Swimming in an ocean of thoughts.....

Ask me no questions and i shall tell you no lies :)

Monday, March 30, 2015

How much is too much?

During my childhood days, I have often seen aunties around bargaining with the vegetable and fruit vendors over a rupee and a little more. My mother never bargained much, except when she genuinely felt that she was paying a little more than what the commodity was worth. Ever since, a question always bothers me in the back of my head. How much is too much? Only now, my questioning perspective has broadened from the bargaining aspect to the other ‘issues’ that are silently encroaching into our mindsets, lifestyles and perception of the world around. The question however, remains the same. How much is too much?

For instance, take the example of the AIB roast where humour was way below the belt. Opinions overflowed. People were trolled. Debates happened and a lot more on the lines- The nation wants to know....blah! I have nothing against all of this. But, as an entertainer who engages his audience, how did not this thought cross his mind, “Does everyone perceive humour the way I do?” The basic issue is, we assume the world thinks the way we do. For instance, take Deepika Padukone, who has lent her voice to the recently viral video on empowerment of women. She has mentioned about the choices in a woman’s life (some of which don't make sense to me) and that, 'she is no choice for nobody'. Damn right she is about 'she is no choice for nobody'! But has she wondered, for which women was this video made? For those who are helpless examples of the adage - Beggars cannot be choosers? When DP, after having undergone depression came out a survivor in her own right, given the luxury of understanding parents and a psychiatrist, came up on this video, I wondered how easy it was for her to represent women empowerment and how uphill task it would have been for her, to work towards it. Many don’t have 'a choice', milady, the way you are offered in a platter! The video is not engaging, It is annoying. The lesser said, the better.

The more I talk about social networking, the more I rant about it. Initially, I had a love hate relationship with social networking. Off late, the hate percentage has ramped up. Nothing is normal. Everything has to be discussed no matter, how ridiculous the topics are. Not to mention, social networking sensationalizes even an octopus like Paul the Nostradamus of Football (RIP, Paul). We have crossed over into an age where people battle on twitter grounds, share unnecessary pictures and excessively boring selfies on Instagram and share a lot of unauthenticated information on FaceBook, leading to misguided anger, baseless opinions and daft arguments. Like, the recent picture of a woman showing off her stained paijamas to the world made headlines for what? Instagram took it down. And what shocked me, that many were furious that the picture was removed and they called the current mindset misogynist and what not. 'misogynist' I accept but NOT for this bullshit reason! A woman menstruating is normal. Agreed. It is like nature’s call. Agreed. It is natural. Agreed. But, what was the idea behind posting something like that on a social networking site and garner 'likes' and 'comments' alike? Whatever the idea was, I do not like it! And it bothers me as to, what this world is coming to? Fighting for taking down a pic when there are serious issues that need some serious addressing? And I wonder, what are you going to post next, how many times you get nature’s call? Get a life! DUH!

A couple of days back, I witnessed an accident near my place. A girl riding her two wheeler was hit by a four wheeler and was injured. She was unable to move. Her leg was fractured. My mom and I reached the spot only to find a huge crowd hovering over the poor girl. We gave the girl some water and asked people around if help had been called for. None answered. Half an hour had already passed and passer bys stopped to give suggestions on what need be done. I immediately called for the ambulance. The moment I made the call, a boy standing next to me made a call too. After a couple of minutes he says, “Ma’am, I have called for an auto. You can ask the ambulance not to come.”. I blew my top and burst, “Couldn't you have called an auto earlier especially, when so many autos had already stopped by?” (as mentioned by few bystanders) What I observed is, whenever there is an accident, about 90% come over to watch someone’s misery. The 10% do their job of calling for help or taking the person to the hospital. I was surprised at the manner in which a few guys hovered over the girl, not one offering help. Each one of them was busy texting. (I wonder if that is the first thing you do when you see an accident). By the time, the girl was loaded in the auto, it was already past an hour. Until then, people watched, discussed what need be done, argued over suggestions and intermittently prodded about the car that hit her. But, none called for help. And, I wonder again, where are we falling behind? What are we lacking? Somewhere, the need to act has taken a backseat in this gamut of sharing too much of ‘intellect’. Sad, but true.

Somewhere, we need to draw a line. We need to sit back and think, “Does the world have to know everything about my life?” This rage is rabid enough to turn friends to foes, break marriages and turn healthy discussions into uncouth arguments. What has been left behind, is murder of personal space. Somewhere, the individual’s voice has drowned in the cacophony of opinions, a result of mob mentality. We have failed to ask ourselves, “How much is too much?” 

Rightly said.

Labels: , ,

Some delightfully crazy experiences of a 'three plus year old' mother.

As a mother I have often observed myself in too many avatars. Loving mother, angry mother, sulking mother, enthusiastic mother, emotional mother, worried mother, ‘lost in thoughts’ mother, crying mother, laughing mother, ‘sleeping with eyes open’ mother, feverish mother, tired mother and a hyper active mother too! Did I forget to mention, a multitasking mother? It is here I must mention that I have surprised myself in improbable ways. Talk about patience. I thought I never had it. Not that I have mastered it now or, am the most patient mother on earth. Far from it! However, I have transformed from an active volcano to a dormant one. (explodes occasionally yet unpredictably). After all those sleepless nights of nursing my little one, cleaning baby poop, wearing maternity gowns and bras, cuddling the little one on the slightest outcry and a lot more, motherhood has definitely made me a better woman. Not to mention, a bold multi-tasker too. However, what I gathered from being a mother is, you can never plan something in your head and execute it the way you planned. Motherhood is all about learning and unlearning and then, learning again. Speaking of which, here are some of my delightfully crazy experiences, albeit concealing a few lessons!

Motherhood changes you in every way imaginable. Physically - yes. Hormonal-ly -yes. Mentally- yes. Priorities - Big time. But the most important thing, I have learned as a mother is to hold my horses when the urge to react/respond/retort was on the verge of touching the sky, given the fact that my son leaves no stone unturned in bungling my anger management routine. Sometimes, I sit back and look at him when he sleeps. His perfectly cherubic face overflows with unfathomable innocence. For a second, I forget about the dangerous mischiefs he resorts to, like chasing poisonous spiders of all sizes, calling out to the langoors outside or trampling any kind of insect, big or small under his tiny feet, totally oblivious to the fact that they could be poisonous too. His olive shaped eyes, his little sharp nose, his small pout and his calm demeanor (only when he sleeps) makes me feel as if I am the worst parent on earth for having shouted, hollered and at times, giving this little cuppy cake of mine, the treatment of ‘Don’t spare the rod’, leaving him crying his lungs out as though, “whatever did I do that you are so angry with me?”. (A strong word of caution: Never ever read books on parenting when you are gestating your bundle of joy !). So have I learnt, children have to be made to understand the meaning of a line drawn, a frontier, a boundary, from a very young age, given the deteriorating social fabric of this world. These days, I help my son understand, how dangerous mischief can lead to big problems such as a spider bite could give you boils all over the body (My son already suffered one instance). A year back, my son used to climb on the dining table and call out to me and say, “Mom! I am going to jump”. My first reaction was, “No! You are going to get hurt! Please!” The episode continued for weeks. Hubby after noticing my exasperation asked me to step aside and said, “Ok Son! Jump! You will enjoy it!”  And, A jumped only to realize that the ‘it’ his father referred to, was pain! Children learn certain gospels of life from their own experience no matter how much as a parent we fan over them. Of course, he has comprehended laws of gravity in his own way and, is cautious with heights.

