Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Crispy Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes

Okay I followed this one word to word from a periodical called "The Women's Week" and it seems that I can follow recipes as good as the analytical procedures. :)
This Italian recipe makes a perfect combination with a bit of garlic bread and wine.
The picture is again not as flattering as it should be but it sure tastes yummy!!
You Need
Chicken thigh fillet
New Potatoes (the ones we use to make Dum Aloo)
Cherry Tomatoes
All of the above in a 1:1:1 proportion depending upon how many people are eating.
Fresh Oregano Leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper

How You Make It

1) Put the potatoes in salted boiling water and forget about them. Then cut the fillet in thin vertical strips and put them in a bowl. Toss the chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper till it gets uniformly covered. Then transfer it to a pan on high flame and toss it for ten minutes.
2) Put the tomatoes in a bowl and pour hot boiling water. Leave it alone for a while.
In a pestle and a mortar, pour in the oregano leaves and bash them up real nice. ( Do I talk like an Aussie?). When you are done "bashing" them, pour about 1/4th cup of extra virgin olive oil and a dash of red wine vinegar and bash everything up again. :)
3) In the meanwhile it is a good idea to pre-heat your oven to a good 200 C. By now the potatoes get done so pour them out in a colander and peel them. Then just snub each one with your thumb to get it all at your mercy. :D
4) Dip your hands in the hot water with the tomatoes and pinch their skins of. It is not really necessary but pinching them would make them mingle more easily with the potatoes and chicken in the oven.
5) Add the bashed up oregano leaves to the chicken, add potatoes and tomatoes with a bit of salt and toss everything nicely.
6) Lay out the mixture on an oven proof baking dish in one layer and leave it inside the oven for about 40 minutes. The end result should be uniformly golden-brown potatoes and chicken with a bit of it's own gravy.
I know this is a really violent recipe with a lot of bashing, pinching and snubbing going on along with a lot of components being subjected to abject boiling water scaldings. :)
How You Serve It
Chicken on the side with crisp bread and a glass of cold white wine to wash it down with.
A crunchy salad that does not have an elaborate dressing would make it perfect!
How You Burn It
Boy! I am still thinking how after the amount of olive oil that just went down my throat.
A complete sabbatical from carbohydrates the next day and an early morning run with ACDC ringing in your ears. ;)
So much for a Christmas Break!! I guess I really enjoy cooking. :D

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Chocolate Chip Muffins

One of the greatest luxuries of my life is to have a warm muffin and a petite cup of cappuccino over an hour of gossip or a nice book.
So I decided that I should learn how to make muffins and I did!!
So here's the tried and tested recipe of walnut-chocolate-chip-muffins. :)

You Need

1/2 Cup of butter @ Room Temperature
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
2 Large eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 Cups of all purpose flour
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon baking power
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Cup chopped walnuts
1/2 Cup chocolate chips

How You Make It

1. Take a bowl that has ample radius and depth to accommodate splattering of batter. :)
Add to it butter and sugar and with a powerful hand-mixer beat it into a fluffy mixture. Keep going at it till you think that the earth has stopped spinning and the mixer has turned into an extension of your hand.
2. In the same bowl, after switching the mixer off for a minute, break an egg and beat it into the previously done mixture. The egg will make things easier and more fluid but do not haste things up. Break the other egg and beat it after the first one has become "one" with the butter and sugar.
3. Add vanilla. Then gradually begin to add the flour following the same rule of not giving up mixing. If you pour in all the flour at once you are very likely to get flour agglomerates and conglomerates all over your bowl making it impossible to smooth it out. So be patient and keep adding a little bit every time.
4. You may need a bit of milk to keep the consistency and the viscosity of the mixture intact. So when the mixer starts getting lost in the batter, do add a little bit of milk.
5. Add the salt, soda and baking powder to make the final batter.
6. Stop the mixer and add the embellishments. Walnuts and chocolate chips can be mixed with a regular spoon.
7. Butter-line 12 cup-cake papers and spoon your mixture into each one just a bit above half the volume.
8. Set the oven at 200 C ( yeah the recipe I read said 400 without any unit and I had to do a lot of Googling and maths in order to figure out the temperature in Celsius)
9. Slide the tray in and keep it on for 15 minutes till the tops become light golden brown in color.
10. Remove the muffins and allow them to cool.

