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Archive for the ‘…I think…’ Category

Yesterday was a pretty snowy day in Chicago. The snowfall started in the morning and lasted the whole day. We had around 6 inches of snow in our area 😐 !! After dinner, I decided to go for a walk around our block. The BF volunteered to mind the kids while I took a leisurely stroll around 🙂 . He did warn me to be careful though (and even kept calling me to check).

Packing myself into jacket and gloves and boots, I ventured out.

At 8pm in the night, it was a pretty lonely stroll 😦 . There was hardly anyone around. Only a few cars zipped by. I guess the snow had stopped a lot of people from going out. I did get a few strange looks from a couple of doormen outside the apartment blocks. I mean, people here either rush out to get from one place to another, or they are serious runners/joggers who dress up and jog at an even place. No one really strolls along, if you know what I mean!

Anyway, I walked along, admiring the white snow everywhere. It was difficult to walk because the snow had covered all the walk-ways and if you didn’t want to slip and fall and make an ass of yourself, it was best to walk slow and keep one foot forward firmly before raising the next. By the way, did you know that fresh snow is just like flour dust. You can dust it off your clothes and hands without it melting and making you wet . Cool, isn’t it? 🙂 🙂

As I walked along, I relived the old-time memories of Kashmir, of days when we were snowed in and the only way to get out of the house would be when the Orderly bhaiya would come in the morning and shovel the snow blocking half our door 🙂 . Mom would heat water in the large fire place which would then be used to unclog the drains in the bathroom and toilet 😐 . There was a central heating system called Bukhara which was nothing but a large metal drum with wood burning inside kept in the middle of the bedroom 😀 . There was no TV or entertainment of any kind. But there were loads of apple trees which we would climb and eat apples from! And ohh….this was when I got into the habit of eating snow 😐 . There was plenty of fresh, clean snow to gobble up 😀 .

Lovely memories, those 🙂 . *Sigh*

Unfortunately, the snow here isn’t as clean. Or maybe its because we are in downtown. Am sure the snow in the suburbs would be pristine white 🙂 . Within half an hour of its fall here, you can see a thin film of grey covering the snow. It is the smoke from vehicles around. The snow on tree and rooftops looks better. I saw a lot of people using snow-blowers to clear the driveways and the footpaths. Almost got a load of snow on me from one, luckily, the fellow saw me at the last minute and waved his hand in apology 🙂 . He didn’t have to. I’d LOVE to be drowned in snow! Coming from warm Pune, who wouldn’t 😛

The roads were full of slush, with snow melting because of the vehicles. Sure wouldn’t want to step out there! I just wondered how much more slushy it would get when the snow really started melting! Luckily, the drainage system here is pretty good so hopefully, our shoes wouldn’t be ruined completely 🙂

Here’s a pic of the benches outside our apartment. As you can see, there’s no place to sit! Thats how high the snow has piled up 🙂

Snow on the benches

Snow on the benches

I picked a little of the clean snow and made a snowball. When I came back home, the kids were tickled to see it. Both gladly posed with it too 🙂

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Lui with the snowball

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Shobby posing with it. He’s VERY happy

The snowball has been kept in the freezer, to preserve it till the time the kids go to Pune 🙄 . Thats some preserving I have to do  😦

Thats all about the nightly stroll. More on the trip to Devon (or as it is called, the “Desi Place”) in the next post 🙂

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F-I-V-E

Dear Lui & Shobbs,

There were a lot of ways in which I wanted to write this post. The first plan was to do a comparative analysis of the differences between the time when you were wee little infants and your current boisterous selves.

I dropped that plan pronto 😐

(No point in going back to the infant you. That time is long past. You are individuals in your own right with a mind of your own 🙂 )

Then I thought of doing a round-up of the year, of listing all the major milestones covered, the achievements, the speed-breakers….but then I realized that I have not chronicled this year very well 😦 . There were large gaps between my posts and not much can be inferred from what I did put up! I regret it deeply and I guess this situation kind of motivates me to write more often, take down every little thing you say or do 🙂

Frankly, this year was very different from the past few. This was the first time your father wasn’t here to pamper you silly. If you were a little older, you could understand how deeply he was hurt at missing your birthday. His prayers though, are with you , as usual 🙂

We didn’t have a party on your birthday, per se, but two days before that. It confused you a bit initially, but you realized soon enough the difference between “just-a-party” and “actual-birthday” 😀

You got more gifts this year than all the years before put together!

This was the first time you both helped me with the decorations, suggesting where to put up the balloons and how to string the streamers 😀

You didn’t cry or throw a tantrum, rather, I guess this was the first time you were comfortable with the crowd and enjoyed the company of other children 🙂

You didn’t eat a single bite of the delicious chocolate cake or the kiwi one 😦 (everyone else enjoyed it immensely except the two it was meant for !)

