Bookshops, not!

This is how the story goes. Someone we know was in London for a couple of days for a conference of sorts. We met over dinner one day and caught up with all the gossips and news and such. Later when they were back to their own place of residence, they gave us a call to check with us if we would be able to return something that they bought from a bookshop in Soho. Mr M and I enjoying being in bookshops. We always go and check out what’s new in Waterstones/Foyles or even those small bookshops that look like Ollivanders from Harry Potter. We agreed and they sent us the item. First and foremost, we knew just by looking at the courier cover that it wasn’t a book. If it wasn’t, then we wondered how on earth did they get that in a bookshop. To clarify some more, it was an adult ‘toy’. Now that left us baffled. The receipt that was attached points to a bookshop, sure. Since neither of us has been to that area before we took the help of Google Maps (where would I be outside India without the aid of these maps) and went around one Saturday afternoon.

The board outside the shop did say ‘Soho Original Bookshop’. Alright, that’s perfect. Looked quite old enough too. We didn’t see any signs of it being a licensed adult store or anything or maybe we failed to notice it if there was any. Now imagine, if this was indeed a bookstore how embarrassing would it be to check with them if the receipt of an adult toy sale belonged to them. We were quite sceptical. Did we have a choice? No. So we both went in and it all became clear. I am sure that there were some books somewhere there, but it was primarily an adult store. Nothing wrong with that. There are more than one in that area and they have signs and all. What I couldn’t comprehend was why to call them ‘…Original Bookshop’, when it wasn’t just that. I am still going with the assumption that they had some in the basement or upstairs (I saw the stairs…just not sure if it led down or up or both)

I kept pestering Mr M about the name of the shop. I couldn’t get it out of my head. How am I supposed to know which bookshop is just a ‘book’ shop and which one isn’t? Why go with a store name that doesn’t serve the purpose of the items being sold. Don’t the adult licensed shops also sell books related to it? I get so confused by these things. The pattern goes awry in such cases unless you know the place and the history and such. If I was a tourist and ended up there thinking that it is a bookshop, I would have been embarrassed and flustered more than anything else at least until the curiosity gets the better of me 😉

A few weeks later, we were walking through the Euston station road from Drummond Street. Just opposite the bus stop, there was a ‘Gentleman’s Club’.  Now, this I know a little bit from the stories I have read. The store next to this is called ‘Euston Bookshop’. Now again, this doesn’t look like any bookshop. Why? because it is covered with a curtain and the only window that is present is tinted. I almost asked Mr M to go over there while we were waiting for the bus, but one closer look and my jaw dropped again. Mr M also thought that it might not be an actual bookshop. Again, why this cloak and dagger thing? Why not just name something for what it is. It is not as if it makes any difference to people here. A couple of folks who walked past were peering through the tinted window and were having fun. I would have done the same thing. It is our natural curiosity. The only reason we thought for people to use the term bookshop in their store titles might be related to some regulations in some areas, even though that is stretching it a bit too far. At least that might make a little bit sense. People always baffle me. At least I got a good story out of this, one I will remember to tell for a long time 😉

Ya a’right

Ever since I have moved here, I keep hearing this term “Ya A’right??”. It is the first thing that comes out of everyone’s mouth when they see me. Initially, I thought that I looked sick or tired and hence the question. But they weren’t bothered to wait for my answer anyway. So why question me something like that and not wait for what I want to say if I had anything to say at all…I wondered.

In my school, there is this class teacher who helped me out when I joined and I consider her a friend (I say this because I am not sure if she considers me as one yet, but that’s a’right to me 😉 ) She is one of the very few with whom I can be myself  (i.e. not necessarily be polite for every small thing that they do or say 😀 ) She says that word with a very North England accent and that kind of fascinates me. Yesterday, when she said that as a greeting, I asked her if that question was rhetoric or if she really wanted to know if I was a’right. She stood and looked at me for some time and then laughed and then proceeded to explain how it is a polite way of saying hi over here and that it was kind of rhetoric (at least that is what I inferred from her explanation). I asked her why people complicated things like that when they can just say a word with two letters and instead go to all that rhetoric questions and leave people like me confused. She looked at me, shook her head and laughed and went to her class. We left that discussion at that. I came home told Mr M the incident and he said that I was troubling that poor teacher.

Today when she came in, she said ‘Hi, how are you doing?’ and I burst out laughing. I was totally expecting her “a’right” and was ready with an answer but she did a one up on me and changed her greeting. She was like ‘you happy? is that to your satisfaction madam? are you feeling good?’ I couldn’t stop laughing and was in tears. I am quite a’right now 😉

All about the sizes

When I was in London the last time, I had to buy a couple of work out clothes because I hadn’t gone prepared for a week of gym.  So I go to Primark, because I was told that is where I will get my gym wear at a cheaper price (I have to convert it to Indian Rupee, remember). What I did not expect was the size differences. I know of it. But I never had been clothes shopping anywhere else. So I had no idea that I would be in so much trouble. In India, the sizes are XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL etc. I usually go for L because I don’t like exact fit clothes. I like my clothes a little looser. But over there, when I went to the T Shirt section in Primark, I was perplexed because there was a size 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 etc. How the hell am I supposed to know this kind of size now. I tried asking a sales girl over there and she said ‘Google is your friend’. Honestly that is what she told me. So I asked my friend to google it ( that did rhyme, did it not?) and found that I may or may not be size 12 or 14. I am not a big fan of trying out clothes. Standing in the queue to the fitting rooms and trying them out and retrying…naah. When I am with my friends, they do force me to do that so that I wont regret it. But when I am going shopping on my own, I just pick it and bill it. Since I always pick the bigger size I know for sure it will fit me 😉 Very simple logic. So imagine my horror when I had no other choice than to try the fitting. After some mumbling I take a couple of them in different sizes and go in search of the fitting rooms. To my horror, there was a queue bigger than the billing section. What did I do? I tried the size 14 on top of the tops I was wearing and it looked like it fit even with the 2/3 layers of clothes I was wearing. So logically it wouldn’t be too tight if I wore it on its own. And having decided that size 14 is the size for my T Shirt I went to the billing section to stand in that smaller queue.

