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Archive for October, 2010

Yep, you heard that right.

I’m looking for new names for the twins. And that doesn’t mean I’m going to change their real names 😀 .

I’m just tired of calling them RS and SS and would prefer to give them both a new blog-name instead.  So folks, you, who are privy to all the doings of the twins in the last one year, have the choice of giving the twins their blog-name 🙂

(I’m really not able to come up with anything original and seriously need your help in this) 

And oh, for the record, the twin’s B’day comes up next month and I’d be really, REALLY grateful if you guys could send in your entries before that. I do so want to use the new names on their B’day 🙂

Errmmm….there are no perks attached to this request, but I sure would declare your name in bold+Caps+Italics+underlined if your’s is the winning entry 😀

So guys, do me this favour.

Give my kids names that YOU would like to read on this blog.

Thanks a million in advance 🙂

Much love to all,

A grateful,



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Feeling low today…..

………. so I feel like doing something batty 😐



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A high-ranking official’s (in)famous comment on Indian hygeine at the recently concluded Commonwealth games had the nation in a furore. Though the poor gentleman wasn’t wrong in what he said, the issue is that he said it. In public. In front of the foreign media.

India never ranked high on the hygeine list anyway. But that doesn’t give an official the license to wash our dirty linen in public, does it?

Anyhow, thats not what this post is about. Ummm..actually it is, but not regarding Mr.Bhanot. He came to my mind only because I was reminded of him when I saw a certain mail from the clients.

Since I’m not making much sense up there (read, last para. Not the upper chambers of my cranium . Just clearing the air before we proceed 😀 ), let me clarify further. It so happens that a few people from the office were sent to the client-side in US. These people were working in a separate section of the office premises and hence, were provided with a separate smoking zone for their convenience. The clients were considerate enough to provide a receptacle for throwing of cigarette butts.

B-U-T.

We are Indians. Right? Right.

So we throw the cigg-butts on the ground, stamp them and forget about it. The receptacle be damned for all it is worth!!

The quality manager put in one or two gentle requests to the project head to communicate the lack of cleanliness in the smoking zone. The project head, on her behalf, sent a couple of gentle mails to the team in question, requesting them to make use of the receptacle.

B-U-T.

We are Indians. Right? Right.

So we ignore the mails and continue to throw the cigg-butts on the ground.

And that’s when the Project head explodes. I mean, literally explodes. At least that’s what we can surmise from her mails where she questions all the team members AND their respective heads AND their managers as to what is so difficult about aiming a cigg-butt at the trash bin!? Not only that, she explicitly asks the ‘visitor’ to behave like ‘guests’ and adhere to the rules of ‘their country’.

Now , now.

It made me think.

On the content that was NOT said, but implied. Like “This is NOT your country to do as you please” , “You may trash your country as much as you want, don’t try trashing mine” or even , “Don’t try to make yourself at home in my neat and clean country. You are a visitor, so just try and stay clean till the time you have to go back. And go back you will, because no way are we letting you people stay here a minute longer than necessary“.

We were ashamed when we saw that mail. It wasn’t just about the cigg-butts. It was a much larger issue. Of Indians being termed unhygenic with zero regard for cleanliness. That we prove it so strongly within a short period of Mr.Bhanot’s widely-heard comment, makes our case all the more weak.

So coming back to the question in hand, why is hygeine such a difficult word. We all try to keep our homes, our bathrooms, our courtyards clean. What about that patch of land right outside the courtyard? Why is it ok to dump all the trash out there? What makes us think that the boundaries of our homes are the ONLY areas of our concern? What makes people spit on the roads? What makes men pee on the roads? Why can’t mothers reprimand their children who throw toffee wrappers on the ground? Why can’t men throw cigarette butts in a trash bin?

Why is the ‘toss-it-out-of-my-hands-onto-the-road’  the only physical activity we believe in? And while we do the tossing, why cant we wait till we find a bin?? Does holding a wrapper for a few minutes more make the hand filthier? Does the stubbed out cigarette burn the fingers till you find a trash-bin to throw it into??

Why exactly do we feel the urge to discard unwanted things like waste paper pieces, gutkha wrappers, etc as soon as possible, irrespective of where we discard it?? Do people try doing this at home?

I’m not really sure where I’m heading with all these questions 😦

Its very difficult to explain the concept of hygeine to a population where the majority them does not have access to toilets, trash-bins or even water. For a villager coming to a city, a packet of ‘gutkha’ is to be consumed and the packet thrown away, for the breeze to take it where it pleases. The villagers may not even be aware of contraptions like trash-bins. Can we blame them??

