Archive for May, 2012


You know you have reached a curve in your married life when your spouse does something totally unexpected.
Like asking me why I haven’t posted anything new on the blog ๐Ÿ˜
Like any regular wife, used to her husband’s complete ignorance of the aforementioned blog, I gaped at him for a complete minute.
“You read my blog?”
“When was the last time?”
“How often do you drop by??”
“Is this an interrogation?”
“Hell yeah!! You cant just walk in here and claim that you read my posts !!”
“Why ever not?? I seem to be one of your favorite butt of all jokes !!”
“Exactly why!!”
And that is why you must never let your hubby know your URL. Or even if you were daft enough to give it to him, desist from writing about him ๐Ÿ˜

Anyway, so the point, as the BF rightfully pointed out, is that I haven’t blogged in ages. The reason is that I’m absconding. I’m on leave. Official leave. The plan for vacation got scrapped, though we did manage a one day- one night trip out of Pune (more on that later).
I’m still on leave folks…will do a full-fledged post either this weekend or the next Monday.
Till then, have a nice weekend you all ๐Ÿ™‚
And oh! be wary of spouses feigning ignorance of your blog and then dropping bombshells that they are regular followers.
Bluddy sinking feeling you get. Trust me ๐Ÿ˜
Ciao for now ๐Ÿ™‚

Read Full Post »

It all started when I first laid eyes on her.
Groggy from the anesthesia and limp in body, I could barely move my head to look at the tiny bundle held by my sister. Aapa was trying to awaken me to look at the tiny parcel in her arms. I just grunted and went back to sleep.
When I woke up once more, the eye-lids cooperated and opened a bit. All I could see through the haze was a tiny little face which was the picture of peace and all things holy and wise. A little later, as the senses kicked in, I stretched out an arm to feel her. I traced a finger along the perfect rosebud mouth, the stub of a nose, the sharp chin and the fragile alabaster cheeks, wondering how me and the BF could produce such a beauty. Gosh! She was tiny! I was almost terrified of picking her up…sure that her I would harm her delicate body.
But with the first touch I felt the connection with her which came from somewhere deep within me.I realized, that this teeny tiny person wasn’t just a part of my body…she was a part of my soul.
I named her accordingly – someone who has spirituality, someone who has a soul-ly connection with me. Those days, as I lay there besides her, content in her silence and rarely-ever crying phases, I thanked Allah above for giving me a daughter who was such an angel. The picture of docility and love.
And Allah laughed.
He must have.
Because for the last couple of years, Lui is doing her best to prove me wrong.
The devil re-incarnate? Thats her ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
It is amazing how stringently she is going about destructing the image I had of her. I mean, I used to scorn names which had negative connotation, for example’Jwala’ . Alas, I now understand what those parents went through before they named their kin.
All things hot and unbearable. Sure to burn one to a cinder if touched.
If I wasn’t the mother of one, I’d have laughed at this description of a toddler.
But that is exactly what little Lui is like. ‘Jwala’, ‘Agni’!! If they weren’t hindi words, I’d definitely rename my daughter with it.
I’m being rather harsh on her. But it doesn’t mean that she isn’t loving or kind. She is that too. But try refusing her kindness or her love and see the fire within leap up in flames around her.
“Mumma, I tea make. Please eat”, she coos at me.
“No baby, that is dishwater you took from the sink. Please throw it away”.
“Mumma, khao na please”.
“No sweetie. Please throw that”.
Flinging the dishes away “MUMMA!!! AAP KHAATE NAHIN!! HAAN?? “
The last word is uttered with such vehemence and volume that mumma has no option but to scrape the remnants from the thrown dishes and gulp it down.
Her majesty would simply nod her head in approval and walk away with nary a worry.
I sit back and wonder about the future of my daughter and the state of my intestines, not necessarily in that order.
The biggest source of her ire is her brother, Shobby. After three years and 6 months of existence with him, I’d have thought she would be secure in her own space! Alas, this girl has issues. She has issues with her brother, with her parents for even talking to her brother, with her grandparents for playing with her brother.
And yet, the minute we raise our voice to scold Shobby, she’s the one who runs across the room to fling herself at us and beat us black and blue for yelling at him ๐Ÿ˜
She cant tolerate us showering love on him.
She cant tolerate us scolding him.
She believes that the only person who has any authority over him, is her ๐Ÿ™„
At other times, she’s jealous, she’s whine-y and she’s hot-tempered. She throws tantrums at the drop of a hat. She refuses to acknowledge authority and screams blue murder if asked to do anything against her will.
But she’s the one who runs to get the jar of pain-relief balm if one gets hurt.
She’s the one who insists on serving food to everyone.
She’s the one who runs errands the minute it is requested.
She’s the one who immediately shares her food/goodies if someone asks for it (you should see how Shobby hides his goodies. Practically doubles up over the dish making sure we dont even look at his share ๐Ÿ˜ )
She’s the one who gives the sweetest coy smile when complimented.
She’s the one who demands that water be served to guests, within seconds of them stepping into the house.
She’s the one who pampers little children as though they were her babies. This includes Shobby, who takes advantage of his sister’s ‘motherly’ love ๐Ÿ˜
I think I’m in my mid-life crisis right now! I have very little patience and whatever is left, is tested to its extreme by my daughter. The only person who has any influence over her, is her father. Thank God for the BF!! What would I do without him? At the peak of my stand-offs with Lui, he would calmly come in and divert her mind. That he does it so effortlessly is an art I’m in awe of! Because when I handle her, half my time is spent in gulping down the waves of anger, closing my eyes and counting to ten, clenching my fists till the nails dig right into the palms. Only when the wave recedes, do I open my eyes and confront her. By that time, her screeches have crossed the sound barrier!
I’m told that girls who are loud and boisterous in childhood, generally calm down as they grow older.
I can barely wait for that day to come!!
But on hindsight…..wouldn’t this blog become boring then?? I think Lui gives me more blog fodder than I could dish up myself!
Drat this girl!
First she annoys the hell out of me and then she makes me all moony-eyed at her antics!
And drat this blogging which has made it addictive to write about her!
Mid-life crisis? Yeah, I’m right there!! Playing with a dragon ๏‹

