July 21, 2009

When I casually told my hubby (just for you, Bhumika!) that there was a sale at the popular clothing store NEXT, I didn’t expect him to say yes to the outing immediately. I was prepared to coax, cajole, even beg ‘cause I had heard loads about the fabulous next sale every time it was on, but had managed to stroll in only when the shop was 99% raided.

What followed next (ah, the cheap thrill) was us checking out the bus timetable and figuring out if there was a bus early enough for us to be there to take prime position. Yes, what’s surprising is not the store opening time, which was 4:00 am, but us planning to be there at that ungodly hour. The devil does wear Prada to lure you in.

So the plan was to take the last night bus and shock the usual drunken inhabitants of a late bus with shiny bags and smiles before heading for materialistic bliss. The maudlin souls escaped, though, ‘cause a kind friend, already a member of consumerist hell, offered us a hoist up the commute ladder with her car.

I have to say it was worth every lost wink of sleep and I felt like the real-life version of Cinderella. Following the fairytale, the clock did strike twelve for me when I caught up with the husband to exchange notes on our shopping. I was greeted by six huge shopping bags stuffed to the brim, a lazy smile, no sign of irritation and the words “you’ve created a monster.” He hasn’t uttered truer words.

The following day, we went to the city to pick up groceries and no prizes for guessing what we ended up doing. Going NEXT shopping of course! Our pal rushes in saying the shop might close anytime and that he had to make the most of it, comes out with another heavily laden bag, a lighter wallet and a beaming smile. On reaching home, he decided that he felt they were more bargains to be had and has started planning his next visit. I’ve also been hearing the virtues of such sales and how I should have suggested such shopping expeditions long ago and how he’ll never hesitate to accompany me on such outings. I think I need some smelling salts at this stage.

This time, last month

April 27, 2009

I always wanted to get married in the month of October/November/December. These are my favourite months. I dislike March intensely. March for me has always been about exams, the onset of unyielding heat and a sense of foreboding. Yet I agreed.

I actually advanced our wedding from October to March. Why? Because I was sick of all those meddling types trying to get mileage out of my wedding. The pressure to include the entire Tam-Bram set after set of rituals was also intense and I thought the lesser time these souls had to conspire, lesser the hassle for me.  So at the cost of my ideal marriageable month, I took the leap of matrimony in March.

I did try to find a middle ground, my first choice after the thought of advancement was April, but I had no luck with it. The only auspicious date in April was already booked by someone else at the venue I chose. That April date was incidentally Akshaya Tritiya, which happens to be today.

My dear husband had absolutely no problem with any date as unlike me he wasn’t in the least affected by any of the marriage mayhem. For him it was just forward march (his military upbringing) and he’d be there to exchange garlands and sign the register.

His only contribution to this date decision was a thoroughly disastrous one. Yes, my man wanted us to tie the knot on the Ides of March. Why? Because he thought it was cool to get married on a day that had an Iron Maiden song to its credit. While the Ides of March was a festive day in ancient Rome, the only relevance it has for me is via Shakespeare. (Huh, my literary upbringing) “Beware the Ides of March” is the warning given by a soothsayer to Julius Caesar and it turned out to be the day that Caesar was assassinated. No surprises why I rejected my pal’s grand idea.

With such diverse notions and distinguished upbringings, we got married on a different day in March and we made our peace by ensuring that there was plenty of love, yummy food, booze and Iron Maiden font.

After three years, it’s safe to say the march is on, but we’re at ease. Give us thirty more and we’ll be mad as march hares.

I went to a shrink yesterday

April 22, 2009

For everyone who thought I was mad, this must be confirming it. Hey, how politically incorrect must you be? A visit to the shrink doesn’t indicate insanity, move to the 21st century, folks. It’s just something frazzled minds need from time to time since no one except a paid person wants to really listen to you.

Ok, before any more assumptions are made, let me assure you that I’m not on my way to the loony bin. What I did do was go to the doc to get an annoying but superficial illness sorted. I had visited her a couple of times earlier for the same reason and since they had been no real progress, I was slightly hassled and tense this time. I was also hoping for some resolution as one usually does when going to see a doctor.

And there I was sitting on an uncomfortable chair in a hot and stifling room (it was one of those rare, really sunny days in Dublin and I think the roof was not part E.U. funded like everything else is in Dublin) trying to explain my case for what felt like the millionth time. And before I even had this satisfaction, the G.P. jumped in and said how she understood and that “my truth” was saying no to her proposed treatment. “My truth?” Ok, I thought she had read books like The Secret and actually employed such terminology in everyday life. Fine. Ok. Next, she said she saw before her a very beautiful person. Ahem, thank you, I was feeling good. At this point, I was staring soulfully into her eyes as she was about five inches away from me. Then when I asked whether I could shape my eyebrows again, she really took off. Trust me, this question was not part of the zillion things I really wanted to ask her. But it rolled off anyway. This was the moment when a routine check up turned into a psychoanalysis session.  It was also the moment when the concrete building turned into a gypsy’s tent.

