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About Me

I am an independent writer and multi-award winning blogger who writes on parenting, humour, fiction and general lifestyle topics. - Sid Balachandran

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Category: Humour

Too Hot to Handle

Too Hot to Handle

 

 

Ah, scorching hot summer! 

That wonderful time of year when your electricity bills are higher than your monthly EMI; that time when you contemplate cooking eggs on a pan outside on the pavement because it’s heated up like a furnace; and also the time when you feel the need to take out over mitts just to handle the car’s flaming hot steering wheel.

 

 

 

Yes, the glorious sweltering, make-your-clothes-stick-to-your-body and leaves-sweaty-patches-all-over-your-shirt summer is here. And it’s just beginning.

 

 

As you’ve probably gathered, I am not a big fan – Pardon the pun! While I cannot deny that fact that my son does have over 70 days of summer holidays – or joyriding doing whatever he pleases while I try to work from home, as I call it – does contribute in parts to my irritability, that is not the key reason for my discomfort with these dazzling days of the sun. It is the heat. And the humidity that comes with the heat that does many ‘unspeakable things’ to my hair.

 

One of the life-changing discoveries in the 3 decades that I’ve been here, is that once the temperature starts to soar over 20-degree-celsius, my body starts to react rather violently; and that reaction is called ‘sweating’ – something that drives me to the point of being bonkers.

 

My tryst with the heat also seems to get worse during the summer months because of another reason. And that is because of this amazing place called The Gym. Now, before you burst out laughing at the thought of me being at the gym, let me give you a little history here. I’m pretty rotund. Okay, who am I kidding? I am the big fat panda. But here’s the thing – the reason why I always end up considering hitting the gym during summer months is because that’s the time I realise that I no longer have the luxury of hiding my round shape under a jacket or sweater. And also because in this case, there’s a bakery right opposite my gym.

 

 

But while my sense of hygiene is debatable at times, two things that I find rather difficult to appreciate are sweaty gym equipment (hello, there are tissue boxes, paper towels, and gym towels for a reason!) and the fact that most people in the gym do not seem to have heard of this thing called a deodorant.

 

I complete understand this – we sweat. All of us do. And it gets worse during summer. In fact, I often say that the plus side of hitting the gym during summer is that you could simply stand on the treadmill and walk away with enough sweat to make you think like you ran a marathon. I call it – the illusion of exercise. But the body odour is unbelievable. Especially when, if the advertising is to be believed, we now have not just 4 or 8-hour, but 48 hour-lasting deos.

 

 

But the issue is that during summers, most people at the gym sweat like sinners at a church during confession.And it is not a fun place to be stuck at. In fact, I find myself muttering a silent prayer of gratitude for the fact that I am not Spiderman. It cannot be a fun experience trying to get out of the spandex-like suit during summer.

 

 

So rightfully, I am not much of a summer person. And if I think about it, I believe I may have been spoilt by my time in the UK. To most people who love the sunny and hot weather, summer in the UK is very much like your favourite actor making a guest appearance in an otherwise awful movie. Pretty much the only ‘weather highlight’ in a country that is mostly wet, windy and overcast. In some ways, summer in the UK is like the happy ending that you were promised with the girl of your dreams, but it ‘came too soon’.

 

I believe I may have the privilege of being part of a small portion of people who actually did not mind the relatively short duration of summer while in the UK. So needless to say, when we returned to India, I was in a world of pain. My Global Warming (yes, it’s a real thing – President Trump) had been busy at work, and even the otherwise manageable Bangalore seemed to be getting all ‘heated up’. Which meant that my wife and I suddenly had another bone to pick.

 

 

 

Some like it hot. And some like it cold. In the bedroom, I mean. The challenge is often finding the middle ground. My wife, for instance, needs the comfort of a warm room to sleep. I wouldn’t go on to say that it needs to be a furnace (although, personally I do feel like that some days!), but she can’t sleep in a reasonably cold room. Now, me on the other hand, I would rather have the room feel like an igloo.

