Monday, 28 December 2009

I have been awarded these tags


Blunt Edges has awarded me with this original ‘Nameless award’ which comes with a tag. I'm supposed to list 7 things about myself that nobody knows.

And Dil se has tagged me with a 'Honest Scrap award' which says I have to write 10 honest things about me.

After 2 years of blogging I’m running out of original things to say but since I was combining 2 tags into one I thought hard and came up with these....

# I can withstand the biggest of shocks without reacting but the smallest of an ant bite can sometimes make me burst into tears.

# No matter how many times I come across ‘Hum Saath Saath hai’[Hindi movie] while channel-surfing I stop right there & watch the rest of the movie. Same goes for Hum Aapke Hai Kaun.

# I take ages to shop. I’m one of those undecided kinds. I frankly envy those people who can walk into a store, pick up something in 10-15 minutes and walk out with complete confidence that they got exactly what they were looking for.

# There is this friend I have with whom I share almost everything. Sometimes when I go thru a bad patch I deliberately don’t call her coz I know if I did I’ll end up telling her everything. The funny thing is that I have many other friends who I am more closer to and can control what I tell them but never with her.

# Very rarely have I cleaned my cupboard with the intention of cleaning my cupboard. Every 3-4 months I manage to misplace money or jewellery. And I ransack my cupboard trying to find it. I find it ofcourse & in the process my cupboard automatically gets cleaned. Nowdays when I have misplaced something I think wryly that the cupboard was looking messy anyways.

# Once I had gone to a book-store in Bangalore & asked for the book “The Achlemist”. The sales guy looked confused for a moment & so I asked once again loudly adding "by Paul Coelho". So many heads turned & looked at me & I wondered why. My friend Sapna who was following behind hissed “Idiot, its The Alchemist”.
People, I haven’t recovered from that gaffe yet.

# I try my best not to lie outright but have no qualms about twisting the truth. The better-half has now become very good at catching me at them.
“Did you take your medicine” he asks.
After a split second hesitation....
“Ofcourse I did” I say indignantly
“Did you take them this morning” he asks again
“Ofcourse I took them in the morning”
“Did you take them this morning”
“Don’t you believe me???” I ask with a wounded look.
“Don’t change the topic, I asked you whether you took them this morning”
“Heeee….. yesterday morning” I will say sheepishly.
Now that he smells them out its no fun anymore;-/

# I once called my uncle a “bloody fool” to his face…he had this habit of making fun of me infront of others. I got beaten up by my mother in front of the whole family for it. I regret it ofcourse but a small part of me still marvels at that timid teenager’s nerve.

# In school and college I was always found with a book in my hand. I was addicted so bad that my studies suffered. Unlike most parents, mine used to shout when they caught me reading. I used to read under the covers in torchlight, on the terrace, stay back at school & even bunk classes to complete a book. Today when I see my kids fascinated with books there is this uneasy feeling within me.

# At the best of times I am a bit dim, what you call a tube-light. Jokes, especially the ones with puns and double meaning just go over my head unless people stress on it. Infact some of the advertisements nowadays are just beyond my understanding…..I may understand the sequence but will not be able to make out how the product relates with the ad.

And it’s done. Phew, I think I’m getting too old to do these tags…saps the energy out of me.

Will be passing on these awards along with the others soon.

Leaving you with a quote……

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~Oprah Winfrey

Monday, 21 December 2009

Guess who is on top of Santa's list this year!!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!!!!

Monday, 14 December 2009

A Love Marriage

Continued from here

The boy’s mother calls after an hour or two and my mum talks with her. After just 2-3 sentences about the previous evening they went on to discuss the weather and the neighbour’s sick dog. I loiter around in the background wondering what the heck was going on. Mum keeps the phone and looks at me sympathetically. It seems like the boy was not saying yes or no. The boy’s mother also was in a quandary here. But I knew what was going on. The boy didn’t want to make a scene by saying a straight No and so was hoping the situation would somehow resolve itself.

Boy’s mother calls the next day. She invites us for dinner the same night. The poor thing was quite keen to see it through and was making every effort towards it. I told my parents I was not interested[huh I too had my pride didn’t I] in going anywhere. Mum asked me to give it another chance. And I relented after making sure they knew I was least interested.

And so the 4 of us trooped into their house with a lovely bunch of flowers. The boy & family ushered us in graciously and we all sat down in the living room. While my father was making his apologies for not being there the previous day I picked up a magazine and was idly flicking through the pages. I was determined not to open my mouth until somebody spoke to me.

And then I hear my father say “Nancy was very disappointed that you didn’t speak to her before leaving yesterday. She is under the impression you are not interested in this proposal”. My father may look like a thin and frail old man but at his original best is like a bull in a china shop.

If the boy had been in the process of drinking something I’m sure he would have choked on it. Never in my wildest dreams did I think my father would embarrass me in this fashion. The magazine which I was holding automatically went up to cover my face and stayed there as I fervently wished for the earth to open up and embrace me into her kind depths. There was an awfully eerie silence which resounded thru the room[it could have been a nano second but it sure felt like eons to me].

When I didn’t hear anything I slowly lowered the magazine to peek over it and find the Boy looking at me with a wry expression. I guess everybody in the room must have been looking at me and laughing but I saw only his eyes. I have no clue what explanation he gave to defend his behaviour the previous evening coz I only heard the part where he asked to speak with me alone.

And so we walk out of the front door into the open parking space beside the house. He leaned casually against the gate and I on a bike and faced each other. I thought the farce went on long enough and was determined to clear the air.

“My parents and yours have the best of intentions but don’t let them force you into any kind of decision. Its ok if you want to back out” I say quietly.

There was a silence before he spoke. He seemed to weigh his words before speaking.

“If I had any kind of reservations I doubt this dinner would have taken place. I apologize for yesterday, it was a very tiring day.”
Then after a pause “I did ask my mother if your voice sounded like that all the time and she told me that you were not feeling well.” He said with a tiny smile playing around his lips. We did speak some more before going back in, some details about where he worked and the kind of role he played in his company.

He was leaving the next day, and I wondered if he’d call before leaving. He didn’t but I perked up when I was asked to drive him to the airport but alas no chance whatsoever to talk freely with the 2 mothers sitting at the back of the car listening avidly to whatever we were saying;-/. And so we exchanged email id’s and did small talk. Oh did I say he was arrogant……..nah….what’s a man without a bit of pride in his bearing:-).

The wedding was arranged for the last week of August and the engagement one week before that. He was busy with a project he had to complete before coming for the wedding and I was busy with my MA exams. He called me once a week and we mailed each other whenever we could. I still remember the 1st mail I got from him. It was a reply to the 1st mail I wrote to him 2-3 days before. At that point in time the internet & email were a big deal, we didn’t have a computer at home & there were no internet caf├ęs at every corner like now. I had an exam the next day & couldn’t get out of the house.
My friend Sharitha was so thrilled about my first mail from would-be husband that she took my password from me and accessed my mail. She carefully took a printout and called me every 2 hours for the rest of the day to read it out to me. The mail itself was nothing special but for a sentence which hoped that the wedding would happen as soon as possible and the ‘love, Biju’ attached at the end[you see my 1st mail to him did not display any such feelings]. Sharitha would read out the last bit dramatically and both of us were so tickled for different reasons. Gosh I’m smiling now thinking about it but my eyes are stinging.

Our conversations through the phone were very casual but our mails were more intimate….not like intimate intimate but still very personal. He wrote 1 paragraph or two with great difficulty and I would send him 2 pages or more. Once I got really mad that he was not writing more & sent him a dry mail with just 1 para. He immediately understood and wrote back saying how much he loved what I wrote to him but unfortunately words didn’t come so easily to him. He called me twice that week to pacify me. I ofcourse melted like chocolate and resumed my lengthy letters.