Read Full Post »

I didn’t get to see Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate this weekend. Truth is, I havent caught any of his episodes on TV yet. Saw the first one on the net, but thats about it.
Anyway, so this week we had the curse of dowry as the raging issue. It is a very old and prevalent social ill so I needn’t get into the details.
But what irks me strongly is that Aamir Khan didnt get into the details too. The episode was played safe. Too safe. The inclusion of the ‘pakadwa byah’ took away some of the seriousness of the issue. This one particular case may have ended up having a happy ending, but there are hundreds of others where the girl is mistreated after marriage, dowry or no dowry!
I know girls from well educated families who saved up for their marriages. These girls claimed that they would have to give ‘at least’ 10-20 lakhs as cash, in spite of them being money churning machines themselves!! Nothing I said or did, could make any difference. A male colleague in Bangalore, once explained to me the ‘value’ of a prospective bridegroom. In his hometown of Hyderabad, a boy’s monthly gross was equal to the amount in lakhs payable by the girl’s family. So if a boy earns 25K, his market value is 25L. Not only did my friend pay up for his sister based on this guideline, but he also demanded a similar rate from his future wife’s family, which they were more than willing to give. My friend is an engineering graduate and works for an MNC. In his words, this money will just secure the future of his wife. Never mind that a chunk of that same money was used to repay the loan he had to take for his sister’s wedding. This was in Bangalore.

