The Corporate Homemaker

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Today, I complete eight years of corporate life. Yes, eight long years with the same company. During the third year of my engineering, I was placed in the big blue and a day after my final fourth year exams, I joined the company. My joining location was Chennai and I hated the place from the time I set my foot into it. I was away from my family for the first time ever and for a true blood Bangalorean to survive in a place like Chennai is really difficult. I cribbed and complained and cribbed some more. Plus, since I was away, my long distance relationship went kaput and I was not in the right frame of mind to stay in an alien city. After four grueling months, I got a transfer and I was back in Bangalore. Since that day, there has been no looking back.

People say that work is worship, I don't know that exactly. But work for me is a lifeline that I cannot do without. My job might not be the greatest in the world, but I love it. The feeling of being financially independent is wonderful and I am really glad that I do not have to depend on anyone else for money. It just feels like yesterday that I drew my first salary and here I am having drawn close to a hundred salaries by now. Of course the amount has varied over time, and to be really honest I do not care much about how much I make. I know I give my job a 100% and I get paid in return. That is all that matters to me. I have friends who have jumped a lot of companies and make twice the money that I do today. These are the same people who crib non-stop about how horrible their jobs are how much they hate it. I get paid to do a job I love. So, who's the winner here?

Over eight years I have changed six projects. The first five was in a location close to my mother's place. I worked there until I got married. After marriage I moved to the other side of town and changed my work location with a new project within the same company. It has been three years since I moved here and I couldn't be more happier. Marriage did not change my perspective towards work and my husband knew that my job would always be my top priority. He loves me for being so serious about my job. I am not a procrastinator. I need things to be done when they have to be done. I plan my work first and then everything else around it. Be it vacations or medical follow ups. I would never compromise on my job in any way. It is important that I stay true to my job. Else there is no way that I could stay true to myself.

While I'm so focused on work, I do not compromise on my home either. I am a working lady yes, but I also am a homemaker. And I'm very proud of this fact. Most people I know call me a "working lady" and put a big full stop at the end. It is automatically assumed that she sucks at managing a home. Utter bullshit. I've been managing a home for more than a year now and we couldn't be more happier. I am the homemaker who has a place to go to every morning. I am the homemaker who finishes chores at home and then goes to office to do her job. I am the homemaker who doesn't have to wait for her husband for the basics. I am the homemaker who has contributed to the making of this home financially. I am the homemaker who takes care of the bills on time and can pay it from her own pocket. I am the homemaker who sees to that that her kitchen is full and the home is well maintained all the time. And yes, I also am the homemaker who manages a demanding job along with this.

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Of course you cannot do this without the right support. If there are people around you cribbing about the fact that you can't do a few things because of your job, it will only bog you down. Over the past one year my husband has been a great support to me and together we manage a home beautifully without any help. We even financially support both our set of parents along with taking care of our own expenses. My husband knows the love and respect I have for my job and helps me make it easy. A couple of years ago, this was just not possible due to the burden of expectations. Since the time we moved to a place of our own, we have been able to manage everything effortlessly. I know he's got my back, so that helps me give a 100% to my job and a 100% to my home as well.

I am not trying to blow my own trumpet here. I am tired of listening to the words "working lady" time and again. The societal definition of such a woman is one who is ambitious and is only bothered about her work. In that case let me get the definition of a homemaker right too. A homemaker is someone who takes care of the home and the people in it. She takes care of all the chores and handles the bills and everything else on time. She has a clean house and also keeps the family members close and brings the family together. I know of so many women who have failed as homemakers today. These women have maids to do all the chores for them and yet they miss out on so many things. Let's face it, we're all human. So, let us make it clear that a homemaker is not someone who can take care of a house better than a so called working lady. It all depends on the type of person one is. Being complacent and lazy does not help either kind.

