Hope and music

Posted: August 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

Hope and music springs in my washroom. Yeah, you read it right. We live in an old styled apartments which has a hollow shaft running through its length and the window of the washroom in some of the flats open into the shaft. Not a pleasant proposition, if you ask me but then every cloud has a silver lining and so does my washroom.

It all started a month back. It was just another Monday morning and I woke up grudgingly.  I stepped into the bathroom, expecting the blast of cold shower to fix my mood and spirit.  Yes, I am optimistic that way. Few minutes into the shower, I heard someone sing.  The sound of my shower drowned the lyrics. My curiosity was piqued. I turned the shower knob and listened intently.  The singer had a deep baritone and he was singing quite passionately. For the record, it was the song “Adhisayem (Ajooba?)”. Initially, I giggled. The turn of events made me feel a bit adventurous and sang few lines along with him. I did dream of a Jugalbandhi but then just a pause followed and then he again started from where he had left. Sigh!

Now, it has become a daily ritual to look forward to the “Shower song” and he is quite versatile and mostly sings my favorite numbers 😉 . And yes, our shower timings seem to coincide almost every day.  Sometimes, I try to put the face to the voice but then I guess ignorance is better and that way, I am left with just the song and my very own memories associated with it.  I was amused at how a familiar beat from the past could take you down the memory lane and leave you all elated.

It is not just me who is at the receiving end. The other day, The Bloke had a bad case of stomach flu.  He threw up the entire contents of his stomach. one look at it and anyone could very well reconstruct what we had cooked the entire day. Gross, I know. I told him there was nothing more to throw up and he could get some sleep. But then he was determined to throw up more and well, he did.  He popped a pill and I coaxed him but nothing helped. He threw up again and just when he finished, we heard voices(through the shaft, of course). Someone else was also throwing up. “His condition seems to be pretty bad. Looks like it is just seasonal?”, The Bloke said. I nodded. I totally didn’t understand  his reasoning. Actually, the fact that someone else in the building had the same condition was a bit worrying but the same thing seemed to make him think that it was trivial and he found solace in it. I let it be since he had changed his stance about throwing up all night and agreed to sleep. He woke up the next day, hale and hearty!

For all other times, when I hear someone brawl or fart, I turn on the shower knob and let the sound of water drown everything else.

Word play

Posted: August 8, 2013 in Tales from past, Travel
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During my short trip to the US, I spent most of the time working from the hotel. Sigh! We were given a studio apartment. The ‘bedroom’ end of the room opened into a powder room that had this motion sensor lights.  At first, I was delighted with it but then in night, every time I tossed and turned, the lights turned on. I spent half the night putting them  off. Hmph!

I worked from one corner in the ‘living room’ and I was confined to this place, most of the time.  The only highlight of the day, other than the scrumptious breakfast was the Mexican woman who would come in to clean the place. She turned out to be quite chatty and  I went on to explain her that I was tagging along with The Bloke and that I would be gone soon.  She wanted to know more. I yielded. She spilled her story in broken English.

Then she went on to surprise me with the Hindi word that she had learnt from her friend – “Accha”, she said.  Not wanting to be left behind, I smiled and added “Hola!” (Yes, Thanks to Katrina and ZNMD). She merely smiled.  I was not going to give up easily and I looked up Spanish translation  for “Thank you”. I practiced the word quite few times in my mind. I decided to spring it on her  after her work.

She had proceeded on to making the bed and as she straightened the duvet, she asked. “No kiss?”

To say I was flummoxed is an understatement.   Zillion thoughts ran through me.  What did she see in the bed that made her ask such a question?  Or She wanted to be kissed? Or probably, she thought that I was too orthodox to kiss. As if to wake me up from my stupor, she asked again, “No kiss?”.

It was then that I realized what she meant and I replied, “No kids”.

Ps: Oh, yeah I managed to thank her in Spanish. Erm.. She wasn’t floored. I give up!

House full

Posted: July 26, 2013 in Uncategorized
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My parents and the sister were here for the last weekend and within the 2 days we managed to visit few places around, savor few home-made delicacies, relax and we were also caught for going over the speed limit! In our defense, the road was empty and we had exceeded the limit by a very less margin. Sigh!

In short, we had this crazy weekend and here are snippets from the pandemonium.

Sis: *Dash*  *Daash* *DAAAAASH* (She was playing some racing game on The Bloke’s mobile)

The help (in her typical nasal accent): Kapdai hai? (Any clothes?)

Me (in an equally nasal tone): Aaaj poncha kar do (Today, mop the floor instead)

The Bloke (armed with a knife and papaya): Anyone ready to eat papaya? (Dude, no one is going to answer that question. You need to replace papaya with coffee!)

My mom (to me): Let it get steamed for 7 minutes. Only then, it will turn out soft. (Dishing out cooking instructions makes my mom happy. She almost makes it all sound like Sanjeev Kapoor show)

The Bloke: What is cooking?

