Friday, October 30, 2009

On a Jet Plane...yet again!

I`m leaving for India in a couple of hours.
Yes, yet again!
This time, to drop Ma back. But I`ll be back. Soon, I promise.
Wish me luck.

Thank you All, for all the warm comments and emails. I dont think I would have survived this difficult phase without all your love and support.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Hello People,
I know I have been away for the longest time. I dont even know whether anyone reads my stuff anymore.. But I wanted to thank all of you for the warm comments and the queries. Needless to say, I miss reading all of you. And that I hope I`ll be back soon.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Words smash against each other.
Bowling pins crashing frame after frame.
The clamor of a perfect strike slicing through the soul.
Chronicles of the past carelessly strewn.
Irrelevant. Ill-timed. Inapt.
Creeping tendrils of Thoughts.
Some twirl around the tongue and snarl.
Others drift.
A coiling miasma.
Pervading. Nauseating. Gagging.
Tears plunge down to the lips, sit there and smirk.
Refusing to stay. Refusing to move.
Spikes of rage abate.
Molten lead dumped into ice.
Scared whimpers wrench the mind; twist it into a crushed pretzel,
And mindless crumbs fill the emptiness.
Then,Fear takes over.
Freezing the fringes into an iron chain swung hard.
Whiplashed again. And again.
Explosive paroxysms. Bitter ache. And a slow dying.
Bit by bit.
Piece by piece.
And yet I find no weight. Nor resistance.
Just familiar. Just self spun. And routine.
Amidst them I stand; A doleful spectator
On my knees and begging,
Collecting pieces of lucid illusions(now broken, decayed..)
that I once helped create.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A bit of this..A bit of that!

It feels strange to be back to my fav coffee shop,writing again. Almost like returning back home after a really longggg vacation.I dont know what I`ll be writing about.I dont really have an agenda; So let this be a bullet post.
***I met the G`s collegue and his wife at someone`s bday party. And the wife pretended she`s never met me before! The truth is that we have been to their place for dinner TWICE! Either she`s a super bitch who was trying to convey what perfect 'non-entities' The G and I were. Or she entertains so much that its difficult for her to remember all her guests! Whatever the reason, it left a bitter undertaste. And I`m in no hurry to attend another 'office' party again!
NOTE: Thanks to Sols, I now know she`s pbly sick(yes,literally so!)

*** A cousin`s wife has gone crazy uploading their family pics on social networking sites. It would have been one happy collection, but for the fact that her pose in each picture makes me sick. Who dangles sunglares over the front buttons(unfastened) and sticks each thumb inside the trouser pockets(sometimes even latches them 'casually'!) and stands like the Queen of Sheeba, fingers splayed out over the ample thighs, just to make the stark white stripes on the sides of the trousers stand out in contrast?? Who does it?? And ohh dear me, WHY??!! It makes my blood boil. The G says,"Ignore. Dont see them if it makes you so mad,". How can I not, when each day there are 100 pictures literally smothering my webpage?
Disclaimer: Normally I would never discuss looks and attires. Never ever.But then again, I have my moments!

*** We had a neighbourhood potluck party which was awesome - more so because we finally met our original home owners - the ones who made the house that we now own,from scratch. He(lets call him P.O) is an ex-fighter pilot of the US AirForce who fought during the World War 2 and she is a homemaker now. They are such warm,wonderful people and they so reminded me of my grandpa.
Along with Subhash Chandra Bose`s Indian National Army(or the Azad HInd Fauj), my Grandpa fought for the freedom of our country from the Britishers,1943 onwards. Incidentally the INA(and my Grandpa) fought against the Allied forces - the side P.O was fighting for!!. I had a fabulous time hearing P.O`s tales. Imagine talking to someone like that! He is the history we read about!!
I never missed my grandpa so bad.
Incidentally I have several books and memoirs that grandpa wrote - a beautiful legacy that he`s left behind.

***I finally started driving lessons. Yes, finally after three years of dilly-dallying and utter disregard(read lassitude) for the unwavering requests by The G! And guess what suddenly brought about the change?
The fact that my sister has started driving(licence et al)!!
The G was aghast at the rivalry I still feel towards my kid sister(who is no longer a kid but has a kid of her own,whom she has to drive to play school and hence the licence!)!
"Whatever works," he said.
And so its been uneventful so far, but for minor ripples. Like the time I drove the car over someone`s lawn at 12 in the night and had their dog literally rip me apart, but for the fact that I was inside the car! Seriously!
That and the fact that I stopped at a busy intersection while taking a right turn because I forgot to accelerate(I had practiced turning in a parking lot with the brakes on and no acceleration!)!! Other than that and a near hysterical G, its been great!

***It is Mahalaya today; 5 months and 8 days now since Dad left us.
I remember Oh so fondly of how we would wake up to 'Birendra Krishna Bhadra`s Mahisasura Mardini'. Mom Dad would sit around the radio, chatting up over hot cups of tea, while my sister and I would lazily snuggle inside the blankets and let the music soak our souls. Later Dad would bring fresh,hot jalebis from the market and we would have it over breakfast.
Today is yet another Mahalaya. A year back, if anyone would have asked me to think of a Mahalaya without Dad, without jalebis, without the radio, I would have dismissed it off as a crazy thought. BUt here I am,struggling to find a sense of peace, while all that I loved and cared for,slowly seems to ebb away..
I wont say it has been easy. But I have been making conscious efforts. Efforts not to cry or despair. Not to always grieve over what I have now lost. BUt rejoice over what I have gained all my life. Its not easy. But I am trying.
So today morning, over 'Mahisasura Mardini'(A tape which Dad gifted me JUST LAST YEAR!!Did he know he would be gone?), I prepared a batter for the jalebis and left them on the counter top to ferment.
Things are not what they used to be. But then again, neither am I.

Life does goes on, you know. And so must I..

Ohh and did anyone notice that my Indirank has fallen from 79 to 71 to 63? Is it even important? And if it is, just how low do you think I`ll stoop? :):)

That`s all for now. More later.. Have a fabulous weekend,People!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Earth Laughs in Flowers

Ok People, as promised, here are the pictures of my plants.
Striped Purple Petunia

Petunia Rosie(red and white), Red, Violet Star, Plum burst and Pink brocade Petunia

Pink and Yellow Zinias - note the half-eaten(by rabbits!)pink one in the center - before I took over. And the fresh blooming yellow and pink ones on either side! - AFTER I took over :)

Red Geranium

Angelonia or 'Angel Mist'(Love the name!)

And tada! The best of the lot! Tiger`s Eye Gold Daisy

Mostly kept by the front porch right now(for fear of rabbits and gophers!)

And some, near the unfinished flower beds I`m preparing

So if I`m not seen around in the Blog World as often as I would like to, you now know the reason why! :):)

Disclaimer: I have to admit that the idea of starting a garden goes to my MIL and that she did water the plants for a little while. But they are all my babies. I have been tending to them with the utmost love and care I can. Arent they all lovely?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Doing Nothing and them some more..

Ok People, I know I haven`t quite kept up with the Blog World. BUt I shall get back and soon. Right now,I am busy doing nothing. And then some more. I have simply been taking it easy. Relaxing after a long time. Just letting myself be.
I have this newfound interest in gardening these days! Have been trying to grow some flowers :) What`s amazing is that plants respond if you talk to them. They really do. So I`ve been roaming around, talking to my plants, watering them, letting them soak up the warm sunshine and telling them stories of happier times. It makes them smile. It makes me smile too.I promise to put up pictures of my flower garden in the next post.
And then, The G and I had a midweek movie and a dinner date yesterday. Watched 'Inglorious Bastards'. Frankly speaking, Quentin Tarantino really isnt my type of guy. But I loved the movie all the same. Just as I have liked most of his other movies. Brad Pitt was awesome in this one. As always.
But movies arent what I want to talk about today.
Let me share something with you.
I am not a baker. Never have been. But I have always longed to be. I remember how excited my kid sister and I would be when Ma would bake a cake at home. The good old oven would be out, cleaned up and ready. And we would vigorously beat the batter for Ma and wait patiently(well almost!) for Ma to finish, so we could lick the bowl! Those were such happy times.
So finally today I decided I had to bake. And what better way to start than with a German Black Forest Cake. It wasn`t as difficult as I had imagined(God bless the man who invented a blender!). But the final dressing took a painfully long time. Gah. Patience is what I so need to cultivate!
Hopefully it will taste as great as it looks.
See for yourself.
What d`ya think guys? :):)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Desolation Row??

