Indian Matchmaking

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There's a lot of chatter about #indianmatchmaking but honestly the show is absolutely frothy. I can't speak for men but I know several women, including me, who have gone through absolute hell during this bullshit process. Our self-esteem, our self-worth, our very existence is smashed to smithereens over and over again, quite simply because we are "still unmarried". And if the harassment stops, as it has done for me finally, it is only because you are considered to be 'on the shelf' and now 'your only duty in life is to look after your parents', aka the people who were at the forefront of putting you through this crap. I started #chatswithparents because I genuinely thought my parents were funny. I'd been working from home for a few years and spending way more time with them as an adult. Have I forgiven them for what they put me through? No. Do they think they did anything that they should apologise for? No. We rub along, but it has taken a lot for me to maintain a relationship with them. Why do I do it? Why don't I leave? As soon as I know, I'll let you know. They have watched this show and find it funny – they tut tut over the outrageous demands of the women and don't think there's much wrong with what the men are saying. Had I understood this about them a decade ago, perhaps my mind would have been very different. I wrote this #chatswithpeople #66 for the friends who went through this ordeal with me, on their own tangents. We listened to each other cry, we made fun of everything possible and we tried to survive it as best as we knew how then. ❤️

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Here comes the new year, just like the old years

#chatswithpeople #61 #chatswithgrandma #chatswithsiblings #chatsaboutboys

Eat my short stories

#chatswithparents #chatsaboutTV #58

Mum and I are watching #thesimpsons.
Homer: D’oh!
Mum: ha ha ha ha this guy’s funny
Me: really? See, we could have been watching this instead of Kyunki Saas bhi Boring Thi

Dad comes in and watches a bit.
Dad: why’s he strangling his child?
Me: #parenting.
Dad: what nonsense! How are you people watching this?

Mum (bristling): excuse me? I like it! And you sat and made me watch all the seasons of #thepunisher with you.
Dad (cowed): um…so?
Mum: that was wayyy more violent. That time you didn’t think anything and all?
Dad (sadly): d’oh.
Dad leaves room.

On screen, Bart and Nelson use Milhouse as a battering ram against a door.
Mum: oh! That’s so dangerous.
Me (rolling eyes): mother, it’s a cartoon.
Mum (darkly): that’s what you think. This is how your sister ended up with that scar.
Me: what scar? What?
Mum leaves room.
Me (confusion): d’oh?

Come fly the froufrou skies

#chatswithpeople #chatswithstrangers #57
During a recent flight, my co-passenger or Man on Right (MOR) was a source of great joy.

He strides up to our row.
MOR to steward: is there a separate compartment for Louis Vuitton luggage?
Steward and I are speechless. I try to glance at man’s ticket to see if he’s from Delhi.

Captain announces refreshments.
Air hostess whose name tag says Sheena pulls up.
Sheena: veg or non-veg sir?
MOR: do you have a fruit platter please? I don’t mind if it’s from business class.
Sheena and I both raise an eyebrow.
Sheena: let me just check sir.
Sheena and I both know she’s not checking.

Coffee time.
Sheena: I’m sorry sir, we’re out of fruit platters. Can I offer you some tea or coffee please?
MOR: Can I have some French press coffee, please?
I raise the other eyebrow. Sheena is made of sterner stuff.
Sheena: I’m sorry sir, but we’re out of French press. Can I serve you regular coffee please?

MOR: what kind of coffee is it?
Sheena, with greater patience than I will ever have: Nescafe, sir.
MOR: oh. That won’t do. Can you check if you have Earl Grey please?
Sheena: of course, sir.
Sheena and I both know she’s not checking.

MOR stands up and removes two power banks. He plugs one power bank into his phone, and the other into his speakers. He presses the call button.
Sheena (sighs): yes, sir?
MOR: can I get some earphones please?
Sheena and I are momentarily stunned. The man is wearing them, and also bloody hell man, they charge us for picking seats now. You think they have earphones?
Sheena: let me just check sir.
Sheena and I both know she’s not checking.

MOR waits a bit more. And proceeds to unroll a wired set of earphones and plugs them in. To my great joy, he hasn’t plugged them in fully.
The first two rows are treated to loud remixes of Hindi songs, the like you play when everyone is really, really drunk.
We all patiently wait for him to realise his earphones are not broadcasting sound.
He does not.