It started with a stern “Look” before turning into a rollercoaster of sympathy, brute insight, psychobabble, and what felt like persecution. My eyes apparently told her that I was too hard on myself, that I was too critical. My eyes were also saying that I was stressing so much that I wasn’t healing myself. My eyes said that I was a very humble person who should be thinking with the heart and not with the head. (Especially, not mine) My eyes told her that she had to send me a youtube link of Tony Robbins speaking about Slvester Stallone’s struggles and persistence to become big. My eyes told her all this? Could she see my eyes under those overgrown eyebrows which I cannot touch because of this silly affliction?

I have a few more questions. Did my sweaty palms convey some sort of unresolved tension? Should I let the Universe heal me instead of doctors? Should I stop thinking about personal appearance as I am beautiful inside? Am I being mean as I actually felt calm in a mad way when I came out of that room? Why didn’t my eyes speak the first time they were there? It would have saved me a hundred euro. Am I the next Rock-y-star? Should I see a real shrink?

P.S. I haven’t said half of the things she said as I would be giving myself up completely then. You have to gather the rest by looking into my eyes.

Trip to the market

April 21, 2009

Going to the Thippasandra market and H.A.L. market was a Sunday morning ritual for many years when I was growing up in Bangalore. It was a favourite self-appointed chore which let me choose the best veggies and very coolly determine the week’s menu. All my favourites were the first to go in of course.

The only irksome thing was that the vendors always used to think that I was a Hindi-speaking person and would beckon or address me in Hindi. The only thing to do was to reply in Tamil or Kannada and hear the price being knocked down by at least three rupees immediately.

Nowadays my weekend is never complete without a visit to one of the many farmers markets here. And even though it’s more of an elite thing here, the atmosphere is inherently the same. Vibrant, fresh, appealing and full of soul.

The Dun Laoghaire (pronounced DunLeary) market is open every Sunday from 10-5 and is superbly located. It’s a charming town and seaport nestled in the foothills of the Dublin mountains and has this air of total peace and recreation. We usually get off at the train station and stroll to the market taking in the splendid sea views, boats, windsurfers, a stray ice cream, and the incredibly cute dogs. This Sunday market not only has the tastiest fruit and veg stall, but also has an array of mouth-watering stalls offering cakes, breads, cheeses, falafel, pickles, chutneys, bakes, crepes, pizzas, teas and coffees. There’s also an Indian food stall but we’ve never made it past the Falafel corner. The smell of roasted cumin just envelopes the entire market and the two falafel stalls are simply the stars of the show.

The veggie and fruit stall is where the treasures lurk, though 😀

We usually go beserk and load up like we’re getting ready for a storm and this time the guy rightly remarked that we’d gone crazy. But seriously, the difference in taste compared to the supermarket stuff is remarkable. And since it’s only a weekly affair, I like to ensure that we have enough to sustain us for regular saapad and sudden cravings. Not only does the supermarket veggies taste like cardboard, but the experience of shopping there is one of singular dullness.  Ultimately supermarkets are convenience stores and veggie markets are captivating kaleidoscopes. Take your pick.

my favourite place

Vine, cherry, roma, beefsteak varieties

Falael stall and hungry customer

What’s all the fluff about?

February 3, 2009

I had been waiting for this day for the last two years. In my head, moving to Ireland definitely warranted a taste of it. Surely, the change from Bangalore to Dublin meant that I could experience it at long last. But no, until today, I was subjected to intense amounts of dubious-looking clouds, endless buckets of hide-and-seek rain and even glorious sunshine, but never ever got what I waited for.

A couple of times, I did come close to it and that made it even more disappointing. All I got for my growing excitement and enthusiasm was a sound pelting from the sky.

If only I had seen this tee shirt on someone before I got here. I would have been forewarned.


Now, after all these months, I had almost given up and had even forgotten about it. And then it happened. On this cold, wintry Monday morning, I got up to hear Arun exclaiming while looking out of the window. Before I let my heart race, I wanted to ensure that my man wasn’t up to his usual tricks of conning me, so I put in quite a few “Really(s)?” before I thought it was worth getting out of the cozy duvet. And there it was. I couldn’t believe that I had been oblivious to the fairytale setting outside until a minute ago. Wow. No exclamation, just disbelief and a quiet awe-filled taking in of the day.

I felt like I had been transported to a perfect little Christmas postcard. And that I could walk in and out of it. Whoo-hoo!

If the morning was breath-taking, the evening was just like living out a favourite fantasy. I threw my first snowball. I threw my first snowball at my favourite adversary. My day, my week has been made!

To make it even more special, the canal outside our house, where we were walking by to take it all in, looked like the Seine. Yes, I felt like we were walking in Paris, my dream destination, by the most romantic river trail. Yes, I think my year has been made. And that’s what the fuss is all about. It’s still snowing and I am feeling so content.


February 2, 2009

Dublin is my home now. It has been for the last two years and I feel anguished that I did not capture my zillion moments and days of novelty, fun, adventure and celebration here. It is a special place, very different, yet similar to Bangalore, my original home for a quarter of a century.

This then is an attempt to maybe reprint all those times, capture the present, and just get the most out of my days here. Ladies and Gentlemen, Dublin Days it is, in all its crazy hues.

In Dublin, everyone talks about the weather all the time. So what follows this is the first real post kick-starting, hopefully, a spate of many more interesting Dublin days.