Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas !

I bought an island Pine last December and it has survived yet another christmas this year ! Ruhi & Rayyan had a mini wrestling match to decide who would hang up the trinkets and after the tree was done Rayyan solemnly folded his hands in front of the 'bhagwan ji' tree. God save these terribly terribly mixed up kids.

Ruhi wrote a letter to Santa asking for a 'toy house from the play pen in the Mall, a 'real' camera and a 'real' phone and a chocolate.."

Santa left her a Barbie doll with a helmet on a natty bycycle and the chocolate. I told her that her wish list was quite out of Santa's budget and she conceded. Rayyan got a miserly plastic auto rickshaw and he was elated. Krti didi their maid got a pair of shoes which she turned up her nose at. LOL

Ruhi still believes in Santa Claus ! She woke up past midnight almost as I was putting her gift on her pillow, blinked vaguely for a couple of minutes muttering some Santa gibberish & then collapsed into sleep again. In the morning she inspected the house and told me the exact places Santa had visited. She could tell by the trail of Santa's perfume ! I am keeping my fingers crossed. I guess there may be another year to go before the bubble breaks ! :)))

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I am intolerant...

I got to know of the Mumbai attack through an sms at 11 PM that night which said " stuck at the Taj restaurant...still alive". It came from someone who had just arrived in India that day and someone with a feisty sense of humor. I gave the sms a bemused look before deleting it. Then the same sms came again and I decided to check on the internet.

I kept feeling sick through the night and that feeling has still not gone. I could not make myself switch on the TV and after 2 days when I finally did, I saw Barkha Dutt chocking with melodrama over a half spilled glass of wine that she had discovered at the ghost of the Taj. I could survive the TV for less than 20 minutes, the same sick feeling.

I feel a changed person, I am brimming with contempt and I have a feeling that my lid will blow off. I am feeling helpless, I have been wanting to 'do' something beyond reading newspapers, pressing the 'join' button for every call to 'join hands against terror' e mail..,to do something dammit, even if just to buy an air ticket to Bombay, stand across the Taj and hurl abuses into the sea to wherever it is that the monsters came from.

More disturbingly, I am feeling intolerant. I am distrustful when I hear my muslim family protest against what happened. I intent fully look for denial in what they say - you can hear it sooner than later. A day post the Bombay tragedy I was broodingly silent ad-mist an animated family discussion when the inevitable came up - stuff like Mossad, Hindu Terrorism, cover job to save Col Purohit...I felt a nerve was going to crack in my head and I framed my sentence in my mind " Indian muslims will always live in denial...until Indian muslims stop pitying themselves and become a part of the Indian fabric, until then terrorism will have a market in India...".

As I started to speak I stopped at my first words " Indian Muslims.." My words were hanging in the air, I thought of the consequences. I would become an alien with that one sentence. A lot else would happen..was there any reason to ignite this? I would be told I know nothing about Islam so I could ill afford a point of view. I decided to stay quiet and leave the table. It was left to assumption what I had intended to say and no one asked. I think the point was anyhow made that... I was intolerant...

My children do not know their religion yet. Ruhi thinks her mother is from Punjab and her father is from Mars. A year ago, a lot of kids from the local mosque came over to my house for reciting verses from the Koran. It is called 'korankhani', the same purpose as holding an 'ardas' in your house - for purification and blessing. Ruhi was woken up by the loud sound and she went over to watch and then came running to me and said "mama a lot of Punjabi people have come to our house" ( implying that they were speaking a foreign (punjabi) language). It was funny then and I had laughed. Today it is sad. There is so much irony in that humor. She is seven and its time for me to tell her who she is supposed to be, before anyone else does. I wish I did not have to. Not when I feel like this.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I am to blame.

"From today, I resolve to blame myself for whatever is going wrong. I also resolve that I will take action - decisive action - to solve my own problems as well as those of my family, neighbours, friends, relatives and associates. I am a proud Indian. I can bring about the desired change.""

Say "I am to blame" at and get everyone we know to say the same.

Monday, December 01, 2008

To Santa Claus?

This morning to Santosh Desai...and to whoever it is who visits here and reads this post.

Dear Santosh :

I react to 'to gather with the rage of others' in today's City City Bang Bang.

I am angry like the rest of us and I want to be able to 'do' something. I believe ( naively?) that there are many other people like me. So yesterday, I spoke to a friend who is a celebrated, young army officer, on a quick climb up the army ranks. I also spoke to a young IAS officer working with the revenue services in Delhi. I asked them what we could do to channelize this rage, since my limited understanding of how things work limits my abilities to act. Both said nothing could be done by anyone. The defense services and the bureaucracy is infested at every level with people wanting to earn brownie points and promotions. The high rage after Kargil took just a few months to be completely forgotten. And that Kargil was equivalent if not more offensive in its damage to our country. As with Kargil, it will take a few weeks for our collective memories to fade. Ditto for the collective rage.

I told them that to me both of them represented the highest calibre of what young India stands for and it was disillusioning and heartbreaking that both of them speak a common language of indifference and defeat. The army guy said " things are not so bad". Whatever that may mean.

I have been thinking ever since that the ONLY was to keep the collective rage alive is if people with media clout ( like YOU) and Bollywood takes it upon themselves to endorse this cause. The rest are dead and we have to bring them to life. If Aamir says often enough that muslim is not equal to terrorist and so does Salman and so does Shahrukh there will be no market for terrorism in this country. And if you and your likes will keep writing about the outrage of what happened last Wednesday - way beyond one month, 6 months and 12 months from today - there may be hope of change.

I am helpless and angry, I can only vent angst by writing to people who I think are a bit more empowered than myself. And I can hope they read obscure blogs...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What happened to Raj?

Swarna asked !

I had left the story at the night when Ruhi cried about kids teasing her and how I was resolved to sort it out. And there was a PTM on Saturday...

As I got ready to leave for the PTM, I hesitantly took out the 'I love you note' from my laptop bag. I had no clue what I was going to do with it, but I saved it for the impulse.

I walked around her class while the teacher was busy with others, eagerly looking up as the next parent walked in - just had to meet the Raj kid but I could not spot any unfamiliar kid amongst the visitors. Finally, the teacher came to me and I silently handed her the neatly folded paper in my hand.

She looked embarrassed and concerned at the same time and immediately crumpled the paper in her hand. I found out that she and other teachers had known about this for months. Raj's mother had visited her twice to discuss the 'problem'. He had been spoken to 'firmly' by the class teacher and sent twice to the principal's room. Had been given 'warnings' at school and at home. The teachers were making a special effort to separate him from where Ruhi sits in class and the lunch hall. It seemed like a very big issue over there !

I felt a surge of guilt of having it made worse for him. In the background I could hear the teacher advise me to talk to his mother and to encourage Ruhi to 'complain' to the teachers rather than keeping it bottled up to tell mom later. But all I could really hear and feel was enormous sadness. 

This kid had a problem, he was new in class and maybe he was lonely and sad and the soft spoken, kind little Ruhi was the easiest to approach in a class full of cheeky, preposterous kids. 

I have ignored Ruhi's protests about Raj ever since. Each time she complains I tell her to make an effort to 'include' him in their gang. I think she will come along...or maybe not. I've overheard her talk to her cousin yesterday, slyly inviting him to school to fix someone who 'troubles' her...

If you must know what this 'trouble' is - touching her hand, insisting on sitting next to her always, looking at her - as Ritu said in her comment, trying to be included.

I tend to make a big deal of small things, and maybe its unimportant and will pass, but I do know that sometimes small smarts in a 6 year old's life stay for ever, like they've stayed in mine.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sorry for 1984.

Rahul Gandhi said 'Sorry' for 1984. 

Thanks, it helps.

24 years have gone by and I am no longer the same person. I am cynical, hardened, wiser, indifferent. But I still shed a tear over the newspaper. The memory of that year will never go away.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Done Seven :)

This year I did it - finally dished out the birthday party that I could never quite get right for the last 6 years ! I started with doing my favorite thing - make lists ! Of all the things Ruhi loves - she loves the most to paint or that is what I like to think. So Color Factory it was, thank God for the malls to have opened next doors. 
The next was to sacrifice our own social list so that I could get her friends to have fun with her. I invited her class of 25 kids - a majority of boys, but so what !!! 
As expected, she wanted to leave out Raj from her invitees and grudgingly agreed when told how mean that would be and so one morning I splashed some paint on her as she got up bright, cheerful and really excited about her birthday, clicked some pictures and this became her birthday card. On the previous night, her doting grandfather (yup, thats right ! the grand old man) baked a couple of cakes for her and we cut them through the day for my mom, husband's cousins and more adults who feel obliged to visit us on Ruhi's birthday. 
We have always made such a big deal her birthday that most don't even bother to check the POA with me. Guests just drop in! I knew I was expected to invite the family, their children and the neighbors and their kids and all those who've invited us last year etc but I stuck to my guns that this was going to be a no adults birthday party unless the adults agreed to sit there and paint !

