Saturday, 8 December 2007

Packing it all in.....

We are going on vacation to Kerala & Bangalore for a whole month. It’s been 2 years now since our last trip home. If you think my next sentence is going to be “How time flies”, u r totally off the track. These 2 years have really dragged. It seems like ages……..just so long. I yearn to see my parents, I’m aching to hold my sisters baby in my arms, I’m longing for the company of my friends, I’m craving to eat the gulab jamuns from Bhagatrams on comm. street…...…I can go on.

My kids are torn between wanting to go & not go. They want to go coz they want 2 c their grandparents & cousins. But they also don’t want 2 go because they’ll be missing the sports day at school & the fun-filled Christmas Party. The fact that they are missing 2 weeks of class doesnt carry that much quotient.

We’ve been shopping like crazy. My husband loves to make lists……sorry, he loves to make me make lists:-/, & likes to shop according to them. I don’t really believe in lists but I know it makes good sense, so I make one & we set out with it, with good intentions. We’ve now made 6 trips so far with this list to various shopping malls, departmental stores & hypermarkets. Each time we’ve come back with bags of stuff but we still haven’t bought everything in the list.

Getting to the heart of the matter….. When it comes to shopping I’m what u call a ….... husbands nightmare. Not that I shop extravagantly but I insist on buying every relative, friend, and neighbour a little something. And to top it, I also take a lot of time choosing the gifts. Many a time after choosing an item (which would have taken half an hour), I’ll come across something else 2 aisles later & I waste half an hour on which is better, finally decide to pick it up & then waste some more time trying to keep the previously picked item back in the correct shelf.
I now remember how my friends used to hate to go shopping with me.

My husband is a patient person. But after 3 hrs of picking and choosing he’ll have that familiar long-suffering look on his face. The kids will be like climbing the walls & on him by then. I actually like to shop alone but how do I tell him that:-P……... It’s just not him alone, it’s with everybody. At work, once boss leaves I finish all my work in an organized manner. Even while cooking if anybody is there in the kitchen with me then I am not even sure how much salt to add in a curry. I do my work best when left alone.

At work, 2 of us are leaving at the same time. I’m leaving for vacation & the other person is quitting coz she got a better job. So for past 1 week we had been trying to recruit somebody. I put an advertisement as ‘temporary vacancy for an admin staff’. No major qualifications or anything but should have good communication & computer skills. I got around 60-80 calls & double number of emails. 80% of the response was from phillipinoes but we wanted an Indian. After 2 rounds of interviews, we finally short-listed 5 candidates. Then I called them one by one. The 1st person got a better offer in the span of 2 days & declined the offer. The 2nd person.......I forgot why she cdnt accept the offer, the 3rd revealed she was on visit visa (employing people on visit-visa is an offence, the company will get fined 50,000dhs or more), the 4th did not pick up the call & so the 5th person got lucky & landed the job. So 1 problem less.

Now I have to complete all pending works & most importantly, have to delete all the Junk I have accumulated in the computer before I leave :-P……forwards received, powerpoint presentations on useless topics, photographs of friends, relatives, …..ohhh don’t ask, I tend to accumulate all kinds of stuff on my desk, in my computer, everywhere except my kitchen which I keep free of clutter.

And the packing……….i’m the worst at it. Luckily hubby dear saves the always. He can pack at the rate of 1 suitcase per hour whereas I’ll take 3 days & still not finish one. The kids from the sidelines will keep adding whatever they think they just can’t do without. As soon as they turn their back, we take them out but as soon as we turn our backs, the same item is back in the suitcase again. Just thinking about packing is making me tired.

But all the trouble & travails of travel is nothing compared to seeing my loved ones. My parents, sister & friends are waiting for me just as eagerly. Every time my ear tingles (which is quite regularly nowadays) I know they are talking about me. One month is so little a time to catch up with everything. I guess, I’ll just have to savour each moment with them and stretch it ………within the parameters of time.

I’m counting the hours already…….

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Toothfully yours

Nikita has been getting a tooth ache on & off for more than 2 weeks now. We delayed doing anything about it because we thought of getting it done in India while we were on vacation. Around 85% of the Indians in the gulf get all their medical ailments treated when they get back home for vacation.
There r 2 reasons for this: Just 1 appointment in the local hospital with the local doctor is enough to put u off for the rest of ur life. No offence, but ur faith in humanity is badly shaken. Some of them there have no clue what they are doing. The 2nd reason of course is the more obvious one……unless you have a medical insurance; any kind of treatment in UAE turns out to be an expensive affair.

So now coming back to nikita’s toothache, we changed our minds about India coz one night she really writhed in pain. The painkiller I gave her had no affect & we just somehow got thru the night. The next day she was fine but we couldn’t take the chance. We took her to the nearest medicare centre & halleluiah we found an Indian dentist there………..and a Bangalorean at that (now Bangalorean doesn’t mean that he or she is the best but it certainly instilled an instant comfort).

I hate hospitals & everything related to it. Ofcourse I don’t deny the wonders of medical science & blah blah…………….but I just hate the sight of blood & not to forget, the sight of nurses walking around with the grimmest of expressions(like they are waiting to poke u in the backside when u r not looking).
I am not phobic or anything…….ofcourse not. See, I have gone to the hospital many times, ……….like if I’m forced to, I’ll have to go, right(like when I had to deliver 2 kids………aaaaaaaaaaaaarghhhhhhh, don’t remind me). And the optimist in me doesn’t see this fear…ummmm…….i mean this delicate condition as a negative point.

Just think…… My kids are very lucky to have me as their mother…………they’ll never b pressurized to become a doctor or a rocket scientist or even an engineer (well to become any 1 of these u have to take science as your main subject & dissect…or is it bisect a cockroach & frog & stuff, right eeeewwwwwhhhhhhh).

Coming back 2 the topic………..My husband took Nikita to the dentist who said that the teeth was in a bad shape, infection had already set in & a root canal treatment had 2 b done to save it. Pulpectomy, they called it. It required 3-4 sittings. Sheeeesh, I couldn’t take it. Imagine a 6yr old sitting through a root canal treatment. I called the doctor (I have no problems calling them up) & had an indepth conversation with her regarding all the options. I was like “pull it out” & she was like, laughing at my illiteracy. Apparently if a premolar was pulled out, the 2 teeth beside it will start inching in2 that space & the new tooth (which will come only when she is 10) will pushed out, which in turn will create an irregular look in the dental facade.

I still thot……just get the tooth extracted & be done with it. After all, the doc did say that in 10% cases the space will remain there & the tooth will regrow in the same place. My better-half didn’t share my view. And so he took her for the 1st sitting. They came back after 2 hrs. Nikita had a half-dazed look in her eyes. My heart went out 2 her. I doubt that in her entire 6 years she would have undergone anything as harrowing as this. I dared not sympathize coz then she’ll beg not 2 go again. Her father stressed again & again how brave she was. Naina looked suitably impressed at her sister’s valor.

She was surprisingly upbeat about her next sitting. I later understood that Naina expressed a desire to go see chechi getting her tooth done & so Nikita was looking forward to introducing her sister to the doctor & show her around. My relief was short-lived coz hubby couldn’t make it in time & I had 2 take her.

All three of us trooped in2 the dentist’s room & nikita took her seat. A lady do
ctor with a knack for handling children eased some of my worries. She asked me sit but I couldn’t relax. Elaina was most engrossed in what was going inside chechi’s mouth that she tried to climb onto her lap to get a better view (yes, really). I put her on a chair which faced her sister & told strictly not to get up. As the hour wore on Nikita started fretting & fidgeting. Though she was given an injection to numb the pain it wouldn’t have been enough(I don’t knw about everywhere but here they administer only minute dose of painkillers to children). She didn’t make any noise but tears leaked from the corner of her eyes. She looked at me so pleadingly. I stood there trying to calm her with my eyes & voice. The doc was doing a good job of continuously talking to her. Since Nikita couldn’t answer the questions for obvious reasons, Naina took up the responsibility with enthusiasm.

Just then I happened to glance into a small mirror which was hanging there. I saw a pinched face with worried eyes & a downward curve of a mouth looking back at me. Later I thought to myself wryly, it was no wonder that nikita refused to be comforted. My face reflected some kind of tragedy instead of instilling confidence. I hurriedly smoothened my face to a composed mode but the damage was done. Mercifully the doc also finished with Nikita for the day. Both the kids dutifully thanked the doctor. The doc very accommodatingly asked Naina if she wanted to take her sister's seat, she shook her emphatically & was first out of the door.

