Sunday, 28 February 2010

there, that is now done - 3 idiots

3 idiots. You know I totally say Eye-Dee-Ots sometimes when I mean idiots. I like the sound of Eye-Dee-Ots better. Anyway, I have done the needful and watched the movie everyone is talking about, just about a month (or is it two?) late.

* I double-checked that the copy that was displayed was original and not pirated (I hope ...).
* It was at an Open Air Theater (yes, girls, read it, and get all nostalgic now, the same one)
* All three of us managed to go (the husb. and the monster and I, I mean, of course).
* We sat on the steps and not the plastic patio furniture that passes as seating in India
* I did borrow a non-transferable set of passes for it though from ma friend deshvaasi

So that box was checked last night.

You know I like Madhavan, right? I mean, it was all I could do to restrain myself when I saw him at Kochi airport couple of years ago. Well, not really, he is cute in a chubby teddy bear-ish kind of way, and although this might be a bit subjective because I like him, I think he has more of an acting ability than the rest of the people around. I have watched a lot of his junk movies, and even held my breath for that bit when he is not dead in Rang De Basanti.

But it is a bit of a stretch to see him be a college boy. Admittedly the kids are huger and huger of late. But still. Aamir Khan and Maddy boy? And boss, that Kareena Kapoor looked totally weird. She is beginning to remind me of this species of insect. But at least she was not scary like she was when she was of giant proportions in that Akshaye Khanna movie.

Its all good. One should follow ones dreams and passions. One should not put undue pressure on children. One should be at all moments compassionate and understanding of children and students. One should bear in mind that suicides amongst young people are at an unprecedented high currently, and figure out Jadoo ki Jhappi type ways of solving that problem. It felt like a good follow up to Taare Zameen Par. Today we discuss primary education, and demonstrate how to fix that up through art. Next up: Higher education and how to work a holistic solution out for that. I wonder whats next? (Yo Bhagat boy, sold the next set of rights yet?)

Of course, its a movie. It was enjoyable. I laughed at all the Balaatkaar and Chamatkaar and jokes of that form. I closed my eyes though when all that pulling of that poor baby happened. Interesting idea, though, I admit. I hate urinals and cannot stand the sight of them so I really wish men would just get their own stalls and do their business in a stall and not stand there and pee into the urinals. So it was a bit of a pain that I had to endure so much of men peeing and so many shots of those blasted urinals. Not to mention the whole pants funda. Actually to be frank I thought I would be a lot more grossed out by the whole lets all take off our pants and waggle our bums which everyone was talking about, than when it finally was there in that giant big screen. College is a good place to finish up this sort of thing, get over it, get it out of your system, and move on in life. Likewise, community showers.

Dude, I wish I could be a wildlife photographer. It sounds totally cool. Since my latest obsession is Zola Budd, the ideal scenario would be to be that in South Africa. And to run with Emus and stuff, in the mornings, as training. Training for nothing, of course. But no one need fear. My parents did NOT force me into anything. They had an opinion and made sure I agreed with said opinion by packing me off to talk to many of their friends by myself, without them coming along. I was on that train of my own free will. I felt no angst really, watching that movie, except for a harmless thought about South Africa. And what? Its still possible in this life time to do that at least once (which might be good enough, why not?).

I have my frustrations with my chosen line of work, but I think I have said this once before here (I remember being borderline offensive then, 'pologies, peoples), but I can say it again. I am me because I want to be. Which probably sounds idiotic to some people, because of the caricaturisation of teachers and professors in the movie, but hey, like I said, its a movie. Its cool. Someones got to be the bad guy. Someones got to be the greedy dork wearing the US flag as underwear, someones got to wear his pants up in his chest and be all loud and obnoxious and not listening to the hero's very sound view point. Bollywood movies cannot be expected to leave you loose ends to figure out in your head. They cannot be expected to give you two perspectives.

Its all good. As a woman who is an engineer and a teacher of engineering in a college filled to the brim with legal adults who claim to have been forced to come here, and a human being who is here because she genuinely wants to be, I say this. Its a movie. And parts of it are really true. And it was funny and feel good, damn good things for a movie to be.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

what do you say when...

someone asks you to OWN the Chennai beach?


I guess you try to own it. Life is, after all, a beach.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we were out there. Some fourteen of us in one big van. Chennai Marathon 2010.

