Love for Bloggers from my old days | Blogmas 8

I have done a similar post in the past. There are some bloggers that I came across in my old days of blogging which don’t post a lot anymore but i go and revisit their blogs every now and then.

I will be doing a post for the new blogs that I have discovered too, but to be honest, I haven’t really been that active in finding new blogs. However, I still got lucky with some that I absolutely love reading.

The list obviously has to begin with two of my favorites which I have already written about:

A Splash of my Life: its a funny story how I found her. In the comments section of a really popular blog. If you guys follow WedmeGood, you may know that the founder had a personal blog earlier for beauty & makeup. Which reminds me, I should put that also in this list. 🙂 Our girl Princess Butter (That’s what she calls herself on A Splash of my Life) had commented something and I ended up clicking on her blog. I love how funny she is and how she puts a fun spin on everything she writes about. I wish she would write more. I now know her real name but I like to address her as PB even when I am talking to her offline. 🙂

A Dash of Pepper: I love the way she writes. I found her via the above blog and have been hooked since. She is not super regular but gives an appearance on the blog every now and then and I am living for it. I also realize just how many life events I have seen for these two blog owners. Isn’t that a great thing?

Peaches & Blush: This is the founder of Wedmegood. I have been reading this blog of her since I got into blogging. A little note – How I discovered the world of blogging was in 2011 when I searched for best Kajals in India (more on this coming soon). Hence, I landed up on a lot of beauty blogs at that time so my first intro to blogging was beauty blogs. One that stood out for me was Peaches & Blush and even now I love going back to her old posts, although she has almost completely stopped writing here. Her bridal series became a huge hit and that’s how she started Wedmegood.

Keira Lennox: One of the few in this list who continue to post. She is a lifestyle blogger and its sometimes difficult for me to like content of lifestyle bloggers outside of India as it may not be relatable but I love her content & her journey.

Know-All’s Box: One person I loved interacting online, he found my blog first I guess. Usually I am not into photography blogs but his photographs are just beyond ethereal. I wish he hadn’t stopped posting. He posts a little more regularly on Instagram but I definitely miss his presence on WordPress.

Nishita’s Rants & Raves: Another on this list who continues to post regularly, thankfully. I don’t remember how I found her, it would have been something to do with a bookish post. However, her blog is pretty diverse. She covers a lot of topics but the most I love are books and, more than that, her family & travel stories. Funny thing – both of us feel when reading each other’s post that its so good to be reading someone’s post whom you have been following since a long, long time.

Blush Canvas: She writes mostly about high end makeup and I enjoy her aesthetically done blog & beautiful pictures. She does make an appearance every once in a while but its super rare and irregular. :/

Shoestring Style: I wish I could write in as many words just how much I miss this blog. The girl who owned this blog, Shivani Dogra, is an interior designer and if you just Google this name, you would come across multiple publications of her work & her own design studio’s website. If you end up liking her aesthetic, you would understand why I miss her blog posts. Those posts were on her personal style but with this aesthetic. I mean, I can’t even begin on how much I loved it! I just did a quick Google search and I am now going to go through her interviews on various publications! 😀

5 Indian things I appreciated after living abroad | Blogmas 2

I clearly remember how much I used to hate my mom’s habit of putting excessive coriander in everything. And then I went to Europe for around 10 months and I missed it’s presence in regular food terribly. I came back and became equally or more obsessed with coriander.

So, i dedicate this post to 5 such Indian things that I have only appreciated either when living abroad or with age. I am sure Indians who moved abroad to settle can add a lot to this list. If you are reading this, please do consider adding yours in comments!

1. Amla: Indian gooseberry is a superfood that doesn’t get the credit it deserves. I know you will say that it’s way more popular than many other superfoods but my point is just how versatile and tasty it is in so many dishes. Why people don’t eat it more often? Maybe because they don’t know how easy it is to incorporate in so many dishes! Apart from amla candy & murabba (preserve), nothing else seems to be super popular. I think I’ll do a post on some easy peasy recipes with amla.

2. Coriander: of course. No brainer . Chop and put it in any Indian dish and see its magic happen.

3. Spice box: just why do people elsewhere not use a spice box? Just why? If you are reading this and don’t know what this is, please Google. You will know its importance in a South Asian’s life. This point can also be extended to pressure cooker actually. Why are people buying canned legumes and not using a pressure cooker?