Later that night my husband got a lecture from me about parental responsibility & his habit of putting his wife in tight situations. He looked suitably chastened which mollified me.

Today the 3rd sitting is scheduled for 4pm & I’ve already called hubby at least 6 times 2 remind him to be on time. Nikita is not exactly thrilled but since I told her that the doc is going to fill her teeth with some gum she is curious. She thinks its chewing-gum. And the coward that I am, I haven’t corrected her thinking.

Now don’t think I’m preaching..……..but brushing one’s teeth twice a day goes a long way in avoiding cavities, especially in the case of kids. And doc stressed that if we flossed also they would be out of business in no time.
The link below gives u simple ways to protect your childrens teeth. There is nothing more worse than watching your children going through pain which could have been easily avoided.

And for the people who make no time for teeth this is your fate.......

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Everyday Humour

Sister Act

Nikita: Why dont u give Naina away to another family?

Mama: Why?

Nikita: I dont think i can live with her anymore.

Mama: Then what will I do?

Nikita: Oh u can stay with me. U dont trouble me the way she does.

[p.s - i actually meant to ask her "what will i do without Naina" ]


Pencil Magic

Biju: I think Naina's color pencils are possessed.

Nancy: what do u mean?

Biju: As soon as u turn your back, they are back on the floor again.


[p.s - i'm gonna keep updating this page.]

Thursday, 29 November 2007

thinking out of a box......

From the time I entered my home as a newly wedded bride (hee, hee feeling funny to write newly wedded bride) I was exposed to the harsh realities of life. My hubby was an addict..…………nahhheeeeeeeee(hindi movie style)…….yes, a TV addict. Everything, oops sorry, almost all home activities revolved around the TV. He used to leave for work at 7; he didn’t have time 2 eat breakfast, leave alone time to switch the TV on. But after he came back from work, he’ll freshen up & go straight to switch the TV on & it would be on till we went to sleep.

He would surf thru all the channels atleast 3 times before he settled on any 1 program. When the program breaks for advertisements he’ll continue his surfing. And just suppose I tell him to put channel no 23, he’ll start from channel no.1…..go thru each channel, wait for the blue screen to turn to the program it is airing, watch it for 15 secs, then switch to the next channel. By the time he reaches the channel I want to watch, the program would be half-over. Initially I used 2 tear my hair out in frustration, later on I got smarter. 10 mins before my program started I would tell him which channel, then go in to make coffee. All the while I am making coffee I would follow-up on it otherwise he would continue his way. By the time I was back he would have reached channel no.21, and then it was just the question of waiting it out. If he still showed reluctance to put the channel, then I would take away the remote from him. But it didn’t end there. He would keep commenting humorously about the characters of my program, distracting me thru’out(but the comments would be funny) & finally would take the remote away from me.

The oddest point about his TV watching is that he doesn’t have a single favorite program that he watches on a daily basis. He is not fanatic about sports nor is he addicted to any reality shows. The regular TV serials bore him to tears & news channel don’t really interest him unless they r interviewing some worthy personality. Sometimes I catch him watching some documentaries but it is not a regular thing. Now that I actually think of it, he likes to watch comedy scenes. Ohhhhh yes he loves it. And mind u, these comedy scenes are re-runs which he would have watched 100’s of times but he’ll still watch it like he’s watching it for the 1st time. Every time the character gets punched (yes, punched in the comic scenes, Malayalam movies r famous for it), my husband holds his stomach as if he feels the pain. Sometimes I just watch him analytically. He seems normal in every other way. I mean, how many times can u laugh (uproariously at that) at Innacent saying “enddddde ammmaaae”(an actor saying a dialogue in Malayalam movie). Then I console myself saying that atleast he is not imitating them in real life (imagine if he went around pushing out his hair at the back of his neck like Mamotty in the “The King”, or like mohanlal “mone dinesha” ……..ooooh I’ll die of embarrassment).

I used to get really upset with him in the beginning regarding this issue. I wanted him to spend the time with me. Talk to me. I never was a mindless TV watcher. Yes I watched certain programs, but not endlessly. So I couldn’t relate to his kind of attachment to the TV. But as time passed I realized that it was his way of winding down at the end of the day. Sometimes he just sat there & watched the figures flickering on the screen while his mind was working on some software problem. Other times he took a nap with the TV on. Hopes of weaning him away from the idiot box gradually faded. I accepted the elemental role TV played in his life. I left him to it. I slowly started keeping myself busy with the kids, computer, crosswords, sudoku, even baking.

Soon, I felt a difference within myself. I was no longer clock-watching or holding it against him for lolling on the sofa. In short I was at peace (ok, ok I still got mad with him, once in a while, but just, once in a while).

But now all this TV watching has rebounded on him. The kids have taken after him. After all blood is thicker than water (actually I’m not sure if this idiom relates to the situation but it gives me the CT’s to pen it down :-D). Nowadays he walks in2 the kitchen while I’m cooking, I look up surprised & then automatically tune my ears 2 what TV program is going on……u guessed right, it will be a cartoon. The kids would have ganged up on him & wrestled the control off him. He smiles ruefully & gives me a hand in what I’m doing. And u know what, we even mange to hold a full-fledged conversation(ok, ok jes kidding, but u get my point).

2 weeks back we sent our bigger TV back to India thru cargo along with other stuff. We have another TV in the bedroom so v planned to keep that out in the living room for the time-being. The kids had opposed the move vociferously (ie. Taking away the BIG TV & replacing it with smaller version). The strength of their disappointment & frustration had taken him aback. He then took a decision not to place the TV in the living room till the exams were over. The first 3 days were bad. Both father & kids were lost without the TV. Kids were so fidgety & drove us mad with their hyperactivity. Their father seemed so lost. Everytime he sat on his favourite chair, my eyes would go to the gaping hole where the TV was kept. I would smile & waggle my eyebrows at him. He would smile back good-naturedly.

It’s been 2 weeks now. And we came out of it in flying colors. The kids have taken to coloring, reading and eating my head. Their father reads stories to them, plays silly games with them, even teaches them for their exam & wonders of wonders, he talk with me about work and other consequential-inconsequential stuff. As for me, I’m shaking my head in wonder. Every once in while, my better-half manages to surprise me.

All the above happened over a period of 8 yrs. So all u people out there whose husbands fanatically watch the idiot box, don’t lose hope or your temper. Keep the peace, occupy yourself with something constructive. It may not make a difference immediately but always keep the bigger picture in mind. Then everything falls into place.

Ofcourse, I’m not exactly believing all this will last for ever coz the exams finish today :-(

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Just another evening with my kids.....

Nikita & Naina have exams going on. I leave office by 4pm(with permission:-p), am ready to sit down with them by 5, wind up studies by 7 & put them to bed by 8.30 pm.

Today Nikita had English Literature (imagine Eng. Lit in 1st grade :-s)) and Naina had GK. So yesterday, I first sat with the Nikita & v went thru all her portions. Then gave her a dummy test to do & started with Naina’s portions. Now Naina is in KG1 & has really basic stuff to study but it’s still an exam & we have to give it the respect it deserves…….. so she had to study 5 fruits, 5 vegetables & 5 flowers. As we were going thru’ 5 fruits (apple, orange, pineapple, pear & grapes) I remembered I had to make chapattis for dinner. So I told her to read loudly, .....oops she can’t read…..ok look at the pictures & say the name aloud. And so I was making chapattis & I could hear her saying…..carrots, green peas, potatoes, caufliflower, cabbage…..then flowers….rose, marigold, dustbin, lilies, sunflower. The chapatti roller paused. “Nainaaa…..say it once again.” “Okkkkk…..Rose, marigold, dustbin, lily, sunflower….” by now I was already reaching for the book from which she was reading from. It was..… Rose, marigold, JASMINE, lily. Couldnt help laughing out loud.

Now the chapattis were ready to be made. Just then the phone rang. Answered it & came back to put the chapatti on the tava. Found the freshly rolled chapatti stuck to the plate on which it was kept. I’m surprised. Looked more closely & found tiny fingerprints on them. Sighing, I went to the next. Same status. Out of the 9, 4 were damaged. Rolled them back to 4 lumps & started all over again. And that damn call was a wrong number.

