We have moved

Yes we have moved

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The author blog is finally up and running.

I am moving up in life it seems.  Up another level

I now have shiny new digs, where I’ve tried to put everything up.

So much luggage, so much moving shooving, so much planning.

I hope you like my new digs and keep visiting me there.

I am now at http://www.ritulalit.com/

I hope you visit me there, click on the links on the top, one of them is for this blog and the other for the cooking blog or should I say the Paleo blog.

I hope you like the design.  If you do, let me know and I can give Manik Jaiswal, my website designer a plug, some business and a little encouragement.

See ya people.

Much love

 

Hunger

Do you know what hunger is?

I don’t mean the Hungry Kya variety, where one goes and picks up a packet of kurkure and demolishes it.  Oh no, siree!  That is not earth shaking or a subject for a blog post.

I also don’t mean feeling peckish and munching something, which as we all know is the boredom induced let’s-eat-something feeling.  I also don’t mean the feeling that one gets when one misinterprets thirst for hunger and stuffs the face.

I did not know what hunger is until today, the 4th day that I went on a no-carb paleo diet.

Hunger makes the stomach roil.  It wrenches the gut into cramps and makes a person light-headed and giddy.  It made me feel like a panther stalking a prey.  It made me feel like the Red Queen.  I felt in empathy with the Red Queen.  The hapless live-at-home servant came and asked me what I would have for dinner.  I growled.  I nearly said, “OFF WITH YOUR HEAD!”

Wisdom prevailed and I did not.  Do you know how hard it is to find reliable help these days?

The son looked at my scowling face and asked, “Did your boss say something to you?”

I had no such restraints with the son.  I growled “Off with your head!”

Before the older son could protest, I pre-empted it with “Oh yes, off with yours too!”

And that, dear reader, brings me the nub of the problem.

I have gone on a Paleo diet and it is Day Four.  The Paleo Diet is an effort to eat like we used to back in the dayWAY back in the day. If a caveman couldn’t eat it, neither can you. This means anything we could hunt or find – meats, fish, nuts, leafy greens, regional veggies, and seeds.

It means no wheat, rice and other sundry carbs.

Until Day Four I did not know what hunger meant.  Which means my stomach had enough spare food stored in it to last out till day four.  Phew!

I think this is an interesting experience.  As one of the privileged class, I had not known the simple elemental signal of hunger the body gives.  We eat not because we are hungry, but because it is time to eat.

Well, the boys and the house-help made themselves scarce.  The boys went off for a cocktail thrown by one of their friends who is getting married.

The house-help went upstairs and deliberately left his mobile downstairs.

I went into the kitchen and slayed a chicken.  Hey that rhymed!  :)

I wonder what Day Five will bring.

A weekend with Blogadda in Goa

 

When Harish sent me a personal letter asking me to join the Blogadda event in Goa I was frankly reluctant.  I have a book coming out in a few weeks (Yayyy Me!)  and need all my leaves for it.

But Goa

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With fellow bloggers

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A weekend out of the routine

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All Expense Paid

I have a very good track record with temptations, if they are good I give in.  So here I am, at Zuri Resorts, among palm trees and in the Susegad culture. (I hope I spelt that right.)  Really wonderful.

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Blogadda wants feedback on my experiences.  Let me tell you, the experience so far has been awesome on most fronts.  The personal touch is great.  Meeting fellow bloggers like Seema Rao, Vidya Suri, Rekha Kakkar and others is wonderful.  The resort is great and so is the ambiance of the entire event.  I wish though we had more time to actually do the susegad bit.  But then, will do that some other time.

Masti is full on, the food is good.  Like all landlocked creatures who live in Delhi NCR I crave to get sea food and here in Goa it is plentiful.

We arrived by Indigo, were greeted by Harish and party at the reception at Zuri and then proceeded for lunch, which was followed by orientation.  Then Tata took over and gave us an exhaustive class on the technical features of Zest.  The men in the party lapped it up and so did some women.  I loved the sound of it all but frankly learnt little.

The next day, breakfast was at 7 which was followed by the test drive.  I test drove both the diesel and petrol versions of the car.

2014-07-27 10.00.47Which is followed by live blogging which I am doing now.  And then we have lunch and go back home.

Away from Goa

Where did the weekend go?

Sadly this was a too-short interlude.  Like all good things the weekend has come to an end too early.

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Thank you Blogadda

This has been a wonderful experience.