4. Fresh mangoes need i say more?

So this is my list but i am sure many others can be added to this list. Please do let me know in comments. Mine are a lot around food but yours don’t have to be. 😀

25 | Friday’s List: 2 cents on all the Books I read in 2018

I was just going through my old posts & came across some about books that I have totally forgotten about. It made me realize even harder this time just how important it is to log down everything here. Books especially so. In case I forget what all I have read over the years (after I started logging them here, of course), there is always a place to come back to.

So, here’s a list talking about what all I read in 2018, and my 2 cents on how I felt about these books:

  1. The Feast Of Roses: The first and possibly my favorite book of the year. Simply because Mughal historical fiction written in such all-engrossing manner is totally the drug of my choice. I get so immersed while reading books like these. I survived a 17-hour train journey while reading its predecessor. If you enjoy these kinds as much as I do, do not miss these series. The predecessor is called “The Twentieth Wife”.
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    Book 1 of 2018: The Feast of Roses. When @jeffmat5 got me ‘The Twentieth Wife’ for a gift, I was giddy thinking that he had an idea the kind of books I like (friends like that :’)). That book was so engrossing that I forgot all about the discomforts of a 17-hour train journey while reading it. I so wanted to read its sequel which is this one, and I loved it!!! Indian historical fiction is so my thing I feel, so any recommendations are welcome!! Also, I miss reading in my bed in Bangalore! . . . . #books #book #bookshelves #booksontoast #booklover #bookstagrammer #bookstagram #bookstagramfeature #bookstagramindia #thefeastofroses #indusundaresan #fiction #indianfiction #indianwriters

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  2. Milk & Honey: Obviously, I had to read one Rupi Kaur to see what the deal is about (FOMO is a real thing, friends). However, I can safely say now that I can very much live without these. Please note that I speak only for myself, as I know some people totally love these. My opinion: these poems are scribbles made by a heart full of emotions. A lot of people write that and have written that over the years. There is a lot of books out there which do this kind of content, and way better. I wouldn’t want to waste my time on this, because there are so many books and so little time.
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  3. Mrs. Funnybones: Wow! I love me a good, lighthearted comedy always & this is something else!! The way it is written in such a fun, unabashed and witty manner, it made for an extremely fun read & so breezy! Now, I see a lot of people bashing this book for just how first world it is. Well, you only write something when you feel strongly about writing that particular thing, she wanted to write about this. Its totally okay to not like it, but don’t go all surprised about why its loved so much. That’s because its enjoyable for a lot of us.
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  4. ChaiChai – Travels in Places where you stop but never get off: Such a forgettable book. Normally when I complete a book, I am in the habit of reading a couple of reviews on Goodreads. One of the reviews about this one mentioned – “Seems like the author has just written a diary about his every day when he decided to write this book”. So, so apt. As is evident from the title, the book is about cities which are very vital for having a railway station that connects multiple parts of India through the rail network – one of the best & most extensive rail networks in the world. However, these cities are known for just that, nobody happens to know what is the character of each of these cities other than the railway bit. Very promising topic indeed & I always love books which glorify some city and the author’s love or opinion about that city shines through the book. However, this one was written in a very ‘Dear Diary, today I did this, this and this in xyz city’ way and it wasn’t even like that each day was totally different from another.
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    4 of 2018 – Chai, Chai: Places where you stop but never get off by Biswanath Ghosh. . . . Not to say that there’s anything wrong with this book, but I had really high expectations due to (as is obvious) the name. The name makes you feel that you will be getting to know about these towns and cities which are important railway stops where we, as passengers, might stop for a tea or two and move on. However, its not so much about these places as it is basically a diary/journal of what the author did in his day when he stopped and stayed at these places for his book. I enjoyed certain parts very much, especially that one about opportunities getting snatched at a young age in a developing country like ours, but, overall, the book was only alright for me. . . . . . . . . . . . . . #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookstagramindia #bookstagramdubai #bookstagramfeature #bookstagramming #books #booklovers #readers #reading #readersofinstagram #booksontoast #booklover #booklove #books #chaichai #biswanathghosh #teatime #teaoclock #chaitime #indianrailways #indianrailwaysdiaries

