the years, while the popcorn has failed to add me any body fat, the list of series has gotten longer. The more I watched, the more the hideous illogical concept thrust itself into my face.

The women in them.

A bunch of fools, I tell you. Most stories have two men wooing the same woman. Usually, one man is an asshole, while the other is a gem. You, me, and the celebrity character herself, all of us know this fact. And yet, as I watch them through the years, the foolish dud of a woman ALWAYS chooses the ‘asshole’ guy. Why? Why? I mean, WHY?

Here, I warn you, don’t ask dumb questions like, “What are the women in Desperate Housewives desperate about?” or, “Does Sex and the City have free porn in it?”

Let’s start with Carrie Bradshaw. Carrie is our celebrity woman from Sex and the City, the silly annoying woman who looks like a horse. Mr. Big is the big asshole. The commitment phobic ______ who loves her enough but cannot or does not want to marry her. After a painful break up with him, she meets this cute and heart warming guy, Aidan Shaw. I mean, seriously, after he cuts his hair, one can tell the difference between him and his dog, and he is handsome. Our Mr. Big who wasn’t ready for marriage and all that sorta crap marries Natasha (some xyz). Mr. Big basically wasn’t just up for marrying Carrie, and she was this desperate woman who needed commitment. Oh! He also treats her like the paper towel he uses to blow his nose into. While Aidan’s really the commitment type of guy and even wants to marry her, this complex horse cheats on him. Eventually the series ends with Carrie and Mr. Big ending up together.

Lexie Grey from Grey’s Anatomy. This young and beautiful doctor falls for the really old and hot Mark Sloan. And, when I say hot, I mean a true peacock. Although Mark, in the past, has been the asshole, he falls in deep love (whatever that means) with our beautiful Lexie Grey. However, Mark has other priorities like competing with Derek Shepard, and wanting to become a father. Young  Lexie is not up for it, and they break up, twice. Once because he wants to adopt his daughter’s son, the second time when he becomes his lesbian friend’s daughter’s father. Dr. Jackson Avery comes along. People who watch this show will love Dr. Avery for his eyes. Dr. Avery is young, sensitive and fun loving. Someone with whom Lexie would have been so happy. But our darling Lexie needs drama. So she gets these feelings back for Dr. Sloan and Dr. Avery has to let her go. Time flies. Finally, Lexie Grey tells Dr. Sloan that she loves him, and dies in a plane crash.

Heer from the recent Bollywood film, Rockstar. God alone knows why JJ was portrayed the way he was. The arrogance, the pain-fame funda was so artificial. Anyhow, Heer marries this normal guy and she is suffering from a life threatening disease. She had a chance to die peacefully, but the asshole man, JJ, ruins it for her. Heer leaves her husband to be with Mr. Celebrity JJ. He gets her pregnant, and this worsens her health condition, and eventually she dies.

Susan Mayer from Desperate Housewives. Mike Delfino is somewhat the perfect man for her. But nooooo! She has to go and have an affair with her asshole ex-husband, Karl Mayer. Meera Pandit from Love Aaj Kal. She had to dump the matured and sensible Vikram Joshi for the foolish moron, Jai. Seriously, Jai? The kind of man who realizes that he’s in love while he’s getting mugged? Having known Dr. House for more than eight years, Dr. Cuddy still expected to get out of the relation without being hurt? Melanie Perry from Sweet Home Alabama. The one who loves the life at NYC and leaves her husband, Jake Perry, cause she thinks he’s too uncool. And, then says no to all her dreams and aspirations, and her boyfriend; Andrew Hennings, goes back to the rustic life with Jake Perry. Please note, she said NO to Patrick Dempsey.

Over the years, the only two sane celebrity characters I have come across are Monica Geller from Friends, and our very own Geet from Jab We Met. Ms. Geller knows what she wants and chooses Chandler Bing over Richard Burke. Mr. Burke is not only too old for Ms. Geller, but we don’t like him cause he doesn’t share the same dreams that she does. 

Geet! This girl deserves a standing ovation. She had the sense to give it back to Anshuman (all the bad words included here), the man who treated her like shit, and choose our Mr. Right, Aditya Kashyap. 

That brings me back to,”Why do women always make, or are shown to make the wrong choice?”

A Tollywood flick, Jalsa, says something that sums up to this. Being with the asshole guy is like life in a jungle, and being with the guy with the big heart is like living in a park. The logic being, life in a jungle is all exciting and never boring, while a park becomes monotonous with time. What stupidity!

