Saturday, December 25, 2010

balancing series...

Before I left for India I was the master at the balancing asanas in yoga. Whether it be toppling tree, dancers pose or eagle pose, I had it in the bag! Zero struggle. I found freedom and elegance in my insane sweating and concentrated breathing.

And now, they are my most difficult and clumsy moments in yoga. and I think, no, I KNOW it is because I am not in balance in life.
Isn't it?

Being home is wonderful. I am enjoying going to the movies with my friends, I am loving all the auntie Bibi time, love eating my mothers food. A full fridge, bubbly water, purring feline, cheese. My duvet and mushy pillows. Polka dot sheets. Listening to conversations and understanding: what a treat! Now I talk to people like Indians talk to me. I am too friendly, only! I have to stop myself from asking complete strangers their good name, if they are married, if they have children..  I have to remind myself not to throw wrappers on the floor! What a concept- there I was in India, getting mad at my neighbour for littering, telling them to keep their India beautiful, and here I am in Montreal, having to literally tell myself  'put the wrapper in your handbag B, gee.'

But sleep time tells a different story. I dream of strange people I've never met and long never ending corridors in India. I wake up dry and hot from the central heating with a cat that never ceases to purr. I spend my days planning my next move instead of writing lesson plans, I went from dorm life to living with my mother. Employed to unemployed. Dreaming about cheese to gorging on it non-stop.

Balancing act.
Disorder. Stability. 
Chaos. Focus.
Love. Aversion.
Slavery. Freedom

Agh! my posts are getting worse and worse. Sure sign I need to keep moving..
I'll be traveling to Ottawa next week and then British Columbia .
I am contemplating doing a 10 day silent meditation. Also I am reading my friends manuscript on Sex. He wants my input. Nice.
So, my cherished reader.. I'll write about Sex!
!Hmpf!- who needs balance? ..........

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hip Openers, Letting Go and Loving Oneself... hahahaha. Uh?

Yeah, it's true. I have a hard time learning to let go, let go of outcome, of attachment to outcome, letting go of past resentments and old friends. 

We all must start by dieing to the past.


I have been doing lots of hot yoga in the last two weeks.The instructor warns us of how some anger/resentment/melancholy/nostalgia can be pent up in the hips. I snicker inside when she says this, for I feel very present with my feelings. I'm way too self absorbed not to notice my emotions. Sigh. God, that's so gross to admit but it's ever so TRUE.

And boom, it strikes me like a cramp. Pain. Strange visuals of an old friend that has decided to write me off with no warning or reason. OK, fine. F you then!  Memories of a society I once was a vital member of, but then I decided to go overseas. Change. Then another visual of my old roommate and my passive aggressive tendencies. Ugh, it's getting harder and harder to love myself with my shadow haunting me.

And then I eat a hundred cookies in bed and hate my thighs.

People that really love themselves seem to love not only the sexy and charming sides but also the not-so-hot or neighbourly aspects of their persona. And- it has nothing to do with body weight. The friends that love themselves without narcissism or self satisfaction don't even mention their weight, and they are heavier than the status quo. They don't worry about their thighs or cellulite. They don't talk about their double chins or fat knees. Never ever. And all these people I am mentioning have strong and healthy romantic relationships and stable satisfying jobs. Coincidence?
Yeah- I don't think so

Here I am obsessing over my intake but loving butter and cheese too much to stop.
I look at my body and don't love it, berate myself for eating the 10th cookie or having a fifth helping of cheese.
An urgent need to feel good.
Love yourself. Love your body. Just the way it is. Soooo hard and yet sooo true. Life is too wonderful (only) to grumble about feeling fat.
Life is too short to not love yourself.

So, I leave you with this, my beloved readers.  Be your favourite person. Don't mistake it for narcissism, but more so in your wondrous uniqueness that has blessed you to be on Earth. Know your purpose and fight to pursue it. My New Years resolution is to stop avoiding mirrors and to tell myself ' I love you B' once a day. Even if I have a mean pimple on my chin and even if I didn't do my breathing and even if my thighs are my enemy.

I love you. Thank you for taking a moment in your day to read my sometimes boring, neurotic and egocentric posts.