Called them for their bath. They pretended not to hear. When I finally reached for the stick, they obliged. While bathing they were whispering to each other & giggling. They were highly excited. I was like “whats up?” Both were giggling harder than ever. “We’ll tell u after the bath”. Finally powdered & clothed….they r still giggling… I cdnt contain my curiosity “ok tell me now”. Both of them in unison “u gave us a bath with your soap” & rolled on the bed laughing. I went to the bathroom & checked. They were right. Not that I had any doubts. They know my soap better than theirs. I came back to the bedroom to see them smelling each others hands…….mmmmmm nice.

After dinner, there was the usual argument about whose book I’ll read. I usually settled the matter by reading the book I didn’t read the previous day. Read a story about a little girl who was a chatterbox & a pixie who kidnapped her & made her small,…… how she learnt a hard lesson & learnt to keep quiet. Watched the kids’ expressions coz I knew exactly what was going on in my 2 lil chatterboxes’ minds. Hiding a smile, I waited. Finally a small voice “but mama, pixies r make-believe characters aren’t they.” I smiled & reassured them “ofcourse they don’t exist”. Relieved, they attacked “one more story please, please, pleeeease….” Regretting my moment of weakness, I got up, tucked the sheets around them firmly, kissed them good night, & walked out.

Tiptoed back in after sometime. Both were fast asleep. Smoothened the hair back from Nikita’s face. Removed Naina’s leg from Nikita’s stomach. Knelt down beside the bed & watched them for a while.

Put my hands together & thanked my Lord.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Shilpa's day out

I was working for a multimedia training centre as coordinator. My friend Chaitra was also working there as a counsellor. She was friends with a girl next door who like her, was also a Kannadiga. Her name was Shilpa. The 1 time I spoke with her, she was really rude, so I never made an effort after that.

When Chaitra was leaving EDIT she told me a few details about Shilpa & asked me to be a little friendly with her. After that I spoke cordially with her & she also made an effort. It took us some time and we became maybe not the best but good friends. My other friends wondered what I saw in her. How do I explain to them that she was …….was a good friend. She valued my friendship.

Shilpa’s family owned the building in which our institute was running. They had pots of money, but not very educated. Shilpa herself discontinued her studies after school. Her father was an alcoholic & had another family tucked away. Her mother was more interested in the welfare of her sons & didn’t have her daughters interests at heart. Yes, Shilpa had money but she also had this neglected look about her.

Once we decided we were going to be friends, we had a lot of fun together. I worked from 7am-3pm. So if we planned a movie together I would act like there was some major emergency in my life & take permission to get away an hour early so that we could catch the 2.30 show. She would leave her house 10 minutes earlier than me & wait for me at the corner of the road. I would leave at 2pm, rush to where she was waiting & we would race to the theatre on my bike (a hero puch). All this would be done in such stealth & secrecy coz if we got caught, both of us would be in trouble. Oh those days…..what idiots’ we were, but what fun we had.

Many a time I would find her very depressed about what was happening within her family. Sometimes she would pour out all her woes. Most of what she said never happened with me, I mean I couldn't relate with it at all. Inside, I would be so horrified but I couldn't show it out & make her feel even worse. I would just divert her mind with some mad plan or the other.

One day in December….it was the day before her birthday. She was very sad & just wanted to go somewhere far away, alone. At her house nobody would even remember her birthday. I felt very bad for her & wanted to cheer her up. So I told her we’d go together. After a much delibration we decided to go to Mysore & spend the day there. We planned to leave by train early morning & be back by 6 in the evening. I then called up my boss & fed him some story which he didn’t swallow but short of calling me a liar he couldnt do anything else.

The next morning we reached Cantonment Railway Station by 7am, got tickets for the 8’o’clock train to Mysore. We kept grinning at each other nervously. The train arrived & we found the compartment full. I mean our seats were vacant but it was crowded whereas the next bogey looked invitingly vacant. We got into the next bogey & there was not a soul in there. There were comfortable seats & good facilities. We had our breakfast & lazily watched the scenery flying past. Even after 3-4 stops, nobody got in. Gradually we realized that this was a 1st class compartment & we could be in trouble if we were caught.

Just then the ticket collector arrived. He took 1 look at our guilty expressions & knew. He took a cursory glance at our tickets & asked us to pay Rs.400 as fine. We appealed to his better nature & told him that the other compartment was full of men & so….blah, blah. He told us to get 1st class tickets if we were so particular about not mingling with the riffraff. Looking at our worried expressions, he then relented & told us he won't fine us but we have to get off at the next station & get into the compartment the ticket mentioned. We nodded our heads vigorously, relieved that he was letting us go lightly.

The train reached Mysore at 10.30am. We took an auto straight to Mysore Palace. The Maharaja's Palace is a beautiful three storied stone building of fine gray granite and rich pink marble domes. We spent 2 hrs engrossed & enthralled in the grandeur of yesteryears. The palace was awe-inspiring; the paintings were sheer poetry. We emerged into the bright sunshine & shook our heads in wonder. I had seen it all before but each time it takes my breath away. At least the government was taking care to conserve the pages of the past.

Outside the palace, several hawkers approached us with mementoes to take home. We picked up a few after bargaining with them. Throwing 1 last glance at the imposing Palace we moved forward. Hunger pangs were assuaged at a nearby restaurant before proceeding towards our next destination……the famous Mysore Zoo.

The Zoo, over a century old, was a very well-maintained sprawling 45 acres of land with an excellent collection of animals & birds. It has a picturesque setting with the Chamundi hills as its backdrop and an artificial lake on its premises. All the animals & birds had a well-maintained & healthy look about them. No wonder, it is considered as the best zoo in the country. We couldn’t cover all areas but managed quite a bit before calling it quits as time was running out on us.

We then took an auto & went to the famous Philomena’s church. St. Philomena's Church in Mysore was built by the Wodeyar Maharajas of Mysore. A grand old church, over 200 years old, built in the Gothic style is one of the largest Cathedrals in South Asia, with stained glass windows from France & other architectural relevance. The Church is famous for its 175 feet high spires and also has a catacomb. Soaking in the serenity of the church, we lingered for a while.

We could not put it off any longer. It was time to go. We had plans to go to the market but that was not possible now. Hurrying to the station we clambered into the train just as it was leaving the station. Ideally we should have reached Bangalore by 6-6.30pm. The stupid, stupid train developed some problem & stopped in the middle of nowhere. My heart started a slow rhythm which developed into a heavy thudding as time flew past. And before u ask... mobile phones became popular a good 2 yrs later. We reached Bangalore at 8.45pm. I rushed to a telephone booth & called home. My sister picked up the phone & gave me an earful. After dropping Shilpa off on the way I sped home. All the way my mind was fumbling as to what explanation I would give. Finally I decided to stick to the truth…….well atleast base my story on the truth.

I reached home at 10pm. My father was at the gate waiting for me. My mother gave me such a shelling that my hair still stands on end whenever I think about the incident. I felt so guilty. Hesitantly I told my story…."When I reached the office that morning, boss told me there was a one-day training in Mysore & I had 2 leave immediately. He told me that I would be back before 6 but it got delayed."
I held forward my purchases placatingly. My sister opened it & took out a beautiful wooden painting of Jesus Christ amongst other knick-knacks. All 3 of them loved it & spent the next ½ hr trying to find the best place to hang it. I slunk out of the room, muttering a litany of thanks to God for saving me thru & thru. I mean anything could have happened & they wouldn't have known.

The next morning Shilpa & I compared notes of the reception we received in our respective homes. The poor girl, she had it even worse than me.
She said “Nancy, it was one of my best birthdays ever”.
I grinned in pleasure.

Then she said “We simply have to do it again”.
The grin vanished.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Office Matters - 2

A secretary & an accounts asst were appointed by the 3rd month & some of the pressure was off me. Now I was able to concentrate more on the administrative side of work. The 2 who were appointed were younger than me but more experienced. But even then it was clear that I was ahead of them in terms of language & maturity. NOW I was in my element acting like an old-timer, explaining stuff 2 them, etc. The PM knew that I was too good for his company. If he wanted 2 pacify a client or give a good impression of the company he’ll entrust me to do the job. But otherwise he was always looking for faults & trying 2 undermine my confidence. He tried to create differences between colleagues to make sure they wouldn’t conspire against him.
If only he realized the amount of time he dedicated towards creating tension between people, could be utilized for the betterment of the company.