I met another friend in Pune, who followed the same logic. He was desperate to visit America because that would drastically escalate his market value. If he got the tag of ‘US returned’, he could demand dowry twice the market value and be paid for it. So deep was this belief that he went and did parikrama of the ‘Visa Temple‘ .
And oh! He did go abroad shortly after ๐Ÿ˜

The point is, these men I talk about are not villagers or small town people. They are well educated people belonging to good, upper-middle-class homes. They still have ancestral properties and reap gains from agricultural land. Yet, they are conditioned into believing that dowry is their birthright!! They have the right to demand it and get paid. They pay up for their sisters and then claim it back from their wives.
The only difference between the North and South would be that in the South, both parties are equally involved. The girl’s family is as pleased to part with the money as the guy’s family are eager to accept it. This results in relatively ‘happier’ marriages.
In the North, matters are worse. There is no limit to the amount a girl’s father pays. I have friends from really well-off families whose in-laws still demand that the girls ask their parents to install ACs in the in-laws homes or buy new TV sets (flat-screen LED ones). The fact that their son is capable of buying stuff costing twice that amount, is carelessly tossed aside. The girl’s family has to pay up. Period.
Else, the girl suffers.
One friend had to bear severe insults from her in-laws because her parents gifted ‘only’ 5 carat diamond necklaces to her MIL and SIL. The in-laws expected nothing less than 10-20 carats.

Another Maharashtrian friend, an IT professional, saved money on the sly (sometimes as less as Rs.5-10/- ) just so that she could send it to her mother. Her husband controlled her account and was of the belief that once married, her parents didnt have any right over her money, more so because she did not bring a substantial dowry with her. He even beat her up badly one day when he felt that her parents weren’t making any efforts to bring a proposal for his sister!! The man here was also the BF’s colleague. When I mentioned it to the BF, he asked me to stay out of other people’s internal issues. But was it really internal? Specially when the girl came to office bruised in 5 different places just on her face?
I was scandalized and repelled beyond words.
These are people I meet everyday. Well educated men and women. Most of them with engineering degrees from reputed institutes. Most of them coming from so-called ‘good’ families.
But when it comes to money….they all fall down so low, you’ll have difficulty differentiating them from a dust-mite.

Very few girls I meet are averse to asking their parents to refuse paying up. There are very few girls who say that they would rather earn and spend for their marriages. There are very few parents who believe in making their daughters independent, favouring the approach of ‘dumping’ her on someone else, along with a bundle of cash, for ‘looking after her’. If this isn’t treating women like commodities, what is??

There are many MILs who demand money because they feel that their son ‘deserves’ it . Never mind that half the reason they educated their son was because they want him to tend to them in their old age (nothing wrong with that. Its the compulsion that the son should, which reeks of selfishness).

From the news reports on the show, I gathered that the concept of dowry is alien to the North-East.What a blessing!! To think that in our country, there is still a segment which is untouched by this evil!!

But the crux of this post is that just ‘asking’ men to abstain from taking dowry isn’t enough. Instead of being a custom followed by parents (or people of older generations), it is something that is actively initiated by the youngsters themselves. My colleagues are examples I can never forget. Though one of them confessed that if he refused he might be ostracized. The girl’s family could go to any lengths to tarnish his image (even label him impotent ๐Ÿ˜ ). Though willing, he couldn’t go against the ‘custom’ ๐Ÿ™„

The solution lies in publicly shaming people who ask for dowry. Show their faces, expose them. Let the world know that such greedy people exist. If they cannot preserve the rights and dignities of their spouses, why should the media allow them the privacy of anonymity??

PS: We are three daughters of our Dad. He didn’t pay up a single penny to any of our spouses or their families. They never asked themselves. All of us have happy families/lives. This is just to let you know that it is NOT important to give dowry. Like my Dad said to our in-laws, “We give you well educated, cultured daughters who are responsible and independent. What they earn and share with your family would be a hundred timesย  more than what we could give you”.

So yes. Educate those girls. Let them earn their living, so that when they get married, their fathers can hold their heads high, like mine does..