**The readers are encouraged to replace chocolate chips with 2 mashed bananas OR 1 cooked and mashed apple OR blueberries and/OR sultanas with the same recipe. **

In the meanwhile, it is a good idea to lick the batter spoons and try and estimate how good your muffins would taste from the batter-spoons. :)

How You Serve It
My flatmate Shruti knows best how to. You butter them and warm them up.
They should be accompanied by a cup of tea and lots of early morning breakfast laughter. :)

How You Burn It
By having just half a bowl of salad the night before and a swim and a jog later in the day. :)

Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bhuvan Shome

I watched a Bangla movie today. It goes by the name "Bhuvan Shome" and stars Utpal Dutt.
It is like anything Bengali I have ever tasted, heard or read. Sweet, simple and fluid.
It is about a strict Railway Officer (Bhuvan Shome) who gets tired of his everyday drills and decides to go hunting birds. He meets a simple village girl (Gauri) who helps him with his hunting by her amusing ideas (one of them being dressing him up in traditional Gujrathi clothes so that the birds in her village don't identify him as a stranger) and eventually wins his affection. In due course he realizes that she is the wife of one of his corrupt subordinates who is next on his list of dismissals to be done. She tells him that her husband writes to her of some really strict officer called Bhuvan Shome who is very mean and is hell bent on kicking him out of the job. So when he is about to leave the village ( with a bird that faints and falls down not because he hit it right but out of fear of the gunshot), she tells him to request this mean "Bhuvan Shome" to excuse her husband for taking bribes this one time and she would make sure he won't do it again.
He goes back to work and excuses her husband with a light reprimand. :)

I could not believe that a whole movie can be made out of such a simple story.
The girl Gauri ( Suhasini Mulay who is the Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai fame mom) is as fresh as crunchy celery. Dressed up in ghagra with mirrors on it and with her head covered at all times she is able to reach the right places in your heart effortlessly. I could recognize her due to the characteristic tone of her voice.
What transpires between an old aspiring hunter and a little married girl on the brink of womanhood can be painted in a number of ways, just the way it is seen when, by some extraordinary circumstance such a thing happens in real life.
The movie makes you smile to yourself, because it refutes all your commonplace assumptions about how the story will proceed. The story proceeds at her own pace, without seeking your approval and goes on to enchant you only because it does not fit into your primitive framework.

It brought back the days I spent at my grandparent's house as a kid, wearing glass bangles that matched my clothes. When in those hot summer afternoons we used to throw stones at the old and wise Tamarind tree and run inside now and then to dip our shoe-less feet in cold water. When anything four-legged that you picked up on the street used to be your pet for the next few days until it silently disappeared with a jute bag one fine morning.
There were important agendas back then too!
Like collecting the maximum number of marbles over a marble fight, or trying to extend the boundaries of our bicycle rides by a few hundred meters everyday.
Over the years, I guess, our ability to make a harder agenda got better and here I am now, trying to get labeled as "wise" . :)

I have been a fan of Robindrashongeet all my life. Whether it is Tagore music, poetry or Bengali cinema; it carries with it a distinct flavor and personality. It has a lingering presence of the belief that we all try to grow out of to protect ourselves from getting hurt. The belief that makes us think of every person we come across as a "good person" and every thought we think as a "good thought". I think this child-like happiness is a part of everything Bengali I have ever been a part of until now.
Sometimes, these little couplets and songs get you thinking if there is really a need for all the complicated situations that we surrender ourselves to. If life could be lived just as peacefully by the banks of a thoughtful river, why rush into the next 707? :)
If a simple verse and a simple song has the power to make
your day; why seek to broaden your "horizons" ? :)

Just as you think of all of this, you are gently nagged by the unfinished ChemDraw installation and then you get back to work! :(

PS: The Author is currently on a break from her "real job" so readers should expect some literary diarrhea. ;)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Shop Test. :)

