Monday, September 26, 2011

I C 52

I C -52
A number that is your identity for the last 8 years and poof- it will be gone in 4 days. Restart address proofs, guards, friends, children's friends- Your life revolves around it- its just 4 walls but it’s the home that gave you everything…2 children, peace and a lot of turbulence that helped you grow into what you are today. I want to see the future and know that it will be better but there is just nothing to stop the tears welling to my eyes repeatedly.
And then I understand why grandparents always had ridiculous attachments’ to houses- coz they were filled with memories. Each corner of the house is reminiscent of some emotion. Bathrooms – anger!! Hubby never got the leaking taps done on time and they were never clean enough. Bathrooms- accomplishment coz the day you washed them yourself they shone like a baby’s bum. Intense , painful joy of when and where your son took the first step and fear of the corner where your daughter got her forehead hurt. Comfort from the falsely derived security of having your cook, dhobhi, grocer all around. Cheerfulness – from the south facing balcony that allowed you to enjoy lazy and sunny winter days. Little joys of bringing in something new that looked just perfect on the wall. The tarmac which was the walking path for all- where I made and lost many friends. The lawn – wickedness where many gossip sessions were revelled in. Kitchen – where you grew as a person and hopefully, as a cook. Where motherhood is tested every day as my son appeals to me to make some blondies and pancakes. Potent frustration – you have lost count of the maids that you couldn’t retain. Family reunions – laughing and eating and all revelry. The Diwali melas of senseless and once a year socialising with neighbours.
And effort in all that has gone into making the house a home- the yellow kitchen and how much I wanted the red chilli handles and how I settled for the golden capsicums ( visit to Chandni Chowk included). The puja cupboard that Mom designed perfectly; where I have spent many intense moments praying for a child, a job, calmness and some sense into the hubby! My bedroom which seemed the only haven for my sanity when too many guests were around.The bedroom door that banged everytime the balcony door was left open- how many maids have been told the cost of repairing the crumbling wall. The balcony where I would spend hours in with my son so that he could have 3 mouthfulls of khichdi and the concentrated discussions with other moms- would he ever outgrow this all?And how the house grew bigger as the children came into our lives and then too tiny to accommodate us all. Where will the bats and the skates go? Don’t play football in the lobby…where will the kids sleep when guests are around? I need a shoe cupboard for my daughter and me .
Everything is comfortable and familiar and I will be shaken. Much more than I can fathom. I will cope and enjoy the gold walls in my stunning new house. I will have a larger and sunny kitchen and more bedrooms and more space. But ‘ I C baawan’ you are my first. And you are special.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Its a Woman's World...If you Insist

