When Women Dine…

Disclaimer: The characters and events mentioned in this post are 127% real and not born out of my imagination. The intention of this post is fun and fun alone, and not to demean womanhood or any person in particular. If anyone finds this post offensive, please email me or comment, and this post will be removed immediately. And I wasn’t eavesdropping in to the Eves’s privacy. It’s just a basic human curiosity, coupled with my crazy observation, which resulted in a post being born.

This wasn’t the post that I was planning to blog on. But I encountered this interesting episode in Gupta Bhavan, a chaat joint in Chengalpattu, when I was enjoying my fried Pav Bhaji one day. I came from the station and comfortably settled on the table just below the AC. I was waiting for my orders to come, when two women, of almost my peer level, came and sat on the table next to mine. In some time, the waiter came and they ordered for 4 RasMalais, stating that two more ladies will be joining them.

The RasMalais arrived and so did the other two women. It’s a usual women’s meeting, discussing about Madhavan and each others’ attire, and how the professors and some guys in the college ogled at them today. And all this, forgetting the fact that I was sitting beside them.

The waiter came, with a fair estimate that they would have finished the RasMalai, and to his shock, all the RasMalais were almost untouched. However, to comply with is professional ethics, he suggested they order the main course, and handed them a few copies of the menu card.

I knew that women were slow and extremely choosy with shopping, but food?? I was kinda astonished to hear a discourse on every main course. First, it was about how friend idlis are being made, and then came the most hilarious one concluding if one of the items meant Aappam or Appam. The discussion lasted for almost ten minutes, and I did not concentrate much on the discussion, because my order had already arrived. This was followed by a few discussions on the composition of Paneer, the nature of mushrooms, and how slim each person was.

After all these discussions, they (I thought) were ready to give their orders. There was still some RasMalai left in the cups when the waiter came to take orders for the main course. They started ordering. They were so confused with the dishes and with a total mess of the orders, they made the waiter discard the page where he took the order, and take it again on a fresh page. The waiter left their table with one forced smile.

Then discussions started all over again. I was done with my snacks and I paid the bill, and left my table. While leaving, I shot a last look at the ladies’ table, and some RasMalai was still remaining in their tables. Those poor Rasmalais, had been in the table for almost half an hour until then, and God knows when they got over.

I get emails about women driving, and using ATMs and almost every other thing that makes fun of how they act. I am no feminist and I ain’t a chauvinist either. I just have a subtle laugh and dismiss them, saying to myself, “I wouldn’t treat a woman this way.” But witnessing an even live, and that too in my hometown, I think I will reconsider my viewpoint. And I am grateful to my every gal pal, who have taken care not to put me in to this kind of a situation.

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Peddling In Twilight

It was an everyday affair two years before, and then in suffered a two-year long hiatus. Now it’s back with a bang – the joy of riding on a bicycle in the morning.

The spirit is so refreshing when I start. It is a six-kilometer long ride from my home to the Chengalpattu Railway Station. My ride starts at around six-twenty in the morning when the sun is still a virgin, spreading its light in an aesthetically pleasing rate. The cold wind with its monsoon flavor and chilling touch caresses my face all over. A few more pedals and you are on the main road, flanked by green grass on either sides. The dew drops of the night sit and scintillate on the tiny blades of the grass, only to become traceless in a few hours. Just elevate your line of sight and you see the clouds scattered across the skies, giving a hazy-blue appearance. And in the middle of all this, little do you recognize that your feet are already in rhythm, and your body is contributing the grace too.

Then comes the most spectacular part – the lake, and it is a riders’ delight when the waters are full after the monsoons. A kachha road, with no tar, yet with mud as smooth as marbles, with palm trees on either sides and the leaves adding a crude phrase to the splashing water against the banks and the numerous birds that start their vocal exercises then – what more can you ask for?

And at the end of all this, I’ve a long, smooth road with nothing worth to be called traffic, all for me at that morning hour. The road is so free that you can, literally, ride your cycle with the hands off the bar. I feel like I am next to God, minus the responsibilities. It’s one abso-freakin’-lutely awesome hell of a ride on that road.

Remember how you felt when doing the first home-work out of fear when you joined your nursery or Kindergarten? And when you were three or four, you think of the days you spent in your freedom of being a child- no commitments and no problems, love, care and food, on-demand and in-excess. Perhaps, a human being’s first experience of work-related stress, and then Cartoon Network.

It’s almost a similar feeling in here. After enjoying this entire communion with nature and freedom like in the Garden of Eden, you enter in to the commuters’ chaos and a crowd like Eden Gardens. Welcome to the real Chengalpattu! It’s so congested with traffic which mainly comprises of vehicles driven by people who do not know what ‘considerate’ means. After battling your way on the road, you reach the railway station, where a different set of variables that define a pleasant ride enter to modify the equation of fun. (To know about train rides, visit my other blog at http://fizzyfootprints.wordpress.com )

Even when the traffic plays, and even when stress beckons, the joy of having experienced an unparalleled joy of a ride carries me further and keeps me moving. Though it is an everyday affair for me, it is still special. I think people who have been in a steady relationship for more than two years will be able to appreciate my feeling, and people who have had bitter moments and patched up later, will understand this even better.

Return To The Land Of Machis

Two years of Hyderabad – my life was a riot there. I was enjoying in every possible. I felt that my life was like a donut – creamy, sweet, fluffy, yum, exotic and appealing, with a large hole in the middle.

I don’t know how things conspired for me for situations to turn against me; it was all in the wink of an eye, that I was to leave Hyderabad, with all my dear ones there. I must confess that I did shed some tears, that I was leaving a city that taught me what life was. But I had forced promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and those were the miles that I had already covered, and I was going in reverse.

Back to Chennai, the land where I grew up, lived my like a demi-God, in and around Madras Christian College and St. Joseph’s Hr. Sec. School. This demanded an entire change of perspectives – my idea of a road-ride was no longer Banjara Hills, but NH-45. Shopping meant Spencer Plaza and Burma Bazaar and not City Center or GVK. My one-stop movie place is Satyam and not Prasad’s . No more go-karts and no more scenic drive to the airport. No more late-night hangouts and sleepover at my friends’ places. MAD-HYD is distant to me now and so is Google Hyd.

Even then, it feels great to get back to Chennai – no place like home they say. It feels great to dine as a family, and to be back irritating my brother. My friends, who were in school, are now proud employees of multi-nationals. The wave of nostalgia that sweeps my when I get to Koyambedu CMBT, or Chennai Central or East Tambaram, cannot be cached in words. The joy of showing the true colors of my gluttony in a roadside joint in here can never be close to the 7-star buffets.

All this said and done, I miss Hyderabad too. Every branded attire that I wear, the fact that I can understand Hindi movies, pub etiquette, American accent, spiked-up hair, sport shoes, five-star dining, all the things that I have at my home now from Hyderabad, and all the photographs that I have, will continue to remind me of the days that I know for a fact that I will never get back. Hyderabad is not nostalgic for me – it is a class apart, a life apart. If I have to take names to thank, the list can go on, but I wish to conclude with one – God.

I am in a place where I belong to, I am (100 – pi)% happy, with the pi being the Hyderabad factor. It is small when compared to 100 but it is still infinite and special. No one knows how I can compensate for that missing piece in its entirety. Hyderabad was like being in a romantic relationship – heavenly days, treasured moments and a few bittersweet memories. But what to do… I guess I was born single, and born to be single. (Only in this respect, not anything beyond that… )