13 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 13

There appears to be a tag on the rounds – thirteen pieces of wisdom that you wish your 13 year old self knew. No one has asked me to do the tag, which is probably why I’m so eager to type it out this wonderfully busy Monday afternoon. Before I begin though, two major observations – One, I was 13 twelve years ago. Two, I was 13 TWELVE YEARS AGO. I’m pretty sure there’s Scotch my age that is being sold with a “vintage” label.

Sad face.

Anyway, here goes:

1. Eat healthy. I know that eating junk food the way you did was nothing short of an art, but I have to tell you that 19 year old you had a really, really, really, really, really, really, REALLY hard time losing the weight you accumulated with your specific diet of top ramen noodles, cheese on everything and potato chips. A thumb rule: 3 Pringles are ok. 3 tubes of Pringles in one go while watching the Johnny Bravo marathon aren’t.

2. Don’t judge people. This is something you’ve recently begun to do, miss. Just because someone is ‘X’ never implies that they are also ‘Y’. Everyone has a story, and everyone knows something you don’t. The quicker you stop doing this, the less annoying you will be when you grow up.

3. Make strong friendships. This is the age when real friendships are forged. It’s good to have “lots of friends” but it is so much more important to forge close friendships – especially of the female kind – invite your friends home, go to their places, don’t bunk birthday parties because you were feeling lazy, and spend half an hour after school talking about nothing. When you grow up, they will become the people to whom you can send TR Speaking English videos without the fear of being physically abused.

4. Read. Read everything. You have a great reading habit. Don’t get lost in the literary quicksand that is fluffy young adult. Read the classics. Read Shakespeare. Read Russian writing. Read poetry. It all seems overwhelming now, but I promise you’ll get it. Put The Princess Diaries down. Please.

5. Get Good Marks. Sorry to sound like Amma, but really – if you can get 80 by not studying and watching Cartoon Network all day, imagine HOW MUCH MORE you’ll get if you actually studied. You can be a topper! You’re smart enough! Why are you not listening to me? Fine, don’t listen to me. They’re your marks. YOUR LIFE. Do whatever. I am not paying for your college. *slams door*

6. Play A Sport: Even if you suck at it (which I know you do). Nothing comes automatically, but sport gives you an hour to take the day off, and indulge in something for fun. It gives you team mates, new friends, a different social circle, and makes you an interesting person. Note: Competitive Eating is NOT a sport.

7. Work on Your Writing: So I found something you wrote recently, and while the writing itself was beyond awful, I will tell you that it had a lot of potential. You can be really good if you work on what you have. You will lose a lot of writing competitions in school despite being the English teacher suck-up simply because you were too lazy. Read more. Write even more. Work, work, work. (If you had worked hard, I wouldn’t be writing crap in this blog now. I’d have been writing crap in newspaper columns. Sigh)

8. Get back to Paatu Class/ Dance Class: But don’t get back to both. One is enough. Get back to dance class. Or Paatu class. But get back.


10. Don’t Be Embarrassed By Yourself:  Ya. You’re chubby. People make fun of you. But guess what, people will make fun of you even after you’ve dropped the 25 extra kg and got yourself a nice haircut because people, they suck. Don’t listen to them. You’re pretty cool. Except when you’re being whiny and annoying because then you’re totally not cool.

11. Geography isn’t as difficult as you thought it was: You’d know too, if you actually read it instead of sleeping in class and trying to mug the lesson at 5 AM on the day of your exam.

12. Be More Careful With Your Stuff: I still don’t get how you managed to lose your pens on an everyday basis.

13. Boys Your Age Are Stupid: If you must absolutely have a crush on someone, pick an older boy – in fact there is a really cute boy with the most incredible brown eyes and half a pair of dimples about 4 batches senior to you in Vidya Mandir. Keep an eye on him but for heaven’s sake don’t creep him out the way you creep other guys out THIS IS IMPORTANT OKAY.


My sister was watching TV when the channel started playing a song from Alaipayuthey.

