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Archive for August, 2010

All in a Day’s Work!!


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The twins are mere midgets now, showering their love unconditionally and demanding the same in return. Life is full of hugs and kisses and mushy cuddles 🙂 . Which we are thankful for. The only thing that worries me is that it wouldn’t be long before they wriggle out of our grasp and squirm when we try to kiss them. That they will avoid their best to be in our company and roll their eyes when we say something for their good. That they will think their parents are the dumbest of the lot!! That some day, our kids might label us as “uncool”.  *Shudder*.

So we try and absorb all the love that comes in freely now. Without asking, without demanding. The twins have grown rather possessive of their momma ,who does a rather silly preening act when they hold her tight and claim that she’s theirs 😀 . Awww munchkins, who else would I rather belong to?!!

Anyhow, while on trying our best NOT to be uncool, I can’t help, but recollect instances of my parents bringing us up. Which doesn’t strictly mean instances where they disciplined us, but rather, just slices of their life and how exactly I’ve come to believe that my parents rock big time in the ‘coolth’ department 🙂

Check these out :-

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1) Dad was posted as the CWO (Commanding Works Officer) in Dehradun. We were regular visitors to the DSOI (officer’s club) every weekend. In those days, we owned a Fiat (Premier Padmini) , which technically ran only on sheer will power and not petrol (as is the case with the current brand of cars). Anyhow, we used to get dressed to the nines, pile into the car, dad would insert the key in the ignition, and after the car gave a few failed spurts and chokes, we would pile out again , take position and push hard. Now, I’ll tell you one thing about the Fiat of days gone by. Those machines were made of metal. Heavy metal. No fancy fibre and stuff. Just hardcode metal which weighed a ton. I realized this much later when I got a chance to push Dad’s Maruti Zen and the Maruti 800 before that. These new cars were so light, almost easy to push them single-handedly. Whereas, the Fiat required all the force we three sisters could exert.

So we hiked up our skirt, positioned our stillettoed feet, placed our hands on the dicky and grunted totally unladylike while pushing . There were lucky days when the car would start (albeit with a few jerks) within a few feet of pushing. And then, there were days when it took us close to 500 metres to get that heap of metal to respond!! Aah!! Joyful, it was NOT!!

But that’s not all. While leaving the house, we were lucky that the pushing took place within the driveway of our Bungalow compound. So no one could see us and cause us misery and humiliation.

But, it was a different story when returning from the party.

There would be other people in the parking lot. We would bid everyone good-bye , pile into the car and start praying fervently that it start. But it wouldn’t. So it was back to spilling out, hiking skirt, positioning feet,placing hands and shoving hard.

So much for dignity 😐

When a couple of officers offered help by way of shove, Dad would politely decline them. He would say that his daughters are no less than boys and he would expect nothing less of us than to pitch in when faced with trouble. The poor officer would step back politely and we would resume pushing, with a fake smile on our face, unsure whether to take pride in what dad had said or resent him for refusing to part with that rusting-pile-of-heavy-element-masquerading-as-car !!

Looking back, I realized two things. He made us independent and responsible and not some simpering damsels in distress who look to other people for help. And secondly, we gotta cherish and look after things which are old. Not all old things are useless and have to be sent to the scrap dealers.

And oh, he finally donated the car to an orphanage. He couldn’t come to terms with selling it!! It was his first car, after all 🙂

PS: the Brother was in Bangalore in those days and was of no help whatsoever 😦

2) While travelling in the same Fiat , mom would often chide Dad if he stepped up the accelerator. For her, even 30 on the speedometer was “speeding”. Dad used to have a tough time arguing with her and we three would simply tune out, gaze outside or start chattering among ourselves. It was understood that the parents would still be arguing on the speed even after we reached our destination.

Anyway, one such day on MG Road, Pune, Dad was cruising along, when suddenly this auto-rickshaw guy creeped up besides him and yelled into his window,”bageeche mein chala rahe ho kya?”

