Monday, February 29, 2016

Glasses, sunglasses!

I used to wear glasses some time back.Then I decided to sacrifice myself, as a practice specimen,  to the surgical skills of a local ophthalmologist. A LASIK surgery made sure I did not need them anymore. Boy! the first few days after a LASIK surgery is fun. Everything looks a lot brighter than before, and you can suddenly spot things really far away with an eagle vision.

I think I have mentioned it in some of my earlier posts. A few hours after the surgery I had to spend without opening my eyes. I did an imaginary salute to the millions of blind people in this world who carry on with their lives depending on their senses and somehow fight against the odds.

Before that when I used to wear glasses, there were umpteen times I would place the spectacles somewhere in the house and search for them like mad.The amazing clarity in my vision would never remind the preoccupied me, that they were safely perched on the bridge of my nose and were now slightly sliding down towards the tip. Finally when I would look at the mirror casually while searching it would strike me! Eureka!!!

Last week I had been to the local florists. None of the flowers seemed bright and all the colors seemed really dull. That is when I realized that I was still wearing my sunglasses. The dark purple had tinted my entire vision as I was indoors now at the wet market and the dim lighting there did not warrant a pair of sunglasses at all. I removed them and Voila!! The flowers were beautiful.

I could not help getting philosophical. Many a time in life what we see may not be what actually is. We put on sunglasses of a specific perspective and then it becomes difficult to see reality as is. Sometimes we need to take a step back and check if we are wearing sunglasses after all. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Ladies Fingers and Gentlemans Toes

A few ideas had been stemming in my mind for my next blog post. Nothing seemed solid or interesting enough. Pondering over this, I was preparing good old vendaikkai a.k.a bhindi last Wednesday. I said to myself or rather to the hexagonal slices of the vegetable I was sauteing in my saucepan " If I am unable to think about anything else, my next post would be about you" . And so here I am , sitting and typing away about the good green vegetable.
By കാക്കര (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I have always remembered the English name for the vegetable as ladies finger. I really cannot imagine my fingers shaped like a bhindi(Alright !Alright!who called you ladylike?? I hear it!!!) but I wonder what prompted anyone to give it that name.  It was during my visit to the US that I discovered that its referred to as okra in those parts.I was amused to find frozen versions of it in the freezers there. In fact ice is the only thing that we would freeze back at home. Who knew that vegetables could be frozen?

There is a technique to be applied, while picking this vegetable, that I learnt from my visits to the market with my parents. You had to hold the pointed end and try to snap it. If it breaks with ease, it is tender and good to go into the basket. If the stalk stubbornly holds on, its not okay. Good old vegetable vendors of the local market were absolutely fine with their customers going snap-snap-snap before deciding which lot to buy. In the neatly weighed and sealed-in-polythene bag versions that we find in today's supermarkets how on earth can we apply this trick?

My paternal uncle believed that bhindi was good at getting the grey cells to work and would request his mother to make vendaikkai poriyal  on the eve of his Maths exams. If Kelloggs or Maggi learn of this secret the next Oats released in the market would be in bhindi flavour.
"Be it Maths or Hindi, have a cup of Bhindi" the jingle would go.

Thinking of these points for this blog post I went through the items in the weekly vegetable bill. "Gentleman's Toe - 500g". My eyes rolled in full circles a couple of times and I set about finding out which vegetable had that name. Ladies may be first but the gentlemen would always compete. Go Google and Eureka, I found out! Thats another name for kovakkai or the ivy guard.I really like that vegetable though some believe that its more useful for cleaning slates and blackboards :D. A friend recently told me that she read somewhere that it has a detrimental effect on ones memory.  I have been eating it for quite some time and there are things I would like to do a Shift-Del in my memory but they stick on with vigor.
By Aravind Sivaraj (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Well be it ladies' fingers or gentleman's toes make sure the cook is good. Eat more vegetables. Have a healthy life ladies and gentlemen.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hearty hypochondria

A few months ago, I developed this strange ache around the chest area. I was not able to exactly place the point of pain and it was a dull throb. It was a nag in reminding its presence throughout, and yet was not disrupting any of my routine.

We belong to the cursed internet generation(Yes,Yes Everything has Pros and Cons, I hear you!). Any small predicament, and we begin to trust that webpage that lists out everything under the sun that can cause a specific ache. Unless it states something obviously stupid, like you have a chest pain because the neighbors dog has diarrhea, you end up believing a lot of the stuff you read.

I do not know if Google spreads knowledge but it definitely spreads hypochondria.

Ignoring the intelligent voice in my head that is screaming "Don't Don't DON'T YOU DARE", I type followed by "Chest Pain" and Enter. Along with WebMd, scores of other websites  list out probable causes and solutions. To my dismay, the majority of the content is focused on cardiac ailments.

A heart attack is usually a crushing pain. I try to analyze my version. Is it dull? crushing? pressing? sharp? ....What on earth is the difference between a crushing and sharp pain? This is not crushing. Wait a minute, is that what you call crushing? Naah!!

Women are not supposed to be prone to heart attacks. Phew!   Okay, belonging to the feminine lot does have some advantages!

I decide to take a break and take a look at the nuisance I mean news channels. Some fifty plus woman celebrity breathed her last due to a heart attack. May her soul rest in peace. Heart Attack? Yikes!

Well, I am still in my thirties and so I guess its okay.

Oh yes, my father and grandfather had heart ailments. I am supposed to be genetically at risk right?

Go back to Webmd!

It says, A heart attack cannot last for more than few minutes. The ache is there throughout. Well, I am safe. Is this what Webmd calls Angina? the pain that is serious but not yet a heart attack! Do I have blocks in my aorta? Oh No! What do I do?

Maybe its just a muscle tear. Oh my dear Google, get me information about muscle tear...Open Sesame!!!

I know what you all must be thinking, WHY DIDN'T YOU GO TO A DOCTOR?
From a facebook post, No idea about source!

I eventually did when I came to India for vacation. Turned out it was just a muscle pain due to carrying my baby girl and yes sometimes in the not so right postures.

Well while I was waiting at the clinic, the receptionist started distributing some brochures.

FULL CHECK UP FOR WOMEN! Special New Year Offer, U.P 2010, now only Rs 1980. I think my chest pain had placed a heavy weight on my mathematical abilities. The woman in me jumped with glee. ( Somebody should have told me , Its not a METRO shoe sale idiot!) . My father in law who had accompanied me saw it and exclaimed " Just a 30 rupee difference,this is an offer??!" That is when I realized that 2010 is only Rs 30 more than 1980.

 I got reminded of the umpteen whatsapp forwards, "Spot the hidden leopard and consider yourself a genius!". The human brain tends to miscalculate with these numbers I assume and the psychology department must have come up with the numbers.

By the way my neighbors dog is hale and hearty and did not cause my chest pain!