It'll be more interesting the next time, I swear!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It's snowy and cold. I love it and I loathe it.
I love the wool scarf and mitts my sister knit that I wear. I hate when the wool gets wet. I love the sights and sounds of bundled up children frolicking in the white. I hate that my thighs tighten with the whipping momentum of the mean wind. I love that the cold forces you to remain in the moment.

Although sweating can be not so fun, waking up to the cold air is intensely not fun. How do people get out of bed in this country during the winter? seriously? ugh- that cold air surrounding my bed. no thanks. Makes me love my duvet a little too much.

I went to Rowan's school to bake carrot cake with him and his classmates today. It was wonderful to be around little people, with all their joy and spontaneity and innocence and integrity.  So easily hurt, so easily happy.  So easy...


We went sledding after the baking. I was flooded with cold and wonderful memories of my birthday parties spent on the hill, with mulled wine and friends and crazy carpets. Thinking about it made me warm
and cold.
If I spent too long in my head my body shivered a 'be present' response, and my nephew reminded me to push him.
'Give me a push auntie Bibi. You give a good push." said Rowan
hahah. I do?
I wish someone would push me down the hill, only.
Did I say that out loud? No. But Rowan must have seen my faraway and pitiful look and replied:
'Ok, I'll push you next time'.
"Thanks Rowie. You rule."
"I rule what?"
"My world, little man. You rule my world."


Its 12:18 and I am thoroughly wasted.    A couple vodka martinis and lovely wine later here I am in front of my laptop. Wanting to impart something so very important to my well being. Sugary goodness.  I ate a delicious dinner. Although the chicken was lovely, I was incredibly grateful for the caramel and chocolate popcorn that was spontaneously donated to me.

At the end of the meal .
Something sweet to follow the savory.


 One NEEDS the sugar after the salt. Right? My taste-buds need it to compliment what happened before; to finish off, round a gesture of a conductor or a chef's hand rounding the tips of the fingers together and up.
Finish.The end. Finito.

La fin du repas a besoin d'un p'tit sucree.

 Anyway I've got Sid purring away, my mum and her boyfriend giggling and making plans next door. and here I am. Making plans about writing about nothing but a sentence about sugar.

AM  I a complete loser?
I'm tired
Thats my excuse.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

a week in Montreal

I took a cab. The cab was clean of smell and dirt and garbage.
It was late and cold and silent. Silence. All that was in the air was the constant and oh-so-annoying 'click' 'shooop'. 'de maisonneuve and Clark'. Shooop. Click. 'De gaspe et L'esplanade' click -static- '219 sherbrooke et mcgill'. click -static- shoooop....

Should I ask him to put the music on? Why isn't he putting the music on? Last time I took a cab was in Delhi and the young driver sang confidently (albeit badly) and gyrated his shoulders back and forth, checking the status of his oiled hair in the rear view mirror. Patting it down every so often and transferring the oil from his hair to the steering wheel. "Which country do you belong?" "What is your good name?" "Do you like Indian music? Achcha? Achcha hae!"

..Crank up the volume of the stereo and his voice and the confidence in his shoulders...


Looking up at the moon now bathed in a colour story of beige/dusty pink/ white and framed with bare trees.
What do I do?


Be. Patient.

So now I use my time doing hot yoga and searching. Searching and sweating. Eating chocolates and stretching. Watching dvds on my laptop and snacking on nuts and caramels. Eating cheese. Gorging on holiday sweets. Making up stories for my nephew. Reading cookbooks. Sloshing my way through the snow with my head in India but my legs in Montreal.

I feel stunted in writing when I am not travel writing. This is a clear sign
Isn't it?

I am in transition, only.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Central Heating, Cheese, Purring, Good Bedding, and Snow Fresh Air.

For my body memory its 3:33 p.m on Monday afternoon. For my body reality its 5:04 a.m Monday morning. I dozed through an epic bath session, listening to Metro Area and drinking Ephemere Green Apple beer. No harm, I think; what's an innocent nap after a bath at 6 p.m? I get into my delicious bed with a bowl of butterscotch ice cream, eat the two Toblerones I bought in Zurich, the Haribo Gummy bears and the last of my 5 Stars and finish the king size beer.

......Why am I (always) so bloody hungry?......

