Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Diwali!

Although I'm not big on festivals or the stories behind them (The people in my life have stories aplenty of their own, enough to keep me engaged :) ), I do love the happiness they bring into people's life all of a sudden.

Like my friend S who has, for the last 2 days, been super excited at the prospect of Diwali. And not even coz she's doing anything special. Just the thought of family back home opening presents from her and the thought of Diwali makes her happy. It's irrational. And that's what I love about it. I may not always understand it, but I love it :)

So my mum calls me to ask what I'm doing for Diwali. I tell her not much, same old (aka nothing). And she asks me if I bought anything new. I'm all "What?".

Amma explains that we usually buy something new for Diwali. "OH!" I say. Time perhaps to unfreeze the spending freeze I've put myself on. And promptly buy myself a much needed pair of sandals, 2 to be precise. :D

(Psst.... I almost bought a bag too. I must be turning into a woman!)

Anyway... I'm here to say, regardless of my beliefs, I hope this is a wonderful time for everyone who is looking forward to it. I hope all of you meeting family and friends have lovely reunions and get gifts that are either
a. what you wanted
b. something you can live with coz it was gifted with love or
c. possible to exchange easily :)

Happy Diwali ya all! :D

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Exercise your vote...

....dear Reader.

Nothing as significant as the US elections, but given this year comes to a close in about 3 months and I'm 2 dishes short of my resolution of 10 new dishes every year, I'm inviting your votes on what 2 things to cook next.

Being vegetarian is the only constraint.

Kindly leave your vote.

Thanks and Regards,
(Bordering on Nigella's talent AND well on her way to Nigella's size)
Ms. Tic

Edited to add based on comments: Dear lovely wonderful comment putters, note that I live in a kitchen where if i'm not careful I can get a ear detached from body due to many shelf like things jutting out from random walls.
Additionally, I do not own an oven, baking thingamajings, fondue serving equipment and such things.
What I DO have is a mixer, some non stick woks and a microwave oven. Also conventional gas.
Just letting you know so you can keep your vote ...err... actionable.

Lou to all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Project reconstruction commences....

It was the deeply insightful comment of an anonymous person on my last post that made me sit up and realize - not only was life truly turning shittier by the minute, I was being rather open about putting it all out there in a public forum.

Now I don't usually mind it, given this is MY space etc. But having come to see myself as a fairly happy person in the last 1 year and having enjoyed all of the new experiences that came my way - the travel, the cooking, the dramatics, the blogging etc, I realized that it would be a rather sad way to go if I let the crappiness of the current situation overwhelm me.

So although, I thought for about 2 days about shutting down the blog until whenever things get better, I have now decided I won't.

Instead I will keep you updated on Project Reconstruction aka taking things into my own hands and fixing every thing that has gone wrong recently. One by one. Even if it takes 3 months to accomplish.

Task 1: Move out of current residence into new one. Nicer place. Lovely room. Close to work. Has full time maid who cooks OMFG brilliantly. And a flatmate who is a good friend of the Penguin.

To be done by: 15th Nov.

Task 2: Get new tooth restored. Make the movie hall pay for expenses incurred. And come clean on the tooth story with my mother when I meet her in India next weekend.

To be done by: End Nov.

Task 3: Take care of health. Avoid cold drinks. Alcoholic or otherwise (I've spent the last 2 days nursing a brutal sinusitis attack after sleeping on 2 mojitos dunked in ice). Run 3 times a week. Get back to meditation. 2 times a week.

To be done by: End Nov. Once rhythm is established, try to incorporate into routine with minimal disruptions.

Task 4: Get proactive about fixing things unmentionable here. I know there's a way around this situation. I just need to stop sulking about the negatives and focus on the positives.

To be done by: End of year.

Task 5: Keep up anything that is good about life. Keep painting, blogging, cooking and not driving away the people who love me.

To be done: On ongoing basis.

There. Remind me of this if I whine again. I'm starting to hate what I'm turning into, so help me through this will ya?

Good week to you too.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Teething ...