My heels click ominously and I can feel the eyes boring down into my back..err backside. The corridor is decrepit and dingy, a red Zero watt bulb glowing at one end. I walk toward it wishing I hadn’t worn the snug pants today ( they did seem like a good investment). I enter the door, smile at the occupier of the office and probably one of the power centres of this country and gratefully sink into a sofa as he asks us to wait.
Its just another day at work and I dressed wrong for a visit to a government office. Reaching 37 is no solace, you should wear hanging clothes ( preferably gunny bags) when you visit the corridors. All those years of sitting on their backsides have equipped the endless peons with X ray vision. And the corridors are long…Anyway, the meeting starts and I enthusiastically propel forward and suddenly the man across the table winks! And I must give me credit, I continue without batting an eyelid but give him direct eye contact for another 30 seconds. And only women can empathise with this, your instinct tells you to get up and slap the jerk but you somehow miraculously finish making your point without losing your composure. So I then turn to the subordinate. He is a quintessential government servant, middle aged, paunchy and smug with bad English but continues to ramble on. And of course, he lives up to reputation. So he will not make eye contact..rather my chest seems to be the focal point. It’s a nice sensible cotton shirt and the saleswoman promised me that the buttonholes were slip proof so I steamroll. But you know, wishing that I could just quickly glance downward to see if ‘All is well’. I continue bravely despite a wink and a heave and the only relief is that it doesn’t rattle me anymore. (I later realized that the ‘gentleman’ in question was not staring at any ‘assets’ but just uncomfortable making eye contact with a woman!). We finish the meeting and I need a loo, I have a long drive ahead. It takes me 15 minutes to find one. It reminds me of my Granddad’s loo 30 years ago and I swear it had a chain!
I have never felt disadvantaged being a woman at work. First job had its sarkari overtones but I would charmingly smile my way with all the officers and even ensure that production orders were included after deadlines. I didn’t hesitate ever to use a smile..after all I could hardly back slap with the boss. And I refused to join them for a drink. I was teased about the inherent advantage but I would accept it as a strength. But I didn’t ever cross the line.
Fortunately 2 back to back pregnancies ensured that I was treated respectably and so it goes. It also helps to be a natural team player and ability to develop instant comfort with strangers. But last 3- 4 years have been an eye opener and the glass ceiling looms threateningly. The wrong heels, the tattoo showing and a genuine smile may suddenly interfere with you being perceived as competent. Suddenly, it seems sensible(and safer) to ask another woman where the toilet is and emotions at work are dangerous. You see when men can raise their voices they are only asserting themselves but women shouting or asserting is ‘Oh must be that time of the month again’.
It’s a constant dilemma and juggling of work and home life that we manage. And coupled with the fact that we live in an era of ‘lets make everything perfect’. I know that this is a hackneyed theme and feminist, been written about a countless number of times but the reality of it hits you only when you are in it. At the end of each day, I feel bone tired and wonder at the amount of pending items that I have closed but it still doesn’t seem enough. When will it be enough? Will the ‘Oh she is a woman’ tag always be a liability in the conference room? Or is it something that I must always work with and need to go the extra mile.
Parents brought us 2 sisters up never making us feel we were disadvantaged though Mom being Mom, would always sternly tell us to ‘sit properly’. As Mimi plays in the park without a care and I ask Mom to regularly courier bloomers ( they’re available only in small cities nowadays) so that she can be a free bird, it ‘s a daily dilemma I go through. What is the reality? Can she and I ever free ourselves of our gender and march onwards. Or is it a fine line? Or is it a myth?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

And Running it shall be

I consider myself a graceful woman. I may have a big err.. derriere but it has its advantages. I’m reasonably tall by Indian standards and mostly other women envy me for my height. And I can throw my head back and laugh, with ease …generally I’m cool. I’m not being arrogant. I can recall the countless times I have faded into oblivion at a party wishing that the earth would swallow me. Why did the Mom have to choose such ugly spectacle frames, doesn’t God realize how oily skin and big backsides can permanently mar a budding teenager’s confidence ( you gotta realize 20 years later that lack of confidence is a given!). You wish your Mom knew how to buy smart clothes for you, you wish your Dad had more money so that you could buy those ‘ Lose 5 kgs in 5 days’ pills ( so what if you passed out a couple of times), you wish that girls didn’t buzz to you coz you had good looking boy cousins and therefore demonstrated how exceptions make the rule..blah blah blah. But now I’m cool with who, what I am. Really..Ok my thighs can do with some urgent surgery which wont need to be too fine coz there is a lot of fat that can be hacked away by even a butcher, some bigger assets and some smaller ones will make the perfect picture. I wish I had a hubby who earned so much that I could get a liposuction without guilt. And some lazer and some princess cut solitaires. Ok ..I digress, lets get back to the point.
Obviously weight has been a ‘decising’ factor in my life.But being on an endless diet has somewhat achieved results. No matter what the magazines say, its diet and NOT a lifestyle change. I still could gobble half a dozen Snickers in one go, eat some cheesecake and gobble some buttered toast in a lifestyle change will let you do it. As recommended and as per fashion, I am a generally regular exerciser. Aerobics, gymming etc . But when you reach THIRTY SEVEN years of age , for some goddamn reason you want to challenge yourself. Which basically translated into endless nagging of the Lord to sign up for marathon running classes. So that I could tag along. And he, mind you, is quite content and smug about his growing I envy him. But nevertheless, he cooperated.
So we embarked and I took off. At aerobics, I always got the rhythm..the mirror in the hall didn’t scare me. Cardio at the gym was flattering and running on the treadmill is a self controlled activity so its easy to press the ‘down’ button if the panting gets too much. But when you sign up for a running class with other accomplished people ( who in their right mind would ever run 100 km in one go???) you are painfully reminded of all awkward and ‘let dharti mata please eat me up’ moments in one go. Coz its easy to start off ..for precisely 150 m. Then the throat starts parching and the tongue drops out as ungracefully as it can. So you remember the tips on breathing and decide to inhale deeply. And that makes you further lose your breath and you give the patiently running hubby a dirty glare. I’ll figure out later why but its gotta be his fault, right? So he slows down so that you can walk and empathetically tells you to ‘do whatever feels comfortable’. So you stop midway ( grateful that he has goofed up yet again but for once at the right time) and in a ‘only for the hubby tone’ which is controlled and sharper than a butcher’s knife challenge him “ So you think I can’t do it? You Iyengars are so arrogant”. He fumbles and responds “ I just want you to be OK”. Me “ I would be OK if you could encourage and be a positive influence in my life”. He “ baby, Of course you can do it”. Me “Harrmmmffff”. Run off.
150 m later ( a marathon is 42000 m only), me “ Lord, I think my flat foot’s a problem” He, sighing gratefully, “ yes of course..thts it..else you would have finished by now”.
Walk for 50 m , then get embarrassed that I will not fit into my mind’s super woman, so I start running, actually err doing the filmi run to your hero in slow motion kind of desperate movement. Arms flay around helplessly, feet drag ( Melvin the instructor has told me that I must land on the balls of my feet when I run). At this point I could tell him a thing or two about balls and how they can be crushed and give pain a new meaning. But nevertheless, my Mama told me that hard work pays off. So I drag feet further and I inhale and hence the lord gets even dirtier looks. He finally slinks away running as fast as his feet can carry him ensuring that I cant catch up. Harrmmmfff. Never mind, I shall not give you the pleasure by divorcing you. He will stay with me and be subjected to everyday torture just like I have to endure in this ridiculous running class.
And as you drag yourself to the finishing line and the others cheer you ( I’m a trainer..I know cheering is only for losers, you …losers) you smile and inhale. Oxygen precludes you and the head is pounding and the knees don’t hold you up and you collapse with your derriere et height. Grace is not happening. Running is not happening. The Lord is praying to Tirupati Balaji fervently.

