Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The Heart is in the RIGHT place

My grandmother stayed with us for sometime when I was around 4 yrs old. She was horrified when she found out I was scrawling with my left hand. According to her "Girls should never be seen using their LEFT HAND. It is so shameful!!" It took her some time but she made sure that I used my right hand to write before she left.

And everytime I went on vacation to Kerala, she would ask me which hand I was writing with & I would truthfully tell her "with my right". She would beam with self-satisfaction like as if she stopped a dreadful plague from overcoming me.
What she never realised was that though I used my right hand to write, everything else was done with my left....whether it was cutting veggies, playing badminton or using the mouse. All this I could do with my right hand too....only it would be a degree or two slower.

My best friend Neetu was left-handed thru & thru. Her parents used to relate to me the tough time they had, trying to make her eat with her right hand. When a teacher tried to make her write with her right hand, her mother who is a doctor had a talk with the teacher & told her not to force the child's into anything. When Neetu's cousins used to tease us with "SouthPaw"......we, not knowing the meaning & pride not permitting us to ask, thought it was some bad word to put left handers down.

All through my school years I met a lot of right handed & a few left-handed kids but nobody used both. I often wondered what category I fell under........... whether I was right handed or left handed.

As I grew older a lot of friends told me I was ambidextrous....though the term sounded grand, heart of hearts I didnt agree with them....well, for one ambidextrous people are supposed to be able to write with both hands, which I couldn’t.

A student at the Multimedia Centre I worked in brought me a fat book on left-handers & I went thru it out of curiosity[back then, Google was not a click away]. More than half the book concentrated on emphasising how left-handers suffered severe prejudice during the 18th & 19th century, how it was often beaten out of people and they were shunned by Society resulting in fewer marrying & reproducing.
How traumatic really…..imagine thinking that you are a freak simply because you are left handed!!!!!!!!

And did you know, humans aren't the only species who have left-handed individuals. The equivalent of lefties have also been observed in the animal world.

Through the ages, the severity of reaction directed towards left-handed people has diminished but people all over still associate it with awkwardness and clumsiness. The English expression "having two left feet", the Dutch expression "twee linkerhanden hebben", the German expression "zwei linke Hände haben", the Bulgarian expression "dve levi ratse" and the Czech expression "Mít obě ruce levé" ("to have two left hands") all mean being clumsy.

Ofcourse there are a lot of advantages to being left-handed. Many a time it has aided me in escaping doing my share of work especially at parties & get-togethers……one look at the awkwardly held knife or spoon in my left hand & women will snatch the implement out of my hands in half concealed alarm & impatience. Carefully hiding my elation, I put on a sheepish grin & vanish from there with a valid excuse.

Did you know, left-handers are said to be generally more intelligent, better looking, imaginative and multi-talented than right handers - based on discussions among members of the Left-Handers Club! :)

Jokes apart, even today no-one has come up with a definitive reason as to WHY some people are left-handed, but about 13% of the population around the world are, and it is thought to be genetic ‘cause it definitely runs in families.

But finally……being left-handed or right-handed doesn’t really matter does it???? We all travel a path where our Thoughts & Actions make all the difference to the way we handle the journey called Life. Whether we use our right hand or the left to do it, is not relevant at all.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Stretching Time....

Sometimes I look at my kids & feel a trepidation.....they are just growing up so fast......
Nikita knows more about make-up than me[ofcourse it is a different matter altogether tht wht I know abt make-up can be described in 2 words...brown lipstick] & Naina is quick to
catch us if we happen to burp & forget to say "Excuse me".

But jokes apart...I can already see where it is going. Soon they'll be old enough to come back on their own from the school bustop, will ask to sleepover at a friend's place & as it is, think "this Mama doesn't know much".
It is unimaginable even now to think that sometime soon we may send them on their own to the nearest grocery shop to make small purchases like our parents did with us.

