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Archive for March, 2012

Hello uncles and aunties ( or Bhaiyyas and didis for the overly sensitive!)

This is Shobby, of the “Lui & Shobbs”  fame (kind of rhymes with ‘Calvin & Hobbs’, no?) .

I was , of course, compelled to take authority of the blog since the mother dear totally lost it. The track I mean, of the blog. She’d lost her mind a long time back…around 3 years back would be my guess. Right Lui??

[Lui : whatever!! Get on, will ya?]

Yup!! Right on! So I took over the blog. Because what was once our place, suddenly turned into this place where mother would just sit and yelp about her eyes, her chores, her bad driving and what not!! I mean, we thought this blog was for us– Lui and Shobs!. But no. She had to go and make it into another agony column of GrihShobha magazine, not that we have anything against GrihShobha, or hindi magazines for that matter. I personally steer clear of such stuff and as for Lui, I doubt she’s the type who would read any magazine. Listening to advise isn’t really her cup of tea. like the time we visited Aunt L . She had this cute little birdie in a cage (an orphan she picked from the road) and had told us clearly NOT to feed it since it already had its fill. But Lui insisted on feeding the poor little bird till it died! I mean, it didn’t really die then, but it did a couple of days after our visit. So I’m sure it was she who was the culprit!

I’m not the type to get into crimes, mind you. I’m the good guy who strolls along smelling the flowers and caressing the leaves. Of course, I learnt that day that cactuses are NOT to be caressed, a painful experience, surely (Thanks for not warning, mom!!), but a lesson learnt nevertheless.

Then there was this time we had gone to the park ( We LOVE the park) . I think I could live there, if mom let us. But she doesnt 😦 . I think she’s got into this habit of refusing us EVERYTHING!! I mean, for instance, if I say I want to live in a tub of cold water all my life, am I being unreasonable? Am I ?? Am I??

But she refuses to listen!

Anyhow, so there we were, at the park. Luckily, we had gone there early and for once, we got the swings to ourselves. Look at Lui, doesn’t she look happy?? I mean like, “OMG-I-got-this-seat-for-real” happy 😀

Though I’m usually more in control of my emotions, I did get carried away myself! I mean, the older kids at the park NEVER let us sit on those swings. But it was a good day that day. We swung around for ages 🙂

In case you haven’t noticed, mom dressed us up in identical colours. Its a bad habit of hers, but what to do?? It was either “wear what I give you” or “sit at home”. The choice, was clear!!

Back at the park, we allowed ourselves to upgrade from the baby slide to the Big-Slide. Mom was of course hopping on her toes, but we had our sights set on the big slide for ages!! I mean, we are grown-ups now, aren’t we?? We are entitled to climb the BS! And that is exactly what we did!! I was my usual careful self and made sure that I gripped the sides of the slide pretty tight. It kind of prevented me from coming down smoothly, but at least mom didn’t suffer a cardiac.

What did give her a cardiac though, was Lui’s attempt at skateboarding down the slide. Thats my sis there, a real gutsy girl if there ever was one (mom calls her careless and a headache). I think she rocks because she does stuff most girls wouldnt dare to. Like burping out loud, at will, as many number of times as you want her to 😀 . Now there, do you know any other 3-year old girl who can do that?? And I can walk across the room with a stone balanced on my head. Steady, that’s what the elders call me. Lui didn’t fare well in that area. She couldn’t walk two steps without dropping the stone :).

See, now that is the stuff that this blog should carry, but mom is so daft, she only writes about herself!!

[Lui : Shobs, how much longer is it gonna take??]

Almost done there, girl.

Then there was this time we attended Baby Simrah’s birthday. Thats our younger cousin who’s as cute as a button! I won’t post her pics here though, since Badi-khala is a tad squeamish about posting snaps online 🙄 . But I’ll let you know that we had a ball. Literally. We were dressed up in our party best (lui in a pretty shimmery blue frock and me in my favourite blue shirt. What did I just tell you about mom dressing us up in similar colours !!). There was Lui, gobbling up the cake, trying her best not to smear the icing on her frock. Must be the dragon looks mom was busy throwing her way.