The second thing I learned is, parenting is a journey of erudition and thrills. It is like giving an exam. Only you are not aware of the syllabus. You just need to comprehend the way this little budding mind thinks and perceives the world around. When parenting forums in social media were rife about ‘what a child should eat’, ‘when a child should sleep’, ‘should the child watch tv or not’, ‘how should a child study?’ et al, I was busy learning my son’s interests and aptitude. For example, when my son was two, I gave him crayons, fevicryl colors, paint brushes, pencils and erasers. He first inspected all the items and then, chose crayons first with which, he tried random doodling on the sheets I gave him. One by one, he put them away. Then he chose the colors and the paint. Now, I am not an artist, but I knew a little about the brush strokes and guided him. He enjoyed playing with the wet colors and unleashed what he had in his mind by thumb printing and splashing the colors on the paper to his heart’s content. To see a hyper active toddler busy and smiling at the same time, is a feat!

Much has been said about watching TV for adults and kids alike. Thankfully, hubby and I have common interests when it comes to watching TV. We love watching MasterChef Aus, Comedy Central and everything on FOX Life! As for my son, I have never deprived him of watching TV. Whenever it was TV time, I showed him both cartoons and channels like NatGeo and Discovery. Later, I learnt that his inclination was more towards Nature and its wonders. Not that he loves cartoons any less (Motu Patlu and Ninja Hattori are his favorites), but he loves animals and their lives even better. And it is from my son, I have learnt to appreciate the beauty of nature. His keen observation of the different birds that visit our porch early mornings, his vivid description of crocodiles and alligators from Animal Planet, his explanation on how leopards and cheetahs were different (The one time I made a mistake of calling a cheetah, a leopard….!!) and how monkeys steal (Monkey thieves of Jaipur) made me wonder how much his mind could have absorbed from what is shown on these channels. Not forgetting to mention, my son is an ardent animal lover (except he loves trampling insects with his bare feet!)

As a mother, I learnt how important communicating is. My son and I take long walks together in the evenings. Did I mention, he is talkative? He can incessantly chatter away from one topic to another just the way some teenager in Spain would be practicing parkour. Sometimes, I don’t even remember where the conversation started. There would be some interesting stories that he skillfully concots from the given few characters he encounters on the road say, a dog, a crane, a monkey etc….. These days, he cycles and I have to match with his pace. Later, the topics change to the Sun, Moon and the stars. His questions about why sun looks yellow and bright and why the moon is white and sometimes yellow (it looks so on a full moon day)or about the variety of insects he loves to explore such as how many legs each has, never end. Intermittently, he warns me about the langoors, asserting that I should not call out to them, else they would jump on me and slap me hard. Well, this is the caution I had fed him with initially, to keep him away from inviting trouble. So, I asked him, “What if they come over and slap you instead?” to which he quickly riposted, “They won’t slap me. They are my friends!” Damn right! He has started thinking like me! Old tricks don’t sell anymore. And never be sure of comprehending a child’s thought process. The moment you assume, you have assumed correctly, reality ditches you! Still, if theory of assumption works for you, never better!

Sometimes, discipline stands a better chance than the mellowed down approach. I have figured out, you can never be perpetually cool as a parent except in the case, if your child is that one in thousands, a Buddha or a Dhruv. A is stubborn, he is thoughtful and he is selectively social. He knows what he wants. Yet, he can make a simple process such as finishing a meal, herculean! For instance, he can act really ‘sick’ if he is just not in the mood to eat, despite the fact that he could actually be hungry. Sounds complicated? It is. I have observed this trait in many children during their meal time. If children are in a continuous play mode, their desire to continue playing supersedes their tummy’s call for fuel. It is only later when the child realizes the hunger pangs and ends up throwing the worst tantrums beyond the mother’s understanding. There is just one way to go about it. No pleading, No coaxing and no cajoling. Eat or no food! This trick worked for me as my ‘duracell’ bunny understood, I could be a strict mother too!

Being a mother has made me strong more so, mentally. There is a certain kind of energy that keeps me going even when there are those low days of fever, headache, sore throat, PMS etc. Before the arrival of my son, a simple sore throat or a headache would make me a sulking, restless and a difficult human. Now, despite all that, my routine of getting up at 5:30 stays undeterred. Waking up my son, making his breakfast, getting him ready for school, making him say his prayers and make him have his spoonful of chavanprash (he calls it ‘seven prush’) and then dropping him to school on time are the most important tasks for me. It is then I realized that God watches over the mother as much as he watches over the child. In times when health is not pink enough, I never even have the time to realize that I am unwell and it is only after I get better, I feel this amazing strength only a mother can possess. I for one, have witnessed my mother (who is a super mom herself) through her rough patches in life when health was not very friendly with her and yet, she struggled with me through days and nights to help me understand the importance of hard work and success. Motherhood is a beautiful phase. It engages you. It exhausts you. It surprises you. It overwhelms you. But essentially, it toughens you. To raise a child is a feat in itself. It was never easy. It never will be. Which is why, they say – Mother is the word!! Amen.

Labels: ,

Saturday, March 28, 2015

I just don’t get…

..Why does Deepika Padukone or Anushka Sharma or Lara Dutta for that matter have to take the 14 day Kellogg challenge (as if they really have Kellogs for Breakfast and Dinner) to attain a ‘healthy toned’ figure which they already have! I mean, try someone like me or someone healthier than me, and let me see if the challenge works. Seriously? Did you know you could keep a check on your weight without letting it ramp up, by drinking at least 5 liters of water a day and NOT binging on foods that have only fat, or probably more fat than the other essentials, besides a vigorous regimen of physical activity every day?

..Why is Cricket such a craze in our country? Why does Arnab Goswami have to blow his top because our country lost a ‘match’, ‘because a girlfriend flew down to cheer her love in the game’? Why can’t cricket be treated like a normal game? (Yes, it is far from a sport) Why is social media ‘bleeding blue’ like never before? (Well, Indians can ‘bleed yellow, blue, green’ whatever because I have lost respect for this game ever since the idea of IPL was conceived.)

..Why do people find it difficult to abide by traffic rules? Like, to not ride/drive on the wrong side, not riding on the pedestrian’s path, to not overtake from the left and all? How difficult it is to follow these rules? Or, are they as easy as meeting with accidents (some fatal)? Why isn't helmet compulsory everywhere?

..Why is Justice Katju so brash in making statements? Despite the fact that this man has given some notable judgments, landmark ones in many cases which is why, I was not-so-pleasantly surprised reading his article in the paper today about his views on Gandhi and SC Bose. Well, am no Gandhi fan but I don't get why a person like him should be writing such a childish piece and Indian Express was 'kind' enough to publish the piece too? And, when you are a public figure and have held responsible positions in life, you should know better about the way you communicate with the masses, especially through newspapers.

..Why is AAP hell bent on taking their political bullcrap to a whole new level? Why did Delhites have to elect Arvind Kejriwal again? Isn't once bitten, twice shy enough? (I had respect for this guy once but now, he is nothing more than a clown whose antics are not buying his circus called AAP, any audience! Except in the case, if he really manages to keep up his word as he promised, my opinion on him won't change!) 

..Why does the world care if Katrina and Ranbir are dating or Rishi Kapoor is too old to change his equation as a father with his son? Why is the media still stuck in a rut of the shaming and slamming? And, why does media have to write about KRK? Why can't our country ship idiots like him out of the country, for FREE? For once, why can’t the media focus on good news only?

..Why has the weather gone awry in all places? Why are there no mangoes yet? Why is it raining somewhere and immensely humid elsewhere?

..Why is this world obsessed with selfies? Why is this paranoia not going away? DUH!

Wow! I think, I have ranted enough for a day! Now, I need to have some ice cream to cool myself down…..PHEW!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Every cloud has a silver lining.

A few days back, when my son and I were watching Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, there was this scene where Buck (the fearless weasel) explains to Manny and friends about where he encountered Rudy (the angry dinosaur) and how he got away with the latter’s tooth.

Buck:……..here I was, my back against the wall, no way out, perched on the razor's edge of oblivion, staring into the eye of the Great White Beast.
Crash and Eddie: Were you killed?

Buck: Sadly, yes. But I lived! Never had I felt so alive than when I was so close to death.