We did up the Color Factory at City Walk in her favorite mauve & purple  balloons, ordered junk food and ice cream cake. Its an outdoor kind of place with no music so I even got portable speakers for my ipod which I eventually forgot to play !

Her guests were there in full attendance and I love this age of theirs - they came dressed up as little menfolk (spiked hair & fashion jewelry on some) and ladies ! They behaved so well, they painted and had a blast ! After finishing the painting, they played girls against boys tug o war and Tambola and then their own games. Soon after they forgot the 'menfolk and ladies' bit and went on a rampage bringing down the balloons and stomping on them. I had a blast too since I'd love to do that myself if my daughter allowed me to ! 

The boys got her girly stuff and her favorite was a lovely pink Barbie pillow and I am just so glad that not one kid gave her a Barbie Doll ! 
Raj lives miles away in Greater Noida but he turned up as expected. A tall sullen kid who sat alone and painted and did not speak a word. I noticed the other kids do not speak with him either and I felt very sorry about the situation, though I am glad he came. He got her some Enid Blytons and while she opened her gifts out came board games, more books and craft sets and skateboards and Casios... after a bit I noticed she would fold her hands in a hurried prayer before she opened another ! Apparently she was praying for the next one to be a Barbie Doll. God didn't listen !
I also kept feeling teary for no reason at all and my heart ached as much as my feet at the end of a wonderful day. She's growing up way to fast and I feel years slipping by like sand through my fingers. I've never known myself to be the filmi types but Ruhi can usually bring out the worst in me ! Sigh :)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

About Chandrayan, Obama & Geography of the world !

My kids have a comically distorted understanding of Geography. India is the same as New Delhi which is the same as South Delhi which is the same as Malls, McDs, School, the DDA park and the near about of the place we live in. 

Only recently on the way back from Faridabad, Ruhi pretended to be asleep and after much of the journey was done, she opened one sleepy eye to ask "have we reached India yet?" 

When the heat of the US elections started I thought about introducing the concept of America to her, but I decided to wait till she understands her immediate geography first.  Besides Astronomy of course. She is still grappling with the idea of the Chandrayan and the knowledge that its possible to go on to any star in the sky. The problem, is that I've also told her that dead people become stars and that when they twinkle at night they are smiling at us. Hmmmm.......tough times ahead for me ! 

Tomorrow in school they will be diligently told about Obama becoming the first black President of the US. She will come back asking a zillion things, like the meaning of "first Black" president, what would happen of Pratibha Patil since there is only one president in her universe yet and what is 'bi racial' ad infinitum! 

And then as is usual she would go on to loudly read the newspaper headlines and I'd be in for some more ! 

Perhaps the right time to explain the 'real' Geography and how it works - about the President of a country called United States, Dad from Kenya with a half sister in Indonesia, a Chinese niece, one half brother in a Nairobi slum and an illegal immigrant aunt in the US besides relatives from other parts of the globe that I still don't know about  ! 

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I obsess !

Balvinder my blogging friend, who for some reason gives me the odd feeling of familiarity beyond the realm of logic has tagged me to share with you 5 addictions of mine. So here goes : Marijuana, Animal Sex, Alcohol, Shoplifting & Pedophilia. Why am I being morbidly insane ? Dunno. I want to put off certain readers of inappropriate age and intelligence who I know read my blog. I want the damn pressure off my mind to be politically correct. A friend casually said I belonged to politically correct, culturally correct, morally correct kind of a society ( or something to that effect). I was stunned. That's so correct. That's what I spend 99% of my life doing. But nope, this isn't part of that script. Whatever.

Addiction one : the absolutely uncontrollable urge to always, always, always tidy up. Today on the dinner table I noticed I was constantly placing the three serving dishes in a straight line on the runner. What's odd ? Well, this was after anyone moved the dish slightly to help themselves. It was in between every morsel that I ate. I think it can be insanely irritating for anyone else on that table. But my husband has resigned to this one. My friend Richa threatens to murder me if I don't stop tidying up the bedcover each time anyone turns on their bum. I keep tidying up the house till well after everyone is asleep. When there is nothing left to tidy up, I open up the shoe rack, the toys, the 'raddi' newspapers. Just anything. I also keep getting the feeling that the house is getting devoured by the stuff in it. I feel we need to immediately empty up the stuff or else we will get buried under it. I regularly keep giving away stuff. Sometimes I give away my husband's urgent important stuff in the mad rush to clear up.

Addiction 2 : Sometime ago when they were launched, I went on a binge on Bingo Chips. Day in and day out I'd munch away those packet non stop. I get maniacally addicted to food stuff for periods of time and while these addictive bursts last, I go over the top and higher on it. Before Bingo Chips it was ' Amla' then Popcorn, before Popcorn it was a particular brand of, mouth freshener. What is worse is that I have now also started forgetting whatever it was that I was stuffing myself with. My brother in law was visiting us last month and he asked me about 'Peppy' Cheese balls. I thought he'd lost it so he explained that a few years ago when he was visiting I was stuffing myself endlessly with Peppy's. Seems like he bought me some packets too.

Addiction 3 : The Internet. And more specifically google on the internet. This one is serious like all the others. Jaadu hai, nasha hai etc. Its a virus that's spread all over and I know I am not alone and that makes me accept this one comfortably.

Addiction 4 : Clothes, clothes, more clothes. I love clothes more than any other indulgence. So I must have more and more for everyone - my kids, the husband, the maid whoever. I obsess over my clothes, I spend a lifetime planning what to wear at weddings, birthday parties, funerals even meetings. And I love that bit of opening my wardrobe and rummaging through piles and piles of clothes, deciding what to wear. I suspect I sound crazy but I find it ever so creative to put together an outfit. You'd probably think I am the world's most natty dresser but its exactly the opposite. I am a hippie most of the time except for when there is an invitation !! LOL. So much so that an year ago my father in law sat me down for a serious chat. He said I dress down all the time and that I have no style. The grand old man is 90 years old and he has much for me to look up to him so this goes. He said if I continue dressing so eclectically, it may be considered 'too young' ! Maybe. But who cares !!!

Addiction 5 : Ruhi my 6 year old first born. She occupies all of my waking thoughts. She saps me of all my energies, sucks my soul, often makes me wish I was dead but I am obsessively, compulsively involved with her. I am just another fond and indulgent mother to Rayyan, so I know the thing with Ruhi is an obsession. I suspect this OCD has given me high blood pressure. A few years later I fear it will also give me heart disease.

As per the rules, I got to tag 5 people. I know sometimes, one doesn't really want to be thrust upon with the tag so here is my list, who may please choose to ignore the tag if they feel like :). Though it would be fun if they went along:

Multimenon Interesting to know what a 19 year old obsesses about !
Solitaire Would love to know the 'psycho-angle' !!
Mystic Margarita Just! Love her flair..
MM Even though I know 59 other folk would have already tagged her to do this ! My vote too !

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Caterpillar to the Butterfly !

Ruhi, over these magical years of my life, on the brink of her 7th birthday next month !

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One Day in little Rayyi's life... !

Ok Mampi, here goes :)

Of late, I have been having this strange urge to delete this blog. I deleted my Orkut account yesterday, a week before that I deleted my Ryze account...I can't put a finger on what's happening here except that it could well be the hormones ! But this post wasn't meant to be about my pituitary gland - it about little Rayyan and his little play school. Every once a year they invite you to spend a day in class. I've done the number 4 times with Ruhi and once with Rayyan last year and its something that I've enjoyed immensely. One of my hidden ambitions is to be kindergarten teacher !

I had been traveling most of last week and the weekend is a circus anyway so Monday morning after packing off the babies to school I toyed with the idea of calling up the school and calling it off ! I'd be damned if I went to school with unwashed hair and I wanted nothing better than a quiet morning to myself ! My husband gave me that look which I know means 'always a raw deal for rayyan, innit !' Its true, I drive myself harder for Ruhi and I got guilt.

In the shower the the teacher called "Mrs Wasi, where are you ?" " Please be in time for assembly, Rayyan will sing a song".

I knew he would collapse at the sight of me, it still doesn't work - he has still not found his feet, though I know he is trying. I reached just after the assembly and they told me that he had sung his song. I was glad to be late!

He was sitting with his back towards me in a semi circle of tiny people. As I stepped in the teacher asked them " do you know whose mummy is here today?" Everyone looked back except for him and a squeaky voice elsewhere said "Rayyan Wasi". He turned back slightly and gave me a self conscious smile. I expected him to break into tears and run towards me. Instead he turned back his head slowly and kept sitting on his chair. The teacher was talking about " John Brown's Farm'. He looked at me a couple of times again but he was fine, though quieter than most. I was relieved ! We were getting there !