 

 

So my wife and I often ended up playing a game that I now fondly refer to as ‘Attack of the Blanket Hogger’, in the middle of the night. My wife loves to be wrapped up like an Egyptian Mummy, failing which she finds her nightly rendezvous with sleep quite arduous. I, on the other hand, am not too fond of blankets. I’m more of a free spirit and will only use a blanket as the last resort. The problem starts during the wee hours of the morning when my wife wakes up shivering, only to discover that the blanket is now being hogged by me. Yes, the very same person who coincidentally gave her the long lecture about ‘blankets being for wimps’ and insisted on having the AC on the coldest possible setting.

 

So, yes, summer for me is a tough period. Between expelling my body weight in sweat, battling sticky equipment and smelly folks at the gym, trying to lose weight while the bakery opposite the gym bake delectable goodies and having blanket and temperature-setting wars with my better half, I have decided that the saner option is just to tell people that I’m not fat; I am just hot and expand during summer.

 

And of course, as some famous person said once,’Fortunately my culture believes in cremation. So I still have a chance to have a ‘smoking hot body’.

Oh, what a wonderful world!

Oh, what a wonderful world!

Growing up, I used to watch a lot of two cartoon shows called ‘The Jetsons‘ and ‘The Flintstones’(Millennials reading – You’ll probably need to Google this; it’s way before your time) 

 

For the uninitiated, The Flintstones was set in the stone age, but the characters face modern conundrums; well as modern as things were in 1960s. On the other hand, The Jetsons was set in, what I can only call a futuristic Utopia world  of sorts, where technology and machines, quite literally, had a hand in everything.

 

The Jetsons had an all-in-one robot called Rosie who was pretty much the lifeline of the family. She did almost everything. Or so I thought. Until I recently caught a few episodes trying to see if my son would enjoy the cartoon. That’s when I realised that even Rosie, the robot maid who was meant to do everything, only did the non-trivial things. That’s because the Jetsons lived in what we today call a smart home. Quite literally a home that took care of all the trivial things at the push of a button. Okay, maybe a few.

 

Of course, all of this was envisaged to be the norm in the year the Jetsons were set in – 2062 to be precise, I think. We’re in 2017 now, and considering that we are already dreaming about vacations to the moon, I think we’re pretty much on track.

 

I believe it was Plato who once said that ‘Necessity is the mother of all inventions’. I sort of disagree. I think laziness is.

 

[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@iwrotethose” display_mode=”box”]We are forever trying to find ways to do more with less (or no) effort. [/tweetthis]

 

And while in India we fondly often call it jugaad, it is the art of invention as its very best. So unless we consider ‘laziness’ as a necessity, I think the quote is probably debatable 🙂

 

Today, we are busy building gadgets that will help us save time by automating the trivial processes. Gadgets that we call ‘labour-saving’ devices. They exist for the sole purpose of making our lives in this world a little less stress-free. From Artifical Intelligence software like Apple’s Siri with its smart quips to self-driving cars and trains. Why we even have houses that have been printed on a 3D printer. I just hope they don’t decide to 3D print humans to live in it.

 

Most of us are probably old enough to remember the first TVs in our houses. Ours was a Sony. It had 8 channels. And here’s something for you kids – it had no remote. Yes, no remote. So every time we had to change the channel, we had to walk up to the TV and press a physical button….oh, and each channel had a separate button. And not to mention, turning the volume up or down was another trying affair.

[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@iwrotethose” display_mode=”box”]Back in the day, walking up to the TV to change channels constituted our daily workout routine. [/tweetthis]

 

Today you could walk into your living room and the TV would automatically​ switch on, even greet you and maybe even select the channel that you’re thinking about. Okay, spy on you too, if the current US government is to be believed. Although if my TV did that, it would mostly find footage of us arguing about what to watch. Or maybe a lot of instances where we’re searching for the remotes.

 

In fact, soon we’ll all have robots effectively doing everything for us – from waking us up to even clothing us. I’m totally naming mine JARVIS though! Or maybe I should give it Scarlett Johansson’s voice from HER. Uff, too many choices!

