Date a Foodie !

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Date a foodie. Date a guy who has problems deciding where to eat because there are too many places on the top of his head. Date a guy who has a list of things he wants to eat before he dies. There is no trouble identifying him because he is the one who keeps saying “We just have to try out that new place”. He is the one who will make plans for breakfast over dinner.

When you travel with him, you will fall in love with the world all over again. If you ask him what to do in Italy, don’t be surprised when he says that he wants to try layers of biscuits soaked in coffee flavors with whipped cream and macerated strawberries. If you probe a little further, he will come down to your level and say that you can have a slice of pizza, a bowl of pasta, a delicious dessert and cup of frothy hot milk.Talk to him about the food that makes your heart beat a little faster. Tell him that you prefer to go back to a little bit of amma’s homemade food every day and you will see that his eyes lights up quickly.

Date a guy who travels the world to find the most delicious food, but also knows that nothing can come close to home. This is the guy who will tell you stories about tequila flavored sorbet or the “oh-so-delicious” Thai curry with jasmine flavored rice.

Nevertheless, he will tell you that there is no substitute for crispy dosas polished off with tangy chutneys and a cup of freshly brewed filter coffee. He will talk about experimenting with international food but also tell you that no meal is complete without a pinch of mango pickle.

Date a guy who loves to eat because he likes his girls the same way he likes his food. Real and humble. And that is why he will talk to you in depth about lemon rice in a lunch box and thayir sadam with chilly and coriander. You can’t fool him with fancy facades because he knows what matters the most are the simple and down to earth flavors.

It is easy to date a guy who loves to eat.  Give him the gift of experience. Take him out to a roadside stall that sells the best momos ever and share a plate. Actually, buy him his own plate.   Take him to the terrace on a rainy day and cuddle next to him with a cup of freshly brewed filter coffee and a plate of crispy pakoras.

It is easy to fall in love with someone who loves food. He knows that just like food, not always will a relationship be perfect. He understands that a relationship is like eating a well-balanced thaali and that everything sweet, sour and bitter are part of the package! He will surprise you a lot because he knows that there is so much joy in finding just another almond pistachio on your kulfi.

Date a guy who likes to eat because he is mature and intense. Like a falooda filled with surprises, a lusciously layered lasagna or a dhansak dal with secret ingredients these guys are an enigma and will never fail to amaze.Date him because he also makes life simple. There is no ego that mint chocolate chip can’t break, no misunderstanding that parmesan cheese can’t fix and no broken heart that masala dosa can’t mend.

He will never ask a girl “Are you actually going to finish that” or raise his eyebrows when you reach out for another slice of pizza. You don’t have to feel shy and mumble things like “I am starving” or “Oh! I skipped lunch today”. You can eat as much as you want, and he will never tell you that it is not lady like.  Instead, he will buy you another plate and watch you with unmatched admiration.

Date a guy who loves to eat because they add flavors to life. Date him because he knows how to live and love life. Date him because six-packs and washboard abs are overrated. Date a guy who loves to eat, because you deserve it. Or better yet, date a guy who cooks.

P.S – This Blog post has been inspired from those who wrote about Date a  Girl Who Reads/ Writes and this is my take on why one should date someone who is a foodie! 

If I Had a Daughter…

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If I had a daughter I would tell her only one thing about love. There is nothing ordinary about love. It is pure magic.The best of it cannot be explained with words.

She will meet a boy in school who will be much older than her. She will think that he is a Greek god with no flaws. As the first leaves of puberty flutter from the trees of life she will gape at him and wonder if he is “the one”. He will seldom spare her a second look, but a glimpse of his face would be enough inspiration to fill her books with poetry.  She will dream of exchanging wedding vows with him and for a girl who told her mother almost every painful detail of her life, this would be the first time she learns to keep a secret. He will eventually graduate and if she is lucky, he will probably get to know her name. If she is not, they will cross paths in a crowded street years later and she will look at him with same awe. He will walk past her not knowing that once upon a time he was the center of her universe. As a mother, you will find out about the pseudo-celebrity crush the first day she combs her hair for a little longer. The twinkle in your daughter’s eyes will keep you from warning her that she will never talk to her crush, let alone walk down the aisle with him.

She will grow up and cry her eyes out the first day she has to wear braces to school and decide that she is never going to have her first kiss.  Her biggest problem in life will be that unpleasant brat who makes fun of her. He will find fault with almost anything she does. The way she walks, the way she writes, the way she wears her hair and the way she smiles.  You will try to tell her that life will go on, but she won’t listen to you.  A day will come much later in life when she cries her eyes out and tells you that she prefers her ugly braces to a broken heart. And you will hug your little girl and wonder why you cannot protect her all the time.  Yet, you will let her make her own choices in life, just to see her eyes twinkle.

