Tag: adult life

About being a harried 24-year-old tax payer

Life has suddenly gotten too overwhelming, hasn’t it? People my age will probably understand. I’m 24 right now. Will soon turn 25. As each day passes, I expect things in my head to get sorted out, but it turns out there are just more and more complications!

This evening, I found myself debating taxes and insurances with my parents. I’ve to shell out Rs.40,000 a year from now on for insurances, just to be exempted from paying taxes, but unfortunately that amount happens to be more than I’ll ever pay for my taxes! What’s the point? My parents say they’ll pay the amount; but apparently, I have to pay my own insurance money to not pay taxes. And if I mention anything further to my parents, they lose temper within minutes and I’d just rather say OK and get on with it. Aaaa it’s irritating to even think about it.

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Why can’t we just earn, keep the money in our house, spend it and be happy? Who the hell invented banking and insurances and taxes and shit. I truly hate that person. (I might not be saying that many years later when I get my money back, I’m guessing. I’ll be richer than ever! I had better be.)

Well, money is perhaps 10 per cent of what’s eating me up. All over Facebook, people are getting married and having babies. People my age!! Some girls I went to school with and sat next to, on the same bench, wearing pinafores and drawing margin lines in notebooks, have two babies already!! And here I am, thinking about whether I like pizza or pasta better. Sigh.

I’m not saying I want to have two babies. I’m not going to have any. I’m going to keep puppies instead. But the point is, I don’t know how they’re all confident enough to have babies!

But then again, babies aren’t even the problem right now. I suppose marriage is. There’s so much pressure from all sides to get married. It’s not just me. Even people around me are being pressurised everyday. It’s so ridiculous. My parents don’t bother me much, but my grandparents won’t let me hear the end of it. If I relent and say “Fine, I’ll get married,” they start attaching dates to it.

“How about next April? Like your sister?”

“No, tatha. I don’t want to get married in summer. I prefer winter. Maybe December.”

“Really? This December? Wow that’s great! Now we’ll just have to figure out whom you can marry.”

The concept of prioritising just went flying out the window.

Fine, let’s say I’m alright with getting married, which I kind of am, I guess, since I’ve found someone and everything, but the next ten questions pop out at me like boxing gloves. Kapow! Where, how much to spend, what kind of wedding, on what scale should it be, whom to invite, should I do it how I want to or should I relent and let others organise a traditional wedding. My god! Really, it’s mental!

I told my grandpa last week that I will have a simple wedding with 50 people, if I do. He lost it. He said, “Look, the wedding is not about you or how you want it. (Wait, what?) It’s about us being happy about the occasion and sharing the happiness with others.” At most of our family weddings, everyone gets to invite everyone they want. So there’s usually about 2,000 people.

I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t exactly want to have my grandpa’s walking friends or some tenants who lived twenty years ago in some house we built. It’s so pointless. I just want to have people who mean a lot to me and no one else. Why can’t I have things my way! Why can’t life be easier, god?

Even on the work front, there’s so much going on! Working at a start-up really is a rollercoaster ride. I’m literally playing some ten roles at work and I wish I could add two more hours to my everyday.

Home (my room, specifically) is the only place where I’m at peace, in my mosquito net, with a book in my hand. And it kills me to know that I’m gonna have to give my room up and go away if I ever get married. Which is so ridiculous. Why does the girl have to move into the boy’s house and why not the opposite? Life is just so worrying man.

Turning old sucks. Wish I could go back to college and deal with mindless assignments and chemistry practicals again. That was so much simpler.

Now, I have to deal with too many complications and I’m not ready for it.

How am I gonna tell my grandpa that his walking friends aren’t invited?

Sigh.

PS: I just needed a place to rant. :P

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Home alone diaries – When I learnt that my mom is superhuman

Today is International Happiness Day and International Story-Telling Day.

And I’m very happy, so I’m going to tell you a story.

I’m happy because my parents are coming back home tonight after 15 long days, relieving me of my home-alone stint. The story I’m going to tell you, is… well, about my home-alone stint.

My mum and dad went on a North-East trip two weeks ago, leaving me home alone for the first time in my life. “Big deal,” I thought, about managing the house by myself. And that’s exactly what it was – a big deal.

Three bedrooms, two living rooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, two balconies, a terrace. It’s not easy to manage such a big house all alone, especially if you’re into cleanliness.

Within 24 hours, I learnt of all the chores my parents do everyday, and I learnt it the hard way. Nevertheless, I enjoyed everything I did – be it waking up at 6 am to fill up the filter with drinking water, or dashing about the house to sweep, mop, heat milk, make rice, make rasam, make breakfast, pack lunch, do snaana, drink milk and rush to office in the morning.

It was actually exhilarating! I felt responsible. I felt like without me, the world couldn’t go on. That’s always a great feeling.

I was so exhausted by the end of the day that I automatically knocked out at 11 pm and woke up at 7 am. Of course, there was that ten minute power nap in office too.

Through the course of this home-alone stint, I learnt a lot about myself and my parents.

For instance, I learnt that I’m a slightly traditional person. There was a festival day when they were away. We have always celebrated that festival at home, wherein you tie a yellow thread around your neck to ask God or thank God for a good husband. I found the yellow thread, said my prayers and was about to put on the thread when I remembered my mom telling me years ago that someone older has to tie it. Immediately, I ran to the neighbour’s house and asked Prerana’s mom to tie it. I lit the lamp every evening and lit an agarbatti. I’m not pious or anything. Just doing all this made me feel complete, like my parents were still at home and doing the things they’d do everyday.