Both of us laughed. But in that moment, my laugh turned into a smile when a certain memory sprung up from the chasms of my subconscious mind and, I realized the depth of Buck’s words when he said the last line. Buckminster’s words must be engraved on stone.

 Exactly two years have passed since my encounter with a rare neurological auto immune disorder – Myasthenia Gravis (a health condition as described in the above image). Two years since the world beneath me shook and all my dreams toppled like a deck of cards. On 7th March 2013 I woke up with a heavy head, nasal twine in my throat and droopy eye lids. Four days later, I was admitted in Rajshree Hospitals Indore. I had lost my speech. My vision had deteriorated. My walk had become unsteady. My eyelids were stuck and I apparently suffered a severe diplopia. The weeks that followed saw me in many shades. The confused young woman. The angry young woman. The helpless young woman. The scared young woman. And, the scarred young woman. Those deafening MRIs, that painful prick on the spine for a CSF test, those debilitating cycles of plasma pherasis (plasma dialysis), those erratic heart beats when I was in the ICU battling between the worlds I did not understand, those hallucinations that terrorized me when sleep eluded and those weeks of ingesting everything nasally are forever etched in my mind. It was only when I recovered slowly yet steadily, I realized how alive and how determined I had felt when I was wheeled into the ICU after I suffered an erratic behaviour in my heart (a cascading effect of a plasma pherasis cycle that went awry) when my blood pressure skyrocketed alarming every doctor on board. Never had I felt that calm and composed. Never had I felt so resolute. That was my moment of epiphany that God was on my side, right from the moment when he guided me through many unfamiliar people who helped me reach the right doctor at the right time! 

And, 25th March 2013 was the day I was discharged. And today, I look back and I realized that angels watch over us in many forms. And, the angels who healed me and helped me see the brighter side of my life are, my parents, hubby, my son, my neighbours (Nav and Sujju), hubby’s comrades, the doctor and his team and the hospital staff and in fact, everyone who saw me through that stormy phase of my life. So many angels prayed for me, worked for me, worked on me and stood by me. I emerged stronger, positive and, a level headed person. (would like to believe so) 

All I learnt from this life changing experience is, there will always be confusing moments in life when hopes are bleak, faith becomes hard to keep and life topples in a snap. But then wait, every cloud has a silver lining. I can say this with conviction because, till a year post recovery, I suffered from nightmares, waking up in cold sweat and checking if my vision and speech were intact. And, I used to recite my prayers instantly and the fears would go away instantly. I have felt the presence of the good that soothes my fears and helps me sleep. That said, I am not implying that I am fearless. But then, I know for a fact that if man made fear, then God sure has made ways for man to beat them too. People can prove there is no God. And I for one, have seen Him in all these people I have mentioned in this post. You see God in the good you do for people and in the good, people do for you. I will leave it at that.  

And, Buck my diesel weasel, I love you to pieces!!

1998 - the year of mushroom cut and, a lot of blah!

It was the year 1998. I was in my eighth grade. And, one fine day I had this strong urge to get a hair cut. This is how the episode went:

Me: Mom, I need a haircut!
Mom: Why?? For what joy of life, do you need one?? (examining my long wavy curls that touched a few inches lower than my shoulder.
Me: For every joy of life, I need a haircut this time!
Mom: NO means NO!
Me: Please! I am not going to shave my head or something! I need to get my hair trimmed. That is it! And believe me, I will be a changed soul. My academics will improve and you will be surprised!
Mom: What??? You mean to say it is your long hair that is not allowing you to study regularly?? Why don’t you share your out-of-science explanations with your dad?? Am sure, he will be ‘pleased’!
Me: Puhleeassseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…………………
Mom(looking at my puppy face): Until he says yes, am not financing the hair cut!
Me: Please, you may tell him after he sees me in the new haircut which is nothing but trimming the hair ends. Literally, there is not going to be any difference between the old ‘me’ and the new ‘me’!
Mom: Ok! But promise me you won’t cut it short! Just trimming, that is it!
Me: Deal!


At the parlour,

Me: I need to trim my hair.
Lady: it will be 150 rupees. You will have to wait for a while. Until then, have a seat. You can find some magazines here. 
Me: (never been to a parlour before all by self and thinking..150 is more or less?)uuhh…ohh… ok…!!

Did I mention, this was the first time I visited a parlour and the second time in my life when I was going for a hair cut (my first time was in first grade). I loved everything about this parlour. The Buddha statues, the long incense sticks, the wafting spells of wonderfully aromatic shampoos, conditioners, creams and what not. Although I was aware of the beauty tips and tricks at an early age, I was introduced to the techniques of shaping and trimming of eyebrows, waxing, facials and clean ups only a year before I graduated from college. Yes, that is the truth. Ok, I am digressing. So, I was sitting in the parlour when I saw this 30 something lady with long flowing tresses sitting on the chair and describing to the hair dresser, the kind of hair cut she wanted. 'Mushroom' is the word I heard. A few minutes later, the scissors and the rattail comb made way into her dark dense head as chunks of thick tresses covered the smooth mosaic floor. Not that I was a fan of long hair (I hate it really) but, I could not believe this lady was getting rid of such beautiful silken hair. Well, not my business. So, I continued to stare at the way the hairdresser was working with her paddle brush, scissors and the multiple combs, all at once. About 15 minutes later after all the ‘blow dry’, ‘blow hot’ and ‘comb inwards’ and ‘comb outwards’ jargons, I saw a new face. The lady looked younger with her head appearing smaller than before and her forehead was partially hidden by the silky short hair falling across her face and the glow that came to her face when she viewed how a haircut elevated her look, was too conspicuous to miss. The lady gestured to me asking how it looked and I, already awed by the hair cut heard myself saying loud, “I am getting that cut too!”

The hair dresser looked at me with a funny expression and said, “Maybe, you should just trim your hair. You have quite dense and curly hair and a mushroom cut is preferable for women with straight hair”. 

For a 13 year old me, that was an insult! I made it clear that I wanted a mushroom cut for three reasons:
  1. I hate long hair
  2. I don’t have to make double plaits!
  3. And, I care two hoots about how I look thereafter.

Maybe, I was a tad too fast in mentioning the third reason, which kind of slipped from my tongue before my mind could act. And that was it! After shelling out double the amount (mom had given me more so that I could save the rest and put it in piggy bank), and on my way home with exactly 10 bucks, I felt light, nervous, relieved and adventurous all at the same time. However all my dreams of tossing my head like Demi Moore or Meg Ryan disappeared into thin air, the moment I saw mom chatting away with N aunty. With great deliberation, I made a move towards the gate, when my mom called out, “yes?? Kisse milna hai?” For a minute, I thought she was joking! I blinked at her and she blinked at me back! Maybe I should have checked myself in the mirror for a second time before I paid and left, as I did not much recollect, how I looked! I said, “Mom! It is me!”. Her eyebrows knitted and she opened her mouth to say something and there, I heard a car honk outside the gate. Dad was back.

I have little to share about how the later part of that day’s evening went as I was greeted with a stone cold silence each time I tried saying something. The next day, when I boarded my school jeep, Saeed Uncle (our driver) looked at me and asked, "Ye kya kar diya aapne baalon ka? Tabiyat to theek hai na!". Well, i knew the day at school was going to be worse. I was teased, praised, petted and trolled, with the following comments of kinds:

A (One of my arch rivals): haaaaahhaaaa…..humare class me new admission hai! And wait, it is a boy!
B(another boy): WoW! You look like Indira Gandhi….only those whites near the temple are missing…..
C (girl): not bad! You look different!
D (girl): Hey, you are good in studies. You participate in everything, the school knows you. What made you do such a thing?
E (girl): You are looking damn cute! Looks like you are wearing an inverted basket!