We met again on the day of the engagement and smiled tentatively at eachother. The engagement which was held on a Sunday went off without incident & the wedding was scheduled for the next Sunday. That one week between the engagement and the wedding are days which I will remember vividly for the rest of my life. Everyday we would get off early in the morning from home on pretext of some work or the other and spend the day together doing all the jobs on our list. Somedays his sister tagged along acting like a kebab mein haddi……..ummm actually we tagged along behind her while she strode ahead and got everything organized. She logically and methodically prearranged everything taking more than half the burden upon herself giving us time to spend with eachother though I doubt she was aware of that. Bins,…..thanks, once again:-))!!!!!

Those 6 days were some of the best days of my life. I had finally fallen in love. An emotion I had seen almost all my friends succumb to, an emotion which I thought was quite over-rated and a feeling I wondered if I would ever experience. We spoke a lot, at times were quiet too, sometimes gently teased each other….he thought I drove too fast, I thought he spoke too less, he ordered apple pie for me I called the waiter back and changed it to chocolate milkshake. My heart stopped whenever his hands brushed against mine, much as I wanted the hand to remain there I would move away after a few seconds not quite sure why I feared the feelings when I was technically not doing anything wrong. I was engaged, right!!!! Anyways he didn’t push me at all, was just content to spend time with me and I loved him all the more for that.

On the last day before the wedding ie Saturday we had to go to church together for a small counseling session and confession before we entered into Holy matrimony. It was a very solemn occasion which brought home to me that my life was going to be changed forever from the next day. A new home, a different life-style, adjustments, and responsibilities were just the beginning to a role which was going to last for a life-time.

It was raining while I was driving back towards his house to drop him off. Very little conversation happened with each of us involved in our own thoughts. Around 1/2 way home we decided it was pouring too heavily and parked on a lonely stretch for the rain to ease off. An uneasy silence followed:

“Will you let me kiss u” asks boy quietly.

I looked at him stunned. Bloody hell, here I was thinking that he too was shaken after the session we had with the priest, about how we were bound to eachother for the rest of our lives, how we were going to responsible for eachother and all this while he was plotting to kiss me.

I looked away and stared straight out of the windshield refusing to look at him. I was so scared that I could hear my heartbeats reverberating inside the car.

“How about on the cheek then” he didn’t give up.

I didn’t give any indication that I heard him at all. In my mind I was contemplating opening the car door and running all the way back home in the rain. Only the fact that my father would not let me into the house without his precious car kept me there.

There was a heavy sigh from beside me “Ok, let’s just hold hands then”. And my lips started quivering.........I suddenly saw the funny side to the whole incident. I looked sideways at him and found his eyes dancing with amusement. And we burst out laughing.

Drawing confidence from the moment I bravely put my hand out palm up. He also puts his hand out palm up and tells me that a woman must first allow the man to hold his hand out and then place her hand palm down and accept it. Feeling like an idiot I withdraw my hand and place it carefully palm down in his large hand. And we sat quietly hand in hand waiting for the rain to stop.

Its been 10 years now and there’s never a day when I don’t thank the good Lord for my companion. We may have our differences and everything may not be hunky-dory all the time but the Love thankfully has deepened and is stronger than ever. Many of you wondered whether my anniversary was coming up as a reason for this unusually soppy post..….nope my anniversary was in August and I remember trying to post something special but the words wouldn’t come.

After 2 years of blogging I’ve realized that I have no real control over what I post..….I could be planning to put up a post about the moon but after 2 pages I delete the whole post retaining only the parts where I mention the sun & end up posting that. Even here I was planning to do a post about arranged marriages in India intending to mention my marriage as an example on Christian marriages and it ended up like this.

Leaving you with a picture which was taken a few days after the wedding. With this I have kept my promise to all of you who wanted a face to associate with Reflections:-).
Though I have to warn you that there is a world of difference between the way I looked then and how I look now. The better-half has managed to age very gracefully whereas I have literally gone to pot. The very reason I took so long is I had this ambitious plan wherein I was hoping to lose around 10kgs of weight and display an attractive picture of a slimmer me……..but now I realise pigs will fly faster.
So if you see a short, fat and unsightly woman waddling upto u at some bloggers meet don’t complain you weren’t adequately warned.

I do hope u realise how much thinking happened before I decided to post this picture but a promise is a promise. Now I will hold you to your word[u know who u r]…..if you are hesitant about putting it up on your blog, send it to me by mail. It will be great to see the face behind the blogs I read:-).

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

An Arranged Marriage

For centuries now, marriages in India have been arranged by families. When the girl or boy is of marriageable age, feelers[along with details] are sent to all the relatives existing in every corner of the country or abroad. Nowadays it is ofcourse also advertised in the newspapers and on the internet.

First, details of the girl usually the horoscope or a cv and photographs are scrutinized by the boy’s people, if found compatible a meeting between the respective families is fixed. If all matters do not get sorted out in the 1st meeting itself a 2nd or 3rd meeting is allowed and most often than not marriages are fixed on the basis of these 2-3 meetings.

When non-Indians and India’s younger generation express shock or disgust the Karnavar[the elders] proudly boast that the statistics are good. While we may not have 100% success rates the divorce rates are wayyyy below every other countrys'.

Even today atleast 70% of India’s marriages are arranged this way. Incase you are wondering why the girl or boy don’t protest against this forceful way of marrying them off the answer is simple. We have been conditioned to accept this kind of arrangement from the time we were in kindergarten…….and the fact that we trust our parents to make the best choice for us.

Ofcourse love marriages are more common in the Cities nowadays but it happens after a lot of drama especially if the boy & girl are from different religions[eg. Hindu & muslim, Hindu and Christian, Muslim and Christian] or communities[both could be hindus but from different states - a Malayalee and a Punjabi].

Sometimes the girl/boy give into parental pressures and give up their desires, other times parents give in and its usually when children threaten to do something extreme. Very rarely do marriages like these happen with complete approval. Sometimes even if the parents themselves have no problems the relatives step in to make their lives miserable.

Actually I’m deviating away from my subject of Arranged Marriages here, so coming back to one particular arranged marriage I want to tell you about……

Round about 11 yrs back, a few weeks before her 25th birthday, while having dinner her father announced his plans to get her married off before the end of the year. When she loudly protested that she had a good 3 yrs left before putting her head through the nooze he waved his left hand like he was swatting off a fly and continued eating. Her mother offered her hope saying that these things take time to click, so she was not to worry unnecessarily and in the meantime go like a good girl to GK vale and click some pretty pictures so that she could send them to our relatives in the country and abroad…..”just preliminaries”, the mother once again reassures her “a good match sometimes takes years to happen.”

On her birthday as she was getting ready to go out with a friend her mom gets a phone call and she hurriedly tells her to wear something nice as a family friend was coming to visit them with ‘her friend’. Just a casual visit, my mother stresses giving me a meaningful look...oh what the heck....yes, this is my story.

A smart-looking lady, accompanied by the family-friend walks in sometime later. She scanned around the house critically, looked me up and down while I fidgeted with my bikes keys, even held my face to the light and commented on the marks I had on my face. I was not sure how to address this rudeness but my mother nervously hovering on the sidelines and also the fact that I did have marks on my face, held me back from…I don’t know what.

After some detailed grilling, she took a picture from her handbag & gave it to my mom just before leaving. As soon as she left the 4 of us huddled around that tiny picture. We were all impressed for different reasons………

My father[satisfied]: “He’s an engineer”
[It had been my fathers life-long ambition to get his daughters married to engineers]
My mother[impressed]: “They are Orthodox just like us”

My sister[approvingly]: “He looks good”

Me[looking for a fault]: But he stays in Dubai…….guys over there wear neon-coloured lungis. I don’t want to leave Bangalore.