As I went through the party snaps, I realized with a pang that you two have indeed grown up. You  Lui at 3’8″ and Shobby at 3’5″ are not nearly as tall as other children your age, but when I see the confident gaze as Lui looks at the camera, or the casual stance that Shobby takes as he poses for his snap, I realize just how much has changed. You have become aware, if I may use the term here….aware of your surroundings, things, people and each other. You understand your effect on your family. You know the reactions you can get out of us with your one statement or action. The difference now is that you aren’t as naive as before 😀 ….and I haven’t been able to figure out if that is a good thing ! 🙄

This year, you added to your vocabulary by leaps and bounds. It is futile to have secret conversations around you two 😦 . Which reminds me of your new-found love for secrets! Though you both confide in me, it is a little surprising that you both want to keep secrets from each other! Maybe, just maybe, you are making an attempt to wean yourself off from each other! Yet again, am not sure if that is a good thing 😐

This year I saw you both going through your own set of hurdles  …..friendly Lui had trouble keeping friends , got bullied ,was nick-named a cry-baby (even at home) but came back with excellent grades in school. Shobby, you turned into a popular guy in class, had to struggle with memorizing sentences, excelled in maths and drove everyone nuts with your constant volley of questions! None of the hurdles were bad enough to stop you two. And we are trying to make sure that you continue to do good in the things that interest you.

This last one year has been a little sad, with you both missing your “favorite Abbu” (your words, not mine 😀 ) like anything and insisting on talking to him every morning and night 🙂 . Somewhere along the way, I realized that you two had taken control over the situation much better than we had anticipated (Alhamdulillah). Though Lui cried buckets when your father was leaving last time, she was back to normal the next day, even philosophical about why he had to be away 🙂 .

This year, I saw an immense improvement in your manners and your public behavior….more than once, I have swelled with pride when people have congratulated me on you. I shouldn’t be taking credit, I’m not responsible for your good behavior alone.  Your grandparents and Chachu have done pretty much from their side in bringing out the best in you 🙂

Dear babies (and I’ll continue to call you that even when I’m halfway to my grave), you are the light of my life and your father’s life itself! We both love you so much, it is difficult to describe in words how we really feel. Many a times, when your father is here and we see you sleeping peacefully, your lashes fanning your soft cheeks, Shobby curled into a little ball like a hedgehog and Lui’s arms and legs flung across the bed, we can’t help but marvel at the wonder of having two gorgeous babies like you two and wonder, for the umpteenth time, what we did right in life to deserve you two 🙂

Happy Birthday Sweethearts…may you have all the best in life in all the coming years. Ameen.

I know I should have done this post yesterday but I was too busy spending the day with you to notice when time flew by! Its a day late, but I know you wouldn’t mind 😀

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Pretty in Pink

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Dapper Shobby

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Pleased as punch 🙂

Love you both! A thousand times over 🙂

Yours,

 

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Writing a post after a very long Diwali hiatus….was busy putting up my feet and snoozing away the time 😀

Hope you all had a blast too 🙂

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A few days back I was putting the twins to sleep, making sure that they say their good-night prayers. Lui finished her prayer and then turned to me with a small face.

“Mumma, when we go to US, mujhe dada-dadi ki bahot yaad ayegi. What will I do then?”

I came up with a list of things we could do, starting from getting the in-laws their visa to video-conferencing, etc.  After a few suggestions, Lui became quiet, almost contemplative and then, repeated in a small voice, “Mujhe phir bhi unki yaad ayegi!

Thats when it hit me….the kids have never been away from the in-laws for longer than 2 weeks. This would be the first time when they were going to be so far away and for so long. I didn’t expect the twins to realize this truth but now that they have, it is a little unnerving. Frankly, I had never thought about the side-effects of taking them away from their grand-parents. Every time the topic of our travel comes up, the twins bring up the fact that they will miss their Dada and Dadi 😦

There is a wedding in the family in Feb. The twins are excited that their Chachu will be getting married shortly. The in-laws are pretty busy with preparing the lists for the guests and the gifts and the menu and what not. I’m elated that the BF will be coming back in Jan and that after the wedding, we’ll be together 🙂 (InshaAllah, me and the twins will join him on his return back to Chicago) . There’s much to do right now, renovations at home, shopping, clearing up the unwanted clutter and what not.

But under all the cheer, there is a certain nervousness. The in-laws, mirroring the twin’s sentiments, are also a little perturbed that the twins will be leaving them. The only times they have been without the kids was when I visit Bangalore for a week or so. Even then, they keep calling up everyday to talk to the twins 🙂 . Both the in-laws are deeply attached to the kids and it troubles them deeply to think of the time when we leave and they won’t get to see their darlings everyday 😦 .