It is a very different experience than Mumbai. Or Auroville. I am still glad I chose to run the 10K and not the half. I am not yet in that state of mind of running 20K just chumma like that. Considering I ran it just last weekend. Seven days ago.

I got royally beaten by all the school/college athletics team girls. Unlike my idol Zola Budd, who is kicking ass somewhere in Canada (I think). But hey. I did good time. The campus posse rocked. Deshvaasi truly OWNED the damn beach, after all.

Good beginning to a Sunday.

Saturday, 20 February 2010


(Yes, yes, we are semi-aware that that is a book by someone, somewhere, we have thus included the exclamation marks to avoid such comparisons, just like Hrithik Roshan wore a moustache and had coffee with Abhishek Bacchan in Dhoom2, and waltzed away unrecognised by the latter, having further stolen a shady looking coin).

My computer, which is chugging along decently okay after the last month's debacle, has this crazy issue though. Suddenly it goes 'blink' - all dark. For just a second or two, thats all. Initially i was super scared of what this implied. But after having thrown reason and caution out of the window and to the winds, I have begun to enjoy these blinks. I use them to re-group my thoughts.

It also reminds me of Grimus. I presume I am the only person in this world who has read Grimus. In some elite fora, it has been claimed that Rushdie wrote that book not with the intention of having anyone read it. I disagree. I come from a long line of readers, people who will read the newspaper the bajji comes wrapped in. So yes, Grimus, I have read at least two times. I think its a wonderful book. You have heard me say this before. But what I want to emphasise today is that in Grimus, there are these blinks. They represent the breakdown of the contrived reality of Flapping Eagle (and the others). They leave the denizens of Calf Island distraught and confused and ennervated. Of course my computer blinks are clearly the breakdown of my contrived reality. But then they leave me energised and ready to take on the world. So thank you, Rushdie, for preparing me for this.

Also, another book reference that no one will get. Scarlett. That sequel to Gone with the wind. Not the one commissioned by Rhett Butler's people. The other one. Again, not meant to be read. I have read it too, possibly more than two times. I absolutely love that book, arguably more than its more famous, penned by someone else, predecessor. Of course, I totally identify with Scarlett O'Hara. Not just because of the Arian woman thing, but for multiple reasons (none of which have to do with waist line or appearance). I believe, of course, that I used Scarlett's example in my life positively, and held on to my Rhett, exhibiting a lot of common sense. I might have exhausted that sense with that decision, however, because now I don't seem to have much (or any). Anyhow in Scarlett, there is a point when she is pregnant, and living alone in Ireland on a big old farm in a house. In that the author says, She would wake up with the cock's crow each morning, with a roaring appetite for breakfast, and for life (I paraphrase, I hope, it has been three years since I laid eyes on the book). Well, thats my aspiration (which I mostly manage to meet). To wake up every morning with the thought 'Oh wonderful day, let me grab you by the horns' (the breakfast - she eats oats without salt - because the salt makes her feet swell, would be fine too). And salt makes my feet swell too, even in non-pregnant states.

Here I come, real-Saturday-with-blinks, here I come.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Hungry Hungry

(this ones for you bannu)

bannu says that i never talk about eating. as in, my eating. she has spent hours wondering, what does kenny eat? what does she like to eat? what are her favourites, what are her hates, what are her food peeves? why hours, days, she says.

(in other words, before kenny complains about the monster's eating, can one get some clarity on what type of eater kenny is, i think thats the agenda, so here goes).

i am a good eater. not hearty, i don't think. but a remarkably unfussy eater. not a big eater, i don't think, but a healthy eater. my favourite things to eat on a regular basis are rice or rotis with spicy something or the other, chased with some curd rice. i love pickles. i eat sambar rice with pickle on the side - mostly mango pickle, others are just excuses for pickles imho. i love all those powders you mix in rice. i love aloo parathas (though i don't eat them as much these days as i think they have too much ghee/butter going on in them). i am likely to choose the whole wheat pasta with colourful veggies at an italian restaurant while others are eating things smeared in cheese and butter. i do like cheese though. i like all cheeses in the world except the new york city port authority bus terminus pizza cheese. yes, even goat cheese. saltier the better. i like every single vegetable on this earth except for brussel sprouts. yes, even cabbage and bittergourd. in fact, bittergourd is a favourite, bitter-er the better. up there on the list with bhindi. and spinach and methi. oooh methi. can't find much methi (leaves) around here. i miss it.