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  5. This House of Clay & Water: Very beautifully written fiction talking about how no one knows how much and how they are capable of loving or un-loving. I wouldn’t put this in my Do-Not-Miss-For-Anything list, but definitely a very different, poetic and lovely read. Read it for the different kind of story it has.
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  6. The House that Jack Ma built: I am slowly trying to take baby steps in the world of non-fiction and I had thought long ago that whenever I feel comfortable reading more non-fiction, I’ll read about Jack Ma. I enjoyed knowing his story, his characteristics etc but the book itself was written in a very unstructured manner. I wish there were less numbers & more structured parts of the book to make it enjoyable.
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    6th of 2018: Alibaba – The House that Jack Ma built. As it is, I find it very difficult to get around to reading non-fiction. To add, this book was very haphazard & I wish it had a more structured approach towards Jack's life as well as Alibaba, making it easier for people like me to read it. If non-fiction is your usual thing, this book does have information about the beginning of Alibaba as a company and Jack Ma as a person! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookstagramindia #bookstagramdubai #bookstagramfeature #bookstagramming #books #booklovers #readers #reading #readersofinstagram #booksontoast #booklover #booklove #books #thehousethatjackmabuilt

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  7. Godan: First & the only Hindi read this year. As I have mentioned countless times before, I have been reading Premchand since childhood and I love his short stories, but that’s all I have read over the years. I hadn’t read even a single novel by him until this. This one I didn’t love, like I normally love his works. Maybe because it has multiple story lines in parallel, something I am not a big fan of.
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    7th of 2018: I have been reading Premchand since I was a kid. Shockingly enough I have never read even a single one of his novels, only short stories or abridged versions at best. I really wanted to change that this year and what better one to start off than the most famed 'Godan'. What I like the most about Premchand's works is that how much the problems of those times are still so relevant in India, be it poverty, caste system or patriarchy (this one is sometimes so non chalant in his books). However, the sad thing is I didn't enjoy Godan as much as I expected to. Cannot really say why. It was getting a bit boring and repetitive with it's multiple story lines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookstagramindia #bookstagramfeatures #bookstagramfeature #bookstagramming #books #booklovers #readers #reading #readersofinstagram #booksontoast #booklover #booklove #books #godan #premchand #munshipremchand #book

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  8. Pride & Prejudice: I didn’t expect to like it a lot, because I have never enjoyed non-Hindi classics just as much as I enjoy contemporary stuff. However, this was so lovely, so so lovely. I think I love me a well-written, traditional love story always! I think I am going to watch all screen adaptations! 😀
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  9. The Black Shalwar: I haven’t read a lot of Manto, but whatever little I have read as part of magazine or newspaper excerpts, I have always enjoyed. Right now also, I am reading a collection of short stories by Manto. I am now finding it a little underwhelming than my expectations, to be honest. However, at the time I read this story, I absolutely loved it.
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  10. Maid in India: “It ought to be sobering and vertiginous to think of how many other people could be where you are, doing exactly what you do, if everything in India was just a little better”. Another non-fiction of 2018 & extremely good. Please read this. I am sharing my Instagram post below about this book, which very well summarizes how I feel about this one.
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    10th of 2018: Maid in India – Stories of Opportunity and Inequality Inside our Homes . . . The income disparity in India is something not hidden from anyone across the globe. I was looking forward to read this book since a long time to see what the author has to say about how maids are treated in homes like yours and mine. I am happy to say that some accounts actually gave hope, but more were horrifying than I ever expected. Seriously one of the last ones gave me jitters beyond limits! I still can't come to terms with the fact that it's a real account. Some may pass it off as just another leftist book and I don't disagree but it's a topic I wanted to read about and I did and I liked what I read. Except that I wish the book was more structured, it was too haphazard! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookstagramindia #bookstagramfeatures #bookstagramfeature #bookstagramming #books #booklovers #readers #reading #readersofinstagram #booksontoast #booklover #booklove #books #bookstores #manto #saadathassanmanto #bookish #bookishlove #bookstagramming

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  11. The Palace of Illusions: Another wonderful read of this year. Mahabharata from Draupadi’s perspective – a story of just being who you are & not shying away from it- now why did someone not think of this earlier? Please read this!!
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  12. Midnight’s Children: Somehow I have never read the super popular books of different eras. I have not read Harry Potter, not a lot of Enid Blyton, you get the drift. I wanted to get a start on those, so this was one of those categories. This was one of the most boring books I read & this is the reason why the number of books I read in 2018 is less than 12. I spent more than 2 months trying to finish this one. But two things I liked about this book – 1) the author’s love for Bombay, 2) the comparison he keeps making about his Indian childhood & Pakistani adolescence.