Listen up, women! As much as we like adventure in the jungle, we go trekking only once or twice a year. Besides, there may be snakes, and scorpions, no food, and NO toilets. In a park, there is security, there is calm, and there is laughter and joy. 😀 As much as we drool over Christian Bale as Batman, we always want to come home to a Chandler Bing. We don’t need the assholes who burn our gifts, have the nerve to ignore our calls, and who treat us with “I’m the high-school bully” attitude.

So screw the Gotyes and take pride in being “somebody that HE USED to know.”

You don’t have to act all Adele’ish  and let him be your “one and only.” You don’t have wish to find “someone like him” cause being with him once was traumatic enough.

Let the Carrie go, and let the Geller come in.

There is fun in choosing Mr. Nearly Perfect. (Of course, who are we kidding? There is no Mr. Perfect) 😉

Of mortals and a maniac fly, the ordeal…

Throughout my teenage life, I have had a strong urge to work with or under Trivikram Srinivas. This desire may have majorly sprung due to the innocent jabber of friends around me. My topping the class in English sometimes combined with random successful elocution competitions gave my friends this brilliant idea and they constantly mentioned it to me. Silly cute friends, you know. They also tell you that you can become a cardiologist if you have some sort of fan following among your juniors. “You play with people’s hearts”, with a wink.

Phew! That was quite a drift.

So, I have always looked up to Trivikram for his mastery over the way he can combine subtle comedy with human values. But deep inside my heart I knew this dream can never come to reality solely cause of my lack of grasp on my mother tongue, Telugu. (Oh! I am not very proud of it) I make time to watch every movie of his, even if he has just penned down dialogues for the film. Then came along Srinu Vailta. So I had decided that these are my two most favorite directors in Tollywood. Oftentimes, I have thanked God that I wasn’t entirely restricted to an era where only Dasari Narayana Rao and Raghavendra Rao directed films. These people have delivered blockbusters, no doubt, but I would not be the first one condemning the latter’s obsession with women, fruits, and flowers.

Then came along this mortal director whose work reflects the vision of an arrogant devil and the impeccable grace of the superior Gods. S.S. Rajamouli. In a span of 12 years, with eight super hits, this man has left no stone upturned. Years ago, even when I sat down to watch his first film, I knew I would loathe him as he had been disciplined under the worst possible teacher on earth, Mr. Raghavendra Rao himself.

My friends often ask me, the outright feminist that you are, how can you even sit through a Rajamouli film? He just uses his heroines for songs. My answer is, “Power”. I don’t know what it is exactly about this man, but I hate his guts. I hate it that he makes his antagonists so darn powerful thus having to make his protagonists seem like super-heroes. I hate it that he makes meaningless films that simply have expected story lines. And I hate it that he can make crap and get away with it.

But I love this man for his villains. They are ruthless, arrogant, bloody assholes and have an aura of death around them. Titla, Kaatraj, Bikshu Yadav, and Ramineedu. Since he has such unbelievable super-human antagonists, the hero obviously is THE HERO. I still get jitters when I see Prabhas from Chatrapathi or Ravi Teja from Vikramarkudu. I truly believe, Rajamouli can personify a hero to the highest level, and although totally exaggerated, I cannot help but admire his work. He can also take credit for making me feel the desperate need to watch a film starring a Mega family member. Yes, I am talking about Magadheera.

I see men through his eyes. I mean, what are men if they cannot be frustratingly arrogant and powerful.  Some guys would like to blame cute actors like Siddhu and films like Bommarillu and Ala Modalaindi for raising the bar for qualifying as a boyfriend. I blame Rajamouli for my great expectations in men. They have to be gory, brutal and barbaric and make my life an action packed film.

There is a myth that after starring in a Rajamouli film, all heroes have to face a series of flops before they can get back into the game. I would like to think that nobody would care about barrels of donkey milk, if you have a spoon of cow milk, the quality, quantity funda, I mean. I have always been jinxed when it comes to watching Rajamouli’s films. Being a regular theater goer, I have never watched even one of his films in the theater till date. And trust me, all his films are a must-watch- in-theater types. Something or the other always pops up. I remember being broke and still wanting to drive for four hours just so that I could watch Magadheera on big screen. I was torn between hating Ram Charan and wanting to spend a 100 bucks to watch him in a theater. Eventually, the Rajamouli jinx took over.