And I keep wondering "Did my parents feel the same way like I do now???
"Nah they couldn't have....I mean, things were different then, the lifestyle itself was different, life was simpler, people could be trusted, roads were less crowded and so on.
Nowadays there are paedophiles & other mentally unstable people wandering all over the place ". We are reading about terrible incidents in the newspapers every day. Better to be safe than sorry, isn't it????

Yeah, yeah I know.....our parents also went through the same if not more worries than these. Atleast we are equipped with a lot of information nowdays which was seriously lacking in their days.....I mean those were days when even a telegram sometimes took 2 days to reach but now mobiles & emails keep us so much in touch that even from across the world we know what mom made for lunch today....ummm I keep track:-P.

Letting go is so difficult.....the kids I mean. All these years we made all their decisions...we decide what food is good for them, what clothes make them look good, how the haircut should be...

Slowly I see the difference, they are becoming more independent, their tastes differing with ours. Nikita doesnt quite like the clothes I pick out for her. Infact the other day in a store she dragged me to another aisle show an outfit which she thought was awesome......it was a purple & gold t-shirt & leggings. My first reaction was to vehemently reject the monostrosity[which I did ultimately, but with finesse]. And Naina doesnt quite like the way I comb her hair.

I waggle my eyebrows at the better-half to share the joke but hide a wistfulness for the days when they were infants who depended on us to do the best for them.

I know, I know it's way too early to start feeling sorry for myself....for a start they are just 7 & a 1/2 & 5 years of age. Worse is yet to come...then all this will be kiddy stuff.

Now even as we shush them at the dining table or order them to lower their decibel levels while they play, I'm aware a time will come when we'll hardly know they are there in the house, a time when we yearn that they come to us & initiate a conversation.

No book will ever prepare us for the actual events which will unfold as the years rush past. In the meantime we'll just savour the time we spend with them now & concentrate on bringing them up as good human beings with sound morals & a strong conscience.

And when we go shopping, I never fail to explain & stress how much "Mama loves Saris, Mama thinks Gold earrings are great, Mama likes to be taken out for ice-creams treats and whichever part of the world you are, Mama would like to hear from you atleast twice a day......".

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

A long Pending TAG

A, Deeps, Sansmerci & Spontaneous Mini have tagged me.

At first, a dial-up connection prevented me from attempting it but now my ADSL is giving me more trouble than the dial-up. Aah anyways here it is:

The rules states that for every answer one has to do a Google Image Search and paste a picture from the first Google Image Search page with minimal explanation. So here goes....

1. The age you will be in your next birthday: will turn 35 this month
…..I’ve been dying to tell you guys this for sometime now. But just couldn't blurt it out could I???? I get the feeling many of you think I’m atleast 43:-S.
Though Pink is the last color I would choose to wear, I loved the picture. And for the many young fellas who walk in here & pull my leg, once again I repeat, I believe I'm in my prime...nothing you say will convince me otherwise:-/.

2. A place you'd like to travel to: New Zealand
Everything about this place fascinates me. The googled picture is of New Zealand's Rugby team & they are doing the HAKA Dance…before the games start, they will dance the Haka first. It is like an intimidation technique to scare the opponents. Cool huh:-D!!!!
Quote from wiki: A haka is a traditional dance form of the
Maori of New Zealand. It is a posture dance with shouted accompaniment, performed by a group.

3. Your Favorite place: The living room.
The scenario: After dinner, with my feet up on the sofa, nibbling on some dessert, catching a late night movie leaning against my better-half.
p.s: My living room look nothing like this:-(

4. Your favorite food/drink: Chicken Biriyani.
Any Indian Restaurant I go for the 1st time, I ask for CB for sure. And if tht CB is good then I know we'll be going there again:-D.
Drink: Prefer Mocktails.
....I'm not partial to any one but am particular that there shouldn't be any traces of banana in it.

5. Your Favorite pet: German Shepherd.
....We had 2 of them once upon a time...Toothie & Cookie. I absolutely adored them & cried buckets when they died. One died after she swallowed a marble. She was our first pet & when she died we were heartbroken. The other lived with us for 12 years & died of old age.