Sheena: sir! Excuse me, sir! (She touches his shoulder lightly.)
MOR: yes?
Sheena: sir, I’m so sorry but I think there may be a problem with your headphones. We can all hear the sounds of what you’re watching.
MOR: no, that’s not possible, I had my earphones in.
Sheena: yes, sir, I think they were not fully plugged in.

MOR: really? Could you hear classical music?
Kid on other side of aisle snickers: we heard Aunty Police Bulalegi.
Sheena and I go stone-faced as MOR stares balefully at kid.
MOR turns to Sheena: could you please check if I could switch seats?
Sheena: let me just check sir.
Sheena and I both know she’s not checking.

Things that make you go aarrgh

#chatswithpeople #chatswithparents #56

9.30 pm
Dad yawns: I must go to bed.
Me: …seriously? It’s 9.30. Are you 80 or Tamilian?
Dad: when I was younger I was able to stay up all day and all night.
Me: this is obviously way way way before I was born, because you’ve fallen asleep before me even when I was 4. I know because I’d wake you up to complain that you didn’t finish my bedtime story.

Dad: you need to let that go.
Me: never. When have you stayed awake all night?
Dad: when I was an NCC cadet. They put me on 24-hour security detail while at camp.

Me:…..but why? Where was this?
Dad: in a village.
Me: was it a dangerous village? I’m confused.
Dad: no no, it’s part of your training. And the campsite was next to a burial ground.

Me (Miss Super Coward since 1982): gosh. Weren’t you scared?
Dad: it wasn’t a Hindu burial ground.
Me: er. What difference does that make?
Dad: there were no fires.
Me: fire is reassuring. A burial ground has potential zombies. (I’m also Miss Super Zombie Fearer since 1982.)

Dad: no, no. But when I got home and told my grandmother, she made me take a bath.
Me: the world’s water shortage can be traced to Brahmins taking baths for every bloody thing. But I’m super impressed that you weren’t scared. I’d have run away.

Me: you didn’t know about zombies then, did you?
Dad: no. also, we used to read these comics.
Dad: about Mohini.
Me: the avatar of Shiva?

Me (sensing blood) (encouragingly): go on.
Dad: you know? like Mohini.
Me: yes?
Dad: the pichasini? The seduce-y types?

Me: This explains so much about men. Even in a burial ground, you’re not content to let people in peace. Even from a BURIAL GROUND, a hot chick needs to come seduce you.
Dad:……I’ll go to bed now.
Me: I think that would be best.

Namma marriage

#chatswithpeople #overheardinnammametro #55 #chatswithaunties #chatsaboutmarriage

First Telugu Aunty: and does she know any other languages?
Second Telugu Aunty: yes yes she knows (H)indi, Marathi, English and all languages.
Third Aunty nods sagely.

First: so it will be easy for her to adjust in Poona.
Second: oh yes, yes she will adjust very easily.
Third Aunty nods sagely.

First: and does she know how to cook?
Second: all dishes she knows.
Third Aunty doesn’t nod. We now know the girl cannot cook; this is a bald-faced lie.

First: very lucky she is. The boy it seems will go to Hamerica it seems.
Second: yes yes next year.
Third Aunty nods gingerly. Next year is too far.

First: this Trump-u is worst-u. He has made so many rules and regulations. Now it is difficult for our people to go there.
Second: yes yes but this boy has the H1B visa already.
Third Aunty and I look puzzled. He already has a H1B visa? When he’s going only next year?

First returns to important matters: what about masalas? Will she be able to make masalas?
Second: yes she knows but we will write and give it also.
Third Aunty looks straight ahead. She and I know that a joyous life of Taco Bell beckons the young couple.

First asks Third: you must be very happy your daughter is getting married. How much gold will you be giving?
Second: we are going now only to see the size of the suitcases.
Third Aunty starts coughing.

First: is she planning to work there?
Second: she has done. B. Ed. But her father fought with the university head so they are not giving her certificates. I think she can work without that only in Hamerica.
Third Aunty drinks water.

My stop arrives. I try to stop myself from asking Second for hype/presentation lessons and leave, tail between my legs.

The Song of Lunch

#chatswithpeople #chatswithparents #chatswithmeanoldladies #chatswithbats ? #beingfat #54

Last week
Me: HOW LONG is Granny aka Super Mean Old Lady with NO FILTER staying?
Mum: a week.
Me: that’s 6 days and 23 hours too long.

