Posts Tagged ‘Musings’

The year that just flew by

Posted: January 4, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Well, I might tell this every year but 2014 broke all records, I think. The weeks just faded in a blink and before I knew it was December.  Being a hopeless eternal optimist that I am, I love this feeling of new year, new beginnings, starting with a clean slate and all that. And that is the precise reason why I don’t make any resolution.  This optimism is so sacred that I can’t let it be clouded with retrospection..

While 2014 was kind of the most uneventful year in recent times, here are is a miscellaneous list of moments and events that I want to hold onto –

It was the first day of 2014. We had just moved into our new house. The Bloke and I had spotted few kids around the apartment. They were quite shy in the beginning and then warmed up to us. But I could hardly strike any conversation with them and my broken Kannada just didn’t help. I happened to hand over few brightly colored sweets to them. While the elder ones ate it up with all glee, the youngest didn’t realize what it was. But she was delighted beyond words.  She threw it up in air and caught it. She kicked it, rolled it in mud and showed it to anyone who looked her way.  I am not sure what I felt – amused? happy?. I don’t think she would have been this happy had she popped it in her mouth. Few months later, a similar incident happened with a kid I met while waiting for The Dude. This time, it was a pink cotton candy in an inflated polythene bag.

The Bloke and I went on a trek along with few friends. No, not the kind of treks that last a couple of days or weeks. It took almost four hours to complete. I was quite close to quitting but then somehow I dragged myself to the top. The path was quite jagged with uneven stones and steep slopes and with dried bushes lining the way. As the sun ascended its way up and the temperature soared, I heaved and puffed. This trek kind of evoked mixed emotions in me. While I was happy about having finished, as I came down I couldn’t help noticing the spot where I was about to quit. It was so much close to ground. It wasn’t even one-fourth of the entire distance – probably one-eighth!

The first ever trip to Goa happened. Goa did stump me and it was so different from what I thought it would be and in a good way. Every time I am at the brink of falling in love with a beach, I go through major guilt trip. For a long time, Marina was the only beach I knew. It was the beach that made the sweltering heat more bearable and probably, the happening place in nineties and Sundays never got over without a visit to Marina. I think I was quite furious when I realized that The Bloke didn’t love Marina the way I did.

Well, this is the point at which I get to brag. I think I should hand out the “best baby-sitter” award to myself. The cherry on top was when I made my friend’s kid laugh his heart out. He would stop for a moment and nudge me to redo whatever I was doing to entertain him. Okay, I admit, he is a cheerful baby and anyone could have made him laugh that much. But I still get the award, okay?

And I turned 30 – the official get-your-pap-smear-test-done age and I happened to miss my birthday in transit. While I don’t crib much about my age, I don’t think I believe in all that jazz about age being just a number. That throbbing pain in the neck that i wake up with because I didn’t place the pillow right tells a different tale than what my mind would like to perceive.

ps: Yes, this is my symbolic “I am back” post.

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Tu mera hero..

Posted: February 16, 2014 in Uncategorized
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/* Disclaimer

Some of my words may sound mustache-ist but that is not my intention. I am not trying to stereotype everyone who has a mustache. When I say mustached or mustache-twisting men, I am referring only to the section of men who foster a false pride in showing their superiority over women and in domination.

*/

The Bloke was at the wheel. He  drummed his fingers and took no effort to hide his impatience. Every other second, he swore. We were held up in a choking traffic and literally, didn’t move even  an inch. As is the norm in this country, a symphony of honks followed but thankfully, the glasses shielded us from the cacophony of sounds outside.  And just then magically, the notes from Roja filled the air. And hanging on to every syllable of the song, I remarked as a matter-of-fact, that how with the release of the movie Aravind Swamy had become a heart-throb.  Back then when this movie was released,  even in the small hamlet, Karaikkudi that lies overshadowed and concealed in the deep south of TamilNadu,   both Arvind Swamy and A.R Rehman created a buzz. Though, I was just too young to comprehend the movie,  the excitement over it and the actor was quite evident to me. The Bloke listened with such an incredulous expression.  “What is so special about him”, he asked.

Initially, I choked at his reaction. I stared and glared at him but then the traffic light turned green and we moved on. And so did our discussion.  But what was so special about Aravind Swamy or rather Rishi?  For a start, he was quite mellow and for once, the Tamil audience were spared of all the mustache-twisting activities  and of machismo overdose.   And for once, neither the leading lady’s tummy was used as a table-top and was left alone. Everything sounds bizarre? But that is how some of the Tamil movies of late 80’s and 90’s were  and as years rolled by and as the horror-struck me, every time I saw a waist, I prayed for it to be left alone. Yes, seriously.