The twins, on their part have grown even more close to the grandparents (if that is possible). The more inevitable our trip, the more the children are clinging on to the FIL and MIL. Shobby, who never slept with the in-laws before, now insists that he wants to sleep with his Dada. Lui runs around the house, doing little odd-jobs for her grandparents where earlier she used to shirk all such work.

This puts me in a little difficult situation.

More than anyone else, I’m keen on joining the BF as soon as possible. Though he visited twice in the last one year, it still was a long separation. But now that we have the chance to be together, it means uprooting the kids from the one secure environment they have ever known. There is so much that the in-laws do for the kids, I wonder how I will manage them all by myself (when the BF is at work)! But then, the BF misses the kids like crazy and it is for him that we are making the move. Also, we’ll be back, maybe within 6 months or up to a year. But we’ll be back.

Right now, everything in the house revolves around the twins. Everyone in the house plans their schedules around them. The in-laws, who earlier used to go socializing after work, now rush back home because they need to pick up the twins from day-care. Once the twins are home, they are busy keeping the twins entertained till I get back. If they have to go out anywhere, they take the kids along. So much of their daily routine involves the kids that they are unsure of what to do with their time once we leave.

I know that the in-laws secretly wish that we don’t go. They don’t say it openly, but each time they draw a deep sigh looking at the kids, it is obvious to see what they feel.

For now, the in-laws are spending as much time with their ickle grand-kids as possible. The FIL has even taken to feeding them food, an activity he has never done before 😀

Its cute you know, to see such a loving bond….In a way, I feel guilty of taking the children away from them…. 😦

InshaAllah, we’ll be back soon!

🙂

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Teaching the kids to be unafraid of Diwali 🙂

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Changing Times

ABI was at a bakery (which also is a cafe-cum-restaurant.)near my place the other day . This place sells fresh off-the-oven brown bread and for that alone, I ignore the ridiculous pricing. Am sure the rest of the stuff there is just as good (it sure smells good) but it seems over-priced.

Anyhow, this post isn’t about the bakery.

Right opposite to the bakery is a prestigious girl’s school. Needless to say, the bakery turned into the latest hot-spot for the kids 🙂 . While I was waiting at the counter for my turn, I saw the cafe tables occupied by girls, most of whom were not older than 15. One particular table caught my attention because the girls here were around 13 years of age, ALL of them had smartphones and they were ordering cappuccinos and death-by-chocolate as an everyday business.

That more than surprised me!

My point is, this wasn’t just a birthday celebration treat or just a “lets-splurge-today” kind of a scene. What I was seeing was a bunch of very young girls ordering expensive food like they do it everyday.

It shook me up a bit, I admit. Brought up in a lifestyle where we could have anything we wanted (at home) and where money given to us was expected to be saved and invested wisely, the blatant “throwing away” of cash seemed a little difficult to digest! The girls pulled out wallets filled with 500/- notes!

Who gives that kind of money to children?!!

It reminded me of the time when back in college, I had gone to visit a friend who was pretty well off. In the course of our conversation in her room , she walked to the wardrobe and pulled out a drawer. My jaw dropped at the sight of the drawer stuffed with bundles of cash! The fact that the drawer wasn’t even locked left me even more puzzled! But my friend, in all the time I knew her, never threw around her money. She never spent more than what was necessary and lived life just the way we did.

But here were the next generation of kids, obviously coming from well-to-do families where pockets are always filled with money 😐 . I don’t know what irked me the most! Was it because the children were spending their parent’s hard-earned money, not realizing the effort that goes behind earning that much or was it because someday, given the changing circumstances, I would see my children doing the same?!

I sure hope not 😐 !!

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Some time back, I’d read a wonderful post on OM’s blog about her daughter’s love for Krishna. The little girl loves her idol of Krishna and even lines up her barbies as his devotees 😀 . It was a very cute post and I confess I felt a bit teary towards the end. A child’s love is so pure!! Do check out that post.

Reading the blog, I was reminded of an innocent question a colleague asked me at lunch one day. We were talking about goodnight prayers and I was narrating the twin’s prayers to Allah to keep their Big-Dadi (The BF’s grandmother) trouble free in heaven. I also mentioned that whenever the kids get hurt or fall ill, I ask them to ask Allah for relief. They do this without question. At this, the friend quipped, “Do your kids understand the concept of God?”

I was a trifle startled at this question but realized that the answer was Yes, indeed they did. They did believe in a God up there. I’m not really sure when exactly they started believing, but the truth is that they understand the concept of God, of a power much higher and greater than us, a power that is invisible, no form, no image, without representation.