i don't like: spring rolls, garlic rasam, anemic looking puliodarai (ergo, the kind you get in chennai), rice uppuma - sooji version is ok, chennai rasam even if it has no garlic - dude what is that, it tastes like dish water, quiche, dhokla, fried sweets, gobi manchurian
(i eat all these things that i don't like, even brussel sprouts though, no worries; but yes, i would avoid fried sweets if i could help it).

foods from my childhood that i still very much love:
chutney powder which is very important for everything from breakfast to dinner
spicy brown puliodarai like my mum used to make in those days
red mysore rasam (without jaggery!)
bhindi cut small and fried
bhindi cut small and fried and tamarind added (gojju its called in kannada)
likewise karela and baigan
any sambar that contains peas
bisibelebath - my husband rocks at making this btw, luckily.

if i am visiting somewhere and you tell me its a local (vegetarian) delicacy, and it is not abnormally deep fried, i will eat it. i have had some very yummy food in Greece when we went there, and more recently in Sri Lanka. Of course, one had to nose out the place locals eat at and avoid the continental crap they dish out at multi-star hotels. Eaten tons of Chinese, Japanese, and Thai food in the US of course. Love pasta (penne pesto with pine nuts and mozzarella on top is my fav.) & pizza (a pizzeria, ludwig, dolphin, remember that? how crazy were they? not to mention pasta-e-basta). for a vegetarian, i really like eggs. i like the desi-fied version though, scrambled with green chillies and onions and spread on some gently toasted wheat bread. i like devilled eggs. don't care how you make them. add mayo, mustard, chilli, tabasco, whatever, i like devilled eggs. not egg curry though, not a fan of that. in kerala, you will find me hogging all those veggie curries they make from root vegetables. in andhra, i will eat all the pachadis and podis and neeyamma, that mango pickle of theirs. there was a bengali restaurant in cambridge i used to go once in a while and eat begunpora (and rasogullas). my chandigarh visit is too hazy to recall what i ate, though on an earlier punjab trip in a train (very long ago), i remember drinking tons of milk.

on looking back, i miss many american things that i was fond of. the yogurt, i love the flavoured thick yogurt there, not the plain vanilla one, but the one in small dabbas, with fruit in them. i loved the thai food, you know, the simple kind, not the elaborate sit down and spend three hours on it type thing you find in mumbai. did i say cheese? thin crust pizza (not the papad you get from dominoes here, hmph). fudge, the homemade kind. i used to source them on weekend drives to the mountains in vermont or something. i cannot imagine why i used to bother going to indian restaurants when there (you won't easily convince me to do that now when i visit). so many other things i could try and eat. so what if the veggie choice was limited? there is always good hearty bread, and butter, if you are inclined, and some soup or the other, and salads, and cheesecake! ooh terra chips. and just by the way, i used to sometimes buy baby food and eat them. real baby food, like gerber or something.

see, i eat, i enjoy eating, i eat small meals, i mostly make healthy choices. i am very flexible (except on the vegetarian thingie, somehow, that i could not break out of, and now its too late, and quite pointless when i think about it. don't even know how to cook meat or fish so whats the point?).

finally, i will now admit this. i sucked at eating when i was young. i was a pale, weak, mousey little thing that used to eat half an idli for lunch (and half a marie biscuit for a snack). my mum used to go nuts trying to get me to eat. i only really got better after the four year hostel stint and a few months of my husband's taunts. so minus five to mum. plus five to husband. although between them, its still not clear who makes better bisibelebath....

Sunday, 14 February 2010


This past year, I have really gotten enthu about running, as the blog possibly reflects. The monster is also a bit older and a *lot* more independent of me. The move to Chennai added to the encouragement as there is a larger group nucleating over here; although I still miss my Mumbai running friends (and the campus) even after so many miles here. Anyway, so far, I only ran races in Mumbai, that too only the Mumbai Half Marathon, and whatever race they organised on my campus (which were not that many). This year was the first time I travelled some place where I was not living and ran in a race. This was the Mumbai Half; which I ran in January, after a chaotic Friday/Saturday. I did not think I did as well I could have, somehow, ran out of juice. I blamed the new route, I blamed the lack of sleep on Friday night (which is critical for a Sunday long run, of course). I was, of course thankful for the company and the dolphin's awesome homemade pasta dinner. But still, I was dissatisfied with my Mumbai performance, even if my husband and ludwig had not totally made fun of me and called the event 'an epic fail.' (Meanies, psssh I diss them both).