 
 
 
 
 
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Book 12 of 2018 or book 1 of 2019 – finally finished!! That’s why the blank page, just to record this ‘Book Completed’ page. phew! This book was so boring for me and took me into a reading slump that lasted for more than 2 months. I really felt bad how much it led to me reading lesser books in 2018. One thing though I absolutely loved in this book – the author’s love for Bombay and midnights. Can you now take a guess which one is it?😊 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookstagramindia #bookstagramfeatures #bookstagramfeature #bookstagramming #books #booklovers #readers #reading #readersofinstagram #booksontoast #booklover #booklove #books #bookstores #manto #saadathassanmanto #bookish #bookishlove #bookstagramming #midnightschildren

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That’s it for today’s Friday List. I guess its pretty clear which are my top 3 from 2018. Please share yours with me. 🙂

11 | 7 places where I ate in Pondy: Friday’s List

Hola amigos!

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I am going to have a separate post for my Pondicherry trip but today is Friday’s List night & what better than to talk about food. Especially because, Pondy is a place which has so many cute cafes to take life slowly in and with such awesome French decor, and when you crave for something more spicy, you go to the South Indian joints!

So, I am going to talk about 7 places that I ate at. I wanted my trip to be a mix of places that people touted about and the ones I discovered myself. Considering I had only 2 days there, I managed to try out quite a fair lot! Here it goes:

  1. Hari Tea Stall or H2K: If you start from the clock tower on MG Road and keep going straight in the Rock beach direction, you will spot this super tiny South Indian breakfast type shop on the right side. I read about someone loving their mini samosas, so I had to go because I have had my fair share of mallu style mini samosas in Dubai & I love them to bits! I also ended up having other things like dosa on their menu & these guys are super good. Do try them out for sure.IMG_20181230_112250.jpg
  2. Cafe Des Arts: Unarguably the most spoken about place in Pondy because they have the most Instagram worthy wall in Pondy! I saw a lot of blogs mentioning that this place is quite a put off after you are done clicking the wall. However, my experience has been fairly good. First of all, their interiors are also very beautiful and, second, if not outstanding, their food is pretty decent at least. I had a ratatouille crepe with mozarella & saw others having pancakes which looked good. 😛 Coffee was a downer though (which is anyway my complaint with a lot of places in Pondy).

3. Artika Cafe: Okay, I did read up this name on some blogs but didn’t pay much attention as there were other places which took centerstage in those blogs. This actually was one of my favourites in Pondy! And what a chance discovery! So, as soon as I got done with Cafe Des Arts, I was craving good coffee and while roaming in the French Quarters, I came across this place and just entered (mostly because they had a washroom & I really had to pee). Then, I ordered a coffee and just settled in. I loved how this place was not rushed, there was never too much crowd but never fully empty and the place is surrounded by greenery and lush sounds to give you company. This place is surreal really! And the best part, they have an art gallery, I bought 2 vintage postcards from there. I ended up going to this place twice, the food is average cafe food but overall lovely experience!

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4. Kasha ki Asha: I saw multiple people mentioning to try out their European thali. I cannot even begin to tell how bad it was. Honestly, I feel bad saying so because this place is run by a women group and the earnings from this place are very helpful for a lot of needy people. But I really hope they improve the food. Even at home, a good salad is not a very tough job, so I felt a bit bad as a customer. Again, the ambience is extremely good what with greenery and leafy sounds all around.