Even at home I was not relaxed which led to a few tension creating episodes between husband & me. During 1 of those times he told me to quit if the job was going to create friction at home also. I went ahead & gave my resignation. PM was suspicious, colleagues were surprised, friends called me an idiot, husband was the most astonished of the lot. He never thought I would leave a job which I tried so hard to get. As for me, I was in confusion. Did I do the right thing? But 1 thing was clear I was not going to work anywhere at the expense of family harmony.

I gave 10 days notice but was terminated after 2 days coz PM got info from somewhere that a competitor had offered me a good deal. The info he got was outdated coz the rival company had offered me a good deal & I already rejected it coz they were located a good distance away from where I stayed.

My kids were overjoyed to see me at the bustop the next day when they came back fr school. i thot my decision was for the best. Just then I got a call from the company to meet the MD at the office that day itself afternoon. I went.

The PM was kicked out the previous day……..finallllllllly. They wanted me 2 join back. I asked hubby. He said ok. So I told the MD I’ll be happy to join back but would he please understand tht I have 2 children below the age of 5 & b a bit reflexible abt my work-timings. He agreed without hesitation. And I joined back. As simple as that. So now u’ll ask me why I quit. I really can’t pinpoint anything. But at that point I was feeling stressed from all sides & something had to give. And it had to be me.

Office without the Pm was like……..kaala saaya(a dark shadow) out of our lives. Like breathing fresh air after a long time. Life became much simpler now. Maybe my resigning without a moments thought also calmed a few of my husband’s fears. Whatever the reason, life settled down a bit after that.

But business was at an all time low. Whatever PM was in the office, to the clients he was a smooth talker. He knew his subject very well & could talk anybody in2 anything. He brought in a lot of projects for the company; his only problem was he didn’t know how 2 execute them to the finish. The man in charge now was just the opposite….he didn’t know how 2 convince a client to give us the project but whatever v had in hand he finished them all. The real victory is when v can convince the client to part with the balance amount and that’s what he did. But to survive in the industry v needed work. This kind of work didn’t need many people in the office. So now v were just 2 in the office with hardly any work 2 do. It was so boring & frustrating. Then a miracle occurred……

The Manager decided tht the company will subscribe to a broadband internet connection. I actually thought it was bad business decision. I mean, there is no work & here v r increasing the expenditure in the company but personally I held my breath & waited. Within a wk Etisalat came & did the needful & v had a business line. Yip, yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

And life changed after that. Imagine an internet connection which opened up sites just as v clicked. V could download or upload stuff to our hearts content (well not exactly but close). I was online the whole day. I loved it. Just loved coming to office.

Never missed even a day of work. Even if I were sick I would drag myself to office…… to rest. If u r wondering why……….then just imagine that u r terribly sick & trying to sleep, now imagine 2 kids who have no intentions of letting u rest.

It’s been 9 months now since I joined work. I am quite ‘happy’ here. People ask me why I’m still there coz my initial plan was to pick up the ropes in a small company & move on. But I’m not really in a hurry to make any changes in my life. The pay is lousy but it’s a stress free job, ideally located & I have the run of the place. I never was very career-oriented…….u knw the dynamic types who is keen to grow upwards (ok, ok growing sideways is another issue altogether).

A lot of my life’s ambitions have been realized. I now wear formal clothes to office everyday. It was a struggle to fit into them in the beginning but since then I have lost a bit of weight & toned up a bit….a bit. Now it looks like I was born to wear them. Ok I’ll cut the exaggeration. My once unused signature is found in all the paperwork of the company. Infact I’m so fed up of signing that I’ve switched to short form now. I used to love the cold cut sandwiches from ENOC/ EPCO (refreshment centers at petrol stations). My office is next to ENOC & I have had my fill eating sandwiches from there.

So all in all, my wishes are being fulfilled one by one. Yes, i wd like to lose another 5 kgs but then there is no hurry. It will its own time. Yes it will.......for sure.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Office matters

The 1st day at the office seems so unreal now. I remember walking in at 8.55am (I was asked to report at 9). The project manager (PM), a 40 something slimy looking man with bulging eye-balls, asked me to take a seat across him & ignored me for the next 20 mins. He fiddled with his mobile, made a few useless calls, acted important and flipped thru some papers. Only later I found out that between 8 & 9 am it was “rahu kaala”(hindus don’t believe in starting anything new during this time) & that is why he was procrastinating. Anyways, at around 9.15 he started telling me abt the company & its sister companies & all the important people in it. More than half of it went over my head but I nodded at the appropriate places.

He told me a bit about what the company does. It was an interior decoration company which dealt mainly with office interiors……i.e. converting warehouses into offices…… partitioning them into cubicles & doing the flooring, ceiling, lighting, blah, blah, blah…. He then gave me 2 phone numbers of people at the site & told me to call them, demand to know what they were doing & then shout at them to do the work faster. I looked at him unbelievingly. I was like “I don’t have a clue what they r doing, then how can I say anything?” he dismissed my query with a…….. “U don’t have to know anything, just do as I tell u to”. This was the start of a 4 month trial & tribulation period.

There was not another soul in the office. The secretary left the job the previous week & the marketing guys were all supposed to be on the field.
I sat in front of the telephone but didn’t know how to call up somebody out of the blue & shout for slacking. Just then the PM(project manager) walked out of the door saying he’ll b back in 2 hrs. I leaned back weakly in relief. I called my husband & related everything. He told me to follow what the PM said. So I called up the 1st phone no., introduced myself & asked what he was doing. The guy at the other end was polite & told me he was fixing locks & hinges on a door. Very apologetically I urged him to finish the work fast. Then I called the 2nd phone no. & asked that guy what he was doing. He told me he was also doing the same thing the 1st phone no. guy was doing. Seems like both these guys were working together on the same door. I wound up that call feeling like an idiot. I knew they were laughing at me.

Often I was asked to call people & convey messages which made no sense. Many a time I was asked to send mails complaining about delayed payments, or apology mails for delayed work (ofcourse the latter was more frequently sent than the former). Some mails were sent for absolutely no reason other than the fact that the PM saw me sitting there without any work. I learnt a lot that 1st month. I learnt to use the office appliances, to make enquiries, quotations, LPO’s, etc. Most of it was not my work but until they appointed another secretary I didn’t really mind doing it. I was learning something new everyday. I also learnt to look busy without actually accomplishing anything.

By the 2nd month I knew for sure the PM was a psycho. He was the biggest con guy I ever met. Absolutely without principles, morals or ethics (yes, I know all the 3 words mean the same). Twice I was on the verge of quitting but each time it was the middle of the month & I was determined to collect my salary before I left. Really, the man was totally without scruples. V had some 8 projects in hand. Almost 6 of them were in finishing stages for the past 4 months. Everyday I received calls from irate customers whose work was stalled because of our inefficiency. Workers called with their grievances. Suppliers called for payments. It was a nightmare. The situation remained the same throughout the time he was at the helm.

All this tension this psycho gave me, the walking I did to & fro to work & working thru lunch hours slowly started taking its toll on me.

I lost 2 kgs which was not a lot but was quite ok by me considering the fat……… ummm ….meant 2 say ….considering the fact that I hadn’t lost any for the past 3 yrs.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

GOD told me....

Quit Worrying: Life has dealt you a blow and all you do is sit and worry. Have you forgotten that I am here to take all your burdens and carry them for you? Or do you just enjoy fretting over every little things that comes your way? Put It On The List: Something needs done or taken care of. Put it on the list. No, not your list, put it on My to-do-list. Let Me be the one to take care of the problem. I can't help you until you turn it over to Me. And although My to-do-list is long, I am after all, God. I can take care of anything you put in My hands. In fact, if the truth were ever really known, I take care of a lot of things for you that you never even realize.

Trust Me: Once you've given your burdens to Me, quit trying to take them back. Trust in Me. Have the faith that I will take care of all your needs, your problems and your trials. Problems with the kids? Put them on My list. Problem with finances? Put it on My list. Problems with your emotional roller coaster? For your sake, put it on My list. I want to help you. All you have to do is ask.