This is to officially confirm that by Friday the 30th of October, I will have a swanky new tooth that will look just like its sisters and brothers (?!?!?!). Apparently unless I let someone really close, they can't tell the difference. As of now, that would be ALL people.

So. Hence. Therefore.


*Also this Dr. Leong's clinic has the most god awesome dentist. My root canal didn't hurt one bit. If you live in Singapore, this is THE dental clinic for you :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Enough is enough..

I've had it up to *here* with flatmate issues, really.

One has to leave brown muddy foot prints all over the bathroom floor while another has to insult me to my face on my birthday and walk away. One has to lecture me on how I'm being done a favor with the immense advantage my living arrangement provides while another has to do an unanticipated turnaround from close friend to cold foe in a matter of minutes.

And for all that people say about how *scary* I am, not once have I had the courage to stand up to one of them and tell them they were being unfair or unkind, curt without reason or just plain weird.

We're usually like that. The bitches that bark but can't bite.

We holler and make ourselves heard in every work forum. We earn the titles that suggest harshness, cut throat attitude and a lack of heart. We're easy to judge and *figure* out. We're the ones who react instantly. Who lack tact ever so often.

And yet we'll put up with all kinds of crap from the people who don't deserve to be put up with. Instead of asking them to shut up and take a hike, or to behave like a polite and decent human being, we'll meekly listen, assuming that being a pushover in this situation is making up for being a bitch otherwise.

And with that last curt, bordering on polite email from my flattie, I was done. We've recently figured out a way to convey our feelings to one another without getting emotional. It's called email. I tell her to keep the dishes cleaned and at the corner of the kitchen. She asks me to leave my shoes neatly stacked outside the house. It keeps the emotion out of what can become a stupid emotional fight between 2 women. I appreciate it. That and the fact that she doesn't ever hold a grudge. It's a contrast vs. anything I've faced earlier.

And yet today I reached official breaking point. Our last few emails stayed civil, and yet the insinuations kept piling on. Each time I told myself to put up with it coz it's just a matter of some months until I move out, and I kept feeling worse about being such a pushover.

But today, I wrote off a 3 page letter telling her exactly how I felt. About how, sorry but, she was just wrong about somethings. Without getting emotional about a single thing.

The Penguin was SO proud of it. We almost decided to put it up here for how well it was written :) and then decided maybe it was too mean to do that. So we didn't. But I read my letter like 10 times. And felt good with every single read. For how, once in my life, I'd actually stood up to someone outside work without chickening out.

(No one at work will ever understand this part of me that carries guilt so easily. So I don't expect any cheers from them. But close friends know how I'll live with being miserable coz of things said to me by people and yet not say anything until I've reached breaking point. So if you feel like going all "haha, you? chicken?" then you're just not one of those people)

For now, I just wanted to put it out here. Ms. Tic stood up for herself. And she's a proud girl for it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My maid stole the milk carton and more gah things from the week that was ...

As the earlier post alluded to, this has been one of the crappiest weeks ever. Physically, mentally and intellectually. Don't ask wise ass questions like "what's the difference". I'm pissed off enough as it is.

Most recent manifestation of a bad week was when I woke up this morning to find that the fresh milk carton I'd painstakingly stored in the fridge (tea with any other brand/ kind of milk tastes like custard chai. I don't know if you'll even get it. But it sucks.) had magically disappeared.

Now I KNOW I'd had that milk only starting Wednesday morning coz my tooth was sore until Tues morning, and I KNOW a carton lasts me a full 5 days esp. when my flat mate is away (she is. it made it easier to manage the kitchen this week what with not having to eat leftover sambar for 4 consecutive days in an attempt to finish it without waste).

My incredible powers of deduction hence lead me to believe (Gawd. I'm reminded of work by the way I wrote that and it's bringing on a new wave of GAHness. ARGH.) that the only person who could've accidentally (on purpose?) thrown away the milk carton is my maid who comes in once every 2 days.