Well, not one in my class agreed with the other on how I looked. For some, I looked like Indira Gandhi. For some, I was a clown. For some, I suddenly became a weirdo. For some, I looked disturbed and for some, I looked confused. I was hurt. And, I would be lying if I said I was prepared for the kind of attention I drew from juniors, seniors, teachers and the principal too. The amount of speculation on why I opted for a mushroom cut seemed more interesting to discuss rather than how I looked in it. It was only after Sis Molly (our School Principal) summoned me later in the office and asked, “Whatever happened to your hair? I loved those dark curly hair of yours! Why, Narayani, Why?”, the tears almost welled up. But then, I am my father’s daughter and humour came to me more easily than tears! I just quipped, “Well, hair grows back always. Doesn't it?”

On a lighter note, I was the star studded subject of the school that day right from the gossip sessions among the ayhas, and then in the classrooms, staff rooms et al. Not even teen romance would have been discussed with such alacrity as much as my mushroom hair cut was! I was relieved when that day ended. The days that followed in the week were tolerable. My parents soon accepted my new avatar after I promised them that I was never going to experiment with my hair without a proper supervision. That said, I did not have a haircut until the beginning of 2007, when I joined Cognizant.

So much for a haircut that goes by the name – Mushroom! DUH!

P.S: Well, there are a couple of things I learnt:
  1. What looks good on someone else may not necessarily suit you. Most of the times, it will not!
  2. Always listen to mom!

Even if you forget the first point, no problem. But don't forget the second, or else the world will have every reason to laugh!!

Labels: ,

Friday, March 20, 2015

Good news only.

Have you ever realized for a fact that what you hear, see and perceive over a period of time, becomes either your perception of the world or your worst fears? Just take a test of five questions below:
  1. Will you, as a man be accepting and unaffected at the same time, if your spouse were to earn more than you do?
  2. Will you be comfortable if one of your children (or say, only child) has a different take on sexuality?
  3. Are you willing to accept that God resides in the good we do and not merely within the sacred realms of temples, mosques and churches?
  4. If you see an unjust incident, say any like a person taking a bribe or a stranger getting beaten up by hooligans or say, a woman being eve-teased, are you brave enough to question the act or do you, succumb to your fears of being drawn into a seemingly unnecessary scenario which you may want to avoid?
  5. Which are your favourite Bollywood movies?
Do not reply on impulse. Imagine yourself in a situation you have not encountered yet. Although the answers are predictable (Thanks to the changing mindsets today), the answers shall still vary. And the answers shall probably enlighten you about the person you are. But then, only if you are honest with yourselves when answering them. Maybe, you will be surprised at the way you think despite your advocacy for women empowerment, gay rights and what not. The way you have seen life until now, is the way you will continue to perceive the world around you. And that, is your perception of the world no matter, how hard you try to camouflage your actual opinions with cheesy lines on how women suffer and how women need to fight back. Face it! 

OK. Let me give you an example. For instance, Bollywood has forever portrayed man as a never ageing Greek God! People never have an issue with a 50+ Khan romancing a 20+ woman but eyebrows are raised if a 40+ woman has feelings for a man younger to her. Our society thinks the way they perceive the characters in the cinema. And I have grown up watching Amir Khan in movies like Dil, Jo jeeta wahi Sikandar and Qayamat se Qayamat tak, He was one of my impressionable crushes. But then off late, I found myself questioning, "ain’t Amir Khan too old to romance Katrina in Dhoom", or for that matter "Salman Khan too old to fall for the fresh Jacqueline Fernandez in ‘Kick’"?. (That said, I still adore Amir Khan). However, these very actors used to romance golden beauties like Juhi Chawla and Madhuri Dixit on screen, long back. And that is when I realized that our cinema has been instrumental in creating a somewhat vague image of a woman. As per Bollywood, a woman is nothing more than 'chittiyan Kalaiyan' or 'jadu hai nasha hai'. Precisely which is why our society is unable to perceive a woman any different than the usual - the desirable. She can be a strong, independent, fierce and dominant character, only in dreams! Anyways, I am digressing. The reason for this post is in different context altogether, though subtly connected with the perception theory I mentioned earlier and in my previous post. There is a reason why courage has taken a beating and fears of unknown and lack of goodwill have increased. Of course, is there anything good we hear about these days?

For instance, let's talk about the DEC 16 incident that shook the world. Playing and replaying the unspeakable horrors of the ghastly incident for over two years (including Suzette Jordan’s story) has not done any good to the society, except disturbing the already disturbed. I have had sleepless nights that year and I still get cold shivers when I think about the brave heart Nirbhaya. May her soul rest in peace. And then, the Park Street rape incident was highlighted. Suzette Jordan was not the conventional woman who wore salwar kameez. She was a single mother to two teenage girls and she was a supremely independent woman who lived life on her own terms even if she were jobless for a long period. She had no qualms about her drinking and smoking and she cared two hoots about what this world thought about her. And, when she was raped, the world loved to label her a slut because she was not the quintessential Indian woman our society expects a lady to be. Yet, she fought the world with all her might. I loved her. I respect that strong soul. (RIP Suzette). And I loved her to pieces when she said, "I have a name. My name is Suzette Jordan". She did not like to be referenced as ‘Park Street Rape Victim’. And this is precisely what I am talking about – the label! Yes, the label ‘victim’ that is slapped on a woman who falls prey to this torment of a lifetime – Rape. The physical scars heal over years but, the psychological scars inflicted, bleed for a lifetime. Imagine the amount of grit and will for a rape survivor to pick up the tattered pieces of her life, to begin all over again as a normal human, to brave threats and disturbing calls from unknown predators, to walk on the street without being pried upon, to forget the horrors she prays no lady must undergo. People, she is NOT a victim. She is a SURVIVOR. And, SURVIVORS make GOOD NEWS!!
  1. A classic example of a survivor becoming a ray of hope for the others who live their lives in fear is Sunitha Krishnan. She was gang raped at the age of 15 by eight men. Today, a co-founder of Prajwala, an NGO that works towards rehabilitation of sex workers and their children, she has come a long way indeed. This woman braved the threats all her life and rose like a phoenix, proving that our unhealthy society needs to be treated. And that is what I call, GOOD NEWS.
  2. Even as female infanticide continues, change has happened. Small it is, but it has started. A village in Rajasthan, Piplantri celebrates the birth of a girl child by planting 111 trees. An effort that promulgates eco friendliness along with the significance of a girl child in the world. Now that is, GOOD NEWS!
  3. When Vidya Balan enacted the role of a sensuous pregnant woman searching for her husband in the movie, Kahaani, I loved the change. It was a breather to see a woman leading the movie. The change was liked too. Though, the movies that followed ensured that the society was not drawn towards the fact, that women are as impressionable as men. (thanks to Farah Khan and Karan Johar for their undying loyalty towards SRK and bringing back the audience to their clichéd bullshit stories!) Hence, the seemingly insignificant change in the genre of Bollywood movies that was reflected in Kahaani, Queen, Highway, Mardaani, Gulaab Gang and others of the kind may not have stayed with people as much as male dominated movies would have. Yet,  that is GOOD NEWS, because the change has begun! And, I love Vidya Balan. I adore her. Not because she is a Palakkad Iyer like me, but because she is one of the few actresses who is comfortable with who she is. Undeterred by the scrutinizing eyes of the media over how many pounds she gained and lost and then, gained and whether she is preggers or not, this actress has managed to rub it off her skin, despite the hurt she must have felt being judged on the ‘plumpness’ factor. Vidya Balan, I take a bow!
  4. And then, unheard is the story of how this 29 year old LinkanSubuddhi, a software professional who also worked with AID India (an NGO), stalled a child marriage and not without a fight in which she was injured critically. This lady is a hero. And I call her, GOOD NEWS!

  5.  How can I forget Malala and the many unheard ones like her? The world adores this 17 year old who was 14 when she was shot in the head three times. But, can a bullet kill a good soul? God intervened. The rise of the brave had started in the wild unruly frontiers of our neighbouring country. This girl now shines with the many honours she has been bestowed upon, one being the Nobel Peace Prize. And, she continues with the good work. GOOD NEWS, the better!

