My Everest

I remember the night before my 6th standard maths test. The first time I felt a terror so deep, I felt paralysed. That same dread has revisited me at various points in my life. The night before my 10th Biology boards exams, the moment I learned that the ICSE 10th standard results were out, the night before my first exam in Germany and the first couple of seconds of my very first job interview. Dread for what was to come next, of the unknown.

This dread that has only visited me a half dozen times in my life, has come to rule my evenings for the last 1 year. All my years of schooling, at the Uni and all the years of my mother nagging me and there’s one thing that I still cannot do – keeping a house. I can model components, write code, make presentations, spreadsheets, all while speaking german but I can’t keep a house.

The mornings are great! I hop out of bed! Me! The morning zombie! Who has loathed waking up early for all 20 something years of my life! I hop out of bed and cannot wait to get to work. It’s the evenings that I dread. Those couple of seconds that it takes to turn the key in the lock fills me with a fear, that was hitherto unknown. Every fibre of my body screaming to me to just the turn back in the lock and run back. You would think, just what awaits me behind those closed doors. An abusive husband? a demanding one? an alcoholic one?

I happen to be one of those lucky few who has a husband who actually does all the cooking and most of the cleaning. But after a long day, neither he nor I, have the patience or the energy to cook up something. Let alone do the cleaning up after. Because of this, most of our dinners last year have been out-sourced to restaurants or deliveries. Unhealthy, expensive junk! Needless to say we both fill out our clothes much better than we used to. After some serious decisions we decided to cook more this year and so far, it’s been working. But I continue to question myself – how long is this to last?

The prospect of thinking up dinner, rounding up the ingredients and the cooking in itself drain more than whatever little energy I have left in me. With the weekend come more chores – vacuuming, dusting, grocery shopping, laundry…… and the list goes on and on! My life seems to have become an endless stream of folding clothes, doing the dishes, making shopping lists,… No matter how much I get done, there is always something left to do. It’s no wonder that its only last weekend, a year after moving in, that we finally finished furnishing our living room. Okay, so may be it’s not completely done. But we have a couch, couch table and a cupboard for books and knick-knacks. That counts right?

I want to come back to a nice and clean house everyday. I want to enjoy my time at home. I want to be able to write a little and find time for other pursuits when I’m at home. I want to eat healthy meals and I want to go for a run or exercise but I can’t bring myself to do all this when the house is not how I want it to be. And no matter how badly I want it, I am not the  domestic goddess I need to make my house nice and clean. This is my undoing!

So if you have any tips or tricks for this nerve-wracked 20 something who is at her wits end when it comes to keeping house, do write in.

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The Devil wears Prada

Women, clothes, shopping and fashion. It’s a match made in, well, everywhere to be honest. Go anywhere you want, from the most glamourous city to a tiny village, you’ll find that all women share the same intimate relationship with their clothes and accessories. You could call it a part of us but really its an extension of our being. It’s something we come packaged in and separating the two would make it hard for you to see us for all we are.

Men call it superficial, materialistic and shallow even. But darling, if we stopped caring so would you. As much as you’d like to believe you are above and beyond fashion, you’re not. If you truly were, you’d take that mirror that you look into before going out everyday and smash it to bits. Let’s face it, we all care about what we wear and how we look. It’s just that women are less insecure about admitting it. We don’t have any qualms about being associated with a scarf or bag or  shoes. In fact, it’s an honour for us.

You see, the reason people gripe and whine about these things is because they don’t understand it. Since they don’t they paint us as shallow, superficial beings who care more about appearance than what lies underneath it. The thing is, that’s not the case. We do value what’s underneath it all but who doesn’t like it all nicely wrapped up in some nice wrapping paper? Let me help you understand this a little so that you can live the same joy that the rest of us “women” do when we put on something new or look for a top of that exact shade of mauve. Or at least have the “patience to put up with us” while we do that.

You have to understand that we’re all bound by our lives and the roles that we play in them. We’re students or employees and at the same time we’re also parents, sibling, spouses and friends. Living in the world we do, we tend to get defined by our jobs, our families and our social standing. These things not only dictate how we behave and what we do but also how we look and dress. And that’s where the problem lies. These rules or boundaries suffocate and limit us in so many ways. A lot of times there’s nothing we can do about it because the situation has our hands bound.

Shopping, fashion, clothes, these are the things that rescue us then. Inside the store, or in the closet, we can be whoever we want and whatever we want. We’re no longer defined by our social standing, job or even how much money is there in our savings bank account. We can be glamourous, sexy, casual or mysterious. The options are unlimited and the freedom limitless! It’s like having the world in your fist and everything under your control.

We can’t control everything that happens in our lives. You can work hard at it but whether it’s getting a promotion or coming first in class, there are also other factors that come into play over which you have no influence or power. But what you wear and how you look, that is something you can control. And knowing that there’s something that you can control, even something as common as your clothes, shoes or how you look, is still at least one thing working the way you want it to and there’s no feeling greater than that.

So before you trash someone else about what their appearance or about how concerned they are about their looks, try it yourself. Before long you’ll be longing for the heady concoction that is fashion. One sip and you’ll know just what power really feels like. And once you have, it won’t come as such as surprise to you that someone as powerful as the Devil wear Prada.