For the longest time, I have been thinking about an incident that a close friend happened to narrate about someone she knew.
He is a 50 year old man, a German by birth; adopted by American parents; happily married for the last 20 years with grown-up children of his own; living the American Dream. For years and years,he had been trying to trace his biological parents. And about a year ago,when he finally did,they were gone. But he could still reunite with the rest of his family including a younger brother he never knew he had.
The whole episode has a bollywoodish tinge to it. Without the theatrics.
Such is reality. Such is life.
I just havent been able to stop thinking about it.
Imagine the joys and fears of finally having traced one`s parents after years and years of struggle and anticipation, only to find them dead. Imagine the horror. Imagine never learning why he was abandoned, while the rest of the family lived on to have normal lives. Imagine not knowing any of those answers at all.

Which brings me to an important issue I have been thinking about for ages now. I still havent found an answer.

Visualize this. You make a huge investment of trust in your parents for several years, only to realize that you dont know who they are at all. Imagine having to return back to the drawing board to restructure them again.
Which brings me to the question I have been asking myself for the longest time now.
Do you think it`s wise for a child to know that he is adopted?
At what age and under what circumstances should he be told?
At what age do you think, a mind develops enough tensile strength to stretch, but not break under the horror of this knowledge?

Monday, August 17, 2009

I, Me, Myself..

After almost a span of five years,I have again felt this need to read 'The Fountainhead'. For me, it is therapeutic at many levels. It has always been.
(For the uninitiated, Ayn Rand is a Russian-American Philosopher/Novelist who developed the theory of Objectivism.)

"My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." -Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand's endorsement of self-interest before that of others,basically shows her rejection of the ethics of altruism,which all of us are taught since childhood - a moral obligation to live for the sake of others, to keep others` interests in mind before our own, to be thoughtful of others and not selfish.
She said that every individual's own life is his or her own highest value; rationality is every human being's highest virtue, and one's own happiness is the highest purpose of one's life.
That makes perfect sense, doesnt it?
There will be and has always been many to criticize her philosophy. They claim that her vigorous adherence to objectivism can have hazardous psychological effects. Some say that her theories are incomplete and sketchy.Most others claim that her theories are in black and white, with no scope for shades of grey.Whatever the criticism, Ayn Rand continues to influence my life in more ways than one.
Over the years, I have allowed myself to be pulled into the flow,to be dragged into a herd, standing in the line, conforming,bending,evading,pandering to the needs of others before my own,compromising. I can hardly think of a thing that I did for my own happiness and not because others wanted it/liked it/approved of it. And in doing so, I`ve lost track of who I was and what I had wanted to be.
Today I am so lost, that I cant spend 5 minutes of my life without wondering if what I do is going to be liked/approved or disapproved by others who surround me. I cannot think for myself. It could be anything really. Even a simple thing as wearing a pair of favorite shorts on a hot summer day, without the fear of being smirked/talked about by those close to me. A stamp of approval that is not my own,seems so important. Important enough to twist my life in a route such that I might never find my way back again.
There was a time when I had a hand-painted(by me ofcourse!) Ayn Rand quote up on my walls. It made me smile. It made me feel alive. Today, as I`m grappling to resurface, to break free from the rusted roots, I`ve put it up again.

"I swear — by my life and my love of it — that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Most of the Time..

Wednesday April 8, 2009 5:03am
Apollo Hospital, Ranchi – Room no. 203

I sit here typing, while my father lies on the reclined hospital bed in front of me. Once in a while he looks towards me and I ask him if he wants a sip of water. He quietly looks on and I know he`s thirsty. I hold him up and try to force in a sip through his pursed lips. He chokes. I struggle to make him sit up. Tears roll down some more. And he`s found himself another breather. When does it all end, I wonder. Every once in a while he raises his fingers in a questioning gesture, reaching out for my mother`s hands. And I see her caress his chest and tell him that she`ll be fine. He should not worry about her anymore. She will be just fine. And tears roll down some more.
I sit and chant a prayer over and over again.
Om. Aanandmayi. Chaitanya mayi. Satyamayi. Paramay. Om. Aanandmayi. Chaitanyamayi. Satyamayi. Paramay.
It calms my mind. It gives me enough strength to wish for the end to come soon. It gives me the strength to let go.
I look at my parents together. I keep looking. I want to capture it all and bury it deep within my heart, so I never forget. The two of them together. Not like this. But during happy times.
When Dad could speak clearly, all that he asked of me is to make his going peaceful. That`s all he had wished for. And a chocolate cookie.
How does a person die, I wonder. Is it when the soul is satisfied that one`s work on this earth is done and one must now depart? What happens if the soul is not ready to give up just yet, not even when the body has?
I hear my father talking in his delirium. He reaches out his hand and asks for his mother. He shakes me and points towards the door. He asks me to let his mother in. He tells me he`s going home. To his mother.
And I sit here crying in relief. Because now I know that wherever he will be, he will be at peace. Because he will finally be with his mother.

Yet another morbid post,People. But this is something I just felt like sharing. Something I had written when I was with my Dad in the hospital. He left three days later.
Its been 4 months today.
And yet it seems like an eternity since I`ve heard him, seen him, hugged him close.
It still hurts as bad.
I know most of you must be tired of reading such morbid thoughts from my side all the time. BUt bear with me, my friends. This is the only outlet I have. Maybe I do it for sympathy. Maybe I think that some words of comfort might be therapeutic. Different people have different ways of coping with grief. Mine pbly is to fish for sympathy. Whatever the reasons, it helps me unburden. It helps me loosen up. So bear with me. Please do.

"Most of the time
I'm clear focused all around,
Most of the time
I can keep both feet on the ground,
I can follow the path, I can read the signs,
Stay right with it, when the road unwinds,
I can handle whatever I stumble upon,
I don't even notice she's gone,
Most of the time."
- Bob Dylan

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words - Chicago 2009

I`m back,People.
And here are some pictures for you to enjoy, while I`m trying to think of something interesting to write! :)

Dancing in the Rain


Tangled up in Blue

You and I..

Buckingham Fountain

Sky HIgh


And Earth


Monday, August 3, 2009

A much needed Break

Hello People,
I`m off to Chicago for a 3-days trip. Lord knows,I do need a break(if I stay one more day at home cooking,I shall either kill those around me or die trying!). I shall not be reading my favorite blogs for a while. But needless to say, I shall be back. And soon. Until then, here`s something for all of you(the narcissist in me just couldnt resist this!) - its a picture of me on a pontoon. A fabulous afternoon. Just drifting along, as I always have. Shimmering waters. Casual banter. Some music playing in the distance somewhere. The sound of it all reaching my ears. But not quite. More pictures later. For now,I`m signing off. Shall be back soon.

That`s me sitting by myself at the edge of the pontoon

The Pontoon from where we took off

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Past lives and other worlds..