I bravely signed up for the Auroville half marathon, fully cognisant of the fact that it was just a month after the Mumbai. Usually after the Mumbai half, I lay off running for several months and do my other things, kick boxing and basketball and so on. I get back to running only after the monsoons are done and gone. Except this year, when everything has been turned upside down in my life and in my head! I am enjoying running more than ever, I don't have access to a half-way decent gym for any gymming activity, no kick boxing (actually I don't think any old kick boxing class will do; the one I had in Mumbai just rocked). So anyway, I was sure I could give it a shot. It was to be a grand family event. SuperT & Guns & I with our families. The kids would play on the beach. The spouses would catch up on rest and hang out with the kids. The three of us would run. Then we would hang out some more in Pondy, drink a few beers, and head back to Chennai. Such was the plan.

Plan-wise, if I may borrow a ludwig-ism, Epic Fail. Everyone pulled out of the deal. I was last (wo)man standing. The sensible thing would have been for me to ditch it. But hey, even Mumbai, I should have ditched, considering the last minute googly from husband. Sensible, I am not, I suppose. So I hung on, and decided to go give it a shot anyway. It was absolute chaos. But some roses bloomed in the midst of all the cowdung that was our plan.

1. One of my young friends, and a most favourite person, was enthusiastic to go, give a shot at the 10K. He is a new runner (sort of), and picking up so fucking awesomely that the experience would be perfect for him.
2. We had already paid up for hotel .
3. I had to redeem my Mumbai race performance at least partially.
4. I just wanted to run, really.

So set off yesterday after a very long bout of cooking (the cook having absented herself in the meantime & MIL being a bit sick). The day was boiling hot. The bus was late. A guy at the bus-stop was trying to convince us to take a ride in some shady car. I refused. A bus showed up. It went up to Mahabalipuram. We got off at the Mahabs bypass and started our wait for the Puducherry bus. It was boiling, and smelling of urine at the bus-stop. The bus showed up some forty minutes later. There were so many people waiting that I was sure we wouldn't get in. Managed to, however, only to find it crawling with people, including underfoot! What the hell! We had to stand nearly the ENTIRE way to Puducherry, and although its not really that long, the ride seemed interminable. Dude, why do I do these things? (Masochism and a random stab at controlling carbon footprint, girl).

Anyway, finally reached there, it was all dark, and the auto ride through the Auroville forest was pretty scary. I admit that despite my posturing and macho-ness, I was sure glad I did not end up going alone all the way and I had (such enjoyable) company. Although I was pretty bummed out because once we reached the registration place we found that they were not inclined to give him a running bib due to a registration glitch (my reg. was all fine, mercifully). I mean, I totally understand their view-point, and though its unlikely that I would have made the same call as them, in a similar situation, I agree that it was the safe and sensible thing for them to do. But I was super bummed out (as was he, probably more so, though he never admitted it, thankfully, I would have felt worse otherwise!).

Anyway, putting that behind us, back to hotel. Long interminable auto ride. Brr. It was cold in the forest. And a bit irritated that the auto guys were fleecing royally. My usual argument for auto fares that make no kind of sense, that one day if they live on my expense, its cool with me, did not somehow bite in my head in Puducherry. So hotel room, water all over bathroom, another room provided, room no. 7, which is awesome, because you know its my favourite number of all.

Dinner, and another crazy set of auto rides since the restaurant in the hotel did not invoke confidence. At least, went to the promenade & saw the sea and beach for having trekked all the way there. But by that time I was - Super Starving and Still Bummed Out about the running bib funda. Anyway the dinner was fun, and apt (Spaghetti Pesto) though not great tasting. And I made a new pre-long run food prescription for myself: 1 Beer + Veggie Pasta (Try it, let the nay-sayers say what they want, a good cold one is always good, and its a nice carbohydrate).

This morning, waking up at 4 am, I was hungry though I had eaten an entire plate of pasta (which is completely abnormal for me). I had no: Bananas, Bread or Coffee with me. Thanks to the plans falling all awry all over me, I totally did not plan for my early morning pre-run food. Got ready anyway, hoping some of the others that I was riding the bus with would have carried some extra food and I could get some from them. We walked to the bus-stop (the organisers had arranged a shuttle bus to take everyone to the starting point) and crawled in. I was not sleepy, though I had very little sleep on Friday night & last night. I was hungry though, man, I was hungry. Maybe I should add some bread to the above prescription. Yes, it now reads: 1 beer, veggie pasta, and hearty wheat/whole grain bread (yum).

