Friday, December 10, 2010

A Decade of living.....

Had a rocking party the other day, danced like the possessed, and found myself thinking.... whats changed? Not much.... the spirit remains the same, the technique remains the same... So, have I changed? If I have, do I resent it? And then I think - what else has changed? Thought I would finally face the truth, and bravely list them out.... So here goes....

10. Wardrobe : From colors and cuts that can only be called outrageous by the conservative, and unconventional by the less rigid, to a self imposed exile to prim and proper outfits; wherein I attempt to cover as many physical flaws as I can!
9. Larder : From maggi noodles and cup-a-noodle, wafers and coke to baby food, multi grain bread and sprouts (that means all the former stuff are today eaten out of the perimeter of home kitchen)

8. Telephone calls : From maximum number of calls to the significant other in my life a decade ago, today the name comes a far second. The first place is shared between the day care center of the kids, daughter's tutor, the school van driver, the home delivery place, the laundry guy and the domestic help (yeah .. she has a mobile - and a swanky new model too)

7. Celebrations : From partying all night and waking up to a bright new afternoon, to falling asleep in the middle of a late night movie and waking up tripping all over the furniture to throw the alarm clock into oblivion....

6. Emotions : From blushing at the drop of a hat to open eyed horror at the bubbly new young things in the neighborhood.

5. Nomenclature : From 'babe' to 'didi' to 'ma'am ' to 'bhabhi' ..... to the word I hear a million times a day.. "Mommyeeeeeeee......"

4. Worries : From which classes to bunk, or which outfits to wear..... to which vaccinations are due for the kid, and what terrible things the teacher might have to tell me during PTA. Ofcourse, this is closely followed by the EMIs and the Tax saving schemes ......

3. Dream job : From the snazzy, high profile job that has 15 working hours, followed by late night parties and a suitably fancy sounding designation, to a place where I can rush out the door any time of the day screaming, "Mayday, mayday..... pea shoved up nose of 3 year old.... will catch you guys tomorrow, or maybe day after....." and everyone nods empathetically....

2. Hobbies : My first resume says 'badminton, basketball, reading, music' ....... today my resume DOES NOT have a hobbies heading. But if it were acceptable, i'd write "Playing peek-a-boo, cleaning little toys with toothbrush and dettol, research on the best diaper brands, and devising ingenious methods to feed fussy toddlers"

And finally the numero uno......

1. Happiness : From jumps of joy at recieving presents and going out partying, to uncontrollable joy at watching my kids smile in their sleep, or learning to swim, or wiggling their little bottoms to the latest chartbusters......

What can change in a decade? Apparenty, quite a bit! Do I resent any of it? Well guess what? Not one bit! I know I speak for mothers all over the world.... We'd do it all over again!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Creator and me

Dear God : How do I know you exist?

GOD : My child, you were surrounded by love from the moment that you were born. Who do you think put all the right people at the right times in your life....?

but God, what about the people who caused me pain and tears?
GOD : What about the lessons I tried to teach you through them? Would you have learnt from Amar Chitra Katha?

I understand God, but what about the times I have lost miserably, cried inconsolably and bled profusely in my life?
GOD : Dear child, how would you ever know the pleasure of winning, or the warmth of a hug or the comfort of sleep without these? And how do you think the sun comes out every morning, even if you thought the night would never end?

Hmmmm..... but God, why was I oh so lonely in some of the darkest moments of my life? Why were You not there with me?
GOD (smiling with the patience only He can have): Oh my dear child, how you have misunderstood My ways.... every dark moment in your life only brought you closer to Me. In the dark, you could not see, not understand your path. Yet you found the right path... do you really think you could have done that all ALONE?

I understand now, God. And sorry I forgot to thank You - for the sun coming out every single day, for the people who walk in and out of my life as if it were a rehearsed skit; for the relief that comes when I think of You watching over me.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Guilty as Charged!

There are times in my life when I just want to kick the daylights out of some acquaintances. And then there are times when I wish I could kick myself really hard! Today seems to be one of those days when I feel the latter.

Each one of us have emotions that bring out the worst in us. Anger for many, depression for some, even sarcasm or meanness for some! Guess what my achilles heel with respect to emotions is? Guilt! I can put my feet in my mouth and still leave enough room for another couple of feet when I feel guilty.