And then, there was me. All prim and proper, a real gentleman. I mean, I didn’t even smear a lick of that cream on my face, or my hands. The best part, I used a spoon, all on my own!!

I know, I rock 😀 !! Not that it is appreciated in these parts. Mom just cribs all the time about my eating habits. Could someone (ANYONE) please give her a chill-pill??!

And oh, before I forget, last month we had “Parent-Day” at school, where each kid had to get dressed like his/her father/mother. Since we are twins, we were the only ones who dressed as both 😀

Lui was dressed in a shalwar-kameez. Though she hollered her heart out, mom wouldn’t allow her to carry along a dupatta. She made Lui wear a headscarf instead. Kind of cheating you know, ‘coz mom herself doesn’t wear one ( When she should be!!). Lui wasn’t pleased. She cried her heart out. Mom consoled her by letting her take her purse instead. That quieted my sister. Girls i tell you, they fall for anything!!

[Lui : Grrrrr….couldn’t you find a happier snap of me?!!]

Its okay old girl, this is the best snap from that day. You howled yourself out that day and the other snaps look just crazy.

[Lui : *grumble grumble* ]

As for me, I looked dapper in my jeans and T-shirt. I even had my own laptop bag (the stingy coots I call my parents, refused to buy me a real one!!) . I had to remind mom that our Abbu has a moochh. She was quick to draw one on my face. Then I told her that Abbu has a stubble too. She bluntly refused. She hates a stubble, I tell you. The only reason Abbu shaves is because mom threatened to shave his stubble with a meat cleaver if he didn’t do it himself! A wise man, my father shaves at least twice a week.

But my grouse is that mom didn’t give me the stubble. Then I would be so him!!

[Lui : Shobby….mujhe bhook lagi hai!!]

Yeah, I’m done Lui.

So yeah folks, that all from the stables of Lui and Shobs though err.. *cough cough* its mostly me who’s been doing the talking 😐

Lui is the one who’s the chatter box, but she wasnt keen on these snaps and refused to comment on them. Next time, hopefully, she’ll do the posting 🙂

Till then, have a nice time you all 🙂

 

PS: We refuse to let our mother take credit for this post. Hence there will be no ‘MomofRS’ signature on this post.

Love y’all 🙂

Shobby (of course) & Lui.

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Everyone likes a love story.

At the end of the day, after all the thrillers, action, drama and suspense, one likes to wrap up the day with a good love story. Not a sappy love story, mind you, but a good one. One which stirs something in our hearts. One which makes one hark back to days when we were reckless….or the days spent after a missed opportunity, or memories still struggling to answer, “What if…?”

I grew up in a household of three sisters. The elder two were sold on romance the second they touched their teens. Barbara Cartland and Mills & Boon were their sacred books! We had boxes and boxes of love stories. Honestly, I did try to read them once, but after reading three and finding them all the same, I quickly gave up on this line of fiction. The sisters, alas, continue to be besotted to those MBs.

Ironically, of the three sisters, I ended up having a love marriage. And now, I end up reviewing a book on love collection!! Thats because I came across a wonderful opportunity to review books for FREE (Yippee!! 😀 ) through BlogAdda. They were generous enough to send me this book for my first review. Thank You Folks at BlogAdda 🙂 .

I did have my apprehensions though. I cannot tolerate sappiness. Those few MBs I’d read before, put me off love stories forever 😦 . The heroines were perfect, the men, next to God. They ALWAYS got together in the end.  Most of the times, I just go “sheesh!!”  throughout the book!

So imagine my surprise when I found myself engrossed in reading the 31 stories by 27 Indian authors. So captivated was I that I carried the book everywhere I went, to the cafeteria at lunch, in the pantry at tea-breaks,reading it at breakfast time and then late into the night! Thats because the book doesnt have your run-of-the-mill love stories. These are stories that range from the first hint of like to love and everything in between. There is anger, confusion, sadness, joy and overall, the acknowledgement that each character in these stories has experience love at least once . It is not your usual love collection. Love here isn’t just the “they all live happily ever after” but more like “they learnt to accept love  or lack of it”. These stories are not about rich men finding love between board meetings. They aren’t about post-teen crushes or juvenile puppy love. They are about people like you and me, working people, housewives, struggling freshers. These are people who live in our midst. Heck, they could even be us!!

