Spicy Rasam

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

We’re at home,

We feel gloom,

We should smile,

And laugh a while,

‘Cause we’re helping,

And we’re saving,

We’re heroes,

Who follow rules!

Coronavirus: India extends lockdown as citizens urged to follow ...

So, wear a mask,

We’re Avengers!!

Be aware,

Let’s lock ourselves down,

Let’s keep everyone safe.


Indian can’t do social distancing, can they? Even when the government says it can save lives. Even when there is a threat over your head.

India is populated. Social distancing means giving people enough space so that they do not inadvertently breathe in your body odor when they breathe to live (I paint quite the picture don’t I?). But no! We as a crowd are incapable of understanding this concept. And I finally found the reason why.

The other day, I went to buy vegetables. A bunch of people were standing so close to each other and buying. When I mentioned the social distancing rule, they just glared at me. I could not even wait for the crowd to leave. Because another person joined the crowd every 5 mins. They were aggressive, careless and competitive. Yes! they were competing to buy vegetables. The competitive spirit wins over the safety rule.

Too many people compete for every single potato. The feeling is overwhelming, because it meshes with the basic survival instinct. If you do not get it first, you din get it. You have to be loud and demanding. The person who is rule-following is seen as a wimp (Yup! I am a wimp). I asked the vegetable vendor to instruct the people to follow social distancing. But, then again, he was competing with other vendors. He was afraid that he will lose his customers (if you are an Indian, these arguments will seem fair to you).

I know that social distancing is a luxury to many in India. There is just not enough space. However, considering the origin of COVID-19, it is the elite class that has to rampantly distance themselves from everyone. Simply put, people who can afford to travel to a foreign land. That is being taken care of by our police force.

India's stark inequalities make social distancing much easier for ...

I am talking about the middle-class, educated, office-going, literates. People who know all the information, know the science behind it, talk about news and socialize virtually. They do know! But they choose not to follow the rule!

So, how do we make the competitive, aggressive, relentless crowd of good people follow rules? I mean, fear does not seem to work. There is a pandemic hanging up your head! If this does not scare you into following rules, what will?

What do you guys think? What will work?

‘Cause I have no clue.

Vanita took her helmet and keys. She checked her mobile phone. There were 2 messages from Vicky. She opened her messaging app. “Do not go, you idiot. I am serious,” Vicky had messaged.

Vanita kept her phone in her bag, took her face mask and wore it. She took the gloves she used to apply hair color and wore it on her hand. She went out her safe heaven to buy the medicine for her friend and neighbor, Parul.

Parul was 75 years old. She was in good health and humor at all times, but the COVID scare had given her friend some anxiety. Her children stayed in USA. She was very worried about them. Vanita and Parul’s friendship was 5-year old. Vanita worked in a stock-broking company and her work timings were erratic. Parul always made sure Vanita’s fridge was stocked up. Vanita made sure she had lunch with Parul every Saturday. Both hated gossip, both liked MARVEL, both loved AR Rahman, and both loved to take walks.

Vanita reached the parking lot and started her scooter. It had been many days since she used her scooter so she had difficulty starting it. She wore her scarf, her helmet and driving gloves. Vanita said a silent prayer and accelerated her scooter.

As she turned the Daawat sweets corner, she noticed a police jeep that was stopping passersby. Vanita’s heart skipped a beat. She was expecting this. She stopped her scooter and got off. She removed her helmet and started to sift out the medical prescription and the doctor’s note. “Why are you out? Don’t you know there is a lock down?” asked the police officer.

“Sir! Please take a look at this. She needs this medicine. It will get over in a week. She needs this. She can’t…” Vanita said as she handed over the prescription and note with shaking hands to the police officer. Vanita was too scared to look him in the eye. She focused on his name badge; it said Niranjan Agashe. “Who is she to you?” he asked.

“ummmm… friend. She is my friend,” said Vanita.

“It says she is 75 years old,” said Niranjan Agashe.

“Yes! Yes… she is,” said Vanita with a teary voice.

“Look at me. What is your name?” he asked.