The best way to judge a woman is to take her shopping with you.
A woman can pretend to be a queen anywhere else but shopping is like the litmus test for her character. They can brag about their fortunes and their tastes, or the fact that they always use those freakishly expensive hand-creams with pressure-pressed rose petals in authentic rose oil that you get for a dollar a gram, but a woman is a true woman only when it comes to the "shop-floor".
Somehow girls always take up after their moms and that is what I did.
The first true "shopping buddy" I ever had was Aai and the way she shops would put all the contestants about a hundred places behind her. The Shop-Floor is like a dance floor when you are around her. She will choose the classiest things and not worry about the price. She will shop anywhere in the world and try and find a market place where ever Life takes her. She is not worried about checking in things like "Four Wooden Elephants" labeled "Fragile" or a carpet from Pakistan. She once went to Dhaka and got about ten yards of rich raw silk with no particular idea about what it is going to end up looking like. She makes her colleagues carry all her bags for her but she never comes back from anywhere without something exotic. Our living room in Pune has a myriad collection of colorful wooden birds from Brazil, elephants from Sudan amidst a nicely done Indian flower arrangement. She is the same with clothes and jewelery. I absolutely love going Saree-shopping with her and be her "model" when she wants to know the "draped" version of her choices. :)
She is an impulsive and happy shopper with an eye for beauty!
In real life too, she is impulsive with her kindness and hospitality and she looks for all the pretty things in a person by default ( off course she can change the default settings whenever she feels like).

There is a certain class of women who go shopping with you and encourage you to spend money while all they do is watch you sign your credit card receipts. Whenever they catch you stealing glances at yourself in the mirror with a halter or a summer dress, they say, " Ah! That is just perfect for you. Look at the way it puts all the focus on your collar bones from your big hips. You should go for it sweetie". Then you melt.
Sometimes in your evident mirth over trying on and buying new things, you forget that your buddy is simultaneously getting richer than you. When you realize later that you have walked out with three bags full of clothes you have no idea where you are going to wear and your friend has had nothing but coffee ( and the smallest flat white at that), it kind of takes the joy away from you. You think to yourself, " Is this some sort of a trick to get me broke?" and somehow shopping with them again feels like a nagging shoe-bite.
These kind of women probably are the ones who always suspect that the servants steal their money and eat their food when they are not looking. The kinds who are always sweet to everybody but probably don't have even a single best friend. :)

Then there is the kind that drives me nuts. One of my roomies, Riju, belongs to this category. She checks for the price of the same brand in at least six different outlets and makes a comparative study of all of them. By the time she finally decides to buy it, she knows the difference between all the places down to the very last cent. These kind of women take great pride in their budgets, making you feel like a lousy spend thrift. One day she got to know from one of her zillion discount alerts that a particular store about half a mile away from our place was selling twenty four cans of Diet Coke for $11. She made me walk to the store and back with those twenty four cans of diet coke. We took turns holding the bag and sometimes we almost tripped over trying to walk holding one handle each. I was just glad that the contents of the can would not make me put on the calories that I had lost carrying it all the way home.
She knows the prices of everything in the grocery store by heart and when she gets a good deal on something she lights up like a light-bulb.
Sometimes I ask her to leave me alone at a coffee shop when she is keen on carrying out one of her t shirt or shoe surveys.
These kind of women are forthright and honest with a very strong mind. They will make sure that everybody around them is taken care of even in the most demanding situations.

Just the way shopping brings out some of the consistencies in a woman's character, it brings out the incoherence and obscurities too.
Some women are compulsive about it. They can go on buying pointless things pointlessly hoping to make peace with some unknown sadness in their lives.
An engulfing melancholy can either turn a woman into a serious "seeker" or a serious "shopper". I always pray to God that if ever my life hits a fork where I have to choose "spiritual contemplation" over "reckless shopping" let Him help me choose the former. :)
I honestly believe shopping to be a healthy stress-buster in my life.
All my best girl friends are bound to me by this endearing impulse to spend a Sunday afternoon in and out of trial rooms. :)
It is one of the little joys that Life offers us!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Robin Gyan

Some Random Robin for all of you :)

Robin (the) Cook
Once our dear neighbor realized that he had left his queer assembly of frozen vegetables, some Italian Pasta Sauce
( with red wine), non-uniformly cut onions and salt which he insists on calling "curry" unattended. He went for a smoke leaving the pan on high flame and came back to realize that it had turned back into what it started from, upon which he simply held the pan under tap water and put it back on the hot plate and I can't even half express the kind of abandon and detachment he shows when he does that!
On being asked why he does not treat food with a bit more respect if not love, he says, "Keskar, we eat, we sleep,we die". Implying that there is no need to garnish food, wakefulness or even life!