These are mature tales. Of decisions taken, regretted, corrected. And sometimes, just left to ponder over.  As a reader, I was stuck by the depth of “Twisted” and the altogether different line of thought of “For Convenience’s sake“. There is pathos in “Making Out” and total ridiculousness in “The Girl Who Was Too Loud“. There is deep inner conflict in “Sahana or Shamim” and the touch of mystry in “Strangers“. There is immeasurable regret in “The Last Look” and heart stirring emotions in “A Simple Question“. “Measures of Love and Life” and “Beyond Reasonable Doubt” will have you thinking long after you’ve put the book down. “High Time” brings its giggles and smiles and “Reality Bytes”  has heart-breaking ending.

Edited by multi-talented Sneh Thakur , “Urban Shots – The Love Collection” is a treasure of of heart-tugging tales of love, loss, wistfulness , regrets and compassion. Their thorough Indian-ness makes them unique, because its about people like us. The authors are themselves young professionals from diverse fields, with a common penchant for the written word. Their efforts (and skilled ones at that) are worth a read.  These stories are not just for women, they are for men too, because most stories carry the male perspective (very fresh, I think) and are written by male writers.  I plan to lend my copy of the book to a friend who is facing a situation similar to that in one of the stories. This is how close the book strikes a chord. We know people who’ve been through relationships, some successful, some not.

So do order your copy now because all said and done, at the end of the day, we are all romantics at heart 🙂

Book : Urban Shots – The Love Collection
Editor : Sneh Thakur
Publisher: Grey Oak/ Westland
Price: 199/-
Pages: 226

Note : This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

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I first read Erma Bombeck way back in late 1990s. I wasnt even in college then, but her subtle humorous take on motherhood was captivating. I gobbled “Family -The ties that bind…and gag”, “The grass is always greener over the septic tank” and “If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I
doing in the pits?” All these books are a rib-tickling collection of her experiences as a mother and as an observer of life. I came across some of her quotes on the net the other day (I was hunting for some good mommy quote for a friend) and the memories of her books came rushing back. I distinctly remember wondering back then, if I could take such a lenient view of life when I became a mother. Truth is, I cannot. I find it hard to see the funny side of things when my daughter smears nailpolish all over light green curtains or when my son flings my phone across the room in a fit of temper. Recollecting such instances, I marvel at how coolly Ms.Bombeck dismisses such behavior. For example, just the day before, I saw a dinner plate lying in the passage of our house. Obviously, it was kept there by the twins. There were plenty of people at home, but no one had picked it up. I growled inside wondering why it was always me who has to do the picking up and keeping it in place. And then yesterday, I found this quote :-
“My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?”

I swear I laughed out loud, sitting at my desk. The quote rang true and applied to my situation aptly. After that one quote, I hunted a bit more and pulled out more such jewels (you’ll find them in ALL her books, but posting a few here, because I really felt like sharing them with you all 🙂 ).
“When I stand before God at the end, I hope I have not a bit of talent left, and can say, “I used everything you gave me.”

“Shopping is a woman thing. It’s a contact sport like football. Women enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, and the ecstasy of the purchase.”

“Maybe age is kinder to us than we think. With my bad eyes, I can’t see how bad I look, and with my rotten memory, I have a good excuse for getting out of a lot of stuff.”

“Seize the moment. Think of all the women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.”

“A child needs your love most when he deserves it least”

“When your mother asks, “Do you want a piece of advice?” it’s a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”

“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere”

“Sometimes I can’t figure designers out. It’s as if they flunked human anatomy.”

“When a child is locked in the bathroom with water running and he says he’s doing nothing but the dog is barking, call 911. ”

“The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.”

“All of us have moments in out lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them. ”

“Dreams have only one owner at a time. That’s why dreamers are lonely.”