Mom(with all smiles): Kolakattai, it is our traditional food.

The Bloke: Kolkatta?

Sis: Dash Dash DASH

Sis (Looks up for a moment): It is like Momos minus the filling.

(The Bloke is all confused and perplexed now)

Me:” It is like Akki ‘Idly’ rather than Akki roti!”, I assure him.

Dad(to my mom): Coffee podriya?

(Erm.. Roughly translates to “Will you make coffee?”)

The Bloke : Papaya, anyone?

Mom( to no one in particular): Did the maid sweep the floor?

Sis(Finally, giving up on the game): Uhhh…. She completed and left long back!

Dad: Coffee podriya?

Kolakattai was steamed, coffee was made and the madness continued! Needless to say, I loved it to  bits ( The madness, I mean).

Teary eyed

Posted: July 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Though I went about my work after reading about the floods in Uttarakhand, the news about his death left me teary-eyed and frozen. I wonder why? I never knew him. Is it because of his age? Is it because he hailed from the same place? Or is it because we went to the same college? But these questions are for a different day.

The past two days I scurried the internet to know what happened on the fateful day and I hoped for a befitting farewell.  The old, the young, the eminent and people from all strata of society did flock the streets of Madurai to pay their tributes and  at the end, after the 21-round gun salute, the skies opened up and wept.

Rest in Peace, you braveheart!

Madurai gives a hero’s farewell to braveheart IAF pilot

The past two months were just too bland, punctuated with deadlines and the days whizzed by. The Bloke was equally busy. Or, probably busier.And at times, when I decided to push the work aside and took time to laze around, I tried to write. But I went blank  and  mostly ended up  sleeping with the laptop beside me.  And along with me, the draft as well went dormant.  Now, I guess the mayhem is over. I mean the work and deadlines.

Two months back, when there was a lot happening (comparatively, that is), I missed updating about few things. Actually, I completely missed writing about my travel to places half way across the globe! It was quite a short trip and we had just one day for sight-seeing and rest of the time, The Bloke slogged in office and I worked from the hotel. Even now, that travel seems so unreal that if  The Bloke ever told me that it was all a dream, I would believe him. Erm.. okay, he may have to delete all those pictures that we took at Golden gate bridge.

The Bloke had to travel for work and I never even thought of accompanying him but he had different plans altogether. I planned on staying with her while The Bloke would be away. But as luck would have it, she relocated and moved out of  Bangalore!

“See, you are destined to come along with me”, The Bloke yelled. I dismissed him off. No, we are not that philosophical about ‘destiny’ but we are those complete duds who use ‘destiny’ to even decide on the place for dinner.  Mostly, destiny helps us in the forms of traffic lights and rains!

Anyway, I digress. The reality struck me when we booked my ticket.  The entire flashback  of  my misplaced stay extension approval letter (from previous travel)came back to haunt me and someone had warned me that it was required for subsequent travel.   I spent sleepless nights after that, waking up all sweaty and parched from nightmares of being deported. Erm.. okay, that was in March and that explains the sweat and thirst.  But the nightmare would always end before the climax.  I was always left wondering if The Bloke would join me back or if he would continue with this work and travel!  It was after rigorous ‘Google’ search’, I realized I was misinformed.

So, just like usual, we packed on the day of travel and at The Bloke’s insistence, reached airport  much much earlier.  It was a long flight. At times, The Bloke and I stretched and walked around and I saw so many fellow passengers flirting with the air hostess and boring them to death that now I can very well write a book titled, “How to flirt under 30 seconds”. Seriously!

Once it was our turn at the immigration check, I duly went along with The Bloke. While he explained the nature of his travel and work in many words, I just added, “I am accompanying him on his travel” and dished out the marriage certificate.  “So, you don’t trust your husband?”, the immigration officer  asked and burst into a peals of laughter. My jaws dropped to the floor. I was dumbstruck and bewildered. The Bloke joined him and my expression was quite a sight, I believe. While I was still retaining my composure, the stamped passports materialized out of nowhere and The Bloke ushered me out.

Pointless

Posted: May 13, 2013 in Rants, Uncategorized
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There is oodles of work to be completed but I don’t want to even list it out. I feel drained and my mind is all foggy, I am content lying down, doing nothing.  A cup of coffee might do the trick, I think. But there isn’t any milk at home. So here I am. No, not for the milk but for the trick that I mentioned. The Bloke is in the next room on a call. He seems to be slogging through tall mounds of work. I wonder how he manages to be awake. Aren’t you awake as well, you ask. Well, when it comes to sleep, we are at the two different ends of the spectrum. He sometimes even dreams about sleeping!  While I’m mostly insomniac and sleepless,  The Bloke is usually knocked out even before the lights are out. This precisely is the reason you should have girl pals around! Even in the middle of night, they would patiently answer your silliest questions like “Are you awake?”. So while The Bloke is in his REM state, I twitch and toss listening to all unearthly sounds outside which happens mostly to be the sound of dogs barking. What is so unearthly about it? If you have been sleepless for couple of nights, you would know exactly what I mean. They sound almost like a well co-ordinated orchestra. No, I am not kidding. What starts as random dogs growling at equal intervals proceeds on to chorus after sometime and dies down in the wee hours of morning and the change is so gradual that trust me, at times you can guess the time based on it. No, I am not exaggerating. Anyway, I digress. So, you see why I am so surprised that he is awake. I am all set to take my sweet revenge. I am in a rush to laze and slip into that enticing sleep.  I think, it is all Karma and for once I am happy about it 😉 .  I hope the call continues until the chorus lasts!

