Spicy Rasam

Not a cooking or food blog! I just share what's cooking in my mind.

It’s really good to have some north-Indian friends. Now! you southies out there! Don’t start cursing me just yet (read the whole thing! And then curse your heart out). Why is it good? Because they make you bold. Yup! It happened to me. The obnoxious northies have the ability to transform you into a bold person. I used to be a timid little south Indian (I was!! You have to believe me!! ). There was a time when I will think a 100 times before uttering a sentence. I used to overthink and debate in my brain before getting into a situation verbally.


I used to be a Chennaite and thanks to the IT companies I worked in, I remained a Chennaite even after 10 years of moving away from the city (most IT companies are head-quartered in the south of India and it felt like home away from home). But Mumbai! It is different. You would have heard about Mumbai! The New York and Los Angeles of India. The city that never sleeps (they’re not kidding; it really does not). The city where stars are born (but no one has time to look at the sky), the city that makes dreams come true. I did not experience any of these, but I did get a bunch of very loud, obnoxious, bold, mean, bitches as friends (and I love them).


I still remember the first time I went to inquire about school uniforms to my son’s school; the inquiry desk was jam packed with parents. All I had to ask was “when will the new stocks for socks be available?”. Simple enough right? I waited for half hour. Far too scared and too sophisticated (being in Chennai for more than 20 odd years will do that to a woman) to barge in and ask my piece. I was getting irritated but was holding my ground. I did not want to shout or go beyond my comfort zone for a mere inquiry. I held my ground for the next 15 mins! And that was it for me. I barged in (ok! Ok! I kept saying ‘excuse me!’ and moved forward slowly, spiting a few people on the way) and started to ask the school staff about the socks. The lady behind the desk was having a heated altercation with a woman who was threatening to file a complaint if she was not given a prospectus now! Like Right NOW! “Ma’am I will mail you the prospectus. Please write it down,” the desk-lady was ordering her. Beside her, a woman was loudly inquiring about uniforms. “So, ma’am! After 20 May, we’ll get new stocks?” she was asking. Another desk-lady was nodding her head as a ‘yes’ as she was writing furiously on her ledger. The loud woman banged her hand on the desk to get the desk-lady’s attention and asked “Please ! I require this information. 20 May! New stocks, right?” “Yes Ma’am” she said looking straight at her.

im fierce

Now let’s come back to “me” I went beside the loud, bold woman and asked, “the socks too?” (we really needed socks, people!) and the desk lady said, “yes ma’am,” looking straight at me.

If not for the bold north-Indian woman, (she was asking all this in Hindi people), I would have safeguarded my decency and stood there for another half hour. Being polite and cultured does have its pros. I accept! But being bold enough to say what you wish to say and get what you want has its allure.

Now! Some of you may think that the woman was rude, obnoxious, annoying, and impatient. You see! There is a fine line. She was bold! Not obnoxious. She put herself in a place where she will be heard and will get answers, she was not rude and impatient. When I added my own question after hers, she flashed a smile at me, she was friendly. Rude is when you insistently try to make it about you with not a care in the world about others. Obnoxious is when you are selfish and treat people with disrespect (well! She did say please). In a land that leads in population, a low degree of aggressiveness that is humane is required to get the job done.

job done

I am not supporting the aggressive culture or the rudeness, I am just saying that be bold to say your piece. Do not talk in an offensive tone, do not disrespect people. But do not compromise your voice to save your sophistication and culture. It is OK to be a little loud if required. Let people judge you! It’s not the end of the world.

Because, when you’re bold, you can talk to anyone. And in an era of rampant social media usage, the boldness is good for your health. You don’t stress when you need to communicate with others, you don’t think a 100 times to say your piece, and you don’t play it out in your mind all the time before you utter even one word (Hmmmm…. Did I just describe Donald Trump?). Communicate boldly! If you do not know how, observe your north-Indian friends and learn.

I did! And it has vastly helped me. Because, now, I boldly ask the shopkeeper “Are you sure this packet is not way past its expiry date? I will bring it back if it is not good! Ok?” a fellow commuter, “Hey! Do you know where Mulund is? Which train do I take?” an auto-rickshaw driver, “Bhaiya (it means brother)! Take the route from left. Do not go through the shortcut. Why? Because I said so!”

Yes! southies, learn from northies. They are aggressive, yes! but they are not bad people. And northies, you can learn a lot form your south-Indian friends too. Explore and find out what’s so good about your south-Indian friend.



The crux is flayed…

It’s losing face…

The way things are…

It is not in my hold…

My crux is cold…

It is wrenching my soul..

Like a big, ugly ghoul…


It will pass…

I will clear…

‘Cause time runs…

‘Cause time runs…

And you forget…

Everyone forgets…

Potholes, uneven roads, and puddle roads are a common sight during monsoons in India. I’ve always wondered if maybe the authorities did it right, if maybe there was no corruption (I like to day dream), if maybe they get the asphalt formula from other countries (damn! they have great roads), we’ll all be safe from these potential death traps.

man bike water

who needs water parks when there is water in the road? Wheeeeeeeeeee

For the past few months, I saw that the road transportation corporation was frantically repairing the roads to prepare them for the monsoons. They re-roaded, revamped and built roads from scratch. I honestly thought this time it would be different (yup! I am naïve). I was wrong.

rainy four wheelers

Keep right you guys!!! Keep right!…. DO NOT Go LEFT… Repeat… DO NOT GO LEFT

Then, I noticed something. The roads do not break and wither because of over use. After they had repaired the roads, all was fine; the roads did not degenerate. After 2 days of rains, the roads started to disintegrate. The gravel was out and the road was breaking. Why?

Seems the roads in India consists of 3 layers: asphalt, gravel and sand mixture, and more asphalt. So, why is asphalt breaking? Because of rain water. Indian rains are harsh. The intensity and the sheer quantity is more. Hence we have a season named after these rains, Monsoons. The key is in the drainage of this copious amount of water (of course we can store it to solve the water problem that seems to be a never-ending struggle in every part of India; let us not discuss that now).

road making.jpg

We don’t just make roads… We change lives…..

The water drainage is the one that is causing the well-laid out roads to wither. The water from the flyovers are draining out of small drainage holes onto the roads below (it is like a waterfall people! But in the middle of the road). The drains in the side of the main highways are not enough. The roads are still water-logged. Apart form this, there is water that drains from the hills and collects on the roads. So, the solution to Indian bad roads is rain water drainage. Seems simple right? It is actually is.

If the government corrects the drains and makes provision to divert rain water to these drains, the roads don’t wither.

I hope the authorities work together and build proper drainage systems and water collection wells, instead of re-repairing the damaged roads. Because repair is a temporary solution. The problem will come back to bite you. Addressing the root of this problem will also be tax-payer money well spent.

A good road is the foundation for hassle-free, free-flowing traffic. It also reduces the commuting time. And we literally save lives (phew! that’s a lot of preaching. Ahhh… I sound like my civics teacher form 6th standard).

And hating rains is not healthy. Because without clean water, there is no tomorrow. I hope by next monsoons, there are provisions to drain water from roads and collect it in mud-walled wells (this solves the problem of decrease in ground water).

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