In my opinion, every woman needs to be financially independent. Be it at a steady job or working from home on your own. While a lot of woman are happy staying at home and watch soap operas, there are a lot of woman doing something for themselves in any way that they can. They are earning enough to support their own needs. With the advent of the Internet, so many women have gone online with their home business and many of them are conducting cooking/art classes on you tube. It feels so nice to see something like this. Last week I saw a show on TV that showed a 82 year old woman entrepreneur famously known as the knitting nani. Her daughters have helped her set up a company and she's running it successfully now. A woman is strong. Be it a working woman or a homemaker. But it is important that they realize their strength and do something about it. Pick up a talent or a course to earn some basic amount, that's all they need to do. For themselves, not anyone else. Trust me, the feeling is something else altogether.

I've clocked eight years of being a working lady and more than a year of being a homemaker today.

Forever to go.

Neverland

copyright-Rich Voza

"Is it that important for you to go and settle in the US?" Ria asks Rohan with tears in her eyes.

"Absolutely. You know how hard I've worked to get here. I'm going and I want you to come with me."

"I can't leave my parents behind, you know that. I'm all they have."

"We'll come visit them every year. Come on Ria, once we're married I think it's better we settle down there."

"But this the place I belong to. I do not want to leave."

"I will have to."

"Do I have a say?"

"No."

"Okay then, goodbye."

This drabble (100 word fiction) is written for Friday Fictioneers, 24th June 2016.

Treating Food Right

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It is no hidden secret that I'm a food lover. Check my last poem for instance. I think good food is a luxury and it is not something that should be taken for granted. Why do we all work? Why do we all struggle to make some decent money? At the end of the day we all are doing this to have a good meal and fill our stomachs. I am someone who thinks that food should be cooked for the right number of people and nothing should go waste.

At our office cafeteria we have a board that shows the number of kilos of food wasted per day. Today I saw that it said the food wasted yesterday was 70 kilos and that it could have fed 175 people. My heart just broke as I saw this. There are so many people around the world who do not have a basic meal to eat and here we corporate slaves are wasting food everyday. I'm not too sure how this can be controlled in an office environment. Maybe one should be given the chance to taste the food before actually getting it on to the plate. Also, one should just take the quantity of the food that one can possibly eat. We have some counters in our office where the rice and curry is unlimited and I have seen people helping themselves to four to five spoons of them. If you can eat it, then good for you. But more often than not, half the food remains uneaten and ends up in the dustbin.

I come from a house where we have fresh food everyday. My mother is a working lady and in spite of that made sure that we get hot fresh meals three times a day. I am someone who loves fresh food and I also like variety. I am not the one to eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In order to be able to have fresh food three times a day, it is important that one cooks only enough for one meal. I hate it when people make a pot full of food and then leave it in the fridge. When cooked food is placed in the fridge it loses its nutritional value, but nobody understands that. It is a matter of convenience and laziness for a few people. I have seen people store food for days together in the fridge and eat it over a period of two-three days. At times without even heating it. I find it utterly disgusting. Some times the food remains forgotten in the fridge and is thrown away after a few days. All this can be avoided if one cooked exactly for the number of people per meal.

I've mastered the art of cooking for two people. Even when I was staying with my in-laws my mother-in-law insisted that I only cook for my husband and myself. So I had the measurements right from a long time. Today I make breakfast and lunch in the morning. Since I cook the right quantities, the breakfast is over at breakfast and the lunch for exactly two people is packed. I am someone who can only eat hot food. So I warm the food in the office oven just before lunch. Breakfast and lunch is done with zero wastage. Once back home in the evening, I cook dinner exactly for two people. All the pots and pans are empty by night. No, I do not skimp on the quantity. I cook food that is more than sufficient for two people. If any food remains extra, I immediately give it away to someone who might need it. Cooked food going into the fridge never happens in my house.

Food is something sacred and it is also a luxury in every form. We should not abuse it. I also hate people who go in for easy food. Like making rice and then mixing it with a powder to have a meal ready. This is the height of laziness for me. Once in a while I would understand, but doing this everyday just for convenience is not something I would ever understand. Make food enjoyable. Try out different cuisines and makes different food for each meal a day. To be honest it doesn't take that much of time. I love food that is fresh and hot and that is something I always follow in my house. I know how much quantity of food is needed for a number of people and go ahead with that. Also if I happen to eat out once in a while, I only order how much I can eat. In case there are some leftovers, I parcel them and give it away to the less fortunate.