I stand charged of making a friend go through hell for me. And I have been blissfully unaware, a tad inconsiderate, wouldn't you think? Add insult to injury, and I discover this friend is actually apologetic that things did not turn out the way I wanted it to.

I had been careless, reckless and frankly, quite immature in managing things at my end. I call up this friend who does not know how to say 'No'... (ofcourse I choose my friends well !)... and tell her to wrap up for me. I knew I was asking for the moon, but I figured things would just fall into place!

Well, we all know what they say about assuming, right? Things went just the way they shouldn't have. And I was absolutely untouched by it all. Honestly, would have felt much better if I got a kick from everyone who went through the trouble to help me out with this one!

You know who you are - sorry friend, for putting you through this.... hope I get the chance to apologize in person!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Twisted Justice?

We all know about the "stick-your-tongue-out" routine kids pull off, right? It symbolizes rude defiance, a salvaged ego sometimes, or even a much enjoyed revenge. Innocent though it may seem, we all have our tongue-out moments ......

I was in the metro yesterday - yes, the very same mode of transportation that changed the way Delhizens travelled. I am not a regular, but I enjoy the adventure sometimes. I had heard of the controversial ladies compartment in the metro. Controversial because about 75% of my male friends and around 15% of my lady friends (and mind you most of them are non metro users - so this is all heresay in the court of law!!) are against this development. Well, I decided to check it out myself.

There are pink (one would think we outgrew pink in school....) markings on the platform indicating the ladies' coach would be stopping there. Unless travelling with a male species who looks adult, women line up near the pink marking when the metro approaches. There is a strange feeling of peace amongst the women when the metro arrives.... ofcourse the pushing and the scurrying for seats happen, but at a more confident pace. Women from all walks of life, all ages and all mindsets - modern new age as well as traditionally outfitted, demure women, find their space in the coach. It is amusing to see 4 machine gun toting law enforcers in the coach - two at the entrance and two inside it..... (am quite sure they are amused as well!!).

Noticed something ..... there was a sense of happy abandon here. No looking over the shoulder to see who had just leaned on you by mistake, no frantic adjustments of clothing to ensure no one is focusing the wrong anatomy, no looking away from sneering eyes that looked at you, discussions about home, kids, work, life in volumes that are normal, instead of whispering....

Are we really this happy to be left alone? Are we really so paranoid of the opposite sex? Do we need such dramatic interventions to give us this feeling of this care-a-damn happiness while travelling with strangers? Did I enjoy the ride ? Ofcourse I did!!! But the most important question of all - is it fair?

My take on this : Ofcourse not! You could see the glares and the disgust on their faces. The glares for the exclusivity we got, and the disgust for the weakness we showed in accepting the exclusivity. Not fair on the men at all!

But then again, whether it is exclusive coaches, or the harrowing travel for a woman on a crowded bus or train - whoever said life was fair? Its that tongue out moment guys..... grin and bear it!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Blessing in Disguise

Okay! I admit it! I am a slave to the pleasures of having your own car. I have been denying it to the world, stating my minimalistic ideals in life. Always claimed that 'the car' was only a tool to help me survive the many roles I play....

Well, all that came crashing down when my car broke down, in a very martyrdom fashion, right outside my gate late one evening, just when all I could think of was a shower and sleep. Needless to say, my world got sucked into the black hole of "How do I"s..... And the fact that all the answers had to come from the already exhausted cells in my brain, did not reduce my misery.

Thus began my road to rediscovery! I had to plan the next day frantically, and had to leave earlier than usual, because I know I usually drive a little past the speed limits...... and today no such feat was going to happen!

In my part of the world, we have this unbelievable carrier called the cycle rikshaw (or 'rikshaaaaaa...' as Delhizens like to call it). Unbelievable because the driver is a fine line between heroic and suicidal - the way he pulls the rickshaw through the rogue traffic. Being in the passenger seat is no less thrilling than a barefoot walk on hot coals. I had to take one of these to reach a place where I would find a motorised version of the same - an auto rikshaw!

The cycle rikshaw guy was a weird fellow who sang loudly, and sang louder to get passers by to move out of his way. And I really didn't like the glances that came my way. But my 2 year old certainly was enjoying himself, bobbing up and down with every pothole on the road, and shaking his head to every change in the singer's pitch!