Teacher : Rayyani (she calls him that!), whats a Dog's baby called ?
Rayyan : Goofy
Teacher : No Rayyan, its called a Pup ! Whats a Cat's baby called ?
Rayyan : Ganga

The teacher moved on to the next kid. Perhaps it was embarrassing for her as it was for me. His cousin has a puppy dog and of course he knows what puppies are so why would he say 'Goofy' !!! He could have said "chchotta Kutta' or something for God's sake ! And 'Ganga' ? A kitten is called 'Ganga' ??? I thought the sight of me had made him delirious. Sometimes he talks nonsense just for effect. I scowled at him and made a funny face, so while the other kids discussed farm animals - he stood alone at the door in defiance and stared back at them.

The next was the dance and music class where he chose to sulk. He sat with his head in my lap while the rest had fun. The teacher thought that he was extra clingy because I had not been at home most of the week. But in the pottery class he abandoned me. He loves the clay, just like me. He rolled clay balls while I chatted up the pottery teacher. I chew his brains each time I spot him and this time I wanted to know the 'desi' way to fire the clay. I know its done with cow-dung cakes and all and the guy never seriously believes that I've got serious interest in doing the dirty stuff. He was patiently indulgent with me as usual. I've got to figure how to get cow-dung cakes now.

Hands washed, susu done, the kids sit down for tiffin. Rayyan ate the ketchup in his tiffin box, first with a spoon and then with his fingers. Back home, MIL announced in that sarcastic style only mother in laws can speak in " today his mother must have fed him tiffin, everything has come right back". Yeah right.

The next class, Rayyi sulked again - it was the free play session but he wanted to play football. He was forgiven the tantrum again since the 'mother had been away so long'. Thank God for that since even if I had not been away, he would still have chosen a football over every other temptation on earth. In the library class, his friends wanted me to read out the books to them, but not him. Until finally jealousy got the better of him.

I was happy to see he had made a few pals, though they were friendlier towards him than he was towards them. The only exception was this taller little girl with red rimmed glasses, Alisha who he smiled at often and who he brought to me to get a picture clicked !

On the way back home, I asked Rayyan whats the baby of a Dog called ? He again said "goofy" and that a Cat's baby was "Ganga" because Kirti didi (the maid) had told him the story of a pup called Goofy and a kitten called Ganga. 

LOL. I am not going to forget this in a hurry ! Raw deal or not, I love you Rayyan Wasi.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The 'Love' Tag !

I've never been tagged ! Says volumes about my blogging credibility :)

So when Ritu tagged me - for the first 10 minutes I thought she'd written on my blog by mistake ! I've done that - posted a comment on someone else's blog thinking they were someone else, but I wasn't sure more of this species exists.

So I sneaked back to her blog to check and saw there was this post about 'getting ready to be fifty' on her blog. I shrieked ! Naaaaaaaah, she couldn't be tagging me to do this ! I don't want to ever ever ever think about what I am going to do at fifty. I am not going to be fifty ever. Period. Then I thought perhaps she was being evil at the behest of my enemies. I am told that I've got this inflated sense of self importance that mostly makes me think there are aliens out there out to get me. I don't believe that but maybe its true ?

Anyway after wasting half an hour wondering WTF was her 'tagged you' comment about I sneaked in upon her blog again. She had just then uploaded this post about '20 wash up your dirty linen' questions. Seems she first wrote me a comment and then posted her stuff ! 
Tease !! :))))))

So here goes, the rules first :

RULE #1 People who have been tagged must write their answers on their blogs and replace any question that they dislike with a new question formulated by themselves. Though that would suck BTW !

RULE #2 Tag 6 people to do this quiz and those who are tagged cannot refuse. These people must state who they were tagged by and cannot tag the person whom they were tagged by continue this game by sending it to other people.

1. If your lover betrayed you what would your reaction be?

Today, this day and age I think I'd call up the salon and book for pedicure, hair cut, facial and immediately go shopping for more clothes that I do not need. I'd be damned if he did and be convinced, it could only be because I don't look as good anymore ! LOL. I'd go to any lengths to check out the chick he is with and trash her - too fat, too thin, bimbo, BTM, whatever. And then I'd move on. It does not matter anymore. If he wanted to get to me he should have tried it when I was younger ! Back then I'd take a knife and slice off the expensive seat covers of his fancy open jeep, pour acid over the tyres and toss a brick in full public view to crash the windscreen of his girl friend's brand new Maruti car & more, before I moved on.

2. If you have a dream come true, what would it be?

Had to think hard about this one ! I realise how tempting it is to give smart answers here. But I won't since the truth is that after years of anguish over Ruhi's school admission, whenever I read 'dream come true' I only think of school admission ! A desire no more since she got the wonderful school she deserves. So hmmm....after considering many many things on my wish-list, I realise a true dream come true would only be that house by the sea with bay windows and tons of sunshine and me. Want it harder since I know how very impossible it is.

3. If you could, whose butt would you like to kick?

I wish I had the balls to be honest about this one. If my blog was the dusty old place with cobwebs till the floor, like it used to be - I'd tell it. But I really do so much want to do this in spirit to this one person who has the power to make me very angry and very silly almost all the time. Though I feel its coming soon and I'd be proud of myself if I stop the whining and with dignity as much as honesty, kick that butt!!!

4. What would you do with a billion dollars?

In order of priority - Give away a third of it to my husband so that he can buy back his life from his work. Buy that house by the sea pronto and do it up ! Travel to every nook and corner of the world, Business Class. Pay for all that it takes to become 5 pounds thinner and will the rest to my children, my brother and my friends. As you would have realised I have no clue how much a billion dollars can fetch - to me its an endless supply of money !

5. Will you fall in love with your best friend?

Weird question this one ! My best friend(s) are women mostly and YIKES NO THANK YOU TO THAT ! But if it was a guy and if I got to that stage of being best friends with him, I'd own him for life and after.

6. Which is more blessed: loving someone or being loved by someone?

This question must be kiddin ! Its like - Is eating the icecream more satisfying than craving for it !!

7. How long do you intend to wait for someone you love?

I'd wait forever. Till the last day of my life. I am an optimist.

8. If the person you secretly like is attached, what will you do?

Keep it a 'secret' I guess !

9. If you could root for one social cause, what would it be?

Compulsory Basic Education for all. I think fixing that in itself fix much more.

10. Do you lie?

LOL ! Funny this one - after writing your life's confessions here, you'd make me say I lied ! Yes, I lie when there is no other way and when I know its a lie the other person wants to hear.

11. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

10 years hence, Ruhi will be 17 years old. She would be in the last year of her school - on the threshold of a beautiful life ahead. I'd be waiting in the wings, holding her hand and helping her take off to fly. Simultaneously Rayyan would be 13 and I'd be in school when they throw him out for bad behavior. As an aside, this evening I took the kids to their favourite play pen in the Mall. He socked the face of a cheeky little girl when she accidently collided with him. After which he howled louder and longer than she did. I was shocked, embarrassed, ashamed in quick successive emotions as I tried to mend the situation. But yeah, I get the whiff of things to come.

12. What’s your fear?

Of losing those whom I love. Of their death.

13. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?

I don't know Ritu at all - but from whatever few interactions I've had with her on my blog I find she is sensitive and has an intuitive understanding of things.

14. Would you rather be single and rich or married and poor?

Married to my husband and poor, if that was the only option.

15. If you fall in love with two people simultaneously who will you pick?

The better human being of the two.

16. Would you give all in a relationship?

All bole to ? 'Tan, Man, Dhan' as they said in old bollywood ? I got no 'Dhan' so OK to "Tan & Man' !

17. Would you forgive and forget someone no matter how horrible a thing he has done?

No. I'd carry the grudge to my grave I think. I just did that in fact - carried a grudge to some one's grave. He is dead but I still don't forgive or forget.

18. Do you prefer being single or in a relationship?

I change flat tyres and gas cylinders, I roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty, lift suitcases and carry my children around. I am a toughie in every sense of the word. But I can't dream of a life without my husband. I'd refuse singledom despite the perks it brings for me.

19. Your all time favourite song. Only ONE. And why?

Gulzar's song from the film 'Khamoshi' - "Humne dekhi hai un aankhon ki mehakti khusboo, Haath Se chhu ke ise rishton ka ilzaam na do...". Because it says all that I believe is true about love.

20. I TAG these 6 people because  I’d like to know what their answers would be …

Y the woman

Thursday, September 04, 2008

About the little girl of mine...

I decided not make a big deal about Ruhi's little Romeo and though it was turning out to be a dig deal in her sweet little melodramatic life, I decided not to blog about it. I was itching though and then just now I  read this and died laughing ! So here I am with the story till now...

