Monday, May 15, 2017

Self Respect

People have agendas and motives. There is no doubt about that. I have one. And you have one. But having an agenda isn't such a bad thing after all. A relationship - of any kind - must have an agenda. That will keep it exciting for both people involved in it. 

In fact, both entities in a relationship should have a motive to stay invested in the relationship. A relationship, where only one person has a goal to achieve, will eventually die down. It is not sustainable. And before you jump to any conclusion, let me also clarify what I mean by an agenda / motive here. It is not about some selfish need only. 

The motive could be as simple as, putting a smile on your partner's face. Every time. Every day. Simple. Yet profound. 

Also I am not only talking about personal relationships. The motive could be reading different books and sharing your knowledge with each other. Imagine, if only one person reads books and other doesn't. Eventually, that relationship will wither away.

So the problem is not that people have agendas. Problem is when people are not transparent about their motives. Problem is when people are in a relationship only to fulfill their motives with no intention to help fulfill the motives of 'the Other' in the same relationship. Such people are vicious and if you have to maintain your self respect, you should end that relationship at the earliest. I am no expert in relationships neither I am a philosopher to tell you what are the signs which will help you identify such people. 

Also, sometimes, you could be at fault in not understanding the other person or his / her motives. That shouldn't be a reason to end the relationship. You should be fully sure, that you have made all efforts to unearth the agenda of 'the Other' and you have given 'the Other' also full chance to understand yours. People are complex but motives are generally simple. So talk, discuss, ask questions. Do everything which will help understand each other better. But define a point in your mind, after which you will know whether it is working or not. 

Recently, I left a job. I moved cities. My equation with few people changed. I was no longer a colleague to someone. I was no longer a boss to someone. I was no longer physically close to some one else. It is a kind of hot cauldron situation in relationships. People who were associated with you for a motive which was purely work related, will drift away. There is no point holding on to that relationship. It also helped me identify those people, whose motives were earlier not clear to me. Maintaining a relationship with them felt tiring. And stressful. All of a sudden people will not get your jokes or they will have an excuse to explain their changed behavior. Let them be. That will help you maintain your sanity and self respect. You can not let your self worth be decided by those people, who never had the integrity which any relationship should have. 

I moved from a city, I loved, after 12 years. I changed a job after 10 years. And change brings with it pain. It brings with it a sense of reflection of past. This change isn't going to be as simple as changing a job or a city. This will bring with it demise of some friendships, which I valued. Simply because, I stopped serving a purpose for 'the Other' now. It is time to re-calibrate and move on, rather than holding on to someone for whom you are no longer useful. 

Change also brings with it freshness, new people and new opportunities. Focus on that. If a relationship makes you feel tired, let it go. 

On a lighter note, there are few things which are always reassuring. People who bonded with you over drinks and alcohol are very transparent about their agendas. Either their agenda to be with you is drinking, which is really a good thing. As it is highly sustainable till the time either of you damage your liver permanently. Or their agenda is obvious due to drinking. So you can always count on such friends. 

You can also count on those relationships, where swear words and profanities are used without inhibitions. You both have gone through pressure situations together in past and survived. 

So if you want to stay happy and maintain your self respect in this world full of turncoats, pick up a drink and shout Cheers Bhenc**d!!!

# for non Indian readers - Bhenc**d ~ Sisterf****r

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Z : Zebra / Jebra

My mother-in-law pronounces Z / Za as J / Ja. I always have fun with this fact, at her expense of course. When she comes to our place, I often ask her, what would she like to eat. And I wait for her to say Pijja (Pizza), for cheap laughs. Now she knows my routine, so she doesn't respond. She is one spoil sport.

In fact, every time I see a Zebra Crossing, I ask her to tell me what it is. Some times she obliges me, by blurting out Jebra crossing and I laugh out loud. But over the years, she has become conscious and thus Zindagi became Jeevan (Life) and Pizza became pata nahi (I don't know). My wife thinks I deliberately needle her. But she doesn't know, that such linguistic jokes have always been source of cheap laughs for me. I remember the time, when my younger brother had to write an essay on "My Mother" in school. In that essay, he was supposed to write one line that went like, "My mother runs the house very wisely" . Instead he wrote, "My mother runs in the house very wisely." For many years, I kept pulling his leg for this hilarious error. 