I really admire Team BlogAdda.  They add the personal touch.  Ankita V, you are awesome, Madam Hospitality Incarnate is what I would like to call you.  Harish, rock on.  I tip my virtual hat to you all for your warmth, patience, affection and the efficiency with which you managed the entire event.  

Edited to Add

Of course how can I travel and not get my return messed up?  This time I did not have anything to do with it, Spice Jet did.  We reached the airport for our 4 p.m. flight and found out that our carrier was still in Delhi and would reach Goa at 7.  After the anger and the disappointment – I really did want to walk barefoot on the beach and drink some Feni - I settled down for a long chat with fellow bloggers Rekha Kakkar  who blogs at http://www.rekhakakkar.com/ and Christine Pemberton who blogs at http://christinepemberton.me/

Both of them are awesome bloggers, you guys have to visit and follow their blogs, believe me.

When I look back at the whirlwind trip to Goa the things that stay with me are

1.  Warmth and love that I got from the BlogAdda team

2.  Interactions with fellow bloggers, some that I thought I would never meet, given how far they live.  Vidya Sury of http://vidyasury.com/  never in my wildest imagination did I think I would ever meet you.  Roshan Radhakrishnan of http://www.godyears.net/ and Deepak Amembal of http://mumbaidaily It was a pleasure to meet you both.  Shilpa Garg of http://shilpaagarg.com/   we can meet more, I think.  Jaipur is fairly close to Delhi.  I hope we do.

3.  My long chat with Christine and Rekha.  It is talks like this that make blogging such an awesome experience.  I wish I had a photo of us three together as a keepsake.

Zesting up my life this weekend test- driving the Tata Zest

Blogadda invited me to Goa to test drive the to-be-launched Tata Zest. I am not a techno-savvy person, though I drive daily to work and back.  I also buy cars, mostly mid-range ones.  My take on a vehicle is not a technical one, I am a user, that is all.  I hesitated and then agreed.

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It was a wonderful opportunity not only to spend a weekend at the awesome and restful Zuri Resorts but also to get my hand on the steering wheel of this new car by Tata.  I drove both the diesel version and the petrol version of Zest

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My take on the car :

  1. After 30 years of driving with gears I can’t handle the AMT (auto gear system) and sadly all the diesel cars provided had the auto gear installed.
  2. Petrol version was wonderful.  I loved the power brakes and power steering
  3. Tata Motors has given us a wonderful mid-range car which handles itself very smoothly on the roads.  The car balances well and the tyres grip the road very nicely ensuring a smooth drive.
  4. I do not think it has air-bags, which makes me a bit scared about safety.
  5. The steering comes pre-installed with a blue tooth sensor that can comfortably connect with our devices and we can take a call while driving which is a boon for people with long commutes.
  6. Peripherals like music system and sound system etc are of excellent quality.
  7. The engine purrs like a content tabby, it is soft and smooth.  I even stopped the car and testing the airconditioner in the stationary vehicle and it worked well.
  8. While I was driving it started raining.  Much to the alarm of my fellow bloggers I braked suddenly and then released the brake allowing the car to ease itself into motion.  The car did not buck up nor did the engine make a knocking sound.  That is impressive.
  9. It has all the add ons like power windows and that makes life comfortable.
  10. I think it is ideal for long commutes.  It has three modes, the eco mode, the city mode and highway mode in the diesel version.  If I was comfortable with the auto gear system, I would have loved to test it on highway mode in the almost empty roads of Goa where people were still in slumber mode this Sunday .

The two of my favorite things in the car

The Steering Wheel

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And the gizmo filled front

2014-07-27 10.04.39In short, HorizonNext, DriveNext, TechnologyNext and ConnectNext are covered well in the car.

I define me

This is how the mind works -

We have a discussion on Facebook on a tender thoughtful update posted by a friend about her husband and his quiet caring nature, his understated concern.  It was lovely and romantic.

Mind to Ritu : See!  You used to be such a romantic like her.  But then you had to say no to love for such a long time in life.  Wasted time.

Ritu to Mind : Love is hard work.  Been there, done that.  It hurt so much, I swore off it.  I am okay now.

Mind to Ritu (In a smug way) : So you miss it, admit it.  You miss the feeling.

Ritu to Mind : Yes I do.  I miss eating roasted corn on cob too in the rains.  Doesn’t mean I’ll eat it at my age.  Can’t digest it.  But the smell of corn being roasted on red hot coal, the sizzle when the boy rubs lemon dipped in masala on the hot corn, the delicious mouth watering aroma when he hands it to you How I long for the cast iron digestive system of my youth when I could eat corn.