 

We even have edible printed food these days. Remember how they used to write about pills that could give you an entire day’s energy? Probably not a thing of science fiction anymore. Even with wearable technology getting so popular (apparently it’s risen by 400-odd% in the past 5 years), your doctors (assuming they’re still human!) already know your basic stats before you even check into the hospital or clinic. So we’re getting there. [I know privacy of the data is a concern – but I’ll do another piece on that later]

 

Just to confess – I am absolutely not against technological advancements that help the world. In fact, I am an early adopter for most gadgets. Or rather, I would be if I had the money. [Which is probably why I don’t – damn vicious circle!] But sometimes I can’t help wonder if all the stuff that we’re inventing to make our lives easier, are also holding us hostage in some way. Like how we desperately hunt for a charger, when the battery indicator on your smartphones automatically activates the low-power mode. Or when the ‘check engine’ light in your car turns on. (Yes, Sheldon Cooper – we saw that!)

 

Of course, the plus side remains that for all this to happen, humans are still very much in demand. For we possess the power of perseverance and the out-of-the-box thinking ability to program these machines. The world is therefore still our oyster, so to speak. But once the machines learn to evolve and adapt, well, we won’t be left with much to do.

 

Except maybe sit and get old and die. Or worse, maybe we’ll just die of the boredom from not having to do anything strenuous. Or maybe, we’ll just freeze our bodies and auto-time it to wake up 10 years in the future in a world where perhaps we’re the minions instead of the machines being ours.

 

Of course, considering that we are still debating women’s rights and equality in 2017, people are dismissing Global Warming as just hocus-pocus, and some are still arguing about our rights to eat what we want – things that should have been sorted a long time back – I guess we’ll still have something to do. 

 

Maybe there will be an app for that.

On the other hand, we still have these – Enjoy the slideshow! 🙂

 

[GIFs courtesy : Giphy.com]

*jugaad – hack.

What’s your Shampoo?

What’s your Shampoo?

 

They say that beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin without the want to change. Quite obviously, ‘THEY’ are wrong.

 

Because according to research, the Beauty and Cosmetic industry is approximately a 378-billion-dollar industry worldwide. So, yes, the people who say all that are probably people like me. The ones who don’t pay much attention to their skin or are amongst the fortunate few who need nothing to be done to their skin or body to meet the ‘impossible standards of beauty as set by the aforementioned industry’. In case you’re wondering, I’m very much in the former. My weight alone would disqualify me from the latter category because I’ll need at least five size-zero models to balance out the scale. I digress, but to summarise it, ‘Beauty is definitely in the hands of the person holding the makeup bag’.

 

 

How to get that perfect natural look: Take five different makeup products. Use them together and voila – L’aspect Naturel.
Irony much?

 

My mother always had one complaint about me. No, actually she had about 245 of them, but this one ranks right up there with the rest of them. She always says (yes, she still does – in fact she said it about a week ago when I last met her) that I have the skin of someone who slaves away day in day out in the paddy fields, tills the earth, and walks barefoot through the coarse land. Of course, the fact that I never refuted this observation didn’t help either.

 

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not so much that I don’t take care of myself –(though my wife might strongly disagree here). It’s more of the fact that I don’t feel the need to invest in hundreds of different moisturisers and beauty products. See, I could generalise and probably say that it’s a guy thing. That on average, most men don’t believe in spending all that money (and effort) in making sure they have fabulous skin. But I can’t. At least not in 2016, when everywhere I turn, I see adverts and posters of macho men moisturising their hands to make them supple, applying fairness creams in their quest for success and talking about pimple-destroying-blackhead-chopping face washes. Metrosexuality has taken the world by storm, and sadly I think I missed the memo.

 

Well, perhaps not entirely. I have to come clean here and say that once, in what I’d call a rare blue moon occasion, I too have let my curiousness take over,  have succumbed to peer pressure and ended up buying one (or more) of these products. Of course, my skin, that up until this particular point had always been blessed with plain water and some soap, and the occasional face wash smuggled from my mother’s/wife’s cosmetic stash, objected quite vehemently to this sudden attack by foreign molecules. I swear that had my skin learnt to talk, it would have said ‘WTF were you thinking? This is not for us!’ But since my skin is speech-impaired, it responded in kind. Over the next few days, I was ‘gifted’ with pimples of varying shapes, random rashes, white patches and a few other unmentionable ‘souveniers’. Well, that was the end of that.

