In Wasabi, I met my Kryptonite!

Ah, wasabi and I haven’t been friends, we started off on the wrong foot. Twice I my life have I tasted the vile thing, both of the times it has snuck up on me in a work situation where I did not have the luxury to extract myself from the room.

The first time was when we were working late, and I was hungry. I saw a box of peanutes with the words Wasabi written over it. I had never eaten or seen Wasabi before (I come from another country). The packaging looked nice, resembled a similar snack my mum makes back home. So I took a handful and stuffed them in my mouth. What happened after required Kung Fu ninja skills of being able to control the spit and look completely normal. I kept nodding at my colleague who kept chatting, wondering when the ordeal will end. I swore never to touch anything which had wasabi written over it.

Little did I know that Wasabi wasn’t done with me yet, an year later after the first incident, I was visiting a customer’s local office in Paris. The team went for a takeaway for Lunch, opting for Sushi.

As a vegetarian Sushi never appealed to me, I didn’t bother with it. Who would want to eat bits of avocado/cucumber wrapped in rice, what’s the point of that? Little did I know that the tiny container of greenish chutney in the sushi box was my old enemy, waiting to strike.

We were busy chatting, they were asking me about my exotic land and I was responding with the most engaging stories to be told, up until I took a bite of the wasabi infused Sushi, I went quiet. This time it was much worse, there was no water nearby to soothen the suffering and I couldn’t even open my mouth to ask them where the water cooler was. Tears welled up, I tried to look away, I suspect they thought I got emotional about talking of my land…

Thus, in Wasabi, I met my kryptonite!



Hmm…so in just about 9 days from now, I shall be locked in the chains of matrimony.

Its been more than 6 months since the day was decided upon with due consultation from the holy men, November being the wedding season in India, my D-day is on the 20.11.2011

For the past few weeks, with an increasing frequency (and thanks to Mr Zuckerberg’s facebook) I have been a party to these questions, the thing is, for most of them nobody believes my answers or they just drown my answers in their own way (of course with all good and sweet intentions). So here’s a primer,

  • Now that its just xyz days left. How do you feel? Honestly, I haven’t been feeling any different, am so far away from home that I don’t feel anything different than I normally do! But then, most people either feel something is wrong with me or am just not speaking the truth!
  • Aren’t you excited or nervous (or maybe scared)? To this the standard response is neutral, but people feel you are just denying the excitement…umm…but why would I do that?
    The fun part of this question is, most of my European colleagues refer to a phenomena called the cold-feet and they believe that we have a choice left till the last day to say I do. But I have explained them the dynamics of a few gazillion guests visiting you in an Indian wedding, and thus making your escape impossible. Hey, I don’t even know if you can successfully get a loo break in the process without being a victim of some humor. But honestly, am NOT over the top, neither am i scared to death. I have been trying hard to scare my fiance a bit, but she doesn’t seem to fall for my pranks yet!
  • Then there’s the classic, the statement that wedding resembles an sweet which those who don’t eat they regret, and those who do eat regret eating it! Hmm…surely they are referring to an obese person on a diet…who could not resist a donut…and then regrets eating it later. Anyways…am bored of this one, I was never regretting my not eating the sweet, was trying to defend it (click here), and I still don’t and I hope not to regret the next phase either. Afterall, I remained single by choice (or by other peoples’ choice?) and now I’ll be married by my choice. 
  • You don’t know what you are getting into! Hmm…well that holds true for anything we do in our own personal and professional lives. We step in with an assumption, give it our best and wish it turns out well.
But these are all questions from people who wish me well, and I respect that. Am thankful to them for being concerned, am not trying to mock them but cynical as I am, i cannot help commenting on it. Besides, when everyone else is going to be having some fun at my expense (literally) I do deserve to throw in a few jibes.
Below is the next set of top things which I’d expect to face on the wedding evening from various guests and well wishers(and the answers which I shall never speak).
  • Beta, how are you feeling? Umm…make a guess…there are a couple of hundred folks all at my wedding eating away all the food while I look at them…i have been smiling constantly for hours, haven’t slept in 3 days…there is no part of my body which isn’t in a state of rebellion. And yes, am dressed like a magician who is just going to pull up a bunny from his hat!
  • When did you arrive from Zurich? You are so lucky to be there, Switzerland is a very beautiful place. Yes indeed its a wonderful country, sadly I work there unlike most people who go there for fun…everyday i struggle to meet deadlines, attend meetings, cook food, communicate like an ape-like sign language to the kind Swiss folk who speak German, and yes…watch no TV as nothing is in English. And yes, I DO NOT see snow covered Alps out of my window (thanks a lot Yashraj Chopra)
  • Where are you going for honeymoon, oh wait…isn’t Switzerland a honeymoon destination? Umm…yes…but do you realize what month this is? Its November…do you know how cold it is in November? Sigh….
  • And the event called Jaimal(or the garland exchange)so here you are tired as hell…and the girl arrives and now you are supposed to exchange the garlands. But…and this is a big massive BUT…everyone now wants you to stand up and wait for the other person to do it first…and then there are a few overzealous cousins who want to lift you up so that the girl cannot reach out…Guys, do you realize, it hurts my bottom and the magician outfit doesn’t help either! Moreover, if you get tired of the joke and try to get over with this exchange of garlands, you are also labeled as a joru-ka-gulam (umm…means something like a slavish husband?). Honestly, guys I don’t care…you want to do the garland exchange after a few hours, fine by me, just allow me to sit down and chill!
  • Photographers and the likes, Oh don’t get me started on these creeps, they blow up a super warm light on your face to blind you, so that you don’t even realize whats happening behind their back! They charge you by the number of pictures they take, and then they fill it up with pictures of people gobbling up all the food you paid for and of young teenage female guests, who you probably don’t even know.
  • Cousins and the aunties and the uncles and the people who-you-are-meeting-the-first-time-yet-they-expect you to remember their name, Well…they are there to support you, or is it? They are there to make sure that no opportunity of pulling up a prank, joke or a snide remark is missed. Hmm…engineering college ragging was better? Maybe, but this has its own special charm (thats what I have been told)…ah well…once I get married, i can pull them up for the rest of my life… 🙂
  • Vidaai (the time when you take the bride with you after the wedding), this is an emotional moment, suddenly the bride starts weeping, all that extra layers of make up starts to wash away. But what about the groom? He stands there alone, feeling utterly guilty of taking the bride away. Its as if he is taking her away forcibly without her consent, and he is the villian of this story. Well..sweetie if you are feeling so bad, maybe you can stay for another day…I can take you home the next morning…just don’t cry okay!
I know many of my guests who may read this blog may not approve of it, don’t worry am thrilled to be married and I am glad that you all will be there to pull my leg and make sure that I don’t run away 🙂