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5. Cafe Xtasi: Okay, a lot of people recommend this place for wood-fired pizzas and I had a hunch that it will just be a normal one, this place is famous as its old, but I wanted to try the pizza anyhow. But something weird ensued. I crossed this cafe multiple times on my walks and every time it gave a shady feeling, as in not super shady but for a girl on a solo trip, definitely! I didn’t want to miss it so, at one point, I went in and asked one of the staffs if there is any other branch, because the board mentioned Xtasi gastro pub while everywhere on the internet its Cafe Xtasi. The guy hesitated for a minute and then said, “No, no, this is the only one”. Even more shady now! I immediately decided to go to another pizza place. There was waiting there, so I thought shady or not shady, I am going back to Xtasi now (not very wise guys! If it feels shady, skip it!). So, I put Cafe Xtasi in Google Maps and reached a totally different Cafe Xtasi. It is then that I realized this is the original and earlier I was always crossing the rip-off one. 🙂 I had a very good meal here but nothing out of the world.

6. Baker’s Street: Another place which gets a lot of love on the internet because French bakery, hello! But the sad part is I always crossed this place when I wasn’t that hungry. Eventually I decided I’ll get something packed from here to take back, like a quiche or croissant, but when I went there to do that, it was closed. I did try their coconut ice cream, which was good but then, its coconut icecream!

7. The Gelato Factory: This one deserves a special mention because it was a chance discovery again & exactly what I needed then. So, again, I crossed this place multiple times & its done in a cutesy manner so it definitely drew attention. It seemed to be new. It was never on top of my list of places to go eat at, but I had kept it at the back of my mind in case opportunity comes. 😛 I make it sound like a really important decision, but, well, food is. On my last night dinner in Pondy, I somehow saw myself near to this place & what I was craving was this – something light like a soup but also not like cafe food which is creamy or mild, but something very spicy like Indian food. Yeah, pretty complicated! However, I had zero expectations of getting exactly this requirement fulfilled 😀 so, I just thought of finding a nice soup place. I asked these guys if they have soups. They said yes and I quickly entered. One look at their menu and I realized they are kind of doing Indian versions of many things (y’all grown up in Indian know those kinds of menus). I ordered a tomato soup & cutlets. I loved both the things!!! It was just how I wanted, light, warm, comforting but also Indian style! 🙂


That’s it for my Friday’s List. Do let me know if you have been to Pondy. 🙂

Disclaimer: I didn’t try any food places in Auroville even though I did go there. All the places mentioned above are from the French Quarters or White Town area.

4 things you immediately notice about Berlin!

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I have been meaning to make this Friday’s list since the longest time because, you know, its supposed to be about things you ‘immediately’ notice if you move to Berlin. 😀 Not quite immediate, still this post is very close to my heart. That is because these are all the reasons why I love Berlin. It is not a tourist-y kind of city, and that is why people who come here as tourists don’t find it that exciting. Berlin had a tragic history which meant most of it was destroyed by air raids etc. So, Berlin hasn’t medieval architecture or cobbled streets or vintage charm to lure you, but here are 4 reasons why you will easily fall in love with Berlin:

  1. Young Culture of its Own: Its bad that I cannot exactly explain it. Anyway, I am going to try. Berlin has a very unique culture that is specific to itself. All over Berlin, you can feel a young vibe like the place is thriving with young energy. You know like a life is just beginning to blossom! No, its not like a city of students or something, I have been to cities like that, in fact, I am currently living in one. Berlin, however, is a city of adults, teenagers, old people just like any other place but the place has a young energy of its own, brimming with new ideas. That’s why its called city of artists, designers & illustrators. The young culture also makes it look like a hipster city many times, and I understand that it can be a botheration to some!IMG_2127_FotorIMG_20160619_175217_FotorIMG_2063_Fotor