It sounds corny now but 1 look was all I needed to decide I wanted to marry the guy. It was not about the looks…infact some of you may exclaim “What were you thinking….for God’s sake he’s got a mush”.

Aaaaah but decent Malayalee girls like me [yup the pansy types who’ve never dated] prefer guys with mush….. atleast on the guys we were going to get married to. And guess what, malayalee boys decent or otherwise often grow a mush precisely for the same reason. Go ahead ask any decent Malayalee girl or boy, you’ll get the same answer.

Coming back to what I saying…..even from the photograph, a sort of integrity radiated or maybe his personality attracted me. Whatever the reason, I was willing to see how it goes.

The Boy’s Mother had taken my pictures along with her to send it to her son. Seems like the son after seeing the pictures questioned whether I was really above 18 coz I looked more like a teenager in the photos.

Off I went to GK Vale, willingly this time to take pictures in a Saree. Again pictures were duly sent for Boy’s approval. I can quite picture the thoughts running thru many of your minds but the plain fact was that I liked the guy in the picture and wanted to give this proposal a decent chance. Oh well even if I had made a fuss my father was quite capable of dragging me to the nearest tacky studio & getting a picture of me taken with those fake sceneries as background…..so better this than that, right!!! And all this happens in January.

Boy was supposed to come in March, but it kept getting postponed for some reason or the other. My father in the meanwhile had kept a few other proposals on hold coz he was keen this worked……..nobody knew this but I too hoped this one would work out.

I was terribly sick with fever and a sore throat when the boy finally arrived in May. The timing was terrible. He was supposedly in the middle of some important project and came to India via his way somewhere else and so had only 3 days which meant they couldn’t afford to wait for me to recover. I dragged my sickly self up listlessly to dress my best. As the visit was completely unexpected, my father who was out of station was not able to make it on time.

Boy and family arrive, we all congregate to the living-room and general talks happen. Within 15-20 minutes conversation dries up and everybody went quiet, suddenly nobody could think of anything to say..….infact I clearly remember the boy’s mother humming a tune to cover up the awkwardness and his sister was examining the mosaic on the floor in great detail. My mother and sister[the rats] vanished to the kitchen to bring the eats. My father’s absence was never more felt.

From there it went downhill……the boy clammed up AND I WAS TALKING TOO MUCH. Well you have to understand my state of mind here………as I saw it nobody was making an effort and the room was so quiet. As a host I took it upon myself to keep the conversation going & my voice sounded like sandpaper being rubbed on the wall because of the sore-throat I had….you get the picture, right. Even today I cringe when I think about it.

As I saw them walking out of the gate the feeling was not very good. The visit didn’t at all go the way I had imagined. The Boy did not meet my eyes when he was taking leave. It was not a good sign. The Boy, in person was and behaved exactly like the guy I had envisioned in my thoughts.....you know, the calm collected types….whereas I, at my best, was a bit of a clown. I was quite sure he’d say no. I told my parents about my doubts and warned them not to habour any hopes.

Oh well, no point brooding about it right!!! The Boy, now that I had time to think about it came across as arrogant and the silent types which was just the opposite to what I was. And I had to leave my beloved Bangalore and my family to live in some desert. No way.

The other proposal my father had put on hold, that of an Army captain who had 3 servants helping around in the house sounded much more prospective suddenly. For a person who didn’t know how to cook and a couch-potato by nature it was looking like a more and more attractive option now. I went about the day normally though at odd times I became very quiet but blamed this on the viral flu which I had not yet recovered from.



This is stretching like a saga…..dont want to bore you out of your skull. So I’ll put the rest of it up in the next post :-D.

Now you tell me, was yours a Love marriage or Arranged?????

Part 2 continued here

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Colours of UAE

UAE celebrated her National Day yesterday ie. on December 2nd . 38 years ago, under the leadership of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, 6 emirates got together to form the UAE. To those who want to argue about the number of emirates, let me tell u Ras Al Khaimah was added only a year later. Hah!!!

So as I saying, a whole lot of activities were held at various places in the country:

# Eight military air force parachuters flew in the sky holding the UAE flag.

# Scintillating firework displays, Car rallies, charity drives and marine parades were organised

# The largest flag in the world[certified by Guiness World Records, mind you] was being carried with great show and pomp from Sharjah to Abu Dhabi[the capital] to be displayed there........last heard it's still on the way;-D

# Most government organisations displayed humongous flags on the sides of their buildings and cut even more humongouser cakes and distributed it freely. Anybody who refused to eat were force-fed in the nicest possible way.

# Most of the parks had circus shows, orchestras, painting competitions and childrens camps organised. By the end of the day parents have a tough time dragging the kids back home.......life is much more fun at the childrens camp you see.

# Etisalat[telecommunications] cut call-rates for the WHOLE day[otherwise off-peak hrs on a weekday is from 2-4pm and 9pm-7am]

# The Road Transport Authority not wanting to be left out, announced that carparking will be free till Saturday. Imagine 4 whole days of free parking.....everybody who had a car[that means 99.99% of the population] wept in joy.


Well ok I might have written the above tongue-in-cheek but honestly the city of Dubai wore a festive look yesterday. The colours Red, White, Black and Green shimmered whichever direction we looked.
Most of us expatriates generally use the day[especially if it co-incides with a weekend] to take off for a short break, have barbeque parties at the beach or parks, and ofcourse catch the excitement at the malls[they'll have a few activities up their sleeve]. Nobody, simply nobody sits back at home:-))

Below are a few pictures I took as we enjoyed the day.....







P.s: I planned to put these pictures in my photo-blog initially. And then.......sort of felt sorry for my page here. Seems like ages since I posted last. I really have no idea why. Maybe its because the children have been at home past 10 days, or maybe because I've been feeling a bit under the weather or it could be a curious lack of motivation. Well whatever it is, I sure hope it will end soon;-/.

Monday, 23 November 2009

The tag of Eights'

Preeti Shenoy tagged me long back with a tag of 8’s. She is right, its hard. Stuff I never thought about in my whole life I had to think up now. It took me 2 whole days ++ to put this together.

8 TV shows I like to watch:
I don’t watch them everyday but do try to catch them whenever I’m free.

1. 'Everybody Loves Raymond' on Star World
2. Nigella’s Bites/Feast on Travel and Living
3. Movies on HBO and Zee Studio
4. Friends
5. WWF – whether I like it or not I get to watch this everyday. I even know some of the names now……John Cena, Undertaker, Jeff Hardy, Kali and a guy called Punk;-/
6. Any channel which plays Hindi Songs from the 60’s, 70’s & 90’s
7. 'Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai' on Star Plus
8. News on NDTV 24/7

8 favourite places to eat
1. Food made by my mother, Bangalore
Such a pity really since its only after marriage that I truly started appreciating all her dishes
2. Absolutely anything made by my husband’s mother, Kerala
3. Al Dawaar Revolving Restaurant, Dubai – The buffet and the view is superb
4. Nandos, Dubai – A favourite with the family..
5. Nagarjuna, Bangalore – The combination of chicken biriyani, chilli chicken and pepsi enjoyed just before the noon-show at Galaxy next door is unforgettable.
6. Ebony, Bangalore – The food, the view and the company made it memorable.
7. Asha’s, Dubai – for special occasions.
8. Shaanbag, Residency Rd, Bangalore – their Special Masala Dosas were amazing.