The author is proud to report that she ran 3.2 km this morning stopping every 20 m. That is an improvement from last week’s ‘Stopping at every 10 m’. My Mama taught me perseverance.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bouncing Back

I think I'm ready to start again. Will gather up the time to do a post... soon.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


U never know u leave memories and aspects of yoursef with people you've interacted with..till u get this ..even in tough times

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!
--Rudyard Kipling

Thursday, June 4, 2009


After a year of being here, I am finally managing to get the hang of the blogging world. Takes me back to a basic principle of life that I learnt a looong time ago- The more you give, the more you get. So the thumb rule, we operate is on, dear girl ,is to visit other blogs AND leave a comment. And then the other one I learnt in corporate life : its not about performance alone, its about perception and image. U gotta tell your star stories sometimes. Its all about community, a brotherhood, a sisterhood, a peoplehood who are tied together for a common cause: to create a cacophony by ranting all they want. Only the cacophony is silent; punctuated and interrupted by some pertinent issues coming up, some strange inexplicable bonds and lyalties being formed. And I"M LOVING IT!!!
But Ahem, here are some hard facts that I am trying to grapple it. ( And I do work in an IT company but technophobe is the word for me). So please help, you much more arrived people.
1. How does one keep a blogroll? ( I am trying but cant figure out the link)
2. How does one monitor the hits ( I am trying but where is the 'button')
3. How does one efficiently manage one's time in the blogging space ( considering I can devote about 30-45 mins everyday) ( And I am obsessed about being planned for everything I do)
4. How does one change a banner to suit one's own purpose? ( there only seem to be standardized formats, layouts) hence my blog looks like how I start looking when I have piled on the kgs : desperately uncoordinated except that one has put one hazaar effort in getting the ensemble together. And the fat ALWAYS shows!!

Any other useful hint ( Mummy ke nuske would be mucho appreciated)

5. So please please some kind person, please offer some simple , simple suggestions. (Eg : First see the top panel of your screen, do u see something blue & white, OK. Do u see the word layout written there)...u get the drift?
This is a personal cry for help...