I know that there are plenty of trash-containers in my city, but we see the trash lying outside the bin. Any idea why the bad aiming?

There are plenty of smaller trash containers in the city, but most of them get stolen, either for the metal or are just vandalized, because the perpetuators are not aware of the significance of the bins.

One of the maids who used to work for us earlier, once proudly claimed that she cannot use a loo because of the confined space. She doesn’t even use the one in her own house!! She prefers releiving herself on the hill-side behind her place. She and a hundred others who have made the base of the hill their home. The early-morning walk on the hill is no longer fun. Because the morning scene is unsightly.

How do you then convince these people?? How many more common toilets will the government churn out before convincing people to use them? The problem here is not lack of toilets. It is the lack of will to use them!! Even today, in most parts of the country, constructing a loo is considered an overhead, an unnecessary expenditure.

Is it any wonder then, that to an outsider it looks disgustingly ridiculous to see children lined up on the roadside emptying their bowels? Who will teach the parents that they are responsible for teaching their kids to use a loo. How many people can we convince. How many will change for the better? And how many will just ask us to mind our own business and let them get on with their life?!!

Yeah, I’m disturbed…… and rightly so.

I have no idea if those erring members of my company have been suitably punished or not. Though I’d like them to. But they aren’t alone in tarnishing our image. Its just something they are used to doing back here in our country. Its a force of habit, if nothing else. A habit inculcated so deeply into their bloodstream, they are no longer aware that it is wrong. And while I say “they“, I mean “us“. Because I’m a part of this too.

Because , in more ways than one, I’m guilty too 😦

Because I don’t bother to point out to the guy watering the walls that he’s not at home. That I don’t try and advise a kid to NOT throw wrappers when they are in the presence of their parents/guardians. After all, what are they there for? I don’t bother to check if my maid throws the trash in the trash bin on the roadside or just flings it casually,unmindful of whether it landed in the right place or not.

Yes, I’m at fault.

And it means that  I lack hygeine too, because I’m not bothered enough about the cleanliness outside my home.

The cigg-butt incident has opened my eyes in more ways than one. I was earlier upset that it happened, but now I’m glad that it did. If not for anyone else, it was eye-opener for me 🙂 .

I’ve now resolved to take tiny measures to correct my ways. No shying away from pointing out someone who litters and request them to pick up their trash. Though, the watering-the-walls-guys are still an ugly prospect, I’ll just have to tag the BF along to do the needful!! He wouldn’t like it one bit, I tell you, but its all for the sake of a better tomorrow, right ?! Thats the line I’ll tell him. Hope he falls for it 😀

Wish me luck 🙂



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"You see my pout?? That's all I can do!! Can't I look pretty like RS too?"

 

"Don't worry Bro, your Sis is here. A little bit of Talcum, here and there. Soon you'll be fair, just like me, and if Mamma gets angry, so mote it be!!"

"You think she's angry" "I'm not so sure" , "How long do we stand here?" "Until she finds a cure". "For what? pray tell", "For being finicky, and angry as hell".

So my girl has taken a HUGE liking for the talcum powder. She LOVES dusting her hands with it and spreading it on every conceivable part of her body, the favourite being her knees!!  And not only herself, she loves dousing others with the talc too 😦 (SS being her willing assistant every time)

Yesterday, she rubbed some talc on the FIL’s cheek. The FIL didn’t pay much attention then. He had some urgent work and left after some time. When he returned, we were shocked to see the streak of white still sitting pretty on his cheek. The poor man was awfully abashed!! Apparently, he’d gone to meet some high-up people and now it was funny to wonder what they must have thought about the slash of white cutting across his face 😀  .Surprisingly, people were polite and no one pointed it out to him!! We had a good laugh over it 🙂

The snaps above were lying in the drafts for quite some time. They were taken two months back. RS was busy ‘donating’ some talc to SS and while doing so, she also dropped a lot of it on the floor. The GMIL had a near-slip and that’s what made me angry enough to punish the two. I made them stand in the balcony and threatened them to not come inside until I cleaned up the floor.

Like always, my punishments go waste 😦 . My kids are least afraid of me and nothing I do or say makes them mend their ways. Sigh.

