Sep 25, 2008

You know those types of friends you can’t bring home?

During a conversation with one of my colleagues, he said something on these lines and I was totally taken aback…..well, surprised. He said something like, “you know, we had to only meet outside of home (wife/spouse doesn’t know). We are friends but that’s the way it is, you know these things right?” No, I don’t. He is also a small town guy, but has had a much better exposure to the western world than I’ve ever had. I have never ventured out of India, as a matter of fact, never been to the northern and eastern parts of the country at all. But, I don’t think I have friends I cannot bring home or talk about at home. My parents knew all my friends, but for those one or two that don’t deserve any mention because we ourselves knew we wouldn’t last a week as friends and maybe we would never see each other again.

Agreed, this could be the issue with the way we could have been brought up, but don’t we form our own opinions when we get exposed to some new experiences. And, this is not with a guy-girl friendship alone, even where I do not subscribe to such a stupid idea that you ‘cannot’ bring them home. Why, because you become answerable to many questions on how you met, how come you became friends yada yada yada…again, how stupid is this?

When my colleague uttered such a thing….I wanted to ask him these things……..

Are there any such types of friends at all in the first place?

Are you ashamed of your own friends?

Are you actually friends or have something else going on but call it friendship?

Even writing about such a thing makes me feel very childish. I find myself asking, ‘Is this something that needs any mention at all?”. But many people out there are hypocrites. I realize this very late in life, maybe because I hadn’t met many like them before? I don’t feel comfortable calling that colleague of mine a friend now. I don’t want to. People like him are better left as colleagues or acquaintances, I think.

Sep 24, 2008

Aditi loves to sing…

When daddy sings along with Abida Parveen…”bekhudi besabab”….Aditi says ‘papap’ and tunes into the song….

When Sun TV plays Ramayan with the title song “Jai Shree Ram….”, she starts off with “Jai…” and drags it to no end and that too ‘sur mein’

She knows to sing “Happ budday”….She sings it like happ budday, happ budday and ends it with Aditi. The tune is perfect.

She also croons (ahem….I am a mother, see?) like Shreya Ghoshal in the tamil song “munbe vaa”…..Aditi also knows a couple of lines in the charanam.

Oh! I just can’t stop bragging about my daughter’s ear for music.

Sep 18, 2008

Eating alone

I don’t like to eat alone without a book. With a book in hand I don’t like to eat with anyone. Today was one day, when I had to lunch alone with no book in hand. I missed the book I had left behind at home. I wished it were here, to keep me company.

When you eat alone at a table, without a book, people actually look at you twice – once when they begin to notice that you are alone and are eating by yourself and later, after some time to see if you have had company (with a book, you suddenly graduate to be an intellectual or a well-read person). They most likely presume that you were waiting for someone and that person must’ve arrived by the time they look at you again. I would like to call this ‘humane’ concern. We are all social animals – just that one animal thinks, the other cannot live without company. Again people who have company give a sympathetic stare at you – ‘oh, poor lady, she is eating by herself’. The sympathy is at its peak, just when that person is a woman. Woman can never be alone, can they! The stares one after the other make you aware of yourself.

Once, my ex-boss was worried that I didn’t have someone to keep me company when I had newly joined the organization. He was probably worried that I don’t move around with people. He asked me whether I had not made friends with co-workers or whether they were not forthcoming enough. I said neither. They just felt hungry an hour after I started to hear noises from my stomach. He asked me to lunch with him in the initial days. I thought I couldn’t eat normally with him. I was always conscious of the way I was munching on food, whether I spilled anything etc. Not that I spill and gobble without any etiquette. Just that lunching with your boss day-in and day-out for me was a little out of normal, particularly when you think his’ is an act of kindness on you, if you know what I mean. In that way, I think eating all alone is just an experience in itself. You can munch with your mouth open for all you care, with food streaking down from the sides of your mouth and wipe it just milliseconds before they spill onto your dress. Manners are just not required.

All said I am happy that these days, women do not get as many sideward glances as they used to get before, when they eat out alone. I know that many women have done it for ages now, eating alone. But again, my viewpoint is of a person who has grown up in a small town, slowly graduating into the life of a big city. Bigger cities are yet to be seen and lived in.

Sep 17, 2008


Shivraj Patil finds time to change his attire/suit thrice ..............

...............because he wet his þäñ†§...

Is there nothing else worthwhile to report about?

Sep 16, 2008

Mohammed Uncle - II

Mohammed Uncle - first part here
My Mohd uncle is no more. He taught me to drive……and stood me when I started instructing him how to drive more efficiently. Some how I think he was the best with older cars like Ambassadors, Fiat (Premier Padmini) etc. As the new cars came by, he never adjusted his driving to suit them and I felt the cars were man-handled.

