The Ten S’s

My sister has always been a bully. Not in a dramatic, ‘let’s call child services’ sense, but in a way that makes me want to do better things.

Going back to 2008, when my sister (let’s call her TD from here on), started her blog, I was the loser who was trying to kill time during those post high-school and pre-university days. It was only because of her bullying and a weird kind of peer pressure, I decided to start this baby. Trust me, if you go back to the first ten posts, I am guaranteeing you cringeworthy gramatical errors. Joy! But point is, TD has always wanted me to be a better writer, a better cook (Ha!), a better dancer and a better human being. So amidst all that bullying, forcing, elder sister arrogance, yelling and arguing, comes this post.

She bullied me enough to write about something I’m not sure why I’m writing about. If you understand the ‘why’ by the end of this, please do report back to moi.

TD wrote a hilarious post on The Ten T’s of her life (her name starts with a ‘T’), in response to Marketing’s Ten P’s. And then forwarded it on to me, so I can write about the Ten S’s of my life (considering the initial of my name). Tough gig, I tell ya. But if you’re lovely (bored) enough to have continued reading this far, might as well tag along for the rest of the post, oui?

Alphabet_S_1-1292855140

Seasons: It’s a worldwide-approved topic of small talk and boy, isn’t it wonderful? People just can’t get enough of how the weather was, what it is and what it is going to be like. Is this part of my life? Sure it is, you duffer. I loathe the winter season with all my heart, autumn is an acquaintance, summer is my all-time lover and spring is the one I have an affair with. I could sit in spring’s arms forever, make passionate love to summer, walk in the park with autumn, but winter.. winter is someone whose nose I’d like to break.
See how much I can bullshit about the weather? Exactly, my point.

Sunrises and Sunsets: Ask me to show you my Instagram page, and all you’ll find is a crowd of sunrises and sunset images. I’m a disgusting romantic when it comes to the routinely entry and exit of the Sun. I can’t get enough of it. C’mon, the sky manages to look different every single day. How amazing is that? Plus, living on the beach makes my addiction even more difficult to curb.

Salary-week: Don’t diss it, you love it too. Salary-weeks are amazing, because guess what, you get paid! You’re few hundred dollars richer for that given day… and don’t even begin to question what happens post that. Retail, you sneaky bastard!

Shrieks: If you’re reading this and you have met me before, you’re allowed to nod to this. For those unaware, I am a very loud, shrieky person; be it a happy or sad moment. As soon as there’s an overwhelming emotion, my high-pitch voice resonates the room. Sadly, I can’t do anything about it. This is who I am, consider it a warning.

Sangria: Alright, I might be cheating here a little, but I love wine and sangria has wine, so this automatically makes the cut. Wine makes me happy, so so happy. Get me two glasses and watch me giggle like there’s no tomorrow. Bring me a bottle and watch me dance on table tops at bars. True story!

Solitude: Without stating anymore than I already have here, here and here, I’m just going to say that I’ve had a lot of this ‘S’ in the past six years of my life. And it has made me a very strong woman; mostly emotionally. But I can punch, don’t discount that factor of my strength.

Salsa: I’d sell my limb to learn salsa professionally. The dance, not the dip. Having been a trained in contemporary jazz and ballet for nine years, I don’t understand any professional dance form where there are no rules or someone yelling 5, 6, 7, 8. I want to understand them; wear big, flouncy skirts and dance with Columbian men. Any teachers out there?

Shopping: Call me superficial, but shopping makes me happy. Very, very happy. It drags me away from the dreary stiffness of a computer screen and social media and let’s me create my own story inside a store. I can be whoever I want to be and be pretending to shop for whosoever. And shopping is in its best moment when done alone, in the vicinity of racks and racks of steam-ironed fabrics and you! No friends, no annoying sales assistants and no mobile phones. Roll your eyes for all I care, but this therapeutic activity is like meditation for me. Om! 

Style: I was a fashion student and worked as a fashion journalist for two years. But it’s not only the style via the means of fashion that appeals to me anymore. Style for me is all about the precision in interiors, the dribble in food photography, the architecture of a beautifully-dressed dapper man walking down the street, the messiness of my work table, the montage of produce in my local organic grocer. Style is a way of living and there’s nothing more that defines me, than my very own style (even on bad hair days).

Sydney: A city that stole my heart when I was visiting her four years ago, and today, I am lucky enough to call this home. I owe every giggle of mine to this beauty, and that’s saying something.

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The problem with being ‘alone’

There was a mouse in our Bondi home tonight.