Now, many of you might cringe reading the above examples of GOOD NEWS! OF course, who does not know about all these? But then ask yourself, what do you tend to discuss more? People enjoy discussing the pain and the torment of a rape survivor more than discussing her verve to break free from the fear bubble to fight the world and move on. And that, is NOT GOOD NEWS at all!

Well, that does not mean, ‘stop being a realist’. But then, be a realist with an urge to move on from the stagnancy of 'what has happened is not good' to 'what can be done about this'. If there are 10 bad things happening in the world, throw more light on the one good thing that is happening simultaneously. People who are trying hard to do good in the world by helping the needy, educating the children in the slum and helping this society heal, deserve a better mention than how many rapes and murders are happening around the country. A couple of years back, my brother in law Sridhar (a journalist) had started a group on Facebook – Good news only. When the group started, I initially wondered, “what is the point in spreading good news only? Why keep the world in dark about the news that is not good? Understanding reality is more important than living in a bubble that the world is good.” Those were my initial thoughts. I was so so wrong! Understanding reality is a faux pass today. We do not ‘understand’ reality. We empathize with it. We relish it. We discuss it. We gossip about it. We play and replay it. We devour it. We forget it. But we do NOT understand it. 

'Good news only' may not solve problems instantly. They may not change things drastically. They may not even be convincing enough to be a story that must be heard. But then, there is one thing which they give, HOPE! Once people understand this, Faith will follow suit. And then, the change will happen. Which is why, we need ‘GOOD NEWS ONLY!’

P.S: In case you were wondering why I have not given my answers to the questions above, here they are:
  1. will have to ask hubby. Knowing him, he is extremely broad minded as he has been a strong advocator for double income. For the present, it is me who is not working by choice. :P
  2. Too early to say ;)
  3. Yes, I believe God resides in the good we do. I will leave it at that.
  4. I am not sure how I will react as I have not witnessed any incident such as that.
  5. Damini, Ram teri ganga maili ho gayi (I loved the end), Arth, Bhawana, Abhimaan....all movies that bear a woman protagonist.      

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why women are treated the way they are.

Suzette Jordan (the Park Street Survivor) dies. A septuagenarian nun gets raped in West Bengal. A child is abused in Ahmedabad in ways that send chills down the spine. And, then there is this documentary – India’s daughters that brought back memories of the braveheart Nirbhaya. (May her soul rest in peace).

I have not seen the documentary yet, except for the wretch and his lawyer’s interviews that were shared on social networking sites. I am not going to say how appalled I am or how women are not respected in our country or how certain men in the world are born evil. No, I am not. Actually I am tired of our media. I am sick and tired of the movies that are shown. I am not surprised at the kind of heinous crimes that are happening like a usual thing. Give me one good reason as to why I should feel surprised or disgusted. Take for instance, Deepika Padukone. This actress flipped when her cleavage became nation’s favourite topic of discussion, thanks to TOI. There was a barrage of open letters (I still don’t get it! Open letters? Seriously? Once you have written/typed something and you put it on Internet, what open and close are you talking about!). And then this, AIB roast happened. Again, I would refrain from commenting on this as I have not seen the show. But, there were a few jibes on the same actress that caught my eye. Jokes that ‘should have appeared in poor taste’ to her when the whole country discussing her cleavage was unacceptable to her. I would rather appreciate Sunny Leone in that aspect. I have not seen her movies but the world knows that she was a porn actress and she is candid about it!  An artist can never lead a life in black and white which this lady knows. But my intent to write this post is not that. We have some serious issues here.

Give me one Bollywood movie which saw the rise of a woman protagonist overshadowing her male counterparts. The first name that comes to mind is Raj Kumar Santoshi’s Damini, a movie that was loosely based on a gang rape of a tribal woman. How many more of such kind followed where a woman was shown powerful enough to take down the chauvinistic men who lusted after a woman’s body rather than respecting her? Aah, the second name that comes to mind is Lajja (again by the same director) where four women who suffer the atrocities at the hands of male chauvinists rise like the phoenix showing the world that they better not be antagonized. Gulaab Gang, Bullet Rani and Mardani are the recent ones. But who discusses these movies? It is one time watch for most. But what we still continue to discuss is how Hrithik looked smashing in Bang Bang and how SRK has not lost his charm in Happy New Year or how Bipasha Basu sizzled in horror flick Alone. (Thank God! Bips finally realized that she is apt for horror movies!) or how DDLJ completed some 100 years of love. BULLSHIT!! Worse, the Khan club is still romancing ladies half their age on screen. People, what do you expect from all this? 'Respect for women'? It is dead.

Cinema is instrumental in creating the psyche of a society which is why there are questions directed towards the artisans of Indian Cinema:
  1.  If you directors keep glorifying the biceps and countless packs of the actors and only project women as objects of desire, what kind of a response do you expect from a demented society as ours? Stop behaving like men rule the world! It is the hand that rocks the cradle, that rules the world, morons!! 
  2. When you are unable to respect the artistic talents in a woman (except for portraying her well endowed assets), how does this world expect a society to perceive a woman any differently? Show her side of the story to this world. Show the world that there is more to a woman than her pretty face and perfect curves. Have you forgotten movies like Arth and Bhavana? 
And a few questions for media,
  1. You share a rapist’s interview with the world. Why? Why do we even have to listen to it? (so that a few devil incarnates like him multiply?) We are not shrinks. At least most of us are not! Instead of berating a person who is already and insanely vicious, why not encourage women to learn self defence? Please don’t earn your bread butter using a lady’s helplessness and hopelessness.
  2. Foreigners who love to make documentaries about India, you are doing a good job. But please don’t tell me that your country does not have the ‘wild wild west’! You have your stories too. Only it is the other country’s story that will earn you perks! Please, everyone has to answer for their actions someday.
A few years back, I watched Mira Nair’s Kama sutra. It is a brilliant movie with an amazing cast ensemble. But since the name is about the forbidden topic, people refrain from discussing it, let alone watch it! Believe me, it is an aesthetically shot movie where no scenes disturb you in the aftermath. However, movies that portray rapes and assaults have a far worse impact on the psyche of a human mind. Be honest when you make this judgement. What disturbs you more? The natural or the unnatural? Somewhere, I feel the media has to be more responsible when it comes to the sorry plight of women today. They need to work towards building a far more powerful image of a woman rather than depicting her as a distraught victim of a society that is still driven by radical views on gender and sex. Probably Quentin Tarantino must consider making movies in India. Remember, Kill Bill’s character Beatrix Kiddo aka the Black mamba aka the Killer Bride? We need her. Now.

And Suzette Jordan, RIP.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The world has every reason to laugh!! ~ From a Nomad's diary

(1) A month back, my friend P gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I wished her on Facebook and was glad that of the eight members in the Octopus group of our college (yes, we are the eight dangerous tentacles of Octopus), four of us are now mothers to adorably little octopuses! A month later, I rejoined my college group on Whatsapp.

P: Hey welcome back! We missed you a lot! Hope your phone is working now!
A: Look, who has come again. Welcome back, nani…we missed you a lot. How are you?
S: She is like a visitor here! Chalo, ayi to sahi! Kabhi baat bhi kar liya karo yahan pe!
M: Arre nani.....kidher thi itne din.....Arjun kaisa hai?
And the welcoming went on until I thought I should initiate some conversation from my end too! And, I ended up asking..
Me: hey all....How have you all been? Long time indeed…..And, P, when is the little champ coming?

There was a sudden silence in the group that I did not understand. Some expressed with confusing emoticans! And then, there was a barrage of ROFL!! Now, I do not want to remember how horribly I got trolled just the way Alia Bhatt was, for her incredible display of IQ on Koffee with Karan. P being a good friend had a good laugh too, but not before gently reminding me that I had already wished her on the arrival of a beautiful bundle of joy who was already a month old. THIS is what happens when you hop homes twice a month!

