10 things we do on whatsapp

10 things we do on Whatsapp

I’ve been toying with the idea of this post for quite some time now. I wasn’t sure I could come up with a big enough list. I didn’t want to offend the Whatsapp folks I know of. But then I realized I’d exited most Whatsapp groups that I was part of. Also I don’t expect the serious Whatsapp-y folks to have enough patience or attention span to read this 900 word article. A video or meme may have stood out but not this one. So here goes. Let me know your experience with Whatsapp. I’d love to hear. HBD We never remembered birthdays and anniversaries of cousins, cousin’s wives, their kids, uncles and aunts. And rightfully we did not wish all these people either. Things seemed real. With Whatsapp when all these extended family members are cloistered together in a Whatsapp group just a tap away, every day is somebody’s birthday, somebody’s anniversary. The cousin’s wife or brother or sister gives the cue usually by changing the title of the group. Changing the title is the red carpet treatment of Whatsapp. Everybody else follows suit with their own “HBD” wishes. The more cake, balloon and confetti emojis you add, the greater your effort and therefore the heartier your wishes. Easy, quick and empty. Not wishing would make you a mean person. Vaguely texting a bunch of emojis would make you a vacuous but sensitive person. Choose.  There are the groups within groups. This is going to look like an analytical reasoning problem in CAT paper, but bear with me. There is a Whatsapp group (group 1) that has A, B, C, D and E. There is another group (group 2) that has just A, B and C. D and E don’t know about this group. Another group (group 3) has A, B, E and F. C and D don’t know about this group. A also talks to D one on one. A talks to everyone within the group and outside too. People need to keep track of the group overlaps when forwarding messages. You don’t want to send what was sent in group 1 to group 2 or group 3 because some of them have already seen it. You need to look up to see which group you’re texting in to make sure you’re not talking about D in the group that has D. Not easy. There are the office...
Chipotle style bowl

Chipotle inspired chicken bowl

I was walking to the T station in Boston, after Happy hour, feeling friendly with the world. I saw the people at the traffic light waiting to cross the road looking straight ahead, the old man in the wheelchair who seemed to be talking to everybody passing by, the office goers briskly walking by, joggers and tourists in hats. I was smiling, humming a Tamil song softly. Nobody seemed to know that I was new, that I wasn’t from here. I kind of fit in. “Chipotle, Hey Chipotle!” a young man called to me as he walked past me, laughing loudly. I turned to look if he was referring to someone else. He wasn’t. I felt my cheeks flush. I realized he meant to insult me but I didn’t understand. I liked Chipotle. Why was Chipotle funny or low? And I wasn’t Chipotle. I was idli, sambar, biryani, idiyappam, maanga oorukai, adhirasam, upma, full meals, molaga bajji!   “Who you? Sandwich? ” – I didn’t ask. I sat in the train wondering. Back home, people were more informed. They’d learn your caste, sub-caste, sect and division and then call you that – “ Iyer $%&*, mudaliar $%^#, &*@# Nadar …” This guy had mixed up entire countries. I realized that these guys didn’t know and didn’t care if I was Mexican or Indian or Pakistani or Egyptian. They knew they were white. Black and all shades of brown were lower. I checked myself in the train window. I thought I looked exotic among my fellow passengers – brown skin, long hair, kohl lined eyes, kurta and salwar. It could have been the alcohol. I plugged in my i-pod and chose the most Tamil song I could think of. I made a mental note to eat at Chipotle the next day. I made a Chipotle inspired rice bowl a couple of days back. This is to the guy who thought he insulted me by calling me “Chipotle”. I am not insulted.  It is super easy, if you skip most of the toppings you find at Chipotle. I dare say we loved the simple version. No Guacamole, no sour cream, no lettuce and no chips. If you have all of these, by all means pile them on. I had some leftover grilled chicken I cut up and sautéed with onions and spices. I cooked some basmati rice and made the simplest beans...