And because of her stupidity, I had to gulp down 2 glasses of the only liquid there was at home - Cold Chocolate Milk. Although it might just help the cause of the very painful pimple that is appearing on my forehead, it did very little to soothe my pounding headache, the kind I've been waking up with throughout this week.

There's times that you question your own abilities, ask yourself pointless questions like "why did I have to be constructed this way?" and revisit all former assumptions about your own strengths and abilities simply based on how rarely they've manifested themselves recently.

Usually, these are times that one goes through for good reason, coz it leads to a nice kinda change post the baptism through fire. I'm sensing however, that this isn't one of those times. Simply put, I don't see an end in sight to the constant questioning of my abilities that I've begun to experience.

And everyone knows that's pretty much the bane of a smart person. (Yes. I do think I'm smart. No shame in being honest about it.) To get to that point where they feel like all they do is make mistakes or not live up to expectations, coz they're usually fueled by the *belief* that they are smart, and hence having to question that *belief* so often is just bad for their well being, often resulting in a vicious cycle of "I'm pathetic at everything I do".

I wish I could say I know how to fix this. But for now, I can only muster the energy to sigh about it. Maybe I'll get productively cracking on it soon.

Maybe I won't. Or Can't.


I have incredible respect for people who say very little. (Unless of course it's someone I'm dating coz my annoyance with the exclusion from their life starts to override any respect the thriftiness with words might have evoked.)

I have read frustration expressed (in many forms) over verbal diarrhea that people that subject others to. I used to be (not that I've completely ceased to yet) someone prone to talking a LOT as well. My 1st boss was a man who by his ingenious methods (read - develop impatient yet kind look on face when Ms. Tic starts pointless rambling) made me curb the evil evil habit. It's one of the many things I respect him most for - being able to change me in a way that didn't make me feel smaller and made me want to get better all at once.

And no matter what forum it is, I find that people are not only more drawn to listening to, but also take much much more seriously the words from the mouth of a person who is measured with delivering them. Sort of a less is more phenomenon.

Do you ever feel that? Esp. at work? That you respect the quieter people much more than the talkative ones? Do you?

I saw her again yesterday. At the bus stop. She got into a bus and we didn't make eye contact. We never do.

Ever since we had that fall out (which i haven't spoken about for what - 1.5 years now?) I've wondered if it's really possible to hate someone as much as she despises me.

Now I don't LOVE an awful many people. But I've rarely hated anyone with a vicious hatred that I've been at the receiving end of. In fact the only person I can think of having hated muchly is this guy in B school who had this constant lecherous look about him and it felt sick to even have to walk past him coz you could sense that he was mentally undressing you. But really, other than that it's doubtful I've hated someone so much.

You know the weird thing? Every bloody time I bump into her - at the coffee machine, at the elevator - and I attempt a smile, she looks straight through me as if I didn't exist. For all my alleged bravado, I've never once mustered the courage to ask her why.

And here's the thing. Every one of those times I go back home baffled and admittedly affected by her behavior and without fail, that very night, dream about making peace with her.

Every single time. About 4 times in all now.

I'd try to rationalize that maybe it's a sign that I should try, but instinct tells me even attempting it is stupid and pointless.

But then again, so weird to be affected so much by someone who doesn't even matter, just coz they dislike me.

I miss this stupid bird who has flown the nest from Singapore. When she was here, we'd have the coolest things lined up to do over weekends. Friday night cook ins. Wine. Movies at home. Bringing other friends over. Once a week I'd be gahed out by something and she'd make me dinner at home and we'd sit quietly and watch mindless TV. Weekends were filled with going to the library, eating out at nice places, going to the beach, even inane things like picking up Filmfare at Mustafa.

Sometimes we'd get sick of each other and just keep the distance until the next morning when we'd make the customary call to plan the day. We shared the kind of proximity that lets you discover exactly what you love and hate about each other. That leads to fights that make you question if you'd ever speak to the person normally ever again and yet makes you seek the solace of their company when all else seems to be going wrong.