I have always admired people who can run on a treadmill. Because I never can. Normally I walk on the treadmill. And I almost always listen to 'Brothers in Arms' while doing so. No other music album holds my interest long enough for me to burn a few hundred calories on the treadmill. I get bored easily.
So today,there I was listening to my favorite songs and panting away.And suddenly came the song 'Why Worry'. It made my heart stop just for a minute.
I was 10 when my Dad introduced me to Dire Straits. This song was a personal favorite then. It continues to remain so.
That was the beginning. And then there was no looking back.
My best pal had once gifted me a cassette back in school(yeah we had magnetic tapes with two brown spools back then! Hmmphh! Am I getting old?!!) with all our favorite songs recorded.
> Crying in the Rain
> Its yesterday Once more
> Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow polka dot Bikini
> Top of the World
> Johnny Get Angry
> California Dreaming
> Cherish
> Bridge over Troubled Water
> And the best one : That`s what Friends are for..
The tape`s old now, its reels cachectic over time. But I still have it. I still cherish it. I still listen to the songs(on youtube now).
Over the years, my taste in music has grown. From Dire Straits to The Beatles to Rabindra Sangeet to Lata`s melodies to Floyd and Led Zep to Dylan and Baez and back to good ol` country music. And then again, to some beautiful songs from unnamed bands and vocalists. But the songs I liked as a little girl, I still do.
Same for books. I could still spend an entire afternoon reading 'Anne of Green Gables', Noddy books or 'Trixie Beldon'. We never had Harry Potter back then. I still havent found the inclination to read or see any.
I still like the same food. Home made Indian meal. We never had Thai/Mexican/Greek restaurants in Ranchi. We still dont. I never knew what any other food tasted like. I still dont find much interest(though I sometimes do try out newer stuff). I disliked fruits and veggies. I still do.
I have a collection of things from the past which I cherish. Old letters. Cards. Photographs(some damaging ones too!). Crafts which I made in school. Old diaries. A paper doll house. A miniature tea set from childhood. A dried jacaranda leaf which a close pal once gave me. Old posters that once brightened up my room(one of Sachin Tendulkar too! Geez!). An old scrap book from the first years at school and a Geography project on Volcanoes done years later. Some 50-year old slender aluminum boxes for storing syringes(this one from grandpa`s collection). Zippo lighters(from dad`s). And thanks to Mom, a couple of dresses from when I was a year old and a crochet lampshade she had once made.
I still like the same people. I still dislike the same ones. I still have a couple of close friends from school. NONE from college. And a couple of recent friends who have almost become family. It`s difficult for me to go out and make new friends.
I`m still the same. Fond of dogs and radio shows. Still dislike the concept of a circus and a zoo. Still mortally scared of birds. Childishly excited at times. Opinionated. Stubborn. Angry. Never letting myself forget. Or forgive.

I sometimes wonder if it`s healthy for the human psyche to roam around with the past clinging around one`s neck like rosary beads. Gagging at times.
But then again, I feel content. Sheathed in the old dreams. Vivid. Happy. Fascinated.Sad.Scared. Roaming around the world aimlessly. Like a lost soul.
For all I know, I may have just become one...
I sometimes wonder if this is normal. If it is okay to never allow myself to grow up. Never open up to new ideas, new people, new horizons.
Is there anyone who feels the same way? Or is it just me?

All my best memories come back clearly to me.
Some can even make me cry. Just like before.

Its yesterday once more.
- Carpenters

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Lesson Learnt - Part 4

April 21,2009

It was the hottest day this summer, or so it seemed. The heat was killing me. The sun was burning my soul. It was the day we had arranged a prayer service at home, for Dad.
I stood by the door, mind of stone, watching the priest recite prayers for Dad. Every once in a while I looked over at Dad`s picture and smiled. He smiled back. Dad wasnt religious. Neither am I. I knew how amused he must be, at all the dramatics going on. More on this at a later post.
Just then, I saw a rickshaw pull up by the door and a little girl, all of four, hop off with a bottle of Pepsi in her hands. Before her mum could realize what was happening, she held it out to the rickshaw puller and said," Here. Arent you hot?"
The mother yanked her away and bent down to talk to her. She was fuming.
"Now that you`ve given your bottle away, don't come crying to me when you`re thirsty!"

I was stunned. For several reasons.
Here was a four year old teaching us one of life`s most valuable lessons.
The need to be perceptive. The need to be a little more sensitive. And yet, was being reprimanded for being 'naughty'.
I glared at the mother. You have the power to shape up your child, I thought. Go on, make a devil out of her, so she never thinks of sharing a cold drink with a tired rickshaw puller ever again.

It is true that children are more sensitive. Because children are simple. Children are not 'objective', so to say.
We as adults fight wars all around, all the time. And it has become a question of who breaks whom. It is spartan. It is all-consuming and frenzied. It is a paradox. This desperate urge to conquer. To covet. And the urge to please. To conform. To follow suit.
Children dont understand such complexities of life. They live uncomplicated ones.
We dont understand the complexities of life as well. Hence we think we live uncomplicated ones too.
But you and I know that I am not seeing uncomplicated any more. When exactly we parted ways is difficult to pin point...somewhere between my first date and getting married, I guess.
You were on the same bus,remember?
The obliviousness of the next turn of life has just become so increasingly fuzzy. For both you and me.
Is that why our minds are so blurred?
Is that why the sensitivity of our souls has simply gone up in smoke?

This particular episode brought back memories I had long forgotten.
A long, long time ago, I was standing at the door and fighting over the five extra rupees that a rickshaw puller was demanding one such hot afternoon. And Dad came out and quietly asked,"What do you propose to do with the five bucks you manage to save today?"
Lesson learnt. For Life. The value of empathy. The need to be sensitive. The need to let go of pettiness.
And as I looked backed at the picture and thought of the man who had taught me to live, I knew it was Dad. That he was around. Showing me the way yet again.

Not that I`m a fan of Mahatma Gandhi, but there`s one quote of his that makes sense to me.
"Be the change you want to see in this world."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Happy Things

The Chic Geek asked me in a comment about my 'favorite simple pleasures'. It set me thinking. Simple things that make me happy. What better way to spend an afternoon than to think of the things that I love. Of things I can think of and suddenly smile. So here goes, even though The Chic Geek seems to have covered most of mine in her own list!

1. Sunshine and colorful gift wrappers
2. A hot cup of coffee and a cinnamon coffee cake
3. Children playing in the rain.
4. Children playing.
5. Plastic tambourines and a goldfish bowl
6. Warm fleece slippers and a blue comforter
7. A good book ; A lazy afternoon
8. A coffee shop; A snow mobile
9. Shrimps ; Smell of sauted onion in cinnamon-cardamom spice mix
10. The smile of a two year old
11. Bumble bees and Yellow flowers
12. A Nose Pin
13. Warm sand and Stars on a moonless night
14. Soft music, A wooden guitar and Old photographs
15. Smell of fresh baked bread
16. Thunder, Dogs and A black dress
17. Handycams and Food Processors
18. Old letters, White stationary and Photo frames
19. Baby clothes, See-saws and Warm hugs
20. A bubble bath, A hot oil massage
21. Cigarettes, Vodka in orange Juice and Motorbikes
22. Molten chocolate cake
23. A log cabin; A Piano
24. Meatballs , Mangoes
25. A long drive, A snowstorm

That`s about all I cant think of right now. Its a pretty honest compilation of my favorite things. Does it say anything about the person I am?

P.S - It took me less than 5 minutes to think of about 40 things that always make me smile. Small things. Magic things.
And yet, for an entire lifespan I have been roaming around,a lost soul,in search of peace. In search of happiness..
Can I therefore conclude that Happiness is simply a state of mind? That circumstances dont bring happiness, but the way I choose to react to them, does? That every time I feel unhappy, bitter, angry or discontent, I should know that I always have a choice. That I can choose to remain bitter and unhappy, or I can fall back on this list and choose to feel happy? Happy to be alive. Happy being me. Happy Just Because...

Monday, July 13, 2009

You and I..

The sun bursts through the darkness.
The sky,a downy, feathery mesh or such like..
The wind whistles through the distant pines.
Zinnias blossom.
Birds chirp. A teapot boils over. A baby smiles.
Children play with cutaway plastic tambourines.
Life goes on.
And then there`s You and I.
Not afraid of shadows. Not even of the dark anymore.
Sometimes flaky. Sometimes childlike.
But mostly slower. More programmed.
No tunnels of escape.
Comforted by the sound of music in hot cups of coffee;
And the smell of faraway lands.
Dewy nights. Quivering lips. And a blanket of stars.
Thirty two miles closer. Thirty five nights apart.
One teardrop meets another. A wilting smile slowly ebbs..
Words tumble in the mind like marbles in a game of rolley hole.
While some get cached in heartbeats.
Mist laden dreams dangle on a silver moonbeam.
While lonely shores are washed by fire.
A smothered wail. A torpid mind.
A wavering soul. A skittish laugh.
Lines of fate twirl around. A slow tango to the beat.
Blue skies. Deep eyes.
And then there`s You and I.
Poised on a silver thread,ambling along. A peregrine. A peasant. Fostering your dreams under the moon. Spraying them with tears and sweat. Corralling the sunbeams in your fist lest they dry those dreams away.
And I.
Sifting junk from old memories that sit and smirk.Some stink. Some smile. While I pour myself a glass of red wine and wait for the sun to rise.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


After much debating, I have decided to take down my last post "Drunk on Power".
The reasons are simple.

