Monday, November 30, 2009

Great Indian Wedding Time again

One of my very first blogs were on the Great Indian Wedding... the media going crazy with it, the whole world conspring to look like one huge marriage party. Little has changed in the two years since, and now at the end of 2009, wedding season is here again!
Lets start- prices of gold are daily news now. We thought they had touched the roof when I got married in 2005. Celebrating our 4th anniversary this month, my husband thought it more prudent to gift me the new refridgerator Ive been nagging him last few months for.
Magazines- Vogue had a wedding special in November, Marie Claire beat it by a month, their wedding issue came out in October. Elle had a wedding supplement, last one I saw was the Cosmopolitan, with its own wedding issue! Weddings sell, then. Some of us are getting married, some of us are waiting to be proposed to with everyting crossed, some of us are having family getting maried, and some of us have to buy expensive presents for those getting married.
Well there are also people like me who are just voyeurs... who love to peek into the lives of the rich and/or famous, and gasp at the thought of buying a 1 lakh lehenga, or the diamond set that so and so would wear, or the farmhouse that so and so's daddy would rent for darling princess.
I guess Ill never buy either the Judith Lieber purse recommended with the Manish Malhotra lehenga, or the Louboutin heels which perfectly goes with the traditional churas. And I cant think of anyone who can either. Who are these magazines targeting anyway. What is their readership? How many people care for Moroccan or English rose themes for their wedding in India?
I do not know, but I know this. When I got married, all I wanted was two Benarasi sarees in nice colours which I would be able to wear all my life and pass on to my daughter, if I had one. I wanted my mom's lovely necklace I had coveted since I was a little girl. I wanted everyone to love the food. And I wanted to get done with it and start the rest of my life. To have the family circus end and get to be a couple once again.
Well all that is ancient history now. Now Im a little scared of weddings. Im scared that my present wont be good enough. Im scared of not getting parking space near the venue and having to walk a kilometer in my sky high heels and saree. Im scared of not being blinged up enough. Im scared of having a stomach upset afterwards. And Im scared of hearing about who next is getting married. Best of luck guys... Ill send you all my blessings and heart full of love, but just keep me out of it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Oh, for a story to tell!

Heard of the book "The Rozabal Line"? One in the series of fiction based on 'research' that shows Jesus spent a considerable part of his life in India, Kashmir specifically.

The author, Ashwin Sanghi (pseudonym Shawn Haigins) is an Indian businessman who writes part time. An immense amount of research has gone into the book, 90% of it google searches. (All the links are provided in the glossary.) As I read the book I keep thinking what a person like Dan Brown would have done with this material, or John Grisham, or Ken Follet for that matter. For the material is mind blowing, stuff that best sellers are made of, but the writing swings madly back and forth from BC something to AD 2012. And when I say swings madly back and forth, believe you me, you will be left with a headache at the pendulous madness.

But anyway, Mr Sanghi wrote a book. He probably spent years deciding just what he wanted to google and then made a story out of it. I wish I could tell a story, any story! I do not want to be a poet, nor can I even succeed in it. A poet can see the whole beach in a grain of sand. Me? I see the setting sun and I think- poached eggs.

No, not for me the blank verses and rhymed couplets. I would rather be a story teller. How fortunate are they, how blessed, those who can spin yarns, those who can pluck stories out of co passengers travelling in trains or lonely warehouses on the waterfront. I suppose life itself is full of stories, one has just to look at the right places.

How i wish I had that imagination, to make young boys and girls fly on broomsticks to play ball, or make trees walk and wage wars, to tell the world about a teacher in Afghanistan, or a tribe elder in the African jungles... oh but I cant, I cant. I just cant tell a story.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Archie marrying Betty??????

Oh come on! I finally thought its happening. Betty?? Really??!! Compare that hare brained goody-two-shoes geek with the hot catty oh-so-stylish Veronica, and really, where can one go wrong in this. Betty is a good match for Dilton, Im sure, but I suppose even Dilton is too intelligent to know the real world from the ideal one.