 

Now my wife on the other hand,  much like most modern women (yes, I’m generalising) loves her cosmetics. I use the word love quite loosely here – it isn’t like a major chunk of her salary is spent on beauty products, but she’s definitely an ‘above-average’ user of branded products. Fortunately, she’s narrowed down most of her makeup products to one or two brands and knows exactly what she wants. Having said that, it wasn’t the case always. Back during our ‘courting phase’ I remember accompanying her to many different makeup stores. In fact, many a time, I’ve ended up with various smudges / spots on the back of my palm from where she’s tried to find a particular shade of lipstick or concealer or whatever else they’re called. Fortunately, her affinity towards moisturisers meant that she always had hand lotion in her purse, which just erased all the spots off my hand with a couple of rubs.

 

Have you seen some of the ingredients in the moisturisers and hand lotions available today? They have stuff like butter, cocoa, vanilla, lemon, orange zest.  I mean, they’re just a couple of ingredients short of a cake mix. Soon, we may have to use KFC’s caption – it’s Finger Licking Good – when it comes to moisturisers. I digress. [Seems to happen quite a lot these days, doesn’t it? I must have been Dory in another life]

 

So, of all the beauty and body products in the market today, my wife has a special fondness towards one particular item. Shampoos. We sort of hoard bottles of shampoo at home. We have some lined up on the counter, some in the storage box under the washbasin and some in the chest of drawers in the bedroom. There are the less expensive every day ones that you get from your local supermarket to ones that we’ve taken from one of our kleptomaniac-fuelled trips from posh hotels and resorts (Okay – those are probably me – remember my Hotel Kleptomania? ) to super expensive ones that probably deserve to be kept under lock and key with a personal security guard.

 

The world of shampoos is quite a confusing one. There are, to put it quite simply, limitless options. Normal, Dry, Frizzy, Greasy, Oil, Silky, Curly, Long Curly, Short frizzy – the list just goes on and on. Do you want your hair to be normal and silky? Or long and non-greasy? Or maybe short and extra volume? The options can leave you more befuddled than a set of the toughest multiple-choice answers for a CAT entrance test. Is it any wonder why you find people wandering the haircare aisle of the supermarket, scanning different bottles to find one that works the way all these adverts claim they work?

 

Shampoo shopping gives most of us this ‘Joe Fox-esque’ moment. Remember the scene from the movie ‘You’ve Got Mail’ where Tom Hanks’ character talks about buying coffee at places like Starbucks. If you modify it slightly, I think it works well for shampoos too.

 

“The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.” – Joe Fox

 

Of course, we know from experience that most advertisements when it comes to the beauty and cosmetic industry must be taken with a pinch of salt. And shampoos are no different. After all, half of the women advertising the various hair care products seem to sensuously dance in the shower as if they’ve discovered the G-spot on the top of their heads. And here we are, normal human beings, busy trying to remove soap suds from our eyes. If any of them had actually worked, I’d have hair like Professor Snape (who could be a kickass brand ambassador for L’Oreal). Instead, I’m this close to the top of my head looking like Voldemort’s.

 

What amuses me more than the adverts for these shampoos are the ingredients they contain. The large supermarket near our apartment, for some strange bizarre reason, had the shampoo aisle right opposite the chocolate and juices aisle. What caught my attention was that a lot of the juices and chocolates had similar ingredients to the ones advertised on the shampoo bottles – mint, cucumber, lemon zest, ginger, orange, contains real almonds and so on. These days, shampoos seem to have more minerals, vitamins, fruits and nuts than some of us have in an entire day. Maybe, someday it’ll count towards our five-a-day.

 

[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@iwrotethose” display_mode=”box”]Modern shampoo bottles are a great way to find out about fruits that you never knew existed. [/tweetthis]

 

A little education never hurt anyone, I suppose 😉 Say what you will about the shampoos and the choices. The harsh reality is this:

 

[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@iwrotethose” display_mode=”box”]Hair : The perfect reminder for all of us that sometimes, we cannot control everything. [/tweetthis]

 


Photo credit: When Rapunzel gets bored via photopin (license)

Confessions of a Hotel Kleptomaniac

Confessions of a Hotel Kleptomaniac

Have you ever felt a little nagging feeling, gnawing away at your conscience; sort of like a rat desperately trying to dig its way out?

 

I have. And if ‘research’ is to be believed, I might be a ‘thief’; and you might just be one too.

 

Okay! Hold off calling the cops or punching me in the face just yet. And no, I’m not crazy. My mother had me tested. Yes, very literally.