Read Full Post »

I’m SO Ticked Off

Am having one of those phases where nothing seems to make sense.
When anger is a persistent bug on the tip of my nose.
When I feel as though the entire world is against me.
When I have this deep, DEEP desire to run away from the everyday grind.
It always comes down to running away, doesn’t it? Though God knows that I’ll have to return soon enough ๐Ÿ˜
That things will be right here waiting for me when I get back! That things will be in exactly the same state that I left them in.
This bad mood of mine isn’t helping any. The twins are supposed to be enjoying their vacations, but I haven’t done anything constructive for them yet. The BF’s Birthday came and went, I didn’t bother him with any celebrations.
(We did go out for lunch and a movie though)

I feel lazy and down in the dumps.
The vacation we were planning was cancelled due to SIL’s visit and stay at our place. I don’t blame her. She had no idea we were planning on one. The BF wanted to surprise everyone with an impromptu vacation. The only one left surprised is me. Though frankly, going by his earlier efforts at surprising people, I should have been ready for the ‘fall-flat-on-your-face’ part.
But.I love him too much ๐Ÿ˜
So where was I?
Yeah, right here, being ticked off at the cancelling of the vacations.
And though it is passe, I’m still ticked off because I was asked to visit and stay over at the SIL’s place on the BF’s Birthday!!! I bluntly refused. Probably the first time I did that, but seriously, >i>on the BF’s Birthday?? Were they kidding me??

The nanny is still playing truant…coming one day and bunking the other. The regular maids and cook are vacationing too.
Drat it!
I think the cancelled vacation is making me more grumpy than I intend to be ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
After a really hectic year and the last few depressing months, was really looking forward to some fun time ๐Ÿ˜ฆ . To spend time reading under a tree near the sea…to walk the kids along the beach…to make sand castles and moats…to eat loads of fish!!!

Read Full Post »

The Break-Up

“We aren’t really heading anywhere, are we??”
“I need some time”.
“Its been eight years already. How much longer do I have to wait?”
“They’ll take some time to come around”.
“I’m tired of hearing that !”
“I know”.
We can’t carry on like this”.
“You have to tell them today …..or…..or lets just call it quits”.
“I hate myself for saying this…but I think I’ve waited long enough. Walking away is better than this hanging uncertainty”.
“You don’t understand….”
“No! YOU don’t understand”.
“Is that what you think?? That you are the only one who suffers?”
“I don’t know about suffering…but you seem to be the one who doesn’t care”.
I don’t care??! So its all my MY fault now?”
“Thats for you to decide”.
“You know what?? I think you were right!! Walking away from each other would be best for us”.
“Are you dumping me?”
“Weren’t you the one to start this thing first?”
“Okay fine! If this is how you want it to end, so be it”.
“Hey! It was YOUR idea! You are the one who wants it to end!”
“Yeah right. So blame me! I wonder why I stood by you all these years!”
“You didn’t!! You weren’t there half the times I needed you!”
“Oh! So this is the gratitude I get.”
“You get NOTHING!”
“I’m outta here”.
“Good bye“.
Ding Dong.
“I can’t“.
“Neither can I!!”
“Marry me”.
“Right away”.

But it was another 18months before they tied the knot!

Some wait that was ๐Ÿ˜

Read Full Post »

Where do I even begin?!
If the title doesn’t make any sense, blame it on the position of my stars ( I don’t believe in them myself…but I need to blame someone!!)
The twin tornadoes are ripping my life apart . Am desperately waiting for their school to begin. Never thought I would feel this way, but keeping two pre-schoolers occupied for more than 10 minutes is turning into one of the most daunting tasks ever.
“Mummy, shkates pehnao”, one demands.
“Pehle mujhe”, interjects the other.
“Nahin mujhe”, retaliates the first.
And then we have a full-blown war of epic proportions.
After 15 minutes of refereeing and 10 minutes of laboriously tying up a hundred laces and buckles the two stand up and collectively claim, “Mummy, su su aayi”.
(Those walls come in handy in such cases! Always present when you really want to bang your head against something. What would I do without them ๐Ÿ˜ )

Other times, I’m at the door, about to leave for work, when one (or both) hollers that nature is calling them RIGHT NOW! So important is this news that it is broadcast in the shrillest of voices. Am sure the day I turn away and walk out on them, the neighbors would come running after me and insist that I go right back in there and wash them bums ๐Ÿ˜

Thankfully, sometimes the kids aren’t so troublesome.
“Mummy bhook lagi hai. Maggi chahiye”.
“No sweetie, it isn’t good for you”, I claim.
“Only thoda sa”, they coo.
So the mother in me gives in and cooks the packet and serves it in nice, bright bowls.
The twins take a bite, smile and walk away.
“Hey!! Finish this”, I cry back at them.
“But mummy, humko sirf thoda sa chahiye tha na”, they reply back innocently.
Thats what happens when mummy just hears and doesn’t listen to those tiny voices.