1. Confrontation scares me. Its unnerving at many levels.

2. This post was unwarranted.Totally and Completely. Personal grievances are one thing. Making a mockery of someone`s parents on a public forum is totally uncalled for, no matter what the circumstances.

3. I`m at a stage where every day is a struggle. I`m still battling to hold onto the last remaining vestige of sanity after Dad`s death. I see him standing by my bed, watching me shrivel up and cry. I want to reach out. I do. And yet, he moves just out of grasp. And at a time like this, I sit and think of the people who have been around. And those who havent.
And herein lies the root of all troubles.
Presumptions that 'Family' shall always be around. That they shall(atleast once) bother to ask about you and your Mom.And just how you`re doing.
Or defend you when no one does.

That is where the bitterness stems from. And manifests outwardly into an outburst like this.
"Drunk on Power" shall remain in my drafts.
I shall publish it once I know I am ready to stand up and fight.

Until then, my deep gratitude to people who have sent in comments. I shall reply to each one of those here in the next post. My sincere apologies to you all.

But for now,I need to take this post off. At a time when I`m grappling to come to terms with my own loss, I may have bitten off more than what I can chew. I dont need any added headaches right now. And hence, this decision.

P.S - Its been three months today since Dad passed away. Three whole months.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Little things. Magic things.

Deeps tagged me to do this picture post a few weeks back. I thought about it and then I thought some more. Its difficult to put in words, the journey into adulthood. So I shall simply post pictures in a chronological order for you to read the story hidden beneath.

Pic 1 : Piper with Ma : a few days old

Pic 2: Piper with Grandpa : a few weeks old

Pic 3: Piper at 9 months

Pic 4: Piper with Dad - a year and a half

Pic 5: Piper with Lil Sis

Pic 6: Piper`s first day at School

Pic 7: Piper`s first official passport size photo for the school bus pass(Note the scowl!)

Pic 8: Piper then

Pic 9: Piper Now..

Long time ago I did a post on how incredible it is, the way a child moults into an adult. The wires click right in place as we traverse the journey of life and at some point we cease to be children, roaming around the world in wide-eyed wonder, without fear. Without hurt. Without anger. At some point we cease to be clueless little kids,fascinated by the world in all its splendour, smiling at ourselves in the mirror, crying and yet not knowing just how bad the strength of those tears will eventually hurt.
I yearn to go back to the time when I was happy. I long for the time when I didnt know how else to be.
At what point did my mind register fear, I wonder? At what point did my world mutate into a stage where year after year I continued to play a myriad roles? When did I start to bend,twine,tangle into a twisted mass of pretzel,never to untangle again? When did my scraped knees and broken bones suddenly become easier to fix than my broken heart? And Why exactly? When, inside all the grey matter did the circuits click in place, so that little things, magic things suddenly disappeared, never to come back again?

I often wonder.. Do you?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day, America!

Disclaimer: Gross Exaggerations and stereotyping coming up. NO OFFENSE MEANT. All in good humor.

America, Where Oil is the blood that runs through the veins of the motherland;
Where it`s no longer "My SUV is bigger than yours" but "My Hummer is better than yours".

Where no longer is it only drive-through fast food and coffee shops, but drive-through drug stores.

Where gun laws are liberal, 'pro-life' activists flagrant and Darwinism considered an ancient fairytale.

Where people blissfully live life 'Mac D' size, while politicians watch Russia from their front porch!

Where Friday evenings are a 'Budweiser-ish Blur'.
While Saturday afternoons bring Families together to 'A Prairie Home Companion'.

And then there are the Americans themselves. A distinct conglomerate of the incredibly bright, the incredibly dull, the incredibly warm and the incredibly honest set of people I`ve met; who make my life here, a dream come true.
All of that.
And Bush is no longer President!

Happy Independence Day to All my American Friends. May you soon breathe free..

God Bless!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hello People!

Yeah..I`m still around.
For now, I just had to say hello and that I miss reading all of you. Shall resurface in a little while.
All is fine.
In-laws are visiting.
Feeling quite the outlaw myself. A rebelliously vocal one at that!
Still grappling to come to terms with what is and shall be.
Hence the absence.
But I shall be back. As always, I shall be back and soon! :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And Trouble..Yet Again!!

Mom`s purse got stolen from the train last night. She was traveling with my sister to Kolkata for a visa interview. She was traveling without Dad for the very first time in 36 years!
The loss wasnt substantial. The purse had an ICICI ATM card, a Kolkata sim card, Dad`s photograph and about Rs 2500 or so. After an hour`s anxious efforts to block the card, we finally managed to do so. The money in the bank was intact.
The F.I.R was lodged. And a (duplicate)return train ticket was issued. All was well. Atleast for the time being.
But I was angry. Angry as hell. We didnt need this. Really we didnt. One fuckin` trouble after another! Why us? Why us, all the fuckin` time???
*Apologies for swearing on a public forum!*

As I sat seething, a happy memory from the past crept its way back into my soul.

One friday afternoon,Ma took me and my sister to a fair to buy a pullover for Dad. With the two of us(all of 8 and 10) clinging onto her two arms, a spring in her steps and a sparkle on her lips, she set out. I remember roaming the entire stretch of the fair till Ma finally converged on a pullover that she found smart enough for Dad to wear! She bargained with the owner of the stall and settled for Rs 300. As she opened her bag to remove her purse, she realized it was gone! Someone had managed to slit the bag with a knife and remove the purse! She turned white, apologized to the owner and pulled us away from the stall. We quietly hopped onto a rickshaw and headed for Grandpa`s place where Dad was to pick us up on his way back from the Office.
I remember like it was yesterday.Ma broke down and cried the moment Dad returned.She had lost Dad`s hard-earned money... a few hundred bucks, she said. Dad simply laughed in reassurance and said its only money, just a few pieces of paper. It`ll come back.
I dont know if it did. But I do remember how Ma cheered up instantly. I remember that feeling of warmth that came from seeing them together this way..
When I heard Ma sobbing quietly on the phone, I wondered if she was waiting for Dad to return back, to reassure her that all was well. That it was only paper.
The loss wasnt really much, I told her. We`re lucky her passport wasnt in the purse! See, He`s up there looking over us, I said. We`ll be fine.
But it didnt feel fine. The whole thing left all three of us pretty shaken up. We could seriously do without this kind of trouble.
We spoke for a while about Dad. My sister and I cracked a few jokes about the visa interview. My aunt(one of the very few friends I have)talked of a few things from the times we were happy. And suddenly we were all ok. Once again, at ease.
We missed Dad. We missed the quiet assurance his mere presence gave us. But we are going to be fine,I thought.
We always have..

I sat alone in the den reminiscing. I wondered what I would do or say if Dad was to come back for a minute. I know he will not. Never ever.
But still..just in case.
And then there was a small thud. Perhaps in my mind.
Was it Dad?
Was it just my imagination? Or was it simply a tear landing softly on my soul...?

Sometimes its stifling. Nauseating. Like a huge weight on my chest. Sometimes it hurts so bad that I feel this pain will never end.
But I guess it does..
I hope it does someday..

Monday, June 15, 2009

And here I am again..

Thank you A, for tagging me on this. I appreciate the sensitivity of your thought that this tag will help me untangle and start writing once again. It has.
So here goes.

1) When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
"I was young when I left Home.."

"I was young when i left home
An' I been out a-ramblin' round
An' I never wrote a letter to my home.
Not a shirt on my back
Not a penny on my name
But I can't go home this a-way.."
- Bob Dylan (Who else?!!!)

2) How much cash do you have in your wallet right now?

About $30. And some $1 notes to tip the cool guy at the coffee shop.

3) What’s a word that rhymes with DOOR?
Sore. Bore. Pour.
Does that say anything about my state of mind?!

4) Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
A telemarketer from Chase(who insists on pronouncing my name as 'Mankashi'!!)