Last Saturday I got a call from a little boy with a funny accent "Which family is this?" 
I was flabbergasted "excuse me ?" Little boy tried again " ye kaun si family hai ?"
I said "This is Ruhi's family, you want to speak with her ?" and I called for her, at the same time wondering if the boy was just plain cheeky or a bit weird like he sounded ! She took the call looking absolutely embarrassed right to her big toe. 
I was watching her from the corner of my eye. She gave me a sheepish smile and turned her back towards me. Then she said into the phone "What?"
It seems he invited her to come to his house, so she thrust the phone into my hand and said "talk to mama" and ran away. He asked me if Ruhi can come over, I told him I would try since Noida was far from where we lived. I was feeling a wee bit bad to refuse him. I forgot about the call and went about my chores but after an hour my phone started ringing non stop - the kid must have made 50 calls and I stopped answering after the first few. 
At 4 in the evening his mother called saying that the boy would just not listen and if she could get him over to our house for a bit. Eventually she could not make it either. Ever since, every afternoon while I am at work, I get the same " Which family is this ?" call on my phone.
Sometimes I chat him up and find more about him. I know he plays Tennis every evening and that his grand parents stay in Nagpur and that his mom sent him to this new school since he hated his previous school. 
Made me feel better since this 'previous school' is among the best known schools in Delhi ! I am such a pervert !! LOL
Anyway, on Monday Ruhi came back from school and spent the evening painting an abstract 'something' for Raj since he had requested her for some reciprocal artwork ! I wish I had clicked a picture of what she produced, it was so downright ugly ! There was this dark brown rectangle with a few smaller geometrical shapes on either side adorned with finger painting. I told her it was 'awesome'.
On Tuesday afternoon she came back from school in a sullen mood. Her father asked her several times what the matter was but she kept the long face with the scowl forever. After he stopped asking , she took out a folded piece of paper from her skirt pocket, crushed it into a ball and threw it in front of him.  It was a plain sheet of paper with ' I LOVE YOU' scribbled in capitals on the top left hand. at the bottom was written "Raj Ruhi".
He folded it back and kept it for me. I thought and thought and thought about it. I know all the boys Ruhi has gone to school with for the last 4 years. I know their mums and together we've carried them bawling to their first day of play school. But who knows what's with this new kid..what if he stays all day with servants?...what if he watches adult stuff ? And then I would reprimand the old-fashioned-mother-inside-me and ask her to forget about it. 
Day before yesterday, during the 'getting her to sleep' ceremony, Ruhi snuggled up to me and said she did not wish to go to school. The 'new' kids teased her. 
"About what?" I immediately imagined kids pulling her mile long pig tails and calling her a pony or something. "About Raj". 
"I don't love him mama but they say I do" and she burst into tears.
My mind was made. I must report this to the teacher pronto. The old-fashioned-mother-inside-me rolled up her sleeves. 
I comforted her, told her to stick to her old school gang.  Reminded her of her 6 cousins, all boys and all a bit mad who would go and fix anyone who troubled her ! I surprise myself at how 'feudal' my comforting could be ! But it worked ! She said she'd choose Gurtej for the job since he is a 'sardar' and they would be scared of him! Of course poppet ! lol. 
Thereafter she slept like an angel.
The school has an open day on Saturday and I will be attending. I am in two minds about telling the teacher. 
C'mon curse me, tell me what you think ?

Friday, August 29, 2008

The music in me..

Was reading a lullaby post and became nostalgic...

I can't sing. And its a big deal for me. 
I grew up listening to my parents sing all the time. As a young boy, my father would run away from home to learn classical music from a muslim Ustad in the pre partitioned Punjab. My father is a very fine singer with a soft, melodious voice. 
My mother could sing in that sweet simple way that Tabu sings in that movie Virasat ! It used to embarrass me endlessly though she wasn't all that bad at all. She sincerely believed she had a voice and would diligently note down lyrics of Hindi songs in a worn out little diary. She wouldn't wait for an invitation to sing at weddings and parties while my father would act pricey as family and friends would indulge him no end before he obliged.

I so wanted that I could sing. I knew every song that my father hummed as he sat tinkering with anything that needed to be fixed in the house ! He was a closet mechanic for all kinds of electrical repairs and he would hum his music while he went about his favourite pass time. Ashok Kumar, Hemant Kumar, Manna De, Kishore Kumar, Mohd Rafi, Mukesh, Muzzarat Nazeer, Munni Begum, Farida Khannum, Iqbal Bano....

As a 7  year old, whenever I was alone - in the bathroom, the terrace, cycling home from school... I would sing his songs and pretend to be the greatest singer on earth :

Dheere Dheere, aa re badal...
Ye raat, ye chandni phir kahan
Jaag darde e ishq jaag
Bequrar karke hame yun na jaeeye
Bhala tha kitan apna bachpan
Aye maa, aye maa teri surat se alag, bhagwan ki surta kya hogi
Aanchal se kyun baandh liya, hai mujh pardesi ka pyaar
Jab deep jale Aana, jab shaam Dhale aana
Kitna dukh bhulaya tumne, pyare
Madhuban main radhika naachi re
Na tum hume jano..
Many still to add to the list

...lest I forget them, if that is possible.

I wasn't sure if I was good. I yearned for my father to tell me how I sang but he he never did. Often, he would make fun of my shy attempts to sing. I tried very much to improve, but there was never a word of encouragement. So I never sang in public. In most birthday parties of my childhood, there used to be this standard game of passing the parcel and my heart would jump up to my mouth if ever the parcel stopped at me. There was extreme probability that my chit would require me to sing a song and though I would have rehearsed ten different songs for every such occasion, I would never, never sing.

My youngest brother showed some of my father's talent and interest in singing and I took it upon myself to groom him ! It was funny ! I'd make him learn the lyrics of my father's songs which were rather difficult to sing anyway and every afternoon I'd make him rehearse and like any 'Ustaad Ji' I'd correct the alaap ! I feel so sorry for my brother now ! Though he dutifully sang and danced on call at every birthday party, I never heard him sing a song after he grew up into a boy and a man !! I must have scarred him for life.

When Ruhi was born, I would stay awake most nights for the first couple of years, cradling her in my arms and singing my father's songs to keep her calm and to keep myself awake. 
My favourites were " Dheere dheere aa re badal" and "Bhala tha kitna apna bachpan". Both these reminiscent of my childhood and my bittersweet relationship with my father. Since the songs are so ancient and my husband had never heard them before, I was spared being ticked on how badly I had twisted the tune, just in case he woke up to hear me bray. He is a fine singer himself !
Soon these became lullabys for Ruhi to sleep. Ruhi grew up and much to my husband's disappointment never showed any inclination to sing. 
My son came by three years ago and didn't ever need a lullaby to sleep. I'd put him in the crib and he'd shut eyes like clockwork. I do not remember singing to him at all, though once in a while I may have done it in an absent minded way. 
A few days ago, he was pretending to write a doctor's prescription as I was preparing for Ruhi to be go to bed (its still a ceremony!). He was talking in the background - he talks all the time, often to himself. Methodically, he cut the chatter and started singing :
 "dheere dheere aa re badal, dheere dheere. Raindrops, lollipops, O wott fun itood be"

I stood very still, completely afraid that he would stop if I gave him any attention. He did stop and moved on to the next ditty. I was exhilarated with emotion. He remembers the song from somewhere! My husband gave me a knowing smile. He knows how much these songs mean to me but more than that he is finally content that his son has his music (and mine) in him. 


I won a prize for this photo

A Sony Ericcson mobile phone, just when I so needed a new phone !

Friday, August 22, 2008

And they walked into a shoe made of ice-cream and fluff...

This evening,  the slimy mother pretended to enjoy watching the special assembly school photos for the umpteenth time. She pointed a curious finger at each little kid and asked all the names. 

'Boo Boo Sticks' was excited like hell and she sang out the names....Nanaki, Meher, Ridhi, Yashaswi, Ashna, Ahaan and Raj and the rest.  The slimy mom made a mental pause. Smiled at the cute little boy with the hint of a dimple, so engrossed with a rather sheepish Ruhi! 
So that be him ! Choooo Chweet ! 

PS: October 8, 2008 : Anticlimax ! The dimpled boy turned out to be Shivi ! The slimy mother got it all wrong as usual !!

Eye Candy of the Diligent kinds !

I know I need to say thank you but I am just too stumped and I do suspect here may be a case of distorted vision ("pyaar mein andha hona") ! LOL.
My blog is a a bit spaced out, OTT with emotion, and sometimes juvenile. Very like me. And when someone gives me an award for being Smart & Brilliant, I am Gobsmacked ( yup, thats the current favourite word for the lack of vocabulary). 

Its taken me a few days to recover and so Diligent Candy a big hug for giving me...
The Brilliant Weblog Award- a prize given to sites and blogs that are smart and brilliant both in their content and their design. The purpose of the prize is topromote as many blogs as possible in the blogsphere. Here are therules to follow:
When you recieve the prize you must write a post showing it, togetherwith the name of who has given it to you, and link back to them. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or even more) that you find brilliant in content or design. Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing them that they have been awarded with the ‘Brilliant Weblog’ award. Show a picture of those who awarded you and those you give the prize (optional) to.

I pass the sunshine on to:

1. nm : Firstly for being 'there' always. Also for the simple honesty of her sweet blog.
2. my dayzwithmyself : He is funny and its a pity he has disappeared. Temporarily I hope.
3. Mampi : Because 'Singh is King' ! Go figure !
4. Yonearthnot : Brilliantly funny always - without much effort !
5. Amardeep : One of the 'must reads' of mine. Very erudite. Very engaging.
6. High Heel: Always reminds me of 'girly time'. Kewl, funny and so bitchy ! lurvit!
7. Ageless Bonding : Naanstap Naansens !

And many many many others who I do not have on my bookmark bar...copy paste is simple you see ! :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

And the story progresses !

Ringchen asked what happened next in the 'Ruhi, Raj & the Bracelet story'
I was also curious why she had returned the bracelet. I must have asked her more often than she was expecting me to bother so she gave me one of her 'looks' (the knowing, I am the mother of all mothers look) and asked if I wanted her to get the bracelet back ?! 
Checkmate !
I said it was her own wish. She insisted she will get it since I seem to like it ! 
I didn't ask again and it hasn't come back. Yet.

2 days after she returned the bracelet, under the usual pile of paper cutouts, scraps, dried leaves and flowers in her school bag I found a folded bit of thick paper. It had a cute drawing of a little girl in a ninja pose ! Could have been a dance pose. The girl had long black hair. I stared in fascination. She peeped across my shoulder and said " Raj drew it. That's my picture" ! So the story progresses!

I ironed out the sheet, folded the extra paper and pinned it on her soft board. Hmmmm....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Just like that.

My husband has the quality of making the most mundane of incidents sound filmy. A few days ago he said : "I have news to share with you that will gobsmack you" ( my words to translate whatever it was that he said).

My pulse fell. I hate surprises. In my life surprises are never pleasant, not till now.

I barked back "NOW WHAT?".

He smiles dramatically, modulating his voice, said " Ruhi is in love". And he almost giggled. I told him he was so absurd and that he needed to seriously grow up before the kids do and I walked off.

He persisted, and offered more details " his name is Raj - she is wearing a bracelet that he gifted her, the maid told me ".

Ruhi was fast asleep and I wriggled her right wrist from under herself to find an oversized plasticky band with shiny multicolored rectangles. I let it be, must have been some innocent thing that had been misconstrued by the maid who it seems has been brought up on a strict diet of cheesy hindi movies.

The next morning Ruhi woke up chirping about an elaborate dream about pink beaked birds and elephants and a tiger who slouches while shaking his bum and pointing his curved finger at her friend Ashna. She slouched on the bed shaking her pointy little bum and explaining the tiger's gestures with her finger. I watched with familiar fascination, marveling at the beauty of the world she sleeps in. Then I pointed at the band and asked "what's that Roo?"

She smiled "friendship band. Raj gave it to me. You know mama he specially bought it for me with REAL money". I tried not to scowl at her and asked " Who is Raj ?"

"Arre, my best friend in school. I love him mama, he kissed me on my cheek in the nap time" ( the kids take a half hour nap in school).

I wasn't liking the thought. What do six year olds know about kissing ? I tried to sound indifferent so that she doesn't feel it was some big deal "Did you tell Namrita Ma'm ?".

Ruhi was getting impatient now " Why ? He didn't kiss on the lips ?". I almost chocked on my toothbrush. I must say I am completely unprepared for this conversation so early in our relationship. For God's sake she is still a baby.

I decide to leave it at that for the moment. She goes on "you know Ma, he gave me the band so that when we grow old and if we get lost, he can find me"!

Hmmmm... straight out of Karan Johar movies. Her father's daughter for sure.

Yesterday, the grotesque thing was missing from her tiny wrist. When I asked her she said she had put it back in that kid's pocket.


"Just like that".

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sentimental Little Fool !

Ruhi goes to a 'new' school that just started this year. Its a beautiful school and though its an hour's school-bus drive away from home, everything else about it makes up for that extra distance. At least for now. 
They do not have an auditorium yet and they make do with a large open space for a special assembly each week till their fancy audi gets the final touches. Since the Kids have been with them a couple of months now, they are having each class to host the special assembly for the parents each week. Last Wednesday was the turn of Ruhi's class. I was excited as hell and had been anxiously waiting for the day and I planned meticulously to leave home well in advance to account for every traffic eventuality. 
Office time in the morning, the traffic is a bitch and the BRT is well....I don't need to swear, anyone who lives in South Delhi already know what I mean. I insisted on driving since I didn't trust the driver or the husband enough to get to school just as my precious darling begins what she had told me was a big 'surprise' for me. We were moving at a snail's pace but I had accounted for this delay...but half an hour later, I knew it was impossible to make it before the assembly. As the traffic became more stubborn I wouldn't as much glance at the watch. I couldn't hear a word of the conversation my husband was having with me. My heart felt like a log and I wondered what it is that makes me so silly, so weak. Why is it that my husband who loves our daughter as much as I do,if not more, is so matter of fact about these things? Am I strange ?

We reached school half an hour late for the hour long special assembly. I drove past the screaming guards at the school gate, right into the porch, abandoned the car and my husband to pacify the guards and ran my fastest race to the assembly. There was a row of children up there with tall masks covering their faces, taking the final bow just as I reached. I spotted the Pink shirt that I bought for her just a day before and I quietly stood at the back fighting my tears and taking pictures till the masks went off and she noticed me. 

Her face lit up like sunshine. I pretended as if I had been standing there forever. She was with her class, following the teacher's instructions to walk in a file, stand straight, sing the national anthem and all through her eyes were fixed on me with that silly sheepish smile. 

I got to speak to her for a few minutes before the children ran away to their classroom. She told me she had been crying under her mask since she had thought I was not going to come at all. And that like an idiot she had not seen me standing at the back. 

I told her she was a sentimental little fool.

Yeah !

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This is my family ! (post inspired by my children's' home work project last week)

This is Ruhi, who will turn seven this November. Ruhi suffers from many happy delusions. For instance she sincerely believes she is a Gobsmacking beauty. Therefore she lives up to that role by dressing up in festive finery, even when she goes to the park. She is often spotted on top of the rickety DDA park slide with her shiny 'Gharara' pulled above her bony knees and christmas trinkets hanging from various points on her head.

She also thinks she is not thin enough and digs wearing clothes that can make her look even thinner, when she is not wearing festive finery. I call her my "boo boo sticks, pointy bums' ! She thinks it a a compliment !

A born activist, she wants to save the planet, the poor and the old to begin with. In crowded malls and cinema halls she has the spooky quality of spotting senior most citizens and make pretty eyes at them. Upon getting a hint of any response she will shyly fold hands in a greeting, resulting in a great deal of affectionate reciprocal activity. Ruhi wants to be a 'household help' when she grows up ! Since she thinks Kirti 'didi', the girl who works with us, has a really cool job to do ! Cook, clean and watch TV and no going to office ( the dirty word for her) and no homework either !!!

This is three year old Rayyan Wasi, who likes to be addressed by his full name. Rayyan Wasi adopted a tattered blue 'Jaipuri Razai' when he was one year old and the two have since been inseparable. The 'Razai' goes to cinema halls, vacations, school, weddings, birthday parties and the mall, which is his most favourite place. Rayyan Wasi is a potential TV channel Talent Show aspirant. He poses and sings on a toy mike with his Razai wrapped around his neck. He also plays on a small cartoon network guitar, a "tabla" set and a tiny 'dholak' that is his most recent musical acquisition. Whenever he can lay hands on it, he also plays upon my precious harmonica. His father is convinced down to every bone in his body that Rayyan Wasi will be a talented singer / musician when he grows up. I hope and pray that Rayyan eventually does not break his father's heart ! 

Rayyan & the Blue 'Razai' !
Rayyan's other passion is cars. He has accumulated several by various means - gifts from doting relatives, gifts from me and his dad, shameless blackmail in Malls, shameless anarchy during visits to Gurtej & Kabir's homes ( his 8 year old male cousins). When he is not singing, playing on his musical contraptions or sucking on to the dirty blue blanket, Rayyan Wasi runs his battery of cars on my bed, from one corner to the other while giving a running commentary about an imaginary traffic situation.

This is my husband. He is always, always, always the man on the phone. When not on the phone, he is generous, soft spoken, sentimental, kind and funny. Hates airplanes, lifts, cinema halls, malls, vacations, hills, the sea, parking lots and being alone at home. And like Ruhi, he suffers from many happy delusions. He thinks he is the world's greatest musician, perfumer, cook, husband, father, son, brother, friend, designer, movie editor, driver...etc etc etc . He would have been insufferable if he hadn't been so vulnerable and naive. He leaves wet towels on the bathroom floor, he is more messy than the kids are, he drives me nuts. 
But he also lets me win every fight and spoils me silly, more than he spoils the children. Naaaaaaaaaaaaah ! I am not going to make this a 'senti' post. That one is for later.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Everyone's children are the same.

A bengali woman started working as part time help in my house recently. She is as bad as they come, dishonest, unreliable, lazy, incompetent and I wonder why we have her at all. The last time I told her that it was not working out she almost fell at my feet and she really does seem very needy so the story goes on. Anyway, four days ago she got her 3 months old daughter along to our house. Her husband had hit the child so she could not bear to leave her alone with him.

I peered at the dark, malnourished kid. She seemed reasonably clean but very weak. I made her lie down in the drawing room under the fan on a small padded mattress that Ruhi uses for her dolls, carefully covering it with a plastic sheet and a piece of cloth. She lay there happily gurgling while her mother went about her chores. No one except me and the other girl who helps me run my house, came near the child.

Before leaving, the woman left Ruhi's small mattress in her room and put the cloth away for washing. Nothing of great consequence till I realised that my mother in law was greatly upset with what had happened. That I had made 'that' kid lie on Ruhi's toy mattress.

I have a pact of silence to all things disagreeable within my rather volatile joint family. So I quietly went about collecting my things to leave for our weekend getaway. When she became particularly nasty, I softly told her " sabke bachche ek jaise hote hain" (everyone's children are the same). She did not say anything to that.

Half way through our road trip, I got a call from my father in law. He is nearly ninety, and always graceful. He sounded livid with me. He said his wife had told him that I let an infected, dying child lie down on my daughter's mattress. I asked him how he had arrived at that conclusion. He said the diagnosis was based on my mother in law noticing from farthest way that the child's limbs were rather thin compared to her head and body !!!

But she had not even as much come near the poor child. How did she know it was a fatal, infectious disease ? Unless the disease was called abject poverty. She had also noticed that the child's leg had touched the carpet on which she sits down to read namaaz everyday. Everything had been soiled it seems. And I am the freak who allows pariahs into my house, on to my carpet, on to my children's playthings.

I kept burning in an indignant fire till hours afterwards. I am not class conscious. I eat from the office peon's tiffin. I have inherited this from my mother who is beyond care for anything and anyone at all.

I always turn to my husband in such times to give vent to my feelings. He patiently explained that the issue was not class but hygiene related.

I know that's not true but I will be a coward and let it pass.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Just Do it !

I got my jeep, my tattoo and as incongruous as it may sound, alongside, I have also started teaching at a Business School! Thats some work and it just proves that all that you read in those coffee table motivation books is actually true. Its possible and you can do it. If you try. If you are wondering what's my sermon about - I wrote a 'wannado' list a couple of weeks back

I have also made a new friend - 86 year old retired Sikh Doctor who now lives in Canada and who I found accidently on a yahoo group that I subscribe to. I call him Taya Ji since he says I remind of his niece Gurmit who lives in Delhi and he has taken it upon himself to teach me about religion. He sent me the first lesson on e mail - an overview about the beginning of religion and the history and essence of prevalent religions. All written by him, specially for me.

But its not as rosy as it sounds. I can't maneuver that car into my jam packed office car park so in the bargain I park half a kilometer away ( some exaggeration since it explains the situation) and walk to office with the luggage that I like to carry with me everyday. I've been lucky enough to only catch the odd drizzle till now but its still 2 months of monsoon in Delhi.

The Tattoo ? I am a wee bit embarrassed each time I extend my hand to people at meetings or while meeting strangers. I am always wondering if it 'slots' me. If it appears that I am trying to prove something ? If it makes me seem insecure, rebel with a cause ? Or maybe its all in my mind. My children greeted my tattoo with wonder and curiosity. My son thought it was the batman symbol upside down ! My daughter wanted to know how it was done. My mother in law chanced upon with curiosity then disgust. She wanted to know if it would remain forever.

My husband did not notice it !!!

Till finally , few days ago I extended my arm in front of him and said "I got a tattoo".

And teaching a class of 45 grown up post graduates is mean business. I slog the nights to study what I have to teach them. I travel an hour to reach the campus and its a bit disconcerting till now, but its been only 2 classes. I am eager to know if they think I am making sense. I want to make a difference - I am fascinated by teaching since it makes me drive harder to excel myself. It makes me better person than I could have been otherwise. But it burns me out and most days after the Kids, their holidays, the chores at home, office and teaching I am really tired.

Its now quite a climb to get the next one on my list.

Got to learn to swim this summer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

WJKKWJKF ! Been there, Done it !!

The tattoo place was inside a Schwarzkopf hair salon and they made me sit at the reception with a big Plasma TV on the facing wall. Two grown up people - a man and a woman were standing in front of the TV and watching cartoons on Nickolodeon. At first I thought they may just be inanely staring at the screen in want of nothing else to stare at (like me) but then I noticed they were both giggling intermittently. It was the Ninja Hattori show. Ruhi also watches it at home and I always thought it was one of those morbid cartoons which are meant to be mean and exciting. But it suddenly dawned upon me that Ninja Hattori is actually comical ! Never heard Ruhi laughing though.....anyway, after a bit, a heavily tattoed young guy came and looked me up. He asked me what I wanted.

I told him I wanted a 'Khanda' on my wrist and since he seemed quite blank, I started drawing it in air while explaining what it was, all the time wondering what he was doing in Delhi if he didnt know what a 'Khanda' was. As I went on. he calmly went behind the reception desk, browsed through a couple of folders and opened two designs of the 'khanda' and asked "which one ?"

We disagreed upon the design that would suit my wrist and I finally went by his selection. He disagreed with my decision to keep it small, but gave in quickly. He printed out the artwork, I disagreed with the size yet again and he took another printout which was smaller and we settled for that. On the spur of the moment I suddenly decided that I wanted the tattoo on the upper forearm instead of the wrist. I asked him for his opinion and he agreed and said it would also be much less painful on the forearm.

We went into a tiny cubicle which had something like a dentist's high chair besides a stool and a red bean bag. I sat on the high chair while he sat on a stool at my feet. He was very business like as he went about wearing gloves, showing me a fresh needle and taking out the ink etc. In the midst of it all he said : "why a 'Khanda ?"

I wasn't expecting him to ask me personal questions. He didn't even look friendly enough so I decided not to tell. I paused a second and then said "Long story".

It works ever time and he seemed to give up further conversation on the subject.

He pasted the artwork sticker on my arm and as he picked up the needle I asked him " Is it going to be very painful ?" He gave me a blank stare and said nothing. I thought that look meant my question was silly. So in answer to that look I said " Oh OK, so its going to be like pin pricks ?". He stared again and I thought then that he had nodded though I am not sure now.

When he started working the buzzing needle on me, I died.

The sharp shooting pain made me clench my fist in pain. He gave me a dirty look and stopped the needle to hiss "DON"T DO THAT".

It was slightly better after that. I clenched my teeth forever to control the pain and thought about my 2 Caesarian operations and that it could not pain more than the stitches. And then he started asking a volley of questions - If I was married, what I do, how many kids, where I live, how I came to know of him, if my family knew and approved of my decision... etc etc. I think asking questions is a useful trick to distract the 'patient's' mind away from the pain.

After the introductory set of questions were over he asked " so tell me the long story". It was paining so much that I didn't care as long as my mind was distracted enough to talk. I told him about my mixed marriage. And that this was my way of reinforcing my identity that will go down with me - just in case I do go into a grave instead of a pyre !

He said "8 years and you are still struggling." I told him that in fact my struggle had only just begun. I had been happily immune till a few years ago.

He asked : Did they give you a new name ? I told him the name a few aliens call me by : "Sara".

He said it was a nice name. Then he said " I wonder what name I will get !". He told me he was seeing a muslim girl and his prospective mother in law was hunting for a nice new name for him ! We both laughed. I suggested he should chose between Amir Khan & Shahrukh and that he should get an OM tattoo on his forehead ! I didn't notice the pain too much as we talked though I winced every now and then when he filled in the color. I now know that tattoos are not for the faint hearted !

Job over he wrapped my bleeding arm in a plastic wrap with strict instructions not to open the cling film before 4 hours. No water on the 'wound' for 10 days. No swimming, no sun, no waxing for 2 months and sunscreen on tattoo after that. The wound would develop a scab which should fall off in 10 days but I should not try to peel or touch it !

By the end of the 45 minutes, we were friends and knew a lot about each other ! Strange world.

I came back to office with a bleeding cling wrapped arm and had to leave immediately for a conference. On the way I bought some bandage and wrapped my arm in it. At the conference one of my interns who calls me 'madam' came to escort me inside and politely asked " ma'm how did you get hurt" I told him "Not hurt, I got my arm tattooed today". He smiled indulgently with disbelief, since I am known to say funny things at odd times.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

About wearing it on my sleeve !

I've been trying hard to up the score on my 'wanna-do' list ! I am so conditioned to make Urgent/Important lists at work that I do it for just everything ! My priority workings get the the tattoo on the top primarily because I am convinced that I may just lose the urge if I let more time pass and that would mean I would let go my lifetime opportunity to hypothetically tell my kids in about a decade or so that I used be so 'cool' !

But more importantly and more seriously I do get a nagging feeling that I am actually already too old to be getting my first tattoo and if I delay it any further, embarrassment may get the better of me !

So anyway, I asked around and did some finding out. I got to know that there is a 'Devils Tatoo' right under my nose - a few feet away from office. I spent another couple of days deciding if a religious tattoo will upset my husband's family or if they may interpret it as a mark of my wearing my 'identity' on my sleeve....I wondered if I should discuss the tattoo with my husband and then I realised that he would be absolutely mortified by the idea of the cliched dirty needles and the hypochondriac that he is, he will blame all my future ailments on my precious tattoo. All things considered, I realise that if its Ok for me to get my hair straightened without discussing with him ( hypothetically again!), it should be OK to get the tattoo !!

I called up Devil's Tattoos number in my best voice and an irritated guy's voice snapped back at me. I thought he hadnt heard me right so I repeated sweetly again "Is that Devil's Tattoos?"

Irritated Voice " YES"

Its the tone that most Doctors have if you ever call them on their mobile. Its like, c'mon get it over with fast. I realised that I was actually unsure about what to ask him. I said : Where are you located ?"

Irritaed Voice (IV) : Basant Lok
Me: Errr I know that, any landmark ?
IV after 2 secs of silence, under clenched teeth : Above Hero Honda Showroom..
Me : Oh Ok, so how much do you charge?
IV : Rs 1500 for the first square inch madam..
Me : Ah Ok, so when can I come ?
IV is now losing it completely : NO ! You need an appointment first !
Me : ya, of course so when can I get an appointment ?
IV : Listen Madam, I am working just now, can't you call me later ?
Me : Of I am so sorry, I will call later but what is your name
IV under clenched teeth again : Lokesh

I made a mind picture of a generously tattooed guy with the phone under his ear and hands working the needle on the back of a pretty girl. Obviously he was irritated. I called back in 3 hours. In the interim I had my 'what- if' doubts again. Would I ever regret it ? Why a Khanda ? Is it a subconscious need to reinforce the fact that I am Sikh? What will I tell my children about its meaning and context?

When I called again the tattoo dude seemed relaxed. There was loud music in the background and he said the earliest he could give an appointment was on Friday, the 13th at 2.30 PM.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Truth is rarely simple, hardly pure...

Friday, May 23, 2008 : 4 PM:

Like everyone else, I guess I have been very disturbed after the 14 year old Arushil was murdered in her sleep. Her first photo splashed in the newspapers was probably taken a couple of years ago when she still looked a small child. In that picture she has that sweet innocent look that I find on my 6 year old daughter's face. Its a very unsettling photograph and I have been mostly sleepless since then. I keep flipping news channels every night till I drop off with exhaustion. In the morning my stomach churns when I pick up the newspapers, in anticipation of that same photograph, those large smiling eyes starting at me. All of these days I have spent maximum time agonising over the death of that child. When the press started speculating that the father could be involved, I was livid with anger. Don't these journalists have Kids ? Don't they know how precious children are ? Can an educated man, a Doctor of repute harm his minor child, no matter what the provocation..

Just now, when I went back lurking on , I read that the father has been arrested. He did it. Killed his only child. The daughter had discovered his extra marital affair and he killed her. I was scared I'd puke on my desk. I felt a sharp shooting pain in my head - usual situation when I am going mad. Do I feel like that only because that girl Arushi looks like my daughter in that picture? Or is it that I can see the truth - that the society we live in is a reflection of what we are ourselves ? And that its all so ugly when you watch it like an audience, so , so, so...I don't have the right words. What do you call anything that is the most vile, disgusting beyond imagination....

Friday, May 16, 2008

Wannabe !

I am embarrassed to put up my 'Wanna do ' list here ! But I am doing it anyway !

Embarrassed,  firstly because I didn't want to admit that I don't know how to swim and secondly the fact that amongst the top ten things that I want to do ASAP is buy a bag that I don't need since I don't keep the company where my bag really matters. Its so a 'wannabe' thing. 
But I decided long ago to be excruciatingly honest on my blog or to not write at all ! And write this list I must because I can't still believe that I bought my Jeep a month ago ! I've so so much wanted to drive my own jeep for so many years now !
Its one thing off my list and I didn't imagine it would be the very first since it cost more than the bag that I want and the US trip and swimming classes and the tattoo and the hair cut and the potter's wheel and the gym membership put together ! 
So I have hope that I will live (not just buy, rent, pay house loan till in the grave) in that humble house of my dreams !
And I know, that if I write it down here, it won't be easy to forget it in a hurry !

So here goes :

1. Learn to swim
2.Own a Jeep 
3. Live in a house with a just-for-me private bathroom with an ordinary bathtub, a very fancy modern kitchen with all the gizmos in the world, bay windows in the rooms, white curtains and a small terrace balcony from where one can watch the stars at night. No light-bulbs, no TV, no mobile phones. Only internet ! lol
4. Get a potter's wheel & small studio of my own in that patch of land that my husband owns in the wilderness near Delhi
5. Take the Kids to Disneyland before they grow up
6. Learn to play a musical instrument
7. Get a 'khanda' Tattooed on my wrist
8. Teach in a School
9. Buy a LV Bag :(
10. Start Gymning
11. Get Ruhi to dance...
12. A gold chain anklet for one ankle !
13. Start sketching again & start Painting 
14. Buy a Nikon SLR & pursue serious photography

I have edited this list to add more things as I go along ! Its a never ending game isn't it ! 

I have the state of mind to compile the above,  when around me, an earthquake has killed more than 50,000 people in China. A lot of them small Kids. And 9 cycle bombs have killed 63 people closer home in Jaipur. 

Quite out of context, in reference to Michel Houellebecq I told a friend this afternoon that I am an eternal optimist. My friend said I was lucky.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mothers' Day !

May 11, 2008 : 7.45 PM inside PVR Saket, just settled in my seat after dragging a bawling Rayyan along with his dirty blue blanket (it goes everywhere), omelette & biscuits, water bottle (which I always have to sneak inside since they don't allow it), Ruhi and Kirti inside the auditorium to watch a movie called 'Bhootnath'.

Its the first day of my children's school vacation and though I despise the thought of watching a three hour long movie about a bollywood Ghost, I make them seated and fetch two large buckets of popcorn & Juice, trying not to leave a trail of popcorn as I walk down the aisle to my corner seat.

Rayyan & Kirti are sharing a bucket and I am sharing popcorn with Ruhi and the movie has already started. I love popcorn more than any food on earth. Only Ruhi can make me not dig my face into that large PVR popcorn bucket and keep my chin stuck in it till its physically impossible to eat directly with my mouth.

So I do the next best thing - I take fistfuls of popcorn from her at regular short intervals and stuff my mouth with my fist. Its like, I hold my fist full of popcorn to my mouth and munch off each flake till it has all disappeared in my mouth. PVR popcorn tastes like heaven and I am lost in my popcorn bliss till I feel Ruhi nudging me frantically.

She has a disgusted look on her face : " STOP EATING LIKE A MONKEY!"

I immediately withdraw the fist from my mouth and start feeling like a 5 year old caught misbehaving : " Awwww...I' am sorry Ruhi..."

Ruhi : "Oh God, and you are dropping it too !"

Me : "Shucks, really sorry poppet..."

I transfer the leftover popcorn to my left hand and pick up just one and silently put it in my mouth. She is back to watching the movie again.

I look at the dainty little proper miss from the corner of my eye and tell myself : Happy mothers day !

Friday, May 09, 2008

Katrina Kaif Vs Moi !

Rayyan's usual style of entering the house after he has been fetched from school is to shoot inside like a rocket that takes off from our gate. If there is anyone around inside the house, there is mad scramble and great noise about saving him from hitting the dining table glass or crashing into the door. If there is nobody around, he stands near the kitchen and announces in the most musical voice ' Main aa gaya a a a" ( I have arrived !). LOL

So this morning as usual, I was sitting on my corner of the bed, pretending indifference as I heard excited noises of Rayyan coming back from school. I usually wonder if at all he would remember me admist the great fanfare he is received with, by Dada, Dadi Kirti Didi, Nanak Bhaiya, the girls in my husbands small home office !

He usually comes charging up the stairs to my room with great speed, chattering away to himself after his reception committee have done their number. Sometimes he takes more time with his coterie and then my impatience gets the better of my pretended indifference. If he takes more than 10 minutes to come upstairs, I scream ' Raeeeeeeee' - my pet name for him that irritates his urdu-diction -fixated grandmother so much!

Today, he came scurrying up as usual and said " hello mummy" .

Ruhi has always called me Mama or ma and Rayyan also mostly calls me Mama. But sometimes when he feels like it he says the most funny punjabi accented 'mummy' ever !

