Spicy Rasam

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

Sharon swiped her ID card to enter into the office. The doors remained closed. She tried again. They still remained closed. Sharon sighed and tried again; they still remained closed. She heard the similar “access denied” voice message from her vicinity. She turned towards the direction of the voice message. There was another guy who was trying to gain access. He got the same message. The guy looked at Sharon looking at him and walked over. Sharon deduced that he wanted to try it in the machine she was swiping. He did. The same voice over repeated. “Access denied”. “I think the machines are broken!” he declared. Sharon nodded. Another employee entered, swiped his ID card, and got access. Sharon and the guy looked at each other, puzzled. Both waited in the reception for the IT personnel to fix the issue.


Sharon had been waiting for the lifts for 15 mins now. Somehow, the lift that was much farther always opened and she could never get in. She sighed and started to look at her phone. She heard someone walk towards the lobby and turned towards the footsteps. It was the same guy who could not swipe his ID card. She had found out that his name was Preetham. They nodded at each other. Just then, the lift near Sharon opened. They both entered. Lift doors closed. Just when it reached above 3rd floor, it suddenly stopped with a jerk. Preetham screamed. Sharon glared at him. They were in there for a whole 5 mins now. Preetham seemed scared. Sharon sighed and asked, “Badam?”

“Huh?” asked Preetham.

“You want some Badam?” asked Sharon again.

“Ahmmm… what if I want water after I eat it?” asked Preetham. Sharon showed him her fully filled water bottle. Preetham got the badam box from her and took a few.

“I also have idli for breakfast. I am going to eat. You want some?” asked Sharon. Preetham nodded. They both shared idli and chutney. Preetham saw that Sharon was wearing a dangling metal earrings. It moved every time she moved. The sight was beautiful. Preetham slowly calmed down. He even wished they could spend more time in the lift.


Preetham was trying to start his car for the 5th time. It was just not starting. He turned the engine off and got out of the car. He called his mechanic and stated the situation. Then, he proceeded to take his bag and walk out of the parking lot. He saw a woman in a scooter coming his way. He stopped to let the scooter pass. The scooter stopped beside him and The woman lifted the helmet. “Hi!” Sharon said.

“Hi!” replied Preetham, pleasantly surprised.

“Going home?” she asked.

“Yes!” he replied.

“Sit! I’ll drop you till the main gate,” she said.

“No problem! I’ll walk,” said Preetham.

“Where do you stay?” she asked.

“Mauli Marg,” replied Preetham.

“Well! I am going to my Aunt’s place. I go through Mauli Marg. Come on, I’ll drop you,” said Sharon.

Preetham thought for a second and decided to go with Sharon.


“I cannot believe you did not get your Visa man,” said Preetham’s friend.

Preetham sighed, smiled and looked at his friend. “It is OK man! I was not very keen anyway,” said Preetham as he typed on his computer.

“How can you be so casual. People would kill for onsite opportunities. You almost had it man. Look! It is OK to feel sad,” said his friend.

Preetham smiled. Weirdly, he was not feeling sad. He was confused as to why he was not feeling sad too. It felt right, somehow.

“Anyway! The new BA is joining today. You will have to give her some KT on the application,” said his friend.

“OK! When will she be coming to this office?” asked Preetham.

“She joined 2 days back. Should be coming today. Anyway, verify with the HR,” said his friend.


“Sharon! It has just been one week since your divorce. Do you have to get back to work immediately?” asked her mother worriedly.

“Mom! Life does not stop after divorce. I have to eat, live. I need money. I have to work. So please stop worrying,” said Sharon as she packed her things in her bag.

“OK dear! Just… just be happy,” said her mother in a teary voice.

“All set Sharon?” asked the HR as she came to stand near the desk. Sharon nodded. “Mom! I have to go! I’ll call you later?” she asked on the phone.

“OK! Bye sweetie!” said her mother and cut the call.

“I have booked a cab for you to go the head office. You have to meet Preetham. He is the project Manager. He’ll fill you in on your responsibilities,” said the HR.

“OK! Thanks! Neeta,” said Sharon and left to board the cab.


Preetham filled his coffee cup and took a cookie along with him to the desk. There was no one in the cubicle. Strange, he thought. As he kept the coffee down, “I thought the name Preetham sounded familiar!” he heard someone say and looked up.

It was Sharon. She smiled brightly at him and he forgot about the coffee, cookie and himself.



“What are you up to now?” asked God 1 to God 2. God 2 immediately hid the board and pretended to meditate.

“For the love of all gods, are you messing up people’s lives again?” asked God 2.

“Hey! humans are dumb in matters of relationships. They need divine intervention,” said God 1.

“More like a bored God’s time pass,” said God 2 and sat near God 1, “Anyway! Show me! Are they falling in love?” asked God 2.

God 1 smiled and took the board out, which showed Preetham and Sharon laughing and having a conversation.

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.

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