Day 4
Mum: only 3 more days.
Me (surly): how can you tell them apart? It feels like we’re in a time loop, with the same conversations every day.
Granny enters.

Mum: would you like some coffee or tea, Amma?
Granny: no, no, I’ll become fat.
Me (what does she mean “become”?): Mum, I’d like a second cup, please.
Bitch Granny: oho. Why? You’ll become fat.
Me (what does she mean “become”?): I think I’ll risk it.

Mum: okay. Lunch is rice and gravy ok Amma?
Bitch Granny: yes, yes, no more. I’ll become fat.
Me (what does she mean…Fuck it. EVEN MY THOUGHTS ARE IN A LOOP)

Granny turns her beady little eyes on me: are you skipping lunch?
Me: what?? Never. I’m planning to eat seconds.
Granny (outraged): but you’ll become FAT!

Me: I am FAT! Too late!
Granny: yes! But skip lunch, and dinner, and breakfast and you’ll be THIN! Then you can get married!

Me: I’ll be dead too.
Granny: Nonsense! No one dies of not eating anything. You just need to get thin enough so a boy will marry you.

Me: then you find this boy and make HIM skip lunch. After all, he gets to marry me.
Granny: no one wants to marry a fat girl.
Me: then no point skipping lunch anyway.

Granny: you’re so stubborn it’s hopeless.
Me: maybe that’s why I’m so tragically single? oh well. I’ll go eat lunch.
Granny, hitting her head: I don’t want to speak to you anymore.

Me: mum, mum, I WON! It only took like 35 years!
Mum: I still haven’t won; it’s been 37.
Me: eat lunch. Maybe that’ll help.

Cussing with mother

#chatswithparents #chatswithmum #profanity #howpeoplespeak #53


Mum and I are watching The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.
Character 1: …fucking fucks.
Character 2: fucking..fuck…fuck.
Me: delighted grin and recognition (my people!)

Mum: appah, these people swear so much. I don’t know anyone who swears this much.
Me: um….
Mum: no, seriously, I don’t think ANYONE swears this much. It’s incredibly vulgar.
Me: hmmm (fuck)

Mum: do you know anyone who swears like this?
Me: (fuck) I know a…friend, yes. My friend swears a lot.
Mum (outraged): who is this friend? Does she know it’s impolite?
Me: …ummm sort of. She doesn’t do it to everyone. Or at least, not at first meeting. She’s famous for it, really.

Mum: is she married?
Me: (fuck!) no.
Mum: is she working in an office somewhere?
Me: (Fuck!) no.
Mum: is she thin?
Me: (FUCK!) no.

Mum: hmph. No wonder. She must be doing it for the attention.
Me: ????? NO mum that’s not why I-mmyyyy friend does it at all. I think she just likes it. It’s sort of an outlet for when things don’t go her way or people fu-fool around with her. Ahem.
Mum: chee. Whatever.
Me: (fu-phew).

Chasing money


Tring tring.
Interviewer: Jai Shree Krishna.
Me:……………(NO. WHAT? NO.)
Interviewer: hello?
Me: yes, hi! Is this Interviewer?
Interviewer: Jai Shree Krishna, yes.
Me: (I DIDN’T MISHEAR IT OMG WTF DO I DO NOW?) um. Hi. I’m calling about the opening for Creative Head?

Interviewer: Jai Shree Krishna, yes. How are you?
Me: (oh, that’s actually nice.) Fine, thank you. How are you?
Interviewer: Jai Shree Krishna. Very well. Life has been kind. Krishna has been merciful.
Interviewer: Jai Shree Krishna, so tell me about yourself.
Me: (I’m the unluckiest person in this world right now) (I unreel bio)

Interviewer: Jai Shree Krishna, very good. Tell me.
Me: yes?
Interviewer: Are you a great writer? Jai Shri Krishna. Because we need GREAT writers.
Me: well, that would be for others to say right? I mean…isn’t it subjective?
Interviewer: I don’t understand.
Me: I mean, you know, great writing or any sort of art is defined by the audience or people viewing it rather than creating it…?
Interviewer: Jai Shree Krishna?
Me: (giving up) I wouldn’t say great (also because then you’d bring it up in EVERY appraisal saying but you told us you were a great writer) but I’m very good.