Leave It Alone: Don't wake up one morning and say, "Well, I'm feeling much stronger now, I think I can handle it from here." Why do you think you are feeling stronger now? It's simple. You gave Me your burdens and I'm taking care of them. I also renew your strength and cover you in My peace. Don't you know that if I give you these problems back, you will be right back where you started? Leave them with Me and forget about them. Just let Me do My job.

Talk To Me: I want you to forget a lot of things. Forget what is making you crazy. Forget the worry and the fretting because you know I'm in control. But there's one thing I pray you never forget. Please don't forget to talk to Me - OFTEN! I love you. I want to hear your voice. I want you to include Me in on the things going on in your life. I want to hear you talk about your friends and family. Prayer is simply you having a conversation with Me. I want to be your dearest friend.

Have Faith: I see a lot of things from up here that you can't see from where you are. Have faith in Me that I know what I'm doing. Trust Me, you wouldn't want the view from My eyes. I will continue to care for you, watch over you, and meet your needs. You only have to trust Me. Although I have a much bigger task than you, it seems as if you have so much trouble just doing your simple part. How hard can trust be?

Share: You were taught to share when you were only two years old. When did you forget? That rule still applies. Share with those who are less fortunate than you. Share your joy with those who need encouragement. Share your laughter with those who haven't heard any in such a long time. Share your tears with those who have forgotten how to cry. Share your faith with those who have none.

Be Patient: I managed to fix it so in just one lifetime you could have so many diverse experiences. You grow from a child to an adult, have children, change jobs many times, learn many trades, travel to so many places, meet thousands of people, and experience so much. How can you be so impatient then when it takes Me a little longer than you expectto handle something on My to-do-list? Trust in My timing, for My timing is perfect. Just because I created the entire universe in only six days, everyone thinks I should always rush, rush, rush.

Be Kind: Be kind to others, for I love them just as much as I love you. They may not dress like you, or talk like you, or live the same way you do, but I still love you all. Please try to get along, for My sake. I created each of you different in some way. It would be too boring if you were all identical. Please know I love each of your differences.

Love Yourself: As much as I love you, how can you not love yourself? You were created by Me for one reason only - to be loved, and to love in return. I am a God of Love. Love Me. Love your neighbors. But also love yourself. It makes My heart ache when I see you so angry with yourself when things go wrong. You are very precious to Me. Don't ever forget that!

"My Lord's the best.
He knows me for what i am.
U simply rock Father!!!!!!!!!!!"

Sunday, 4 November 2007

weighty matters - part 2

Just kidding abt the yoga……..

I’ll never forget the time when I went on vacation to b’lore after a year of marriage & my sister didn’t recognize me at the airport. My parents had such open-mouthed expressions on their face that I didn’t find it very funny. Afterwards I hrd my sis telling my mom “if chachi(she calls me that…..but why chachi….….search me) can gain weight then there’s hope for all thin people”.

My weight gain situation was not so bad even then…..i actually for the 1st time had some flesh on my bones & looked wholesome(for want of a better word). A yr later I had my 1st child and ……gained more weight……3 yrs later ……had another child……..gained some more weight……..and started looking ungainly. And the paunch……..oooooohhhhh terrible. I used 2 feel sooo…sooo….i don’t knw wht to say…. Let’s just say that I didn’t like looking at myself in the mirror anymore.

I thot some of it will disappear in time. Waited for a year(of course this wait was done without any kind of exercise). The weight faithfully stuck with me & even gained a bit. Then I read an article where it said that women who gained more than 20 kgs weight after marriage were highly susceptible to cancer & a number of other high risk diseases. I didn’t react immediately but it weighed (no pun intended) on my mind.

First step towards achieving my goal happened when my maid quit. Hand of God, i thought. I started doing all the house work by myself & threw myself whole heartedly in2 it. I scrubbed, cleaned, washed, cooked, served, polished, brushed and looked after 2 kids(to be fair my husband & father in law did lend a hand whenever they cud). But I didn’t exercise nor did I curb my eating habits.

A year later………there was good news & bad news. Bad news was tht I didn’t lose a single kg and the good news was tht I didn’t gain either.

Around the same time I was also beginning to feel suffocated…...all woman around me were balancing career & home. I felt sort of inadequate whenever I told people that I was just a housewife. Yeah I knw HOW lucky I was to get the opportunity to sit at home & ALL THT CRAP. I didn’t feel least bit lucky. I felt lacking. Claustrophobic. Desperate. And fat on top of everything. I saw no way out of my predicament.

Whenever I made a shopping list I would look at my handwriting & think how rarely I write by hand. I had a signature which I am very proud of (well…I thk it looks good) but nowhere to sign. I stopped wearing trousers & wore only salwars. At that point, all I wanted in the entire world was a JOB. My secret fantasy used to be………to go to work wearing formals.

In life I always reacted slowly to any situation. Sometimes, even the punch line of a joke (some of them) made sense only 5 mins later. And I realized I could not go on like this any more for ever. Something had to change.

But wht were my options?????????????

Where shd I start? The weather was cooling & heading towards winter & so I decided to start walking for ½ an hr everyday. Walking around my colony took 30-35 mins. The 1st wk was not too good. The shoes pinched, legs ached, body protested. Husband watched quizzically, father in law was amused & kids watched me in interest. But mind resisted. The 2nd week did not get any better……shoes still pinched, husband questioned the need for exercise(coz he thot all the houswrk I did was exercise in itself), kids were asking to go with me(if I took them with me, they wd slow my pace) & I myself was wondering whether it was worth it. But mind resisted. I doggedly pushed myself. By the end of the 3rd week I was able to walk with a rhythm minus the panting. The shoes stretched to accommodate my feet & the kids pointedly ignored me when I started out. And my mind was at peace. In the 2nd month I was completing 1 round around the colony in 20-22 mins and enjoying it.

The good news was…..i was feeling good about the progress & felt fitter than ever but the bad news was tht I did not lose even a single kg. I have 2 add tht I was not following any particular diet. But I did do 1 thing, I started having smaller portions.

Around the same time I approached my husband……..I tentatively asked if I cd start working after my younger daughter joined school the following yr. He didn’t respond immediately but gave the nod later. He asked me to look for something close to home so tht I would not waste time in the traffic. I did not question his change of mind. What if he questioned his mind if I questioned him? Instead it was safer to assume he understood my state of mind & changed accordingly.

I started my job hunt immediately. Though I was not going to join anywhere immediately, I wanted to get the feel of the job market. The classifieds began to take up all my free time. I spruced up my cv & started sending it to all companies who wanted trainers or training assistants or anybody else in that category.

3 months later I was back where I started. Nobody wanted me. I must have sent 100’s of cv’s. I went for a few interviews. But it didn’t go further than tht. Thoroughly dejected, I sat back & thought. And I came to the conclusion I needed a job… didn’t matter wht kind. So I edited my cv once again & highlighted my administrative qualities & started the whole process once again.

This time I got more response. But the companies which paid well were in the freezone or further (it takes 3hrs to & fro on a good day). Forget the fact tht my husband was against it, I myself was not interested in commuting tht far everyday. So I started targeting companies whose fax numbers matched my area code. Finally after another 3 months of applications & interviews, one clicked.

It was an interior decoration company. Just 15 minutes away from my apartment. It took 15 minutes by walk or by car (there were 2 BIG traffic signals). I joined in as admin staff.

I won this battle but the battle of the bulge continued……………

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

weighty matters - part 1

October 11

2 days back I was cleaning out my cupboard. The amt of stuff which accumulates inside never fails 2 surprise me, every time. Other than clothes, I pulled out crepe paper, empty plastic covers, packets of confiscated chocolates & candies, useless shiny items which caused disagreements between the kids, and a photo album. Whenever I clean the cupboard I most certainly come across atleast 1 photo album & its tradition……to leave the mess all around me & go thru through the album first. As always I never fail to be surprised at how “fat”(ummm…mayb not so fat fat but definitely overweight) I looked a year ago.

All my life (ie. The 1st 25 yrs of my life), people commented how awfully thin I was, I cd stuff myself with anything without putting on even an ounce. My mom found it like a slur against her tht I was so skinny. As the matrimonial talks were going on, the need 2 put on weight was more serious. I was only 42kgs. Well 2 cut it short, nothing worked. Then got married, left Bangalore for Dubai………..a totally different world & lifestyle.