But it figures. Considering that Archie is neither too good looking (carrot top with freckles, remember?), nor rich (jalopy), nor intelligent (only Moose seems to be more Duuh than him), and also insensitive to boot (how many times has he jilted Betty to go with Veronica)... I dont know which one serves him right, marrying the bitchy Veronica or the so-dull Betty.

20 years hence he might be fielding questions or vases from a fat, couch potato Betty, in cheap Paris designer rip-offs (her clothes were mostly that while Veronica had the originals) in XXL sizes, while Veronica finds herself a dude and zips around in her personal jet to those exotic locales in her designer bikini-s on her designer body. Hell, when she is 40 she would afford to do a Demi Moore.

Yeah yeah, when the whole world went ga ga over Betty, I thought Veronica was so sauve... so have-it-all, so cool-cat to Betty's loyal tail-wagging pooch. So what if she also made the mistake of running after Archie and giving Betty, her best friend, a tough time due to him. She would get over it Im sure. Girls like her have all the fun. All hail Veronica.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Proud of our Didi

Chennai papers were full of Mamata Didi yesterday. 'Duronto' is coming to town... the non stop super fast from Chennai to Delhi. Then there is the "gift" of Didi to Chennai women- all women trains to ply intra city.

Then there was the instance of her refusal to move in a bungalow in Delhi and decisionto stay back in the apartment which was originally provided her. Now Mamata Banerjee is being touted as the new face of the Congress frugality brigade. The minister to walks the talk.

Kolkata women had the benefit of Didi's thoughtfulness long back, her last tenure as railway minister. And now we are seeing women all over the country hailing these moves. The need is there... Chennai just came out with the 'Pink Cabs'... all women service cabs for women and children. No more fear when we need to travel alone at 2 am to catch the 4 am flight.

Seeing Didi's face flooding the papers, suddenly seemed not so different from Kolkata papers. And I should say... for once I am proud I voted foryou, Didi.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

September 3, 2009

Just finished watching Kite Runner on HBO. When it began I underestimated it. Like all those who read the book before they watch the movie I thought it would fall short. But half hour into the film and I knew this was something special. Years ago, the book had made me cry for days. In two short hours, this movie made me cry again.

In any conflict, women and children suffer the most. But it is the children who will have to grow up with the pain of whatever has befallen them. Of course Nadeem Aslam's next, A Thousand Splendid Suns was a masterpiece in itself, but nothing portrayed the tears of a country for its lost children more than Kite Runner.

Another book I recently read was The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver, set in the Congo of the 1960-s through 90-s. To know more about the history of Congo, I started searching the net until I came upon this-

Where doctors break down with stories of the brutality of men, of little girls and boys not knowing what happened to them, of their internal organs, not yet fully formed, being torn and spoilt for life, if they were lucky enough to live...

"Every day, 10 new women and girls who have been raped show up at his hospital. Many have been so sadistically attacked from the inside out, butchered by bayonets and assaulted with chunks of wood, that their reproductive and digestive systems are beyond repair."

The Rape Epidemic, as it is called, continues till this day, even as Hillary Clinton visits the country. It has been called the worst assault against women and children in the world till date, worse than even Rwanda in the Hutu- Tutsi conflict, where rape was seen as a weapon of war, meant for ethnic cleansing.

I could not read the whole report in one sitting. The reports get more and more horrific. Can one even imagine living such a life, where your grandmother, your mother or your little 3 year old daughter might be raped at any time? A doctor says “There used to be a lot of gorillas in there,” he said. “But now they’ve been replaced by much more savage beasts.”

What kind of sickened hardened mind can do that to another human being, and a mere child. Can they look into their eyes? What is in the minds of these men, who can steal innocence forever and inflict such violence.

These are countries at war. What about a country in peaceful times. India- Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, lovely tourist destinations, has something more to attract a special kind of tourist. Available children. These places specially are paedophile destinations. There was recently a newspaper report on orphanages in the Mahabalipuram tourist stretch, which sold children, girls and boys. If you had the proper contacts and especially if youhad white skin, its not much trouble landing the 8 yr old boy you always wanted to destroy.