Just after the Magadheera collection craze had subsided, Rajamouli announced that he would cast Sunil, a not very handsome comedian, as the protagonist in his next film. I had no absolute doubt his choice. This man wouldn’t settle for normal victory, you see.  But then came the heights of guts. Eega.

His latest flick is the revenge story of a fly. A story where a lover boy is killed, and born again, as a fly and makes life a living hell for his murderer. Stupid story, and an even more stupid cast. Then, again, stupid me. The jinx struck again and it turns out that currently I have no Telugu-speaking friends in town to accompany me to watch the film. I tried to convince my mallu roommate and she thinks I am ridiculously cranky to go watch a maniac fly. I have decided to break the jinx this time. I AM going to watch the film at the nearest theater tomorrow. Alone.

If the cutthroat director has the balls to challenge the audience to watch a stupid fly, I can bet it ought to be super good!

The Hangover

In one short line; my 73 day old Dell laptop cannot connect to the wireless internet. On a  very short note (you can contact me for the very long story); the last 20 days have been so frustrating because my laptop has been completely useless and astoundingly frustrating to a level that made me consider taking anger management classes. You see, a laptop that cannot access internet is worse than a T.V. that at least gives you 40 different channels.

This led me to realize that I haven’t gone without a computer for 10 years now. It took me back to the time when we had the Intel P3 desktop at home, the one that made a “kkksshh gggrrr pepepe” noise to connect to the internet via the BSNL land phone. And then, on to the time when I a had a very contented life with no e-mail, internet, computer, and/or a cell phone.

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I never slept well on May 31st nights. Every year, for 12 long years. About six of those nights were dreadfully teary as I did not want to leave ‘home sweet home’ and go back to school. The rest of them were spent in silent excitement to get back to the ‘real home’. Back then I was either too love struck or innocent to analyze the reason behind this feeling, all the way through 1991-2003.

Perhaps everyone who went to Primary School would agree with me on this. On being everything close to an ashram, this school was where I spent the 12 most valuable years of my life.

From the days when we all looked up at Sangeetha ma’am and were sure that she was the most beautiful teacher on earth to the days where Sashi ma’am caught us, big girls, for bunking darshan breakfast and milk, every monotonous day is worth reminiscing.

We had to write a letter to our parents every Saturday. Our class teacher would come into the class, distribute post cards, and write a letter on the board. We diligently copied away the letter, along with the drawing she made us reproduce on the back of the postcard. I moved from the yellow postcard to the blue inland letter, and from copying letters from the board to writing my own ones. It always bothered me that we couldn’t send or receive letters at our disposal, without them being invigilated by our class teacher. This obviously meant that we couldn’t write what we wanted to, all the time. Now I am not answerable to any teacher and can write what I want, when I want to. Nobody makes me sit down on a Saturday afternoon to write a letter.

Why is it that I wish that someone did so, and made me write that letter my dad has been asking me to write for over five years now?

Although letters were the main medium of communicating with the outside world, we were allowed to talk on the biscuit color landline phone sometimes. Those were the days when calling from Parthi to Anantapur was considered local. Oftentimes, I sneaked into the office when nobody was watching and treated myself to calling my home. Girls who wanted to talk to their parents came up to me and asked me to call my mom and ask her to call their parents and inform them that their daughter wanted them to give her a ring. This was an adventure that required Manorathi ma’am’s absence. The sneaking, the fear, having a bodyguard wait outside the office room and watch out for predators from the staff room just to use the damn phone seemed ridiculous then.

Why is it that now I have unrestricted and unlimited access to my cell phone and yet cannot make decent time to talk with my family?

In grade 6, during sports time, we had a friend who had a 67 keys Casio keyboard. I remember all our class girls being gaga over the instrument like little eager birds ready to try and fly for the very first time. We “caught places” to play, begged the keyboardist of our class to teach us a tune, and fought with the each other to practice these tunes. The only tune we knew to play was “Tujhe dekha to yeh jaana sanam” and we felt like Mozart when we played it. We used to be scared chickens who played on very very low volume since film songs weren’t allowed in school. I had vowed back then, when I was 12 years old, that I would buy myself the very same 67 keys Casio keyboard with the latest sound system, and turn into the great keyboardist of my time. And I did, the buying a keyboard part, I mean.

Why is my keyboard lying at some remote corner in the house, begging me to at least wipe off the dust it has accumulated?

