Living without BOYS

In a decade, I haven’t been alone. And I mean ALL ALONE. Four cups of coffee down and I feel like a new me.

I just realised the toilet seat can stay down 24 hours now. There’s no aimless yellow sprinkling all over the toilet.

I just realised I can wake up anytime, sleep anytime and eat anytime. I am not a mother, I am not a wife. I am ME. I can stand on my feet without anyone’s help. I am still hurting. A LOT. An unpardonable sin was committed and I will perhaps never forgive the sinner. But I came out stronger.

A 79 year old man, a lonely homosexual woman, friends from far away in time and space helped me. There is still hope in the world. People are nice when you are nice to them. For the first time ever, I believe!

Thank You all for your support and kind words. Strangers, but not so strange. And women out there, it REALLY us that have the power. Patriarchal society, my ass. We make them from scratch inside our bodies with just a drop from anyone. 😜 We are smart, that’s why we put our feet up and get pedicures while the “patriarchal head” brings home the bacon.


Food Talks and BS walks

The other day I was watching Anna Faris getting all riled up about a plate of risotto. She said, not verbatim, that it was a pile of gooey rice and the “Food Nazis” are going to judge that glop. In another show, I saw Aziz Ansari Instagramming pictures of food while Adam Scott, Nick Offerman and Robe Lowe ate on. In yet another show, I heard Kaitlin Olson say, “I am just going to be one of those douches who takes food pictures”

Rings a bell, anyone? I am one of those incessant food picture taker. In my defense, I have taken other kinda pictures too. Food pictures started happening as this whole brigade of Food Nazis and critiques and Masterchef and Facebook and Instagram phenomenon happened. My family still gets irked by the picture taking. Why, just today, a Peking Duck sat on the plate and I was taking pictures. My husband asked, “What do you get out of this?” And I had a very dumb, unprofound answer to that, “Instant gratification”. What am I going to do with instant gratification? Stew it and eat it?

Seriously, what is the need of being a Food Nazi? It’s food. Everyone eats. It’s as banal as breathing. Is there a “Scrumptious Air Buffet” available? (Although I am sure it will be in the future) Chefs are tarnished, restaurants are blamed, there’s name calling over paltry reasons like why your hash browns are not as good as mine. Then there’s the wizardry of weaving words about food. “Holy Basil from the Indian subcontinent infused in free range, locally sourced lamb, which was carved by our master knife-ninja, and cooked for 38 hours on a low flame, lightly basting with zatar and matcha extracts and virgin peanut oil with a side of organic plum tomatoes injected with wild jalapeños and stuffed with shredded mozzarella made from a farm grazing buffalo milk which was milked after the calf was full” That’s just one dish. The critics on Yelp and Facebook and wherever would elaborate it even further by dragging back two generations of the buffalo and lamb and the earthworms that fertilised the tomatoes. Admittedly, some describe food in a most tantalising way, and if you notice, these are the ones that put it simply.

The two most memorable food writings for me have to be Enid Blyton’s and Yann Martel’s. Enid describes toffees and tarts, just like they should be described: sweetly and with a childish delight. Yann Martel, on the other hand, talks about Idli: the South Indian steamed rice and lentil cake. A very simple food that is made almost every morning by the protagonist’s mother who has just tragically died. There is no nonsense around these writings and yet they live on.

My finest dining experience of all the multitude of meals I have had are easily boiled down to two. One, back in 2008, on my birthday, I decided to trek the Himalayas. After eight gruelling hours of witnessing an avalanche unfold, getting stung by unknown thorns and crossing rivers without help, I was so tired, I could’ve just slept on the ground. A local mountain lady, who did not even have a bathroom in her house, cooked me a cauliflower and pierogi stew, and hands down, that is the best food I have eaten till date.

The other one was in 2013, when I was pregnant and could not eat anything except ice cubes. 🙄 I was prescribed medication to keep food down and something that would stimulate appetite. I was at work and we ordered takeaway. And by jove, when the food arrived, I was on it, like a vicious scavenger. It was just a bunch of sandwiches and some Indian fare, but I remember having tears in my eyes while eating, I was so happy.