She made life bright and sunny through a phase when I didn't know where life would go. Taught me how to smile through it all and crib my heart out for cathartic relief.

I want her back.

I'm flying out on work again next week and you know what my biggest fear is? That my fake tooth will break and fall off as I unsuspectingly chew on something crunchy forgetting that the corner incisor is indeed fake and temporary!!!

(How do you communicate something as stupid as this to the people you work with and NOT have them fall off their chairs laughing at you? )

I need someone to remind me constantly. That is of course, when I do eat the vegetarian food they will sparingly produce to oblige me. Gah.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Crap week. Crap week.

More tomorrow morning. Very sleepy now. But it's been such a crap week.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The house bunny

was my last ditch attempt to cheer myself up last evening. heh. as i entered and left the theatre i carefully kept my eyes on the ceiling thing that connects door to wall and guess what - It DIDNT snap and swing into my face!!!

The movie was AWFUL. But yay to facing one's fears!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

You know you're losing it when ...

Instead of thinking "Is this the right thing to do" you start wondering "Is this what's expected".

Also is it weird that I want to go see a movie in the hall near my place (not where the free tooth extraction happened) but am too scared coz I'm freaked out from my last movie going experience?

On second thoughts, perhaps some symmetry in the gaps in my teeth wouldn't hurt that much.
Ha ha indeed.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


You know how sometimes so many things about a day are absolutely peachy?

Like a nice relaxed lunch where you don't have to say much (except narrate stories of your broken tooth, perhaps)

Or 9 hours of sleep the night before. Uninterrupted by weird dreams.

Or getting to eat really good chocolate cake thanks to someone's birthday :D

Or even being able to browse through the supermarket at your own pace and pick out cool things to cook in the next few days. Sigh.

And yet there is that *something* that has inevitably set your day, week and month off to a bad start. And there's so little you know can do about it.

Except grin and bear it. And hope for sundry other things to distract.

Yes. Hope we shall.

Argh. The sore tooth was bearable, feels like.

Monday, October 06, 2008

She burns, breaks and bruises - The saga of a weekend well spent

I feel like I owe you guys this story after my unintended hibernation of the last week. So let me get straight to it!

Saturday morning: AR and I have fab plans to make Palak Paneer for the 1st time ever.

As the lovely Mogambo's lovelier friend from LA, the all American Sarah taught us, we planned to make it from 1st principle - read boil milk, curdle it, put weight on resultant matter in muslin cloth and cut into little cubes.

Post title would suggest that this encounter went horribly wrong, but rest assured, the paneer was unlike ANY I have ever eaten. And no, this isn't my richly textured sarcasm forcing itself out of the straitjacket I've imprisoned it in (another story, for a day when I have no better ones to tell. Today ain't one of them)

The gravy seemed to be taking shape quite nicely as well, and in a moment of sheer genius AR and yours truly concurred that the twist to Palak Paneer that sets it apart from ordinary (said with slightly condescending tone) gravies is that you grind up the mixture in the mixie AFTER it has cooked - you know, for the perfect taste and consistency.

This, if I may be allowed to gently bring to your notice, was the moment that my planetary alignments shifted a wee bit allowing the ever so purposeful Rahu/ Shani Inc. direct access to Ms. Tic's well being. The course of events that followed in the day are testament to their (Rahu/ Shani Inc's) weekend productivity.

As I carefully held down the mixer lid with deliberate pressure, knowing that the mixture inside was scalding hot, and turned the dial to ON, the lid decided to do a little jig of its own, defying gravity and jumping merrily into the air, splashing ALL 5'8" of me AND the kitchen around me with spinach gravy. Boiling, no less. Needless to say, my clothes saved me, esp. the fact that I'd decided to abandon shorts in light of having a male friend over, and was wearing pajamas instead.

My hands weren't half lucky and the nook of the elbows had it esp. bad. Thankfully, what felt like OMFG at the moment, calmed down after repeated applications of a pack of frozen peas and all I have to show now for the incident is a small brown black scar on my left elbow.