Not only that, I watered the doorway and decorated the entrance with rangoli every day. I googled new rangoli designs and squatted outside my house, looked into my phone. I drew with intense concentration. If I missed one dot, the whole design would be messed up. While drawing with chalk is simple, not so much drawing with rangoli powder. I don’t know how and when I learnt it, but my mother has somehow silently passed on her talent to me.

That’s kind of what this post is about – how my mother has been a silent hero in my life. Without her presence, I don’t think I’d survive even a day. I’ve always been openly awed by my dad and have written blog posts about him and posted pictures of him being a cool dude. Mostly because he likes all that. But all along, my mom has been there by his side and by mine, teaching us both a good way to live, instilling in us a good lifestyle – when it comes to food, clothing, daily life, manners, everything. And she has been completely subtle about it. She is the real Wonder Woman.

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Sending a picture to my sister. “Is this toor dal?”

Without her guidance over the past 24 years, I don’t know how I’d have survived these 15 days. I’m proud to say that I didn’t order food even once when my parents were away. I made it a point to make breakfast and lunch and dinner. I learnt how to cook a few basic things. I made rice and rasam (something no one in the family can live without). I think a little credit goes to my boss, who over a random conversation, advised me not to go to my neighbour’s house everyday to eat. “Deny their offer. Cook at home. See how much you learn and how good you feel,” he had said. I did just that.

I learnt from scratch how to make rice, rasam, aalu-jeera sabzi, pudina chutney for sandwich and salad, pasta salad, etc. I was in such a bad state before this that I didn’t know which dal was supposed to go into the rasam. I still don’t know which dal is called what and when people told me to put toor dal in rasam, all I did was blink stupidly.

Now, I’m happy that I can make yummy rasam. I even got a compliment saying, “It tastes exactly like your mom’s rasam!” That was the best feeling ever. Everyone knows that my mom makes the best rasam!

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Sinful Brownie Points at Ice and Spice

But I wasn’t such a goody goody kid also. I did have some rebellious fun. I couldn’t let 15 home-alone days ago to waste! There was a 1522 evening and an Ice and Spice evening when I wasn’t bogged down with too much work. At Ice and Spice, I really indulged in some crazy food. Ah the thought of that Brownie Points dessert is still sending me to heaven!

Anyway, apart from the food, there was still a lot to be done. I had to sweep, mop, etc. In between, a coconut tree branch fell into my balcony. That required a lot of cleaning. And I hadn’t realised just how many plants we have in our house. On the terrace, in amma’s balcony, in paati’s balcony, beside the house, outside the house, behind the house. My my! I had expected some rainfall so I wouldn’t have to water all these plants but the rain god wasn’t on my side. (What’d I do to you Indra?) It was scathing hot everyday and I couldn’t forgo the plant-watering. However, I realised that there were 81 flowers on my terrace one evening! They’re all so beautiful. So I felt happy that I was making them grow.

After plants come animals. Puppy and the fishies. I had to feed them both everyday, give fishies oxygen, buy eggs for Puppy, clean her bowl. My God! Going back in time and thinking about it is making me widen my eyes at how much I did. I even made sure that the house was spotless by keeping it clean. And I had to wash clothes. Phew! Bravo Swat! You’re awesome.

But it was really really fun doing everything. I loved being on my toes and still making time to read and write a bit. I even got a JustBooks account on one of those 15 days. I brought my friends over on a couple of days and we chatted away till 3 am. Komal and Nisha were awesome enough to make aalu paratha for me for dinner. I literally let my guests take over the kitchen and cook for me. Haha!

Nisha and Komal getting ingredients ready for aalu paratha
Nisha and Komal getting ingredients ready for aalu paratha
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“What is this girl doing? Why is she doing that to her face?”

I like how I never really felt alone. My friends constantly popped in and out. Pupsicle and Piccolo were always around. Every time I needed to talk, I called them and they’d listen and even respond emotively. They’re two very intelligent doggies, who know that they should agree with everything I say.  I love my doggies. : )

But at the end of the day, my favourite part of it was going to Uttara’s house and eating her ajji‘s God-level varan bath (parapu mammu, or, Sudarshan, if you’re reading this, purp mammu). Varan bath with goad loncha (sweet lemon pickle) is the best food ever (only if it’s made in Uttara’s house). It made me do my happy dance with every bite.

Anyway, I’m glad I had these 15 days to live alone and figure out life. I am now resolved to help my mom and dad in daily chores. I definitely can’t be the super woman that my mom is, but hopefully, someday, I’ll be at least half like her.

Thank you amma, for making me who I am today. I like to believe I’m a little piece of you – judging by my likes – love for literature, trees and nature, curd rice, maavinkai and generally a tasteful, dignified approach to everything – and dislikes – garlic, meat, animal haters, smelly people. Haha! (We don’t really dislike many things.) I love you for giving me this happy outlook in life, for making me enjoy every little thing I do – be it doing potty or watering plants or riding my bike with my hair down or drinking water from streams when we’re on a tour somewhere.

And one final thank you for helping me manage the house for 15 days, without being there but somehow being there.

You’re a champ, mummy! : )