6. Your favorite color combination: Blue & Green
....It could be clothes, food[more like drinks], nature.....I just love the combination & drink it in with my eyes. I try to take a picture but it never ever matches upto the original.

7. Your favorite piece of clothing: Blue Jeans & a white shirt.
This is not the exact picture I would have chosen normally as an ad for Blue Jeans & white shirt. But when this picture came up I simply couldnt NOT put it up. Princess Diana took me back to my school days where we used to devour news of her in the foreign magazines. She was the ultimate Fashion Icon in those days.

8. Your all time favorite song: Annie's Song by John Denver.
I first heard this song when I was in the 6th-7th standard & loved it. Though not a polished singer as such, I sing this song very well....ummm atleast I'd like to think I sing it quite well. The funny thing is, for a long time I thought it was a hymn and the 'You' in the 'You fill up my senses' was God:-D.

9. Your favorite TV show: Nigella Feast on Travel & Living.
Do any of U watch it??? My kids found this program by chance....this is the One show, all of us watch together & nobody asks to change the channel. She is just too good & makes cooking so just easy. The kids after watching a couple of shows asked me whether I would mind if they went to live with Nigella Feast... I was a bit rattled & couldn't think of an answer immediately. So I merely contented myself by correcting them "Her name is not Nigella Feast, it's Nigella Lawson"

10. Full name of your significant other: Biju Thomas
....When I googled this name a lot of visages came up...seems like there were a lot of Biju Thomases out there. This picture is of a book which was written by another Biju Thomas.
……And no, I’m not Nancy Thomas…I’m still Nancy My father’s Name:-D. No..no...its not like what U think...you know, feminist & all that. It just happened that changing the name in the passport was one tedious process. And so the Sir name just stayed that way. I for one was secretly pleased;-D.

11. The town in which you live: Deira.
....Dubai is basically divided into 2 cities- Bur Dubai & Deira. And the two is separated by this creek[the water you see in the pic]. Long ago I think people would travel by boat from Deira to reach Bur Dubai. Now ofcourse we have the Maktoum Bridge & the Floating bridge to help us get across. But even now the quickest way to reach across is by the abra[boat].

12. Your screen name/nickname: Reflections.
....I'm pretty pleased with this picture I got. Its beautiful isn't it?? An iceberg incase u cant figure out what it is. It gives out 2 connotations...one ofcourse is the reflection itself & the other is a fact which is known widely.....it is said that only one-tenth portion of an iceberg is above water.

Even the Blog world is like an iceberg isn't it......we all 'think' we have a general idea of what the rest of us are like.... which is based on the posts which we read. But I feel even after years of posting & bonding together as blogger friends there is so much we will not find out about eachother.....we'll only know what the Blogger wants to tell us. Quite a disturbing thought actually:-(.

13. Your First job: Training Coordinator
...At a Multimedia Training Centre. It was a job which happened by chance. When I joined there I never intended to stay for long. But I ended up staying there for 2 years & left only because I was getting married & moving away to Dubai.
The picture I have put up here bears no resemblance to the nature of my job but I took to it immediately. Infact I was thinking if my dream job wasn't that of a librarian, I would have liked to become a fire fighter.

14. Your Dream job: Librarian
……yeah boring I knw, but I always wanted a job where I could spend the entire day with books. In my school days I used to think the librarian was the luckiest person in the whole world. I had decided then when I grew up I would become one. In between college years I had forgotten all about it. Then after completing 1 year of postgraduation in Literature I came across an ad for admissions for Library science. You wont believe how much I kicked myself for not remembering my original career decision. I still nurse a desire but as far I know there is no correspondence course in it.

15. Bad Habit you have: Procrastination.
...I write a list of grocery items early in the morning but by the time I call the supermarket it will be evening. Seriously...I dont know how that happens. I even remember going to pick up the phone to call but I get distracted. The distraction could be the doorbell, a phone call or even a pencil lying on the ground. By the time I finish answering it or picking it up & putting it in its place I would have found something else there & gone to fix that.

16. Your worst fear: Getting mugged.
...I'm paranoid about this. I hate to walk alone after dark. If by chance the street is lonely & somebody walks behind me, all sorts of wild thoughts run through my mind. As I hurry towards my destination, my mind will be busy analysing how best to block the attack + how much money I'm going to lose.

17. The one thing you'll like to do before you die: Pray
.....I know a lot of people who want to die in their sleep or die without delay. While I do want to leave the world without suffering, I do not want to leave the world without speaking with Him first. Now most of U will think I'm some kind of religious fanatic.....no really...I'm just safe guarding my interests:-D.

18. The first thing you'll buy if you get $1,000,000: A 2nd house for my parents.
....This house will be located in Kerala their native land, so that they have the best of both worlds. They live in Bangalore presently but the winter season is not very kind to them. I keep thinking....if only I could do something about it.

Yeah I know the TAG rules mentioned minimal explanations. When you know me better you'll realise that I specialise in the opposite.
And I'm in a generous mood today....... so I TAG everybody who has not attempted it yet.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Picture Perfect

When I was small, whenever the family members gathered together to take photographs I would go missing. They’ll search for 2 minutes, give up, go ahead & take the picture without me. As I grew this quirk remained with me. As soon as somebody brings out their camera to take a picture I would find some excuse & vanish from the scene.

My sister was born almost 5 yrs after me. As soon as she was able to sit unaccompanied [& if I’m not wrong it was also my Birthday that day], our parents took us to the studio to take a photograph. I still remember standing on a table, in the studio next to my little sister who was sitting in a tiny bucket like chair. Both my parents & the photographer were busy arranging the scene & making sure my sister would not fall off. Nobody really noticed the 6 year old standing next to her who was worrying how she was supposed to pose.

Finally when the photograph came after 3 days, it pictured a cute little baby sitting smartly & her elder sister standing next was holding her shoulders so stiff & hands so straight that it looked like her fingers were straining to touch the ground. That picture is still there in a small frame in the dining room showcase in my parents house. Every relative on my Mother’s & Father’s side also takes pains to show it to me whenever I go to visit them.

Some people, even though don’t look so good in real life look great in pictures. And for some, their photographs don’t do them justice. As for me, I cant lay claim to either of these…….I am perfectly ordinary looking & look extra lousy in photographs.

When I turned 22 my parents convinced me to get my pictures taken from GK Vale[almost all women in & from Bangalore will know this place] so that it could be handed over to certain connected people for matrimonial reasons. I went unwillingly but with a faint hope in my heart.

GK Vale didn’t let me down. I almost didn’t recognise myself …I mean the girl in the picture was me but she looked beautiful…...could it really be me??????

For the first time in my life I walked around with my pictures tucked into my Literature books & it sort of fell out unknowingly & my classmates or acquaintances who picked it up gaped at the transformation. I took many passport copies of it & used them everywhere. Yeah they went into my passport also.

After that, my wedding pictures were again taken by GK Vale & they were not too bad either.

Then all went downhill from there. Today, whenever we go out of the country the person at the immigration looks sharply at the picture & then at me & then again at the picture & finally hands the passport back very hesitantly.

I clearly see the question in their eyes “whatever happened????"
I so badly want to answer “A steady diet of junk & 2 kids happened”

Our family album has a lot of pictures of our kids, parents, siblings, even visitors all taken at various occasions. Nobody really notices that I’m there in very few of them. Only my mom & my sister will complain that there is not much of me. I field their questions with “Well, somebody has to take the pictures”.

The funny thing is, when I look back now & see the same pictures……they don’t look so bad…..well ok I was a bit skinny & had a few spots on my face but other than that I was alright…..almost pretty.

Going by the above logic, I have slowly started letting my better-half & kids take my pictures, joining people to pose for photographs…...comforting myself that few years down the lane they won't look so bad to my eyes.

What about you? Do you like posing for photographs? Do your pictures make you look good???? Do your pictures make you FEEL good about yourselves????

Saturday, 3 January 2009

To Blog or Not to Blog

It was 6.45am. I slid out of bed without making a noise, scrabbled on the table for my glasses, wore them & headed towards the door. At the door I turned once to look at my better-half who was fast asleep, grinned guiltily to myself & headed towards the laptop to switch it on.

As I double-click on the dial-up icon I can hear the bed creaking as my better-half gets up.

“Shoot” I mumble, shutting the laptop with a gentle click, rush to the curtains & pulled them apart to let the morning sunshine in.

I look back, to see him watch me quizzically & I strive to smile carelessly. He then trains his sight onto the laptop & a tiny green light blinks to tell him the truth, which I was frantically trying to hide.

Letting out a deep sigh & without saying a word he opens the front door to pick up the morning newspaper. And I exit the room on the pretext of making coffee, all the while feeling like a kid with her fingers caught in the cookie-jar.

The better-half is usually a rational man thru & thru. A man of very few words, a great husband, wonderful father, he is gentle, caring, considerate, stickler for rules, infact for the first 3-4 years of married life I kept wondering if he was for real. Now I’ve gotten used to his ways but my friends remain amazed to this day.

No, no, no I’m not just saying for the sake of it……..I don’t call him my better-half for nothing. He is better than me in all respects & frankly he’s the best the Almighty could have given me.

I hunt for a shortcoming to pin on him. Ummmm…..…hmmm.. well ok he is a bit of a Chauvinist…….Me Man, Me feed my Family, Me protect them from all danger types…. which gets a bit too heavy handed sometimes…..but it is a fault I can magnanimously overlook since it is better than “I Me Myself” and Oh yes how could I overlook this weakness of his………he watches a lot of TV.

He knows I have a blog & must have visited it a grand total of 3 times, each time at my insistence. As long as I was blogging from the office he had no problems. Though he never once verbally put my blog down, he treats it like something I do because I had a lot of time on my hands. Well he is right about the last part but I still don’t like the insinuation

When I was working, I hardly went online from home coz I was online fulltime at the office. But now at home he doesn’t approve of the time I sit tapping away on the laptop….he wants me to use the time more constructively like………like sit & watch TV with him & the kids.

Its been like this from the time I stopped working. He thinks I can do better things with the time I sit down & blog. To avoid needless arguments I prefer to do all my blogging & commenting when he is away at work. But somehow he still manages to catch me at it & makes me feel guilty.
A man who never surfaced before 8.30am during weekends was getting up at 7am to……to…...well he has to be doing this deliberately.

No, no, don’t mistake me, he doesn’t create any unsettling situations….just says innocuous stuff like “phone line was engaged for a long time”, or heaves a few deeeep sighhhs which sends across the message more effectively than any long winded lecture.

Then 1 day I burst out in indignation…..whole 2 minutes of righteous indignation….which started with…..

“Why does everything I do……”

And ended with….

“I’m so miserable!!!!!!!!!!”

Carefully looking away, I rushed out of the room, sat alone & shed a few tears of self-pity.

My case & arguments didn’t sound very strong…….somewhere inside me I wondered & still wonder if he is right. Maybe I shouldn’t expend so much time on my blog. That much time could be utilized in teaching Nikita her Hindi or I could arrange the cupboards or do some other constructive work.

He came after a few minutes & took me back to the living room…..to watch TV. No words were spoken…well his nature is such that if he had said anything I would have fallen off my chair.

As of now I don’t say the situation has dramatically changed but its much better…..his face doesn’t reveal much & I know for sure his feelings are still the same but I’m guessing that some of what I said must have had some effect & he does realise that I do need something to do ‘For Myself’.

The reason I wrote the whole situation out is to find out if any one of you out there is facing the same problem or situation from your parents or partners.

If YES, how do you deal with it??????? I sure could use some tips!!!!!!!!!!

And if NO, you've simply got to tell me your secret!!!!!!!!!!!!