Robin the Preacher
Once he came up with an "inspiring story" he read somewhere.
A sparrow decides to fly in search of better life ( probably towards the US of A) and gets frozen by the chilly winds and falls down ( maybe somewhere around Kabul). He thinks he is finished and there is no way now that he can have a life, leave alone a better one. Then, there comes a cow and takes a dump on the sparrow. The warmth of the cow dung thaws his wings and he starts singing with joy, upon which a cat hears him and eats him up!
1. People who put you in shit are not necessarily your enemies
2. People who take you out are not necessarily your friends
3. If you are in shit and happy about it, you should keep your mouth shut
And again, I can't even half express the happiness in Robin's eyes as he narrated this to us.

Robin the Seeker
On confounding matters like "Citizenship" and "Discrimination", when asked why he always thinks of himself as a colored Indian even though none of us have ever come across anything close to discrimination,
he says, " Keskar, you are half brown and beautiful and I am full black and ugly. Off course people won't discriminate when they are around you. You can easily pass off as a Mexican"
Which is not essentially a compliment though his usage of words to make a contrast really cracked me up!
He wonders if he should go back to his dreams of owning a restaurant in Madurai, where we made an estimate once of how many people he needs to get in to eat every day at Rs.15 per meal and the math suggested that he should probably have to start off by closing down a few other restaurants in the vicinity, or just stay in Australia feeling alienated for no reason but having a permanent residency nonetheless.

As we get to know him better, we realize the profound philosophy behind sloth and the ever so difficult dispassionate approach to all the things in Life. The only thing that I have actually seen him get happy about is eating a watermelon.
And as the weeks go by at lightning speed and turn into Excel Timelines on my computer Robin comes home exactly at five everyday and collapses on the couch like a puppet that has been released because the puppeteer suddenly remembers his five 'o' clock appointment!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bad Guitar Player :)

I always meet people in "out of a movie" situations. 
I met my guitar teacher on board the Mumbai-Sydney flight. 
The flight was late and I was full of fear and nostalgia. Trying to think of too many things together and my seriously drugged inner voice poking me now and then to remind me of something that I should think of when I am taking off. Suddenly this tall, somewhat old guy with long hair tied up in a pony tail comes and sits next to me. 
He looked like those bohemian rock stars. He tucked his guitar in the overhead compartment and sat next to me. 
In economy, you always wish that the person with the boarding card on the next seat gets stuck in the loo or is caught at the security with a kilo of heroin. I always wish that the person destined to sit next to me should miss his flight so that I can stretch and use the next table to keep aside my food ( I find the airline food unappetizing). 
I was mildly unnerved that I should share my first flight to Australia with such a hippie. 
Fortunately, the feeling was mutual and he hopped on to another seat as soon as the seat belt sign came off. 

I enjoyed my flight. At dawn I opened my window to see the fluffy white clouds and sip coffee. 
I forgot about the hippie who went away the previous night.

I met him again on my way to the connecting flight to Brisbane and as both of us were waiting to board the flight, he happened to glance at my iPod. Then, began the usual co-passenger polite conversation about music and we realized that I listened to all the bands that he liked. Then as we half  fled past the really shiny airport floors, we talked about all our favorite songs and he asked me if I were to stay in Brisbane. He said if I was looking to learn guitar, he would be happy to give me lessons. 
When we boarded the flight, he wrote down his name,email and phone number on the boarding card and gave it to me. :)

That was it. Then all the excitement of the new house, roommates and university made me forget Barry Wilson. On an empty, homesick weekend that followed, I wrote him a breezy "how are you doing" mail. In reply, he sent me a song that he had just mixed. Then I thought that maybe instead of getting bored on weekends or running so hard that weekends prove to be more tiring than the weekdays, I should just learn how to play the guitar!
I called him and he said he would be very happy to meet me for a lesson and he would give me one on his travel guitar ( the same one that came to Sydney with us).
Being a twenty-four-year-old-new-in-the-city-woman, I took all necessary precautions when I met him. We met by the river in a place called "The Kangaroo Point" and my Greek PhD-mate made sure that he was present for the first lesson. :)
He wrote me a simple song,with basic chords and taught me how to read notes. Then gave me his guitar to try out. 
It was not that hard, but I needed more practice and he said I should just keep practicing. When the three of us started walking home, he put his guitar into the case and gave it to me! He said I could keep it till I got my own!
Then he went biking for a long time and I practiced his song between long breaks. Some of my friends urged me not to give up, and inspired me with their own music. 