 

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you may well be familiar about the blackhole that we have at home. As a sort of accompaniment to that, we also have a small chest of drawers. The top shelf of this set is filled with enough toiletries, razors, shaving creams, shoe shine sponges, sewing kits, shower caps, tiny pieces of fancy soap, little bottles of shampoo and conditioners, toothbrushes and toothpaste of every imaginable sizes and shapes. If I’m honest, I think there might be enough items for a family of three to survive for a really long time. Assuming we survive the nuclear holocaust that we seem to be inadvertently prepping for in the first place. And now for the bitter truth – we might have ‘taken’ most of these from various hotels that we have stayed at over the past few decades. And if ‘research’ is to be believed, a lot of you have done so too.

 

[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@iwrotethose” display_mode=”box”]Hotel Kleptomania: Check out anytime but never with a lighter bag than what you’d checked in with.[/tweetthis]

 

See, I’m quite reluctant to call myself a thief. And technically, while the term may not be entirely accurate, if the definitions set by various leading hotels are to be believed, we’re all petty thieves. I am not sure what it is about those tiny shampoo bottles or multi-scented fancy soaps, but something about them brings out another side of me. It is almost as if I feel that along with all these toiletries, Lady Kleptomania has dumped me too into her large suitcase.

 

The first time I ever ‘did the act’, I confess, there was a certain exhilarating thrill about it. I’ve always been someone who has largely abided by rules. However this little act of rebellion was something that I cherished. In fact, if I remember correctly, the first ever set of items that I took from a hotel room was a shower cap, a fancy looking soap and a dental kit. We were on holiday and were staying at a rather posh hotel for a few nights. I remember picking these up and hiding it in a little bag that I used to carry. And then I spent the rest of the day having mixed feelings; on one hand I was thrilled about the prospect of doing something which, to my naive little mind, reeked of an act of rebellion. On the other, I was terribly afraid of the hotel actually complaining to my parents and labelling them thieves. Of course, the next day, when the housekeeping staff calmly replaced the items without even asking us, I was both confused and happy. Needless to say, I tried to push the boundaries as much as I could and they kept replacing every piece of toiletry that I had stolen ‘taken’. And suddenly it no longer made sense to me.

 

I suppose I should have just given into curiosity and asked my parents about it. But the act of confessing a theft rendered me speechless and I didn’t. And this was way before the time of Google and the Internet.  Over the course of my life so far, I’ve still continued to accumulate stuff – from soaps and shampoos to dental kits and sometimes, those ridiculously thin but absolutely comfortable bath slippers. I won’t confess more, but needless to say, I’ve not yet been ‘questioned’ about my stash.

 

But as you grow older, and by those standards, somewhat wiser, you tend to look back on your actions. And it was during one of those phases, that I started to analyse my ‘kleptomaniac’ behaviour. With the power of the Internet at my fingertips, I managed to do plenty of research and discovered that almost everyone has at some point taken stuff from their hotel rooms. Of course, exceptions are there, and since they are few in number, I won’t focus on them.

 

Now, what I found interesting was the fact that the reasons for many of them ranged from ‘Oh! But these are already included in the hotel rate’ to the more strange ‘I am showing my appreciation by taking some of their stuff – like the bathrobe with the hotel insignia on it. After all, it is free publicity for the hotel.’

 

To cut a long story short, barring a handful of people, nobody has taken (or rather confessed to taking) stuff from their hotel rooms for monetary gain. Which then makes me wonder, why then do it in the first place.? Of course, the reasons continue to vary – from the thrill to a sense of entitlement. But then again, the question remains to be asked  – to the person who believes that they are appreciating the hotel’s taste in things by taking them –  shouldn’t you also feel entitled to ‘steal’ or take, say a bedside lamp or say a remote to the TV. Or maybe if you’re staying in my house, say our crockery or pillow cover and sheets? But you hardly see anyone do that.

 

So it has to be narrowed down to our psychological mentality of staying in a hotel. Or perhaps, I just have bad taste when it comes to pillow covers and crockery :P. Or maybe it’s an insatiable urge that we have to make sure we get our money’s worth. Maybe it’s a condition that is stereotypical of the ‘middle-class’ syndrome – if we feel we’re entitled to it, we take it.