My own writing isn't that great. And when I read my old posts and mails, I cringe at the mistakes I had made. 

Coming back to my mother-in-law's pronunciation issue, let me give one clarification here. If a person, in India, has not learned Urdu or English, they will pronounce Z / Za as J / Ja. Because in Sanskrit and Hindi there is no letter Z / Za. 

Therefore I promise to my wife through this post today, that I will not crack jokes on her mother's pronunciation anymore. But that doesn't mean I will score her high on cooking. You can't have it all. Haha.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Y : Yumdude

Yumdude is my handle / user name on Zomato. 

For the uninitiated, Zomato is a leading food ordering, restaurant search and review app in India. They are present in other countries too.

For the ones, who are not aware of Indian mythology, Yama is God of Death and Doot means messenger. Yamdoot is Yama's Messenger and my handle is a play on that. I thought I was being original and relevant while keeping this name. But, to my disappointment, much later, after I made this handle, I discovered a T - Shirts brand called Yum Dude and Snapdeal did a campaign with a character called Yam Dude. Huh! One can never be sure in today's world. And I think being original is going to be increasingly difficult.

If I haven't lost you already, let me tell you that this post is not about originality or Zomato handles. I am a foodie and I wanted to document my love for food in some way. I have done almost 100 restaurant reviews under this handle and I feel my journey has just begun.

They say a Punjabi's adventure gets over at the last Sher-e-Punjab Dhabha on his journey. I don't know if that is true, because I enjoy all kind of cuisines. When I eat somewhere, I don't add ketchup or salt / pepper to what is served. I love to eat food the way the cook wants it to be eaten. I had heard somewhere, this is a respectful thing to do for your host or chef. Over the years, due to this habit of mine, I developed a taste for different cuisines. Yes, some foods are still off the table, like pungent smelling foods. I won't ever have reptiles and insects. I will never fall for the fad of eating live food. But I mostly try everything otherwise.

I can't name my favorite food, but I have a weakness for sweets. I remember every time my school results would come, I would ask my mother to buy a Bengali sweet called Chena Murki (made with Sugar & Cottage Cheese). So this sweet reminds me of success. 

Whenever I smell, a mixture of flour, ghee and sugar being roasted, I get reminded of my grand-mother, who used to prepare delicious Pinnis. No one can cook Makki ki Roti and Sarson Ka Saag better than my mother. I think every proud Punjabi son thinks the same about his mother. But the memory associated with this food is so strong, that every time I go home, I know my mother will cook it for me. And I think I get a dopamine hit in anticipation, before I even reach home.

While I enjoy all my fine dining experiences, if I have to choose my best food moments, they are not related to a very costly restaurant or any complex dish. Chena Murki, Pinnis and Makki ki Roti with Saag will be at the top always. And there are few places / food moments which are etched in my memory very strongly. 

Once during our school vacations, my father took us to a trip to Kullu and Manali. A long stretch of the journey was along the river Beas. Beas had gushing ice cold water. We sat at one such spot and got some mangoes chilled in that water and then we ate them by the side of the road on the banks of the river.

On yet another trip to Manikaran Sahib, we had a breakfast of hot stuffed parathas with butter and really sweet tea at a road side dhabha. Cheap, yes. But at that time, it was the most heavenly food.

There was a shop near my home that served Chhole Bhature. I used to go there often, but my favorite part was when the cook used to keep two fresh pieces of paneer on the plate. That was like a reward for eating there.

I discovered cheesecake very late in life. I was on my honeymoon, and we were shopping in Kuala Lumpur and we saw a cheescake shop. I had never tried it before. And when, I had the first bite, I knew Chena Murki and Pinni had a strong competition. After that I tried cheesecakes everywhere. But I got my best experience at the Cheesecake Factory Dubai Mall. This is what I had there. If food can kill, this is the way I would like to die. Tell me your food story.