A grey coloured, hairy creature hid behind the fridge as I stood there in an i’m-going-to-attack-you-with-a-saucepan stance. The sad part is, I actually wasn’t going to do anything to the bastard. I was scared out of my lungs to even breathe, leave aside hound him with my non existant mouse-killing brave skills. My plan was to sprint for my life if the mouse ran towards me. But just to calm myself (and Pats – another scared housey) down, I was a hero for the two minutes before the squeaking started.

He squeaked with pride, and I squealed in terror.

I’d like to believe that his squeak was oozing with condescending evil grins about how two perfectly abled humans couldn’t touch him. And he was probably giggling at our ridiculousness. But what the hell, he has a tail, whiskers and a pointed nose – that’s something to be scared of, right?!

This is when it hit me, I know absolutely no one who can barge in those doors of our house like a true hero in a white cape and all that, to save our sorry arses from this mousey night of horror. No one at all.

That’s where the problem starts and ends with being alone – no one can kill a mouse for me. Not in Sydney at least. If this mouse would have been in Delhi or Brisbane, I had my peeps to save me there. But here, it’s a whole new sad story. Leave taking me out for dinner or picking me up from the airport, no can KILL A MOUSE FOR ME in this town engulfed of testosterone.

I not only have to resort to a ‘Table for One’ situation on a regular basis, but now also have to deal with mice in my kitchen with a saucepan, on my own!

What kind of ridiculous world is this? Surely there’s got to be some kind of service where you can call topless men to kill mice for you? Or even gecko for that matter. Since we are making a list, I need assistance when it comes to spiders, moths, lizards, flys, mosquitos, crickets… basically everything but roaches. Those I can handle – come at me, boy!

Point is… if you know anyone in Sydney who lives +/- one kilometer from Bondi and can handle squeaking creatures (including my delightfully high pitched squeals), for the sake of Tom & Jerry, tell me who they are! Let’s share the wisdom of mice killers, so no girl in Bondi and surrounds ever has to live through the hell Pats and I just did.

Oh, what happened to that mouse, you ask? The bastard went back to where it came from and we blocked his home with sticky white “no more gaps” silicon liquid. Hopefully he’ll warn his friends to stay far away from my abode.

They won’t find cheese here, anyway, us girls are on a strict training plan to lose weight by Christmas. Suck on that, fellas!

Now, GO TO SOMEONE ELSE’S HOUSE, YOU MOUSE! 

P.s. Need some advice from a victim of mice-ridden trauma? Whatever you do, DO NOT google ‘mice’, ‘mouse’ or ‘rat’ images. Just don’t do it, okay?

That moment when you go… “WOW!”

An authentic scent that defines 'Bondi' in its truest form - stunning Sniff Soy Candles.

It was quiet. Very quiet, in fact. All I could hear was the bashing of waves against the surf boards and subtle squeals of hungry seagulls far away in North Bondi. The beach was scattered with surfers, joggers and an occasional sighting of a first date couple.

The sky looked like a modern-age oil painting, with hues of blue, white, orange and yellow, all overlapping one another. Almost like they were fighting for the perfect seat in the house so they could admire the deceptively calm ocean.

You see, I live about 20-minutes away from the worldly famous tourist-heaven known as Bondi Beach. For a local, this beach has its days of being stunningly annoying (weekends) and serenely spectacular (like on this particular Friday).

It wasn’t a typical Friday evening for me; there certainly wasn’t any alcohol or after-work hook ups involved, if that’s how we describe ‘typical’ these days. After surviving two strenuous, painfully long and hectic working weeks, I decided to pull myself out of my workaholic’s misery and walk to the beach. I had to shy away from the horror of facing the impending deadlines, unanswered emailed, ignored phone calls and a bazillion knots in my upper back.

After a 40-minute power walk, several squats and an attempt at single-hand push ups so as to acquaint myself with the ridiculously “fit and healthy” surroundings, I perched myself on a tiny sand-covered rock.

Bondi Beach was emitting a powerful energy on this particular evening, the kind that I wasn’t aware it was even capable of. Maybe this is what ocean and beaches do, it’s possible indeed, but I had always underestimated this white sand beach. However, on this evening, I was left bedazzled with its beauty. The lack of tourists, children, loud families and even louder teenagers gave the beach a sense of maturity and positivity.

During all this, I had David Guetta and Nicki Minaj singing in my ears (what? I was exercising! Don’t judge), so to get an aesthetic-approval, I turned my iPod off. And that’s when it struck me.

That moment of realisation when you instantly hop to the present, and realise how happy and content you really are. In the past, that feeling has had a lifespan of a mini-micro-second, with a whirlwind of present day-worries usually bursting that bubble. But as I was sitting on that rock in Bondi, watching the colours of the sky change before me with every ticking second of dusk, that content feeling held me tight. It wasn’t letting go, and from what I recall, it had no intentions to. To my shock, I embraced the feeling so desperately that beads of water kissed my cheeks in sheer happiness. Shocking, even for me!