I realized early in life that being a Muslim was purely about believing in Allah. That there was a power up there which wrote our destinies, who gave us a choice in everything we did and decided our fate based on the choices we make. As a kid, we didn’t realize the depth of believing in that power with our eyes closed, with no visual aids, no images, no pictures, no idols. How exactly could we believe in something that we knew nothing about? I personally believe that most muslims don’t become muslims by birth. We become muslims the day we realize that the power exists, that our prayers do get answered (and I’m not talking about the wishes for extra helpings of ice-cream or a lifetime supply of chocolates 🙂 )

We become muslims the day we understand that there is someone out there looking out for us. That one day, we have to go back and meet our maker and on that day we will have to answer for all the good or bad that we did in our lifetime. I’m sure my children aren’t there yet. The only thing I’ve instructed them to do is to believe in their hearts that even when it appears that no one is watching over them, there is someone up there who is doing so. For now, they do understand that Allah is watching over them, so they have to be good 🙂 .

The kid’s day-care lady is a Jain. She adores the twins and sometimes, she takes them along to her Society’s Mandir for a puja. I don’t mind it. The kids enjoy the visits and tell me in the evening that they went to see ‘Bhagwan’. Its only when  I accidentally kick a book which is lying on the floor and a kid says, “Mummy, say sorry to the book. Issmein Bhagwan hai“, that I feel the need to correct them. I know that there are other religions that equate many things with God. Islam doesn’t. For us, the Lord above is too mighty and too sacred to be compared or even represented by anything on this mortal planet. This is just our belief and not meant to offend anyone else’s sensibilities. But yes, a book is a book, it helps one get education, so respecting it is fine. Keeping them in its place, is what I teach them to do. But I draw the line when they start referring to it as God.

Being a muslim is not easy. Specially when it comes to teaching the kids about Allah. We have no aids, only books written in a foreign language that the children will understand only much later. Till then, they are on their own. I can just let them know what I’m doing, I cannot make them do what I do. I can teach them prayers, but the only ones which are answered are the ones which are offered from the heart. They may not offer namaz, but whenever one gets hurt, the other quickly asks Allah to heal the hurt. Though this is not a formal prayer, it is true in its expression and I’m sure Allah understands 🙂 .

I send my daughter to school with a headscarf. She is free to remove it if she wants. This is just my way of introducing her to the beauty of this most misunderstood concept of Islam. As she grows older, she will make her own choices, but till then, I do my bit and introduce her to it. Alhamdulillah, she has taken quite a fancy to it, though she does remove it after school and goes to the day-care. One day, in office, as I was showing the snaps of my kids in their uniform to my colleagues, one was offended to see Lui with a headscarf.

“Why is she wearing a scarf?” she asked me.

“Because I like her to”, I replied.

“Doesn’t the school object?” she asked further.

“No. They don’t object”, I replied.

“But why not?” she asked vehemently,  ” They should ban it . It is against National Integration”.

At this point, I was too stumped and stupefied to reply.

Our country’s National Integration was at the mercy of my daughter’s headscarf! That was quite a burden she was carrying on her head, I say!!!

Over the years, I’ve met many people who have zero knowledge about Islam but consider themselves an authority on anything Islamic. Like, for instance, believing that the huge population of muslims in India exists only because the Mughals forcefully converted the Hindus.  By that logic, the Christian population should be almost neck-to-neck with the muslims, right?

Anyhow, that is an argument for a different time. For now, as I see my kids grow older and learn new things, I need to show them that there is lot of beauty around them. That though some people may doubt their loyalties (Heck! My Dad served in the Indian Army and yet there were certain people who made snide remarks about his loyalty. Imagine! A man who gets war medals for his country, was looked upon with suspicion. What chances do my kids have? ), there will be others who will give their undying love and friendship. That there will be hurdles in their lives, surprisingly the kind which never appear for their friends, but for them alone, but still, the One above will sail them over it.

Faith is all about believing. I believe that though there is a lot of hatred in this world, my children will find their share of love and kindness, of friendships and happiness. Of loyalty and togetherness. Not just with each other but with most of the people they come across in their life.

I pray that my children will not be stigmatized as adults, if they chose to wear a headscarf or a cap. That no one will question their loyalty towards their country. That they will be accepted for who they are and how they chose to live. InshaAllah, those days will come.

Because Allah is watching over them 🙂 .

Note : The contents of this post are my opinions alone. I apologize if any sentiments are hurt and want to assure everyone that such was not my intention.

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Raanjhanaa

Raanjhanaa

Going by the rave reviews for the movie and this poster in particular, I took out some time to watch the film. For a weekday matinee show, the multiplex was rather crowded. A LOT of youngsters had come to watch the movie. In fact, for some unknown reason, I felt like the oldest member in the crowd, at least, till the lights went out. After that, it didn’t matter :).