Chocolates were a rare thing, ice creams and cool drinks too. We got to eat chocolates every Sunday, at lunch. We prayed, every Saturday, that H.M was in the mood for some pizza and not the brown egg-less cake and that Rajni ma’am would make the delicious square shaped pizza with nothing but onions and tomatoes on it. We fought for the strawberry milky-way ice cream bar over the mango one. Choco bar was a distant dream and GoldSpot was the best thing that could happen to you at the end of a week and you sipped on it for two long hours like you wouldn’t live to drink another one. We promised ourselves that we would never drink a glass of milk after the 12th grade and wished Limca had all the calcium we needed to build strong bones. I kept my promise here. My fridge is always loaded with Lindt and Ferrero Rocher, more or less has a pizza and coke from Domino’s Pizza, and occasionally a crate of Smirnoff Ice Flavors.

Why is it that I have the deepest longing for the red, yellow, and green Fanola candy and my heart aches to have an orange tongue from constantly sipping GoldSpot.

Those were the days when we carried around slam books each summer, just before we left school, and took down addresses and phone numbers of our friends. There was no Facebook, Yahoo, or Gmail then. We practically knew the addresses of some of our friends by-heart although we had never visited their homes. P.O Ghoom, Shimpoli Road  Borivali West, Saidabad Colony, Jayanagar etc. We could chant the class attendance order along with each ones date of birth even if you woke us up at midnight.

Why is that I cannot find time for those friends on their birthdays, even with reminders on Facebook?

My definition of heaven was the library, and library aunty was the luckiest woman alive as she got to spend all her days with books. The smell of old books, the hunt for a particular book, the brown chairs with a book stand to your right hand side, the corner where you could forget the entire world while you bury your head into the sea of knowledge and are unaware when the tiffin bell rings, all this for just forty minutes a week wrenched my heart. I had promised myself a room full of books and told myself I could have 24/7 access to it.

Why is it that now a kindle with my favorite collection of books seems less luring than my laptop with a Netflix account?

The pine for sleep. I’m not sure what it was that made us so sleepy all the time. We dozed during suprabhatam, assembly, bhajans, and night prayers. I dreaded those first few minutes in the early morning when Sashi ma’am came into the dormitory, switched on the lights and went ‘oooooooooooooommmm’. Sometimes she tickled our feet to wake us up. I thought that this was the most annoying sound I would ever hear in my life. Alarm clocks went by and now cellphone alarms seem captivating with all their different tunes, and you are even allowed to wake up to your favorite film song.

Why do I wish I had Sashi ma’am barge into my room, wake me up with the annoying “oooooooommmm” chanting and push me into the bathroom to brush? 

Why do birthdays remind me of being the first in the line? Why does chewing gum at work remind me of HM imitating foreign kids who chew gum disrespectfully in front of elders? Why do I miss the things that I was sure I despised, like stone idlies and bullet proof dosas? Why do I feel that the most comfortable couch on earth is the light brown one with silver rods, in the office room? Why do I sometimes secretly wish that I could get a whiff of the stink that came from dhobi clothes? Why do I still wish “Happy donekys birthday” every Jan 10th? Why does the love for a pair of white canvas shoes never die? Why do I still look to buy the steel plate with 4 katoris? Why don’t I feel embarrassed to lift my plate up to drink rasam with the “sluurrrp” sound even though we have guests at home? Why does playing on the elephant slide give me more joy than a roller coaster ride?

You will know what I mean if your answer is a long contented smile (as long as River Nile)

Pati Patni Aur Main

An Indian woman in her twenties is always judged based on her marital status. The prospect of being 27 and unmarried at the same time is equal to eating buffalo wings in a temple, that astoundingly shocking and inappropriate, I mean. This fact has annoyed me to such an extent in the past that it actually stopped affecting me for a while as I stepped back smelling the fragrance of my freedom. Until today.

Over the past two years, I have seen my group of single friends dwindling at a fast pace. It appeared to me that a higher number of the human population started to believe that the world was coming to an end in 2012 and all women in their twenties had to be married away so that they could at least die honorably. Well, if the 2012 myth was really true, what is the whole point in getting married now anyways?

When asked to define ‘husband’, I have always said, “Those mean men who steal from you, your favorite girlfriends.”

