Handbags & My Mom(s)

All she ever wanted to do was to go to work with a handbag. There was an association with confidence, respect in the society, etc. She asked her husband, “Ellarum handbag matindu velaiki pora. I’ll also go?” And he answered “Neeyum handbag matindu Kesavardini bus stop vara poitu va”.

It sounded funny then.


She started doing things that made her happy. Tailoring, selling sarees, making paper bags from home. She was a budding entrepreneur. But timing and her daughter didn’t let her proceed. The daughter needed her mom’s attention. Between a whiny daughter and a sick mother in law, paper bag dreams went out of the window. One would not blame the MIL. She never bothered to visit earlier. But the daughter, one might think, what a bitch would do that to her mother.

I was one.

May be if she had channelled her energy earlier, my mom would have made a great designer, a photographer, an entrepreneur? Truth hit me when I was in college and a friend of mine introduced her mom as the Vice President of a huge MNC. I was awestruck. I wanted to become that lady when I grew up. And realised, my mom would have been one too.

But her obsession for handbags never ended. She still picks up a few when she visits Pondy Bazaar!

Fortunately, I know another woman who shares the same dreams (and love for handbags). She never ended up an entrepreneur either. A bold lady from a small town.

“Happy Friendship Day” she said. I was busy texting a few others the same thing. Turned to look at her, with a mixed feeling. It would have been the first time in Indian history that a Mother-In-law wishes a daughter-in-law for Friendships day. I smiled and hugged her. May be that’s all she wanted to be. Good friends.

Lucky to have two great women guiding me through ups and downs. While one mourns with me the other says, “Oh I went through the same thing too!” that puts a smile on the face.

Both of them have survived the typical mother in laws, husband’s mood swings and kid’s tortures.

I tried associating these thoughts with PMS guilt rides. But this is beyond hormones. Happy 2018 to me and everyone who is reading this.


Hence Betrothed!

Not wanting to bombard a lot of walls on FB, I am writing this blog on the one day most girls feel elated to be joining hands (well, almost) with the love of their life.

31st August’14


I watered the plants and checked the colour of my Mehandi. It was a little disappointing for it wasn’t the red I expected. The fun and frolic with the RAMAN gang the previous day was way too much to have paid attention to this. My parents along with my grandMom were beaming and glowing. I, on the other hand, felt nothing.


“Drag me to Hell” was playing on TV. I was so engrossed in the old lady and “LA-MIAA” that I didn’t wanna get ready. My grandMom’s behind was hiding half of the TV as she was doing her Jabam. What’s the point in having a 32inch TV when I can see just 10 Inches, I wondered. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to watch the climax but all that my mom was concerned about was the colour of the bananas. They were a wee bit black. Fans do that to fruits. But nobody cared. She wanted to buy new ones. I thanked her attention to detail, in the later part of the day.


With my hair done, I was waiting for the rest of RAMAN to arrive. As they did, I wore the saree and started to put on make up. That was when I realised, the make up reacted with my skin and let out more sweat. “The make up will blend d” one of them said. It looked like I rolled on flour. There was no time to alter anything. The photo clicks began. Nexus 5, Moto G, Sony Digi cam and iPad captured our beautiful faces. And the van honked. It was time. Still no feeling.


I expected a tempo traveller. I saw an old Mahindra van approach. It meant more sweat. I recalled a line from Mary Higgins Clark- “Men and Horses sweat, Women glow” and smiled to myself. The van journey was interesting for I watched my aunt evaluate my girlfriends for the vacant daughter-in-law position.


A huge crowd was waiting to receive us. May be because I was bitten by a dog, I get very difficult to handle when I see a lot of people and above all that, there was approx. 100 pairs of eyeballs on me. Again, more sweat. And my Bindi fell off. Some philanthropic aunt offered hers and I stepped in. The Aarthi was taken. Fear kicked in. My eyes met his for some support. He was shitting in his Veshti (he wasn’t wearing pants).


Vedams were chanted. I found myself a place to sit and that was on his house’s showcase. Classy and comfortable it was. Fear had faded away. That’s when hell broke loose. My betrothal saree’s blouse was at home. We had left the whole bag behind. I didn’t mind wearing a non matching one. After all, photos and people commenting on my blouse was the least of my worries. But if a black banana gets so much importance, imagine the blouse. A team of uncles with a car was sent back to collect the blouse.