It was probably the millionth time I was watching it, as well as the millionth time I had that stupid grin on my face when I saw Madhavan prance about awkwardly. More than Madhavan, I think that grin was for Karthik, his character in the movie. Karthik pretty much epitomized every thing I’ve ever wanted in a guy – charming, intelligent and most importantly, he wasn’t afraid to get what he wanted.
So actuall-a paatha (Simbu in Vinnathaandi Varuvaaya. Yes. Same feel) my first crush wasn’t Madhavan. It was Karthik.
Who was yours?

Something Quirky This Way Comes.

I’ve always been a right weirdo and proud of it. In any case, stith-gaaru has tagged me to actually elaborate on my weirdo-ness,  so without much ado, here goes:

1. I count everything. And I have to have it down in even numbers. I cannot stand odd numbers other than 5.  My obsession with even numbers even makes me buy stuff that way. When I’m eating Kit-Kat, I cannot eat just one segment and leave the other three. I have to have two or I finish the whole thing. Hell, even when I sevichufy (prostrate, for all you non-tamils) I do it in even numbers. If I’m timing something and I finish it, I make sure I press “end timer” ONLY when its on 0 or a 5. This is one of the reasons I enter panic mode if any of my problems (accounts/costing/math) don’t have a perfect answer and come in decimals. I sit and rework the entire problem in order to convince myself that I did do it right.

2. I have this commentary running in my head throughout. Its this weird voice talking about everything around me, with me. When the voice switches on (which is pretty much most of the time), I switch off, or space out. I’m pretty much in head’s little talk show most of the time. And the inner voice person is really funny too. Which is why lots of people catch me sitting with a smug smile in my face for no apparent reason.
Sometimes I’m spaced out for days.

3. When I wake up, I stare at the ceiling fan for 5 full minutes. And see it spin. Somehow my day doesn’t start right if I don’t do the staring thing. It’s where I get to contemplate about the things that I should have said, shouldn’t have said, should have said but didn’t, shouldn’t have said but did, should never say but invariably end up saying, should always say but never, and yea, you get the picture. 

4. I don’t store data in my head. I store media. I take pictures. I direct commercials, music videos and movies. I can write entire screenplays off little incidents in my life. And somehow, I remember the stupidest of details, even the impossibly minute ones. Let me remind you that the incredible memory works only when I’m not spaced out. When I’m in my own world, there could be a giant billboard on Mount Road proclaiming me to be the Royal Queen of England and I wouldn’t have noticed.

5. When people are upset, they do a lot of things to get it out of their system. Some write it out, some scream it out. I sleep it out. If I’m upset about something, the first thing I do is go to bed. And sleep. Life automatically becomes enjoyable when you close your eyes.

6. I cannot stand partially closed doors or windows. It has to be fully closed or fully open. This almost closed/open business irritates the hell out of me. I go out of my way to make sure the door is closed because otherwise I get distracted and jittery. 

These are only 6 quirks of course. I have plenty more, and I’m still discovering!
And you’re up to take the tag. It’s plenty fun.

Crash – 2.0

The chutneyfied xerox machine strikes again.

Me and driving have a very, very closely assosciated history. I think I can say with confidence that I am a good, if not great, driver, more so because I have had the ghastly experience of driving in the infamous Chennai traffic. I do believe that I have undergone many traumatic experiences trying to figure out what the Autorickshaw driver in front of me was trying to do, not to mention the frightful Metro water lorries. Of all the noteworthy incidents that happened last summer (When I was deemed qualifed by the local RTO to drive in India – one of my most significant achievements), the most memorable one would easily be the time when my beginner’s enthusiasm (popularly known as ‘aaruva kolar’ in Tamil) got the better of me…and the car.
It was my first time on the road, without a middle aged man having a great deal of adipose deposits operating the car simultaneously. There was no ‘L-board’ on the car, upon strict instructions from my cousin. Apparently it was a ‘prestige problem’. I had my driver sit next to me (half-wincing, he was scared, I don’t blame him) for the required moral support and one twist of the key later, I was in control. Half a kilometre into the ride later, my driver realized it was safe to partially open his eyes. Which was the start of all my woes. He began giving me instructions to ‘speed-u’. Which I did. And then he decides that I was going too ‘speed-u’ and asked me to ‘brake-u’.
Which I did.
The price for my obedience?
A nice dent on the car, courtesy the befuddled man on the bike who had no choice but to run into the car thanks to my braking skills.
And out of nowhere, almost as though they had been paid for it, a crowd gathered and started asking me questions in a way that would have put any FBI agent to shame.
My driver just sat there, unflinching. He was obviously a man of past experience, and by the looks of it, knew how to handle such delicate situations.
He brought the window down and looked at the angry mob.
Just as I thought he’d say something carefully diplomatic and explanatory, as one would during terse situations like this, he simply said “Ponga da, poi velaya paarunga, vandhutaanga….thu!”
(roughtly translates to go mind your damn business)
He quickly brought the window back up and said “speed, thambi speed”.
Which I did.