It is really hard. I must accept. 
I practice the whole of saturday sometimes and all I get in the end is half a line of some famous song. My fingertips go numb from the metal strings and I keep forgetting the notes or the chords. I look at the online lessons and try to play but people keep pinging me on chat and I forget about my song when one of my favorite friends is online. The guitar goes out of tune and then I try to tune it and it goes completely off!
The worst of the difficulties is when the  pick goes inside the guitar as I strum and refuses to come out. :|
I make a funny picture trying to look for it with one eye closed as if I am trying to play it with my nose!!
At the end of the day when I listen to the actual song that I am trying to play, the difference is demoralizing. 
The biggest dampener is I guess when your  Pink Floyd devotee roomie asks," What are you trying to play? It sounds nice" when you are actually trying to play "Wish you were here". =|
I have made peace with the jokes that they make about earning extra grocery money by placing me on the Central Station subway ( Although that needs a lot more talent than I possess at this stage)

The only motivation to keep going is I guess the poetic idea of being able to sit on an unusually high stool on a dim-lit stage with other rockers and singing my favorite song as I play the chords and the fact that I meet people like Barry!
I don't know how good I would be, but as I am not willing to give up, I can definitely turn into a Bad Guitar Player. :)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

It is a girl

Growing up as an only girl child in a country almost famous for infanticide and foeticide was an unusual experience.
I still remember when I was about four and when people expected that my parents would have another child, it was a rare treat to watch all the nosy aunts gape in surprise when my parents said that I was the only one they would ever have.
I am happy that they are not the only set of parents who raised an only girl child. My best friends Ameya and Neha are single children as well.
I think it is not just lack of education that leads families to kill unborn girls.
It takes ages of grime that has settled on their minds and passed on as a piece of redundant belief.
Just like religion, which I think is more a function of what parents believe for a very long time after birth, the "need for a son" is also a badly passed on second-hand conviction.
In India, where there is very little clearance between two people or two cars on a street, desensitization comes very easy.
Just like it does not bother us that someone stands so close to us in a local train that we can hear their breath. Or when we have people standing behind our chairs in disorganized weddings with too many guests. Or thousands of Engineers and Doctors we produce every year to add to the growing dissatisfaction of having to struggle for a better future.
Foeticide is just another thing. Like the little girls begging on streets or being sold off to pimps. Why not just kill them before they come into this world?

So many of these families who take to crime for a son, don't even have any significant wealth to pass on and the kind of parents they eventually become, after killing girl foetus, they are insufficient to raise their sons the way they should. People who kill daughters cannot raise successful,positive and happy individuals.
When your first step into parenthood begins with a murder, you kind of kill the beauty of being able to be called an "Aai" or "Baba".
It is just ironical that everyone can make babies.
Sometimes I think that the act of making one, should require a bit of mind and intelligence too. I wish nature had made provisions and programmed a clause that could check this accidental bug of manipulation that is a characteristic of human mind. A goat or a mouse would not care if it is a girl!!
It is this unfertilized state of being "animals" with a "mind" that leads to most of the crimes against humanity.

If we erase all our inherited thoughts and just think of a girl as a human being we bring into this world...
She would go to school and learn how to count the money she gets back from the shopkeeper after an ice cream cone.
She would wear two oiled braids and come home crying because someone pulls them at school.
She would hide her fallen teeth under her pillow for the tooth fairy and grin her toothless grin!
She will go to college and read poetry or philosophy :).
Or she would become an Engineer, fighting with her guy friends over how she is just as capable as them!
My critics would point out that I talk of the upper classes of society and the lower ones are plagued by Marriages and Dowry. Even then, killing a girl baby and keeping a foetus over and over and letting it live only when it is a boy is an unpardonable cruelty. It is better to say, " I could not get my daughter married" than saying "I killed five daughters before I had a son".