I saw the movie Changeling some days back. Reminded me of our very own Nithari killings where two men rapes and butchered no one knows exactly how many women and children. (The Nithari killings made headlines for months but now no one seems interested in that anymore. Salman Khan's latest movie is more interesting, I suppose, now that the gory details are all out. Who cares about the victims.) Reminded me of all those news items of little girls kidnapped and imprisoned in base ments for decades, held as sex slaves to men, often with full cooperation from their own wives. Sometimes the girls were not kidnapped... she would simply be the man's daughter.

Girls are routinely taken, often bought for as little as Rs 500, from villages in east India to be sold off to higher and higher bidders in cities like Kolkata, Mumbai or even sent as sex slaves to families in Delhi or anywhere for that matter.

I read and I read and I read, and I feel sterile, helpless, empty. Sometimes I scream to myself to do something, but what can I do, where do I start. I know in the end I will do nothing but seethe inside at the monster that is humankind. I am too domesticated, too engrossed in my childs school, my months targets, and my evening doughnut to stand up and act. I am in awe of those men and women who work to free such victims of lust and god knows what sickness of their own brothers and sisters. Those who spend their lives to bring maybe one ray of hope to those who have none. To bring a smile to those who have gone beyond tears.

Sometimes I feel it was a crime to bring a child into this godforsaken world. For where there can be a Nazi Holocaust, an Ahghanistan laid to the ground by its own men in the name of patriotism, where you can chop off children and dump them in the sewer, where men and women use children to gain pleasure or money, or to take revenge against a race... there God would not be, could not be.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Baby's School Annual Sports Meet

What times have come... now I am taking my daughter to the school sports. Didmt we grow up, or is it really not that far back that I used to go to school sports myself.

My school St Josephs Convent Chandannagar, where I studied till the sixth standard, was a massive range of buildings, with hugest green fields and its own inhouse church, complete with organ et al. The sports events would be held on the schools fields itself. I used to do gymnastics then, floor and balance beam. I was good at the balance beam and bad at floor. For the life of me I could not do the peacock arch, but cart wheels were my thing! My house came last in gymnastics that year, and I blamed my fall while doing the peacock arch.

I participated in the short races. 100 mts or the 4*100 mts. There were 3 girls faster than me in school and in two of the three years that I participated, I came in fourth. In the third year I somehow got past the third girl and came in third. I was beyond myself with elation thinking I had won the brinze finally... until I heard that that particular year there was no bronze medals. The world conspired against me even then!

In South Point High School, Kolkata, sports was an unknown thing until we reached the final year, the 10th standard. I was so sure of my performances till just a day before the events I took a fall down the stairs and sat through the annual sports with a crepe bandage round my ankle.

And now its my daughters school sports. I thought she was too young to participate until they announced races for pre KG. There were 5-6 participants from each of the two sections, all boys. I wonder why no girl was participating. I, for once, didnt know anything about the events till the previous day, when I was handed the invite. So my daughter and I sat through the beginning march past and colourful presentation by junior students, and the pre KG races, and then got too hot and bored to sit through any more and sidled out.

So much for School Sports. Maybe next time.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ready for Parenting your parents, Generation Me?

People in Shanghai can now have two kids.

China till a few years back, just stopped short of executing parents for flouting their "one couple- one child" norm. And now this? It seems that the population of China is ageing very fast. "438 Million people in China will be 60 and older by 2050, leaving just 1.6 working age adults for each elder." says Newsweek.

We with our "Hum do, humare do" policy, which was not that strictly followed anyway, would turn out little better. But from my absolute lay persons view, consider this. All my friends are either alone, or have a single sibling. Our parents come from the great Indian middle class of the 60-s to 80-s. They were educated, politically motivated and ambitious about themselves and their children. Most were still single income households. The middle classes decided to stop after their first two.

The next class didnt quite. Hence we still see lesser privileged cousins who have 4 or more siblings around.