 

Needless to say, despite an extensive research, I’m sorry to say that I am no closer to discovering why staying in hotels can turn even the most righteous, law-abiding citizens into a bunch of kleptomaniacs. Maybe it’s just a combination of factors. And we will never know the full story. What I did discover though, is a rather amusing list; a list of the strangest things that people have tried to smuggle out of their hotel rooms. While I am not going to bore you with the exhaustive list, I can’t help by share 6 peculiar items that people have tried to ‘take’ in their rather heightened sense of entitlement.

 

Televisions. Paintings. Mattresses. Lampshades. Bulbs. Telephone units.

 

Bizarre stuff, don’t you think? Sounds like the days will soon come when anything that isn’t nailed to the floor or screwed to the wall or ceiling is considered as fair game. So, if you think about it, the only thing that is physically stopping us is our sense of morality and not having a suitcase big enough to carry these.

 

I found a rather interesting piece of literature about ‘Hotel Kleptomania’ which quoted a psychologist as saying :

 

‘Sometimes, hotel kleptomania is a sign of exhibitionism…..sort of like a tendency to show off. Some of them may just want to equip their home with the furnishings of a hotel, particularly if the hotel is famous, posh or expensive. Some even view it as a status symbol or even a reminder of their stay at a particular place. It is no different to a traveller who leaves luggage tags of the places he or she has visited on the suitcase. Except that the luggage tags are free.”

 

Then again, it’s not really a middle-class syndrome either. There are celebrities who have confessed about their kleptomania when in hotel rooms too. Like Dustin Hoffman who has confessed to frequently ‘taking’ bathmats/ bathrobe and Margot Robbie who has confessed to taking multiple rolls of toilet paper.

 

 ‘But, if I’ve paid for the room, surely I’m entitled to some of its contents’, I hear you scream. Or maybe it was just my inner conscience, trying to play advocate. Apparently, that’s where we are wrong. After consulting a few people who have worked in hotels. I’ve come to the following understanding:

 

‘Toiletries, towels and the rest of the items are provided for use within the confines of the hotel room and are not usually meant to be taken out. However, the general consensus is that if it can’t be reused, it is okay. Hence why things like toiletries are usually fair game and nobody will judge you for taking them. But the moment you lay hands on things like bathrobe, slippers and the rest, the hotel can stop you. Of course, most hotels choose not to, because it labels them as being picky. Which is why, nowadays, if you’re feeling the urge to own something from the hotel, most hotels will let you buy some of their memorabilia for a cost.’

 

As for me, well, the story has changed slightly. Mainly because my research has armed with more information about what items are acceptable when taken from the hotel room under the ‘complimentary use’ tag. But yes, during my recent stay at one of the premiere hotels in Mumbai, I’m quite happy to say that I did smuggle out a few toiletries. After all, I was entitled to it. [Plus they were from Hugo Boss!]

 

So, have you ever treated yourself to a little souvenir (or two) from a hotel room? Go on. Your secret’s safe here. After all, everything’s safe and private on the Internet, isn’t it?

 

Sincerely yours,

An honest hotel kleptomaniac.

Honey, I shrunk the jeans!

Honey, I shrunk the jeans!

“Jeans represent democracy in fashion” – Giorgio Armani

I’d have to be crazy not to agree with the great man.  From baggy flares to flashy boot cuts and  ‘I-can-see-your-coin-slot’ ones to ripped jeans that cost more than a regular pair – the world of jeans seems to have changed quite rapidly. However what he may have conveniently forgotten is that sometimes democracy leads us make choices that are sometimes very …let’s say questionable.

Some may call it evolution; but seeing some of these trends, I can only call it a severe case of ‘What the heck were they thinking?’ And to make things a lot more interesting, I recently learnt that Google is collaborating with Levi’s to create a new denim fabric. Codenamed Project Jacquard, you’ll soon be able to run your hands over your jeans to control your phone. While they’re sort of breathing new life into the term ‘butt-dial’, somehow I can’t help picturing the below scene.

 


Of course, I digress. Project Jacquard can wait. Let’s just say the future looks quite ‘touchy-feely’.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you may be familiar with my trysts around a particular kind of fashion trend that had us all by the ‘crack of our behinds’ up until a few years back. [If you haven’t, you may want to check this piece out].