Even the United States, apparently one of the most liberal nations of the world hasn't had a woman to lead them yet but India, with her imbalanced gender ratio has had one of the most powerful women rulers of the world and she was an only girl child too!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Three Generations of Cleanliness

I hate to admit it but it is true. I am a control freak.
I feel a bit relieved when I look back and find out that it is genetic. My mom and her mom are control freaks too!
There is a remarkable difference in the kinds of control freaks we are though. :)

I am a self-obsessed, compulsive cleanliness freak. I do not care who makes the mess, I clean it.
Even if I have had a long day at work, when I come home my feet direct me to my running shoes. I walk to the riverside telling myself that I would not exert but when I start jogging, my legs refuse to obey my mind. I end up doing a bit more than I did the last time and the happiness I feel at the end of it defies the trials I have been through throughout the day.
I do not try to scare people by being the way I am, but sometimes they do get scared. =|
Earlier, I used to daydream about inspiring people. I used to imagine my friends watching me run and eat healthy food and then trying to emulate me. I used to think that maybe a few years down the line, I would have inspired a couple of hundred people and have a fan club on my own name but it doesn't happen that way.
I am what can be called a "Blissful Control Freak". Who is in her own world and happy about it although it would have been better with the fan following. :D

Aai is a control freak too but she is perpetually wounded by the disparity between her world and the real world. She goes through pangs of heartbreak every time she sees my dad's clothes lying around the bed with no definite destination. It kills her soul to see people living in disorganized offices and bedrooms with no sign of claustrophobia. When she cleans a glass table, she probably thinks of all the people who would NOT have cleaned it the way she did.
She has procedures for storing vegetables in the fridge and she insists that the maid follows her Standard Operating Procedure exactly like she does. She is like a very famous painter who is ahead of his times and is constantly hurt by the boorishness of the world around him. She goes into a bout of self-pity when she finds closet doors left ajar by people who get dressed in a hurry. Her heart goes out to the non-stick frying pan that was scratched by the callous maid and then she wishes she could stay at home and clean all the non-stick pans herself. She will feel sorry about my dad being duped into buying rotten tomatoes for a week till she goes and teaches him how to "buy good tomatoes" the next time. She is a "Disillusioned Control Freak" who could do with some increase in the levels of perfection around her. :)

My Aaji is one of her kind. I would eventually want to turn into her.
She is a detached dictator. If you throw your clothes on her bed and run out into the balcony for some hot gossip, you will find them folded and sitting nicely in your rack beaming at you when you come back. If you refuse to eat something, she keeps talking about the outstanding qualities of the food that you are evidently "missing out on". If you don't budge even then, she will go on to tell you about all the combinations you can have it with. She will keep talking without anger, urgency or even love. She will just elucidate all the important things about the dish and list her past experiences with an impassive expression on her face. Somehow, after a while you find yourself digging into what she wants you to eat. She looks detached and calm but she gets everything done from others more efficiently than anyone I have ever seen. If she wants me to read a book, she will talk about the author for such a long time that it is easier to finish reading it and tell her that I liked it than listen to her self-less sermons.
It is really difficult to find a crease on her linen and no one except her cat is allowed to mess with it. She does not get mad at you if you sit on her bed and leave it unmade. She will make it right in front of your eyes. She will remove the linen and put it back stretching her eighty-four year old body like a sixteen-year old till you are forced to get up and make it for her. She never needs to iron her Saris because she folds them so well that they never get a crinkle on them.
When we visit her with our knapsacks and airbags, she is always waiting impalpably in the background to clear any mess with her saint-like alacrity.
She is a "Yogi Control Freak"

I have made some very important observations in my defense. When you are a self-obsessed, narcissistic control freak you lead a better life because
1. Your happiness depends upon really small things like trying out a new brand of dish-washing liquid that has a better fragrance than the one you already have. You don't need symphonies to entertain you..even the squeaky clean bathroom floor is enough to make you feel peaceful.
2. You don't feel bad about other people's success because you have already ruled out competing with them and most of the times you don't realize that they are getting ahead of you because you are too busy competing with yourself. :)
3. Since you spend so much time being self-critical even a hint of a praise from important people turns you into a butterfly.
4. Your friends like to hang out in your room. ( Only as long as you don't fuss around like my mom)
5. When every minute of every day is used to shine,clean,organize and rewrite something you end up making a busy present and a busy past and you hardly have time to worry about the future.

I guess I speak for all the Monicas out there. :)
I really cannot deny that I love being one. ;)