Me : Hello Raeeeee, come give me a hug please?
Rayyan : Main kattykettle se shaadi karoonga ( I will marry ' kattykettle')

Kirti (his maid) promptly explains that he wants to marry Katrina Kaif !

I gape at him with mock shock (inside my head I am making plans to get the cable connection disconnected could he possibly know how hot Kattykettle was without watching an overdose of Zee music ?!)

Me : No Rayyan, 'Kattykettle' will not love you like Mama does. PLEASE marry me?

Rayyan : "No, No, No. 'KattyKettle' se shaadi karoonga".

And then he shoots off like a rocket again in the opposite direction.

I smile in amusement, heave a sigh and start collecting my things to leave for work.

After just a few minutes, he sneaks back to the room carefully making sure no one else is listening.

Comes up and whispers in my ear : "Main aap se shaadi karroonga !" ( I will marry you )

I make the most horrid coochie- coo noises, pick him up and kiss his entire face, squeeze him and tickle him till he is shrieking and kicking to get me off his tiny self !

Move on kattykettle !


Friday, May 02, 2008

Rayyan's third birthday !

Rayyan turned 3 on April 18th and his grandparents arrived from Jodhpur a day earlier in anticipation of his birthday 'bash'. I felt very queasy with that invisible pressure of knowing that his Dada & Dadi felt disappointed that there was no birthday party for Rayyan, specially because I go out of the way to organize a rather ostentatious party every year for my daughter ! What they don't know is that after every such party I vow never to have another one again. Because I invariably end up planning the party keeping the adult guests in mind even if I don't want to, and no matter how well it is planned, I get to do the donkey's job without a minute to spare to be with Ruhi and her friends. At the end of a rather expensive and tiresome day I have always ended up wishing I had spent the day alone with my daughter...
Ruhi loves her birthday parties. Her favorite year round game is to organise birthday parties for herself. Sometimes imaginary. Rayyan, I think is too little to understand what it means to have your own birthday party ! He believes that birthdays are wonderful events that other kids have and where you get return gifts. So everyone who said 'happy birthday' to him got a 'happy birthday' back in return. 

Ruhi was initially  grumpy about Rayyan's birthday since she can't deal with him getting such special attention solo ! But since she loves playing hostess to her friends and since this is her favorite game she enthusiastically invited her girlfriends in the neighborhood at rather short notice upon my suggestion. I organised for some finger food, choco pies, popcorn, chips, icecream and other kiddie stuff while dadaji baked a few cakes. Yes, a FEW of them, don't ask me why !!

Rayyan does not have any friends yet in School or in the neighborhood. He usually plays with Ruhi's girlfriends in the park so he was delighted when the girls dropped in with presents. Ruhi snatched the presents and opened them for him promptly demanding ownership of them. She even insisted in cutting his cake for him but could not get away with that one! I was very proud of my boy as he confidently blew out the candles and cut his cake without help. He will be fine, I know, with or without me around.

I played games with the Kids, helped them make a giant card for Rayyan, we danced and had great fun. In the evening my parents, brother & best friend dropped in for dinner. Rayyan had a blast cutting another of the few cakes grandpa had baked ! He is a delightful boy who smiles a lot and talks nines to the dozen but is shy with strangers. He preens for hours in front of the mirror and makes eyes at little girls. He tells me I should wear hair clips and notices my nailpaint, earstuds and new clothes unlike his father! His favourite thing nowadays is to call me 'Meri Mummy' ! I fall in love with him a little bit more every other day...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Out of fashion childhood Stuff

Walking to school and back:
School was 20 minutes of a stroll from home and my folks like everyone else's were not worried about cars running us over. They would only be reasonably worried if we did not turn up home after the street lights came on in the evening ! I used to walk to school for a few years till Dad got a bicycle for me. I usually carried an umbrella along, since it would get very Sunny in the afternoon. The way back was lined with housing blocks, each with a small green lawn in the front and rows of hedges with colorful butterfly bush flowers. I would pluck all the flowers I could and disseminate them into tiny 'flowerlets' to fill my umbrella. Close home, I would open the umbrella over my silly head and stand looking up with glee at a burst of tiny flowers raining on me.

6.7.08 : Ruhi and I found those flowers yesterday in one bylane near Nallagarh Fort in Solan where went for a small holiday !

Making a neighborhood Group to save the world.
As 8 - 9 year old girls, we used to read Enid Blytons like they were going out of fashion. Inspired by Enid Blyton's 'Secret Seven' ( a children's secret society who held regular meetings to solve mysteries that have baffled local police) we started our own secret seven society. In the book series the Seven had a secret password, a badge, and secret headquarters in a garden shed - in our own version we were seven girls though I only remember four names - Gauri, Pallavi, Sujata, Me, ??, ??, ??. We had weekly afternoon meetings at each other's houses by rotation and some mothers (unlike my own ) would actively participate by sending us biscuits and lemonade !

Running amok in school during the recess, like wild animals set free.
The whole school had the recess together - everyone ran out on to the grounds with their tiffins and made their own lunch groups and sat on benches, on the grass, under the tree and wherever else to have their lunch alfresco ! It was one huge informal party in the school grounds. The boys would steal guavas from the trees behind the convent. I remember someone once sneaked to the verandah of the Sister's hostel where washed underclothes were put out to dry. He put guavas under a bra cup and lay it out for display, before running away to safety ! The next day all children were banished from anywhere near the hostel.

Sleeping on the terrace :
For a few years we lived in a flat with a small terrace and in the Summers it was usual to put out the folding charpoys and sleep in the open. I remember learning about the constellations lying wide eyed under the starry blue night. And waking up to a misty pink sky and the cacophony of birds.

Making Janamashtami 'Jhanki' (Lord Krishna's birth story mock up) down to every detail and inviting the neighborhood kids to look at the baby krishna in his basket !

Making chalk Rangoli outside the house on every Diwali 

Playing the games of our times, which lasted till the nineties but are now extinct, at least in Delhi : 

Oonch Neech : The den would announce "oonch" ( high) and all the kids would go scurrying around looking for any surface higher than on which the Den was standing. If the Den said "neech) ( lower).....

Langdi Taang : The 'Den" hopped along on one leg trying to catch the next less abled den

Shivaji cutting the cake : The den chases the kids and while he pursues someone, you dart across the chaser & his prey shouting a war cray ' Shivaji cut the cake' and then the Den chases the one who cut across ! Why Shivaji ? Dunno ! I want to know.

Posham Pa bhai Posham Pa: Two kids would join hands after stretching arms over their heads to make a gate through which the other kids would pass singing 'posham pa..' not sure what's the climax but I think you grab the last kids in your trap as soon as you finish the song 1 

I wrote a letter to my father and on the way I dropped it : Bunch of Kids sit in a circle and the Den goes around dropping the letter ( hanky) behind any one of them. The one who gets the hanky behind them chases the den and if he fails, he circles around with the hanky as everyone sings ' I wrote a letter..."

Vish Amrit : The den runs after the others and curses " Vish" ( poison) and you have to sit down while the others try and pat your head back saying " Amrit: ( nectar) to revive you. But if you get too close to the den, you may be 'vish'ed too !

Chain - chain : The Den ;catches' you and you hold hands till you've got everyone else on the chain chasing those who are left.

Mendhak Choo: The den impersonates a frog by sitting down and hopping along to catch others by extending his leg ! 

Chidiya Ud

Chupan Chupai : hide and seek till much after dark running around apartment blocks and playgrounds

Saan Seedi, Patte-pe-patta, Ludo, Carom Board, Teen-do- Paanch, Rummy...

Lots more to add ! Will do so as it comes to me....

Monday, April 14, 2008

God of all 'News'

6:00 PM this evening, Ruhi lights a couple my favorite aurobindo sandalwood incense sticks, keeps the tiny Ganpati incense holder on the dressing table, solemnly folds her hands and shuts eyes tightly after checking her pose in the mirror. I fondly tap her on the head and ask : What are you doing ?

Ruhi looks very pleased with herself and is trying to better her 'namaste' pose in the mirror. She says : Praying to God.

I am curious to know who she prays to. I recall my praying to Jesus Christ in the Gurudwara as a 6 year old. The after effect of attending a Catholic school ! But here is a child with an array of religious messages and choices ! I chose not to ask. I know she is managing well and seems to naturally understand the concept of one supreme power and many ways to communicate with it. In her simple 6 year old way, she talks about it often. So I ask instead " What did you pray for ?"

She says : "I asked God to finish all the News ! "

" ...Because News is bad. People do bad things and die in the News. I don't like the News at all".

I hadn't thought about what a horrible world it would seem to a child who hears messages about accidents, murder, car snatching, kidnapping and the like. Even while we think she is playing boo boo with her baby brother and not listening to us discussing the newspaper. Even when I think I am careful about blocking sordid messages on TV or the real world. Sometimes there is no escape.