Interviewer: But you see, we want GREAT writers. Like amazing. Simply wow.
Me:…………………………………………………………………(many words that cannot be printed)
Interviewer: Jai Shree Krishna. Are you there?
Me: ahem. Yes. Hi. So um…
Interviewer: We are also a ruthless team. The sales is ruthless, the other writers are ruthless and the marketing is ruthless. Even our office staff are ruthless.
Me: um.
Interviewer: And they are all GREAT. Like, the office staff is GREAT at making coffee, yes. Jai Shree Krishna.
Me:…..Jai Shree Krishna (FUCK WHY AM I SAYING IT NOW?) okay. I’m not sure how to take this forward.

Interviewer: Jai Shree Krishna. Also, how old are you?
Me: I’m 35.
Interviewer: HOMYGORD. That old? You are extremely experienced.
Me: (that’s what he said—no wait this isn’t the time!) Um. I thought you were looking for a Creative Head?

Interviewer: Jai Shree Krishna, yes but you’d have to report to me. Are you okay reporting to a younger person?
Me: (younger person yes. you, I’m not sure.) sure? Could we discuss salary?
Interviewer: yes, we will pay 8 peanuts.
Me: right. So there’s one thing about your organization that isn’t GREAT, then.

Interviewer: Jai Shree Krishna? Oh also, it depends on how many awards you win.
Me: (I’m going to kill that recruiter. Fricking dismember. Twist arms and legs off. Bloody well-)
Interviewer: Jai Shree Krishna, GREAT chat. But I have a meeting now so can we chat tomorrow again?

Me: (over the recruiter’s dead effing body) Of course. Go forth and be ruthless.
Interviewer: Jai Shree Krishna?
Me: I mean, goodbye. And Jesus is great.
Me: Jai Shree Krishna?
Me: (hung up)

So you write things down?

#Chatswithpeople #chatswithclients #chatswithparents #chatsinadvertising

Tring tring.
Prospective Client (PC): hello?
Me:…yes, hi. I’m Hapless Poor Writer and I was given your number in reference to Undefined Freelance Work That You Will Change the Brief of At Least Twice But Fuck I’m Poor and Desperate.

PC: oh yeah yeah. We’ve actually changed the scope of that work.
Me: of course. right…so now it’s…?
PC: undefined Freelance Jelly That Might Become Custard or Pudding But Will Definitely Turn Your Brains Into Jelly

Me: (sigh) brilliant. So how do we take this forward?
PC: why don’t you send us an initial proposal?

Me: sure…so I was thinking we could do Things on Instagram, Things on Facebook and Some More Things on Twitter. Along with Other Ideas. Does that work for you?
PC: that sounds great and bang on brief.
Me: okay, so I’ll mail you that then.

A day later.

PC: hey hi, so your proposal doesn’t work for us…can you re-do?
Me: sure, could we please quickly discuss the parts that don’t work?
PC: all of them.

Me:…o-kay. (BUT YOU SAID IT WAS BANG ON BRIEF BITCH WTF WAS THAT THEN) So what direction would you like me to work in?
PC: to make our brand famous.
Me:…right, perhaps we could narrow that down.
PC: to make our brand really famous.
Me: (through gritted teeth) certainly. and what should people do after your brand is very famous?
PC: Buy it.

Me:….sure. But we might not be able to structure all social media communication all the time around that…or that directly even…so what would you say is the campaign goal?
Me: awareness? Product features? Likeability? Likes?
PC:…let me check with my team get back to you.
Me: right, sure.

A day later.
PC: hi so we want to do Things on Instagram, Things on Facebook and Some More Things on Twitter. Along with Other Ideas.
Me:….yes, I believe that was my plan too…

PC: no, this is different from your plan.
PC: my team feels that your plan was lacking in focus and wouldn’t make us famous. But this one will. Your plan is Jelly, but this plan is Custard.
Me: okay. (I need money. I need money. I need money.) so if Custard is the goal, then would you like to explore Fruit Toppings and Ice Cream?
PC: yes.
PC: also…
Me: yes?
PC: could you give us an option for Jelly? It might help to explore our options.

Tring tring.
Dad: hello ma?
Dad: ah? What happened ma?
Dad: um…I don’t think that exchange scheme was available when your siblings were born.
Me: banging head against wall.