5) What is your favorite ring tone on your phone?
Ohh I`ve never been a stickler for ringtones. Just the standard T-Mobile thingy on.
Though back home, I had 'You and I in this beautiful world Green grass, Blue Skies in this beautiful world!' - the Hutch ringtone. Isnt the song simply splendid?

6)What are you wearing right now?
Ohh the usual. Jeans and a red tee.
No interesting answers here, unless I re-write this post at midnight ;)

7)Do you label yourself?
I guess I do.
Sometimes as an insecure pessimist. At times as an angry pessimist. But Mostly as a depressed pessimist.

8) Name the brand of the shoes you currently own?

A pair of Nike sneakers. And a couple of non-branded sandals. That`s all.
(Its interesting to note that personal branded/non-branded shoes collection gets increasing mention in so many blogs. Is that a matter of pride, to own 250 pairs of shoes?? Just wondering..)
In the same breath, here`s a joke.
A fat woman goes to the beach on a bright Saturday morning. She looks at the other women in bikinis and scoffs. And then she scoffs some more.

Yeah, either you have a dashboard stomach to flaunt or you think bikinis are immodest! :)

9) Bright or Dark Room?

Bright kitchen. Dark bedroom.

10) What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?
About A, who tagged me - I think she`s an awfully caring and sensitive person.

11) What does your watch look like?

I dont wear a watch.
Never wore one.
But now I have been carrying my Dad`s watch with me, which he wore till his last aching breath.

12) What were you doing at midnight last night?
Peering out of the guest room window, trying to figure out if its a racoon or just a rabbit scooting across the lawn!

13) What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
"The gym has a potty for god`s sake Mish!" - The G

14) What’s a word that you say a lot?
"Oh Shoot!" and "Aare Yaar!"

15)Who told you he/she loved you last?
The G.

16) Last furry thing you touched?
I`ve never touched anything furry.
Never intend to either!

19) Your favourite age so far
EIGHT. It was the year my Grampa bought me my first 'adult' bike. It was maroon, had two balancing wheels and curved handles, a black leather seat and a basket in front. And I was thrilled! The memory still makes me smile.

18) What was the last thing you said to someone?
Call me at lunch.

19) The last song you listened to?
"Mora Saiyaan Mose Bole na" - Fuzon.
Excellent song. A must hear(and hence the link!)

20) Where did you live in 1987?
Ranchi, India.
I have some pretty fond memories of the old house. Especially important is that of this huge well in the campus, that my mom tried so hard to warn us about.
"Dont go near the well. You`ll fall and I wont be able to pull you out", she`d chant religiously every evening when we moved out to play.
Cant help wondering if she knew I`d fall in anyway.

21) Are you jealous of anyone?
Not of anyone in particular. But sometimes, I do feel jealous of some women who have it all.
Parents. Children. And a job.

22) Is anyone jealous of you?

I dont think so. I dont have anything that anyone might want and not have.
Except for The G.

23) Name three things that you have on you at all times?
At all times eh?? Ahem!
Let me modify the qstn as three things I have at all times when I`m out of home. :)
Cell phone, wallet and keys.

24) What’s your favourite town/city?
It`ll have to be Pune, inspite of some pretty horrendous memories that I have tried in vain to bury deep inside.
And now of course, I`m beginning to fall in love with the Twin Cities here in the US.
This qstn reminds me of a post I did a long time back about roots. I dont really feel attached to any one particular place. Its always been the people around who`ve meant more to me.

25) When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?
In the year of the Lord 2005, when I was posted at Poonch, J&K.
Never ever wrote a letter after that. Have religiously stuck to email.
Incidentally, going through Dad`s things last month, we found three letters that he had safely preserved over the years.
- One that my Grandpa had written to his sister, from Japan in 1944. He was posted there as a Major in the Indian National Army, fighting along with Subhash Chandra Bose in the Azad Hind Fauj, against the Britishers during World War 2!
- One that my great grandpa wrote to me on my first bday! :)
- And the third One that Dad had written to me when I was a year old and away at my Grandpa`s place with my mom.

Amongst the other things which Dad had treasured and safely kept were my parents wedding card and a family photograph of his parents and siblings.

26) Can you change the oil on a car?
(Does that say a thing about who I am?)

27) Your first love/big crush: What is the last thing you heard about him/her?
My first crush??! Havent the faintest clue! Was some guy from a neighboring school we`d met at an inter-school recitation competition. My closest pal and me, both fell for him at once!! (J, if you`re reading this, do you remember that Ojha Guy?? He joined DAV after that).
My first love..well last I heard, he had married his cousin`s girl friend! :)
Ah! And to think his Mom thought I was weird?!!!!

28) Does anything hurt on your body right now?

My eyes, from lack of sleep. Spent the night trying to tell apart a raccoon from a rabbit.(Oooh! First time home alone in three years and its getting a little too much to handle!).
And my heart, from an unreasonable,overwhelming urge to hold my Daddy close, just once more. Just for a minute. Just one last time.

29) What is your current desktop picture?
Of The little devil(my nephew) trapped inside a laundry basket!

30) Have you been burnt by love?
Burnt. Bruised. Broken.
But up and running all the same.
On second thoughts, who hasnt?!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Back in the US of A..

And I`m back, though not quite on track.
Thank you all, for remembering me in your prayers. I`m deeply overwhelmed by the surge of emails and comments, asking me to come back.
I am back. But somehow, it feels dry. Words abandon me. I know not what to write.
No one wants to hear sob stories of my life. No one wants to read sad stuff. And that`s all I have left now. Or so it seems.
It feels awkward in my own home. So quiet. So alone. Listening to my own voice for company. No horns blaring. No one shouting. No cows on the road. No water-logged drains. No jostling and shoving. No fighting to board a train.No children playing in the gutters. No wiping of sweaty foreheads. No cursing the weather. No smell of sweat. No Mainland China. Or the neighbourhood tea stall. No arguments over cups of tea. No homemade yogurt. No smell of fish. No walks in the rain. No candles burning. No smell of incense rising up in the air.
It feels strange. It feels distant.
But that`s not because my life has suddenly changed.
Just that it always feels this way to return back to a country I dont belong to, to people I dont belong to, to a place I have no right over, to a nation where I am a 'resident alien' reduced to a numerical.
Doesnt it always feel that way to return back from home?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Immortality of Man

Here`s to you, Dad. I know you`re around somewhere, quietly watching over us,as you have always done..

How foolish to weep because a glorious sun has set,
which the next morning shall anyway gild the East again.

How foolish to mourn, that a mighty strength must yield to fate.

Oh!How foolish to shrink from pain,
Yet know that without its friendly strife
Joy could never be..

To make a terror of death
Who smiling, beckons us to farther life,
Like a bridge to a persistent breath;

How foolish to rend the Heart
To Despair and Anguish and the tragic grief
Of such disastrous tears or dry set eyes;
Yet know the strength of tears and the power of its relief.

How foolish to give in to all such man`s ghastly company of fears,
Which are born of the folly
that believes the span of physical life
To be the limit of Immortal man.

Sri Aurobindo, on the Immortality of Man:
Although consenting here to a mortal body,
He is Undying; limit and bond he knows not;
For Him, the aeons are a playground,
Life and its deeds are his splendid shadow.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

April,11 2009

Thank you people,for all your prayers and wishes. I wish I could respond personally to each one of you. I dont really have the heart to that right now.
Just thought of letting you know..My Dad passed away yesterday afternoon.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Updates from Dubai

Heyy.. Surprise!! :) Am waiting for the connecting flight back home at the Dubai International Airport. And realized that they have a wi-fi connection all over! :)
And I had to post this note right now.
I am so completely touched and overwhelmed by the flow of prayers and best wishes from all of you. Thank you my friends. I need all of it right now.
The Dubai airport is awesome. But I find myself a little uncomfortable. The racist that I am, I cant help feeling a little scared of the vast mob of people from all over the world - literally.
The flight from JFK to Dubai was uneventful. Could sleep throughout - needed three seats to lie flat! Is that too short or tall enough, I wonder?! The guy sitting on the fourth seat kept guzzling down beer like its going out of fashion. For most parts, it was good.
The next flight leaves in four hours. After I sign off(batteries dying), I shall sit and read 'Desirable Daughters' by BHarati Mukherjee. Anyone`s read this?
Anyway, Didnt realize I was so addicted to internet!
So long my friends. More updates later. And thank you all for thinking about me at this hour when I most need your support.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane

This is it,guys. I`m going home.
I`m leaving early tomorrow morning for New York. Spend the day at my sister`s place. And then catch the late night flight back home to Kolkata/ Ranchi.
I shall be off the blog world for the next few days..maybe weeks. Shall miss reading my favorite blogs.Shall miss letting my opinions be known. Shall miss writing.
But I shall be back. And when I do, hopefully you all will be back as well,so we can together pick up the threads from where we`re leaving them now.
Dad is in the hospital. I have to be there by his side.
Do pray that he makes it back home. And someday soon.
That`s all for now.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I am Me. And I am Good. Becos God dont Make No Junk!!