Both these instances simply point to one theory: When you are hungry, EVERYTHING tastes good. It’s a plain and simple truth. All these “foodies” (don’t get me started on that term) mushrooming up everywhere claiming their unparalleled love for food.. well, let’s just say, I need a baseball bat to deal with them. The constant Instagramming and Snapchatting and Facebooking and Yelping and the orgasmic ooooohs and aaaaahs; bulimic baboons, really. “Eat with your eyes”, they say. What the fudge! “Presentation is important”. I say, “What for?”. It’s food, take it or stay hungry. And those super-effing-annoying minuscule portions in oversized plates. I absolutely detest that. The goop in there looks so delicate and photoshopped, you wouldn’t want to disturb it. You can gobble it in one go and that’s it, meal over! The next day, it’s going to turn to poop and smell like poop.

The whole molecular gastronomy has left me speechless. There’s liquid Nitrogen and deconstruction and reconstruction and flames and smoke and mist and magic. Its like the Cirque du Soleil of food. Honestly, I get lost in that Tantric deviation. It’s okay to do it for TV, but do we really need the theatrics when we are hungry? All celebrity chefs, big or small, will tell you at the end of the day, that their favourite dish is something their moms or wives or grandmas or dads cooked on Sundays. Why? Because, in the end, food is as pedestrian and as essential as sleeping. A bed and a pillow is all you need.

By the by, I am also guilty of embellishing my food stories and constantly taking pictures of what I ate. Yes, I am one of those. And let me tell you, it’s stupid, fucking, daft. I mean, just eat, man!

Pregnancy is a magical time, my a**!

I was just turning 30, and for long, I had decided I’d go wild on my 30th. The wildest my pocket could afford was Thailand. I was exhilarated, to walk on the same sands that Leonardo DiCaprio did, to get in trouble the same way Bradley Cooper did and to visit the Roger Moored limestone cliff. Yes, I was going to Thailand to celebrate my 30th. Instead, I got a home-pregnancy test which proclaimed I was pregnant. And with those two pink lines showing up, I regurgitated. I suddenly started feeling tired and restless and oh-so-hormonal. I cried and cried and called up my husband, who, knowing me, said, “Do not panic, we will talk about it.” TALK ABOUT IT!? Did he mean, Thailand, or the pregnancy? At that thought, I again projectile-vomited the breakfast and probably dinner from the previous night. There ended my fantasy trip to Thailand.

When my husband returned home, he had already gotten me things I detested whole-heartedly- fruit, protein bars, protein biscuits, a rainbow of vegetables, dairy of all sorts – he already wanted a plump chump. I could tell he was excited and I wasn’t. How can one be excited when one has been retching all day like a cat swallowed a hairball? All I could keep in my mouth were ice cubes. So, we talked in between me gagging and gasping for air, and him instructing me to eat well, exercise and all the things those books say to do. In my mind, I saw red. The first appointment with the OB-GYN was an eye-opener. I was supposed to swallow a sea of pills, not the fun kind either. She prodded and poked and said, “You’re good to go.” I was momentarily happy. I thought she meant Thailand. Woefully, I know she meant the baby. We cut a small cake at home on my birthday, me crying, husband trying to cheer me up, then me throwing up the small piece of cake which had morphed into a yellow and green and amoebic jelly-like goo. So I was back to sucking ice-cubes.

I woke up in the mornings, and first thing I did was throw up at least half a dozen times. Because the smell of the tooth-paste didn’t agree with me, I again threw up. Chocolate milk (YES, CHOCOLATE MILK!) didn’t agree with me, coffee didn’t agree with me, tea didn’t agree with me. So I sucked on ice cubes. I didn’t bond with the slowly growing foetus like soon-to-be-mothers do, not in the first trimester, not in the second, not in the third, not when the baby was out. You see, all this while, I was throwing up, up and away. I would be pretending to work whilst being comfortably parked on my specially-designed-for-pregnant-women chair, and all of a sudden, I’d be retching, yelling, “Gangway! Gangway!” to get to the bathroom. I think I spent more time in the bathroom while being pregnant than any other place.