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Wastage is not only limited to cooked food. Some of us buy vegetables and fruits and forget it in the fridge at times only to find it gone rotten a few days later. If one understood the time and effort that goes behind growing vegetables or fruits, you would think twice before throwing it away. Thankfully all of us can afford to buy vegetables and fruits, but must we buy them for a month or two? I have seen houses where the fridges stink of rotten food, cooked and raw both. Makes me want to puke as I think of it. Buy vegetables that would last for three days or maximum a week. Wash them, pat them dry and store them well. Use them as often as you can and do not forget about it. Being the OCD freak that I am, I plan a menu as soon as I come home from the vegetable store. I alternate vegetables with spinach and pulses and decide what dish each vegetable would be a part of. It just takes a little while and I feel sorted.

Food is something that keeps us alive, so let us treat it that way. Think twice before cooking or throwing away food. Cook the right quantity and the food will be of excellent quality. As much as possible try to cook and eat within an hour or two. Do not carry over food from one meal to another. Or from one day to another. Only cook how much is needed and only serve yourself how much you can eat. At home or at any restaurant. This would help avoid food wastage to a certain extent.

If you think of any other way we can reduce food wastage, please let me know in the comments below.

Love At Every Sight

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When I look at you
It is all about love and lust
Your presence in my life
Has now become a must

It was love at first sight
And then the second and the third
My heart then speaks to you
Its beats I'm sure you've heard

Oh dear, how pretty you look
I just cannot take my eyes off you
This is not the first time I've been in love
But this time I know it's true

Holding you makes me feel so nice
When my lips touch you I feel so high
Your fragrance intoxicates me
In happiness I want to fly

People asked me to stay away from you
They say you're not good for me
I don't care what they have to say
You and me together, I can see

I love the way you dress up
I could sit and look at you every day
My eyes then talk to you
When I do not have a word to say

I crave for you every second
Smoking hot, you always look
Round has never been this good before
Be it in any magazine or book

Oh dear, how much I love you
Stay with me morning, noon and night
I'll never ever give up on you
With you, it'll always be love at every sight

Book Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy #1)

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Title: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Author: Stieg Larsson
Publisher: Quercus; UK film tie-in ed edition (7 January 2010)
Genre: Thriller
Price: Rs. 198 on Amazon.
Pages: 542

When I looking to read more thrillers, my dearest friend Sreesha suggested this book. Almost instantly I placed an order and within a minute the book was on my kindle. I started it with zero expectations. When a book is translated into English from Swedish, you do expect it to not have much of finesse. And if the original title of the book meant 'Men who hate women', then your interest would automatically tend to pique. This is what happened to me too. But then the story shook me to the core.

The book is divided in to fours parts and each part talks about the atrocities that the women of Sweden have had to face. In fact, actual statistics are mentioned.

There are three parallel tracks in the book. First follows the life of Mikael Blomkvist who is a financial journalist. Second is about Lisbeth Salander, a private investigator. Third is about the Vanger family. Mikael Blomkvist is the co-owner and publicist of the Millennium monthly magazine and is currently on trial for publishing a story defaming billionaire industrialist Hans Erik Wennerstrom. He is convicted and expected to spend some time in prison. Henrik Vanger the head of the Vanger family and ex-CEO of the Vanger corporation gets in touch with Blomkvist and tells him that he can help him get even with Wennerstrom if he does an assignment for the Vanger family. Henrik Vanger receives a pressed flower in a frame on his birthday, every year. This was a ritual set by his grandniece Harriet, who disappeared thirty six years ago during a Vanger family gathering. But the flowers still show up every year, and Henrik is convinced that it's Harriet's murderer who is sending him the flowers year after year. Henrik has been obsessed with the disappearance of Harriet for all these years. Henrik Vanger entrusts the curious case of the missing Harriet to Blomkvist and gives him a years time to find out what happened to her.