If you know me well, you’d know I’m not usually the kind who’d get overly excited with the beauty of nature and weep like a baby on spotting a rainbow. But this was magical. There wasn’t an internal bug feeding off my chain of thoughts: the pressure to amp up my career, my incapability to solve the mystery behind my non-existant love life and not even my eternally-upset bank account. I didn’t give a rat’s arse about anything. Not even a horse’s arse – in case you’re wondering.

I just felt grateful for being able to walk 20-minutes away from my home-office and sit on a rock while watching a bulldog chase seagulls. I felt blessed for being able to feel the sensation of husky sand on my skin and not letting it worry me. I felt lucky to have the power with words, so I could describe this very feeling for you.

I still get the urge to pack my bags and move to Paris or London for work, and I most certainly still want to buy a pair of Louboutin heels from a hypothetical-fat pay check. But at that moment, the ocean was talking to me, and I thought it was rude to interrupt him with materialistic crap.

Despite not being a spiritual person, I felt a powerful energy tingling down my spine. That could have been the chilly Autumn wind giving me goosebumps, but i’d like to believe it was the birth of a powerful energy inside me. It felt good. Great, in fact. So wonderful. Delightful. Potent. And addictive, in a way.

Imagine living a life where you wake up feeling content and grateful towards everything that comes your way. I want that. I desperately want to feel as though I am lucky to be where I am, doing what I love and (sometimes) getting paid to do it. Not just one day a week, but every goddamn day.

There’s nothing worse than having regrets in life, and because of which, I hereby pledge to dedicate Friday evenings to exercising on the beach, perving on hot surfer men, playing with fluffy puppies and feeling happy. Truly happy from the heart.

Thank you, ocean. Thank you, Bondi.

Note: Because I didn’t have my phone on me, I couldn’t take a photo of the spectacular sunset. But the image below is about 96% close to what I witnessed on this somewhat magical evening of realisation. Thanks to the internet for the image.

Bondi sunset, Sydney, Australia
Source: Travelpod

Single and the City

Warning: This is not a pity post. Neither is it a smart-arse piece inspired by ‘Sex and the City’. Don’t trust me, well read away then.

If we’re friends, you’d know that I am a serious coffeeholic (I’m getting treated for it, don’t worry). If you’re casually visiting my blog baby (shame on you for not being regular), then you need to know three things about me – I wear really bright shoes, I laugh a lot and drink way too much coffee. When the three collide, it’s rather amusing. You might even pay to be around me on those special days. Grab a seat and watch me do the buzzing dance, why don’t you?

But getting back to important things, a few months ago, an international publication published an opinion piece written by me about coffee and baristas. Haven’t read it yet? It’s okay, everyone makes silly life decisions – click HERE to read the piece. You’ll smile, I promise.

When the article went live on CNNGo.com, I was sitting in a cafe (obviously). I had my frozen fingers wrapped around my bowl of cappuccino, I opened the webpage and my reaction to the “edited” piece was a BIG, loud laugh.

I laughed. I got teary. I laughed again in ridicule. I swelled up in disgust.

This reaction was not a follow-up to my article, but to the chosen sub-heading and title of the article. On an universal level (CNNGo is read is in over 10 countries), I was given the title of a “lonely girl”. It didn’t just limit itself to the webpage, but spread across social media too. Tweets, Facebook status updates – it was everywhere with my name attached to it.

Journalistically, I was very happy with my article but I didn’t know what was a socially acceptable reaction to the heading – laugh or cry? That’s all I could see – it was staring at me. I thought it was pretty funny that my editor thought I was ‘lonely’ for considering being friends with the man who makes my coffee. But does that make me a loner? Too many questions and too much contemplation.

I moved to Sydney only a few months ago and even though I wouldn’t tag myself as ‘lonely’, I do spend my weekends drinking wine and watching ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ on repeat.
This is also because there isn’t a guy in the horizon. There – I said it.
But that gives me the ‘single’ and ‘making new friends’ status – not lonely. Which is why, I decided to shortlist things I’ve learnt in the past six months of moving to a new city while enjoying singleton. Surely not everyone in the city is hooked.
This IS Sydney, after all. Stereotype says men get bored of their ladies really quick and the ladies are too career-driven to commit to a man.

So here are 11 things I’ve learnt, cherished and embraced as a single girl in this spanking city.

