I Used To Want To Change My Name As A Kid

When I was a tween, I wanted to change my name to Jessica because it was my “perfect” name. Did you love your name growing up? How has that changed as you’ve gotten older?

I didn’t like my name when I was growing up. I was born and raised for the first 11 years of my life in Kuwait. I grew watching a lot of American & some British tv shows and I never heard the name Roshan for anyone else. I didn’t know of anyone else who had the same name as me. And didn’t like my name growing up. I distinctly remember wanting to change my name. I wanted to change my name to Michael. Because of Knight Rider. Michael Knight! Hey, be glad I didn’t want to change my name to Knight Industries Two Thousand aka K.I.T.T.! I was 9!

He was cool and I wanted to have the same name as him. When I was 10 I met an actual Michael, who had just moved to the same school as I was in and I was so jealous. Anyways, fast forward a few years and I am now 14-15 and I love my name. I had no idea what the fuzz was about the name Michael. That was so passe! So last decade and no no no – that wasn’t me. I now loved my name and I was damned proud of it. I started thinking in my teenage years that my name was even quite sexy!

So yeah I once wanted to change my name but for the past 31 years or so I have not even thought about changing my first name. I have thought of changing my last name though or adding in a proper surname like Menon or something.


That First Time A Girl Says She Likes You

Your first love/kiss, and don’t skip the awkward details

I’ve already blogged about my first kiss, as innocent as could be, but now it’s time for me to blog about my first love. The first girl who said she likes me and I said I like her back. And interestingly enough, her name too was Michelle. Michelle joined my school in the 9th standard and I was in grade 10 at the time. When she came in, a lot of guys liked the way she looked and I too was kind of mesmerized. 

Well in same class as her was my cousin, Sandhya, and she became good friends with Michelle from day 1. Sandhya had a small group of girl friends who always hung out together during breaks. I always tried to act cool, the cool older cousin, in front of them. Sandhya kinda acted like a go-between us and I soon started a conversation with Michelle. At that time in my life, I was also going through some kind of strange feeling of being a loner and different from the rest of the kids in school and my cousins. 

Well, Michelle and I started talking a lot on the phone and soon I told her that I liked her. She said she did too and I was elated. Alas, it only lasted for 2 weeks or so. For 2 weeks or so, I was her boyfriend. The Onam celebrations came and we left school for a vacation and when I came back she had cooled her feelings about me. Apparently, she told about me to her cousins and they said that it wasn’t a good idea to have a boyfriend outside their community. She was an Anglo-Indian Christian and my family was Hindu.

She became even a bit bitter towards me so after a couple of months of trying to win her back, I gave up. That was my first experience and it was bitter-sweet. But I look back on it very fondly.

Prompt from Sweet ideas: 50 things to blog about at FatMumSlim

The Family Nickname That Is My Cross To Bear

Do you have a nickname? How did you get it and who gave it to you?

My family has always been into giving nicknames to each other. I was no exception in that I have had a couple that has stuck around for a while. When I was 11 years old, my family including uncles, aunts and cousins took a month long trip through parts of South India on a sight seeing trip. When we made it to Kanyakumari, right at the end of India, we had to take a ferry to see the island on which there is a statue of Swami Vivekananda. Now everyone needed help to climb aboard the ferry and there were two men who were assisting people to get on board. But little roly poly, 11 year old me jumped on board and when we came back I did the same. So one of the guys said “Master chaddiyello!” meaning master – as in a young boy – has jumped!

My eldest cousin brother heard that and he started calling me “Master” and the name stuck. Pretty soon all my cousins were calling me that with a few “Masterjis” from the younger ones for added pleasure. Most of my aunts & uncles also acknowledged the nickname. As I became a teenager the guys would joke that “Master” was short for “Master of Masturbation” and the teasing would continue for ages. Till this day, 27 years later the name has not died and I am still Master for a few of my cousins. I doubt if it will ever get die out and I’m pretty sure that when I am like 90 years old I will still hear plenty of calls of “Master”. That will find itself into my obituary as well; lucky I won’t have a headstone!