Without missing a beat, dad replies,”Mujhpar mat chilla-o. Yeh madam ko bolo. Inko tees ki speed bhi zyada lag rahi hai“.

Without missing a beat, mom retorts to the auto driver,”Problem kya hai? Overtake karna nahin aata kya?”

Poor auto guy just looked flummoxed and sped away as fast as his auto could take him.

Meanwhile, obviously, we three sisters were doubled up with laughter!!

3) Once, when I was about 11 years old, I walked into the kitchen to find my parents locked in a tight embrace, with dad just bending down to kiss mom. I was shocked!! For Gosh’s sake!! We are Indians!! Our parents don’t touch each other, let alone kiss!! We all knew where babies came from! They were the outcome of two roses,sunflowers or dahlias getting cozy and then the mother returning from the hospital carrying the baby. Surely our dad had NO role to play here!!

But here he was, cozying up to mom the way the roses had done in “Aan Milo Sajnaa“. Not done, I tell you.

So I stood there gaping at them. Mom flushed a deep pink and tried to get away from dad. But he held her tight. Turning to me , he said,”If you don’t mind, I want to kiss my wife. I don’t need your permission for it. And oh, for the record, she was my wife before she became your mom. So beat it”.

Beat it, I did. Totally appalled at the blatant breach of morals!!

But down the years, when I see dad come home and randomly pull out  a single rose for mom, proclaiming his love for her, even  after all these years, I’m all misty eyed 🙂 .

I don’t see any harm in expressing love. It comes naturally to my parents and I would like my kids to also realize that their parents have their own personal life too. Surprisingly, none of my friends have ever seen their parents get cozy or even the least bit intimate. More’s the pity!!

4) There was a time when I was living alone in Pune. Bags was in Gurgaon, Aapa in Dubai. Bro was in B’lore with parents, but was awfully busy with work. Dad had taken up a plethora of activities post retirement and seemed to spend most of his time away from home.

Mom used to rant at us that Dad isn’t paying her any attention, he’s immersing himself into a zillion activities and try as she might, she’s unable get interested in those herself! Oh well, there wasn’t much we could do other than tell her to start her own activities. She hummed and hawed and said she’ll see.

So what does my then 55-year-old, middle-class  mother do?

(Well, what do such ladies do anyway??)

My mom had her head shaved.Yup, she got rid of her shoulder length, thick hair. Not just trimmed, but shaved away!!!

And that, got Dad’s attention. And how?!!!

He was flabbergasted at seeing her. And my mom, cool as a cucumber says, “If only you’d paid attention, this wouldn’t have happened!!”

Dad made sure never to ignore mom after that.

And Oh, when Mom came over to Pune shortly after the shaving episode, I swear she stunned everyone here too. My cousins promptly declared her the coolest person ever and begged mom to retain the look. Even I was impressed. And jealous!! She had no right to look so cool and amazing even without hair 😦  (and here I was , mourning the loss of each hair that left my scalp, never to return!!)

5) Army wives have this habit of dressing up their living rooms with trivia, show-pieces, driftwood and the singular piece of embroidered Horse, mounted as a frame (you won’t believe the number of houses which display The Horse. It almost has a standing of its own!!).

A long time back, maybe sometime in 1985-86, mom made our Orderly-bhaiyya (The guy assigned to assist Dad) to run out to the main road to collect the shattered glass pieces of an accident that had taken place there the previous night. The advantage of those shattered glass crystals was that they generally didn’t have sharp edges. The orderly-bhaiyya collected as much as he could. Mom then washed those crystals with Nirma , dried them and then filled a glass vase containing some dry-arrangement thingies with these crystals. The over-all look was beautiful!! Those glass crystals stayed with us all these years, although their quantity kept depleting, what with bratty officer’s-kids stealing fistfuls and throwing them around!!