With time its gone worse. To provide the best for their children many have stuck to their only child. By then we have come into the "upper middle class" strata. We own a house, a car, and gadgets. SEC (socio economic) class A. We are shrinking at a much greater rate than other SECs.

The first to relise it is the doctors of government hospitals. My sister, who is a gyenecologist, have assisted in the births of more than 4 children from one particular woman in the last 6 years. Rest assured, she is not the only one, nor is my sister the only doctor experiencing this.

Another study, another country. USA- "According to futurist Andrew Zolli people born after 1975 could end up taking care of their mothers longer than their mothers took care of them" (newsweek) Women of our mothers generation are likely to live 18 years into their retirement, a new record! Men follow right behind, though. And USA hit with financial woes, is seeing a new trend of having 3 generations or more under one roof.

We Indians have been there done that long enough to know that it is possible to live that way if there is mutual respect. The kids get company, the grandparents get mental peace and joy, and care in their own house, and that goes on to create a more stable society.

The age of the world is changing and thats changing everything. And how!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Coming to town

Getting used to life in Chennai is so difficult when I think of what I am missing. Another BANDH!!! Yoo hoo! Kolkata knows how to enjoy its bandh days.

This morning I had a fight with my husband about the "Kolkata attitude". He has to say that Kolkatans dont have any aggressiveness. They will stand in line in all their wide eyed stupidity while the world goes by into the entrance. (BTW, I thought that was the Lucknowi "pehle aap" theory.)

I replied- do you know where most freedom fighters on our country came from? West Bengal, maaan! Revoltution is in our blood.
"Bhenge dao, guriye dao"... just look at the Maoists.
We are the Argumentative Bengali who can also follow a call to war, are we not? Case in point, Netaji!
We are the born non conformists. Whatever the rule says, we would do the opposite. We love our food, and our adda, we love our Victoria Memorial, and we love to hate Victoria and all the gora-s who helped build it. We still cry buckets of tears for our partition, and we still shout ourselves hoarse at the ghoti-bangal debates.

What Kolkata Attitude!!! OK we love our bandh afternoon naps, and we love to do nothing but talk politics and football all day, but pack us into an overcrowded sweaty bus on the way to work and see how our fighting instincts blossom and bloom. Put us in line for a train ticket and watch if anyone wants to come in between. We can stand for our rights just as much as the next non Kolkatan can, so help me God!

And Im coming back to Cal for my much awaited visit. Short one this time but cant wait to have phuchka and Ma-yer haater luchi - aalur dom again!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Chennai- 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration

Im super excited about creating a new Chennai blog which will be very partial towards Besant Nagar. There is hardly any source of info on this part of the world on the net. I mean apart from the cursory two liners on temples and stuff, and google maps. What about the cool place on the beach where you get childrens clothes within Rs 150. Or the little restaurant which has chocolate filled chocolate doughnuts (yes man, its heaven in your mouth), cheese smothered fries with cilly flakes. Oh god, Ive got my mouth watering already.

I found a great lending library which is pretty affordable and with very friendly people. In my hunt for libraries I ended driving km after km yesterday with little success, I could not locate 2 Sardar Patel Road. Also, I found an old place which is overflowing with thrillers and the Goergette Meyer types, not what I read. It advertised itself as Airconditioned. But I almost melted in there.

And Fab India near the beach has these wonderful single cane chairs for Rs 800. Im sure they actually cost Rs 250 somewhere else, but someone please tell me where that is, and Ill go there.

All this and more, in my Chennai blog. Coming soon!

Somehow, feel the absolute urge to say how great a morning I had today, but thats all I am allowed. BTW, great morning reminds me, there is a Ayush (Unilever's) center here where you get full body massage at Rs 750, head/ foot massage at Rs 350. Tried their full body thingy, it felt completely relaxing, though did nothing for my chronic lower back pain. Will have to try their foot and head next month. As of this moment, I am broke in the bank and very very high on the happi-meter.

Its a beautiful world.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

O Esha. E ki bidombona.