Think of a few girls with whom you grew up since you were six years old, girls who you saw naked during group-baths, girls from whose plate you flicked tasty paneer and dumped gross upma into, girls whose pencils and erasers you borrowed, lost and never returned, girls whose Chyawanprash you stole, girls with whom you learnt addition in Math, traffic rules in Social Studies and the difference between living and non-living things in Science, girls from whom you borrowed the sanitary napkin when you got your first period, and girls who actually saw you with no make-up and eyebrows like Kroor Singh from Chandrakantha. To these girls, add those girls whose frightened faces you remember on the first day of your college, girls you ran to, to discuss your first crush paranoia, girls with whom you shared all your xerox notes, and girls who lovingly lent you their Nokia phone to play the brick game and secretly text your crush.  Mix them together. Top this off with those girls who were there with you through more mature and major phases in your life, say during your joblessness, through your heart-breaks and hangovers, girls who helped you do silly yet meaningful things such as aimless conversations into the night, unnecessary shopping and gave you the right kind of advice when you were totally confused.

Marriage changes them, each one of these girls. You are then conveniently shoved into the back of their heads. And if you are lucky enough, they probably will think of you once in a year, when it’s your birthday. I have tried to understand and reason with them but I just don’t get it. Why does the whole wide world revolve around their husband? Actually, the most weird thing is that when a man remains a boy friend, the girl is all normal. The trouble begins only when the boyfriend turns into a husband. What is it? Is it the sex? Is it the responsibility? Is it the whole “Bharatiya Nari” deal? I wonder!

Although this is directed to every married girl in general and no one in particular, I am just in the mood to do some random rambling.

  • You cannot call her after 6 PM. That’s because her husband’s with her. Oh, you also cannot call her over the weekend, that is total privacy encroachment.
  • Don’t ever plan a trip with her. No, not even if you ask her 6 months ahead. She already has the next decade planned out.
  • Stop looking for her single pictures on Facebook. You are never going to find any.
  • Yeah! Deal with all the lovey-dovey updates, her husband is the best man on earth, and NO, you cannot actually flirt with him.
  • Face it! You cannot have a conversation without the husband being mentioned.
  • She hasn’t had the time to call you in 5 months? Consider yourself lucky, there is a mutual friend she hasn’t called for about 8 months now.
  • You tell her that you are still lying lazily in bed at 2 PM on Maha Shivratri. She will sound like you are an atheist of the highest order.
  • Learn this clause; Determined against consuming alcohol in the absence of their husbands.
  • Don’t bother buying her any gifts. Your little piece of love will seem like David in front of Goliath. The mean guy, her husband, would have already purchased the city for her.
  • In her world, you are like Pratibha Patil, spending 204 crores and valuable time globe trotting, while she is like Barack Obama, focused and already geared up for his presidential campaign.
  • You no longer get to hear any juicy details. “Yes, we did it, no big deal”, is all that you get from the same girl who described to you, her first kiss for about an hour.
  • You will be warned about loans, credit cards, mortgages, and insurance policies. If you are very unlucky, you will also be discoursed on the benefits of being married and chided for being so aimlessly unmarried at such an “old” age.
  • You have to get used to their new found interest in cooking.
  • “BFFs? Are you kidding me? We are no more in college.Yeah! Grow up.”
  • Pati is Parameshwar.
  • Learn the language of a 2 year old. She will make you talk to them quite often.
  • If she posted tons of messages on your Facebook wall earlier, drop your hopes now. She will seem super busy with her life and absolutely dead on networking sites, but hey, she has the time to ‘like’ all the posts by her husband. She will console you by asking you to go and look at her old messages. “Facebook has Timeline now, what for?”
  •  Texting equals hours of conversations on the phone.
  • Oh! She had a favorite hero? Her husband is her life-time hero now.
  • She will tell you that she was engaged in April, to be married in December, sometime in May. It really doesn’t matter to her that you weren’t informed. Look out for the excuses! Horoscopes, elders-ka-mamla, and a butt load of crap. (This is specifically targeted to the crazy woman who actually did this to me. Yes, she has subscribed to this blog but will be too lazy to read the whole thing anyways)

And, last but not the least, the couple knows your are the “woh” in their relationship and with pitiful eyes, they pray that you realize this fact sooner than later.

A Pinch of Everything

I moved to a new city in December 2011 and have been looking to lease a decent apartment ever since. It has been a very difficult hunt. That’s probably due to the fact that I have NO friends here. Initially, I was too busy to make new friends and later on, I was disgusted to.