Life in Dubai was like a shock to my system. Only a female fellow bangalorean who shifted to the Middle East will be able to sympathize with my plight. A free spirit who cruised thru the bylanes of Bangalore was shut inside an apartment in the middle of a desert. I don’t think I ever saw direct sunlight (oh yes I forgot I saw it for abt 10 mins whenever I went 2 hang out clothes on the terrace twice a week) Even if I wanted to go out on my own it was not possible coz it was so humid & hot (remember it’s a desert) & I was constantly reminded tht v r in an arab country with values vastly different fr wht v have in our own. To be fair, I have 2 admit tht I was taken out on Thursdays & Fridays nights(weekends) to malls, corniches(sea side), or to a relatives house sometimes.

I had an arranged marriage. So my husband was an unknown entity. But it was clear fr the beginning tht he is a man of few words. He simply doesn’t c the need for idle chat or arguments. Tht much time can b utilized to watch TV, u knw. He loves TV. Ask him to choose btn TV & me & after considerable thought he may choose me but tht doesn’t alter the truth. I knw it & am not bitter abt it. It’s easier to move on in life once u accept the fact.

I don’t think till today my husband really knows wht I went thru shut inside the four walls. He wd leave to office at 7am & b back by 6-7pm. He never stopped me from looking for a job but made it clear tht he did not like the idea of me working. He made his feelings clear prior marriage, so I didn’t press the issue. When I look back now…..tht was my biggest mistake. If I found a job then, he may not have been very pleased but he wd have gotten used 2 it. But tht time I didn’t want to upset a budding relationship at the onset. I sort of idolized him & didn’t want to hurt him in any way. The 1st 6 months were horrible. I missed my family & friends so much……so much. There were times I used hold my hands stretched upwards & cry. Why? Why here? Why me?

Mayb he(i mean my husband, not God......hmmm maybe...) had an inkling of how I felt, he got me a computer with an internet connection. I was now atleast in touch with my family & friends for sometime. It made a big difference & for a while I forgot everything else.

Now the only 1 thing tht I loved abt Dubai was the food. Sumptuous, mouth-watering JUNK FOOD… accessible. At home, pizzas were a treat, whereas here it was just a phonecall away. KFC outlets are found within 15 minutes walking distance anywhere in dubai. In Bangalore, arnd the same time(ie 8yrs back) KFC had just started an outlet in Brigade rd(I thk) & I remember there was some major hoopla surrounding the whole issue with farmers staging dharnas & trashing the place or some such thing. And I hated milk all my life coz I never cd tolerate tht “smell” whereas here I instantly took to the cold chocolate milk. And the chocolates……..dont get me started………shelves & shelves of it just stretching endlessly in the hypermarkets. In India, chocolates were somethings guests’ brot when they came home or u got them on ur b’days. Here u just buy & stack it in the fridge. The long & short of it………..i ate a lot of food……..junk food…….and……..gained weight.

I’ll stop here & part 2 will be added after a few days. Its eid hols fr 2morow. So sat & sun shd b off. Monday & Tuesday will b busy with office wrk……so catch u next Thursday(well, wednesdays i do yoga).

Salman Khan

October 20

I think I was doing my 1st PU when I happened to see the movie “Baaghi” starring Salman Khan & Nagma. The film itself was nothing special but the hero walked straight into my mind & heart. I then hunted out “Maine Pyar Kiya” & watched it to confirm the feeling. He looked scrawnier here but never u mind. Small details like that never mattered to me. The sensitivity in his eyes, the intensity in his expressions, the ordinary looking face, the unashamed way of crying, all dragged me deeper into his snare.

But…….I never was one among those crazy fans. U knw…. the types who was mooning about him every waking moment, or doodling his name inside red hearts, and walking around proclaiming eternal love for him. I never was so crazy tht I would spend time & money watching a flop movie of his. Of course I did follow most of his antics onscreen, like the avid fan that I was.

Years passed. I graduated from college. I worked. I got married. Have two kids now. Life continues. But he seems to be stuck in some time-warp. He is still doing fluffy movies(barring 1 or 2). Still unmarried. Still getting in2 trouble……with the law this time.
From the surface he’s got it all: Acting skills, good looks, a kind heart (from wht we can gather), money & a very loving, supportive family. Then what is driving him to………to deliberately create mayhem in his life……….to be the centre of controversy every now & then.

Over the years, I may not be so involved with whts happening in his life anymore[or atleast I give a good imitation]. But he still holds a place in the corner of my a favourite but ragged teddy bear which has seen better days. Even now I unconsciously pause whatever I'm doing when he appears on TV and husband tells me tht I have this most idiotic look on my face(which I'm sure he's exaggerating). But when I read tht he has been sentenced to imprisonment it makes me pause for a moment & wonder what drives him. Maybe he deserves it(the law thinks so) but I hurt for him. All these issues are so… needless. He could have avoided them if only he exercised a bit of caution.

Like a typical woman I think…………he needs a family. A wife who has a steadying influence on him. Children who will calm his restless spirit. Somebody to come home to.

Years back, my friends & I were on our way back to Bangalore from Ooty when we heard tht Salman khan was shooting nearby for a scene in “Hum Aapke hain koun”(if I’m not mistaken). So naturally my friends asked me whether I wanted to go see the shooting & if I were lucky I could even meet him. I thought for a moment & shook my head. I really don’t know why I refused and later in the day I was kicking myself for missing out on the opportunity;-/.

All said and done, he's my hero............always want him to remain that way.

A winning Statement of Purpose!

October 17

A winning Statement of Purpose!
- Rituparna Roy Chowdhury

You often wonder what is it that wins students seats at reputed universities abroad.Here is one such essay that could help you understand application strategies better.This is the essay of Sheela Kulkarni*, who was accepted at Wharton Business School. They show how she outgrew her circumstances and how she was motivated towards improving the lot of others through her innovation and leadership skills.

Is your academic performance to date an accurate predictor of your potential for success at WBS? Why or why not? (50 words)

Although my academic parameters indicate brilliance, it is only one of the benchmarks of measuring my deemed success at WBS. What defines me is my motivation towards accomplishment, which has enabled me to dramatically outgrow my stiff hurdles and reach the pinnacle of professional excellence from a modest rural background.

Describe an impact you have had on an individual, group or an organisation. What did you do? How has this experience been valuable to you or others? (500 words)

The spirit of growth has been the cornerstone of my success, which has enabled me to dramatically outgrow my stiff hurdles and reach the pinnacle of professional excellence from a modest rural background.

Quintessentially, I had to weather through the bondage of paternalistic rural India mindset, where women are not encouraged for higher education, or for that matter even school education. Even today, the birth of a girl child is treated with contempt. The girl to boy ratio in the federal state of Punjab is as low as 774:1000. The nearest school was 6 km away from my village. Education especially that of a girl was never encouraged.

I had in my childhood itself decided to break free from this traditional mould. I studied hard and secured admission in a good engineering college. I then braved the emotional blackmail of my family, who never wanted me to stay in a hostel. I became an engineer and started earning. My intermittent visits to my village when I was doing extremely well on the career front, inspired many girls and opened up before the village community the virtues of education.

Thus I emerged as a role model in the village, and numerous others started following my footsteps who would have otherwise remained uneducated, carrying on the family chores in their post-marital lives. Today my village boasts of a number of medical, law and engineering girl students. The whole village has started taking the education more seriously and looks forwards to me for advice.

While I would not like to take complete credit for the same since the wheels of change had already started in Modern India, someone in the female community needed to take the plunge…I took that plunge and then assisted others around me in doing so.I got married to the guy of my own choice and without any dowry, something unheard of in our remote village. I built up a group of young married couples who have taken the initiative of educating people on female infanticide. Our efforts have certainly resulted in lesser number of infanticides.

I took advantage of the fact that now I was the highest educated person in the village and people wanted my company. I have become a natural leader of these people. I started motivating the village panchayat (the rural democratic government at the grass root level in India)to get at least a primary school opened within the village and that exists now. I educated the village farmers on water harvesting and its benefits. I also introduced the concept of contract farming to the farmers and now they earn more than they used to and get timely payments. Now we intend to create our village as a model village by introducing the solar energy.