Muhahaha. My sister is one total loosie, she just proved it. Let me tell you the story of:
Chutney’s crash!
So anyways, we had gone to pick up Queen Bratty-I-will-not-come-by-bus-yuck-yuck in her client’s office. She made me and Amma wait for like, forever. And then she comes all pish-poshing tugging on her NEW NIKE BACKPACK (unfair unfair unfair! her backpack costs more than what she gets a month from her office. She just showed up with it one fine Saturday from Office. Appa should have never given her a CREDIT CARD) and flippity flipping her hair. She was flipping her hair so hard that one peon-in-brown-uniform got scared and opened the main door for her.
So she comes walking upto the car and asks amma if she can drive the car.
Amma said ok.
So she starts the car blah kablooie and drives upto the main road ok-ok. And then on the main road:

Driver: 3rd gear, 3rd gear
Amma: Yes, 3rd gear. You can go little faster. But if you want go slow.
Chutney: Huh?

We were picking up speed!
And then suddenly:

Driver: 3rd gear 3rd gear
Amma: Slow slow!
(I wasn’t taking much notice. Too busy seeing billboards. 😛 Haiyya, ice-cream! :D)

My sister suddenly applied the brake and KABLOOIE! One guy on the bike just crashed!
Oh man, it was like in TV! Suddenly all these people started surrounding the car and asking questions, while my sister looked more perplexed than a Monkey who had too much Mango chutney.
And then after some calming down of those people and telling big fat lies like my sister already has her license, we were free.

My sister got plenty of strawberries and cream. (Strawberries – long lecture; cream – super scoldings)

Now that’s what I like.

I’m so adorable when I’m evil no?
Vanilla Vats signing off!

The NY Times talks about the single thing most taken for granted in driving – shifts.

I was sitting in a conference room at a publishing company in New York City (not The Times) last week when an editor poked his head in the door.A hot new sporty hatchback had been dropped off for him to drive to a studio for a photo shoot.
But there was a problem: the car had a manual transmission, and the editor couldn’t drive a stick.
At first everyone in the conference thought he was joking. He wasn’t. His magazine isn’t a car magazine, so there’s no professional reason for him to know how to drive a stick. But I’d always thought it was a basic life skill, like rock, paper, scissors, and shuffling cards. I’d always taken it for granted.

Growing up in India, the land of the feared Ambassador cars, its impossible not to learn driving without shifts and a couple of crashes.
Driving Pundits will tell you that shifting gears is what makes driving the experience that it is. The control of the engine and making it go vroooom, is quite a heady feeling. However, mastering the stick is no joke – it takes time, and a very patient Ramu-Driver.

But I suppose Automatic transmission’s biggest argument-in-favour would be the fact it allows multi-tasking. For the Indian Driver (chauffeur for all you pompous ones), this would mean:

->Time to ponder about the next swear word he’s going to use
->Time to observe Namitha’s movie posters with the required concentration
->Time to discuss the Indian cricket team with the “Saar”
->Time to think about whether he should get Samco Chicken Biriyani for lunch or not.
->Time to roll the window and get a better look at the “Super figure” crossing the road.

