‘Jab se tere naina… Mere nainon se… laage re…’ I sing as I undergo a new experience. I don’t remember having had such an experience at any point in my life. I feel that I have renounced anger to a large extent. I think… ‘I should take life as it comes… this too shall pass’, as water swishes six inches below my knee.

I am in Waterworld… err… Monsoon Velachery, and I have become a hermit for the evening.

My street is flooded. I hear it has knee deep water. My house too has apparently become Waterworld, with one bedroom and the kitchen left dry. I am writing this in my Dad’s friend’s house on the next street. My father called me in the evening, explained the situation and instructed me to go there. After sometime he called again and asked me to go to my Grandpa’s house in Besant Nagar instead. I headed to Velachery anyway. My mom went to my Grandpa’s house for the night.

Dad is examining our house. He is doing a survey that reminds me of ministers surveying flooded areas – but there’s the obvious difference.

Dad spent the night in our house, in the only dry room, before which the situation was normalised to an extent – cloths were soaked in the water, and squeezed into buckets, water was removed with mugs and buckets.


Our house was water free, and the maid mopped the floor using Dettol mixed with water. Our street is still flooded – the water’s draining, but taking its own sweet time.


Most of the water in the street has drained out. Yay. It also hasn’t rained after Friday.

My Ode to a whiff of Ghee scented Gandhinagar

I came down to Adyar today afternoon, to leave my Activa at the Kun Honda showroom in Kasturba Nagar for repairs. After this, I walked from there to the bus stop near Aavin Roundtana. (Anyone who knows Adyar will probably know the Roundtana.) I enjoyed the walk alongside a platform, traffic and numerous puddles. I carefully manoeuvred these puddles, like the people walking in front of, and behind me, with a degree of calm that amazed me. I think that calm and enjoyment is to do with the fact that I walked here after months, and I don’t remember walking the entire length of the foot-wide platform with broken stones (for literally eons… now I'm cribbing) along this large and busy stretch of Sardar Patel Road.

As I walked down, the aroma of sweets prepared meticulously and snacks made of dough smothered with ghee gave me an olfactory high. Ahhh… Grand Snacks! The heavenly smell reached me from a shop that is located on Gandhi Nagar 2nd Main Road (note the location). The shop is well inside Gandhinagar, on the opposite side of this huge road, I am sure the smell pervades almost the entire Gandhinagar area everyday.

Grand Snacks has been a part of our lives (my family) and kitchen shelves since I was a kid. Grand Snacks makes sweets and savouries that have a truly homemade authenticity and taste. (Not like those Jhangris that taste of sugar and oil, or mass produced milk sweets falling below standards.) Grand Snacks is set up in an old house with pillars, and a yard – you’ll find such houses in Adyar and Alwarpet (to my knowledge). The picture the shop presents makes you feel as if it has been there for decades. My mind conjures up a black and white image of an orthodox Brahmin cooking there.

Grand Snacks has for years been having women workers with sarees of the same design. For a long time the sarees were of Mysorepak colour. (Perfect for a sweet shop, wasn’t it?) My Dad always reserves a portion of his income for Grand Snacks. He loves the potato chips and Bombay kaja – a picturesque creation made of maida and a sugary substance that I think has khoa in it, and it’s tastiest when it is freshly made. Bombay kaja is a fat oval Mysore Sandal soap shaped spiral, with almost the same colour (my Grandpa still calls it Mysore Sandal soap sweet. And I know you’re probably craving sinfully delicious things now, but I am looking at Bombay kaja from an artistic perspective. I avoid sweets and fried snacks unless I am forced to eat them.) Another pride of the sweet shop, the Laddu, deserves to be only referred to by the adjective Royal. The other creations at Grand Snacks are also superb – lip smacking Sonpapdi, Coconut burfi, perfectly shaped yum milk pedas, kaju katli, and much more; the delicious savouries include thattai, pretty kaimurukus, gama gama pakodas and more. My relatives have their favourites. One of my cousins loves the Cheedai, another cousin is a big fan of the Kaju Katli, and my Dad loves the Pakoda and likes to have the Kaaraboondhi at 11 pm.

There’s more to Grand Snacks. You can indulge in treats like Adai Avial, Sambar Vada and Badam Milk (out of this world) every now and then. Grand Snacks also offers curd / tamarind / coconut rice, but not very often. These delicacies are served in “Dhonnais” (old fashioned leaf cups) and are given for free. But these come in small batches and customers will be waiting to grab them… you’ve to be alert. Grand Snacks also sells tomato and onion thokkus, vathakozhambu, adai and rasam mixes, & podis. Whenever my aunt comes from Mumbai, she buys some tomato thokku.

What started as a blog post ended up as a PR article. (I can imagine you nodding in agreement… I hope you aren’t nodding off.) But I am happy that my ode to this Adyar landmark is truly heartfelt, as it came in a slew of words I couldn’t hold back. Grand Snacks deserves praises from a million people for all the happiness it gives away with each of its offerings.

Random Thoughts / Polambals

≈ If I get my hair bobbed when I’m 24, why does anybody and everybody who’d like me to get a good varan become happy if my hair grows long enough to be tied in a ponytail, so that the hairstyle can be done when the payyan’s family comes? Can’t I cut my hair real short and never feel unhappy? Everyone has an opinion, but why do they want us to accept it?