  1. Having a bathroom and toilet to yourself is the most rewarding aspect of living. Seat always remains down and you’re the Queen of the toilet.
  2. Untoasted muesli + Chia seeds + flaxseed oil + almonds = you never have to cook again. It can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight snack, hangover hog, a drunken meal or even when you’re dying.
  3. The process of removing bed sheets for a wash and then putting them back on is a hardcore cardio activity. Guaranteed 500+ calories burn.
  4. Your gym trainer knows your sleeping pattern but doesn’t know your name.
  5. A ferry ride becomes the perfect getaway on a lazy Saturday afternoon. And eavesdropping tourists’ conversation has never been more entertaining.
  6. You start buying flowers for yourself and eventually get them for free because the florist knows the reason. He also might be a creepy Italian, but that’s not the point.
  7. Dreaming about a fluffy puppy and a hot man on the same night is never sinful. Never ever.
  8. You start mastering the art of ‘Table for One’. You have more confidence, exuberance and get more respect from waiters.
  9. Finishing an entire bottle of Shiraz on a Friday night is as easy as putting on underwear.
  10. The fortnightly waxing ritual now becomes a monthly session. Sometimes even after six weeks. But shhh, don’t tell the ‘downstairs’ fairy or even Santa, for that matter.
  11. You exercise your creative mind by complaining about your hypothetical boyfriend’s infidelity dramas to strangers on the train. They take you seriously and abuse your boyfriend. You take them seriously and start crying. Fun… all fun!

You tell me – can you relate with any of these? Is your pantry full of wine and cheese? How do you celebrate being ‘single’?

House For One

I’ve played the game of going to a fancy restaurant and asking for a ‘table for one’. I still remember getting strange and sympathy-laden look from staff. Imagine announcing to the world how miserably lonely you are. You actually aren’t, but that’s what the rest of the ‘hooked-in-a-committed-relationship’ world thinks. That’s what it felt like. As my social life continued to be the subject of judgement, I saw a sudden burst of confidence and power in me. The power to be my own person. And to find that person.

This ‘table for one’ deal got me flirting with the idea of living alone. It didn’t seem all that bad. Having an apartment to myself and nobody else, seemed fascinating and tempting. No longer would I have to worry about who ate my cereal or who had to do the washing first. I could walk around in my towel all day and even practice naked yoga in the living room (i’ve heard it’s got its own unique benefits).

In the last ten years or so women have increasingly cherished the idea of living alone, not because they are single, divorced, widowed, or crazy, but because they want to. Television shows and movies are to be blamed as well. Carrie Bradshaw made it look stylish and Phoebe Buffay made it look playful. The girls didn’t have a man to cook for and definitely didn’t need any help in fixing false fire alarms. They glamourised the vision of living alone. The idea of ‘Friday nights in’ was no longer for weirdos, but considered as a legitimate option. A bottle of wine, Thai takeout and a sloppy rom-com sealed the deal. It still manages to calm plenty of women out there. Believe you me!

Movies like Bridget Jones’s Diary have convinced the society that single women who live alone are depressed. Period. They make them believe that single women have no life and they watch Saturday night television in their granny panties.

But this got me wondering, why are single women compelled to associate themselves with a man to be entitled for a ‘happily ever after’ ending? Why aren’t single women with successful careers tagged as ‘settled’ or ‘happy’? What did Jerry Maguire mean when he blurted out the infamous line, “you complete me”?

Today, being in a relationship is almost as important as getting a university degree. The idea of being with a significant other or a soulmate is almost a life requirement now. It’s a compulsion because those are societies’ expectations. Yes, women can have a career and rule the corporate world in the most jazzy shoes, but if they’re enjoying an expensive glass of wine all by themselves, they are instantly flagged with the sympathy card. Or even a judgemental one.

This scared me when I got the opportunity to live alone for 10 days.

Last week, my housemates were away so I had the house to myself. My 18-year old self would have thrown a party every night, drank goon from the sack and possibly wrecked the house. But four years later, the 22-year old in me just wanted another being in the house. I wanted to hear a voice in the vicinity bar my loud typing. It was a weird, hollow feeling in my chest that just wouldn’t go away. I felt alone. Really alone. Perhaps, living the life of a ‘freelance journalist’ didn’t help either. I didn’t get out bed till 2pm, endured painful bum cramps (from sitting on my bum all day – duh!) and only left the house to buy milk and newspaper.

That was the moment when I thought, maybe the living alone thing isn’t for me? Maybe I’m not ready to take life by its horns and go crazy with my single life. Even though I dared myself to stay away from cringeworthy rom-coms and greasy take-outs, my inner voice kept telling me something. It said, “this is a very risky road. Don’t go there”.

But there’s something in me that still wants to take the plunge. Dive into the carefree world and not worry about how many ‘committed’ couples surround me. I moved countries, then moved states… perhaps now it’s time to make the next crazy decision and rent an apartment. Just for me.

A house for one!

Perhaps.