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that my fashion sense is not really top-notch. In fact, if anything, it has become progressively ‘less interesting’ as the years have gone by. I’m a 30-something rotund (which is just the sweeter version of the word : fat) adult male who somehow managed to snag a woman who was definitely out of his league and now resides happily with her and their 3-year old son. That’s not to say that all married and settled men don’t have good fashion sense. I’m solely  talking about me.

My fashion sense is now limited to having decent clothes that cover parts that need to be covered and of course, any ‘jiggly’ bits. Of course, if I were to continue consuming cakes as frequently as I do presently, I may soon need to settle for one of those long, flowing robes that the Arabs so fondly wear. You know, like a dishdasha. [Yes, I’ll wait till you finish Google-ing it.] But more on that, in another post.

So, as I said, my sense of fashion isn’t what you’d call ‘trendsetting’. But somewhere along the line, I seem to have missed the notice that a lot of other men seemed to have received. The notice that seems to have them convinced them that ‘Skinny (or Super Skinny *shudders*) jeans’ is perfect for them. Yes, the more tapered and narrowed version of the previously known ‘Slim fit’ jeans. In fact, you could probably fit 2 pairs of skinny and 4 pairs of super skinny jeans inside a single pair of slim-fit ones.

Now, in the interest of the ‘disclaiming’ (i.e. the art of writing a disclaimer), please note that I’m generalising. There are some men, who are so skinny and lean that they can actually slip into the above mentioned type of jeans. However, the majority of us, do not fall under that category. And even if you did, less than 5% of the male population can actually pull that look off. So, indulge my madness for a bit.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen enough adult males try to ‘strut their stuff’ in these ‘almost-second-skin’ jeans. Suffice to say that I don’t think it’s for most men. We just have far too many ‘dangly’ bits to pull this look off without the jeans hugging us in all the wrong places. You need to have a certain type of body and an almost ‘stick-figurine-type-leg-structure’ to make it look good. Needless to say, it’s not really something you’d ever catch me wearing. Additionally, I would rather wear something that will let me both sit and stand comfortably, without the fear that I might be arrested for indecent exposure.

There is a very fine (and thin, ironically) line that separates a fine-fitting pair of jeans and a product that could be confused with Lycra . If you still don’t believe me, Google ‘Men’s jeggings’ if you dare. And remember, you cannot un-see those images! It should suffice to say that there are pictures of men in skinny jeans and leggings that cross that above-mentioned line. And some more. Perhaps even showing things that should only be visible in the comforts of one’s own home. *shudders*

There are some scientific studies that say that these skinny jeans may cause infertility in men because of the ..well…rather cramped space down (or is that up?) there. On a positive note, all the suffocation down (again, up?) there may just help control population. After all, it takes forever (and perhaps an army) to take them off. [Not the other thing, you dirty-minded people!]

Of course, some of you blessed folks who can get into these super skinny jeans are going to say that I’m just jealous, given my Kung-Fu Panda-esque shape. To them, I offer a bite of this cake that I’m presently devouring. For the rest of us ‘shapely’ people, if you want to experience how it really feels to try to get into a pair of super skinny jeans, it’s simple. Just wash your smallest and snuggest (is that a word?) pair of jeans at least three times back-to-back, and then try to slip into it while it’s still wet.  Good luck getting it past your thighs.

This is probably why experts say we mustn’t wash jeans  too frequently. Maybe if we wash it enough times, it’ll turn into skinny fit.

[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@iwrotethose” display_mode=”box”]So unless you’ve got skinny genes, best to avoid skinny jeans. [/tweetthis]

 

PS. While I may have next to zero fashion knowledge, common sense dictates that everyone should find types of jeans that fit their shape and size. Unless you want to look like this.

 

 

Img src: Cartoonaday.com
Img src: Cartoonaday.com

So, do you? 

Clutter, Declutter and Black Holes

Clutter, Declutter and Black Holes

Have you ever kept anything safe?

And I mean, really safe. Like, really really safe.

In fact, so safe, that you don’t remember where you kept it anymore?

Ah! I see that look of ‘I can relate to that’ on your face, as you read this. Good to know that I have company.

 

Now, if my instinct is to be believed, I’m almost sure about the location of most of these missing items. They’re in – as my wife would call itThe Black Hole. 