It was by chance, I spoke to him just a few days before he passed away. I was driving to work that morning it struck me all of a sudden that whatever I was able to do then, was all due to him. He had in ways helped me feel independent and grow up to be the woman I am. Both he and I have so many times taken pride in telling people that I learnt to drive a car without having an ‘L’ board on. I know its nothing great. But given that I grew up in a small town where not many girls drove cars, it appeared a feat in itself for us. My father spoke to him once a month. But somehow he had not called him that month and when I called, he was very happy. People at his household are surprised that I call him from Bangalore. They are accustomed to my dad’s calls, but don’t quite know why the ‘periya ponnu’ (the elder daughter) of the ‘SS sir’ calls. They don’t know the relationship I share with him. Mohd uncle was very happy to talk to me. I chided him for not making it to my daughter’s first birthday. We’d celebrated it with parties both in Bangalore and Coimbatore. I had come to know later that he had been admitted in the hospital during that time and that’s why he couldn’t make it. Still, I chided him for falling sick at the wrong time.

The name Mohd uncle brings back so many fond memories. How my father used to be so comfortable to leave us both (my sis and me) in his company. How much he trusted him. I don’t think he failed us, ever. We knew of the driving lessons he gave his kith and kin in our car, the frequent pick-ups and drops that happened. His friends he regularly called on, on his way back or to our school. These things, when I grew up to be aware, irritated me (us, rather). But, the other drivers were worse – they stole petrol, they lied, misused resources…..Somehow, even if we’d tried to console ourselves with such ideas, we knew he was the safest, the most loyal and the best guy of them all. He wouldn’t work elsewhere too. We slowly matured to overlook the petty issues that never meant anything to us, materially.

Mohd uncle was almost Tam-bram. My grand parents of both sides, who are very staunchly Tam-brams also loved him. He bought us sweets for Id and Ramzan. He reminded my dad about that month’s Amavasya, or other poojas or functions. He was my dad’s personal secretary, almost. He would’ve safely filed away in his memory, even a passing comment on a wedding-to-attend and bring that up, exactly at the right time. He never came late. Always on time, huffing and puffing on his bicycle. I now think how much we take our current employers for granted, in the name of working flexi-time. My dad has never had it and Mohd uncle never knew it. He had to rush us to school every day and he would never miss that for anything in the world. I remember the days when I used to get worked up when we used to be ready and he wouldn’t have come yet. I know we took him for granted – now I realize a driver like him would be very hard to come by.

Mohd uncle and I conversed in Hindi. That’s how my Hindi is conversation-standard. Otherwise who in Tamilnadu, in a small town like Coimbatore would’ve encouraged that. Besides, having studied in a Jain school, some friends also helped improve my language. Coimbatore as a city has a lot of Northie population (Marwari mostly) and many of them understand Hindi, though many do not speak fluently. Well, all said, my Hindi is still broken, though I manage myself quite well everywhere with this.

Mohd uncle was very protective of us. I remember the day when a friend of mine at the CA institute wanted to borrow some notes from me, spotted Mohd uncle near the premises and had asked him if he would pass on a note for me. Mohd uncle got suspicious – recall movie style love-letter instances – interrogated him and got him to write whatever he wanted to in a paper he produced. After Mohd uncle gave the note to me, he waited till I opened it, read it and translated it to him and he was sure that was true by looking at me closely (to find hints of a lie)!! He then had narrated the entire incident to my dad to be doubly sure of things. My dad had to assure him that it would’ve been a genuine note from a friend. My dad came back to tell me this and I was riled at being spied on, but had a good laugh and was moved by his concern. Then I knew, Mohd uncle religiously reported all our activities to dad, which enraged us as teens, but now it seems okay.

All this time, I have never said something to him. That he is special to me, to us and that we love him.

I have so much more to say about him, my Mohd uncle…..May his soul rest in peace.

Sep 9, 2008

What the 7ft guy taught us

Aditi, Sri & I were traveling from Bangalore to Chennai. We had rowed over something and traveled the distance from home to the Cantonment railway station in silence. My parents-in-law had advised Sri to take care of the situation, not blow it up further (yeah, they knew all about it – things are always out in the open). We wouldn’t listen, would we?

We reached the station only to find out the train was going to be at least 4 hours late. Now, we had to spend that time – we caught ourselves some good seats at the waiting room – opposite each other. Not wantonly – they were the ones available. After a few glares, we stopped looking at each other.

Half an-hour later in came a family of three – a man, at least 7ft. tall, his wife – a stout lady with the most ill-fitting track pants and sweat shirt and an “I am dumb” sign painted all over her and their son, a baby of 12-15 months max, dressed in some nightwear, half his size, with diaper visibly soggy. I turned away from looking at them because, the sight of the boy made me want to go up to them, grab him and change his diapers. I constantly kept checking Aditi’s diapers throughout the time we were there.

