Why Is Keeping Your Own House Clean a Big Deal?

Why Is Keeping Your Own House Clean a Big Deal?

As Indians, we grow up with a certain set of fixed ideologies that become so deep-rooted into our brains that it becomes hard to think outside that box. Our country has been under lockdown for three weeks now, meaning we’ve all had to do our own mopping, dusting, cleaning, organizing, and even doing the dishes. The concept of having people to do it for you – by people I mean the house help or the maid, to put it simply – has been prevalent in the country for years. And only with the imposition of a total lockdown, did people realize how important the house help was.

Did that bring a change in the average Indian mentality? No. We’re the generation that takes photos of ourselves in visibly blah clothes, clutching at a broom in one hand, phone in the other, in front of the full-length mirror and posting pictures on our Instagram stories, and captioning it – “My jhaadoo pocha outfit.” That’s the word for dusting and mopping. Collective. You miss Mira Didi, not because she gave you company, but because she’d come do the cooking. You miss Jyoti Ben because she’d come and do the mopping. And the sweeping. And the dusting. And the bathrooms and even the toilet bowl. And you still negotiated with them over their paltry salaries. And never said thank you, but blamed them for messing up your fancy fruit bowl or sometimes, breaking your favorite wine glass. You conveniently overlooked the fact that Jyoti might have cut her finger picking up the broken pieces. And you made her work with a cut finger which you only put a Band-Aid on. You overlooked the fact that the help came to your house to keep it clean despite being on her period, or even despite running a fever. You refused to give her a day off because you couldn’t manage the house – the big sprawling house when compared to her tiny shack – by yourself.

And I’ve got a problem with that.

Do you need someone else’s help cleaning up after you’ve taken a massive doody? No, right? Then why would you make it a big deal, and go posting about it as well, after you’ve cleaned your house by yourself? My, my. What a major achievement. What an accomplishment that you’ve managed to wipe the kitchen counter clean after burning the lentil soup you were attempting to cook. What a good thing to have finally learned how to boil an egg or make whipped coffee all by yourself. Like, seriously? Everyone in the rest of the world does their own chores. Only in this country do we lack the understanding and acceptance needed to grasp the importance of dignity of labor.

I just wish that it wasn’t such a big deal, you know? Cleaning and organizing. Things like that? All of this? All of this doesn’t need validation from the Internet if you think it’s such a pain being a “maidfor a while. Also, doing daily household chores actually helps to burn calories. You won’t realize how fit you’re going to be if you’re the one that’s cleaning on a daily basis. Imagine how much active movement you’re getting. Also, cooking is very therapeutic. And baking. NOT being dependent on someone else to do YOUR chores lets you plan your day around your routine and not on when Jyoti comes to clean.

Plus, with the center probably extending the lockdown by two more weeks, it’s about time you forget Mira and Jyoti and get comfortable with staying indoors. It’s hardly a big deal, honestly. Although many influencers will tell you that it is, consider how lucky we all are to have a roof over our heads and a few meals a day. It doesn’t matter if other people don’t understand dignity of labor. It starts with you, and one small change makes a big difference. On that note, I’m going to wipe the kitchen down while I listen to some Doja Cat. Good day, y’all.

Fitness In The Time Of Corona

Fitness In The Time Of Corona

Admit it: there have been a million times when you’ve complained that the gym was too crowded. Or that people had zero hygiene in there. And that you felt weird working out in front of other people. And you ended up not going in for your fitness sessions while that membership you bought died a slow, unmemorable death. Admit it.

And then the Corona Pandemic struck and you told your friends: I was supposed to start working out tomorrow, duuuuuuuude, but the stupid gym’s closed! And you went ahead, plonked your laptop on to your lap, put on your earphones and started binge watching FRIENDS all over again, while the bags of chips and soda bottles accumulated rather nastily on the floor. Admit it.

The thing is, you can’t blame a pesky virus for neglecting your fitness goals. Remember the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year? I’ll go to the gym five days a week. I’ll eat quinoa and kale and snack on berries when I’m hungry. I’ll give up on alcohol and sugar and trans fat. Remember that? No, right? Everything has flown out of the window, and it didn’t even take a day of Coronavirus situation.

In order to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, we’re all staying indoors. Some of us are panic-buying provisions. Some of us are eating too much at a go. Many people are drinking WAY too much and smoking joints and they seem to have forgotten that it’s just as bad to have lung cancer. I mean, YOLO, right? Wrong. Our lifestyle has gone from varying forms of active to one hundred percent sedentary. Which means that if you’re someone who, let’s say, is on a fifteen hundred calorie per day allowance with a three hundred calorie burn allowance, you’re actually just adding the whole calorie budget, AND THEN SOME, into your body since you’re not getting any exercise. That sentence was a mouthful but you need to know that I feel very strongly about this.