The day will soon come when she eagerly picks out her first lip gloss because all her friends wear it.  Suddenly nothing is too good for your baby. Her hair is frizzy, she is too fat and she cannot understand when her mother says that she is too young to shape her eyebrows.  No matter how many clothes she changes or ear-rings she tries on she will breathe a heave of “sigh”. You will smile and want to tell her that one day she will be a beautiful woman who will have way too many choices, but she won’t believe you anyway.

And then, the brat who made her childhood miserable will suddenly act all grown-up.He will tell her that her eyes are beautiful and that her smile lights up his life. She will fall in love with him. They will become inseparable and her friends will say that “he is the one”.  She will joke to you about meeting your future son-in-law. You will know that she is not joking because you can see her eyes twinkle, just like yours did many years ago and your heart will want to tell her that this is never going to happen.  You will want to stop your daughter from getting hurt, but you will keep quiet because nothing is worth destroying the twinkle in her eyes. Somewhere in between the hand-holdings and long walks, they will discover that life does not end with high school and realize that it in fact starts right there. And even when they go separate ways and never see each other again, she will fondly refer to him as her childhood sweetheart.  And what a good thing you kept quiet! Her eyes will twinkle every time she thinks of him and you will cherish that twinkle forever.

And then she will go to college and be in a hurry to grow up. “Take it slow” you will want to tell her, but that doesn’t matter.  She is not going to listen to you now.  Her dresses are either “too-short”, “too-flimsy” or “too-expensive”.  She will meet a boy who reminds her of the Greek god she had a crush on when she was a little girl. Except, this time, he will give her all the attention she wants. She will kiss him with passion and adore him. You will secretly know that he is not worth her first kiss, but you will keep quiet at the sight of her eyes twinkling.  One day she will cry her eyes out and tell you that she wants to be your little girl again. You will know that he probably cheated on her or left her, but you will know better than to ask her “What happened?” You will patiently wait for her sad eyes to twinkle again.

A few months later, she will start smiling again. She will bring a boy and casually tell you that he is her friend. Of course you know better! She will not praise him excessively neither will she talk about how extraordinary he is. She will just not be able to stop talking about him. She will make passing remarks about how he reminds her of dad. She won’t bother wearing make-up when she goes out with him. She will not feel embarrassed when she gobbles up an entire pizza with extra cheese and he laughs at her for being a glutton. She will wear her oldest pair of shorts and sit with him and have pointless arguments that go on for hours.  This is when you start panicking This is after all your clue to knowing that your little one is falling hard. You want to warn her to be careful, but you also want to cherish the twinkle in her eyes for a little longer and you keep quiet anyway.

You will find her thinking deeply once in a while and you will want to say “He is probably the one, don’t worry too much!”. But, you will keep quiet because you know that life can be uncertain.

She will act cool all the time you meet him, but you can see her eyes silently pleading as if they were saying “Please like him, mom”.  And one day, she will come to you, with a ring in her hand. You will try your best to act surprised. And you will succeed too. Because nothing is worth spoiling the twinkle in her eyes.

For all the times you decided to keep quiet because her eyes twinkled so much, you will tell her only one thing and hope that this advice keeps her going through life “There is nothing ordinary about love. Believe in magic each time!”

Lost Between The Pages!

A steaming hot cup of coffee, a book in my hand and my legs stretched out.  It feels like the whole world has stopped. The whole world has stopped so that I can escape into the pages and forget myself .

When I was a kid, I would never go out and play even if someone put a gun to my head much to the dismay of my father. Instead I would make a trip to the library and stack my room with books.

I would start reading and each book was my escape. I could almost climb into the book, into a different universe and cherish the characters emotions as if they were mine.

I would close my eyes and imagine what the characters would look like. I could picture English cottages with wild flowers.

Even today, when someone gives me a book I am excited to know what they got me.  I wonder if it would be an altogether new world or yet another copy of an old favorite!

It is difficult for a bookworm to point out and say that they like particular kinds of books.

There are these books that leave an air of melancholy around us and move us to tears.  We sob and wonder why the author had to be so cruel, so unfair and simply wish that we could somehow rewrite this book in our heads. We put these books down and say “I am never going to read a sad book again”. Anyone who reads will know that this is a promise we never keep.

There are these books which are so fascinating that we rush to complete them, to know what lies in the pages ahead, to somehow solve that mystery and breathe a sigh of relief. Sometimes we go back and re- read a few pages of these books to compensate for not devouring them completely.