I consciously decided not to make an appearance judgment on the family. Meanwhile, as there was no room for all the three to sit on the sofas in the waiting room, the tall guy sat down with his legs straightened out with the baby on his chest (trying to put the kid to sleep) and the lady asked another to move a little bit and squeezed herself there. Well, the son wouldn’t sleep – he was amused at having company. Aditi was excited to see him too. She tried to go near them, but they were not too forthcoming, they did not even let the kid go. Sleep time, was sleep time, I guess. There was another older kid that wanted to play with her and we just let them be. The other kid’s mother offered her biscuits and that clinched things for Aditi. She never turned to the younger boy after that.

In the ordeal of putting the son to sleep, successful after a long time, the tall guy dozed off too. The kid slipped from him on to the chilly floor, but remained asleep. As a reasonable woman, I expected the lady to relieve the husband of the kid and let them both sleep. This dimwit tried to wake the hubby up to tell him that the kid had slipped on to the floor – she called out to him, “Sri, Sri”. Sri and I looked at them and stared back at each other. The tall guy didn’t budge. She again called out to him in a louder voice. He woke up and glowered at her. She meekly (subservient, is the word), told him that the kid had fallen down from his lap and he was falling asleep. He scowled and mumbled something and she left things at that. He looked like he would have slapped her hard that minute but had chosen not to, for her own good. Sri & I looked at each other.

Aditi was causing trouble. She was at everyone’s luggage busy opening zippers and stuff. Sri was working away on his laptop but decided against it, when he saw what Aditi was up to. The other kids were both fast asleep, but this lady was all charged-up. He had to get up, cross over and take the kid. When he was at it, I told him, “You are lucky, you don’t have a wife like that”. Sri said, “….and you, a husband like that”.

These days when we fight we tell each other how lucky we are :P and almost end the fight instantaneously.

Making marriage work…..

Well, three years may not be a long marriage, but my husband and I have fought like pigs all through this time to let the on-lookers (yeah, we shamelessly fight in front of everyone in the family), believe that we will most likely call it quits the next minute. Come to think of it, we probably would’ve gone over that thing in head once or twice and made up after sulking for some time. Most fights do not last the night but the handful of them that have extended to the next day have also been resolved with mutual reasoning.

I am surprised we are having to work this hard to make things work between us. We have known each other for quite some time now (7 years), almost know each other’s dark secrets from our days of being bestest friends et al. But when we became man and wife, I think a lot many things changed there. We took the friend in the other for granted, became run-of-the-mill couple. We ran out of things to discuss – I remember the days when we would have everything to talk under the sun, needed each other’s opinions, listened when the other spoke. I remember having once told Sri that I like that very quality in him – he listens. He does, probably even now, but nothing is enough for me. I always end up wanting more. I want more of his time – I could actually sit with a book for hours together – but I am willing to give that up for just an extra hour of being with him.

Now, that is an unhealthy sign because I am sacrificing my personal development and forcing Sri to forgo his as well. What development he is after, I don’t know. Most times it is his friends – hanging out with a mug of beer. I guess, I am psyched at the thought that I am not able to tag along, with Aditi at home and all. All excuses. I am plain jealous – I have admitted this to Sri and told him that I will only slowly get out of it and till then not do all outrageous outings without me. The problem is things crop up now and then, a friend is in town the weekend, a new client wants to discuss something over a mug of beer in the poshest of the pubs….things he can’t decline. Why would he? I act like this super-human when I tell him, “You do what you must”, heart-of-hearts wanting him to stay back and baby-sit Aditi as I would’ve had a long day at office too.

In the meanwhile, guilt eats me that I am not able to extend help to my exhausted parents-in-law, because Aditi has given them a hard day too. She is all charged up on seeing me home and I do not want to have late-nights during weekdays – which translates to additional responsibility for parents-in-law. I also love to cook, so I want dinner on me most days – my little to help my in-laws relax the evenings. I am torn.

What a rant!!! I feel so good after getting it out of my system.

Sep 4, 2008

Diary of Yarns – I

My attempt at story-telling…………..

It was the day of her big interview. She knew she was the best candidate for the position and also knew that they would eventually find her the most cost effective. She was nervous nevertheless. Getting to become a Director of a company of her dreams was something. She had all the qualifications and experience to support her. She was educated at the ivy-league institutes and was never below cum-laude in her time. She was one of the hot candidates and got most job offers when she passed out. She had settled for a low-key company with a great promising profile. She skyrocketed to the top. She waited for that particular role in that dream company to happen. She stepped into the room. The panel was ready. It was going to happen.

The interview went on well. The panel was visibly pleased that at her age, she could achieve as much as she had. They could, as she had hoped, see that she was not money hungry as she was for a good profile. That suited them fine. After all, they were hiring her because they had to. Someone had made, gender diversity in executive management, mandatory, you know?!