Esha says I dont write anymore. I am suffering from a non-writers block. Outside this room is a boiling cauldron than is Chennai. Inside this room is a pleasant 25 degrees which induces me to sleep. And the brat who I call my daughter, goes to school for 3 hrs in the morning, which is all the time in the day I have to wash, clean, work, write, read, rest, and eat my days meal till dinner time.

Yesterday night, finally, after weeks, I felt I could write once again. That pain which makes my hand itch, not with Harry Potteresque magic, but with my own story, of love and losing, of pain and betrayal. Yeah, my life is a Shakesperan tragi comedy. Only, I am THE FOOL. And no comedy has a happy ending for the Fool, as any student of literature would know.
Yesterday I learnt some things.
1. When Chennai has a power cut, you will boil, singe, roast, burn... all at once.
2. Love is just another four letter word, and the others at least are real.
3. All that I can count on in this world was in this little room last night.
4. When someone agrees to marry me, (me, as in, you-got-no-idea-what-kinda-bitch me), he has worn a noose willingly for life. It takes guts to do that knid of thing, man. I should be grateful to this guy.
5. Hope is a bitch. You get that knife and plunge it deep into her heart or else she will kill you. When you finally get rid of her, you can breathe easy. Dead hope is actually such a release, like a huge weight being lifted from my shoulders.
6. My daughters weight increases exponentially with the minutes I am holding her and walking.
7. Fever can get you a bit of rest from duties of hearth and home.
Even seven. Devils number. One of my favourites. Ill stop there.

Let me tell you a story of a girl who was almost an inspiration to me until she fell from that pedestal for ever. She is almost my age, a bit foolish. She ran away from home and married without completing her college degree at a very young age. Then she ended up having kids, with a workaholic husband, so basically lonely and starving for attention, in the thankless job called motherhood.
Then she did something to redeem herself. She fell in love. Childhood sweethearts who had a slight misunderstanding and ego issues, blah blah, the usual... so they had gone their separate ways. Then they met again, quite by chance and love, unfulfilled at the tender age of 15, blossomed again, this time mature, without ego, and with certainty.
She left her husband, went off with the kids to her parents house. When I first heard of her she was trying to support herself and her kids, at her parents house, but at best ignored, at worst abused, by them at every turn... but steadfast in her will to be with this love of her life.
I admired her then. She had the guts to do something I never could. I wished I could have that foolish impetuousness, the acting-without-thinking guts, the unbending love which makes you want to be together NO MATTER WHAT.
And then years passed, two-three. Her children grew to a schooling age. Where was the money to give them the education that we would like our children to have. Not just one, but two kids. Children are a factor which mothers cant work without. It is the greatest constant in our lives. Every mothers life would be quite quite different in it were not for her kids.
Oh well, there is a happy ending to every story, depending on the angle you look at it. And this one says that she went back to her husband. Some said its the wisest thing she did. Some said she should have done this at the very beginning. For me, it was an end of a fairy tale. Romeo-Juliet turned on its head.

Amar golpoti phurolo.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Cesarean/ Natural birth Dilemna

When I declared that I would go for an elective Cesarean section, not a few eyebrows went up. Grandmothers, aunts, mother, friends... went all out to convinve me that I was making a mistake. Their arguments ranged from
  • you are not going to lose weight afterwards, to
  • its just not normal, God didnt want it to be so.

Cesarean birth is favoured by doctors when the baby's size is too large for a vaginal delivery, or when there is a breach position (the baby's position is horizontal or feet first), or if there is some other complication during labour.

A lot is being written nowadays in magazines and Sunday papers about the necessity to stay with nature and prefer natural birth to Cesaream births. Its being alleged that more and more doctors are advising Cesarean births for their own monetary gains. (A normal birth costs 25,000 Indian Rupees as opposed to 75,000 INR for a Cesarean birth. There is the surgeon, of course, a pedietracian in the operating room, one or more assisting doctors, an anaesthesiologist, et al. Plus hospital stay is one to two days more.)

In many Western countries you cannot opt for a Cesarean birth unless its a medical emergency or if the baby is in breach position. But in India it is possible to choose the way you want you baby out.