“Muje bahut neendh aa raha hai”, I announced.  And just then I noticed that sarcastic lopsided grin appearing on The Bloke’s face and I knew something was wrong.

“Is it ‘aa raha hai’ or ‘aa rahi hai’?”, I further questioned him and he dissolved into a peal of laughter.

Hmph.  “It is my neendh and I decide its gender”, I shrugged. He guffawed.

And for the record, The Bloke can manage just few Tamil words and he gets labelled as ‘cute’ for that. Uh.

Anyway, I digress. This post is NOT about The Bloke or about the state of my spoken ‘Hindi’ but rather about my miseries with it.

The story dates back to ’93 when my vocabulary in Hindi was limited to ‘hathi=elephant’ and ‘kalam=pen’. To supplement this, I was sent to a Hindi Pundit and he bestowed the worldly knowledge upon with  the sentences like ‘Yeh kalam hai’ and ‘yeh mej hai”.  And equipped with vast and improved vocabulary, I appeared for Prathmik exam and ahoy! I managed a good score as well ;).  For the uninitiated, in TN we have exams conducted by Hindi Prachar sabha and back in ’90s, almost all of us appeared for those exams and mostly, in this case, the teacher is referred  as ‘Hindi Pundit’. So,  after all this rigorous and ‘katin’ Hindi exams, we could confidently rattle off, Yek gaavon my yek kisan raghu thatha’

All was well until we moved to Delhi in ’95.  At school,  I dreaded Hindi classes.  I was totally lost. On my very first day in school, just before the Hindi period could start, someone behind me buzzed, “Rajini madam is coming”. I  turned around with adoration in my eyes. How cool it was to nick name your teacher after RajiniKanth’! Probably, the teacher was just too strict and well-built, I thought. But in came a petite woman with a porcelain skin and  looked pale. Or, so I thought. when she spoke, I could hardly hear her.  No way near Rajini, I thought. Few more days and then the understanding dawned on me that her name actually was ‘Rajini’  and it looked like it was a pretty common name given to girls as well!

“Is that name in any way  inspired by the actor ‘RajiniKanth’ ?”, I asked the boy sitting next to me. He scratched his head in reply.

After the initial hiccups, I managed to pull through the Hindi classes. Among the four of us, my mom adopted quickly to Delhi. She would pack Chapathi and Dal for us every day.  The extra protein and fiber did help the plants in my school and they flourished and looked greener.  “Idly arici’ became a precious commodity and was taken out only on special days or when we had Tamil guests at home. And those were the only years when we got away giving Idly  and sambhar on the day of Diwali to all the North Indian neighbors. They were insanely happy. I was happier since I had the Gulab Jamuns for myself. After few years we were back to Tamilnadu and there, I pledged my commitment to Hindi and went ahead and chose it over Tamil.

Cut forward to 2006, I was the most sought after by my Tamil friends.  While Shahid Kapoor wooed, enticed and smiled, I interpreted his words and I think I did well,  for my friends let out a collective long sigh. I never understood if it were my words or Shahid’s looks that garnered that reaction. Living in a paying guest accommodation had its perks and I almost became the  North-Indian-certified-decent-Hindi-speaking-tamilian.

After getting married to The Bloke, I thought I would be more fluent in Hindi. How wrong I was! True, initially I picked up cooking instructions in Hindi like “ubalo”. But it was quite short-lived. Within a year of marriage, I forgot all the Hindi that I had picked up since The Bloke just refused to  converse with me in Hindi. Okay, we had never conversed in Hindi before wedding as well but we could have given it a try!

To me, Hindi is like  aerobics. When I practice it sincerely, I reap the benefits. But when I turn to it once in a blue moon, I end up with sore muscles. So recently when I had to converse for long in Hindi, I said something like “Mere prashno” and before my words were out, I realized my mistake but the damage was done. The very moment, the truth dawned on me – Hindi Prachar Sabha had left a dent on my heart, mind and soul and it was to remain forever!

So people, that is my tale of woe and now, I need a drink to keep the misery from enveloping me.  A strong filter Kaapi for me, if The Bloke agrees to make it otherwise I will settle for a Chai 😀 .

Until I sober up,

“Hail Hindi, hail Hindi Prachar Sabha”