Eggplant Parmigiana

The whatsapp had been going off non-stop with first the news about Jayalalitha’s death and then about controversy theories about her death and then the cyclone. Amidst this mayhem there were these messages – “Yes Ma’am” “Yes Ma’am” “Sure Ma’am” “You are looking so beautiful Ma’am” “You are so sweet, Ma’am ” “Your handwriting is too good” “Please be safe Ma’am.” No, these were not students. These were mommies falling over each other in being sugary sweet to their kindergarten kid’s teacher. I cringed. But then I laughed. I remembered that Jagan by a strange twist of events was part of that mommy-teacher watsapp group and was witness to these exchanges. I imagined how these converstions would look juxtaposed with car mileage/gearbox debates, porn pictures and topic –less but expletive filled ribbing. As expected, he was traumatized by these mommy exchanges and asked me if women talk this way all the time. Poor guy. I suggested he take a combiflam and exit the group.   Mommies, really? Really? Do you really have to? I wanted to tell Yuvi that he was out on his tiny ass. Don’t expect sweet nothing texts from me – “Yes Ma’am, okay Ma’am, I love you Ma’am, I miss you Ma’am” because your number work is untidy, because I would like you to speak in the assembly. I know I am not setting it up for you to be the teacher’s favourite in school, the sweet mommy’s boy who teachers will remember from the top of their mind when it comes to choosing the house prefect, choosing the one to give the school address. I am not giving you a step up. I am not giving you privilege. I am sorry. I can’t bring myself to. I know how much I hated those teacher’s favourites in school. Plus I am simply un-equipped for being that sweet. I did not tell Yuvi as much. I suspect he may share it with his sweet, beautiful teacher with good handwriting. We were eating eggplant parmigiana for lunch, Yuvi and I. He slurped the pasta noodle in.  Do you like it? He made a sign with his hand to say it was. Spaghetti pasta in marinara sauce wasn’t one of his favourites. Really? “Yes, it is. Very nice, but little bit not nice.” I smiled. I realized he wasn’t going to be any better than me in lying. But...

Joint Family – Part 2 – Guide for Daughters-in-law

After my hugely successful first post on Joint Family, I’ve decided it’s time for another one on Joint family. Isn’t that the formula in cinema? Make a weak sequel to a decent film and hope that one promotes the other (Billa – original, 1,2). I live the joint-family life everyday (every-&*$@-day), so it’s only natural that the subject is close to my heart and I feel so much about it. This post will be an invaluable guide for girls on the threshold of marriage and a ready reference for dumb DILs (daughter-in-law) like me who learnt everything the hard way, the wrong way. It is the accumulated wisdom of generations of DILs in one place. 1.      Don’t ever ask the husband to put away his clothes, take the kid to the toilet or even get you a glass of water, at-least not in front of the MIL (mother-in-law). Mothers don’t take it lightly when wives come in and get their sons to do a little work after they’ve spent their whole lives training them to do nothing. The wife shalt not disturb the husbands operating the TV remote. 2.      It may be just a simple omelette or rava upma, but everything ought to be done their way. So whether you know how to make it or not, ask the mother-in-law to show you how. Believe me, they’re not looking for Masterchefs, they want Adimais (obedient slaves). All those ads that show the MIL in awe of the new wife’s cooking prowess is total bullshit. Sue those companies. 3.      You think only Infosys has an in-time/out-time record? Every MIL has the wake-up time/enters the kitchen time record. Waking up late is a cardinal sin in the joint-family setup. I am a serial offender. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the bench, if you can’t start anything without the MIL’s directions. Just be there on time and act helpless. 4.      However beautiful the saree may be, however much time you spent picking it, the MIL will 100% want to exchange the saree you so thoughtfully bought her as a gift. She may after going to the store, and inspecting every saree decide to buy something much uglier but she has chosen it, remember! So always take her to the store or if you still want to surprise her and humiliate yourself, keep the bill. 5.      Successful mothers-in-law rarely have a sense of...