(2) I am still getting used to the touch screen of my new phone. And then, there is this auto correct that makes things worse! The other day, I was chatting with a friend and wanted to ask her, "How are things?" and the 'i' got replaced with 'o', thanks to auto correct and I had typed, "How are thongs?" She was ROFL! The second fiasco happened when I wanted to write, "One sec please!" and the c got replaced with x. I shut down my phone and wanted to bury my head in a sandpit! Auto Correct, Just DIE!!

(3) So, one fine day I had gone for some grocery shopping. Not that I had a long list with me or I desperately needed to buy essentials, I had just wanted to indulge in retail therapy. And so, I did buy way too many items. Looking at my basket, people thought I had never seen a retail store in life! The only thing I was glad about is that my bill did not empty my wallet completely (which meant, I could buy more). Stores have stopped giving away polythene bags and so the items were put in cloth bags that could barely hold them. I was least bothered as I had parked my car just a few steps away from the store entrance. And so while leaving, I was loaded with about five unshapely cloth bags filled to the brink, that I had to carry like babies in my arms. Just as I stepped out of the entrance, two of the bags slipped from my hand and the contents were strewn all over the place! With three bags blocking my view, I almost stumbled over the mess and had a nasty fall and I wondered, if hubby had passed his resentment in telepathic waves! Well, I carefully picked up the items, placed them in the car and raced away, swearing not to buy if I had nothing to buy! However, my woes did not end there. When I drove back with son in tow, home and I parked my car in the shed and got out, I was greeted by an army of langoors right outside! I had to wait for at least 30 minutes before I honked like crazy to drive them away. Well, two of them were so intimidated that they jumped on the car roof and on the bonnet for long and stopped only after I screamed my lungs out for it to stop!! Phew.....  That was one hell of a day is all I can say! 

(4) Fauji wives have endless commitments and social engagements. So, whenever I had to leave for an engagement in late noon, I would wake up my hubby and ask him to close the door once I leave. On one such occasion, he probably forgot. When I came back home, I saw that the living room was a mess. There were footprints of an animal I couldn't identify as to whether it may have been a dog, or a monkey or a langoor or whatsoever! So, I unconsciously got into a habit of locking the door whenever I had to go for some chores outside. So the other day, I had yet another engagement and I decided to take my son along. As usual I told hubby to lock the door and I left. While in the meeting, my phone kept buzzing incessantly and I had to excuse myself as it was hubby calling. "What did you do? You locked me inside! What is wrong with you? I have to go for Games and I am late because of you!"  And, I realized that, not only had I locked him inside, I had also displaced my keys somewhere, which was later found under the seat of the gypsy I had travelled in. I do not want to mention how the later part of the evening went for me. It is just too obvious!

(5) And, there was this one incident that was like a cherry on top of this fantastic beginning of 2015 for me! I had been to a Walmart Franchise in the town and was awed by the warehouse that stocked almost everything you can want under the Sun. I had decided only on essentials though I ended up filling my basket with some desirables like mushrooms, bell peppers, dried apricots etc (things I could not get in the cantt). It was only after I reached the billing counter I realized that my basket contained unfamiliar items, things I had not even touched. And the 1 kg of fresh tomatoes and half kg of carrots were gone. In its place, there was 2 kg packs of gram flour that was cut from the end, thereby spilling flour all the way. It was only then out of the blue, it struck me how a lady had casually put her hand into my basket and pulled out a coffee mug. The moment I saw her questioningly, she had placed it back and moved on. Well, not that I paid for anything I had not purchased but I was amused at the attitude in certain people. Laziness can touch the sky too! Well, besides my tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms and bell peppers, the other items that were missing from my basket were, a pair of kitchen napkins, a scissors and a few packets of mixed pulses. Lesson learnt that day, was not to leave the basket unattended even for a second!

Well, the world has every reason to laugh and now, you may!!

Labels: ,

Home, sweet home..... ~ From a Nomad's diary

And after living like a hippie for about two months, am back home, sweet home for a hiatus. Sometimes, one needs a little stability. A fauji wife needs it too, albeit her flexibility in adapting to the different climates, places and people. With hubby away on work, and with my son missing his grandparents terribly, I thought it won't hurt much to stay with parents for some time. At least until the time we get quarters in the new station. A lot has happened for me while I stayed in the new place and here are the things I missed badly:

  1. I MISSED idli, coconut chutney, arache utta sambhar, sevai, adai, poriyal, rasam sadam, avial,kal chatti kootu (kerala style) and all south Indian cuisines. You can take a south Indian out of South India but you can never take South India out of a South Indian, so says my hubby who likes any cuisine but south Indian. Well, he is 110% right! I have had recurring dreams of the above mentioned cuisines in the past two months. That explains, why home, sweet home brings a big smile on my face!
  2. I MISSED the familiarity of my place. Every time I visit Bharuch, I am engulfed in a wrap of nostalgia. More so, it is the belongingness here that gives me an assurance of sorts. I love the people here, I love the temples here and I totally love the weather of Bharuch. Extreme it is, but I love it! And it is now that I noticed that small towns have a royalty about them. I grew up in a neighbourhood of educated people where uncles and aunties were more like friends and where, academics and sports were a priority always. I grew up with people who were simple no matter how rich and influential they are. I grew up in a town where I was well chaperoned by the Convent Sisters at my alma mater, Queen of Angels’ Convent. And that explains, why I am amused when people from cities have their noses pointed towards the sky, as the cities have malls, amusement parks and international schools. Well, I have nothing against the cities. But, just because a city has a a costly school, an airport or a mall doesn't make it any ‘cool’ or ‘kewl’. It is the attitude towards self and the humility that matters. In that aspect, there is only one city that bears my hometown’s humility and that is Mumbai. Of course, I can never match the city’s pace and hence, can never stay in it and yet, it is the best city I have visited so far. However all said, Bharuch is an emotion for me and not a place, merely and hence, it shall always be my first love. Always.
  3. I MISSED long conversations with my mother, the endless shopping trips with her and her loud opinions on politics and women empowerment. Did I forget to mention, my mother is a highly opinionated and a strong willed lady who hates to lose arguments? My father instigates her on many occasions just for fun by claiming to support a political party she despises! Well, they are one funny couple and they totally deserve another post!
  4. I MISSED my neighbours a lot too. Aunty and P Aunty. N Aunty has been my best listener all my life. In those days, when I fought with mother over the many issues (all academic centric), I would instantly run to her and rant about not being understood. Aunty who is elder to mother and has a son who is way elder to me, treats me like a daughter she never had and so, would happily lend a patient ear to me, trying to figure out ways to bring my mother and me on a common page. Aunty on the other hand who is younger to my mother, is more like a friend. I could share secrets with her, which I may not have felt comfortable sharing with anyone at that age. And the fact that she understood me, made me feel so good then. She has a son and a daughter (both younger to me), for whom I am like an example on how to be and more on how not to be :P These ladies along with their spouses have watched me grow from a difficult toddler into an even more difficult teenager and then into a very impulsive young woman who would blow her top at the drop of a hat and later, into a mellowed down mother to a naughty little onida (my son). After my parents, it is my neighbours too who have been with me through the highs and lows of my life and I can’t believe that time has flown so fast. Apparently, it has.
  5.  I MISSED playing games like badminton, chess, business world and cards. When mother had come over to visit me, she had got with her three packs of cards. We were all ready to play rummy when my chirpy son jumped over and decided to play too. My mother was only too happy to include him in the game as she started teaching him about the clubs, the artins, the diamonds and the spades! (I have pinched myself every time I see her talking to my son. She is as patient as the hours with him. It was only me with whom her strictness knew no bounds!) Well, the game did not last because it never began in the first place as our room within a few minutes resembled a book of Black Jack with every card flying in the air. It took us more than two hours to regroup the cards and pack them up. Lessons learnt. Playing cards has to wait! 
And while I am catching up on the many things I missed, stay tuned for some interesting posts on grandparents, parents and their wars of leniency vs discipline and much more!