The call in favour of natural birth rings sincere and vehement. Its all in the motherhood experience, that call claims. You have to feel the pain in order that you know you love your newborn. You have to push push push, for hours, sometimes for days, feel your body tear down under, get epidurals, get yourself cut too, get tongs inside so that the delivering doctor can pull out your baby's head... all in the name of natural birth.

I have heard that for a bonding to develop between mother and child it is necessary to go through the process of a vaginal delivery. I do not know how it is said. That goes to finally prove that an adopted child can never have a bonding with the adoptive mother. A womans capability of maternal love is so all-encompassing that it does not depend where the child comes from or how. It is not only a presence, it is a necessity in women to love. And personally, when I held my daughter in my arms seconds after the delivery, I only felt what all women feel at that moment, absolute awe at the miracle of God.

My lack of labour pain did neither me any harm, nor affected the love between my child and me, in any way. In fact I think its all the stronger because I hold no grudges against life for being unfair on women!!! :))

Also in the hospital, a day after my surgery, I was walking around fine, and had gone to feed thebaby in the nursery. I could hear groans from new mums who had pain moving around... and all the groaning ones had been labouring for hours to give birth. There may be trouble in post operative care and time to get back to normal, and I had to be careful not to do heavy work for three months, but it did not affect me as much as I had feared it would. And yes, I lost weight pretty fast, as I was breast feeding. My child is one and half now and I am back to my pre pregnancy weight.

You hear stories of how someone gave birth in 11 minutes flat. And you hear stories of labour continuing for days, in one case, of my friend, 3 whole days of pushing. You hear stories of how the placenta was too weak and the doctors were just minutes late in deciding that a Cesarean is the best way. You hear stories of babies born dead.

I am a mother, and believe me, when I was pregnant, I did not think of whether I would love my baby or not. I did not think what kind of money my doctor would get. I did not think what is natural and what is organic. I did not think of the pain I would have to go through to give birth normally, or the post operative care in I had a surgery.

The only thought in my mind was, I want a healthy baby. I want my baby out the safest way available to human kind today.

Yes many things are natural. Its perfectly natural to go out in the fields for your morning ablutions, but you dont, do you? Its perfectly natural to live out your life and not go to a doctor, let cancer have its way with your body, chemotherapy is after all not natural. Its natural to hunt for food and gather wild berries, supermarkets are not natural.

I did extensive research before deciding. I heard out stories of friends and relatives. I googled and went to libraries. It took me 6 months to finally decide. I will not tell anyone to not go the natural way... but I will definitely say this- I took an informed decision to have Cesarean and I have not had any problem till date about it.

And I have never felt guilty for being too posh to push.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On Facebook? At your own risk.

Here is an article excerpt from the April 20 Time Magazine.

Forget the widely unloved redesign. Facebook has committed a greater offense. According to a new study by doctoral candidate Aryn Karpinski of Ohio State University and her co-author Adam Duberstein of Ohio Dominican University, college students who use the 200 million–member social network have significantly lower grade-point averages (GPAs) than those who do not.

The study, surveyed 219 undergraduate and graduate students and found that GPAs of Facebook users typically ranged a full grade point lower than those of nonusers — 3.0 to 3.5 for users versus 3.5 to 4.0 for their non-networking peers. It also found that 79% of Facebook members did not believe there was any link between their GPA and their networking habits.

Karpinski says she isn't surprised by her findings but clarifies that the study does not suggest that Facebook directly causes lower grades, merely that there's some relationship between the two factors. "Maybe [Facebook users] are just prone to distraction. Maybe they are just procrastinators," Karpinski told in a phone interview on Monday, April 13.

Karpinski and Duberstein's study isn't the first to associate Facebook with diminished mental abilities. In February, Oxford University neuroscientist Susan Greenfield cautioned Britain's House of Lords that social networks like Facebook and Bebo were "infantilizing the brain into the state of small children" by shortening the attention span and providing constant instant gratification.