I also was called “Sunny” for sometime but that never lasted for too long. I like Sunny as a nickname as it’s bright, airy and sunshiny(?). But it is way too late for me to change my cousins’ preferred nickname from me from “Master” to “Sunny”. Sigh! If only.

Prompt from 31 Days Of Writing Prompts For August at The SitsGirls

The Worst Christmas/Birthday You Ever Had 

The worst Christmas/Birthday you ever had {make it funny!}

So I am picking worst birthday because we don’t really celebrate Christmas, not being from a Christian family, and it is just another holiday for me. Also this is my birthday week since I just turned 45 last Monday. So I have had a couple of really bad birthdays that I can remember. Most of them have been good but these two were bad. I’m only going to mention one for now.

When I was maybe 8 or 9 – I can’t remember which – I was at my maternal grandmother’s house for the summer, my family having come from Kuwait to India for the vacations. Just 2 nights before my birthday, which I was really looking forward to, I was having an early dinner of dosa with sambhar when someone gave me some ladoos for desert. Now until that day I was ok with ladoos and took one and ate it. They offered me one more and so I happily ate that as well. And then I would regret it.

The next couple of days I was sick really bad. I had the runs, really terrible loose motion and that left me tired and dehydrated for most of the waking hours. I had to wait for three days, including August 2nd which is my birthday, before I could eat proper solid food and the stomach illness subsided. It wasn’t all bad though because a day later I had a postponed birthday party with gifts, some of my favourite food & cake so it was all good at the end. 

Prompt from Sweet ideas: 50 things to blog about at FatMumSlim

Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man

Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man is a 1951 American science fiction comedy film directed by Charles Lamont and starring the team of Abbott and Costello alongside Nancy Guild. The film depicts the misadventures of Lou Francis and Bud Alexander, two private detectives investigating the murder of a boxing promoter. The film was part of a series in which the duo meet classic characters from Universal’s stable, including Frankenstein, the Mummy and the Keystone Kops.

Ghost Sightings

So I don’t believe in ghosts but when I was a kid I did get scared easily. As a kid horror movies that my family watched (Evil Dead, Basketcase, The Omen, Friday The 13th etc) scared the crap outta my pre-teen self. Heck, the first two movies I watched (I say watched but it was more like hiding behind the sofa and peeking at the screen) was at age 4 or 5! By the time I was 10 I had watched the other two as well. And it was common among us kids to try and scare each other using the characters in the movies.

So one of my cousins had this habit of trying to scare the rest of us. He would say that some boogey man would come and kill us and he would try to get us going by just saying “Friday! Friday! Friday” in as dramatic as way as possible on Friday nights. Well one Friday night he kept saying this while he was at my home and scaring me – and would you believe it, the power went out and he got scared too and we ran and locked ourselves in the bathroom! There was thunder and lightning and the power got knocked off!

Another time in my house and another cousin and I had watched The Omen a few days ago. We were discussing the movie and about how we didn’t believe that it was possible to happen in reality. I was about 8 or 9 years old and my cousin is 2.5 years older than me. Once again we lost power and it was very late in the night and so we finally fell asleep. At around 4 am my cousin woke up and saw 4 small flames of fire moving on the street. He couldn’t see anything else or anyone else. He got scared and woke me up. Sleepy me looked out the windows and I saw the same thing.

We got very, very scared and pulled the covers over us and tried to go back to sleep. When we woke up and told this to the adults in the house, they informed us that it was a temple procession for a festival that was being done in the temple near my house. In the dark only the fire from the wick of the small lamps that they (it was a few women) carried by hand was visible which made it look like just four flames moving in the distance. Boy did we feel silly.

Treats We Enjoyed As Kids

Share your kid’s favourite summer treats.