Our ‘Black Hole’ is a spare wardrobe that has travelled with us from house to house, starting with Brighton. And now, she (yes, I believe she’s a female) has successfully crossed the seas and is now resident in the guest room of our house. She is pretty nondescript, except for the little chips off the right corner, from when our movers & packers decided they could somehow transport her through a narrow doorway. Obviously, they couldn’t.

 

Now, before I go on about this wardrobe, there are a few things you must know.

 

I have a mild form of OCD for clean living spaces. So, not only do I like the house to be neat, but also for things to be in its visibly right/accurate places. There. I said it. But here’s the other side to the equation – I am also a side-tracking procrastinator. Which means, I am also that person who says things like, “Ooh! I must do the laundry. But before I do, I need to clear the bed. Then put everything else in the bedroom in its right place and make sure my existing clothes are organised properly. You know, so that I have space to sort out clothes for the laundry”. So, it’s sufficient to say that my wife eventually just does things herself, instead of waiting for me to get around to it.

See, I like decluttering. There is something delightful about that word. It’s almost as if by somehow uttering that word, a magical team of pixies, elves and other mystical creatures would suddenly appear and start to clear out all that clutter you’ve hoarded over the years. In fact, it’s almost cathartic in nature – sort of like a cleansing ritual.

Sadly, we don’t live in a magical world. And the only thing ‘uttering that phrase’ will bring, is a realisation that you have a ton of work to do.

 

[bctt tweet=”Decluttering is one of those things that you start, but never really complete. “]

 

Coming back to the wardrobe, she plays a key role in this OCD movie of mine  – a supporting act, if you will. Because, while a part of me is always feeding that OCD, the other part is slyly dumping any unwanted stuff into this black hole of ours. Now, if you multiply this obsession with years of  ‘collections‘, you can well imagine the amount of stuff stored in there.

 

For example, we’ve found:

 

  • Single sock pieces in a variety of colours; all missing their partner. Kept in the hope of being reunited someday.
  • Batteries. Some good, some almost empty, and some just leaking acid. All kept, just in case we ever need them.
  • Clothes. Some big; some small; some from so long ago, that Rishi might actually be able to use them in a few years. Provided normal style jeans are still in fashion.
  • Toys. Some of them his; some of them mine. Most of them functional but no longer used. All that we’d planned to donate to charity before they came to life like those toys in Toy Story 3 and wage a war for being unwanted
  • Brochures from holidays planned but not taken;
  • Brochures from holidays taken but can’t remember
  • Takeaway menus. Yes, some of them from London and Dubai. Brighton even. Yes, for real.
  • Various knick-knacks and other pieces of showcase memorabilia. Often broken, and dumped with a promise to ‘Fix it soon’, but then replaced with more memorabilia.
  • Plastic bags and boxes of every imaginable size and shape. Why? No idea.
  • Bills and other financial documents – important stuff; but not important enough to look at today. Or tomorrow. Or the next few years.

 

My wife often muses that this Black Hole is where all our stuff go to get lost. I have to admit -I’m responsible for most of these things being in there. If I can’t find a place for a certain item, I indiscriminately dump it into this ‘Black Hole’. The irony is that it has so much stuff in there, that it’s no longer possible to ascertain exactly what’s in there. Or even find some of them. Yes, even the items that I’ve kept for safe keeping too. And this seems to have gotten even worse since I’ve become a father. You see, in the interest of offering a ‘warm and welcoming’ home, I tend to dump any (and all) of his toys into this wardrobe.

But sadly, what I did not realise is the truth in the famous saying that goes :

 

Image Courtesy: instaquo.co.au
             Image Courtesy: instaquo.co.au

Of course, I could look at the clutter and say that it’s a good defensive mechanism. For if someone was to break-in, we’d know their presence from the loud yelling that would be onset by the stepping on a LEGO block or one of those HotWheels cars.

 

[bctt tweet=”These days we are fairly unapologetic about the mess at home. We just say ‘Interiors designed by a toddler’. “]

 

As for the wardrobe, we’re quite convinced that she possesses some magical powers. Maybe she’s hiding the entrance to some mystical place like Narnia. Or maybe, she could open up into Diagon Alley, where we can buy some magical assistance to help declutter.

Sigh! If only.


So, do you have a ‘black hole’ of clutter?

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