I responded to a post on one of the “Desi” websites and checked out a place. I took an instant liking to it and the girl who had posted the ad liked me. We agreed on a few terms, the most important of which included that I needed the place for two months and would extend the lease based on my work agreement. She seemed totally cool about it and nodded her head like she was a Parkinson’s patient, desperate to share the rent and utilities with me. Two weeks passed. I was supposed to move in on a Tuesday. I called her up to ask her at what time I could be there with my stuff. And she bluntly told me that she wasn’t ‘cool’ with the two month agreement and had found a new roomie. This was the minute I realized that this apartment hunting shit wasn’t going to be easy.

Staying away from home, always in a boarding school or a hostel makes you meet people of all sorts. It doesn’t teach you much though. Or perhaps I haven’t learnt much.

Now there are some Indian names that you can use to christen both girls and boys. Being a little skeptical and hoping that it would be a girl who held the name, I dialed the number. Neither was the person a woman nor was the conversation a pleasing one. The most frustrating thing was that he asked me out on a date (without even seeing me). He wanted to go wine-tasting. The second one asked me if I was on any dating sites. The third one was the most ridiculous of the lot. He apparently got my number from one of the other two guys. He had decided to call me because I was from A.P. He asked me straight to my face (or to his phone) whether I am a “party-girl” and would like to live in with him in a 1 bed-room apartment. “Just like friends, you know,” he had added.

I decided to talk to my only guy friend (he’s going to be mad at me now for pulling him into every other blog) and bitch about these men. He then warned me that there can be no “just friends” when it comes to men and that too if they mention wine-tasting. To the best of my knowledge, girls, according to Indian men, fall into two distinct categories; the boring grandmothers and the party sluts animals. So, if you are this self-sustaining woman who stays away from home and is comfortable in western clothes, you automatically fall into the second category; the kind of person who will go and get drunk with a stranger or move-in with him. They will not let you be this woman who can be happy with her freedom and be respected at the same time. Do apartment hunting women scream “Available”? This kind of sexism disgusts me.

Restricting my search to “females only” I continued to search for a new place to live. I came across this girl whose ad I liked mainly because she stayed at a convenient distance to work. I called her up. Not only was she rude but she interviewed me with questions such as, “Tell me about yourself.” I informed her that I wasn’t exactly looking to share a place and would be glad if she could provide me with some information about the leasing office (I couldn’t find anything on the internet). She adamantly declined to even give me the apartment’s name and said that she would call me back in an hour. She never called back.

I wanted the name of the place at any cost. I asked a friend in Houston who is very good at talking to strangers to come to the rescue.  I say strangers because if you actually knew my friend, you would never believe that she is sweet-spoken. Anyways, my friend called her up and said she was looking to share this place. This rude woman told my friend that she would call back to confirm. And she did. She said that the place was taken but they had a good chit chat about the city for about 15 minutes. She gave my friend the name and address of the apartments.  She also told my friend about stores that I never knew existed in this city.

As my friend narrated the entire phone conversation to me, I interrupted, “Did you talk to her in Telugu?” I asked.

“Yes, she is from A.P”, She said.

You see, that’s where I went wrong. I had spoken to her in English.

The South Indians naturally assume that I’m a Gujarati because my last name is Patel. The North Indians think I do not deserve to a Patel because I can barely connect two Hindi sentences together. I went to a Christian minority college in Chennai that had no special rights for regular people. The Tamilians who listen to me speak in their language think that it’s an attempt of sheer mockery. I actually had a guy, who worked with me briefly, call me “Sambar rice”, when he found out that I was vegetarian. Another fancy name that I’ve heard is “Chennai chepala (fish) batch” because I prefer listening to original Tamil songs instead of Telugu-songs dubbed from Tamil. I am considered “dating-material” because I am out-spoken.

Our constitution says, and we brag to the people from other nations, that India is a sovereign, socialist, secular, linguistic democratic republic. This big fat essay answer looks pretty, only in the Civics notebook. Who follows it anyways? We will always be surrounded by narrow domestic walls.

My parents fell in love with each other when they were about 15 years old and they got married 10 years later, with a lot of drama because they belonged to different communities. I went to a school that helped me to realize that there is only one caste, the caste of humanity. I studied with people from different parts of the country for over a decade. I cannot read and write in my mother-tongue and I talk in English to strangers. My last name is Patel and I am not a Gujarati. I went to college that was in my neighboring state and I work in a country that’s half-way across the globe from my homeland.

Where do I belong?