Recently, when I was in B’lore (before my wedding, so make that 4 years back 😀 ) , me, mom and dad were returning from a big dinner party from RSI (MG Road, B’lore). On one of the by-lanes leading to our home, mom noticed the remains of a recent accident. There was a large pile of shattered glass lying on the road. Since it was close to mid-night, there wasn’t a soul around. Mom suggested that we pick the glass since the stock at home was over. I protested vehemently, but surprisingly, dad seconded mom. He said it would hardly take a minute if all three of us pitched in. So very reluctantly, I piled out with them. Mom fished out a plastic bag from her purse (I have the same habit of carrying my own plastic bags now!!) and we three squatted down to collect the glass.

Half-way through, a police patrol bike came up and the two policemen astride were stunned to see three well dressed people huddled up on the road. They couldn’t see what we were up to, but surely, that looked even more suspicious!! One of them called out to us and asked us what we were up to!!  Dad had this mortified look on his face. He turned beet red, stood up slowly, cleared his cravat-covered throat and in his best Kannada, explained that he was helping his wife collect broken glass.

It didn’t make any sense to the policemen. Why would a middle-age lady, dressed in Kanjeevaram silk, stoop to collect glass pieces off the road? They just gaped at us, expecting more. Mom quietly got up and with a dignified nod of her head, declared that we were done. She apologised to the policemen  (in chaste urdu) for holding them up and walked calmly till the car. Dad quickly followed. And the only reason I tagged last, was because I couldn’t get my eyes off the policemen’s face.

I’m sure they thought us a quirky family, the kinds who own a high-end car, dress impeccably and then huddle in the middle of the road collecting glass pieces 😀

I wish I had a camera to click the expression those policemen had!!

Even while leaving, I turned back and saw that they were still rooted to the spot, wondering if they were dreaming or people like us do exist 😀

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 Looking back now, I realize my parents really  are the epitome of “cool”. They let us choose our own field of education or work, even let me make my own choice in the matter of marriage. They were never patronizing or the kinds who imposed their will on us. They were just themselves and gave us a choice of being either ourselves or being what others wanted us to be. Luckily, we take after them.

And I seriously hope that down the years, I give my kids enough chance to think positively about their mom too. And also their dad. Even if he feels that kids should stick to the flowers-give-babies theory 😀 .



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…and by this, I mean, this soul-wrenching letter that a young girl wrote for her adopted daughter to read when she (the daughter) grows up.

A letter that expresses exactly what I would want to say to my daughter. A letter that encompasses so much,but at no point gets preachy. A letter, which I will save, because it expresses so much that I myself cannot.

The writer of this letter is no more. She died of Dengue on 11th August.

Too young to die 😦

But if you go through her blog, its hard to miss her positive vibes emanating from each post. The zest for life, the sheer optimistic attitude towards it.

Do go through it.

And also, do send in your prayers for her soul.

It’s the season of bad news , I know, but even in this tragedy, you will marvel over the way this young girl writes on her life, friends and family and also the world as she sees it.

May God give Tejaswee Rao eternal peace and her parents  (mom, IHM) the strength to go through it.



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Bad Timing!!

Its 5:15 AM right now.

We just had our Seher (food before the fast begins) which was a solemn affair. I got a call at 2:10 AM that one of GMIL’s sister in Navsari had expired. A part of me thought of waking up FIL and informing him about it. The other part said that he would get up in the next 90 minutes anyway, so I should wait till then.

I got up to prepare Seher around 3:45 AM. The GMIL came into the kitchen around 4. MIL was with her. Being all grave and serious, I gave her the news.

The GMIL was very annoyed with me for holding back the news. She said they could have started off for Navsari if I’d given them the news earlier (it was impractical, but I guess, at that time, she couldn’t be expected to be cool and rational). She was so upset, she didn’t touch her food. Like BIL rightly pointed out, I should have given the news after she had her seher. And I could kick myself for not thinking about it 😦

Now poor granny is going to be fasting today with no food in her tummy. All because of me 😦

I realize I’m rotten at conveying bad news. Really, really rotten. Somehow, even when I hear of it, I think of something funny or something stupid. If I do the BIG mistake of expressing it, I’m termed heartless!! Like at 2 am this morning. The person who called up to give the news, conversationally asked me what the FIL was doing at that time!! “What does a person do at 2 am??”, I wanted to shoot back, but given the gravity of the situation, I controlled myself. But after I gave the sad news to GMIL in the morning, I immediately started recounting the conversation with the said relative. The MIL signaled me to close my trap because by then, the GMIL had started sobbing quietly.