Finally, I told him to turn the volume down. The guy turns around to look at me, and stops singing. I am sure he was disappointed that I didn't appreciate his nasal rendition of the latest chart buster! He still looked sullen when i paid him and said thank you... But he did smile back at my son who gave him a winning smile and a bye-bye wave to match.

After dropping my son off, I had the next phase of my journey - the auto ride of about 40 minutes. I was dreading the ride - the heat, the dust, the pollution, and did I mention the heat...? I finally found one auto with a driver who looked less likely to fight out a bargain, and parked myself into the metallic sauna. It seemed to be music day because this guy blares his crackling radio to its capacity. Again, I told a sulky guy to tone down the volume.

After a few minutes, the wind blowing into the auto, and the traffic looking less dismal than usual, one could actually see green trees and some birds too. The buildings too, looked much better and I saw some details I had somehow, managed to miss on my daily commute to work. Kids in uniform, running to reach school..... Grandparents with kids holding on to their finger while walking.... Young go-getters rushing to reach there faster ..... Mothers waiting at the roadside with their kids for the school bus ...all kinds of pleasant distractions. Roadside vendors sprucing up their shops ..... there seemed to be some kind of cheerfulness I usually missed on my everyday hurried clutch-brake-gear-accelerator routine..... and I discovered I was now tapping my foot to the music and smiling - just like that!

After a little while, it felt like floating .... thinking about nothing in particular, and yet about so much happening all around me. It suddenly dawned on me, I was in the passenger seat - not driving, not able to really do much except be carried to a destination. Much like life itself, really. Would life be as simple if one realised that one can only do so much and that the rest has to be left to a higher power? Are the dilemmas and uncertainties of our lives that we find so disturbing, actually a blessing from the heavens? My car break down certainly was!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Induction to the Rest of Our lives

Many of us were with parents or local guardians. Many were proud to have landed there alone - albeit after many misadventures. One thing that was common among all of us was the anticipation, the fear, the exhilaration, the butterflies in tummies... the first day of college.

The sight which greeted us did nothing to clear away the tension - whether it was the potholes in front of the minuscule building, or the sinister looking guys who could have been either our seniors, or the local mafia! From the first day we walked into that building, till the last farewells, we were learning.

The learning curve was a straight line; and we were clumsily stepping over everyones' toes, including our own, trying to learn the ropes! Some of the "Firsts" we learnt in the little white building, the red-bricked, thatched roof restaurant and the 'natural' cafeteria of our college:

1. The first time we Laughed at the face of adversity - literally! We had 'sessions' with our seniors, were nervous to the pit of our stomachs, but ended up giggling like nervous Mr.Bean - causing only the 'sessions' to be more intensive. We then grew to laughing about the prospects of failing a year, getting beaten up by unfriendly local population, not getting a job..... and many more....

2. The first time we wore a 6 meter drape called sari, or tied the chef scarf. Also would like to add ... not just wearing them, but also washing them, ironing them and stealing whatever piece we had lost! We also learnt to flick knives, whisks, chef caps, aprons..... just so that we could attend a class we would otherwise get thrown out of. Heard of beg, borrow, steal? We added life to that !

3. The first time we slept with our eyes open - an art mastered after intensive training in the Samudra classrooms, especially after the challenging lunch! Other things included completing journals (I could write a whole essay on THAT one!), writing scandalous chits to one another, honing finer skills like dreaming, flirting, caricature and food-tasting!

4. The first time we ate fish, meat, rubber......oops beef, and everything resembling food that was on the plate without complaining.... ofcourse, we would go and kick the batchmate who made it later! Not to mention the first time we were coerced into eating dessert with a generous helping of table salt -we call it innovation. And how can we forget the frustration of having to eat meat with cutlery - while avoiding eye contact with seniors!

5.The first time we sat in/rode/owned a real bike! From identifying Yamahas, Hero Hondas, Yezdis, Suzuki samurai and bullets, we graduated to the art of identifying whose bike had just turned round the corner. Also the first time most of us have fallen off / flown of a moving bike! And we all had proud scars to show off!

6. The first time we tasted Ethyl alcohol ... in class. For the record, it was called cocktail session and the end of the class saw a lot of multiple personality disorders.... this progressed to many million gallons finding their way into our lives !

7. The first time we knew what 'fluttering heart' meant... ofcourse, hearts on sleeves, heart aches and heart breaks all followed in due course.....