I keep on growing the seeds of new ideas in the minds of village youth who keep on nurturing them by their sheer hard work and faith in me. What has helped me is the simplicity of my villagers and the like-minded new generation youth.

what can i write after reading this. the above essay says it all. Women like Sheela Kulkarni r the ones who renew our faith in ourselves. God bless u Sheela Kulkarni.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Windfall or what........

October 03

I was rummaging thru some stuff Binu(my brother in law, he went to study movie-making in the States) left behind when he took off last month. Lots of DVDs (which r of no use to me cause his taste in movies differs fr mine), a fax cum scanner cum printer cum copier (not connected yet coz its got a complicated set up), a Harman House music system(cant afford 2 rig it up with the kids arnd), AND taaa…daaaa………..this huge plastic bag full of toiletries…….all types of lotions, scrubs, shampoos, styling gels, etc(this is like an unexpected windfall).

See, Binu is very conscious abt his looks & takes pains to maintain them. His bathroom & dressing table used 2 overflow with good stuff fr all over the world(he worked as cabin crew with Emirates). Since he could carry only 50kgs, I guess he cdnt fit all of this in his luggage. So he dumped it here………..well, i for 1 am not complaining.

Since I would never consider spending money on these things, I thought it was like a dream come true. The only problem is that some of the products just had 2 or 3 words written in French or German(I’m guessing, b’coz it definitely was not english) I really couldn't make out what they did(again I’m guessing tht b’cause these products are so well-known, the makers don’t feel the need toexplain what it is for). So then I used my kidneys to figure out what was what......... I’d squeeze some liquid out of a tube & apply it on my arm. If absorbed into the skin, I assumed it was lotion & if it didn’t, then it was soap.......oops, i mean cleansing lotion.

Then there are some 2 dozen tubes & tubs of hair care products (u see, he had a problem with hairfall). For a person like me who applied coconut oil & then washed it off with any shampoo on the bathroom shelf, this is like……… total revelation. A whole new world out there. But again most of the shampoos were for colored hair(and i have never colored my hair in my life) & to wash out chlorine(again, never went swimming in my life). Then, there are some hair styling gels……, I already have oily hair & have to wash it every 2 days otherwise it goes limp and with use of styling gel I’ll have 2 wash it everyday & most importantly I wear my hair the same way ALL the time…….tied together at the back. So wht use was the styling gel…….. got my point???


Long back I got to ride in a very expensive car AND I was carsick(the leather seats triggerred off the nausea). My better half had then wryly commented tht I had no “yogam” for the better things in life. I came to the same conclusion when I sat back & contemplated this bag of goodies. Finally I took out St Ivy’s Apricot Scrub and a body lotion & packed the rest of it back in the bag.

Hmmmmmm……………doesnt take a genius to figure out that I have no yearnings to rise above my mediocrity.

Red Letter Day

September 25

Everytime I pick up clothes for the kids or for myself, I notice that most of it has varying shades of red. When the kids ask suggestions to color a picture, red again dominates the scene. The curries I make, all lean towards red otherwise I’m not satisfied. And I love tomato juice.

My favourite color………..hmmmmmmm…….thts a tough question coz I have 2 choose between burgundy, crimson, fire engine red, Persian red, terra cotta, vermillion & Venetian red. All the shades r so……energising, sharp, sense awakening......sooo warm, rich.

So wht comes to my mind when i think red...........traffic signal, eveready battery, a forest blaze, a violent scene in an action movie, molten lava........when I read this sentence back I realised that most of what I mentioned had undertones of negativity & violence.

So then I rack my brains again for some positive shades of red.......this took some time but i did it.....picture this....

Vermillion smeared on a married Indian woman's forehead
A red rosy apple
Advertisement for coke
Red oxide on the floor in our middle class indian homes
Heinz ketchup
Amitabh bachchan & rekha in tht field of red tulips for a song
Tse shiny red baubles on the Christmas tree
Red roses on valentines day......pretty good huh.

Following tht train of thought...........
I’m celebrating RED LETTER DAY today.

starting with.....

Meaning associated with the Color Red

Red has more personal associations than any other color. Recognized as a stimulant red is inherently exciting and the amount of red is directly related to the level of energy perceived. Red draws attention and a keen use of red as an accent can immediately focus attention on a particular element.

How the color red effects us mentally and physically
* Increases enthusiasm
* Stimulates energy
* Encourages action and confidence
* A sense of protection from fears and anxiety

so a lil limerick(????) which i picked up on my way to kindergarten, dedicated to RLD.....

Red and white
Ready to fight

Red and yell-ow(or was tht green & yellow, anyway it rhymes perfectly)
Dirty fell-ow

A small poem I borrowed from the net on RED(I swear I didnt lift ideas for my "red" from this poem. I wrote mine first & then went searching for this poem. Now I dont whether to feel good that the poet echoed the thoughts in my mind or whether to feel mediocre that wht i think, is also thought of by millions around the world)

What is Red?
Red is the sound of tulips blossoming in the spring.
Red is the color of the ketchup you squeeze when the ump says play ball.
Red is the towel that lies in the sand.
Red is the color of the leaves that fall all down in the fall.
Red is the center of a sunset, while the seagulls soar into the horizon.
Red is the color of the stripe that soars in the sky on the flag.
Red is the color of tomato sauce that oozes all over yummy noodles.
Red is the color of the kite that zooms all over the afternoon sky.
Red is the marker that gives the grade that leads to your fate.
Red is the color of valentines that are given to those who you love.
Red is the teddy bears new red bow.
Red is the color of Santa's suit thatyou feel as you give him a hug.
Red is the color of an apples shiney new skin as you sink your teeth into it.
Red is the color of the BLOOD that flows gently threw your body.
Red is the Red Bell Pepper that is hard sweet and crisp.
Red is the color of the stoplight as people groan in their cars.
Red is the stop sign that is big red and bright.
Red is the ant that bites and stings.
Red is the rainbow that appears after the rain its always the first color you see.
When you are Red you are emotional and quite the dramatic sort.
Red is land, air, and sea.
Red is everywhere you look.


A quote on RED

Artists can color the sky red because they know it's blue. Those of us who aren't artists must color things the way they really are or people might think we're stupid. - Jules Feiffer

An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight. . . The truly wise person is color-blind. - Albert Schweitzer


When in doubt, wear red. - Bill Blass

switched offf..............

September 20

been staring at the blank screen for sometime now. mind keeps wandering off....offfff. thts it i guess....feeling very offfff today. lots happened this wk but dont really feel like pouring it out....atleast not yet. its weekend so mayb 2morrow will restore order in my mind & i'm hoping 2 b back with renewed...........ummmm........whtever...........cant even get tht exact word. lemme get off while i still can.......c ya around.

missed the bus.........

September 16

Our office timings have changed from 8.30am to 3pm till the 11th of next month.....ramadan u knw. Since our company is owned by a hindu & also there is this small detail tht v have no muslims working in our company, i never imagined v'll b getting these timings(these timings strictly apply only 2 the muslims who fast and companies can insist tht the other employees wrk the usual timings). But Mr. Venu our manager somehow pulled it off. he has my eternal gratitude for the next 1 month. For the ignorant, Ramadan is the time when muslims all over the world fast fr sunrise to sunset. It comes once a year & it is for 30 days(i thk). during the day they dont have any solids or liquids infact i hrd tht they dont even swallow their saliva. But after sunset they can brk their fast & feast till daybreak.

If anybody wants to c how dubai roads looked some 10 yrs back.........please drive out on the roads btn 6.30 & 7.30pm during the next 3 wks. lovely stretches of empty roads with just a few cars whizzing come???????...............simple........... 85% of the population is inside their houses breaking their fast.

Hey u knw wht.........i got 2 travel in 1 of the new buses which have been introduced in dubai recently. they r better than the luxury coaches available in most parts of the world. each bus is twice as big as the previous buses. one doesnt have 2 lift a leg to knee level 2 climb in2 the bus, the opening step is a gentle slope almost till longer do parents have 2 heave the kids in2 the bus. the seating arrangement is such tht a family of 4 can sit facing each other.....almost like in a restaurant except ofcourse there is no table in btn. the lights dim when the bus is in motion but come back on when it stops. each seat has a light control(ie if u want 2 read or something, u can switch on the light above ur seat) and a ac regulator(this option was there b4 also). There is a stop button at arms reach, to be pressed if u want 2 get off at the next stop. but in these buses they havent specified "Ladies seats" like in the old buses.
any disadvantages.........hmmmmmmm.........yes, the seats dont incline backwards 2 become a bed if anybody wants 2 sleep........oh well i suppose u cant expect the world for dhs.1 and 50fils. Last hrd tht new double decker buses r going 2 introduced soon.