So, you see, AS was that ray  of hope.  And this ray of hope  resurfaced every independence day. And sometimes on republic day as well! But what I liked the most was that he develops just a stubble at the end of the movie and not any twistable-moustache. And I quite liked the way how the leading lady take the reins and literally, carries AS at the end.

Few weeks back, a picture of AS went viral on FB. He looked quite worn out and aged with puffy eyes and double chin. With the charm of his yore lost, he looked just like a shadow of what he used to be. This picture was accompanied with a sarcastic message asking women if they still wanted a husband as charming as AS. Quite apparently,  this was shared, re-shared, liked and re-re-shared  by many of the moustache-twisting and moustache-less men, basically by all men. I saw red. Well, first the picture is a reminder of how atrocious time could be.  The picture is a proof of my twenty-nine minus seven years of existence. See, this is one reason why I like Rajini. In early nineties, when I was seven he was dancing with heroines half his age and now when I am twenty-nine, he is still dancing away to glory. And of course, with women half his age, if anyone cares to know.  He is one permanent fixture.

Anyway, I digress.  Apart from reminding me of my age what actually put me off was the understanding that everybody seemed to lack.  AS had more to him than just looks , I say. Yes, he had that bewitching smile that could bowl anyone over. But, to me AS was significant for what he wasn’t. He wasn’t a sexist. Period.   There I rest my case.

In nineties, every other actor was showing off his self-proclaimed machismo and rested the said machismo in taming the women and in her meekness. AS was different.  He wouldn’t flinch before going on his knees. He didn’t try to conform himself to the much hyped and stereotyped masculinity. It is just a movie, one may say.  One’s life may influence a movie but movies influence the society. There is no denial.

 

“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”

The Bloke finished his post graduation few months back. With that The Bloke’s two years long ordeal came to an end. Or, so I thought. The last two years whizzed by in a haze with whirlwind of activities and suspense and with days merging into each other and punched with deadlines.  While The Bloke endured all of that, I had the best time of my life.  There is just nothing comparable to the joy of relishing your dinner watching a pack of men gobble up their food and swot for the exam. And even more priceless is the pleasure in asking the inevitable question, “How many more chapters to go?”. Ya, I am wicked that way ;).

While The Bloke slogged, I savored the campus, walked around the roads and deserted paths, sometimes aimlessly and at times, in search of the best spot to sit and read a novel – in short, I had all the time to stand and stare and probably, I cherished it all the more since everyone around me were  caught up in a web of chores that they had to tick off from their list and I had none other than to follow my will.

Add to this,  the coffee served in the campus is one of the best, brewed exactly to my liking and that was all that I needed on cold foggy mornings and on rainy afternoons. Err.. Okay, let me admit, the weather was just an excuse, I just couldn’t keep my hand off that heavenly coffee  and the low price that I had to pay for it was a bonus ;).  And The Bloke is such a big fan of the buttermilk served here along with the meal that he didn’t believe me when I told him that it is just yogurt, water and salt and every time he drank it with his heart’s content, he set me off wondering about his north Indian roots. For the record, now all that he has to do is to slurp the Rasam and eat that curd rice and pickle and I can christen him as south Indian ;).

I had my share of embarrassing moments as well in campus . Once a foreign student shoved a sheet of numbers in front of me and asked me to explain it to her. I could feel her helplessness and yet for a moment, but the very situation tempted me  to try my luck at fishing out  theories out of thin air and explaining to her. But thankfully, better  sense prevailed and I squirmed in my seat until I made it clear that I don’t study there.

So even though we were counting quarters, days and exams all the time and were exuberant once The Bloke finished off his last exam, there was a part of me that cringed. The only consolation was that we could drive to the campus any day but so far it never happened at all since The Bloke just detests driving through the heavy traffic.  After the 3 months hiatus, I happened to visit the campus last week along with The Bloke with some miscellaneous errands as an excuse. We drank gallons of coffee, walked on the rustling leaves listening to the sound as they cracked beneath our feet and just like any other farewell we bid adieu with the same old thought – “Time flies”!

I was never the same again!

Posted: March 21, 2013 in memoirs, Rants
Tags: , ,

‘No wedding-ring, I see. Ah! Good-night!’