I know it’s hard to resist food during times like this. Specially when you’ve gone out of your way and hoarded everything, including other people’s share. You eventually end up stress-eating because WFH feels more like WTF and you legit. Cannot. Stop. Eating. And despite all my preaching *heh heh* I’m honestly no saint, either. At the same time, I don’t want to emerge from the quarantine looking like this:

NOT that it’s bad or gross to look like that, but I don’t want central obesity, heart attack and I know how terrible the hospital situation is, globally. So, issa no. I’m trying my best to stay fit without feeling the need to depend on outdoor or gym activities, and I’m not doing much, not really, but I feel like it’s the little things:

• Limiting calorie intake: It’s been a week since I’ve gone into complete self-isolation with the husband, and I’ve reduced my calorie intake by about one-third of my everyday calorie allowance. Do I feel good about myself? No, not really. But is my body working fine? Yes. No paunches reported.

• Home workouts: That yoga mat and Chloe Ting and lightweight dumbbells are coming in handy. Chloe posts a bunch of workout videos that are super easy to follow, while being super effective at the same time. Here’s the link to her two-week shredding programs – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAFs3kxY4h18ubPUONHriXCgo0YD4rmSW. She also posts meal plans that are super filling – I’ve tried a few of them, and they work.

When NOTHING works, you can actually walk around in your living room. It’s the little things, it’s always the little things.

• Doing my chores – This brings me to my last point. Mopping the floors and doing the dishes, doing the laundry and climbing up a bunch of stairs, actually sweeping the floor instead of asking your cleaning lady to do it, burns a crap ton of calories. Belly today, washboard tomorrow. Thanks to the pocha. Thanks to the Corona Pandemic, I’ve also been hydrating like a fish. Just water, I promise you, works wonders.

At this point I can’t even laugh at my own jokes anymore. I’m petrified of what’s happening. Staying in and doing chores and making sure I am not a reason for the spread has put a lot of thought into perspective. Human life is so fragile and the worst part is we ruin things by not following protocol. Or caring about things. It’s a pandemic of epic proportions and each one of us needs to be responsible. And you don’t need me to tell you this, but for YOUR sake, stay home and stay safe. On that note…

How are you staying fit during these dark times?

A Month Gone By.

A Month Gone By.

It’s been a month and a couple days since I got married. For starters, I didn’t even imagine that someday I would be able to picture myself as a wife, to be honest. Coupled with a super low self-esteem and a total lack of reality check, never in a million years did I think I would be settling so perfectly into the role of a wife and a new daughter.

A wife. And a new daughter.

Just how crazy does that seem? Also: notice that I didn’t say “daughter-in-law”? That’s how nice my new family is. Just the other day my new pop made me upma – my favorite – he needn’t have, but he did and it was the cutest thing ever. They’ve also graciously let us stay till our house is done completely. My oh my. Let me go knock on wood a few times before I can actually go ahead and make my point.

My point being, marriage is comfortable. I’d heard a million horror stories, and I’d formed this image in my head that I would make a terrible new addition to my husband’s family too. That I would be a burden and a pain and all sorts of hell. But boy, I was wrong. Before I got married, I struggled with a lot of stuff. I struggled with the concept of acceptance and love and what both of these things really mean. But now, a month later, I can honestly tell you that it’s blissful. You’re not just sharing a home with someone, you’re also sharing headspace.

Sure, you have differences of opinions. You have tiffs. You don’t always get along, but then you don’t have to. Marriage means so much more than just photoshoots or Instagram likes or Sabyasachi lehengas or beach-facing mandaps or Pat McGrath eyeshadow – and you don’t need me to tell you this – but it’s much, much more. It’s about growth. About uplifting your spouse. About always remembering that their image is your image and vice versa. About working together to make the marriage work and at the same time, keeping it effortlessly easy.

And you thought Bengali brides look too loud. I personally think I would have easily passed as someone who were doing a gold jewelry store commercial.

This past couple of weeks have shocked me too. I had no idea my husband and I were twin souls to this extent. And that is the most amazing thing, ever. I’ve been given a whole new set of best friends – my new parents and my new brother – and I couldn’t be happier. The transition from being boyfriend and girlfriend to being husband and wife is beautiful and both my new ma and I have managed to cry our eyes out every time we’ve played the wedding and reception videos. Sigh.