Namaskaram panindu sit down, the Iyer said. He had grown cute over the years, I thought. I had seen him as a kid. The love of my life was wearing the FabIndia red kurta. He seemed less handsome than the day he had tried it on. May be cos of the garland around his neck and a battery of bare-chested Iyers. In a way he resembled a scape goat. Since there was no ring exchange, there was no chance of “a second longer than necessary”. Even eye contact was being watched.

Now that’s a traditional betrothal.


I boarded the same van and it felt nothing different. All credits to the RAMAN gang, the black banana and the left behind blouse. If there was supposed to be a feeling of elation, euphoria and fear, I had nothing.

May be it was a blind confidence on that cute smile of his.


Hence Betrothed!

The 1

“What’s your bike’s cc?” were the first few words I spoke to him. It was one way of bragging “I ride a gear bike too, you know?” and he understood. I didn’t listen to what he said for my mind was busy processing his image, side by side preparing the next few questions to ask. We worked for the same company and one fine morning, I saw him at the parking lot. My heart was jumping in joy for I was going to keep my bike next to his. Being pathetic at math, I couldn’t recollect his number plate. There was 8 and 6. But his image along with the bike got plastered inside my head. His strong jaw, always-2-day beard (classic Mallu style), his long legs and perfect ass; Ha, what more would I’ve asked for. Impeccable eye contact, slight lisp, loud laugh, light attitude and cute smile were the icing on this cake. Have I really found the one, I wondered. And the rounds began.

Marriage is every girl’s dream and nightmare. May be because it is so confusing, some girls start the selection process from childhood. As a firm believer of *Footwear and husband are the most difficult and important decisions for a girl*, I started with the guy I played *doctor-doctor* and *teacher-student* with. He lost points after he grew permanent teeth.  Also because I joined a cooler school where I met my childhood sweetheart. It lasted longer than I thought for the guy got cuter each year! I changed school again, thanks to the RAMAN gang. Everyday cycle rides were combined with Hanuman Chaalisa on the lips and a silent prayer to accidentally run into him. And I did, 8 years later, just to learn he had moved on to an high school sweetheart.

Every guy went through this rigorous evaluation process in my head which was more complicated than Google’s. There was just seeing, seriously seeing, just talking, friends, good friends and close friends. Or, it took a diversion from talking to flirting, going out, dating, relationship and serious relationship.

Generally, moms play a major role in this process. They read minds and voice their opinions out loud. You follow a guy with your eyeballs till your sight can reach and she knows. Even the slightest of the smiles you try to hide on hearing his name, leads to an hour long questioning. And by chance your opinions on the guy don’t match, hell breaks loose. Mine was no exception.

Yet, somehow, this guy slid through all the rounds with ease. Influencers (read: Parents) were convinced and the buck stopped with the RAMAN gang. “Machi, please marry him”, they said. And I am.

Except for the increase in the Malayalam accent in Tamil and English, one year has gone by without boredom and regrets. I really had found The 1.

Happy first year to me.

Jigardhanda- Best served cold

“Machi it is good it seems d” was how it started. Friendship day meeting had Jigardhanda as one of the topic of discussion. It made me recollect all the retweets by Siddharth on my wall. To justify the hype, RAMAN gang made the plan. As usual, 2/5 were busy and I, after an exhausting previous day needed a break. There were more retweets. Impossible to resist the pressure, I made a call to Inox, Virugambakkam.

I rushed from work and two VIPs (abbreviation of the recent Dhanush movie) reached much before. We had top row seats and felt blessed. Siddharth’s half shaven head appeared. None of us had any expectations from the movie. Camera turned to his face. We showed no reaction. Popcorn and Pepsi came by and so did the villain.

That was the first time after long, the hand to mouth coordination missed. Popcorn lost its taste. All of us fell for the well bearded Simha. (Ha, How ideally named!) And the hooting began. Demonstrations of his ruthlessness proceeded to the interval and the 3 of us looked at each other with an “Aiyo, NO” look on our faces. We didn’t need more popcorn. We wanted the movie to resume, and it did.