We reached well in time. I found the loo (hole in ground baby!). I found bananas! I totally loved the organisers then, for having bananas for me! They also had water and electrolyte, which I avoided, because I hate the gluggy feeling inside when I run. Slight dehydration is good. The race was just awesome (but then I say that about all the races, don't I?). We ran all through Auroville, the forest, past some signposts that said windmill and sawmill and stable and I think I saw some cows somewhere as well. Of course, I was focussed. I had music in my ears. I could not sing along too much, felt like I was running a bit faster than usual (which was good, my target was to beat my own Mumbai time!). The arrangements were real good, the people offering the oranges and water and electrolyte so very sweet that it made me feel nice. And, as promised, water stations every 4km or so, which I mainly used to time myself and push to the next one.

I finished in something like 2:00 - 2:02. Which, ladies and gentlemen, is personal best, so real happy. My friend was allowed to run the 5km race finally, given a bib and everything, and he totally killed that race and came in something like fourth and wound it up in 22 mins (hats off, eh, I don't think I could run 5 k in 22 mins, even if I trained for years). I guess it would have been much more fun if he could run the 10k, but, hey, life is not always all like that, and you live and learn. One super enthu lady that I met there gave us a ride back so it was very peaceful getting back to Chennai in time for lunch with my family (cooked by husband and sis-in-law). Tried to sleep but still too charged up, just caught maybe ten minutes of shut-eye.

It was a wonderful experience, and I think this will count as my favourite running weekend in all. Thank you:
Enthu Lady & family for your infectious enthusiasm (and the ride)
Uncle from Bangalore for inspiring me to grow older but never give up running
Young friend for being there and putting up with me &
My homies, as always, for your encouragement, and pandering to my whims

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Further Tales of Monster & Mom

Monster has started opening up pretty well to people. I am thoroughly impressed with how she suddenly starts talking to my (adult) friends, of her own free will. I have seen this happen with lot of other kids and wondered why monster never does that. I mean, once you hang out with us for a bit (and, preferably, stay overnight), she will be all over you, especially if you solve puzzles with her or something, but at first instance, first meeting, her instinct is to ignore your existence.

So when she walked up to this tall lady and said something like 'Your son keeps telling people he is in fourth standard' - I was too happy with her initiative to realise what it was she was doing.

The next day the boy comes up to me in turn and says 'Aunty I never said that. Monster is lying'
I said what I thought was non-commital enough - 'Its okay dear, I will talk to monster'

Then monster came out and before I could even tell her anything, the boy goes 'I have told your mother now that you were lying'

Its like such a small deal, right? I mean, the kid is in kindergarten and claims to be in fourth standard. Or, monster has imagined the whole deal - this is not a big stretch, she does, several times, its not a voluntary need to lie, its just that its crystal clear in her head but has never happened in reality. To me, either way, its a tiny little thing and I am concentrating on getting home and boiling milk and wondering if veggies need to be bought.

Suddenly, monster starts wailing. Howling. She is crying with heaving sobs, you know, like really crying and not like a tantrum-my I Want This Else I Will Cry And Embarass You type way (Oh Yeah, she does that too, so sue me). I am totally lost, WTH happened here? So far, I have not said a SINGLE WORD to her. I have neither scolded her nor made fun. I have said my usual set of 'hmmm' reserved for things kids say that I don't know what to make of.

"Oh you never listen to me"
"Oh you hurt me so much, you are so terrible"
"You always think other kids are right and I am wrong"
"I feel like being like a donkey and kicking"
"I am not even going to come inside, I am sitting in the car and crying, I am so hurt"
"That boy just wants to save himself by denying everything"

I am like, hello, can we like relax already? I feel like giving her a whack of course, its been a long day, and that kicking thing is really too annoying for me. But thankfully, I just felt so bad, my heart actually took a tiny leap. I mean there are times when people say things casually and to me its super hurtful. Surely, as a child, I was very sensitive about stuff people said to me, and when I thought they were making fun of me, or I was (what I thought was) wrongly accused of something. Lying, cheating, being selfish, jealous, these were things I thought were so absolutely terrible that if I was accused of such things I would go absolutely nuts. Then my parents would say something like 'Oh you are so short tempered' which would make me even more angry (of course!).