“Everyone is guilty at one time or another of throwing out questions that beg to be ignored, but mothers seem to
have a market on the supply. “Do you want a spanking or do you want to go to bed?” Don’t you want to save some of
the pizza for your brother?” Wasn’t there any change?”

“No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed. I have known mothers who remake the bed after their children do it because there is wrinkle in the spread or the blanket is on crooked. This is sick.”

“Cleanliness is not next to godliness. It isn’t even in the same neighborhood. No one has ever gotten a religious experience out of removing burned-on cheese from the grill of the toaster oven.”

“My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.”

“If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead.”

“When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out.”

“I don’t know why no one ever thought to paste a label on the toilet-tissue spindle giving 1-2-3 directions for replacing the tissue on it. Then everyone in the house would know what Mama knows.”

“Marriage has no guarantees. If that’s what you’re looking for, go live with a car battery.”

“There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, ‘Yes, I’ve got dreams, of course I’ve got dreams.’ Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they’re still there. These are great dreams, but they never even get out of the box. It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams on the line, to hold them up and say, ‘How good or how bad am I?’ That’s where courage comes in.”

“He who laughs…..lasts.”

“Housework is a treadmill from futility to oblivion with stop-offs at tedium and counter productivity.”

“In general, my children refused to eat anything that hadn’t danced on TV.”

Plenty more such wisdom in her books. Do buy/borrow and have a read. Totally worthwhile 🙂

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The papers carried this news in the headlines today :-

Death for cab driver, friend who raped, killed city BPO employee

“….Pronouncing the judgment in a packed courtroom, principal district and sessions judge Anant Badar refused to take a lenient view and held that the crime fell into the “rarest of rare” category. “They (the accused) did not show any sign of remorse after committing the crime. There is no scope for them to get reformed or rehabilitated,” he said.”

I looked at it and smiled. For once, I’m proud to be in Pune. Proud to be in a city that knows how to punish a culprit, unlike Delhi , Gurgaon or Calcutta, where every effort is exerted to put the blame on the victim! The culprits, meanwhile, can go scott free!

These are the words of the judge, Anant Badar –

“…The crime was not committed by the accused in a sudden impulse for sex, but in a predetermined manner to satisfy their hunger for sex,” the judgement read.”While satisfying their lust, Borate forgot the fact that he was married. The motive evinces total depravity and meanness of sex maniacs having a pervert mind.”

Albeit late (since the crime was committed in 2007), it is nevertheless justice served! There were people I knew who knew that girl. It was shocking, despicable. Raping in itself was a heinous crime, but then following it up with murder was another level of devilry. Something like Nayana Pujari’s murder . A woman who was once a part of the BF’s team, a woman he had worked with, a woman whom he knew! For a long time, he was rattled about her murder. His company immediately put in different work timings for women, for their safety. But that doesn’t really serve the purpose. What should have been done is to place stringent checks on the education and qualifications of the cab drivers. I used to travel by company cabs for shifts in my first job. The two drivers we had were the sincerest and most decent men I’ve known. But people like Kokade and Borate give those good drivers a bad name!

But the punishment declared by the Pune must be lauded. It is time to send out the strong message to these rapists that their actions cannot and will not be tolerated!!

For more on victim-blaming and society’s indulgent attitude towards the rapists, visit here.

 