PS : The pyjamas that SS is wearing are from his cousin M. Now where little M looked like a munchkin in that outfit, my boy looks like an escaped convict from Tihar 😦

PPS : We’ve hidden most of the talc bottles at home. But somehow, RS got her hands on this little Emami talc (I guess it came free with something!)



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Its been nearly 10 years since I’ve bid adieu to the Army life. And I still can’t get over it 😦

Last week, I saw an army staff car on the road and my heart ached with longing. For the uninformed, this is what an army staff car looks like :-

Ambassador Staff Car

Look at that beauty!! That gloss!! Only one word comes to mind – REGAL. Army ambassadors come in three colours – black, dull olive-green and off-white. But its the black one which is by far the BEST!!

Yes, that is what the ambassador (or the lovingly called Amby) car is all about.

We spent a major chunk of our childhood travelling by the Amby. I’m yet to experience the same comfort in any other car 😦 .

The Amby had a roomy interior, a high enough ceiling and plush velvet seats which sank comfortably beneath our weight. Three people could sit in the front as well as the back with ample elbow space between them, without the worry of bulky seat-belt buckles digging into their posterior!! One could sit back and rest their head and have a wonderful snooze while the amby cruised smoothly along . The sturdy vehicle never allowed any pot-holes to disturb its occupants’ sleep 😀 .

The height of luxury was when the car had an interior fan of its own. A Small tiny contraption which would blow hot air into the face of the people sitting at the back. Rotating fans were  super-luxury. You really had to be a high up in the army to deserve them!!

Whenever we travelled from Dehra Dun to Delhi, we’d take the Amby, because no other vehicle on earth could compare with the comfort that the amby provides!! Dad’s driver, Surinder bhaiya used to treat the Amby like his baby. He would lovingly wipe down every speck of dust from the hood, vacuum the car twice a week, wash it everyday and essentially, give it more attention than his wife! Even when he retired , he found it difficult to part from his baby and so Dad appointed him as the driving instructor for the new drivers in his office. This way, Surinder bhaiya could spend some time with the Amby everyday 😀

The other vehicle of which I have fond memories, is the Maruti Gypsy. A really convenient vehicle, I must say. No fancy parts, just simple utility. You could load the entire family into it , plus 10 bags and there would still be space for more 😀 . Once in a while, if parents were not travelling with us, we could convince the driver to pull down the hood 😀 . Bliss!!

Maruti Gypsy!!

Sigh. Its been so long!!

I now hear that many senior officers are now demanding the new fleet of high-end cars for official purposes. The poor things. They have no idea what they are giving up on!! The ambys now also come with air-conditioning. So what’s their grouse?!!

But we have no say now. Dad’s retired and we no longer have access to these wonderful mode of transport. Sad 😦

The only part that irritates me is the use of ambys for politicians!! What a disgrace to such a wonderful vehicle. How they degrade its standing 😦 . Some politicians are now demanding SUVs. Well, let them! They don’t deserve the royalty and presence of an Amby anyway!

The BF does not understand my obsession with the “Elephant” as he likes to name the Amby. He’s just ignorant. Because he’s never had the first-hand experience of it. He may jest as much as he wants, but he can’t hide the fact the main reason he makes those quips is because he covets these vehicles himself. He will deny it till the end of time, but I’ve caught him looking lovingly at army jeeps more than once!! Specially the open-doors one –

The Jeep

Is it some wonder then, that when he took driving classes, he chose to drive an old used army jeep?!! Naah… 😀

Those days are gone……with not a single member of the family in Army anymore, there is no likelihood of any of us ever getting a chance to sit in those vehicles again. So I can just cling on to my memories and be glad that we did have a chance once. And  a million thanks to Dad for giving us a lifestyle which actually makes my life feel complete 🙂 .

* All images sourced from google images.

“What would I do without thee, O Google?!!”

 



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On marriage proposals!

I have a confession to make.

I’ve never experienced the discomfort of receiving proposals.

Or looking up guys.

Or getting looked up.

( Which many of my friends would claim vehemently, is the most vile situation to be in )

But then, the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side, isn’t it?!

I forever rue the fact that I never got to see even a SINGLE proposal. Not even a bio-data!! Heck, not even a mention that so and so’s son is eligible for me!!

Hmmpfff!! Go on, smirk your heart out!

What’s a girl to do in these circumstances? The girl in question, went ahead and married a guy of her choice 😀

B-U-T. Fact remains that I never got a proposal (if parents got them and never told me about it, in a way, I’m grateful to them 🙂 ).