And when the hell will I find a decent place to stay?

The Men with Disabilities

The Kumbhakarnas: In one short sentence, Kumbhakarna was a demon who slept for six months in a year. So, men can sleep anywhere, at any given time. Nothing can ever stop them. Be it an earthquake, a bulldozer rampaging into their house, a woman’s hue and cry, a siren, or loss of basic amenities; sleep wins, come what may! I’m sure the childhood fairy tale that I was very fond of- The Sleeping Beauty, is one huge piece of bull shit. This story talks of a beautiful princess who is cursed to sleep for a very very long time and is awakened by a kiss from a handsome prince. I would like to imagine that it was not the princess who was in slumber for a century, it was the Prince. Only a man can sleep for a century and beyond and not wake up even if his princess kissed him. He can sleep on a chair, on the ground, on a pile of dirt or in his own vomit. Even a Himesh Reshammiya song cannot wake him up.

It just baffles me. Are they designed to ‘switch off’ their nervous system when they sleep? Do men go deaf when they fall asleep? Can they seriously not hear their phone ring? How can they sleep for 15 hours straight?

The Ghajinis: Although this name has always revolved around the man who never accepted defeat until he conquered the Indian sub-continent, thanks to A.R Murugadoss’ effort in various languages, the name now signifies a man with amnesia. Men forget all the time. It makes me wonder how they even managed to pull along through high school. How did they devour 5 kgs of Social Studies text books by heart when they cannot remember the name of your favorite novel? I would like to think that this is no selective amnesia. Oh! believe me, they do not remember anything. Is it uncommon that a guy  walks up to you when you are busy flipping the pages of your notebook 30 minutes before an exam and asks with a ‘cool dude’ attitude, “What are you studying? Do we have an exam today?” See, I told you its not selective amnesia. They forget everything. Birthdays, anniversaries, reservations, keys, exams, deadlines, submissions, itineraries, credit card payments, debts, groceries, what you talk, and you.

What! Did God give them a peanut sized brain that probably has 1 GB memory? Do they use the entire 1 GB space to remember their full name and nothing else?

The Mantharas: Manthara was a maid of Kaikeyi who was very sly. She apparently poisoned Kaikeyi’s mind to banish Lord Rama to the forest. I am constantly reminded of Manthara when I see men who gossip. Everyone on earth who has a functioning tongue gossips. That is obvious. But who ever said men don’t gossip? Women are interested in and enjoy gossip but so do men. To my understanding, women generally bitch about people whom they despise. For men, this rule does not apply. They have all the time on this planet to gossip about anything, it just has to have the ability to move. Be it about your best friend’s secret boyfriend, someone’s third cousin’s husband’s lawsuit, or their favorite action hero’s dirty mistress. They need to hear it all and they listen to all of it with the same enthusiasm. They possibly can channelize their energy only in two directions; one is to sleep and the other is to gossip.

Why do we still fool ourselves that men don’t gossip?

The Slugs: Nothing disgusts me more than watching a slug after a rainy day. They are everywhere and don’t get out of you way. Oh wait! They were created to walk very slowly, not their fault for being lazy.

But what about lazy men? They are too lazy to shower, too lazy to cook, too lazy to brush, too lazy to get out of bed, too lazy to pick the damn phone and return your call, too lazy to text you back, too lazy to finish their assignments on time, too lazy to help with cleaning. This group of men is more of a mixture of The Kumbhakarnas and The Ghajinis in varying proportions. Are lazy men active enough to clean up after ‘nature calls them’?

The MCPs: Much has already been said and written about Male Chauvinistic Pigs and there is nothing new I can add to it. The is the category of men who are buffaloes and have very sharp horns. They take immense pleasure in charging with their over grown male egoistic horns, at independent women who they assume are secretly feeble.

The Guttermouths: The entire sewage system in India empties itself into their already foul mouths. To this group belong those men who eve-tease and torture you both on and outside college grounds. I personally know five such men. I mean, bad luck humped my back for about a year and I had to deal with them. I sincerely hope they go to hell!

Well Within Warranty

I have, for a very long time, been a victim of the Hewlett-Packard Company. I turned a deaf ear to many people who advised me to purchase a Dell laptop. I chose to pay heed to one very opinionated person and fate threw into my lap, a HP laptop and sent me swirling down a whirlpool for 3 long, very long years.