Mind : We’re talking romance here.

Me : Same principle.  We’re talking of the unattainable here.

Mind : Coward!

And I go into a sulk.  I don’t like to think of me as a coward.  I like to think of me as Xena the Warrior Princess.  Or Eve.  No not the wishy washy Eve of the Bible but Hawwah, the kickass girl who wanted to explore the edges and push the boundaries.

“Coward” says Mind with a smirk.  “Delusional,” it adds for added effect.

I wince as it hurts.  It is close to the truth, but not all of it.

The eternal problem of a person who cares too much, lives on her emotions.  I made a huge mistake.  I let others define me.  I focused on how others treated me, their opinion of me.  It made me very insecure, since I can’t obviously have any control on how others view me.

And I was such a people pleaser.

It led to my getting manipulated.  A lot.

I was honestly so grateful that I was noticed or loved, I completely missed the point, which was that I was lovable.  Still am.

And, honestly, its a free world.  If some people don’t love me, their loss.  There are plenty of others who will.

Low self worth is something that has to be carefully weeded out of the system.  I had triggers that I used to watch for.  I am vigilant even now, these triggers tell me when I am descending into the rabbit hole of low self worth.

1. Not being able to say “No” to something I don’t want to do.  ‘No’ is not rejection, it is just a polite way of saying that I don’t want to go out with a person or do a certain thing.  If I say yes and then wriggle out – I am just wasting the other person’s time and mine.

2. This leads to the second point : Making decisions based on what others expect, not based on what I want to do.  Watching Grand Masti even.  Or – sigh – eating plain cheese pizza.  Been there, done that.  Shouldn’t have.  The poor dear thinks I like plain cheese pizza. :(  He also thinks I enjoyed Grand Masti.

3. Low self worth also leads to boastfulness.  I had gone to an Italian restaurant along with Son Junior and his girl friend a few weeks ago.  The guy sitting on the next table was boasting, a lot.  He was just back from Europe and he really needed to tell everyone on his table and also the neighbouring ones all about it.  We fell silent – and then son Junior said, “It’s not as though he went sleighing on polar ice caps!”

We generally boast to make ourselves feel better and to impress those around us, but it can easily backfire. If the people around you perceive that you’re purposefully boasting, like when you make unsolicited comments about your greatness, they’ll see you as insecure and annoying. In addition, boasting of great feats often makes the people around us feel inferior. When you make people feel inferior, they’re going to like you less, not more.

It all makes me think – perhaps I was unprepared for the relationship I was in that scarred me and left me bleeding.  It left an impact on the rest of my life.

I spent the rest of my life rebuilding myself until now I can happily say

“I define Me”

I need to look at myself not with borrowed eyes and perceptions.  I admit that it is nice to have someone care for me or for me to depend on someone.  But then the other way is also wonderful, I care for others and they depend on me.  They love me, but they don’t define me.

I could never leave myself that vulnerable.  Am I wrong?  Perhaps I am.  But this sense of self worth has been built with such hard work, I can’t compromise it.

I define Me.  And the people who care , the people who matter tell me it makes me more lovable.

 

I Don’t Want to Have it All

When I was younger, if anyone had asked me if women were equal to men, (Oh, how I hate that question) I would have vociferously said, “More than equal!”

I wanted to prove that I was bigger, better, stronger, badder than all the men in the world.  But now I am older, and hopefully wiser.  I accept that women and men and different.  Honestly speaking, I do not want to have all that men have, which includes body hair, more sweat glands and messy habits.

As a young woman, I had to work.  If I did not, I could not provide for my children.  It was as simple as that.  From then onwards, it became a game of balancing.  I got jobs that took two hours or more of commute, which to my mind translated as two or more hours away from my children.  No amount of pay could compensate that.  I did not want to travel and meet the boys just on weekends.  I did not want to not be there for dinner.  I wanted to take them out on weekends, spend days mall-ratting with them.  I wanted to cook at least one meal and eat with them, talk about their homeworks, their crushes, their fights with fellow students and play ball.  I wanted to watch their favorite WWF with them.  So I did not take those jobs, even though they paid more.

My work did not define me, my small family did.

I think that is true of most women.  I can’t be that strange, though I do admit I am a bit eccentric.

I was reading these two articles, the one by Anne Marie Slaughterhouse  and this one about Indra Nooyi

Most women who work in offices know what Indra Nooyi’s mother said,

And she said to me, “let me explain something to you. You might be president of PepsiCo. You might be on the board of directors. But when you enter this house, you’re the wife, you’re the daughter, you’re the daughter-in-law, you’re the mother. You’re all of that. Nobody else can take that place. So leave that damned crown in the garage. And don’t bring it into the house. You know I’ve never seen that crown.”