I didn’t intend to write a movie review and frankly, this isn’t one in the real sense. Its just that, when I walked out of the theatre, I kept lamenting about how the female lead called Zoya had deceived the male lead, called Kundan, in the end. I haven’t been a fan of Sonam Kapoor, ever, and after this particular role, I vowed never to see her films again. But as I dropped cousin L back to her place (she had accompanied me for the movie) and drove on towards home, it struck me.

*BAM* !!

Wait an effing minute!!

Was I really sympathizing with the guy’s character? He, the uneducated, good-for-nothing cad who thinks nothing more of Zoya, other than being his rightful wife, irrespective of the fact that never once in the movie did she display anything more than a hint of affection for him.

Now, this is going to be a spoiler post, so if anyone of you hasn’t seen the movie yet and intend to, then kindly shut this browser window. I don’t wanna ruin your fun or prejudice your thinking 🙂

I’ll wait.

*tap tap tap*

Still here?

Al right. Let me start afresh.

A young boy has a crush on a neighborhood girl, of a different religion. He grows into a teen, the crush still exists. He stalks the girl, gets innumerable slaps and finally, the girl agrees to meet him alone. BUT, she clearly states that it isn’t because she has any feelings for him, its just that he was so consistent in his request that she felt bad about depriving him. For her, the meeting was nothing less than an act of pity.

In the said meeting, boy gets close to the girl. The girl, on finding that the boy had lied about his religion (he claimed to be a muslim, just like the girl), immediately shuns him and walks off. The boy wasn’t going to take it sitting down, so he stalks her some more, harasses her and one fine day, slits his wrist in her presence. When the girl cries out in shock and horror and hugs the boy, I could make out that it was because of compassion, and NOT love. Alas, the boy thinks otherwise. He thinks that he has made a pathway to her heart by his ‘heroic’ act.

The girl is punished for her PDA and sent away to an aunt’s place. Years later, she returns to her hometown, a much mature and educated young woman. We can see that she has grown up. But has the boy? Alas, apart from pining for his ladylove, Kundan has done nothing constructive of his life. He is still a street ruffian who runs odd jobs at Zoya’s place. Needless to say, she doesn’t recognize him when he makes googly eyes at her. For her, its just an errand boy hitting on her. Kundan tries his best to revive her memory, succeeds and when she gets friendly, starts stalking her again. All her laments , that she was never interested in him, fall on deaf ears. He wants her back and will go to any lengths to get her.

Some people say that Zoya used Kundan. As I see it, she asks for his help twice. Once, to get rid of a prospective bridegroom and the second time, to convince her father. Kundan could have refused both times, but he didn’t. He does help her, but takes it as his due that she is indebted to him for life. Even when Zoya tries to thank him, he rebukes her for rejecting him. So driven is he by his selfish sentiments that he wrecks one havoc after the other, all in the name of love.

Zoya loses a loved one because of Kundan and instead of moping in one corner or running into his arms, tries to channel her grief into supporting the political party of her departed fiance. One would have expected that at least now, Kundan will leave her alone. But nah!! He bulldozes his way into her college campus and then into her political party, reminding her every second of the humiliation and loss that she suffered at his hands? Was this, his way of redemption? It was a very poor implementation if that is what he intended!

Left with very little option, Zoya tries to get rid of Kundan, who had been clinging onto her like a festering wound, refusing to heal and let her be at peace. She knew the consequences of her actions and also publicly accepted her guilt.

Alas, we were left with sympathizing with the guy.

Why didn’t we sympathize with Zoya earlier?

Was it because the guy, in order to teach the girl a lesson for refusing his advances, hadn’t thrown a bottle of acid on her face yet? Well, he wasn’t a picture of peaceful devotion either. Beating up a female childhood friend? Check. Using her unashamedly for his selfish purposes? Check. Driving into the river on a bike, with Zoya, in a fit of rage? Check. Proposing marriage to childhood friend and then dumping her at the last minute? Check.

There is something really wrong about portraying a woman as evil because she chose to live her life on HER terms and not some street ruffian’s. Why didn’t we root for Zoya  right from the beginning? Can it be called a ‘sweet love story’, when clearly, it was more about harassment and ego? One man’s at that!!

In a country so full of misguided youth who believe that any woman who refuses their advances doesn’t have a right to live in dignity, do we need such cinematic ‘heroes’ who show the wrong way? Is slitting of wrists the only way of achieving love? Of protesting? Isn’t it an act of self-pity ? When Zoya does it, we can understand, her loss is much more grievous. But why does Kundan do it so frequently? With his frame, he cannot afford to lose blood at the drop of a hat.

Street-sexual harassment, or ‘eve-teasing’ is a serious crime. It has extremely serious repercussions on the victim. Kundan’s stalking of Zoya for 8+ years and her continuous denial of ‘love’ show us two aspects to this ‘love-story’. An unemployed youth, with nothing better to do, will indulge in fantasies, which for him, take the shape of truth, his truth. A woman who says ‘NO’, means ‘NO’. A ‘NO’ will never translate into a ‘Yes’, even after the passage of time.