But, as them ‘chauffeurs’ will tell you, with wide grins, that they do precisely this when driving, come-what-manual.

Hat tip:
NY Times

I think I’m really really proud of the this series. It wasn’t easy, but I think I did justice to you guys. Tell me if I didn’t and I’ll tell you that you’re wrong.


I had a perfectly perfect idea for a post. Honest. It had all the elements of a chutneyfied post – a normal day, normal weather, normal people doing normal things and making normal small and ofcourse, my incredible talent to disrupt it all. But as I typed, I realized it would be normal. It was then that I decided I’d do something out of the ordinary. So instead of me writing the post, I
figured I’d write, rather ghost write in the same style as some of my favourite bloggers.
Hopefully, you’ll figure out what happened.

Cha! I konjam messed up yesterday. Already I’m a bit nervous when it comes to driving in traffic but yesterday I really goofed. What happened was that I was nice a minding my own business and driving. I saw this girl on the road. She was super pretty! So I decided I’d brake to get a closer look. What I didnt notice was that one loosu was behind me on the bike. Damaal! he crashed into my car and fell off. And in seconds one big crowd gathered around me and started shouting at me and all. Pah! Any normal guy would have got samma tense. But since I’m sooooo special na, they let me off. Ram’s charm 🙂
What else, that was my exciting story of the day. As usual I looked orey sexy and spent twenty minutes in front of the mirror. Now that I don’t talk with loosies and all, I get more time for important things like this 😉
Seri, sleepy now. I’ll go taatchi.

Yet another entry into the Shenoy Book of Records. The 156th entry into the aforesaid Bestseller would be “Disruption of traffic for the 34th time for no apparent reason.” The 33 other stories, I will save for another day, but this one story, I promise is the stuff legends are made of.
It was a splendid day, and I was cruising in my Bentley Lookalike, the Maruti 800. As I was performing one of my expert maneouvres (namely, trying to move the gear stick) I realized that I had forgotten about my car’s mammoth horsepower decided that it would be a good time to test my Bentley 800’s Ferrari-speeding capabilites. They were indeed excellent. I realized that my car could now go at 40 km/hr without sounding like a horse on a treadmill. What I didn’t realise was there was a good man admiring my car (which I don’t blame him for, who can resist its ultra super good looks) and was so mersmerized that he was following it in his bike in order to get a better view. And in order to help him in his noble quest, I braked. And he got a super view indeed, including the stuff in my car’s trunk, a bonus privilege that I so generously added. He gave a squeal of excitement, and before I knew it, an entire horde gathered to fawn over my car. And boy, they were an excited lot, I could tell from all that swearing. It took some time for them to calm down and let me go again. My car has that effect on people. Oh well, yet another day when Narendra Shenoy adds excitement to the mundane life of the middle class with his happening lifestyle.

There’s a part 2 to this, with some of my other favourites being featured, along with the original story. Coming very, very, soon!

Now playing: Aerosmith – Dream on
via FoxyTunes

A Slip of the Mind

Disclaimer: As unbelievable as this may sound, everything & everyone mentioned here are real.

Chutney’s Top 5 “What were you thinking?! moments” in no specific order:

1. My sister has the habit of multitasking. She’s particularly good at chatting with 10 people at the same time on Gtalk. Once, she was talking with two people, X & Y, both who were orignally my friends but eventually ditched me when they fell for my sister’s cutsie-pieness (not). So, in an attempt to piss her off, I grab the keyboard from her and type “X, X, look varsha is putting (tamil/english slang for flirting) with Y” and hit enter.
I am jubilant.
“Stuppid!” my sister shouts.
“Haha!! Gotcha! Bakra!”
“Idiot, you are the bakra. You just typed that in Y’s chat window”.

2. I had seen the movie “Oram Po” that afternoon and was on an after-movie high since I really liked it. I was in my room listening to the movie’s soundtrack on my iPod when my mother called me. I thought it was for my evening coffee. So I went out to the living room, singing “Jigu Jickaan Jigu Jickaan Jickaan” at the top of my lungs. Wonder of wonders, my dad’s biggest client was sitting in the living room, trying very hard not to burst into laughter while my parents looked like they wanted to melt into the floor.