Except for flicking ideas from Lakshmi Menon to punish our boyfriends, we had no other discussions. We didn’t realise the length of the movie till our phones started ringing one after the other. All our parents informed us of the heavy rain outside, we didn’t care. They called again to ask if we were even coming home, we wanted to throw our phones away. And the movie came to an end. It was surprising to see there were no bloopers playing along with credits. May be our moms jinxed it, I thought.

“Write about it d, with your English knowledge” she said from behind, while I was riding the bike in the rain. Good movie, rain and mom’s yelling is a terrific combo. Pissed off moms are more dangerous than ruthless Simhas. They don’t have knives and cycle chains but words and sharp voices. Yet, RAMAN plans still continue..

When is *Kadhai, Thiraikadhai, Vasanam, Eyakkam* releasing?

Vadacurry, wish I had known how to whistle

Too late for a movie review I know. This might not even appear on Google, like I care. A hectic Saturday it was and the R of RAMAN gang confirmed the plan. Coming to what RAMAN is- it is a group of 5 girls who have had tough times going out with boys. They either get an outright “No, I do not have time for love” or “My daddy will commit suicide.” Its inception was in 2004 and has been going strong ever since (Silently touching wood).

That day it was just the 3 of us. One was coming from T Nagar straight to the movie, and the two of us had decided to take the share auto. We walked down the infamous Gandhi Road (the street where we run into a lot of our common past, present and future crushes) and reached the bus stop. None of the share autos had space for two. We continued waiting. “Mukesh will save us,” she said. The anti-smoking ads are really for a cause I thought. By then the clouds had gone heavy, and it started raining. So much that no one would’ve known even if we had peed in our pants. Finally, we got into a share auto and reached Kamala theatre. Rs.90 tickets are always  an attraction. We entered the theatre, drenched and walked into the cinema.

“Machi enga da iruka” RJ Balaji said. I wanted to whistle right then. The guy is the manifestation of a typical witty Madras boy- a combination that is hard to find except on Twitter. We settled down as the movie continued. Jai bought a Korean phone, and Sunny Leonne appeared on screen. The video was so disappointing that I wanted to go out and get popcorn for the aunties and uncles beside me. It dragged at a few places where Jai’s Korean phone was being trolled. One or two instances were fine. But it just would never end. And then came the iPhone. Now we understood why the apple shaped bitten slate.

Ah! The bitten apple

That was when a phone started ringing. None of us knew where it was coming from. We thought it was a background score, it wasn’t. I asked the aunty and uncle if their phone was ringing, and they checked too. And then we came to know it was my friend’s. There was no light and it wasn’t an alarm. The phone was locked. But it screamed “TTRINNNNNGGG.” For a second, I thought RJ Balaji was gonna slap her from the screen. We switched it off pressing the button as hard as we could. It was no Korean set but was equally annoying.

We forgot about it and moved on. More popcorn came by. And then RJ Balaji was kidnapped. Everything he spoke was a delight. As Jai went on solving the mystery, we prayed that this guy should be held captive a little longer. The movie came to an end with his exchanging numbers with the kidnappers.

We yapped a little longer, outside the cinema, ate at Krishna Sweets, made plans for Velaila Patta Dhaari and parted. Wish I learn to whistle at least before VIP releases.

P.S: The relationship between my whistling capability and Vadacurry  is the same as the movie’s name and its story.

Flop Trip #1 Nandi Hills

“We should have started early”, he said after we had come half way from Murugeshpalaya. We were excited to use Google maps for the first time on a trip (we always believed in asking humans for routes). Of course the annoying GPS lady was constantly telling us what to do and eventually she was wrong. She was leading us to Hyderabad. We went back to humans for help and reached a place.

We had ridden 78 kms on a bike and took a left, with a lot of expectations. Our eyes craved for greenery around, for images all over the internet showed so. It should’ve been shot up-hill we told ourselves and rode ahead. Foot-hill arrived, without any sign of “ahaa” sceneries. 40 hair-pin bends it said. Our minds drifted off to small streams oozing out of the rocks and us drinking water from there. Truth hit us like a truck. We started riding up-hill and it was like riding up to a parking lot in a mall.