I bet a similar ‘Kundan’ did this to Sonali –

sonali

Raanjhanaa gives out very wrong signals. The movie is making quite a lot of moolah….but I’m just worried about the impressionable youth who watch this film.

We don’t need such movies right now. Or ever.

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Its been a while since this song has been doing the rounds in music chart but its only lately that I’ve actually sat and listened to it.

Okay, before that, I’m talking about the “Radha” song from SOTY. Forgettable movie, that.  I’ll not go there. The other songs were hummable but easy forgettable. I wasn’t too keen on the Disco Song, as the original was much better. Call me a grumpy old grandma but I really don’t appreciate Hindi songs which have English rap or English lyrics in them. There are exceptions, of course, like “My heart is bleeding” from Julie, which was an all-out English number in a Hindi movie. More recently, the song, “Tera, hone laga hoon” from Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani had English lines which didn’t hurt the ears!

Anyhow, the Radha song too had English lyrics and it took me multiple rewinds to understand what was being said. Apparently, the lines were “Everyone takes it on Radha”. I didn’t get the context, because before this line, Radha claims that ‘particular’ someone is pursuing her, grabbing her arms, etc. Umm..on hindsight, isn’t it actually true? I mean, girl gets stalked and everyone blames the girl. Looks like the origin of blame started a really long time back!

But that isn’t what the post is about. The problem is, with repeated playing of this number, I have become attached to it. There is something downright tappy about this number. When I hum it at work, I find myself either tapping my feet or my fingers! It disturbs the others, but who cares 😀 . So, there I was, listening to it for the nth time on my phone and it struck me. The reason I listen to this song is because, there is a certain section in it which comes alive, the portion which I look forward to. It is the part which is sung by Udit Narayan. He may not be a favourite with many, but he brings a certain flair to the miniscule lines given to him. Even as I hear it, I can imagine him singing with a big smile plastered on his face, enjoying the song  enough to give a dash of chutzpah! This song was made for him. A pity that he had to settle for just two lines! The other singers (Shreya Ghoshal, Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravijani) do their bit, but they don’t give this song their all.

I really wonder why Udit Narayan isn’t getting more offers 😐

Anyhow, I’ll leave you with this song which really peps me up each time I hear it . enjoy 🙂 :-

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Rather late in the day if you ask me, but better late than never, right?!

I’ve been meaning to compile a list of New Year resolutions that will, InshaAllah, last for more than the end of this month 😀

No, I’m not opting for weight reduction, eating healthier, working less and the likes. Those kind of resolutions don’t work. The ones I’m aiming are for better personality development. Thats right. I have a crappy personality which makes me fit for the role of a doormat. I’ve been walked over all my life and I guess its time now to put an end to it. The worst part is that  I know my one major failing and yet I’ve never actively done anything to counter it. The kids are growing up fast and absorbing things rapidly. I want to bring about a change in myself before they get to see this weakness in me 😐

So, without further dillydallying, in no particular order, presenting my list for 2013 –

1) Listen More

listen-more

Jumper-of-conclusions, thats me 🙂 . My overactive mind cannot wait for someone to finish what they are saying and I chip in with inputs even in their slightest pauses. This either puts them off track for a while before they recover and collect themselves or worse, they believe I’m mocking them and they drop the topic . This is something which upsets me because inadvertently, I hurt the people I try to ‘help’.

So yeah, unless the pause stretches for more than  a minute, I’ll keep quiet and wait. Sometimes, its the silence which speaks. I need to learn to listen to those!

2) Talk Less

talk-less

Follows 1) right in the footsteps. Foot-in-mouth-itis needs to be controlled. This is the year to keep the foot where it rightfully belongs – in the shoes.

3) Say No

say-no

I took me more than a decade to finally muster up the courage and say NO to a friend recently. My only guilt is that I replied through a message and not upfront. I think I’m as much of a coward as she is. This year, I plan to say No if I mean No. Bending backwards is not really doing me any good. There are very few people who are ready to do it for me and giving out free service at the cost of my time, my job and my kids is no longer acceptable to me. So this year, if I cant make it to a party, I’ll say, “No, I cannot come”, instead of evading it with a “Maybe”, “I’ll see if I can”, etc. If people make me run errands when I barely have 5 minutes to myself, I’ll say, “No, but I won’t be able to do your bidding. Find someone else!”

Its not easy, since I’m a very affable person and my friends know that I’ve always been around for them any time of the day/year. Alas, some of these very friends have misconstrued my loyalty as servility and have no qualms in making me run around for them. Not anymore.