3.During my outstation audit in Pune, I had been fiddling with the settings of my Phone and before I got to reset settings to original, we were called to the Manager’s room. My phone rang. Which meant my ringtone was Borat saying “I like-a you. I like-a sex. It’s naaaaice.”

4. When I was in my 8th or 9th, Eminem was all the rage. And like every ‘cool’ kid, I knew the Slim Shady song backwards. I had even burned a CD for the CD player in my car (which amp-ed up my coolness). Dad picked me up one evening. We were perfectly happy listening to the local radio when my dad suddenly reached for the “source” button on the player. And within seconds, Eminem’s dulcet tones and dignified opinions fill the air –
“And there’s a million of us just like me
who cuss like me; who just don’t give a F**K (extra emphasis) like me”.

5. I went for CPT Coaching to this ultimate Hellhole during the months of June & July. It was around 3pm on the 2nd of July, I remember it oh-so-clearly. I had been there since 6 in the morning, and I hadn’t had lunch either, so I was really, really, pissed. I was cussing outside – “I fricking hate this place! That bloody N (teacher there)….I swear, I wish he walks by now, I am so totally going to strangle him to death.”
To cut a long story short, my wish got fulfilled the next second.

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I am very much for real.

On popular request, this has been made a tag (Although I have a sneaking suspicion that this already is one).
So yea, the rules are simple, 5 screw ups in no specific order.
I tag you! 🙂

Now playing: Frank Sinatra – Theme from New York, New York
via FoxyTunes


I’m it.
Yay for mayth, who has given me this opportunity to exhibit my inner whack.

1. Pick out a scar you have, and explain how you got it.
Interesting question. I have a rather nasty scar on my right toe, its pretty medium sized for a scar and makes a lot of people’s faces twist into a variety of amusing shapes whenever they see it.
The day was like any other Saturday and I was like any other 8 year old, happy for no apparent reason. The local ranga-ratnam (mini ferris wheel) guy was patrolling my street and me being the ever-enthusiastic thrill seeker just had to ride it. The ranga ratnam guy was in a particularly good mood as well that day, he let me have 4 rides for 5 bucks (I was a very loyal patron, hence the perks).
After those 4 rides, I was pretty dizzy. But I was one who was always in pursuit of adventure. So when my driver, Sada “I-should-be-driving-F1-cars-but-I’m-driving-Maruti-Esteems-but-let-me-
drive-at-300kmph-anyways” Sivam offered to take me on a joyride in the neighborhood rickshaw [the rickshaw man, Kichchaami (actual name was Krishnaswamy, but it was too big for me to pronounce when I was 3, so kichaami it became) had gone to lunch), I jumped at the offer.
I sat on the side chair of the rickshaw and pretty soon Sada was really speeding up. I was already dizzy from the ranga-ratnam marathon, so I wanted to shift to the main seat in the rickshaw. I got up, but lost my balance, fell out of the rickshaw while it was still in motion but managed to grab on to the railings but my toe got stuck under the wheel and got run over for a full 5 seconds. And yes, I was screaming my lungs out at the same time. The wheel had pretty much scraped off all the flesh in my toe and missed the bone by a whisker. Which was a good thing apparently. I was rushed to the hospital, Suriya Hospital to be precise, where they cleaned the wound (capital torture) and everybody was crying and I vividly remember asking my mother if I would die.
The doctors did a plastic surgery on my toe, where they patched it up with some flesh from my thigh.
I couldn’t walk for two months, but I got royal treatment at home. I do believe thats when my spoilt-bratness began.
But that, is a story I will save for some other time.

2.What does your phone look like?
My phone is pink. Very pink. Very, very pink. So pink, its the envy of every girl who sets her eyes on it. Very few admit it though. But I love my Moto-Razr. Although its dying a very slow, tortured death right now and will be replaced very soon, I love my gorgeous, pink phone. It’s been with me through the thick and thin of everything and I doubt my coming-soon phone will ever see the excitement my razr did.