And then, there are the books which I admire the most. The ones you put down and feel like the world around you has changed. There is a subtle shift in your perspective and you know that hundreds of pages ago, you were not the same person.

Some people tell me that people that it is “boring” to read a lot of books.  I smile and say nothing to them. Because if they don’t like to read, how will they understand that we don’t “just” read a book?

We don’t “just” read because we travel so far with our characters that we can put an avid traveler to shame. We don’t “just” read when we pick up a copy of A Thousand Splendid Suns or The Diary of A Young Girl, because we shiver in fear as we wonder what is in store on the next page.

As we caress through each page gently, it is not just a book. It is an experience.

We live in a world where even the most important messages can be shortened to 140 characters, but the romance of reading still keeps a lot of us alive.

We read. And we read because through reading we live several lives.

And, Life Happened!

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Just a year ago, for a few of us there were good things in store and for a few just unreasonable expectations to shoulder. It seemed improbable that we would be happy in a place that was not school.  Amidst waiting for my results, filling up application forms and moving forward with life there was still a part of me that was not sure about what was happening.

 It is unlikely that a year has rolled by so quickly and I am still not quite sure about what has happened. Of course, apart from a few dreams being mellowed by reality and understanding that college brochures are somewhat like our photo shopped profile pictures, nothing much has changed.

They say our maturity is always a step below the experiences we encounter. I remember walking into college on the first day thinking that this was the worst thing that was happening to me. Unless you are the lucky few who fell in love with college on the first day I am sure most of you thought that you were “too cool” for the college. Everything was new, seemed ridiculous and it felt like I was never going to get used to it.  And for the first time in my life I sat in a classroom filled with girls and I thought “my life is officially over!”

If you think I am going to tell you how my opinion about college changed completely after really exciting things happened to me, you are wrong. The truth is, college has eventually become a part of life. I realized that the things I worried so much about are no longer a priority. I have met my fair share of amazing friends at college who keep life going. A few months into college and you already know how to get around the policies and rules and if not you have a group of friends who will get into trouble with you! As time passes by we all eventually spot the silver lining. And your semester results will definitely help with the “too cool” attitude!

This is the time when people tell anybody who has given their board examinations that this exam is life defining. If success ratio was as sleek as the number of people who made it to great universities, the world would be a sad place to live in.  The only thing anybody in this phase has to remember is that you are running this race with yourself. There are no wrong answers. You just have to ask yourself the right questions!  

If everything goes as planned, then it’s time to celebrate and if everything doesn’t, just go on with life convincing yourself that the world will end this December. And who knows, by then things might get better and  you might agree with me when I say “Life Happened!”.

The meek lambs of Tamil cinema

An independent educated woman, Yamini, meets her date’s best friend, Karthik, who abuses her with derogatory words the first time he meets her. Despite all these abuses, Karthik and Yamini end up getting married because of the strong attraction that draws them to each other. In the first half of the movie, every woman in the movie is abused with belittling words accompanied by cheap songs that scream “Adi da avala, Odha da avala” (“Beat her, kick her”.)

In the second half of the movie, they seemingly glorify a “good woman”. A good woman in terms of the movie is one for whom a mangalsutra and kumkum on her forehead is accompanied by a complete attitude change. She puts up with her mentally disturbed husband providing him with love, food, and sex. Like any classic Tamil cinema heroine the side-dish for her husband’s booze is also promptly served ignoring the fact that psychiatric help is what he needs! She chooses to live with him and even have a kid with him despite having suffered a miscarriage because of his actions. That is Mayakkam Enna for you, a critically acclaimed box office hit in the Tamil Industry today.

 

I agree that fiction has no boundaries, and I am no judge as to whether the movie was good or bad. However, what is the definition of “good women” that Tamil cinema today is preaching to the society? Is it someone who bears the brunt of domestic violence

, stripped off her self-respect and continuing to serve her abusive husband in the name of”love”? Have we moved away from the ideology that love cannot exist without self-respect?
This is not the first Tamil movie I watched where gender violence 
is shown as a way of life. How many Tamil movies show a scene where the husband “corrects” his wife or his sister with a slap? On the contrary do we come across a movie where a wife corrects her husband with a slap?
Gone are the days when the word “hero” in Tamil cinema automatically brought to your mind a do-gooder with a pleasing personality. Of late, ‘rugged’ seems to be the trend as muddy, sweaty men who ruthlessly kill are portrayed as ‘heroes’. You no more need to seek justification to use violence. If you are a man who wants more money, you kill. If you want a girl, you can abuse her and her family to any extent. If you are a police officer, shooting down all the criminals is your style (with absolute disregard to laws and procedures).Today, Tamil movies seem to be telling us that violence is a tool which is at our personal disposal and can be used as and when we require to achieve whatever we want.