4) Speak Up

speak-up

Not to be confused with 2). While I generally talk nineteen to a dozen when not required, I somehow clam up when I should be speaking up! Apart from my lack of ability to say ‘No’, I also lack the guts to speak out at the right time. When a situation occurs, I’m mostly tongue-tied, falling silent and facing  misery. Later, I look back and wonder, “what if I’d said this”, or “I should have said that”. Its futile, really, because the moment is long past. The people who should have heard what I have to say, have long ago left my company, taking my silence for acceptance of what they say. Not anymore. This year, I plant o speak up right then and there, when I find something which does not suit my sensibilities.

5) Worry Less

worry-less

He he 🙂  . Okay, this one’s a bouncer, coz seriously, I have the genes of the most manic worriers in history – my parents! My every pore worries. Considering there are millions of them constricting their cells in worry right this minute, this is going to be one very impossible task. But, I’ve got to at least attempt to take things easy , no? Its not as if I can measure the quantity of worry I indulge in on a daily basis. But if I can sleep easy at night without a zillion thoughts clouding my mind, I will call myself victorious 🙂

6) Laugh More

laugh-more

Hmmm….This one’s not difficult but given that my preference for humour hovers over the sardonic to dry-wit, laughing out loud is not an activity I indulge in often. I’m more of  a smirk or giggle type. Joke books can draw a chuckle from me, nothing more. The BF’s jokes take me one step closer to suicide. How exactly does one laugh out loud often?? I’ve heard laughing is good for the heart and I want my ticker to last as long as possible! Any pointers?

7) Shop Less

shop-less

As I write this, I have 3 new hand bags sitting in my cupboard. I bought a new pair of sandals last Sunday when I already had two new ones awaiting inauguration 😐 . Last month, I bought 4 pairs of jeans for the twins on a whim and the very next week, they were gifted 2 each by my family when they came visiting. The family also gifted me dress materials (3 of them) and yet, I went ahead and bought two new ones for myself. In the interim, the MIL also gifted me one.  Lui and Shobbs have close to 15 sets of shoes between them, some which were worn only one or twice before the kids outgrew them.

I buy more stuff than I use. Its not as though I’m a compulsive buyer. I’m just a reckless one. I buy stuff even though I know its not needed! Needless to say, my bank account is always hovering over the ’empty’ mark. I just manage to get through the month. I have no personal savings to speak of and in nearly a decade of work experience, I’ve never collected enough money to buy myself even a pair of gold ear-rings!

Time to rethink the spending habit, methinks 😐

8) Read More

read-more

Need I say more 🙂 ?!

9) Value Family

val-familyLast year, I did the unforgivable thing of keeping my family secondary to my work. I spent more time at work than with kids. When parents came over, I gave them a few hours. This, after I saw them after nearly 2 years!! All because there were deadlines at work, the dev code was breaking , there were hundreds of issues, etc. It ALL seems so trivial now. The code still has a hundred issues, we knew they would be there. 5 months of dev-code cannot be tested in a week’s time! Yet, I put in all the hours I could. Leaving early in the morning and returning around 11:30 in the night. I ended up having an accident and yet reported to work!! All bruised and in pain, but seated at my machine and hard at work. For some unknown reason, my manager casually mentioned in my appraisal that I didn’t seem ‘serious’ about my work. All because I used to laugh off the physical pain and the hurt within at being deprived time with people I love. It was misconstrued as my carelessness and lack of seriousness. Oh-hum! Each to his own, I guess.

It did teach me something vital though. Work is temporary. Family is eternal. I have to be there with them. They may not need me, but I sure as hell need them!!

10) Enjoy Friends

enjoy-friends

What would we do without friends? Last year, I all but lost contact with most of my friends. Didn’t call, rarely messaged. My FB account is all but non-existant and my one window to the world, my blog, was snatched away from me by the sys-admins 😦

I was off blogging and off contact with friends for so long that when I call friends these days, I start with, “Remember me??”

To correct this one error, me and the BF started off the new year by having lunch with our dear friends and then spending the day together. He is, after all, my Best Friend 😀 (I really should rename him from BF to BFF. It would be more apt!!)

I also need to re-think my equations with people I’ve called friends as long as I can remember. Alas, they are unaware of the friendship pact. I thought it used to be a ‘give-and-take’. Some friends have been just taking for so long now that I’m tired of giving 😐 . I just need to let them know.

Thats all for now folks. By the way, I’ll let you on in a secret . I finally have internet access!! At WORK!! 😀 😀 😀  (Dont ask me how, its a long story!) I’ve missed out on reading SO MANY BLOGS!! If I started now, I’d never get any work done. So yeah, what I wanted to say is that, if you have written any of your resolutions for 2013, do share the link 🙂

Hope 2013 treats everyone fairly!!

Cheers…have a great weekend 🙂

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…………..of 2012!