3.What is on the walls of your bedroom?
Glow-in-the-dark stars, hearts, a lone moon, few posters – Anime, Winnie-the-Pooh, Kim Possible and My Little Pony (I share my room with my ten year old sister, hope that clears things a bit), one small picture of Lord Hayagriva who is supposed to help me in my academics and oh yes, a picture of me when I were a wee child of four.
There are a couple of bookshelves fixed on my walls as well, they’re a perennial mess.

4. What is your current desktop picture?
A black and white background, something I Photoshop-ed. It’s a peacock, its very Indian, very eclectic and very much proof that I have sort-of mastered the pen tool.

5. Do you believe in gay marriage?
Well, I used to not believe in same sex marriages, used to think that they were against nature and used to be convinced that they were downright unnatural. Used to. Until some hotshot philosophy-taking undergrad changed my mind. Now I’m ok with it, what the hell, you only live once.

6. What do you want more than anything right now?
A baby penguin would be nice.
Oh yes, and throw in a helicopter, that I’d like too.

7 . What time were you born?
Hm, I’m not too sure, but I think it’s late evening. But the world must have recognized the birth of a great soul, it soon came to be known as International Women’s Day. No shit.

8. Are your parents still together?
Who the hell comes up with these questions?
And yes, they are together.

9. Last person who made you cry?
You know who you are. Yes, you do. Don’t think I’ll let you off the hook that easy.
Oh and I cry whenever my dad screams at me. He hardly screams at me, but when he does he makes me cry big time. Plus he’ll get full guilt over making me cry and buys me something cool. I got a new computer last time, so its cool.

10. What is your favorite perfume / cologne?
Tommy girl by Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry Brit.

11. What kind of hair/eye color do you like in the opposite sex?
Natural colours. NATURAL. Please, none of those highlights or green hair dye. And I like short, poke out-y hair. I really like Stuart Broads hairstyle right now, its downright awesome. Forget the hair, he’s downright awesome.
Eyes, well, its either a deep mahogany brown or hazel green.

12. What are you listening to?
“If I lay here If I just lay here Would you lie with me and just forget the world? “

Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol. Download it, please. You’ll thank me later.

Oh and the song I was listening to before this track came on was “Idhu enna Maayam” from the movie Oram Po, music by GV Prakash. I think its sweetest song to have come my way in the longest time. Highly recommended.

13. Do you get scared of the dark?
At times, yes, when its raining really hard and theres thunder and lightning. Thunder creeps the hell out of me.

14. Do you like pain killers?
I’m not against them, Combiflam has been very useful in curing all my tooth-related owwies. but I don’t like them, I mean its not something you have on a regular basis. If you do have them on a frequent basis, see your doctor now, there is something very, very wrong with you.

15. Are you too shy to ask someone out?
Vena. Valikudhu. Azhudhuduven.

16. If you could eat anything right now, what would it be?
I’m having this sudden craving for Poondu Rasam. Not with rice, just the rasam, clear (without the tomato bits) and in a big tumbler. Ah, bliss.

17. Who was the last person you made you mad?
The moron who leaked the CPT paper and foiled all my after-CPT plans, plus gave me added pain of studying extra 2 weeks.

18. Who was the last person who made you smile?
My dad, sister and mother crack me up all the time. My dad’s lame jokes are something that should be experienced first hand, as do my sisters ramblings and my mother’s commentaries on the deteriorating cultural values in society. Priceless.

There we are. This took me a lot of time to type out and I hope you had read the whole thing and not just scrolled till here.
If you scrolled, well, I don’t blame you, at least you tried. If you read the entire thing, yay!

I hereby tag Niyantha , Ravi and Lemonade. Ensoy.

And before I forget, happy happy birthday to my dearesht umaachi, Krishna. I love you, lots. Thanks for everything and have an awesome day.

—-> Be Happy. Ghee Happy.