8.The first time we understood what 'Politically correct' meant - by doing the politically wrong thing first. It is a wonder how we managed to have broken every rule in the book ..... and be pulled out of trouble by the most unexpected quarters! Also must mention here, the first time we felt the practical hues of the words 'playing politics' !

9. The first time we put our lives (or whatever we thought was worth our lives) in the hands of friends... creating bonds that were to last for a long time. The first time we fought someone else's battles, cried someone else's loss, covered someone else's mistake, paid someone else's bills...... we discovered friendship!

10. First time words meant more than words - Attitude problem, counselling, journals, Sitara, Gokulam, Oberoi Interviews, Fandango, Vellar gang, Chefcomp, ATKT - condoned...... and many more. The times we laughed till we cried or the times we discovered emotions ranging from envy, jealousy, inferiority, superiority, to infatuation.

We are one of the lucky ones .... One could fill pages with the memories from the little white building and the red bricked restaurant and the amazing natural cafeteria...... but words wouldn't do them justice, would they?

Monday, March 8, 2010

And then He made Woman.....

Why do men complain they don't understand women? I mean we all know the millions of jokes that are floating around on the net, in conversations, in joke books and in our minds when it comes to women - they way they talk, walk, drive, plan, on of course, shop!

But ask a woman and she'll tell you how really simple the woman's world is!! Ten rules in our rulebook (there are a hundred others, but don't want to scare you....)

1. We love to love - we are smitten by the feeling of love... and not just for the children and the man (or men - what the heck!!) in our lives. It also extends to the little stray pup in the neighbourhood, and the characters out of a good tearjerker! So please don't laugh at our feelings of love!

2. We are perfectly capable of doing 1o different things at the same time. We mange to do household chores while on the phone, or on the T.V. We manage to plan the route to the local grocers to include the letter drop off, the electricity bills, the social visit to the old aunt, the school pick up of the kids and the hairstylist....... Remember the joke about the shortest route to the shop and back? This is the reason why!! The men in our lives - please understand, we have a microchip in our brains that help us program all this, and so don't EVER repeat that joke again!

3. We have a memory chip in our brains - especially where events, words, dates and fights are concerned. And when all of these combine together, the memory is burned into the chip - and will surface at regular intervals - 50 years later too!! Tough luck! You can help by writing stuff down in your diaries so that we hit the same page, and we don't have to clarify "when did I ever say that?"

4. We like - no - love the right words. So even if you don't mean it, please use them sometimes. We know you don't mean any of it, but it just helps remind us who you conned us into believing you were!! And helps us remain in love with you (refer point number one!!)

5. We understand colors, weather, and moods a few shades better than the dictionary. Actually, we insisted on putting up the colors that exist there already. The reason again, is the little chip called 'intuition' that causes this disconnect from normal mortals. Please learn to appreciate this gift, or at least not ridicule it! ( After all, we don't ridicule the time machine in your head that makes you a 6 year old every time you see a cricket match!)

6. We care what you think, and what the neighbors think, and what the lady at the bookstore thinks... which means we are careful dressers and match our accessories for the trip to the local bank. Again it is worth your while to remember that these were the very traits that made you think we are perfect.... so please learn to live with it!

7. We have a huge friends circle, and we love to keep expanding it. We have acquaintances from work, the neighborhood, the kids' school, the sweet lady we met in the train, and of course our friends from school still meeting up once in a while! At least remember a few of the names!!

8. Many of us are not good with navigation, but then, we do know which ice cream flavor YOUR great aunt loves.... so we are even!!

9. We love the kids as much as you do, rest assured. Someone has to scream at them for the general good of all mankind - so why not let us do the dirty job in peace?

10. We take up jobs which no one wants - make the 'caves' beautiful, make the kids beautiful, play the politically correct relative, remember the occasions AND be the ones calling up to wish occasions, meeting the kids' teachers when we KNOW we are going to be appalled at what we will definitely hear from them .................. can you blame us for wanting a little pat on the back (would be better if it was a nice rub on the back, with lavender oil... but nonetheless ...... ) once in a while??

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Growing up

You turn in your sleep,
And I inch away, just a step
I smile at your joke,
The one I forgot to laugh at.
Your hair, the way you want to wear
Just like me.. I forgot to say
I am pleased that you want to.

You said you would your laces tie,
You can brush your hair just right.
You have learnt to smile when you don't want to..
And not cry when you want to.