Gosh!! I felt like a jerk. An overgrown jerk with a brain smaller than a peanut!!

Is it just me, or are there other people too, who have a case of seriously bad timing?!!

And oh, it seems to be the season of bad news. My aunt suffered a severely violent reaction to TamiFlu pills and is now admitted to the ICU. Her skin is peeling off her body in the most hideous manner ever. The agony she’s going through is equivalent to a 90% burn victim. To top it, her mother passed away last night. Aunt hasn’t been told yet, since she’s under heavy sedation and observation.

Do send in your prayers for her and her family.

And also for GMIL. She’s very heart-broken right now and there’s not much I can do about it 😦

Prayers help. Big time!!



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Synopsis : This novel begins on a winter night in 1964, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins.
His son, born first, is perfectly healthy, but the doctor immediately recognizes that his daughter has Down syndrome. For motives he tells himself are good, he makes a split-second decision that will haunt all their lives forever. He asks his nurse, Caroline, to take the baby away to an institution. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child as her own.

What a lovely premise. I must confess, I was hooked just reading the synopsis. The story started off well enough and I was deeply engrossed in it for a while.

But halfway through, there began the first uneasy sensation that maybe what I was expecting/hoping, may not be fulfilled. That maybe, the end is not what it seems.

Once I completed the book, I had to put it down and reflect on where exactly it went wrong.  I still can’t put my finger on it.

[ Spoiler alert ]

First, we have a doctor, who, given his unhappy past, takes a decision which affects all their lives. He grieves his wisdom later on, but still, doesn’t confess or repent, or even make an attempt to undo the damage.

His wife, Norah, who earlier appeared to be a sensitive woman, suddenly turns into this most selfish person ever!! The only thing she is bothered about, are her own needs. Ok, so she didn’t know about the loss of her daughter, but she did have her son, right? What about him? She was no longer interested in her husband, but if she considered her son the bond which made her stay, how about giving that son his due?

Paul, we learn , has his own issues with his warring parents. Both don’t have time for him. One flaunts her affairs, the other locks himself up in his darkroom. What’s a poor guy to do? Is it any wonder then, that he takes a few faltering steps in the wrong direction?

Caroline gill may be a nurse with a conscience, but then, why didn’t her conscience allow her to disclose the truth about Phoebe to Norah? Why did she stay quiet all those years.And just when she did finally need to enjoy life with her husband, she turns to Norah and ‘hands over’ her daughter. At this point, I couldn’t figure out who was more selfish, Norah or Caroline?!

The worst part was the sudden exit of David.No reason, no excuses. Just a simple exit.

Phoebe never knew what she had missed out. Somehow, I feel her story was left unsaid. She was just the object on whom everyone had an opinion. None of her opinion were emphasized on. What did she feel when she met her real brother? Her mother?

I would say that in the end, I was one disappointed reader. The book didn’t give me the satisfaction of tying up loose ends. There were too many threads hanging around and no evident conclusion in sight.

The narration in the first half of the book is good, but after that, it tends to drag. Maybe because the author doesn’t add anything new to the story, other than adding a new character where none was required. We are introduced to Paul’s initial interest in this character, but after that, there is no follow-up on it. We have no idea why he doesn’t pursue her, or the reason why he isn’t pursuing her. Fickle guy indeed!!

Anyhow, I’m a tad unhappy with the final outcome.

Trying to get over it by reading another book, The Zoya Factor currently 🙂

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 The company which pays me has a rather positive attitude towards the environment and greenery. In keeping up with this spirit, all the balconies, work-halls and cafeterias in the office are lined with potted plants. Lots and lots of plants. It pleases the eyes to see those bright shiny leaves. The housekeeping staff even sprays and wipes the leaves of these plants on weekends 😀

But the company where I work (client side) is a little more reserved on this front. I’m yet to see a potted plant anywhere in our premises 😦 .