I took this Personality Test a few days back. I normally am pretty cynical about these tests but I have been astounded by the accuracy of this one. So here goes :

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Introverted (I)
Introversion is a preference to focus on the world inside the self. Introverts tend to be quiet, peaceful and deliberate and are not attracted to social interactions.

Yes,yes,yes!! But I wasnt always like this. Those who know me from school will probably be surprised reading this. Infact most of my family (Mom Dad and sis for sure!) would find this really astounding. I have always lived upto this image that people have had of me. In fact when I started writing this blog, the first few posts were claims of me being this bold,outgoing New Age woman!
Over the past couple of months, I realized that deep under the veil,that is not who I am. I dont like being that woman I talk about.
Me an introvert??!!
Yes, I am one. In fact I will go so far as to say that I`m a loner.
And I like it.
This is the person I am most comfortable being.

Sensing (S)
* Concrete
* Realistic
* Lives in the present
* Aware of surroundings
* Notices details
* Practical
* Goes by senses
* Factual
No, not quite true for me. Not at all true in fact. I wish I was more realistic. I tend to brush away worries under the carpet so I never have to deal with them. I`m like an ostrich that way. As long as I can bury my head in the ground and safely avoid looking trouble in the eye, I convince myself that it does not exist. I wish I was more practical about the world and its ways that I so grapple to live with.

Feeling (F)
* Decides with heart, subjective
* Dislikes conflict
* Passionate
* Driven by emotion
* Gentle
* Easily hurt
* Empathetic
* Caring of others
* Warm
:):) I guess this is me. Its ironic really. To quote from one of my previous posts:

"Over the years I have acquired a reputation for tactlessness, being too outgoing, too unconventional by standards set by a medieval society, too open and laughing at the wrong people at the wrong place, a worrying lack of respect for the hierarchy..while on the domestic front i continue to be startlingly naive."

"Well meaning" relatives and friends think of me as this person who wouldnt ever mince words or think twice before telling them exactly what I think of them. I have done that to a lot of people. I still do with some.
But it scares me if I have to. And I dont do it unless I feel like the world will collapse on my head. I hate to get into a confrontational mode. I hate being noticed. I`m the kinds who normally sneaks into a party(if I ever go to one!) unnoticed and quietly sit in the darkest corner to avoid people!
But trust me, that`s not something most people would imagine me to be! Not even those who think they *really* know me.
On maturer thoughts, No one *really* knows me except for The G.

Perceiving (P)
* Adaptable, Flexible
* Relaxed
* Disorganized
* Care-free
* Spontaneous
* Changes tracks midway
* Keeps options open
* Procrastinates
* Dislikes routine

Well, mostly true. Except for the first two points. I`m as stubborn and refractory as they come. A true Taurean Bull, if Linda Goodman is anything to go by. I have my own warped up ideas about how the world should be run and by whom. And nothing..I repeat NOTHING in the world can normally shake that idea!
Also, lately it seems that I can never relax. My mind is always in turmoil. Probably a reflection of how my life has been in the last few months, I`m guessing. It takes an effort on my part to sit still and relax. I wish I could do it more often.Like I would at one time.

So that makes me an : ISFP -

Much as I hate to, I must confess that this is an accurate characterization of who I really am. Behind the mask, there`s a cloak(just in case the mask is ripped off). Behind the cloak,there`s a thin veil holding back a fragile conglomerate of fragmented pieces of life. Like a yellow sponge cake. A smile here, a blow there. Lots of laughs thrown in for good measure. Memories soaked in tears and wrinkled and yellow over time. A generous mix of anger, bitterness and fear - lightly beaten into a batter and baked until ready to present to an unsuspecting world.. The mask, the cloak and the veil all hold up air within the batter, for it to rise evenly. To breathe free and clear. If these layers are peeled off, the batter collapses. The fragile conglomerate breaks. And I`m left cold and shivering.

That`s me, Guys. Or perhaps just an alter ego under the veil.
Love Me. Or Hate Me.
But Pray, Dont be Indifferent :)

And with that, my list shows a 100 posts (I still have a few unpublished ones, but I am so excited about this that I just had to share it with you).
A request to all my anonymous and silent readers. Do drop in to say hello, just this once. Just to celebrate this 100.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Please excuse the rather weird way the picture has been masked. Didnt know how else to do it :)

Having grown up in an obscurity called Ranchi, 'load shedding' as it is referred to, is not strange or unfamiliar. Infact we have erratic day-time electricity hours there, while in the evenings, 6pm to 7pm and every alternate hour thereafter until 11pm. I believe the situation is pbly not much better than what it was 20 years back.
Hence, while in the Indian Army Medical Corps,when I was posted to Mendhar, Jammu & Kashmir, the concept of 'no lights after dark' didnt come across as alien.
The most beautiful memories of those times are of the underground shell-proof bunker that I would live in. A wooden cot with electrical generator wires spiraling down from the ceiling onto a 60W bulb. Two buckets of water in a makeshift bathroom. Spending the day watching raindrops slowly darken the hay on the roof and blue clouds assimilate into weird, inchoate shapes. Fingers itching with a desperate urge to grab the sun by its rays,yank it out of hiding and pull it over and across the black night. Strumming the guitar every now and then and listening to my own voice for inspiration.
Hurriedly finishing up dinner before the generators go out at 10. Walking out into the darkness to hear the distant roll of thunder. Marvel at the sensuous silhouettes of autumn trees heavy with copper leaves and the tiny lights in the distant villages, like stars carelessly strewn down and across the mountain slope. Dreaming of unknown places yet to be seen and a lifetime of existence and not just survival.. Cozy up inside the comforter and read 'Thornbirds' by candle light. Every now and then pick up the lifeless telephone set and let a tear drop float down. Soak up the heartache and wonder when you`ll get to hear Ma`s voice at the other end of the line. Sending a silent prayer up above for making it through yet another day. And falling asleep wishing there was someone to share the darkness with.
Looking back, it was gratifying. To be able to stretch the boundaries of self created constraints and pushing myself through yet another day.
Today, to prepare for an hour of darkness, I walked across the aisles at the grocery store, picking up scented candles and flowers for the evening.And I couldnt help but wonder at the contrast. There`s a smile in my heart and love in my eyes as I send a silent prayer to the Heavens Above. Because I shall spend an evening by candle light again. And I shall not be alone.
Sometimes wishes do come true.

An appeal to everybody who`s reading this. On March 28, between 8:30pm to 9:30pm, Please VOTE FOR EARTH by switching off your lights for one hour.

As I prepare to do so myself, my heart goes out to all those I`ve left behind in my journey of life, who continue to live in darkness. May God Bless them! Jai Hind!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Visit to the Zoo

I am overwhelmed by all the wishes,prayers and hugs coming my way.I don't know how else to thank everybody. Hence this note.
When I wrote the previous post, I was in a state of shock. All that I needed was some assurance,some hope. I am still grappling to come to terms with what is.
I have no doubts in my mind as to what I should do at this hour of crisis.
I thank everybody for all your love and support.
Sometimes along the path of life, you come across things that appear black and white. But a closer look would reveal shades of grey, albeit microscopic at some levels. I am traveling one such path today.
But I`m smiling. Because I`m not alone..