So far, so good. There were very cute surprises along the way – a dreamy Gangtok trip, a Goa trip to attend a wedding, and Valentine’s Day felt super special because we both wore kurtas and went to eat at a random place and looked super boho. FUN.

Hello from my lovely mocktail.

It’s been dreamy and I just wanted to come on here and share things, while I get back to my regular blogging schedule. Hope life’s been treating you as good as it’s been treating me.

Things Your Nail Technician Doesn’t Tell You

Things Your Nail Technician Doesn’t Tell You

Before we get to the post, I’d quickly like to say that marital bliss is beautiful. And oh, the location of your new house is super important. Which is also one of the reasons why I’m currently sporting two-inch-long talons and using said talons as tools: for self-defense, as can-openers, you name it. Okay, before you get horrified – I’m actually obviously kidding.

I got my nails done for the first time on January 22nd, 2020.

• Before I went in, I was under the impression that the extensions last for at least three weeks before they start to look bad. Mine started to look bad right from day eight. Why? My nails grow crazy fast. And I didn’t know I would need a refill almost immediately after getting my first set done. So ten days went by, and my nails grew and they looked super tacky and I had to run back to my trusty nail bar to get them redone.

Second mani of my life.

• Okay, let’s not beat about the bush – BUT nails are kinda pricey. In Indian currency, you’re going to be paying about INR 2400-3000 the first time and refills with color cost around INR 2200 where I get mine done. And like I said, my nails grow fast – and this means I end up paying around six grand per month on nails alone. Not a very smart move when you’re a new wife who’s settling into a brand new role as a multitasker too.

• Nails are addictive. No one tells you this, but I wish they would. It’s almost like getting a tattoo or eating a bag of Lay’s – once you’ve got a taste for it, you’re going to want to go back over and over again. I was never a nail person and here I am, typing furiously away on my laptop while obsessing over my next mani on Pinterest.

Really digging this.

• You’ll get sucked in and get super confused about your options. Pretty much what Swiggy does to your belly and your wallet. Too much to pick from, too tight of a budget. Like, aaaaarrrrrggggghhh. So pick the one shape and design that’s the cutest – for me it would have to be the coffin shaped ones and a French base – and roll with it.

• Nails need a lot of TLC. You can’t be doing kitchen stuff all the time. You can’t be putting too much pressure on your nails or use them as tools. That’s a HUGE no-no. You have to get a dishwasher and multiple bits of cutlery. Acrylics also lift sometimes if not adhered well, and you have to get it redone. Nail glue doesn’t cut it. Speaking from experience.

• The last point I have to mention would be the fact that you have to keep your nails at a comfortable length. Don’t go “Billie Eilish at the Oscars” length because grabbing things becomes difficult, and so does cleaning your bum. And I’m sure you don’t want that.

And now with all that being said, I can’t wait for Friday afternoon to come around so I can go get my nails done. Again. Yay.

Millennials and Marriages

Millennials and Marriages

I asked a few people, who are well into their twenties and thirties, about their opinion on marriage and starting a family. The answers were mostly the same across the board. The group I was talking to did NOT want to get married.

It’s crazy, you’d think that with the wedding industry growing as it is, people would actually want to take the plunge as well – but no. Women say that men change after the wedding happens, and men say that women change too. Millennials are confused as they come, and they say they don’t need any more on their plate. Fair point.

Someone said that people don’t know how to date in their own lane and the same goes for marriage. You marry a super rich someone, who’s had a lavish lifestyle, promising to give them the life they’ve always had, but as soon as you’re married, you want them to tone down so they can fit your mold – that’s not done, they said. Imagine if Rose had ended up with Jack, she would definitely complain at some point about him not being able to give her the life she’d been used to, they said. Another reason why some people don’t want to get married would be the fact that most people make enough to give themselves a comfortable lifestyle – but they cannot cover the cost of having kids and raising them because, to put it frankly: “Kids are expensive.”

A few women that I know have decided to never get married because waking up next to the same person and watching them grow old with you isn’t as romantic as movies make it out to be. At this point, I was going “Yikes”, I kid you not.

All these strong opinions against marriage ended up driving me a little insane, so I asked people the same question on Instagram: and this time, the opinions were divided. Honestly, that’s such a relief because I’m getting formally hitched in two months and I could do with a few people saying they would love to get married, too.