My heart broke into million pieces when I read that. I don’t know if it was  the sarcasm behind those words or my rage or the concealed implications behind it or if it was my age that made me break into tears when I read that line. The ensuing life of Oliver Twist was much more teary and grime and though the fairy-tale ending made up for most of it, the heartless remark made by the doctor remained etched in my mind like forever.

Books hold a magic of their own and can deliver hope and laughter and at times, leave you scarred. And sometimes, for no reasons, some inconspicuous  things stick out of the book and catch up on you alter you for eternity. Sounds familiar?

Do you remember how the book, “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” unfolds? Holmes explains to his dear Watson the difference between seeing and observing and how he notices the not-so-obvious unlike Watson and questions him on the number of steps leading to the hall and with ease, Holmes proves his point. I read this without batting an eyelid and no points for guessing what happened next. Yeah, in that sweltering summer of ’96, I ran out of my house, all the way down the stairs, counting it! At that time, I was this teenager who was hoping to be hit by an adventure. No, the adventure never happened. No one went missing in the neighborhood. No, not even the dog and there never was any mystery to be unraveled. But, I still count steps whenever I am in a new building and every time unconsciously, the conversation between Holmes and Watson plays in my head. Crazy? Yes, I know. And I still desperately hope for that adventure.

Image courtesy – wikipedia

It was in ’94, when I read the book, Pinocchio.  And guess what might have caught my attention in that book?  Strangely, it was the act of wishing upon the north pole star. We were in Delhi at that time. And our house opened into the terrace.  And many a nights, I used to gaze at the starlit sky and make wishes. I could never make out the north pole star so, I mostly ended wishing upon every other bright star. 😀 But thankfully, with years I grew out of this.

ps: This was inspired by daily prompt

Midnight in Paris

Posted: March 11, 2013 in Rants
Tags: , ,

If you had assumed this post to be travelogue with beautiful pictures of narrow alleys and stone monuments of Paris then let me warn you, this is far from it. This probably is going to be a highly incoherent post, with really obscure relation to the movie, “Midnight in Paris”. If you have seen this movie, you will probably be able to make out this really obscure connection and for those who haven’t watched it yet, there is a choice, you can either read the synopsis in wikipedia and probably be inspired to watch it or you can put up with my narration and dismiss it off ;).

So without further ado, the movie follows the life of a dreamy and laid back writer on a visit to Paris. One night, after he is completely drunk, he joins a set of ‘strangely’ dressed people in a old model car and to his pleasure, he realizes that he has been transported to past era, which he adores and incidentally his debut novel is centered on a man working in a nostalgia shop.  In the past era, he meets literary figures like Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald and many others (Obviously, I have no clue of these ‘many’ other literary people of the past except the first two I mentioned),  he gets his manuscript reviewed  and manages to fall in love as well! After  few twists and turns which include a broken engagement and a hint of  probable new love, all is well once the protagonist realizes that it is the present where he is meant to be.  The highlight of the movie is the protagonist’s obsession and fascination for the by-gone era.

The last one line is what the post is all about. Or rather the last one line is what the post is supposed to be though I have no idea if I will be able to justify the connection.

Midnight in Paris – pic courtesy : wikipedia

When I listen to elderly, by that I mean those who were in their adulthood in 70’s and 80’s, (Yeah go ahead, heave a sigh of relief), they mostly quote the emergency period as the most knee jerking incident or the controversial time.  Rewind by another 30 years and you had the freedom movement which filled most parts of my 10th standard history book.  Though,  later I realized or rather was made to realize how biased and incomplete it was.

See, the past was filled with incidents and twists and turns that could fill a complete history book.  And how in many cases, the commoners were part of it. Wouldn’t it be amusing to see how the nebulous date sheet that you discarded into the waste basket, made a mark in history due to some jaw dropping worth incident.  Even better, if you had been part of it.

I long for the past, the past where there was a wee bit of struggle, the kind of struggle that would make you stronger and would keep the flicker alive within you, the kind that you wouldn’t succumb to and would make you happier and content at the end of day,  yeah, I know I’m choosy about the kind of ‘struggle’!

But just like the protagonist, I’m back to the present and as I hit the keypad vehemently, life goes on.

ps: I agree, there have been many ‘incidents’ in the past two decades but weren’t they all heart wrenching and  involving a huge dose of personal tragedies? Here, I long just for those incidents that would get into the history books, the ones that can be rejoiced and retold with drama, enthusiasm and with a glimmer of content and victory!  Err… I know it is all quite obscure! But didn’t I warn you?