On a brighter note,to celebrate the last day of Spring Break, The G and I went to the Como Zoo here at the Twin Cities. It was a perfect day.
Bright, colorful parents frantically running behind excited children. Excited children running around the enclosures, shouting "Mr. Tiger, Mr.Tiger, Can ye hear me?!!". Mr. Tiger hiding behind dark shadows and pretending not to hear.
Ohh and there were penguins too! Tiny flapping,waddling baby penguins that stood on the artificial banks and stared back. One even flapped its tiny wings in response to my wild flailing!
A growling,irate Gorilla sitting at the mouth of a cave,occasionally shielding its eyes from the intrusive glare of cameras.
Two big Orangutans. The Mommy clutching a ragged cloth with one long hand and the branches with the other, as she made her way to the top of the enclosure. A little baby hanging onto her neck and licking her all the while. And then perching on the top most branch, She wiped her little baby with the rag and looked down on us. We looked up and smiled.She merely smirked.
There was lots to see really.
One lone Zebra that stood there and hung its head. A mother giraffe that pushed its baby back and paced about guardedly.
Happy, dancing sea lions that came up for food every now and then. And dived back into the waters. Swimming their way through life.
A senile,doddering lion that lay with his head on a roll of rubber tyre. Submissive. Resigned. Tired. A bright colorful throng danced around the enclosure,making absurd gestures to draw his attention. A harried mother clung onto her charge for dear life.
"Look at his eyes! Can you see how angry he is?"
The child stood back and stared. So did I.
Indeed there was a glaze in those eyes.
I stared long and hard.
What it anger?

I came back home,humbled.

I woke up this morning to yet another new day. And it is the same. As alike, as it is distorted. As distorted as yesterday was from the day before. And I wonder how it will be tomorrow. I don't see a pattern. I don't remember what I was thinking when I woke up, or what I dreamt, or what was the last thought I had before I fell asleep.
And I wonder.
The leaves of the trees move with the wind but there is never the same pattern in which the tree will sway.
I think about those fleeting moments when I`ve marveled at the beauty of the creator.The last time it was the smile of a two year old. As also, the loving caress of a mother orangutan. Or the lion as it lay with his head on a roll of rubber tyre. Finally he can relax, let go. The fight is over. The inevitable has occurred. Yet the look in his eyes stays clear in my mind.
What did it say?
Was it anger? Was it fear? Was it pain? Was it a glaze of tears or Was it just my imagination?
And today as I wake up, still not out of bed, those eyes..they flash in front of me for one solitary second. And I think to myself.
But He was Born Free. Oh He was Born Free!
No one Should take that away from him, don't you think..

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Life..or something like it

The pain slashed her soul apart.She leaned back against the wall,clinging onto the telephone and listening on. Helpless. Tormented. Numb.

"Shuncho? Kichu bolo na..Ki koshto hochche bolo? Kichu bolo na..."
(Can you hear me? Talk to me. Are you in pain? Talk to me please..)

Ma`s whimpers to Dad plunged down the telephone wires and across the oceans straight into her heart,ripping it apart into a million pieces. She stood there in a cold stupor, letting the pieces strew all over her.
She involuntarily lifted an arm to reach out.To shield Ma. To shield herself.
Unshed tears threatened to ravage unspoken words. And she shivered under their weight.
And then Ma was back on the phone.
"He`s not responding," Ma cried.
"You have to move him to a hospital IMMEDIATELY. Is someone there with you Ma?" she asked.
"Yes." (The neighbors were).
"Ok,now listen to me" She said calmly. As calmly as was needed to not throw Ma in any more panic than she was already in.
"Get all the medical documents and move to the nearest hospital.I`ll call in a while. Stay calm. We`ll figure out something Ma."

She let the telephone drop. And then she cried.
For the helplessness that was devouring her up.
For the insurmountable anguish.
For the pain that tore her soul apart.
For the vastness of the oceans separating them.
For fear of the finality of death.
For her Father.
And most of all, For her Mother.

Nope, this isnt a scene from a new movie. Nor is it a short story I am writing.
This is exactly what happened a couple of days back.
But life has given us a breather.
Dad is back home. He had an episode of severe hypoglycemia(very low blood sugar) which resulted in the unresponsive state. But he is back home and recovering.

There`s no kidding. No evasion of truth here. We know that heavy times lie ahead. Possibly just around the corner.
How do we cope with grief, I wonder..
How does anyone cope with grief?
Which brings me to the main point in this post.
Sometimes I wonder if my life would have been any less stressful had I been living closer to home. Would there be some peace of mind, knowing that I could be there by their side, when my parents most need me to be?
This particular incident left me terribly frightened for my mother.
Imagine this.
She gets up in the middle of the night to see my father in an unresponsive state. Her mind goes blank in panic. She leaves him alone, runs to call the neighbors. Then she dials my number.
Now, I consider myself plenty lucky that my parents do have lots of close friends and family around, who will help in crisis situations. They all did. But I somehow have not been able to get over the thought that I would`ve been a little less worried if I knew there was a constant support system around her. Like maybe an old-age home or something.
I do not understand why sending parents to old-age institutions has such negative connotations in India. What other options do I have?
A close friend of mine who lives in the US along with all the other siblings, literally forced their parents to uproot their lives in India and make the big move - leaving their home,family and friends behind and move back to the US to live with the kids. A seemingly perfect solution to the problem. But I now know for sure what a mistake that was! Its herculean, if not downright impossible for ageing parents to adjust to life here. I am still grappling to.
The G and I oftentimes worry about our aging parents. But I guess we have not seriously explored the possibilities of moving closer to home. At least back to the same country if not the same place. Are we being selfish? Is this the price we pay for choosing the path best suited for our careers?
Is it not pay-back time, though I dont like to use the word at all..?
Remember how they held our hands and taught us to walk? Pulled us up when we stumbled and fell? Remember how they taught us to ride a bicycle, running alongside the bike, holding it up by the seat with one hand on the handlebars, to show how you balance and turn around? And then when we took off on our own, remember how they still stood by,just in case we fell?
Now at the fag end of their lives, is it not our turn to take care of them and make sure they dont fall?
For all those of you who stay far way from home, what is your way of coping with this dilemma? Do you at times feel selfish to be where you are and not by the side of your parents? Can you think of any solutions to a situation like this?
I wish I could.. Oh how I wish I could.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ode to A Woman

Long long ago in The Garden of Eden, God created A Man. He sat back to admire his creation. He looked and he looked.
"I can do much better than that," He said.
And then He created A Woman! :)

Happy Women`s Day, People.

Here`s hoping for Liberty,Justice and Equality For All!

Let me end on a bright note,with an all-time fav Billy Joel song - She`s Always a Woman to Me

This song is a true Ode to a Woman - There`s a kind of bitter-sweet tinge to the song. A delicious cynicism perfectly balanced with admiration.

This song makes me feel strong. It makes me feel beautiful. That is what womanhood should be all about, dont you think?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Erma Bombeck - On Motherhood

To all my Mommy-Blogger Friends, With Love.
You make me want to become one.. well almost! :)

And most of all, To my Little Sis-
Its ok to want to fling your Little Devil out of the window once in a while!

1.All of us have moments in our lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them.
2.A child who is left at home alone, during school holidays, knows its a high-risk occupation. If you call your mother at work thirteen times an hour, she can hurt you.
3.Do you know what you call those who use towels and never wash them, eat meals and never do the dishes, sit in rooms they never clean, and are entertained till they drop? If you have just answered, "A house guest," you're wrong because I have just described my kids.
4.Housework, if you do it right, will kill you.
5.In general my children refuse to eat anything that hasn't danced in television.
6.It goes without saying that you should never have more children than you have car windows.
7.It is advisable to put off entertaining until the kids are grown.
8.My teenage kids always perceived the bathroom as a place where you wait it out until all the groceries are unloaded from the car.
9.My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.
10.My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?
11.Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.
12.No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed.
13.Somewhere it is written that parents who are critical of other people's children and publicly admit they can do a far better job - are really asking for it.
14.When a child is locked in the bathroom with water running and he says he's doing nothing but the dog is barking, call 911.
15.When your mother asks, "Do you want a piece of advice?" it is a mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway.
16.Who in their infinite wisdom decreed that PT uniforms be white? Certainly not a mother.
17.Youngsters of the age of two and three are endowed with extraordinary strength. They can lift a dog twice their own weight and dump him into the bathtub.
18.Everyone is guilty at one time or another of throwing out questions that beg to be ignored, but mothers seem to have a market on the supply. "Do you want a spanking or do you want to go to bed?" Don't you want to save some of the pizza for your brother?" Wasn't there any change?"
19.The age of your children is a key factor in how quickly you a re served in a restaurant. We once had a waiter in Canada who said, "Could I get you your check?" and we answered, "How about the menu first?"