It took me a week in Sept 2008, to realize that I had made the wrong move. I do not clearly remember the exact make of the laptop mostly because I chose to call it ‘the steel dabba’. This laptop had a silver-steel finish to it and it heated up like a furnace. The steel touch pad would get so hot that it almost became impossible to ‘touch’ the touch pad at times. I would stare at it in disgust. Many a time I was tempted to break an egg and watch it warm into an omelette. The lab that I worked in did not have a microwave then. So I was also eager to explore if placing a cup of instant noodles with cold water would actually bring my lunch to boil. No kidding, but one of my friends hugged her HP laptop as she slept during winters because her room-mate was a polar bear from the Arctic and would not let her turn on the thermostat. Apparently it kept my human friend warm. 😀

“Buy a HP laptop along with a carton box full of Burnol ointment tubes” was a common joke. The frustration of an over-heated laptop shutting down right in the middle of  a mystery movie, or when you are sincerely writing up the last bit of your thesis, or when you have 10 more minutes to turn in your online assignment to Mr. Dracula, the alien stares your classmates throw at you cause your laptop makes a weird noise that sounds like you just started a motor engine right in the middle of the lecture, always having to carry your laptop charger (like a patient on IV fluids) cause your laptop won’t run for a single second without it; trust me, I have faced it all.

I may not have kept in mind my best friend’s birthday but I have definitely and distinctively marked on my calender, the day my laptop needed a warranty renewal. After complaining of an issue with the ‘heat sink exchange or whatever’, and having my laptop sent for servicing six times in two years, one kind man decided to replace my laptop for a new one. So I did get a new one. No heating issues. Just when I thought everything was going amazingly fine, one hinge of the laptop started to come apart. No, it did not succumb to a suicidal fall whatsoever.  Remember the friend who hugged her laptop in her sleep, the hinge of her new laptop came apart too. HP had tricked me and I realized that I had failed miserably to see through this trick. My warranty did not cover accidental damage, it was a limited hardware warranty.

When this news hit my head, I think I was more happy than sad. It gave me a stronger reason and the guts to push myself aboard, spend a 1000 bucks and coax myself into purchasing a Dell laptop for a tension free gadget survival. There! The decision had been made.

I was told that there was an offer. It sure was a good deal. A Dell XPS 14z, i7 processor, 8 GB RAM and 750 GB hard drive (in lay man terms). It saved me about 500 bucks. So I swooped in and grabbed onto the offer. My new laptop arrived with a big fat green label that said “REFURBISHED”. I was angry, very angry. Now I am not sure if I was angry because my laptop had two small scratches on it or because it was covered within a limited warranty, yet again. I decided to return it even without switching it on. I am generally an angry woman. A green label that mentioned that the use of refurbished products is ‘environmentally healthy’ pissed me off even more. I went through the ordeal of having to speak very patiently with a guy from Dell. He said that he was sorry for the miscommunication but I am very sure that he was not. He must have put me on hold and chuckled away to glory. Why else would he offer to take $ 35 off my purchase if I agreed to hold on to that gadget with limited warranty? “Are you kidding me, moron?”, I wanted to yell. The bloody state tax cost me $ 42. I held my breath and said, “Send me a (‘fucking’ in my mind) return label, already.”

Eventually I did purchase a new Dell laptop. I could only afford an XPS with the i 5 processor but the good news is that it covers accidental, theft, and hardware warranty for a whole year. It arrives today. As I sit here and track the status of my package every 30 minutes, excited and relieved, and typing into my HP that can barely sit straight or hold its screen and keyboard together but can make the sound of a running engine, I realize that today is the day my HP will rest in peace. I also realize how much our lives revolve around warranty/safety/protection in today’s world.

Why was I so fussy about having a solid warranty plan? Am I pessimistic? Was I looking for an optimistic exit in a pessimistic situation? Am I gearing up for a planned and easy future? Am I afraid of risks? Do I not know that often circumstances are never under my control?

Everything comes with a risk-free option nowadays that includes a small or big plan right into the near or far future. Gadget warranties, health and motor vehicle insurances, dinner dates, condoms, seat-belts, helmets, preparing for events way ahead of their deadlines, the fear of submission errors, procuring an employee’s emergency contact information the minute the employer offers him/her a job, planning a birthday party two months ahead, promising a friend to be there at her wedding, eagerly waiting for Sunday to catch up on the latest episode of Desperate Housewives, and the list could go on.

The question is: how sure are we about seeing the next day when we know that our life comes with no warranty?