I have also had some disastrous purchases when I have done my purchasing online. I still have that one shirt which is marked L but is fit for my first niece (in a couple of years). I have no idea how that shirt can be marked as L. There is always a huge risk when we buy clothes. I am not sure about Men’s sizes and if they have the same problem. But I have heard other women facing the same kind of issues. I am in awe of people who purchase perfectly fitting clothes and shoes online. Hats off to you people.

Why this rant all of a sudden? Because of this video on Vox’s YouTube channel which explains the same confusion as mine and also explains how the sizes get changed over ages and brands. No wonder I am always confused.

This problem isn’t just with the clothes. I am currently going through some tough times with regards to ring sizes. Why wont people have some universal standards with regards to all these things. As if there isn’t already enough to do that conversion formula/table.

All about the names

In our community, it is a normal practice to use the grandfather’s name for the son’s and grandmother’s name for the daughter’s (the grandparent being the kid’s grandparents obviously). I was named after my grandmother (father’s mom) but then people younger than my grandmom can’t call me using her name (would seem rather disrespectful isn’t? Well, not in many other countries, but here, trust me, it is very disrespectful) so they had another name for unofficial purposes (aka to call me by that name at home, where my grandmom might be around) Later they combined both the names and now I am mostly known by my household name which sort of became my ‘name’ (both official and personal)

Keeping in with the tradition, my brother (who is named after my granddad) named his daughters the same way. The first one is named after my mom, and the second one named after my sister in law’s mom. Both short and sweet names. But at home, they are called using different names (which are also very short and sweet). And no, they haven’t combined both names to one. They don’t go that well together. Mine was the only exception. So today my brother went to book train tickets (for their annual vacation to my place) at the station (he found it was getting very tedious to do it online, so went to the station to get it done….took less time and less effort to get it done there). There he had to fill the form and in that, there were two names which were similar but the ages were quite different. One was 5 years old (first niece) and the other 65 years old (my mom). The person who was at the counter looked at my brother and goes like, ‘are you sure this is right?’ And took his sweet time to hear my brother’s explanation about the family names and such and finally was convinced and booked the tickets. I am sure the person who is gonna check their tickets is also going to have the same questions (or probably not, if he is having his granddad’s name for himself). And guess what, both of them got concession: one was underage (full tickets are assigned to people of age 6 and above), so only priced for half a ticket and the other was too old so, priced for half a ticket (being a senior citizen and all).

I have heard of people using the same names and adding suffixes like Jr, or Sr, etc., but what about in the case of women? If for example, you use the same name as your grandmom’s or mom’s? How do you differentiate when you talk about two women in a family having the same name. Haven’t heard of Sr or Jr associated with them. In our cases, we never assign Sr / Jr even to men, so it hardly matters and we do have two names for a single person.

I thought I am a vegetarian

When people ask me if I am a vegetarian, I simply say yes, because saying something like  ‘I don’t eat egg as in like an Omelette or boiled format and stuff, where I can see the eggs but wouldn’t mind if it was mixed in the food like pancakes, pastries, cakes etc’ is a little too much isn’t?. And also I don’t have problems with my food cooked in the same container used for cooking any food that contains meat. And that is important here in my place because some of them (inclusive of my distant family members) are very orthodox and would never go to any restaurant which serves non-veg food. So explaining someone of my choices of food is a little tricky and hence the option to go with ‘Vegetarian’. But I found myself having a very hard time during my last year’s Spain tour, because there, every place we went, I had to make sure to include the lines ‘sin tuna, sin huevo’ (no Tuna and no eggs) because even a vegetarian salad comes with both. And so I survived on stuff made of potatoes, pastries (yeah, it has eggs in an indirect way) , veg paella and salads. No wonder I lost 3-4 kgs by the end of the trip.

My food contains mostly of carbs, diary products etc and when I was recently diagnosed with fatty liver, a friend suggested that I try the low carb high fat diet. The word diet by itself is enough to put me off from trying it. But I was convinced enough to make sure that my daily intake has increased fat and protein and reduced carbs. And I wanted to start with eggs. My siblings are very fond of it and even though my mom doesn’t eat eggs, she did make sure to make them for my brother and my sister while growing up. I was the only one who avoided it, because it was rather too late for me to even start. So last month I decided that I have to try and start eating eggs and see how it goes, not actually shifting to become a non-vegetarian per se, but eggs would help especially in my travels sometimes. And since last week, I have officially started eating omelettes. Yay!!! and haven’t felt like puking 😀 and that is a big thing for me. I had to mentally prepare myself for almost 2-3 weeks convincing myself of all the varieties of dishes I could get in the restaurants we go for our dinner post workout. Till now, I had to go only with salads or sandwiches (and I ain’t a great fan of bread as such) but now suddenly I have a whole varieties of omelettes and other veg options even without the meat or fish included.

I don’t think I can stomach anything else, like chicken , fish, meat etc…(even though my friends think that it all starts with eggs 😉 ) and I think I might end up getting nightmares, even though I don’t mind others having them (all of my friends except 2 are hard core non-vegetarians and those two eat eggs anyways) Now, I am not sure what kind of vegetarian I am! Am I still a vegetarian at all?