The last few months have not been good to me. Much of it was of my doing. Call it procrastination, mismanagement or just plain ‘I-want-to-run-away-from-it-all’ phase!

To say that I could have handled it better, would be an understatement. I could have done a WHOLE lot better. But the truth is, I didn’t. And somehow, I let people walk all over me.  I let my work affect my personal life. Obviously, it wasn’t taken to very kindly at home. I became even more irritable. The children sensed it and became all the more cranky. It was terrible.

My method of facing it all was unconventional.  I moped a bit. Fell ill. Had an accident (purely unintended 😀 ) . And I came through it all. The only reason I stopped posting was because I was disillusioned. Nothing seemed good enough to write about anymore. Yes, even about the kids. They were the shining, bright lights in my life, yet I couln’t bring myself to write about them.

And then, 16th December happened.

It was painful, just imagining what the girl must have gone through. And somehow, that put a LOT of things in the right perspective. Here I was, struggling to get through the silliest (in retrospection) troubles in life , whereas there was someone out there struggling with a much bigger battle. Alone. It seems so futile now, all those worries and bitterness that I harboured for the last few months. It hasn’t helped me in the least. Rather, I lost some really precious updates on my children. I could have posted, but I didn’t. My self-imposed exile has hurt no one more than me.

2013 is at the door step. Though not all together easy, my one and sole resolution for the new year would be to keep family as my primary goal and work secondary. When I look back now, I realize that all the extra hours and efforts I had put in at work, were useless. I lost the precious time when my kids were learning new things. I wasted the precious time when my entire family was in town after 2 long years. I wasted the time by not being around for a dear cousin’s wedding. I wasted the time when the In-Laws came back from Hajj, all exhausted and gaunt and I wasn’t around to help them with the hordes of guests. Yes, I wasted a lot of time. The work that I did in office, just wasn’t worthy of the sacrifices I made.

Not anymore. Its going to be straight nine-hours of work for me and not an hour extra 🙂

And I promise to blog more often 🙂

 On that note, have a GREAT YEAR people! Let 2013 have fewer calamities and more joy, fewer deaths and more birthdays, fewer vehicles (I wish 🙄 ) and more trees. Let us all cherish what we have today, be content and be happy 🙂

Ameen.

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Barnabas

Title : Barnabas

Author : Sangeeta Nambiar

Publisher : Westland

Price : 250/-

is particular

The book has a lot going for it, but the simmering undertones of resentment towards the British was what caught my attention the most. A pity that this particular angle wasn’t explored much.

The story is about Barnabas C. Mehta, named thus because his father was always ready with the necessary ‘bandobast’ for his white master. The white master, Curtis, treats Barnabas like his own son, the one who will inherit Curtis’ vast knowledge and his love for the spirits! It is Curtis who encourages Barnabas to pursue his deduction skills and also prints formal visiting cards for Barnabas, if only to open the doors for the son of a servant cook, which otherwise would have been impossible in a British dominated Mumbai.

Barnabas takes up the investigation of the missing wife of a wealthy dockyard owner, Stanton.  What initially appeared like a well-planned escape plan by the wife, takes a more gruesome turn when dead bodies turn up unexpectedly. The investigating office declares it an open and shut case, but Barnabas believes otherwise. Following his instincts and clues gleaned through painstaking ways, he leads the case to ‘closure’.

Most of the book, as expected, is dedicated to Barnabas’ efforts in piecing the clues together. There is a simplicity in his approach which is in sync with his surroundings. His dilemma regarding the British is also understandable. Like he says, who in living memory remembers how it feels to be truly ‘independent’? Would Indians be able to manage on their own, when neither the current generation nor their ancestors had any experience in running a country? These questions reflect the conflicts that I’m sure many youth in those days must have faced.

The characters are well etched, except maybe the detective’s father, whose loyalty to Curtis clashes with his loyalty to the nation. I wish we had a clearer view of what Chetan (the father) truly felt about his years of service and the life that Barnanas led, thanks to Curtis.

Being  a die-hard Agatha Christie fan, I kept a sharp lookout for red-herrings, which the Dame was famous for. Surprisingly, there weren’t any. I don’t mean to say that the story was predictable, but the fact is, halfway through the book, I knew who had done it. I even deduced why it was done. The only thing that kept me glued was the ‘how’!! And it was rather gripping to read through it.  What truly made the book stand out was the innate Indian-ness of the detective and the blockers in his search for truth. That he meekly gives in to silence when he would in fact like to rip the other person apart, speaks volumes of the subjugation of Indians, in their own land.

“Barnabas” is a very well-written book. Like I mentioned before, it is a simple book, barely giving in to anything fancy. Read it while going on a trip or during a meal break. It will keep you adequately occupied. You won’t be disappointed.

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

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