Friday, March 6, 2015

Mindless musings 2 ~ From a Nomad's diary

The past few weeks have been unbelievably roller costar. And, I have ranted enough about it. In those days, I figured out a couple of things. Starting with which, I hate potatoes and I love cheese. And, when this ‘hate-love’ subjects come together, they create magic! I was into a heavy binge phase in the past few days and realized that my body reciprocated their love by storing them in the parts of the body, better not mentioned. Not that I suddenly became overweight or something, but yes, the lethargy that has set in is beginning to question my agility! The brighter side is, I am back to what I am, feisty and fiery! The desire that threatened my health is thankfully gone.

We celebrated Holi today and it felt good, despite the fact that I do not like the festival much. It is not the colors entirely, but the way they are splashed around. Nevertheless, we played it here and my son enjoyed a lot. After having stayed in water for long, he came out shivering. Of course, what did you expect son? And, making him to stand in the Sun till he dried was becoming insanely difficult with ladies jumping at every given opportunity to advice me on what I should be doing – “Oh! He will fall sick! Why is he shivering so much? Did you not bring him some clothes?” etc…. It is at such times, I feel exhausted trying to be tolerant to people who are plain sly, passing carefully cameflouged snide remarks about the parent that I was, uncaring and unloving. If people just minded their business, this world would be more tolerable. I believe so. And after eating two plates of cake, sitting in the warmth of the sun later, with all the shivering gone, my son was ready to climb a banyan tree! What I am saying is, people! I know my son well enough and I take good care of him. And guess what, I just cannot help feeling a sense of pride when I speak what I feel like. Because, I just did today.

That said, I hate cliques. I hate them really. I find them to be dumb, nasty and clownish. It is as if each of them is alive only when in a group and the rest of the times, they are plain dysfunctional. Whatever, cliques bring out the blues in me. Hubby keeps advising me that cliques need to be dealt with tact, something which I feel, I severely lack. Maybe, I am not as emotionally intelligent as him because, he does have a way with words (something that I have not learnt from him yet). I have never flipped on most occasions (a few perhaps I have) but now I know a thing for sure. I cannot be tactful in all situations, even though that is the logical requirement of the hour. And I know why. Sometimes, it is better to be blunt than to parade as tactful. Not many have the intellect to understand the tact. And some people just walk all over you thinking you are gullible to their comments on your lifestyle. Sometimes, the other person has to know where to stop poking their nose and when to stop giving advice. And I tell myself, “Accept girl! You are spoilt rotten!” Why? Because I met gem of people in the previous place, that I feel a bit lost here. Not because people aren't good here. They are nice, very nice. But they judge way too much and their judgments are anything but silent. Sometimes, the sting hurts. Other times, it amuses. But then, this is life and I might as well accept it as it is.

As for the rest, I am waiting to get back home to my parents for a while as hubby is going out for 3-4 months. How I have missed home food! Sigh! Parents are God’s gift. You fall back on them every time you are in distress. I understand the challenges my parents might have faced, while raising me. It is not easy being a parent, especially when your child is going to be influenced more by the outside world than by his inner circle. Very few are exceptions in this regard. I for one, had extremely opposite and strong views about anything and everything a few years back. I was like a dynamite waiting to explode at every given argument. There were even times I could not agree on anything with my mother. We have had our fair share of arguments and fights with her declaring curfew whenever friends planned some outing late evening. Those times, I was angry with her for not letting me in my element or space. When I was working, it was my dad’s turn to squirm loud enough, each time I told him that I am sleeping over at a friend’s place or am going on a long drive with friends or am going for a weekend break to a beach. Later post engagement, hubby and my dad both used to frown from their respective states if I mentioned that I would be reaching home late in the night. Well, it has taken me some whites on my head to understand the depth of their concern as today I felt ticked when my son was refusing to cooperate with me on more than one instances while playing Holi and it was those very few instances that got many tongues wagging at how I couldn't handle my son. Parenting is no easy game and every child is different. So, is every parenting style then. Well, that said I am looking forward to the many challenges that await me as a parent. Bring it on, is all I can say.

Schools these days are like business centers. Itne me itnaich milenga types! I am not a teacher by degree. But I have taught in a school for a month and the children I taught were such gems. I loved them and they loved me. They just adored me and I could sense their urge to improve as I loved encouraging them. In all this, I understood one thing. Not all kids are the same. No two kids are the same. There are the fast ones. You give them a problem and they solve it even before you complete the question. There are the smart ones. They think before answering and thereby, answer correctly.  Following which, there are the sly ones that take great pleasure in complaining about the others lest I ask about their progress. Then, there are the ones who love to ape and just ape. And finally, there are the slow ones, who for some reason show little interest in keeping up with the class. I remember having spent a great deal of time with two such kids. The first week was entirely futile as both the kids did not trust me (I was new then). The second week, they warmed up by listening to me but yet, they won’t just write anything I asked them to. The third week, I started sensing a very teeny weeny success when one of them wrote something (that was wrong) and came up to me and asked if it was right. I was elated and I explained him how to write the numbers correctly. He used to write a mirror image of many numbers and alphabet (something my son does too). The other one too gradually responded. Now, the question is why to write off such students as slow. My point is a school needs to take a more delicate stand towards students who are loners or, rather different. Instead of complaining about the students not making progress, give the children some tasks that will motivate them to keep up with the class. I remember an instance when I choreographed an event with the class and I was told that not all students could participate. Not letting a child participate leaves a not so good impact on a child. My entire class worked as a team and their performance was applauded the most on the day of event.

When I talk about my class, I cannot help mentioning about this silent yet cherubic barbie doll Christina, who would just not mingle with anyone and would leave the class on a whim! Later, I observed the clique formation started at a very young age and she felt left out. And, she had a strange way of venting her frustration. She would take my permission to go to the washroom and will not turn back for hours. My assistant teacher remarked, “She is like that only. We have tried many times but she doesn't listen.” I tried talking to her but she eluded my questions. The drama continued for a week and then, the next week when she asked to go to the washroom, I said, “Ok. Christina. You can go. But tell me will you come back? Will you promise me that you will be back?” She saw me through the eye, smiled slightly, nodded very inconspicuously and started going, not before I added, "If you don’t come back as you said, you will make me sad because you promised me. You won't break my trust, will you?” Ever since that day, she never bunked classes. Next day, she got me some flowers, did her class work well and ate well too. She wasn't slow. She was just moody. Sometimes, children need attention and they need individual attention. Maybe, teachers need to stop branding students and rather, work that extra ten percent in understanding the child. You may not get extra bucks for it. But trust me, the efforts are worth it!

My son loves water so much that even after having suffered bouts of shivering after having frolicked in the pond, refused to leave the bathroom until all the lukewarm water was used up to remove the colors from his face. Result is that he is the only person among us who is as clean from all colors and hubby and I are still 'red' faced! After a good lunch, they dozed off. Well, these are the afternoons I crave for, when hubby and son nap and I write. I do not get much time to write regularly and had there been a TV, I may have forgotten my writing space altogether. That explains why I am writing so much these days, or rather ranting about the place and its people to my close friends and family. (smiles wickedly!) Jokes apart, writing is therapeutic. It makes me feel a lot better and a lot lighter (not physically of course. Wish if exercising fingers could aid in weight loss). Now, I want to read a lot of books. Because, books understand you the way no one does. At least, I would like to believe so. There is a lot on my list. Let’s see how things fructify, from no on. Till then, God help me become a little more thick-skinned, a little more humorous and a little more patient with time and surroundings! Sigh!        