Vanita looked at him with brimming eyes. At that moment she was more afraid of him than COVID-19; and he was smiling. He was smiling at her. Vanita’s mouth opened in awe. She was grateful for the scarf and face mask she wore; they hid her awestruck-ness. His full face was not visible. She could only see his eyes; and they were kind.

“You can go. Get the medicines and go right back home. The shop is open now. Go!” he said and gave the papers back to her. As she kept the papers back, he walked away to ask questions to another passerby. Vanita kept looking at him. She thought his eyes looked kind and tired. There were many officers who were working in that corner. They were stopping people who were loitering. They were making sure people buying the essentials were standing apart. Two officers were sitting on a bike and eating Vada pav. Vanita stood there transfixed by this. They were working; not from the safety of their homes. The tears in her eyes overflew. It was not because of fear though. It was because of respect. Niranjan Agashe turned towards her and signaled her to go. Vanita started her scooter and drove towards the medical shop.

She smiled as she drove. These police officers looked like MARVEL’s superheroes. Niranjan Agashe was Iron man. ‘Can’t wait to tell Parul about this,” she thought.

covid lady stop

People give so many reasons for a happy marriage. I’ve heard some of my friends say, “We have a lot in common.” Some say, “We are in the same field of work. So it just works!” I have even heard people say that they are good friends. And some weird people claim to be in love (for the love of god!).

So what is it that keeps a marriage going? I used to think it was the friendship between the stake holders (Yup! Talking in corporate language. Bite me!). I have a different opinion now. Now! that I am stuck in the same house with my “friend” (who I have re-designated as my frenemy now), I think I can clearly see the glue that fixed my marriage. Want to know the answer? I bet you think you are going to be enlightened (For people who know me! I can see you roll your eyes! In my mind eyes!). The glue, the reason, the very thing or person that made my marriage work was my maid (Yup you read it right. Don’t waste time re-reading. I said, “my maid”… yes… maiiiiidddd).

She came every morning (OK! Not every morning. She is quite imaginative with her skip-work tales. Sigh.. god! I miss her), cleaned the house, and washed the vessels. I nitpicked on her work (not proud of it! Now!). After some months and years, we just took her for granted. I just had to top-up on her cleaning; keep a few things in order, cook and that’s it, happy marriage. I never thought that her presence was crucial to our marriage. But! Alas! It is.

pig and food

Let me explain. I am a working mom. My husband is a working dad. My son is a school-going, preteen kid (he is a cute kid with the usual entitlement issue and unwanted anger). All of us work from home now. Before the pandemic, we all went about caring deeply about the environment, about our health, about our writing, about our singing, about our football… (you get the drift!). We had time to care “deeply” about these things. We did not do the basic cleaning (see where I am going with this?). With the maid not coming in every day, I am the new maid (I know what you’re thinking. “Make the husband work!” “Make the kid work”). The people in my house think of cleaning as an unwanted job (obviously they are pigs! Ahhhh…. Is this where the expression, men are pigs, come from?). I, on the other hand, do not think so. Hence, I am the maid.

There are so many things that come to my mind when I sweep my house. Where does all this dirt come from? We do not go out. Pigeons are flying rats; and they hate me. I sweat a lot. As a family, we have too much hair fall. It is hot in Mumbai.

After all these thoughts, when I see my “better half” sitting on the couch leisurely, laughing and talking on the phone, I get angry. Now, if my maid was there to clean the house, I would not be irritated by my happy spouse (seriously! sometimes I cannot stand him because he breathes).

So, a good marriage needs a maid. There you have it. After the lock-down, hire a maid, if you do not already have one. Trust me! Maids are marriage savers.


பேசும் வார்த்தை இயல்பாய் வருமே…
கூச்சம் இன்றி மொழிகள் இனிதாய் வருமே …
என் தொண்டை குழாயில் வார்த்தை சிக்கியதால் ..
மொழிகள் எல்லாம் மறந்து … மறைந்தததே …
உன்னை அருகாமையில் பார்ததாலா ?
நீ பேசுவதை கேட்டதாலா ?
என் நெஞ்சம் நிறையுதே …
என் புன்னகை நீளுதே …
கண்கள் மீண்டும் உன்னையே தேடுதே

%d bloggers like this: