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!