Tag Archives: How to…

How to do the laundry in 11 easy steps

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1. Wait until all the laundry baskets in the house are overflowing, and household members are starting to complain about running out of undergarments/towels/pajamas.

2. Sort into piles –> whites/dark colours/light colours, and pick the one that’s the biggest and/or most urgently required by said members (e.g. kid has no more clean undies = do whites).

3. Stuff as many of the clothes into the washing machine as possible without the warning light coming on. Or so that the machine can still sort of spin around. Yes, it’s tragic that there are still whites remaining the basket, looking at you accusingly because they know they’re not getting cleaned until next week, but hey, you need the machine to keep working, right?

4. Allow the clothes to sit in the machine for a few hours after completion. just sort of… resting. C’mon. They’ve just been spun round and round. They’re literally wrung out. I’m just giving them a chance to recover before grabbing and pulling them all over the place again.

5. Transfer the wet (and rested) clothes into a basket. Now, depending on my distraction/multitasking level, they might be allowed to ‘breathe’ in the basket for a little while before being hung out to dry. Who said that works only on fine wine?

6. Hang the clothes out to dry in the balcony, and put clips on each of them. This process can take anywhere between 10 minutes (adult clothes) to eternity (little, tiny kiddie clothes… this is possibly the hardest part of motherhood that no one ever warned you about).

7. Allow the clothes to hang out on the balcony for a while. Fresh air and sunshine are good, no doubt. But use your discretion. If it appears like the birds are starting to use your towels as a soft and comfortable perch, or that your clothes are developing a fine layer of dust on them, it might be time to bring ’em in.

8. Drape the clean(ish), dry clothes over the sofa of your choice. My favourite is the single seater right by our balcony door, but of course, the furniture pick is entirely yours. Prefer a side table or the couch? Go for it!

9. Fold the clothes when the sight of them cluttering up your drawing room finally starts to get on your nerves. Or when unexpected guests arrive. Whichever one happens first. Now allow them to perch, neatly folded and sorted, on the center table, waiting patiently to be put away. (In case of the unexpected guests, transfer to bedroom).

9 B. If folded clothes have not already taken residence on your bed, transfer them now.

10. When it’s time to go to bed, you may either a) actually put the clothes into the cupboards where they belong (least likely) or b) transfer them onto the dressing table (most likely) where they will remain, and be used as needed.

11. Watch sadly as the laundry baskets refill at frustrating speed with the exact same clothes you so slowly and painstakingly washed in Steps 1 to 10. Return to Step 1.


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How to… be house proud

1.    The first step is doing up said house or flat to your absolute satisfaction. This means obsessing over every little change you make, whether it’s finding that exact shade of yellow paint for your bedroom walls (Daffodil Delight or Mango Madness?), or the perfect curtains to go with the oh-so-classy raw-silk cushions and art-deco lamps in the living room.

2.    This, of course, requires exhaustive research. Trawl through every home décor website for ideas, and then stalk sellers on eBay or Amazon so you can finally own that antique-finish Colonial-style oak desk (that’s ‘distressed’ just so). Make repeated trips to every local furniture/furnishings store, and collect catalogues and fabric swatches like they’re going out of style. Bring them home with you and obsess over which rug pattern goes with which embroidered bedspread etc. to your long-suffering family late into the night.

3.    Once the essentials – paint, furniture, carpets and so on – are in place, dedicate every free afternoon or weekend to ‘home improvements’. Hunt for the perfect plants (and by extension, the perfect planters and pots – nothing too earthy or too funky) for your entryway. Haunt every gallery in the city for that dream piece of art for your living room. Dog the footsteps of your carpenter until he creates that dream bookshelf for your study. And in any time left over, take on hopelessly ambitious do-it-yourself projects – there can be joy in suffering.

4.    Once the home is ready, have guests over regularly so you can show it off to as many people as possible. Clean and polish it from top to bottom before each ‘showing’, and then insist on conducting a guided tour of each room (going over every design decision you made in exhaustive detail) whether the guests are interested or not (pointedly ignore yawns or any attempts to change the subject). Once the guests settle down, make sure you hand out napkins, coasters, etc. and make loud hissing noises at the slightest sign of a food/drink spill; remember, prevention is better than cure.

5.    When you feel the house is truly ‘done’, every available space bulging with knick-knacks, curios and potted plants, and more importantly, it has been satisfactorily shown off to every single one of your acquaintances, it’s time to strip it down and start all over again. Pick a new colour scheme, or a new design concept (Persian passion or postmodern pastiche), and go back to Tip No. 1. After all, the house proud are happiest only when working on a new home project.

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How to… beat Monday morning blues

1.    Don’t do a Google search on ‘How to beat Monday morning blues’. You’ll just end up gagging on annoyingly upbeat advice such as ‘go for a brisk run’ or ‘take a cold shower’ or (shudder) ‘go to bed earlier on Sunday night’. All perfectly sensible suggestions, of course, but not really what you want to hear when you’re suffering from a bad case of the Monday-morning grumps.