Talking of buses...........the kids missed the school bus on thursday. Their fathers face looked like thunder & both of them tried hard 2 make themselves look wretched but their eyes gave them away. I had 2 hide a smile on my face as i turned away fr the door......well i havent forgotten how it feels when u get an unexpected reprieve fr attending school.
And today husband dear was back within 3 minutes after he took them 2 the bus stop. He came in, took a look at the clock & walked in without saying anything.........looks like they had 2 make a run for it :-).

Thursday, 25 October 2007


September 10

I was brought up in a normal almost boring midle-class family where the father was the sole bread winner. My Mom had a degree in hindi & was eligible to teach in High School but my father believed tht his govt salary was good enough to sustain his family & that his wife should stay at home & bring up the children properly.

During our childhood, my sister & I took it for granted tht breakfast was served when we were ready to go to school. The lunchbox always contained food which was freshly made that morning & dinner was ready & waiting when we finished studying for the day. Clothes were hand washed, segregated, ironed & folded neatly to be used and we always came back to a neat & tidy house.

Many a time I wondered whether my mother ever felt resentful tht she could not put her degree to good use. But I never delved too closely because the selfish side of me was glad that she was always around when I needed her. Everyday after school, college whtever, within half an hr of reaching home, i would be in the kitchen having my tea & snacks while she was cooking something for the night. There, I would get the details of what she did the whole day & I in turn would tell her about my day. Yes, there were times when I hid some minor details of "misdemeanors" but I never hid from her.

I gave her a very bad time during my teens when I wouldn't study & spent all my time reading "story-books"(as she called them) which resulted in my getting poor results. She used to get so angry with me & we used to fight very badly. I think this phase lasted almost 5 yrs. When I think back now I wonder how she tolerated me. I was such a arrogant, mean mouthed & unhelpful being.

Completed my degree & joined work almost immediately.... as a coordinator in a Multimedia training institution. Work started at 7am & finished by 3pm but most of the time I never reached home before 6pm. I still continued my reading habits & she still hated it but this time she couldn't yell at me too much coz I was not neglecting my studies. She'd nag me tht I didnt learn how to cook & never bothered about how much effort it took to clean the house and that tomorrow when I got married she would be blamed for my deficiencies. These outbursts never bothered me too much. We both still fought it out but would make up within a day & get back together until the next fight. I only got worried when she wd give me the "silent treatment". I absolutely hated that.

Then i got married. Went far away from her. I missed her the most.
I also got myself a partner who thought like my father. I learnt how to cook & clean the house. In course of time I got better at it. But even today when I make a particular dish & everybody says its really good, i 'll taste it & find it lacking. It never ever matches upto the original.

And when I find myself tackling the kids, she always comes to mind.... not bcoz she was always right or that I want to handle my kids the way she did. I just realise that she went through so much & I am just a beginner.

No, she is not a perfect mother....she has many among them is that she loves my sister more than me. Atleast thats wht i feel. But i never could prove it.......bcoz whenever she divided anything between us sisters I always got the bigger share. I never understood that & have finally arrived at the conclusion that she may be doing it bcoz she feels guilty.

But that doesnt make my love any less for her. I am so blessed she is my mother. I love her. I rarely told her these 3 words before I got married. But now I always end my telephone conversations with these words. Everytime she hears them she is surprised. I knw. I can make it out from her tone. But she is pleased too. She also has started saying the same back to me.

Something wht my sister once said about her comes back to me..... "duniya mein ek hee piece hai". At tht moment when she said it, it was not meant as a compliment:-)).

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

school time........and kids

September 05

After 2 months of summer hols, school started on sept 2nd. boyyy, am i glad? But it comes with its share of troubles. For one, the kids have be up by 6am.......i.e if we want to reach the bus stop by 7. We can ofcourse wake them by 6.30 but then the next 1/2 hour passes in a blur. And while watching the school bus going out of sight, you realise you havent packed the english grammer notebook or that the waterbottle is still in the kitchen.

The next problem is what to pack in their lunch-boxes. I try most of the time to keep the food healthy & nutritious but nutritious food doesnt agree with their stomach coz they are allergic to good, wholesome, homecooked food. The boxes come back untouched & when you question them, they'll tell you they ate a lil bit. Then you show them the still intact contents & they'll show you the left corner of the food portion where they made a teeny weeny dent.

Nowadays I pack a nutritious lunch but add a tiny brightly colored edible item in the corner stressing tht they may have it "only" after finishing the entire contents of the LB. Now the eldest is smart. she understands more about negotiations & keeps to her mama's instructions. The younger one also is smart but a lil 2 "self-sufficient" for my liking. she eats the "incentive" first & then a lil bit of the food. By the end of the day when the matter is discussed she acts like she's forgotten the whole issue & you dont feel like stressing about something which happened 8 hrs back.
But she generally gets her way. I really cant pinpoint how but she does.....i guess she just does whtever she wants, with minimum fuss.

Now tht i put this on paper, I'm determined to illustrate it with an goes.... if the elder one wants to watch Cinderella on cartoon, she'll come to the kitchen & ask me and I'll tell her "Ok finish ur HW by 7 & I'll put it on for u."
Then she'll say "Nooooo, how can I finish so much HW in such a short time".
Then I'll say "Yes u can do it if u start now" & she'll go "but mama..." & it will go on for 1/2 an hr b4 we reach a compromise.
And if in between she makes me lose my temper, then thts it...."No cartoons for the next 3 days".
She'll go 2 a corner to sulk. All ruffled & irritated I'll march into the living-room when my youngest will come & drag me 2 sit on the sofa & say "Mama, mama, come I'll show u something(this sentence is said at least 36 times in a day)......did u know cinderella's carriage was pulled horses who are actually mice". I'll smile at her realisation & innocent enthusiasm & sit with her to see the scene. After 5 whole minutes it will dawn on me how neatly i fell into the trap. All the while my eldest was asking permission & getting refused, the youngest just went ahead with what she wanted to do. Now after watching the cartoon along with her, i just cant get up & put on the stern act again, right. So I go to the eldest who now refuses to look at me. I carry her 2 the living room & sit down to watch the cartoon with both of them.

p.s - Nikita's favourite sentence is "Mama, wait....i'll tell u something". It is said atleast 48 times a day & is used in any context.

a few quotes which i found true to life.....
A baby is an angel whose wings decrease as his legs increase -Author Unknown

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one - Leo J. Burke

You have to love your children unselfishly. That's hard. But it's the only way - Barbara Bush

Childrens' jokes..... or are they?????

Christmas Present
It was the day after Christmas at a church in San Francisco. The pastor of the church was looking over the cradle when he noticed that the baby Jesus was missing from among the figures. Immediately he turned and went outside and saw a little boy with a red wagon, and in the wagon was the figure of the little infant, Jesus.

So he walked up to the boy and said, "Well, where did you get Him, my fine friend?"
The little boy replied, "I got him from the church."
"And why did you take him?"
The boy said, "Well, about a week before Christmas I prayed to the little Lord Jesus and I told him if he would bring me a red wagon for Christmas I would give him a ride around the block in it."

School Daze
It was at the end of the school year, and a kindergarten teacher was receiving gifts from her pupils.
The florist's son handed her a gift. She shook it, held it overhead, and said, "I bet I know what it is. Some flowers." "
That's right" the boy said, "but how did you know?"
"Oh, just a wild guess," she said.
The next pupil was the candy shop owner's daughter.
The teacher held her gift overhead, shook it, and said, "I bet I can guess what it is. A box of sweets."
"That's right, but how did you know?" asked the girl.
"Oh, just a wild guess," said the teacher.
The next gift was from the son of the liquor store owner. The teacher held the package overhead, but it was leaking. She touched a drop of the leakage with her finger and touched it to her tongue.
"Is it wine?" she asked.
"No," the boy replied, with some excitement.
The teacher repeated the process, taking a larger drop of the leakage to her tongue.
"Is it champagne?" she asked.
"No," the boy replied, with more excitement.
The teacher took one more taste before declaring, "I give up, what is it?"
With great glee, the boy replied, "It's a puppy!"