One person said they wanted to do it and didn’t care who the other person was as long as they were good people. Arranged marriages are still BIG in India. A couple of people said they wanted to do it because premarital sex, unfortunately, is still frowned upon. And someone else said they wanted to do it because they were deeply in love and couldn’t imagine being away from their partner for one more second. This made me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. Go, girl! You get him.

Ooh, and someone else said they wanted to wear Sabyasachi and be featured on the designer’s Instagram page. Girl, if you’re reading this, I hope and pray that it happens one day. And soon. This brings me to the last thing I want to say – What do YOU think of marriages?

Bengali Weddings: Part Two, The Bad

Bengali Weddings: Part Two, The Bad

To read the first part, click here.

It’s getting super hard to keep up with things at this point. We barely have two months left before some major life changes happen. I’m about to become someone’s lawfully wedded wife, and oh my God, I couldn’t be happier. And ooh, about that.

Bengali weddings, of course, come with their own set of rituals. The one that we’re already done with, the Aashirwad, is the first step towards the madness that the actual wedding almost always is. At least, I’m pretty sure mine is going to be nuts. I have crazy family friends who say the most inappropriate things. And my dad has crazy friends who have questionable motives. I’m sure you’re familiar with such people, they exist everywhere.

On the day of the Aashirwad, people got wind of the fact that the Mister would be coming over to my place with his parents, officially, for the final talks of the wedding. And I kid you not when I say that everyone in the whole neighborhood actually appeared to be queueing up outside my house, or even leaning out of their balconies, trying to catch a glimpse or two. My guy belongs to a very refined family from Bangalore and all of them were taken by surprise to see this. What decent community does things like this? And my neighbors have all built their houses SO close to ours that they could see everything through my open windows. I think I died of embarrassment, a million times over, that day.

As if that wasn’t enough, I had people come up to me and ask me what the guy’s family had gifted me. Apparently that’s the culture, the norm, to ask someone what she’s been given as a gift from her husband-to-be and his family. I still fail to see the culture bit, but okay. I’m waiting to post about the good, if there’s any, about this particular Bengali wedding. Stay tuned.

Bengali Weddings, Part One: The Ugly

Bengali Weddings, Part One: The Ugly

I don’t know if this is a thing will all relatives, or just some of the people in my (very, very extended) family but…

I have a huge family, okay? Back in the day, nobody had heard of birth control or television or any other form of entertainment. This meant that their only source of um, relaxation, ended up resulting in tiny humans and burning holes in the parents’ pockets, putting the ever growing family into economic stress. They also used to get married in their early teens, making teenage pregnancies super common. Many kids would die of complications following childbirth and their husbands would end up marrying other kids. Sounds gross, but that used to be a legit thing, child marriage.

My grandma got married at a young age too. Her first child, my oldest aunt, was born eighteen years before my mum came along. My oldest aunt is in now her seventies, and my grandma passed away ages ago. I don’t remember her much, unfortunately, but she was a nice person. Same goes for my Dad’s mum. I don’t even remember having met her. The only memento I’ve got of hers is a photograph of me in her lap, and she’s wrinkled as a prune and I’m barely two. And I look mighty uncomfortable as heck.

Having said all of that, it also means that when you’re about to get married, the whole clan comes to town. Irrespective of whether you’ve ever met them or not. They just seem to pop out of thin air. Suddenly you have three hundred aunts and five hundred nieces and you’re a legit grandma and aunt and aunt-in-law. If you’re the bride, your parents have to bear all the expenses – from the relatives stay to their comforts. And when your parents are extra and don’t get the concept of low-key weddings, the budget overflows and puts your parents in debt. Sometimes you need to end up selling assets, sometimes you give yourself depression and stress but you won’t chill with the number of heads on that guest list because you’re a prominent member of the society so you’ve to make your kid’s nuptials a grand affair. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The age gap between my Dad’s siblings and my Dad has also resulted in my oldest cousin being born over TWO decades before I was. He calls my Dad “Uncle” but he’s only a few years younger than my Dad. *Jeez.* The rest of my cousins are way older than I am too, and we never really meet on the daily. I mean, the last time I ever saw any of these guys and their wives would be like, 2013. And it was awkward as heck. I didn’t attend any of their weddings but they’re all going to show up when the next wedding happens. Yikes. And with the estrogen comes the judgements. And with the older women, comes the tongue-clacking and the nosy behavior.

If you hate people and have awful social anxiety, nobody notices you going into depression because they’re too busy making your mum show them your wedding shopping and making snide comments about every saree you’ve picked. And about your weight. And about your dark circles and thinning hair. And the list goes on.

