Delicious World of Chefette Spicy

formerly Ladles and High Heels


A Year Full Of Wisdom-ish

As I contemplated what I could write about to add a little bit of dry humor to your day, I stumbled upon the title first. Some writers tell me that they make up a title before they decide on a topic but being the humble writer that I am, I have found that impossible… until now. After deciding whether it should be A or An, I moved on to what is going to be my second post this week.

So like I’ve been telling every single person who would stop and listen to me, it is going to be a landmark year in my wedded life soon: The Big One. Yes, though I basked in the glory of being a newly wed, I am kind of relieved, for what I call the year of surprises, is ending. As the calendar rolled, I learned a few tricks a person should learn about dealing with their other (obscure) half. I got pretty creative, no doubt, and used a few under-the-table tricks too but apart from the very disapproving housewife, I don’t see anyone else frowning on me. So here goes…

1. I have learned to be subtle. Blatantly telling a man what he needs to do only makes him as indignant as my dear dog Rover. If you layer it with reasoning and humor, he will see your point.

2. Never disclose your budget. If you spend even a cent more than you decided to, it will become his favorite family story for the years to come. How does he care if you can live healthier for a dollar more? Stealth: this is how.

3. Tell him he needs to shave and get a hair cut. Unless you are in love with the hilly-billy part of him, you need to emphasize on them, every month.

4. Don’t give up every time. Or don’t let him give up every time. He either thinks you are a doormat or selfish: two unattractive opinions for anyone to have on you.

5. Leave that saintly attitude out of the door. Really, this is not a church.

6. Make him read what you write, see what you paint and listen to what you create. Mine has the literary interest of an 8-year-old (he reads only Tinkle!) but I make sure he reads my blogs once in a while.

7. Deal with toilet seat issues. He leaves it up? Leave the seat and the cover down every time you go in. That will really reform him.

8. Get a detailed feedback about everything you cook. Chances are he will crib.Don’t bother, how else will you get better?

9. Make combined projects. We are making a random lamp together. It is fun!

10. Laugh. Hard. When we have a serious roadblock, we discuss it, look for a result or sit on it and later make a joke out of it. The problem doesn’t go away but it makes us feel it is not unsolvable. That easy!

PS: I broke my project rules by not publishing for two days. But I picked the most difficult week to go on it. I shall prevail!



Madras and Me…

When you live in the same town for twenty-five years, you cannot help but form an intimate deal with it. After all, this is your home, your solace and your comfort zone.  You would think that my bond with Madras is on the same line but let me point out the difference out to you, for our love goes beyond the length of Marina beach. It is here that I spent my childhood playing Pandi and it is in this city that I grew up, fell in love, found my dream-job and drank the best ever coffee in the whole world. Explaining my love for the city is an enormous quest that I have decided to go on today.

At school and college, while every kid took pride in naming some far-away small town or village as their “Native place”, I was never shy to announce that my hometown is Madras, this city, nothing fancy. I felt a pride, superiority even, to say I am from the city. The day I left Madras to venture into the unknown land of USA, the husband had a very nagging doubt: if I was upset because I was leaving my mother behind or because I was bidding good-bye to Madras.

The thing is, I don’t miss my city just because it is my home. I miss the relentless sun that makes us want to magically turn into fishes and swim into the Elliots, I miss the pollution that makes my face gritty everytime I zip by on my Scooty. I miss the city which has always been considered an underdog despite its rapid development. I used to love having a terrace to go to and feel the breeze swirling around me. I miss the loud transistors that play random numbers in the Potti Kadais and the convenience of stopping near random autos and asking the ever informative auto Karans for random routes.

Madras, though always in the middle of dirty politics (DMK-va, AIADMK-va?) and glitzy “Kollywood” movies, has always had time for me, a person into neither. Life in my city has always been easier. Signs of growing-up, some may say, but to me it is the charisma of Madras that does it. My bed is always warm there, I always find my way back home, no matter which obscure part of the city I am in, without a GPS. Heck, I even love the stereotype we Chennaiites are. I mean, we are very corrupt or very laid-back, hardworking, snooty or down-right brash. Nothing unique, I know but the Madras brand of the traits are really what I love.

They say that when you really want something, you should probably start counting the negative things you know about it. I have tried doing that. I think of my walks through Doraisamy Road while walking around the running track around a lake back here, I imagine I am traveling by the electric train when I travel the Metro here. I even conjure up the memory of the Chennai bubble-top water when I gulp down fresh water from the Brita here. You know what, I still prefer the Madras part of the experience. As for the mister’s question, I still haven’t found an answer.


H4 on my mind

Back home, we were living people, not just an alpha-numeric visa-code put together. We had lives, we had education and professions that kept us on our toes. We had dreams of feeling worthy all the time while keeping in sync with the social demands. Perhaps that’s what found us open to marriage and family duties. Not all of us seeked out NRI men from the USA but out of love, commitment and sometimes pressure, we signed up for the ride.

People back home judge us. They think it was our wild dream to live in the land of a million opportunities and we took the easy way out by getting married to a semi-Americanised, big brand wearing professional. Oh, they would be surprised when they toss the coin and notice the other side. As I said, we had a fulfilling life back at home and if we had had a choice to be married to the same man and live on in our motherland, we would have agreed to it only readily.

Instead, we have a H4 prefixed to our identity and spend our daytime surfing between Food Network and brushing off dust from the coffee table. We are far away from our indulgent parents and parents-in-law who are either waiting to dote on us or preparing to criticize us. And amidst all the transition, we wonder why our identities ditched us in the cold.

The climate is another thing. We hate the cold, we just try to convince ourselves that wearing a coat and slipping on those boots were our longtime dream. We fool ourselves into thinking that New Delhi is nearly as cold as Washington DC  in winter and that the eclectic cuisines are hard to come across in India. We put our country down ignorantly while we know somewhere in our sub-conscience that we do that only to make ourselves feel better.

We know our next generation has a beautiful future in India, that the country is developing. In fact, for some reason, that is the only thing on my mind when I try to toss a Rava Dosa on a flat Dosa Tawa (instead of the concave one I am used to back at home). Yet we hold on, for we are strong, we are married and we have wonderful men who come home to us every evening with stories about Mandys, Sallys and Peters. We may still be looking for our identity, scouring in search of that one soul who would have a big enough heart to give us at least an internship while we try our best to ignore the judgmental comments from our India-based friends.

We try to believe it is worth all the mental strain. If it is worth it…

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Where do we begin?

There is a small place in this big, wide world where Happily Everafters are made. From here, it travels in small doses through movies, shows and literature into a less-happy civilisation. In lighting fast speed, it injects feathery hopes and large, fluffy dreams into many a sugar-coated heart that think they were put on this earth to love, kiss and live together until the end of time. Before you cast me off into the cynical pit, let me confess. I am one among this fuzzy little crowd.
The general pattern among us merry people is all the same. We make lists, we cross off things we find and stow away the rest for the ‘next time’. And after a bit, the whole cycle repeats until we commit finally. Oh, what a commitment! It takes most of us a long time to realise that we have ended up together but at some point in out crazy lives, we do.
We are married and we have registered it on a piece of very legal looking paper. Now what? Where do we go from here? That’s another story!