I was overcome with shock and disbelief as I watched a scene from a movie called Sivakasi. The hero, a local rogue, gives a lecture to the heroine about her dress in the most vulgar manner possible. He reasons with her saying that she is getting abused on the street because of the way she is dressed. Since when did our heroes transform into moral police correcting every woman?
Why are Tamil movies time and again emphasizing that if one shows a girl her place through the use of violence one is “man” enough? This trend is disturbing as it seems to tell the society that you can get a girl by proving that you are superior to her and masculine enough!

In a movie called Theeratha Villayatu Pillai, the hero ‘makes’ three women fall in love with him and chooses one! Like that is an act which is extremely moral, he lectures one of the women about culture and morality. At this point absurdity seems like an understatement to describe such movies.

The role of heroes in Tamil cinema has changed throughout the ages. Have you ever wondered what is happening to their lady loves? Women still continue to be meek lambs while dancing around with these men and yelling with fear and apprehension at the sight of blood.

It is however unfair to say that Tamil Cinema has always been biased against women. There are a few directors like K.Balachandar who have directed movies that show women in a positive light. Even today I yearn to see a movie where I can see a woman play a character like that of Simran’s in Kannathil Muthamittal or a Revathi in Marupadiyum.

The sad state today however is that heroines are mere eye candy, wearing skimpy clothes and dancing around in irrelevant sequences. Hardly do I see a strong woman character on screen who is not subjected to sympathy or violence from her male counterparts!

They say that the media is supposed to be a reflection of the society. The truth is many times the society becomes a mere reflection of the media. We can only hope that the film makers with this awareness make more responsible movies with quality and substance.

After all, fiction may not have boundaries, but who said feminism does not deserve a place in it?

The untold tale behind every book!

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I went to a book exhibition that had a few thousand second hand books stacked up in an old room. It was like a fairyland to anybody who loves books.I took a minute to take in the musty redolent smell of paper and ink that filled the room.

Have you ever walked into a second hand bookstore and touched the books that once belonged to someone else?

The feeling is quite unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

I picked up a copy of Pride and Prejudice from one of the dusty shelves. The book was rotting with old yellowish golden pages tattered here and there. There were squiggly pen marks which made it look like someone had done a lot of reading. Nostalgia!

I received my first copy of Pride and Prejudice from someone very close to my heart.

When I was 12 years old my English teacher made my class enact a part of Pride and Prejudice. As luck would have it she made this guy on whom I had a huge crush at that time read the part of Mr. Darcy. I crossed my fingers and waited for her to call out my name and my joy knew no bounds when she said i could be Elizabeth!

I remember silently thanking Austen for all those beautiful words that she had written because hearing my crush say all those things gave me butterflies. And because of this, I smile every time I see a copy of Pride and Prejudice.

And then I wondered, what was the story behind this copy of Pride and Prejudice that now lay in my hands?

My brother and I used to fight a lot till we both found our shared love for books. We used to read Enid Blyton and other fiction over a shared cup of lemonade and cookies (Yes! Just like the kids in her books!!) and ever since then he has been a protective brother right out of an Enid Blyton book.

Did each copy of Famous Five and Goosebumps that lay in that second hand book store have the pride of two siblings fighting over it?

This was the first time I brought home almost a hundred books that were previously owned by someone. More than the books, I was curious about their journey. How had these books reached my hands?

For the less imaginative the stains on the books and tearing of pages are natural occurrences over a period of time. For me, each book told me something about the person who had read it before me.

Was it a serious reader who tried to underline each word he didn’t understand and wrote down their meanings next to the word?

A hopeless teen who had bracketed every lovey-dovey quote in the book?

A fresh unused book that always lies on a busy man’s shelf hoping he would pick it up someday?

A dreamy young woman holding a copy of Mills and Boon and sighing about why men are never straight out of books?

The truth is as you hold a book in your hand like a little baby and flip through those pages with your fingers, not only something about you, but something about the book also changes. We gain perspective from books, but we also lose a part of ourselves to it.

We may live in an age of e-book readers and book reading applications but each good book I own is like a part of myself. I want to own books on which I can write in my squiggly handwriting. I want to cry over them, touch them and hug them. I want to hold them close wherever I go.

And then, who knows where they may end up one day?

Maybe they will tell my life story to someone who I would never get to know.