Since I don’t have any kids of my own, I’m gonna share the summer treats that I enjoyed as a kid along with my sister and our cousins and what I am sure my cousins’ kids also do. One that is a rarity and I think is only really available in parts of India is the ice cream soda. Not the one that you are thinking of, but this is actually vanilla ice cream flavoured soda that you get in bottles. After a day of playing football or cricket with my cousins and sweating up a storm, going and get a few cold ice cream sodas to quench our thirsts was great.

We had these things called sip-ups – semi-frozen flavoured drink or cola in these plastic tubes that you buy from a street vendor or store and then proceed to suck up the juicy cold deliciousness. It was so popular at one time that they even sold it at my school’s cafeteria. Oh man, it’s so funny but I haven’t though about them in ages and this prompt suddenly brought back memories.

Ice cream floats. There was this one cafe at a hotel in Chullikal (near Mattancherry) that served them and I can’t think of any other place that’ve had it. It was basically a large scoop of vanilla ice cream placed inside a glass of Pepsi or Coca-Cola. I think mostly Pepsi as we had a problem with Coke until the late 90s. Those were the bomb and it was a huge treat for us.

Also near my grandmother’s house we had this small little joint called Cool Of Cools. It was an ice cream shop that specialized in these awesome sundaes and faloodas. Faloodas are basically a South Asian ice cream sundae or dish a South Asian with vermicelli noodles at the bottom along with rose syrup and sweet basil seeds with milk. When served cold ofcourse it is amazingly delicious, if you don’t mind the chewing of the basil seeds and vermicelli. Sure to cool you down.

Blog prompt from 30 Blog Post Ideas for June at The Frangipani Creative

The Boys & Girls Of Summer

My favorite childhood summer-time past-time was…

Just hanging out with my cousins in general. We used to spend our summers together at our grandmother’s place, which was pretty big. We played football & cricket during the day time in the front yard and, post showers and outfit changes, in the evening we would get snacks and cold drinks from nearby shops and spend our evenings listening to music. 80s & 90s pop and hard rock music.

We also watched a lot of music videos on tv and selected a couple of movies each night to watch as a group. We read books and played quizzes, Monopoly, Scrabble and card games. At night the boys all slept in sleeping bags on the floor and a couple of beds in one big room on the upper floor. The girls, who were lesser in number, slept in a smaller room on a couple of big beds.

That is what summer was all about and I miss those days.


Bands & Artists I Was Into As a Child

I would like to specify that these are bands & artists that I was into as a kid until the age of 10 or almost 11. I usually listened to all music that my older sister listened to at that time. She played a bunch of music for me and we also watched music videos and some specials on tv & VHS. So from 1976, which is when I was born to 1986. I turned 10 in 1986 but I really came into my own music tastes by the time I was 11, although I started to branch out by the age of 10.

  • ABBA
  • Boney M
  • Michael Jackson
  • Jackson 5
  • Duran Duran

Favourite Childhood Memories

What is your favorite childhood memory?

I don’t think I have one favourite childhood memory. There are a few. One of the things I like most about my childhood in Kuwait is going on a long drive with my dad, mom, sister, uncle, aunt in my uncle’s car. Going shopping in a couple of large stores that we usually never got to shop at. Another one is the two separate visits to Entertainment city that my family went to. I think once with a family friend, his wife & two daughters – the younger one was still a baby at the time.

Entertainment City is a fun theme park with rides, roller coasters, bumper cars etc etc. I really loved going to that place and I associate good, innocent, fun times with my memories of those two visits. It really was fun. Other than that my biggest favourite memories are summer holidays & Onam holiday vacations in my maternal grandmother’s home with all of my cousins. We played cricket & football, board games, card games and quizzes.

Evenings after a shower we would listen to lots of lots of 70s, 80s & 90s music on tapes and watched a lot of good movies together. That was fun. We shared books that we recommended to each other. Those were some awesome times.

Prompt from 31 Blog Post Ideas for May at A Grande Life

Day Of The Jackal

Write about a book you read that stayed with you after you closed the last page.