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Dear GMIL,

We’ve all heard of quotes which say that time heals. Or that time passes by so fast. Its more than 10 days since you left us and it seems like just yesterday that we stood sobbing besides your bed. We don’t sob much now, but the dull ache is still there. Everyone who visits our house these days mentions how very vacant it appears. Its because you used to fill it with your personality. With you gone, it is indeed empty.
This last week was spent in a lot of introspection. We’ve been going over and over again on what we must do versus what we are doing. Me? For starters, I’m trying to recover from my killer-fingers syndrome to tend to your beloved plants. I’m no green thumb by any measure and if the plants survive my care, I’ll be grateful to the lord above 🙂
The next on the list is pickles. I know I should have taken down the recipe from you ages ago….but procrastination, my age-old weakness, didn’t allow me to. So I will now have to rely on memory, of images of you sitting in the kitchen, carefully chopping up raw mangoes, wiping them clean and dry, preparing some spices (i’ll really have to try hard and remember which) and then tossing them all together. Yes, I plan to do it all, just to keep alive those little traditions that were sacred to you, but to which I never paid any heed earlier 😦
Do you remember all those times I used to look ticked off around you? Well, I’ll confess now that it was because you always made me feel lacking. Nothing I ever said or did, was good enough for you. I think your biggest grouse was that I rarely ever consulted you for anything. It is true that you held a treasure of experience…..from cooking, to housekeeping to being a good host (For the life of me, I cannot imagine how you managed to remember the likes/dislikes of EVERY single member in your large, extensive family!! I mean, you even know that the MIL’s aunt’s daughter’s son doesn’t like rice!! How??!)
Me, I was insecure.
I wasn’t used to the cocoon of a joint family. I wasn’t brought up to believe that men have to be put on a
pedestal and pampered. Probably the reason why you felt that the BF drew the shortest straw when he chose me to be his wife. I never served him tea on a tray as he left for work. I never held out a freshly ironed, white handkerchief at the door as he left. I never bothered to make a separate dish for him on days when the dinner comprised of stuff that he despised. Frankly, I didn’t wait hand-and-foot to serve him. You were doing it all till the time he got married. Probably why you thought of me as lacking 😐 . You knew you shouldn’t be doing all that now, since he was married, but it hurt you to see that your favorite grandchild was just not being pampered in the way you used to pamper him!! This did lead to so many altercations between us. Many times, I would keep quiet in your presence and then blast the BF in the privacy of my room. I think he had it hardest then, trying to maintain peace between a doting grandmother and a fiery wife!!
Somehow, my squabbles with you seem so petty now. What was I trying to achieve? An upper hand? What of it even if I did get it? It isn’t solving any of my problems now!! The BF still expects his tea, but doesn’t get it. I’m much too rushed in the morning to do his bidding. His only loss is that there is no one to notice this as you used to.
The BF used to joke that your mind moves faster than a fish in water. He always rued that you weren’t educated, because if you were, you would surely have touched heights. Even with your ‘illiterate’, village background, you had a deep rooted common sense that was rare. You weren’t educated, but you knew a lot. You knew how to dote on, how to care, how to excel, something which I got a first row view of as I saw you tending to the twins. Frankly, since the time you suffered that fracture, the kids aren’t what they used to be. When you used to look after them, they were chubbier and their cheeks were rosier. Now they both look severely undernourished, with lack-luster hair and irritable moods. When you used to looked after them, I never had a worry…..but now that I have to, I realized that I should have learnt the ropes from you when I did have the time. Alas…….
You took care of my children just as you did all those years back for your grandchildren. It isn’t far from the truth to say that you were more than a mother to the BF and his siblings. The BF was your favorite, being the first-born. You left no stone unturned in caring for him. He, in turn, would never talk back to you or raise his voice against you (The only time that he did, was for me and I feel guilty about it now. It made you cry …..just because till then, your most favorite grandchild had always, ALWAYS taken your side, no matter what!)
For the past few days, he has clammed up. He won’t talk, he won’t express his heart. He changes topics and desperately keeps himself busy. The man who was once stuck to his blackberry, now just tosses it on the table and walks away. The one who used to do overtime at work everyday, didn’t go to office for an entire week. He stayed back home and spent ALL his time with the kids, playing with them, teaching them stuff, feeding them, putting them to sleep (though he tries, the kids claim that their Abbu just cannot tell a good story 😦 ). The only time I saw him with tears in his eyes was when he recollected how you used to sit besides him throughout the night when he used to be ill….and how during your confinement to the bed, he never spent an hour besides you. I know he tried but couldn’t, because he couldn’t see you like that, but for him, it isn’t reason enough. It hurts him terribly to know that he wasn’t besides you when you breathed your last!!