Coming from a conservative, joint family, the one thing that me and the BF have tried to make the kids comfortable with, is our closeness. We don’t want them to look shocked or stunned when we give each other a quick hug or a chaste kiss. Unfortunately, the censor-boards living in our room think their parents are immoral criminals destined to burn in hell if they so much as touch each other (*Sigh* It’ll be tough on them when they find out how they came into this world. The money I’ll be spending on therapy….. ๐Ÿ˜ )
Anyhow, so me and the BF are sitting on the bed, chatting on some serious issues.
Shobby comes in and is immediately annoyed to see his father’s arm resting on his mother’s shoulder.
“Abu, haath hatao”, he orders.
“Why?? I’ll NOT”, grins the BF.
“Abu, hato aap. Mummy ke paas mat baitho”.
So the BF plants a kiss on my cheek and confesses, “She is mine”.
My son’s tiny little body quivers with indignation at this claim.
He turns towards me and with barely concealed fury thunders, “Mumma!!!Peechhe hatkar baitho!!” And he holds my hand and tugs me away.
Hello Ram-Sene. I have spawned your future cadet. Dont bother training him. He’ll be teaching YOU!!

It is futile to teach kids about honesty. All kids are born honest. Brutally honest ๐Ÿ˜
What is difficult to teach, is tact. To teach how to sugar-coat the truth. To beat around the bush!
It is difficult to teach them when to hold their tongues and when to speak up.
So I have guests over and I wanted my kids to recite the alphabets, they clammed up like, well, clams!
And then when my guest shows me some nice tops she has bought for herself my kids hollers in shock, “Yeh kitna chhota hai!! Shame shame”.
*hanging head in shame*

At another time, the FIL pleads with Shobby to sleep with him. The FIL has a soft corner for Shobby, mostly because my son takes after his grandfather strongly.
“Shobby, please come with me”, the FIL begs.
“No”, stubborn shobby replies.
“Aap good boy hai na. Aaj hamare saath so jao”, the FIL tries again.
Shobby continues to reply in the negative. Finally, tired of his grandfather’s pleadings, he feels magnanimous and in front of everyone says,”Aap mummy ko lekar jao”.
The FIL has NEVER asked Shobby to sleep with him again ๐Ÿ˜

I thought I was immune to their honesty, but even after their millionth claim to relatives that ,”Hamari mummy FAAAAT hai”, I found that it still pinches hard ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

But nothing pleases my eye in the morning than the sight of my loved ones sprawled on the bed in a tangle of arms and legs. That they look particularly comfortable,is what amuses me to no end. The BF as well as the kids are oblivious to where their heads and legs poke the others.I once found Shobby deep asleep as his feet dangled from the waist over the bed’s edge. His upper body was held in place by Lui’s leg, making sure that Shobby didn’t just slither down to the floor. Lui’s head was wedged somewhere in the crook of the BF’s arm. They were well anchored together ๐Ÿ™‚
At times like these, I just choose a spot, a tiny nook if I can find one and snuggle in with them.
Then, it feels like the perfect fit ๐Ÿ™‚

Read Full Post »

โ€ข Title : The Devotion of Suspect X
โ€ข Author : Keigo Higashino
โ€ข Publisher : Hachette India
โ€ข Cost : 499/-