For like the first time in her life, I actually understood what she was going on about with a totally unreasonable bout of crying. She just thought that I thought she was lying outright. But really you never know with these kids, and anyway for me it was a small thing. So first of all I kept quiet. I let her yell and rave and rant. When I could insert a word or two I told her a couple of things very calmly. Then I went away to the kitchen and started my milk and coffee stuff and ignored her. In like four minutes she showed up and said sorry. I told her I did not mean to hurt her and whatever the issue was, it was too small a thing for us both to fight about. She said 'I know that now but I did not realise it then' or something totally adult sounding like that. And we were good.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Sania Mirza & So On

Well, not that whole breaking off her engagement funda. Dude, it doesn't matter to me. I like her when she wins matches, not so much when she does not. I think her clothes are too flashy, but then I think that most definitely about the Williams sisters and well, so maybe I just don't know. I do think she needs to lose weight, but then again, Serena Williams needs to lose some boobs, so whatever!! But sometime ago she was in the news for her T-shirts, remember that? They used to say stuff on them. That bit I like. I don't wear t-shirts to work - though the temptation is strong - believe me. But otherwise, I wear them a lot. Here is a sampler of things my t-shirts say, obviously, things I like:

1. Run Like A Girl
2. My Pace Or Yours?
3. Chocolate or Sin? (I lost this one, so have forgotten the exact words!)
4. RUN
5. Extreme Weekends
6. Recycle or Die
7. Its Not PMS Its You (of course, my all time favourite)
8. India Rocks (I don't like this so much anymore, I bought it when I was living in the US)
(How could I forget this one, gifted to me years ago? -
9. Don't Piss Me Off I Am Running Out of Places to Hide the Bodies
The husband has several I like too, such as Chennai is Famous for Idli, Dosa, Marina Beach & ME!

Of course, I have exactly TWO sources for my t-shirts (in case you think they are cool and want do get yourself some; or, you think they are crap and want to make sure to avoid that line). Can you guess what they are?

Well, no, no contest there.

One lot is from Tantra of course. They totally rock with their tees. The other stuff is totally Nike Dryfit. I am loving loving loving the Nike Dryfit Tees, they are superb. Although, I do admit to wearing Asics at Mumbai.


Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The Good, The Bad, and You Know..

After plotting for weeks, Bannu & I finally met up yesterday evening for a fun session of kids, sand, running and such like. Of course, we are blessed with a wonderful stadium where there is always the off chance of sighting the graceful loping movements of a herd of deer. With a 400 m track to die for. And a sand pit, though meant for jumps, which is great for the kids to get crazy in.

The good part was that Bannu's little one, urf, RRJ, and my monster, who had fought like cats on Sunday evening (reasons long-winded and explained at length in the car with a guilty look, so I presume the monster was to blame), overcame their differences and had fun. I don't know what they did but no one accosted me at 390 m with "AMMA STOP THE CRAZY RUNNING ALREADY" so I give it a good rating.

Now, in addition to Bannu & RRJ, Peace and her little one Thomo were there too. This gang of three was all fractionated and factioned out on Sunday, so Bannu & I were a bit worried about the team dynamics. But it was all fine, and like I said, no one bothered me as I looped so it was cool.

As we got ready to leave, Thomo said 'Is it six yet?' I innocently said yes. I had my mobile with me. Its pretty ruined anyway so I was sweating into it and using the stopwatch to figure out lap timings and such like - not seriously or anything, just sort of casually. Anyway, I said, yes, its six. So Thomo and RRJ said they were ready to head out because they were going to watch (a)Chota Bheem and (b)Ben10 - or such things. My monster, being the most original parrot to cross over from across the Bridge of Rama, started jumping up and down, remembered it all the way home, and insisted on watching 1+ hours of Tom & jerry at home. "All the cool kids are doing it, Amma"

The ugly are my toes. Machan, I tell you, I have to do something about them. The nails are all nasty and the last toe - little one that is, is particularly gross looking over all. Some of the tips I have received on this, from various sources:
(a) Paint them a darker colour - while I would technically be OK with the Gothic Black Nail Polish look, I cannot be bothered. Yet.
(b) Cut your toe nails regularly dammit - ludwig, stop it okay, I do. I am very regular like that. In most things.
(c) Lace your shoes looser because your toes swell when you run
(d) Lace your shoes tighter because its all caused by dreaded friction
(e) Do nothing, ignore it, it will go away

--> That last one sounds good to me. Just don't look at my nasty toes in the meanwhile, you. Go away now, Shoo.