With that, I just want to say, I’m sorry. For causing you whatever little grief that I did. I swear from the heavens above, I never meant it. I didn’t even realize that I was wrong, until now. I know you will forgive me, but I have no means of knowing it 😦 . Frankly, I’m not sure what I expect here for myself….but if there is any chance of you appearing in the BF’s dreams, then here’s a sincere plea…put him at ease. Let him know that you are content where you are, that you will always be there for him, around him as you’ve always been. Let him know for the last time, that you love him.
Yours Forever grateful,
GDIL.

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It took me more than 5 days to gather the strength to mention the GMIL’s demise.

We knew she was gone, but a part of us refused to accept it. Each time we entered the house, we would peep into her room. It is a habit that we find difficult to get rid of. There is no granny there, of course, only the hospital bed and all the paraphernalia that she needed. It took time to sort out among her things and decide on whom to give all those rolls of cotton, those bags of diapers, her clothes, sarees……

Each time her topic comes up, at least 2 members stifle their tears. I think its mostly because granny was such a strong personality that her death has just left a big vacuum in our lives. I might have ranted about her interfering ways earlier, but then, it was a testimony to her never-say-die spirit that kept her actively involved in all the happenings at home! She wasn’t just an old lady sitting in a corner. She was the one who ran our household.

The last year was very trying on us. Me and the MIL struggled with our new responsibilities. Till then, we never had to worry about the gears of running a house. I would have thought that the last year gave us some practise. But it isn’t so. With the granny gone, we feel at sea. Completely, totally lost. I know this isn’t the end, that life goes on and time heals everything and all that jazz. But the truth is that it still hurts big time just thinking about her. We all have our regrets, I was too rude to the old lady, the BF didn’t spend enough time with her, the BIL didn’t give her the chance to see his bride, the FIL didn’t send her to Haj on time…..there’s a whole list of it! Every conversation at home starts with a “What if….”.Its no use, really, but the mind doesn’t sit idle. There are a hundred things that we feel we could have done differently. A hundred things we could have said but didn’t . A thousand moments that we could have spent with her but didn’t.

Death puts our priorities into perspective, doesn’t it??

I’ve been receiving so many messages since yesterday’s post. They are simple messages of condolences…..but they work wonders. We’ve heard of words healing, but I never actually experienced it until yesterday. All those heartfelt comments were like a balm. I’ve asked the BF to go through them too…

I saw this mail from Dad just yesterday (though he had sent it last week itself). As always, he summed it up beautifully. Putting up an excerpt here, because it gives an idea of the person that the GMIL was .

**************

An era has ended today. Beloved old Dadijan has left us for her Heavenly Abode. May her soul rest in peace. Aameen.

The end was an anticipated one, mostly due to her never-ending ailments and her old age. But then, when the end struck, our world froze. This loss is irreplaceable by any human means and we condole her demise from the depth of our hearts. We pray to Allah to bless her with Jannat. We also pray to Him to bless the bereaved family with courage and fortitude to brave the loss. Such wounds don’t heal easily.

A grand old lady, Dadijan held a magic wand in her hands.  Nothing was impossible for her. Her ever-present smile ( I have never seen her in any other mode ), graceful persona and an inspiring presence always used to motivate me immensely. She was a driving force in the household of Janab Y S and his family members. She loved every one of them to the point of madness. Her great grandchildren, Lui & Shobby were always the toast of the family. Her sheer presence can galvanize anyone. This list can be endless in her praise. We will all be missing her from now on.  

Take care of all your elders, Friends. Though Life’s Dictum is a definitive reality, the vacuum that is left after the elders pass away is very hard to fill. May be we all realise it only when they go away. You all have, by the Grace of Allah, a very long inning in Life. Please devote a part of it, however busy you are, in taking care of your elders and showing them you care….they have lesser time………

**************

Thank you Dad.

I may not be able to thank you all personally, but this is my vote of gratitude. Thanks for making me feel better. Your kind words really help.

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A Sad Update

I’ve been away again, for a reason.
The GMIL passed away around 12 in the afternoon on Friday, 9th March 2012.
Its a big loss to us.

The family is going through a period of grief right now. I would request you readers to send your positive thoughts and prayers our way.

Many Thanks.

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