My 2010 list of Social Networking Behaviour in India

As the year draws to an end with plenty of you looking forward to another year of bungled resolutions, I decided to sit back and create a list of my top 10 observations of Social networking behavior.

  • Top(and most Hated) Trending topic of the year: #justinbeiber
  • Yep, this 16 year old singer refused to leave the trending topics for over 6-8 weeks back from April to May. Much to the irritation of people like me who had never heard his music (and still refuse to do so). Thankfully twitter changed their trending topic algorithm, and we got respite from beiber fever!

  • Biggest Activism achievements of Indian Tweeple: Ensuring that the world doesn’t forget My Name is Khan, Commonwealth games and Media Mafia
  • 2010 was the year when tweets became an important source of news and gossip for the newspapers and news channels. However, tweeple took things in their own hands by relentlessly pushing for visibility of stories like the Media Mafia (or Nira Radia), CWG and MNIK.

    We the tweeple, somehow, represent the intelligentsia!

  • Biggest Loser of the year: Orkut
  • While Facebook went on to become home to 500 million users around the globe, Orkut has been already admitted to the ICU, dying a slow painful death. Our frequent gaffes at #orchutiyas who loved to send the gals a fraandship requests has just reduced the life span of Google social network.

  • Most Popular tweep of the year: @shashitharoor
  • While I’d love to claim the title for myself, but this gentleman was the paycheck Indian newspeople for a good 3-4 months. He was closely contested by one Mr Lalit Modi, well it did cost both of them serious troubles in their jobs. As for me, I was just happy that @shashitharoor once retweeted my tweet 🙂

  • Silliest Social Networking behaviour of the year: Its a tie between self like and hubby like (will explain below)
  • Self-Like, the event when the said user posts a message on his/her wall and then goes on to click the Like button herself. Behaviour bordering narcissistic I say!

    Hubby-Like, the event when a married/committed/uncommitted/committed-but-publicly-friends users mutually like each other’s wall posts on Facebook. Furthermore, they even chat on the said wall, even if they might be living in the same room or would have been a part of the posted photograph!

  • Most complex trending topic of the  year: #eyjafjallajokull
  • Ah well! The Icy nation shocked the world, and this time it-could-not-be-named threw the airline industry into a spin! Well, i still cannot pronounce it, had to google the spelling as well 😦

  • Most common view on my facebook feed in 2010: Relationship updates and the likes!
  • While the facebook feed resembles a wedding album for a good year now, its this view which is most common on facebook these days. XYZ is married – 5 likes, ABC is in a relationship – 6 likes, GHI is single – 4 likes. No matter what these people did, someone did like the change, and no it doesn’t mean that 4 people who liked the updated single guy status are chicks! No matter what you do, there are people to Like it (specially when Dislike is absent from the social network)

  • Biggest Indian twitter achievement of the year: #icionicIndianAds as a trending topic
  • It happened on the 2nd of February, #icionicIndianAds made it to the top of the trending topics on Twitter. I don’t know how many of you were a part of this frenzy, but i remember blowing upto 3 hours of office time on this trivial pursuit. Needless to say, it was an eventful day which I throughly enjoyed, thanks @dharmeshG! (this was before indian trending topics were introduced)

  • Top words on twitter profiles in 2010: photographer, journalist, actor and social media evangelist
  • The combination of these words my friend, is the holy grail of being popular on twitter. Chances are, that 9 of 10 people on your twitter timeline have one or more of these keywords in their profile. You ain’t a twitterati, if you ain’t got it!

    With this I shall end my 2010 list of social networks in India.

    If you’d like to follow me on twitter, click on @ankurmehrotra. Hope you have a great new year ahead!