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

To de-clutter ~ From a Nomad's diary

If I had ever mentioned aloud that I always wanted to be a nomad, perhaps I forgot to specify the manner in which I wanted to be one. Lessons learnt: Be very specific in your wants! Jokes apart, I have had so much on my mind that I now want to de-clutter so that I can think clearly. Well, even as I write this post, there are laborers standing on the roof of our temporary accommodation and trying hard to ‘demolish’ it. Special repairs is the term for such cases! So, getting our permanent accommodation (Govt quarters) seems to be a distant dream for the moment and so, will be soon moving places again. Well, all that said, I just realized that it had been just a month and a few days since I came here. And, it feels like I have almost spent a year here! Time can be slow and sometimes, it suffocates too. Not one simple plan I make has fructified here. In fact, I am scared to think of a plan lest Murphy hear it! Sometimes, I feel I have been busy collecting all the jinxes instead of good lucks and charms, before I came to this place! I mean, seriously. How is it, that not a single simple plan works out for me, like buying vegetables from a shop that is a 3 min walk from my place? (Don’t bother as to why! I have reasons that shall set your head rolling!). Duh!

I was just doing a math on the years that have given me some or the other kind of trouble. Starting with 2007, it was bad bad. That is probably a year I would like to erase from my memory for reasons best known to me! Then came 2009, the year of health woes. I had sever issues with my throat and then came, chicken pox (something that eluded me in childhood. The fun part was this pox visited me right a month before my engagement! How convenient, no?). Also, I came down with this urinary tract infection besides having been sent for swine flu screening as well! What was God thinking, really? Then came 2011 when I was carrying my son. Hubby was posted in war zone. I couldn't talk to him for days and when I could, it was a 2 minute conversation before the fauji phones disconnect. Also, my pregnancy was a roller coaster ride as had to opt for a C Section due to certain complications! But it was also my best year because my bundle of joy came into my arms as his touch assured me that everything was going to be fine from then. It was a year of mixed feelings. Then came 2013, the year that almost killed me. But, I have a soft corner for this year as my personality underwent a paradigm shift and I started taking life more seriously than before. I respect that year, despite the horrors I faced during my stay in Rajashree Hospitals, Indore. And why not? It showed me a formidable side of me that I was never aware of. And now, 2015. This year is like a comedy of unbelievable errors, considering the place I am stationed in works entirely on chaos theory. And now, I don’t want to get into the details. It is just that, either I forgot that I am highly intolerant to bullshit or I am a stupid stuck in a land, where everyone else is worse than me! Anyways, I just want to get through this phase. Until then, like my hubby puts it, “Let’s beat the odds!”. Damn, we will and together!

In all this chaos, I have been still able to enjoy life and there are only two reasons for my smile. One, hubby and the other, my son! Both drive me crazy. Both fuss a lot when it comes to food. Both are identical in their food and sleep habits! Both love Chinese food. Both love being outdoors all the time. Both love the idea of having a wooden stick in hand and trying to practice some kind of martial arts with it (I never understood this fascination though!) Both love to tell me what I should do and what I should not. And, both love me unconditionally as much as I love them to pieces!! Motherhood has changed a lot for hubby and me as spouses. It has gotten us closer to each other than ever before. We have our disagreements from time to time, but all of it disappears the moment he tells me, “Narayani..I tell you….there cannot be a better cook than you!” and then he goes ahead to damage the compliment by saying..”Of course, when you reach your mother’s age, you will be the world’s best cook just like her!.....By the way, have you gained some pounds....you are looking cherubic!” GRRRRR.........................

I have had a love hate relationship with social networking (includes blogging). As for my hubby, he is totally averse to the idea itself. It is only after my coaxing he joined FB. However, he rarely checks it. Well, I for one, am drawn towards this evil as much as I despise it. I can rant endlessly on how this thing has changed lives and how it has broadened the distance between people. At the same time, I love to read a lot on the Internet and especially some good posts on FaceBook. Of course, I love it for more reasons than I hate it for. And then, there are blogs. You don’t see a person face to face and yet, you connect with their writing. Somewhere, some bits and pieces of childhood, hostel diaries or workplace stories, the jibes and digs at politics and what not emerge and suddenly, there is a connection. For instance, there are a few blogs I love to read and I never get bored of them. When I read blogs by Sowmini, Revathi, Purba and Shruthi , I connect with them at many levels, emotionally and intellectually. And, these blogs have actually kept my grey cells alive in the last month which was horrible, plain horrible. Well, this month is no less but I am kind of bracing up, toughening up a little bit. And yes, next time, some idiot comes over and tells me to get a job (because he or she thinks I should) or how I should manage even if hubby is out of town or how I should be leading my life, I am going to find the nearest weapon of any kind and smack his/her face! If I need advice, I will ask. If I don’t, stay as far as possible from me! And now, for things to do: 
To reach home safely with son, until we get a roof!!
To plan a career.
To read a lot of books.
And, to spend quality time with son with his studies!
And God, don’t let Murphy screw my plans this time. They are pretty harmless and I really really need to get a hold on my sanity, which at the moment is disintegrating! 

Well, that said I have learnt a few valuable lessons here, in the new place:
1.       Do not do something when your heart and mind together screams, “NO!”
2.       Don’t unpack if uncertainty is the only certainty in the present. 
3.       People are going to dish out advice like they followed it all. And such kind don’t like to be questioned back!
4.       Being good is sometimes mistaken for complacency  and that, is not acceptable to me!
5.       Being brave is a good thing. Being stupid is a bad thing. Being brave in a stupid situation is unforgivable!

Now that I realize that this has been totally a rant post! Well, once in a while de-cluttering mind is as important as feeding the soul with optimism.

Signing off…Until then, ciao!!


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sneering best friends ~ From a nomad's diary

I remember having laughed hard when I saw Bruce being gobsmacked and cornered at every given instance, that he thought was designed by God. I laughed hard. I mean, Jim Carey is an amazing actor. And, Morgan Freeman seemed to be a cool God! Yeah, I think so. God must be cool like Morgan Freeman, is he? Well, he is super cool because Murphy happens to be his best friend. And currently, the latter has clearly found a target and is vindictively pursuing it. And worse, both happen to be sneering at the target!

Apparently, there are many things going on (not the way, they should) and the variables are just piling up. Even if there was a way to go one at a time, there is already ten more standing at the door to let know that, the problems have arrived! Somewhere, the optimist in me is shaken by the sudden (or presumably anticipated) turn of events. I mean God, seriously, it is not a great feeling to be home hopping once every month. Over and above, the plethora of weird suggestions from people whose turfs have been supposedly greener, just rubs the salt on the wounds. And, advice always comes when you least need it. Believe me! But then, maybe, the problems are just appearing big. Maybe. However, the most unsettling feeling arises when time fails you in every way possible. The moment you think you are getting to know somebody, that somebody becomes a nobody. The moment you believe that you actually like a place (after a lot of pumped in optimism), the place fails you miserably. The moment you see a ray of hope flickering in all this bedlam, there is a strong gush of wind trying to douse it. And, the villain in all chaos is the uncertainty that lurks around.

“God, if there has to be some good in all this, just help me seek that!”

And, while writing this post, I just devoured a plate of fried cheese corn nuggets. Hubby will be very  angry if he finds out and that would be for two reasons: A, I had them all without sharing with him (Not exactly, he was sleeping then!) and B, We had got it for guests who may arrive in a couple of days (not sure though). As for my son, he hates cheese corn nuggets. He prefers chicken or something like that, which we consciously do not buy. I have absolutely no regrets. I love cheese and corn, It is a great combo. And most importantly, they boost your mood. Atleast I am feeling better. By the way, did I tell you that it rained today as well? Talking about some good things now, the only one good thing that has happened in the last week was our visit to Best Price (a Walmart franchise). I loved the store. It is well equipped and huge. Basically, it is a warehouse! I got a dinner set and some fancy bowls and trays. It was clearly happy shopping until the moment I discovered at the cash counter that someone had flipped things from my basket.  Lessons learnt : Don’t leave your basket unattended. And don’t go minutes before closing time. This is what happens.

I hope to write something good about this place. But then, this place has to be nice to me, FIRST! Until then, I am saying this to myself every now and then -