8 things I look forward to
1. A short holiday before the year ends.
2. Buying new furniture for the living room
3. Waking up 1 morning and finding out I lost a lot of weight miraculously
4. Taking my parents to Goa for a holiday
5. Getting regular pocket money from the kids once they start working
6. Finding a pair of Jeans which were made for me
7. Life with the better-half after the kids are out leading their own lives
8. Winning Mashreq Millionaire atleast once

8 things that happened yesterday
1. We listened to Nikita go on and on and on about the school picnic she went for
2. Watched a movie “Fool’s Gold” on Zee Studio I think.
3. Made Penne pasta in Alfredo sauce for the 1st time & it came out good.
4. As I was coming back home after picking the kids from the bus stop we saw our next-door neighbour carried out in a wheel-chair. He’s been sick for sometime now.
5. Went to the stationary shop to pick up some pictures of birds and some clay.
6. Watched Nikita make a clay peacock for a science exhibition. I have no idea where this peacock fits in but she is quite sure her teacher is going to love it.
7. Better-half sprained his back…….again.
8. Saw lot of flashing lights thru my kitchen window late last night. Opened the kitchen door out of curiosity & looked down…there were 3 police cars. At first I thought it was an accident scene….looked more closely and realized some guy got caught with a lot of liquor in his car[Liquor etiquette in Dubai : One cannot just go to a store and buy it off the counter, you need a separate license to pick up liquor here. So the next convenient thing(esp for the lower income groups) is to buy liquor from guys like these who sell them out of their car but you got to know where they park their cars].

8 things I love about winter
I’m not all that fond of the cold but after 9 months of summer one tends to appreciate the change in temperature. Anyways, let me see what I can come up with….

1. Kooddling under the blanket[thts how the kids use to pronounce cuddle at first and now its stuck] with the better-half and the kids on fridays.
2. Frequent visits to the parks
3. The smell of fresh and cool air as we step out instead of the usual humidity blasting onto our faces
4. Looking forward to wearing brightly colored warm clothes which are otherwise packed away.
5. Winter is also about looking forward to going home to celebrate Christamas and New Year with family but this year it’s just us since we already went home in July.
6. Lots of shopping is also associated with winter mainly because of point no. 5.
7. Christmas and New Year
8. Eating Butta[corn] seared on coals with spicy green chutney.

8 things on my wishlist
1. Learn to play a musical instrument…like a piano
2. Learn any 1 form of self-defence
3. Join a Library. I wish Dubai had more Libraries
4. To go for those cake decorating classes
5. Learn how to swim
6. I wish I were a bit more self-confident
7. I wish I were staying in the same city as my parents
8. I wish I could do something/anything to help under-priviledged Children

8 things I am passionate about
1. Family
2. Reading
3. Writing & reading blog posts
4. My Country
5. Solving Crosswords
6. Sudoku
7. Jigsaw Puzzles
8. Sinfully rich chocolate cake….actually this should have been my 1st point;-D

8 words or phrases I use often
1. Guess what
2. Love you babies, ummmaaaahhh
3. Thank You
4. Did you see that????
5. You better have a good explanation ready…..
6. Read my lips, N-O
7. I have a surprise for u…….tantadaaaaaan
8. I have a headache….ok, ok just kidding;-D.

8 things I learnt from the past
1. Never say “Eeeks, I cant imagine myself doing that”. There's a good chance that you will end up doing it atleast once.
2. Never underestimate anybody. The very person who you consider least important in your grand scheme of things could be the one who finally helps you glue it together
3. There is a time and place for everything
4. Everything is not in our hands
5. Have some chocolate when you are feeling blue. Things start looking better even before you finish the bar.
6. Whenever you are caught in a cross-fire of words, Silence is the best weapon.
7. Do not wait for things to happen to you, chances are you’ll be waiting forever…like me.
8. If all else fails, press control+Alt+Del….in short, reboot.

8 places I would love to go, visit or see
1. Kashmir, India
2. The Pyramids, Egypt
3. Eiffel Tower, Paris
4. Jerusalem
5. The Atlantis, Dubai
6. Wayanad, Kerala
7. Taj Mahal, India
8. Greece

8 things I currently need or want
1. Some company while I try to lose some weight
2. A pair of jeans which fit
3. To change my template
4. A part-time job
5. An extraordinarily good recipe for a Christmas cake
6. A haircut which will make all the difference
7. Brittania Pure Magic Biscuits from India
8. Motivation…again I should have put this as the first point;-/

Phew...its done!!!!! 1 or 2 of the questions sort of kept asking the same things over and over again. It was so tough to dream up new stuff which are true;-D.

And now comes the fun part, I tag.....








Friday, 13 November 2009

Sleep on it

I’ve been very cranky the past 2 days mainly coz the better-half has not been sleeping well. He keeps awaking up at odd times, walking in & out of the room, opening and closing the bedroom door which makes me wake up with a start after which I find it very difficult to get back to sleep.

He’s got some major project at his workplace which is going ALIVE or some such thing and I’m guessing this is what is making him toss and turn. And when I complain about his restlessness he has the cheek to tell me that my snoring is keeping him awake. Giving him a haughty look I bite my tongue and stalk out of the room.

Yeah well coming back to what I was cribbing about….lack of sleep always has brought out the worst in me. It immediately reflects on my day-to-day activities and dealings with everybody but the thing is I can’t get myself to take a nap during the day to make up for the previous night.

The only times I take naps are:

# When I’m frog-marched along with the kids to the bedroom on Friday afternoons for the compulsory ‘family nap’ [incase you are wondering, we live in the middle-east, your Sundays are our fridays] which usually boomerangs on the better-half coz I get up in a stinking mood ready to snap at anybody who even looks at me. Since I don’t drink and don’t know what a hangover feels like I privately think this is a non-drinkers version of it.

# If I’m terribly horribly sick…..like the time I had typhoid when I was doing my pre-degree; I slept like I was drugged for 2 whole days. But otherwise…..like even after my delivery when all the aunties with good intentions told me to rest while the baby was sleeping I used to be found pacing up and down the corridor with no particular goal in mind.

# And not the least when I’m pretending to nap to trick lull the kids into taking one….and in the process doze off lightly.

But at nights if all goes well I’m out like a light within 2-3 minutes after hitting the bed and have to be prodded, coaxed out of bed at 6.15am by the better-half who gets up earlier to fix the kids school bags.

I rarely recall the dreams I have though once or twice I remember snatches of a nightmare dream that a gang of bloggers recognized the kids in the supermarket but didn’t find me coz I was hiding under a trolley[I was looking my worst, u see]. And ofcourse the Dhoni dream which I would have forgotten long back had I not posted it here.

Coming back to subject, did you know Sleep and the lack of it has many side-effects to it and most all of them bad. On a rare night when I lie awake on the bed my thoughts almost always take me to my father who suffers from severe lack of sleep. From as far as I can remember he could never get to sleep before 2am.
When I was a teenager I used to have very little patience with his problem coz it meant that I could never read late or call a friend and have long conversations into the night. But now I feel so dreadfully sorry for his plight. I mean it’s so unnatural to be wide awake when the rest of the family is sleeping. The weirdest of thoughts come into the mind and refuse to go. All fears are magnified 10fold. Depression and self-pity takes over the system…..atleast that’s how it goes for me.

Well, atleast when my father finally slept he would sleep atleast for 7-8 hrs straight. But there are so many people who are not able to get a good night’s sleep for a number of reasons like working 2-3 jobs to maintain a life-style or suffer from sleep-disorders.
But there are some, who stay up late to read, watch tv, chat on the internet or are out partying hard. And after snatching a few hours of troubled sleep they go back to work the next day as usual.

An article elucidating the effects of sleep-deprivation caught my eye recently, I read it with growing horror and immediately thought of sharing the jist of it with u. Please do go through it carefully. We need to be aware of the extent of damage we unknowingly submit our body to.

Sleep deprivation is a commonplace occurrence in modern culture. Every day there seems to be twice as much work and half as much time to complete it in. This results in either extended periods of wakefulness or a decrease in sleep over an extended period of time. While some people may like to believe that they can train their bodies to not require as much sleep as they once did this belief is false. Sleep is needed to regenerate certain parts of the body, especially the brain, so that it may continue to function optimally.

Recent studies indicate that failing to get enough sleep or sleeping at odd hours heightens the risk for a variety of illnesses…..