And in his new book, iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind, UCLA neuroscientist Gary Small warns of a decreased ability among devotees of social networks and other modern technology to read real-life facial expressions and understand the emotional context of subtle gestures. Young people are particularly at risk for these problems, he writes, because "young minds tend to be the most sensitive, as well as the most exposed, to digital technology."
Some experts dismiss all studies of Internet use as flawed, since there is no reasonable way to control for the myriad variables that may affect such research. For its part, Facebook declined to address the specific findings of the new study but issued a statement on Monday, April 13, saying that Facebook isn't the only diversion around; TV and video games can be just as distracting as online social networks.
Hee haa haa.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Random thoughts

Its getting hot hot hot in Kolkata. And Im gearing up in my mind to shift to Chennai on a more permanent basis. I said 'more' permanent?? Well, I dont know how Im going to do it. Ill be all alone with baby for the first time. And ALL ALONE. No office to go to (Ill be working from home), no parents to visit, friends... well, one on last count... Not going to office is going to be the biggest change Ill have to deal with. Its an escape for me, more than anything else. And what about the weather. Ive heard horror stories about Chennai summer. Ive lived for two months during my MBA summer project in Chennai and I remember trying very very hard to make it through the nights. :)

The sale season is all but over. South City Mall in Kolkata bankrupted me, almost. My credit card has maxed and I dont have money to pay the bills. So Im glad the SALE signs have come down finally! Recession my big fat... displaying that word in front of a girl is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Its a four letter word after all though. And like all four letter words it gives a perverse pleasure to fall prey to it... beating heart, flushed face, rushing blood, adrenalin, adrenalin... the works! I was just hoping though that they would wait till my next months salary came in. Oh now Ive got to wait till the next sale to get the lovely black and white top I saw at Marks and Spencer.

It rained last night. After days of scorching scathing burning sun, finally lightning and thunder in the evening and then the rain! Last night was pleasant. But its gone back to the rule of the sun this morning. When we had to read poems in school, I always used to wonder about the heartfelt joy of summer. Summer? Summer sun?? Give me winter any day I would think. But rains are what I love most. Even the seething, acid rainwater logged streets wont get me down on a rainy day!!! Cant wait for the rainy season to start.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Happy poem, anyone?

I write poetry when I am sad, mad or bad. Wonder why rhyme eludes me in happy moments. Like probably I would never see a field of daffodils the way Wordsworth did, or a brook like Tennyson danced along with. I can only see the blood and gore of war, the heartbreak in love, a hundred years of solitude and the unbearable lightness of being.

What do I enjoy so much that I could write about. Write a song on the wonderful world like someone in Discovery Channel did. (Watch it on YouTube, "The world is just amesome"... luurve it totally) An ode to the love I can see in certain pair of eyes. A sonnet on my lovely workplace. In the least a limerick on shopping till my bank account goes bust... even a haiku on window shopping.

You know like...

Wonderlands glimpsed through
Lighted windows
A million things to own
If only pocket would permit!


My next poem will be a happy one. Promise.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A moment turned eternity

I heard a voice sing behind me and turned around
I looked into your eyes and in a fraction of a moment
A song became mine forever.
I wished that moment would not end. and it did not for fifteen years.
Now I try to salvage a bit of that infinity in my limited world.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Limited Love

I drown in this love.
Wave upon wave lash at me,
Pull me in, as I try to claw
My way out on the shore.

Wave upon wave
Covers my head, finally
Water fills my lungs as I draw
Breath, till I know no more.

Greener trees, bluer skies,
Colours burst out in tiny rainbows
Everywhere my eyes rest around me,
Kaleidoscope, long streaks of light.

Im one with the world,
Beauty in airwaves around me flows,
I stumble again, throw up against the tree,
The birds laugh loud as they take flight.

Its a new world-
You are everything I know-
You are my God, my destiny-
I could give my life for you-

Come, torment me.
Like a tumor come and grow
Inside me, Poison me, Tear me.
I will yet show how my love is true.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The cat that loved me

Today my car was smelling of cat once again.