I wake up from my sugar-coma at 9:30 p.m to my cat purring- so I close my eyes again, this time with a hand caressing the vibrating soft feline. My polka dot sheets, custom made pillows, and my mom's high thread count duvet cover, are all divine- topped with the purring Sid.

So at present, it's not even dawn and I am rearing to go!

What (famished) jet lag?

I came home to a winter wonderland; the white blanket mutes sound and colour alike. Apart from my mother and buddy and nephew (Caribbean mother, Greek/Chec buddy and talkative 3 year old boy), all is pretty silent here. Right now as I write I have a beautiful Andy Warhol print lamp emitting pink light, I have the soft hissing of central heating, I have the purring engine of an insatiable cat, and I have the cocoon of the best duvet on earth. Soft cozy silence, with a hint of purr and pink.

The snow air smells splendid. Pure. Canada smells good.  It could be the disdain of natural (bodily) smells; the sanitation obsession in the western world, but whatever! It is a pleasure to walk into a store and it smelling of what they are selling, and not of dampness or mold or hair or greasy food.

Of Course! Beloved India: I miss the enticing smell of samosas and pakoras bathing in bubbly oil. Of cumin. But how can I miss the diesel polluted air, the urine, the feces, the spitting, the dirt, or the pervasive body odor?

 ( I still love you madly... this I know is true)

My fingers find their way in my meals, much to the displeasure of my mother. I crave green chili pretty seriously. My head bobs a yes or a no; onlookers imitate me and laugh. My bangled wrists announce my comings and goings; I am a loud member of yoga class.

My thighs have already expanded due to the mind-blowing and available cheese I've been consuming. Morning noon and night, my family and friends serve me gooey cheese, crusty baguette, and spicy cured meat. I am warm with Brie and Baguette.  I am warm with the 'I love you auntie Bibi' followed by little arms curling around my neck or legs. I am warm with wool sweaters (thanks Christinki!) and socks. I am warm and wrapped by all the bubbly laughter of jokes familiar, like the blanket I stole from Swiss Air. I am warm by the Bikram yoga that I really really missed! I am warm stepping out from the snow onto wood floors and into central heating. And although I miss hearing Hindi as much I miss sipping street chai, there's a warmth in Understanding and Being Understood.

Warm. I like saying and writing and feeling this word.
warm. warmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
It's all about the 'M'. Like Mother, Melt, Magnificent, Mind-blowing, Mouth, Mellifluous, Music, Mango.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Muted, Skinny, Sugarless, Pale and Clean: My First Day Outside Of India.

One of the first things my eye must to get used to: the sober colours everyone is wearing, and how pale and skinny everyone looks. I wonder if the colours look extra sombre contrasted by their pale faces. The clean cut preppy look. The colour co-ordination, the clean lines, and muted coloured fabrics; all astound me. No one is staring at each other either, or at me for that matter. I'm in an airport in Europe. I'm in Zurich, to be exact.

Another first thing I noticed, that I haven't been bombarded with in a little while:  the fantastic footwear and designer handbags these tall scrubbed skinny pale women are wearing. I have a serious and almost pathological love/hate relationship with luxury. I envy Hermes and Cloe clad women, I dream of a Chanel watch, I long for a variety of designer handbags. The new Hermes messenger bag is too beautiful.. I drool over Miu Miu flats and Prada heels. I adored being at the 5 star Radisson Marina in Connaught Place, Dehli. Then again, l relish in my 700 RS (16 dollars, give or take) buffalo leather handbag from Kalkota that totally rules, or the cheapy cheap glass, brass, and 'gold' plated bangles that make me a veritable walking instrument, or paying 1000 rs (20 bucks) for an amazing hotel room with clean sheets, starched white and abundant towels, cochroach free floors, flat screen TV, and scorching hot water, that comes with the typical indian hospitality and warmth translated into free chai and beer (!)

Would I spend thousands on designer and 5 star hotels? 

Of course! (head bob)

I feel dirty. Despite washing my face twice in the airplane, applying deodorant, and spritzing some COCO, both original and MADEMOISELLE. I feel like India is encrusted in my hair, my wrists, my beret, my boots. I miss it already, although I am enjoying the dirt free surroundings AND loving the toilet paper in public washrooms.