“Alcohol prohibited” a board read on our way up. We didn’t know why till we reached the top. We parked the bike and went to see Tippu’s drop- the spot from which Tippu Sultan pushes the prisoners off the hill. I wish I had pushed Tippu off of there for choosing such a spot. And then there was a suicide spot (status quo). Well, it really is. When there are monkeys all around you waiting to grab anything that you have, you would want to jump off the hill. But then, you can’t do that too, for it is a cage!

There is a temple close to the cage but the ground gets very hot to walk without footwear. Silver lining: Dosa camp- Dosas at reasonable rates. You starve all through your ride till here, this is one good place to have something decent. Coming back to alcohol.. Oh yeah! No BYOB. KSTDC sells beer here. If you have absolutely nothing to do one weekend and would like to go on a long tiring ride/drive, this place is the ultimate choice. 

We grimly struck out *Nandi Hills* from our “Places to visit from Bangalore” list. After all, shit happens..

She’s not wearing the right Bra!

Just like every marketer does, I am burning all the oils to post this right before *Women’s day* . It fits! Read along…

Every woman’s plight of choosing the Right one begins with lingerie shopping. I call it “Hunting” though. Of course, a million adjustments follow through even after making the right choice.

It started with his saying, “Your cherries are standing ‘Ting!'”. That could have earned any guy a tight slap but it didn’t. After all, it wasn’t the right bra. Irrespective of however *blessed* women are, we deal with the same issue with regards to our mammaries. Whether it is unintentional cleavage visibility, spillage, lines, or straps peeping out of the clothes there’s just one comment we women make “she’s not wearing the right bra!”. True, there are women empowerment groups that go on about being confident of what a woman wears, it is independence etc. But why wear a wrong one? And yes, there is a connection to her confidence, she has to get the right one.

Irrespective of the eye for fashion and financial stability today’s women have, they still go wrong. With the recent increase in awareness of breast cancer, number of mammograms done have gone up, but how many women have paid attention to uncomfortableness (if that word exists in English language)? How many times have we come across the ‘ting’ and not done anything about it? How many times have we realised it affects the posture? Why is it so difficult to understand there are brands out there at would fit (the pockets too)?  The online stores do a good job, provided one knows what she is looking for.

As a person with higher chances of this same disease, this is a request to every woman out there. You see something’s wrong and you know you can correct it, wherever you are- a mall, at the loo, parks, just go ahead and say it. She sure won’t get you wrong.

It is probably misleading for Fortune India to say Bigdata scientist is the sexiest job of the century. Try lingerie consulting.

Happy Women’s day.

Go Gokarna!

How Gokarna:

It was a result of brain rot. Bored of getting bored, I was in desperate need of change. It was late January. Bearing February last weekend in mind, my first choice was Jog falls, Karnataka. One call to the Karnataka Holiday’s manager at Jog falls and I learnt there was no water there. The ultimate saviour Google, told me Rajasthan, beaches and historic places were best to visit in Feb. Wondering why none of the “travel planners” suggest these things, I started listing out places. There was too little time. Goa and historic places were clearly out of question- they seemed blah. The blessed soul I call a companion came to play, “lets go Gokarna” he said and it began. We zeroed in on Valentine’s weekend.

Pictures of beaches and rocks did seem attractive, but for a Chennaite, it was nothing new. Battling the thoughts, I started reading up more and realised it was not a place to go with friends. The stay got arranged by dropping a mail to “Namaste Cafe” in Om beach (a resort on the beach). Not a lot of places there have this facility. They don’t even have listed phone numbers. You go and you check yourself in. The tariff is pretty low too- you get shacks for 150 bucks a day. Is it the “affordable” Goa, I wondered. Didn’t know it was way better till I saw it myself. Tickets got booked (trains of course, were full. So were the buses!) and luckily a bus from Bangalore had just 2 seats left. Now that’s a sign, I told myself. Always wanted to know how many days would a place need to be covered completely. Mr. Govind of Namaste Cafe was gentle enough to tell us, how many ever days we stayed, we could cover the whole of Gokarna in one day. We didn’t understand what he meant till we actually visited the place. That’s the kind of info people look for at times, which again a lot of travel planners don’t give. Brushing all that aside, just like every other traveller, I was thrilled.