≈ Looks matter very much in arranged marriages. If you see 5 photos of potential husbands / wives and are told that all five will be considered or whatever, would you judge the men / women by their appearances or not? Well… it helps me because looks do matter to me… hehehe… I am shallow that way. But then why do parents sometimes show a photo of a guy who doesn’t look great and say… “Romba nalla vaelala irukkaan. Adutha levelku eduthundu pogalaama?”… if they say this, why do they want me to see the photo? (By the way, have you noticed that all shaadi.com and bharatmatrimony.com ads (both paper and internet ads) have pictures of “beautiful” people?)

≈ Staring at women seems to be a favourite habit among men. Should they list it as a hobby in their online social network profiles? (I didn’t want to revisit this topic, but it is fun)

≈ When I come back from office after a tired day and simply want to sink into a chair and have some peace and quiet, why does someone who visits me regularly at that time ask me a ton of questions, right after asking me something similar to “Tired-a irukka”? (And then she will go on “Ippo enga veetku vandhu dosai sapdraya?” (She lives on the next street). This has been happening for days on end… so I can’t even appreciate her offer.)

≈ If I take lunch early, why does a colleague who finds me eating alone ask: “Romba Pasikradha” with an amused look? This happens often. The first time he asked “Enna… you are eating alone! I told him: “Romba Pasikradhu”. When I am terribly hungry, I don’t see why I should prolong my suffering by waiting for my colleagues. Not that I am against the “eat with your colleagues” culture.

Special moments in my life - I

Many moments in life touch our heart. Each deserves to be remembered…

• My colleague has a five year old daughter. She looks very sweet and innocent and has an incredibly cute voice which also takes on a shriller (yet still sweet sounding) tone when she wants to have things her way. She is a Sagittarian, and the traits are already discernable. She’s absolutely adorable, but goes one step further and steals my heart when she stares up at me – some would say that’s an impolite stare, but I see Sagi eyes that don’t know whether such a stare is nice or not. I don’t know what that stare means because I have not played with her yet (I love kids, but need to be taught how to talk and play with them – I am poor at interacting with kids). I just want more and more of those looks from her :-).

• My Creative Head is really sweet and down-to-earth. We don’t talk to each other often, but a few days back, I got a glimpse of his humbleness. He was whistling “Aankhon Mein Teri” from Om Shanti Om. When I told him that he whistled the song very well, he immediately blushed and smiled almost like a child. How many people in a big position take an everyday compliment that way?
“What the f*%# is going on?

“F%#$ the project.”

“Oh F%&#!”

Millions throw the f-word about, as if it were a “fashionable” expletive. Smartly dressed educated people, nattily dressed executives, advertising people…

My friend from my own field and my colleague have used it and made me cringe. Now, why should that word creep into everyday conversation when you can use any other word? Is the word so “cool”? I think it sounds downright cheap, sleazy and dirty.

I am not too civilized either. I use a word that’s just as dirty. I have to admit it here. But to save myself – I will try to justify it – it appears in dictionaries. It is “ba%&#rd”. Let’s call it the b-word. You see, there are many rowdies near my office. I have to walk to and from the Mandaveli station and my office everyday. Cheap creeps pass comments. Deplorable creatures are aplenty on other Mandaveli roads too. Someone I have to work with seems to have a crush on me and often tries to talk to me non-officially, & stares at me – to the extent that nobody turns me off at this point in my life like he does. I address them under my breath using the b-word (of course – or else the rowdies may make my life miserable) everyday as a result.

I hate to use the word – I cringed when my friend said once - “All men are ba%&#rds” – but using the word on the people I mentioned makes me feel better, and assures me that I am the civilized (well, not totally civilized with regard to language) kind. Why should I feel guilty for wearing what I wear and looking like me, just because they stare at me and comment? Many do say why women should wear certain clothes and attract male attention. Is it really our fault? The men have to be blamed for not controlling themselves. And if I have to resort to saying the b-word, it’s their fault. I don’t use the b-word on all men. It’s just these people. This relates to one more point – as I said in another blog entry, if a man pursues a girl who is clearly above his standards, things are most likely to go downhill.

I introduce you to someone Advertising missed

My Maternal Grandmother has come to stay with us for a few days. A short description of her – 85 years old, fragile, lover of chocolates and ice creams (though these are rare treats), Jiddu Krishnamurthy-esque facial features (as my Dad said), stylish bob, the length of which matches my semi ‘Sai Baba bob’ curly hair (my Granny’s hair was cut when she was unwell, actually), and an extremely wacky imagination.

Her thought process is made up of children who stand at the front door and make fun of her, a group of arataiadchifying vetti guys in the hall, people looking at her and talking to her from the TV (she has asked me to switch off the TV many times because of this), a little child who walks across the hall to her, an old man – Viswanathiyer - with four sons, looking for a varan for one of his sons, and a guy who I mouth-feed (I was actually painting a pot). In between these people, my family, and accurate perceptions of her surroundings flit in and out; sometimes, she reacts instantly to my expressions and understands what exactly is on my mind.

Advertising would be an ideal field for my Granny (wink). On a serious note, she manages to create humorous moments that we enjoy as a family. Thanks for your presence at our home, Grandma. Love you lots :-).