Another thing that struck me on the plane. Less food, smaller portions, and one measly lightweight sugar packet! Wha???? Where is my 5 course meal and obligatory sweet? My head bobs back and forth to the hostesses' cabin, waiting to catch a glimpse of one of them to ask for 2 more sugar packets, and if we we're going to be fed soon.

Swiss people seem to talk quietly.. laugh quietly...nod and smile in silence (I'm used to the spastic head bob accompanied with a ACHCHAAAAAH)

All is appearing muted to me.

People are so fucking thin here, holy. I feel like my thighs are expanding- because of the 2 bags of magic masala chips, and the mini 5 stars I wolfed down- just by looking at the small portions people are nibbling on, with the use of a fork and knife. FORK AND KNIFE: NOOOOOOO! I don't have a legitimate reason to eat with my fingers now.


Oh my god so many blondes roaming the airport halls. All with thin stringy straight hair. Ewwwwww.... All so skinny. oh god, I have  been brainwashed by my 5+ months in Northern India: Give me boobs and thighs, give me a bangled wrists and lots of eyeliner, give me a black silk rope braid for hair, give me flowing, patterned fabrics that could only work in the subcontinent.

I am picking up on just how different India is. It's loud and honest and corrupt and bright and dirty and superstitious and generous and stinky and altogether INCREDIBLE. I miss it . My teeth won't. My sugar levels won't. But my disorganized nature and love of poetic language will.

For. Familiarity.

When will I learn NOT to listen to The Magnetic Fields if I want to feel uplifted and sprightly? Ugh: total cry fest with onlookers and everything. Why am I even crying? I must be tired, yeah that's it. It's not the fear of the unknown, or my possible broken promise, nor could it be my tenuous relationship with getting back into my beloved India. Tired. Yeah. That's it. I look and feel like shit. I need a sugary tea. A greasy samosa. A head bob.

 I'm as pale as my European neighbour.

As I am about to get up and exist the airport bar, I -without thinking- grab napkins to put in my handbag. As I release them inside the inner pocket, I laugh out loud. What the hell am I doing? There's toilet paper here, only.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Driving. Drinking. (Young) Punjabi Men. An observation.

Hmm: how frank can I be with my thoughts, I wonder? I don't want to offend anybody reading my blog, yet I want you all to have a clear visual of what I have come to see in my five months in India, when it comes to Punjabi men, their driving while drinking, and their romantic dealings. I was named 'fairy of open thoughts' by an older Indian fellow, so I'm gonna run with it.

Punjabi men are by far the most hospitable group I have ever come across. I have never in all my days felt more like a lady. Not in your typical european chivalrous way mind you: it's not about flowers or opening doors or pulling back chairs. No, indeed it is more in their helpful manner, their eye contact, and their love for sweets, to which they are all magnanimous about offering.

 A Punjabi man will ask if he can help you, and even if you say NO he will find a way to help, somehow. Whether it's whipping out their laptop to verify a something, calling a restaurant to see if they're open, or booking and paying for my train tickets.

Their rich coloured eyes are like deep pools of swirling chocolate, swallowing you up with sweetness and depth. This is wonderful and remarkable, and disarming.

And lastly, their love of sweets. I am offered sugary tea and coffee, always. The doorbell rings and there stands a man. sent by my friend, carrying boxes of Bengali sweets, all for me. It's opening the passenger door and instead of a person sitting in shotgun, it's a box of pastries, for me. It's coming out of a convenience store with a bag full of chocolate bars in tow, for me. It's at the end of a meal, ordering a sizzling brownie topped with ice cream, for me. It's always asking if I''ve had enough sweets, only.
Oh wow its awesome!
It ends with a root canal, but it's awesome.

Before segwaying into the less savory aspects of Punjabi men, I also want to add they they are the best multi tasking drivers. It's unsafe but it's true. He will weave past the cow, sms his buddy, and wish his mother goodnight with one hand on the steering wheel and the other interchanging with the stick shift and his cell phone. How come I feel safe?