2.    For the same reasons, make sure you stay away from chronically cheerful people at home or in the workplace (our condolences if your significant other is the sort who leaps out of bed in the morning singing ‘Walking on Sunshine’ at the top of his or her voice). Nothing makes a bad mood worse than being faced with excessive positivity and bouncy happiness, especially before you’ve had your second (or fourth or fifth) cup of coffee.

3.    Caffeine is your best friend. Load up on coffee – black, café latte, frappe, it doesn’t matter. Tea is okay at a pinch, but none of that wimpy green tea stuff. You want your caffeine strong and potent so that you’re too wired to sit still and are forced to be functional, even if work of any sort is the last thing you want to be doing. Note: sugary, chocolaty doughnuts, muffins, and other such junk food are always a plus (sugar rush!).

4.    Allow yourself to wallow. Sometimes you just need to let a bad mood be. Listen to mope-y music (emo music or sad-sack love songs, whatever works for you). Post depressing messages on Facebook or Twitter, and whine and grouse along with fellow mopers. Remember, you’ll feel a whole lot better if you can spread some of the gloom around – ‘misery loves company’ is never truer than on a Monday morning.

5.    Just stay in bed. This is, of course, the final recourse, for that Monday when absolutely nothing else works. Cash in on that sick day you were saving up, crank up the air-conditioner, snuggle down deeper into your duvet and go right back to sleep. If there’s a better cure for the blues, it’s yet to be discovered by man. (Warning: this particular remedy may cause unpleasant side-effects such as ‘No-job-itis’, so use sparingly).


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How to… be an online lurker

1.    They say that lurkers comprise about 90 per cent of the online population, so you probably think being one couldn’t be that hard. But it takes some serious dedication to spend hours and hours hanging about on various websites, forums, social networking sites, etc. without contributing a thing. Keep eye-drops handy to help those tired, strained eyes; flex that mouse-holding hand often, and invest in a comfy computer chair. You’re not going to be moving from that spot for a while.

2.    Remember – however moving the blog entry, however much you enjoyed the Youtube video, however exciting the conversation on the forum, the first commandment of lurker-hood is ‘Thou Shalt Not Comment.’ You can register on the forums/blogs, etc. In fact, you should – how else can you get access to everything and lurk properly? You can dream up comments in your head. You can even compose them on the page, but you never actually hit enter and post.

3.    Of course, just because you don’t participate, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get deeply involved in the flame wars / discussions on these websites. Drop by the site every few hours. Follow conversation threads obsessively and hit refresh repeatedly to see how the drama unfolds. Know all the regulars by their usernames, and have the ‘history’ of the online community down pat. In other words, treat it all like a soap opera that’s happening in real-time, and follow all developments with bated breath.

4.    As a lurker, you should be aware that your kind tends to get a bad rap from the average self-righteous net denizen. You might get called a ‘moocher’ who just consumes content and doesn’t contribute, or be painted as the sloth of the online universe, who can’t be bothered to do any thing more than stare at the screen slack-jawed. To this, dear lurker, you must just turn deaf ears. Only you know how much effort goes into lurking. And your (very frequent) visits still register loudly on page-view hit counters –they don’t just go up to the thousands by themselves!

5.    Finally, every lurker has that moment when he’s seized by a strong desire to ‘de-lurk’ and post something after months of silent snooping. Your heart starts pounding and your palms get all sweaty at the thought of revealing yourself to the regulars, but you can’t fight the temptation. So stick to the following rules: make sure you have a username like ‘Anon123’ (so it’s obvious that you’re a lurker at heart), restrict your comment to something inane like ‘lol’, and then return gratefully to your natural state – lurking.

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How to… be a packrat

1.    Being a packrat takes some serious dedication. No item is too small or too frivolous to be packed away “in case it’s needed in the future”. Cardboard boxes, plastic spoons, old, yellowing magazine clippings, broken hair clips… it doesn’t matter if you can’t immediately think of what they might be needed for. It just matters that they’re there, safely stored in a dusty corner of the storeroom or stashed away in a moth-bally corner of the almarah… just in case.

2.    A packrat often leads an embattled existence in the family, so it’s important to be prepared to fight for your right to store. There’s always that person who’s determined to throw away all the junk you’ve lovingly squirreled away over the years. So whether it’s an old rusty biscuit tin or a wad of wrapping paper, you’ve got to be ready to make a soulful case for a) the emotional value of said object (warning: this one can only take you so far) or b) how the last time you were forced to throw something away, it nearly lead the family to brink of disaster (acute spoon shortage! Wrapping paper emergency before a party! etc).

3.    Sometimes no amount of arguing or emotional blackmail works, and the Family Packrat Nemesis resorts to underhanded tactics such as (gasp!) clearing out the storeroom when you’re away. At such times, dear packrat, it is perfectly all right for the gloves to come off. Whether it’s digging through the trash and dragging your beloved items back into the house, or actually engaging in a less-than-dignified bout of tug-off-war when you catch the Nemesis in the act, no reaction is too over the top for the packrat protecting her territory.