By the time the wedding approaches, it’s a miracle if you have any hair or body weight left.

50 Word Story: The Comment

50 Word Story: The Comment

She uploaded a story. The caption said, “Working out,eating right, do we see results or nah?”

He responded, “Um, zero difference, still the same fat glob you used to be.”

Something broke inside her, she scooped out a huge chunk off her thigh with a meat knife.

Book Review: My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Book Review: My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

• This is Nigerian author Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel.

My sister the serial killer is based in Lagos, Nigeria, and the story is told from the point of view of Korede, the (eventual) head-nurse at St. Peter’s.

• She has this sister, Ayoola, who’s already killed three men, making her a serial killer. Ayoola also starts dating Tade, the guy who Korede secretly cherishes a burning passion for. Actually, scratch that: she loves the guy. Love love. The book opens with Ayoola calling Korede in panic. Ayoola has just murdered her boyfriend of one month, Femi, who used to write poetry. She doesn’t remember Femi’s last name, but she remembers his poetry. This bit hit me so hard. The two sisters then go ahead and clean up the mess and dispose of the body, with Korede doing most of the work – from the cleaning to the driving to the tossing of the body wrapped in three bedsheets they take from Femi’s studio apartment.

• I found parts of the book super interesting, the writing is mostly lucid as well, but to me it felt slightly bland as the book came to a close. The book (hardcover) is a little over two hundred pages long, and won’t take you a lot of time to finish reading.

• The ending’s been left vague. There’s man that comes to visit the sisters and you can totally speculate, but you can’t tell for sure, as to who he could be. Is it a new man, a new target that Ayoola is about to murder with their dead dad’s famous nine inch long ornate knife? Or is it the newly-back-from-a-coma patient, who in his comatose state had become the only confidante to Korede, who wants her for her, now that he’s divorced his wife? It’s up to you to decide.

• The humor is very Sophie Kinsella and the storyline is vaguely similar to the cookie cutter murder books we’ve all read at some point. Also, I love the contrast between the two sisters. While Korede is plain Jane, who shocks people when she randomly wears makeup one day after looking at a YouTube tutorial, Ayoola is a total knockout and a fashion designer who uses social media and men, for her own purposes. And for her designer wardrobe. She’s also messy, and Korede is so clean and organized, she probably has OCD.

My sister the serial killer is a mix of chick lit, deadpan comedy, dark fiction with hints of romance (the way Tade woos Ayoola with red and white roses), jealousy (the way Korede shreds the roses in the dead of the night) and Daddy issues (the father isn’t mentioned by name, but he had been the law in the house and never a father figure). If I had to rate it, it would get a 3.5/5 for good premise, and I would dock points for the rushed and vague ending.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Any recommendations I need to be looking out for?

Why Netflix Should NOT Be Banned In India

Why Netflix Should NOT Be Banned In India

The Indian government has been on a banning spree, lately. What’s the newest addition to the list that a few people want banned? NETFLIX.

Netflix has been accused of trying to spread Hinduphobia and showing India, as a whole, in a bad light. (Here’s the article.) Sometimes Twitter goes out of its way to wrongly motivate and spread hatred, thereby ending up creating unnecessary debates that everyone can actually live without.

Homegrown shows like Sacred Games, Leila and Ghoul are doing a great job of telling a story. As a Hindu, who’s also remotely not very religious, and an Indian, I don’t find any of these shows offensive. Yes, there’s cussing, and yes, it’s inappropriate for certain audiences, but isn’t that the norm for almost all shows across the platform? Also, this ban that people are asking for, seems super ridiculous to me. They banned websites that show adult movies in India. People still watch. People will always find ways to walk around the obstruction and do as they please, anyway. VPN makes that super easy. So what gives?

There’s legit no point. Once the government bans something, it becomes the forbidden fruit that everyone is tempted, beyond their wits, to taste. And they do it. In essence, banning things will only encourage viewer engagement.

It’s this toxic little chunk of people that actually use religion as means to create a rift in the population. NOT the TV shows in question, or a subscription service, no. Sometimes people become religious fanatics that takes over their whole lives and they let it affect everything they say, do, preach or practice. This, to me, is very wrong. Religion was created to ensure that the community was doing well – and not to cause fights. Unfortunately, the tables have turned now and people only use it as per their convenience.

If TV shows had the power to radically change things, influence people, a lot would have changed by now, right? And to be honest, since people misuse everything – religion, politics, resources, other people – what comes next? A ban on people?