Btw- wanted to thank MadMomma



Monday, May 25, 2009

Of Facts and Fiction

‘The Folk of the Faraway Tree’ by Enid Blyton, though read nearly 25 years ago , continues to be my favourite book. In this book, Enid Blyton has put together a wonderful motley of characters: The beaming Moonface, The surly SaucePan, the Dame Washalot (she washed clothes sitting on a tree and threw soap water down the bark!), the 4 children who visited this surreal, magical tree (which by-the –way is in an enchanted forest) which reached beyond the clouds where a ‘different land’ visited each week. Lemme see if I can remember the lands – The Land of Nursery Rhymes where Jack, Jill, Miss Muffet , etc all ACTUALLY lived, the Land of Happiness, the Land of Marvels, the Land of Know it all..etc etc. Enid Blyton of course wove in a story with some morals thrown in, but for me it always represented charm, desire and left me breathless with awe! I would spend hours fantasizing how I would react if I reached this fantastic tree. And you’re right, if I still remember it and have a precious copy still retained- it has shaped some of my ideals and principles in life.

Since I have partially successfully negotiated with Mimi and Ta to now sleep on a cozy mattress next to our bed, they rightfully demand a story every night. Personally, the regular fairy tales don’t find favour with me anymore – they stereotype so many roles in life- Snow White with her fairness, step mothers with their cruelness, physically unappealing men are ‘beasts’ , u get the drift..? So the Lord and I struggle every night, making up stories and hoping that they convey some ‘important lesson’ intertwined with wonder; lizards that threaten to eat up innocent joeys ( that’s baby kangaroos) and the odd gigantic joey who is orstracized by his peers because of his size but heroically saves the joeys from the menacing lizard and subsequently finds favour with all his friends. But here’s the thing ; I don’t know how much of fantasy is ‘allowed’ and what part must be fact?

While intently listening to Lord’s story the other night, I heard him correct Ta and Mimi’s understanding on animal habitat. I on the other hand, would have loved to build on their train of thought – let the tigers reach clouds and let the monkeys swim in the water. Let them imagine gardens of chocolates and Maggi noodles in the water. Let them think that you could run away and then learn to fly. While I am still old fashioned enough to insist that their respective girlfriends/ boyfriends must be of the OPPOSITE sex- I wonder whether the new age cartoon heroes like Ben-10 are inspiring enough? Are heroes characters that save the regular people from evil influences or so they attempt to break all conventional themes?

Its common knowledge that each new generation usually represents agile minds and far more confidence than its preceding one. As the Lord likes to point out, I swell with pride, when Ta (lemme reiterate – all of 4 years) will casually mention that Mangoes and Carrots have copious amounts of Vitamin A and Lemons are a good source of Vitamin C. But just the other day one of the society children-probably 6 years old, refused to get a particular cycle horn ( it has police, fire engine, ambulance sirens as options) since it would cause noise pollution. I was immediately impressed but then the nag happened.
I and many more of my generation would have loved to get such a horn. We would have played chor-police and chased the thieves all over the neighborhood. Mangoes were never ( and never will be ) a source of Vitamin A. They will always represent warm summers, juices trickling down them chins, mom stripping us down to bloomers and slips so that one of our 3 sets of clothes were not permanently scarred. Stories were usually learnt through books that had boring text printed all over but something enthralling lay beyond those black and white words. Society kids got together to become the local ‘Famous Five/ Secret Seven’ gangs who solved mysteries. Of course, we just ended packing up sandwiches ( jam & kheera NOT ham and cheese!) and Rasna and trekking up the local hillock that we defiantly named ‘The Black Mountain’ .

I hear and read about 2nd lives now. As to how you can ‘be’ anyone that you want to. How online games help you attain world supremacy and its good for books to have ‘large pictures’ elucidate the situation. But I wonder there is too much structure around? Are we focusing too much on facts and leaving out the fiction? Is the popularity of reality shows an indication of how deep rootedly ‘practical ‘ we are now becoming? Is Fact and experience becoming the same thing?

Now don’t get me wrong- I don’t worry about the kids or the new generation. I don’t lament about futures and past; each generation inherits legacies and possibilities and so the cycle goes …but can the magic of a Disney world only be experienced at an amusement park? Do we need to do more?