It cannot be of course, because its been days, weeks even, since he travelled, lying prostrate on the back seat, rolled up in towels, set on newspapers to protect the seat from getting wet. His smell used to pervade the car then. I had to open the window and drive for miles to make the car smell a trifle car-like, the way it is supposed to smell.

He was born right next to me; in fact, I would have crushed him if I had rolled over. The mother had hardly met me before so I do not know how she found me trustworthy enough to birth next to my body. He was 'it' then of course, a mousy little creature, naked skin, red, almost ugly, other than that it wasnt because it was a minutes old little cat, Gods creation, the miracle of birth, which I got to witness, and it made me cry. That ugly little critter made me cry out of sheer amazement at the beauty in this world.

Dont really think he knew me at all. For one I hardly saw him after that. Second, he and his brother were growing up, they had all the energy and mischief that little cats have, bounding all over the place, scratching, tearing, falling, rolling. Who has the time for human beings who sit and sip coffee and smile at antics like a matron.

And then he fell from the roof. Not yet a year old, no one knows what he was doing on the third floor cornice. Or how he fell. When he was found, he was not moving. Something had happened to his spine. His legs were not moving, nor his tail. He was eating and his bodily functions were fine. He was probably in shock for days, not showing any signs of pain. We took him to the vet. They were not encouraging, but not discouraging either. X rays were taken. Medicines prescribed. Homoeopathy, steroids... his adoptive parent spent hours drying him with hair dryers and finding innovative ways to feed him the terrible tasting medicine. He showed signs of recovery, moving his legs, twitching his tail. And I kept saying, hell, its a cat, they survive everything.

Then one day I heard that he died. Just like that. When slowly we were hoping he would walk soon, when we knew that he is going his way up the path of recovery, he died, basking in the sun, in his little basket. He is buried under a huge oak tree. He was loved and cared for while he lived, he was cried for when he died. Some humans cannot boast of this honour.

I was not his caretaker. I had not taken him in from the street, so to say. I was just a passive audience to his growth. No one could threaten me into taking care of animals. I do not much like pets. All the extra work! But when he fell ill, he learnt to recognise the car in which he travelled to the doctor. He learnt to recognise me, my voice, as I kept reassuring him, when he would be alone with me. He would purr to glory when I got over my own obsessive compulsive fears and cuddled him. He stopped bringing out his claws whenever I picked him. He started laying his head on my lap when I sat next to him.

And then he died. The only cat that ever loved me. The only animal that ever loved me. And sometimes, I still smell him in my car.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Im in like with Chennai

Another day, another trip.
This time our Chennai resort visit, (which has become a sort of ritual), came early in the stay. We reached on 24th, the booking was for 26th through 29th. We had booked a Rs 6k normal room, but being the festival rush season plus weekend, when we landed, the rooms were all occupied. The people who were supposed to vacate had decided to stay back after all. And there we were, having booked days in advance... Now the only room available was the grand suite, the most expensive on the block. It came at 15k + taxes. And heh heh heh, they of course had to upgrade us for the day... I tell you, it was worth every paisa of our 6k!!! :)) Living room, bedroom, large lcd tv, mini bar, comfy sofas, heavenly bed, and to crown all that, a very personal plunge pool, separated from the bedroom by a glass panel. Oh, how the rich live!!!!

Chennai, at 18 degree celcius minimum temp, was having the "coldest" winter in 10 years. Yes, it was in the papers. So I decided to make use of the "cool" days. Took baby and caught an auto to Pondy Bazaar. Nothing like our Gariahat, but the cooking vessel shops were nothing like Id ever seen before. Oh how I wish I had taken some photos, but I was holding a very sleepy and wriggly baby tight in the pre new year crowd. I couldnt possibly... Next time, promise. Got a couple of the local 'ghagra' for daughter.

Attended a couple of parties, went for the staple city center mall visit, evening beach stroll, the rest of it. Of course it wasnt easy still with the baby. She stopped eating the 7th day, and would not take rice... or any solid food apart from chocolates. She screamed for pepsi anytime we went out. It was a regular nightmare, but I must say, this is my second visit to Chennai after having the baby, and this time around, Im a little in like with the city.