Now onto their drinking AND driving. Yes, they do this, too. At first I was shocked, frightened and alone in my worries. Everyone else seemed so cool, so relaxed. But- but, you're DRIVING!
hahahh oh B! they all say...
hahaha ? And then, at the last gulp, they pull down the window and throw it out. At this I yelp!
Aw come on! that's soooooo uncool, uncool in a multitude of ways! Just keep in in your car and when you see it a dustbin throw it out.
Do you see a dust bin, Bianca... ?
My eyes search. No, alas, I do not. Keeping India beautiful is a feat, to which the Indian government doesn't assist. For the amount of people in India, there should be way more dustbins... but in my presence I refuse to tolerate this, and I implore them to keep their empties in the car and throw them out accordingly. They laugh a full belly laugh like I just cracked a joke, but appease me nonetheless...

And now for Punjabi romance... strangely enough, after all that hospitality and sugar laden offerings, after their expertise on the road, after his quick mental maths and astounding bargaining, the Punjabi boy is immature in the ways of love. Blame culture, blame whatever, but each one has the same move and each one exercises it with a speed and eagerness that is rather UNromantic. It reminds me of a getting a new toy and testing the limits of the toy by banging it against the wall, flinging  it across the room, and by sticking it in your mouth. You're testing the toy's resilience and fun quotient.

All you feminists out there, calm down that I compared our Superior Sex to toys, it is a visual I am trying to impart to you. It's part reckless abandon, part guilty pleasure, and part this-is-what-I've-seen-in-the-movies-so-it-must-be-what-I-should-do. All in all, it's not THAT disagreeable, but after the 5th time I have to tell him to soften up 'aramseh arameh ji' my mouth isn't a hockey rink!  Or- Hey- take it easy, you're not petting a dog, I yearn for the arms of an older man. For the self assured way and quiet confidence of maturity.

Living this when I was 20 years old would have been more than acceptable. but I'm getting too old for amateur kissing and cheap feels.

 Maybe it's my fault, maybe I should stop settling for these 20 somethings...
Hahahah. ugh.
B. get with it.
Well, I still have all those sweets!
And  a root canal....

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nothing Remains The Same. The Essence Of Travel Writing.

Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change - this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress.
Bruce Barton

I am in constant flux, as you are, beloved bathsandbeer reader. Once you come to understand this, the vitality and mystery of life reveals itself to you, and you at once relish every moment of this splendid journey called LIFE.

I love travel writing because it is a testament to change. It documents change. I explore, I discover, I witness, and then I explore, discover, and witness again, but something new.

I am in India. I love India, but I am disenchanted with my present situation. I need change.  I am seeking change. Trial and error is truly the only way I know how to live, for better or for worse.

One good thing about making change your friend, there is never a dull moment.

My body weight has changed, my palette for sweets and spice has changed, my teaching techniques have changed, my hair cut and colour has changed.  My reaction to others has changed (Head Bob!). I indeed, have changed.

I leave India in a week. A week today. I will be back to the land of metered snow and cheese curds, French and English language intermixed. I will be greeted with a 'bonjour' or a 'hello' and be serviced with attention. I will not have to haggle or bargain. I will not stand out. I will not wear Punjabi suits. I will be understood. But I won't be the same, and Montreal won't greet me in the same fashion, either.

This post is to be continued. I have to get changed and teach. But I was inspired. I was sitting on my balcony, observing my neighbours go through their daily routine of hanging their clothes, of sifting beans and letting them dry in the sun, of chatting on their cell phones while watering their plants. And I know this is a scene I won't see again. I feel it deep in the entrails of my system.

Change: Now THAT word should be inked on my body. My commitment to change. The permanence of change.

Isn't it?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kingfisher, Henna, and Soan Papdi

I'm full. 
I'm contemplating organizing my room, or maybe pack up some stuffs for home, but instead I'm drinking beer and listening to Disco.

I seriously have no idea what to expect in the coming weeks. Going back to Montreal is going to be lovely, but after five months in India, how will I find being around such cleanliness? I won't have to carry napkins in my purse. My head bob will be REALLY out of place.  Like, uh... who is going to finish a sentense with 'isn't it', or 'only' and a head bob?
I'm going to be lonely for that...

and my 5 rupee chai, and my punjabi boy
my kids....

this post sucks.

I'm drinking Indian beer eating my favorite Indian dessert and dying my hair Indian styles.
India, this is the second time I ask you. I'm on one knee....
will you marry me?