You know when to tell me
The things I wish to hear, and also
Things I do not want to...
My dear, you're growing up.

I wish to give you my princess,
Every happiness I have felt, and instead
Take from you each time,
That pain crosses your path.

Fearful I am now, for I think
Of when you face the world, gentle one
With the grace of a lily,
But also the power of a storm..
Always, may God be with you
My dear, you're growing up.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Second Chance

"Sometimes life gives you a second chance with people. Not just lovers and family but people who you missed befriending. Grab that second chance before it goes. It’s almost always great. And people who are meant to be part of your life – will be a part of your life. No matter what you do to push them away." ..........

A dear friend wrote this on facebook (yeah, yeah, we all have an addiction to that too), and it struck me as so basic, and so profound at the same time. Isn't this the story of all our lives? Haven't we all walked away from all the "What ifs..." in our lives feeling a little hollow inside? Do we trust our intuition as much as we should? I don't know about you, but I certainly have done so. And as my good friend had written, it almost always comes back to you - in another form, in another situation, another frame of mind..... and poof! it hits you... "Why didn't I do this earlier?"
Whether it is the classmate you studied with for years, and didn't know existed till you were pitched together in an adverse environment.... or its the sibling or cousin who was just another face in the family photo till you discovered how similar you both were..... or the colleague who was just a warm body - till you discovered the high ideals they lived by, or the difficulties they live through to reach where they have today. Why do we always let destiny determine who we will strike a relationship with - even one of hatred?

Don't believe me? Think of the worst enemy you have. Why are you enemies? Because the person is a "bad" person? Or because your expectations from this person was not lived up to? Lets be honest - the face of my biggest enemy might be the face of your best friend... (well ok, that was a dialogue from a movie...) then who has determined that person's role in your life? Not you, for sure! You may make the decision, but you certainly aren't making an unbiased one!

I have had situations where I have been so blinded by what I had heard or read, that I had already formed an opinion about the person I was going to interact with. Not bad to research. But should we allow our intellect be clouded by an others'?

And yet other occasions where I have lived with the effect of a singular statement, act, or appearance to haunt all my future interactions with a person. Only to be rudely reminded by Destiny that I was wrong in my choice. Choice of reaction; choice of turning a situation into a more favourable one; choice of making one more meaningful relationship in my life.

Thank you Jyo, for writing this statement out! I have been determined hence, to HELP destiny determine my 'What ifs' .... after all, they are MY 'What ifs' too!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vanity thy name ...

Happy new year! The nip in the air is getting to be a little more irritating than I thought! Well, this too shall end. And when it does, we shall be cribbing of the heat.

Just food for thought..especially for all you HR guys out there...what is an MNC? I had to write a blog dedicated to the HR manager of a particular MNC that sent in a mail, and then a call to speak about a job position in their company. Nothing new in that, even if I must turn around and ask - shouldn't you wait for a mail reply before you call up the person again?

Well, this gentleman was a very interesting dude. He had what you could call a chip on his 'MNC' shoulder. When he was introducing himself, he did mention something about seeing my profile or something. Well, there I was, basking in the glory of having completed a Train the Trainer successfully, and this very interesting gentleman decides he wants to have some ego massaging conversation. So he calls.

I like to play this very entertaining game... especially if the person on the other side has an accent that looks somewhere in between Texas and Jhumri Taliya. One of the most interesting questions was "So u've never worked in an MNC?" (the 'r' s rolling and the 't's hissing).

Now I began smiling to myself.... heres my entertainment channel for the day! So I start using the accent my dear friend taught me of a 'humble and simble' Indian. Enough to say, this guy really didn't know what hit him. He took a minute to recheck my resume, and then fumbled something that sounded like he wanted to catch a flight or a rocket or something...

Which brings me back to my original train of thought.... what is an MNC ? Well, I do agree there are best practices that exist there which the whole world apes. But tell me, did the people who work in those MNCs get cloned in a lab or something? If thats the case, well, our good friend HR-Guy-from-MNC was truly just having a fun time calling up people to talk to!

But my guess is, MNCs are made up of culturally diverse people who learn the art of adaptation quite quickly, and contribute to the existing culture. Well, guess what? Many Indian companies are success stories too. Just like many MNCs are failures too.

And my take on the English language? Well, its essential to know the international language well, but then again "No one cares that you know till they know that you care"...... ciao all, and a Happy twenty ten !!