Why Gokarna:

Not a lot of times does a place actually call out for you. This one does. The way to Gokarna from Bangalore gives one a “Kerala” feeling. “GoKarna” means “cow’s ear” Wikipedia says. It sure is one hell of a beautiful ear. Covered with palm and coconut trees, surrounded by hills it is hard to believe there is any beach close by. They don’t show up till you start climbing one of the hills. Also,  legend says, the whole route is guarded by a “wicked witch”. Kudos to her, she is doing a great job!

The bus drops you at Gokarna bus stand which is pretty close to Mahabaleshwar temple. The auto rates are standard- 150 bucks to the other end of the town, Period. The beaches loom in as the auto takes a sharp turn. ‘How on earth is this hiding here’, is the feeling. It is impossible to know Namaste Cafe is on the shore of the beach till one reaches the restaurant. We had booked a cottage (with attached bathrooms. There are rooms without too in which case the rates are lesser). The place is well maintained, clean and peaceful. The day began with a long drive to Murudeshwara temple.

Lord Murudeshwara Temple

Lord Murudeshwara Temple

Murudeshwara is another temple by the shore one should visit before 11 in the morning. Once the sun comes out, the place heats up and it is impossible to walk without footwear. Situated 85kms from the town one could get there by a cab (again, can be arranged by the hotels/ shacks you stay in). The drive is just OK. But the caves which hold the statues explaining the story of Gokarna is absolutely brilliant. The story gets narrated in the background (in Kannada) but the depictions are clear enough to understand. The temple tower has elevators that take tourists up.

The temple tower

The temple tower

A weekend with Nature, well spent:

A day well spent would be watching the sunrise from Om and  the sunset from Kudle Beach is what the people at Gokarna say. Wherever you stay, you go up and down a hill, you reach the next beach- that’s probably what Mr. Govind had meant. The path looks like it was laid by running water, as it drains down into the sea. The scintillating trek ends at the sands of Kudle beach. It is clean and the waves are not harsh like the ones in Chennai. It feels like Arabian sea is caressing you every time there is a tide. Plus, the sand doesn’t stick to your skin. Do lay on the sand beneath the moonlight wherever it is that you stay (accompanied by Beer adds to the experience). The best part is, when you retire to your room and switch the fans off, you could hear the tides and realise they do not have a pattern. The other two beaches- Paradise and Half moon could be visited by boats from Om- which also offers Katamaran, speed boat rides etc.

Kudle Beach

Kudle beach.. The smooth waves

Kudle beach.. The smooth waves

While Kudle and Om beach show one perspective, Gokarna beach changes it completely. There is hustle of the temple town, traffic (just the autos and cycles) and yeah! Shopping. Cotton Harem pants are a *must buy*. Only after you wear one there, would the trip be complete. A whole street filled with cotton stuff- bags, pouches, and all that’s necessary for the stay are available. Not having had spent any money throughout the walk, you would be tempted to buy the graphic tees.

Om beach

Om beach

Contrary to popular belief, sunset from Om beach is incomparable. “Climbing on the rocks is prohibited” a board says, but as long as you know you would be careful, climb up and you won’t regret. The sun goes down, not reflecting at all on water (you would want to blow a kiss to the mighty SUN as He retires). There is peace and tranquility all over the place and it’s pretty infectious that it embraces you real tight. There is a wholesomeness when the trip ends. You would have trekked as much, been spiritually touched and had fun along the beaches. We were lucky to watch the moon see us off that night (It was a full moon night) as the bus left the town.

Sunset from Om beach

All buses from Bangalore come in the morning and leave in the evening. Plan your rest of the journey accordingly for these buses are not famous for punctuality. Have a grace time of 3 hours to board the next train/bus/flight comfortably.

If you have had a hectic week, you can take half a day off to catch a train to Bangalore and you need an awesome weekend, start planning for December. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you, but this time you wanna forget who you are, Go Gokarna!