> Lower resistance to colds and viruses
> High Blood pressure
> Cancer
> Increased risk of Heart Attacks & Strokes[esp amg young ppl]
> Diabetes
> Obesity
> Early ageing

"Lack of sleep disrupts every physiologic function in the body," said Eve Van Cauter of the University of Chicago. "We have nothing in our biology that allows us to adapt to this behavior."

The amount of necessary sleep varies from person to person, but most people apparently need between about 7-9 hours, with studies indicating that an increased risk for disease starts to kick in when people get less than 6 or 7.

Scientists have long known that sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy and chronic insomnia, can lead to serious health problems, and that difficulty sleeping may be a red flag for a serious illness. But recent epidemiological studies found that people who slept the least appeared to be significantly more likely to die.

Recently I got an email about Ranjan Das[42yrs] CEO of SAP-Indian Subcontinent, the youngest CEO of an MNC in India who succumbed to a heart attack. Supposed to be an avid fitness freak and a marathon runner his early demise had shocked the Corporate world. It is believed that one of the reasons for his early demise could have been lack of sleep. He slept for just 4-5 hrs every night.
Which also reminded me of a post Swaram had written last month about her husband’s friend who was in his thirties and a fitness enthusiast who succumbed to heart-attack and nobody knew why.

Try this test out: Its called The Epworth Sleepiness Scale; ESS is a scale intended to measure daytime drowsiness that is measured by use of a very short questionnaire. It is a useful test to help diagnose sleeping problems. Click here to do it.

In short, most healthy adults are built for 16 hours of wakefulness and need an average of 8 hours of sleep a night. And, contrary to common myth, the need for sleep doesn't decline with age but the ability to sleep for 6 to 8 hrs at one time may be reduced. (Van Dongen & Dinges, Principles & Practice of Sleep Medicine, 2000)

What is your sleep pattern like???????

For Links: Click here, here and here[matter highlighted in blue taken from here]

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Butt of all jokes

Scenario No.1: I could be cutting veggies in the kitchen with my back turned towards the kitchen door.

Scenario No.2: I could be bending down & taking the clothes out from the washing machine.

Scenario No 3: I could be standing 3 inches away from the television and closely following the climax of a movie.

It could be anyone of the above scenes……..but the end remains the same.

My daughters[either 1 of them] would come from behind & give my butt a gentle thwack and giggle in glee.

“Don’t do that” I’d say impatiently.

“Sauwrieee” they’d laugh & dodge out of the way…..until the next time. And I would keep thinking that something has to be done before they get out of hand. Just imagine if they started doing it in front of other people.

Both Nikita & Naina have their own ways in which they conduct this time-pass activity. Nikita who knows very well that I don’t like it often just gently patted it….it was almost as if she couldn’t help it. But Naina, she approached it more matter of factly…...those tiny fists would have a go at the highlighted area like a boxer & the mouth would chant in rhythm “Dishoom, dishoom, dishoom”. I’d then pretend to reach for the stick and she’d vanish from there like an elf who smelt trouble.

And they do it to my tummy too. I actually find the whole thing funny but am always careful to hide the fact. I certainly don’t want them thinking that my body parts were made for their entertainment. Just a hint of a smile & they’ll be all over me……and so I generally do the headmistress act.

Oh and the questions I get…..

“Why is your tummy so….so big Mama????” is usually ignored the 1st time it is asked. But even after 2 minutes the child is standing there expectantly waiting for an answer I sigh & tell her “My tummy was very flat in the beginning…..just like urs. But as you grew inside, my tummy had to grow to make space for u”

“Ooooohhhhh, so that’s why, but..... after I came out why didn’t your tummy go back to being flat???”

“I have no clue baby….it is the many mysteries of nature of which I have no control over” I mutter as I avoid her eyes.

I then change the topic & she lets it be. But one day when she patted my tummy affectionately and poked one finger hard into the middle just the way I do after I knead chapatti atta into a smooth ball. I knew the time had come for a serious talk.

“When I was around your age I used to do the same to my mama” I began.

“Do what Mama????” asks Nikita all bewildered.

“I too used to always make fun of my mama’s stomach, always patting it & irritating her, just like how you and Naina do to me,” I said carefully.

“And then???” asks Nikita interestedly.

“Then my mama used to tell me that if I did not stop making fun of her, one day I would get a bigger stomach than hers but I never listened” I said dolefully.

“And” prompts Nikita fascinated.

“And………..what she said came true” I said mournfully.

I let the silence stretch & watched while the implications of making fun of me sunk in.

“But I’m not fat like u” ventures Nikita hesitantly.

“When I was your age I was thinner than u” said I, drawing a stick-figure on the wall with my finger to emphasize the fact.

My sweet little girl got so jacked that after that day she has never mentioned or disrespected my butt or tummy again. And I patted myself on the back.


Naina[6 yrs] who was not around when the above conversation took place continued to exercise her rights. Since she is a good 2 & a 1/2 years old younger than her sister I used to let it go with a warning. But she was getting more adventurous by the day that I was forced to enact the above drama once again for her benefit.

As soon as I concluded she went into a fit of giggles. Obviously the drama & its dangerous implications did not have the same impact on her. Then when I put on this sad smiley expression she quickly straightens her face and exclaims “Mama I was trying to help you”.

“I was actually helping you push it back in” Naina looks carefully into my face to see whether I swallowed her story. She then gives me 2 quick pats as proof of her dedication and darts out of the room almost as if she expected the level of conversation to deteriorate if she stood there a minute longer. I laughed so much that day.

Hmmm……yeh tho apni ma ki ma ki ma nikhli…...kuch aur sochna padega*


* Hmmm....she turned out to be her mother's grandmother......have to come up with something else

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

No, its not a proper post

I recently came across this "Art of Living" advertisement which said they were conducting a 6 day program & asking people to register. The best part is that it's being conducted pretty close to where I'm located but the bad news is that the kids are having exams around the same week.

I'm interested but full of doubts. I checked the net for information & got the general jist of their programs.

But I want more details...like a personal account or review. Have any of u done this course or do u know anybody who's done it??? Tell me whatever u know!!!!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Was not at all planning to post today...

Oh my goodness, did u know about this site called http://www.backtype.com/. Somebody just came into my page thru there & I ofcourse dutifully followed the link back and what do I find......a neat list of all the comments I post on the various blogs I visit.

Sheesh it gives me the heebie-jeebies to think that not just my posts but even my comments are been followed. I had no clue something like this existed. Till today I went about posting comments rather merrily....now suddenly I feel sooo stooopid reading my own nonsense back.

Inane stuff like...

Nice post........[sheesh NICE....so pansy]

Awww sho shweeet....[puke, puke]

Really, I had no clue....[dumb idiot]

Heeeee........[add haw & I'd sound like a donkey]

Oh my goodness.......[pppffffffffbbbbtttttt....just take a stick & beat me, will u]

....

....

I cant bear to go on. I'm in total shock....feel like digging a deep hole just enough for me to crawl in, sitting inside, covering the top of the hole with some leaves & wallowing in my insignificance[for want of a better word].

Please dont be taken aback by the comments u may receive henceforth......I suggest u arm urself with a thesaurus & a few reference books. I could be quoting anything from Keats to the Achimedes Principle to make my comments look important and relevant.

And oh yeah, dont panic if u dont see me around for a few days. I'll be busy at the British Library researching my new post.


p.s: Did U know about this site?????

p.p.s: Ummm....If u want to disagree with me abt the comments I post.......go ahead, I wont create a scene, Honest!!!!!!

Monday, 19 October 2009

She needs ur Help!!!!

Location: Living room

Characters: Lord & Master, Weary wife & 2 children

Time: After supper


The Lord & Master of the house is watching TV, the kid are occupied with some craft & the wife just finished up with all the work in the kitchen. After switching off the lights, she walks wearily to the living room & sinks into the nearest couch in undisguised relief.