So when I see mails like this, my heart soars….only to come crashing down seconds later (or is it nano-seconds later ?!! )

I wish!!

 

The “Click here” beckons invitingly and my fingers itch as I drag the mouse slowly towards the link…..I now know how EVE must’ve felt when faced with the forbidden fruit!!

But better sense prevails……I see the happy, smiling faces peering at me from a snap on my desktop and reality comes crashing down.

Its too late , I guess 😦

Alas!!



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More on that in a moment. Let me first speak about the little girls 🙂 .

There’s a reason mothers feel a different kind of draw towards their daughters. The main one being that we women are still girls at heart. And when we have a tiny baby with big eyes and silky hair in our arms, it brings out the girl in us. We crave to comb her hair, decorate it with colourful clips, hairbands and ribbons. We LOVE to dress them up in fancy outfits, sometimes, even taking the effort to stitch some ourselves (I did stitch a tiny one-piece dress with red trimming and a red satin ribbon at the waist. And I did it by hand. No sewing machine 😀 . It’s a pity it never struck me to take a snap then 😦 . the dress is long gone, donated to some relative, I’m not sure who 😦  ).

The BF noticed that I’m partial towards RS and mentioned it once. In my defense, I can say that I’m partial only in terms of dressing them. I can dress SS in jeans/shorts and a T-shirt and I’m done. But with RS, I take time to choose a top, select a skirt/jeans, then select matching shoes and other accessories to go with it. Somehow, these little things give me a lot of joy. When I go shopping ,I end up buying more stuff for RS than SS (guilty here 😦 ). Yeah, I even buy her clips and hair-bands even though she barely has any hair. But a mother can wish, can’t she 😀 ?!!

Though I don’t buy these things for SS, my boy likes them just as much as RS!! So he brings me a clip and asks me to put it on his head 😀 . Or he extends his fingers for the nails to be painted by the nanny, when she paints RS’s. Sometimes, I feel that we are so stringent in being gender-biased that we forget that little boys and girls don’t know the difference between themselves yet!! The BIL was once annoyed when SS showed him his nail-polish. But like I said at that time, what does the little tyke know?! Why should we instill regulations limiting his scope to experiment right now??

What he sees is bright, colourful stuff and he is as naturally attracted to it as RS. Who can blame him? With time, he will obviously come over these habits and so I’m not overly worried if my little boy shows a preference for pink shoes over blue, or likes playing with utensils from the kitchen or wants me to put a hairband on his head. He’s just a baby  and I see no threat!

When RS does the monkeying around, climbing over tables, jumping from the sofa, bossing over other kids, everyone applauds her for being a “tomboy”. But when SS (being a mild child by comparison), prefers “cooking food” with toys or plays with baby dolls, the men in the family panic over him turning into a sissy!! WHY?? Why does he have to prove that he is a ‘male’ specimen?? Should I then expect him to turn into a bully and only have fist-fights for entertainment?? OF COURSE NOT!!

I think we fret too much these days. The more the world gets liberal, the more we try to hide under the security of ignorance. The slightest use of the colour pink  by a male immediately translates to questions about his sexual orientation! Why the fixation with it people?? Pink is JUST A COLOUR!!  Like Purple (which is now widely called as the ‘colour of pride’ by the gay community). My question is, why colour-code people? Why do we have to slot people based on the colour they like?

And worse, why do we have to slot kids?!! In most cases, boys have it worse than girls. Today, a young boy would rather stay hungry than take a pink lunchbox to school, just because his class-mates would then call him names which would be demeaning. Does this make sense?? Who has instilled in the other children’s mind that ‘pink is bad’ ?!! What do little boys know about being gay, anyway?!!

They are yet to understand the world. Yet to absorb the nature and the myriad colours around them. Yet to make a preference, take a liking. Does it then make sense to set-up barriers in this learning phase?

On that note, let me say that when the twins were born, I never bothered with the pink and blue convention. SS was as many times in pink as RS. People would point to the pink-capped SS and ask if he was the girl and I’d ask them what made them think so. “Because of the pink cap”, they’d say and I’d go, “So??” . After which people generally didn’t have a reply. Because, like I said before, “Pink is just a colour”!!!

And like I dress up RS most of the times, I sometimes dress up SS too. He looks cute as a button and enjoys all the fuss and attention I shower on him. I don’t see any harm in it. Do you??



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