Dark Circles

Lil M is a 3rd grader in my bus who is the most notorious of the lot. She audaciously complained about the bus support staff and me to her mother, when we chided her for trying to squeeze under the seat of a moving bus. The mother, truly doting, confronted us at the bus stop, while ten pairs of pre-teen eyes from the bus watched in amazement, not to mention the strange mob that gathers anywhere in this country and serves no real purpose. When I explained the scene to the mother, and we asked Lil M if it was true, she answered in all innocence “But I’ve done it only like five times, aunty!”

The pink-faced mother walked away, after asking me for my entire biography.

Anyway, Lil M has been testing me and my boundaries since that little episode. After a very tiring Independence Day Celebration in school, I sat in my seat, on the way back home. The following conversation ensued in the bus.

Lil M: Aunty, (pointing under her eyes), your eye liner.

S: (quickly tries to rub it off, while wondering if it has been this bad all day)

Lil M: Not above, Aunty. Below. Here.

S: (tries a little more, with no luck again)

Lil M: Aunty, I think you have dark eyelashes.

S: Awwh! Thank you, dear! (That is a compliment I’d never gotten before)

Lil M: No, No! Not eyelashes. Aunty, you have dark circles. That’s what you have.

S: (Sniff! Too soon!) Hmm! I know. I’ve had it for some time now.

Lil M: You know you should drink a lot of water every day, Aunty.

S: I doooo! I drink about 3 litres a day.

Lil M: Do you sleep enough? I think if you sleep well, they will go away.

S: You’re right! I haven’t been sleeping well enough, I guess. I should try that. (Mental Note of Bucket List items: Get beauty tips from a 7 year old – Check)

Day 136: Mango mandi

Only 50 kilos a? That’s a little too less, no? How much do you have? Some 80 at least? Yeah! Then 50 is too less. I mean, nothing wrong there. 50 for 5.5 is good. Only from our side, we’re not all that perfect. What to do! At least a 70 would have been manageable.

But how can you decide just by looking at a picture and reading the specs? Don’t you have to see with your eyes and decide based on things that matter?

It’s the same thing as online shopping, no? You buy a product on Amazon. Do you touch and feel? So, you look at the product and that’s how you decide; based on their pictures and yours. And compatibility.

But… Are we buying mangoes here?

Scotch: Relationships are after all like buying mangoes, S. You pick one based on what you think is the best. And then you’re committed to it all the way until it ends up in your stomach. A juicy one, a ripe one, a wormy one – you pay for everything that you picked. No?

Day 106: It’s a popular symbol of feminism

I’ve been nose deep in literature to prepare for the upcoming end semester exam. I start off with the subject that brought out the true expertise of the teachers in the department – Sociological foundations of Education. After the high-charged discussions on social justice and socially relevant issues of education over the summer, at Bhor, I was excited when I found out that I had this subject this semester.

And boy! What a disappointment it has been!

A few things I remember being said in class, by the respected sharer of information.

  • I wouldn’t allow my son to find himself a girl friend. It’s against my culture and culture is our God.
  • All these live-in relationships and all must make your parents so sad and disappointed in you.
  • The sole aim or purpose of a family is to give birth to young children.
  • Social stratification is natural and it’s these strata that bring a sense of calm in the society. If we were all in one big societal class, we’d kill each other and die.
  • I don’t know why the syllabus has Economic studies as a part of Sociology. Let’s skip that part.
  • All women in certain families in North India have to wear a ghunghat. They are not allowed to enter the living spaces with men without wearing the ghunghat down to their chests. It’s a popular symbol of feminism.

And a bonus one.

  • Myanmar is the capital of Burma.

I feel cheated at the end of this semester. A Master’s program should not be spending 60 hrs dishing out definitions and meaning of ideas like culture, social classes and Inequality. These should be pre-reading for the students to come prepared to class with. And the discussion should be around matters of social relevance. Nobody will ask you for the definition of gender bias in real-life. It will stare you down your face when a father chooses to pick his teenage girl out of school. And you will be unprepared to handle that situation.

All this studying and you seem to be in pain. Do you need a hug?” Scotch 

I dared and failed

Annoying music from the yonder years, that bites into my inner ears, plays for what seems to be a million years. I nervously clutch the hand piece to my ear, waiting for what lay ahead. As I watch the minutes tick by on the desk phone, beads of little sweat trickle down my forehead. 


The other end: “ABC Corporation’s Customer Service. My name is Princess Wattanabee LoohaToonya. How may I assist you?”

Customer Service is our priority.

Me: “Hi. I’m an-equally-long-named-person. I am moving back to Yonderland the end of this month. So, I need you to cancel my account, please?”

Princess WLT: “Hello Ms. **** (tried really hard to mispronounce my overly simple name and succeeded). I can definitely assist you with that. Before I assist you with that, I will need your account information. Can you please give me your account number so that I can assist you?”

Me: “Sure. Here goes. 0-2-2-4-5-66-7-123-5-2-7-10485”

Princess WLT: “Thank You, Ms. #### (an even worse way pronunciation of my overly simple name). I can definitely assist you with that. Before I assist you, for security purposes, can you confirm your phone number?”

Me: “Sure. Here goes. 9-2-3 4-6-1 0093”

Princess WLT: “Thank You, Ms. !%&# (totally blew my mind with this one). I’ve confirmed that this is correct.

I am really close to assisting you. But before I assist you, I need you to confirm the last 4 digits of your SSN, your date of birth, the name of your first neighbor’s third cat and your address. This will make sure that I assist you in a secure manner.”

Me: “Really? Wasn’t the account number, the matching phone number and my overly simple name enough?”

Princess WLT: “For quality and training purposes, this call may be recorded or monitored and everything that you say will be held against you while we swing you upside down into a pot full of steaming hot lava”

Me: “Oh! Here goes.

My SSN is Flee-Flaai-Floo-Flum (Yes! My real SSN is Flee-Flaai-Floo-Flum).

My date of birth is most-awesome-month’s awesome-date in the summer of awesomest year.

My first neighbor did not have a third cat (Ha! Totally nailed the trick question).

My address is 007, Superman Dr, Boringville, RandomState.


Princess WLT: “I am sorry, Mr. @#!$ (I stopped listening at Mr.). I will not be able to assist you because we could not successfully confirm your identify. You did not mention the zip code of your address and that is a confirmation that you are an imposter. I will hang up now and go back to my knitting”



True story!