I’d been diagnosed with a very rare condition of Hyperemesis Gravidarum. My file at the OB-GYN was the bulkiest of all of her patients put together. In the car, out of the car, at the doctor’s, in the park, at work, on the road, in a mall, in a restaurant, just about to hit the toilet, there was not a place I didn’t throw up. I lost weight. People actually asked me when I was five months pregnant, “Are you really pregnant? It’s not showing!” LOL.. Oh how I wanted to hit a chair in their faces. Foods that I once liked, made me recoil in horror. To add to this madness, I also developed Trypophobia. So even flowers and such made me gag. I was a walking, talking, vomit-machine. I’d stopped feeling embarrassed about my condition, must be the mama-bear instinct kicking in. If people frowned while I was retching on the side of the road, the vomit and my hair, swaying together in the wind, I’d just yell at them, “Do you want me to throw up on you?”

The whole phase of shopping for the baby was a blur. My husband was the excited one, so he did it all- the crib and the washcloths and the diapers and the bottles, sterilisers, the swaddling techniques, the nursery, everything. I just ordered a teddy-bear online because I’d heard kids like teddy-bears.(Mine didn’t care for it). I was quietly tucking away the vomit-inducing protein bars to the ants and dogs and whatever creatures I could find and claiming at the end of the day I ate them all. All I could eat was ice cream and ice cubes- that made me realize that my baby would turn out pretty cool, the mother eating all these cold things.

The first trimester ended, the doctor said, the sickness will stop now. The second trimester ended, the doctor said, the sickness will stop now. The third trimester ended, the doctor said, it’s not going to end, you’re a weird one. DUH!

So, all the joys of pregnancy were washed away with a gazillion toilet flushes. There was no glow on my face, just a very frowny sweat. I didn’t have to buy maternity pants. My old pants fit just fine. The baby kicked and kicked, like I was holding him hostage inside me. My abdomen was in constant pain and I didn’t sing or talk to the baby. I listened to a lot of Jack Johnson and now when I hear him, I throw up.

Finally, the water broke. There was thankfully no labour pain, I said, “Cut it open!” It was a little scary, being butt naked, epidural in the spine, a team of doctors, all poking and stretching and going squish-squish in my innards. Finally, the boy was out. A big blob, like from “Stranger Things”. I don’t know if it was the drugs or the “motherly love”, but when he was shown to me in that state, I kissed his feet.

I don’t remember the next few days much, except shouting a lot at my husband, eating like a pig and singing “Like a rolling stone” when I was alone with my son. I still didn’t feel a very strong bond, but there was something that made me wake up every now and then and check on him. People said strange things like, “He looks like his mother” or, “He looks like his father”. What a load of faeces! He looked like a pink blob with no hair.  Some even said he had my nose and my fingers. Again, I wanted to tear the curtains down and strangle them. I know they were just being polite, but sometimes, its nice to just leave a pound of cake for the new mother and say, “Enjoy!” All the 9 months of surviving on ice cubes and pills and an occasional pint of ice cream had made me monstrously hungry. So much so, that my husband resorted to formula-feeding (I know, I know, the breastfeeding lobbyists! That magic fountain didn’t work either.) I couldn’t unbury my face from the mountain of food. I wasn’t cut out to be a mother, honestly, but here I was. Singing Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” as a lullaby.

Over time, yes, we bonded, soon after the month (or two) long post-partum depression ended. At the age of 1 month, he knew mother was not to be disturbed when she was eating or while Downton Abbey was on. His father, on the other end, treated him like God. He was more a mother than I will ever be. My son and I bonded over strange things, like smelling fresh oranges, looking in the mirror while eating bananas, dancing in the shower while bursting bubbles, staring at fairy lights, spitting out watermelon seeds, jumping in puddles…

He’s 4 now and I’ve told him the story of my pregnancy many-a-times. He always has two questions:

  1. Why did you eat me?
  2. Why didn’t you throw up in the bathroom? 

And yes, I love him more than it shows. I have my ways of showing love, and he knows that. 🙂