The Day of the Jackal (1971) is a thriller novel by English author Frederick Forsyth about a professional assassin who is contracted by the OAS, a French dissident paramilitary organisation, to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France. The OAS, as described in the novel, did exist and the book opens with an accurate depiction of the attempt to assassinate de Gaulle led by Jean-Marie Bastien-Thiry on 22 August 1962; the subsequent plot is fiction.

I was so fascinated by this novel that even if I was already familiar with the story (having watched bits of the the 1973 film with the same title that is based on the novel) and it being a very popular one among my cousins and uncles, I was still engrossed when I first read the novel back in 1994. I couldn’t put the book down as it was so fascinating and well written. I was so into it that I got and made black coffee when the lead detectives drank black coffee and at age 18 I had picked up occasional smoking and lit one whenever the detectives smokes.

Ofcourse I was even more fascinated by the life of an assassin who was a bit of a playboy and carefree socialist in his lifestyle but a cold-blooded killer when hired to do a job. I always thought, what it would be like to get jobs to do that you are hired for, maybe a few times in a year, make a lot of money so you can live off it for the rest of the days. Like say each job paid you $500k or more so you only had to do it 3 maybe 4 times a year and enjoy the rest of the time pretending to be an heir who was left a good sum of money so you can drink, enjoy the beach and date models and live in exquisite hotels all over the world.

And the mind of an assassin. How he gets ready, steals passports, forges documents, smuggles in weapons to get ready for the kill. And how no one can stand in his way. Except ofcourse the detective who won in the end. But it almost too late and luck had a big part to play in it. I love this novel and have read it several times since.

Prompt from 31 Days of Writing Prompts for May at the SitsGirls

Nostalgic For Music Stores

I haven’t seen a music store in a very, very long time. And when I mean music store, for me, it’s mainly music cds, cassettes and a related items. Like the last two major stores that had a few outlets in my city – Music World & Planet M – had large stores with mainly cassettes and cds and then they also had some dvds and pc & X-box games. Maybe a rack that had popular magazines.

That is something I miss a lot. During the 90s and the 2000s I spent a lot of time in them and others like Paico, some independent stores in Marine Drive and others. I remember a time when every weekend I would shower, get ready and post breakfast I would take a bus to the main part of the city from my home in the suburbs. I would then spend the most part of the morning in one store, break for lunch at a cafe or small restaurant, and then go to the second store and the 3rd and if possible a 4th. Depending on my budget I would get maybe 3-4 music cassettes and perhaps a novel or 2.

As the late 1990s (1998 I think) came, I moved onto cds (I still remember the first two cds I ever bought – Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits & Vault: Very Best Of Def Leppard). I had a large collection of hard rock, heavy metal and some instrumental music that I loved to listen to. I still have that music – I ripped everything to mp3 format and then any new music I have purchased has been in mp3 format. But I do miss the music store experience. It was a big part of my life.

Prompt from 90+ Unique April Blog Post Ideas | Blog Inspiration @ Bloggingandliving.com

Organizing Books & Music CDS

So how does one arrange and organize their books and music cds on their shelves? Well I don’t buy cds anymore and I sold off all the ones that I had since I went digital many, many years ago but until 2008 I had a very large collection of both. My book collection is now nowhere near the size I had from the age of of say 12 to 32 but I atleast have a few that I keep on a built in shelf.

How I arrange my books? Well I used to arrange them in alphabetic order based on the title. Because that’s how my sister and I usually picked them up to read and re-read. We both loved to read novels and the odd non-fiction as well and we read our books many, many times. Books was one thing that I did not have much of a problem in sharing. It was meant for me, my sister and any of our relatives who spent time in our home. We shared the titles back & forth quite a lot.