Not too shabby, except a glance around my kitchen at the moment made me wish I could dunk ALL of it in Ariel and leave it to clean itself. So AR manned cooking the mixture (most of it escaped unjumped from mixer) and added taste to it, while I cleaned through what can only be described as ingenious methods to get spinach stains off the weirdest nooks and crannies of my kitchen.

After declaring the output of a slightly cursed exercise fit for consumption, we proceed to excitedly lay the table when a nice big plate (ceramic, NOT unbreakable) decides to slip past my sharp watchful eye and lands on the floor with a thundering CRASH.

AR proceeded to clean this one up. Anyone would have, given my spinach infused self was sad enough to inspire sympathy in the stoniest of hearts. And AR has a good heart. Really. (He shares the cookies from his Subway meal with me ALL the time. What else is that if not a kind heart?)

Hopefully this will go down in the history of my insipid life as the most happening accident to happen to me. Hopefully. (Looks up meaningfully at the sky, with semblance of gentle nudge)

We head out for a movie, me and some family friends that I quite enjoy spending time with. To watch Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Seeing as I am a fan of Scarlett Johannsen and of Woody Allen's understated humor, it seemed like a must watch at the time.

When I look back at what followed, SO many IF's come to mind. IF we'd picked the movie hall they suggested, instead of my suggestion. IF I'd only held my restraint and sat quietly when the movie started. IF I'd only closed the door differently. IF is however, what some tacky fiction author rightly deemed - a 2 letter word for futility. *Pause for Dramatic Sigh*

Fine, I'll get on with telling you exactly what happened.

As the movie started (I will refrain from taking name of movie hall), it occurred to my light sensitive eyes that the door to the hall was still open. Given how full of initiative taking I am (boss and other important people at work, you ARE still reading, aren't you?) I marched up to the door to close it myself.

This is one of those air conditioned office type doors that have a speed control mechanism, that 2 part thingamajing that connects the door to the wall at the very top.

So as i proceed to shut the door, I hear a resounding SNAP and before I can figure out what just happened, I notice my tooth rolling onto the floor. A prelim check of my mouth with my hand suggests bleeding where the tooth struck my lower lip before gracefully slipping out onto the floor. One of the uncles I came to the hall with sees the commotion at the door and follows me, thankfully armed with a handkerchief (that later boasted of blood stains only an Ariel can clean) and we proceed to diagnose the problem with help from the theater staff and a first aid kit.

Bleeding stemmed, apparently what i was left with was a broken incisor that endowed upon me a very pirate like look when I smiled my camera smile (WHAT! Everyone has one! Doesn't mean I'm vain!) and cosmetic calamities apart, left the gum raw and open, making it ultra sensitive to even air. Over the next 2 days, of course, I realized food and drink would also set off the pain, and slow down what was seeming like good progress en route to putting on some weight by the time I see mum in October.

They of course, promised to pay for damages. Although, I'm not quite sure how to claim damages of the intangible kind. The fact that even with a temporary filling before we figure out whether this merits a root canal or straight away a crown, it sort of affects how much and what I can eat, and the time I'll have to take off from work to get the dental work done OR my time over weekends, as if that counts for any less.

I guess, all I can say is I'm glad it wasn't someone else, and it wasn't anything worse. The sight of the dangling contraption post the incident made us all realize how much worse it *could* have been. So I'm still saying my thanks that it was a tooth, and not an eye that me or anyone else lost.

Needless to say, the body has been recovering from the mild shock it was subjected to and I've been sleeping more than ever for the past 2 days. Will be back at work tomorrow, hopefully not too affected by the aircon.

Now, if anyone from my family is reading this, you do NOT tell amma this happened. I've requested aunty and uncle to keep this quiet and I'll be damned if I add Mom to the list of worried people.

Also, if I don't pick up the phone for long periods of time, it's cause I'm sleeping to recover from the exhaustion of the incident. Please do not worry (although I do love you extra cause you care enough to :-)) .

Couldn't have asked for a better comeback post no? :D