4.    To avert such crisis situations, a packrat must have certain secret locations scattered about the home where the most valuable of the stash can rest safely for evermore. A truly accomplished packrat can hoard to her heart’s content in various forgotten nooks and crannies for years and years without interference, and is only discovered when moving house or re-painting the house or such. (At that point, refer to tips 2 and 3).

5.    Finally, nothing helps the cause of the packrat like being organised. A neat packrat is a packrat who flies under the radar. Granted, it’s hard – there’s so much stuff and only so much time to stash it all away in. But it’s worth investing in compartmentalised plastic boxes, serviceable shoeboxes or smartly labelled cartons in which to sort, stack and store it all. After all, it’s so much easier to defend organised rows of boxes than a rumpled mess of junk. And just think about how much more you can store in the space you save!


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How to… be a baby coochie-cooer













1.    ‘Awwww’ is your new best friend. No other expression in the language better expresses just how cute you find the baby / baby pic / baby video before you or the baby anecdote you just heard from a colleague. Make sure to use the inherent versatility of the phrase… a simple tweak of the pitch or tone and you have the perfect response to every coochie-coo-worthy situation. And of course, when faced with the truly, unutterably cute, be sure to elongate: ‘awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!’

2.    A true baby-coochie cooer doesn’t wait to just happen upon a cute kid or baby pictures from a friend. Being proactive is a must. If a friend or relative has a cute kid, add them on Facebook immediately, so you have free access to their kiddie pics and can post ‘awwww’ comments at will. If a neighbour (or a friend’s neighbour) has a cute kid, drop in often and ‘awwww’ in person. Just try not to make too much of a pest of yourself (i.e. turning up without any notice at dinner time and refusing to leave till you get a peek at the kid).

3.    We now enter slightly murky ethical territory, so pay close attention. You don’t always need to know the person whose baby you’re coochie-cooing over on social networking sites. That is, babies of friends of friends (or friends of friends of friends) on Facebook are fair game for you to ‘awwwww’ over (not in the comments, of course; that would be creepy considering they don’t know you). Please note: overstepping your bounds on this one may earn you less than flattering titles such as ‘baby stalker’.

4.    When you really, really need your cute-fix, the Internet can provide in other ways. Go on Youtube and you’ll discover legions of fellow baby coochie-cooers posting adorable videos of their tiny tots (ignore the inevitable trolling and flame wars, and focus on the cooing and awww-ing). Then you have websites of baby photographers such as Anne Geddes, and forums created by your baby-crazy brethren. (Just make sure you take a break often enough to avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and/or Cuteness Overload.)

5.    Finally, every baby coochie-cooer needs a real-life support group. By this I mean people around you who keep you regularly supplied with baby anecdotes and pictures (of their kids or their friend’s kids and so on, saving you some of that sneaking around on Facebook). Plus they join you in all the ‘awww-ing’, which is always most fun when enjoyed with fellow baby-coochie-cooers.


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How to… be a pop-culture junkie

  1. Be obsessive: You don’t just watch popular TV shows, movies, etc.; you immerse yourself in them. You notice and catalogue every detail and flaw (and rant about every tiny inaccuracy). You memorise entire segments of dialogue and own the soundtrack (no matter how obscure). You analyse every plot point and debate casting decisions as though you were producer or director. In short – embrace geekiness.
  2. Be proactive: A true pop-culture junkie doesn’t wait until the latest episodes of his favourite TV show eventually trickle into Indian channels (a six month lag? Shudder!). Or until a movie he’s been obsessing about for the past year comes to Indian theatres (possibly never). Online downloads are your new best friend. And if all else fails, there’s always a fellow geek in the U.S. or France or Turkey who can be your DVD supplier (thank god for eBay and Amazon.)
  3. Be argumentative: Cultivate strong opinions and then air them on online communities, forums and blogs dedicated to the icon/show/movie/book in question. Argue incessantly, incite flame wars, form rival factions and inevitably, splinter communities (with yourself as the supreme commander and moderator, of course). Remember, anyone who doesn’t agree with you is a troll.
  4. Be creative: Contrary to popular perception, pop-culture junkies don’t merely consume, eyes glazed over and brain disengaged. Apart from the long, rambling analyses and the intense arguments online (see above), there’s also the somewhat shadowy world of fan fiction (where rabid fans write their own stories based on the characters from a particular show/movie/book etc.). And then there’s fan art. And fan videos. And… you get the drift.
  5. Finally, spend, spend, spend. Whether it’s sci-fi movie memorabilia or classic movie posters or limited edition action figures or anniversary edition special disc sets, you’ve got to own them. They’re your badge of honour. Your point of pride. Fellow junkies judge your worth by them. Newbies worship you for them. You must bid obsessively on eBay; you must covet and collect and display with pride. It’s the price to pay for true junkie-hood.

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