And finally

20. When mothers talk about the depression of the empty nest, they're not mourning the passing of all those wet towels on the floor, or the music that numbs your teeth, or even the bottle of capless shampoo dribbling down the shower drain. They're upset because they've gone from supervisor of a child's life to a spectator. It's like being the vice president of the United States.

The reason I love to read Erma Bombeck is because I can identify a part of myself in every piece that she has ever written!
I hope you guys loved this as much as I did!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Random Ramblings

Ok People, I have a confession. I`m just too lazy to take up tags because it makes me think! :) But this particular one was too interesting to pass up. For once, its a COMPLETELY HONEST unveiling of self, on a public forum. So here goes :

DeeplyDip, Amrita, Serendipity
Have tagged me on this.The rules for this tag states that you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged.I havent chosen anyone because almost everyone has already done it. If you are reading this and you havent, please go ahead and do it. Its awesome fun!

Here are 25 random things about me:

1. I am judgmental of others. Hence, I believe others to be judgmental of me.

2.I cannot sit still at one place for more than a few minutes! That is so not me. I get restless and fidgety if I have to sit still for long - no matter where I am...!! Could be at a coffee shop or at someone`s place. Or even during a 4-hours long test!

3.I hate to experiment. I like to stick to the usual! Be it a meal,a hairstyle,a grocery store, an icecream flavour or a pair of jeans.

4.I worry to pathological proportions, when I have to travel. I want to reach the airport 3 hours in advance, so I`m there when the previous flight is boarding! Standing in long lines at security check, cursing the traffic and wondering if I`m going to make it, is so not my deal!

5. I cant hold onto one train of thought for long. I switch between topics in a conversation and most people dont follow the track.

6. Which explains why I`m a bad listener. I`m always waiting for my turn to speak.I never listen carefully enough.

7. I never say no to dessert. Never ever! (Nancy, are you reading this?!)

8.I was nicknamed 'Gubba'(short for gubbara,read balloon!) in college. Nope, that`s not the weird part. The weird part is that I still continue to sulk about it!

9. I love Enid Blyton books. All of them. I read and reread them even now.(Nancy???!!)

10. I have read 'Anne of Green Gables' almost 50 times! And I still love it.

11. I own a total of three pairs of shoes,two bags(one of which is a very trendy backpack!) and one lipstick. I dont like strappy or heeled sandals. I`m totally a sneakers person. I dont ever do make-up.
* the reason it crossed my mind to include this, is because,going by the different blogs I`ve come across,I`ve realized I`m an ectopic character in this regard!*

12. It takes me a maximum of 5 minutes to get dressed. Formal parties/interviews/baseball games or a movie - No Exception. Five minutes is all I`m willing to invest!

13. I look like a typical Bengali Auntyji - sindoor, 'shakha pola' et al! This is another of those things I`m scared to experiment with! :)
*white bangles made from conch shells and red ones made from acrylic — Married bengali women are 'required by tradition' to wear it as a symbol for marriage, though many dont anymore*

13. I detest physical exercise of any kind. I dont like eating healthy.(Sunshine Gal??)

14. I hate long,random chats on the telephone. No, no, you probably dont get it. I really hate to talk on the telephone,unless its urgent. The only person I ever call up on my own,is my sister(and The G when I am away!). Other than that, I`m bad at taking calls and returning them.

15. I have never had a professional manicure done.

16. I am a music person. I`ve grown up on music. I`ve learnt music for more than 12 years. But I cant remember lyrics. Never ever. Neither do I remember the artists or the albums(Lets call me A??!!)

17. I feel that people who wear glasses are the cool,intellectual kinds!(lets Call Me A???)
Incidentally/Co-incidentally both me and The G wear glasses!

18. The one thing I`m most proud of is that my Dad had a band of his own in college. They still get together on weekends for jam sessions.

19.The G is the only one who knows how insecure a person I am. I am mortally scared of rejection. I am scared to meet and interact with people. When I was in Kolkata this time, I had the oppurtunity to meet up with a few blogger friends,but I let it pass. I was scared of what they might think of me if they see me.

20. I have a fiery temperament at home. Mom, Dad, Sis and The G are the only ones who`ve seen it.

21. I am a racist at heart. "Religious/Social/Nationality-wise" Racist.

22.In the second year of Med School(Pathology viva), I learnt that You can get by on charm for about 15 minutes. After that, you'd better know something.

23. I seriously believe that I suffer from a Histrionic Personality Disorder(Sunshine Gal??). I still throw tantrums at home, which I believe, is a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking, including an excessive need for approval.

24.After I met The G, I learnt that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different. And I have known that to be a beautiful experience.

25. And finally, I`m scared to be me. I hide behind a veneer of arrogance and pride. Very few people in the world actually like me.

Friday, February 20, 2009

“Action speaks louder than 'thoughts', but not nearly as often” - Mark Twain

I judge myself by what I think I am capable of doing.
While Others have always judged me by what I have done.
Logically speaking,this should make perfect sense, shouldnt it?
What doesnt, is that the two continue to remain startlingly and immutably disjunctive. No matter how hard I try, I cant seem to coalesce the two.
I have never ever in my life, performed the way I think I am capable of performing.
And therein lies the biggest irony of my life. Many a time,I desperately needed to ace a particular test or atleast do reasonably well(I`m talking of a test, but it could be anything really),and I have been confident enough to know that I can and I will. But lo and behold! I have let myself down. Always and Everytime!
Does that happen to any of you? Or is it only me?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine`s Day, People! We did it! :)

Ok Guys, I really should be studying for tomorrow`s test. But then again, Its Valentine`s Day! I need to raise a toast now, more than ever(even if its only 4 in the afternoon!)!!
Here`s Why:
For days I have been reading various debates about the efficacy of the Pink Chaddi Campaign. I am very excited about it, just like scores of women from all across the globe. However,there have been times when I confess, I have doubted the efficacy of such a campaign.
But today, when I heard the news on NPR on my way to The U, I knew for certain what a perfect thing this was.
We succeeded!
We, The Women of India, have managed to reduce The Moron(Pink Moron should I say?) to an object of ridicule GLOBALLY!!
I`m glad people didnt waste their precious time trying to think of more 'appropriate' ways to react to unscrupulous SOBs like Mr. Muthalik. I`m glad they retaliated in the language the SOBs would understand.
The following, I believe, define the true success of the campaign:

1. Mr. Muthalik has been reduced to an object of utter ridicule. Henceforth people across the world will know him as Mr. Pink Muthalik.

2. Other major religious fundamentalist groups have backed off. They`ve washed their hands off the Ram Sena, seeing the public outrage.

3. The campaign has managed to unite Thousands of men and women across the globe under one common cause. Liberty for All.
I do believe this is the biggest success of all.
(Since the last thousands of years,injustice to women has often been meted out at various levels. Some in more subtle forms than others. The reason why fighting against it is a herculean task is because its impossible to unite people on a common ground, before one can start fighting the war. Now that this job is done, I think we should make efforts to take this one step further. What do we next? Do we wait for a repetition of the Mangalore incident, to take our next step forward? Or do we plan to start making a difference now?

Anyway, here`s a link of all the news channels in the USA talking about the campaign.
I believe this to be the true marker of success.

1. BBC News
2. NPR
3. Fox News
4. NewYork Times

And before I raise a toast, here the clincher YOU MUST READ!


Happy Valentine`s Day, India! We are the Change we have been waiting for! :)
Here`s to Indian Women all over the World!
We rock, dont we?
*Piper flings the jacket on the bed and shoes in the air, while she does an excited jig around the room, shouting "We Did It! We Really Did It!!*