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    I lived here 🙂

  2. Cosmopolitan: I have read so many expats say that Berlin is one of the best cities in the world for expats and it is totally true! Berlin is seriously so cosmo, its not even funny! Berlin accepts everyone and everything with open hands and makes them its own! Everywhere you turn, there are cultural events happening from a different culture. No matter which part of the city you live in, there would be one Indian restaurant, one Thai restaurant, one Korean restaurant, one Vietnamese Kitchen  and, of course, one Doner outlet somewhere near you. Berlin’s super inspiring startup culture also adds to the cosmopolitan nature of this city!IMG_2357_FotorIMG_2103IMG_2099_Fotor
  3. Food: Following from point 2, Berlin really has a loooooooot of variety from so many countries and none of the European cities or countries I have been to matches up! The best part, though, is that vegetarian options are just as much!! No kidding. In this city, you will be spoilt for choice for vegetarian food, and, wait for it, even vegan food!!IMG_2054_FotorIMG_2146
  4. Different area are actually different: You will probably think that this is true for any city, but really, if you lived in Berlin, you will absolutely agree because I have heard so many Europeans say this too. 🙂 There is the sophisticated Charlottenburg, the quintessentially hipster Warschauer Strasse, the tourist-y & modern Mitte & so on. While writing this line, I seriously do miss Berlin! ❤IMG_1505_FotorIMG_1453IMG_1458IMG_1479_FotorIMG_2096IMG_2102IMG_2091

That is all I wanted to share, you guys.

I would love to know what went through your mind when you read this post. Anything about Berlin? Anything about a city you fell in love with?  Tell me in the comments! 🙂

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This grey city which gets colorful every once in a while! 🙂

6 most annoying types of people in metro | Friday’s List

20141212_2156001 I know that none of you ever imagined Friday’s List as this, a post about rants or annoying people. 😀 It must have been imagined as a value addition kind of post, where you either add things to your bucket lists or get to know about few tips/tricks. But here it is, a Friday’s List about people I hate in the metro! 😀

  1. The queue breakers: Well, they are at number 1 for a reason. I hate them the most. So much so that if it wasn’t ethically & lawfully wrong, I would have loved dragging them on the floor and beating the f*ck out of them. I know it sounds outrageous but that’s how badly I hate them. There are two kinds, the ones who are unabashed, one woman actually told me this, “I don’t care if you call me shameless, I am okay being shameless than wait in the queue”, and the ones who try to act all innocent – “oh! I didn’t realize there’s a queue!” Oh my God. I wish I could slap you.
  2. The ‘gluesomes’: These are the ones who will come and stick to you even if there was enough space for a hundred people! I mean wow!
  3. The weight-putters: These are an improved version of point 2. They will not only stick to you, but also make sure that the weight of either their back or thighs or something is on you. Like, take your own support people.
  4. The high maintenance people: These are the ones who will act all sophisticated and will roll their eyes if someone asks them to accommodate them on the seat. Now, I know most of you will disagree with me and say that if a seat is meant for 7 people, why would I want to stuff 9 people in there. Here’s my logic – In a country overflowing with people, it’s better to seat as many people as possible even with a little discomfort to each of them, so that maximum possible people are seated and the ones standing are also able to stand more comfortably. So, if it only takes a little bit of adjustment, it’s fine instead of rolling those eyes!
  5. The seat hunters: Of course, how can I forget these. These I mostly do not hate because they are borderline funny. It’s funny to look at their tactics to get a freaking seat. They will do anything and I mean anything to get a seat in the metro. They are super annoying for me in two cases majorly: 1) when they try to save a seat for someone else too, that really irritates me somehow, 2) when I am standing right in front of a seat and they try to push me so that they can stand there as the next claimant of the seat, this is when all hell breaks loose and I make it a point to not let these kinds win with their shitty, uncivilized ways.
  6. Women who act victimized all the freaking time: Why is this point the last? Because this entire post was written in a fun way but this point is actually serious and scary. I think most women really need to realize that they are responsible, equal citizens instead of victims of society’s burdens. True, we have a tougher life than men in a patriarchal society, we are more unsafe, all that is true but does the onus to change that lies on someone else? Why should men treat us as equals when we ourselves act like privileged citizens asking men to stand up from seats to let us sit? I have heard about teenage girls asking old people sitting on the reserved seats to get up. Really? Lately, thanks to metro, I have started feeling that women and men are getting divided into two groups where both the groups hate each other fervently. Being cautious is one thing, but every time someone’s elbow hits you in a super crowded metro, it isn’t eve-teasing ladies! If you start putting up fights without understanding the real situation, obviously men would start treating us as a separate group which they are supposed to stand against at any cost. Can we please act like strong individuals instead of victims?

That’s all for my rant. I am sure you would have some public transport experiences which can be shared. Can’t wait to hear more cringe-worthy accounts! 😀 Oh, and, good ones too. 🙂