She glances at the newspaper lying on the table & realizes she has not had the time to read it the whole day. She just about started reading the headlines when the Lord &Master asks her to switch off the main lights in the room.

Looking up at him in mild irritation, she gets up, switches them off & gets back to the newspaper.
As she turns the page to read the local news the L&M asks for a glass of water.
She stares at him in amazement. Then looks at the jug of water which is on the dining table in the same room & measures the distance between the table & where he is sitting. It was approximately the same distance from where she was sitting.

If it were the kids she would have said "Its on the table. Help yourself"

But the Master's request could not be dealt with so casually. When it becomes clear that he is not reading any of her pointed expressions she gets up wearily to fetch it for the L & M of the house. After all, never let it be said that she would not even fetch a glass of water for Him.

Again just when she turns to the 3rd page, the Master decides that the children could not possibly do their art & craft in the dim lights & asks her to switch the main lights back on again.

She looks daggers at the L&M. But it's a wasted emotion as he is concentrating on the program he is watching on Tv. With a resigned sigh, she gets up & switches the lights on again.

....

....

This has been going on for a long time now!!! She needs your Help!!!!!! How can she tell the L&M in the politest way ofcourse, to do it himself??????

P.s: Single people & newly-weds, dont judge her too harshly. U may have to eat ur words a few years down the lane.


Disclaimer: All characters and events in this post are imaginary. Any resemblance to actual persons or predators; living, dead or reincarnated is purely coincidental.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Cop it sweet

Anjali & I used to work in the same office. She was related to the big boss from the HO & was brought in to assist the accountant. A bold & smart woman, around 24 yrs old, who was not afraid speak out.

Within a week or so I found out that she was there to keep watch on the Project lead’s nefarious activities. She did her job so well that the Project lead was thrown out within a month’s time because of his own short comings.

She stayed on after that & continued to assist the accountant with the work. We were not great friends but got along well. She sort of adopted me as her sounding board & would tell me all what was happening in her life. Sometimes I ponder what is it about me that convinces people into spilling their secrets, and that too in the first meeting itself. Anyways can’t blame them fully coz I too ask a lot of questions.

Anjali was very fond of my kids & would once in a while bring packets of different types of chocolate bars for them. She would brush aside my hesitation & remind me that her husband worked as a supervisor in a chocolate factory. When I would comically express my envy at his working in my dream job she would tell me how it was not all it seemed to be. They were not satisfied with his job coz there was no scope for growth in the line he was working. Though he would merit a measly salary hike every year there were no such things as promotions since his qualifications did not merit a post higher than what he was holding. And plus it was a night shift job which was getting too tiring & threw their entire lifestyle out of gear.

But it was not like they were just sitting & doing nothing about it. They were saving up for a diploma course he wanted to attend, which could get him better jobs in another field as he thought the present field held no benefits. He & Anjali believed that he was in this predicament as his father had made his career choice even though he was not at all that keen.

Soon Anjali got a good offer from another company & she left us to take that up. Even after she left she would call us at the office atleast once in a month & keep us posted with what was happening in her life. Now that she was earning well, her husband was able to join his dream course earlier than expected. Soon she told us he cleared his course & left the present job to get into another company in another emirate[around 2-3 hrs away]. She told me later that the salary was just the same as the previous company but they weren’t quibbling about it as he was just a beginner. They were very excited at these new developments in their life.

It was decided that he would go first, settle down in his job, find a good apartment & only then take Anjali & their child. They were in no hurry to make drastic changes immediately since she was also working under a contract & couldn’t leave her job just like that.

In the meantime I too had left my job & both of us didn’t speak to each other for a few months. I don’t know how but I just don’t find the time to call anybody sometimes. I seriously am in awe of all the people who manage their home, go to work, find time to blog, facebook, orkut & twitter. Anyways, we did call each other once or twice but each time we tried to speak the other would be busy & months just passed by like that. Then one day she calls out of the blue & we idly spoke for a few minutes when she burst out that she quit her job the previous week. It seemed like the people in the company were not good, their workings very shady, they were taking advantage of her inexperience, etc, etc, etc.

I was like “Look at the bright side, now you can join your husband” but she said that was not possible immediately as her husband hadn’t found a good apartment yet….the rents there were quite steep & all these places were very far from where he worked which made it all the more difficult.

Now that she was at home she called me more regularly & slowly she began revealing her frustrations. She was going crazy managing her child alone the whole week. Her husband who came on weekends, spent most of the time sleeping off his tiredness as he was being overworked in the company. The pay rise they promised him after a few months did not materialize. The job was nothing great, job satisfaction was nil & to top it the boss was hard to please. Expenses were more as they were living separately and whatever little extra which remained, went towards Taxi expenses[between Sharjah & Fujairah] which amounted to more than 1000 dirhams per month. There seemed to be no way out of this vicious circle as recession had set in by then & jobs came by so sparsely. It was obvious that they were bearing the burden of the biggest mistake they made in their lives.

Anjali was so fed up with the life she was leading that she went back to India for a break. For almost 3 months there was no news of her & then suddenly she calls me last week. After the usual pleasantries she told me excitedly that her husband left the job in Fujairah as he was taken back by his old company the chocolate factory. He had called them in desperation & they took him back, just like that.

The same job which they thought gave no scope for improvement in their lives was now a blessing in their eyes. The pay was the same but their savings were more. So what if it was night-shift, atleast the company provided transportation to & fro & he was able come back home at the end of the day.

Anjali was laughing, telling me how her husband vowed fervently that he was never going to leave this company, ever but underneath I could hear the relief in her voice. In her own words, those eight months taught them a lesson which was not going to be forgotten in a hurry.

So many times, we don’t realize the value of what we have until we lose it. And there's no second chance. Anjali, I thought, was extremely fortunate.

Cop it sweet: An Australian saying which means....to get lucky in a way that you did not expect

Friday, 9 October 2009

Received this in my mail and loved it.....thought I'll share it with U

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp--
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Herb, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, 'What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.

'And why's everyone so quiet,
So sombre - give me a clue.'
'Hush, child,' He said, 'they're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you.'

JUDGE NOT.

Remember...Just going to Church/Temple/Mosque doesn't make you a Christian/Hindu/Muslim any more than standing in your garage makes you a car .

Every saint has a PAST....
Every sinner has a FUTURE!!!!!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Halt!!! Who goes there?????

Scrutinizing the links which show thru the feedjit counter and spamming in other bloggers' comment boxes has become a recent and very important part of my daily routine…..yeah well since I’m not posting all that much I have to channelise all that pent-up energy somewhere, right.

Between today and last Tuesday I got some 400+ hits[553 including me] on my last post but just around 50 beautiful, lovely, wonderful, super bloggers have very kindly commented on it.

Dear persons who read the posts here but don’t comment, don’t you feel bad like as if you’ve accepted candy from a sweet little cherubic child & gone away without saying a word or a smile???? Just think for a moment how bewildered, how shattered, how heart-broken that adorable angelic little girl must have felt.

Yeah yeah I know I’m going overboard taking the sentimental route but the whole idea is to make you feel terrible……..the question here is, how lousy are you feeling about it?????

After reading just 3 or 4 posts on this page one doesn’t need Einstein’s brain to arrive at the conclusion that I have an IQ of an Iguana or maybe even lower than that.
Come on, I don’t talk about nuclear missiles or the Ringamore wastelands** here…..though I did talk about Rocket-science in 1 post……but that was just once……and I was actually displaying my ignorance on the subject, really. I write about everyday things or incidents which I’m sure most of you identify with. And I’m quite sure you would not keep coming back to a page to which you couldn’t relate at all.

How hard is it to pen a harmless one liner letting me know you were here…..u know it would make me feel so good.