And most women know that in taking a job, they have effectively signed up for double duty.  No one cares if we get a raise, no one cares about our triumphs and trials at work.  No one cares if the maid did not come.  Everyone at home wants a clean house and a hot meal cooked in time.  And the buck stops with us, whether we go out to earn or we are stay-at-home moms.

So equal opportunities be damned.  I just want good traffic free roads to race back home, power to work the microwave and food processor so that the vegetables get chopped and grinding of spices done.  And, hopefully, a maid who does not bunk much.

Because as a mother and a woman, my priority is to see the home and hearth taken care of with less of a burden on me.

I can’t change the world, and the world as I see it is regressive.  People still blame women for bringing violence upon themselves.  People still expect the mother to be responsible for any delinquency her child gets into.  I admire career women who can put in twelve hours or more of work, I would love to jet-set like them.  But the price of that kind of success is not something I want to pay.

And unlike men, who have this compulsion to climb on top of this particular career totem pole, I have a choice.  I can opt out.

So, I don’t want to have it all.

 

 

 

Molestation of women in India

I have been trying to control myself and not come out with my opinions on the Priety Zinta molestation case, because, let’s face it, it is controversial and has evoked a lot of reactions.  But then someone shared a screenshot with me, of a comment on the news article and it got me disgusted.

Priety

Well really?  Dear Mr. Chaibaba, you are sick.  I hope someone rapes you and hangs you to a tree naked.

From what I know of the lady, and all this information is in the public domain, Ness is a spoilt rich Mama’s boy. Zinta is the quintessential working lady.  They had a relationship that broke up because he is spoiled and self centered. His ego hasn’t handled it well. They still own the team together, and he uses that as an opportunity to harass her. She is a hotheaded woman with a lot of pride. She retaliated this time, in the most public of ways. She lost her career because she complained against the extortion attempts of some Don. She is that kind of woman.  No one gave her work because no one wanted retaliation from the underworld.  It is in her character to not take kindly to being bullied.  

The case reminded me of a movie called Damini, where the household help of a rich home gets raped by the younger son and his friends on Holi.  They kill the girl and dump her.  Damini is the daughter in law who testifies against this atrocity.  It had me really involved, raised questions in my mind of the “What if I were in her place” kinds.  There is no easy answer, is there?

What if I had been in Priety Zinta’s place?  What if someone I knew well had hurled abuse at me.  What if I was a victim of molestation, and the perpetrator was someone I had once known well, rich and powerful to boot?  Would I have gone against the rich and powerful?  If I did, I would get slandered too, have muck thrown on me just because I dared think I was as rich and powerful as the man in question.  Just because I challenged his so-called male superiority.

Patriarchy does not like women who are bold and stand up for their self respect.  Now if this was not a wealthy, successful woman and an actress!  If she was our household help who had been beaten by her husband or had been molested  (such things happen daily) we would listen to her kindly.  We would even give her a glass of water or some tea.  We would wipe her tears and send her back to the abusive situation, our conscience clear.  We empathized.

But this woman is rich.  She owns an IPL team along with her ex boyfriend who is using that as a leverage to get to her, to beat her, just because she won’t toe his line.  Moreover, she is an actress who has danced and entertained us, arm in arm with other men.  Surely, she can’t cry abuse!  Look at her – she is pretty.  She had a relationship with that man.  So why should she cry abuse now.  You know what happens in relationships.  Wink Wink.

She was called a f**ing whore, a f***ing bitch and reminded in no uncertain words that she was just a cheap actress by a man she once dated.  All said and done, I am glad for her sake, that she is no longer in a relationship with a man who just showed his class by his actions, and am ashamed that our countrymen do not have the balls to stand witness – even though there were many who witnessed this spat.

It takes guts to file an FIR.  It takes guts to take a stand.  She has both.  Sadly I agree with Shobha De who says

India is not terribly kind to strong -willed, outspoken women who are dubbed ‘trouble makers’ if they dare to raise their voices, especially against men. Zinta is such a woman. In the past, she has bravely stood up to pressure tactics by being the only witness to stand by earlier statements against the Indian Mafia in the notorious Bharat Shah case of  2003.

She has placed herself out there with her actions, to be judged, to be commented on by vermin like that Chaibaba who uses the anonymity of internet to display his perverted mind.