Sunday, November 27, 2011

Where I use italics to emphasize how pained I am

Technically, I will admit, I have a flatmate. However, we lead entirely separate lives - I like to get home and stay home as soon as I'm done in school, and she likes to study in school and rarely comes home before 1 AM. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, I'm pretty much living on my own.

Which is actually great, given our previously discussed discovery on how little I need people around me. The problem arises, however, when I go shopping for groceries. Why is everything in this country so big? Or was it big back in India too, and I never paid attention because I didn't need to?

Our meals are completely separate - I'm not sure if she even eats, actually. So when I'm shopping for groceries, I'm shopping for one single person. Wherein lies the problem. I buy a packet of salad leaves, it should last me a week, but invariably spoils before that. Cauliflowers are the size of what a watermelon would be, back home.There is no concept of "half-bread" here. After being out of eggs for more than a week (they got recalled, apparently), Target finally got some in yesterday - all in either family size packs or in sets of dozens. Where are the half-dozen sets I need, dammit? I needed flour because the mother gave a really easy recipe for soup, but the smallest packet size I could find is going to last me six months.

Is desh mein log kitna khate hain?

I mean, even the dishes. The flatmate bought a lovely and full china set of plates, bowls, etc. before I even landed up here. Only, those bowls. They're huge. Like, bigger than the soup bowls in China Club. Seriously. I had to go on a very long hunt before I finally found a set of small, reasonable sized bowls (which were actually super cool, because they come with plastic lids, which means I can also use them for storage, but that's not the point).

The brother had always warned me that servings when you eat out are huge in this country. And I discovered that very, very quickly. So if I buy a sandwich or a quesadilla for lunch from the cafeteria in school, I know half  of it is coming home for dinner or breakfast the next day. What no one ever warned me about was how much extra one ends up buying to make things at home.

What makes the situation somewhat better is that yours truly has now started driving (that's right - I CAN NOW DRIVE). So I don't need to depend on someone to take me to Target, shop up for the week, and then watch everything spoil because I thought I'll have time to cook something with that mushroom, but guess what, I didn't. I can, usually, stop by on my way back to school and pick up whatever I need to cook either that night or the next day - assuming I have the energy. The trouble with that is I then also end up buying a whole bunch of stuff I never intended to buy. No walking up to the corner shop and saying "bhaiyya ek half bread dena".

The only thing catering to the single-person-living-alone that I can see are those frozen meals-for-one. And there is only so much of those meals that one can have.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

A good girl

Several moons ago, I was headed for dinner with a colleague and her husband, and her husband decided to have a smoke while we waited in the car park for some another colleagues to join us. He asked if I smoked, and before I could respond, his wife chimed in, "no, no, she's a very good girl."

Two nights ago, I asked a classmate what he thought when he first met me. Among other things, he said he thought I was a "good Indian girl", and that while some of the other impressions have changed since then,  apparently I am a "good Indian girl."

A good girl. Me. Why? Because I don't smoke, don't drink very often, haven't been in a series of relationships, what? I'm trying to understand this phrase. Maybe all of these things are true about me - I do lead a very uneventful, and even what some people might call dull, life. This makes me good?

So any woman who does all these things is therefore not good? I think that's what bothers me. You want to call me a saint for not being fond of certain activities, that's your prerogative. But by definition, we're then judging the women who do make those choices. And I don't like to be reminded that even today, this still ends up happening.