In order to do this Blomkvist has to spend a year on Hedeby Island with all the Vangers. With the help of a few photographs he manages to get some clues about what could have happened to Harriet. This involves deep disturbing secrets of the dysfunctional and toxic Vanger family and its members. When Blomkvist asks Frode, the family lawyer of the Vanger family for additional help on the case, Frode directs him to the very person who did a background check on Blomkvist before he was hired by the Vanger family; Lisbeth Salander. Lisbeth Salander works as a researcher and computer hacker for Milton Security and is excellent at what she does. She is as disturbed as one can get and battles demons of her own. With piercings and tattoos, it is an easy guess that she's the girl with the dragon tattoo. Due to her troubled past, she is considered legally incompetent and is under the care of a legal guardian. When her guardian Holger Palmgren suffers a stroke, he is replaced by Nils Bjurman who expects sexual favors from Salander in return for money. Her own money.

Blomkvist and Salander come together to investigate Harriet's case. Blomkvist has a good friend and occasional lover in Erika Berger who is the co-owner of Millennium. But Salander develops a liking for Blomkvist and they end up in bed soon. This doesn't stop them from focusing on the task at hand. Thanks to a clue deciphered by Blomkvist's daughter they figure out that Harriet's disappearance might be linked to a series of serial killings all across Sweden over the past forty odd years. When they dig deep into the history of the members of the Vanger family, they bring up buried secrets and not everyone is happy about it.

What exactly happened to Harriet? What happens to the Blomkvist-Wennerstrom issue? What happens to the girl with the dragon tattoo? This is what the book is all about.

When I posted on social media that this is the book I'm reading, I got a lot of comments saying that I'm in for a very good time. A few pages into the book and I actually believed them. The intertwined stories blend together really well keeping the mystery at the core. The writer does a good job in introducing all members of the Vanger family and giving us a rough blue print of Hedeby island. The presence of way too many characters did take a toll on me and I was struggling to catch up. I did predict what would have happened to Harriet much earlier and although the circumstances were different, my prediction was right. The language used is good and reading does seem effortless in spite of the 542 pages this book has.

As characters none of them stay with you and you will thank the author for this. Salander is someone whom nobody can identify with, unless and until you have a dark history of sexual violation. Blomkvist could have been more enigmatic and charming, than what he is shown to be. I did not understand his relationship with Erika at all. She's married to a painter who is okay with the fact that his wife continues to sleep around with Blomkvist. In fact they even plan holidays in a way that they can share her. Every family does come with its share of shitty secrets, but this one was quite something. The violence, the rapes, the sexual assaults, the crimes, the brutality - all on women are described in vivid detail and is disturbing and will leave you shaken. The book troubled me so much that I couldn't sleep for a couple of days. So does that mean that this book is bad? No.

The mystery is brilliant and the characters though eccentric weave a wonderful story among themselves. Although it is a long story, every loose end is tied convincingly. I will be picking up the rest of the Millennium series soon, but after a while. I need some time to get this book out of my system.


Verdict: The most disturbing book that I've ever read. And I've read 'Red Dragon'! If you do not mind some disturbing yet realistic content, do go for this one.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

His & His #PrayForOrlando

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In an instant, everything changed
The music soon turned to a scream
It all unfolded like a painful drama
Scarier than any ghastly dream

It happened right in front of me
In a room that was filled with love
One second people were holding hands
Then it all became about push and shove

We all were trying to survive
The world looks down upon us anyway
All we did was fall in love
And yet others had lots to say

The first shot shook me up
From where I was, I saw him fall
The screams of others blinded me 
For help, I couldn't even call

He shot at the crowd randomly
Spitting and hurling abuses all the while
I ran and hid in the bathroom
When I looked back I saw the bodies pile

I managed to call my mother
Told her I loved her for the last time
She couldn't believe what was happening
Loving someone was not a crime

He did come for me soon
I lay down, pretending to be dead
I thought he would walk past me
But I felt a bevy of bullets instead

In those last minutes I looked at him
His face was slathered with hate
He looked like he wanted to do this
Like it was a part of his fate

Fifty of us lost our lives
But humanity died a thousand deaths that day
Those who survived would never live
The price of love, they'll have to pay

Homosexuality is not a sin
Taking a life surely is
Why should a gun be able to decide
The fate of his and his

Mama's Girl

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I've always been a fiercely independent woman and I hate dependency of any kind. Depending on someone else for anything completely ticks me off. This is the very reason why I don't have a maid or a cook at home. I don't like waiting around for someone to get my own things done. More often than not a man who is dependent on his mother for everything is called a "Mama's Boy". And every woman hates such a man. Because who wants to be stuck around with a man who waits for his mother to do things for him or follows her orders to the tee. The mother clearly holds the leash of the son and guides his every move. Sadly she refuses to let go off the leash even when he has a new woman in his life now. Yes, we have all heard of the quintessential Mama's boy. What about the Mama's girl?

At the risk of feminists boycotting my blog and dissing this post, I'm still going to come out and say this. The concept of Mama's girl does exist and is more prevalent than the Mama's boy syndrome. I love my parents and I care for them, but there is no way I would discuss every aspect of my life with them. Or particularly with my mother. I'm a working lady with a very busy life and I also am the home maker of my home. My mother is a working lady and a home maker too and there is no way I would want to burden her with my stuff. I have seen friends of mine calling up their mothers every second asking for recipes, or to complain about the in-laws or just gossip in general. There also are a lot of mothers I know who take way too much interest in the marital lives of their daughters and want to be involved in every aspect. This is something I completely disagree on.

Mothers need to let go of their children once they are married. Sons and daughters alike. If the children are grown up enough to get married, they are grown up enough to make decisions and take care of themselves. The same way, children should let go of their parents and not depend on them for every small thing. I have seen married woman call up their mothers every morning and give updates on the day and about the other family members. I find it surprising that the person on the other end of the phone has the time and patience to listen to all this. I'm not only talking about newly married women out here. I know that most new brides miss their family and want to be in touch with them as often as they can. But somewhere the line has to be drawn. There are even women who have been married for decades and have married children who still make it a point to call up their old mothers and smother them with unnecessary information. From the smallest thing to the biggest will always be discussed with their mothers.

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I talk to my mom every day for like a minute or two. I ask her how she and dad are doing and that's about it. Till date I haven't felt the need to discuss my marital life with her or to bitch about my in-laws. I'm not that jobless, plus, I know how to handle my problems on my own. I know that it always helps to talk to someone if you are going through something, but one should leave it at that. Discussing minute details of the house to the behavior of the other people is nothing but plain bitching. Such women complain to their mother about how their MIL/DIL is not helping them, or how horrible the food cooked by them is or how they do not understand their feelings or just talk about the family problems in general. This is completely unnecessary.

A woman always leans towards her mother for comfort when she has a child. But depending on her completely to take care of the child is not right. She will help you, no doubt, but having her as a baby sitter 24x7 is definitely not right. Also, every woman likes her mother's cooking the best. Constantly talking about my Mama's this and my Mama's that, is annoying to the core. Every woman needs to take control of her own life and deal with it. Being on the phone with the mother all the time and discussing minute details of ones life is uncalled for.

If you are a woman who complains about her husband being a Mama's boy and if you actually discuss this fact with your own mother, then it is about time you took a closer look at yourself.

Perhaps

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It's only on rainy days
That I think of you
The memories piercing
Still fresh as dew

It rained that day
When you held my hand
As you held me close
Against the wet land

Those drops of water
Sliding down your lips
Made me go crazy
As your hands felt my hips

Love or lust, hard to say
Meant something, it sure did
You and I, together
Naked emotions, nothing hid

The passion was great
As we created fire
Embedded in one another
We learnt about desire

Year after year
The feeling did last
And then it all went dark
Like a shadow was cast

It was over quick
Just the way it did start
There was not much pain
Just a void in the heart

Love or lust, hard to say
Most days I just don't care
Yet when the rains come down
You still are present somewhere

It's a sign of your presence
In the petrichor I look for you
A part of me does hope that
Perhaps, you're doing that too

For The Love Of Books

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They take you on an adventerous journey
Even with blind eyes you can take a look
You get to meet so many people
In a magical land called 'The Book'

A plethora of new words you shall learn
Knowledge is hidden in every nook
Get carried away in the flow of the language
Just lay your hands on any book

You'll witness murders and feel the pain
You may even fall in love with the crook
A million lives you shall live through them
All within the confines of a book

You'll get new ideas of romance
Some will keep you at the edge of a hook
It may take a turn any side
To know it, you must finish the book

Some of them take place in a skyscraper
Some classics just stick to the brook
The stories are what remains with you
Long after you're done with the book

A family affair or a court room drama
Murderous tendencies that will leave you shook
You will come to love all of these
When you immerse yourself in a book

You can get lost in them anytime
While you travel or as you cook
For me, there definitely is not a world
Where I am without a book

Action Replay: May 2016

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Only seven posts last month. Do I need to say how busy I was? Well, it was not only that. After the over hectic blogging that happened during April, I intentionally took it slow last month. I normally am someone who would write five posts a week, but this time I could barely come up with one a week. Work was drowning me with back to back projects. But you know what? I enjoyed it to the core. If there is one thing that I love, it is being busy. Even if it means I do not have a few minutes to spare. This month was completely like that. But I did plan well. And this time blogging was not a priority for me. Twenty six posts in April and that too 'All about me', squeezed every ounce of writing energy from my body. I then focused on something else that I was lagging behind. Reading.

I read three books this month and I'm half way through the fourth one. This is the pace I love in reading. I normally try to finish a book in a day or two, but with work piling on, it was tough. I planned my time well this time. Work was strictly reserved for office alone. Once I got home, it was only reading and then the household chores. I read a bunch of thrillers and a mystery this month. 'Sharp Objects', was a wonderful read while 'Dark Places' was good but not great. I enjoyed it thoroughly though. Sidney Sheldon's 'The Tides Of Memory' by Tilly Bagshawe was a surprisingly good read. I've hated books of Sheldon she's written until now. 'Chasing Tomorrow' was particularly disappointing, but this one was really good. I'll be reviewing this too in a while. After these intense reads, I picked up P.G. Wodehouse's 'Galahad At Blandings' and I always have a smile whenever I read it. I'm halfway through and looking forward to pick up another thriller soon.

Everything else was pretty much "as usual" in May. Cal and I are slowly ticking off things from our resolutions list. Our weekends have been really busy because of this, but then you need to lose something to gain something. I spent some time in the company of great friends too and felt instantly rejuvenated. When you realize that your blogger friends have slowly now become your offline best friends, the happiness that comes with it is quite something. A couple of them have become my go to people for everything I need. Right from listening to my random rants to discussing some juicy gossip, they always leave me with a smile on my face.

Cal and I were following the IPL from day one, the cricket buffs that we are. This time we went and saw a couple of matches live too. It's a pity that RCB couldn't lift the cup this time and I honestly feel that the team, especially the bowlers let Virat Kohli down. What a player he is! But the fact that eight men couldn't come up with eighty odd runs in eight overs is something hard to digest. Sigh. What's over is over, right?

Work is going to be taxing this month as well, but I love the energy that comes with it. But writing will be a priority too. Especially since LOL has made it to the directory of best Indian blogs for the fourth year in a row. I owe it to her (my blog's a female, yeah) that I keep her updated and healthy. I did lose a lot of readers this month and the comments on the few posts that I wrote were minimal. I know that I haven't replied to the comments on my posts from April, but that was such a hectic month that I barely had the time to breathe. I'll get around to it soon. Very soon.

June is going to be a very happy month, I can sense it. Habits and hobbies are taking good shape and this makes me happier than ever. I'm going to try to have atleast three posts a week from now on. 12 posts a month is pretty decent, right? I might also finally finish of that fiction series of mine. Oh damn, I've forgotten the story myself. I shall try and complete it at one shot, if possible.

Okay now enough about me. Tell me how did May treat you?