Wife Vs Husband

It was our 5th wedding anniversary last Sunday. We spent our anniversary in Hyderabad where we’d gone for a dear friend’s wedding. We pretty much ate ourselves dizzy at Paradise in Hyderabad. It’s really a mammoth 3-storeyed biryani paradise that serves really excellent Hyderabadi Biryani.  On the eve of our 5th wedding anniversary, I think it’s only fitting that I write this wife Vs Husband special. Don’t worry – It’s not a lovey-dovey note to Jagan on what a great husband he’s been and how lucky I am and the likes. You know me. We’re not facebook couples (you know the ones who don’t say it to their husband/wife sitting right next to them, but post those syrupy things on facebook for everybody to see).  This post is anything but that. I am taking a dig at my husband’s beloved routines here. To balance it out I’ll also record some of my quirks that drives him up the wall.   1.      Is TV watching a basic qualification for being a husband? No wonder, the husbands have a TV put up in every room of the house (Joint family dynamics). He wakes up to “Just for laughs” and sleeps to the sounds of “Destroyed in seconds”. What’s even worse is we cannot watch the same TV channel. Car chases and huge airplanes going up in flames don’t interest me and he snores the minute I switch to TLC or MasterChef. The only programme that we both enjoy watching together is “Two and a half men”.   2.      We don’t even share the same temperature range. He turns the AC to the coldest level possible and happily snores away. As soon as he sleeps, I fish out the remote and switch it off. When it gets too warm, he wakes up and switches it back on. When it turns cold, I switch it off. On, Off, On, Off we go all night.   3.      What’s it with men and clothes? He is incapable of putting away his clothes. He won’t hang them, he won’t throw them in the laundry basket either. They’d lie on the floor or the chair and looking at them I can make out exactly where he stood, which direction he was facing while he was undressing. My most favourite part in Karate kid is when Jackie Chan makes Jaden Smith do the coat hanging routine – put on...

Joint Family

Happy Independence day to all of you! I don’t have an orange-white-green coloured food recipe yet and I don’t have a patriotic speech either. I am happy we’re independent; better to get under-paid, out-sourced work than having them here. And I am really glad for the holiday. Some time with family. You know how I go on about my joint-family in all my posts. I thought it’s time for a little piece on joint-families. Don’t have women living abroad fool you into thinking joint-family is a sweet, dream-like, people filled Hum apke Hain Kaun set. Liars! Living in a joint-family is messy, tough but convenient and fun (rare times) at times. Here are the top 10 things that happen in a joint family. You know you’re in a joint family when 1.      Your husband likes Fried rice, others don’t. Others like vegetable biryani but your husband doesn’t. So you make a compromise, you make Lemon rice which nobody really likes. And that my friends, is why they say “When life gives you lemons, make lemon rice”.   2.      Everybody watches Vijay TV Super singer but on their individual TVs in their own rooms.   3.      Everybody pools in, but nobody saves. You have multiple sets of everything – TVs, cars, newspapers, pickles and podis but never enough eggs.   4.      You never get to read the day’s newspaper.   5.      Family Dinner: There’s a huge dining table where Prakash-Raj sits at the head of the table and the whole family joins him around the table and they eat together. Never! You never eat together. And rarely at the table. You eat in batches in front of the TV, by the stove and sometimes at the table if it is visible under all that clutter.   6.      The 5th Cheese ball dilemma: You know when there are four of you (friends) at a restaurant, you’ve ordered cheese balls and the waiter brings 5 cheese balls, the 5th cheese ball sits there while everybody is being nice to the others. The 5th cheese ball phenomenon happens all the time in joint families. You’re always fishing for tiny dabbas (boxes) to shove that one gulab jamun and the 2 spoons of chutney into the fridge. Like the 80:20 rule, bottom of the pyramid and other seminal principles, the 5thcheese ball is my contribution to the theory of joint-family dynamics.   7.      Always ask...

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