Ishigami is a middle-aged mathematics genius who works as a school teacher. He has a secret crush on Yasuko, his neighbor who is a single mother with an exploitive and abusive husband whom she avoids at all costs. When Yasuko lands in trouble, Ishigami steps in to help her out, using his simple mathematical mind to calculate his moves and those of the police. How he goes about the entire set-up forms the core of this story.
Also playing an integral part are Yukawa, Ishigamiโ€™s ex-classmate and a physics genius, the only man who can come close to deciphering Ishigamiโ€™s plan though he cannot will himself to hand over his friend to the police. The narration crackles with intensity whenever these two characters meet.
But the story is more about โ€œDevotionโ€.
How aptly has this book been named. Surprisingly, what we see in the book isn’t an act of just devotion, but of pure, unadulterated , selfless love. A love so deep that it cannot be named. And when the suspect screams out in the end, we feel his frustration. Feel his love.
I never had a chance to read up on Japan or Japanese culture before, save that one book called “The Rising sun” by Michael Crichton and the Oshin series that played on DD a long time back. Where one was indicative of Japanese culture as perceived in Western settings, the other harked back to the Japan of yore.
Reading the “Devotion Of Suspect X”, I realized that Keigo Higashino has presented Japan in a manner that makes it very simple for us to understand the characters and the reasons behind their behavior. If not for the small details like sliding doors or lunch boxes, the story could have been set anywhere in the world. Some locations, like the slum dwellings under the bridge on a river can be found anywhere.
And that is what is special about this book. We can relate to the story because it could have taken place right in our neighborhood. Yasuko could be that single mother who lives across the road and Ishigami would be the school teacher we see with unseeing eyes.
It is very difficult to review this book without giving out any spoilers. I’ll try though.
The characters are very well etched. We get a definite look into what goes on in their minds but thankfully, none of the characters get into preachy monologues on the human psyche a la Agatha Christie or Ayn Rand (for the record, I LOVE these two women. No objections to the monologues in their books ๐Ÿ˜ )
The author delves into the inner fears of the suspects, never once letting go of reality. So when Yakuso, the main suspect wonders where her love-life will lead her, she also wonders how her daughter will cope up with the new developments. Or if she will. When she has the attention of two men, she cannot decide between the one for whom she feels an inkling of love and the other for whom she feels the deepest gratitude. Who will win?
I make it sound like a love story but the book is actually a very gripping murder mystery. It isn’t as much of a whodunnit than it is a howdunnit or a whydunnit!!
The book reminded me of Agatha Christie’s “Curtain”, Poirot’s last case . There, Poirot himself commits a murder which comes out much after his death. In TDOSX a similar genius takes it upon himself to act as an accomplice to murder and lay the path that the police would follow later. He leads them on in a manner which is truly mind-boggling, until another genius figures out the motive and the plan. The mind-games that follow is what forms the chunk of the narration. There arenโ€™t many twists and turns, but enough intrigue to keep you glued to the book.
I have just one gripe with the story. The police were depicted as hardworking men who did their best to pin the crime on the primary suspects. But not much coverage was given to their attempts to broaden their investigation. We are given no inkling as to whether the police have found any other possible suspects, except the ones who are the central characters. The subsequent investigations appear very one-sided and forced. Or maybe, as the end clarifies, that is exactly what Ishigami had predicted and planned. Whatever the case, while reading the book, I couldnโ€™t help but wonder about the level of harassment the Police officers inflicted in the name of investigations . Also, there was content that appeared to have been โ€˜lost in translationโ€™. Iโ€™m sure the Japanese version would have been even more gripping. Technically, the English version was up to the mark. No complaints there.
On another tangent, it was kind of awe-inspiring to see the way a common person reacts to the police force in Japan. No derogatory comments, no pulling down of the โ€˜systemโ€™. In fact, one instance that stood out for me was when one character beats up another man, the culpritโ€™s wife makes him visit the victim and apologize. Knowing fully well that one report from the victim could land him in the banger, the character meekly follows his wife and offers his apology. The crux is that the common man respects the police force.
Wow!! I can never think of that happening here ๏‹
Do grab a copy of โ€œThe Devotion Of Suspect Xโ€. It is truly a captivating read!! Now that I have, looking forward to watching the movie.

Sign up for the Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. and get free books! Participate now!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: