Thursday, January 20, 2011

Operation Zero Crack

While being the first to admit that I am quite far from the Miss World mold, I am nevertheless quite vain about a few physical features of mine. When I was kid, I used to love the smooth feel of my ankles. For some unfathomable reason, cracked heels were disgusting things to me and I would primly inform my mom that she and my aunts had ugly feet when those horrible heel cracks appeared (for some inexplicable reason, mom continued to love me). I had no idea back then that cracked heels were prone to afflict adults more. Instead, I just assumed that I had been born with divinely blessed perfect heels.

Fast forward to adulthood. Regular readers of this blog will know my penchant and fondness for moisturizing. If a person bathes themselves in moisturizer I guess that person's heels will have a very hard time trying to crack. So, while I did not make the connection, I continued to have smooth heels and I continued to believe in my divine perfect heels.

Fast forward some more. Last year we moved back to India. As I said, moisturizers were mostly unnecessary in Chennai and I had to regretfully give up on using so much. Then, the winter set in. Now, in Chennai, you have to look really carefully to find winter. About two days of the ceiling fan being unnecessary and winter is over. Still, the air does tend to get a bit drier than usual.

Fast forward to a few days ago. I was climbing the stairs to my in-laws house ahead of S when he asked, "Hey Archu, are those cracks in your heels?" I froze mid-step. Just like in that ad where a teenage boy calls a prematurely graying lady "aunty" and the lady hears echoes of "aunty, aunty, aunty", I could hear echoes of "cracked heels, cracked heels, cracked heels".

Stunned, I checked my feet and sure enough, I could spot two cracks on each heel. Noooooooooooooooo. All I could think about for the rest of the visit was "I need to get rid of the cracked heels NOW." How could I have neglected my favorite activity (moisturizing) so much?

Now I have launched Operation Zero Crack. I soak my feet in warm water and scrub my feet morning and night. Then douse them in moisturizer and cover my feet with socks. So what if I look like a geriatric wearing socks in 29C weather? Getting rid of the heel cracks is priority #1.

After 4 days of this routine, I don't know if the heel cracks are healing. But I do know that I have the cleanest feet in the whole of Chennai.

Here's to crack-less heels!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Only in India

For the past three days, celebration (read, eating plenty of yummy food) has been in full swing in honor of Pongal, the harvest festival.

I ate sugarcane today after eons. I still remember the days of yore when we kids used to spread plenty of newspapers on the ground and then seat ourselves in a circle around them and chew and spit the sugarcane husks away to glory. This was probably a negative calorie activity since tearing away the sugarcane's outer layer, chewing the inner layer, spitting the husk out and navigating through the sugarcane eyelets (kanu) used to be quite energy-consuming. This was the macho (and time intensive) way of eating the sugarcanes - the cut and cleaned pieces were for sissies. We kids used to enjoy this ritual a lot and it was one of the highlights of Pongal.

Today, maattu (cow) pongal day, as I stuffed yet another vada into my mouth at my parents' place, I was thinking about how Pongal has mostly lost its significance for urban dwellers. After all, hardly anyone living in a city is tending to farms in their backyards that they can give thanks to their hardworking farm-animals or for a bountiful harvest. Still, considering that Pongal comes with its share of festival food and celebrations, I really was not complaining too much.

Later in the night, as S and me set off home, we bade good bye to my parents and took the elevator downstairs. We were about to walk out of the building when the strangest sight met our eyes. Standing outside the building was a cow and her calf!

The cow had tiny bells tied to its horns. Both the cow and the calf looked resplendent in the silk clothes covering them and the garlands of flowers and glittering paper hanging around their necks. In front of them stood one of the ladies of the apartment complex, venerating them with aarti as the animal-caretaker looked on.

So what if we can't give thanks to our own cows? Just rent-a-cow :-)! Still, it was great to see maattu pongal being celebrated in its true spirit!

There is still one more day of Pongal left tomorrow. So:

Wish you a very Happy Pongal!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Weird tag lines

I simply *had* to write about this somewhere. When stocking our kitchen after we moved into our new place, one of the things we bought was maida (all purpose flour). Now, I am quite used to some desi products having funny-sounding names (kali mark, bovonto, seval-mark beedi (translated to cock-mark beedi), sudermani veti, poomer veshti, Bommi nightie etc. etc.). But the new love for having tag-lines associated with products have me reeling again.

So our maida had the brand name Naga. The tag-line? Naga - the glow of satisfaction.

??!?! So the maida glows or it glows when made into parathas or the Naga company owner's face glows when he sees the profits? No idea. What an irrelevant and weird tag line for an edible item I thought.

Then I saw this ad on TV today: Naga bubbly-bubbly maida. Complete with a lady singing about her bubbly bubbly son and bubbly bubbly husband and how they eat bubbly bubbly parottas made with bubbly bubbly Naga maida.

I tell you, this company needs a new marketing team, stat.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Clean slate to write on

Happy New Year 2011, folks! Boy, 2010 went whizzing by or what? Though, like S said, instead of mourning for a year gone by too fast, I should look forward to adding many more new experiences in 2011. That's a great way of looking at it, no?

My 2011 got off to a flying start. First, we went on a family outing to a resort in Pondicherry. The weather was great, the company was great, the food was great and the beach was a stone's throw away. What more does a mini-vacation need?

Then, as if my cup of joy was not full enough, this happened: I went to the in-house spa to get a massage done. The masseuse first asked me if I was a student. Amused, I said no and stated that I was working. We continued talking about some other topic. In reply to a question, I started off saying, "Yes, my husband and I..." only to be interrupted by the masseuse with a, "What, you are married?" followed by, "Oh, then you must be newly married.". I am told I wore a cat which has drunk milk expression for the rest of the day.

Before touching the big 3-0 last year, I was briefly depressed and felt that as soon as I turned 30, I would be standing with one foot in the grave. Only after turning 30 did I realize that except for filling in new digits next to my age in application forms, absolutely nothing had changed. I was going to be as old or as young as I felt and not as dictated by the number of years I had spent on the planet.

Still, it was a total cheap thrill to think that I had looked young enough that particular day to be assumed a student. Especially, since being ID-ed is something which happens more and more infrequently these days!

Yup, like I said, this New Year got off to a flying start :-D!

Here's to a wonderful 2011 *clink*.