Many of u are not aware of it but I blog under great pressure. I have a better-half who thinks I could have lost atleast 15kgs of weight in all this time I've spent blogging, a maid who threatens to quit coz she’s allergic to the sight of me tapping away at the laptop, children who pull me from both sides as soon as they see me login into blogger, parents who have no clue what blogging is all about, a sister who about once in 6 months casually asks me whether I’m still blogging and unsuspecting neighbours from whom I hide my blog since I write about them from time to time.
So you see, my only relief is the comments I get from u……I lap them all up and begin to believe in my own worth. You & I know it’s another world out here…..very few non-bloggers understand the ‘nasha’* of receiving comments from beautiful people across the big wide world.

I do understand the difficulty you face to write that first comment. I know for a fact that commentophobia is a natural tendency among both new & seasoned bloggers…….I too used to hesitate so much in the initial days and sometimes even now.

But you must, atleast just this once, delurk & let me know u've been here:-))

So to make it easy for you I have, after much deliberation, put together 3 simple phrases to help you get over the initial hesitation ….

Sample 1: Thank U Nancy for making it so easy for me to de-lurk.

Sample 2: Me thinks your posts are full of &%$%#@&.

Sample 3: I have better things to do in life than comment here.


Now all you have to do is just copy-paste one of the above into the comment box and click submit. Has anybody else made it easier than this?????

Ofcourse anonymous & troll comments for the 2nd point will be closely monitored. And if you feel all of the above is inadequate you are welcome to write about how wonderful a person blogger you think I am. But I just didn’t want to appear too eager or rush you in these initial stages. So we’ll take it step by step, what say?????

Now after all this, if you are going to pretend that everything I’ve said above went over your head, I’ll make it short and snappy….

Just delurk dammit!!!!!!!!


* Nasha = addiction

**Ringamore wastelands = they dont exist, I made it up

p.s: Pssssttttt I’ll be putting up the awards sooooon [[‘wink, wink’]].

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Driving Force

“You mean to say you’ve been here in Dubai for almost 10 years & don’t have a car????” asks acquaintance incredulously.

“Yep” I reply, very amused at her reaction.

“But why???? How????” She asks & I can see the her eyes darting around the house wondering “Gosh have I put my foot in it, don’t tell me they can’t afford one”

“Simple, we both don’t have a driving license” I grin.

“Sheeeesh, how do you guys manage?????”

We get this reaction from most people we know. Actually when I really think about it I don’t blame them one bit for reacting the way they do. Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night I can’t believe it either.

I take you back to 1999 when I came to Dubai. I enthusiastically signed up for driving classes & infact remember clearing Parking, Garage, Hill & Signal in one single day[they are actually 4 different tests]. It was only when I started training for the Road test did I feel a bit of diffidence.

After 8 years of misusing the clutch & the brake & ignoring all the traffic rules in India, driving according to rules in Dubai came as a rude shock….to top it after driving on the left side of the road for so many years it took quite sometime to get used to driving on the right. The lane system was something I didn’t at all believe in…I never understood why I had to accerelate when I had to change lanes, why couldn’t I just slow down & then change??? To top it, when I saw a vehicle coming at top speed from the side lanes I just couldn’t believe that the car was not going to bang into mine & so I automatically…you could say unconsciously would swerve in the opposite direction & the instructor would grab the steering wheel, apply the brakes & tear his hair all at once in frustration.
I gave just 2 road tests but knew for a fact that even if I gave 20 of them I was never going to pass. After driving at 30-40km per hour for 8 yrs it was just not possible to let go off inhibitions & do 80 and 100kms/hr.

Then I left to India for almost 6 months & when I came back, just didn’t try again…yeah, yeah I know it’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard.
And the better-half, to give him his due, had gone for classes & persevered but his job schedule 10 yrs back was hectic & it was required of him to frequently fly out of the country which inturn often clashed with his test dates & he gradually gave it up.

Actually there was no shortage of cars in the house then. My father-in-law had one & my brother-in-law also did. We never had problems going out anywhere. And the better-half had his company vehicle which picked & dropped him back. So we never felt the lack of a vehicle or a need for our own.

It was only when my father-in-law went back to India 2 years back & my BIL left to the States to study further around the same time that the realization set in.

In the beginning it was almost like being stranded. For people who wonder whats the big deal anyway please note that Dubai for all its infrastructure is a desert which radiates an average temperature of 41 degrees & humidity which saps the life out of even the toughest tribe. Within 2 minutes of being outside sweat is pouring down your body and your best shirt is ruined for ever. Everybody…simply everybody has a car….infact 2 or 3 cars in a middle-class family is not unheard of. Purchasing a car is no big deal either, it is attaining the DL which is so prized.

10 years ago it was not very difficult to get a license in UAE but nowadays its practically impossible to pass a test. Except for the odd guy who passes in his first or 2nd attempt the rest of the 95% can fill a book or two with their horror stories with the Traffic Dept.
We all know paperwork & classes are mandatory everywhere but in UAE it’s a bit over the top. And worse, they fail you for the silliest of reasons. I’ve heard horror stories where people have spent upto 8000dhs[atleast 1 lakh in Indian ruppees] & failed 14-15 times before they got their DL in their hand.
My friend told me how her boss who had held a DL from USA, UK, France, Egypt, was failed numerous times by the RTA & it became a matter of frustration & shame to him.

And worse, the municipality have all these weird rules for certain circumstances… or should I say they have no rules for certain criteria of people. Now even if we want to try for a license we can’t since the better-half now holds an independent visa from the Freezone of another emirate…..its too complicated to explain but the long & short of it is that we are not able to take driving tests in Dubai even if we want to. And that leaves us without a medium to commute.

The irony of it is that both of us got our driving license for both 2 wheeler & 4 wheelers in India before we were 20 years old. Infact I got my DL after 8 hours of classes & donated the remaining two hours to my mom who was learning alongside me. I drove my fathers car in & around Bangalore for more than 8 yrs. Sometimes I think its precisely because of my road experiences in India that I found it so hard to adjust to life in the fast lane here.

So we take taxis. We take a bus. Whichever comes first. And then ofcourse we walk. Luckily unlike before, the taxis’ have become more available now & the buses more frequent than before. And now ofcourse the metro is here making all parts of Dubai more accessible.

Both of us have nothing to say in our defence……in hindsight now I feel if only I had persevered I’m sure I would have made it after a few tries. Oh well…..when we had the chance we didn’t bother & now there is no point thinking about the ‘if onlys’.

The better-half sometimes explains the benefits to the children when they complain “Maybe we don’t have a car like the others but just look at how much we are saving; we don’t have any loans against us for buying a car, we don’t have to spend on petrol, we save on registrations and insurance. We don’t spend hours looking for parking space, we don’t have to pay parking fines….and…and all the other innumerable traffic fines…..and .... salik…we don’t have pay salik[road toll].
And nobody[as in guests] wants to stay with us” He adds wickedly.

While I shake my head at him amusedly in the background I realize I’m not exactly railing at my fate……I in a 'reverse psychology' way am glad my kids get a chance to travel in buses like how I used to and also enjoy the illuminating conversations we have with the kids as we walk hand in hand to the nearest supermarkets or restaurants after the sun goes down.

Ofcourse I realize that if we had a car I may not be talking so wisely but human beings that we are, always make the best of any situation we’re in.

Just yesterday we were walking past this vehicle which had a mukhalifa* pinned on its windshield, we automatically looked at each other and exclaimed “Thank Goodness, we don’t have a car” and burst out laughing.

*mukhalifa: traffic fine

Edited to add: Tara says "your post and this subject made me churn out a whole post myself.. ". I am pleased to present to you another perspective on the same topic:-))!!!!!!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Give this a miss really...its just a TAG

What does one do when…..

…one doesn’t have any topic in hand to blog about?????
….one’s fingers are typing furiously but its utter gibberish.
…..one has a dream nightmares that there is never going to be another new post ever again.