Cds for music were mostly my thing. Because by the time I was 20 is when I started buying cds, until then it was cassettes. Yes I am 44, old as time! Now here I have my own system and since my family usually didn’t listen to the variety of bands & artists that I do (my cousins have some bands in common with me), my cds were mine and mine alone. I would arrange them alphabetically artist wise – so A to Z. And if the band or singer/instrumentalist had multiple albums that I had then I would arrange those cds in the order of the year of release.

That was my arrangement! Now all my music is in mp3 format and in my hard drives.

4 Legged Gardener

I don’t remember the exact years but I am pretty sure it was around 1990 or so that my cousins in Mattancherry got a dog named Snoopy. Snoopy was a pointer and perhaps the only Pointer I have ever seen in my life and they are kind of a rare breed to have where I live.

Pointers are used to find game for hunters, and are considered by gundog enthusiasts to be one of the finest breeds of its type; however, unlike most other pointing breeds, its purpose is to point, not retrieve game.

Funny thing about Snoopy is she was a yard dog, meaning she had a kennel at one end of the property. next to the gate and in the late evenings, just before dinner, my cousins or uncle would let her free to roam the yard. And we don’t know when but she developed a strange hobby – she would dig up some plants in the yard and then dig a hole elsewhere and then replant plant them! It was crude and messy but she always did it. We couldn’t stop laughing at this 4 legged gardener that has blossomed in the nights where she was probably bored by herself.

I will never forget that and how happy she was when her humans found her handiwork the next day. She had that proud look on her face. As if saying “I did that”!

Prompt from 30 Days of April Writing Prompts at The SitsGirls

A Temple Of Rainbow

What song from your childhood reminds you a lot about those years? One of them for me is Rainbow’s Temple Of The King. For me it is Ronnie & Ritchie’s best song that they have performed on and my introduction to each of them. I think it was on a compilation album on cassette that I first heard of the band and then soon proceeded to get my own copy of a Rainbow best off. This was my favourite song of Rainbow and still remains so.

Off the band’s 1975 debut album Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, it is the quintessential Rainbow song, boasting Ronnie James Dio’s vocals and Ritchie’s epic and instantly recognizable riff and the cream on the top is that haunting guitar solo. We also have Micky Lee Soule on piano, mellotron, clavinet, organ, Craig Gruber on bass & the late awesome Gary Driscoll on drums. Although the song & album was released in 1975, I first heard it as a 11 year old in the summer of 1988. It has stayed with me since then.

Funnily enough the solo actually reminds of some Indian movie music that I must have seen in the early 80s. Which is odd but still the song retains a high position is my list of favourite songs.

Ladybugs (1992)

Ladybugs is a 1992 American sports-comedy film starring Rodney Dangerfield and directed by Sidney J. Furie. Dangerfield plays a Denver businessman who takes over a girls soccer team that the company he works for sponsors. The film also stars JackĂ©e Harry as his assistant coach, Ilene Graff as his girlfriend, Jonathan Brandis as his girlfriend’s son, and Vinessa Shaw as his boss’ daughter.

Nostalgia : Hungry Bunny

Let’s look at a blast from the past, an icon of my childhood days. Hungry Bunny is a local restaurant fast food chain that opened up in the early 80s in Kuwait. It was inspired by a Australian franchise called Hungry Jack which was what Burger King was called in Australia back then.

Although it wasn’t something we frequented often, from time to time my parents go me & my sis some of the burgers for dinner. If I remember correctly for a time they also sold frozen patties which is what I mostly remember them from. I remember having a couple of the burgers during the 1986-87 school year because my classes started in the afternoon and we came home in the late evening. So dinner would be waiting for me and I really like the Hungry Bunny burgers.

In 1997 Al Homaizi Foodstuff Co. who owned Hungry Bunny got the rights to Burger King. Since they couldn’t have two competing franchises they decided to close down all the Hungry Bunnys and open up Burger Kings in the same locations. For the longest time it seems that to get a Hungry Bunny burger you had to go to Saudi Arabia where the franchise still exists there. Here is the link to their website: www.hungry-bunny.com.

I also loved their catchy commercials.