So, bringing in the values (instilled by the paying company), I decided to add my dash of green to my cubicle (or two-bicle, as is the case 😀 ).

A Money Plant 🙂

As the rule for money plants specifies, this stem was stolen from GMIL’s most prized pot 😀 . I was sneaky enough to slice off this stem when the GMIL was out for her daily walk .Sneaky me *wink wink* .

The last leaf you see up there was born in this office, sustaining only on tap water and much love 🙂

Close-Up

Ooops!!

Do ignore the scene in the background. I swear I spent most of my time working in office (do not, I repeat, DO NOT go by circumstantial evidence, as witnessed above!!) .

Another Angle

 Awww….this one totally makes me see green. Every morning, when I come in and see those glossy green leaves, I feel my heart swelling with love and pride. Here’s this nature’s miracle, living on its own, not demanding a thing (except, maybe water ) and yet generous enough to share its beauty :). How wonderful is that?!!

The goodie-tray

The pic above is the goodie-tray that sits on my desk. There are two little jars, one containing confectionary and the other usually has those sweet wafers . I don’t eat either. But I like it when people drop by to grab a bite or pick a toffee. There’s a big yellow mug that sits behind them. It belongs to the BF and has his company name on it. Since he uses a back-pack which has my company name on it, I think it is justified that I use his company mug 🙂 . Anyhow, the green bottle (Lemon extract bottle by Spencer’s Daily) is the perfect vase to hold my plant. I cut out a part of the yellow top to insert the stem. I could have gotten rid of the cap, but the yellow-green combo is in keeping with the colours of the client company 😀 .

 Good friend from work, CG was smitten by the money plant herself and requested for a leaf. The leaf was handed over to her , which she promptly placed in this nice, tall glass vase. I LOVE the contrast of the yellow-green leaves with the sky-blue shade of the vase. Very , very pretty 🙂 . By the way, the leaf is two months old now. Two months since it was snipped off. Currently, it is growing roots and we are hoping for a new shoot shortly 😀 .

CG's Leaf 🙂

That’s all for the green tales now. Will let you all know when my plant here sprouts new leaves 🙂

Ciao till then 🙂

Edited to add :-

Good friend Srividya has sent across a pic of her glass bottle with cherry print and her money-plant. It was too pretty a pic to lie gathering dust in my inbox. Posting it here for all to see :-

Sri's snap of her money-plant !!

Good job Sri. Now you know why I’m hankering after you to come and click my kids 😀



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Ramzan Mubarak

Ramzan : Barkaton aur Rehmaton ka Mah-e-Mubarak

 

This is why we observe fasting in the holy month of Ramzan :-

“(It was) the month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasts) that month…”

~ [al-Baqarah 2:185]

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“O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint.”

~ [al-Baqarah, 2:183]

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“Allah is with those who restrain themselves.”

~ [Quran 16: 128]

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“He is the One GOD; the Creator, the Initiator, the Designer. To Him belong the most beautiful names. Glorifying Him is everything in the heavens and the earth. He is the Almighty, Most Wise.”

~ [Quran 59:24]

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“(Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (Should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (With hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more, of his own free will,- it is better for him. And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew”

~ [al-Baqarah, 2:184]

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“When My servants ask you about Me, I am always near. I answer their prayers when they pray to Me. The people shall respond to Me and believe in Me, in order to be guided.”

~ [al-Baqarah, 2:186]

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And the Rules :-

Walk humbly
Talk politely
Dress neatly
Treat kindly
Pray attentively
Donate generously

The last rule is the essence of Ramzan, where we stay hungry and feed the poor. This is also the time for zakaat, or religious tax, where we donate 2.5% of all assets (income, jewellery,property,etc) to the needy.

Its time to bring out our zakaat calculators and set aside the amount to be given away 🙂 .

——————————

 

Aap sab ko Ramzan Mubarak.

Dua mein yaad rakhna 🙂

 



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