Wallowing in self-pity, I visit Blunt edges, read about "His first time" & have a good laugh. Feeling much better, I catch sight of a tag & decide that it was going to be my next post…..ermm I already have atleast 10 tags pending against me but for some reason this whimsical tag called out to me. I demanded to be tagged too & the gentleman that he is, ‘surprised’ me with it the very next day.

And so here goes….

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn on page 18 and find line 4?
– Ohmigosh, this is so surreal it says…..
“Dear child, don’t lose hope, you are going to win the next Dubai Duty Free Draw for 5 million dollars”
Ok ok just kidding, it is…
“He didn’t want to sleep in the mud at the bottom of the pond” Mr. Meddle’s Bicycle, Enid Blyton.

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can & touch air?
- I touched the childrens book rack. Its right next to where I’m sitting.

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
– A movie called "Rat Race" is running in the background on Sony Pix…so I guess thts the most recent thing I’m watching on Tv. Ooops just realised that the tag wants me to tell about the last thing….ummmm lemme think….it was the inaugural ceremony of the 1984 Asiad which I watched on our black & white Beltek. Oh but that was the first thing I watched on Tv….heck now I even get confused by tag questions;-/

4. Without looking, guess what time it is?
–Around 11.30 am I guess

5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?
– Wow the clock shows exactly 11.30 am but you know what, its just 11.20…all the clocks in my house are 10 minutes fast.

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?
– I can hear the tv, the air-conditioner and the pigeons fighting it out on the balcony and …..hark, I even hear a plane flying overhead[infact if we dont hear a plane roaring past every 3 minutes we get worried;-D].

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
– I rushed to drop the kids off at the bus stop this morning. Another 10 secs and the bus would have gone....guess thats what happens if we try to take photocopies, cut them decoratively and stick 'em pictures in the Arabic notebook...all 1/2 an half before leaving for school.

8. Before you started this Q&As, what did you look at?
–I looked at the time ;-D

9. What are you wearing?
–Military green trousers, white T-shirt and a smug grin.

10. When did you last laugh?
- There were showing this comedy scene on tv yesterday……A rich man was trying to get his daughter married & at the same time sell his elephant. In a comedy of errors the people who came to see the girl were shown the elephant and vice-versa. Stooopid I know but we laughed so much.

11. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
– A painting of the ‘Last supper’, a clock, a money plant, some photos and Naina's scribblings.

12. Seen anything weird lately?
– Yep, wondering why our landlord painted the building without the usual prompting from us.

13. What do you think of this quiz?
- A Hindi idiom comes to mind regarding this tag…….Doobthe ko thinke ki sahara* or something like that. Somebody please tell me the correct version.

14. What is the last film you saw?
– Rock on. I saw it last week for the first time…..nice movie but after some time I started getting irritated with Farhaan Akthar for sighing so loudly everytime he was going to say his dialogues;-/

15. If you became a multimillionaire overnight, what would you buy?
– A driving license…..I don’t have one & I know I’ll never get one by giving a test, not the way I drive, not in this country anyway……its a looong story. Hmmmm a germ of an idea for my next post.

16. Tell me something about you that I dunno!
- I bet you didnt know I had a dimple on my face but fat lot of use I’d say......its visible only when I frown;-/

17. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
– Since everybody else who have done the tag would have mentioned all the basic neccesities & comforts for the betterment of mankind, I will proceed directly to luxuries and ensure that every single person on this planet would get to taste luscious red Strawberries dipped in dark & white chocolate…….mmmmm, it's just sublime . I had some, for the 1st time last weekend. [Info for people in Dubai, its available in Festival City, near the food court :-).]

18. Do you like to Dance?
– I’ve got 2 left feet & the best I can manage is that wild thud-thud variety which the kids & I indulge in when we are really bored.

19. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?
– I didn’t have to stress my brain too much here….I have been calling my first-born Nikita for the past 8 yrs:-)).

20. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?
– I dutifully close my eyes tight & try to imagine but Nikita’s grinning face keeps popping up….I guess my imagination doesn’t stretch that far anymore;-/

21. Would you ever consider living abroad?
– As a child I used to imagine living in America, Japan, Switzerland and even in Alaska[ I so badly wanted to live in an igloo at one time]. Dubai never featured anywhere but here I am....I've realised LIFE takes us many places which were never in our scheme of things.

22. What do you want GOD to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?
– Imagine the scenario....
God catches sight of me waiting to be let in thru pearly gates.....
"Nancy my dear child, why are you standing in this looong queue?????
Come, come on in, you know I used to really enjoy reading your posts!!!!!!"
As a token of my appreciation, do feel free to order strawberries dipped in dark & white chocolate anytime u feel like it....."

Feeling a lot better now, I tag…

Athivas

Elegant Chic

Hitch writer

Meira

Sakshi

Snow

Sunshine

Swaram

Wanderlust

Catawampus me!!

*A drowning man clutching at straws

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The reasons are many.....

*The kids are at home……and making my life barely worth living. School opened a week back but we haven’t started sending them to school coz of the swine flu factor. I was all for sending them but my better-half is a regular party-pooper....oh well he may just have a point.

*My brother-in-law is back home[he was in the US studying] after 2 years….I'm sure u can imagine how it is when you have to make all the 3 meals ……and that too on time.

*Its Ramadaan now & the better-half comes home a whole 4 hrs early. For the sake of domestic harmony I stay off blogger.

*It was our 10th anniversary last week of august & I wasted 2 whole days trying to drum up a sweet-sweet post. Seems like I exhausted my quota with this
one. We sure had a good day though.

*As I sat poised to write, I remembered I had to reply to all your mails & comments, so quickly go about it…… atleast none of you can complain I haven’t replied.

*It was Onam last week & this year somehow I was not too enthused about doing anything….I was still in that ‘I miss my mama’ mode. But
Bins, Deeps & Solilo made me feel like a lazybum & I created a Onam lunch which had 21 dishes if you count the salt & ghee[don’t you dare laugh, if you had organised that many dishes for a single lunch you’d count them too]. I haven’t recovered from the shock yet.

*As I was idly watching a program on tv about Teacher's Day I wondered if Indyeah posted anything on it. I quickly go there but you know how Indyeah’s page is ……..it takes ages to load[with all those video’s & paraphernalia]. By the time I read the whole post[nope she hadnt but there were other posts which I hadn't read], saw all the video’s, read all the comments, posted my own comment & clicked submit, Internet Explorer shuts down in protest which I took as a divine sign & got up to attend to household matters.

*It was Nikita’s birthday yesterday & am still digesting the fact that she’s eight years old now. It seems like yesterday she was chasing bupafies and wanting to be as tall as a jidaffe. Now she is attempting the Spelling Bee competition and while I’m teaching her the words I’m having mini attacks at the thought of her standing in front of everybody & trying to say it right.

*Enough is enough!!!! I make up my mind firmly & sit down with the intention of writing a post but my mouse has a will of its own & automatically clicks on Spider solitaire first. I keep playing & playing, convinced that the next game I’ll surely win. But all I do is waste time.


If I think harder I can think of more perfectly pedestrian reasons as to why I have not been posting. But the real truth is that I can’t think of a single subject to post about. The blog is always at the back of my mind but there is no particular subject appealing to my sense of wackiness.

Speaking of wackiness….. I thought Rakesh’s recent post was a brilliant take on a blogger's mindset………I guess every blogger at some point almost wishes something interesting would happen in his life just so that he can blog about it;-D.























So many of you called, emailed & commented asking if I’m okay, why I haven’t posted or haven’t been to your page. I’m really very sorry about that, it’s just that time is sort of flying. I’ve already started making amends. And with this post I hope to have broken the spell.

And Thank YOU for asking…..it really matters!!!!!!!!